"I can't believe I let you talk me into this," I sighed, running a lint roller over the dinner jacket Luther put me in.
"Shut up and finish getting ready. Ladies, can you work on him, please? Mirela will be here soon and I need to get her dressed and ready."
Our makeup team, a group of three women, came in. Jennifer started putting mascara on my eyelashes.
"Do we have to do that?" I grumbled, leaning away from the wand.
"Shut up," she said.
"Bitch," I retaliated and she slapped the back of my head.
Pearl got out some gel and started styling my hair.
"We need something that's going to match her hair," she said to the last woman, Olivia. "What do you think?"
"Let's make it messy," she answered.
"Ooh, good idea."
She ran her fingers through my hair, ruffling it then getting out a purple can of hair spray. I closed my eyes and held my breath as she sprayed it all over my head. I waved my hand in front of my face and coughed a little.
"Jeez. What did you do? Use the whole can?" I coughed.
"Your hair is stubborn, Mr. Parrish," she sighed.
"Just like the rest of you," Jennifer said and I pushed the lip gloss away. "It's clear! It's going to make your lips look more natural."
"More natural than my natural lips?" I asked with a frown.
She stuck her hip out and glared at me. "You make all of your male models do this. The least you could do is have the full experience."
I groaned. "Fine. Put the damn lip gloss on."
She smiled in satisfaction and put on a layer.
"I look like a woman," I moaned.
"No you don't," she said. "You're just wearing mascara and lip gloss. Stop being a baby."
Luther walked in. "Mirela is ready. She's in the other dressing room."
"Finally! Someone who won't complain every five seconds."
I rolled my eyes. "Just go. You're botherin' me," I said in a fake New York accent, making them laugh.
"Aren't you just a ray of sunshine?" Luther said, sitting on the other makeup chair.
"She thought I was going to rape her," I frowned and he stared at me with wide eyes. "Yeah, that was my reaction, too. Why would she think that?"
"Well, you have been kind of a womanizing dick to her," he pointed out and I rubbed the back of my neck.
"Yeah but I'm like that with every woman I meet. Why is she so different?"
Luther shrugged. "Maybe she was just raised differently. Isn't she Bulgarian or something?"
"Romanian," I corrected and he nodded.
"Maybe that has something to do with it. Now, I need you to be focused today. I know you think it's cheesy-"
"I don't think. I know."
"Shut up. This has been a project I've really been wanting to do and you two are the perfect models for it. If you do this without much complaining, I'll buy you those shoes."
"Deal," I said, shaking his hand.
He laughed. "You're like a woman. Come on. Time to start."
"We still using the green screen?" I asked, standing up and making sure there wasn't anything on the jacket.
"Yes. I have some guidelines I want you to follow for the editing but you can be as creative as you'd like with it."
"Sounds like fun. Let's go out and see Satan's mistress."
Luther laughed and led the way out. I could hear the makeup team gushing over Mirela. I walked out and my mouth fell open like it always did when I was around her.
Luther had put her in a strapless cocktail dress. It clung to her body and stopped a few inches above her knees. Her heels were black, as well, and maybe two inches tall so she'd reach my chin. The makeup team went simple with her: smoky eye and red lipstick. When she saw me, she smirked.
"Lip gloss," she said. "Very masculine."
"Oh, shut up," I said.
"Okay you two, let's do this," Luther said. "Face each other and Mirela, bend your knee a little so that your leg is touching his gently. Perfect. Caleb, put your hand on her hip." He rolled his eyes. "A little more natural, please. Thank you. Now, Mirela, rest your hand on his arm." He tilted his head. "Actually, take the jacket off, Caleb."
"I told you," I said and tossed it on the chair next to the screen, leaving me in the tight red button up. I saw Mirela blush a little and smirked at her. "I can take the shirt off, too."
"Shut up, Caleb," Luther snapped. "Hand back on her hip. Okay, now put your hand on his arm, Mirela. For the hands facing the back, just hold them. Now the fun part! Look into each other's eyes and give me those lovely cliché love smiles."
I sighed and looked into her dark brown eyes. They reminded me of dark chocolate. I smiled at her but it must have come out as a grimace because she cocked a brow.
"You can do better than that," she taunted.
"Yeah, I can do a lot with my lips," I said. She narrowed her eyes dangerously. "Oh, all right."
"Best behavior," Luther snapped.
I sighed again and closed my eyes, imaging standing in a park with a faceless woman, remembering what my mother had said when talking about when she fell in love with my father. She had shown me pictures. I opened my eyes and mimicked the smile the best I could. She already had the perfect smile on her face. Luther started snapping pictures and began having us change poses.
"Put your back against his chest, Mirela," Luther said and she obeyed. "Hands on her hips, Caleb. That shouldn't be hard, no offense Mirela."
"None taken," she said.
"Oh, I see how it is," I grumbled.
"He is being a gentleman," she snapped.
"Lean your head on his outside shoulder and look up at him like you're madly in love with him."
She huffed but did as he said. I looked down at her, my eyes half closed out of instinct.
"Perfect, Caleb!" Luther said. "Hold that right there!" He snapped some more. "Now, you're going to hate me, Mirela, but remember you're doing me a favor."
She sighed and looked at him. "You're going to make me kiss him, aren't you?"
He smiled cheekily. "Face him again." She obeyed. "Put your left hand on his shoulder. There you go. For your right hand, put your thumb on his chin just below his lips and your pointer and middle fingers on his jaw."
"What about my other fingers?" she asked.
"Just curl them a little. Bend your knee again. Caleb, put your hands on her hips again. Now, give me a sweet kiss to start with."
I sighed, annoyed mostly because I was looking forward to kissing her. I leaned in and touched her lips gently with mine.
"Perfect," he said in a sing song voice as she kissed me back. Damn that felt nice. "Now, give me a little more passion."
More passion? I didn't do passion. I did lust. Mirela rolled her eyes, looking frustrated.
"You have no idea what to do, do you?" she whispered.
"Not really," I admitted.
She shook her head a little then kissed me again, spreading her hand onto my cheek all the way. She bit on my lip and I heard Luther snapping away before getting caught up in the kiss. She licked my front teeth and slid her tongue gently into my mouth. I closed my eyes and kissed her back eagerly.
"Slow," she breathed. "You're going too fast."
"Right," I whispered and kissed her again, putting my hand behind her neck.
I did my best to kiss her slower and tried to slide my hand down her leg more. She shook her head but didn't break from the kiss. She put my hand on her lower back instead. I had never kissed a woman like this before. It was weird but felt nice all the same. She linked her hands behind my neck.
Suddenly, Luther cleared his throat.
"I'm not taking pictures anymore you two."
Mirela immediately backed out of my arms, leaving me speechless.
"Anything else?" she asked.
He was flipping through his camera, looking at the pictures.
"Nope," he said. "Do you want to see them?"
"Actually, I was wondering if I could help with the editing."
"That's up to Caleb."
She was looking at me expectantly for a few seconds before I could manage a response.
"Uh-Uh yeah. Sure. Um. Tonight, I guess. Same time. Um. I'm gonna get out of this lip gloss."