I changed, my hands shaking. I knew what he was doing for the last series of pictures, even if Caleb didn't. I had forgotten about the mask part. My father had only mentioned it once.
I walked back out with the flower wreath in my hands, not sure what to do with it. They were putting the white screen back on and Luther hooked a projector up.
"We have a new rig," Caleb told me. "It will let us go in the computer room and we can see the pictures I took on this camera on the computer screen by putting in the memory card. We hooked the projector to the computer so we can look at them on the white screen. I'll be right back."
I sat in one of the three director's chairs. Luther put me in the one in the middle.
"Here," I whispered.
"I want you to keep it, dear," he said, sitting to my left. "That and the mask."
"I-I know why you did the last one," I said in a thick voice.
He squeezed my hand. "I figured you would. Let's wait until Caleb gets back, though."
I nodded and he came back out, sitting to my right. He pressed a button and the first set came up and I laughed. I smiled at them all. I really did look pretty nice in the outfits and makeup Luther put me in. When we got to the second one, though, I could tell he had picked the halter top on purpose.
"I know you don't like sexy," Luther said, "but I couldn't resist."
"Sure you couldn't," I said sarcastically and he laughed.
"I think I'll go in and fix her skin tone," Caleb said, pointing with a laser pointer. "She looks like a zombie."
I smacked his arm. "Gee, thanks."
Then we got to the last series. Luther put the wreath back on my head and the mask in my hands.
"Okay," Caleb said. "Please explain this one to me."
"It's part of the Romanian ritual of funerals," I whispered, looking at the mask. "In the past, they used to dress up in masks and have what resembled carnivals. They would dance and sing." I cleared my throat and they both held my hands. "Then, when the Christian religion started taking over, they stopped. People would dress in white. They wear wreaths like this one but they call them crowns."
I stopped and we went through the pictures solemnly. I let go of their hands to hold onto the mask and to wipe my tears away. Caleb passed me a tissue. When we came to the end, we all sat quietly for a while. I stood up and they did the same. I hugged Luther tightly.
"Thank you," I whispered and he hugged me back.
"Caleb told me yesterday was the anniversary of his death," he said. "I wanted to give you something special since you've helped us out."
"You guys paid me, though," I pointed out.
"We didn't pay you for finding the Stevens Rehab Center," Caleb said. "Let's go to the back and pick the ones you want to keep, yeah?"
I nodded and walked back there with him.
"I'm going to let you keep the clothes," Luther said while we all squeezed in there.
"Come sit on my lap," Caleb said and I narrowed my eyes at him. He laughed. "This time I'm not making a move. I promise."
"Okay," I said. "But one grope and I'm slapping you."
"Deal," he said and I sat down. He put his left arm around me and rested his hand on my waist. "Let's start with the Romanian pictures and go back. Is that okay"
"Yeah," I whispered.
We spent an hour going through the Romanian ritual pictures. I wanted to keep all of them but there were a few that I didn't like the angle on. The ones after that were more entertaining and I knew he had planned that. The halter top pictures did make me kind of look like a zombie so Caleb did a quick edit to make my skin back to its natural tan. While we went through them, I leaned into him to get more comfortable and he wrapped his arm around me more.
"I'm not a zombie anymore!" I said, clapping my hands and they laughed.
"You're keeping these," Caleb said, clicking to check mark the ones of my laying down with my hair fanned out around my head.
"Jeez, bossy," I said and we laughed.
For the ones where I was making the funny faces, Caleb was the one who wanted to keep all of them.
"There are, like, a thousand!" I said and he laughed.
"Yeah but you look adorable!"
"That's new," I said. "What happened to sexy?"
"Oh, you still look sexy, don't worry about that." I laughed and elbowed his stomach. "Now this one we are definitely keeping," he said, clicking on the one where I was sticking my tongue out at him.
"I can't believe you tried to get me to do a pouty face, Luther," I said but he didn't answer.
We looked around. He had left.
"I guess you can move to the stool now if you want," Caleb said.
I flushed, not bothering to hide it. I wouldn't be able to anyway.
"I'm comfortable," I whispered.
"Good because so am I," he said. "For the first two, we can edit the backgrounds," he said. "We can't for the last series but something tells me you don't want to touch them anyway."
"No, I don't," I said immediately.
"Let's go back to the white halter top," he said, shifting a little so he was sitting up straighter. I was about to get up but he put his chin on my shoulder. "So, we can keep the white for the ones where you're lying down or we can do another color."
"Could you make it look like I'm laying on grass?" I asked.
"Can a bird fly?" he teased.
"Oh shut up and do it," I said and he laughed.
"What about for the others?"
"Let's stick with the outdoor theme," I said, subconsciously resting my head on his.
He pressed back to support it.
"You're sitting on that box so let's make it look like you're sitting on a log or something."
"Ooh, forest setting," I said excitedly. "Yes please."
"I'm not messing with your skin tone any more than I have," he said. "I want your hair and eyes to pop more, though."
"They're pretty dark, Caleb. Wouldn't you have to make them lighter?"
"Normally," he said, "but watch this."
He faded the colors then enhanced the brown. I whistled, impressed.
"Time for the silly ones," he said. "You don't seem like the bubbles in the background type."
"No," I said with a laugh. "Hmm.... What kind of stuff can you do?"
"Anything you want me to," he whispered and I picked up on the double meaning but didn't say anything.
"Silly faces," I mused. "You know, I think the white background is good for me. We can adjust the colors, though."
"Not of your skin, hair, and eyes," he said immediately and I turned to frown at him.
"You're really adamant about that."
He shrugged and looked at the computer. "They're too beautiful to mess with."
I flushed some more but looked back at the computer, too. He whistled through his teeth, something I noticed he did when he was in the zone.
"Hey, Caleb?" I whispered.
"Yeah?" he asked, a little distracted.
"Thanks for doing this for me."
He smiled at me. "You're welcome," he said softly.
"You're... different," I said, shifting so I was looking at him better.
"In what way?" he asked with a small frown.
"More... serious. Not as much as a rude dick."
He laughed, looking down. "Well, I still think your body is sexy as hell and you'd look great naked but... I guess...."
"What?" I pressed when he stopped talking.
His eyes locked with mine. We stared at each other and he leaned forward, kissing me lightly on the lips. I closed my eyes and leaned into his kiss. It felt... amazing. His arm tightened on my waist and he licked my lower lip but pulled back.
"Let's finish these pictures," he whispered.
"Okay," I whispered back and we turned to the computer at the same time.