Now that I’ve recovered from the consequences of high expectations (last post), I’m returning to the things that make me happy and that’s writing stories and being inspired by beautiful people (beautiful both on the inside and the outside). Thank you so much for your kind message, Dacia. This one’s for you.
The late Anton Yelchin was the muse for this story when I wrote it three years ago.
They said he was only after one thing, and that after he’d get it from me, he’d forget me. And so after it happened, I stayed away, kept to myself, and minded my own business.
But now he was doing his first big show, showcasing the latest fashion by the city’s most successful designers, modeled by the city’s most beautiful people – and I wanted to be there. My brother, Mick, was the official photographer. And after he sent his assistant home because the guy caught chicken pox, I became his unofficial assistant. So I helped Mick lug the heavy equipment from the car to the Magnolia Ballroom, trying hard not to be noticed in my t-shirt and jeans, a baseball cap pulled down to cover my eyes.
After everything was in place, I found a chair at the back of the ballroom and sat down. They were deep in dress rehearsals and everyone was there – the make-up artists, the hairdressers, the assistants and even the assistants’ assistants gathered around the designers and their models, making sure not a hair was out of place, their make-up perfect.
With my brother settled on his platform in front of the stage, my work was done. The next time I’d need to actually do some work would be to help him pack the equipment and stuff all of them in the car till tomorrow when we’d do it all over again for the big show.
And so, armed with a slice of pizza in one hand and bottle of water in the other, I leaned back against the chair and watched the first run of the show.
I had never been one that people called pretty right off the bat. The best they usually could say about me at first glance was you’ve got a great smile. Or you actually have beautiful eyes if one took the time to look.
But with Trevor, it was different. One didn’t need to look hard to see that he was beautiful. He was tall, with dark hair and a gorgeous smile. With his deep blue eyes, all he had to do was blink – simply because humans had to – and women swooned. Men, too.
I met Trevor that semester. He sat behind me in Sociology, and we barely exchanged more than brief hellos. But when everyone had to pair up for a presentation on culture and socialization, he tapped my shoulder and asked me if I wanted to be his partner. For the next month, we buried ourselves in research books and online articles to better understand the subject at hand. Soon, we were lying on the rooftop of my apartment building where I lived with Mick, trying to spot the constellations and telling stories about ourselves.
Then two months later, out on that same rooftop, Trevor kissed me.
It was at the apartment that Trevor was “discovered” by one of Mick’s fashion designer friends. Two weeks later, after we did our presentation in front of the class (we received an A), Trevor officially signed on to become a model for some big-name agency.
That’s when everyone told me that the only reason Trevor had picked me to be his sociology partner was so he’d get a chance to meet my brother – and maybe get discovered. They said that Trevor had never really loved me, even though he said he did. I still had his letter in my pocket, sent after I broke up with him, the stationary worn out from being repeatedly taken out, opened and read.
I love you, he wrote. I think we have something good going, and I really believe we can still keep going – but only if you want to. But if you believe the lies that people are saying, about why I’m with you, then you don’t know me at all. Wasn’t it you who told me to accept the modeling offer?
But how could Trevor love me when he was now surrounded by such beautiful people, I thought, as I watched him saunter onstage. They must have taught him how to walk like a model. They must have drilled it into him how to swagger like a man who knew he had the goods, and that he could deliver them all. I watched him scan the non-existent audience in front of him, his gaze passing over me like I wasn’t there.
He really did forget me, I thought then, my appetite suddenly gone.
I must have sat there for some time, lost in thought, for the next thing I knew, the rehearsal was over and Trevor was sitting next to me. He was no longer wearing one of the designer suits he’d been modeling earlier. Instead, he was wearing the usual white t-shirt and jeans he always wore to school (it drove the girls crazy and he must have known it).
“You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he said, grinning. “Mick said he had a surprise for me and I sure hope he meant you.”
I turned to look for Mick, who must have needed my help in packing everything up, but there was someone there already, helping him load equipment on the cart.
“Mick said I could drive you home,” Trevor added as Mick waved at us. “We need to talk.”
“I look horrible,” I said, feeling self-conscious and realizing that I was still holding the slice of pizza in my hand. “You looked amazing out there.”
He shrugged. “Meh, it’s alright. It’s really not my thing, but I figure, you only live once. I might as well give it a try, right?”
I nodded. “Yeah, you should.”
“You gonna eat that?” He asked, looking at my pizza.
I shook my head and handed it to him. Trevor ate it in four bites, brushing his hands against his jeans when he discovered I didn’t have any napkins.
“I don’t want to be starving all the time,” he said. “And this modeling business makes you hungry, that’s for sure.”
“Only with you around,” he said. “Other than that, it’s actually boring.”
“Oh, stop it, Trev,” I chided. “You’ve got all those beautiful people surrounding you. Why on earth would you choose to spend it here, with plain ol’ me?”
Trevor leaned forward, and I could smell the scent of his cologne. He never used to wear cologne, I thought. But maybe all models wore cologne.
“Because ‘plain ol’ you’ is who I want,” he said, his expression serious. “I meant it when I said that I liked you, that I love -”
“But you could have anyone on that stage -”
“Didn’t you just hear me?” He said. “Stop listening to what everyone says about why I chose you as my partner in Sociology – that I did it so that I could get discovered by some talent agent, or whatever else they say I did it for. That’s baloney.”
“Then why did you choose me?”
“Because you’re beautiful, that’s why,” he said as I rolled my eyes. “I mean, you did help me get an A in Sociology -”
I fake-punched him in the arm, both of us laughing as he continued. “- but I always thought you were cute. Why do you think I sat behind you, one row away?”
Someone was calling him, telling him they were headed to the hotel bar for some drinks and that he should come along. Trevor waved them off and turned back to look at me.
“Why don’t you go with them?” I asked.
“Because I’m with you,” he said, grinning. Then he stood up and offered me his hand. I took it, allowing him to help me up from the chair.
“Where are we going?” I asked as he led me outside to the hallway. We headed for the stairs that led to the side of the building.
“To look at the stars,” he said. “Wanna come?”
Twenty minutes later, Trevor and I were lying on the hotel lawn looking up at the stars. He was holding my hand, and soon, he turned towards me and kissed me.
“Why not?” Trevor said. “You’re beautiful. You’re kind. You’re funny.”
“You’re so hung up on that. There’s more to life than this, you know,” he said, his hand circling his face. “One day I won’t look like this anymore, and what then?”
“Exactly. And what matters is in here,” Trevor gently tapped the middle of my chest. “Well, there are other things, too…but you know what I mean.”
I smiled as I looked at his blue eyes. Suddenly, I realized that I did know what he meant, about what really mattered. And that was what I loved most about Trevor – that he truly was beautiful. Inside – and out.
And when he kissed me again, I realized that he was right.
I was just as beautiful, too.