Sally yawned as the alarm went off – far too early for her liking. As a photographer, you needed to get up with the light though... She softly kissed Fin. He needed to get up too, after all.
It was amazing how quickly some people could change their mind. No, not the man in the bed beside her. From the moment he had told her he loved her, he had done everything to prove that – every day.
Nicholas, however... He had been furious with her when he finally discovered the photographs on his camera. In retrospect, it might have been smarter to delete them before handing the camera back, but it had slipped their mind. Nick had fired her on the spot – which wasn't too bad, considering she just had two weeks left, and she had already decided she was going to stay in the city, regardless. Fin had said he wanted her there with him, forever.
So she had been perfectly happy at home for two days, tapping away at her computer, spinning everything that happened to her in the last three months, changing it, embellishing it and making it into her own little story. Then Nicholas had called her. She had almost hung up on him – she did not need another tongue-lashing from her least-favorite uncle,
But instead of shouting at her again, he asked her come back. First, casually. Then, when she refused, he tried to bully her – which she was even less impressed with. Unlike everybody else, she certainly was not afraid of him. Finally, he had resorted to begging her to come back – not as a gopher this time but as a photographer. Her pictures had been so good, the magazine had booked another three shoots – and they were so far from his usual style that he couldn't reproduce it. Apparently, Anya had told her later, he had tried and gotten very very mad when the magazine told him that the shots were not up to scratch. Sally did not know what was so special about the photos, but Fin had assured her they were special indeed – they had a lightness and innocence about them that neither Nick or Adrian would ever be able to achieve. Plus, the pictures were filled with love. At least according to Fin, that was. But maybe that wasn't so strange if you considered that the men in the picture were her family plus the man she loved.
Speaking of whom, he was now awake and looking at her. "You look so beautiful, I could just paint you."
Sally rolled her eyes. "I told you, you are not painting me nude."
"Why not? I'm your muse – why won't you be mine?"
She knew she shouldn't have told him that. "Because I'm a prude, ok?"
"No you're not." Fin disappeared under the sheets, placing kisses on her naked body to prove his point.
"Not when it comes to you," she finally breathed when he had kissed her into submission. But that doesn't mean I want everyone to see. I'm not like you."
"What do you mean?" he asked, still hovering above her like an enthusiastic puppy.
"Well, I couldn't have a nude of myself hanging above my bed."
"Really? Don't you like it?" Oh, those eyes – so sad. Had this man any idea what he did to her?
"Oh, I like it." She flushed. She liked it just fine – every time she looked at it, she was reminded of the fact that this man was not just gorgeous, but also an amazing lover, and that... Boy, was it hot in here.
"What?..Sally... Is something the matter?" he asked worried now.
"It turns me on, alright?" she mumbled.
"Does it now?" More kissed were placed on her body. "But that's a good thing, isn't it?"
"I just... I don't want other women to look at you that way."
"I'm afraid they do that already anyways. I'm a model – I'm gawked at." She could see the distaste in his face. It was definitely something he considered as one of the lesser aspects of the job, she knew.
"Yes, but... I know you don't see it that way, but I'd like that part just for me." She had just admitted she was jealous, she realized. And worse, she meant it.
"Do you want me to take the picture down?"
"No, it's beautiful. And it's part of who you are. I don't want to change you. I'll learn to live with it."
"You know, for me the painting has nothing to do with nudity. I painted it to get over my shyness."
"You, shy?" Now that came as a surprise.
"Terribly. There are not a lot of people I feel comfortable around, and I used to be very quiet. Nowadays I'm ok – I have to be. But… yeah, I'm naturally shy. What that picture represents is freeing myself from that. Because after people have seen me naked, there is nothing to worry about, is it?"
And that was the reason she loved this man. Yes, he was drop-dead gorgeous. But, more importantly, he had a soul that was poetic and creative and perfectly matched hers. He understood her, maybe even better than she understood him. She kissed him and curved her body to his.
He kissed her neck, his hand wandering down her stomach."So, the painting brings out other feelings in you?"
"Aren't you supposed to get up for work?" she replied, knowing what he was up to. He was nearly impossible to resist though .
"Well, I have a great boss. She doesn't mind me being late." Darn man. She was leading the shoot today. Not modeling, but she would be behind the camera, showing Nick what she could do. Well, if she ever got there. At this rate, the shoot was going to take place in their bedroom.
"You... you..." he was already kissing his way down her collarbone, smothering any protest. Unfortunately, at that moment the phone rang. Who the hell would call this early?
"Sally, where did you get those dresses from?" It was Nick – who else?
"They are mine, why?" she grumbled back. He couldn't expect her to be civil at this hour, could he?
"Yes, but where did you buy them? The magazine wants to know. Apparently, they have been getting bombarded with emails from women who picked up the magazine. They now want to do a cover feature on the designer in one of their female magazines."
They wanted what? "I didn't buy them. I made them."
"Well, you'd better call them, they are driving me nuts. So you can explain to them they're out of luck."
Sally put the phone down in disbelief.
"What's the matter?" Fin asked, looking at the state of her
"People have been contacting the magazine we did that shoot for, saying that they want to buy the dresses they saw. My dresses." It still didn't sound real to her.
"I told you they were wonderful. You should think about contacting the magazine. You could sell your dresses to others and let them enjoy them."
"I don't know – the dresses are a bit like my babies. I don't know if I could let them go."
"My sweet Salomé. Your dresses are like works of art. Others will enjoy them too. You could make new ones. Like a painting – one day, you've got to sent them out into the world and let others marvel at them." That was the most beautiful compliment anyone could give her. And she was so happy it had come from Fin.
"I'll think about it. I mean, I love sewing. I never thought I could do it as a career, though. Never thought anybody would want the dresses I made."
"Well, you are obviously in demand if they appear in a male magazine and dozens of women still see it and want it. You should go for it," he tried to encourage her.
"Ok – I'll make new dresses, though. I don't think I could sell the ones I got – they are part of me. Thanks for calling them art."
"It's the truth. They are a pleasure on the eye."
"Thanks." He made her feel humble. "By the way, you are never selling that nude."
"But I might make a new one... Of us two together."
"I'm not giving up on that. If this painting turns you on..." Fin smirked. "I want that too."
"Keep dreaming." She knew damn well that in time, he'd probably wear her down.
"How about one of us together? You can entangle yourself in such a way nothing improper can be seen."
That could work."I'll think about it, ok?"
"That's all I ask."
It wasn't hard to crack a smile when his beautiful Sally was behind the camera. At this rate, he might never scowl again. Oh well, Charlie was here too. He was visiting his mom, and had come by the studio. Sally had immediately used him as model, even though he did protest. Well, at least Lydia wasn't there. It was just Sally, Fin and Charlie. There was supposed to have been another male model too, but he had canceled last minute. Fin had the feeling Lydia had something to do with that, though. It had happened a few times on shoots Sally had either booked or lead. Lots of people were afraid of Lydia – and rightly so, because she could be a downright psychopath. She had burned a girl's arm with a curling iron, just because the girl had smiled at Lydia's obsession of the week. But a few photographers – like Nicholas – loved working with her, saying she had personality. The models knew better, though. She had personality, yes. She was like a viper – you were never sure when she was gonna strike. So, if she told somebody to stay away, they usually did.
However, since Lydia was not in sight, even Charlie managed to crack a smile. Fin looked at the photos that had already been taken and saw exactly why Sally made pictures that Nicholas never would be able to take. She brought out the light in people. With Nick, they looked like dead puppets.
Halfway through the shoot, Sebastian, the model that Fin was supposed to be doing the shoot with, walked in. "She kidnapped me!" he cried out, plopping down on the couch behind the scenes. "I'm sorry, I really wanted to come but she tied me to the bed and left."
"Who?" both Fin and Sally asked simultaneously.
"Lydia." The poor guy's eyes looked bloodshot and his wrists were chafed.
"I knew it." Fin could kick himself for not realizing the lengths Lydia would go to sooner. Now other people had become collateral damage. And Sebastian was a good guy – he didn't deserve it.
"This has to stop. Next time she'll hurt somebody. I don't want her to hurt you, Sally." Fin said worried.
"What? She can't harm me. I have no ties to the industry, and I could care less," Sally said, bravely. But Fin was afraid she had no idea how far Lydia could take it. In fact... "If we all pull together, we could ruin her. And I hate to do it, but I think we have to. How many other people can she hurt? It's fear that keeps her in power. If everybody stood together, her rule would be over tomorrow. So all we need is something to inspire the other, and the rest will come. Sebastian, would you be willing to tell what happened to Nicholas? We will back you up 100%. Heck, we have got photographic proof on how she mauled Charlie."
"Ummm..." Sebastian mumbled.
"Come on Bas, we have all been there – you have got nothing to embarrassed about. She just went psycho on your ass. I mean, look at your wrists."
"It's time somebody put a stop to her. She thinks she can get away with everything. Not anymore," Sally said fiercely. Fin liked her fierce, he decided. She looked like she was on fire.
"Alright," Sebastian finally agreed.
"Go change. Then we can show her she can try, but she won't succeed," Sally grinned.
As Sebastian got dressed, Sally put her arms around Fin. "So... have you ever found yourself tied up by a lover?"
Fin felt himself blush. "No... I just said that to reassure him. But you are welcome to tie me up and have you wicked way with me any time you like, beautiful."
Sally laughed, "I'll keep that in mind." He cornered her, pushing her upon the table and capturing her lips. He couldn't help himself. The camera snapped behind them.
Charlie. It was funny – Nick would have killed people for touching his camera. Sally didn't care at all – she just kissed Fin harder.
"Hey, what happened to your professionalism, Fin?" Sebastian was grinning. He was dressed, and had put on two leather wrist bands to cover up the damage. "Or are you now into seducing the photographer to get more work?"
Sally blushed. Fin laughed – he knew Sebastian well enough to know he was just kidding. "If the photographers are this pretty, why not?"
"You are right. She is way cuter than Nicholas. Nicer too, " Sebastian flirted, winking at Sally.
Fin immediately grabbed Sally close to him."Hey, she's mine." Even though they were now a couple, and he knew she would leave him, he still felt jealous.
"Do you own me?" Sally said, raising an eyebrow. "I did not know I had a tag on me."
"No, of course not. I just..."
Sally started laughing."You're cute when you are jealous."
"Say, are we gonna do this shoot?" Sebastian asked, getting impatient.
"Yes!" Sally gave Fin got another deep kiss. "I got three men to photograph now. Take that, Lydia!"
They were able to finish without any more difficulty. Sebastian left, promising to go to Nicholas. Charlie went back to his mom's house.
"How about a few more pictures of us? For that painting." Fin asked setting up the camera.
"I told you I was still thinking about it."
"I won't pick up a brush till you approve. You can even keep your underwear on." He had memorized what was underneath anyways. "And I'll remove them before we hand the cam over to Nick."
"Good idea." Sally sat down on the now empty stage. "How about you?"
"I'll be naked, of course." He said tossing his shirt away already.
"Tease." Sally hissed. It sent delightful shivers down his spine.
"I'm glad to have that effect on you. When I came out of the shower that first day, I got the feeling you weren't into me at all."
"I was drooling," she all but whispered.
"What did you say?"
"You heard me." She pulled him down to her, and he settled between her legs. Prude? This woman was a vixen. His vixen.
Maybe she was right, and this painting would be for their eyes only. He would be unable to share it with anyone else. He still wanted to make it though.
"You had the hots for me?"
"Yes..." She nipped at his shoulder. How he loved this woman.
"You just want me for my body," he grinned.
"You know that ain't true. I love you."
"I know... And I love you too." Their bodies twisted together, as the camera he had put on timer started snapping pictures. The fashion industry was a fickle one. But they had one certainty from now on: they had each other.
The End... for now
So this is the end. Sally and Fin will go on living happily ever after. We might even check in on them now and then, popping up in other stories or having a look in on their lives now and then. And a Christmas bonus as promised. Next week hopefully I will have a Christmas story for you, but home life is very hectic and I can be pulled away any moment with a granny of 94 that is very ill right now. So I will do my best but I don't know if I can. I do love your reviews though, each and everyone of them. If you followed this story to the end, I'm dying to know what you think, so please let me know! I will try to get back to you if I can.
Esther – Charlie won't be the main character in the next story, but his mom will be. Read "Irish Coffee" I love mixing up the characters as one big happy family. So I Slanté Sally and Fin definitely will come by. The closet joke: I couldn't resist, lol. Sally seems spoiled for choice what she wants to do now, really... Come Christmas she will be making dresses. Now since you don't have a profile I can't mail you back, so I'll thank you in advance! Thanks for all the reviews, I loved them!
Guest – Yes, I love Sally too, and Fin.
Clouded and Instincts – I hoped the last chapter lived up to expectations. I felt it needed this chapter to bask in the afterglow of them finally getting together, so that's what I tried to achieve.
LizzieIzzie - I know you actually didn't review, but I saw you on the follower list for Bus Stop, and I was sure I saw that name before. That story is mine too! Under my old pen name Darka82. I have plans on reviving that story, but it will be on here, starting again from the beginning, somewhere, I hope, come spring. I'm so glad you like it!