Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Episode 12

There was old money in Pine Lake. Most of it came from the logging business, and there had been commercial fishing once, too. The wealthy of Pine Lake build grand homes along the shoreline and expected the best that money could buy.  In 1952, Ralph Robinson had capitalized on that when he opened an upscale clothing store in town. Over the decades, the shop he had founded had consistently offered top-quality casual clothes and elegant evening apparel to Pine Lake's elite. Business had always been good, and now, despite the general economy, was better than ever. This was due in part to Ralph's granddaughter, Gina, who ran the shop with a keen eye for fashion and solid business sense. It didn't hurt, either, that a cluster of new-construction mega-houses, called Hunter's Ridge, had sprung up on the far side of Fish Town. If the old guard of Pine Lake considered the Hunter's Ridge people to be as ostentatious as their sprawling, turreted homes, Gina Robinson was less particular. Her bank balance didn't distinguish between new and old money.

Selena Kallias had never bought anything at Robinson's; the prices were too steep for her budget. However, she had often coveted things in the display windows: a beautifully cut emerald-green silk blouse, an evening gown sparkling with crystal beads, or something as simple as a classic wool coat.

With her slim figure, lustrous dark hair, and classic features, Selena was one of those women who could make any article of clothing look great. Her picture had appeared in "Pine Heart" on any number of occasions--Genevra recognized a born model when she saw one, even if Selena was just a tad too short to be on a big city catwalk. They had formed a mutually satisfying relationship whereby Genevra paid a stipend that she considered ridiculously low, but that Selena was delighted to accept as the magazine's premier model.

When Genevra decided to run a story on the history of Robinson's, the oldest business in town, highlighting their designer fashions, Selena jumped at the chance to model the beautiful clothes. That the man she'd been dating for the past few weeks was now the magazine's full-time photographer sweetened the deal even more.

"So, babe, what do you think?" She stepped into the reading room of the Pine Lake Public Library wearing an ultra-short red satin drape dress with a plunging neckline--less than two yards of fabric that retailed for $620.

Biff Monroe whistled his appreciation. The two of them were in the library after hours because he thought the reading room, with its fireplace and leather wing-back chairs, would make suitable backdrop for the photos and, for once, Genevra had agreed with him.

"You look even more luscious than usual." Biff reached for her, but she backed away.

"Don't smear the make-up," she said, coyly. "Besides, we're not alone."

The head librarian had let them into the building, then had gone off to her office to work while they were shooting.

"We could be very quiet," Biff said, with a suggestive leer. "I've never done it in a library before."

Selena returned his naughty expression, "I have to be careful with this dress."

"So take it off." He stepped toward her.

Selena made a shooing motion with her perfectly manicured hands. "Biff. Get to work. We can play later."

With a frustrated sigh, Biff did as he was told. He was good at his job and for the next two hours, he took shot after shot of Selena in each of the five elegant dresses that Robinson's had loaned for the story. Keeping his mind fully on the task was impossible, though.

Selena was different from any woman he'd ever met. She could match him step for step being rowdy and then, like him, she could turn serious without becoming self-righteous. She was beautiful, irreverent, and smart. Biff thought of all these things as he looked through the viewfinder of his camera. He adjusted the lighting to better show the delicacy of her features, the shine of her hair, and the brightness in her eyes. As he worked, her realized how deeply and truly he loved this woman, and when he asked her to turn a bit so she was facing the camera, he could see in her eyes that she loved him, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment