Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games


51. Snowy Photoshoot

    The year had been slow since the summer.

    Emily had fallen into her routine of playing the housekeeper until she was called away to model at some selected location for a photoshoot. Nothing of real interest happened in the next six months. But, eventually, she was called off to a new location she hadn’t seen since her own Victory Tour two years before.

    It was bound to happen anyway. 

    Off to District Seven to advertise winter fashion and other things she didn't bother to listen in on. Winnow was already there by the time Emily made it to Seven and was immediately thrown into jackets, boots, and scarves with slightly inappropriate color clashing makeup that would only appeal to the Capitol. Emily fixed her hair while Winnow fussed around with a hat to compliment the fluffiness of the redhead's hair, when Winnow asked, "Did you hear you're getting a different photographer for this shoot?"

   "No way, really?"

   "Really," the blue haired woman chuckled.

   "Thank god, Gerard was CREEPY," Emily hissed. As Emily had brought up some months ago to Gryffon, her usual photographer tried to get her to pose in odd positions that would only look natural in pornography. Thank all that was good it was someone different. Hopefully the new one wouldn’t be as creepy.

   "You're still going to have him around, just not when you come to Seven."

   "Well, as long as I get less of him, that's fine with me," the redhead rolled her eyes and shivered, either because of the snowy cold or for the relief of being away from her constant photographer.  

   Once Winnow finished prettying Emily up, she nudged her toward the location. The snow crunched underneath the weight of her boots and made way toward a redhead playing around with the set. Once she got close, she furrowed her brows at the boy and crossed her arms over her chest. "Since when did you do commercial photography?" she chuckled. 

   Abraham looked over toward Emily, whistled, and a dog came hopping over toward him with a goofy smile on her face and snow sticking to her fur. "Since, like, always,” he shrugged and smiled at Emily. 

   "Well then," she huffed while her breath froze in a big puff, "I should feel bad that I haven't paid much attention to your work," Emily replied. "My stylist didn't say my new photographer would be a sweetheart," she shrugged, throwing in the compliment for the sake of feeling grateful for his presence.

    That probably sounded really weird and inappropriate, Emily thought to herself.

   "It's cool,” Abraham shrugged again, "I'm really just a freeloader." The Seven victor ran a hand through his hair and looked down at the dog then back at Emily.  "Well, Emily. This is Izzy,” he said as he placed a hand on the dog’s head then took one of the cameras out of its case. Emily knelt down and outstretched her hand toward the dog instead of immediately going to pet her. Izzy still had that goofy smile on her face and stayed by Abraham’s side. Emily pulled her hand back to her knees so she didn’t feel like a fool. "Alright, let's get this over and done with,” he said as he took the lens cap off.

   "Nah, think I'd rather play with the dog," she replied playfully after she glanced up at the much taller boy.

   Abraham rolled his eyes at her, "Been here ten minutes and you're already giving me grief." 

   "And yet you agreed to have to deal with me," she laughed and stood up, blood rushing back to her legs and felt a brisk sense of coldness. "I won't be a pain if you promise not to be a total creep during this thing," Emily added and pointed to him. 

   He smirked at the girl and shook his head at her not so scary threat, "You need to seriously reconsider the company you keep."

   "I don't have control over the people I hire as my crew," Emily rolled her eyes at his stupid goofy smirk and walked in the middle of the lights, "Friends is sort of out of my control too," she shrugged and placed her hands onto her hips. "Alright, what does the artistic eye want?"

   "Um . . .” Abraham started as he looped the strap on the camera over his arm and dug through his pile of whatever at the tree base. He pulled out some old quilt and slung it over his other shoulder and turned back to Emily. "Wanna take a hike while the sun's high then finish back here?"

   Emily raised her brows at the boy. She glanced over at the crew then back at the Seven victor covered in an old quilt. "I'm up for it," she shrugged. "You'll survive without all this crap?" the Eight victor added and waved to all the lights, reflectors, and other professional equipment she couldn’t name at the top of her head.

   "Yeah, as long as someone keeps an eye on it, we'll be golden,” Abraham nodded and whistled again for Izzy to follow them and started up the canopied hill. 

   Emily pursed her lips and looked toward Winnow for a moment, who basically waved her hands like trying to brush her after the boy and the redhead went after Abraham toward the hill. "What do you have planned?" she asked, nosey as ever and anxious. The unknown keeping her on her toes. As well as the snow making her want to keep her on her toes. She never experienced snow that went past her ankles, the climate change in Seven was just a little too ridiculous for her.

   "Nothing special,” the boy shrugged, peeking over his shoulder at Emily and the dog following behind him. "Just a freeloader, remember?" 

   "A freeloader working with a child," she added, “Yeah, sounds about right," Emily shrugged as she adjusted her hat and fixed her curls. "It's just kind of new here, so I'm a little on edge. . . ."

    And nervous, from the sound of it. She couldn’t stop babbling idiotic sentences around the boy. Emily felt her face warm up more in embarrassment.

   Abraham rolled his eyes. "It's no big deal, really. I'll try to make this as pain free as possible." He stopped and plopped the blanket over the snow and right along the base of a tree. "So if you'd sit here," he started, pointing at the blanket. "With both your legs to your right." 

   Emily pursed her lips and looked to the quilt. God, she could just feel her butt getting chapped just by looking at it draped over the snow. "Okay," she sighed with a nod and plopped onto blanket as gracefully as she could manage without dragging the blanket with her and wrinkling it terribly underneath her. And she was right, goosebumps formed as soon as she sat down and rippled up to her jawline. 

   "You know. I just noticed how fucking white you are,” he laughed to himself as he spread the blanket out after her. "I mean; it's like you disappear into the background." 

   Emily laughed along with him, failing miserably at trying to stifle it back a bit. "Well then, this photoshoot is going to be hard to do if you can't see me that well," she chuckled with raised brows. 

   "Yep, we're just screwed,” Abraham added to the joke with a roll of his eyes, "Lean back against the tree, oh pasty one."

   "Yes, oh copper one," Emily rolled her eyes at him and scoot back against the tree, then leaned forward to fix the blanket a bit from crumpling after her.

   "Copper?" the boy scoffed. He made a face that easily cracked into a smile and took a couple test shots then adjusted the settings accordingly. 

   During the adjusting, Emily nodded, "Yeah, copper. You're pretty tan for someone living in a foresty district."

   "Alright," Abraham rolled his eyes, "Ready when you are, Red,” he nodded, taking a step back to kneel on one knee in the snow, "I think you seriously under estimate how much time I spend outside."

   "Do I now?" she chuckled shortly before putting on her professional face. "You'll have to share what else you do besides this that requires you to stay outside a lot,” she said as she kept her face on.

   "Nothing, sassy," he responded, taking a couple few shots then moving to a different angle, "It's nice outside." 

   "It is," she nodded in agreement. "Do I just follow you with my eyes or do I just stare ahead into the distance away from you?"

   "Keep looking forward,” the boy answered in a muttered. Emily nodded and looked ahead of her with a lift of her chin. God, she felt weird having to put on a serious face around the boy. She didn’t quite get why that was. Maybe because it felt like a mask, maybe she just got used to the Seven victor seeing her more positive expressions. And her sick expression. God, he even got to see her looking like crap. 

   “Alright,” she replied and kept her stance, the snow freezing her ass and making it hard to stay still before he started to move again and taking shots. The sound of clicks being one of few sounds around them. The crunching of the snow underneath the boy’s boots, the huffing of Izzy with her tongue hanging out from the side, and the occasional snapping of branches under the weight of snow further away from them. Overall, it was quiet. “You owe me hot chocolate after this,” she commented.

   "No, hot chocolate is only for people who don't insult my sweaters,” he smirked at her. The boy looked around him trying to think of other things to have Emily interact with while her mouth dropped open with a hint of a smile at the corner of her lips. "You can stand up, I guess." 

   "I said I was sorry. To the sweater no less," she defended playfully before standing up. "Holy frostbite," she hissed under her breath. 

   "Huge fucking baby, Red,” he laughed and waved at her feet. "Off the blanket." 

   "I'm just stating the truth. You're the one holding a grudge on what I said when I was delusional with a fever," she kept laughing and hopped off the blanket and into the snow. 

   "Man, Eight, I think you need to get your ears checked. You’re a baby for the cold,” he laughed. "So lean back against the tree and outstretch your arms above you."

   "Speak for yourself, sweater boy. You're all cozy in your knit wool sweater while I'm in a feather stuffed jacket," she rolled her eyes at him and raised her arms up after leaning against the large tree.

   "Alright, so follow the camera but look past it. Not at the len," Abraham instructed then started taking pictures again. 

   Emily nodded and lowered her head just a tad and looked at Abraham from under her lashes. A slight crooked smile followed after while her body showed signs of relaxation. There was feeling under her skin, like a pull of some kind. Emily felt warm looking at the boy, even when his face was hidden behind a camera. She swallowed a lump swelling in her throat, taking in deep breaths to calm her racing heart, and kept herself from looking away from him as he did his work.

    Don’t make it so obvious . . .

   Abraham took most of the shots from a similar angle. When he was done and satisfied, he slung the camera strap back over his arm then recollected the blanket. "Alright, back we go." 

   "Awesome," she answered, immediately dropping the professional expression and back to her usual bright-eyed expression. It took her a while to shake it off and feel her normal face come back, due to her not being able to feel her face anymore from the cold. The Eight victor went over to the boy and lightly pulled the blanket from his grasp before she draped it over her shoulders to keep warm. "Can you still feel your toes?" Emily asked.

   "No," Abraham laughed, "They're in a constant state of numbness."

   "That's a problem, you should get that checked," Emily laughed.

   "Eh,” the boy shrugged as he continued to trudge back down the hill. 

   Emily kept looking back every time Izzy snapped a twig under her paws with a stupid happy grin with her tongue hanging out, keeping the redhead anxious as ever. Suppose she understood why the Seven victor kept a therapy dog with him. It just wasn't for her. "You got Izzy soon after your Games?" she finally asked.

   "Yeah . . . I was really in need of a best friend. And, well, you know what they say about dogs." He shrugged and whistled for the dog so she'd come along quicker. "Not an animal person?" 

   "I have a cat," she shrugged. "She's quiet until she comes into a room and sees people. Makes me nervous when she suddenly makes a sound from another room when it's just us," she answered honestly. Like when Biscuit would knock something over, it was a once in a while flash of thinking she was back in the Games. "She's great company though," Emily added.

   Abraham stopped in his tracks and took a quick second to set up a timer on the camera. Emily watched him with a quizzical expression as he went over to place the camera on a low hanging branch. In a movement he scooped up his dog and pulled Emily in so they were all in front of the camera. "Smile, Red." 

   Wait what? 

    Emily hesitated for a moment at the sudden pull in an almost close hug and smiled on cue before she heard a click. She pursed her lips feeling her cheeks burning up, or maybe that was the cold. It was hard to tell when a cute guy suddenly gave you a hug in winter. "Interesting way of taking a picture," she commented in an awkward tone. 

   Abraham smiled at her and went to retrieve the camera, still carrying his stupid dog. "Sorry if I freaked you out. I'm not gonna publish that or anything, it's for me and Izzy and if I told you you'd pose and that's not what we want. " 

   "Well then," she scoffed a bit with a roll of her eyes. "I probably ruined the shot a bit." It wasn’t very often she took pictures in front of camera just for fun. The last time was with all three of the Aldair brothers when they were kids and the boys’ parents were able to afford a one-use camera. Even then they weren’t posed for the shot, it was while they were playing or when they weren’t paying attention. "So you take 'for you' pictures a lot?"
  "Uuuhm . . . On occasion,” the boy shrugged as he adorned Izzy with kisses. "Of family and friends."

   Emily lightly smiled at his answer in between watching him smother his pet with love. "So we're friends," she chuckled.

   "Unless you have another word for it?" he nodded at her then lowered Izzy to the ground so he could screw the lens cap back onto the camera.

   Emily opened her mouth to answer something, but closed it when nothing came to mind. Instead, she shrugged, "I'm not complaining."

   "Alright, so unless you have anything else in mind, I think I got enough pictures for this holiday bullshit."

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