Snap ShotbyM. Millswan©
I nodded and swallowed dryly. Feeling emboldened, I came over and knelt down with my light meter, my trembling hand bare inches from her breasts. But she held still, only following me with her eyes, and smiling, always smiling. Coming back to the camera, I mounted my polarizing filter on the lens and stepped the aperture all the way down, intending to squeeze out every bit of ambient light the sun had to offer. As a last thought I even set my flash to use as a fill. I wanted to capture her up close, but full frame, surrounded in an explosion of color and vivid detail. I then knelt down and took my place at the viewfinder, again taking my time. She was so beautiful like that, yet something more. She knew I was looking at her, and I knew it! I could sense it as much as see it in her, and the most exciting aspect of it was I could tell she liked it. She liked posing like this, knowing I could see. It was my last shot on that roll, and even as the shutter clicked, I knew it would be one of my best.
"Out of film," I called out, rising up from behind the camera. I ambled over to help her up, and gave her my hand, forgetting not to blatantly look when the top of her dress swung out.
She caught me, red–handed, but only smiled that smile. She rebuttoned that one button and then began brushing the grass and twigs from the front of her dress. "Do you think you got any good ones?" She asked.
I was so flustered, not just from her catching me peeping, but from the excitement of the last hour. "Are you kidding?" I blurted out. "You just wait. You just wait until I develop these and make us some prints. You'll see." I repeated myself. "You'll really see. That last one's going to really be something."
She plucked a bit of grass that was clinging to the curve of the front of her left breast. That wild spark hadn't even begun to subside one bit. "Do you think I'll be able to send that one to Peter?"
"Why not?" I replied without thinking. "It's going to be great!"
"I don't know." She playfully pushed my shoulder. "I couldn't see what you saw in your lens, but from what I remember, he might be real curious to know who took it."
I hadn't thought about that. But right now, nothing could have dampened my enthusiasm.
She seemed a bit breathless herself. "You really got all worked up, Jimbo. I don't think I've ever seen you like this. You were like a..." she paused as she sought for a word "...like an artist behind that camera. So forceful. You'd say: 'Cynth, move your head,' or 'put your arms back.'" She had deepened her voice in an attempt to sound like me. Then she laughed again. "Now that was what I call fun!"
"It just came to me," I replied in rapid fire. "At first I was a bit nervous. I mean, you're so beautiful, and you just ... I don't know, you just come alive. Does that sound silly?"
It was her turn to surprise me by showing a bit of a flush, and now it was she who suddenly seemed interested in the tips of her toes. There was a long silence, and then she said quietly, "It's a shame we have to stop just when we were going so well."
"I think all I have left is one roll of black and white." I fished around in my bag. "Yeah, just one roll of black and white." I turned it over and read the box. "And it's a faster speed than the color I was using. It's really best for indoors."
That wild look came back, and with it the flush in her cheeks and neck bloomed. She locked her eyes on mine and said hesitantly, "What if we did one of those boudoir shots?"
My mouth instantly went stone dry, and I know for a fact my heart skipped two beats.
Surely, she'd noticed my distress, because she instantly added, "Not one of those, you know." She was twining her fingers, knotting them into a cats cradle at her tummy as she wound her arms and spread her elbows apart. "I mean, I'd wear my nightie."
Stupidly, I stood there gaping, brain freeze on a sweltering July afternoon.
She unraveled her hands, slapping them to the sides of her thighs. "What am I thinking?" She said apologetically. "I must be crazy." She held her hand over her eyes. "Must be the sun."
An alarm went off in my head, and my instinct for self–preservation screamed, "Do something, you big dummy!"
"No, no!" I yelled, way too loudly. "No, you're not crazy!" Something, probably that voice from within, thankfully took over. "I could really do something nice, you know, soft and beautiful. Black and white is so arty. It would be really tasteful, especially with black and white." For a moment I was sure she had changed her mind; I'd never seen Cynth look so sheepish. I pulled my light meter from my pocket and took a half step closer holding it near her face. "What color is your nightie?"
"Blue," she said. "I thought maybe I'd wear my blue one. I have a yellow one, but it's longer. The blue's kind of..." she let her hands fall down to indicate a hem halfway up her thighs, "...a shortie."
"Blue's great!" I choked back a hard swallow as my imagination jumped too far ahead. "Blue will be just fine."
"But you said your film is black and white? Color doesn't matter?"
I nodded then shook my head. "It does somewhat. The light's what's most important. The thing is where should we shoot the picture?"
All traces of her earlier reluctance had vanished. That mischievous smile was back full force, and there was no escaping the contagiousness of her excitement. "My room'll be the best. I've got a skylight, and my window faces west. With the afternoon sun, I get a lot of light. We could even use the curtains to help with the lighting, you know, if you'd think that'd help?"
Again I swallowed, just the thought of being in Cynth's bedroom with her dressed only in her nightie made my palms go cold. Somehow I managed a smile and a nod.
"Come on." She grabbed and tugged at my wrist. "Get your stuff. My mom's not going to be home 'til at least six and my dad never gets home from work before seven. We've got a couple of hours at least."
I remember zipping up my camera bag and picking up my tripod, her last words, "A couple of hours," going round and round in my head. It was almost too much for my poor brain to handle. Not only was I going up to Cynthia Mitchell's very own bedroom, but she was going to be wearing her nightie, a shortie, and letting me take pictures of her!
The next thing I knew we were in her house. Like coming in and out of a trance, I could see the family room, though I don't even remember going in the door. They had one of those big, wooden ships over the mantle. Her dad's leather recliner was empty, facing the TV, with a newspaper spread out on the floor. Then, we were on the stairs, and I stepped on that loose board. It squeaked, and she looked back. "My dad should really fix that step."
There we were. It was then that it really hit me. The warmth of the afternoon sun was streaming in from the family room windows. At that moment my thoughts stopped, and right then and there I snapped my own timeless snapshot, a permanent image silvered on my mind's eye 'til at least the day I die.
When we arrived up at her room I was a mess, almost catatonic, but she didn't seem to notice. She went right to her dresser and fished something blue out of an upper drawer. I, of course, stood right where I was. She stopped, holding the nightie balled up in both hands.
"Are you all right?" She asked and reached out to touch my cheek. "You look like you've got a fever."
I mumbled something; whatever it was it must have been okay, as she patted me on the shoulder sympathetically and stepped past me. I remember smelling her again, that same fresh, clean, Eau de Cynthia, though now, somewhat more real, more hot and earthy than when we'd been sitting out on the swing eons ago.
"Why don't you get your camera set up?" She called back, hanging for a moment in the doorway. "I'm going to take a quick, cold shower. I won't be but a sec."
She left me alone. I stood there, listening to the clock until I heard through the walls the sound of a shower begin to run. Coming back to life, my strangled mind began to make sense of where I was. Two walls were done in wallpaper, a print with some bluebirds and robins. The others were a pastel green. Surprisingly, her furniture was antique, not some white girly stuff. She had a mahogany dresser with a few old letters pressed under a glass top, a vanity, and a queen sized bed with a light green bedspread made neatly between the matching headboard and footboard.
Little by little I found myself coming back to life. I went into her closet and changed film in the camera, the smell of Cynthia seeming to come alive around me as I fumbled in the dark with the film. I made double sure, then triple sure, the color roll was sealed and put away before daring to come back out.
She was right; the light was good in her room, the skylight adding just the extra amount of brightness to where the flash probably wouldn't be necessary unless I really stepped down the aperture. Too, it wasn't hot, like outside in the sun. The window was open, the lacy, white curtains moving now and then under the glance of a subtle if not sporadic breeze. And she had a ceiling fan overhead. The slow swing of the blades was providing a gentle wash of moving air. I had the time to look around a bit. There were those letters, I guess special to her; she had them pressed under the glass on the dresser. And there were lots of photographs, pictures of family, snapshots and school pictures of Cynthia at all ages, and surprisingly, one including me. I picked it up. We were kids in swimsuits, playing with a garden hose in my back yard, maybe a summer day just like today, but long ago. I couldn't have been more than five or six. Cynthia was wearing only a little two–piece and, of course, that smile. I put it back and wandered over to look at one wall. It was plastered over entirely with awards, and framing her new high school diploma she had honor roll ribbons and certificates for best in just about anything imaginable.
I heard the running of the shower stop, accompanied by the squeak from the turn of a handle as the water was shut off, and suddenly realized I hadn't really begun to get ready. The first shot, what was I going to do? I still had my bag slung from my arm. I put it down on the dresser and prepared the camera and tripod, spreading the legs and locking the knobs. Pulling my light meter from my bag, I began to walk around gauging the light from every available angle. Somehow going through the motions helped calm me and return me to some semblance of normalcy. Then the door opened, and all that vanished.
Incredible! There she was, standing framed in the doorway, a towel wrapped around her head. For a moment she looked so shy, but then that smile came back to her face. I noticed her eyes; they were dark, the first time I could ever be sure that Cynthia Mitchell was nervous.
"I feel better," she said, stepping in.
Our eyes touched for a moment, and instantly we both looked away.
She walked over to the vanity and unwrapped the towel, tossing it on the bed. I watched spellbound as she took a brush, and with her back to me, she faced the mirror and began brushing her hair.
"So?" She said. "Did you think of any good shots?"
"Uh, yeah," I croaked. "I think so." With each forward stroke of the brush, the hem of the little, blue nightie rose up, revealing her legs and a lacy pair of panties. The top's fabric was sheer, but not completely see–through. The darker color of her panties was easily visible, but from behind there wasn't any trace of a bra. Suddenly I forgot why I was even here.
She was looking back at me through the mirror. "Hey," she called back. "Are you okay?"
"Oh, yeah," I started. "Just stay like that." I stepped behind the camera. "I'll get one from behind, using the reflection of you in the mirror. You know, kind of artsy."
She stopped her brushing and looked back at me. "Do you want me holding the brush?"
Even through my own nervousness I really sensed the trace of anxiety in her voice. Just realizing she was nervous, too, did a lot to help me settle back down. "Yeah, with the brush," I called back.
Moving the tripod, I reset the f–stop and shutter speed according to the reading I remembered from my light meter. "Okay, hold it like that. But don't look at me. Look in the mirror. Look off to the side like you're thinking about something, something pretty."
"I'm so nervous," she said. "I can't seem to think of a thing."
"That's fine. Don't worry about it. Just give me a little smile. Yeah, like that." It was incredible how Cynth just naturally seemed to respond, enhancing whatever feeble idea I imagined. "Raise your arm a little," I said, never looking up from the viewfinder. "There! Stop!" I called out when I could see the top of the elastic of her panties framing a slice of her skin revealed below the draping hem of her nightie's top, and with the click of the shutter, with that first shot, so much of my own fear and anxiety melted away.
She turned around to face me and leaned back, gripping the edges of the vanity with her hands. Her hair seemed to just flow down over her shoulders with a slight natural wave, thick and full. Her cheeks were flushed; this was all natural, not an effect of any rouge. In fact, I doubt she had any make up on at all. It was something about her, or her bedroom, or maybe it was the quality of the light, but her skin appeared softer, whiter, yet those eyes of hers were every bit as bright and richly green as they had been out in the sun.
"Hang on," I said coming forward and holding my light meter out as though it were a compass guiding my way. "I'll get a shot right there, just like that." I stepped right up, happy to be able to keep focused on the meter's needle and relieved not to have to let her look into my eyes.
"I had no idea you were such a pro," she said, her nerves now definitely showing through with the occasional dry crack and tremor in her voice. "You know," she spoke in almost a whisper, "I wouldn't think of doing anything like this with anybody other than you, Jimmy."
I was trying to concentrate on reading the needle, but being so close to her it seemed even my hair had begun to sweat. I stepped back in two longs steps and readjusted both the shutter speed and the aperture, then put a Wratten filter over the lens. I wanted to drop out the wallpaper in the background and feature just her, standing just like that in crisp focus. Looking into the viewfinder, I noticed something I somehow hadn't seen before. I looked up, taking a moment to let the vision sink in.
She fidgeted slightly. "Something wrong?"
"No." I shook my head. "Just give me a minute, I need to think." She was so absolutely stunning. What had me flustered was I could see the outlines of her nipples showing through the sheer material of her nightie. The wispy blue tint of the fabric changed the flesh color slightly, but I could see they matched the gentle, pink hue of her lips. And with her posed as she was, the scalloped hem of her top was only covering half way down her panties. The way the lines of the lacy edges came together and disappeared down into the fold where her thighs came together was enough to make me terribly aware of just how hard I'd become. In contrast, it seemed my knees had turned to rubber. And not even aware if I had the shot framed completely right, I pressed the release.
Instantly, she came away from the vanity, and stepped right up to me, putting her hand on the camera. "Jimbo, I mean Jimmy, I know I don't need to ask, but this is just between you and me right? You wouldn't ever show these photos to anyone else, right? We're just having fun, right?" She nodded. "Right?"
Again I swallowed. Up close it was almost impossible to not look at those nipples. The hints of her breasts were so alluring. I couldn't truly make them out, but that in itself made the whole experience even that much more tantalizing. "Yes," I stammered. "I mean, no. I mean I wouldn't show them to anyone. I'll give you the negatives and the prints. You know I wouldn't ever do anything to be mean or hurtful to you, Cynth. Not you. This is something just between us. Okay?"
Maybe it was that a cloud had passed outside, but it seemed the whole room lightened. Any last vestige of her anxiety seemed to pass, and that wild smile returned.
With her mischievous grin back, she let go of the camera and reached out and ran her finger down my cheek. "You can keep a set of prints for yourself. The artist deserves to see his own work." She suddenly jumped, bouncing back and causing the lamps on the nightstands to shake when she landed. She spread her feet and raised her arms, drawing up the lower line of her top almost to her naval. "What's next? You just tell me what you want me to do." She dropped her hands and bending over clasped them in a knot at her stomach. Looking up at me she said, "This is so much fun!
Poised like that her breasts hung away, the circle of the top of the neckline only just hiding them from full view. I know my mouth was open, because I became conscious of how stupid I looked when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
"I can see you're having fun, too," she said, coming back up and waggling her finger. She then put her hands at the back of her head in her hair so her elbows faced forward. She twisted back and forth. Her voice had a playful little sing–song snap to it. "I don't know if you know, but I can tell."
The hem of the top had again come up, this time rising to above her naval. Her matching blue panties were dark, but still somewhat sheer. I could easily see the darker outline of the delight which was hiding within. Instantly, I became aware it was she who was watching me, able to recognize everywhere my eyes were focused. Feeling my own flush wash over me, I quickly looked back to my camera.
She dropped her arms, her hands slapping the sides of her thighs. "How 'bout a couple of shots on the bed," she offered. "We can't have any self–respecting boudoir shots without at least a few on the bed."
"Sure," I replied, the words "On the bed" echoing through my mind. "You go lie down, Cynth. Let me move the camera around."
We had to scoot past one another so she could get by, and when she actually brushed against me I know I almost dropped the tripod. It seemed she filled the room. The scent of her, the color of that blue, the pink of her lips, the heat of her breath, the flush in her cheeks, the way her hair moved, everything, she seized my every sense and so much more. I was more wound up than anything I had ever known. Yet I managed to keep a grasp of reality telling myself this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I had to concentrate and stay focused if I could ever hope to record any of this on film. But concentrating was hard; I was hard. I resolved, despite the distractions of how she was teasing me, I was going to maintain some level of sanity and do my best to try.
I turned back from resetting the camera to find her settled down in the center of the bed, sitting with her knees drawn up. The look of naughty playfulness she cast back at me was almost spellbinding. My response was such she even broke character and laughed at my distress. Fortunately, or unfortunately, she was positioned slightly sideways to me, the hem of her top cascading down in an arc around her thighs. Had I been able to see her panties framed from just a slightly different position, I might have had a melt down right then and there. As it was, the curves of the side of her right breast were in full view through the gaping armhole, and I knew she knew it.
Angling the camera, I was a bit unsure if the light was too bright. It was behind her as I was now facing the widow. I stepped right over, whipping out the light meter, and held it next to her shoulder. Standing as I was at this angle I could see almost her entire breast. Trying to concentrate on reading the needle I heard another little laugh.