HIs lips are just inches away from mine and I can almost taste the whiskey on his breath from how close we are to each other. The slight pressure of his hand at my hip sends delightful tingles up my spine and I am literally as still as a statue as Mr Royce snaps pictures of us.
"Don't look so scared, Ms Owens," Stryker murmurs lowly to me as I continue to stare up at him. "It'll show in the photos and we'll have to do this all over again."
"What if I can't help but be afraid of sitting on the lap of a very powerful and mysterious man, Mr Stryker?" I whisper softly, not really placing any thought into my words. "Then what?"
Upon hearing his sharp intake of breath, my ears turn hot at the realisation that he heard what I said. For crying out loud, I'm supposed to an agent with fifteen years of experience can I not just keep my thoughts to myself after a year of not working? Leaning forward a little, I feel myself almost shrinking back in fear that his lips are going to touch mine but I am unable to with his hand holding me steady at the hip.
"Alright, that's good," Mr Royce announces jovially, not knowing how close Stryker was to kiss me. "Sorry for diving straight into things, Ms Owens. I wanted to get a raw emotion of shock on your face. Anyways, we're going to do a lot of vignetted cheesecakes the next few days and at the end of it, I'll pick the best eight."
Vignetted? Cheesecakes? I think curiously as I slide off of Stryker's lap, not as smoothly as I'd like since I end up on my behind on the floor by his feet. Wincing on impact, I sigh softly as I grab onto the edge of the sofa to pull myself onto my feet. Aren't cheesecakes a desert?
"Um..what are vignetted cheesecakes?" I voice out after thinking over what he could mean by the phrase and still not understanding the meaning beyond the definition that cheesecakes are a desert. I have no idea what a vignette is by definition or otherwise.
"It's a form of photography. My form of it at least," Mr Royce replies, clicking away with a mouse on the monitor set up on the wet bar though his eyes are on me. “Each photograph will tell a mini story and from there build to a sensual climax which unless you are against it will be you in the flesh in Draven's arms nude on a stage."
What? I gape at him with an open mouth, my cheeks heating up at the image of me bared and wrapped up in Stryker's arms on a stage for people who come to photography exhibitions like these to see. Then comes the thought of what the college might think and what my peers would think about having Stryker who is as influential as he is successful hug me form the back.
It'd be a scandal so big that I might have to drop out.
"Royce, enough," Stryker snaps, his sharp glare shooting down the overly enthusiastic photographer's excitement. "We agreed to discuss on it later on."
”She would have found out about it at some point,” Mr Royce pouts, turning back to face the monitor screen. “It may have been a last minutes thought on my part but it fits just so well with the show. The rawness and vulnerability of the nude woman in the arms of the man who is also nude; giving her a sense of protection and security.”
"The exhibition is called 'Heated Desire'," Stryker adds on, mistaking the scrunched up look I probably have on my face for dislike at Mr Royce's mentioning of portraying a woman as vulnerable while the male is seen as her rock. "It's about an emotionally strong woman who allows herself to indulge in the affection of her lover. The representation of being nude just highlights how much she trusts him and he her to allow her true self to be taken into his arms."
"A beautiful way of representing women," I whisper softly in shock, my mind lingering solely on one aspect of both their words "But...I'll be nude?"
Before either of them can respond to me, Lucinda appears at my side to take me away for a change of clothes or lack of thereof in my case seeing as at one point I'm going to be as bare as the day I was born. Looking back at Stryker with this thought in mind, my heart skips a beat when he gives me what I can only describe being a small reassuring smile just before Lucinda closes the door to the 'dressing room'.
The next item of clothing I'm dressed in is a Grecian neckline, black flare dress with a pair of high heels, my hair is piled high onto my head in a mess of heated curls in a bun. My make up consists of dark grey tones on my eyelids, a blood red lip and a light pink blush that isn't really needed seeing as I am still flushed from Stryker's smile.
Considering how I look, this dress is much more revealing compared to the first dress I wore but provides more coverage than the bathrobe I wore just now.
Lost in thought about the clothes I'm being put in, I don't realise that I am no longer in the 'dressing room' until I feel a warm hand on the small of my back, the heat of the hand seeps through the thin almost see-through material of the dress, warming my slightly chilled skin from the lack of sleeves on the dress.
Looking up, I meet the catastrophic deep brown eyes of Draven Stryker. He too has changed his attire for a loose black tie and a rolled up to his elbows, white sleeved shirt, his hair is slightly tidier in a way that he no longer looks like he just got out of bed but there is just something about him that gives off a possessed latent, leonine power and authority.
His voice is so soft I almost miss his words completely as he leans down to my height to whisper into my ear in an almost husky voice, "You look beautiful, Katherine."