This story is intended as ADULT entertainment. It contains material of an adult, explicit, SEXUAL nature. If you are offended by sexually explicit content or language, please DO NOT read any further.
This story is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in it are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. The author does not necessarily condone or endorse any of the activities described.
This story may not be reproduced in any form for profit without the written permission of the author, Nick Scipio (firstname.lastname@example.org). It may be freely distributed with this disclaimer attached.
Copyright© 2007 Nick Scipio. All rights reserved.
It had been a long day, and I was glad it was over. Since seven in the morning, I'd had a studio full of people for a photo shoot. It was for a popular and irreverent men's magazine, and all the models had been scantily clad. I suppose the readership of the magazine liked their women beautiful and dumb, because that's certainly what I'd dealt with all day. Working with fashion models may sound glamorous, but it's usually not. Most of them are either vapid or vacuously chatty.
My assistants Theresa and Steve were shutting down the studio lights and moving props out of the way while I hustled the last of the models and various other people out of the building. I couldn't wait to pour myself a cold drink and relax, although I knew I wouldn't have long before the magazine's art director called. We'd talk about the shoot, when he could see the proofs, and a host of other details.
I had just shut the outer door on the last of the crowd when the office phone rang. With a sigh, I resigned myself to dealing with the call.
"Mike Logan," I said, catching the phone on the fourth ring.
"Mike, old buddy, old pal. How the hell are ya?"
I furrowed my brow in concentration, trying to place the voice. It sure wasn't the men's magazine art director.
"You don't know who this is, do you?" the caller asked when my brain refused to cooperate.
"No," I said, rubbing my weary eyes. "Enlighten me."
Terry. I searched my memory, but drew a blank.
"I'm sorry, Terry. It's been a long day."
"Terry Duggins, from NYU."
Finally, recognition blossomed in my overworked brain. "Terry! Of course. Sorry, man. It's been one of those days. Besides," I said, shaking my head, "it's been what ... eight years?"
"Yeah, at least."
Terry was my roommate the first year I was at NYU. I was studying photography at the Tisch School of the Arts, and he wanted to be the next Stanley Kubrick. Terry's father was some big-shot financial type and had finally convinced him to transfer to Columbia to "pursue a real career." We'd kept in touch after Terry changed schools, but drifted apart a year or two after graduation.
I sat down in the office chair and swiveled to put my feet on the desk. "How ya been, man?"
We chatted for a few minutes, catching up. He was married and still living in the City. I was surprised to hear that he hadn't joined his father's firm after graduation. My respect for his old man grew when Terry told me his dad wouldn't give him a job until he'd proven himself at another firm. The Duggins name carried enough weight that he had no trouble finding a position. In the eight years since I'd talked to him, he'd swiftly moved up the corporate ladder, and had just accepted a position--based solely on his own accomplishments, he said proudly--with his father's firm.
I told him about my life during the intervening years. I was still single and doing what I enjoyed most, taking pictures of beautiful women. Terry told me he'd even seen my photos in last year's Swimsuit Issue. Yes, the models really were that beautiful. No, I didn't date the models. Yes, I did get to travel a lot. I didn't mention that most of the models were not the type of women I'd consider dating. Nor did I mention the hundreds of pounds of cameras and equipment I usually schlepped around on those "glamorous" trips. He had his little fantasy of what a fashion photographer's life was like, and I didn't want to break the spell with a cold dose of reality.
"Listen, buddy," he said. "Let me cut to the chase. I was having lunch with Dad and one of his clients yesterday, and the subject of this guy's youngest daughter came up. She's getting married in June, and the photographer got deported. I told them I was old college buds with you, and that you shot weddings all the time. So, I told 'em..."
"Terry," I said, interrupting him. "I haven't shot weddings in a long time." I didn't like shooting weddings, and I'd done it early in my career simply to pay the bills.
"It's like riding a bike, though. Right?"
No, I thought to myself, it's not. Working with fashion models may be trying at times, but if I didn't like the lighting or the angle was bad, I simply stopped for a moment and fixed things. Brides walking down the aisle were like silk-clad juggernauts. They didn't care if the lighting was bad or the angle was wrong.
"Terry, I'd love to help, but ... I don't do weddings anymore."
"C'mon, buddy. Help me out here. How much would you charge this guy to shoot his daughter's wedding."
"Terry, I'm telling you, I don't do weddings."
"When I mentioned you, Reuben said he knew your name, and he wanted the best for his little girl. So ... how much?"
I quickly realized I wasn't going to beg off, so I decided to try another tack. Back when I was shooting weddings, I usually charged a thousand dollars for a complete package. But that was when I was new to the business and hadn't established a name for myself. These days, the going rate for a good wedding photographer was probably somewhere between three and five thousand. I added a little to the top-end fee and then doubled it, hoping to put Terry's friend off with the price alone.
"Look, Terry, my time's really booked. But if you've got to tell this guy something, tell him I'll do it for fifteen grand." I expected Terry to sputter, maybe even gasp. I was hoping he'd simply tell me I was crazy and gracefully, or not so gracefully-- I didn't care which--drop the idea.
"Did you hear what I said, Terry?"
"Sure. Fifteen thousand. No problem. I'll tell Reuben."
"Terry, I don't even know when the wedding is. If I'm booked that week, then there's nothing I can do. Like I said, I don't do weddings."
"I dunno when it is, exactly. Sometime in early June. I'll tell ya what, let me give you Reuben's daughter's number. You got a pen?"
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. The last thing I wanted to do was to shoot a wedding. He gave me the number and I reluctantly wrote it on a Post-it note.
"Her name's Lara. Lara Talbot."
"Right," I said, writing her name under the number. Something about the girl's name tickled the back of my brain, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I drew two lines under her last name and then it hit me. "What did you say her father's name was?"
"Reuben Talbot?!" I asked.
"The Reuben Talbot? The guy who owns more of Manhattan than Donald Trump?"
"Well," Terry said. "The Donald doesn't own that much anymore."
"Yeah, he's that Reuben Talbot."
"Christ, Terry! Why didn't you tell me it was Reuben Talbot's daughter?!"
"Would it have made a difference?"
"Hell yes, it would have."
"Why?" he asked.
I couldn't begin to explain to him the problems involved. Weddings are bad enough--if you screw up even the smallest thing, families get really bent out of shape. You usually only get one chance to get a shot, maybe two or three for the posed shots of the wedding party. But during my thankfully short career as a wedding photographer, I'd learned that rich weddings were the worst. Demanding parents, haughty participants, and spoiled children could quickly turn things into a fiasco.
"Trust me, Terry," I said. "It would've made a difference."
"Oh, well," he said, sounding indifferent. "I know you'll enjoy it. And it'll certainly be good for your business."
"I'm not in the business of shooting weddings, Terry."
"You'll have a blast, buddy. I think you'll like Lara. She's a real firecracker. Hey, buddy, I gotta go." I could hear another phone ringing in the background. "I'll tell Reuben to tell Lara to expect your call. It was great catching up with you. I'll see ya at the wedding."
Without even waiting for me to say goodbye, he hung up.
Super, I thought. Even fifteen thousand dollars couldn't make me enjoy the hell I was going to endure to shoot Lara Talbot's wedding. Of that, I was positive.
For three days, I debated whether or not to call her. Unfortunately, I'd told Terry I would, and my professional ethics wouldn't let me avoid it. Finally, I sat down in my office and dialed her number. After the fourth ring, the answering machine picked up. I listened to the greeting--she actually had a pleasant voice--and was preparing to leave a noncommittal message when I heard a click.
"Hello? I'm here! Don't hang up."
I heard a beep as she turned off the machine. "I'd like to speak to Lara Talbot, please."
"This is Lara," she said, panting slightly.
"Ms. Talbot, this is Mike Logan. I'm a..."
"Oh, yeah," she said. "The photographer. Daddy said you'd call. I thought it was pretty cool when he told me he'd hired you. I mean, I didn't know you did weddings."
"I don't," I said simply. "And I don't even know if I can do yours. I've got a shoot scheduled in St. Maarten for the last week in June."
"Oh, that's no problem. The wedding's the 8th of June."
My heart sank. I still had one chance to get out of it. "Well, you see, I haven't shot a wedding in a long time. I only agreed, tentatively, as a favor for a friend." Some friend, I thought ruefully. "I'm a fashion photographer. Wouldn't a professional wedding photographer be more suited to your needs?" I fervently hoped she'd see the wisdom of getting someone else, and let me off the hook.
"This close to the wedding, all the best wedding photographers are already booked," she said.
Reluctantly, I had to agree with her.
"Besides," she said cheerfully, "My friend Ginny is a photography nut. She says you'd be perfect, that your composition and framing, whatever that means, are fantastic." Warming up to her flattery, she continued. "And she said your lighting and texture are exquisite."
"You'll have to thank your friend for me," I said, feeling my stomach knot up as I realized I wasn't going to get out of shooting the wedding.
"So, where do I send the check?"
"Hold on a second," I said. "We need to meet first and get some details ironed out. And you need to sign a contract."
"Sure. No problem. When?"
With a sigh, I flipped open my PDA and brought up my schedule.
Theresa and Steve were on a local shoot, doing some background work for a layout, and I had the studio to myself. When we were doing a shoot, the place was always bustling with people and activity. On days when things were quiet, they were really quiet. My studio was one big converted warehouse, with ceilings high enough to hang lights and backdrops from, and enough space for three separate galleries. It wasn't as posh as some of the big studios in Midtown, but it was mine and mine alone.
Lara Talbot and her wedding planner were supposed to be in my office at three o'clock, and I was dreading the appointment.
Since I last talked to her, I'd had a chance to call one of my college classmates--one I kept up with better than Terry and I had--and asked her for some advice. She shot weddings professionally, and I wanted to ask her about the language for my contract, package and album prices, and a laundry list of other things.
Grace laughed richly when I told her about my predicament, but quickly sobered when she found out it was the Talbot-Rosenbaum wedding. She was both amazed and amused when she learned how much I was getting paid. It seems I might have overdone it a bit when I tried to shock Terry with the cost. She e-mailed me a copy of her contract, which I quickly modified to suit my own needs. She also sent me her current price list, but suggested I include a hefty number of things for free, since I was getting paid so handsomely.
When I asked Grace if she'd like to simply do the wedding in my stead, and pocket the entire fee, she told me she was booked that entire weekend with two weddings. She actually managed to sound sad about it. She did offer to do the albums for me at her wholesale cost, which would be a lifesaver. I took her out for dinner and drinks a few days later to show my appreciation. After meeting with her, I went home armed with a good overview of the current wedding photography business.
I'd even done some digging on Reuben Talbot, hoping to find out more about him, and anything about his daughter. Because of who he was, a quick search of the periodicals archive at the public library yielded a slew of information, most of it financial or business-related. I also managed to find photos of his first two daughters' weddings. They were published in, of course, The Post. They were mostly what I expected, lavish affairs attended by the City's upper crust. Not for the first time, I wondered what I'd gotten myself into.
Theresa and Steve had both snickered at all of my due diligence, but once again, my professional ethics wouldn't let me do a half- assed job. I might not want to shoot the wedding, but I was going to do a good job.
My reverie was interrupted when the door buzzer sounded. Ms. Talbot and her planner were right on time, and I went to admit them. When I opened the door, I was confronted by a completely unexpected sight: a popinjay. That's the only word that described the man standing in my studio doorway. He couldn't have been an inch taller than five and a half feet, with a dark complexion, bleached hair with orange tips, and a million-dollar smile. I don't shoot men's fashion, but I recognized one of this year's Jean-Paul Gaultier pret a porter outfits. The problem I have with Gaultier as a designer is that he doesn't just break the rules, he smashes them to pieces and then grinds them underfoot until they're powder. I haven't met anyone who looks good in a Gaultier outfit, and I work with a lot of good-looking people.
I quickly recovered my wits and stepped aside, motioning for the popinjay to enter. He was followed by a slightly pudgy young woman whom I assumed to be Lara Talbot. The resemblance to her father was clear, if unflattering. I was just shutting the heavy security door when the two of them ... squeaked ... and the door stopped moving.
"Hey! Back that thing up."
The voice came from around the door. I jerked it open and a figure darted around it. At first, I thought it was some street person and started to tell them to get out. When she pulled off her hat and sunglasses, then stared at me defiantly, I had to suppress the urge to laugh.
"Were you trying to kill me with that thing?" she asked petulantly. "It must weigh a ton!" She put her hands on her hips and scowled at me. She looked like a little girl trying to convince me she was angry.
"Can I help you?" I asked, working to regain my composure.
"We have an appointment," said the popinjay.
I turned to look at him, and then regarded the Talbot woman. "I know you two do." Still smirking, I gazed coolly at the new girl. "But who are you?"
Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared.
"She's Ms. Talbot," the popinjay said, sounding scandalized.
I turned to regard the pudgy woman, confusion slowly replacing my amusement. "Then who are you?"
"My sister," the slim brunette said acerbically.
Finally, my self-control failed and I laughed out loud.
"What's so funny?" she demanded.
"You're Lara Talbot?" I asked, still chuckling.
She huffed and nodded.
"I thought she," I said, pointing to the other woman, "was you. And I thought you were a street person."
"A street person?!"
"We're here to see Mr. Logan, the photographer," the popinjay said, trying to salvage the situation.
"Right this way," I said, leading them toward my office and trying to rein in my chuckling. Unfortunately, I was having too much fun and decided to throw decorum to the wind. What could they do, fire me? "You should have made your appointment for noon. Mr. Logan's hardly ever drunk by noon." I snickered silently at their scandalized whispers. "But you're in luck."
"And why is that?" the popinjay asked sardonically.
"Because he actually took a bath two..." I ticked off numbers on my fingers. "No, three days ago."
I was still laughing when I led them into my office.
The popinjay, as it turned out, was the very flustered Silvio DePasquale, professional wedding planner. Aside from being badly but expensively dressed, he was gay. And I mean over-the-top gay. I work with a lot of gay guys, and they've never bothered me. I was sure Silvio was harmless as well, but I was having fun tweaking him.
The other woman was only a little overweight, but probably headed for another twenty pounds in the next few years. She was Mrs. Cohen, nee Judy Talbot, and she strongly resembled her father, including his dour expression.
The grouchy brunette was, of course, Lara Talbot. She was an attractive young woman with long brunette hair and a slim, athletic build. It took an effort of will to keep my eyes away from her high, firm breasts. But her most striking features were captivating ice-blue eyes, and she speared me with a penetrating gaze.
I tore my eyes away from her, and when I seated them in my office, they seemed to calm down a little.
"Can I get you something to drink?" I asked, trying to smooth some of the ruffled feathers. "We have bottled water, still or sparkling, and soft drinks. Or, if you prefer, I can get you something with a bit more kick."
They all asked for water. When I returned, they were whispering among themselves. I passed around the bottles and took a seat behind my desk.
"We're here to see Mike Logan," Silvio said.
I'd fully intended to become serious at this point, but at his effete arrogance, something inside me snapped. "You don't wanna see him," I said. "He's a drunk."
"He's a very talented photographer," Judy Cohen said testily.
I shook my head. "He's overrated. Most days, he can't tell one end of the camera from the other."
"Please tell your boss we're here to see him," Silvio demanded.
"You guys would be better off just dealing with me. I'm the only one around here who knows what's going on." I leaned back and put my feet on the desk.
Lara Talbot regarded me shrewdly and the beginning of a grin flashed across her face. She quickly suppressed it.
"Where is Mr. Logan?" Silvio asked forcefully.
"I really have no idea." I shrugged indifferently. "He likes to hang out at a massage parlor a couple of blocks from here. You should just deal with me." I held Lara's gaze and her expression softened a little as she realized how flustered I'd made Silvio and her sister.
"We're here to see Mr. Logan," Judy said.
I grinned at Lara and she finally smiled in reply.
"You're looking at him, Judy," Lara said calmly. "Isn't that right, Mr. Logan."
"Call me Mike," I said.
While Silvio and Judy grumbled about my little ruse, Lara's grin actually widened.
One of the reasons I've always been a good photographer is that I set people at ease and make them feel comfortable. It's a talent I inherited from my grandfather, who never met a stranger.
I turned on the charm once everyone seemed to accept that I was indeed Mike Logan. Lara took no convincing at all. She quickly warmed to me, in spite of the misunderstanding at the door. I think she was enjoying watching me pique Silvio and her sister.
Eventually, Silvio became very friendly as well--once he finally decided I was who I said I was, that is. I could tell he was attracted to me, and I knew he must have been wondering if I were gay. A lot of guys in my line of work are gay. Not all of them, to be sure, but enough to make him wonder about me. I guess I'm an attractive guy, in my own way, to both men and women.
Judy Cohen was as dour as ever. Nothing I said or did seemed to satisfy her. I didn't worry about it much, since Lara seemed to be calling the shots.
I had put together a portfolio that included the best of the pictures from my early wedding photographer days, as well as some of the more artistic fashion photos I'd taken. I'd also typed up a basic "package" for the wedding, which included a number of albums and additional prints.
I showed them my portfolio, and while Lara and Judy looked through it, Silvio read over the contract. Grace had explained to me that it was fairly standard, but Silvio read through it with an attention to detail that made me rethink his level of experience. He was all business as he asked a few pointed questions, but seemed satisfied with my answers.
When Silvio wasn't asking me questions, I studied Lara Talbot. Unlike her sister, I couldn't see a trace of her father in her features. She looked like an everyday twenty-something from a wealthy family: very pretty, tanned, stylish make-up and hair, and a well-toned body.
During my early days in the fashion industry, I'd done "glamour" shots of a lot of young women like her. Not quite attractive enough, tall enough, thin enough, or whatever enough to be models, but they wanted to feel like one for the day. At the time, I hadn't enjoyed it all that much, but it paid the bills. And it got me out of shooting weddings full-time.
Finally, a fashion director at a major women's magazine saw my work and hired me to do a shoot for a Vivienne Tam layout. Both the director and the designer were happy with the results and I started getting regular jobs with the magazine. As my reputation grew, design houses and other magazines wanted me to shoot layouts for them as well, so I stopped doing weddings and glamour shoots altogether.
Unlike the women I'd done glamour shots for, Lara Talbot was attractive enough to be a model. Unfortunately, at 5'6", she wasn't tall enough. With her striking eyes she could have easily done head shots or cosmetic work. And her body ... well, her body was superb.
As I was gazing at her, she looked up suddenly and made eye contact with me. With a smile, I tried to downplay the fact that I was staring at her. But she was a smart girl and realized I'd been admiring her. She surprised me by sitting up a bit straighter, taking a deep breath, and then holding it. Doing so pushed her shapely breasts up and out. I arched an inquisitive eyebrow at her, but she merely smiled and returned her eyes to my portfolio.
Silvio looked up a few moments later and we made eye contact. I smiled in what I hoped was a friendly but non-inviting manner. He gave me an interested look, but I shook my head minutely. With his expression, he asked, "Are you sure?" I nodded firmly and he sighed theatrically, then rolled his eyes and grinned at me. I merely tilted my head to the side and shrugged by way of apologizing.
After they looked at the portfolio and Silvio pronounced the contract satisfactory, we started talking about schedules. From her purse, Lara withdrew a PDA and Silvio produced one from somewhere within the Gaultier travesty he wore. I took out the stylus for my own PDA, and we discussed the details for dates, times, and locations: formal bride's photos (at my studio), informal couple photos (outdoors, at the Talbot's lake house in Cold Spring Harbor), wedding party photos (at the wedding site, Huntington Country Club), the reception (also at the Country Club), and then dates for viewing the proofs. It took us more than thirty minutes just to work everything out, but by the time we'd finished, we were all satisfied. Except for Judy Cohen, that is, and I don't think anything was going to satisfy her.
All we had left was for them to sign the contract and write me a check for the deposit. My friend Grace had suggested I ask for five thousand up front and bill them for the rest once they'd viewed the proofs. I was just about to have Lara sign the contract when she suggested I give them a tour of the studio. I could hardly say no, so we stood and walked out of my office.
I gave them the nickel tour, showing them all three galleries, both darkrooms, the dressing rooms, the whole nine yards. Finally, I showed them the "I love me" room, which had blow-ups of cover shots I'd done, photographs of me with famous designers and models, and some of the best examples of my work. I also had a big light table in there, as well as a couple of comfortable couches. I'd found it was a good place to highlight my work for prospective clients.
As soon as we walked into the room, I could tell they were impressed, even Judy. They all looked at the photos of me with famous people and I stepped forward to point out my favorites. I was standing between Silvio and Lara, just a little behind them, pointing to a photo of me and Stefano Gabbana, when I felt a hand on my crotch. The hand cupped my dick and squeezed gently. Silvio turned to me and smiled, and I diplomatically took a step back.
Once we'd looked at most of the pictures, I steered the three of them back to my office. Silvio hung back with me. I discreetly leaned down and politely but firmly told him I was straight. He looked confused for a moment.
"I got the message in your office," he said, sotto voce.
"Just making sure," I said quietly.
After that, Lara signed the contract and wrote me a check. We went over our list of dates and locations one final time, and they left. I still wasn't looking forward to shooting the wedding, but at least Silvio and Lara had their act together.
With a few exceptions, wedding photography uses the same cameras that fashion photography does. I'm mostly a traditionalist, and use a variety of medium-format cameras. They're all manual focus, so they're mostly for posed shots. In addition to them, I use several professional 35mm auto-focus cameras for "quick work."
I had been looking at a new Canon SLR digital camera, and decided that now was the time to buy. Since it was an 11-megapixel professional-grade camera, it cost considerably more than I'd gotten from Lara Talbot for her deposit, but it was something I needed to buy anyway. I picked up several extra CompactFlash cards for the Canon, and ordered all the film I'd need for the wedding.
The first photo session with Lara was in two weeks, and then the countdown to the wedding began. Theresa and Steve teased me for being so serious about the wedding shoot, but it was my professional reputation on the line, so I treated it like I'd treat any other shoot. You don't get to be a sought-after photographer by doing sloppy work, I reminded them.
I was going over the final details for Lara Talbot's bridal gown shoot when the door buzzer sounded. Since I'd only be dealing with one "model," I let Steve have the day off. Theresa finished setting the light diffusers while I went to answer the door.
When I opened the security door, Silvio fairly rushed through, holding a cup carrier full of coffee and leading two other people. Without pausing, he handed me a cup--it smelled like cappuccino-- and stood aside to allow the others inside. I showed the make-up artist and hair stylist to the larger of the two dressing rooms.
"Thanks for the coffee," I said to Silvio as we watched the two women open their cases and set up.
"No problem, sweetie," he said. He looked at his watch and then took the lid off his coffee. "The dress should be here in about fifteen minutes." He took a sip and licked the foam from his upper lip. "And Lara is coming from the hair salon in about half an hour."
The dress arrived a little late, but close enough to Silvio's prediction that I was impressed by his organizational skills. Not surprisingly, the gown was a Vera Wang. I was a little surprised that not one, but three assistants came with it. When I saw the dress itself, I understood why. When you buy a one-of-a- kind $80,000 handmade Vera Wang wedding dress, they send a small army of people to make sure it fits perfectly.
Silvio explained that today's shoot was essentially a dry run for the actual wedding day. The florist was even sending over a duplicate of the bridal bouquet. If anything was unsatisfactory-- hair, make-up, dress, or flowers--Silvio would have two weeks to remedy the problem.
Lara herself arrived a few minutes earlier than predicted, carrying a small overnight bag. I was duly impressed by her hair. It was done up in an elegant style that accentuated her face and graceful neck.
She came through the door followed by her mother, and I quickly realized where Lara got her good looks. After being introduced to Mrs. Miriam Talbot, I also realized where Judy had gotten her personality--Mrs. Talbot was the stereotypical discontented Jewish mother. Fortunately for me, she immediately headed for Silvio and the dressmakers.
Lara smiled at me warmly as I showed her to the dressing room. The assistant from the hair salon was simply there to fix any last minute problems, so she sat quietly on the couch on the other side of the room. Lara settled into one of the chairs and let the make-up artist get to work. I chatted with Lara for a few minutes, giving her a quick overview of how the session would go. Mrs. Talbot came into the dressing room a few minutes later and practically glared me out of the room. Good riddance, I thought to myself as I closed the door on the way out.
In the smaller dressing room, Silvio and the three dressmakers were fussing over the dress. I took a good look at it, thought about Lara's complexion and hair color, and went to choose a backdrop for the shoot. Theresa and I agreed that a mottled dark blue-grey would work best. The blue in the backdrop would make the white dress "pop," but it was muted enough by the grey that it wouldn't make Lara's skin look jaundiced.
When Mrs. Talbot emerged from the dressing room, she immediately came over to me and objected to the backdrop. Silvio joined in and took my side. She didn't like the dull color, she said. I patiently explained that the blue would make Lara's dress whiter. She wanted something more "alive," like a green backdrop. Green would make Lara's skin look red and blotchy, I explained. How about a nice dark red, she countered. Theresa tittered quietly behind me, and Mrs. Talbot silenced her with an icy stare. While I had several red backgrounds, I didn't recommend them. Red would give Lara's skin a greenish cast.
I tried to explain colors and color opposites to Mrs. Talbot, but I think she would have found fault with any of my backdrops. The matter was finally settled by Lara, who came out of the dressing room when she heard us arguing. She told her mother that I was the skilled and highly paid professional and that she liked the blue-grey. Mrs. Talbot closed her mouth abruptly and I tried to hide my astonishment. It would seem that Lara had inherited her father's personality, as well as his way of dealing with her mother. I was impressed.
After the row over the backdrop, the rest of the shoot went well. Once Lara had intervened, Mrs. Talbot seemed content to let me do my job. Silvio muttered about the "queen bitch" but was otherwise extremely helpful. He organized things with Lara, but let me run the shoot my way. To my surprise, I found that I liked working with him, and I once again revised my opinion of him up a few notches.
When we neared the end of the shoot, Silvio's cell phone started ringing. Before he had a chance to answer it, Lara's began to ring as well. Once she and Silvio were on the phone, Mrs. Talbot's phone rang, too. Theresa and I looked at each other helplessly as they all pressed cell phones to their ears.
After they all hung up, they had a hurried discussion. There was a problem with the caterers, and Silvio needed to take care of it. Mrs. Talbot wanted to go with him, and I could tell he wasn't very happy about it, but couldn't really tell her no. With Silvio and Mrs. Talbot gone, the shoot wrapped up quickly.
I wanted to give the new digital camera a try, so I asked Lara if she minded a few more shots. She didn't, so while Theresa was packaging the exposed film to send to the processing lab, I took out the Canon and hooked it up to my slaved flash system. I wanted to get some informal shots of Lara, so I had the dressmakers come in and adjust her bridal gown. While they did, I filled up two CompactFlash cards with pictures.
I told the make-up and hair people they could go, then the assistants from Vera Wang took Lara into the dressing room to remove the dress. Theresa wanted to leave early to pick up her kids from school, so I asked her to take the film to the lab on her way. As she was leaving, the dressmakers emerged with the bagged gown, and I showed them out.
When I returned to the dressing room, I found a weary but happy Lara Talbot. She was dressed in a silk robe that showed off her lithe figure, and I had a hard time keeping my eyes off her.
"So ... did everyone else leave?" she asked.
I nodded and took the seat to her left. "That went surprisingly well," I said.
"Yeah. Sorry about Mom," she said. She turned toward me and crossed her legs. As she did, the hem of her robe rode up, showing me a healthy expanse of tanned thighs.
"It's no problem," I said.
"You handled her well," she said. "Most people would've backed down."
"I deal with a lot of people like her in the fashion world."
Lara arched an eyebrow.
"People who are used to being in control, and don't like it when someone doesn't immediately do their bidding."
"That's Mom all right," Lara said, and then laughed. When she did, her breasts brushed against the thin fabric of her robe, and my eyes were drawn to her stiff nipples.
It was hard to drag my thoughts back to the topic at hand, but I reluctantly did. "I like Silvio," I said. "Although I didn't at first."
She cocked her head to the side.
"When I first met him, he came across as a lightweight," I explained.
Lara grinned at me.
"Yeah, he is light in the loafers," I said with an answering grin. "But he really knows his business."
"I wouldn't be able to do all this without him," she said sincerely. She regarded me shrewdly and then her eyes flicked to my unadorned left ring finger. "You're not gay, are you?"
I shook my head firmly. "Not in the least bit."
"Does it bother you that Silvio is?"
"Not really. He got a little frisky at first, but once I set him straight, he's been all business."
I nodded, somewhat embarrassed that I'd mentioned it. "He was a little touchy-feely when we first met."
She looked at me curiously.
"He grabbed my crotch," I explained.
Lara laughed musically and leaned forward. "That wasn't him," she said. Then she gave me a hungry look. "That was me."
She nodded. "I wanted to check out your package."
"And?" I shifted slightly as my dick began to swell.
"Very nice." She licked her lips, her eyes shining with lust.
"But what about your fiance?"
"What about him?" she asked indifferently. "He's got this stupid idea in his head that he's not going to have sex with me until we're married."
"You mean you haven't... ?"
"Of course I have. Just not since he proposed."
"Besides," she said, "Howie's not all that interested in sex. Not like I am." She practically purred.
"Then why're you marrying him?"
"Because he's a doctor, he's from the right family, and he's Jewish." She stood up and walked toward me, the robe parting as her legs moved, giving me delightful glimpses of her upper thighs. "But let's not talk about him."
"So ... What would you like to talk about?" Like I didn't know.
She was standing close enough that I could smell her perfume and feel her body heat. I didn't know if this was a weird game or not, so I let her make the first move. She had no reservations about doing so, and put her hands on my thighs. When she started running them toward my crotch, I pulled her closer. As her hands closed over the growing bulge in my lap, I reached for the belt holding her robe closed.
"Oh, my," she said, pursing her lips. "What have we here?"
"Would you like to see?"
She gave me a sultry nod.
"Me first," I said.
I pulled the silk belt and the robe fell open, revealing her perfect body. Her stomach was flat from hours in the gym, and her breasts were soft, round swells--about a B-cup, I decided. Her long nipples were so hard that the reddish areolas had completely puckered, and I reached up to tweak them. She shimmied, and the robe slipped from her shoulders, leaving her clad only in white lace panties.
"My turn," she said, her hands returning to knead my growing erection.
I stood up, pushing the chair back as I did. Lara reached for my belt, and I let her open it for me. After she unfastened it, she quickly lowered my zipper. I was only semi-erect, but she gasped when she reached inside my shorts.
"Oh, my God. How big is this thing?" Far from being scared, she looked even more turned on.
"Why don't you take it out and see?"
She dropped to her knees and dragged my jeans and shorts down over my ass. When my cock bounced free, she actually gasped. She gripped me softly, lovingly, and began to stroke.
"How big does it get?" she asked.
I shrugged. "I've never measured it." In truth, I hadn't. But virtually every woman I'd been with since the tenth grade had. I began to get harder as Lara continued to stroke me. She seemed mesmerized by the sight of my growing cock.
"It's got to be nine inches," she said reverently.
"A little less," I admitted.
"Not much less."
I began to unbutton my shirt as she closed her lips around my glans. Then she opened wide and swallowed about half my length, caressing the underside with her tongue. When I reached full erection, she had to pull back a little because her mouth was too small. That didn't stop her from lavishing attention on me.