Nov 22, 2019 5:27 AM
Jaime in Fabulous
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The right order of operations for her purposes is probably ‘do modeling for a little while, use the money to buy the time of a stylist, and then go to the consultant service with a stable outfit’.

She perfunctorily contacts a company advertising their need for magical girl models, through the email listed on their website, and finishes up her book on Mauritania. It takes her about thirty minutes; she checks her inbox for a reply, afterwards.

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She gets an email with a questionnaire about how much she's willing to shapeshift to order, any previous modeling or relevant experience, age, and any limits on what kinds of things she is willing to model for.

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She’d prefer to keep her basic bone structure about as it is, although extra limbs and scales and such are fine; she does not really have relevant experience. If they need a model who’s really good at dancing for some reason, here she is. Fifteen, going on sixteen (baby it’s time to think, better beware, be canny and careful, baby you’re on the brink). She would prefer not to be photographed murdering kittens or anything, but she’s otherwise up for anything legal.

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They book her for a shoot for an amusement park's ad campaign; they have a few concepts mostly based on the premise that roller coasters are kind of like flying.

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That works.

She leaves a note for her uncle, flies over to the library - god, being able to casually do that is convenient - and returns her books, and collects new ones, and uses their printer to print the emergency vehicle ride-along form. She fills it out, and swoops over to the swarm response station.

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It's a small building, two blocks down a sidestreet from the main drag. The guy manning the place isn't a magical girl but nods at her like he sees a lot of them. "Hello there, how can I help you?"

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“I’ve filled out the signup form for riding with an emergency swarm response team, and I’d like to turn it in.”

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"Sure, I can take that." He holds out his hand.

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She gives him the form.

”Have a nice day.”

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"You too!" He skims it for completeness.

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She didn’t skip over anything. They’ll presumably contact her once the form is processed.

She leaves, flies back home, makes dinner, and settles down to do more outfit experimentation.

Step one: look through assorted galleries of famous magical girls, as a source of loose inspiration!

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There are many! Formal Paladin shoots, modeling and acting shots, fansites, fashion blogs.

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[A note to the reader: those averse to seven hundred word tags, fashion, or combinations of the two may feel free to skip this.]

Hmm.

If she looks at her general ensemble, as compared to these people and just in general...

... her dress is sort of unremarkably shaped and it needs to be made of a prettier material, her hair is mediocre, her shoes need to go, her gloves are bleh and that area needs more elaboration, her back is pretty under-decorated aside from the curlicues, and she needs more rose gold?

Sketch, sketch, sketch, almost an hour total of sketching and thinking and biting her lip -

She layers her dress, and fiddles with the fabric. The first layer resembles her current ensemble, but with the hemline higher up, and with a more dramatic flare and more dramatic feathering, and without the slit up the side. She divides it into two fabrics - fabric A is a mix of black threads - vantablack, even, as dark as she can get without compromising on flexibility - and a low density assortment of shimmery rose gold, gold, and silver threads, while fabric B is an impossibly well woven net of silver, gold, and rose gold threads, thin enough to be almost transparent.

A solid line of fabric A stretches across the top edge of the dress, and everything below her waist; the section between has fabric A layered on top of fabric B in approximately this pattern, with a great deal more feathering (and, in particular, enough feathering to obscure her areolas, in that region). She keeps her existing diamond curlicues and diamond flower-dots - and her brooch - on this dress layer, and adds on a great number of much tinier little diamond flower dots all over fabric A, glinting and sparkling.

On the second layer of the dress, she adds something almost like a short train, or a cape - no fabric in the front, enough fabric in the back to flow a foot behind her, with a heavily feathered hemline and the fabric itself being similar in character to fabric A, with a higher density of gold and rose gold and silver threads. It has curlicues identical in form, essential character, and meaning to the ones on the first layer, arranged differently - they stop just where the feathering on the hemline begins, and begin just where the second layer joins up - in an impossibly seamless sort of way - with the underside of the first layer. They also curl around another diamond brooch, smaller still than either of its cousins, in the middle of the fabric. 

She keeps the third layer simple - several dozen heavily feather-like strips of fabric B, overlapping with each other, dangling down from her waistline and whirling about whenever she moves.

That done, she switches up her updo so that it looks approximately like so, rearranging her flowers appropriately and trying several small variations on the general theme, and gets rid of her current boots. In their place, she tries boots in a base color of silver, without laces of any kind, made with the same vantablack-rose gold-gold-silver mix as her dress. It acquires delicate diamond curlicues of its own, in the same gradient as all of her other curlicues, joining together at the toe and curling around everywhere else, and - in lieu of a more conventional edge - she adds feathering; tall, dark feathers make it about halfway up her knee, and a slope of progressively shorter feathers do a moderate amount of poofing out.

She does something similar with her gloves - she switches their fabric over to fabric A, draws them back from her hands so they only reach her wrist (at which point they cease to be reasonably called ‘gloves’), and turns most of their mass seamlessly feathery, with the tallest feathers reaching her elbow. Those feathers, in their own turn, acquire diamond curlicues with pretty gradients.

And with that done, she scoots her cleavage down a touch, and scoots the feathers splaying down from her choker a little up, and adds a delicate, crystalline flower, poking its way up from between her breasts; it’s of about the same style as all three of her brooches, but it has a touch more elaboration; each diamond petal has intricate internal swirls of gold and pink, and the silver edging is instead strikingly black. The ‘stem’ of it, dark, loops its way around her torso, once, holding it contentedly in place.

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This is, overall, a solid improvement; little flickers downward might be actual deficiencies of design or delays in the coherence of her motif, it's impossible to tell for sure.

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She'll settle for 'solid improvement'; on a final note, she colors her lips in subtle, blended little swirls of rose gold and regular gold, and then resolves to have that be her last bit of tinkering for the night.

She looks up local stylists who she'll be able to afford - even briefly - after the photo shoot on Sunday. 

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She can get a selection of cheap amateurs who charge thirty or forty dollars an hour, work out of their houses alongside a massage business or multilevel marketing hobby, and have mixed reviews.

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Damn you, basic economics!

Jaime is getting a better sense of why the magical girl club at her school exists, and why people might be incentivized to aggressively advertise it. She goes downstairs to pester her uncle.

”I need money in order to book a style consultant who isn’t also a con artist or a hooker,” she begins, bluntly. “I have a photo shoot scheduled for Sunday, but it turns out that they don’t pay unqualified teenage girls that much money, even when they’re teenage girls with perks. I want to use a service that introduces magical girls to compatible businesses; I need to see a professional style consultant first in order to use that service.”

”... dudette, could you repeat that? Outfit is lookin’ killer, by the way.”

She does.

”... you do a lot around here and if I tried buying food like you make every night I’d, like, go broke. I don’t mind lending you some cash,” he says. “I give you four times what you’ll make at the photo shoot, you pay me back with your first couple paychecks? - good on you for jumping on that the day after you ‘scaped, lots of people would’ve rested on their roses.”

”Make it five and I’ll be the one to tell my parents about all this, I don’t think they’ll be overjoyed.”

”Cool. Have fun.”

He winks at her, from behind his glasses. She goes back to her room, and repeats her search, this time with a sextupled budget.

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There are fewer genuine professionals, but the review sites look to be pretty thorough about making sure that they can only get away with charging the big bucks if they earn it in magical output. It's pretty much up to Jaime and her budget how much she wants to sink into this, and whether she wants more time with a cheaper stylist or less with a pricier one.

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She sets some of her budget aside to pay for the 45$ power testing fee at the consultancy place. Following that, she finds the best reviewed stylist who’ll do two or three hours for the rest of her money, and sets about the process of arranging an appointment.

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Most of them only book by phone. The first one she tries, she gets an answering machine.

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... it’s admittedly kind of late in the day for this kind of thing,

She’ll do it over the weekend.

For now, she can read ‘So You’re a Magical Girl: Now What?’, which is deeply insipid but might contain any insight, and then she can go to bed.

She wakes up the next morning, and - in a predictable move - flies over to her local institution of education.

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School is as ever! Nina does not bother her at lunch.

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Then she can continue reading this incredibly boring book aimed at uninteresting sixteen year old girls! Everybody wins!

She spends two hours doing dance practice, when she gets home, and makes (delicious) hamburgers, and searches the Internet for nearby locales where she can practice elaborate flight tricks, and for any nearby magical girl clubs unaffiliated with schools.

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There are skate-park-like places with flying events and apparatus, and there's the Arizona Association of Magic, a sort of sororal association which admits to being funded by the Church of Thaumatology but asserts that it's secular in itself, plus there are various athletic leagues.

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She notes down a particularly promising skate-park lookalike in her journal...

And she should stop stalling on calling her parents.

She dials their number; they answer immediately.

”Hi, sweetie!” chirps her father, in a merry tenor. “Whatcha calling about? We miss you! Your aunt’s birthday dinner was just last week, we went out to -“

”I starscaped two days ago.”

The other end of the phone goes silent.

”... sweetheart, I’m sure you did the right thing and -“

”I took it. It wasn’t going to make me more attracted to women than I already was - less so, actually, now my dating pool is winnowed down.”

”... sweetie, you know that we’ve always wanted something more - honest, than that kind of lifestyle, for you -“

”Have a nice day.”

”- we’re not done with this convers -“

She hangs up.

 

Fuck it. You know what’ll cheer her up, magic experimentation, she’s going to start figuring out how her darkness works.

She scribbles down a list of experiments, re-wings, and starts out with the first one on the list - she throws darkness at her laundry hamper, for the third time this week (the poor laundry hamper must be mournfully unaware of why it’s the target of all this abuse) to see how large and anti-bright the resulting blob is.

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