I sighed and tugged at the strap of the heavy bag I was carrying, which was digging painfully into my shoulder, and continued walking towards my destination. This is the part I hated the most about my job. As a photographer, it was a thumb rule for me to carry my camera and equipment wherever I went, though it sucked at how heavy all of it was. I sighed again, and put my thumb between the strap of the heavy bag and my shoulder to relieve the pressure for couple of minutes.
Having graduated from college two years prior, with a degree in photography, I had moved to LA, the entertainment capital, hoping for an opportunity to showcase my talent. I also had a minor in English literature, a back up that Charlie, my father had insisted upon. Why, though, I still didn't understand. It's not like I could use the English degree for anything, even to teach at primary level. But to appease Charlie, I did it anyway, a compromise, since I went to college in New York, so far away from my home in the tiny town of Forks, Washington. I loved my town, the green surrounding forest, the heavy overcast of clouds, I loved my father and my friends, but it wasn't enough. I wanted more from life than to eat at the diner every Wednesday with my dad, and hang out at the La Push beach every weekend. I wanted to travel and see the world through the lens of my camera.
My love for photography was born when my dad gifted me my first camera when I was just seven- a small, bright orange camera, with flower stickers on it. When I turned nine, he got me a digital camera, in purple, and enrolled me into the kids photography class held once a week at the rec center. When I turned fifteen, I started my own blog, posting the photos I clicked. By the time I passed out of college at the age of twenty-one, I had approximately five thousand followers on my Instagram page dedicated to my photography, and now two years later, the number had grown to ten thousand followers. I focused on posting the smaller things people often ignored- a turquoise colored door covered with vines, a small girl licking pink ice cream, or an old man feeding birds early in the morning. I had posted a few photographs of myself as well, though they were few and far in between. Like any photographer, it was my dream to be recognized by my photos. I dreamt of the day when someone would look at a photo, and say, that's a Bella Swan click. I wanted my photographs up in galleries, where the high-class people came to admire it, spouting off shit that no one understood, and buying over priced prints of my photographs.
But having followers on Instagram did not ensure success any more than moving to LA did. Since moving here, I had been struggling, hardly being able to make the rent at the end of each month for the small one bedroom apartment I was living in. I took up as many jobs as I could, clicking portraits of students passing high school, photographs of couples newly engaged, even doing kids parties here and there, but it was hardly enough. I was hoping to change this today.
Somehow, Alice Cullen Whitlock, the Alice Cullen Whitlock, had come across my page on Instagram and contacted me. Everyone knew about the Cullens- Carlisle Cullen, 55, the head of the family and country's top plastic surgeon; Esme Cullen, 52, loving wife and the mother of three along with being a successful interior designer; the eldest child, Emmett Cullen, 28, the highest paid defense lawyer; and of course, the other son, twin of Alice, Edward Cullen, 25. Edward started acting at a very young age of 5, appearing in several commercials, went on to star in a very successful movie franchise at the age of 17 and by the time he turned 21, he was a millionaire movie superstar and America's heartthrob.
Not only did Alice come from a successful family, she was dating Jasper Whitlock, 26, for almost five years now. He was also a movie superstar, having appeared as the second lead in the franchise movie that was the reason for Edward and his success. Jasper's elder sister, the beautiful, custom car designer Rosalie, 27, was married to Emmett. So all in all, beautiful and successful people surrounded Alice Cullen Whitlock, and she made sure that she wasn't over shadowed by their success.
At the age of 25, Alice Cullen Whitlock, the princess of the Cullen family, was the proud owner and creator of the brand ACWdesigns, one of the more prestigious fashion brands out there and the reason for some of the most popular fashion trends. She was now starting her own makeup line, and she wanted to do a "teaser-shoot", as she put it, where she would give a preview of her makeup line without showcasing the products properly. The idea was to build anticipation for her makeup, creating hype for it, so that people would want it; buy it even if they didn't need it.
So that's where I was going today, carrying equipment, which weighed more than I did, hoping to score this job. Alice, well, Alice's manager who I had been in contact with after the initial contact with Alice herself on Instagram, had informed me that there were other photographers doing the "teaser-shoot" as well, and although everyone would be paid, only the photos Alice like best would be showcased. What was more, there was a possibility of being selected to shoot the entire launch of the make up line. This was a big stepping-stone for me, and I needed today's shoot to go well.
I shifted the camera bag to my other shoulder and peered down at the maps on my phone, which was telling me that I had arrived at my destination. I looked at the brick building I was standing outside, trying to locate the house number, not seeing anything except a small buzzer. Taking a deep cleansing breath, I pushed the buzzer and waited for someone to open the door. A tall woman, with dark hair and square glasses, opened the door, reminding me of a young Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter, the way she was pursing her lips in disapproval.
"Isabella Swan?" she asked, her voice just as stern as her expression, as she perused me from head to toe. I shifted uncomfortably under her scrutiny, wishing I had worn something more formal such as a pant- suit like her rather than my ripped jeans with an off shoulder, black and white striped top. What did she expect, I thought to myself.I was an artist, we weren't known for our fashion sense.
"Umm, yes, hello," I said softly and holding out my hand, "I'm Isabella Swan."
She stared at my hand for couple of seconds before taking it quickly and leaving it just as quickly, as though I had electrocuted her.
"Please show me your ID."
I fumbled, placing some of the equipment I was carrying on the ground gently, before taking out my driving license from the small, black leather sling purse I was carrying. Once she was satisfied that I was indeed Isabella Swan, she turned and started walking down the hall without saying a word to me. I shook my head slightly at her rudeness, before picking up my equipment hurriedly and following after her.
We entered into a brightly lit room, where one wall was made entirely of glass, overlooking into a beautiful garden and the remaining walls were pristine white. Huge racks of clothes were pushed against the walls, and even more clothes littered the floor. In the middle of the room was a huge white rug, with a plush blue sofa, a black marble table and matching armchairs on it. A woman with short, spiky, raven colored hair and green eyes, sitting on the sofa, looked up at us from her phone as we entered.
"Hi," she smiled, standing up and holding out her hand. "I'm Alice Cullen Whitlock."
I took at her hand and said, "Mrs. Whitlock, I'm Isabella Swan. It's a pleasure to meet you."
She laughed lightly and said, "Please, call me Alice. I insist."
I grinned at her, "Well then, please call me Bella." Alice was definitely much nicer than the wannabe McGonagall who had opened the door.
I sat on the small couch with my feet propped up on the small table in front of me in the small living room of my apartment, checking my Instagram account. Everything in my apartment was small- the small couch sat in front of a small TV and overlooked a small kitchen. Towards the right was my small bedroom with a small bed and a small window in it. A small bathroom adjoined the bedroom and had a second door, so it could be accessed from the small living room as well.
My meeting with Alice had gone exceedingly well. She had explained to me more about the make up brand, her idea behind it, and her vision as to where she wanted to take it. I had to give her this, as privileged as she was coming from such a rich background, Alice was definitely hard working and very focused. She showed me the products she wanted to do the "teaser-shoot" with, and though they weren't final yet in terms of packaging and looks, the product itself that she had created was incredible. She had "swatched", as she said, the products on my hands, and though, admittedly my knowledge of makeup is limited, those products felt and looked amazing. I had no doubt that her make up line would take off just as her clothing line had.
Since this was a "teaser-shoot", where the products were not supposed to be properly shown, and since the packaging of the makeup was anyway not yet final, I decided to take abstract photos of the product itself, using her black marble table as my back drop and even a plain white sheet of paper for a couple of photographs. Not to brag, even I was impressed with myself, by how well the photographs had turned out. Alice also commented I was the first photographer she met for the shoot who had used her table as the back drop, most opting to use the garden outside. Hearing that, I had felt smug, knowing that at the very least, I was innovative, and that was a big plus.
Now, as I sat here much later, checking my Instagram, I had gained approximately four hundred followers and counting within the course of this afternoon, thanks to Alice Whitlock, who had followed me on Instagram immediately after I had left her office.
At the very least, now I can make some money by posting about teas on my Instagram, I thought, smirking to myself.
I pushed my bangs away from my sweaty forehead, and cursed at myself inwardly again, for taking up this stupid gig of shooting a five year old's birthday party. I didn't understand why the parents thought it would be a good idea to throw a party in this scorching heat, with kids screaming and running all around. I wiped the sweat from the camera that had transferred from my face, with the end of my tank top for the one-hundredth time, cursing at myself once again.
It had been exactly one week since my shoot with Alice, and I had yet to hear from her. As well as I had thought I did that day, I was now beginning to lose hope of being selected. I was coming to regret being innovative, and maybe I should have done the basic clicks. What was more, not only had I stopped gaining followers after two days, thanks to her following me on Instagram, but now people were slowly un-following me after realizing that I was just another photography account and not someone related to the Cullens or the Whitlocks.
I sighed heavily as I put the camera to my face once again to click these stupid children jumping on the stupid fucking bouncy castle.
"Fuck," I cursed loudly, as my phone rang from the back pocket of my jeans. I hurried to open the door of my apartment, while holding my camera equipment and two grocery bags.
Once inside, I placed my camera equipment by the door, before answering the phone, a little breathlessly, "Hello?"
"Bella?" The voice on the other side of the phone answered, as I walked into my kitchen, placing the grocery bags on the slab, next to the stove.
"Hi, this is Alice."
My breath caught in my throat. This was it, I thought, closing my eyes, and saying a silent prayer.
"I just wanted to tell you to check the Instagram page of TheACWBeauty. I think you will be pleasantly surprised."
"TheACWBeauty page, Bella, on Instagram."
I furrowed my brows and leaned on the kitchen slab, listening to Alice on the other end.
"TheACWBeauty? Is that the page of your new makeup line?" I asked her, still feeling a little frenzied.
"Yup. Call me back on this number once you do." That was all she giggled on the phone, before she hung up the phone.
If Alice Whitlock had personally called me, and asked me to call her back, it probably meant good news, right? I opened the app hastily, barely noticing the notifications, which were significantly high in number as compared to usual, and typed in "TheACWBeauty" in the search bar. I was floored when I saw the page for Alice's new makeup line. The page already had approximately two hundred thousand followers and ten posts. The first one was a plain black screen with the words "Shop TheACWBeauty, Coming soon", and the remaining all were photographs that I had clicked. I opened one, and saw the photo had around twenty five thousand likes and more than two thousand comments. Each of the photos had likes and comments surpassing thousands, and the numbers continued to rise, and Alice had tagged me in each and every one of the photos. In the description of each photo, she had specially mentioned my name as the photographer along with my Instagram handle. The small notification tab in my app kept buzzing, as I saw the continuous flow of likes and follows on my page.
It was all so overwhelming. I kept my phone down on the slab, and slid down to the floor, putting my head in between my knees, as I took deep breaths, unable to stop the flow of my tears. This was it. I had done something, had achieved something. I leaned my head back, and whispered a broken "thank you" out to the universe. Wiping my tears and still sitting on the floor, I took my phone from the slab. I watched once again in astonishment for a few seconds as Instagram continued to notify me about the escalating number of likes and follows on my page, before changing my settings to not receive notifications. I laughed silently, thinking back to how excited I had gotten when I had gotten a hundred followers. Shaking my head, I called Alice back.
"So, did you like your surprise?" Alice's voice greeted me from the other end of the phone.
"Thank you so much, Alice. I can't tell you how thankful I am to you." I said a little breathlessly into the phone.
"Bella, don't simper," Alice reprimanded from the other side. "I didn't do you any favor. Your photos were the best, which is why you got this."
"Be as it may, Alice, I'm still incredibly thankful to you."
"You're sweet. Listen, can you come by to my office tomorrow? We need to go over the next course of action."
I finally got up from my position on the floor after ending the call with Alice, feeling a little stiff from sitting there for so long. I wanted to check my Instagram and see the number of my followers, but stopped, forcing myself to first put away the groceries I had bought earlier. Sitting on the couch, with an apple in my hand, I bit into it as I opened the Instagram app, like the notification whore I was. The app displayed that I now had 14,743 followers. I had gained approximately four thousand followers within the past couple of hours or so, and the numbers were still climbing. Sniggering, I focused my attention on the hundred or so direct messages I had received. I always made sure to check these regularly, since a lot of people inquired and sent business queries through these, even though my email id was mentioned in my bio.
I concentrated on first deleting any messages with started with the words "Hey beautiful" or "Hey sexy" or the likes of these. Focusing on the few messages left, I took my time as I slowly read through them, choosing to reply to few, and deleting the others, there was no way I was going back to doing kiddy parties now.
Scrolling through the messages, I opened a new message from "TheEdwardCullen", with a little blue tick next to the name.
No fucking way!
A/n: Hi guys, this is the first story I'm ever writing. Please be gentle. Let me know what you think. Also, if you want, I could actually create an Instagram account for the story, and post pictures. Tell me in the reviews if you want that. Lot of love, xoxo.