"I'm dead, absolutely dead," Yvonne says. She pulls her hands through her shoulder-length brown hair and throws her arms up in the air. "
"What's wrong?" Blaine asks, looking up from his screen where the pink and white stripes are burning into his brain.
"My model for the One West campaign is about four inches too short," she says, slamming a sheet of proofs down on Blaine's desk.
"Then why'd you hire him?"
"Well, just look at him," Yvonne says, pointing to one of the shots. "That jawline. Boy's got face for days. He's perfect."
Blaine looks down at the images in front of him. They're small and a little dark from being run off their office's crappy laser printer, but she's right. His jawline is chiseled, but not too harsh. His body is thin, but toned. He doesn't look starved like the models this designer usually books, but he's not as thick as a Calvin Klein underwear model either.
"How tall is he?" Blaine asks.
"Five-10, I think," she says. "Maybe 5-11. Doesn't matter. Either way I'm dead."
"Can't you just use a shot of another model?" Blaine knows they never only shoot one model per outfit for Jan West. She's too important of a client.
"The other guy who wore this has swollen collagen lips, Blaine."
"Oh," he says, looking back at the proofs. The model really is stunning. He can't be more than 19 or 20. So he's probably not even done growing yet. Still, Blaine knows how particular Jan West is about having models that are at least 6-foot-2 in her campaigns. Her line is famous for her distinctive skinny-legged trousers and she thinks the best way to create even more drama is to pick lithe models with extra long legs. This model has that in spades – and then some – but if he's only 5-10, they have serious problems. The One West line is their agency's bread and butter. If Yvonne screws this up, they could all be out of work.
"You want me to do some retouching?" he asks.
"Oh my god, could you?" Yvonne shrieks. "I would kiss your feet, Blaine Anderson."
He laughs. "No need for that. Anything to stop working on this stupid logo," he says, gesturing toward the pink-and-white monstrosity on his screen.
"Another cupcake shop?" she asks.
"Crème de la Cuppe," he says with a groan. "With two p's and an e."
Yvonne looks like she's biting back a laugh, and Blaine can't help but roll his eyes.
"I know, right?" he says. "It's like they're just mocking me now."
"I think Lorelei just likes to see your face when she gives you those projects," Yvonne muses. "Maybe if you hid your disdain better…"
"There is no hiding how I feel about logos for cupcake shops and vintage boutiques," Blaine says. "It's just the way it is."
"At least you've got eye candy to keep you company for a while this afternoon," she says, giving Blaine a wink.
"I can't even tell you how happy I am that you screwed up so royally, Yvonne," he teases. "Thanks for brightening my day."
"Anything for you, cupcake."
"I told you to stop calling me that."
"But it fits so well," she replies as she skips out of the room.
"See if I do you any more favors," he calls out after her.
Blaine rolls his eyes and turns back to his computer. He opens Yvonne's file for One West and finds the most recent proofs. The files are all numbered and then labeled "OneWest_Hummel_Fall13."
"Hummel," Blaine says out loud as he wonders what the model's first name is.
He scrolls down to see which ones Yvonne's marked as possibilities and opens them up. The first one is a powerful image of the young model staring straight on into camera. His hands are in his pockets and his chin is tilted downward, lips drawn in a straight line. His jaw is set and the tightness accentuates the strong set of it. The pose makes him look broader and older than he is, but the playful light in his eyes belies his youth.
"You've got a mischievous streak in you, don't you Mr. Hummel?" Blaine says aloud as he opens the next photo.
It's a similar pose, but in this one the model is smirking. Blaine smiles to himself. Definitely mischievous, he thinks. He wonders what the kid's story is. Where he's from. What his family is like. He wonders if he's from some elite east coast family or a small, tight-knit Midwestern town. Blaine wonders if he was bullied growing up or if he had been a popular guy. Maybe he had snuck in under the radar like Blaine had.
As Blaine sets to work on the images, tweaking them just enough to make the model look taller, he starts to develop a back story for the young man in the photos. Only child, parents divorced. Was discovered in a mall in Minnesota his freshman year of college. He smiles to himself as he pictures him in jeans and an ill-fitting t-shirt. It doesn't suit him. This man deserves to always wear designer threads.
Blaine zooms in on the model's left thigh. He needs to make sure the muscle doesn't end up awkwardly shaped as he tweaks the image. It needs to look realistic. As he inspects the way the fabric drapes over the model's leg, he admires the faint pin stripe; the trousers really are fantastic, well-fitted and flattering on the model's long legs. Blaine really loves the One West line; it's definitely his style: classic but with a modern edge. But the pants never quite fit him right because he's not built for the cigarette leg trousers. Still, he can appreciate the look.
"His legs are plenty long for these pants," Blaine muses to himself. "I don't know what this woman's problem is. He's practically all legs."
And then his breath catches in his throat.
"Well maybe not all legs."
There, on full display between his legs and nearly life size on Blaine's monitor, is the faint outline of what can only be the model's cock. It doesn't look to be even partially erect, but it's definitely not Blaine's imagination. It's there. The bulge is distinct and just…there. He might need to fix that too. The pants aren't very forgiving in that area, Blaine notes. Or maybe it's just this particular model.
Blaine swallows thickly as he tries to calm his breathing and remain professional. He's done this kind of work a million times. It's no big deal.
He shifts in his chair as he scrolls just enough so that the model's crotch is no longer in the frame and he's focused solely on his thigh. He sets to work creating extra leg length for the model and tries not to think about the other corrections he needs to make. He needs to keep his focus for such precise work.
When Yvonne returns after lunch, Blaine is just finishing up the first photo.
"Nice work," she says, leaning over Blaine's shoulder. "He looks great."
"Thanks," Blaine says. "It's slow going, but I think we'll be okay."
Yvonne flops down in her desk chair and huffs out a harsh breath.
"So, Lorelei saw the test shots from the One West job and wants me to hire that model again," she says.
Blaine turns to face her.
"So that's good, right?" he asks. "She liked who you picked. The first time you chose the models too."
"Right," she says running her hands through her thick bangs. "Except we have to doctor the photos…and more than normal."
"Yeah….oh," she says leaning back in her chair to stare at the glaring fluorescent lights above her desk. "We're screwed."
"Maybe not," Blaine says. "Now that we know what we need to do….no problem. You make him look as tall as possible at those shoots, and I'll work my magic here. Piece of cake."
"I don't know, Blaine. That's a lot of extra work for you," she says. "And me."
"We'll manage," he says with a shrug. "Plus it's a really great opportunity for you. She's trusting you with a major client."
Yvonne smiles at him. "And you don't mind the eye candy either, right Blaine?"
"Well I'm certainly not opposed to looking at an attractive male model for hours at a time, no."
"Have I told you how glad I am that I hired you?"
"Not since last Friday," he says.
By the end of the day, Blaine has gotten through only two of the images Yvonne wants to use, so he saves the rest to his flash drive and plans to work on them over the weekend.
He doesn't get much work done, though, because he spends most of Friday evening thinking about the new One West model. The way his left eyebrow quirks up when he smiles. The few wayward hairs that make it look even more lifted as his perfectly crooked smirk tilts the opposite direction. The gleam in the soft blue-green-gold hues of his eyes.
The way the One West trousers hug snuggly to his lean, muscular thighs.
On Saturday afternoon he opens up the files on his laptop and stares at the model's profile for a good half hour.
One of the things that's always been great about his job is that most male models have really great, chiseled jawlines. Blaine's always been a sucker for a strong jaw. Something to nibble at.
But this model doesn't just have a strong jaw. He does, but it's so perfectly paired with a slightly upturned nose, that can only be described as graceful, and his high, sharp cheekbones. Something about his profile is elven and sexual at the same time, and it makes his entire face look like it's carved from marble.
Even his hair looks sculpted — high and brushed back from his face, it's just begging to be touched. Blaine imagines what it would be like to run his fingers through the man's hair, tugging on the thick strands as he bites at his jawline.
It's like Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen had this exotic love-child of a man, slightly rugged, a tiny hint of something almost feminine, and nothing but drop-dead, undeniably, breathtakingly gorgeous thanks to the combination of it all.
Blaine has a fleeting thought that if he were still sculpting – like he had for about a semester and a half in college – he'd want to create life-sized statues of this guy. He's just that stunning. His posture, his wide stance, his strong shoulders and tiny waist. If Blaine could create a perfect specimen of a man from scratch, he's certain this would be it.
He forces himself to work on editing the pictures, though, getting slightly more done than he had at work on Friday.
On Sunday evening, he opens up the last two images that he hadn't had time to work on. His breath catches in his throat as he takes in the expression on the model's face. His lips are pulled into a slight pout, almost sulking like a petulant, angry child. His bottom lip looks plush and red and so ripe and … god such a nice place to lay a head of a cock.
Blaine almost chokes on his own air at the thought. He looks around his empty living room as if there were someone there to catch him having dirty thoughts about a male model he's never even met. He blushes despite the fact that he's alone. He feels guilty. This guy could have a family, a grandma named Mildred. A sister. A girlfriend … or a boyfriend maybe?
He squints and looks into the man's eyes again, trying to keep his thoughts a little more PG. The model's expression reads a little bored in this shot, but his eyes tell a different story. Seductive, teasing. He can see why Lorelei and Yvonne wanted to use him. It's hard to find someone with such expressive eyes.
Blaine wonders what he looks like when he comes.
He quickly closes that image and tries to catch his breath. The room suddenly seems warmer. He tries to focus his thoughts on his work. He looks at the one image left on his screen.
The last shot shows the model with his head thrown back and to the side, which makes his neck look impossibly longer. The tendons are straining a little with the twist, and it's one of the sexiest things Blaine has ever seen. He really wants to see this guy in person. Take him out to dinner. Bring him back to his apartment. Strip him naked. Hear him scream out his name.
Blaine sets his laptop down on the couch and heads for the bathroom. He suddenly feels like a nice, long shower.
Monday morning Blaine rolls into work bleary-eyed and edgy from a lack of sleep and too much self-inflicted sexual tension. He makes a beeline for the break room and is about to pour himself a cup of coffee when he sees Lorelei standing in the doorway.
"Blaine, Yvonne is home with the flu. I'm going to need you to handle tomorrow's photo shoot. She'll email you our notes on styling and our test shots from the location."
"No problem, Lorelei," Blaine says beaming. "What account is it for?"
Lorelei is engrossed in something on her phone and she doesn't look up. Blaine pours his coffee into a chipped mug that reads "I shot the serif" and waits for her to respond.
"Um…One West," she says still looking at her phone.
Blaine swallows hard, almost dropping his mug. "Are you sure?"
"Is there a problem?" she asks, looking up at Blaine over the rim of her glasses. Her gaze is piercing and her patience is obviously thin.
"No," he squeaks out, embarrassed that he sounds so nervous. He clears his throat. "No. It's just a big account. Are you sure I'm the right…."
"It's our biggest account, Blaine," she interrupts, tacking on a sigh. "And if we don't get those shots done tomorrow we lose the location. I can't wait for Yvonne to get over this plague she has. And everyone else is busy. So yes, I'm sure you can handle it."
Blaine heads to his desk and sits down in his chair with a thud. He almost upends his coffee when his foot hits the side of his desk.
He should probably be worried about his first shot at directing a photo shoot, but instead he's worried about meeting the new model.
How is he going to look this guy in the eye knowing what he had fantasized about over the weekend? On the upside, he considers, he'll get to see this guy up close and in person. He's not sure if he wants to laugh or cry.
So instead he emails Yvonne.
From: banderson (a) price-designs . com
To: ytaylor (a) price-designs . com
I'm sorry to hear you're under the weather. Need some chicken soup? I open a mean can of Campbell's. (Stop giving me that look… I don't fit all the gay stereotypes. I like football, remember?)
So I'm sure you know, I'm covering the One West shoot for you tomorrow. Don't forget to send me your notes. I'm a little freaked, tbh.
Also, I may or may not have a bit of a crush on that male model. Haven't decided yet if this is the universe's way of mocking me or telling me to go for it.
From: ytaylor (a) price-designs . com
To: banderson (a) price-designs . com
Subject: RE: :(
Notes are attached. You'll do great. Don't forget to tell Zach that he needs an extra strobe for tomorrow. The light in that loft is abysmal.
God I feel like I got hit by a train. Soup won't help at this point. I think I just need to die for a few days.
Regarding your crush, the kid's kind of a dick, if that helps. Gorgeous, but basically a total bitch. Swim at your own risk.
In spite of Yvonne's scathing review of the model, whose name Blaine stupidly forgot to ask, he spends longer than normal getting ready for work the next day. He pulls out a red silk bowtie, which he hasn't worn since college, and a grey sweater vest. He decides to dress the look down a bit with jeans, but the completed ensemble looks about as fashionable as he gets.
Blaine double checks to make sure he's not wearing anything recognizable from either a department store or a rival designer. Either one would get him mocked relentlessly by the stylist. Ben is the kind of guy to pull out your collar to check the label on your jacket. Blaine figures Brooks Brothers is safe for this particular shoot.
He probably goes a little crazy on the gel in his hair because he's so jittery. Three cups of coffee will do that. It's just shy of a full helmet, but there's no time to fix it, so he'll just rock the Clark Gable look today.
He only fumbles twice with the lock. When he finally gets his key to slide in and turns the tumbler, he realizes he left his phone in the bedroom. He leaves his keys hanging in the door as he retrieves it. By the time he gets in his car, he's running about 10 minutes late and traffic is a nightmare.
Blaine gets a text from Yvonne just as he's pulling up to the loft they're using for the shoot. He nearly throws his phone across the alley as he thumbs the lock screen. God, why is he so nervous?
For good measure, he shuts the car door on his hand. He sucks on his thumb a little and shakes it out, trying to force the pain out through his fingertips. He looks down at his phone, feeling his fingers begin to throb.
His name is Kurt, btw. ;)