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He was a photographer. But not just any kind of photographer—the kind that people hated. Paparazzi. His job was right up there with the IRS, garnering a sort of disdain from people not often seen elsewhere.
Yet he didn't really care what people thought of him. Besides, as much as people scoffed at paparazzi and called them prying and irritating, those same people were the ones drinking in the pictures with greedy eyes. So they could call them prying and irritating all they wanted; he could call them hypocrites.
He carefully began to set up his equipment, checking his camera and the lens to make sure everything was working fine. The red carpet stretched before him, almost seeming to glow as if it was already lit up by the stars that would be walking along it tonight.
It was the night of the Academy Awards. His first time at the Oscars; it was a big job, especially for someone as young as he, but he was prepared.
Later, the actors and actresses began to arrive. They posed for pictures, talked with interviewers, and mingled with each other in the way that only those perfectly confident in their wealth and status can. He wondered if the pre-awards red carpet show would last long enough that the stars in the sky would come out to greet their kin on the ground.
Time flitted by, sweeping away each expensive dress or tux and replacing it with a new one. The smooth rhythm of the cameras clicking, lights flashing, the actors walking, talking, posing, became almost numbing.
Then something happened.
His eyes drifted to a limo that had just pulled up. A young woman stepped gracefully, if not somewhat nervously, out of it. After observing so many celebrities, he could instantly tell that she was new, a fresh face in Hollywood. He couldn't match her face to a name, but he remembered that she was indeed a new actress, never having done a movie before Glittering Things, the one that had launched her from a nobody to an acclaimed actress overnight.
She was beautiful. He was smitten.
She gave a shy smile that was directed at no one and yet everyone, and sauntered forward. Her chocolate curls spilled onto an deep blue dress might have been underwhelming on someone else, although she wore it with such poise and beauty that she carried it off wonderfully.
He realized that he was so focused on her that he had completely forgotten that he was supposed to be snapping photos. He raised the viewfinder to his eye, following her path along the red carpet. She looked nervous; it was the first night at the Oscars for both of them.
He took a disproportionate amount of pictures of her, wishing that he was closer to the red carpet, hoping beyond hope that she would look at him just once. As if his willpower made it possible, her large golden eyes suddenly looked directly at him, picking him out of a crowd of a hundred others. To prove to himself that she really was looking at him, he slowly lowered the camera.
Sure enough, her gaze was firmly focused on his, her cherry lips parted ever so slightly. The ceaseless action of the red carpet swirled around them, but they were frozen. Then, the corners of her lips curved up into the most gorgeous smile that he had seen that night, and he doubted that even the stars in the sky contained such natural beauty.
Slowly, her smile reflected on his face, he raised his camera.