20.

"I need you to meet me at Karma at nine tonight, alright?" Darryl said as we drove down the highway.


"Why?" I looked over at him.


"Don't question me. Just come."


"Are you trying to get me to meet some bitch that I've already let go?"


"No..." He rolled his eyes. "Why would I do that?"


"I don't know. You always try to get me to reconcile with the people I used to talk to. I forgive and forget. I don't need to reconcile with anyone."


"I'm not having you meet anyone. I'm not that cruel."


"Good... Now why else should I go there?"


"It's a surprise, Mike. I said don't question me about it."


"Why would you mention it right now when I'm driving? Now I want to know."


"I'm not telling you anything. Anyway what is your theme for this next mix tape?"


I laughed, "I can't tell you right now."


"Mike, stop playin'! I'm the one who sets up the beats for your mix tapes. It's a requirement that you tell me."


"I'll tell you when I'm ready."


"Fine."


"So, you're not going to tell me what this surprise is?"


"No." He looked out the window completely unphased.


We finally got to the photo studio in a building that looked abandoned. But in reality, it only looked that way so people wouldn't bother it. Inside, we had a single office that housed our photo shoots. I parked across the street and saw my models car in front of me. She was the model for my previous mix tape and was great. So she's hired to be the model for my next mix tape. We got out the car and headed for the building to see that she was standing at the door waiting for us.


"I'm glad you could make it, Tabitha." I hugged her.


"Anything for you, Michael." She smiled as she pulled her trench coat tight against her body. Darryl unlocked the door and allowed for us to go in. I allowed Tabitha to go in first. As soon as we got in I opened the old elevator and closed the gate after everyone was in. "So, I hear there are going to be balloons this time?" Her Russian accent was deep. It was sexy though to be completely honest.


"Yeah. Many, many balloons."


"Why so many balloons?" She looked up at me.


"It's part of the theme for my next mix tape."


"Is this a kid's mix tape?" She laughed.


"Far from it." We finally got to our studio and opened the elevator. Tabitha walked out and went to the door. I unlocked it and allowed for her to go ahead of me.


"Where are the balloons?" She looked around.


"Um, we're actually shooting in the bathroom. Which is why I asked you to dress this way. Are you okay with that?"


"As long as you're not shooting me on the toilet, I'm completely fine with it." She laughed. Darryl led her to the back bathroom.


"We're shooting right in the tub here if you don't mind."


"Oh, not at all." She shook her head and took off her trench coat. Tabitha wore nude underwear and no bra just as I requested.


"We're going to be taking a couple of shots."


"Of course. I remember."


I went back in the office to get one of my cameras. The last time I took a picture of someone I was so gone. Surprisingly, the picture came out perfect though. I came back to find Tabitha standing in the tub as Darryl began to place black and white balloons around her.


"This seems like it's going to be fun." She smiled.


I smirked, "Of course it will be fun. Alright, don't think about the camera. Be completely natural. I never say act natural because there is no way you can 'act' natural. Get it?" She nodded. "Don't do what you think I want you to do. If I want you to do something, I'll tell you. Don't look in the camera unless I prompt you to and last but not least, have fun, baby." I smiled as I put the camera up to my face and began to capture time in my lens. I captured her smiling at Darryl and talking to him. Tabitha picked up a white balloon and kissed it, then placed a black balloon in front of her breasts. As I captured each pose I became more and more dissatisfied. I wasn't really feeling this. The vision in my head was telling me do to something else. "Tabitha?"


"Huh?" She stopped what she was doing and looked at me.


"Lie down in the tub for me." She bent down and lay in the tub. "Now, how about sitting in the corner of the tub?" She did as she was told and sat in the corner of the tub. "Help me real quick, Darryl." We placed some balloons on her legs and towards the drain. "Darryl, I'm going to need your help."


"Alright. Whatever you want me to do."


"Take a bunch of balloons and drop them from the top onto her."


"What?" He gave me a strange look.


"Trust me, this will work." Darryl shrugged and took the balloons like I told him to and dropped them above her. I quickly began to capture the balloons falling before they fell too fast. After I took a couple of shots I looked through the slide show. None of them were what I wanted. "Do it again for me." He sighed and took another armful of balloons and dropped them above her. Once again I took some more pictures. I looked through them again. "I know what I need to do..." I stood on the edge of the tub. "Darryl, one more time. I might have it this time." Once again he took an armful of balloons and dropped them above her. At this angle, I finally got some better shots. I got down and looked through the slide show to find that I had taken the perfect picture. I smiled, "I got it."


"Let me see." Darryl hurried toward me.


"Man, wait! Let me show Tabitha. She's the star." She got out of the tub and stood beside me. I showed her the picture.


"I love how my boob is randomly there." She laughed. "Is that why it's so perfect?"


"I mean, it makes the picture. But wait until I alter this a bit. I'm going to make it black and white. And you'll be the second person to see the polished copy."


"The second?"


"Well, I'm going to be the first."


"Oh." She laughed as she put on her trench coat. "Is my job here done?"


"Almost." Darryl said and escorted her out.


•                •                 •


"Nigga, we've been waitin' on yo' ass for hours!" Darryl hurried toward me. I locked the car and began to head towards the door.


"Darryl, what's going on?"


"You'll find out. Come on!" He opened the door for me just as I walked in.


"Congratulations!" Everyone shouted. I blushed a bit. What in the hell was this about?


"Mike, I got everyone here to celebrate your mix tape. Everyone here has heard it and loved it. It's what I call a post-release party." Darryl walked beside me.


"Michael, you're going to be so big after this!" A lady smiled at me. I didn't even know her. These must be Darryl's friends.


"Tabitha?" I smiled, "What are you doing here?"


"I heard your mix tape too. It's good and might I say I love the model on the cover." She winked and kissed my cheek. I guess this would be fun.


"Everyone is really diggin' that mix tape, Mike! They want more!" Darryl smiled as he held up a bottle of Hennessey. I looked around at the small party around me. My music played in the background as everyone stood around me. It wasn't necessarily a private party. The club was still open to the public, but my music played throughout the club. At least this will give me more exposure. As I sat in the corner in a booth, one woman in particular caught my eye. She looked at me and smiled. I smiled back prompting her to come over. She began to walk over to me. I watched as she made her way over, the way she sashayed over was so sexy. The closer and closer she got to me, the more and more she seemed to capture me...

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