He sat there in his studio, deep in thought. It was after seven and it was getting dark outside. Still, he wasn’t ready to leave. He wanted to sit there for a while longer to sort out his mind which was in a muddle. He had taken scores of photos. After all, he was a renowned photographer in the fashion and entertainment world. He had taken photos of many beautiful and exotic women but not once had he ever wanted to become romantically involved with any of them—that was until he met Roxane. The moment she walked into his studio, he knew he was in trouble.
He reached over and pulled out the top drawer of his desk. He pulled out a copy of the black and white photos he had shot of her on that first day of their photo shoot. It was a profile of her standing facing the café across the street. The white, sleeveless dress she wore hugged her figure. As he snapped her, he found it difficult to keep it professional. There were moments when it wasn’t a photographer looking through those lenses at a beautiful model but a man looking at a woman whom he was attracted to.
Each time they saw each other, it got worse. His attraction for her began to affect his work. He wanted to see her outside of business but he wasn’t sure if she would want to be in a relationship with him. For all he knew, she could already be in one. He put the photo back and as he was about to close the drawer, his eyes fell on the model release. He took it out and immediately his thoughts went to the day when Roxane signed it. He leaned back in the chair, his eyes darkening at the memory of what almost happened between them.
He had just taken a shower at the studio when he heard the bell ring. He quickly pulled on his shirt and went to answer the door. It was Roxane. She smiled at him, making his heart stop. He stepped aside to let her in. As he turned to face her after closing the door, her eyes dropped to his bare torso. “How did you get this?” she asked, touching the jagged scar on his right side.
Strong feelings coursed through him at the touch of her fingers on his skin. He grasped her hand, his breath quickening and he moved them away. For a brief, maddening moment he was tempted to pull her against him and kiss her but reason won over emotions.
Releasing her hand, he walked past her, his hands shaking as he fastened the buttons on his shirt. “I have the release form for you to sign,” he said tautly. “It’s over there on the desk. While you read it over I’ll go and finish getting dressed.” He walked out of the room, his back rigid.
From that day forward, he resolved to keep his feelings in check and keep it strictly business. It wasn’t easy, though.
The beeping from his watch reminded him that it was time to leave. He sat up, put the release form back into the drawer and closed it. He got up from the desk, grabbed his car keys and switched off the desk lamp. The lights from the street crept into the room. He did a quick look around to make sure everything was okay before he walked to the door.
He opened it and started when he found himself staring down into Roxane’s face. He stiffened at once, his expression wary. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I needed to see you,” she said quietly. “I took a taxi over because I wanted to get here as fast as I could.”
“I was just leaving.”
“Please, Raphael, may I come in?” she asked, her expression earnest. “I really need to talk to you.”
He stepped aside so that she could go in. He turned on the light by the door after closing it. He turned to face her. “What do you need to talk to me about?”
Roxane looked at him, her heart pounding. She was not good at expressing herself. She got all nervous. She began to wonder if she should have come here tonight. On the way over to the studio it seemed a very risky thing to do because she didn’t know what kind of reception she would receive. Lately, he had seemed so distant but she convinced herself that it was something she needed to do. However, now that she was standing there, face to face with him, she didn’t feel so brave. Taking a deep breath, she said what she came to say. “Things have changed between us and it’s affecting how we relate to each other.”
He swallowed hard. “I have to be honest with you,” he muttered tightly. “It’s difficult for me to be professional around you when I’m attracted to you. It’s affecting my work.”
Relief washed over her and she took a step closer to him, her eyes shining. “I didn’t know that you felt this way,” she said. “I thought you changed towards me because you were aware of my feelings for you.”
“That day when you touched my scar, I was really tempted to kiss you.”
“How did you get the scar?”
“From an appendectomy.”
She reached out and raised his tee shirt to look at the scar. He thought she was going to touch it again and braced himself for it. But, instead, she bent her head and pressed her lips against it, making his gasp. Heat coursed through his body and he shuddered. She raised her head and looked at him, her mouth going dry when she saw the expression on his face. Then, his hands were pulling her roughly against him and his lips were ravaging hers. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him back wildly. She had taken a chance coming here tonight and it had paid off.
Source: Art Law Journal