His Littlest Valentine

Paparazzi are always deemed the lowest of low, always searching for the best (worst) shot of celebrities. But, on one horridly beautiful Valentine's Day, all of that changes. Follow one paparazzo's journey as she bravely defies popular opinion--and most of all, Niall Horan.

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1. Chapter One

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! This is an entry for the 1SHOT41D contest, and I thought this would be a nice way to be introduced into the Movellas community. Thanks again!

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Dainty rays of light played about the blonde wisps atop his head, his face captured in a smile of pure unharnessed joy. I sighed. Even on camera he possessed a childish nature, most likely an obtained air I had long forgotten. Reality did that to you.

                I leaned back down, behind a bush, and resumed taking snapshots of the teenage heartthrob that was currently meandering down the sidewalk, hoodie on, face lowered, all a shameful attempt at trying to hide who he really was. It was boiling out too, and even in the shade I was sweating like a pig. How he could stand the heat I had no idea.

                Niall Horan had decided to go out for a little stroll around the town this horribly beautiful morning. Thanks to my free schedule, I had been able to spot him exiting his flat and sneak a few shots, all the while trying to avoid thinking about the day and the meaning and the world around me. It was, once again, a horribly beautiful February fourteenth, filled with bits of chocolate in expensive foil, sweet smelling flowers, and above all, kisses from beloved valentines.

                And I was out working, alone. I wasn’t even able to fume about working today, for a) I had no plans beforehand, and b) I had absolutely no other paparazzi to contend with, a true rarity. They were all cuddling up with their heart’s desires, even that slimy photographer Sebastian Cortizone. He must’ve had a body pillow to snuggle up beside.

                My face was only one of many lost among the crowded sidewalks, full of couples traversing the shops, men rushing about as they scrambled to organize some sort of date for their girlfriends and wives, and love struck teenagers hopelessly devoted to the precarious word that is love. I had a different motive, a different purpose. And so, I made sure that Niall was never more than ten feet away. He never seemed to notice me, though he was being particularly careful about staying unnoticed himself.

                I took photos of him looking at shop windows, eyes upturned but gazing halfheartedly. It appeared that he was like me, simply a warrior getting massacred by the army of crushing romantics. After a while, I began wondering if I had found a dull target—termed a “dud” by those of my trade. I was only here for a story. Most people would be happy with a drink spilt on oneself or some other altercation, yet not me. I wasn’t that kind of scum. That kind of morality was saved for Cortizone and his breed.

                Perhaps I could sell a few photos of Niall window shopping. I’m sure the tabloids would love that. Niall Horan Shops for Secret Valentine! Read all about it, page ten. Oh, who was I kidding? If I started a rumor like that I’d be no better than the gutter rats.

                I snapped back into reality only to find my target had vanished. I hurried forward a few steps, head craning over the mass, all in vain. All of my time, wasted, thanks to my stupid greedy mind and its stupid greedy wanderings.

                Suddenly, in the crowd, there! A flash of blue eyes, pale as a worried sky, locking away a sadness that struggled against its cage. Him! It had to be! I pushed through the couples, around a man selling roses—is that him, by the newsstand? No, not there… There! Right over there, near the bookstore!

                My camera lens glinted sharply in the sunlight, camera clicking away. Niall had been discovered by a fan, a huge one judging by the band tee she wore, but small in size. At most, she was seven, and Niall had bent down to her level. The sadness was still there, in his eyes, but it was marginally smaller. They were lit up now, those baby blues, lit up like fireworks as a goofy smile chatted excitedly with the young fan.

                Now this was what I liked. This I could sell. Niall Horan and His Littlest Valentine, page three.

                I wiped at my brow, hand coming back shiny. The sun was being absolutely relentless.

                After a dozen photos taken by the young fan’s mother, the girl had her shirt autographed and merrily skipped on her way. Niall placed on a pair of shades over his eyes and stood up sharply, ready to get on his way.

                If only he had left a moment sooner.

                Just then an idiotic young busboy had decided to messenger a good sized cake out of the nearby bakery and to the delivery van. He had not happened to notice Niall and slammed right into him, cake exploding from the cardboard box and smashing against them both. The busboy fell down, a scrawny little boy compared to the physique that was Niall Horan, and I rushed over.

                “Are you alright?” I asked them both, arriving on scene. The busboy smiled weakly at me and accepted my help up.

                “My boss is going to kill me,” he replied. “Sorry mate.”

                I turned and watched Niall, surprised to find him, in turn, watching me. White frosting speckled his pale face and bathed his chest, but it didn’t seem to faze him. All he cared about was the camera dangling from my neck.

                “Come on,” he said then, grabbing my arm firmly yet weak enough that I could break free if I wanted to. “We need to talk.”

                Niall steered me through the crowd and into a side alley, filled with nothing more than a brick wall at the far end and a few trash bins. After that he let me go, hands now fumbling for his sunglasses.

                Those baby blues were extremely saddened again.

                “Are you really goin’ to spread a photo o’ me in cake?” he asked, low and edged with disgust. “It’s Valentine’s Day. Do ye really have nothing better to do than stalk me and wait fer me to screw up? That’s sick.” One vanilla covered finger jabbed at my camera. “Delete it.”

                At first, I didn’t know how to react, but I needed to say something, so I opened my mouth so that a lame “Sorry” could spill out.

                That wasn’t the right thing to say. “Sorry, all you have to say is sorry?” The boy sounded absolutely insulted.

                “I never took a picture of you in cake,” I managed. “If you think I’m one of those scummy paparazzo then you’ve got another thing coming! I don’t take terrible shots like that.”

                “Then why are you following me with a camera for?”

                “I’m sorry if I take pictures that actually help your career. Was I asked to do that? No. Do you think I really want to spend my Valentine’s Day alone following you about? No.”

                “Then why are ye doing it?”

                “Not everyone’s a pop star like you. I don’t have millions to spend, and schooling’s expensive.”

                I was done. Utterly done with him, utterly done with my legal stalking job, and utterly done with this stupid day. All I wanted now was to leave, get home, and forget this ever even happened.

                My hands fiddled with my camera, popping out the memory card and handing it to him. “Here. If you’re so concerned that I may gotten a terrible picture, then take the entire thing. They’re actually quite sweet if you care.”
                I turned to leave, but one of those frosting covered hands caught my arm again, this time the grip loose, light, desperate. “Wait, please.” I turned back and stared at him, all fifty shades of frickin’ adorable in that dang frosting. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m having a bad day.”
                “You’re not the only one. Valentine’s Day is like a big fat reminder of how lonely you are.”

                That sadness in his eyes seemed to fade slowly, like the sun dipping below the lips a far horizon, never to come back up. “We aren’t lonely now.”

                “True.”

                “How ‘bout we find somewhere to chat? You could show me those pictures.”

                Despite myself, I felt my lips tugging up in a smile. I did quite like the Littlest Valentine photo. It would be nice to have some recognition for it.

                “So what do ya say?” he finished. “Be my valentine?” His voice was soft, playful, but underneath I could sense that bitter fear, that once again he may be alone on Valentine's Day, the most dangerous day out of the year.

                And looking back on that one beautifully horrid day, immortalized forever by my famous camera, I was grateful that I said yes, for is was at that moment I began to enjoy Valentine’s Days.

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