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"That's it. Right there. Beauuuuutiful."
I snap my camera three more times, it's lens aimed at Jamaica, my friend of almost five years. Long brown limbs deftly entangled in the vines clinging to the side of the old brick building, she looks like she has been doing this since birth.
She raises one hand above her head, elongating her slim body against the building.
"Gorgeous." I say, clicking taking three more shots.
She has so graciously agreed to help me pass my lighting and composition class, a photo shoot using natural light being one of my last assignments of the year. I thought about using Abram, but I think I have tapped that well just about dry. My computer is now a portable shrine to him, being home to at least three hundred still images of Abram. Some posed, some candid. All him.
Plus, Jamaica is stunning. Decidedly the best choice for my final shoot.
She moves toward the grass, crawling sexily on all fours to invoke the animalistic scene I'm going for. I adjust the aperture, allow more light a chance to capture the glisten of the sun on her back. The gold shimmer and animal print one-piece swimsuit adorning her body flirts with my lens. I'm getting more good shots than I'd hoped for. Jamaica is an awesome model. She knows how to contort her body in ways that usually take career models years to perfect. Sexy without being slutty. A fine line to walk.
"You know I want to use some of these in my comps, right?"
"That's fine with me. As long as you make sure I get the proper credit for making you look awesome." I say.
"Honey, I've been awesome. You're just fortunate enough to capture it." She jokes. "Too bad Jason isn't here. He'd love to see this."
Jason is her on-again, off-again boyfriend of the last two years. Currently they're on-again.
"What, seeing you do a photo shoot?"
"No, seeing me do a sexy swimsuit shoot with a woman photographer. He's silly like that." She laughs.
"Well hey, you like him right?"
She rolls over, one leg pointing straight up in the air, the other bent at the knee. "Dang right I do. This week." She laughs.
"Arch your back woman, this is supposed to be sexy." I instruct, kneeling down to get a better shot.
She arches her back slightly. Turns her head towards me and gives a 'come hither' look to the camera.
"Speaking of liking someone, how are you and mr. Dreamboat Abram?"
"We're good. He's great." A smile escapes as I click another shot. "Of course, I haven't told him that I saw Jaylen again the other day."
At this she stops posing, sits upright in the grass. "What? You've seen him since that night at the restaurant? Where?"
"Yes. I saw him the other day. He was at my school for some unknown reason. I think he might be following me. Said he was there meeting with someone about business." I say, recalling the moment that my heart jumped into my chest when Jaylen tapped me on my shoulder. He looked good, as usual. Smelled good, as usual. Tried to smooth talk his way back in, as usual.
"So, what did he say? What did he want? You think he's following you? Business my butt. You know how he is. You better be careful. I've never trusted that man as far as I can throw him."
Jamaica and Jaylen had never really gotten along. She told me the day I met him that he had a hidden agenda.
I wish I had listened.
"Nothing, really. Just asked me how I've been. Apologized for up and leaving. Cracked on me dating a guy like Abram."
"As opposed to what? His thieving, conniving self? Tell him having a fine man with a damn job is nothing to be teased about. And did he say anything about paying you back for that unauthorized 'loan' he took? Jackass. Ugh. Why is he even back in town?"
"Jamaica, I didn't talk to him that long. And you better believe I did say something about my money. He had the nerve to say he sent me a money order in the mail about a month later paying it back. He did ask me to have lunch with him. Said he has a business proposition for me and left me his card. But, of course I told him to kiss it. That fool even tried to hug me."
The shoot momentarily forgotten, I am sitting next to her now, cross-legged in the damp grass, still covered with the early morning dew. The thing about capturing natural light in a photo, is that the best time to do it is early morning or one hour before sunset. It is now 6:30am. We've been out here for a little over a half-hour.
"Oh heck no. A, listen to me, don't talk to him anymore. If he just 'pops up' again where you are, tell Abram. I'd like to see if he will fight for you anyway." She laughs. "Seriously though, you do need to tell him that Jaylen is following you talking about propositions. Just in case. You don't want not telling him to come back and bite you in the butt, you know? What do you think he will do anyway?"
She stood, adjusted the Victoria's Secret one-piece she was wearing. Grabbed the towel laying atop my camera bag.
"You ready for the next location?" She asks, clearly ready to put some real clothes on.
"Yeah, let's go." I shake my head, try to guide my thoughts away from Jaylen.
Riding to the next location, Hart Plaza downtown, Jamaica reaches for the m.a.c. lip gloss in my car's console. She notices it. I don't know why I haven't thrown it away yet. I cringe inwardly, knowing a scolding is coming.
"A, why do you still have this fool's card? I thought you weren't going to talk to him anymore? What do you need this for? Don't tell me you're even thinking about considering his 'proposition'?" She says, frowning my way and holding up a plain white business card with Jaylen's contact information on it.
"I'm not, Jam, I promise. Okay? I just....thought I'd keep it for a while. Never know when I might have to keep tabs on him. He's clearly back in Michigan for a reason."
"Mmm hmm. You never know." She says, cutting her eyes my way suspiciously.
I snatch my card. I know what I'm doing. She's my friend and I love her, but I can handle this. I got this.