Black Ink was my pride and joy and I put everything I had into it; I still do. Apart from Kay and her family, it is the most important part of my life. I realize how many ways this could be perceived. You may either think of me as shallow, putting my career (or income) ahead of most everything; or you may believe I am a total nerd. Either way, the result is the same. My hard work and consistency have paid off. I now have a small, yet thriving business that has managed to capture the attention of many of the most highly respected businessmen and celebrities in New York. I can’t help but beam as I approach the building every morning. When I first started the business, I only had Kay to help me out. About two months after opening and surviving off of pet portraits, we caught a break. A man called requesting I photograph his niece’s wedding and I gladly accepted. Little did I now that the man would turn out to be none other than music mogul, Harrison Madden. He had used his niece’s information so Kay and I were blissfully unaware until we met with him the following week to discuss the terms of the wedding shots. He was impressed and our name had spread like wild fire. I soon hired three employees; one to handle scheduling, one to assist me, and another to keep the shop spotless.
Natasha was my secretary, handling the scheduling when I was out of the office. Since I didn’t know anyone willing to work for me that I trusted, I hired her based off of her personality but she soon proved herself a trustworthy asset.
Kym works as my maid, so to speak. Her only job is to keep the shop as clean as humanly possible. She has a quiet disposition but I consider that a good thing since I don’t need her trying to interact with clients, crossing the professional barrier.
And then there’s Damien, my sweet-hearted assistant. He is now a senior in High School whose dream is to be a traveling photographer. He follows me around nearly as much as Miri, hanging on my every word in an attempt to learn all that he can before graduating. Luckily, he has acquired most of his credits and he works for me under the guise of “shadowing” so he’s able to spend five or six hours a day in the shop.
Upon entering Black Ink, I greeted Nat and Kym but noticed Damien wasn’t there yet. I glanced at the clock and noticed it was only 8:45am. It would be another few hours until he showed up. But I had Jeremy to help me with my morning clients.
“Good morning Sophie! You’re first appointment will be here in fifteen minutes; a man called and said his grandmother wanted her Chihuahua shot for a birthday party…” Nat trailed off, her eyebrows furrowed obviously confused as to why someone would pay good money for their dog to be photographed.
“Alright, thanks Nat.” I replied laughing slightly. I would never understand it either. “By the way, guys this is Jeremy. He’s an old friend and he’s staying with me for the week.” I said to both girls before giving Kym my full attention. “Kym, please help him with anything he needs while he’s here.” She nodded and went off, most likely to fetch him something to drink. I kept a professional relationship with my employees, even though I have formed a sort of attachment to Damien.
I turned to Jeremy and smiled, noticing that he was checking me out. “Take a photo, it’ll last longer.” I said smirking.
“That’s your job sweetheart.” He replied with a similar smirk. I rolled my eyes as the bell on the shop door chimed.
I grabbed Jeremy’s hand and scurried off into my office to gather my camera and double check my appearance. Nat would take care of greeting the client for me, she always did.
As I stepped in front of my full length mirror, I examined myself with a small frown. Jeremy took notice and came up behind me. “You look beautiful, Sophie Girl.” He said with a grim. I had always been weary of my appearance, especially being friends with a woman as gorgeous as Kay, and Jeremy was fully aware. But that compliment that he had paid me didn’t stop me from continuing my overview. I was by no means ugly, but beautiful was a bit of a stretch. I stood at five foot seven and weighed in at about 125 pounds. I had a slender frame with soft curves and a flattering figure. My naturally dark hair flowed down my back in gentle curls, framing my pale skinned face. My high cheekbones accented my steel grey eyes well. I was average but happy enough with it. I’d rather be average than hideous. Deciding that there wasn’t much I could do to help myself, I sighed and turned around.
Grabbing my camera off of my desk, I grinned at Jeremy, motioning for him to follow me out. My senses were immediately attacked by a high pitched squeaking noise. As I looked up, I noted that it was coming from what looked to be a giant rat, although most people refer to the ugly things as Chihuahuas. My nose wrinkled slightly at the sight of it but I quickly covered it up with a smile.
“Hello, I’m Sophie Carter. I own Black Ink and will be your photographer today.” I introduced myself, visually assessing the people in front of me. The one holding the yapping mutt was an elderly woman, probably in her 70’s with snow white hair. Next to her was a handsome man, a bit older than myself with dirty blonde hair and dull brown eyes. Nothing spectacular, but still pretty attractive. He stepped forward to shake my hand.
“Hello Ms. Carter. I’m Jason and this is my grandmother, Edna.” He said with an easy smile that made me return it immediately. Then the woman spoke up “Hello dear. This is Noodles” she exclaimed pointing to what she referred to as a dog “he is turning twelve in two weeks and I have heard that you are the best around.” I immediately understood what she was saying. I glanced behind me to see Jeremy doing his best not to laugh.
“It would be my pleasure. Please follow me back here and we’ll get you taken care of. Would either of you like anything to drink?” And that’s how I ended up with three hideous bite marks on my arm and the phone number of a handsome doctor. Just another normal day, right? Yeah, right.