You swallowed thickly, feeling very uncomfortable as you stared at the building looming in front of you. Your heart was beating wildly in your chest and your hand trembled as you reached to open the car door. You took a deep breath as you stood beside the car. The air was cold and clean, clearing your head. You remembered Catherine’s instructions very clearly.
Walk with confidence.
You shook your head as you started on the way to the back entrance of the building, your hand digging into the pocket of your coat to get the badge that would grand you access to the backstage area. Walk with confidence, my ass, you thought as you held up the badge for the security guard to see. This is insane. What am I doing here?
Keeping a promise. You had been very intent on canceling the fashion walk, but Hilde had insisted that you’d do it.
“Can you imagine?” she had asked you with a smile. “It’s such good promotion.”
You didn’t particularly need it. Your new album had sold platinum already, and the tour tickets were selling like crazy. The first three shows of your tour had already been sold out. You didn’t need to do the fashion walk. But yes, you had promised the charming designer you’d do it. A week ago he had called you to tell you he had a very special dress in mind for you to show. You had been just in time to contain your horror when he had announced you would be showing the wedding dress.
Fucking hell, just what you needed. Prancing around in a wedding dress in front of your ex-boyfriend and ex-lover. You just wished the ground would open up and swallow you. But as you had no such special powers, you were stuck with the ordeal.
Mark’s assistant, a charming blond woman with miles for legs, swept you through the backstage area. She made you sit down in front of one of the make-up tables.
“I want dreamy and romantic,” Sally told the make-up artist, while she mentioned the hair stylist over as well. “Mark said he wants a flower crown in her hair. Loads of curls. No bun.”
“I’ll fix something,” the hair stylist assured her. “I take it Mark will check her over personally?”
“Of course.” Sally smiled. “I’ll be back later for the dressing part.”
She left you alone with the stylists, and you sat patiently as the make-up artist expertly applied colors to your eyelids, cheeks and lips. Afterwards the hair stylist went to work. You used the time to respond to some emails that Hilde had sent you about interviews with magazines and an appearance on a talk show.
You grumbled to yourself as you typed in your reply. No questions about my private life.
You were kind of sick getting asked the same questions over and over again. No, you weren’t seeing Heero Yuy, no, you didn’t give a damn about him appearing in public with Dorothy Catalonia on his arm, or him flirting with Relena Peacecraft, who had just recently had announced her divorce from Quatre Winner.
Ugh… it was a fucking mess.
When Sally came to check on you, she smiled widely. “Stunning! Come on, let’s see what Mark has to say.”
You got up and followed her through the backstage area, which was bustling with models. There were people everywhere, voices everywhere. People were laughing, talking nervously or excitedly. Stylists were running about, directing everyone to their right place.
In the middle of it all stood Mark, calmly directing his assistants. He beamed at you when you approached him.
“-Y/N-, what a picture you make.” He took your hand and kissed the back of it. “Do a turn for me, Darling. I want to see your hair.”
You did as he asked and smiled at him when he made a happy noise. “Alright?”
“More then,” he said. “Let’s get you into the dress. We’ll see if you hairdo needs adjusting.”
“I’ll help you,” Sally said while latching onto your arm.
She ushered you over to the dressing area, where you dutifully stripped out of the robe you had been given. You bit your lip as you were helped into the dress, the whimsical fabric cascading to the floor dreamily. You were almost afraid to touch it and stood awkwardly as Sally laced up the dress.
“Oh, it’s perfect on you,” she said with a grin. “You’ll make a stunning picture.”
“If I remember how to walk correctly,” you said.
“I’ve seen you move about on stage, so I foresee no problems in that area.” Sally grinned at you. “Let’s get you back to Mark.”
You followed her back to the designer and felt your stomach drop when you saw that he was busy fussing over Heero’s outfit for the fashion show. Fuck. You stopped dead in your tracks and fought the urge to bolt. You weren’t going to run. You had pride, damn it. But the hurt nearly made you double over. And it got even worse when Heero turned around. He stopped too, frozen, his eyes widening as he took in your appearance.
For one heart stopping moment, the room around you, the noise, faded away and it was just the two of you. You felt torn, wanting to run into his arms, but knowing it was the best if you kept your distance. For your own good. Heero’s eyes narrowed into a glare and he was quick to stalk off.
“Exactly the vision I had in mind.” Mark took your hands in his, unaware of your distress, and grinned at you. “You will walk the final round.”
That would give you ample time to sneak a peek at how the other walked. Sally was helpful enough, taking you to the stage to show you where to stop and pose. You felt the nerves fade and relaxed. This was something you were good at. You could walk and pose. You knew how to do it. You had just never done it in a wedding gown.
You went back to the back stage area when it was announced that the doors would open for the audience soon. You found a spot far away from Heero and sighed when you saw Zechs being fawned over by a few novice models. Of course… Zechs’s contract with the company might have ended, but he was still a wanted model for the runway shows. It was just your luck he had been booked for this show too.
“Now, there’s a view.”
You turned towards the sound of the familiar voice and came face to face with Trowa Barton. You hadn’t forgotten about your last encounter with him, back in October, but for now he provided a distraction you gladly accepted.
“Trowa,” you greeted him. “It’s good to see you.”
He came to stand next to you and gave you a smirk. “Couldn’t wheedle out of this, huh?”
You blanched. “You heard?”
“Catherine told me. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.” His tone was light and teasing, tinted with humor.
You breathed a sigh of relief. Mark was a sweetheart and you knew his heart would break if he heard you had been planning to drop out.
“It’s almost show time.” Trowa’s gaze drifted around the room. “Why is Merquise giving me the evil eye?”
“Because you’re talking to me,” you said with a grin.
“Oh. Well.” You tried to look anywhere, but at Trowa.
“So the rumors are true then…” Trowa mused quietly.
You shrugged. “I was done playing.”
“I see. Should I be heartbroken that you didn’t call me?”
You gave him a playful shove. “I was pissed off at you for that stunt. And of course I’m not going to call you. I adore your sister too much for that.”
A rare smile crossed the tall man’s face at the mentioning of his sister. “I see.”
“I tend to steer clear of models.”
Trowa chuckled. “Too bad you’re not really good at that.”
You huffed. “Now, what the hell is that supposed to mean?”
He chuckled and walked off. “You are a smart girl, -Y/N-. You can figure it out yourself.”
You stood fuming and crossed your arms in front of your chest. What the hell…
You waited patiently as one by one, the models went and took their turn on the run way. You watched as they went on and came back, breaking out in smiles and laughter when they returned. When Heero came back it was hard to look away from him. The intensity in his eyes drew you right in. You tore your gaze away and took a deep breath to center yourself.
You still had to do your turn on the catwalk. You couldn’t use a distraction. Sally mentioned you over and you went to stand beside her as the line of models thinned bit by bit. Zechs brushed passed you when he returned from his walk, and you swallowed uneasily as he rested his hand on your shoulder for a moment. The nerves exploded in your stomach and made you nauseous. You closed your eyes and breathed in deeply.
You sighed at the sound of Trowa’s voice. “I will be.”
“Relax,” he said easily. “You know how to do this.”
You nodded. “Tip my pelvis forward and put sway to my hips.”
“That’s it.” He took your hand and guided you forward to the runway entrance. “Good luck.”
His unexpected kindness put you at ease. You took another deep breath and waited for the signal from the director. It came and you moved forward. Catherine’s instructions came back at you and you felt as if you floated down the runway, stopping at the right intervals for posing. Camera’s flashed eagerly, capturing image after image as you strode to the end of the runway, struck another pose and then turned around to make your way back.
You didn’t smile when you came backstage. You still had to walk alongside Mark on that final round. He offered you his arm as the other models did a quick turn around the catwalk together. When the final one went backstage again, Mark guided you out. Your final round was met with applause. You felt a small smile tug at your lips and you allowed it to form.
Mark showed you off to the press and audience as if you were a prized jewel, then grandly kissed the back of your hand and sent you off again. This time, you did smile when you entered the backstage area.
The chaos that greeted you nearly made your eyes pop. There were people everywhere, toasting to a good show, laughing and flirting. Sally came at you and took your arm.
“Let’s get you out of that dress,” she said.
You changed back into your own clothes and sighed blissfully as you zipped up the elegant black jumpsuit you had worn earlier. You stepped out of the dressing room and accepted the flute of champagne that Sally offered you.
“I’ll have to go and see if Mark needs me. See you later!”
“Thanks, Sally!” you called after her.
She waved at you and disappeared into the chaos. You shook your head and wandered around for a while, enjoying the atmosphere. It was so different from what you were used to. There were some people that complimented you, but most of them kept to themselves. And that was fine with you.
Now that you were done, you felt your mood sink. It didn’t help that Heero kept glaring at you from his place on sofa, or that Zechs was… Fuck, he was coming over.
You tried to dodge him, but he smoothly blocked your path. “What do you want, Zechs?”
He gave you an easy smile. “It’s good to see you again.”
You narrowed your eyes at him. “Is it?”
Your distress grew with each passing second. Ever since your and Heero’s falling out, you hadn’t been as strong and Zechs’ presence was getting to you. You had to get away from him quickly, but it looked as if he wasn’t willing to let you walk off so quickly.
“I was quite surprised to see you here,” he said. “How did you land the modeling job?”
“I was invited.” You bit out. “Not that it’s any of your business.”
Zechs’ gaze drifted towards Heero for a moment, whom had gotten up from the sofa and was talking with a group of models not too far from you.
“I would love to have dinner with you next week.”
You shook your head and prepared the move passed him. “The hell we’re not.”
“-Y/N-.” His tone changed. Hardened.
He reached for you and tried to grab your arm. The bubble of panic exploded and memories flooded you. You whirled away from him, glad to have the room to your back instead of the wall. Your instinct told you to keep moving.
“Get the hell away from me, Zechs.”
His eyes darkened.
“Why can’t we just talk?” he asked and reached for you.
The memory just consumed you. In an instant you saw his hand coming at you. Not to grab your hand, but with the intent to hurt. You flinched and stumbled back.
“DON’T TOUCH ME!”
Several heads turned in your direction as you lost your footing and fell to the ground, your breathing erratic with panic. Tears blurred your vision and for a moment you were lost. You couldn’t remember if you were in the present or reliving that memory.
“Don’t you ever dare touching me again, Zechs,” you managed to choke out.
He looked genuinely shocked at you words, but he had looked genuinely shocked and guilty at his own behavior in the past. And the cycle had repeated itself again afterwards. You wildly shook your head and sobbed, rocking from side to side as if that would make the terrible memories go away.
You barely registered Trowa’s voice. You were too lost to remember where you were, too lost to care about the attention you were getting, too lost to realize that Heero had witnessed the entire exchange.
Trowa carefully draped his coat over your shoulders and lifted you up. “I’ll get you out of here.”
You hid your face against his shoulder as he carried you outside, away from prying eyes and curious stares, away from the whispers and the gossip that spread like wild fire. Away from the man that had hurt you so badly.
It was in the back of the cab that you surfaced abruptly. “Oh God.”
Trowa grabbed your shoulders to steady you and gave you a reassuring look. “It’s okay.”
“I…” You shook your head and wiped at your cheeks. “Fuck…”
“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to,” he said.
You swallowed thickly. “I didn’t mean to panic.”
“It’s okay,” he said again. “You don’t have to apologize to me.”
Tears rolled down your cheeks and you angrily wiped them away. “I made you miss the after party.”
He shrugged. “It’s fine. Sally made sure all our stuff was in the cab. I’ll take you to the hotel and stay with you until you’re alright.”
“You don’t have to.”
“You’re my sister’s friend,” he said, while placing his fingers under your chin and tipping your head up so you had to look at him. “So I’ll look after you.”
You sat staring at him for a while, not knowing what to think. Was he being kind out of concern or did he want something else from you? Your trust in men had been so damaged you pretty much read something in anything they said when you were in such a weak state.
But at the moment he was the only one you could rely on. You had to trust him.
“Thank you,” you whispered.
“Don’t mention it.” He gave you a hint of a smile and offered you a tissue.
He was the only one you could rely on. But you stubborn heart didn’t want Trowa to take care of you. You wished for someone else entirely. Someone who had taken care of you before. You wanted Heero…
Tell me what you think! :)
The 'tip your pelvis forward' thing was a tip I remember from a long time ago when an ex model said on TV it helped you walk in high heels with ease. It actually works and enables you to put a lot more sway to your hips, while keeping your balance at the same time. Nothing more unladylike than stumbling in high heels. XD