The first three months were the roughest, in terms of finding work. As far as other aspects of my life went, it was awesome. There was absolutely no awkwardness between the two girls, Jemima and Tamara, and me yet it took a while to warm up to Rafael, or rather for him to warm up to me. Tamara or 'Tammy', as everybody seemed to call her, was from California, USA, and was an absolute surfer chick with the long blonde hair and bronze skin. She was a year older than me and had already appeared on the cover of USA Vogue. Jemima was Australian, 2 years my senior, and along with her bubbly personality had crazy orange hair, pale skin and freckles. Her unusual beauty had already put her on the runways in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and New York.
Rafael was more mysterious, more secretive. For the first three months of living with him, all I knew about him was that he was 26 years of age, 8 years my senior, he was from Spain and that he was mainly a fitness, sports and underwear model and that he has often appeared on the covers of various Men's Health issues.
In terms of myself, I was holding up pretty well. Despite not having any friends or family to provide me any form of emotional support, I was heartily welcomed by most people I met. My room too was clean and white, a new canvas to paint my life on. I had nothing except for a framed photo of my parents to remind me of the most important things I left behind, not of my heart that was ripped out and left out in the cold, not the blood that ran from slit veins and not the secret, stolen moments of love that the mere memory of was like a sword to the chest. My life was clean and I was a new person. I woke up every morning at six and jogged the affluent area I was in for about 30 minutes everyday. I ate healthily, didn't drink alcohol at all and hardly ever frequented the party scenes. In the evenings I would help out with supper, my flatmates highly appreciative of my flair for food, and thereafter I would just relax with a book or watch a movie on television. I went for about three go-sees to large fashion houses everyday yet hardly ever got replies or job offers, except for the odd toothpaste or face wash advert. On 2 April 2003 my life changed.
I was headed home from a rather disappointing meeting with a possible client when my phone started to vibrate in my pocket. I saw the number on the screen although it was unrecognisable. I flipped it open and answered the call.
'Hello, Alexander Keller speaking,' I said.
'Hi Alexander, this is Sean Montrose from Calvin Klein. You are requested to be in New York for the shoot of the new men's underwear campaign. Please contact your agent as soon as possible about your flight arrangements. Congratulations!'
As soon as the call ended I sprinted four blocks to my apartment, threw some clothes in a bag, and called Katie. By eight that evening Katie and I were on a plane across the Pacific Ocean to New York City!
A sharp wrap on my door startled me out of sleep and, with a very unglamorous thud, onto the floor. I recognised the shadowed outline of the high ceiling of the hotel room I was in and the thought of shooting my first big ad campaign began buzzing around in my head. There was another wrap on the door and I jumped to see who it was.
'Good morning,' smiled Katie as I opened the door and let her in, 'not ready yet? You have 15 minutes. The shoot is at 10:00 and we do not want to be late,' she said as she pushed me in the direction of the bathroom.
By 09:00 we had left the hotel and were on our way to the Ck offices and studio where a lot of their ads are shot. Katie seemed to know her way well around New York, as she must have been here a thousand times, ushering new models into their prosperous careers. Ever since I had reached London, I had only heard about what fantastic agent Katie was; that many models owe their careers to her. I counted myself extremely lucky.
'Thank you Katie,' I said as I hugged upon entering a large building that I guessed housed offices of many important companies, of which one was Calvin Klein.
'What for?' she asked, holding me back to search my face.
'For coming with me.'
'Well, it is your first high profile photo shoot and I want to show you what goes for what so that you can jet all over the world on your own. You are going to be brilliant.'
We broke apart just as a very skinny yet impeccably tailored woman walked up to us and asked if she could help us.
'Hello, I'm Katie Crawford and this is Alexander Keller. He's here for the Ck shoot,' said Katie.
'Please follow me,' said the woman, as she led us towards the elevators.
We stopped on the 13th floor of the building and just as I had put both of my feet out of the elevator, I was almost knocked over my a clothes rack being pushed at warp speed down a very wide hallway that was tiled completely white.
'This way,' said the skinny woman as she led us to what must be the studio. It was overwhelmingly minimalist as I expected to see racks and racks of clothing, but all there was were a rack of white underwear and a camera, linked to a computer on a table, facing a stark white background. There were also 4 white blocks of various sizes that I imagined we had to sit on for the shoot.
After about five minutes two tall, extremely handsome guys entered the studio and began stripping down to their undies. The one guy had the most luxurious ebony skin, cashmere-like, long, sinuous legs, white as snow teeth and severe eyes; he looked an awful lot like Djimon Honsou. The other looked more Mexican. He had a square jaw, a warm smile and thick yet not untidy eyebrows. After they had stripped down and each handed a pair of boxers and briefs respectively, two more guys entered the room. The one was some hot, green-eyed Indian model and the other...I gasped and my heart began to race. A wave of heat spread from my stomach to every inch of my body as I recalled those images. The tanned skin, the exquisite tattoos that reached far down into forbidden areas, the yellow eyes and the final slamming of the door. Rafael caught my eye, smiled slightly and winked. I stopped breathing. Even though we shared the same apartment Rafael and I never spoke, for goodness sake I hardly ever saw the guy! I guessed he was always away on some tropical island doing some swimsuit shoot. And when I did see him, my presence was acknowledged with a quick nod or rising of the eyebrows. Those velvety eyebrows. I stood swooning as they walked pass and also began to undress. I was the only one still fully clothed, and luckily so, for I was rock hard and the only things covering up my boner were my jeans, and oversized scarf dangling between my legs. I didn't move and tried to wish it away. Suddenly someone snapped a finger in front of my face.
'You okay?' asked Katie, 'You look like tomato!'
I realised I had stopped breathing ever since Rafael had winked at me and I took in a large lungful of air.
'Please don't tell me with burning up with something. Illness can end a a models career,' continued Katie.
'I'm fine, just some last minute nerves,' I put her at ease again.
Somebody walked up to us. He was roundish and had a large white beard. I later came to know that his name was Bruce and that he was the photographer. He came up to me and handed me a small piece of white material. It was wonderfully soft between my fingers and I lifted it up to see what I would be wearing...A THONG! A FREAKING CALVIN KLEIN THONG! That was just great, as if it wouldn't add to the immense embarrassment I was already feeling. I looked longingly at the briefs and boxers the other models were wearing. I quickly disappeared into the adjacent bathroom to catch my breath and cool down.
After 10 minutes I had undressed and put on the thong, and as comfortable as it was, I still could not leave the bathroom. Not to mention I still sported a raging hard-on. After another 10 minutes there was a knock on the cubicle door.
'Alexander, you in there?' came a husky Spanish voice, 'It's Rafael.'
'Uhm, I don't feel very well,' I lied.
'Can you let me in, maybe I can help.'
'Oh no, I'm not decent,' I said already running out of things to say.
'I guess I'll just have to kick down the door.'
I unlocked the door and turned around as he walked in and closed the door behind him.
I could immediately feel the heat that radiated from his body warming up the cold cubicle.
'Do you want to turn around and tell me what's going on?' he said calmly
'Not really, I'm a little embarrassed to...' I felt his hands on my shoulders.
'It's okay, you don't have to explain,' he breathed into my neck. This was so not helping!
I felt Rafael's hands move slowly down my back. I felt the tip of his nose sink into my hair and his strong legs move to either side of mine. A large warm hand snaked its way from my lower back to my abdomen, just above the waistband of the thong. I nervously moved forward, not knowing what else to do, but another hand immediately darted under my arm to the middle of my smooth chest and pulled me hard into his own body. My back burned at the touch of his heat. We stood there, a single frame, his one hand on my chest, the other now down the front of my underwear.
He pulled out my cock, spat in his hand and started to slowly caress its length. The strokes were gentle and sensuous, pulling my foreskin back and forth over the length of my cock. Rafael stroked my shaft for 10 minutes, occasionally lubricating it with his warm saliva. The pleasure his slow, intense strokes induced was unbearable, and I tried to quicken the strokes by thrusting into his hand. But I couldn't move. My back was plastered to his chest and his legs were vices around mine. I was at his mercy. After a further 5 minutes the strokes became faster and I could feel my impending explosion. I threw my head back onto Rafael's shoulder and my body convulsed, as I felt cum shoot out of my cock in four large spurts. My legs went rigid and I dug my nails into Rafael's thighs. I opened my eyes and saw him staring straight into mine. His mouth, lushes and soft, was inches from mine and I felt his warm breath enter my parted lips. I moved my face closer to his, but he hesitated and let go of me. I turned around just to see him lick a few drops of my cum off his hand, unlock the door and leave me standing alone in the cubicle. I emerged from the bathroom 5 minutes later, sated, composed, and much to the pleasure of everyone.
The photo shoot was a success. After a couple of poses with the other guys I was able to loosen up and be comfortable being a model. The four white blocks were used for the other four, larger and ripped, guys to sit on in a variety of positions showing off the underwear. I had to stand in the middle, two of them on each side of me, and half turn my backside to the camera, making it obvious that I was wearing a thong. Some poses had me with one hand cupping another guys face while I ran my fingers through someone else's hair or lightly over their shoulders or chest. Some shots were serious while others were playful and light-hearted. They were the sexiest black and white photo's I had ever seen of myself, let alone with four other steamy guys by my side.
By the end of the shoot I was confident in my modelling abilities, especially for a large campaign such as Calvin Klein. On the taxi ride back to the hotel Katie informed me that even though the shoot would be used for the 2003/04 campaign only one of us would become the face of the CK men's underwear campaign.
That night I lay on my bed staring once again at the dark outline of the hotel room ceiling. I can still feel Rafael's breath enter my mouth and feel his heart beat against my frail back. I thought of the almost-kiss and imagined what it would feel like, not knowing that that is all it would ever be.
A week later the same Sean Montrose called me and told me that they had not chosen me to represent the CK men's underwear and that they had settled on the Mexican guy with the warm smile. He also asked me if I would be the new face and body, of the 2003/04 Calvin Klein jeans campaign.
I said yes...