Sequel: Good Enough
Status: Finished: The sequel is up! Read this, then go read that! (That's how sequels work) <3

Strong Enough

Bittersweet Memories

The sun was streaming through the window when I finally accepted that I wasn’t going back to sleep. I hadn’t slept well, thoughts of Bryden keeping me from relaxing. When I’d finally given up on sleep, it was 8 in the morning and I could hear Mia moving around in the front room. Damn the early bird best friend I’d chosen. Not that I would get much more sleep anyway, we had to be at the shoot by 9:30.

Sauntering out of the room, I grabbed a cup of coffee and plopped onto one of the kitchen chairs. My legs curled under me, I sipped slowly on the hot liquid as Mia hummed softly to herself. She was on a Michael Bublé kick lately. I could never keep up with her musical taste. They changed every time I blinked.

She shuffled through the kitchen making breakfast, eggs I think. I will never understand how she’s this chipper before noon.

A plate of eggs and bacon found its way in front of me and I released the cup of coffee to inhale the food. Half way through the plate, I finally looked up to Mia across from me and smiled thanking her in my own silent way before she headed off to shower.

This was our routine, we fell into it quickly. Mia woke up and made breakfast. While I finished my plate, she would shower. I would shower as she got ready. Then I got ready and we would head out. Because I was expected to be a blank canvas for my make-up artists and such, it didn’t take long for me to get ready. We’d hop into a car and head for the shoot. This morning was no different and we were out of the house by nine.

When we parked in the casino’s parking lot, we made our way quickly inside. Vegas was fucking hot in the summer and we wanted to be out of the sun as soon as possible.

While Mia found her assistants and began setting up, I was rushed into hair and make-up. My hair was brushed and curled and obsessed over, while my face was moisturized and covered. I looked like a Vegas girl; that was definitely true. Turns out, this shoot was all over the casino, so nothing was too extravagant so it would be versatile.

I was pulled into wardrobe and given a sleek black bikini. I met the other models, three more girls and two guys, outside the dressing area and we made our way to the pool.

To be honest, models weren’t my kind of people. Part of why I didn’t’ see myself modeling forever was because I didn’t get along with most of my coworkers. They were snooty and obsessed with their diets. Granted, that’s not true for all models, but the ones I end up working with aren’t worth talking to off set.

We spent time splashing and posing in the pool before being rushed back to wardrobe and redressed in formalwear. Hair and make-up was retouched and we were taken in to the casino to “enjoy” some black jack, or poker, or something. It was like something out of a Bond movie.

When the other models were dismissed, I was taken to do some single shots. I was posed next to a slot machine and drinking at the bar with an attractive bartender and finally sitting at the edge of a fountain. It was a pretty low-key shoot as far as they go. Of course, that didn’t keep it from taking all afternoon. We were given ‘lunch’ at one point, but fruit and water wasn’t exactly what I was craving.

When we were finally wrapped at five, I waited for Mia to finish overseeing the packing of all her equipment. She was particularly paranoid ever since one of the interns dropped one of the $800 lenses two years back.

We were finally free and heading back to the car at six. Still in my extreme model make-up, we ran through a drive-thru and grabbed some burgers before returning home. Sitting around the kitchen table, we ate and joked about the models and the crazy manager from the shoot.

“I’m not kidding.” Mia was having a hard time telling her story through the mouthful of fries and the bouts of laughter. “He seriously asked if I was sure the angle was correct because I couldn’t see your ass. Like the only way to get people in the doors was to show off your backside.”

“Did you hear the blond girl ask if we were going to have a break for her 1:43 yoga? Who fucking schedules yoga that specifically? And why would she think if we weren’t done that she could have an hour break for that shit?”

I sucked down the soda in front of me, finishing off the last of my fries before I started cleaning up.

“Is this really what you want to do for the rest of your life, Mia?” I threw everything in the garbage and leaned on the counter looking at her.

“Photograph stupid models for Vegas casinos? Of course not.”

“What do you want to do?” It wasn’t like I didn’t know she had dreams, but I’d never really asked her specifically.

“I want to do artistic shit. Maybe go fashion? Maybe go nature? I haven’t really decided. I guess wherever life takes me. For now, I’m happy taking pictures of my sexy best friend.”

“Well I am pretty damn good to look at.” I winked at her before moving to the small balcony off the living room. The sun was just setting off to the left and I could see Derrick, our neighbor, working out in his living room. This had been a common place for Mia and I to enjoy the sunshine over the years, but tonight Derrick wasn’t my focus.

Somehow, today had been easier and harder than usual. The job was the same, the lights, the make-up, the constant demands; but it was different too. I felt lighter almost. My shoulders were looser and my movements more fluid, as if I’d handed the weight of the world to someone else. But my heart was heavier. I had no strength left to hope for Bryden, and my broken heart wasn’t even trying to mend itself anymore.

“What’s on your mind JD?” Mia was making her way out next to me.

“You remember the time we made out on this balcony to see if Derrick looked over here like we look over there?”

“Of course I do. He spent the next two weeks stuck to that window.” We laughed, remembering how we would catch him looking through his window at odd times during the day. “But, I don’t think that’s what’s really on your mind. You look like you just watched the world end, what’s going on?”

“It’s like I lost him all over again. But this time, I don’t even have the strength to hate him for it.” Her hand found my shoulder as I watched the sun disappear.

“You know what? Let’s go out. We’ll paint the town, have some beers. It’ll be great. There’s a place I heard about a few weeks ago I’ve been dying to hit.”

“I don’t know, I’m not sure I feel like going out.” She looked like I’d just slapped her.

“Jacquelyn Walker, did you just say you didn’t want to go out? Someone call the President, the world is going to end!” She threw her hands up and looked around as if bombs were going to start falling.

“You crazy hoe. The world isn’t ending.” I pushed her, but smiled nonetheless.

“Come on, you need a night out. It’ll be good for you, I promise.”

“Fine, but drinks are on you.”

“As you wish.” She pushed me back inside and into my room, where she picked out an emerald green dress with one shoulder. The only long sleeve had a cut out from the shoulder to the elbow and there were embellishments around the bust.

She left me to clean my face and reapply a more appropriate amount of make-up before returning in her own tight strapless blue dress. The draped fabric down the front made it look classy, though the amount of cleavage she was showing off wasn’t agreeing with the classy-factor. She looked hot either way.

We strutted out to the car and she drove us back to the strip. I wasn’t totally sure where she was taking me, but if I could get drunk and maybe find a guy to get things off my mind, I didn’t care. I was going to forget. Even if it was just for tonight.
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Ok, there are only 2 chapters left after this one. Let the excited jitters commence! Haha
Much love to onlyme_1999, writing_luvr11, IOwnYouBiatch and BlueEyedAngel2 for the comments and messages. It makes me happy knowing y'all actually enjoy the story.
And thank you to everyone who has read this far! You're awesome!

Oh, and because I want to tell people, I went through a drive thru today for a quick lunch and the guy working it was GORGEOUS! I mean way too attractive to be working fast food! I will not lie that I flirted! And he flirted back. Made me day...possibly my week! haha.
Ok, lot's of love!