Read and find out...
“So, you want to be a photographer. Here’s a few things you’ll need to know.
Firstly, you should start with a good DLR….
You need to start with an eye for seeing the details other people ignore. Look to your left, what do you see? Look to your right.
See that girl sat on the chair on the other side of the room. Look at the way her red beanie contrasts with her green officer jacket. Look at the way her hair falls. See the way her hair curls outwards, framing her face? See the way that with the right lighting you’d catch the gold flecks in her brown eyes?
Yes? Then you’re in the right place.
No? Then you’re still in the right place. Photography is not just about the visual, it’s so much more. It’s about what you feel as much as what you see. It may sound stupid but trust me, think about how things make you feel. Aesthetic is about awakening things within yourself and then exploring the,”
“One almond milk latte with sugarfree vanilla syrup,” He plonked the to-go cup in front of her and she looked up at him with a smile, closing her laptop.
She was sat in a quite nook in the coffee shop, on a sofa that had a table in front of it. Her backpack was splayed beside her, her handbag on the floor as if she was subconsciously trying to claim as much space as possible.
“Thanks,” She took the lid off so it could cool, “You’re here early,” She glanced at her watch. No, he wasn’t, he was an hour late. Internally she groaned, sliding off her glasses and shunting them into her bag, refusing to wear them for longer than she needed to. She’d needed glasses for a few years, having destroyed her eyesight from squinting in too many developing rooms in her time.
“Traffic is a bitch this time of day,” He shrugged, sitting across from her and tearing open a small handful of sugar packets, dumping them into his coffee before stirring it in, “How’s the paper going?”
“Not bad… Not great either,” She sighed, “It’s hard to go from visually showing things to describing them,”
Rey had been asked by the local community college to write a paper for new potential students to encourage them into the arts. At first, she’d been flattered, as recognition was still recognition, but now she just felt daunted and defeated. She slouched back into the sofa, drink in hand and blew on it to cool it down.
“Why not think of it less as a paper and more as an advert,” Poet suggested, “This is why you should become a photographer,” He waved his hand out as he said the title. Rey couldn’t help but giggle as he did so.
“No?” He looked at her with a grin.
“How about,” She held her hand up, “How to be fucking poor for a decade and then make just enough for rent,” She laughed.
With a laugh he nodded, “Perfect. Don’t forget ‘and three hundred other pointless classes you can take alongside this’,”
“Fuck this class, go do something useful like accounting,” She waved, trying not to fall over from the giggles.
“Perfect, you’ll inspire everyone who reads it,” He sipped at his coffee, at least trying to make an attempt to look like it was too hot for him.
Poe ran a little hotter than most… And then some. Rey was often amused by the lengths he went to, to appear normal, but he did it well. There was a good reason why he was successful in his industry, besides of course that he was devilishly attractive. He was tall at well over 6’, probably nearing 6’4”, broad and well defined with bright green eyes and thick, coppery brown hair that for once was well styled. Recently he’d began sporting shorter hair with an undercut, whereas before he’d always kept his hair to at least his shoulders – she wasn’t sure which she preferred. He looked regal with long hair, and handsome and with shorter hair… But either way, despite the fact he always had a stupid grin on his face, he oozed authority and command, with just enough danger there to make her heart skip.
Though he hid it well, Poet was a hybrid. Part fire elemental, a dash of demon and a healthy slug of lycan; and while he didn’t look a day over 30, he was born when the Roman Empire was young.
General society had no idea that supernatural creatures were anything more than fairy-tales, and so they slotted into normal life, fitting in effortlessly. The butcher down the road? Supernatural. The woman fitting wedding dresses a few streets over? Supernatural.
Not all were as old as Poet of course. He was part of a select few that even the community saw as rare and unknown. An ancient, that’s what they called him.
His family, for the most part, were all as old and mysterious as he was. The Callahans, a family of demons who dominated the western world with their business prowess.
It made her smile, thinking that he was part of such a family and yet was so vastly different. He and his twin both were exceptions to the standard. Tyler, whose element was ice, was probably one of the sweetest and most caring people Rey know. She was almost the total opposite of Poe in looks – small, dainty and petite, but still could throw him over her shoulder with little more than a huff.
“So what’s the plan for this afternoon?” Rey continued to blow on her drink, not stupid enough to try it yet.
Poe shrugged, scrolling through his phone for things they could do, “Well that forest of fear thing is tonight at the renaissance fair if you’re up for it?”
Rey thought before she nodded, “Sure, but please don’t try to impress all the pretty ladies with your lute skills again,” She winked and he laughed.
“Oh man, they need a strength warning on their… What was it again?”
“Mead I think?” Rey shrugged, “And you can’t use that as an excuse, you know you would have done it anyway,”
“Eh, may have not sucked so bad had I been sober,” He grinned at her and she rolled her eyes, “But if you’re not keen, there’s always plenty to do. The world is your oyster Miss Reagan Danvers,”
Rey groaned, “Whatever you say Pauline Callahan,” She smirked as he huffed with a half laugh.
“Pauline. That’s an awful name... I’m so naming one of our kids that,”
Rey snorted, packing her laptop away and sliding her jacket on, “What are our other kids called again?”
“Siegfried, Alowishus, and Gertrude,” Poe took her backpack from her, slinging it on one shoulder while she took her glasses off and put them into her handbag.
“I love Alowishus… But the other two are horrific,”
“You can find that and forty other reasons why I’d be a horrible father in my new book, ‘Poe, the fucking lunatic’,” Poe managed to keep a straight tone and face while Rey snorted from laughing.
It was a bright and surprisingly warm autumn day in the city, but when the wind picked up, Rey was thankful she’d brought her jacket. The road outside the coffee shop was heaving with traffic, and it wasn’t much better for pedestrians. Manhattan was exhausting, why did Poe insist on working there?
He owned a theatre on one of the busiest streets in the district – though he opened it before that was the case. It was a breath-taking building, renovated from the ground up with blood, sweat and more than a little dedication. He loved that place like he’d love a child, though Rey now was thankful it wasn’t called Gertrude.
They walked down the road and Rey slipped her free hand into Poe’s. He glanced at her with a small smile, before acting as her unspoken shield to get through the foot traffic.
“Should we call Ty?” Rey asked, getting only a half-hearted shrug from Poe. She smirked, knowing he’d already asked her. The twins had a unique connection, able to speak to one another telepathically as well as feel what the other felt. She wondered what it was like, being that close to someone, but she also enjoyed keeping her thoughts to herself and so wasn’t sure she’d enjoy it.
“Not really her scene,” He smiled at her and as the wind picked up again, she let go of his hand and hugged his arm against herself, enjoying the way his blood ran like liquid metal through his veins.
“Wanna see if Sarah wants to come?” Poe suggested and Rey nodded, juggling her drink so that she could pull her phone out and dial Sarah’s number.
Rey sighed as it went straight to answerphone, “She’s been really off the radar lately… I hope she’s alright,”
“Maybe she’s run off with some gorgeous man and is off living the life of luxury,” Poe suggested to cheer Rey up, and she nodded, finishing her coffee and throwing the cup into a trashcan before she replied.
“I hope so,” Rey sighed, smiling at him. She did appreciate him trying to cheer her up, but it wasn’t like Sarah to do that. Sure, they didn’t speak every day, but it’d been a few weeks now and she hadn’t heard a peep from her friend. That was unusual.
If she wasn’t worried, she would have laughed at how Sarah had staked her claim in her life. Rey wasn’t a wonderfully social person – she could fake it well, but nothing stressed her out more than being in a room full of people… Unless she was adequately drunk. Oh, with booze she could conquer the world, but without it she internally shrivelled and died.
Sarah was also human, and Rey wasn’t keen on befriending humans. While she had no idea what she was, she was at least three hundred years old… And eventually the ‘how are you not aging?’ question would come up.
Despite all of that though, she loved Sarah. She was a dear friend and she did worry. Before she put her phone away she typed out a quick text and sent it.
‘Hey :D It’s been awhile, guessing work is insane. Gimmie a buzz when you’re free xxxx’
The Forest of Fear didn’t start for a few hours, but it was about a two-hour drive upstate, and with the afternoon traffic in the city, they had to get a move on.
Rey never enjoyed driving for long periods of time, but Poe was quite happy to so they took his car. They left her car in the parking lot by the coffee shop, remembering only after they started to pull away that she’d need to put more money on the ticket.
She hoped out of his car, jogging over and adding enough to the meter, making a mental note to not let him let her forget to pick her car up. She was awful and always forgot it somewhere. She was that irritating person who could go into a grocery store and had totally forgotten where she’d parked by the time she got out, as well as the annoying person who’d walk home forgetting she drove there in the first place.
Rey loved walking anyway. She’d struggled at first with cars, as they just seemed too reckless and dangerous, but like with everything times changed and she did too. Poe had taught her to drive, and in his defence, he was a great teacher, but even he faced the wrath of a stressed out, pissed off Rey who wanted to rip his face off.
She’d learned though, and he only walked away with one black eye.
“Have you ever thought about moving out of the city?” Rey asked, window open, feet on the dash, the purr of the ’63 mustang soothing the knots in her body as she slouched in the seat.
“Eh, I don’t know. It is getting pretty crazy…” Poe glanced at her, “Why?”
“Curious,” Rey shrugged, admiring the scenery as they drove down the freeway, “I think I’d like to live somewhere a little quieter, maybe off the radar,”
“Anywhere in particular?”
“Nah, somewhere warm though,” She smiled at him, holding his hand as he placed it on her thigh, “Maybe somewhere with lots of beaches,”
“That’d be cool,”
The conversation carried on and they talked about all the weird and wonderful places they’d like to visit, and if any of those places fit the ‘warm and beachy’ criteria. They did have a house in England still, that she used for when she had feelings of just wanting to get away, but Dorchester was neither warm, nor beachy.
Truth be told, she’d been thinking about moving for a while. She hadn’t moved to the city with the intention of putting down roots, and for the most part had been successful… It was easy to be nameless in a city of eight million people, but like Poe had thought, it was getting too crazy.
They’d first met in London, her and Poe.
Rey had been in an accident of some form, the doctors unable to determine what caused her injuries but they put the memory loss she suffered from down to hysteria. In modern terms she suffered from trauma induced amnesia, totally unable to remember anything from before the moment she woke up in the hospital.
With a little time, she’d managed to remember her name, though she’d made up a last name on the spot so that the doctors would contemplating throwing her into an asylum.
She didn’t even know what that was at the time, but now was thankful she’d dodged that bullet.
As soon as she met Poe there was something that drew her to him. Maybe it was his energy, the wolf that paced in his chest and reminded her of something she couldn’t pinpoint… Or maybe it was just that he was a nice guy.
Whatever it was, she was drawn to him like a moth to the flame.
She met Tyler, surprisingly, and rather randomly in a book shop without Poet there. It was only later that she found out they were twins.
When he asked her if she’d move to the states with him, she didn’t hesitate.
Her and Poe had tried the whole ‘relationship’ thing off and on, but it didn’t stand the test of time. Sure, she loved him dearly and couldn’t imagine him not in her life, but she wasn’t in love with him in the way she needed to be. What they had now was hard to put down with words, but it wasn’t a relationship in a the conventional sense.
To everyone who looked at them they looked like every other young and attractive couple who would be better suited on the cover of Vogue or in a Hollywood mansion than working as a freelance photographer and an actor, but someone else still had her heart.
The problem was however, was that she couldn’t remember him, the man who stole her heart and held onto it so unapologetically. He was simply another fragment of a life lost to her. In her dreams, though she could remember him, and could feel him. He was the reason her and Poet could never have their happily ever after, and it broke her heart. She pined for a man lost to time and probably long lost to the world.
Her thoughts took over and eventually the rumblings of the car mixed with nostalgia and she drifted off.
The signs for Tuxedo Park started to come up, and Poe moved his hand to change gears. Rey stirred, seeing the clock, “Man, has it already been two hours?”
“Eh,” Rey sat up properly in her seat, stretching her neck and rubbing a sore spot at the top of her spine. She never slept well, often only managing a few hours a night and then paying for it the next day. Her brain felt fluffy, the fog refusing to shake away, and she yawned, wiping her eyes.
“Oh, your snoring always puts me in a good mood,” He smirked.
“I do not snore,” She huffed.
“Like an adorable little lawn mower,” He continued to tease her as their turning came up and he turned off of the freeway.
Rey immediately was blown away by how beautiful Tuxedo Park was, “I changed my mind, I want to live here,”
Poe laughed, “Well that actually could happen,”
It was stunning. Trees as far as the eye could see with large houses dotted amongst the cliffs that opened to blue lakes. They’d been to the forest of fears a few times, but the scenery never failed to blow her away.
Sliding her phone out of her pocket, she snapped a few pictures, smiling at them as they turned down the road towards the renaissance faire.
The Forest of Fear was technically more for teenagers, but there were plenty of adults there as well when they parked up. The carpark was heaving, and Rey felt her stomach sink.
“More people here this year,” Rey pointed out as they got out of the car. Poe put his arm around her, giving her a half squeeze.
“I’ll keep ya safe from these heathens,” He smirked and she rolled her eyes.
“Thanks,” She rested her head on his shoulder until she came to terms with the fact it wasn’t easy to walk like that, and so settled for just holding his hand.
A sign caught her eye and she jumped, “Oh! Let’s see the monster bash this year!” She grinned widely as Poe groaned, pretending to struggle to walk.
“Jeeze, you sure?”
“Yes! Call it pay back for the snoring jokes,” She declared, pulling his hand and skipping to where the monster bash was.
The monster bash was a half hour show where actors dressed as cliché supernatural creatures came out and pretended to fight each other. There was a werewolf, a vampire, Frankenstein’s monster, and more, all as horribly stereotypical as the last.
When they got there, the crowd had already formed but Rey found a spot where they could see the show without heads in the way.
“This is for kids,” Poe pointed out, standing behind her and putting one arm around her, hooking his other hand on her back pocket while he rested his head against hers. She melted into the warmth.
“Shhh,” Rey scolded, turning her head to awkwardly kiss his cheek while the person hosting the show came out and began talking.
When the werewolf came out, Rey smirked, feeling Poe groan. The fake werewolf was very stereotypically made up – with the wild brown hair, the masses of facial hair and of course the inability to speak without howling every five seconds.
“Look it’s your cousin Bernie,” Rey joked as Poe rolled his eyes.
“Oh aye, he’s my,” Poe cleared his throat before putting on a southern drawl, “My sister aunt’s boy,”
If his arm wasn’t around her, she would have fallen over from laughing.
“Your daddy brother’s kid,” She couldn’t do the accent as well as he but he grinned nonetheless.
The werewolf and the vampire started mock fighting, which was pretty amusing. They danced around the set in their well-rehearsed skit, and before long even Poe was laughing away at the gags, despite how insulting the werewolf was.
The rest of the show was much the same. A cliché ‘supernatural’ would come out, they’d pretend to fight and then a ‘winner’ was announced. It was as amusing as it was atrocious.
“Ready to go have your socks scared off?” Poe asked when it was over.
“Fuck yes,” Rey grinned.
The real fun was the haunted mansion, a converted old building that probably had been built in the 1800s.
They’d gone all out this year on the haunted mansion, and as soon as they walked in Rey had chills. Poe wrapped his arm around her, for moral support as she was such a chicken he’d say, but she wasn’t ungrateful for the contact.
It wasn’t her fault that jump scares terrified her, but they also made her blood pump. She felt alive, being scared, and that’s why she enjoyed doing this… Even though she looked like a big, blonde baby.
Venturing away from Poe, Rey walked up the spiral staircase and down the hall. She began to wish she’d worn proper shoes and not sandals as the fake cobwebs that lined the floor brushed against her skin, making shivers run down her spine. There were other people walking around, all ducking into rooms before screaming and running back out.
The floorboards creaked under her feet, and something warm and furry ran over her foot, making her jump back and look at the floor. With her attention diverted, a zombie burst out of a room beside her, garbling and groaning while he pretended to try and grab her.
Rey shrieked. Her blood ran cold and her knees gave out as she fell backwards, connecting with Poe who was crying from laughing so hard. She turned as soon as he held her up, burying her face in his chest and sobbing.
“Oh Reiki,” He soothed her, stroking her hair as she fell apart. The zombie backed off, looking at Rey apologetically. Poe waved that it was alright and the zombie uneasily went back into the room where he was supposed to wait for people to walk past.
“I’m such a big baby,” Rey mumbled, sniffling as she composed herself.
“Yes, you are, but you’re fucking hilarious to watch,”
“Meanie,” She pulled back to swat at his chest, “I could have died,”
“Mmhmm, of course,” He kissed her forehead, “Now brush yourself off and get back out there,” He spun her around, patting her ass as she half skipped, swatting his hands away.
“I’m going, I’m going,” She laughed, wiping her eyes and venturing further down the hallway.
The hallway ended with a large room that curved around the side of the house. The views were astonishing, but Rey slowly crept in, waiting for something to jump out at her. When nothing immediately did, she got a little brave and marched in.
The room was empty as far as people went. It was decorated as historically accurate to the Victorian times as the Faire could manage. The furniture was covered in cobwebs and dust, the picture frames were stained brown and the photos faded with time. Rey shivered as she walked to one of the far windows, glancing back and expecting Poe to have followed her, but he hadn’t. She shrugged with a smirk, wondering if he’d decided to join the crew and start scaring the daylights out of people.
Routinely, she’d hear a scream from the rest of the house, but nobody walked in after her. She looked out the window and could see people both entering and leaving the house. The damp breeze picked up, worse now that she was by the windows and she held her jacket closer.
A man in the line to get in looked up, and Rey’s eyes caught his, before she gasped. His face suddenly wasn’t his own and she saw one dark grey eye and one blue eye staring back at her.
She gripped the windowsill before she sunk down to her knees, curling up against the wall under the window with her hands on her chest as she felt her lungs tighten. The room began to spin and she felt like she’d been submerged in water as everything around her seemed to dull and echo. She could hear him, standing over her, so close she could feel his breath on her face despite the haze. The words were lost but that terror that rose through her chest was not.
Feeling the heat as Poe stroked her back, she internally clawed back to reality, looking up at him as he knelt beside her.
“Come on, that’s enough fun for one day,” Poe glanced out the window, trying to work out what she’d seen.
They left the mansion, exiting out the backdoor, Poe a little hesitant to chance her seeing the same man that brought on the panic attack again. He knew it wasn’t his fault, the attacks were as unpredictable as they were rare, but he didn’t want to risk it.
She’d explained the panic attacks to him before. Something about someone, it didn’t matter what, just triggered something in her brain and she was sucked back to a moment she didn’t understand.
He, the man she saw in her attacks, stood over her. Growling and saying something, the words lost to time … But whatever it was made her heart stop beating and her lungs seize up… And then she’d manage to claw back out of it and feel ok again.
Ok being an exaggeration, but still, she wasn’t broken and falling apart from it.
“You haven’t had one of those in a while,” Poe finally spoke when they got to the car, and she nodded. He opened the door for her, and she got in, promptly curling up on the seat and bringing her knees to her chest.
He walked around the car, getting in and looking at her.
“Wanna talk about it?” He asked and immediately she shook her head, but then she paused.
“Not really,” She sighed, “Well… Uhg,”
Starting the car, Poe drove out of the Fair, thankful there wasn’t much traffic as there were still more people coming in than leaving. He didn’t turn towards the freeway however, instead he turned towards one of the lakes in the area, and Rey looked out the window, admiring how different but still wonderful the area looked at night.
“It’s frustrating,” She finally spoke, watching as the trees broke away and the sereneness of the lake took over, “I just wish I understood… Who is he? How can I be so scared of someone I don’t even know?”
She kicked out, kicking the dashboard and then promptly regretting it as she recoiled, clutching her foot and whimpering.
“Hey now, what did my car ever do?” He teased, “But while those are fair questions to ask, are you sure you really want to know?”
“No,” She sighed. She didn’t. She couldn’t remember anything before she woke up in that hospital bed for a reason.
On a typical day she didn’t even think about it, and she wondered if the car ride there was why she’d had that panic attack. She’d brought it all to the forefront of her mind.
They car shuddered as the tarmac turned into a dirt road, and Poe parked at the top of a slope that led down to the lake.
“You know what I think you should do?” Poe started, not getting out of the car.
“What?” Rey looked at him.
“Get out of this car. Run down that path and jump into the lake,”
“I bet it’s freezing,”
“Do it. Shunt that bullshit out of your head, scream at the top of your lungs and tell all of that to go fuck its self,”
“I’ll look like an idiot,”
“Nobody is around,” He spoke and then glanced around, “Nope, nobody, and who the hell cares anyway?”
Rey groaned, opening the car door, “Come with me?”
“In a minute,” Poe reached behind his seat and fished his cigarettes off of the floor, “Go on, off ya trot,” He grinned at her as she got out of the car and slid her jacket off. The air nipped at her bare skin, but it was as refreshing as it was uncomfortable.
She took a few steps from the car, glancing back at Poe who was already sucked into a level of candycrush. She rolled her eyes, but was thankful for the privacy.
Sliding her sandals off, she looked down the slope that led to the lake and she took a deep breath in, closing her eyes before she ran.
The dirt path, mixed with sand, pebbles and broken sea shells ripped at the soft skin of her feet, but she kept going, running until the air seared her chest and made her eyes water. She opened her eyes, realising too late that she’d missed the turn to carry on down to the lake, and the ground gave out.
She dropped, a scream forming in her mouth but was quickly swallowed as she fell into the water. The initial chill scorching her before she kicked back up to the surface, greedily sucking in air before she dropped down under again.
The water was freezing. That was all she could think as her blood felt like it was forming ice crystals within her veins and she was caught by the natural movement of the water, trailing further down from the surface.
She reached out, trying at first to swim back to the surface but the chill caught in her muscles and made her body feel too heavy. Her lungs seared in pain as the last dredges of oxygen left them.
It was oddly peaceful however, feeling like she was floating as the water cocooned her. As she sunk down, her mind went elsewhere. It went to rolling hills, to thick forests, to lands faraway of castles and knights, of armies and of dragons.
She wasn’t sure how long she was under when she felt the warmth against her, and then the slap of fresh air against her face when she was pulled back up to the surface.
“Holy shit,” Poe complained, actually shivering as he pulled her out of the water, lying her on the sand and checking to see if she was breathing.
She immediately started coughing, rolling onto her side. Her body shuddered as the air nipped at her chilled skin, and she weakly breathed in. Poe rubbed her back, the warmth returning within him and leeching into her.
She lay back on the sand, looking up at the sky before she focused and looked up at him as he watched her warily.
“Feeling good about your idea?” She asked quietly.
“No not really,” He laid down beside her on the sand, and she nestled against him, head on his chest as she greedily tried to absorb that heat. As if he could hear her thoughts, his body temperature raised.
“Poe?” She asked softly.
“Yeah?” He looked down at her.
He hooked his finger on her chin and urged her to look at him. When she did, he kissed her. That heat instantly flowed through her veins, claiming every inch of her as his.
“Don’t make a habit out of it, k?”