With Thea gone, I expected the shit to hit the fan any day. All that happened, though, was that a small amount of the soymilk vanished.
A small enough amount that I grinned a bit. Got him. So, I started to get, bluntly, complacent.
You know, if nothing happens for long enough, you start thinking nothing’s going to happen. So, I settled into a normal life. Kind of boring, but it was what it was. Gave me chance to get my grades up and start calling model agencies.
I got two auditions almost straight away. Prue helped me, and I knew I looked fantastic by the time she had finished with me. Fantastic and all but unrecognizable. Which suited me fine. If I couldn’t recognize myself, my enemies couldn’t either.
And even the fairy seemed to have been put off by that vile soy lite stuff. (I poured the rest of it down the drain, figuring it would never fall for the same trick twice).
Yes, within a couple of weeks I wanted my enemies or something to show up again. During the third week I was outright bored.
I’d taken the night off work to audition with the modeling agency, and I checked my face before heading there.
“Ms…is that really your name?”
“It’s a long story.”
“You should change it. Or maybe not.” The agency man studied me. He reminded me a bit of Mr. Otter. The same scrutiny that was carefully, guardedly not sexual. “Most models use stage names anyway. Especially if you want to move into acting. You need one that isn’t already in the SAG.”
“Actor’s names are like trademarks. You can’t use somebody else’s. Think about it now, before you need it.”
Then he started to take some photos.
A lot of photos. I was stiff by the end of it from holding different poses. None of them were too suggestive, though, so I figured I was okay and not about to end up on a casting couch. Which I was sure happened in modeling.
Which was, of course, the point at which Mr. Otter showed up. I could almost feel him waiting outside.
“Okay. Good. You’ve got a lot of body control…martial arts?”
“Not formally. Lots of self defense and the like, though.”
“Yeah. Growing up without money in a big city will do that.”
I was mentally holding my breath. He was outside and I didn’t trust him not to come in and cause trouble.
“Well. We’ll get back to you. Think about the name.”
“I will,” I promised, stepping outside.
“Nice war paint.”
I tilted my head to one side. “Hello. Thanks for not coming in and interrupting.”
“Who am I to interfere if you want to sell your beauty?”
I hadn’t thought of it like that. “At least I’m not…”
“And you won’t.” It didn’t sound like an order.
It sounded like he knew me better than I knew myself.