On the train she felt conspicuous, as if she drew attention to herself with every movement she made, as if everyone must know where she was going. They couldn't, of course. She was dressed, as instructed, in ordinary clothes. She was a woman on a suburban train. Her destination, and her occupation when she reached her destination, were no more known to her co-passengers than theirs were to her.
She had thought that she would remember exactly where to go when she got off the train, but she again found the exits from the station confusing and was glad she had brought the street map with her again. She soon got her bearings and found the way to Almond Street without difficulty.
The morning was hot and the sun beat down on her as she walked. She wished she had worn a hat. A few cars passed her but she saw only one other pedestrian, a middle-aged man in dark trousers and a t-shirt walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. She stopped when she reached Almond Street and looked around. There was a warehouse opposite her, in the interior of which she could see people moving. They paid her no attention.
Her self-consciousness increased as she turned into Almond Street. Her legs felt unsteady and she could feel her heart pounding. The people in the warehouses and offices must know the business that was conducted in number 31, and she could not be the first girl they had seen walk towards it unaccompanied. She forced herself not to look over her shoulder, not to hurry, not to stumble.
When she reached the building she turned into the forecourt and walked to the entrance at the side without hesitation. She opened the door and walked inside.
The same woman, Rita, sat behind the counter. She was on the telephone. She smiled brightly and made a sign indicating that she would be finished the call in a moment. "OK," she said, "Tuesday, 9.30. See you then, Emma. Bye."
She put down the phone and stood up. "Hi, Sarah," she said, smiling again.
"Hello, Rita," said Sarah. The thought flashed through her mind that Rita must have made a point of checking her name before she arrived so that she could use it when greeting her.
"So it's the stills session for you today, with Sally. She's lovely. All the girls like her. You won't believe how stunning you'll look. Are you happy for me to take you up straight away? Sally's already there and probably finished setting up by now."
"I guess so," said Sarah.
"You've got your ID again?" asked Rita. She led the way up the stairs. "Anna will want to check it again. I know you're the same person, but you can't be too careful."
"Yes." Sarah felt she was being very monosyllabic, but there didn't seem to be any call for anything more expansive.
"There are a couple of other girls up there, Sylvia and Matilda. They're both English, travelling together. They're doing a video this afternoon, but they're here now to talk about it with the team. You'll meet them all after the shoot. They're heaps of fun."
"Thanks," said Sarah.
As they mounted the stairs Sarah heard female voices and some laughter. Rita led her down the corridor to Anna's office. As they passed an office Sarah saw in it a pretty young woman listening on the telephone; she looked at Sarah and smiled and waved as she walked past. Rita tapped on Anna's door and walked in. As Sarah followed she heard more female laughter emanating from another room further inside the building.
Anna was seated behind the desk, but she put down the pen that had been in her hand and stood as they came in. She smiled at Sarah and said hello.
"Sarah's got her ID and she's bang on time," said Rita. "A good start. I'll leave you to it. The phone's been mad all morning so I'd better get back."
"Thanks," said Anna. She looked at Sarah, top to toe, and smiled. "Why don't you sit down and I'll check you ID again and then I'll take you into the studio."
They both sat down. Sarah opened her bag and took out her passport and drivers licence. She handed them to Anna, who examined them carefully. She compared the information on them with the form that Sarah had signed last time.
"Fine," she said. "It always is, or always except for once, actually. Well, you're here, so I guess you haven't had too many second thoughts."
"I've had lots of second thoughts," said Sarah. "But I'm here."
"We need to decide how far you're going," Anna said.
Sarah answered without hesitating. "I'll do the whole thing," she said. "Explicit with a toy."
Anna looked at her. "Are you quite sure?"
"Yes. I've thought about it. That's what I'll do. It's $1000. I need the money."
"Is the money the only reason?" Anna was looking at her closely, observing her face.
Sarah avoided Anna's question. "If I didn't need the money, I wouldn't do it. I've thought about all the implications and what it will actually involve. I think I can handle any consequences."
What she said was true. She knew that when these photographs were taken they would be released on the internet and they would be all over the world forever more. They would be given captions that would describe her as a slut and refer to her tits and her cunt and her ass. Men would look at her while they masturbated. That was what happened with pornography.
Anna continued to look at her and asked her question again, more directly. "Does the idea excite you?"
Sarah thought for a moment, returning her look. "Have you ever done it yourself?" she asked Anna.
"Did it excite you?"
"Yes," said Anna. "It did. Certainly the first time. You get used to it."
Sarah was still reluctant to be completely honest. She said, "I'm not sure if it excites me. I think it might."
The truth, the whole truth, was that she knew she was aroused. She had been aroused increasingly from the time, before the interview, when she had found the website and seen the images there. When she had imagined herself posing -- exhibiting her sexual organs -- in the positions she had seen there. Exhibiting them and being photographed exhibiting them. Anna seemed to know this.
There was a pause, and the two women continued to look at each other. Then Anna ended the moment.
"OK," she said. "The full Monty it is. $1000 in your purse when you leave. I'll take you to the studio. Sally's there already."
The studio was large room, about 25 feet square, Sarah guessed. There was a kind of stage set in the centre of the long wall opposite the door. The stage was furnished like part of a living room; there was a pale yellow sofa with an armchair at one end of it and a standard lamp at the other, and a square of beige-coloured carpet on the floor in front of the sofa. The wall behind the sofa was a creamy white and a picture hung on it; a large abstract. To either side of this stage were various types of lighting equipment: powerful-looking lamps, rectangles of silver reflective material and even an umbrella of the sort that Sarah had seen in films about photographers. There were a great many electrical cables. The room as a whole was quite dark, but Sarah noticed that the lamps and reflective material were aligned to concentrate light on the sofa. Centre stage, she thought.
Sally was not much older than Sarah, perhaps 25. Like everyone that Sarah had seen in that building she was pretty but not especially so. She was dressed sensibly in jeans and a short-sleeved t-shirt; she had a slim figure and medium-length brown hair. Seen on the street she would look like any other girl who worked in a shop or an office or a hospital or a government department.
"So you're a modelling virgin?" she asked. She smiled at Sarah.
"Yes," said Sarah.
"No stripping or anything like that?"
"It doesn't make much difference except that if you've done it before then I don't need to tell you what to do," said Sally. "About half the girls are completely inexperienced. I like it."
"I don't really know anything about what to do except that I take my clothes off."
"You've looked at some of the sets of stills?" asked Sally.
"Well, you'll have seen what we do. The first thing is lots of shots of you just sitting or standing or walking, smiling, looking serious, everything," she said. "I want you to try to show you being yourself. Then, after you're relaxed, maybe we'll undo a couple of buttons on your shirt and go from there."
"A striptease," said Sarah.
Sally had been busy adjusting lights, but at the word "striptease" she turned to glance at Sarah.
"Well, yes, if you want to put it like that. But it's not only that. I like to take lots of shots fully clothed and lots of shots of your face. This is going to sound like bullshit, but I really do try to present a portrait of you as a person, not just a body. Not just because that's what Sunny Girls is selling, but because that's what I like to do."
"What about the explicit part? And the toys?"
"Well, that's pretty direct," said Sally with a short laugh. "That's sex."
"I didn't bring a vibrator or anything," said Sarah.
"Don't worry," said Sally, a note or irony entering her tone for the first time. "We have plenty here. All clean and ready for use."
The thought came to Sarah's mind that the women she had spoken to that morning, Rita, Anna and Sally, were pornographers. All of them.
"So you tell me where to sit, where to look, all that sort of thing?" she asked.
"Yes. That part's not hard. Hopefully you won't find any of it hard. Do you want to use the bathroom first?"
The question came suddenly. "Are we going to start now?"
"If you're ready. Why not?"
"I think maybe I'd better go to the bathroom."
The bathroom really was a bathroom, not just a toilet. Sarah carefully locked the door, then used the toilet and flushed it. She didn't pull her knickers up; instead, she took them off, then went to a hand-basin, lifted up her skirt and washed her crotch and dried it as thoroughly as she could. She managed to avoid splashing water on her skirt. Then she put on her knickers again and looked in the mirror.
As far as she could tell, she looked normal. She had obeyed the instruction she had received from Anna not to put on any makeup, but thankfully her skin seemed to be relatively blemish-free that day; no pimples or blotchy patches, just the mole on her left cheek. Was she pretty? Was she beautiful? People had said both of those things to her, but she didn't know whether they were telling the truth or just being nice to her. Her face in the mirror was just her face when she looked at it, neither beautiful nor ugly. On the few occasions when she had unexpectedly caught sight of herself in a mirror at a party or in a shop she had thought that she looked reasonably normal -- except once, when she had caught sight of herself laughing and thought that she looked, what, silly? Goofy? But maybe that was what everybody thought when they saw themselves like that.
She unlocked the door and returned to the studio.
Sally had turned on several of the lamps, including the standard lamp next to the sofa, and was concentrating on adjusting some settings on the back of a large, very professional-looking camera that was slung around her neck. There were two other cameras on a small table on the side wall of the studio.
"When I've taken the first few I'll show them to you," she said to Sarah. "You can see what you look like as a model."
Sarah found that her mouth was dry. She realized that she had no idea what she was supposed to do first. "What do you want me to do?" she asked.
"Sit down on the sofa first," said Sally. "In the middle."
Sarah sat down as instructed. The sofa was now brightly lit from both sides. She was herself brightly lit. Sally was looking at her closely, cocking her head at different angles and moving first to one side and then the other. She put the camera up to her eye.
"Ahh, sit up straight, hands in your lap, all prim and proper," she said. Sarah obeyed. "Now look at me." Sarah looked at the camera. "And a nice smile?" Sarah smiled.
She jumped as the camera clicked loudly. "Sorry," she said, and was startled again as the camera clicked again. She remained still and smiling as it clicked a third time.
"We're on the way," said Sally. "No stopping now." She took two more shots, coming in closer and getting down on her knees.
She took the camera down from her eye and inspected the screen on the back, then got up sat down next to Sarah. Sarah felt the warmth of her body. She showed the screen to Sarah. "There," she said. "Your first shot as a professional model."
Sarah looked at the tiny screen. She saw the image of herself, from head to mid-calf, sitting looking straight back at her, her surprise at the first shot clearly visible on her face. Sally showed the next few images and now Sarah saw herself smiling, not relaxed, but composed.
Sally moved a little away from Sally on the sofa and raised the camera. "Smile," she said. The shutter clicked. "Look straight ahead now." More clicks. "Now back at me, a bit more serious." More again.
"You've got the most beautiful grey eyes," said Sally. "Sensational skin."
Sarah smiled at the compliments and Sally took a few more shots of her face. Then she moved back further so that she could take the upper part of Sarah's body.
"Can you just pull that shirt a bit tighter?" she asked. The shirt was of white synthetic material with buttons down the front. Sarah straightened her back and tugged on the bottom of the shirt, straining it against her breasts.
"Great," said Sally. She took three shots from the sofa and several more from about five feet and to the right of Sarah, then moved in closer. She took a shot of Sarah's chest from the side, close up, then stood up. "Looks like you've got a couple of handfuls in there," she said. "Undo the top button?"
Sarah swallowed. She undid her top button. The top of her cleavage was exposed. She smiled up at Sally. Sally smiled back and took two shots of Sarah's face and the tops of her breasts. "Stripey bra," she said. "Pretty."
She got up from the sofa and moved one of the lamps and altered the angle of one of the silver reflective sheets. Then she knelt down on the floor about five feet in front of Sarah. Her head was level with Sarah's chest.
"OK, a bit less prim and proper now. That's a nice loose skirt, so get up and sit yourself down again in the same place, but legs crossed and up on the seat under you. We'll get those knees apart and a little flash of knicker."
Sarah stood up without hesitation on the seat of the sofa, crossed her ankles and sat down carefully, knees splayed open and the hem of her skirt at mid-thigh.
Sally looked through the viewfinder, then put down the camera. She got up. She moved one of the lamps closer and adjusted the angle of the reflective silver sheets that were at floor level on either side of Sarah. The effect was to concentrate light on Sarah's crotch. Sally knelt down again directly in front of her and raised the camera.
"Put your hands down on the seat on either side of you and a big smile for the camera," she said. Sarah obeyed. She knew that what Sally was seeing through the viewfinder. Her heart was pounding again and her mouth was dry but she smiled deliberately at the camera, deliberately and flirtatiously. The shutter clicked twice.
"Matching knickers," said Sally. "I like candy stripes. They go well with that skirt, too." Sarah's skirt was light pink. "Now a bit closer."
She shuffled forward on her knees until she was very close to Sarah. She sat back on her heels and put the camera to her eye. The lens of the camera was now between Sarah's knees and pointed directly at her crotch. This was it, really. There was no longer any pretence that these were pictures of a girl. This was where she began to have photographs taken of her cunt. Well, that was what she was here for. The shutter clicked. Sally moved a few inches closer still. Two more shots.
"Lovely," she said. Now we've done the warm-up with the pussy and tits. Time for a bit of bum. Get up on your knees and turn around and face the wall. Knees apart, not too wide. Now, put your hands on the back of the couch on each side of you, and look over your shoulder at me."
Sarah looked around and smiled. The shutter clicked. "Stretch your arms up towards the ceiling," said Sally. Sarah obeyed again and felt her skirt pulled higher. She smiled at Sally and arched her back, pushing her bottom towards the camera. She swung her hips slowly to the left and the right. The shutter clicked several times.
"Great!" said Sally. "You're getting the hang of it, I think."
Sarah lowered her arms now, unbidden, and grasped the sides of her skirt a couple of inches above the hem. Still looking over her shoulder, still smiling, she lifted the hem a little. Click. She poked her tongue at the camera and swung her hips to the left; she raised the skirt a little more. Another click. To the right and a little more. Two clicks.
She lifted the hem right up, exposing the whole of her knickers, and arched her back again, feeling the thin cotton of the knickers tight against her bottom. Sally was taking close ups of her buttocks now. With the bright lights on her the knickers would be semi-transparent, Sarah knew. The cleft between her buttocks would be visible through the cotton.
She leaned forward now and rested her elbows on the back of the sofa. She parted her knees further and thrust her backside as high and as far back as she could. She knew that shots that Sally was taking: not just the bottom, but her crotch, the knickers tight against her cunt. She had seen the position many times. She was moist down there. She hoped that there was no damp patch visible.
"Great," Sally was saying again. "Great! You're a natural, I think. Fantastic!"
Sarah laughed. Could she really be laughing? she thought to herself. "Thanks," she said. she reached her right hand behind her. She rested it on her buttock, then slipped it around between her legs and gripped her cunt through her knickers.
A jolt shot through her from her clitoris and made her catch her breath. She had not expected it and was thankful that Sally was still very close and could not have caught it on the camera. She realized suddenly just how aroused she was.
Be careful, she thought. But what she said was, "Now let's give them a bit of actual flesh," and without waiting for an answer moved her fingers to the edge of the gusset of her knickers. She hooked two fingers under it and slowly pulled it across her crotch.
She showed her cunt to the camera. The shutter clicked repeatedly.
"Just hold it right there," said Sally, shuffling rapidly backwards so that she could take the whole of Sarah's body. "Now, look at me." Sarah looked at her and smiled. "The guys love to see the girl that goes with the pussy," said Sally, shooting again now.
Sarah laughed. She was the girl who went with a pussy. "Want a spread now?" she asked Sally. Was she really doing this? Did she really ask that question?
"Take it away," said Sally. "Whatever you like. You're doing just fine."
Steadying herself with the front of her body against the back of the sofa, Sarah reached both hands around behind herself. She tucked the gusset of her knickers into the crease between her crotch and her leg, out of the way. She put one index finger on each of her lips. She gently drew them apart. She could feel how wet it was down there. Her cunt opened like a flower. She felt the air on the flesh inside. She felt full of joy. She smiled and the shutter clicked.
Sally came in close again and took pictures of her cunt from distance of no more than eight inches; Sarah knew that the camera saw deep inside her. "Mmmm," Sally said, "Lots of yummy cum. Want to have another look now?"