Word Count :
R Genre :
High School AUBeta :
</a></b></a>sylargrrrl Disclaimer :
I don not own the characters of Mohinder Suresh and Gabriel GraySummary so far :
Gabriel has agreed to model for Mohinder Suresh, the fashion student he met whilst buying clothes at Crease.
“Show me show me show me show me show me..” Naz was bouncing on her bed like a toddler, impatient to see what the ‘new’ Gabriel looked like. His hair was different, and he seemed bigger somehow, but in his demeanour he was the same old Gabriel. He’d been a little flushed when he arrived at Naz’s because he’d sworn some girls were eyeing him up on the train back from the mall that morning. Naz had just rolled her eyes and forced him into her bathroom to put on his new clothes, but it was taking way too long. “Come on, Gabriel. I wanna see!”
The door opened a crack and Naz steeled herself against laughing. She didn’t want to upset Gabriel if he looked stupid, but all concerns of that nature dissipated when Gabriel stepped out of the bathroom a little self-consciously, with his hand still gripped tightly on the door handle.
Naz did laugh, but it was a laugh of delight and disbelief and Gabriel soon joined her in giggling. “Oh my GOD! You look amazing!”
“Really? I don’t look ridiculous?”
“You look…” Naz shifted uncomfortably. “Well, you look hot!”
Gabriel was finding it hard to keep the smile off his face. “Do you think Mohinder thought I was hot? He was looking at me, I mean really looking and he said I was handsome, and gorgeous!”
Naz settled back on the bed. She loved seeing Gabriel like this, and it had been too, too long. “So, the hot guy measures you round the stomach, makes you get undressed, plays with your hair, tells you you’re gorgeous and asks you to model for him, and you still don’t know if he thinks you’re hot? Good God G, if you’re not careful you will die a virgin.”
He playfully nudged her over as he sat on the bed. “What if he was just saying that to get me to spend money and help him with his project? What if after the photos are done I never see him again?”
Naz threw her arm around his shoulder and ruffled his newly-waxed hair. “If he just wanted you to spend money then why did he give you his staff discount? And why would he want you to model his clothes if he thought you were ugly?”
“I guess. Oh my God, he’s so gorgeous. I’ve never even seen anyone that good looking close-up before.” Gabriel sat back, cuddling one of Naz’s fluffy pink pillows as she shuffled onto her stomach and rested her head in her hands.
“Tell me about him again. Describe him. Start at the top and work down.”
Gabriel sighed, still with a huge grin on his face. “He has these gorgeous, black, shiny curls. And his skin is such a beautiful colour, like tea, and it’s perfect, his skin is so perfect. Oh, he has these really dark eyes and long lashes, you find yourself staring into them to try and see what colour they are, but they’re almost too dark to see. He’s just, like, oh my God, he’s so pretty. I mean he has these cheekbones and oh, man you just have to see him Naz, I can’t even do him justice.”
She smiled. “You’re incoherent G, after five years you’ve finally hit teen speak.”
Laughing he jumped up from the bed. “I’m going to take these clothes off so nothing happens to them. God knows I can’t afford to replace them.”
As he headed into the bathroom Naz couldn’t resist taking a peek into the shopping bag. She pulled out a pack of three pairs of black boxer briefs and raised her eyebrows.
“I know you’re looking in the bag and it’s not what you think.” He yelled from the echoey bathroom.
“I think you’re afraid you’ll have to get undressed in front of him tomorrow and you don’t want to wear those stripey things which I told you to burn.”
Gabriel came back into the room. “Okay, it is kind of what you think.” He folded his new clothes up and gently placed them in the bag. “They’d better make my ass look good, they were stupid expensive.”
“So this party next week, Mohinder might be there you know.”
Gabriel blinked, he had forgotten all about the party. “You think?”
“Well he’s friends with Wes’s sister right? And I bet she’ll be there.”
“Oh God, oh God no.” Gabriel sank back onto the bed with his head in his hands. “He’s going to talk to people from school, and realise what a complete loser I am!”
“Hey!” Naz gave him a punch on the arm just hard enough to show she meant it. “You’re not a loser, and if he’s as great as you say he is then he’s not going to listen to the opinions of a bunch of high school morons, he’s going to make up his own mind about you.”
“No! No guessing! Just facts!” Naz picked up a plastic fairy wand from her dresser and tapped his head with it. “Repeat after Naz. I am Gabriel. I am awesome.”
He sighed. “I am Gabriel. I am awesome.”
“I am hot and sexy.”
“I’m not saying…ow!” He rubbed his head as she smacked the wand down harder. “Ok, ok, I am hot and sexy.”
“A hot Indian guy is totally going to ride me like a…”
“Stop it!” He laughed, wrestling the wand out of her hand. “Your Mom is going to be so excited that one of us is seeing an Indian college student.”
Naz snuggled up to him as she searched the nightstand for remote controls. “We’re from Bangladesh you moron. Now, My So-Called Life. Hushy.”
As the VHS whirred into life Gabriel gave Naz a squeeze and rested his head on hers. He wished she could be there tomorrow but had a strange feeling that Mohinder would be disappointed if he showed up with a girl. The butterflies in his stomach were still for the moment, but he could feel them stirring every time he thought about the photo shoot.
Gabriel paced outside the warehouse, wondering if he should go in. The place was deserted and the wind was whipping around inside his brown duffel coat which he had reluctantly worn. He was about to duck inside when he felt hands flatten onto his back.
“Hi. Sorry to have kept you waiting. Love your coat by the way.”
Gabriel smiled, falling for Mohinder all over again. He was wrapped up in a light gray wool coat and had a black scarf wrapped around him, framing his face. His alice band was gone and long curls hung over his forehead, just asking to be brushed back. Gabriel looked at the floor, hoping he wasn’t blushing. “Thankyou, I didn’t know whether to go inside or…”
“I have a key, I don’t think Mischa is here yet.”
Gabriel’s stomach flipped a little. “Mischa?”
“He’s the photographer. Don’t worry, he’s really great, and I’ll be there all the way through, you won’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with. Will you help me get the clothes inside?”
Gabriel nodded and followed Mohinder to his car where he was loaded up with black garment bags. When Mohinder opened up the warehouse unit Gabriel hung up the bags on a clothes rack, glancing round at the white background sheets and the imposing lights which seemed to be taunting him as they pointed to the middle of the floor.
Mohinder saw the anxiety in Gabriel’s face and took his hand, leading him in front of the background. “All you have to do is stay here, Mischa and I will tell you how to stand. The only people who will see the photos are me, Mischa and my college tutor. Honestly, you’ll be wonderful, your face and your physicality will do all the work.”
Gabriel looked at the lights again, and back to Mohinder. “Okay. I can do it.”
As if on cue, the door opened and a short, skinny man in shades walked in, laden with padded bags of varying sizes, his blonde hair flopping from side to side as he walked. “Sorry I’m late Suresh, I had to borrow a reflector. Is this him?” He dumped the bags on the floor and strode towards Gabriel, looking at him as if he were a waxwork. “A little tall isn’t he?”
“This is Gabriel.” Mohinder stressed, giving a warning look to Mischa. “And he’s 6’2”, he’s perfect.”
Mischa gave a begrudging fake smile and put out a hand to Gabriel, who shook it. “Nice to meet you, okay, get changed while I set up.” He bent over his bags as Mohinder led Gabriel over to the clothes rack.
“This is the first outfit, get into it and then I’ll come and adjust it, okay? The note on the front will tell you which shoes to wear, they’re numbered.” Mohinder handed him the garment bag and started to drag a wheeled suitcase towards a small corner room. Gabriel followed obediently, slightly nervous about what would be in the bag.
A few minutes later Gabriel emerged, wearing a pale blue two piece suit with a white and pink floral shirt with a pink plaid collar. The other two men had been talking but on seeing Gabriel Mischa fell silent and Mohinder turned around to see what could possibly achieve such a thing. Gabriel had never seen that look before and started to worry. “Is something wrong?” he said self-consciously pulling his sleeves down.
“No. No, you look…wonderful.” Mohinder tried to stop making puppy dog eyes at him but the contrast between Gabriel’s dark, strong features and the pale, almost feminine look of the ensemble made him unable to pull his gaze away. “Come in front of the lights, let me see if anything needs adjusting.”
Gabriel took a deep breath and stood under the relentless heat of the studio lights. He couldn’t see either Mischa or Mohinder in the tungsten glare and tried not to squint as the white sheets reflected the light directly onto his face. From out of the darkness stepped Mohinder, white shirt sleeves rolled up and black curls still bouncing around his shining face. “Can you stand straight for me Gabriel?” He smoothed out the shoulders of the jacket and pulled down the collar, making sure it met evenly at the buttons. He ran his hands down Gabriel’s sides, paying attention to where his waist was and tucking his fingertips under the trouser band. “Turn around for me please?” he said with a business like tone as Gabriel shuffled round. Gabriel felt the same ministrations on his shoulders and on the small of his back before Mohinder patted him gently on the arm. “You can turn around again now, I don’t need to adjust anything. It’s quite remarkable, your proportions and your body shape are textbook, it’s like the pattern was cut just for you.” Their eyes met as Gabriel smiled gently and Mohinder showed reluctance to let go of his collar.
“Okay, break it up, let’s get these shots done.” Mischa shrilled from somewhere in the black. Mohinder rolled his eyes, smiling as he backed off the set. Suddenly alone Gabriel felt under uncomfortable scrutiny. “Look straight ahead, slouch a little, you’re too stiff. Hands by your side. Right leg forward a little. Keep your head still.”
In between orders the camera was flashing and Gabriel was getting used to the lights. He hadn’t worn his glasses and his vision was a little blurry but he just kept doing what he was told. Suddenly Mischa lowered the camera. “Okay, that was fine. Stay there.” Gabriel squinted as Mischa and Mohinder spoke in hushed tones. Mohinder stepped forward, carrying a set of wooden steps which were also painted white. He placed them in the middle of the set and stepped back. “Can you sit on the top step for me Gabriel, and put your left foot on the first step and your right foot on the floor.”
Gabriel did so, letting Mohinder move him slightly. He caught the scent of his cologne and shivered a little as their eyes met again. “You’re doing great Gabriel, we’ll be done before you know it.” Mohinder left his hand on Gabriel’s shoulder for just a little too long before retreating once again.
“Okay Gabriel, now I want some sex.” Mischa bellowed out from behind the camera.
Mischa laughed at the panicked look in his eyes. “I want those gorgeous come to bed eyes Mohinder assures me you have. Come on honey.”
Gabriel shook his head in disbelief. “I…I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean.” He looked for Mohinder but couldn’t see him behind the camera.
“Just tilt your head down, and turn your eyes up to me.”
Gabriel did so, wondering in what universe this would mean ‘come to bed’. Mischa continued to bark instructions as Gabriel just complied, hoping he didn’t look too stupid.
“Okay, tilt your head to your right and part your lips for me. Now let’s have your head right back, keeps those lips parted. Nice. Put your hand over your heart. I know it sounds stupid but do it. Lovely.”
Gabriel couldn’t see how this was showing off the clothes but he noticed that Mohinder was back, and that he was smiling. He grinned back and Mischa went into overdrive.
“Hey where’d that gorgeous smile come from? More of that please, nice.”
They were all laughing now and Mohinder still wouldn’t take his eyes off Gabriel. Eventually Mischa stopped snapping. “Okay, next outfit.”
The next two hours were a circuit of new outfits, bedroom eyes, steps, turns, crouches and tweaks as they worked steadily through Mohinder’s collection. Every time there was a new set of clothes Mohinder was there, straightening the fabrics, stroking out the wrinkles and looking at Gabriel as if he was carved from marble. He constantly re-assured him, complimented him, flashed him that smile and putting a hand on Mischa’s shoulder when the instructions were edging towards the risqué.
When Gabriel was given the last outfit of the day, he thought there had been a mistake. He held up the gray felt jacket which was more like a poncho with an expansive hood and a gaping front with just a single button at the waist. “Mohinder?” he called from the changing room. “There’s no shirt with this outfit, it’s just the pants and the jacket. He heard Mischa stifle a laugh as Mohinder darted over and stepped into the room with him.
“There’s not supposed to be a shirt with this one. It just…hangs like that.” Mohinder bit his lip. This was the piece he was most proud of, he wanted Gabriel to wear the hell out of it and make it look fantastic on the photos.
Gabriel swallowed. “So, I er, I just…Just this?” The garment looked so flimsy at second glance, like it was ready to fall straight off.
Mohinder widened his eyes. “It’s not a piece that would come off the peg, it’s an idea, an extreme version of the key collection pieces…it’s…” He realised that the fashion speak was lost on Gabriel, and looked at his face, which was half confusion and half terror. “I know it’s a bit revealing, but would you wear it, for me?”
Smiling softly, Gabriel looked at the floor. “Of course I will.” He could have just asked him to jump off the roof and the answer would still be the same. After all, no-one he knew was going to see these pictures, what difference would it make?
Mohinder wanted to take him in his arms, reassure him and run his fingers through that beautifully soft hair. He wanted to tell him how breathtaking he was. In the end, he settled for squeezing his arm. “Thank you. Take your time, whenever you’re ready.”
As Mohinder closed the door behind him Gabriel gave a deep sigh. He unbuttoned his shirt and shrugged it off, taking care to put it back inside the garment bag. He held up the jacket again, trying to work out how you put it on. He undid the single button and threaded his arms through what he assumed were sleeves, fastening the button and shuddering as he felt the fabric weighing heavy on his bare chest. Looking in the mirror he let his shoulders drop. He felt skinny and pale. The smattering of dark hair which rose in a ’v’ shape from his sternum was something he tried to cover up, likewise the inch wide trail from his naval down to his crotch. He pulled the jacket tighter but in was cut in such a way that it was always going to gape.
Gabriel closed his eyes and called up the image which he wanted to remember for the rest of his days, of Mohinder staring into his eyes and holding onto his lapels for dear life. He could do it for him. He would do anything for him. He strode out of the room as if there hadn’t been a moment’s hesitation.
He stepped onto the set and waited. As Mohinder walked towards him Gabriel noticed that his eyes were fixed on his chest. He got ready to apologise but heard Mischa chip in. “Thank God there’s some hair on your chest, I was worried we were going to have the Suresh collection as modelled by a Ken doll. Perfect. Let’s see you.”
“Hang on, I need to arrange this.” Mohinder held the garment at the collar and shuffled it a little, brushing Gabriel’s clavicle with the backs of his fingers and making him twitch. He raked his fingers through Gabriel’s hair, bringing it forward and giving the illusion of length. When Mohinder’s fingertips brushed the back of his neck the breath hitched in Gabriel’s throat and he thought he might moan. The anticipation of Mohinder’s touch was driving him crazy, all the attention, the feeling that Mischa was watching all of this and knew exactly what was going on, and the moments when they looked at each other nervously.
Mohinder wordlessly moved away ruffling his hair in frustration. At that moment he had never wanted something so much. He glanced back at Gabriel who was looking to him for approval. “You look amazing Gabriel, this is going to be the highlight of the whole collection.” He managed before having to reach for his water bottle. God if Gabriel knew how much power he had over him he would never feel shy ever again.
“Last set now Gabriel, legs apart, hands in your pockets and look straight down the lens at me. Great, turn to your left. Okay, and right. No, no this isn’t working Suresh, you can’t see the movement of the fabric.” Mischa let the camera hang around his neck.
Mohinder stared. “What if he lay down?” He heard himself say.
Mischa tipped his head. “Maybe. Okay Gabriel, lie on your stomach facing me, up on your elbows.”
Gabriel complied, moving onto his knees first.
“Wait! Stay there, just like that.” Mishcha started snapping. “Okay, now right hand on the floor and lean forward. Perfect. Suresh, get in there and give me some shoulder.”
Mohinder stepped onto the set gingerly and crouched in front of Gabriel who was uncomfortably half on his hands and knees. “Is this okay?” he said, twisted the jacket back to reveal Gabriel’s left shoulder.
“Sure.” He whispered, feeling self-conscious again for the first time since they started. Mohinder was seeing more flesh than he had shown anyone in nearly five years, and even then it had been at the doctors when he had his appendix out. He could feel his breath getting heavy from the effort of staying in one position.
“Mischa, come and look at this angle.” Mohinder called over.
Mishca settled down on the floor and started shooting again. The frame was filled with the perfect shadows from a strong jaw, the stressed neck muscles and Gabriel’s shoulder, all pitched against the soft gray fabric, falling in folds around him. “Great, well spotted. Okay, I think we’ve done it! Well done Gabriel.”
Gabriel smiled and took Mohinder’s offered hand, standing up. “You can get changed Gabriel, thanks so much.” He said curtly, turning and walking back towards Mischa. Feeling slightly deflated, Gabriel wandered back to the changing room. When he was just dressed he heard a knock at the door and was relieved to see Mohinder standing there, smiling once more.
“Gabriel, I wanted to wait until Mischa had gone to thank you properly,” he said entering the room and closing the door behind him. “He’s a bit of a gossip and I didn’t want to give him any more ammunition.”
Gabriel tried to decode this but must have looked confused because Mohinder giggled. “Listen, I ….I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me.” He took Gabriel’s hand in his, edging closer. “You were wonderful and I’m so impressed with your courage at doing this, given how shy you were when we first met.”
Gabriel chuckled, scratching at his neck self-consciously. “I’m still shy, I just…I don’t know, you make me feel like I don’t have anything to be shy about. I should be thanking you, I never would have done this without your encouragement.”
A moment passed when they both realised that their hands were touching. Gabriel froze, feeling like every second that went by was making it harder to move his hand away. Mohinder stepped closer, one step that took him further than he’d been for a good long time. Gabriel’s heart pounded. He had no experience of this but the rushing of his blood, the static on his skin and his shallow, shaky breaths, his instincts told him that something was coming that would either excite or terrify him. He saw Mohinder’s gaze drop to his lips, and began to tilt his head down slowly. The space between them became next to nothing. Gabriel closed his eyes and felt a coldness on his lips as Mohinder snatched a tiny breath. He tingled as Mohinder took his other hand and his head swam as he prepared for the Moment that would destroy so many versions of himself…
“Mohinder! Mohinder are you still here?”
Suresh spun around at the sound of Mischa’s voice, careering out of the door and leaving Gabriel shell-shocked and aching to be touched. He sighed heavily as his head dropped back on his shoulders. He reached for his coat just as Mohinder returned, breathless.
“He forgot his damn lens cap, I’m…I’m er.” He didn’t know what to say. Sorry didn’t seem right. He knew the moment was gone.
“It’s okay. It’s getting late I should….”
“Would you like me to give you a ride home?”
That part of Gabriel’s brain which told him he wasn’t attractive, told him he was worthless and unlovable, started to whir. “No, it’s fine really, it’s not far.” He turned away from Mohinder, buttoning his coat and retrieving a hanger which had been forgotten. He held it out to Mohinder, reminding himself why he was there – to work, not to be kissed.
Mohinder took it sadly. “If you’re sure…”
“I am. Bye Mohinder.” He walked towards the door, but found it blocked.
“Wait.” Mohinder put a gentle hand on Gabriel’s arm. “When will I see you again?”
Now. Gabriel thought. Kiss me and I’ll go anywhere with you. “Are you going to be at Wes’s party on Saturday?” he asked.
Mohinder nodded. “Lizzy’s invited me, I wasn’t planning on it but if you’re going I will.”
Gabriel gave the biggest smile he could muster, which as it happened wasn’t very big at all. “Okay, then I guess I’ll see you there.”
Mohinder watched Gabriel go and waited until he was out of the door before hurling the coat hanger against the wall and holding his head in his hands.