A Picture's Worth

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Original poster
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  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Primarily Prefer Female
Nearly anything.
He had an excuse at the tip of his tongue, should he ever need it. He'd had it ready since the first photo: it was a class assignment. Pathetic, see through in the wrong circumstances, but good enough to avoid the "you're stalking me, I'm going to make a commotion and call the cops" confrontation, at least for a moment. He hadn't had to use it yet, but, it had only been a few weeks.

This was about the most passionate Zeke had gotten about something ever. And even then, it was a stretch of the word. Focused was better. And ironic, given the context. The thoughts swirled in Zeke's mind, even now, without a camera in hand. It was a Saturday morning, and the young man had just woken up. He lay in his bed and thought about the sad classmate that he'd been taking photos of. It was creepy. It was definitely creepy. There was no denying that. But there was something in the photos of the sad boy that Zeke found appealing. Was it the unwitting expression? The raw, unguarded emotion? Was it how facile the situation seemed from afar? Was it something entirely different? Was it because these moments were private, closed to Zeke, but he still tread past that taboo and took them?

What was it? Something that couldn't be answered from where he was, so the young man stood up, and crossed his small apartment to the kitchenette to set the coffee maker going. He stared at the machine, bleary eyed, then turned around and went back to his room, to the small bathroom attached to it, and showered. He was going to be developing the photos from this week today. Can't afford to be lazy on Saturdays. He dressed, simply: jeans, sneakers, a t shirt, a sweater; and he returned to his coffee. Zeke drank it black, mulled over it until the mug was empty, filled his pockets (phone, wallet, cigarettes, lighter, keys, rolls of film), grabbed his camera bag and put it on his shoulder, and left.

The campus was only a few blocks away from his apartment. Even though he was a graduate student, Zeke still lived close by, in the apartment he'd had as an undergrad upperclassman. It was just easier like that. It wasn't all too uncommon, and a bus still rode around on the weekdays. Today was brisk, chilly, and grey. A fine day to walk. Not many other people were out, meaning that not many other people would be bothered by his smoking. He slipped a cigarette out of the pack in his pocket, took out his lighter and lit it, and smoked as he put the lighter back into his pocket. The walk gave him a chance to think without thinking: about the pictures that he had taken, about his actual assignments, about which photos he should submit, and which he should keep.

Art was tricky work.

The darkroom was empty when he got there. Zeke set to work right away. Wash hands; apron on; step inside; remove the film from the canister, treat it, set it to dry. He'd only been working with film for a few years, but already Zeke was confident in his hands as they went through the process of developing the photos and, after that, when he could see, playing with exposure time and comparing effects. It wasn't a short process, but it was enjoyable. Zeke found serenity in it, and almost missed it when he had finished all of his work. The photos were up, hanging and drying. There wasn't anything left for him to do, so he packed his camera and stepped outside.

The day hadn't changed much. Zeke lit another cigarette. It was mid afternoon; too late for lunch, too early for dinner, but he hadn't eaten yet. So he started to the nearest eatery- was that too fine a name for it? It was, after all, more of a cafe than anything else- when it happened. There he was, again. Was he- what, waiting for a bus? It was possible. Or not. He was the only one there. A few people sat or walked along the green, but the boy was alone again. Was Zeke too close to take a picture? Would the subject notice now? He might, if he looked the right way. There wasn't much of interest beside him. But he seemed so absorbed in his own thoughts...

Zeke dropped the cigarette to the sidewalk, and put it out with his heel, crushing the sparks. He'd reloaded the camera before leaving the dark room, and fumbled to open the bag. He could get a wonderful shot, if he was fast enough. Open bad, pull the camera out, raise to face, fiddle with the focus until it was just right, and... click. Click. Click. After the shutter clicked in the last photo, he noticed a change. The boy wasn't looking aimless any more. His sad look had vanished, replaced by something more guarded, and he was looking towards Zeke.

Damn it all. He'd noticed at last.
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Rise from the Ashes
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Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
To be honest I'm a sucker for romance of any kind. As well as a bit of gore, horror, or action involved.
Sebastian stared up at his ceiling as he laid in his bed for what felt like hours but was more than likely only a few minutes. The clock on the bedside table clearly flashed the time to him in big red numbers. Sighing he turned his attention back to the ceiling, giving it his full attention as if it was the most captivating sight. As he laid there he felt no urge to get up and start his day. If he really let himself he could end up laying there all day without moving even an inch. It had happened numerous times before despite his attempts not to. When he stayed locked away in his apartment all day people tended to notice him missing and then they would ask questions. Questions that he would rather not give answers to.

With a heavy sigh he threw the covers off of himself and began to shuffle around his room as he got ready for the day. The cold air that drifted into his room from the window that he had left open all night had a shiver going down his spine. Ignoring it for the time being he made his way over to the bathroom attached to his room. Like most days he put time and effort into his appearance even though he wanted nothing more than to throw on a pair of sweat pants and a hoodie and call it a day. But once again that was something that he couldn't do because then people would ask him questions as to why he was dressed like that.

It was days like this that he wished that he didn't have to put up an act to keep people from asking questions. It was days like this that he wished he didn't have to be Mr. Perfect. The perfect son, the perfect friend, the perfect boy.

Over the years he had grown to hate that word. Perfect.

But he also knew that he would never be able to escape from it. Not when he always had people surrounding him that expected nothing but the very best. That expected nothing but perfection.

Slipping into his boots he left his eerily quiet apartment and headed out, not bothering to lock his apartment in case someone tried to break in and not really caring if someone did. As he walked down the street he took his time, breathing in the cold air. The only sound that he could hear was the thumping of his boots against the sidewalk and the occasional car driving by. It didn't take him long to reach his destination, a little cafe. Pushing the door open the sound of a bell dinging went off as he entered. Almost immediately he was greeted with a loud chorus of hellos from the table in the corner. A few of the other customers turned to look at what all of the fuss was before shrugging and continuing on with their lives.

Walking over to the table he plastered on a smile that hurt to keep on his face as he mumbled his own hello. Immediately as he sat down the conversation picked back up. For a minute or two he paid attention and even threw in a few comments before he slowly started to tune out what was being said. Sitting there he stared at those that surrounded him. He had a lot of friends but couldn't help but feel lonely.

He wondered if any of them knew just how miserable he was, if any knew just how fake that his smiles were. Of course not. They were as fake as his smiles.

The minute that he saw the chance to excuse himself he did. Standing up he ignored their protest to him leaving and as fast as he could without seeming too eager left the little cafe. He walked until he saw a bench not that far away. Taking a seat he breathed in the cold air once again and let the fake smile melt away. As he sat there he ignored those around him as he was in deep thought. He was grateful that none seemed to notice him because he wasn't too sure if he would be able to slip on his fake smile quick enough to try and hide the sadness.

With a sigh he lowered his head and closed his eyes for a second before looking back up only in a different direction than he had been before. It was only then that he noticed the camera pointed straight at him. For a minute he wondered if the camera was truly pointed at him or simply something around him but the more that he stared the more certain he was that the camera was pointed at him.

He had no idea as to why some stranger was taking pictures of him and wasn't too sure if he wanted to know why. Standing up from his seat he stared to make his way over, unable to see who exactly was taking his picture but wanting to find out.
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