Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Romanticvamp's Week 15 Entry: Prints


Picture 1

Picture 2

Romanticvamp's Choice: Picture 1


I press my forehead into my hand, twisting my hair through my fingers in frustration. Everything in front of me is, quite frankly, crap.

“What’s eating you this time?” Jasper asks, plopping into the chair across the desk.

I don’t even bother to look up at my best friend as I pick up another set of prints and grimace.

“Remind me why I do this job . . .”

He chuckles. “You need money, like everyone else. Same reason I’m hitched to your wagon.”

I toss those prints down as well. With a heavy sigh, I lean back in my chair, rubbing at my eyes. I’m stuck. Sure, this job pays me pretty fantastic, but at the cost of any originality or creativity. I might as well be working a typical nine to five desk job.

The only redeeming grace – well, beside the money – is that I get to keep Jasper as my assistant. He’s not complaining about the paycheck either. He can do this and work on his music and history research on the side without worrying.

I feel a pang of longing for the “old days,” when I was fresh out of college and hungry for any opportunity; just me and my camera and my best friend forging our own path. I traveled and did what I loved without a care in the world, determined to be ranked among the greats like Jim Brandenburg or Anne Geddes or, my favorite, Ansel Adams.

My savings had to run out eventually.

Luckily, all the products of mine and Jasper’s aimless traveling had caught the eye of some important people. Our talent was recognized and we were hired right away.

I glance over at my baby, snuggled securely away in its case. I didn’t have all the fancy equipment I have now. I should at least be grateful for that.

“Hey, call it a night. Let’s go get some drinks. We’ve got another shoot with that Mary Alice Brandon in the morning,” Jasper says, his face lighting up.

I barely manage to not roll my eyes. The last shoot I had done with her had been one of the best. At least this designer was adventurous with her style and trusted me enough to let me take the reigns. Even if the magazine hadn’t appreciated my own twist, she had asked for some prints to hang up in her studio.

Although, that might have been helped along by a certain assistant trying to charm the pants off of her.

“At least we get a little break in the monotony,” I sigh, shoving all the prints back into their folder and packing everything up. Resolving to deal with this boring spread later, I follow my friend out of our offices and down to the bar.


I’m at the shoot site bright and early. The sun still hasn’t risen, which is good since our models aren’t quite ready. I study the abandoned cabin and wood pile and surrounding woods, my mind running wild with ideas.

“Mr. Edward Cullen!” I hear a bright voice chime behind me.

I turn and find myself chest-to-face with none other than Mary Alice Brandon. Her pale blue eyes are sparkling as she beams up at me, bouncing like she always does. I can’t help but smile back at her. She’s still the same tiny, elfin-looking thing, her black hair sticking out in effortless spikes.

“Miss Brandon,” I acknowledge.

“Oh, please, just Alice. I was so excited to find out you were the photographer again. All of the others are so boring.”

My lips twitch as I bite back an agreement.

“It’s a pleasure, just as it was the first time. Do you have a specific look you’re going for?”

“Well, the magazine wants the ‘Fall Look,’” she says, complete with air quotes. “Just do whatever you want. I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on those prints hanging in my studio. You’ve got a gift.”

Just then, Jasper chooses to appear and schmooze his way into the conversation. I don’t miss the hint of coloring that suddenly appears in Alice’s cheeks. She flashes him a tiny, almost shy smile, seeming much more sedate than is normal. I turn back to the set, brainstorming as they do their odd little flirting dance.

“I actually picked two of my friends to model my designs this time.”

I’m suddenly drawn back in, wondering how this is going to go. Am I going to be dealing with inexperienced, uncooperative people?


“Yep. They know how to make it all look good. I’ve been using them as my guinea pigs since college. Well, one since high school . . . but they know what they’re doing.”

“How’d you pull that one off?” Jasper asks a bit dazedly.

I shake my head and roll my eyes, but Alice is smitten with the complete devotion he is suddenly showing.

“I just told the head honchos if they wanted my Fall Preview, I got to choose the models.”

She is one hell of force.

Alice excuses herself to do some final checks as it begins to get lighter. Jasper finally snaps out of whatever dreamland he had been floating in and decides he’d actually like to participate in this shoot. I am teasing him mercilessly, provoking his normal calm into a riled up, agitated state, when we’re interrupted by the models.

The first one is tall, statuesque, blonde waves and deep sapphire eyes. She seems like perfect, cliché model material, but as she introduces herself as Rosalie Hale, I notice the hardness and stubbornness that usually doesn’t accompany a normal model. Alice has indeed worked her magic as she looks incredible dressed in a form fitting suit and heels, complete with vest and button-up, generous amounts of beaded necklaces draped around her neck. I quickly set her up on the pile of lumber before turning to the second friend.

I freeze.

There is nothing cliché or model-like about this girl. Her skin is the palest I’ve ever seen, offset by wide brown eyes and equally brown hair, teased into high-fashion style. When her eyes meet mine, she blushes the brightest shade of red and quickly looks away. As she begins to mumble, I barely hear her say her name is Bella Swan.

I feel as though my world has disappeared. Nothing exists except for the shy girl in front of me, dressed in a high collared jacket and a skirt that is illegally tiny. Her long legs are covered by lacy stockings that end at her thighs and are held up by . . . a ribbon garter belt. I barely even notice the black pumps she has on.

Jasper clears his throat and we both jump. I feel my own face start to burn a little as I direct her to sit up behind Rosalie. I take the camera from my friend in a daze, unable to actually articulate what I want.

Luckily, Jasper seems to be reading my mind. He starts directing them, instructing them on the different poses to try. I move around, snapping away, trying to ignore that every shot I take makes this Bella the focal point of the picture and that her eyes follow me wherever I go, like she can’t bear to look away.

After a few hours and several wardrobe changes, the crew starts taking down the equipment. Alice dashes over to me, a sly smile on her face.

“Edward! I can already tell those are going to be wonderful! I can’t wait to see them!”

I nod at her, still distracted. And trying to keep my eyes from wandering over to the changing tent . . .



“I said Jasper’s coming out for drinks tonight. Would you like to join us?”

“I should probably get these proofs out so we can work on the spread.” And so I can look at her a little more.

“Are you sure? Rosalie and Bella are coming.”

She’s going? I could go with Jasper, get to know her better. Maybe wrestle a date out of it. At the very least, I could get her into my bed for one night. Really, this work could wait . . .

Bad idea. Bad idea.

“Thank you, Alice, but I’m going to have to take a rain check.”

Her face falls a little, but she assures me she’ll be following up on that. After they exchange some information, Jasper joins me and we head to the car.

He might as well have gone home and daydreamed about his coming night for all the help he is at the office. I finish the spread I was working on last night while he takes entirely too long getting the proofs printed of Alice’s shoot. When he comes back, he hands me the folder and says he’s heading out.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come? I’m sure a certain brunette ---”

Goodbye, Jasper. Enjoy your night.”

“Oh I will. You enjoy yours by yourself.”

He has the door shut before the empty film cartridge can hit him.

I take a break before getting a start. When I do finally open the folder, I’m assaulted with her face staring up at me. A strange ache starts in my chest. I rub at it uncomfortably as I stare at her smile, her pout, her laugh.

Focus, Cullen.

It does me no good. Each time I think I’ve found one where Rosalie is the main focus, my eyes are still drawn to Bella. The more I stare at her picture, the more I realize I want to know her. I want to kiss those pouty lips and know what was said between the friends to make her laugh. Why she smiled like she had a secret.

My head is in my hands as I fight an internal battle. Even with my eyes closed, the prints of her face are burned into my eyes. I can’t escape her. I sigh and shut the folder, grabbing my things and leaving the building. I pull out my phone.

“Jasper. Where are you guys?”