Especially considering what happened to my brain the last time I was involved with a guy. His name was Thadd, with two Ds, he was a business major, a movie fan, and one of the best times I’d ever had. In fact, hanging out with him was so much fun that my grades nearly suffered, and when I got my mid-term progress report sophomore year, it might as well have come with a warning—falling for a guy is known to cause plummeting grades. Fortunately, Thadd found himself distracted by an art major the same day that I planned to cool it with him, so that alleviated any and all guilt on my part for ending things with him for a little reason like nearly failing, when he was nearly putting his dick in another girl.
I unzipped my backpack, and handed J.P. the contents of the digital card from my camera.
“All yours. But the shot of Velvet Treadman isn’t for you,” I instructed, referring to Range’s seven-year-old daughter in her beret and capris. “So don’t take it.”
J.P. snapped his fingers. “Damn. I was thinking she’d be about ready for a fake ID.”
“You’re not getting any of those shots from me. Maybe Criminally Handsome will get you some of those,” I said, since I didn’t specifically want to ask what William was angling for, whether for a glimpse of stars behaving just like us or for a mug shot for J.P.’s other business, making the best un-bustable fake IDs in Hollywood for studio execs’ kids, celebrity offspring, or anyone rich enough or thirsty enough to come calling on the former caterer, now photographic impresario. J.P. ran both a legit business as a photo agency, and a not-so-legit one aging up the under-twenty-one crowd. Even though I wasn’t J.P.’s only celebrity shooter, I needed to know if William was horning in on my turf or supplying ID shots.
“Or maybe he’ll get a shot of Riley and someone else in the cast of The Weekenders hooking up,” J.P. mused, giving me my answer—William was a paparazzo, too. Then my pulse quickened as J.P.’s tip registered. I nearly forgot about William because very little excited me more than a star stakeout. I raised an eyebrow, curious who the starlet Riley Belle might be seen with from the cast of The Weekenders. After years of rewrites, Solomon Pictures had just finished casting the remake of the story of five high schoolers forced to spend a Saturday together in detention. In the new version, a sixth student was added to the story because the studio wanted everyone to couple off at the end. Riley Belle played the cheerleader.
“Is it Riley and Miles? Riley and Nick? Or Riley and Brody?” I asked, peppering J.P. with questions. “I bet it’s Riley and Miles.”
He pointed at me. “Option number one it is.”
“I knew it,” I said, pumping a fist. I’d been tracking Riley Belle’s career for years, as a fan and as a photographer. Riley was a darling of all directors after she earned an Oscar nod for her turn as a runaway in an indie breakout hit a year ago. “Miles has been vocal about having a crush on her since they met at the party for his wolf-turns-into-an-angel movie last year.”
“Obviously,” I said, in the off-hand, casual cool of the Hollywood insider that we all thought we were. “Everyone knows angels are so last year.”
“But the cheerleader and jock from The Weekenders are so this year. Perhaps even this day.”
“Where? Now? I want in,” I said, my fingers clutching the desk like I was ready to pounce.
Hookup shots were close to gold. In the pantheon of payouts for photos it went like this: playground shots were at the bottom, parking ticket and pedicure shots were located a notch above, then night-on-the-town pics landed a bit higher up. They were followed by hookup shots, which rocketed the shooter to another pay range altogether that could only be topped by the image of a celebrity unraveling by food. The people loved a public pig-out more than just about anything. I’d managed to earn enough to cover a handful of college classes with a tidy triumvirate of meltdown-by-food shots about a year ago, including a rather embarrassing one of a former child star downing a key lime pie in his car when he thought no one was looking.
But even though the photographic evidence of the most-shunned Hollywood possession of all—an expanding waistline—had graced my portfolio, I hadn’t grabbed the brass ring yet. Because there was one kind of picture that trumped them all. The most priceless and rare.
The wedding shot.
I’d never come close to a wedding shot and probably never would. But a hookup shot of someone from The Weekenders could net a whole handful of bills, so I wanted that pic to be mine.