I was lightly head banging along to the song that echoed throughout the studio space. My makeup artist, Nina, let out a sigh of frustration, “Will you keep still” she said before breaking out into a smile. “Sorry,” I smirked, strumming my fingers against my leg instead. “I thought you were bringing your intern along today?” I asked, glancing up at her reflection. She nodded, “I am, but she’s not coming in until a bit later.”
A few minutes went by before I spoke again, “I saw that picture you posted on instagram last night of that face mask you made. Why can’t I ever wear anything like that?” Nina chuckled slightly as she padded powder over my face, “Because you’re supposed to look good, not like some monster.” “I’m going to request a shoot like that, maybe for the next album. It looked really cool,” I said as she replied with a quiet thank you.
I had been at the studio for about an hour, and finally the photo shoot had begun. I was stood against a black backdrop, with two huge lights shining on me. The typical set up of a photographer with a big camera, with a laptop set up on the side. People scurrying around in the background either getting coffee, getting the next look ready or just trying to look busy. “Ok Shawn, let’s lighten the mood a little. What’s your favourite song right now?” the photographer asked, holding the camera loosely in his hand. “It’d have to be Castle On the Hill by Ed Sheeran,” I replied. The photographer glared at the guy who was near the music system, seconds later the song was bouncing off the walls. I had been up for a while, but was yet to actually feel awake. It didn’t matter how many coffees I had, music always seemed to help more.
The shoot’s pace quickened as the camera flashed every other second, as I changed my pose in simple ways. “Brilliant Shawn, these are coming out great” the photographer called out. I nodded and smiled as I stood still and pushed my hand through my hair. As the flash went off, I looked passed the set up and over at the stairs near the entrance. A girl dressed in a denim skirt and striped white top, covered with a tanned seude jacket hurried down the stairs. No one else seemed to pay attention to the fact that you could hear her singing along to the song, swaying her hips slightly as she took each step.
I slowly removed my hand from my hair as my eyes continued to follow her movement. “Perfect Shawn,” I heard the photographer say before the flash took over my view. I blinked a few times, “Ok, let’s start the next look.” I felt my cheeks heat up slightly as I went back to the chair in front of the mirror. “You alright?” Andrew asked. I nodded, “Yeah, those lights are just a little hot.”
I stared at the mirror and watched as the girl stopped once she met Nina, they spoke briefly before they started approaching me. I quickly sat up and combed through my hair, making sure I looked somewhat decent. “Shawn, this is (Y/N), she’s my intern” Nina smiled, placing her hand on the girls shoulder. “Nice to meet you,” (Y/N) said boldly sticking her hand out. I took it and shook it slowly, “Hey” I fidgeted in my chair as she let go of my hand and grabbed a stool nearby, dragging it so she could sit beside the mirror. “(Y/N’s) just gonna be watching me today, as this is her first time on a set like this. Is that ok?” I looked at (Y/N) who sat pretty much in front of me, her eyes glued to me as if I was part of a science experiment a teacher was demonstrating. “Sure,” I muttered.
My eyes flickered between my hands in my lap and (Y/N). She removed her coat and placed it on her lap as she leaned down into her bag, pulling out a pad and paper. “Oh by the way, I saw that mask you were working on. The one you posted on instagram last night,” she said as she searched through her pad for a blank page. “Oh yeah, what do you think?” Nina replied as she made me lean my head back slightly. “It looked awesome, I’ve done one similar - not as advanced and perfect obviously,” (Y/N) chuckled slightly.
“Shawn was saying earlier that he wanted to do a shoot where he could wear something like that,” Nina said. (Y/N’s) eyes lit up as she smiled at me, “I could totally see you as some sort of Vampire. But a proper one you know, not like something from The Vampire Diaries.” “I like the Vampire Diaries,” I said quickly, not thinking before I spoke. “Oh so do I,” (Y/N) said as she tapped the end of her pen against the paper. “The guys look really hot as vampires, but I can see you with a more gore-like look.” She awkwardly pretended to brush hair behind her ear when I didn’t reply.
I was back on set again, almost finished with the final look. Check Yes Juliet by We the Kings was playing and I couldn’t help but get distracted by (Y/N). She was cleaning up Nina’s area by the mirror as she danced along to the song. The photographer didn’t mind, wanting shots of me looking away from the camera. She grabbed two brushes and used the ends of them to bang against the edge of the desk, along with the beat. She then did a twirl as she moved round the back of the chair and placed them in the bag. She raised her hands in the air and tipped her head back as it reached the end of the bridge, before starting up again as if oxygen had suddenly been put back in her.
She moved frantically as if she was in her kitchen by herself. No one else seemed to notice but I couldn’t help my eyes feeling drawn towards her. I lowered my head to let out a chuckle and “flash”. We took a few more photos and then it was over. I wandered over to the laptop and looked at the photos with the photographer as he mentioned the ones he really liked. “This one, I really love” he said. It was one of me laughing to myself, looking at the ground. “I don’t know what you were thinking of in that moment, but it worked,” the photographer said. I looked at the photo for a few more seconds, before glancing over at (Y/N) who was writing things down in her notebook.
I was back in the makeup chair with Nina removing all the makeup she had caked onto my face. I looked through my phone, finding her photo again on instagram. I clicked on the likes and found (Y/N’s) name. I scrolled through her feed before following her. Within seconds she hurried over with two coffees in her hand. She placed them in front of me before sitting back on her stool. She spoke to Nina about something as I continued to look through her instragram. I found a photo of her from halloween where she was dressed as a vampire. The caption read: ‘be afraid because I probably will bite #makeupbyme’ . I commented on the photo saying, 'so, can you make me look this good as a vampire?’
I watched secretly as she pulled out her phone and read the notification. I felt a fuzzy feeling in my stomach as I watched the smile appear on her face. I was surprised by my screen lighting up seconds later. I read the reply, ’@shawnmendes that depends… do you bite?’ My head shot up from my screen to find her looking at me. We both broke out in smiles as Nina rambled on about something. Suddenly (Y/N) stood up and left as Nina asked her to do something. Nina grabbed a coffee and was about to take a sip, “Oh, this one must be yours.” She handed it to me before taking the other one, “Why’d you say that?” She took the top half of the cup and turned it in my hand to reveal a mobile number on the other side. “I already have (Y/N’s) number,” she said raising an eyebrow before having some coffee.