Huffing in irritation, Amy Dallon leaned against the wall, unsure where to look.
This is so stupid, they don’t even need me here! She bitterly reminded herself. Her sister Victoria had decided that Amy needed to ‘get out more and meet new people’. So when an invitation to make an appearance as a special guest at a minor fashion shoot for young models had arrived, Vicky had promptly decided Amy should come too.
So now here she was, a short, mousy girl with frizzy hair and freckles in a room filled with models who were built more like her sister.
Those pants have to be painted on! She squashed the thought quickly, turning her head to look in a different direction when one of the models bent double, showing off her flexibility to her friends. Coming here had been such a big mistake.
A flash of red caught Amy’s eye and she turned to see a pretty girl with long red hair standing off to one side. She was standing with another girl who was a good bit taller, with dark curly hair and glasses.
In a room filled with rather curvy models, the pale, thin girl stood out.
Unaware she was being watched, the dark haired girl frowned. She looked about as excited to be here as Amy. She made a couple of gestures with her hands that the red-head returned. It took a few more seconds for amy to realise what was going on.
They’re using sign language, is one of them deaf?
Parian chose that moment to enter the room, closely followed by someone that Amy assumed was the camera woman.
“Okay, we’re about to start!” Parian said, clapping her hands for attention, “Miss Barnes, are you ready?”
The red-haired girl that had been using sign language looked over her shoulder quickly, shouting “be right there!” Signing something to her friend, she turned and walked across the room.
Guess that answers which one is deaf, Amy thought to herself. She briefly considered how to watch without the models thinking she was creepy.
Thankfully her wonderful sister walked over, distracting Amy from her thoughts. “Hey Ames! You okay? You know you don’t have to hide over here. I’m sure Parian has some stuff that would fit you.”
Amy sighed. She loved her sister dearly and Vicky meant well, but surely she was aware of the differences in their appearance?
Vicky looked radiant in her figure-hugging jeans and just-tight-enough top. Amy, meanwhile, was wearing an old pair of jeans and shapeless sweater with a hood that could hide her face if needed. Model material she was not.
“No thanks.” glancing around, she tried to find something that would distract her sister and her eyes fell on the dark haired girl from before. She’d settled down on the floor with what looked like a sketch pad.
“Hey, do you know her?”
“Hmm?” Vicky glanced at the girl. “No, not really. Didn’t she come with Emma? Why do you want to know?”
Amy had listened to Vicky rant about Emma making a couple of passes at Dean in the past, which explained how she knew her. Amy really hoped Vicky didn’t cause a scene.
“Oh, um I saw her using sign language and was curious.”
Vicky rolled her eyes, “Y’know you could just go over there and talk to her if you’re curious right?”
“Come on Ames,” Vicky nudged her shoulder, “you need to make more friends. You can’t spend all your time at the hospital after-”
“Vicky, I’m fine! I think they need you,” Amy nodded in the direction of the others. Vicky gave her a frustrated look before walking off with a huff.
Sighing, Amy let her head loll back, resting against the wall while watching the models out of the corner of her eyes. She felt bad for snapping at Vicky like that, but they’d had this discussion enough times in the past and Amy was sick of it.
“Okay, I know what sizes you said you are, but I need to take some measurements to make sure this stuff will fit correctly.” Parian pulled a tape measure from the elaborate folds of her costume. Several of the models groaned, with at least one muttering something too quietly for Amy to hear.
“I’ve got a curtain setup for anyone who wants to use it.”
One of the girls, however, didn’t hesitate to grab the bottom of her shirt and pull it off in- ohmygodshe’snotwearingabra! Amy turned her head quickly to hide her blush and spotted the dark girl still sitting nearby.
She was nodding her head in time with something and Amy could see wires going from her ears to her phone. Headphones? But I thought she was...
Curious and looking for an excuse to be away from the semi-naked girls, Amy pushed off the wall and walked over to the girl.
As Claire pulled her top off, Taylor quickly focused on her notepad. This wasn’t the first time Emma had dragged her to one of these model shoots and it was still just as uncomfortable as ever.
I mean, she thought to herself, where was the line between ‘just watching a fashion shoot’ and ‘outright ogling’?
This wasn’t even the first time she’d met Parian. The last time, the cape had spent nearly twenty minutes trying to convince Taylor to pose for some pictures for some reason. Why anyone would want to see my skinny ass is beyond me.
Anyway, now that the photographer was here, it would probably be another hour or two before things wrapped up for the day. Maybe she could find an excuse to duck out early? Emma would complain, but she’d get over it.
Focusing on the music, Taylor tried to note down the tune. There had to be a way to recreate it on her flute.
A shadow fell over her and Taylor looked up to see the mousy girl that had been talking to one of the models standing over her. Taylor removed her headphones as the girl shifted from one foot to another, glancing about and biting her lip nervously.
“Umm... Hi. I’m Amy, do you mind if I join you?”
This close, Amy could see the girl’s slightly too wide mouth and the thin limbs hidden by her sweater. She continued to stare, blinking in surprise. Eventually, just as Amy was debating running away, the girl nodded and waved at the ground.
“Thanks.” Amy tried not to grumble as she sat down. The other girl flipped to a blank page in her book and started writing.
[Hi, I’m Taylor.]
“Thanks,” Amy turned so she was looking directly at Taylor, keeping her eyes fixed on her face. Assuming Taylor could read lips, she made sure to speak slowly and clearly. “Do you come to these often?”
Amy groaned internally as Taylor looked over the rims of her glasses at her. Seriously? She sounded like a bad pickup artist. The silence stretched on awkwardly until Taylor finally wrote [Emma drags me along every so often.]
“Oh…” Amy turned to look at the other girls, “Is Emma the one with red hair?” Flushing, she realised that Taylor couldn’t hear her, or see her face and quickly turned back around. “I mean! Is Emma the one with red hair?”
Taylor sighed, flipping to the first first page in her note book.
[I’m not deaf, I’m mute.] The last word was heavily underlined and Amy got the strong impression that Taylor was explaining this for the hundredth time.
“Oh? Oh!” Amy’s face went scarlet, “I’m sorry! I just saw you talking to Emma and- and I’m going to stop talking now… oh god...”
With a groan, Amy shut her mouth with a click and dropped her head in her hands, letting silence fill the air between them. Turning around, Amy leanned back against the wall, her eyes looking towards the photoshoot without actually focusing on anything.
She was only vaguely aware of Parian giving orders to one of the models. Vicky was in the middle of it all, wearing an odd flowing outfit that Amy could almost convince herself was a wedding gown. Emma stood next to her in a matching dress and Amy couldn't help but notice the edge to her sister’s smile. Clearly, she wasn’t happy having to pose with Emma.
Ugh, Vicky’s never going to let me live this down if I don’t at least try.
Biting her lip, Amy glanced around quickly, searching for a conversation starter that wasn’t there.
“So… have you ever done any modeling?”
Taylor snorted, her face scrunched up as she shook her head.
[I dont have the body for it.]
Amy wasn’t quite sure about that. Taylor was clearly tall, possibly taller than Vicky, and as slim as any of the runway models she’d seen in the past.
Flesh coloured movement from the models caught Amy's attention before she could comment.
“Clair, would you please use the curtain?” Parian ground out and Amy could picture her clenching her teeth under her mask.
“Why? It’s only us here!”
Apparently having enough, Parian said something to Vicky that Amy missed. Vicky then gently, but firmly, took Claire by the arm and moved her behind the curtain.
Well that happened… “Is she always like that?” Amy asked quietly, leaning towards Taylor.
[Yeah, she doesn’t really know shame.]
“... I guess you see all sorts of things here?” See, conversation wasn’t so hard.
[You have NO idea.]
Taylor didn’t elaborate and, despite her curiosity, Amy didn’t think she should ask for more details, so they quickly lapsed into silence again.
“Sorry, I’m not very good at this. Talking to people, I mea-” Amy bit her lip as the words registered in her mind. Not again!
Before Amy could put her foot further in her mouth, Taylor snorted. Her shoulders were shaking as she hid her mouth behind her hand and Amy realised she was laughing.
The ridiculousness of the situation dawned and Amy quickly found herself laughing as well. She did her best to keep quiet and not disturb the photoshoot
[I’m sorry.] Taylor eventually wrote after she had calmed down. [You should have seen the look on your face! :D]
“I talk good,” Amy said with a smirk. “I take it you get this a lot?”
Taylor made an exaggerated sigh, her shoulders heaving before making a see-sawing motion with her hand. She was, Amy realised,very expressive.
Not sure what else to say, Amy let them lapse into companionable silence, the awkwardness from before gone.
Relaxing a little further, Amy looked back towards the photoshoot.
Things seemed to be in full swing, and the models were quickly switching from one outfit to the next. Parian was mostly silent, apparently content to let the photographer direct things. Occasionally she would lean forwards and mutter something to her, or give a quick order to one of the models.
One of the girls, Amy noted, had curly brown hair. Unlike her own frizzy mess, the model’s hair was a cascade of soft brown curls that she’d never managed to get. She was also wearing the oddest outfit Amy had seen outside of a cape battle.
The top half looked almost like a toga made of large leaves. The lower half was a pink fabric that reached her ankles and was styled to look like rose petals.
“Do people really wear stuff like that?”
[Not a clue. It certainly wouldn’t suit me.]
[Those heels make my ankles hurt.] Taylor wrote as another model came out and posed for the camera.
“Don’t get me started,” Amy warned. “She really needs a better bra, that thing looks ready to explode.”
[Do you think it would be cruel to bring a burger into the room?]
The day passed gradually, with both girls sitting together, swapping the occasional comment and trying to hide their laughter from the others. They weren’t entirely successful, but Amy couldn't really bring herself to care.
A couple of hours later, the photoshoot finally broke up and Amy found herself being carried home by Vicky.
“So?” Vicky said with a grin as they flew over the rooftops. She was taking it slow tonight, flying at what passed for a leisurely pace for her.
“Don’t give me that, I could see you two laughing. You looked pretty cozy over there!” Vicky shot her sister a smug grin as Amy blushed. “So? Come on! I want details, did you at least get her number?”
Amy fought back a blush, and not just because she’d forgot to even ask if Taylor had a phone.
“Um… No, I don’t think she has one…”
“She’s mute Vicky. I doubt she’d get much use from a phone.” Amy groaned as the questions kept coming, unaware that Taylor currently found herself in a similar conversation.
Emma bumped Taylor with her hip, “So? How did it go?”
Taylors hands moved quickly. She’d been using sign language for most of her life, the gestures coming smoothly and comfortably.
“Don’t give me that! Even Victoria noticed you flirting with her sister and that girl’s oblivious as a brick!”
Emma stared open mouthed at Taylor. “You really don’t know, do you?”
Taylor looked over her glasses, one eyebrow raised in irritation.
“That was Panacea! You know, Glory Girl’s sister?”
"Oh! Oh!" Emma pushed her hair back and huffed in frustration. "Is that really all you have to say!"
[Again, I am mute. Not deaf.]
"Not the point!" Emma countered, stopping and turning to look Taylor in the face. A sly smile appearing on her face as her voice took on a more teasing tone. "You didn't tell me you were into girls."
[I'm not!] Taylor couldn't stop the blush spreading across her cheeks.
"Riiight," Emma answered back sagely. “That's why you always complain when I drag you to a photoshoot. Oh wait! You don’t!”
Taylors blush darkened. [We'll miss our ride if we don't hurry!]
Emma narrowed her eyes at the obvious distraction, even if it was true. "This isn't over T. Not by a long shot."
Taylor tried her best to stop the shiver that went down her spine. Hopefully, Emma would get distracted by something. A girl could hope.