Photo shoots are not Cheri’s favorite thing. But in her line of work, they’re a necessary evil. Everything media-related is a necessary evil. But being here with the top players in women’s sports is one of the highlights of this particular “gig”. As she surveys the scene from her perch in front of the camera, she sees Zanna, Lynde, and Dusty, the top 3 players in basketball-her sport. Brie and Marly are there, the two hottest soccer players. To add insult to injury and make Cheri feel even more inferior, the sponsors brought in the best swimmers, volleyball and hockey players, and dancers in the country.
But today the only ones scheduled on set are Zanna, Lynde, Dusty, Marly, Brie, Cheri, and Savi. In the beginning, she was too nervous to even make eye contact with these “legends”. Now that their eyes are on her, she’s even more self-conscious. She tries to put them out of her mind and smile for the photographer, but it’s really not working. And to top it off, the chick she was supposed to be taking pictures with isn’t even here yet.
Savi’s is about an hour late. Traffic is the excuse. The door in the back of the studio slams closed and Brie runs to the back screaming, “Oh my god, she’s here!” Cheri strains her eyes against the glare of the lights to see who ‘she’ is. No doubt it’s Savi, but seeing as how they’ve never been introduced, Cheri’s not sure who Savi is.
“Yeah, I’m here. Finally!” There is a distinct drawl to the woman’s voice and an overwhelmingly reassuring tone to boot. She begins gabbing with the crew and other women. Her voice floats around in the background and laughter fills the air. Cheri can feel the electricity in the air since the woman’s entrance, and she finds it easier to smile because of it.
“Let’s take 10, okay?” Jimmy, the photographer, asks her with a nod.
“Sure.” Cheri stands and walks to the edge of the layout, just past the cameras. Finally the rest of the room comes into focus. When the fog and brightness clear, she’s face to face with the softest eyes she’s ever seen.
“Hi, I’m Savannah. But everyone who doesn’t work in the media calls me Savi.”
The woman smiles, lowers her voice to a more intimate level, and offers her hand, “I’m sorry it took me so long. Fuckin’ traffic.” The smile throws her off, not to mention that she suddenly realizes that Savi is only the biggest softball player in the country. Nay, the world, even!
She still manages to reach out and take the offered hand, but those eyes..that smile. She smiles back, “Yeah, I hate traffic, too.” How lame. God, Cheri. Get with it, she’s going to think you’re an idiot!
The redhead pulls Cheri’s hand and brings the two of them closer together. She leans over and gets mere inches from Cheri’s face, “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a huge fan of yours. I’m not supposed to be all giggly and shit because technically I’ve done this a thousand times and should be all blasé about it, but I just can’t. Being here with you is like…I just can’t even tell you. I’m a huge fan.”
Disbelief crosses Cheri’s face, “You’re kidding, right? Savannah Corinne, the biggest ball player in the world is a fan of mine?” She’s too shocked to even realize that they’re still holding hands.
“Hell yeah! I watch every game I can! I sit in section 241 with a baseball cap on!”
Cheri’s mouth drops open, “You have got to be kidding. Oh my God.”
Savi laughs, “I kid you not.”
Brie interrupts them and touches Savi’s shoulder, “You’re being paged, dear. And watch out, Zanna’s in the mood!”
Savi turns briefly to Brie, “Thanks for the warning!” and then back to Cheri, “I’ll be back. Wait on the set for me? I’ll only be a few minutes. I hate makeup, so it won’t take long.”
“I’ll wait. Sure.” Like I’m gonna fucking move or something! Oh my god, she’s a fan of mine! Not Dusty, not Zanna, but ME! She takes her seat in front of the camera again and allows the girls in makeup to touch her face up. But there’s no camouflaging her smile.
Five minutes later, while Cheri mentally rehearses snappy phrases and cute lines, the music in the studio changes. It only takes her half a second to realize that Savi is singing-and rather well, too. Savi saunters up to the layout and does a little dance step to the beat of the song. “Cuz you and I both loved…what you and I spoke of. And others just read of and if you could see me now, oh love, love, you and I, you and I not so little, you and I anymore.”
Cheri laughs and claps with the rest of the crew. Brie and Marly are dancing together and Zanna has a huge smile on her face. Savi reaches back and grabs Zanna’s hand to pull her towards the white canvas floor in the foreground. The music changes and Lil’ Kim’s ‘Magic Stick’ comes on. Zanna’s face noticeably lights up and she begins bumping her hips against Savi’s. The women behind the camera fade into the background with their whoops and hollers as Cheri watches Zanna and Savi grind against each other.
Savi loops her thumbs through Zanna’s low-rise jeans and licks her lips. The tension between the women is thick. They’re looking deeply into each other’s eyes. Zanna drapes her arms over Savi’s shoulders and snuggles her hips closer. They begin a rhythmic thrusting motion and smile at each other. Zanna nods and says, “Damn, girl! Go!”
Savi quickly turns Zanna around on the beat and presses herself against the woman’s back. As the song ends, Savi runs her hands firmly down every inch of the front of Zanna’s torso, leaving the woman’s nipples clearly hardened from the contact. The song ends and the fog in Cheri’s mind clears. Savi and Zanna laugh and hug each other. Cheri’s face blushes as she realizes that Savi has caught her staring. Cheri doesn’t make eye contact, but can feel Savi coming her way.
Savi takes a seat next Cheri on the stool provided her. Instantly her voice drops, “What’s wrong?”
She looks up as if she’s been burned by something, “Nothing! Why?”
Savi chuckles, “No reason, you just didn’t look very happy a minute ago.”
Desperate to change the conversation, Cheri comments on Savi’s makeup, “Looks good on you.”
Savi’s hand comes up to touch her own forehead as she smiles a shy smile, “Wanna know a secret?” Cheri nods and smiles, letting Savi know to continue, “I not only hate makeup, but I detest pictures of myself.”
“Oh lord, me too.”
Jimmy approaches, “Alright ladies. I want power. I don’t want smiles this time around. Give me that ‘I’m a bad-ass bitch’ look, okay?”
The women nod in unison and the makeup ladies make last moment adjustments. Cheri lowers her eyes to her hands in her lap and takes a deep breath, “Tell you what,” she finally gathers the courage to look directly into Savi’s now unobstructed eyes, “you help me and I’ll help you.”
Savi tilts her head to the side, “What do you have in mind, Miss Cheri?”
She ignores the blush on her cheeks and smiles, “I’ll help you through this part if you help me through the post-session crap. I’m not ‘in’ with this group, ya know.”
After a second’s worth of thought, Savi sticks her hand out, “Deal.”
Cheri takes the hand, “Let’s go then.”
The next song cues up and it’s fast and hard, definitely something with attitude. Cheri’s not much for dancing, but she can certainly give smoldering looks, right? Cheri stands beside Savi and unbuttons the bottom 3 buttons of her button-down shirt. Savi’s face shows curiosity. The lighting assistant at the right edge of the shoot turns on a fan and the force of air blows Cheri’s shirt open, showing her tanned and toned abs. A brief moment of shyness hits Cheri, but when Savi stands and untucks her own shirt, all thought is abandoned. She’s working on sheer nervous energy and sexual attraction.
Savi unbuttons her own shirt, showing off her set of abs, more tan and more tone than Cheri’s set. A wardrobe artist, who obviously understands the look they’re going for, steps up to adjust Savi’s pants, making them ride even lower on her hips. The girl doesn’t even have to tell Cheri to do the same; Cheri just takes her cue and imitates the movement.
Through lidded eyes Savi gives Cheri a very seductive look. There are no smiles, no grins, no teeth at all. They communicate much more with their eyes, stance, and attitude. They aren’t afraid to touch one another. There are no words, no gestures, just a chemistry exchange that is more mental than physical. They switch positions every couple of seconds, each of them in their own little world, but definitely including the other in the wide scheme of the photograph.
After a few songs have passed, accounting for fifteen or so minutes, Jimmy steps from the darkness and addresses Cheri, “That’s good. Very good. Now let me ask you this.” He pauses to word this correctly, “Do you mind giving me more sex?”
Savi chuckles and Cheri’s face scrunches, “More sex?”
“Yes, more sex. I mean, everyone knows Savi’s gay, right? So do you mind showing more of this attraction you have?”
Cheri’s jaw drops. She didn’t know Savi is gay. She probably could have guessed it, and somewhere in the back of her head it probably registered, but she never consciously thought it. “I-I don’t know. I mean, what are you talking about? Nudity?”
Savi jumps in, “No, he wants us to look like we’re about to go off and fuck each other. He wants to know if you mind showing that ‘side’ of you, if there is a side like that.”
The inquisitive look she gives Cheri chills the woman to the bone. But, oddly enough, it warms her all over, too. “Oh. Well…” Cheri’s voice won’t come.
A voice comes from the darkness, “I will, Jimmy.”
Brie steps into the light, “Do you want me?”
Jimmy considers this a moment. He’s about to answer when Savi speaks up again. “Thanks, Brie, but I think Cheri’s cool with it.” Savi turns to Cheri and whispers, “You’ll be fine. I promise. Nothing too risqué. Cross my heart.”
Cheri smiles, “Alright, yeah. I’ll do it.”
Jimmy is delighted, “Good! Great! Let’s go then!” He turns to get back into place, “Just let the music move you. I’m not going to interrupt. I have plenty of film, just go with it.”
Savi whispers under her breath to Cheri, “Just follow my lead and don’t do anything you don’t wanna do, okay?”
Cheri’s suddenly very aware of her heart beating. It’s hurting almost. She realizes that she’s extremely nervous. The idea of touching or holding Savi in a remotely sexual way makes her head spin and her heart beat harder. She manages to nod, “Okay, but I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Savi looks directly into her eyes, “Trust me, it’ll be completely natural.” Without warning, she reaches up and brushes her knuckles down Cheri’s cheek, burning a trail to her shoulder, “I won’t hurt you or scare you. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to do, okay? This isn’t Playboy, he just wants more tension.”
“Can’t he see that there’s plenty of tension?” She immediately wants to take the words back as they escape. Somewhere she’s conscious of a shudder click. She chooses to ignore them.
Savi’s other hand comes up and the two hands cup Cheri’s face, “I think he knows that. He just wants you to let it go. Don’t be scared of it.”
Cheri’s eyes drop away from Savi’s, “But what if I am scared of it?” She looks back into Savi’s eyes nervously.
Savi doesn’t answer immediately; instead, she takes her left hand and grasps the button of Cheri’s jeans in her fist. Her eyes focus on that hand and another shudder clicks. She looks back into Cheri’s eyes, “I’m not going to hurt you. Just let go. Feel it. Don’t be scared of me.”
“I’m not scared of you,” Cheri reaches out with and unbuttons the top button of Savi’s shirt, leaving only 3 intact, “I’m scared of me.”
The corner of Savi’s mouth turns into a grin, “Well you’re the only one of the two of us.”
The skin bared by the unbuttoned shirt is taunting Cheri to no end. She can’t tear her eyes off the soft curve revealed to her. When she finally finds her voice, she asks, “How far will you take this?”
Savi takes a step closer, pressing her hips against Cheri’s, “On or off camera?”
Cheri finds the courage to meet the stare, “On.”
“As far as it takes.”
“As far as it takes to do what? Drive me nuts?”
“No, to prove to you that I’d take it much further off camera.”
“It may take you doing a lot more.”
“There’s a lot more I could do.”
On the inside, Cheri’s heart stops, but on the outside, she’s calm and collected, “So show me.”
Savi steps away from Cheri and turns her back to the woman. She reaches up and finishes off the 3 buttons of her shirt. To Cheri’s pure delight Savi pulls the shirt open, revealing a very nice lacy white bra. A fan is turned on to blow Savi’s shirt open and the effect is not lost on all watching.
Cheri licks her lips unconsciously and makes up her mind to ‘go with it’, as Savi suggest. She doesn’t want to think about how far she might go with it. As a counter motion, Cheri undoes the buttons on her shirt while Savi’s back is still turned and hooks her thumbs through her belt loops. She strikes a very sure stance, putting all her weight on her right leg and tilting her head to the side. Her body language is like a silent challenge to ‘come and get me’.
When Savi turns around and lays eyes on Cheri, she’s obviously impressed, and definitely interested. She takes several slow steps towards Cheri, making eye contact the whole time. She puts her hands on her hips, “Damn.” She shakes her head, “You’re one sexy woman.”
Cheri didn’t expect the words to be spoken. She had hoped Savi would think them, but not say them. Say something back! “Well thank you. The feeling’s mutual.”
Savi smiles and nods slightly, “Thank you.” She peels off her shirt and lets it fall to the floor.
Cheri’s eyes trace from Savi’s red head over her shoulders, past her breasts, and down her abs to her thighs. “You’re one damn perfect package, you know that?”
“I’m not perfect.”
Cheri chuckles and pulls her own shirt off, “You could have fooled me.” Without thinking, she takes a step towards Savi, “Where did you get that?” She uses the pointer finger of her right hand to trace a scar that goes from the top of Savi’s right shoulder to her elbow.
The soft touch makes chill bumps explode all over Savi’s body. She takes a deep breath before answering, “A cleat last year. It happened in a game.” Her voice drops, “I told you I’m not perfect.”
Moved by a force she can’t identify, Cheri leans over and kisses from the top of the scar to the bottom. She’s only vaguely aware of the dozen or so people, including Savi, who are holding their breath. When she pulls back, she meets Savi’s astonished gaze, “That doesn’t make you imperfect. It makes you more beautiful and more real. I was beginning to think you were some kind of angel or something.”
A nervous laugh escapes Savi’s lips, “I am certainly not an angel, but thank you for saying so.” She tilts her head to the side a little and traces a scar on Cheri’s face just above her right eye, “What about you? What happened there?”
Cheri smiles, “Probably someone’s elbow. I get that a lot.” Savi erases the remaining inch between them and kisses the scar. But this time, the distance is not created again. Instead of pulling away, she kisses Cheri’s cheek. Then, very softly, and as if she had all the time in the world, she kisses Cheri’s lips. In the recesses of Cheri’s brain, she hears a shudder click. But it’s eclipsed by the bright light of realization going off in the forefront of her mind.