Chapter one | A beginning for myself

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“Nathan!” I jumped at the sound of my name and turned to see Johnny waving hectically at me with rounded eyes, “Get moving, we’re leaving in a couple of minutes. The photo shoot starts at two and then we have that performance after, so don’t forget your in-ears!” he shouted as he pulled open the metallic silver fridge while simultaneously grabbing his phone.

I sighed then pulled myself up from the comfortable sofa, exhausted and tired as Johnny’s excited voice attracted my attention, “Hey, hey, yeah the shoot finishes at three thirty so I guess I’ll pick you up at four then I can spend the night at your place?” I rolled my eyes and pushed passed him for my own bottle of water.

“Yes, I just indirectly invited myself to your place for the night.” A smirk lined his face as he leaned against the marble tabletop.

I tiredly unscrewed the cap and chugged down half the bottle of water. Staring into my reflection on the marble, I could conclude that I pretty much looked like shit.

The latest gossip magazine lay across on the other side of the bench, our faces on the front. I stared into my own features, which had been touched up no doubt.

Blair Evans, Johnny Bloom, Nathan Kuszer and Jasper Collins; Central Perks top the charts for the fourth week in a row. How do they do it?

“We ready to go?” Blair’s voice echoed down the hall as I tore my eyes away from the cover to see Blair slip on a sweater that Marley had bought for him.

Lucky whipped bastard

“Yeah, yeah, give me a sec, I gotta change.” I muttered and gestured to my thin shirt and boxers that I hadn’t bothered to change out of since this morning.

“You all right, mate?” he asked and I shrugged.

“Just tired.” I muttered and ran a hand through my sandy hair, my eyes momentarily closed.

The drive to the Look building was a short one, considering that it wasn’t too far from the apartment. I wasn’t much in the mood for a photo shoot, but I'd rather do something 'productive' than stay cooped up at home. Johnny and Blair were glued to their phones, as per usual. Jasper was humming to himself, taking in his surroundings, and I was pathetically staring down into my hands.

It passed in a blur, the usual welcomes, the blushing make-up artists, the pushy photographer, the clothes and shoes I was manoeuvred into and the flirty hair stylists that I was passed through. Jasper seemed to be enjoying himself, flirting with all of them while Johnny and Blair chatted about their relationships with their girlfriends. Marley and Jane had literally brightened up their worlds ten-fold, and I couldn’t help but feel that tug of jealousy. I’d admit that I was alone, so terribly and pathetically alone with no one to confide in or escape with.

“Nathan, could you look up, please?” he asked and I snapped back to attention.

“Sorry.” I muttered, feeling awkward in the suit some designer had made.

“Beautiful.” the photographer announced and snapped a couple of photos, the flash blinding me momentarily as I smiled artificially into the camera.

The shoot went for another fifteen minutes as we all tried different poses and laughed into the camera. Jasper was the most natural, laughing musically each time and Johnny and Blair were messing about. They all noticed the change in personality and attitude I had acquired over the past couple of days but had thought nothing about it, they knew it was because I was feeling lonely but it wasn’t something I could necessary fix. Blair and Johnny were lucky; any girl I had run into would look at me once, figure out who I was, then maul me.

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