Well, I'm certainly not getting in front of the camera. Alton might have fun with it, but he's probably too effeminate for what the photographer wants. Micah, on the other hand, would probably choke me into unconsciousness again if I summoned him for something like this, so that only leaves...
"I'll call my friend Gabriel," Nathan said. "I'm sure he'll be..."
"Fine," Marq cut him off. "Do it."
Nathan stepped out of the studio to make his so-called call. The last time he'd summoned one of the angels, he'd written his name out on a notepad, so he felt a little silly as he traced Gabriel's signature in the air. He wondered how quickly...
"Jesus Christ!" The writer jumped and twisted around to face him, catching a glimpse of Gabriel's wince as he recovered from being startled. "What is it with you angels and..." His brows furrowed. "What's up with your hair?"
He'd gotten used to the silver white hair with a black streak to the point that he almost didn't recognize him with solid black locks. Gabriel, however, only shrugged. "Well, you summoned me to a public place. My appearance isn't exactly natural, and though I can't do anything with my eyes, at least those can be explained away with contacts." He smiled. "What do you need?"
"A favor." Nathan rubbed his neck. "Long story short, there's a photography crew in there short one male model, and I need you to fill in for him."
The angel's smile vanished. "What?" He sounded almost angry. "You summoned me to... Nathan, do you realize the gravity of this? What you have just done? I can't fill in for..."
"Is this your friend?" Marq, impatient to begin shooting, peered his head out the door. His eyes widened just slightly at the sight of the other man, quickly scanning him over as a smirk spread across his face. "Oh boy. Famina's gonna like this one."
Ignoring his warnings, Nathan turned to introduce him. "Gabriel," he said, gesturing towards him. "I hope he's a suitable replacement, given the circumstances."
"Don't repeat this, but I think he'll work better." The photographer stepped out of the room to offer Gabriel his hand. "Marq Or. I'll be shooting you today. Ever done any modeling before?"
Gabriel gave him a rueful smile, glanced at his hand, and bowed his head politely instead. "I'm afraid this is a new experience for me," he said quietly.
Marq laughed and shrugged, lowering his hand. "Ah, don't worry. Famina will walk you through it. She's broken in plenty of other models, male and female. You'll do fine. What's your day job?"
"I'd... rather not discuss it..."
Nathan couldn't help but wonder why Gabriel was so nervous. He'd always seemed very friendly and outgoing before, with none of this apprehensive shyness. Then again, the only time he'd really been out and mingling with other people was Halloween, and he really hadn't seen much of him then. Maybe he just didn't like the idea of being photographed.
"Anyway, you need to go get changed," Marg said as he turned back towards the studio, holding the door for them. "You're about Fabrizio's size."
"I ask only one thing." Gabriel sighed and glanced at Nathan. "Only he can be present to help. I'm not comfortable with other people in the room."
The photographer shot Nathan a curious glance, then shrugged again. "Fine by me. Try not to take too long; we're already behind schedule."
He gave them quick directions to what should have been Fabrizio's dressing room, instructing the stylists who'd moved in to help that he wanted to do this on his own. Nathan figured that Marq would have normally objected, but since he was desperate to get this shoot done, no longer cared. Gabriel was silent until they were both inside the room and the door was shut.
The angel closed his eyes for a moment and drew a deep breath. "Nathan." The writer shivered, Gabriel opening his eyes to stare furiously at him. "You are a damned idiot. What were you thinking, summoning me for this? Have you forgotten who I am?"
Nathan recoiled, backing into the vanity. Gabriel hadn't raised his voice at all, but his scathingly severe tone was far more terrifying. Nathan shivered again and opened his mouth to speak, but the angel wouldn't be interrupted.
"I have told you before, Nathan: I don't like games. This is a trivial thing to call me for. Childish. Ignorant. We gave you our signatures so you could call us when you needed us, not because you're too shy to put yourself in front of a professional photographer."
"I... I thought you'd do better," Nathan explained meekly, realizing how pitiful that excuse was now. "I mean, I'm no Fabrizio, and if he'd showed up on time..."
"Fabrizio is dead." Gabriel closed his eyes again, running his fingers through his hair. "Killed on the first at three-nineteen in the morning."
"Oh my god..."
Both the angel and Nathan winced as they looked towards the door. They'd forgotten to lock it and were now staring face-to-face with a stunned Marq, who'd gone in to check on them. His mortified gazed turned slowly towards Gabriel, fear and suspicion lighting in his eyes. "What makes you think that?"
Gabriel answered the only way he could: "I don't think it; I know it."
Marq's mouth fell open, the color draining from his face as he inched back. "How?"
With a sigh, the angel rolled his head towards Nathan, frowning. "Why don't you explain?"
Shit, he must be pissed. Granted, he can't lie, so the only thing he could tell Marq is that he's Death, and I doubt that would go over well. What does he want me to do? Make something up for him? Is this my punishment for calling him here?
Fuck, what am I going to say?