April 27th, 2017.
[Eight Months Later]
Bret loosens his collar in nervous anticipation, watching the professional spectators wander and gather around his work. Crisp clear large-scale images and replicas of his photography are hung around an exhibition hall in New York City, and the one main piece garnering the most attraction is what he named Two; two photos of Rose and Anne standing on a tennis court with a trophy in their hands, beaming for the camera after one of their wins. Rose’s photo, however, was taken minutes before the Bluebeach shooting. Their smiles are identical – the stances are identical – the glimmer in their eyes is indistinguishable. If you look close enough, you can see their cool grey eyes, bold yet soft. You can see the storm.
“I didn’t expect a turnout like this, you know,” he turns to Naomi, who slides her hand in his to comfort him. He looks at her softly, then down at the small bump, only noticeable at a second glance, peaking under her blue dress.
“Oh, please. You’ve gotta be kidding me. You’re the only guy in the world with first-hand experience working with both a girl and her clone. There’s no way nobody wouldn’t turn up to see such a showcase.”
“I guess,” he chuckles. He looks at her smile and wonders when the right time in the future would be to marry her, and fulfil his second chance at love. It only took four months after their first rendezvous in years for things to catapult into intensity, when Naomi found out she was pregnant. It was certainly no intention of either of the pair, but just like old times, they found themselves accidentally getting too close, until just being close wasn’t enough. Fate and recklessness has always brought them together. Quite an epic and easily disastrous recipe, but it works perfectly in their case.
Bret turns to find Jennifer-Anne entering the exhibition hall, her boyfriend Kal accompanying her. She’s seventeen now, almost eighteen, but it’s like she’s aged in millennia in the past year. As both Naomi and Bret got to know her, they didn’t just see Rose anymore; they saw a brand new girl, a unique girl, growing into a woman well beyond her years. It might just be the placebo-like effect of believing a girl has lived two lives.
Naomi and Jennifer-Anne hug embrace each other upon contact. It’s been a few months since they last met, and Anne couldn’t help but look up to Naomi like an aunt, or a mother of sorts. Same with Bret – he’s become something of a guardian angel, a protector. It’s funny how old friendships have become anew, and new people have become relics of the past, and it meshes together to create something quite spectacular.
Back in August, Bret had an idea. He needed to get his life back on track, and Jennifer-Anne was the key to his self-renovation. He looked back at photos he took of Rose, back when the Rich Kids were engulfed in the present tense, where nothing but drama and gossip swayed them. He found photos of Rose posing effortlessly, in places around Bluebeach, like at the lake. Either with friends or alone, he had beautiful snaps of her. Dancing in the sunset, or resting in the sun; practising tennis or chilling on her front porch. These photos, he thought to himself, could be replicated by Jennifer-Anne. With her newly found fame and the world’s fascination with her, this was his perfect opportunity to garner the success he had always dreamed of. He impulsively called her one night and asked her to be a part of his photography project, and she agreed to it. After everything she had put him through, it was only fair that she pay him back in one way or another.
Anne spent a few days in Presley and surrounding areas as Bret’s first client in months, taking beautiful photos that emulated Rose’s life and legacy. She hung out in Diamond Creek and the White Valley, becoming a part of the landscape in every shot Bret took. He tried to take similar ones to Rose, as to put the shots together in a piece he would showcase to the world. He had it all planned out; installations and short films of Rose and Anne, side-by-side, for people to marvel at in wonder.
Some of his pieces show their differences as well as their similarities; the clothing style reflecting the different ages that the girls grew up in. Two photographs hung shoulder to shoulder, have Rose quirkily posing with an old-style cell phone to her ear, and Anne doing the same pose clutching onto an iPhone instead. There’s an installation, a two videos that play on loop of Rose and Anne prancing daintily around their cars in the front porch of the Bluebeach mansion – Bret wanted to replicate the home film of Rose getting her first car for her birthday, and it was one of the last shoots he did with Anne before wrapping up his project.
Before he knew it, his business had taken off again, but at a higher altitude than before. His photos had hit art websites and journals, articles, and soon, the news. His relation to both girls was something of fasciation to the public, and the name The Mirror Man became his reputation. The Man with Double Vision, The Clone Photographer, and whatnot. Of course, Dr Farrow basked in his own share of fame posthumously, being donned The Clone Doctor. It was bound to happen – the pioneer of a landmark in history was never going to be nameless. Bret wasn’t sure if he liked the main motives and reasoning for his newfound fame, but he soon adjusted to it. What he did know is that his work came from the heart, and nowhere else. Both Rose and Anne were somewhere in his heart, and he wanted to represent them in a beautiful way. Because that’s what they are – beautiful. Man and nature’s concoction – a world’s wonder. Born again; resurrected, they might say. Like Jesus Effin’ Christ; a miracle. Lived before and lives again.
Well, kind of.