I yawned as we walked into the studio. Luther and I pulled the black screen down and he sighed.
"Another emotional shoot," he said. "Thank goodness she has the same body as Mirela."
"Yeah," I chuckled. "I'm going to go look at some of these edits Mirela did of the proposal shoot while we wait."
"Okay," Luther said.
I sat down and turned the computer on. I double clicked on her folder and grinned. She had the perfect eye for editing. For the ones where George was on his knee and when he was doing the shy pose, she had put them in the restaurant backdrop. I was surprised; I didn't know she could put the backgrounds on the black screen. For the candid shots, though, she just left them on the black backdrop. She adjusted the brightness on their clothing and cropped some so it was their faces. She did a great job and I couldn't wait to ask her to work for us.
Luther and I had discussed it on the way back. We had taken maybe 200 pictures but we were going to trim it down to 75 and I would need help. Mirela was so perfect at this job that it only made sense to offer her a job on the days she wasn't working, should she wish to.
The studio door opened and I grinned as the two women walked in. Just seeing Mirela made me feel better. Luther let out a cry of happiness when he saw the coffees in Irene's hands. Mirela sat in one of the director's chairs while Luther helped her mom get in the dress and wreath. I sat beside her and held her hand.
"I missed you," I said, kissing her fingers.
She smiled. "I missed you, too. I'm glad you got to see your brother, though."
"He asked about you."
I nodded. "Wanted to know if we were dating yet and how your business was going."
"That was sweet of him," she said, sounding surprised.
Honestly, I had been surprised, too. But, it was like I said, he had changed a lot.
When Irene had come out, Mirela began to cry. I kissed her cheek and got up to start taking the pictures as Luther directed Irene. Irene was clearly trying to keep her tears at bay but, when we gave her the mask, she let them fall. Personally, I thought the tears made it better and redid some of the pictures. Mirela was a strong woman and her neutral expressions for her shoot fitted her well. I didn't know much about her mother but I could tell she was a sensitive woman.
When they left, I went straight to editing.
"Jenny starts tomorrow," Luther said, passing me a carton of fries from McDonald's.
I frowned. "Already? I thought she didn't start until mid-October."
He stared at me. "It is mid-October."
"Seriously?" I said and looked at the calendar. "Dude! What happened to the time?"
He chuckled. "That's what happens when you get busy," he said and smiled fondly at the studio. "We're going places, Caleb," he whispered. "And I can't wait to see where we end up."
Jenny arrived around 9 in the morning. She smiled and waved at me and I returned it. She would be working with me today so I could show her how our systems work while Larry took care of our three appointments.
"So, this software is really useful," I said. "Should we need to, I can take a picture from here via that camera that's attached to the ceiling. Watch." I clicked the button and the computer made a shutter clicking noise. "Now we wait and it comes up on the screen."
"Wow," she breathed. "That's amazing. Is there another chair for me to sit on?"
"No, I'm sorry. Here, you can sit here."
"I can sit on your lap," she said quickly with a small smile.
I frowned. "No that's okay. Go ahead and sit. I can stand."
Before I could move, though, she sat on my lap. I hesitated, remembering what Mirela had said about Jenny trying to flirt with me a few weeks ago. I cleared my throat and decided to just play it off.
That was a mistake.
Jenny was a quick learner. She came twice a week and, every time she did, she kept wearing very attractive clothing and strong perfume. I pinched the bridge of my nose, getting more and more uncomfortable. I wanted to tell Luther but he loved Jenny. She made his job easier since I wasn't very good at poses.
To combat whatever she was doing, I brought Mirela over as often as I could. When she was over, I made a point of holding her hand or having her sit on my lap instead. Like with Luther, though, I didn't tell her why. I was fighting with myself. Should I tell Mirela? I'm sure she'd want to know. Is that what a boyfriend would do? Would he tell his girlfriend if another girl was trying to seduce him?
But what if Mirela got upset with me? I hadn't done anything, though....
However, the more outfits Jenny wore, the more I realized how much I did miss having sex. I didn't want to have sex with Jenny; I wanted it with Mirela. But she was getting busy, too, and we hadn't had the chance to talk about it. Shit, I hadn't even had the chance to tell her I love her yet. When Jenny was at the studio, I kept my eyes focused on the computer screen.
It worked for about a month.
It was late and I was working on a family shoot. I had been texting Mirela all day because it was one of the days Jenny was here. Mirela was as stressed as I was and I had been considering doing a small vacation for us if Luther could hold down the fort for a week or so. But Mirela had gone to sleep now and I was alone in the studio.
Or so I thought.
"Hey." I looked up. Jenny was standing in the doorway. "You're here late."
"Sometimes that happens when we get busy," I said, looking back at the computer and holding onto the mouse tightly. "I don't mind. It's what I love."
"Editing?" she asked, walking in.
"Yeah," I said and draped my arm on my lap
Take the hint, damn it.
"Why isn't Mirela doing this with you? I thought you had hired her."
"Yeah but it's Wednesday," I said. "She works on Wednesdays."
"So she's not putting you as a priority," she whispered.
"It's not like that," I said, shifting uncomfortably on the chair. "She has to make a living, too."
She put her hand on my shoulder and I bit my lower lip. I didn't know what to do. I was battling with my desire for physical contact and my love for Mirela. I shut my eyes tightly as Jenny stood behind me and started to massage my shoulders.
"You're tense," she whispered.
"Because you're making me uncomfortable," I said.
"Me? How am I making you uncomfortable?"
"Please stop," I said, trying to shake her off. "You have classes tomorrow. You need to leave."
She ran her hands down my chest. "You don't want me to leave," she said in a low voice into my ear.
"Actually, yes I do. This is very inappropriate, Miss Anderson."
She placed a kiss on my neck and I cringed. "Only if you tell."
I shut my eyes tightly. She kept kissing my neck and bit gently on my ear. The room was getting hot and she unbuttoned my shirt.
"I've liked you for a while," she whispered, running her hands down my chest. "Ever since you came to Hobby Lobby. I know that you feel the same way."
"I don't," I said as firmly as I could. "Please remove your hands."
Somehow, she managed to get on my lap, straddling me. She started to unbutton her shirt and I shut my eyes again.
"Go, Jenny, before I do something I regret," I said through clenched teeth.
I felt her bare breasts on my chest. "And what's that?" she breathed, taking my hand and I snatched it away when she put it on her breast. "Just give in, Caleb. I know you want me."
"I don't," I repeated. I opened my eyes and glared at her. "Don't make me fire you, Jenny."
"You won't," she said and leaned against me, licking my neck. I shuddered. "That would just make Luther mad."
I looked around and, while she continued to kiss my neck, I turned on the webcam. God, I didn't want to do this.
"Get off of me, Jenny," I repeated. "Right now or I'll fire you."
She laughed and took her shirt off completely. "Stop playing, Caleb. I know you haven't had any for a while."
I muted my computer just as Luther's confused face popped up. I spun a little in the chair so I could look at him briefly, glaring. His eyes widened.
"Get off," I said. "I'm not interested in you."
"Yes you are," she whispered, putting my hands on her breasts again. "I can tell you are."
"Stop it!" I yelled, getting seriously annoyed. "This is inappropriate and I'm five seconds away from firing you!"
"It's just you and me, Caleb," she said, sitting up and keeping my left hand on her breast.
I glared at her and unmuted my computer.
"Actually, Jenny, it's not."
Jenny froze, her eyes wide.
"I told you not to make me do something I would regret," I said coldly and she turned to see a furious Luther.
I finally managed to get her off of me. She pulled her shirt back on while I buttoned mine, glaring at her.
"M-Mr. Banks," she spluttered. "It's-It's not what it looks like. Mr. Parrish was- He wanted me to-"
"Save it," Luther snapped. "Don't bother coming in tomorrow. Or any other day." He leaned closer to his webcam. "Now get out."
She sobbed and ran out. I put my head in my hands, shaking. Oh fuck. I was so close to at least touching her.
"You okay, Caleb?" he whispered.
"I gotta-I gotta call Mirella. I'll-I'll see you t-tomorrow."