Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ashley And The Green Sweater (Part One)

It was a scene that only could have existed in the high fashion world.

Three nearly naked supermodels were helping each other adjust their diaphanous lingerie and the two men present weren’t even looking at them. Jason, the photographer, was fussing with his camera, trying to seat a new lens properly. Nate, the illustrator, was setting up his drawing horse, which was a kind of wooden bench with an easel built-in one end and drawers in the seat to hold his art supplies.

The sun wasn’t up yet. A breeze off Loch Ness was cool and the water contributed that deep, peat smell that gave the air a solid feel to it, almost like the aroma of a full glass of strange, fine wine held directly under the nose and swirled. In the middle of the loch, seagulls had located a school of fish. The gulls were cawing and splashing as they dropped down to pluck their breakfast from the dark water. The grass where the five people worked was damp with morning dew, but not unpleasantly wet.

The supermodels had tended to their hair and makeup in the van parked alongside the road. They finished final adjustments to their lingerie, and then looked to Jason and Nate.

“Look,” Shelby said. “Again it’s the girls waiting for the boys. And we’re the ones standing out here in the cold morning air with no clothes on. Even when we don’t have a crew and we have to do our own hair and makeup we’re still stuck waiting. Are you two ever going to be ready?”

“We’re ready, we’re ready,” Jason said, still not looking up from his camera.

“I’ve been ready for hours,” Nate said, still tightening a knob on the side of his drawing horse.

Jason finally looked up. “Okay,” he said. “I need two of you with me. One of you goes with Nate. You girls can decide who goes where.”

“Can I wear my green sweater with you?” Ashley asked Jason.

Shelby and Jayjay made faces at each other.

“No ratty green sweater that you found in the trash is going to get photographed by my camera,” Jason said.

“I didn’t find it in the trash,” Ashley said, pouting. “You know very well I found it blowing in that field. And I washed it. I laundered it twice. And it’s not ratty. It’s beautiful.”

“Girl, you can wash that thing in acid and I still wouldn’t wear it,” Jayjay said.

“I think it’s cute,” Ashley said. “It is chic. Nate, will you draw me in my green sweater?”

“Green grass,” Nate said. “Green field in the background. Your green eyes. Yeah, I think I can make a nice picture out of that. But you’ve got to arrange the sweater so that I can still see your panties and as much of your bra as possible. The straps, at least. And maybe the side of the cup through the sweater’s arm hole. The lingerie people are paying for this little outing.”

Ashley ran over to their pile of supplies on a blanket behind Jason and located a carefully folded green sweater. She pulled it over her head, and then ran to Nate, threw her arms around him and kissed him. “You are a wonderful artist,” she said. “This green sweater will make your best picture ever.”

“Yes, yes, sure” Nate said. “So long as you can stay still and stop talking while you’re wearing it, I will love your green sweater.”

Jason and Nate had set up their locations about ten yards apart. They were close enough to use each other in the background, if they wanted to, but far enough apart so that by looking left or right they could have a clear view of Loch Ness and, across the water, the ruins of Urquhart Castle as a backdrop.

As the morning session got under way, Jason began talking constantly, prompting Shelby and Jayjay to change expression slightly or shift position slightly, to look this way or that. Nate had talked Ashley through arranging her green sweater precisely so that her panties were visible below and her bra’s strap and one cup were visible in the neck and arm holes.

“Got to keep the underwear people happy,” Nate said.

Shelby and Jayjay worked silently, responding to Jason’s directions and the click of his camera’s shutter. Ashley took her pose and stared silently as Nate raised a pencil and began searching out contour lines in a workable composition.

“Something just occurred to me,” Ashley said.

“Ashley, when you talk,” Nate said, “your lips move. You’re posing. Don’t talk. Don’t move.”

“No, really,” Ashley said. “Something just occurred to me.”

By Jason, Shelby looked over at Ashley. Shelby’s eyes were wide, watching Ashley break pose and talk during a session.

“Ashley,” Nate said, “you’re talking and moving. Break’s in twenty minutes. Let things occur to you during the break, not during the session.”

Ashley giggled. “Too late,” she said. “It’s already happened. I want to say something.”

Now Jayjay was watching, also. Jason took the distraction in stride. He ignored Ashley, and simply shifted position slightly to get a better view of Shelby and Jayjay with their profiles set against the dark waters of the loch.

“Tell you what,” Nate said. “You silently rehearse what you want to say for the next twenty minutes. Then, at break, we’ll all listen very carefully.” Nate continued sketching, continued searching for acceptable edges and boundaries.

Ashley giggled again. “No. This can’t wait. It won’t wait. I won’t wait.”

Nate’s hand stopped moving. The pencil tip wavered a fraction of an inch above the paper.

“I want to tell a joke,” Ashley said.

(Ashley And The Green Sweater continues tomorrow)

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