"How do I look – How do I look?" Susan sang playfully in time with the chorus, striding up to the console where Mitch was engrossed with working on something inside. "What do you think, is this OK?" The tall blonde model wore a very short, shimmery, dressing robe tied quite loosely so the gap in front started at her cleavage and extended past her waist, leaving a strip of well-tanned skin visible all the way down, punctuated by the oval of her navel. It was entirely clear even to the most jaded observer she had nothing at all on underneath. Susan held a clothes hanger carrying a yellow satin camisole that was her first costume choice for the upcoming lingerie catalog shoot. She swayed in place to the rhythm of the music.
"Um, Great, Sue." The photographer mumbled, not lifting his head out of the intricate bundle of wiring and electronics he was tinkering with. The device, known as an Immobilizer, was what enabled his models to hold their precise poses for as long as he wanted them to. Once a person had been fitted with an earring-like receiver, Mitch could suspend their animation with the twist of a dial, turning them rigid and statue-like indefinitely. Once "frozen" his models had no trouble at all holding still. It was a bit of peculiar technology that he really did not understand; but it worked. He was always very careful in working around the device for fear of breaking it, or worse. As much as he enjoyed turning his models into living statues he did not want to risk having them stuck that way forever.
"Hey, down there? A little attention?" Sue cajoled, moving around close to where he crouched and nudging him in the butt with the toe of her high-heeled shoe. "I need your opinion, oh mister photographer please!"
"Oh, all right..." Mitch pulled back enough to glimpse a pair of tanned legs that stretched upward into the shadows of her robe, a tempting path that his eyes were naturally drawn along. He glanced up and up at her, not noticing the edge of the enclosure. "...Ow!" he cried after hitting his head.
Susan smirked as she took one step back and allowed him to stand fully. "Serves you right, paying attention to that gizmo when you should be getting ready to take pictures. Of us!" She held up the teddy to her chest again for his opinion and pulled the fabric tight to show off the curve of her breasts. The effect was quite dazzling as she danced in place; he would have liked to have her hold that pose for a while longer. Not yet, though; soon enough.
"Yes, yes; I know, Susan," he said, rubbing the sore spot on his neck. "It’s just that there have been so many delays in getting started I wanted to make sure that nothing else can go wrong. First there was that storm, and then the power failure, then..."
"Then that long-haired hussy barged in just when we were getting ready to start shooting a few days ago!" She prodded.
"Wait a darn minute now; I don’t want to get started talking about Cindy again." He had gotten into a major argument earlier with Susan and Nat when they had felt threatened by the sudden appearance and quick intimacy of that young woman. "That discussion’s over now; just table the issue."
"Yeah; like you tabled her?" Sue cast her eyes over to the den-like sitting area of the studio, where the thoroughly immobilized form of Cindy formed the base of his new coffee table. Her stiffened body had been partially covered in molding compound and then painted to look like a wood carving. It was an excellent disguise to hide the hapless girl from her estranged boyfriend and Mitch’s jealous models, but Susan didn’t like having Cindy around in *any* form, even as a statue.
"Cute," Mitch replied, picking up on her play on words.
"And now we have to teach this other bimbo how to model?!" Susan ranted, waving her arm toward where the lovely Kristen stood as impassively distant as a waxwork figure. "No wonder you’re going to miss the deadline. Serves you right!"
"Now, Sues, don’t get on his case so much," said Natalie from across the studio space. "Mitch was just trying to help Cindy out." She was riffling through the rack of lingerie, swaying from side to side in time with the music, looking for her own favorite piece. Long accustomed to these photo shoots, as well as being turned into a living statue at a moment’s notice, Nat had remained naked but for on a whim had pulled on a pair of garter-less hose to go with her high-heeled sandals. Mitch’s eye strayed to her nicely rounded backside for a few seconds as she dropped one of the garments and bent over nearly double to pick it up. "Besides," Nat continued, "we both agreed that Kristen was OK here. Remember? I talked with her before she agreed to become a statue and think she’s very nice."
Susan nodded, her temper cooling a little. "Yes, you’re right about that." She walked slowly over to where Kristen stood and looked over the motionless young model. The girl was shorter than herself, at five and a half feet, but very nicely proportioned. Her oval face, framed by short golden-blonde hair, was absolutely stunning. Susan thought that with some platform heels and careful staging Kristen could pose alongside herself and Natalie in the tableaux without looking like a dwarf. Despite her griping, she was not really concerned about showing the new model how to pose; this wasn’t like runway modeling or anything where practiced movement was needed. On the contrary, with the help of Mitch’s magic machine, once she had been immobilized anyone could arrange her limbs any way they wanted for a few seconds before she became completely rigid.
"Oh, by the way girls, don’t get too attached to those teddies just yet." Mitch called out. "We’re going to start out with panties and garters; I’m going to have to pick out something different for Kristen to wear anyway." His newest model was currently wearing a purplish satin one-piece teddy, with white lace wristlets and dark hose. He had picked the outfit earlier and dressed her in it for her modeling trial, but now he had changed his mind. Something simpler would be less distracting to start on, he thought.
"Aw, darn!" shot back Natalie, who had finally selected a maroon-colored teddy cut deep in the bodice which would show off her ample breasts to good advantage. She turned back to the rack and resumed searching, while Susan hung up her old garment and pulled out an eggshell-blue number almost in a single motion. She strode back to where Mitch had resumed fiddling, the sway in her hips lost on his downward glancing view. The music had changed to another syncopated modeling tune, ‘Freeze-Frame’, which seemed oddly appropriate.
"How about this one?" Susan prodded. She had let the belt on her robe
come undone on purpose again and was trying to get his attention the old
fashioned way. "I like the way it seems so light and lacy; and sexy too."
Moving in time to the music, she pranced in front of the photographer,
but he was not looking at her. He was fiddling inside the console once
Susan picked the wrong times to kid him with her crack of "Well, I don’t know why they cannot understand all of the bizarre things that have been going on around here. Why don’t you tell them about the power going out, or the time you spent with Kristen, or poor little Cindy — Oh!.?.." She felt a tingle through her body and had just enough time for a quick gasp of surprise before stiffening into place like the living statue she had suddenly become.
Mitch had turned the dial on the Immobilizer she always wore. "I asked you to be quiet — this is important!" The other party had not come back on the line yet and this long wait was making him even more nervous.
"Go easy on Sue, Mitch," Natalie said, with her back to him. "No need to be so upti..." Then her voice cut off as she, too, was immobilized into statuesque stillness with a twist of the controls. The studio had become very quiet all of a sudden, devoid of voices or songs. The only movement was the blipping panel of the volume display on the muted CD player.
"Sorry, girls!" he called out to the frozen models, cupping his hand to cover the mouthpiece, "I’ll revive you just as soon as this call is over..." He knew they both could hear him for almost a minute after being suspended before they slipped into unconscious slumber. Then, weeks or months could pass seemingly in an instant.
"Ah beg youah pardon? Are you theah, Mitch?" A honeysuckle-sweet woman’s voice sounded in the phone. The executive had come on the line while he was distracted. "Hel-looO?..."
"Hi! Er, hello; this is Mitch speaking." he blurted. Hell of a way to start an important phone conversation. "Um, what can I do for you?" He was certain that the voice sounded vaguely familiar. A southern belle...
"Why, I DO declare!" she continued, "You know how long it’s been since we talked? Musta been a possum’s age..."
He was speechless, trying to recall her, and failing. The rigid features of Susan seemed to be mocking him; as if she knew the answers. While he tried even less successfully to remember the average life span of North American marsupials, the mystery woman’s drawl continued.
"Surely you can recollect a Honey Carstairs? Used to model for you back in the city...?" Her voice seemed to lose some of its saccharine sweetness; no one likes to be forgotten.
"OH, Of course!" Mitch faked, racking his memory. "We did that layout for..." he ventured.
"Neimans." the woman supplied, "Thayat was the one wheya you were makin’ believe we were all like window dummies. You got so upset because us models kep on moving around," she continued as a spark of recall dawned in his thoughts. "Y’all might remember ah had a certain, um problem, with my wardrobe?"
It finally hit him: "You were the bride!" The image of a busty redhead repeatedly falling out of a deep-cut gown flashed in front of his mind’s eye. They finally had to apply a generous amount of spirit gum in order to keep her in place enough to finish up –that was this Honey? She had been a stunning lady back then; he would have liked to have her do more modeling for him and regretted not having the Immobilizer at the time.
"Yep — one and the same! Of course since then ah’ve gotten hitched, an’ un-hitched, coup’la times, an drifted away from the photo biz, at least in front of the camera thayt is. Long the way, found myssef ownin’ this here lan-ger-ay company...."
"Fredericks?" Mitch was flabbergasted again; he had always though some dirty old man was in charge, or a faceless corporation.
"Yes, indeedy! Now, imagine my su-prise when mah editor comes up to me and says mah latest catlog is be-in’ delayed cuz some hot-shot pho-to-graf-er (she pronounced the syllables separately) caint get his pitchers done. They said your name; an’ ah told them could’nt be you. You nevah missed a deadline in yore life. So ah decided to give ya’ll a jingle and see whass up?"
"Well, Ms. McClane..." Mitch began.
"Honey; please," she corrected.
"Honey. Yes, there have been some unforeseen circumstances, but I fully expect to be able to complete...."
"Cut the crap, Mitch," she interrupted him. "I did’n call you up to get the bullshit answer. You gonna do ‘em or not?"
"They’ll be in your hands by Monday," he said without embellishment.
"Fine, then. Ah expect to see them, or we’ll haf to have a dif’rent
kind of chat. One thass not so neighborly, understand?"
She said the last word without the slightest accent and Mitch wondered if the whole down-home cornpone bit was just an act.
"They WILL be there," he reiterated.
"Thass what I wanted to hear. Good! Y’know, sometime afterward I might wanna stop by and chew the fat. It’s been a while since I had a portrait done for the annual repoat and it would be a gen-u-wine pleasure to me if you would do the honors."
"Be glad to, Honey," Mitch answered, finally feeling more relieved. "There are even some new gadgets I’d like to show you..." He thought especially about a hearing-aid sized device that could fit comfortably behind her ear. One twist of a dial and she would stay firm enough to model even strapless gowns without worry.
"Well, it’s a date, then!" She smiled with her voice once more. "Ahm looking forward so much to seein’ ya’ll a-gin. G’bye for now, Mitch." Click.
"WheW!!" he said to his frozen entourage. "That was something else..."
Besides, he kind of liked her posed that way.
The reality of his hasty commitment to Honey finally struck home. It was Friday; usually these layouts took a week or so and he hadn’t exposed frame one yet. There were at least two hundred shots on the call sheet, along with the note that he was ‘free to experiment’ with some of the outfits; that implied the editor was expecting something different, usually for a cover or ad sheet. Which only meant more work for him.
Time to get started.
Deliberately, he set out his cameras and switched on the power supplies of the flash units. While taking more fresh film from the refrigerator, he found a bottle of white wine; that might make things go more smoothly. Taking a moment to say ‘hi’ to the living statue of Karen sitting stoically in the kitchen, dressed in her French maid’s outfit, he picked out some glasses. She too could stay frozen a while longer; he did not need any added distractions. This was going to be a looonnng weekend. Mitch started a fresh pot of coffee. He knew they were all going to need it soon.
Returning to the background paper, he really become aware of his frozen lingerie models for the first time, along with what they had selected. It was not quite right. Susan normally had quite good taste in clothes and the ensemble she had chosen would look great on her, but this was going to be a catalog shoot and not a boudoir series. Of course, he thought, they could get to the boudoir stuff later on. Maybe as part of that ‘experimentation’. . .
Taking the hanger from Sue’s stiff fingers and leaving her holding empty air, he returned the outfit to the rack and picked out a simple lace bra-and-panty set to begin with. At the same time he got a good look at Natalie, who had been frozen with her mouth open and a word still on her lips. She would also look good in white lace; light colors contrasted well with her tawny skin. Back went the wine-colored teddy as he placed a different piece of lingerie into her outstretched hands. It was similar to Susan’s but had a ruffle around the leg line. Nat would understand; she was always the easy-going one.
Replacing the other’s garment took a little longer since she had been holding it more tightly to her now-frozen body. Sue was going to get a bit of a surprise when her teddy would seem to change into something else right before her eyes. That would be the least of his concerns, he anticipated. A push on the remote control brought back the music; now he had to try and restore the jaunty mood as well. A different selection then; something from a disco movie seemed about right.
Mitch decided to reanimate them separately, and chose Natalie first. It was a simple twist of the control to restore mobility to the static model. Her first — or rather last — word was "..tight," which was what she was trying to say before the Immobilizer turned her into speechless statuary. She spun around to face him, looking rather miffed. "Well, THAT was kind of rude, Mitch!"
"I know, and I’m sorry Nat. That phone call freaked me out and I over-reacted. Besides, I’ve surprised you before when you didn’t expect to become a statue. Think of this interlude as a little extra ‘rest’ time before you’re going to pose..." He knew his models always felt refreshed after a freeze. One of the other side-effects of the device was also a very pleasant sexual feeling.
"Oh, Okay." She looked down and noticed her new garment. "What’s this? The elves have been busy while I was ‘resting’. Hmm; well, we’re going to model all of these anyway. Doesn’t really matter which outfit to start with..." Nat walked over to the mirror stand without further comment to begin dressing and checking her makeup. Mitch watched her for a few seconds as she slipped the stockings from her legs and unselfconsciously slid the panties up over her shapely derriere.
That left Susan to reanimate. Her temper could flare at any moment and
he had no idea how she would react to being cut off abruptly. Mitch crossed
his fingers as he spun the knob to revive her. After a second or two, she
blinked, relaxed from her pose, and took a deep breath. Glaring at him,
a brief fierce expression said everything that her words never would. Then
she yawned slowly and responded with "Some wrong number, eh?" Unlike Nat,
Sue did not say anything about her change of costume, either, she simply
went on as if that was what she had chosen all along. Walking towards the
mirrors, she let the robe slip off her shoulders as if by mistake. Nat
was already dressed and running a comb through her raven-colored tresses.
"Wow, Mitch," Nat chimed in, "You haven’t posed us in THAT way for a long time... Too long!" Susan just chuckled as she fastened the strap on her bra and recalled her first posing session with the same sort of fond emotions. It had been then and there she had decided to stay as one of the several living statues in Mitch’s personal art gallery.
"Oh. Oh…my. Uhh, hi, everyone!" Kristen piped up after regaining her composure. She moved slowly towards the console, gawking around the room to see what had changed. "Hi, Nat," she greeted her friend; "Hello, Susan; I’m Kristen. Mitch introduced us when you were, ah, a statue." The tall blonde smiled back and continued smoothing out her carefully styled hair. One thing Kristen noticed that had changed was that the tableaux of the young long-haired girl and her boyfriend were gone. Instead, a living statue sat rigidly on the couch, she remembered that one was Amy. She was curious where Karen had gone to, and why she herself had a pink feather boa wrapped around her neck. It did not match her outfit so she suspected that this touch was not Mitch’s work.
"Hello, Kristen, would you like some water?" Mitch handed her a cool glass, which she sipped briefly from. "How did you feel, being immobilized for a longer period?" he asked. "It was even longer than I’d planned…"
"I think you know that by now," she said with a warm smile. "That is almost the best feeling in the whole world, especially when you tune up my pose — like you did this time. I can’t wait to go back into suspension!" Kristen hugged him, which earned her a frown from Susan which the young woman did not see.
Mitch flushed self-consciously. It was not her beauty that was getting to him, or her easy acceptance of becoming a statue. There was something more, but he put it aside for now. "There’s also wine over there if you would like. As you’ve probably guessed, we’re going to do a photo series for a lingerie catalog. I’d like you to pose along with Natalie and Susan for me."
"Sure — but it’s been a while. You’ll help me out?"
"Of course, Kristen," Susan said, replying for him, coming up to stand beside her. "It’s really very easy to find a good stance and once Mitch gets you into the proper position you don’t even have to lift a finger..."
"I’ll be frozen again? Keen!" she replied enthusiastically.
"Remember those pictures I showed you before, how the models looked." Mitch chimed in, walking over to the lingerie rack. "That will be just how you’ll appear." He returned carrying a hanger which he handed to her. "Here’s your first costume; after this I’ll be changing your outfits for the remainder of the set. Oh, and one other item," Mitch said, holding up a coppery-colored wig, "I’d like you to wear this also. For variety, you see, since Susan is blonde too and Nat a brunette it would look better if you became a redhead during this spread."
"Whatever you say, boss." She fluffed the wig slightly; she had never tried that color. "Should I use the changing room?" Kristen turned, remembering it was over along the back wall.
"If you want," Natalie replied, sauntering up in her costume, a white diaphanous bra-and-panty combination that was so sheer her aureoles and trimmed pubic triangle showed through the fabric. "After a while you get used to being nude or dressed in these flimsy things." Nat shifted her right breast in the cup so that more visible cleavage was showing. Susan was stretching. Neither seemed very concerned about modesty.
"Ah, if it’s all the same to you, Nat, I’ll use the room for now." Kristen replied, taking the hanger and the wig and heading off. Mitch watched as she walked away, wondering if this whole modeling thing was not pushing his new statue too far, too fast.
As if reading his mind, Natalie responded "Oh, she’ll be fine, Mitch, once she realizes that we all dress each other during these shoots anyway..." And at other times too, she thought.
"Fine; yes, you’re right I suppose." Mitch rubbed his hands together and picked up one of his cameras. "Well then; let’s get started. Nat, you go first this time, Okay?"
"No problem." She looked down for one last check of her cleavage and
then walked out into the center of the ivory-colored background sheet.
The rear of the wide paper swath was held up on stands so that a smooth,
shadowless transition was made. True to form, Mitch had placed a few small
strips of masking tape on the floor that showed his models where to stand.
Nat took the center position, brushed herself off, and assumed an initial
stance. It was the job of the photographer to finalize the pose.
Kristen emerged from the dressing room barely in time to see Nat freeze into place. From where she stood Kristen thought her position looked superb, but Mitch was squinting at the unmoving model carefully, then quickly strode out to adjust the tilt of her shoulders minutely before she stiffened completely. Kristen followed him, watching attentively, knowing it would soon be her turn to become a statue again. She could hardly wait! Oh, I hope I’ll be an OK model for him… she fretted. Let’s do it!
As if to confirm that desire, Mitch turned to her and announced, "OK, kid, you’re next. Relax, now; you’ll be a wonderful poser. Try to stand like Nat did; mimic her pose — let Susan help you. Oh, and next time, wipe your feet before going onto the paper, right?" To himself he marveled at how gorgeous she looked in this simple white frill, how the straps of her thong panty perfectly traced the edge of her hips, how her breasts just seemed to fill the cups out perfectly.
"Oops, sorry," she said, suddenly awkward. Kristen felt like she had grown another left foot as she almost tripped over the sync cord. That would be just great, she thought, falling into Nat, bowling her over like a lawn ornament! The wig itched and she worried it might be sitting a little crooked. Making it to her marks without further incident, she took an initial stance and waited.
"Re-lax, Kristen!" Mitch charmed her, "You’re a dream. Don’t worry about how you’ll do — everything will turn out just fine." he said to encourage his lovely, nervous, almost-statue. "Susan, can you, ah, pitch in here?"
The tall blonde did not say much, but simply walked up and shifted Kristen around like a rag doll after telling her to hold still. Sue talked a bit while she worked. "See, this gig is not exactly about subtlety, but you have to show off the goods in the right way. I mean these undies, not your own goodies! You have to always take a back seat to the merchandise, remember, but the buyer has to see how good it can look and you’re going to become that ideal beauty. So, lighten up and enjoy it! Also, keep your hands posed about an inch away from your body at all times; that way once you’re frozen he can change your clothes for you."
"Oh. Okay." Kristen felt like an idiot but knew she wouldn’t have to endure this banter much longer. This posing doesn’t seem that hard – but soon I’m gonna be!. Over to one side Natalie proved an excellent, silent example of archetypal pulchritude.
"Alright, Susan, that’s good." Mitch said at last. "Kristen, continue to hold the same position; now arch your back a little — keep your head level — and take a deep breath. Hold it! Hold it..."
Time passed, and the immobilizer hadn’t taken effect yet. Kristen waited, wondering what was wrong.
Susan nudged her in the ribs, saying "don’t forget to smile, cutie!" Kristen wanted to bust out laughing but held back, managing a slight smirk. Concentrating on keeping in pose, Kristen realized she could not budge; he must have wanted to catch her off her guard this way! In a second she was completely motionless while Mitch continued to carefully evaluate her pose. At least that’s what she thought he was doing.
Susan, standing next to her, decided to help out some. "Now, of course, you should always make sure your titties are looking their best for the camera," she said facing the immobilized model and cupping Kristen’s firm breasts. "You always want to show just a hint of what’s hidden; like this…" Sue carefully pulled the fabric of each cup down so that the edge of the nipples peeked out, at the same time she fondled the young woman’s rigid body gently. The stimulating sensations were astonishingly intense, even though it was not Mitch doing the touching. "Now here, tsk-tsk, is another pointer I should give you," Susan continued with a sly grin, rubbing the palm and then fingers of her hand over Kristen’s lace-covered crotch, very carefully feeling up the stiffened model. "Always be certain that the fabric down here is not bunched up; it should be smooth and the folds should make an arrow, pointing towards you-know-where." While Kristen saw stars, the blonde model made sure there was no fold out of place in the placement of the garment.
Kristen was on cloud nine; she was getting more accustomed to the sudden immobilizations and had always enjoyed the feeling of turning utterly still; now Susan’s attentive fondling only added to the pleasure. She knew the others were starting to accept her presence and resolved to tease Sue back in some playful way. She felt a little sad that that part of the induction was over, for now, and that soon she’d be falling asleep and missing her costume change. Even so, she thought, this sure beats going to classes!
"That’s, ah, enough tuning for now, Susan." Mitch said as he approached Kristen’s stiff body, tilting her head down a bit more which took some effort. He could tell his lovely statue was almost totally rigid now and could not stay awake much longer. "Great pose!" he whispered in her ear. "Hang in there." was the last thing she heard as she drifted off into a deep sleep.
"Not bad, huh?" Sue asked playfully, knowing full well he knew what she had been doing. After all, he had frozen her earlier in the shower when she was helping to soap up an already immobilized Natalie. They had made a superb pair of statues for a while, immobilized while locked in an erotic embrace.
"Gee, thanks, Sues," he replied with a hint of sarcasm, "you always know how to give a new model pointers." With a smile he realized the double-entendre as he gazed at Kristen’s rather prominently erect nipples that dimpled her brassiere cups. He had not remembered them being so distinct when he had first frozen her. "Your turn, now; the mark is over there." Mitch walked back to the console.
"Uh huh. Just a moment," she said while checking her own costume, tweaking her own nipples to make them stand out, and getting into position. "OK; ready!" And so she was. With the ease of long practice, Susan had just about nailed the pose spot-on. A tingle in her muscles froze the self-satisfied, cat-that-ate-the-canary, smirk on her face while she experienced a sensation not unlike being caressed by an invisible man, or woman. To anyone glancing at the finished catalog she would merely seem to be contemplating a night of pleasure because of her alluring undergarments, while in reality she was already telegraphing sexual vitality in her pose and expression. In short, the perfect lingerie model. In this business nuance was everything.
Through her unmoving eyes she saw Mitch approach and comprehended the
reason for his own grin just before he said "Now, let me make sure your
panties are as smooth as they can be too. Hmm, they do seem a little bunched
up here…" His first leisurely touch brought a different sort of tingle
to her immobilized body; a sensual one that intensified with each slow
stroking of her satin-covered pussy, up to the point she slipped into dreamless
sleep. Susan knew this was his joke on her all the while wishing he had
been only just a little quicker to ‘fine-tune’ her.
"Whew" he said to the three statues, "thanks!" They merely gazed back at him serenely.
Taking a brief rest, Mitch switched the music from the disco drumming to a more peaceful light jazz piece and poured himself a half glass of wine. Costume changes were something he always enjoyed. Rolling up a padded, tilted table close to the lingerie rack, he then lifted each stiffened girl up separately and placed her on the bench so her feet were off the floor. Mannequin-like, staring at the ceiling, their posed figures remained rigid from tip to toe as he carefully removed the items of lingerie from them. Off went the white lace outfits, to be replaced with red, then blue, then yellow, and then black. He took care to make sure the garments rested in the same locations on their hardened bodies. Tip the table back, so it was horizontal; then change their shoes and hose to match. After the swap was complete, he tipped the table to the floor again and returned each unmoving model to their original places on the seamless background. Since their positions and expressions remained exactly the same from one garment to another; it was easy to place them back into the exact same locations. Following a quick adjustment to their costumes (with an occasional dalliance on one particularly pleasing feature or another) everything would be ready for the next set of images. It was an inspiring sequence Mitch was long accustomed to repeating over and over. Things are finally going smoothly, he thought.
Occasionally, in rotation, he picked one model to reanimate and had her change her pose slightly before freezing her again. Then the next model, and so on, so their stances would complement the ‘key’ position; in this set that was Susan. Kristen fairly purred "UMMmm Hmmmmmm…" when activated and wanted to say more, but Mitch ‘shush’ed her until later and then immobilized her before she could say anything else. He had to keep focused, so to speak, on making pictures. Grouping, individual; front, side, detail. Flash-whirr, flash-whirr, flash-click-whirr, long into the night. Only the checks on the call sheet and a growing clump of exposed film marked the progress of the shoot. The number of outfits remaining to be photographed did not seem to be going down quickly enough, though. Even the most enjoyable activity could become tedious after a time, he thought tiredly.
He covered the bikini tops and shorts, camisoles, bustiers, an amazing variety of teddies and teddiettes, some with halter tops, others composed only of seemingly straps and lace, then camisoles, baby-dolls, body-shapers, and long gowns. Corselettes and G-strings; sheer Arabian-nights outfits of transparent silk with harem-styled pants. All through the many clothing changes, his three unmoving models did their ‘job’ beautifully, if statically. They did not change positions, their expressions did not vary in the slightest way. They could have been mannequins, standing there. Even though this effect was what Mitch normally wanted, the shoot was starting to get a bit stale for him.
It was time for a change of pace.
Susan merely smiled enigmatically, while Kristen murmured "Oh, Yes!!" Natalie, who had been the key model for this set, looked from one to the other and observed "Looks like I missed something…"
"You sure did," Sue replied, but did not elaborate.
Seeing that swing dresses and leisure outfits were next on the list had given him an idea. Mitch announced, "OK, girls, gather ‘round. I want to do something a little different now." He waited until his models had assembled near where he stood at the Immobilizer console. They all looked so gorgeous in their frilly bustiers, G-strings, hose, and expectant expressions he resisted the temptation to turn them into statues right then and there to take more pictures. He continued, "Take a few minute’s break; then get dressed in a party dress from that rack." Pointing it out, he took a moment while his models looked over the selection in glee. There were slinky rayon dresses, half-slips, soft stretch velvet, clingy Lycra, flashy metallized fabric and showy sequined outfits. The variety of colors and styles available to them was amazing, ranging from snowy pure white to midnight black, with a rainbow in between. "Pick out your favorite, along with shoes, and get dressed up." Doesn’t matter much which you choose; you’re going to be wearing most of them before this is finished anyway, he concluded. "Make sure you put on a darker shade of pantyhose, but no panties. Touch up your makeup and let your hair down, then get ready for some dancing!"
"All Right!" cheered Natalie, "I was wondering if you were going to do this." Susan smiled also, while Kristen was simply confused. It sounds like, really cool, though, she anticipated, as long as he doesn’t wait too long before freezing me again…
The three headed off towards the dressing area together, an almost electric air of enthusiasm flowing among them.
Mitch took the time to change the background paper to a more mottled style and reposition the lights to give a larger active posing area for his models. He set the umbrellas up high, and added a few accent spotlights with multicolored gels to shine down on the girls and pick out highlights. On either side of the performing space, he positioned a light bar to provide a balanced sidelight on their figures. He became so engrossed in adjusting his lighting that he didn’t notice his models were waiting for him.
"Need a hand?" Susan questioned playfully. Naturally she had chosen one of the sequined numbers, which came up to only mid-thigh on her tall figure. Silvery metallic hose and matching heels completed her ensemble. Natalie was wearing a fetching blue velvet dress with a ruffled skirt and a deep-cut V-bodice that showed off her breasts. Kristen had picked the wet-look rayon slip dress with lacy trim, along with a long string of faux pearls that hung down past her waist. She wore matching pearl bracelets.
Mitch glanced up and instantly decided his final adjustments to the lighting could wait until later. "Not on this, Sue, but you could put some dance club music on the stereo for me," he said, pausing to watch her backside as she walked away. Soon another pulsing bass track began throbbing; he could hear something rattling over in the kitchen. Sue had turned the volume way up. Brass and guitars joined in with an upbeat melody that positively demanded to be danced along with. Getting into the mood, Sue was already prancing in time to the music as she returned, while Natalie was starting to do a little step move as she stood there. Kristen has always loved going to clubs; it took no more encouragement than a nod and a smile from Mitch before she was also strutting and swaying as the song started to carry her along in its complementary rhythm.
"THAT’S THE WAY TO GO, LADIES; MOVE OVER TO THE BACKGROUND, PLEASE!!" Mitch had to shout to be heard. Gradually, the dancing trio shifted over to the area between the lights, never losing the tempo. He let them unwind for a minute or two while he readied his camera and connected the synch cord.
Kristen was having a great time as she danced, enjoying the feel of the slippery fabric on her skin as much as the music. On a whim, she had decided to skip the bra and panties, thinking that it would give a cleaner line to her profile; and she was right. Hmm, she thought, Mitch looks ready – I wonder when he’s going to… Just then, he reached over to the console and spun the knob three times in quick succession. Kristen felt the delightful tingle as her body was immobilized in mid-step. Whoa! This is so wild, she thought as her movements slowed and halted, leaving her frozen in perfect balance. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Natalie also freeze in place, having enough time to smile slightly before turning completely solid.
"AND THAT’S THE WAY IT WORKS, GIRLS…" Mitch continued, as he took the first shots of his immobilized models. They all turned out great; not an odd expression or awkward pose on any of them, he was thinking as he worked. Kristen, especially, seemed to be a natural at this style of modeling. He approached her stiffened figure and gazed at it carefully, then tugged on the hem of her slip slightly to emphasize the way her breasts pressed against the material. Her string of pearls swung back and forth; the only movement at all in the entire static scene. Gathering the free end up, he looped it around the fingers of one of her hands so it looked as if she had been holding them all along. Kristen continued to hold her frozen, mannequin-like, expression as Mitch tuned her pose, while inside she was getting a thrill each time he touched her motionless body. Done for the moment, he kissed her rigid lips lightly, feeling a little tingle himself from the boundary of the electronic field that held her in suspended animation.
Circling the tableaux, he captured a couple more angles of his ‘dancing mannequins’ before lifting them out of the grouping one by one to change their garments. Sometimes this was tricky, given the odd positions of their arms and legs, but the stretchy kind of fabrics helped. Why should Susan have all the flash? He wondered, as he was dressing Kristen in a different sequined outfit. For Natalie he chose a halter-styled dress with a cleavage-friendly keyhole reveal, while Susan now appeared in a dark vine-lace top with sheer, almost transparent, fabric for the short fluffy skirt. He had to exchange her silver hose for some dusky-colored stockings, along with matching black pumps. Within a few minutes, all three had been returned to their approximate places on the paper and he had completed his images of this new tableaux.
Resetting the music back a few jumps, he got it to resume just about where it had left off. Striding over to the console, he switched to re-anima mode and twirled the knob. Three times. His models began moving again, but seemed a bit confused.
"KEEP DANCING, GIRLS!!" he yelled.
Natalie was momentarily disoriented, as always happened when things were changed while she was a statue. The music seemed to skip a beat, but it was easy to get in time again. Kristen seemed to change costumes in an eyeblink. Hey, cool outfit for her! She thought, then snuck a glance down at her own new garment and smiled in appreciation. Trust Mitch to know what kind of look I’m trying for… Nat only had time to raise her arms above her head and twirl in place before she felt her body starting to freeze again. In front of her fixed gaze, Susan appeared, taking only a couple of steps more before she took a long pause and became an unmoving figure once more. In a few seconds, all three were living statues again.
Oohhh, that feels so good! Kristen gasped silently, amazed yet again by the sensations at the moment of immobilization. Keep doing even more poses – please – I can do this all day… She wanted to be able to touch herself, to prolong the erotic feelings, but her fingers could not budge from where they rested lightly on the waist of her dress.
Basking happily in the glow of her recent immobilization, Susan was counting in her head the number of dresses Mitch could put on them in this setting and was very, very contented. Yummy, she concluded, thinking as much about Kristen’s compact figure and delicious legs as she was about the number of times she was going to be frozen again within the next few minutes.
Mitch was also enjoying himself immensely, but realized the catalog
couldn’t use all of the frames he had just shot of these lovely ladies.
well, too bad… he decided, and kept right on shooting. I know the
girls are getting a charge out of this too! His choices of costume
for them went far past the dresses and such as he began to fit them with
other items of intimate apparel not usually seen on the dance floor. What
the hell; they’ll be dazzling no matter what they’re wearing. His models
did not complain either; they knew that each costume change was another
opportunity to be frozen. Eventually he started to get tired, then stopped
the music. This time when the models reanimated, he instructed them to
take their display poses and frozen them all in those positions for descriptive
images of the few garments they had not worn in the dance scene as well
as some coverage of the others. Sometimes the catalogs were so cut-and-dried;
at other times more whimsical. I wonder what Honey is looking for?…
It was time to do the corsets and corselets now – he knew these close-fitting body shapers did not fit properly unless the models were breathing and flexible when they were first laced into their restrictive garments. Of course, after being frozen their bodies remained stiffly molded until reanimated once more. Mitch planned to use this effect in an interesting way to enhance his images.
"That was SO Great!" Kristen announced as soon as she had stretched, catlike. "I love being a statue! Say, what was your favorite pose, Sues? Nat?" The newest model could not contain her bubbly enthusiasm.
"Oh, I couldn’t really say," the tall blonde said. They were all very – intriguing," she allowed ambiguously.
"Come on!" the younger one pressed. "You were frozen as much as I was; surely there was one pose you liked best."
"I don’t know what you mean…" Sue replied, not wanting to say that she had liked Kristen’s pose when she had been clad in one of those fishnet body stockings best of all. Partially out of respect for Natalie, part out of discretion for the younger girl’s sexual tastes, she said nothing more.
"You’re not going to get her to admit she was ever a living statue, even though she likes it as much as you and I do," Natalie volunteered. "She just likes to pretend."
"Pretend what?" Sue put in with a mock-innocent look. If anything, I like it MORE, lover, she thought silently.
"There will be time enough to catch up on gossip later, girls," Mitch interrupted, "Things are going pretty well, but I’m still a little behind, especially after I dozed off just now." He sipped at his coffee, which seemed to perk him up.
"What are we up to?" Natalie asked.
"Tight stuff next; corsets and catsuits." He told them. Mitch was looking forward to seeing Kristen in that purple number again.
"Ooh, Goody!" she blurted out, clearly thinking the same thing, then caught herself and blushed while Susan and Natalie chuckled knowingly.
"There are fewer costumes, but they take longer to change, so this set I’m not going to re-pose you between styles. Also, these outfits are a lot more expensive and will probably run as full-page ads. That means fewer group shots and more individuals."
"Cool," Susan commented. "More exposure for us."
"Let’s do it then! Time’s a-wasting. Take a potty break before dressing; you’re going to need all the empty space you can find."
"No Problem," Natalie boasted, "I can get down to a twenty easily anyday!"
"In that case, you should go last, just to see how well the rest of us can do beforehand," Susan countered.
"Hey; this isn’t a competition ladies!" Mitch threw in. "Take your breaks and pick out your favorite items, then come back here for fitting and posing. O-kay?"
"Alright," Nat grumbled good naturedly, knowing she could look the best in any cincher. Susan headed towards the bathroom, only to find that Kristen had already beaten her to it. In a few minutes, the trio had returned wearing their choices, along with matching stay-up hose and shoes. Taking turns, bracing themselves against a tall platform, they laced each other’s corsets up in between deep breaths and deeper exhalations. Slowly their waists became smaller and their hips and bosoms more pronounced. Natalie certainly did not need much more pronouncing since she seemed ready to burst out of her top.
"Whoof!" Susan exclaimed as Natalie tugged on the laces, "Gimme a second…" She ran her hands over the satin-and-whalebone garment that squeezed her torso, feeling how small her waist had already become.
"I thought you were going for a twenty-incher?" Nat commented cattily, starting to pull on the lacing again. "You’ve still got some gaps to snug up here."
"Not…today…OK?" the blonde gasped between shallow breaths. She knew it was always like this after a long time away; like she was about to pass out at any moment. Susan could barely move, even before Mitch’s machine turned her into a statue.
"Alright, slacker," Nat conceded as she tied up the lacing into a photogenic wide bow-tie knot, "but I expect to see you there by the next catalog shoot. We’re going to put in some hard time at the gym, both of us; right?"
"Yeah. Right" she agreed, with a sigh. Susan’s long torso had been transformed into a very pleasing hourglass; she walked over to the mirror to put on her opera gloves and check her hairdo once more. Gym time also meant more shared showers with Nat.
Meanwhile, with Mitch’s help Kristen’s altered figure had approached an almost Victorian ideal. She had not laced the corset that tightly the first time she’d worn the garment and even then it almost burst Mitch’s seams; now the corset’s effect was almost stupefyingly stunning to him. It was as if he could not keep his eyes off her.
Susan posed first, choosing a heroic – almost showgirl-like – stance that accentuated the enhanced curve of her hips and her long legs. As soon as she had been immobilized, Kristen decided it was payback time. She approached the motionless blonde model. "Oh, how careless of you to forget your own pointers!" she said, tickling Susan’s mounded breasts with her long-nailed fingers, teasing the nipples into arousal. "And," she continued, moving around to Sue’s back, "you’re hiding some of your assets behind here. Let me redo that for you…" she said while shifting the garters around to expose more of Sue’s nether cheeks. Within her stiffened body, Susan knew that turnabout was fair play, but in this case the pleasure she gained from the Kristen’s vindictive touches meant she had really won on both counts. She fell unconscious while smiling on the inside.
Natalie took a more open energetic pose, striding forward with her arms
at her sides held in graceful curves that were soon frozen into immobility.
She looked a little like a supermodel on a high-fashion runway. Mitch again
did the fine adjusting on her stance and expression before she became statue-stiff
and rigid, held in a moment of suspended time.
"I know, but wait a moment." She looked at the other two models, trying to gauge the interval.
"They’re both fully suspended…" he volunteered. "Neither one can hear you."
Kristen came closer, hips swaying widely. "I just wanted to thank you for taking me in, and for this wonderful opportunity, and, and… oh hell!" she said, concluding with a passionate kiss that Mitch resisted for only a few moments before succumbing. They fell to the floor, still locked in a tight embrace.
"Mphmmmm," Mitch tried to object, pulling briefly away. "We can’t do this right now." (smooch) "No Time" he protested, weakly, still kissing her lustily. Here was the girl of his dreams, in his arms, and he was complaining? Plus, she liked becoming a statue too! A statue, he thought, mind finally returning to the task at hand. With all his free will, he slowly disengaged from her embrace, leaving her curled on the floor, a very confused young lady. He stood, and she looked up at him, pleading with her eyes for him to continue. "We have GOT" (kiss) "to get through this photo shoot, Kristen; then we can take" (kiss) " whatever time we need." They both held the kiss until they ran out of air. "Ah. It’s not that I don’t think you are gorgeous or that I don’t have feelings for you." (smooch) "I do, on both. It’s just that this job has to come…first…"
"Maybe you think too much about the job," she sniffled, offended and feeling rejected despite his words.
"Maybe you’re right," he conceded. Offering her a hand up, which she took, he guided Kristen back onto the seamless and the other two silent statues that waited patiently there. "Let’s talk about that – on Tuesday." After the photo shoot was over.
"Alright," she agreed with a brief sunny smile, "But until then I want you to take the sexiest pictures of me that you’ve ever done! I’m going to spend every moment in suspension thinking about when we can be together."
"You’ve got it, girl… Now, give me a dazzling pose for a down payment!"
She strutted over to her position on the background, wagging her tail at him, then turned and posed in a half-crouch which she slowly rose from, hips grinding suggestively. It was like she was dancing in slow motion, running her Lycra-gloved hands over one another in a leisurely boogaloo rhythm.
"Ah, Kristen, that’s not quite what I was looking for…" Mitch said, while thinking, for this shot; otherwise she’s awesome! "Stand up a bit straighter, and look more towards the camera," he instructed.
After a few seconds and another slow bump of her hips, she complied, but now as she gazed into the impassive lens Kristen started making kissing motions in mime, ending each with an emphatic unvoiced ‘Mmm-wahh’ directed at the photographer.
He was receiving what she was sending, on all counts, as the bulge in his trousers grew in response to her seductive solo waltz. "Umm, Kristen, cool it down a little," he said to her, while thinking how beautiful and intelligent she really was. His model did not seem to hear him; maybe she did not want to. Even now, she began shifting her body slightly in an alluring reminder of her earlier expressive motions. Just an echo; a hint. Mitch realized he was getting pulled in by her and dragged his thoughts back to the work at hand. He reached over and rotated the dial on the console; Kristen obediently froze into position, a now very arousing living statue. Her pose, though incredibly sexy, was still rather inappropriate for the catalog pictures he needed.
Mitch walked up to Kristen and adjusted her pose to something more in keeping with the task at hand. This involved larger changes in the pose than usual; already her body was becoming very stiff. Or perhaps he had spent longer than he had thought staring at her when she was first immobilized. He got her hands placed where he wanted them, but by then it was too late to fine-tune her expression, which remained rigidly held in mid-mwah with lips slightly parted. Gad, she looks so good, he thought, trying to stay interested in the image he wanted to create. His mind kept suggesting different, more erotic, images to him.
Within her stiffened body, Kristen had stayed awake and watched through her motionless glassy eyes as he struggled with his emotions just inches away. As if it would do any good, she projected her fervent thoughts at him: ‘Make Love to Me – NOW!’ She had started to whisper just that phrase to him when she felt her body lock into position as she was immobilized. Now she couldn’t say anything, yet she was not feeling at all sleepy even after almost two minutes had elapsed.
Mitch thought that his rational mind had won out, until he grasped Kristen around her narrow waist in order to shift her position. It was a combination of her closeness, the look in her eyes, and the feel of his hands on her rigid figure that finally caused him to reach over and return the frozen kiss she extended. The moment their lips touched, he was lost. His grasp became an embrace as he held the immobilized girl to him. A memory of a lighting storm and another such interrupted clinch flashed in his mind, along with the ghostly echo of Kristen’s voice that seemed to whisper "I missed it…Make Love to Me…’ He chose right then to make a different image. Racing to the console, he spun the dial to unfreeze her, then ran back to continue his embrace so she would melt into his arms. Mitch could feel her lips turn soft and warm just as her body was able to shift more closely towards him. Kristen showed no surprise at his abrupt change of heart; it was if she had been reading his mind all the time. They continued petting each other for an unknowable time.
Then she started to lower herself to the floor, pulling him down with her. The perhaps one remaining part of his mind that was attentive to photography caused him to blurt out "Not here; we’ll smudge the seamless!" Together, they made their way to the nearby couch. Where they found the lingerie-clad sitting statue of Amy already taking up their spot. Mitch pointed out a place and they easily lifted her up onto a table-height platform, letting her stiff legs dangle over the edge. Amy would not mind it at all, he thought, then realized she would not have to ever know about it. Kristen pulled him back to the now-available couch and started to remove his shirt; the belt on his pants was already undone. He unclasped the nylon stockings and slid them down over her tan thighs and calves. She had already kicked off her shoes. Wordlessly, they shed layers of clothing, becoming ever closer to each other. Kristen turned over abruptly and Mitch wondered if she had changed her mind, then understood she wanted him to unlace the corset. Quickly the tight-fitting garment fell away and she turned back towards him, hot with desire and enthusiasm.
His hands flew over her naked body, exploring her mobile curves as thoroughly as he had done when she was a statue. This time, she returned the pleasure with every questing touch of her sweeping hands. His eyebrows arched in surprise as she grasped his stiff thrusting penis and, as if there had been any question, guided it downward towards her warm wetness. He entered her pussy smoothly and she let out a brief cry of joy before resuming her kisses. Her long-nailed fingers raked over his back just shy of hurting, as their two bodies became as one, moving together, synchronized in an erotic tango that built slowly, only to climax all too soon in an endless moment of orgasmic ecstasy. Her euphoric shout of satisfaction split the silence as she held the rapturous instant within her as long as she could before relaxing into his strong arms. Minutes passed without a single sound and they both basked in the affectionate glow of absolute bliss. Time was passing, but no one in the studio, from the tableaux of living statues to the two entwined lovers, paid it much heed. The present was far more important than any possible future.
Kristen heard the soft buzzing of a snore; the exhausted Mitch had fallen asleep in her arms. She kissed him back into awareness and said with a warm smile, "MMMmmmm; morning again. That was won..derful!" He merely smiled in reply, not quite awake yet, still lost in the experience that he had put off far too long. The sound of a birdsong outside pulled his thoughts from the feel of her naked body alongside his and the way they had – fit – together. Not only the physical coupling, but how they had seemed to know what would bring the most pleasure to each other. It was a… rightness… he had never known before with anyone, even Jeannie, when they had been lovers. Kristen had said it all: wonderful…. She lay right next to him; they could recreate their joined happiness in a quick minute. She knew that too as they gazed at each other. Time was passing.
Someone had to say it; Kristen said it: "We can’t stay here all day, you know. You still have to finish those pictures!"
"Riighht…" His tone seemed to say ‘but I’d rather not’.
"And your models are waiting patiently," she continued, pulling herself up to lean on one elbow, glancing over to the background paper where Natalie and Susan stood stock-still like display mannequins in their fancy lingerie.
"You’re out of costume, though." He commented dryly, pointing to the heap of colorful discarded garments on the floor.
"Easy enough to fix that, especially with your assistance." Kristen replied, bringing herself to an upright position, then standing in front of him. She picked up the corset and looked it over quickly. "I don’t think we broke anything…" Handing it to him, she walked towards the bathroom; freshening up time. Without asking him she knew there was no time for a shower.
"Seems fine. I wonder if we should send a note back to the manufacturer…." Mitch mused.
"…A testimonial?" Kristen finished. "We should; it sure worked for us!" she chuckled.
While she finished her washing-up, he dressed hurriedly and checked his watch; it was almost midday! Checking the strobes and cameras, he tried to keep from getting nervous again. Kristen came back to provide an effective distraction; she had straightened her copper-colored wig and had touched up her makeup. He marveled at the beauty of her nude figure as she walked, thinking again of which poses she would look best in as a statue.
She had lost some of her earlier shyness and understood now why Nat
stayed undressed most of the time when not modeling. Pulling the burgundy-and-black
corset back up over her hips, she realized this would be the third time
she had put on this outfit without yet having any pictures taken of it.
A testimonial is definitely called for here, she thought while looping
the cord through the line of hooks that ran up her back. Mitch came up
behind her and took over the lacing. Slowly, as she did her breathing exercises,
he cinched down the tight corset once again. This time it seemed to come
together more easily as he took up all the slack in the garment and tied
off the laces. Realizing she could not bend over without effort now, he
reached down and handed her the sheer black stockings one by one, then
helped her slide them up over her legs. Soon she was fully dressed once
more, exactly the way she had been some hours earlier. Almost.
Mitch picked up his camera. "Alright, gorgeous, you know what I’m looking for… Give me your best pose ever!"
Kristen did just that, shifting her weight slightly so she stretched one leg to the side, then tilting her head the other direction, placing one arm at her hip and the other behind her head. It was a showy, but not too suggestive, stance that emphasized her enhanced figure stunningly. She remembered to tense her leg muscles and arch her back to show off her chest. Arranging the fingers on her hand into a graceful sweeping gesture, Kristen took as deep a breath as she could in the tight corset and looked Mitch straight in his camera’s eye, shouting once more with all her thoughts and body language: "Make love to me again NOW!" Once more she felt her body lock solid into position as she was quickly immobilized. It was easy for her to imagine the tingle that passed through her as being from his caress; the amplified sensual feeling was incredible. Mitch analyzed her pose and decided she did not need any fine adjustments though he knew Kristen would have enjoyed them. Stiff and unmoving, she waited just a few steps away but this time he kept his mind on the images of her as they would look in the catalog pages.
Kristen felt utterly fulfilled. Even without being touched again, the memory of his recent kisses and loving embrace aroused her motionless body almost to another climax. Though stiff as a board she remained a very awake, and very happy, living statue. Then the flash of his strobes blinded her open eyes for a second as he began to capture her beauty on film for all time.
He hovered over her stiffened body, trying to record each angle and interplay of light and shadow, striving to bring her joy and elegance to others. Exposing almost a full 36 on her; he realized Kristen might just have the cover pose here; Susan would probably be upset for a little while. She’ll just have to get over it, he thought. Mitch also took some shots with a 6x7 just for insurance. Switching finally to his other statuesque models, he moved Kristen aside gingerly, then kissed her once more before lifting Natalie into position on the swath of background paper. She, too, looked incredibly good; as did Susan when posed in turn. But they each seemed to lack a certain – something – now, compared to Kristen.
For this series of outfits there was not as much coverage to shoot; they were only offered in a few colors. By the luck of the draw (or had it been unconscious planning?) Kristen’s style had a sea-green as well as an all-black variation. The former would look very nice in contrast to her light reddish-colored hair, he thought as he went about switching her costumes. Lifting her gingerly onto the angled changing platform, Mitch kept Kristen frozen as a statue, not wanting to risk reanimating his new girlfriend yet.
She smiled blankly up at the ceiling, completely frozen, as he exchanged the corset and tried to ignore his growing erection while he ran his hands over her stiff body. Though making love again would be incredible, and he was worried (worried?!) that would happen as soon as the next time they were alone, he was falling farther behind on the catalog series.
With an effort, he finished dressing her and shooting the next costume,
then focused on Susan and Natalie by way of distraction. Dress – position
– shoot; change – position – shoot. Kirsten waited, as lovely as ever,
a ticking time bomb in the form of a statue. After what seemed a long time,
the images of the corset set were at last complete.
"So, Karen, do you think I should have screwed her?" he queried. She continued to stare into the distance, so he supplied his own answers. "No, Huh. Well, I can understand your point. Kristen IS one of my models and, yes, I said I’d never get involved with them again." He sipped from his cup, having filled hers too. She did not seem thirsty and remained quiet and pensive. Mitch went on, "At least that’s what I told you when you had that crush on me before…" A glance at the frozen woman, who did not change her expression. "Don’t look so surprised that I knew; everyone could see. Anyway, Kristen is different somehow; at least she seems different to me. Who knows how things will work out? It could be just an infatuation on her part. You would not believe though how much she likes being turned into a statue." Karen remained still, not having blinked or moved the entire time he had been talking to her. Mitch stood up. "Thanks for letting me rattle on, Karen," he said to her, "that chat really made me feel better about what we’re doing. See you later." He walked back into the studio while she contemplated his words without batting an eye, yet another cup of coffee cooling in her rigid fingers.
Mitch had always planned to do the stretchy, body-hugging, lingerie next. Some time ago, he had hit upon the unconventional method of dressing his thoroughly immobilized photo models in their tight-cut Capri pants, mesh body-huggers, and catsuits after concluding the corset shots so the stiffened girls would retain their hourglass figures under the form-fitting outfits. So far, the results had been visually stunning, though he had no idea if they sold any more of the outfits because of his meticulous technique.
He set aside the golden catsuit for Kristen, of course. She had looked like a dream in it before and now as he tugged the fabric tight over her rigid figure the costume stretched to hug her amazing curves delightfully. The wide leather accent belt was now almost too long; he clasped it at the last notch, winding the excess material around the narrow curve of her waist and securing it with a bit of sticky putty. There were no matching platform shoes for this outfit so he decided to use the three-inch pair of heels she had worn before and then placed her on a small pedestal for the group poses. She stood there like a golden goddess. With red hair; improbably. That clashed with the gilded motif, so Mitch removed the wig and fluffed out Kristen’s natural golden curls. This combination was much better, he observed. Susan would have to be the redhead for this set, he decided, turning his attention to his other frozen lingerie models.
Natalie was soon dressed up in a silver lame’ jumpsuit with a center-pull zipper that he opened up just far enough to show off her impressive décolletage. A pair of calf-high silvery boots complemented her techno look nicely, though why anyone would be looking down there was beyond his imagination. He brushed out her hair so that it fell naturally over her rigid shoulders, then carefully tacked each curl in place with hairspray. Reflecting that it was so easy to get just the precise ‘look’ that he desired was so effortless when the models did not move around, he fussed over her for several minutes to achieve the effect he was seeking while Nat stood there as uncomplainingly as any display mannequin would. Finally she was ready; he placed her next to Kristen.
For Susan he picked a black spandex hip-hugger slacks and matching shiny-Lycra halter top ensemble. To help the skin-tight pants slide over her stiffened legs, he smoothed a pair of sheer suntan-colored pantyhose over their length first. However, the hose were not sandal-toed so he had to switch to a different pair of heels than originally suggested by the art director on the call sheet. Fortunately there were a pair of open toe mules in black that fit her and even showed off her pearly toenail polish well. Mitch gathered up her long blonde hair and tucked it under the rust-colored wig. Sue looked quite good in that hair color too; it contrasted especially well with the midnight hue of the clingy clothes. Standing her upright, he realized there was something missing and added a matching black hairband to contrast with her coppery tresses. Susan’s dramatically slimmed waist, held in place by her immobilized state even after the tight corset had been removed, was shown off to excellent effect by this outfit, which gave her a wonderfully enticing profile. The open midriff of the costume also revealed the smooth button of her navel and flat, muscled, abdomen. He worked for several minutes to be sure no wrinkles interrupted her smooth silhouette.
Together on the seamless, the three statuesque models formed an enticing tableaux of silver, gold, and black. Mitch saw no trouble in making these outfits look fetching to the shoppers. Flash-click-whirr. Not a blink; their expressions remained just as he wanted them. He experimented with shifting their positions slightly between shots and swapped them around, even taking a few shots of only their three shapely behinds, framed tightly. One of his best compositions was taken from overhead, looking down on the three frozen models as they lay head-to-head on the paper, a study in arrested beauty. Then came a line-up where they gazed offstage left in echelon formation, shot with high-contrast lighting that threw their excellent physiques into an almost bas-relief. Even though it had taken a while to get the shadows to fall properly, the sculptured effect was well worth the effort.
He filed that setup away in his mind, thinking it would also work well for a nude study. The flashes seemed to blur together, as did their outfits. Nat switched from silver to blue to psychedelic swirls in what seemed an instant while Susan’s outfit turned white, then hot pink, in seemingly the blink of an eye. Kristen stayed mostly with her favorite catsuits though she also looked gorgeous in a black sheath number with rhinestone accents that swirled sinuously down her motionless body like a frozen wave of diamonds. After what seemed like only a few costume changes later, but in fact almost twenty, the Lycra section of the rack was finished. Those were always Mitch’s favorites. At last he seemed to be making some progress, but the clock was still winning.
Moving to the immobilizer console, Mitch selected Natalie, then Kristen, and then Susan and reanimated them one after another almost simultaneously. They relaxed in position, looking around in delight at each other to see what costumes they now wore. Kristen looked down at herself, saw the elegant evening gown, and gasped.
"Wow, Mitch, I cannot believe you let me wear this one! I thought for sure that Susan would get it." She gazed at Mitch with open surprise and joy. The dress was only a metaphor for how she was feeling. Impulsively, she ran up and hugged him.
"Well, girls, I did mix things up a bit. I did shoot a few with each of you wearing that one so it will be up to the editor to choose which one he likes best." Mitch said, though he preferred Kristen in that particular costume as well. Natalie did not appear too shabby either, clad in a cream-colored faux leather jumpsuit that seemed cut to fit her perfectly. Susan had finished up the series with a coppery metallic one-piece swimsuit that seemed to match her new hair color amazingly. Mitch brought them up to date on the progress of the shoot with a smile. "We’re almost finished, so I thought we could do a few snap poses then take a break. After that, here are only the slips and nighties to finish and then…we’ll be…DONE!"
"Super!" bubbled Susan as she stretched. Natalie was taking a drink
of water and Kristen just seemed content to watch Mitch as he changed the
film in one of the cameras. She could not have hoped for things to turn
out any better. The photographer did not notice her loving gaze; he remained
intent on completing the assignment.
"Sure, Mitch," Natalie replied with a smile. Susan nodded, while Kristen was almost beaming. She had not done this before but it sounded like a blast. "Let me go first?" the dark-haired Asian girl said, leaning forward to expose her cleavage and looking up at him. Nat seemed to pause in that position, then it was clear she could not bat an eye; she had become a living clothes form.
"OK, you got it!" Mitch replied from over at the immobilizer console. "Who’s next?"
Susan leaned over to look at the frozen Natalie, glanced back at the camera in mock surprise as she too stiffened into place.
"I’m not sure about this?" Kristen asked as she approached the unmoving pair from behind. "Should I just put my hand here….." she began, as she reached out to touch Natalie’s shoulder.
"That will be fine, Kris," he commented drolly as she too instantly became a still-life. She hadn’t had a chance to change her expression and so was looking at the camera innocently. He circled the frozen trio and shot several frames of their tableaux. Then Mitch revived Natalie and Kristen, leaving Susan immobilized, holding her astonished look. "See," he chuckled, "that’s how it works. Go ahead and play off of Susan now…" he continued.
Natalie took the cue and mimicked Susan’s pose; then there were two statues standing like mirror images. Kristen followed suit, pretending she was terrified at finding her friends fixed in place took a half-step backward. Freeze!! His models now looked as if they were a living pulp magazine cover; a scene frozen in time. After more photos of their static drama, he reanimated his models jointly. By now the three were getting into the spirit of the high jinks. Picking up a prop vase, Kristen posed like she was the centerpiece in a fountain as the other two crouched lower, becoming figures of nymphs frolicking in the imaginary waters. Freeze! They were again statues. Flash-click-whirr. Mitch fooled with the pose for a couple of minutes, adding silvery Mylar streamers from the vase, then creating a thick dry-ice fog to hide the floor so they looked like they really were immersed in water.
They awoke to find themselves standing on a cloud; they could not see their feet. "Far Out!" Exclaimed Kristen, as Natalie giggled. Susan, after a moment’s contemplation, laid down into the fog and closed her eyes; letting the vapors flow over the curves of her prone body like mists around mountaintops. "She’s frozen," Mitch called from the console, "now you two try it!" Soon all three had become mock feminine topography for a few endless moments. He shifted to a softer umbrella reflector so the fog appeared almost transparent. The images he took were incredibly stunning in their ethereal beauty.
Reanimating Natalie first, then Kristen, he instructed them, "Lean Susan up and prop her against a table or something; I want to try another diorama idea." Sure enough, she looked enough like an Egyptian mummy posed so stiffly with her hands at her sides that Natalie picked up on the notion, grabbed a magnifying glass from Mitch’s lightbox, and started examining the ‘artifact’ when she, too, froze in place. Kristen was not dressed for high adventure, so she took the role of a rich patron; locating a goblet with which to toast the ‘find.’ It took only a moment for her to join the impromptu tableaux. Mitch shot a few frames, changing the lighting and the amount of fog, then whimsically swapped Kristen for Susan as the object of the frozen Natalie’s examination, then partially unzipped the side closure of her black gown to reveal an S-shape of tanned bare skin.
Their poses were kind of a turn-on he reflected, but they should be showing off a wider selection of the catalog’s wares.
Realizing the zippers went down both sides of Kristen’s gown, he quickly removed her dress as she leaned against the table. Finding a particularly sexy ‘merry widow’ outfit that Kristen had modeled before he decided to give her a new look before the next set of shots. Slipping it on her motionless form was tricky as he threaded the garment over her upraised arms. She stayed in position like a flawless mannequin as he carefully wrapped her in the lacy fabric and made sure the brassiere fit properly and the satin abdominal panel was aligned straight. The frilly outfit tied in back so the lace became molded to her outstanding shape. Maneuvering the panties up over her hips was easier, as were the matching silk stockings; now she was starting to look like a true lingerie model. He removed the goblet from between her frozen fingers and substituted a white rose. Kristen looked superb! Placing Natalie at her side, still with her magnifying glass, he took more frames. Susan rested quietly to one side, out of the shot.
Sue seemed almost like an alien artifact in that stiff pose, Mitch reflected, then decided to enhance the effect with a lightly-dusted coat of coppery make-up and some pixie glitter. Much better! Adding a few very loose items of metallic jewelry to enhance her look, he stood her up on the background paper again and positioned his other models. Natalie still fit the scene, especially with the pith helmet he had added to her costume, but now Kristen was out of place. The inspiration struck. She could be a maid!
He lost no time in changing the costume on his frozen sweetheart and exchanging her hose for seamed fishnet stockings, then fussed over getting the dark line to run precisely straight up the backside her shapely legs and over her firm buns. Adding the lace wristlets, apron, and hair ruffle completed the costume. However, there was no way he was going to get her to hold the feather duster correctly in that pose. Keeping the other two frozen, he reanimated Kristen briefly. "Time to change roles; now you’re part of the hired help. Go over and dust that alien artifact, could you?" He indicated where the transformed Susan stood.
"Wow, she looks cool," she said while assuming the position, remembering to lean forward for a better display of her cleavage. "Sometime maybe you could make me up…" Kristen paused when her body froze into immobility. …like that, please? Her thoughts concluded. Or do me up in fake marble, like those buskers at the fair…
"Super pose, honey; it’ll just be a few shots more," he replied before she fell asleep, then started to take his images. Her pose is perfect, almost ideal. She’s almost a work of art! He thought, then set about making her look even more like one. Pulling a six-inch-high platform over to the background, he carefully lifted Kristen up and placed her in the exact center of the pedestal as if she was a hyper-realistic statue. Well, she really IS! He reflected, while making sure he had not disturbed the line of her dress.
After positioning Natalie so she stood closer to the side of the ‘artwork’ and removing her helmet, Mitch turned to Susan. After wiping off most of the metallic make up, he gave her a hologram-emblazoned tunic to wear, along with a pair of tan fishnet dancer’s stockings which displayed her long legs excellently. Now she’s an eccentric socialite art maven. Reanimating her for a short time, he handed her a tape measure as a prop, then froze her again as soon as she had acted out trying to find Kristen’s height. It was a different kind of scene, but interesting. Now, that looked more like it! After a few additional photos, some with fog but most without; he cleaned up, eared the fog away, removed Kristen from the pedestal, changing her costume to one of the stretch panne rompers, and removed her duster. Now it looked like she was hailing a cab. There is still some potential in this still scene, he mused, so after changing Susan’s and then Natalie’s lingerie to match Kristen’s to give a different look to their tableaux he made a new set of photos. Now it was a cadre of very sexy looking ladies, frozen still as statues. Maybe they can use this one in the section where you send in your measurements! He thought.
They were a little surprised when their costumes changed so dramatically in the blink of an eye; Susan dropped her measuring tape, which wound itself up and then spun on the floor. It was silly, but everyone then started laughing as if it were the funniest thing in the world. Eager to be frozen yet again, his three models hovered about excitedly, waiting for his next inspiration.
"This time, stand at attention; salute!" he suggested. They did and immediately became stiff and mannequin-like as he posed them close together, side-by-side, then leaning in a pile like toy soldiers. Kristen barely had enough time to fall asleep before she was awakened for the next set of poses. He had her stand up on the short pedestal again and strike a supermodel stance. Freeze!! Natalie and Susan picked up a spare camera each and made as if to take her picture. They too froze in place as Mitch performed the actual photography of his lovely statues. Swapping positions, Natalie took center-stage and Kristen and Susan became the frozen photographers, then Susan took her turn in the ‘spotlight’. She looked good, to be sure, but the scene needed pizzazz.
Swapping her frilly teddy for a wine-colored satin bra-and-panty set improved it some. On a whim, Mitch detached part of Susan’s outfit, leaving her topless, and took a few more shots of her that way before removing it entirely, leaving her standing there naked but not aware of it. By sliding around the unmoving figure of Kristen he was able to cover most of Sue’s exposed breasts though her pose was wrong to hide the standing figure’s pubic bush. Natalie suddenly found herself gazing up at a nude statue as she revived. The others remained frozen in place. It only took a moment for her to guess what Mitch was up to; after all they had done this kind of scene before too. She smiled knowingly at him as she moved higher up to allow the camera she held to shield her friend’s crotch. As soon as she felt her muscles stiffen up she knew she was in the right place. That was a cute trick, Nat thought, then felt a sudden cool breeze as she was reanimated without any of HER clothes on either. Susan was now a nude having her picture taken by two other naked ladies. Kristen "Eek-ed" a little when she was revived but then laughed too. Susan, as usual, did not comment on her sudden lack of costume and simply stepped down from the pedestal with a regal bearing.
"Can we have some time to freshen up now?" she asked, while examining her fingernails nonchalantly. She half expected him to turn her into a statue again in that stance, but she remained animate.
"Sure;" Mitch responded, "take five. No, take fifteen, then we’ll do
the remaining sets." All three ladies stepped off the paper.
"Don’t you ever leave her alone?" Natalie remarked cattily when she walked into the studio. "I mean after all, she just wants to have a little rest, after all that hard posing!" She was kidding; he could tell by the playful tone of her taunting voice. "Why not find out what – Kristen – is doing?" Nat finished in a whisper as she pointed at the Immobilizer controls.
Talking the hint, Mitch stepped softly over to the console and spun the dial, knowing that wherever his latest model was she too would be immobilized in her tracks within a few seconds. He turned to almost bump into Natalie, who had crept up beside him.
"Boo!" Nat giggled, when Mitch jerked a little.
Together they began searching through the house for Kristen. She wasn’t in the bathroom; Susan had taken her turn there and they could hear her humming a tune through the closed door. Kristen wasn’t in the bedroom, either, or in the corner of the studio where Jennifer stood in storage mode. Amy did not have any frozen companions on the couch. Only Karen occupied the table the kitchen, rigidly posed while lifting a coffee cup to her lips. The garage was similarly vacant. That left – outside? Mitch and Natalie looked at each other in sudden realization before turning together towards the front door.
Sure enough, Kristen was standing in the middle of the grass, frozen solid; turned into a very fetching life-sized lawn ornament. Immobilized in the midst of a stretch, her pale skin bathed in the orange-crimson twilight hues looked almost like carved stone. He could see she was losing some of her inhibitions, for she wore not a stitch of clothing. A glint of light in one of her upraised hands drew his eyes to a goblet half-filled with water which she probably had been drinking from moments before she became a living sculpture. It was an interesting and enticing pose.
"I think you should leave her that way," Nat said, having delayed coming outside for as long as it had taken to pull on a sweat-shirt that barely reached to the bottom of her tush. "Let her be the signpost for your studio and our wonderful gallery of statues. Kind of like shopkeepers used to hang out their shingles in olden days…" She was smiling; but how much did she mean it?
Kristen had been completely astounded by the chilling tingle when it had immobilized her. Then she remembered the long range of the device and a comment from one of the models about being posed as a garden statue for some party. Now it was her turn, though she had only stepped out for quick moment; a breath of fresh air that now would last who knew how long. As she started to fall asleep, Kristen heard the creak of the door opening followed by Nat’s bubbly chuckle and Mitch’s "A-hah!" She hoped they wouldn’t leave her here all night….
The glint in the glass Kristen held started to grow a lot brighter; Mitch turned to see the headlights of an approaching car, which seemed to be turning off the road onto his long driveway. "Get inside, Nat, and tell Susan we’re going to be having company!!" He yelled, spurring the model back into the house. For a few seconds that seemed like hours, he wondered what he was going to do with Kristen. Then he decided he couldn’t do anything and followed Natalie into the studio.
"OK, girls, someone’s coming and I have to turn you into statues until they go! Any ideas? Time’s a-wasting," he asked.
"Um, I can be a pin-up," said Susan. Let me find that prop phone I saw around here somewhere…"
"All right, do it, but be quick!" He looked around. "Natalie? What are you doing?" His other model had removed her shirt and was already perching on top of a table-height pedestal, completely nude.
"I’m almost ready; will be by the time you reach the console." She looked over and shot him a grin. "You said ‘statues’ before so a statue you’re going to get!"
"What about your pubic hair?" He shot back. Outside, he could see the lights of a car pulling up in the driveway and stopping.
"Leave that to me… are you ready? Do it!" Nat replied as she swung one leg over the other in an exaggerated cross that hid any sight of her crotch. She arched her back, resting one hand lightly on her right breast and held the other in the air in what looked like a balletic stance. Closing her eyes, she pursed her lips just as she felt suddenly unable to move in the slightest way as the immobilizing field enveloped her posed figure.
"How about you, Sues?" Mitch barked.
"Just a second, please," she responded. Stepping onto the low pedestal that Kristen had used to look taller, she raised the phone to her mouth and wrapped the cord through her fingers. Smiling slightly, she was about to pose with an upward glance that would look so sexy when her body started to stiffen; she only managed to flick her eyes up towards Mitch before she, too, became as still as a wax figure.
"Sorry, Sue!" apologized Mitch from the control panel. "I couldn’t wait…." Just then the ‘bing-bong’ of the doorbell sounded; they had truly run out of time. Trying to calm himself and not seem too harried, Mitch went to the door, flipped on the porch light, and opened it. Then he simply gaped at the person who stood there, speechless in disbelief.
"Remember me, Mitch?" The stylish lady said to him. "It’s me, Jeannie, your old assistant…" she said with a pleasant smile.
"Ah – ah – of course!" He finally managed to babble. "How – could I
forget?" His mind was racing; how did she find me, why is she here,
and most importantly, did she seen my models before they were turned
into statues again? "Please, please, come in; Jean. I’ve forgotten
all my manners." Holding the door open with one hand, he waited until she
"Sit down; let me get you something to drink," said Mitch, indicating the couch with a sweep of his hand.
"A glass of mineral water will be fine. No bubbles," Jeannie replied as she sank into the cushions. It was then she noticed the fine piece of sculpture that formed the base of the coffee table. It looked like a female form, carved in cherrywood. The effect of the pose displayed under the glass was quite strikingly beautiful.
Mitch returned a few seconds later, holding a bottle of clear liquid and one of amber. Sitting, he handed the first to Jeanette and kept the beer for himself. "To old times!" He toasted.
"Old times…" They clinked bottles and drank briefly. Then Jeanette continued, "…and to new prospects as well."
"Hear, hear." Mitch replied, then drank again. The cool fluid seemed to calm his nerves some. "Well then, what brings you to this part of the woods?"
She smiled, a little strained. "As luck would have it, there was a meeting close by, at the retreat. I remembered you had moved out here from the City; Myra was able to find your address and phone on the net. So hear I am!"
"Yes, here you are…" he chuckled uneasily. "You probably should have called first. I might not have been here."
"I did, but there was no answer; I left a message. Anyway, it was so close I just wanted to see your house, even it there wasn’t anyone around. It IS out in the middle of nowhere, isn’t it? Quite a change from your previous life, indeed. I’m not sure I could stand being all alone this far from civilization."
"Well, I’m not…." Mitch was about to say ‘alone’ when he stopped himself. Jeannie didn’t know about his living statues and he was not about to tell her. "….uh… by myself most of the time. There’s a couple of friends from the nearby farms who stop in, and of course the models. There aren’t any right here now, though."
"Yes, the models. I’ve seen your name in some of the publications and of course you still have your studio set up." Jeannie said, picking that moment to stand once more and begin wandering around the room. "In fact, it looks like you’re getting ready to shoot a layout. Something for a catalog?" She prodded.
"No, not yet," he fibbed, "just taking some test shots with these – mannequins." They had come up to where Susan stood stiffly on her platform. He nudged her and she wobbled slightly. "I use them to try out exposures and sometimes costumes or layouts. Like now…"
"I can see why you’d be attracted to models that never lift a finger," Jeannie allowed, stepping slowly around the immobilized Susan and examining her closely. "There was a time when you yelled at them if they broke their pose. Now you don’t have to worry about that. By the way, this is an excellent rendering. The eyes, in particular, are so well done they almost look alive. And the detail in the body is outstanding! Is this one a Greneker?" She asked.
"Um, no; not exactly. She comes from a more – Eastern – artisan. Russian, in fact. Yes." He was getting a bit uneasy.
"Another secret hidden from the West!" She laughed. "I can just see some plot to infiltrate our designers and their store windows with these foreign mannequins who listen in on our conversations. They could almost make a movie about that!"
"Maybe so. I haven’t seen a good film in a long time."
"You should get out more," Jeannie said obliquely, moving on through the studio to where the taller pedestals holding Natalie and Amy were grouped. "But you have so many beautiful ladies right here, I can see why you don’t want to leave." She ran her hand down the smooth frozen thigh of Natalie, then gazed at her torso and breasts for a long moment." They both seemed perfect, like the other figure. "Did these come from the same source, too?"
"Yes. They all did." He took a deep breath. "If I tell you something, promise you won’t laugh?"
"Of course, Mitch; I’m still your friend, after all." Jeannie replied soberly.
"See… I’ve been kind of… collecting… these mannequins." Mitch ventured, "The first one was so unique; so incredibly well finished... It was almost like she was a real model who had stopped moving somehow," he continued, edging closer to the truth. "In fact, I have even given them names. This one’s Natalie, and the standing one over there is Susan. Say hello to Amy," he said while moving towards his other living statue. "She’s still in costume from the last lingerie catalog…"
"I see," his old assistant mused, "but you’ve gotten somewhat careless with her and spilled coffee all over this costume…"
"It has been so busy that I haven’t had the time, really. Maybe once I get these catalog photos turned in…" Mitch cut off abruptly when he realized he had blurted out a contradiction.
"You should get started, then!" Jeannie replied, "Need some help? I can give you a hand moving them around…" She put down her half-empty bottle on the pedestal next to Amy, who continued to stare into space with an concerned, eager, expression.
"NO! Ah, I mean, things are not ready just yet. It will be tomorrow before I start shooting in earnest." He started to feel a blush covering his face. "And, uh, the models aren’t scheduled until then…"
"But we could start with these mannequins, couldn’t we?" Jeannie was not to be discouraged. "For some of the full-length shots I’ll bet you no one could tell the difference. Here; let’s change the clothes on this one – Amy, isn’t it – and give it a try?!" She started to lift the frozen model down from the pedestal, then sagged as the full weight of the immobilized figure became obvious.
"Wait; let me give you a hand with her!" Mitch shouted as he rushed over to take some of the burden. While Amy was not hefty in any sense, her unmoving body retained its normal mass as opposed to the lightness of a hollow fiberglass mannequin figure. Together they eased Amy down and sat her on the coffee table, right on top of Cindy’s head. In a way, it was a very erotic pose, if only Jeannie had known the truth.
"Do you fill these things with sand?" Jeannie gasped. "Whew!" She walked back and sipped from her water again.
"They are supposed to be able to stand or sit on their own, without supports…" Mitch said weakly.
"Now, see what I’ve done! Her hair is all mussed up…" Jeannie went back to Amy and started smoothing her hairstyle, running her fingers along the side of her head near her right ear. "Oho! What’s this?" She pulled back the light brown hairs to reveal the small immobilizer receiver clipped to Amy’s ear. "This is an odd place for any jewelry, unless this ‘mannequin’ is part Bajoran." She jibed. "Let me take it off for now; doesn’t quite match her other one anyway…" Jeannie reached for the device slowly.
"Please, stop, Jeannie. Don’t touch that; it isn’t an earring." Mitch said, begrudgingly.
"Oh? What is it then? More cloak-and-dagger from Russia?" She said with a straight face, and a twinkle in her eye.
Mitch turned and stared at her for a beat, before Jeannie cracked a
smile. He felt the sinking feeling that he was being set up again. Twice
he tried to say something, only to gasp like a bass out of water. Jeannie
had always been one step ahead.
"You knew…" He gasped.
"Yes – sort of." She admitted. "I kind of pieced it together."
"Lots of things. A couple of days ago, I bumped into Honey Carstairs at a gallery opening. She’s got a different name now, of course, and a whole lot more money. You would not believe the amount of cosmetic work that woman has had done to herself! She doesn’t appear too badly, really, just kind of synthetic looking." Jeannie seemed ready to go into more small talk when Mitch’s fidgeting brought her back to the main topic. "Anyway, we were sipping wine and watching the catwalk models parade, when your name came up. Well, not really. She mentioned she was having a problem with, her words, ‘some damn fussy perfectionist photog’ that was late on assignment. I said I’d worked with someone in the past like that; mentioned your name. She probably thought I was psychic."
"Most good photographers are meticulous…" Mitch said in weak defense.
"Yes, dear, but you’re better at it than most! Don’t get me wrong; I like your work, and I’m fond of you. Just the way you are." Jeannie hugged him briefly to deflect some of the sting of her criticism.
"OK, but what about my models, er, mannequins?"
"Oh; Honey said that the catwalk act reminded her. You see, in this show there was a gimmick where they’d pause the music frequently and then the runway models would freeze in position until the music started again. Some of them were quite good at it; gave the people a chance to look closely at the originals and the press to get their pictures without stepping on anyone’s feet. Honey remarked that the models in some of your images looked exactly like that; frozen, I mean. She even said that some of them seemed to be holding the same precise pose between costume changes, like they were really mannequins instead of live women. I said that you always wanted your models to look picture perfect and hated it when they moved without permission. Remember that girl, Emily, who was doing lingerie work until you frightened her away?"
"That was a long time ago, Jean." Mitch was going to say that he’d mellowed over the years, when he realized he had not changed at all. There was just another way now to achieve his visions. "Go on…."
"It was Honey that brought up the Neiman’s shoot, when she modeled for you, and said out of the blue ‘That man won’t be happy until he can turn all his models into statues,’ or something along those lines. I realized she was right, and not only about that."
"Now you’ve lost me…"
"Well, a couple of days before that, I saw that spooky fellow you used to hang out with on the subway. I recognized him but could not place the name. He knew me, though, said ‘hi’ and tried to chat me up, or pick me up; I don’t know which. Along the way he blurted out ‘ So how’s old Mitch doing with his frozen girls?’ I just nodded, and said ‘fine’ but he must have caught the puzzlement in my eyes because he immediately changed the subject. The next stop he left, it didn’t seem like he had planned to."
"So you knew at that time."
"Mostly. It was an article on the Web that finally made his words ‘click’, a piece on electronically induced catatonia that spoke of some research done in the eastern bloc during the cold war. I could see it was mostly speculation, but the phrase about ‘allowing people to be placed into suspended animation indefinitely’ that stuck in my mind. As I sat there at the atelier, watching those models freeze in place for a few seconds over and over again I knew that if there was a way to do that to a person for a longer time, you’d have found out about it and done it. I know how determined you can be when you have your sights set on a goal. And, of course, your friend’s comment kind of confirmed it. From that point it was a simple matter of getting your address from Honey and scheduling myself out to see you – and here I am!" She smiled briefly.
"You weren’t just ‘in the area’ then?" Mitch by then had drained his beer and wanted another, badly.
"No, that’s a little white lie on my part; you caught me. But that’s
not important, really. I found you and your models and your new technique."
She looked across at Amy who had not moved an millimeter the whole time.
"So stop calling them mannequins and tell me more about what this suspension
gizmo is like. This one looks absolutely stiff as a board!"
"White wine; Chardonnay if you have some….?" She called out, not certain if he had heard her. Following him into the kitchen, she immediately saw there was another of the mannequins – statues – models – sitting calmly at the table as if nothing at all had happened to her. This figure had a cup of coffee raised partway to her lips and was dressed in a very low-cut French maid’s livery. "Hello, there, who are you?" Jeannie asked the motionless lady, as if the statue was going to answer her.
"That’s Karen," Mitch supplied, "she doesn’t model for me much, but she likes to hang around." He handed a goblet filled with pale straw colored liquid to his onetime assistant. She seemed to be taking this all in rather calmly, he thought.
"She LETS you do this to her??" Jeannie said incredulously, sipping on her wine. It was somewhat sour, but drinkable.
"Sure; in fact, she rather likes being frozen. They all do." Mitch returned to the studio, followed by Jeannie, leaving Karen to almost-sip her coffee in peace.
"How many mann—uh—models are you keeping now?" Jeannie strolled around the floor, gazing at the immobilized figures of Natalie and Susan in a new light, as Living Statues. They seemed happy there, even though their expressions did not change.
"Seven, total, including Jennifer; who I’m not doing anything with right now. She’s over there in the corner, in storage mode." He pointed to a still figure, standing at attention, covered by with a sheet of transparent plastic like she were only a dress coming back from the cleaners. "Amy, Karen, Natalie, and Susan you’ve met. That leaves Kristen, who you saw earlier…"
"That wood nymph in the yard? She must be getting awfully cold by now; it’s after dark. We should bring her inside!"
"Yes, we can, but Kristen is not feeling any discomfort. When her animation was suspended, everything was put ‘on hold’, not just her movement. In fact, she is probably sleeping comfortably right now. They do that after about ninety seconds after being immobilized. Then, time does not pass at all for them, until they are fully revived. It’s like they are hibernating in place."
"Hmm, interesting. I can see that the earrings work like receivers; they seem to have quite a range." She had circled around to Susan again and was examining her slip-covered body carefully. Touching the motionless model’s skin yielded a slight electric tingle, almost like an unshielded light cord. Jennifer wondered if that could affect her, too. It was eerie how stiff the model was holding, especially now that she knew they were not mannequins or waxworks. Susan stared unblinkingly past the woman, her clear green eyes looking almost glassy in their stillness. Being a statue looked – unnatural – even when she knew how it was accomplished. "You sure they’re not in any pain?"
"Absolutely! Here, let me revive Sue and you can ask her yourself…" Mitch slipped over to the control console, selected the proper unit, and twisted the dial. "Susan should be waking up anytime now…"
Which she did with a quick couple of blinks and a relaxation from her pose. She stood up straight and noticed Jeannie standing there for the first time. It was not the first time for her that someone had seemed to appear out of thin air. "Hiya; are you another one of Mitch’s new girlfriends?" Stepping down from the pedestal, she met the older woman with a surprisingly intimate hug instead of a handshake.
"Actually, Jeannie is an associate of mine from many years ago, when I worked back in the City."
"How do you feel?" Jeannie said, when Susan had backed away. Jean was not used to such casual familiarity.
"About what?" Susan replied. "Oh, you mean my rest break; very refreshing! But I think we’ve got another set to shoot, so excuse me for a moment. I have to check my face. Here; hold the phone!" She walked off jauntily, towards the dressing mirrors.
Jeannie came up close to Mitch and whispered in his ear, "Does she even know she’s been standing there still as a statue?"
It was Mitch’s turn to smile. "Sure, but she never lets on. It’s just a – thing – we do. Trust me, she enjoys being frozen a lot." He moved towards the door. "Let’s retrieve Kristen now; she’s new and can tell you more about what it’s like first hand." Leaving the light off, they stepped out into the darkness. There were no streetlights here, and the nearest house was over a mile away. Only a crescent moon shed any illumination at all onto the ghostly scene. Crickets and other night critters clicked and buzzed in the shadows. It had become chilly out, too.
They found Kristen just as she had been frozen, posed in mid-stretch, her skin turned pale bluish-white by the silvery moonlight. Together they carried the motionless model back into the studio and set her down facing the background paper. Jeannie noticed that, while the model’s frozen body had felt cold outside, it was now almost the same temperature as her own hand.
"Stand back here for a moment; she might be a little startled by the change of scenery…" Once Jeannie had joined him at the console, he pointed out the controls as he revived Kristen. It looked very simple to operate.
Kristen was surprised; she gasped involuntarily when she realized she’d been tricked. "Mitch, you sneaky devil," she began while turning to face him. She hadn’t counted on becoming a lawn ornament when she had stepped out for some nice fresh air. "I’m going…" she began when she caught sight of the unknown woman standing next to him. "…OHhh!!" Wrapping her arms around herself, covering breasts and sex in a classic pose of embarrassed modesty, she cried "Who IS she?" Her face reddened.
Mitch handed her a terrycloth robe, which Kristen rapidly wrapped herself in. "Meet Jeannie," he replied, "she’s someone I used to work with; she was my assistant." He left out the part about their being lovers, too. "Don’t worry, she has seen plenty of naked models. It doesn’t bother her in the least."
"But it bothers ME!" Kristen said with a pout, tying the sash tighter around her waist. "You shouldn’t have played this kind of prank on me – I was just taking a break. Then I couldn’t move a muscle. You just left me there!"
"Believe me, this isn’t what I had planned to do," Mitch explained. "It was only supposed to be for a minute or two, then Jeannie showed up and there was no time to revive you. I apologize for embarrassing you."
The young woman scowled at him for a few long seconds, and then slowly walked over to Mitch and hugged him tightly. "That’s alright. I was mostly alarmed, until it was clear what you were up to. Anyway, I got a longer break didn’t I?" She headed off towards the kitchen, noting in passing, "Hey, that’s a cool pose you’ve got Nat in; was it her idea? She really looks like an art sculpture that way… Have any hot coffee?"
"See if I need to make a fresh pot?" Mitch called after her.
She returned a minute later, cradling the cup between her small hands to cool it, then sipping cautiously. Coming up to Jeannie, she offered a handshake. "Sorry for being such a prude back there; it’s just that I’m not completely used to all this…" she said.
"You mean being turned into a living statue?" Jeannie asked.
"No; that’s fun!" Kristen replied with a grin. "I mean all this posing and dressing, not to mention having people blink in and out right in front of your eyes. I’m flattered and all that Mitch wants me to model for him, but it’s still all so new…"
"I was a model before I started helping Mitch; it’s not so tough. You just have to let loose, enjoy yourself, and simply look your best. If you’d like, I can give you some pointers." Jeannie like the girl’s sincere innocence.
"Thanks, I’d like that." Kristen admitted. "You say you’ve modeled for Mitch before – did he freeze you too?"
"No, that was after my time, but tell me: What is it like to be immobilized?"
"It’s…" the young woman paused, while a warm smile spread across her features, "the coolest thing in the world. First there’s this little jolt of electricity which feels like a tickle but after you can’t move at all. It’s stimulating too, like someone touching you, uh, down there," Kristen stroked herself to illustrate. "Then your skin gets all sensitive, in a sensual way, and if Mitch tries to pose you or anything it’s feels sooo yummy. I mean, maybe it’s me but not being able to move makes it even more super."
"Wait a minute – you said he poses you? I thought you were unable to move?" Jeannie probed.
"I can’t, on my own, but someone can change my position, a little, for about a minute. Then my body becomes too stiff to budge, and I start to fall asleep. Mitch says I’m not supposed to have dreams, yet I can remember some doozies. Mmmmmm!" She became lost in her own intense memories and closed her eyes, smiling. "You should try it for yourself," Kristen concluded.
"Maybe," was Jeannie’s uncertain reply. She was startled by a ‘thump’ on the floor and turned to see the third living sculpture standing near her, no worse for the wear, and not the least worried about modesty. Natalie had been revived by Mitch while the other two were chatting and had just jumped down from her display pedestal.
"Hi; I’m Nat. What brings you here?" she said, approaching. "I see you’ve met Kristen already." Together they brought themselves up to date. Natalie thought Jeannie was pretty cool, for an older woman.
"I see you girls have gotten acquainted," Mitch interrupted. "However, we’ve got some more photos to shoot so I can send them off with the courier tomorrow. "I think there are only a couple more set-ups to go…"
"Yay!" cried Kristen joyfully, speaking for all the models. It had been
fun, but a lot of work, too. She and Nat moved to the dressing area to
join Susan, who was strumming some chords on her guitar to pass the time.
Leaning over, Kristen whispered in Natalie’s ear, "I owe you one," and
followed her words with a mischievous grin.
"Panty-hose." Mitch returned, "Then a few pick-ups and we’re done. The samples are over on the dresser, there. I was thinking of just using Susan and Natalie for this one…"
"Yes, they have better legs for that kind of product. The young one, Kirsten, is quite pretty but somewhat short. She has excellent proportions, though, it’s just that next to the others…"
"Agreed. I had to do some fudging earlier. By the way, it’s Kris-ten." He turned to his models. "OK, ladies. Nat and Sue, get into something that leaves your waist and hips bare, a short cami or tank top is the style I’m looking for. Kristen, I’m going to need your help on these next shots, so get dressed in something comfortable. They all started dressing, while he spoke to Jeannie again. "Now, this may seem strange to you, but I usually pose them only once and then immobilize them for all the rest of the frames. I’ve found it’s easier and faster to do costume changes that way, like they really have become display figures.
"Understood, Boss," Jeannie nodded. Now she knew why the images Honey had seen looked so similar. Picking up her old job as if she had never left it, she slipped off her heels, walked onto the background sheet, and began adjusting the strobes. Legs needed a lot of light and definition , she remembered, and a strong backlight as well. Mitch glanced at her once, saw what she was doing, and left her alone. It’s good to have her back on the team; he smiled.
Natalie was ready first, followed soon after by Susan, dressed as he had suggested. While they slipped into their first pair of hose, a lace-patterned stocking in black and white, his eye was caught by Kristen. The girl certainly did like her catsuits! This time she had chosen a sheer black mostly-transparent cabaret lace body stocking which coated her curves and made her blonde hair look like spun gold in contrast. She had added a pair of patent leather black pumps that shaped her legs nicely. All she needs now is gloves and a hood and she could be the world’s sexiest Ninja, he thought. While this had to be her idea of a compromise of a fashion from being naked, Mitch found the effect of her midnight-shaded body to be much more alluring than complete nudity. His attention wandered.
Kristen smile at him, seductively. She knew exactly what she was doing.
"Ready, Mitch." Susan called. "Mitch?" Suddenly the strobes triggered and the whirr-up of the motor drive sounded three times in quick succession. This jogged the infatuated photographer back to the present. Jeannie had decided to load his spare camera with a fresh roll of film.
"Ah, OK, girls. You know the drill. Four-inch slingbacks, get over on the background between the lights, let me know when you’re ready…" He moved towards the console.
"We’re ready. Jeannie put two marks on the floor to stand on; that’s a really good idea!" Natalie said immediately.
"Thanks, Jean." Mitch acknowledged. "Alright, then, stand with your weight on your left leg, slide your right one out ahead a little and just use it for balance. Tip the toe a smidge. Right! Now, raise your arms and cross them over your heads; that’s the way to go… Don’t worry about your tits, they’ll be cropped out anyway." A shame, he thought absently; Nat really has a nice set. "You’re looking good, extend those legs a little, breathe in, and give me a nice wide smile! That’s it – now, one moment," he said while activating the immobilizer. Natalie was the first to experience the transition between living model and living statue this time. It was almost imperceptible as her body became completely stiff, devoid of the tiny adjustments in balance that anyone makes while standing. Susan only had time for a few extra blinks before she also turned rigid and mannequin-still.
"Wow!" Jeannie exclaimed; it had been the first de-animation she had ever seen. As much as she had talked about it, the effect remained mysterious and a little scary; a manifestation of modern sorcery. "That’s really something…"
Mitch made a couple of adjustments, mostly twisting their waists slightly to make them appear slimmer, then asked Kristen to bring him the ‘hot’ camera. Jeannie, standing next to him, handed it to him an instant later. "Uh, thanks, ladies," he said, wondering if there was any kind of jealousy going on. Kristen stayed near him, shifting her weight every now and then to catch his attention. She looked like she wanted something. "Yes, Kristen, what is it?"
"Oh, not much. Just that Natalie’s face looks, you know, a little shiny. I brought a powder puff; let me touch her up?" Without hesitation, she started out for where the immobilized model stood gazing vacantly into space.
Mitch and Jeannie both said "Wait!" at the same time, but it was too late, or she had simply ignored them. Daubing Nat’s face with the powder strongly enough to raise a flowery-scented cloud around the figure, she made sure that some of it had gotten into the woman’s nose. Payback time, Kristen thought, before returning to where Mitch stood.
"Sorry; I didn’t understand," she apologized coyly.
"Right…" he replied. "Just don’t help anymore, unless I ask you to." Shifting a small, bare, strobe in front of the frozen models, he checked to see that the extra light brought out the shiny highlights in the hose. Rapidly taking several frames as he swept in front of them, he completed the first style almost before Kristen had noticed it.
"OK, ladies; Natalie gets…." He began.
"…The suntan ones, and Susan for the smoke. I’ve got them right here." Jeannie finished for him. With the help of Kristen, she found it took only a couple of minutes to lift one of the frozen models off the backdrop, pull off their shoes and old hose, smooth on the next pair, replace the shoes, and get them back onto the paper before Mitch got upset. Susan and Natalie, of course, weren’t aware of anything at all while serving as living pantyhose forms. They held their poses as precisely as any statue would.
Style after style, the hose shots went by quickly. Seamless and traditional; vine lace and patterns; pantyhose style and suspender. Even adding garter belts and panties for the thigh-highs and hemmed stockings did not seem to slow them down any, nor did the occasional odd hybrid Lycra-trimmed styles or the myriads of colors. For the first time in the last few days, Mitch finally started to relax some, knowing this assignment was going ‘in the can’ tonight. Together with Jeannie, they made the shots as the list of styles and colors shrank away to nothing. The hose were finally finished!
Mitch released the two models for a break and to get into the remaining costumes they needed for the pick-up shots. A couple of seconds after being reanimated, Natalie let out a rafter-rattling ‘Ahh—Ahhh—Choooo!’ as she cleared the powder from her nose. So that’s what Kristen was doing! Mitch finally realized. In a way he was happy, since being playful meant she was feeling more at ease, but the model’s antics couldn’t delay the completion of the catalog shoot. That wasn’t too bad a prank, he concluded.
Jeannie had the garments hanging by their dressing mirrors by the time the two reanimated pantyhose models had finished their awakening stretches. Kristen, oddly enough, had plenty of coverage and needed no extra shots. She hovered about, occasionally helpful, but mostly distracting to Mitch as she seemed to prance around in that dazzling bodysuit. He didn’t seem to mind, while her flirtatious frolics were blindingly obvious to Jeannie.
The one thing none of them paid attention to was the clock; it wound inexorably onward, marking out the hours into the night and then the early morning. Mitch started to get tired, but a fresh cup of coffee from Jeannie perked him up again. She herself appeared to have boundless energy as she always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
Too tired to undress once more, she asked, "Mitch, how about putting me in storage mode, right here, for a while. Then when it’s daytime again I can clean up and get some refreshment." He agreed and as she stood upright, hands at her sides, she felt the welcoming sense of stillness passing over her body. For a few seconds she was no longer tired, no longer worried about how she was standing, because the was no way to change it anyway. As she slipped off into a deep sleep, she was grateful for her good fortune to be able to become a living statue in this unique studio.
"That’s one down," the photographer said as he and Jeannie lifted Natalie to a place over by the wall. It was an unusual pose for her, just by being so normal. Most of the times she wanted to be frozen without knowing precisely when; today he guessed, had been a bit too long even for her. He knew the longer immobilization would give her some rest, too.
Susan completed her extra shots wearing a pearlescent Lycra mini dress that was mostly composed of holes and straps. After struggling while trying to put it on, Mitch froze her in place and then was able to pull the stretchy fabric more easily over her firm, rigid body and adjust it before unfreezing her. She struck a few impromptu poses and Mitch decided to try a few more. Flash, freeze, flash flash. Sue liked being turned into a statue and sort of egged Mitch into taking some additional shots just so she could be frozen yet a few more times. Then he caught on, telling her no more were needed.
"I’m going to hit the sack, then. Care to join me, Jeannie?" she said, brazenly.
"Uh, no, not now." It was the first time she had truly been taken aback the whole visit. Jeannie felt her cheeks getting warm.
"Suit yourself. G’night, Mitch, everyone." Susan moved off towards the bedroom, then paused as she walked past the statue of Natalie standing near the hall. "Goodnight, lover," she purred, bending down slightly to reach Nat’s lips. Her hands fell to grasp the frozen woman’s waist. "Ummmmm……….." Susan raised one leg up towards her back and felt the cool slippery sensual sensation of nylon sliding over nylon. Then she became silent, and still, so gradually that anyone watching might have missed the transformation as she changed from an animate to a immobile figure before their eyes. The pair of statues, posed together, made for quite an arousing sight.
"Now, Mitch," Jeannie said, "I’ve got only a few things more to ask, and then I will be on my way as well." She walked over to face him and put her hands on his shoulders, their first real contact all evening.
"Wait a sec; where’s Kristen?" He glanced around the studio, finally seeing her resting against a unipole stand, silently watching the model who was posing on the background sheet. Except that there was nobody there; Kristen continued to stare pensively at nothing at all.
"Oh, I turned her off hours ago. She was starting to look a little saggy…"
"You activated her Immobilizer? Without asking me? That could be dangerous." He grumbled, irritated.
"Relax! It was simple, you showed me yourself." She explained. "What’s the danger? So, she’s a statue again. If you wake her up slowly she may not even notice. She was almost dozing off on her own."
Mitch saw now that Kristen had that glassy, rigid, stare and total lack of movement of someone who had become a living statue. Even casually posed there, she looked incredibly attractive in her sexy, sheer body-hugger. The curve of her back through the transparent fabric blended beautifully with the swell of her hips and buns. Yes, she was excellently proportioned, he thought.
He realized Jeannie had meant no harm. Besides, it was pretty safe. "That’s OK, Jeannie, you always were the audacious one."
"Sometimes. Any more of that rotgut wine left?" Jeannie smiled.
"You can finish it. I’ll stick to the hops." A few minutes elapsed while they refilled their glasses, found a snack or two, and returned to almost collapse on the couch. Jeannie leaned back into the cushions, propping her feet up on the circular plate glass top of his coffee table. The pinkish-orange of a new sunrise was starting to color the window outside. Watching the spectacle, they both said nothing for a while. It was quiet and peaceful; the shoot was done, all of the models had returned for now to being statuesque still-lifes posed rigidly in place. Mitch was the one who broke the spell. "So what was it that you wanted to ask me?"
"Those Immobilizer gizmos; how many do you have?" Jeannie mused.
"Eight, overall; one that’s not being used. Why? Do you want to try it?" Mitch suddenly felt alert, even after being up all night. Introducing lovely women to the joys of becoming living statues was something he was always ready for. Jeannie had been another lady he had always dreamed about having grace in his gallery, motionless and naked in all her natural beauty. "Now?"
"Not so fast!" She held up a hand to restrain him. "I’m, I’m – intrigued; let me say that. How long does it take to set up?"
"Just a few minutes, really, Jeannie. All I have to do is enter your weight into the controls, adjust the earpiece, and have you put it on. Then, you’re ready to go… or stay, actually." Once again he made to get up; she held him back.
"I said, not yet, Mitch." Once again, she smiled. "It’s a big decision for me. You see, I’m not getting any younger…."
"You look great! Honestly…"
"… any younger, I was saying, and some part of me wants to continue on longer, without getting any older. It sounds so silly, actually; so self-important, so vain."
"Not at all," Mitch allowed, "So you want me to put you in a long-term suspension?"
"I suppose that’s what you’d call it." This time it was Jeannie who blushed. "One week out of the year is all that I’d wish to be active. The remainder of the time, you can stand me in the corner for all I care. Remember to dust me every now and then…"
"Hey, I wouldn’t do that," He said. "I mean, ignore you, that is. I am still an artist, and you are a beautiful woman. Your static display should be something remarkable…"
"Don’t get your hopes up, Boss; I haven’t decided to do anything yet." She yawned, luxuriantly. "Except possibly go to sleep. I’ve got a bit of a drive back to my hotel yet to go." Jeannie slowly rose to her feet, searched out where her outer garment had been laid, and put it on.
"You could always sleep here. Uh, on the couch, I mean." Mitch babbled. After all these years she continued to affect him.
"No, I think it best not to. I have a lot of thinking to do, and plans to make. I might not do it; after all." Her voice said otherwise.
"That’s your choice, Jean." Mitch walked her to the door.
"I know. Goodbye for now; you’ll be hearing from me, one way or another." Jeannie reached up and kissed him, not on the lips but on the cheek. "Thanks…"
"You’re very welcome. Thank you for helping with the photos, and all."
"No problem, honestly; I owed one to Honey and this has been really fun working with you again. I’d forgotten what it was like. Plus, you’ve given me some hope for the future…"
"Come back and pose for me; please?"
"We’ll see. Bye!" She turned to go, then turned back. "Oh, by the way, I’m going to give your name to a niece of mine who has done some modeling recently and needs an update for her portfolio. Her name’s Beth," she said, with another twinkle.
"What kind of modeling, exactly?" He asked as she walked away towards her car. Mitch trailed a few steps behind.
Her final words that day filled him with renewed anticipation and delight. "As a ‘living mannequin’," she chuckled. "I think you two might just hit it off for some reason…"
Mitch watched quietly as Jeannie drove off into the light of the new
dawn. He wasn’t really tired anymore and wondered idly if Kristen would
be keen for a few more poses.
------ the saga continues ------