The Wanderings of Amy Ch. 03

bycaligula97236©

Suzanne listened intently, studying Amy's face. The girl's past showed in her eyes. Her eyes had a haunting expression in them, if as a photographer, one knew how to look for it.

Suzanne asked Amy if she wanted to see her studio and portfolio. As she leafed through Suzanne's portraits she realized that the ones on the walls were not any better than the ones in the folders. Suzanne consistently took powerful pictures.

Amy was curious to see what she would look like from behind Suzanne's lens. "Could you take a picture of me? I haven't had my picture taken since graduation."

Suzanne's photographer's eye scanned Amy's figure. She was pleased that her new roommate was so attractive. Amy had an innocent adolescent look about her that would make her an excellent photo subject.

Suzanne pulled out one of her cameras. She checked the film and lighting. She gently adjusted the lens. She took several face shots, then asked Amy to turn around. "Now turn part way and look back at me." Amy did as directed. Her sad eyes looked into Suzanne's camera. That's the shot, thought Suzanne. It was Amy's first portrait by Suzanne.

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Amy found that university life was not as hard as she feared. For the most part the freshman-level classes were fairly easy, as long as she attended class every day. That was not hard to do with Suzanne looking over her shoulder. Suzanne imposed self-discipline on Amy. She quickly learned not to leave dishes in the kitchen, not to leave her clothes on the floor, not to leave toothpaste in the bathroom sink, to put everything away as soon as she was done with it. Amy was free to use anything that belonged to Suzanne, but God forbid that she not put it back when she was finished. Suzanne knew Amy's schedule and made sure she was out the door on time to make her classes. There was no sleeping in.

Amy avoided the party circuit. She had experienced enough raves, beer bongs, concerts and one night encounters last summer to satisfy herself for a while. That part of her life was behind her. Instead she tagged along with Suzanne on photo shoots, helping her with the photo equipment and learning how to use it. Suzanne took her all over Chicago and nearby cities. Amy learned to appreciate the beauty of winter life: snow fields under the full moon, cold winter sunrises, a haunting pre-dawn skyline, forests covered with ice crystals.

Amy was fascinated by the haunting over-the-shoulder portrait that Suzanne had taken of her. Suzanne had captured her personality in that picture. Amy remembered from her anthropology class her professor mentioning the belief held by some cultures that photography could capture a person's soul. Looking at her own portrait, Amy could believe it.

Amy soon became Suzanne's main figure model. Amy had started to wonder what she could do for spending money when Suzanne offered her a job as her model. Knowing that Amy could use the money, Suzanne offered to split the proceeds from her photos 50-50. Amy spent endless hours in front of Suzanne's cameras, inside, outside, clothed, nude. She began to see herself in some of Chicago's better photo galleries. The money from the pictures was erratic, but slightly more than she could earn working at a bookstore or restaurant.

The agreement had a side condition for Amy. She had to get in better shape. As the winter dragged into spring, Amy spent increasing hours at the gym, toning her body. Before each photo shoot Suzanne massaged her on her table to relax her. Physically Amy felt better than she had ever felt in her life.

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At the end of February Amy decided to stay with Robert over the weekend. After making sure that Suzanne had no photo shoots planned for the next couple of days, Amy asked her roommate to drive her over to Robert's apartment. Suzanne, in her typical take-charge manner, forced Amy to fill her backpack with textbooks before leaving. "If you're going over there for the whole weekend, you'll need to study."

Amy felt the rush of anticipation. Amy knew that Robert liked women in business outfits and was wearing one of her most recent purchases when she entered his place. At that point in her life she still had a crush on him.

Robert decided to take Amy out to dinner first and find out about her latest adventures in college. Robert was not too sure that he liked the idea of Amy being a model, but at least she was not trying to be a fashion model or a pin-up. Suzanne took serious pictures. Amy gave a folder of large prints to Robert, including a copy of the over-the-shoulder portrait. He was impressed. "This one I want to frame. Maybe there's something to Suzanne's photography after all."

Robert was very pleased by the influence Suzanne was having on Amy's outlook on life. The girl seemed more focused. Her travels with the photographer had become an important part of her education. Amy seemed more knowledgeable about life in general. She had the ability to appreciate beauty, in nature and in herself. Robert was pleased that Suzanne prodded Amy whenever she got lazy about her studies.

When they got back, Robert was surprised to see Amy carefully hang up her coat and outfit after taking them off. Dressed in her usual white robe, she carefully dropped the rest of her clothing in Robert's washer. Two months of being snapped at by Suzanne had conditioned her about taking care of her clothes.

The next morning Robert got up and had a surprise. Amy, still in her robe, was sitting at the dining room table, taking notes from one of her course textbooks. She already had made coffee and had partially prepared breakfast for both of them.

Amy had indeed changed in the short time since that fateful morning in the police station.

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