Victoria was frustrated. What were the odds that she’d break the lens she needed for her current project? She was in Portland for only a few days, and the day she arrives, she drops the most important piece of equipment she had with her. She felt like a klutz. She could just imagine what her mother would say if she knew.
Anyways, she was in Portland for a shoot at an abandoned factory. It had taken a few phone calls to the local government offices, but she’d gotten permission to be at the site for this week. It had been frustrating that the locals didn’t even recognize her name. She was halfway famous already, and not one of them had a clue. She expected better from an area famed for its art scene.
Victoria had planned on scouting the building today and finding some good areas for pictures. Instead, she had wasted hours trying to find a good photography store. After some online research, she found a place called “Pirate Photography”, of all things. So she drove out to here, south of the city, and finally found the shop.
It was in a strip mall, of course. If the reviews didn’t mention that this store carried just about anything she could want, she’d have never even given it a second glance. She parked her BMW in the middle of the lot, away from other cars. No need for some imbecile to dent her new car. Then she walked up to the store, which was tucked in between a coffee shop and an office supplies store.
As she approached, she could see a number of mid-grade cameras in the main window. Her lip curled a bit. This wasn’t promising. She pushed the door open and entered, a bell ringing by her head as she did so. Glancing at it, she saw an actual bell, not some electronic gadget. She was not impressed. It was a typical Portland decoration.
The interior had tile floors, bright lighting, and rows of shoulder-height shelving, running from front to back. As she walked through the aisles, her pace slowed. There were all kinds of lenses and cameras from all the major brands. Looking further, she saw a Leica sign near the back. She made a beeline towards it, her eyes getting wider and she saw several of the newest cameras, a bunch of lenses, and even a few older film bodies. Jackpot!
She knew she could easily spend hours here, just looking at merchandise. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the time to waste. She picked up a Leica 50mm lens, when she heard steps behind her.
A woman’s voice said, “Welcome to Pirate Photography! How can I...”. Then silence.
Victoria turned around, recognizing the voice. Her jaw dropped. She ended up staring at the one person she had never expected to see again.
“Max Caulfield... umm.... hello.” Not too suave, girl.
The little hipster was looking at her, open-mouthed as well. She looked almost exactly the same as she did at Blackwell. She was wearing a hoodie, T-shirt, and jeans. At least she had on better sneakers. No ring.
Max said, “Victoria. Hi. I’m kind of surprised to see you here. Shouldn’t you be in LA or New York?”
Victoria scowled, “I’m doing a shoot in Portland, if you care. I was wondering what happened to you. You just disappeared after that whole mess.”
Victoria hated remembering the Week From Hell. Nathan murdered Max’s friend. Jefferson was some kind of sick pervert who took pictures of kidnapped girls and sold them to rich people. Both were in jail. Jefferson was also tied to several murders in Seattle a few years earlier. Sean Prescott and a few other very rich men got some bad publicity, but used their money to stay out of jail. Sean even ended up selling his properties in Arcadia Bay and moved somewhere on the other side of the country.
Worst of all, Max disappeared about two weeks after the murder. One morning, she was just gone, back to her parents. The only person who knew anything was Kate, and she wasn’t exactly friendly with Victoria.
Victoria had apologized to Kate, and tried to make it up to her through the rest of the year, but the damage was done. Victoria still blamed herself for that. How the hell could she have been so mean to everyone? She stopped being the queen bitch that week, after crying in front of Kate.
The Vortex Club was disbanded, Wells was fired, and Victoria’s parents came to the school. She got into some serious trouble with them, when they found out about her drug habits. That ended up being a good thing, in the long term, though. She didn’t even smoke anymore.
All of this flashed through her mind as Max awkwardly held her arm in front of her, gripping her elbow. Some things never changed. Max replied, “Actually, I do care. I’ve watched how well you’ve been doing. You’re becoming famous and it’s only been six years. I’m proud of you.”
Victoria grunted. That certainly wasn’t what she expected to hear. “Thanks, I guess. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s starting to pay off.”
She waved her hand to the shelves. “I see you are still working in photography, at least a bit. It’s a pretty nice store, though I have to wonder about the location.”
Max smirked. “The rent isn’t too bad, and I’ve built up a good clientele of local photographers. I even run classes for people just learning their cameras. I like it.”
Victoria nodded. She could see the appeal. She said, “I hope you still actually go out on shoots. You were really good. Not as good as me, of course, but still talented.”
Max rolled her eyes, replying, “Nice to see you still have your attitude. I don’t really take a lot of pictures anymore. It feels weird after Blackwell.”
Max looked down, saying, “Jefferson kind of ruined it for me.”
Victoria stopped. She knew that only a few identities of his victims had been released by the police. Had he gotten to Max somehow?
Max looked up, a strained smile on her face. “So, you want that Leica lens? It’s a nice one!”