Picture Perfect

picture perfect2

This story has taken a lot longer to publish than I thought, but here is an excerpt and hope you all look forward to reading it:

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Eric focused his lens on Beth as she prepared for her wedding. He locked away his emotions, snapping pictures as the woman doing Beth’s make-up ran a brush over her soft brown skin. He shifted angles and concentrated on capturing Beth on the most important day of her life. Her dress was stunning. A white confection of silk and organza, the bodice hugged her chest and waist tightly, then floated to the floor in wide skirts. When she sat down, it looked like a sea of white. Her hair was brushed into a tight ponytail, with a shining clip decorated with tiny diamonds. She smiled at him and he took a picture of it. She was happy, happier than he had ever seen her. That truth stabbed deep inside him, it was obvious he was just going to have a very hard day today.

Two hours later, Eric stood on the sidelines of the altar at the Holy Basilica in Nairobi, his lens focused on Beth and Taylor. With each picture, he captured their smiles, Beth’s teary eyes, happy laughs. His jealous heart was suffering. If the fates had chosen different, he’d be the one holding Beth’s hand, watching her blush when the priest asked her to say her vows. Taylor dried the tears of happiness from her eyes when she slipped a ring on his finger.

When the priest announced them as husband and wife, the cathedral erupted in wild ululations. Women sang, men clapped in jubilation. He documented it all, taking pictures of the happy couple then turning his lens to the happy audience. The cathedral was full with family, friends, distant relatives and work colleagues.

And then, there she was.

Victoria Waina in red. She looked gorgeous, she’d added a red flower clip in her hair on the left side. He smiled taking a series of pictures. He lowered the camera and walked toward her. She’d chosen a bench near the back of the church, and sat on the edge near the aisle. She graced him with a smile when he approached. She moved to make space for him to sit.

“You came,” he said taking her hand. She’d even painted her nails red.

“Yep,” she said, turning to look at him. Her smooth skin was a warm caramel brown. He dropped his gaze to the hem of the silky dress, and followed the curve of her legs to find her feet in delicate red heels and her toenails painted a fire-engine red. She’d gone all out.

He lifted his gaze and met her inquiring one. “I told you red was great on you.”

“I didn’t do it for you,” she said tugging her hand out of his. “Shouldn’t you be taking photographs?”

He pointed to his assistant Linda, who’d taken over the job. She was at the front taking pictures as Beth and Taylor settled into their seats. The priest launched into a short sermon and he slouched on the bench so that he could whisper in Victoria’s ear.

“I’m so happy to see you.”

“This is a church, don’t make noise,” she said clutching her red purse tightly.

“Everyone is making noise, the ceremony is about to end. Stay with me,” he said as the priest finished the ceremony.

“I have to get to the hotel,” she said.

“You’re my date, you can’t abandon me,” he cajoled. “I’ll let you play with my camera.”

She chuckled. “I really doubt that, you hug that thing like it’s a baby.”

So she’d noticed, he thought with a smile. His gaze dropped to the expensive camera resting against his chest.

“It is my baby,” he said grinning at her.

The priest finished his blessing, officially ending the wedding ceremony. He grabbed Victoria’s red purse from her hands and slipped it into his camera bag. He stood and walked up the aisle to take pictures as the bride and groom turned to face the world as newlyweds.

Victoria found him outside the cathedral. She’d slipped on dark glasses because it was very hot. She touched his arm when he finished taking a group photograph of Taylor, Beth and their immediate family.

“Give me back my purse,” she said.

“Nope, you and I are stuck together.”

“I’ll take your camera hostage,” she warned as Taylor’s workmates arranged themselves around the Bride and Groom.

“I’m working, dear. Do you want me to get fired?”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m working too. You’re keeping me from my job. I need to get to the hotel.”

“Grace hasn’t called you, so in truth, I’m saving Grace from an overly concerned boss.”

Victoria laughed. “Are you always this annoying?”

He flashed her a grin. “Only when I want something.”

She folded her arms against her chest and moved closer to watch him align his shot. He rarely had anyone watch him work, but her presence was welcome. She wasn’t intrusive, and he liked the flowery scent of her perfume. She’d changed it from the mint he remembered at the hotel.

When he finished the shot, the group around Beth and Taylor congratulated them on their wedding.

“So, do you only do wedding photography?” she asked as they waited for Beth’s workmates to arrange themselves.

“It depends on the assignment. There are months when I have weddings each weekend. But, during the week, I spent my time in my studio in Hurlingham, or on the road taking shots for assignments out of town.”

“Where in Hurlingham?”

“Will you come to visit?” he asked sliding her a glance.

“Maybe,” she said with a small shrug.

He smiled mesmerized by the elegant motion of her slender shoulders. “My studio is behind the supermarket at the Hurlingham Shopping Center.”

She pointed to the group who were waiting for him to finish. He winked at her and returned his attention to his camera. He spent the next ten minutes answering her questions and taking photographs of Beth and Taylor and their guests. When they were finished, Victoria watched him pack up the tripod.

“Can I have my purse now?” she said. “I should really get to the Savon now.”

“Grace seemed competent to me. She’ll do better without you hovering.”

“Are you going to keep my purse hostage throughout?” she asked.

“If that’s what I have to do, then yes.”

He held the folded tripod in his left hand and waved to Beth and Taylor. “Come on, let’s go on an adventure.”

“Where to?” Victoria asked following him when he started walking toward a black Jeep he used for assignments.

“The wedding pictures are going to be taken at a residence in Upper hill. Taylor’s aunt owns property there, please come with me.”

He handed her the tripod as he unlocked the Jeep. He opened the trunk and took the tripod from her. Placing it gently on the trunk floor, he closed the door and moved to open the front passenger door for her. He urged her in, closed the door firmly and hurried around to the driver’s side. He wanted to reach the venue first so that he could look around for the best places to take wedding photographs.

Starting the car, he drove out of the Basilica parking lot. When he joined traffic on Parliament road, he tuned the radio to a rock station, and lowered the volume to a comfortable level.

Victoria settled in her seat and asked, “So, how did you start doing photography? Did you train in school?”

He chuckled. “Why?”

“Because,” she smiled at him and he wondered at the small punch in the depths of his stomach. It was the way her lips curved just so, her smile was genuine. “Most people just self-train when it comes to Photography. They do it like a hobby, and keep a day job.”

“I actually wanted to do journalism, but changed my mind and decided to do Film Production. I wanted to create movies in Kenya when I was in college. But, my photography career started long before college, so you’re right, it was a hobby first.”

“Have you made any films?” she asked with genuine interest.

“I have done documentaries,” he said. “I have worked with different organizations and institutes, doing environmental and social pieces. I get to see a lot of sides of this country through the different assignments. Some are heartbreaking, others breathtaking, it depends on the topic.”

“Do you like it?” she asked studying him.

“I love it,” he said truthfully. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a camera in my hands. Whether it’s a wedding photo shoot, or making a documentary in the slums of the city. I’m just happy to be telling a story.” (to be Continued...)

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Look forward to this e-book, coming soon.

 

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