Chapter Three: Partying and Posing
He saw her from at least ten feet away. She looked exactly like the photos her agent had given her, except even more beautiful. That was the thing about models, he learned. They were always prettier in person. He smirked and pulled out his cell phone, dialing her number and watching her answer from just down the block.
Helga was running down the street, heart beat throbbing in her ears. This couldn't be happening. She wasn't having a mental breakdown -
Her cell phone starting ringing loudly, startling her.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit," she muttered under her breath as she tried to calm down. She cleared her throat, "Hello?"
"Yes, may I ask who's calling?"
A smooth, deep voice made Helga's heart beat a little faster, "Hi, I'm Brian. I'm your co-model in your next shoot and I was told to meet you in Hillwood. Is that correct?"
"Yeah. Uh. . . let me give you my address. You're welcome to stay at my place instead of at a hotel. I don't have anyone home."
Brian laughed. "Wow, you're pretty trusting. For all you know I could be a serial killer."
"Believe me, beating you up wouldn't be a problem."
Brian smirked. "You sure about that?"
Helga began looking around, suddenly feeling like she was being watched. "Absolutely. Valencia wouldn't let me work with anyone who was potentially dangerous. Plus, I'm really strong."
"Well, from where I'm standing you don't look so tough."
Her blue eyes widened with surprise. "Excuse me?"
Brian laughed and walked closer to her, waving and smiling brightly. Helga hung up the phone, shrugged off her mental issues and forced a smile. She had work to do.
"Hi, I'm Helga." She immediately felt comfortable around him. If there was one thing Helga was good at it was her natural talent to pick up the slightest hints on her gaydar. And Brian was like a big flashing neon sign. It wasn't just the fact that he was a model, but the extremely tanned skin, shirt unbuttoned one too many, shimmer lip gloss on his lips, and earring in his right ear were some pretty strong clues.
Brian stuck out his large hand, "Brian Witchester."
She heard a slight tinge of accent. "British?" He nodded. "So, how did you get stuck working for Victoria's Secret? I know they don't usually have male models."
"It's a new thing for spring line. Something about Bombshell Crushes or something? I don't know."
Helga laughed, "I have no idea what any of that means."
"Looks like we'll have to find out tomorrow. Come on, show me to your place."
Helga laughed again. She liked seeing someone else being demanding for a change. "I have a feeling we're going to get along well, Brian."
The three boys turned up from their discussion just in time to see Jay, Gerald and Arnold come down stairs. "Where did Helga just go?"
"She had to do something," Phoebe shrugged.
"Oh. Well, you guys are welcome to hang out here. We can watch a movie and order food if you're hungry," Arnold smiled at his old classmates. They all agreed.
As the group became more comfortable with each other, sharing stories about their lives after high school, Jay addressed the group, "Alright, who can tell me Arnold's most embarrassing moment?"
The five turned to face their football headed friend. He turned a deep shade of crimson and bolted to his feet.
Gerald laughed, "I can speak for everyone guy when I say our most embarrassing moment was when we had to perform a synchronized swimming routine. . . " Sid, Stinky and Harold began making sounds of protest, begging Gerald to stop telling the story.
"I want to hear this! You guys were swimming in speedos and everything, right?"
Phoebe had to cover her mouth to stop her incessant giggling. Gerald took a swig of his soda and nodded, "That's only the beginning of the humiliation."
Jay was in hysterics, trying to imagine all of these boys in tiny little bathing suits was too much for him to handle with a straight face. "What could possibly be worse than that?"
Gerald arched his eyebrow, "We won."
"That's so fucking hilarious! Oh, my god! Arnold!" Jay held his sides as he continued laughing. "Oh, I wish I could see that performance. It needs to be on YouTube."
"I know a kid who taped the performance," Sid interjected. "He flew in with his boyfriend today."
Gerald smirked, "Eugene got a boyfriend? Nice! Didn't know he had it in him."
Phoebe laughed as Sid pulled out his phone. "Shit, it's my mom. . . I gotta go, and I'm giving these two bozo's a ride. Thanks for everything Arnold." The three former classmates rose to their feet, thanking Arnold again and waving goodbye to Jay.
"We'll see you at the reunion," Stinky added with one final wave.
HELGA: come to my house! I have someone you *need* to meet.
PHOEBE: Ok. . .Jay insists on coming too.
HELGA: damn it. fine.
Fifteen minutes later Helga opened the door, her smile immediately disappearing at the sight of Jay instead of Phoebe.
"Oh la la!" Jay smirked, staring at Helga's chest.
She immediately covered up, forgetting she was just in her bra and white shorts. Brian - after admitting that he was openly gay and in a relationship - asked Helga to pose for him. She found nothing wrong with it, considering the fact that she had to tomorrow. "Shut up Jay!" she screamed before running to her room. Jay let himself in, dragging Arnold, Gerald and Phoebe along with him.
Jay made his way to the kitchen, searching the cabinets for food. . .or alcohol.
"Hello?" a deep voice asked. Arnold immediately tensed. Seconds later a tall, tanned, toned, topless man appeared in the hallway. "Holy shit," were Gerald's exact words.
"Who are you?" Arnold demanded to know.
"Hi, I'm Brian. Helga's modeling partner."
Arnold still remained suspicious of the British boy, slowly narrowing the gap between them by taking two steps forwards. "I didn't know she had a shoot."
He smiled only to reveal perfect, straight white teeth, "It's tomorrow, before your reunion thing."
"Still doesn't explain why you're here -"
Gerald started laughing, "Dude, lay off. Yeah, it's a little weird for Helga to have a strange model in her house, but if she's cool with it, we should be too."
"Yes! I found the alcohol!" Jay exclaimed and pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Helga bolted down the stairs, "No! Damn it, Jay!"
Jay opened the bottle and began searching the kitchen for a shot glass. "Look, Helga, I respect you and everything, but I need to drink."
"One shot," she cautioned as he poured the liquor into the cup.
He dropped it down his throat quickly, taking in the burning at the back of his throat as encouragement to continue. "How about one per person in this house?"
Helga grabbed the bottle from him, poured some Jack into the used shot glass, and threw it into her mouth. She hated the first initial burn of the drink.
"Alright, party!" Gerald searched the cabinets for another shot glass.
"Guys, I don't think we should be doing this," Phoebe protested. She knew how much her boyfriend loved to party.
"No, it'll be a good way for us to get to know each other. Alcohol speaks the truth," Brian grabbed Gerald's shot glass and poured himself some.
Arnold and Phoebe exchanged worried glances. Jay and Helga both held shot glasses in front of their friends, silently begging them to partake in the fun.
Two hours later the six friends sat on the roof of Helga's house, laughing hysterically. Arnold and Phoebe weren't as drunk as the rest, but they definitely had a buzz going.
"Wait, waaait," Helga laughed and sipped her Vodka and tonic, "we should do something fun. Let's - "
"Let's make out!" Jay slurred.
Everyone chorused, "Shut up Jay!"
Gerald quickly raised his glass, "Let's toast!" he spilled some of his drink onto his wrist, but continued to flail about, "to Helga! I hope your modeling career takes off and you don't fuck it up with drugs!"
"Cheers!" the group replied, quickly chugging back whatever was left in their drinks.
"HOLY FUCKING SHIT ON A STICK!"
"Oh my God," Helga moaned and opened her eyes. She was a dizzying image of an angel hovering over her. Was she dead? She certainly felt like it.
"Helga, get your little ass up! You were due at the shoot an hour ago!" Valencia's stern voice made Helga bolt up. She swallowed back the upcoming threat of vomit and stumbled towards her door. She glanced around her living room, surprised to see most of it intact. All of Olga's trophies were thrown around the room and the couch cushions were disoriented, but there was no permanent damage to anything. Helga also noticed that she had been curled up and sleeping with Arnold. What the fuck happened last night? she wondered before feeling Juan grab her arm again.
Helga's waist had been a support for Arnold's wrist, as well as the spot he had wrapped himself around her. At the loss of body heat, Arnold opened his eyes slowly. He was afraid to emit any noise that would hurt his head. He could hear the booming voices around him, but their words were fuzzy.
"Where's Brian?" she asked, still feeling a little drunk.
"Right here, love."
She smirked to see him standing in the kitchen, eating cold pasta from a container. He grinned.
"Did you sleep at all last night?" she asked.
"Nope. Come on, let's get this over with so I can crash and sober up."
Valencia dragged his hot mess out the front door, leaving her without the chance to change, get shoes, wash up or even take her cell phone.
"This is going to be the worst day of my entire life."
Thirty minutes later, Helga was rushed into the salon chair to get her extensions removed. It was painful, but she was happy to be rid of them. She'd been wearing them since her commercial shoot. Helga ran into her fingers through her extension free hair, messing up the beach waves that had been styled in. She really needed an Advil and some water, but there was no time to even stop and breathe.
She had been dressed into a pink and orange plaid Bombshell bra with matching underwear and high heels. She quickly fled her dressing room and to the studio, heels clicking loudly as she disrobed. She felt the heat of the spotlights warm her skin and it made her eyes burn. Brian crinkled his face to show that he felt her pain.
Brian was very tall, even with Helga in heels, towering at six foot five, with moderately tanned skin and well defined muscles. He had bright blue eyes and full pink lips contrasting with his chocolate brown hair. He didn't really look British at all.
The two models were going to be posing in front of a green screen and a white background, allowing the shots to be used in multiple places and at different times.
At 10 a.m. Phoebe, Jay and Arnold arrived at the shoot. Gerald had been left passed out on Helga's bed.
Arnold's stomach twisted as he watched Helga arch her hips backwards into a wall of solid muscle, Brian's abdomen and lower half, allowing his hand to slide down, thumb pulling her bottoms down slightly, exposing her visible hip bone. The AC vent was directly above Helga, sending cold air down and brushing her hair off her face. She looked confident, strong and sexy. Helga's blue eyes were soft, setting a tone of sensuality in the picture. Even though Arnold knew Brian know - drinking with someone always provided a special bond - but he still couldn't trust him. There was a stab in his gut that wouldn't let him.
"Dude, holy shit, this scene is hot!" Jay whispered from behind his sunglasses. His eyes ached too much to be in sunlight. Jay quickly seized three large water bottles from a catering cart, opening his and chugging half of it back in a matter of seconds.
Arnold didn't verbally reply to Jay's comment. He thought to himself, Hot is only the beginning. Arnold simply listened to the British photographer tell Helga to change positions. She quickly obliged, twisting her arms to bring the attention of the picture to her chest - she was trying to sell a bra, after all.
Eventually, the photographer stepped back from the camera, giving Helga the chance to finally relax her aching body. Being hungover and having to keep muscles tight and bent for a long period of time without moving hurt. This was their first break after working for three hours.
"Ah, my models! I have changed my idea. I don't feel your passion, the heat I want that brings people attention. I want the onlookers thinking 'Damn this is sexy as hell! This is a whole new way for Victoria's Secret to advertise!' Can you handle what I'm gonna throw at you or will it be too hot?"
Helga smiled, "Sure, I'll handle it." Brian nodded.
"Alright," he stepped back behind the camera, quickly testing his flash settings. He looked at Helga,"Top off."
Phoebe gasped. Helga froze. "I'm sorry, I don't think I heard you correctly. Did you just say top off?"
"Yes. Hurry. I want to get this done. Just a few shots. If you don't want to, I can always get someone else."
Damn it, Helga thought. She loved modeling, especially for Victoria's Secret, but nudity? Wasn't that extreme, even for a lingerie store? She thought to herself for a moment. If she left this job, she probably wouldn't get paid. And she needed to get paid. She loved it too much.
Her eyes quickly met with Arnold's. He blushed and averted his gaze towards the door. Arnold wanted to be anywhere but here. Helga topless was the last thing he needed to see. He could barely handle her now in nothing but her matching underwear.
Brian followed Helga's eyes, "Tell Arnold and Jay to leave."
Helga opened her mouth, ready to yell at Jay for staring, but the photographer snapped at them, "Helga and Brian, go stand in your original positions. I want to show you what to do so you can get over your camera shyness. It's no big deal." Helga shut her eyes and unhooked her bra, holding it to her chest. "Brian, remove her top and put your hands where hers are, thank you." Helga laughed to relieve the awkward tension in the room as his hands cupped and covered her chest. Phoebe tried pulling on Jay's shirt, but he remained frozen.
Arnold knew he shouldn't look. He knew he should've shut his eyes or at least turned away. But his mind froze. He was just staring at her, taking in the entire moment and letting it sink into his mind. He could feel the movement of Phoebe, furiously tugging on Jay's collar to get him to move, but he didn't react either.
"Now put the bra strap in your mouth," the camera man demanded. Brian laughed this time as Helga quickly obeyed, awkwardly holding the fabric between her teeth.
Arnold finally turned his head away, forcing Jay to do the same. Phoebe had already turned a shade of deep red and was silently begging to be let go. She was proud of her friend for doing something she enjoyed, but it was just downright awkward.
Helga's manager, the tall, skinny jean wearing, dark skinned Spanish man, approached the three. He sensed the distress, "You guys okay?"
"I enjoy this," Jay replied. Phoebe rolled her eyes. She was beginning to understand why Helga disliked this kid.
Valencia pointed towards the white door marked SET, "Do you guys want to go get lunch since you're not watching?"
Arnold nodded, quickly stepping out of the room and dragging Jay behind him. Phoebe thanked Juan before following behind.
Helga smiled as Valencia stood beside the photographer. She winked at him, forgetting momentarily that she was getting her picture taken. "Ah, I love it! You're so sexy!" the photographer continued to yell compliments and praise to the two models.
The final pictures didn't take long, so Helga was done by twelve thirty. There were three things she needed to do: puke, drink some water, and down a bottle of Tylenol. She quickly threw her shorts and t-shirt on, ready to get this over with. It had been a long day and it was just only halfway over. Hangovers were definitely no fun.
"Here she comes now," Jay teased, "donning the ever so elegant ripped, bleached jean cut offs and the famous -" his voice trailed off as he stared at her shirt. "What does that mean?"
Helga pulled on the ends of her bright pink shirt, examining the text across the chest. "Free the animals?"
Arnold burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. "That's awesome! Where did you get that?"
"My roommate made her own shirts. I told her the story about Curly and she just decided to make it a shirt."
"What's the story?" Jay asked.
"It's a long one," Phoebe smiled.
Arnold added, "We can just as the source to tell us later. Everyone's excited for the reunion tonight."
"What is it even for anyway?" Helga asked.
"No idea. I guess five years apart was too long."
Juan walked into the cafeteria, smiling brightly at the four sitting at the table. "Do you want to see your prints?"