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Old 08-31-2010, 01:34 PM   #1
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The Next Best Thing - 11

Fan fiction. That's all.

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Twenty minutes later they were seated on the floor in the great room, surrounded by camera equipment. Raye had delegated the task of checking the lenses for any smudges or lint to Adam and he was meticulously inspecting each one. Not that she really expected anything else, but Raye found herself smiling pleasantly as she watched the care with which Adam handled each lens, making certain he didn’t touch the glass with his fingers or anything other than the specially designed cloth she kept in the case for just that purpose.

She methodically checked the camera body itself and once she was satisfied that all the moving parts were in perfect working condition and free of dust, she began testing her electronic flash units and the light meter to assure the new batteries she had installed Wednesday evening were all ready for action. Adam returned the lens he was working on to its foam bed in the camera case and leaned against the couch. He sat watching Raye as she stood at the studio flash unit, making sure the bulb was okay and there wasn’t any damage to the stand or the light diffuser. Sensing she was being watched, Raye slowly turned and looked over her shoulder. She then looked back to the diffuser, trying to see whatever it was that she must have missed. Finding nothing, she turned back to Adam with a confused look.

“What’s wrong,” she asked him. “Did I miss something?”

“No, everything looks fine to me,” Adam answered. He continued to watch her, though, and Raye began to check her shirt and jeans for a spot of jam left over from breakfast or maybe some juice that she hadn’t realized was on her shirt. Thinking maybe she’d sat in something and had a spot on her rear, she even attempted to turn around and look at the seat of her pants. She only managed to give the impression of a dog chasing its tail and the sight of it was too much for Adam; he tried to stifle a giggle, but failed miserably and guffawed at her. More worried than before, Raye again turned to him with a confused look.

“What,” she demanded. “Did I spill something on me or sit in something?” She gasped and her eyes widened as another possibility occurred to her. “Oh God – are my jeans ripped?” Involuntarily her hands flew to her rear, as she checked for a gaping hole in her jeans.

Adam almost couldn’t answer for laughing now. “Stop,” he begged, lifting his palm to her. “Stop moving – there is nothing wrong with your clothes or the flash stand. “ He put his head down a moment and paused to catch his breath. Looking back up, however, he saw that Raye had followed his directions and was standing motionless – with her hands still on her posterior. Another fit of laughter overtook Adam. Once he'd composed himself again and looked back at her, it wasn’t a happy woman he was facing. Raye now stood with both hands on her hips, her patience with the mystery obviously wearing thin. Realizing he needed to work quickly to avoid any hard feelings, Adam was up on his feet and standing in front of Raye in a matter of seconds with an explanation.

“I’m sorry,” he started with a bashful grin, “I didn’t mean to upset you. I was just watching how closely you check over everything and it reminded me of how particular one of our friends used to be when he first started working professionally.”

“Then why didn’t you just say so,” Raye demanded. Her pride had been slightly bruised and it was showing through in her attitude, but she didn’t care. She didn’t mind laughing at herself with others, but only when she knew what was so funny.

“I was trying to tell you, but then you starting checking for stains and rips. I’m sorry, but you looked so funny turning round and round, trying to check your own backside that I couldn’t help but laugh. And when I looked up to find you still holding your own bottom I just… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any harm. Will you accept my apologies and shake on a truce?” He smiled at Raye and extended his hand to her, hopeful that she’d believe his sincerity.

With Adam’s explanation Raye understood how ridiculous she must have looked and immediately regretted the tone she’d just taken with him. She held her head down in shame for a moment before getting the courage to look him in the eye.

“I should be the one apologizing, Adam. The way I just spoke to you was completely uncalled for. I get way too defensive sometimes when I think people are laughing at me and I unfortunately tend to make that assumption more often than I should. Of course I’ll accept your apology and the truce.” She took a step toward him and accepted his outstretched hand to shake it.

Raye wasn’t diminutive by any means, but Adam’s lovely, well-manicured hand virtually engulfed hers anyway. His fingertips were a bit callused but the fingers themselves were actually quite soft against the back of her hand and the heat of his palm against hers was almost hypnotic. Raye had never considered a handshake the least bit sensual before but as they stood facing each other, hands firmly grasped, she was quickly beginning to reevaluate that opinion. When he reached over with his other hand, however, and completely enclosed hers with both of his, the electrical charge that ran the length of Raye’s back was enough to break the trance she’d fallen into.

“Okay,” she said with a quick breath. Carefully, so as not to appear that she was jerking away from him, Raye extracted her hand from Adam's and looked around at the equipment as she scrambled to reorganize her fractured, racing thoughts. Pictures; I was here to take pictures of somebody. Um… yeah, okay, I was here to take pictures of Leo and Paul. And where the Hell were they, anyway?! It's not safe to leave me alone with this man all day - I mean, it's not healthy for those men to sleep all damn day! Trying not to stammer or show just how flustered she felt at the moment, Raye thought the best thing to do was resume conversation.

"I, uh, need to find the film that Leo picked up for me. You haven't seen it or heard him mention it have you?" That's a girl, Raye, she cheered herself on. Just pretend everything's normal, nothing unusual here. Nope, not a thing in the world. Apparently her act was working; Adam had returned to his spot on the floor and was placing the camera accessories in their rightful places before answering her with no indication that anything at all had just passed between them.

"I do know he bought the film; he mentioned that yesterday after he'd talked to you on the phone. I don't recall him saying anything about where it was though. Sorry." A little shrug of his shoulders and a slight tilt of his head accompanied the statement and almost sent Raye into a meltdown. My God, she thought, but he's the most adorable damn thing I've ever seen.

Girl, get a grip, she scolded herself. Stop imagining he's interested in you and focus on the job you're here to do! Raye sometimes hated what she referred to as 'the Voice' - the sensible part of her brain that was always on duty to prevent her from doing something stupid, or irresponsible, or immature. Problem was, the list of things the Voice usually tried to prevent her from doing was long enough to make the Encyclopedia Britannica look like quick reading. But as much as Raye was tired of worrying about what others would think of her and listening to the Voice, she couldn't deny it was completely right on this occasion.

What an idiot - to think that there'd actually been some kind of 'spark' between herself and Adam Clayton! That kind of stuff might happen in the movies, but certainly not in real life. And with a freakin' world famous musician, to boot. Meeting the band and spending a week with them was unbelievable enough; allowing her self to think one of them would be interested in her was just foolish. The sooner she got past this little fantasy love affair, the better off she'd be. Raye accepted the truth of that harsh realization and concentrated again on getting the conversation back on track. Adam had said something before their handshake that interested her and she'd just remembered it again.

"Well, I guess I'll just have to wait until he comes downstairs to ask him about it, huh? Hey - you mentioned something a minute ago that I was curious about," she said.

"What's that?" Adam asked, looking up at her.

"You said I reminded you of someone you used to know. I'll admit I'm just too nosy to let it go at that - was it a good thing or a bad thing that I reminded you of this person?"

Adam chuckled again before answering. "It's definitely a good thing. You might also be interested in who I was talking about - I think it's a very flattering comparison."

"Okay, you've really piqued my curiosity with that comment," she admitted with a smile. "Who is this mystery person that I remind you of?"

"Anton." Adam smiled and nodded his head while he waited for his answer to register with Raye. He didn't have to wait long.

"Anton freaking Corbijn?! Official Photographer of U2 for, like, 20 years now? That Anton Corbijn? You're really just pulling my chain now," she told him incredulously. "What in the world could I possibly have in common with someone as brilliant as Anton Corbijn?"

The smile left Adam's face and he became quite serious before addressing Raye again. "No, I'm not 'pulling your chain', as you put it. The care with which you handle and inspect your camera equipment very much reminds me of how Anton was when he used to do that type of thing for himself. He's got an army of assistants who handle all that now. You're not very comfortable taking compliments, are you?"

The tone Adam used wasn't condescending or belligerent, but Raye couldn't help being reminded of how she'd felt as a child when her grandfather would admonish her for some kind of misbehavior. His question about her inability to accept compliments was just uncomfortable territory that she didn't feel like entering, so she chose to skirt around that as best she could.

"I most certainly can take a compliment," she told him before changing the subject. "I just love Anton's work - I think he's simply amazing. I mean, he's an artist in the truest sense of the word and I couldn't imagine how a novice like my self could possibly compare to him." She paused for a moment before trying to lighten the suddenly heavy mood in the room. "We've certainly managed to get our wires crossed quite a bit in the last thirty minutes, haven't we? I thought we declared a truce earlier - has it been rescinded?" She gave her brightest smile to show there were no hard feelings and waited anxiously for Adam's reply. His smile answered before his words did.

"No, the truce is very much alive, so all’s well – although I still believe you don’t like flattery."

"No, no, no," she playfully shook her head and wagged a finger at him. "We just declared our truce was alive and well, so I'm not going to dignify that comment with any further response. Let's agree to just let it go and we'll both be happier for it, okay?"

"Alright then," he agreed. "That’s fair enough. As for the matter at hand, it looks as though everything here is in order; you just need the film and you'll be ready."

Raye looked over everything again and had to agree. "Yeah, the film's all I'm waiting for. I guess until Leo comes downstairs, I could take a walk on the beach to get an idea of how those shots are going to frame up. You want to join me?"

"Sure."

The invitation had been extended to him without any thought. Raye decided it must be her subconscious declaring war on the Voice. Whether it was immature or irresponsible to play around with a possible attraction between her self and Adam didn't matter to her right now. What did matter was whether he would join her or not. When he answered that he would, she was thrilled and silently marked the beginning of What I Want to Do versus What I Should Do. So far, the score was 'Want' 1, 'Should' 0.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:02 AM   #2
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