The Art of Not Forgiving

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It has been precisely one hour and twenty nine seconds since I sat my butt down on this chair and got painted and marked on. This is my routine almost everyday of the week. As a model, it isn’t easy to keep up with the changing industry and the pretty faces.
Everyone is staring at you.
Everyone is analyzing you.
Everyone is judging you.
   Imagine that. Some people may actually like the attention, but people like me- anxious, unsettling, and shy- can be afraid of everything that comes with being a model. People have asked me why I do it. My answer to that is: timing.
   I was scouted a few years ago, around fourteen maybe. But I wasn’t the happiest child. Like any growing teenager, I was highly insecure. Every time I looked at myself in the mirror, I pointed out all the flaws I could find. So, when the opportunity to prove myself wrong by the world arose, I took it and kept on pursuing it. At first it made me happy, ecstatic even; to discover this whole new world of media and attention. But now, as a seventeen years old girl, I realized I couldn’t have been any more wrong.
   My flaws that only I can see are still here. They haven’t disappeared, but instead hidden. I may be a model, but I’m just a multi-mass mannequin for clothing lines. The experience is fun and rewarding, but it doesn’t make flaws disappear.
   “Deep in thought there, Miss?” An masculine voice invades the thoughts in my head. I look up and meet with the most gorgeous green eyes I have ever laid upon. As cliche as they sounds, it’s true.
   “U-Uh…” I stutter nervously. Not that I can be blamed, he’s gorgeous. “Yes?”
   “Is that a question or a statement?” He asks back. Oh shoot. I mentally slap myself on the forehead. C’mon Adalynn, you have gone through countless of interviews, one you can do is talk to a guy!
   “Statement.” I answer him. He only nods. I haven’t realized before, but the position I’m currently in must be odd to bypassers. Nobody likes to see some random person sob their eyes out on the bench when sun’s down.
   “Hey,” this guy starts again. “You’re wearing couture.”
I look at him in astonishment. How could he tell? It seems as though my reaction is fully displayed on my face, and from the looks of it, he shows satisfaction with his triumphant smile.
   “How’d you know?”
   “I think I’ve seen you somewhere. And besides, your outfit is very… distinct.”
   I look down at my outfit to see what he means, and as a matter of fact he is not wrong. The Elie Saab Valentino dress I’m wearing is rather overwhelming in the streets. Suddenly, I want to cover up. But I didn’t think twice before I ran out of that photo shoot. Remembering what just occurred, a wave of shame overwhelms my whole being. I wonder what’s happening in that room right now. Panic? Maybe.
   “Okay, I know you’re not okay, but would a cup of coffee cheer you up? I’m not asking you out either, I’m just a nice person. Coffee is just the best-”
   “Okay, okay!” I chuckle at his little ramble. “I get it… Stranger.”
   “Oh, name’s Percy.” He stuck out his hand, and I take it. His hand firmly wrap around mine like a businessmen handshake.
   “Percy? As in…” Should I say it?
   “Yes and no. Yes, like the Percy Jackson books, but no, as in  my full name is Percival.” He clarifies for me. He must get this a lot because he answered every question I have prepared for him. I nod in response, and continue looking out into the vast nothing. I should get back and apologize.
   “You know that coffee offer a minute ago? It’s closing in 3… 2…”
   “I don’t want to go with you anyway.” I scoff. That was a lie. Coffee actually sounds divine at the moment. A part of me hopes he’ll ask again, but instead I see a slight internal panic flash in his eyes. I chuckle at his flustered state, and I have to admit, the thought of going back isn’t as entertaining as this.
   “What?” Percy rolls his eyes.
   “Oh nothing… You know what, coffee still stands. I’m going.” I say resolutely. I stand up and stalk towards the way I came in.
   “It’s that way.” Percy stops me in my tracks and turn me around. I stalk past him, embarrassed once again.
   “I knew that.”
   “Do you need a babysitter?” He smirks at me, and I glare at him. Not that it worked.
   “No, thank you. If I’m not mistaken, a girl would think you want to tag along.” I retort.
   “You’re right.” He winks at me. I smile and continue to walk out, but I don’t hear his footsteps behind me.
   “Are you coming or not?” I ask him.
   “Thought you would never ask.” And he’s next to me in a second.
We walk side by side, but it wasn’t awkward. We share and listen about each other’s lives, and in ten minutes I found out that he has two sisters and one brother, a dog named LuLu, and that he is just a year older than me.
   “So, now you tell me. What’s a pretty lady like you crying on a Saturday?”
   I sigh. “I’m a runaway model. I was just so tired of everything. I mean I’m either pretty or I’m hideous. I’m either loved or shamed. It’s all so tiring. People think that being a model means insecurities do not exist for us, but that’s all I see. People do not understand that, and for one second I just want to get away from it all.” I take a deep breath and look at the city we are now in. There are things I have not noticed before despite the fact that I walked on these floors a thousand times.
   “Yeah, I know. I wasn’t just crying because my dress got dipped in dirt.”
   “Might as well. That’s a very beautiful dress.” He gives me a genuinely bright smile. I take it with me as we walk to the inner district of downtown, and the smell of coffee becomes stronger and stronger as we get closer to the shoppe that’s three stores down.
   “Smells awesome, right?” Percy ushers me to a seat near the window. The smell in here is utter divine. Different roasts fill the air, and it just forms a room full of smiles. I nod at him, and the waitress comes to take our orders.
   The waitress blatantly flirts with Percy and tries to get his attention. Now, I’m the person to sit behind and just watch the show eating popcorn. And by the way she’s trying, I say it’s very entertaining. The waitress’s button was doing a tacky job in keeping her boobs behind her clothing, and taking a century to take one guy’s order isn’t the least bit subtle.
   I cough a little bit, hopeful to get her attention. “Excuse me,” She turns. “Hi, I would love a Hazelnut Cinnamon Medium Roast. Thank you.” I cut to the chase. The waitress sneers and roll her eyes at me, while I try to stifle a laugh.
   “You’re a hothead, you know that?” Percy bursts out of laughter.
   “Hmph, I want my coffee. What can I say?” I cross my arms. And as if on cue, the waitress comes back and settle our coffees in front of us. I smile at her but she just quickly swoop away to the other table.
   “You’re a tiger with sharp teeth, you know that?” Percy and I clink our cups and sip on our caffeinated liquid.
   “Well, biting is more fun than barking.” I respond. I chuckle lightly, but Percy is rather silent. I take a look at him, and I notice that his cheeks are lightly shaded with a little red. “What did I say?”
   “N-Nothing.” He stutters. Obviously, I don’t believe him, but I don’t push it. The rest of the evening is rather unexpected, but incredible. His company makes me happier than I have ever been in a long time.
   “Isn’t it weird how fast things can change? We were strangers, and you just literally walked into my life. Now, here we are.” I say in amazement.
   “Do you believe in love at first sight?”
I stare at him wide-eyed, and think it through. Do I believe in love at first sight?
   “I do.” I respond to him. “I believe that there is this little nudge that you feel towards someone, and it could be some sign or something. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but that’s the fun part right?”
   Percy nods in agreement. The more I look at him, the stranger it feels. He’s a gorgeous guy, but there’s something familiar about him.  I have seen those eyes and smiles before.
   “Hey…” I start. “Did you go to Middle Academy here?” The reluctance in my voice is evident. I know, myself, that I’m scared of the answer.
   “O-oh, yeah, I did. Why?”
   This cannot be happening.
   “N-Nothing.” I stutter.
   He cannot know that I was once the girl that he bullied for being “ugly.” But then again, how can the Gorgeous possibly see the Ugly when they don’t know what it is?

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