The couple stood together at the top of the steps with the pillars of the impressively architected building standing tall behind them. Emily was in a purple lilac colored evening gown that complemented her powdered skin, and Eric was wearing a silk collared shirt with a matching vest, patterned with personality to accentuate his humor.
The photographer kneeled low with her bag hanging on a strap across her shoulder. Her camera was as large as it was expensive. She wore pig tailed braids so one one braided weave of hair hung on each side of her head. Her hairstyle and her faded freckles were the only kid-thing about her. The rest of her, her ice blue eyes, her quaint nose, and her sharp chin gave her the years that added up to thirty-six.
“Stand closer together,” Liz said, squinting into the camera.
“Like this?” Emily asked. She pulled Eric in by his vest.
“Perfect,” Liz said.
“The distance is good. Eric. Your fingers are kind of awkward. Maybe don’t hold on so tight…”
Click. Click. Click.
“Eric, could you smile a little more? The serious expression looks good, but it just doesn’t match Miss Emily’s warmth in the photo.”
“Oh...Okay,” he answered. The ends of his mouth slowly reached for the cotton textured clouds.
“Good. Now Emily, smile a little less. Tilt your head the other way, back towards Eric.”
“This way?” Emily asked.
“I know that,” Emily said. “I just wasn’t sure if it was the right angle.”
“There’s only one angle. It’s towards me.”
“Can you just. Ugh. Liz, does it look okay?”
“It looks perfect.”
“Okay. Let’s do some with the two of you facing each other. No, no, go ahead and look at each other. Awe, cute. Just like that. Hm… Eric, can you let Emily’s arm rest on top of yours. Yes. Great.”
"Hold hands now."
"Kiss! Kiss!...Yeah. Awe."
“Let’s laugh,” Emily said, “Can we do that? Can we laugh?”
“Can we what?” Eric asked.
Emily began laughing so hard Eric had to reach out to keep her from falling to concrete.
“Eric, Dear.” Liz shouted, “Laugh with her.”
Eric smiled, but the smile flattened itself down to one thin line.
“Eric!... Laugh,” Emily said quietly.
“I can’t just...laugh.”
“Just do it.”
“But nothing’s funny.”
“It doesn’t have to be for real.”
“I know. I want to. But I just can’t.”
“Yes, yes you can.”
“Okay, actually these look good. I have a cute one here of the two of you,” Liz came to the rescue. She walked up the steps to show the photo on the display screen to Emily. “See? You’re there laughing all cute and Eric is to the left reaching out for you.”
“Awe. It looks like i’m falling into his arms!”
“...You were falling into my arms.”
“This is great, Liz. Can you actually send that one to me tonight. That’s going up on my Instagram.”
“Duh. Just give me photo cred.”
“Actually, Eric. Why don’t you use this one. It would look so cute, and you look so handsome in it.”
“Don’t forget to tag me like you did last time.”
Emily kissed him on the cheek.
Eric didn’t laugh.