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Authors: Sara Hooper

Loving Faith

BOOK: Loving Faith
11.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub









Sara Hooper







Copyright © 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Copyright © 2013

“Beautiful, Madison,” twenty-five year-old Faith Williams snapped her ninety-sixth picture of the day. The lighting was perfect, giving just the right amount of shadow on the young model's face to capture the mood the photographer was looking for. “Turn your head just a fraction to the right.” Another snap and Faith lowered her camera. “Take ten, everyone.”

As her crew dispersed to do whatever it was they did on their breaks, Faith turned towards the tent she'd had set up a few feet away from where she was shooting. The sun was shifting from morning to afternoon and she wanted to switch lenses to capture a new tone with the next set of shots. Unlike many others in her field who'd decided to follow the trend of digital photography, Faith preferred to keep things classic. Many of her colleagues called it old-fashioned or archaic, preferring to allow the technology to automatically adjust for lighting and focus. Faith, however, treated even the most mundane of shoots with an artist's eye. It was how she saw the world. It always had been.

Every other person on
The Oracle
staff was a 'serious journalist,' their degrees ranging from general English to journalism to writing. While they spent their time crafting prose, Faith was the visionary. She'd graduated with a degree in photography art, but credited her keen eye to childhood and adolescent obsession with pictures. She'd always wanted to know what story each picture told.

Faith wiped the back of her hand across her forehead. June in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was always warm, but today was particularly hot. Her milk chocolate skin glistened with sweat and she was grateful she'd kept her black hair short rather than letting her mother talk her into growing it out for cornrows. They were nice, but just made her hotter, literally, not figuratively.

“Faith,” her new assistant – Harper, maybe? - handed her a bottle of water. That was another way she was different from the others at the magazine. She was far too young to be called 'Miss Williams' by a college student just a few years younger than she.

“Thanks,” she took a gulp of the cold liquid and let it chill her body. She turned back towards the venue she'd selected. Picturesque. That had been the word she'd used to describe it, and it was still true, but she couldn't quite help but feel that something was missing. Her shots of Madison would be perfect for the piece on new beauty trends, but she was still stuck for the cover shot. She had nearly a hundred shots she could choose from, but not a single one was striking her as good enough for the cover.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar ringtone. She glanced at her watch as she pulled her phone out of her pocket. Before she answered it, she called out to her assistant. “Tell everyone ten more minutes.” She didn't wait for Harper's response as she slid her finger across the bottom of her phone. “Hello, Mama.”

“Did I catch you at a bad time, Baby Girl?” Faith's mother, Ester Kline-Williams was smiling. Even though Faith couldn't see her, she knew what expression would be on her mother's face because Ester was always smiling, even when things were at their worst.

“No, Mama.” As always, Faith couldn't help but smile in response. “I'm on a break. Besides, you know that I always have time to talk to you.”

“That's sweet, Baby Girl, but I don't want you getting in trouble just to talk to me,” Ester chided.

The banter was easy, familiar. They went through some form of it each time they talked while Faith was at work. When she was at home, they had a different patter. No matter what news they had to share, it always waited until after their routine. When she was younger, it had been Faith and Ester's way of checking in without having to come out and ask the tough questions. Now, it was just comforting habit.

“Mama, it's no trouble,” Faith concluded the exchange and then asked. “How are you?”

“I'm doing fine,” Ester replied.

Faith expected no less of a response from her mother. Ester could've been standing in the middle of a disaster area and given the same answer.

“How's work?” Ester asked.

“Just waiting for inspiration to strike,” Faith squinted her dark chocolate brown eyes up at the sun. “I finished all of the specific photos assigned to articles, but I still need a cover. Caleb's letting me do my own thing for it, so it has to be perfect.”

“It'll come to you.”

Ester wasn't placating her, Faith knew. Her mother genuinely believed in her daughter's talent. It was the one thing that had always kept Faith going, even when everyone else said she couldn't do, that she'd never amount to anything. Her mother's belief in her had been her rock.

“Thanks, Mama,” Faith was genuinely appreciative of the support. “How is your day going?”

“Work's good,” Ester changed the subject and Faith could almost see the dismissive wave. There was very rarely anything exciting going on at the button factory where Ester worked. It was small enough that there was rarely any of the drama that went along with a huge plant, but big enough that it wasn't too much like a family, complete with bickering. “I was talking to Linda Chase at the nursing home yesterday and she told me that her grandson Benjamin is moving back to town.”

“Mama,” Faith suppressed a sigh. She knew where this conversation was going. “Did you tell Mrs. Chase that I'd go out with her grandson?”

“Of course not.”

Ester sounded indignant, but Faith could also hear a hint of sheepishness in her mother's words. Expected, of course, thanks to her mother's myriad of previous attempts to fix her up with one of her friends' sons or the grandsons of the people at the nursing home where Ester volunteered. Faith knew that her mother meant well, that the reason behind the set-ups wasn't because Ester thought Faith needed a man, but because Ester worried that Faith was lonely and wouldn't take the time to find someone on her own. At least one of those was accurate. Faith was extremely busy.

She kept her voice stern but respectful. “Mama, have you even met this Benjamin?”

“I'm having lunch with Linda tomorrow and it's possible that Benjamin will be there,” Ester admitted. “I wasn't going to ask you to meet someone that I hadn't talked to first. You know me better than that.”

“So you don't even know if he and I would have anything in common.” It was a statement, not a question.

“How do you know if you don't try?” Ester countered, the argument as familiar as their greetings.

“I have to go now, Mama,” Faith glanced at her watch. “I'll call you when I get home.”

“Talk to you soon, Baby Girl.”

Faith was smiling and shaking her head as she hung up. Even when dealing with her mother's matchmaking tendencies, she always felt better after talking with her. If nothing else, it generally cleared her mind.

“Faith?” Madison Cartwright was standing nearby.

“Oh, hey, Madison,” Faith greeted her favorite model. She'd used the tall brunette on more than one assignment. Beautiful, easy to work with, and just an overall sweet girl. They'd even occasionally spent time together outside of work. “If you wouldn't mind sticking around for a little while longer, I might need you for my cover shot.”

“No problem,” Madison tossed her long, dark hair over her shoulder. “I actually came over here to ask you something.”

“Shoot,” Faith picked up a different lens and held it up to the light. There was a small chip out of one corner. Should make for some interesting lighting. She screwed it onto the camera.

“I do want to clarify that I was going to talk to you about this before I heard you and your mom talking,” Madison threw out a disclaimer. “But I have a friend I really want you to meet.”

Faith stared. Had she heard Madison correctly?

“And before you say no, I want you to know that I wasn't looking for someone to set you up with. He's an old friend who recently moved here. When we met for the first time in years, I realized how perfect he would be for you.”

“Madison,” Faith started to protest.

“Look, his name's Matthew Callaway. He's twenty-eight and a lawyer,” Madison interrupted. “His little brother and I dated in junior high.”

Okay, that was different. “You stayed friends with your junior high ex-boyfriend's older brother?”

Madison shrugged. “When David came out of the closet, Matthew and I were the only people in town who supported him at first. It made the three of us really close.”

“Yeah, that would do it,” Faith muttered.

“Faith, I know this guy. I think you two would have a lot of chemistry together.” A smile played around her lips. “If it makes you feel any better, he was doubtful when I pitched a date with you.”

“Oh really?” Faith's lips flattened. “Maybe I should meet this guy after all.”

It wasn't until she saw the triumphant expression on Madison's face that she realized her friend had known exactly what type of response those words would elicit. Maybe Madison did know her well after all.

“All right, enough of that,” Faith glowered but Madison just kept grinning. “We're losing our light.” She didn't know when it had happened, but she knew what shot she wanted now. “Move over by the fountain.”


Faith set down her bag with a sigh. It had been a long day, but a productive one. After finishing the shoot, she'd spent hours in her darkroom, developing the pictures. No matter how many times her editor told her that she could use digital prints, she insisted that she preferred the 'harder' way. Since she never missed a deadline and always produced quality work, no one complained. She was pleased with how well the pictures had turned out, including the ones she'd been inspired to create for the cover. The cracked lens had leaked light into the shot, creating a unique glare on every picture she'd taken. One in particular had come out beautifully. Madison was in shadow, only her profile visible, and streaks of overexposure cut across the sky. Faith's editor had been thrilled.

BOOK: Loving Faith
11.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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