When it all came down to it, Peggy loved her job, she really did, she enjoyed being an Editor in a fashion magazine, even if she was just an Associate. She liked browsing trends, setting up shoots; even dealing with the production crew was interesting and challenging most of the time. This, however, wasn’t one of those times, Peggy was one sequin away from a meltdown.
It was a publication meeting, which meant they were delineating all the assignments, spreads, and interviews they wanted to get in that month’s issue. It was a nightmare.
Sakaar was a relatively well-known fashion magazine, enough to get interesting exclusives and have a decent budget for shoots. Its signature aspect (signature pain in the arse if you asked Peggy on days like this one) was its unique and outlandish shoots, all concocted by its Editor In-Chief-- a seemingly-immortal old-ish guy everyone called The Grandmaster (because, apparently, his real name was too hard to pronounce). He really was a visionary. He had started from the ground up; had risen through the ranks in fashion publications, to finally make Sakaar a respectable name in the last few years. It wasn’t Vogue -level in terms of legacy, probably not even Bazaar , but it wasn’t that far behind.
The Grandmaster’s unique sense of style along with his eye for vanguard fashion had made him pals with the likes of Anna Wintour and the Kardashians. He now had a creative role, making sure the magazine didn’t lose its brand but not taking care of the logistic of his concepts. All of which made Peggy’s work… difficult.
“So, mm… I’m picturing a street” The Grandmaster spayed his hands, “are you picturing it with me?” A small laugh escaped him as he looked around the room. “So, a street, but seen from the top of a bus, yes, one of those sightseeing ones, you know the ones?” He didn’t wait for an answer, “I never got in one of those, always wondered what It would be like… Anyway, a bus, yes, then on top of it, on the open top, you know the one, where tourists sit with their floral shirts and white Bermuda shorts, except there aren’t any tourists this time, no-uh . There are executives! All in their fancy clothes, standing on the top, isn’t it hilarious?” Another laugh, “we could even give them some computers, and those tablet thingies, the ones with the fruit, what are they called?” He looked at them expectantly.
“…iPads?” A new intern offered, before the pause could get too long, a mix of terror and uncertainty in her voice.
“Yes, thank you very much, iPads, those.” The word sounded foreign in his tone, like it was the first time he said it and was trying it on for size. “Also, phones, lots of phones, they have to look busy, like they can’t stop working for a second” he seemed to find this particularly hilarious because he couldn’t talk for a couple minutes, laughing and stuttering every time he opened his mouth to continue.
“Okay, deep breaths,” he said as he started to get his bearings, “everyone breathe in with me. That’s it, deep. Breaths. ” He gestured with his hands, glancing through the room to make sure they were following his lead, completely ignoring that no one had been laughing along with him.
Spring Fashion Week’s corpse was still warm, Fall season was still months away. No matter, gears were already being turned towards it. Fashion Week’s ghost never truly left the fashion industry. That being said, the April issue tended to be pretty calm, and while Peggy was quite happy with her assignment for it, the fact that it was supposed to be on top of a sightseeing bus was already giving her a headache.
Where the hell am I gonna find that prop?
From then the meeting went on to other topics, other photoshoots, interviews, different spreads to coordinate. Peggy already had her assignment for this month, nevertheless, she paid attention to the rest of the information. She was undoubtedly going to get roped into some other aspect before the month was done. Sakaar wasn’t exactly rigid when it came to the division of labor; everyone got their tasks on production meetings, but afterwards it was a mess. Peggy always ended up helping with at least three more assignments.
The second the meeting was done she got out her phone.
You 10:34 am
The GM wants me to shoot corporate wear on top of a bus.
By the time she got to her office she already had a reply.
Angie 10:36 am
No way! I thought you did that last year?
You 10:36 am
That was cocktail dresses on canoes
I have no idea what I’ll do w the prop, its gonna have to be huge
And the bg
Ugh remind me again why I bother
Angie 10:38 am
Easy English, you’ve got this
If you need help, I have a scenographer from the theater that could help
Hes really good
You 11:39 am
I appreciate it but I reckon ill get in touch with some movie people
Call in a few favors
Or I’ll end up in a junk yard
Angie 10:39 am
“call in a few favors” what r u? a spy??
You 10:40 am
Angie 10:40 am
It would explain ur serious level of badassery
And those “work trips” u keep disappearing for
You 10:42 am
Haha i wish
Id rather be getting shot at than treat with Roger Dooley
maybe ill hit up Tony instead, might be worth the headache hes gonna give me
Angie 10:43 am
As you wish, Agent Carter ;)
Let me know if you change your mind
With a fond smile and an eyeroll Peggy dropped her phone, woke up her computer and got ready to work, she had some emails and light extortion to get to.
“C’mon baby, show me you like it.”
“That’s right, spread all over, show me you are dying for it.”
Flash. Shutter. Nasty comment. Flash. Shutter. Nasty comment. Repeat.
The sequence had been going on for half an hour already and Steve was close to losing it. When he had gotten Maria’s call a couple hours ago for “a quick job, simply have to stand there, look pretty, besides it pays well”, her humorous way of saying “you’re not the focus of the shoot and I really need someone to fill in the position or Fury will have my ass”.
Maria Hill was Avengers Agency’s after-hours operator, which meant she was the one that had to handle all the emergencies, model cancellations and rush hours that weren’t 9 to 5. Given how the fashion industry worked, that meant most of everything.
It was a Friday night, Steve had just gotten home from the theater he was currently hired at for painting the scenography for a play when his phone had rung. The moment he’d seen the caller ID he’d known his plans for a quiet night with takeout and binge-watching the new season of Stranger Things with Bucky were out the window. He had been less than thrilled with the proposition, it was late, the weekend was close, he was tired, but truth was, he needed the money. Rent didn't come cheap in Brooklyn and even though Bucky’s job as a R&D engineer at Stark Industries paid well, Steve wasn’t about to live off of his best friend’s dime. That meant accepting whatever offer he got for extra cash.
Ergo, there he was, Friday 10pm on a studio, dressed in a non-descript shirt and jeans (Maria was right, he wasn’t more than a sentient prop on this shoot), about to punch the photographer’s teeth out.
The photoshoot concept was simple, some party dress line, nothing particularly high brow, he had done a million similar ones in the three years Steve had been modeling. It was actually a small shoot, only the models, a couple stylists, and a few more for production, there wasn’t even an editor in sight. The female model, clad in a sparkly green dress that barely covered her had to drape herself all over him, front facing the camera as if they were dancing, Steve's hands posed lightly on her waist.
She was a brunette, pretty tall for the standard, he only had about a couple inches on her with her not-so-high high heels on. Given the sudden change of plans (apparently the model that was scheduled for this job had suddenly dropped out because he had to go “find himself” in some remote Himalayan monastery, much to Maria’s dismay) he hadn’t even gotten to introduce himself. Instead, he rushed through hair and makeup like a bullet before being tossed his outfit and told to change.
“Bimbo, look down, I don't care about your face, besides it ain’t like you don’t want to take a peek,” Brock Rumlow’s tone was disgusting, lascivious and knowing, coming from behind the camera. His face wasn’t visible due to the lightning but it wasn’t hard to picture the leer that surely accompanied it. If Steve’s hands hadn’t been in the model’s waist, they would have curled into fists long ago. “I know I want to.”
“Give me some eye-contact.”
“Pretty boy, move your hands, this ain’t kindergarten, give me some action.”
His last words didn’t register as Steve finally got a closer look at the model's face, she was a lot younger than he had originally thought, twenty years old, maybe a little more, she looked terrified. Steve hated bullies (Brock was one, without a doubt), and he had absolutely no problem in telling them exactly that to their faces either. However, he also had gotten in enough arguments with Bucky, and the world in general, to know not everything was the way he thought it was, not everyone wanted his help. This woman, though, seemed like she did.
“Hey, I’m Steve, you alright?” They were close enough that he only needed to whisper to be heard.
“Hey, uhm… I’m... Mary Ja... I’m…” The fear was plain on her face, but there was also wariness, one stranger wasn’t necessarily better than the other one just because he wasn’t yelling obscenities at the moment.
“Do you need me to do something?”
She seemed to hesitate for a second, unsure about what “something” entailed, though, before she could answer, Brock seemed to finally realize something wasn’t right.
“Hey! You two! This isn’t a date! Stop chatting and get into it, I don’t have all night.”
Steve ignored him.
“For God’s sake, I have to do everything,” Brock put down the camera and stomped over. “How hard is it for you to understand? I’m telling you to get. Into. It. ” He tried to shove Steve over to take his place but clearly miscalculated the strength he needed for that, Steve didn't budge an inch. He raised a questioning eyebrow at Mary, all it took was a barely whispered word:
Brock was on the floor with a bleeding, possibly broken, nose before he could blink.