Murder at the Top of the Stairs: A Caleigh O'Neill Story
by Wendy R. Williams
Adult Action Adventure
Copyright @ 2020 by Wendy R. Williams
All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce or transmit this
book or any part thereof by any means whatsoever,
without written permission of the author, except
where permitted by law.
Address story inquiries
Wendy R. Williams
Subject line: To Wendy
"A bit more to the left, chin up half an inch, eyes here," Marcus waved his hands as if he were directing a symphony.
Nina moved carefully to block the algae growing out of a crevice in the rock behind her head. The light was surreal in Central Park, perfect for photography. But photo crews were prohibited from doing anything to alter the park, so each shot needed to be carefully staged to prevent surprising "accessories" like a green algae hat.
"Okay, now walk away from me and do that thing you do where you turn your head back to see me one last time," said Marcus.
Caleigh watched Nina walk down the path. People who thought models were mindless clothes- hangers had never spent time with a top photographic model like Nina. Nina knew how to place her body to tell a story. Marcus might be one of New York's best fashion photographers, but even if he knew nothing, Nina would know how to pose to achieve the best photograph by reverse framing – looking at his lens and then positioning her body.
Caleigh walked past the crew holding the lights to an insulated bag filled with water bottles, which was propped on a rock so as not to trample the grass. She grabbed a bottle and took a swig. It was warm in the park for September.
"Hey, Cal, grab your camera," called Marcus. "I'm about done."
Caleigh was ahead of him; her camera was ready to go. Marcus had promised her five minutes of Nina's time after he finished his shoot. Marcus knew how much she loved to shoot and was letting her work with his model and use his lighting as a favor. Well, really, as a return favor. Caleigh talked up Marcus to Adrian all the time; she’d been a fan ever since she saw an exhibit of Marcus’s work in the Hampton’s. She had convinced Adrian to hire Marcus for today's shoot, which was quite a feat for a new intern like herself.
Caleigh grabbed her camera, and as soon as Marcus finished shooting, she began. First, she used the lights the crew had set for a few posed shots, and then she told the crew they could pack up their equipment while Caleigh and Nina improvised shots with Nina running, turning, and jumping, using only the natural light. It was 6 p.m. now, and the light was perfect. Caleigh knew the soft light was created by smog filtering the setting sun, but that knowledge did not diminish the magic. There were more gawkers now that people were walking across the park after work, so she adjusted her aperture to blur the background and focus on Nina alone. Nina continued to pose until the crew was through packing up their gear, including garbage. It was "carry in and carry out" if you wanted to shoot in the park.
Caleigh walked to her camera bag with Nina following her.
"Hey girl, I did you a favor, now I need one," said Nina.
"Okay?" replied Caleigh.
"I want you to meet me at a club tonight," said Nina.
"Hold on. I have to work tomorrow. I can't stay out all night the way you do," said Caleigh.
Marcus jumped into the fray, "If you are going to make a name for yourself in New York, you need to see and be seen. Get your ass on 'Page 6'."
"Please. Anna was supposed to go with me, but she just texted that she got a last-minute gig with Harvey Nicks in Hong Kong, and she is flying out tonight. Felix is bringing his old roommate from Brown with him. I promised I would bring Anna, and she is going through security at JFK right now," replied Nina.
"How late are you going to be?" asked Caleigh.
"Not too late. We are meeting downtown at this great club. It's on the Lower East Side, and it used to be a factory. There’s not even a sign outside. The only way you know it's a club is the doorman and the velvet rope," replied Nina.
"Okay, that's where you are going to be, but how late are you going to be?" replied Caleigh.
"Early for Thursday, we're meeting at 11 p.m.," replied Nina.
"And you will be done at 4 a.m., and I will drag myself to work tomorrow, looking like the grand master of a Day of the Dead parade," replied Caleigh.
"Please come. Felix’s old roommate is the prince of something or the other, and he is a good friend of Felix's and important to his family," replied Nina.
"Is he going to think I’m some kinda hooker?" asked Caleigh.
"No, I’ll tell Felix you’re Texas royalty. That your family can buy and sell his," replied Nina.
"Just tell him that I’m Adrian's intern, and I’m doing this as a favor for you," said Caleigh.
"Okay. I'll tell him you don't sleep with guys you just met," replied Nina.
"That’s not what I said," replied Caleigh.
Nina laughed; she knew she had her now.
"But not the prince of this or that. Are you sure you can’t get anyone else to go? There’re hundreds of girls in New York City who would love to do a piece of minor Eastern European royalty tonight,” replied Caleigh.
"No. I don't want that. I like Felix and don't want him to think I’m another Natasha. That's why I invited Anna in the first place. She has a boyfriend in Paris, and she was only going with me for the contacts," said Nina. "Felix knows Anna does not sleep with strangers, and you are going to show up in her place."
"But what about work tomorrow?" asked Caleigh.
"Adrian won't fire you. He gets too much publicity having you as his intern. He wouldn’t give that up no matter what you did," said Nina.
"But I care. Everyone in New York knows what everyone else does, and I don't want people to think I'm just another empty head who’s famous because she doesn't wear underwear," replied Caleigh.
"You don't wear underwear," replied Nina.
"Right, but I manage to keep the paparazzi and minor Eastern royalty out of my hooch," replied Caleigh.
"If you do this, I promise I will pose for you at the studio for free. I'll even help you hang the lights," replied Nina.
"Hang the lights? Okay, you got me. I'll do it," replied Caleigh
Nina pulled out her phone, "I'm texting the address. 11 p.m. and tell the doorman that you are a friend of Nina's. His name is Jim."
"The doorman's name is Jim?" asked Caleigh.
"Yeah, go figure," answered Nina.
"A doorman named Jim," Caleigh snickered. Photographers and models were not the only posers trying to make a name for themselves in New York. Club doormen thought they were one-named wonders, but Jim?
Caleigh and Nina walked over to Marcus and hugged him goodbye, and then they walked out of the park to catch cabs on Fifth Avenue. Caleigh told her cab driver to drop her at 77th and 3rd Avenue. She was staying in a Park Avenue apartment owned by a friend of her family, but before she went home, she needed to pick up a salad and a protein shake. She may not be a model like Nina, but she was working in fashion, and every calorie counts when you live your life as a size two.