I smirked as I walked out of the Starbucks. I whistled through my teeth as I dug my cell phone out of my pocket. I pulled up my contacts and dialed my best friend and partner in my photography business, Luther.
"I found the perfect girl," I said.
"Oh yeah? What's she look like?"
"Perfect straight hair, tan skin, white teeth, curvy body," I said.
"Where'd you find her?" he asked and I knew he was writing it all down.
"The Starbucks on Main Street," I answered. "From the way the barista treated her, she goes there often. I gave her my card. I think she's interested."
"You just think, Caleb?" he sighed. "We can't afford for you to 'think' a girl is going to agree. This photo shoot is too sensitive!"
I rolled my eyes. "I'm aware of that Luther. I have 50% invested, remember? Anyway, I left an impression so I'm sure she'll at least text me. We have five days to reel her in, Lu."
He sighed. "Go back tomorrow," he said.
"Already planned on it," I said cheerfully. "I'm headed back to the apartment unless you need me in the studio."
"Nah. I've got everything tied down here."
"Okiedokes. See you later tonight. Pick up Chinese."
I hung up and stuck my hands in my pockets as I walked. I was turning head and smirked, fully aware of how good looking I was. I had hoped I could use that to my advantage on Mirela but she seemed more interested in her work than anything else. Usually girls were more than happy to work with Luther and I.
Our apartment wasn't too far from the Starbucks. I had been there simply because I needed some coffee after pulling an all-nighter and to edit a few photos. Who knew I would find the one girl that could tie our whole shoot together? As I unlocked the door, I pondered the possibility of getting her dinner one night and giving her a... tour of the studio. I didn't see why not. It had worked every other time.
I put my laptop case down and cracked my neck. I opened the fridge and grabbed a can of beer, leaning against the counter and thinking about this photo shoot. Despite the confidence I had in Mirela working with us, I was very nervous. Luther spoke the truth: this shoot was pivotal to the continuance of our studio.
We've only had the studio for three months. We met in a bar a year ago after fighting over some free drinks. The bartender ended up offering drinks to both of us. After sitting down and drinking together, we realized we had the same interest in photography and the same dream: own the most famous studio in Oklahoma. So, we put our money together and started doing small things like birthday parties.
All that resulted in was realizing how much I loathed children. Then we tried shooting at concerts. Even though Luther had done a lot of concerts in the past, the only ones we could get in for were stupid boy bands with squealing teenage girls. After that, we went with family portraits despite our bad luck with the birthday parties. That's where we made our foothold. My mother had a stupid bunny stuffed animal of mine from when I was a kid and I used that to get the babies to stop screaming.
From there we got more and more talked about. Now we have a possible investor with an insane idea for a photo shoot. We knew it was a test: if we can pull this off, we can pull anything off.
I crushed my can and tossed it into the recycling bin. I changed into a pair of sweat pants and put on some tennis shoes. We had a gym in the apartment complex that I visited on a daily basis. Not only did I get my workout in, I also got to stroke my ego as the girls practically drooled over my body. God that was satisfying.
The next day, I went to Starbucks at the same time. I bought a mocha latte, dead on my feet. Luther had kept me up into the late hours again to talk about the shoot. He was obsessed.
"I told you, Miss Harrison. Your computer will not crash just because of a pop up."
I looked up and laughed. Mirela was back and looked about as frustrated as I was. The barista passed her the coffee and she exchanged it with some cash, waving away her change.
"Yes, I swear it will be fine. ... No, you don't have to take it to a repairman." She sat down and closed her eyes. "Look, I'm at the Starbucks on Main. If you're that worried, bring it to me." She stopped and smirked. "I understand. You have a good day, Miss Harrison."
She hung up and groaned, taking a long drink of her coffee. She hadn't noticed me yet as she plugged in her computer. I continued to stare at her, admiring her body as I had the day before. As she was logging in, she must have noticed me staring again because she looked up. She nodded once.
"You know," I said, going over to sit with her, "it's not very nice to not call a guy when he gives you his number."
"Sorry," she said but she didn't sound like it. "I was busy last night."
Her eyes were focused on her computer as she read something. She bit on her lower lip as she typed.
God, I need this girl.
"So, have you given any thought into the photo shoot?" I asked, leaning back in my chair.
She sighed. "No offense, Mr. Parrish-"
"Right, Caleb. I have a stressful day in front of me so I can't really talk about this right now. I'll text you or something later this evening and let you know."
I shrugged. "Just grab dinner with me."
"I can't. I already have plans."
I cocked a brow. "Another man chasin' after you?"
She rolled her eyes. "No. I'm having dinner with my mother."
"Then how about tomorrow?" I pressed. "I'll tell you more about the shoot."
She sighed heavily. "I don't know...."
"Come on. You won't regret it. Besides, you get a free meal out of it."
"Well, you have a point there." She ran a hand through her hair. "All right. Dinner tomorrow."
"Great," I said, clapping my hands together and standing up. "Enjoy your stressful day."
She waved distractedly and went back to her computer.