Half an hour late for work, Nina holds up the blown inner tube of her front bicycle tire as she enters the studio.

“Second Avenue is lined with nails—I swear to God,” she announces to the room at large. And then to Rob Angstrom, the photographer’s assistant, she says, “What’s with the pink shirt again, Angst? Didn’t you go home last night?”

The nickname’s ironic; square jawed and six-foot-three, he’s possibly the best-looking and least anxious man she’s ever known. And even though facetious rank-outs are the currency of affection on catalogue shoots like this one, where they’ve all worked together many times before, Nina’s dig falls into dead air. Elliot, the soft-goods stylist and her tantrum-throwing boss, holds half a cream cheese–smothered bagel inches from his mouth, which hangs open, dramatically aghast.

What,” she insists. “I can’t make fun of him for getting laid?”

Want to read the rest?
Please login.
New to Narrative? sign up.
It's easy and free.