Red Hot Rebel - Olivia Hayle



I look up at the giant Hamptons mansion with nothing but trepidation. It’s the first time my modeling agency has sent me to do a live modeling gig. They’re bizarre things. Stand here and look pretty. There’s a reason I’ve always turned them down, but when Tina showed me the paycheck for this one, there was no refusing.

Melissa comes up beside me. “We’re going home together?”

“Absolutely,” I tell her. “Right after our shift is up. I have a portable charger in my bag, too.”

“Good call.” We’d been stranded at a shoot two months ago, both of our phones dead, with no way to contact an Uber.

We turn at the sound of high heels on the path behind us as the rest of the models join us. Some of them I recognize. Far from all these women share Melissa’s and my… well, let’s call it dedication to staying on the right side of the line. Throw around the word “model” and you’ll get invited into a lot of exclusive areas. Places with expensive drinks and even more expensive drugs.

“Two years ago I was the face of a national jeans campaign,” Melissa mutters at my side. “Now I’m posing at a designer’s party for all his friends.”

I shoot her a smile. “It’s three hours, and he’s paying well.”

“Thank God for that.” She pulls her bag up on her shoulder and leads the way into the house, where a woman with a headset and a clipboard is waving us in. “Let’s get this over with.”

Ten minutes later, I’m smoothing my hand over a dress that barely covers my butt. Short, flimsy and colorful, it’s part of the designer’s spring and summer collection for this year.

“Time to move!” Clipboard-Lady calls out. One of the newer models from my agency, a girl I don’t recognize, is struggling with the tiny clasps of her strappy heels.

I bend to do up the little clip. “Put them on looser than you need to,” I advise her. “When you’re walking a runway, you want straps like these to be tight. When you’re standing or posing at a photoshoot, you want them loose, or they’ll cut into your ankles when they get swollen.”

She shoots me a shy smile. “Thank you.”

“Anytime. I’m Ivy.”

“Jordan,” she says and falls into step beside me as we walk out of the pool-house-turned-dressing-room.

The house is stunning, with the turquoise water of the pool beckoning in the summer sun, and the open-air bar is fully stocked with liquor. The bartender watches us walk and grins in appreciation.

“Here, here, hurry,” Clipboard-Lady says. She’s clutching it tight to her chest. “I want the first four of you over here…. You, you, you, and you.”

Melissa is in that group, ushered into the house. “You’ll flank the entranceway—I’ll see you in a second.” She turns to the five of us remaining. “There are small x’s put around the pool. Find one each.”

And those are our only instructions.

I shoot Jordan a chagrined smile, like the things we have to do, and walk around the pool in search of an x marked by tape.

The one I find is on the back corner, close to a secluded area of the yard with lounge chairs. I suppose it won’t be long until they’re filled with guests.

“That’s it!” Clipboard-Lady calls. “Stay there, and if you need refreshments or to use the bathroom, you can rotate back to the pool house.”

Then she leaves us in a stomp of righteous agitation, off to solve another logistical puzzle to this Hamptons party.

The five of us look around at each other.

“Everyone put on sunblock?” I call.

That earns me a few laughs from the other models.

And then the boredom begins.

That’s what I’d always feared with these live modeling gigs, the ones fancy companies, clubs or designers host.

I run my hand through my hair, ensure the dress is in place. And then I go through the parts of the human skeleton I need to memorize for my physical therapy test in two days.

The spine, made up of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, sacrum and coccyx. The sound of tropical beats starts soon thereafter, blasting from artfully placed speakers around the house and yard.

I keep going.

The pelvis, made up of the ilium, pubis and ischium.

The first guests arrive, walking out onto the patio in sunglasses and suits. I stick out a leg, put my hand on my hip, and make my expression carefully, beautifully bored.

I continue with my mental study session. It’s something I’ve perfected over the years. Waiting backstage at shows, standing