Arthur Pendragon drummed his fingers against the tabletop. The freezing weather did not seem to stop his fellow Londoners sitting outside the little café on their little plastic chairs. A red cover stood over the eating area. Cups of warm tea and hot chocolate were all around as students complained about coursework, elderly women chatted about their grandchildren and exhausted mums tried to keep their toddlers in strollers.
"You wanted to see me," Arthur stood in front of John Carlisle, his boss.
The older man looked up from the magazine he was reading and grinned, his dark eyes glinting.
"I have two words for you, Pendragon: Richard Curtis."
"The guy who did Vicar of Dibley and Blackadder?" the confused blonde asked, a frown appearing, "What does he have to do with a photography agency?"
"You are forgetting that he does romantic comedies as well. He did Love, Actually, Bridget Jones and Four Weddings and a Funeral amongst others. He wants to use us for a new movie that he is directing, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts- bringing them together again after they starred in his film, Notting Hill."
Arthur's eyes widened. He had seen Love, Actually (Morgana had forced him to watch it) but none of the other films. However, he was a fan of Vicar of Dibley and had seen many of the Blackadder episodes in history class. Richard Curtis was a familiar name to him and he was aware of his fame.
"It's about a photographer-Dennis- who is determined to find the perfect woman for his new ad campaign. Rejecting the normal twenty-year old models, he accidentally bumps into forty-something office worker Kate in the street. She agrees to become the face of his project and in the process he learns about her life, including her yearning for her married boss and issues with her son, Ben, after her divorce from her ex-husband."
"So where do we fit into this?"
"They want photos to show in the film. That's where you step in."
Arthur raised an eyebrow.
"Continue," he pushed his superior on.
"Curtis visited me in person last week- he'd heard of us from when we'd taken snaps for some other blockbusters. He wanted an excellent talent to take some images for him- models, a workplace and a winter wonderland."
"And you want me to do it?"
"Why not?" John shrugged, "You're young, you're talented and just what the movie needs. Plus, the paycheck is pretty great."
Arthur's eyes widened to the size of saucers, his face recognizing his shock- "How much?!"
"You heard me," John leant back in his leather chair, "£25K."
The blonde briefly contemplated pinching himself to see if he wasn't dreaming, but decided against this action.
"Okay," Arthur nodded, "I'll do it. To be perfectly clear, I'm not in it for the money."
"But it helps," John added.
End of flashback
Arthur really didn't need the money (he came from a very well-off family), but it seemed like a very fun assignment.
Understandably, the model shoot was the best part for him. He had almost thrown a party when he had discovered that they were modeling swimwear, specializing in two-pieces. He'd gotten several numbers and been on numerous dates, but none had been successful. At one point, he'd considered jumping out of a window to avoid a pretty, girlish blonde named Vivian. She was very pretty with a body most girls would die for, but she was a snarky, vindictive little ditz who only talked about fashion, her career and all the money she had.
Work wasn't too bad. He'd gone into his friend's office and had gotten special permission from the boss to take some snaps, so long as he allowed them to be used in brochures and campaigns for the company.
However, the winter collection had been extremely difficult to him. The snow had only just sprinkled on the capital and he had two days to narrow them down to forty-five. The treacherous weather meant that he couldn't travel to the country to get some nature snaps and the streets were mainly trodden by boots. He was yet to find the perfect image. Even Hype Park wasn't photogenic.
He placed his cup down, the warm contents of the cup gone.
"Would you like a refill?" a waitress around his age asked, "They are free for today because of the bad weather- management is feeling nice."
Arthur nodded, handing it to her, "Please."
She nodded and smiled before lifting it from his shivering fingertips, heading back inside the packed café.
A few light drops of snow fell to the ground, but ceased almost immediately. Confused, Arthur took the black NIKON D5100 from his camera bag, ready to take some snaps. The street was perfectly quiet, with nobody walking about.
Slightly disappointed, he moved to put it away until something very mysterious happened….
Snowdrops literally threw themselves at the ground, a blizzard in a sense. The opposite path was completely invisible to the regular human eye, covered by the cascading white.
Arthur was not the only one entranced by the beauty. Every other café-goer stood with their mouths open, pointing with shaky fingers. Those inside pressed their fingers right against the glass and waiters froze mid-serve, gawping.
"I haven't seen anything like that snow in sixty-years of existence," an old woman on the table besides Arthur's told her friend, "There is so MUCH of it and the speed is unrivalled. A billion times faster than that Usain Lightning."
Nobody was paying enough attention to her to correct her mistake.
It continued to snow hard, and the interest was slightly lessening. Arthur was clutching his camera with anticipation, ready to take a snap.
Then it happened.
The snow began to part.
It was like it was ready to let somebody walk to the other side without being hit by snow- it was only tiny enough to fit one person.
A mysterious shadow caught his eye and he squinted to see it better. Nobody else seemed to notice apart from the blonde.
After a few seconds, Arthur eventually realised that the outline showed a woman, a small curvaceous woman.
Blinking, she slowly began to appear.
The woman was indeed small, no more than around five foot four. Her dark hair was in long curls which fell down her back and her skin was the colour of chocolate, with a warm look to it. He could not see her features too well from that far away, but he noticed that she was absolutely stunning. She wore a red mackintosh and black gloves, with bootleg trousers and ankle-length boots.
She danced in the snow, her arms wide as she circled around. She beamed happily, watching the snowflakes fall onto her. A glow surrounded her- her body radiated warmth. The light contrasted with the grey and gloomy skies that accompanied the poor weather.
Her care-free elegance made her beautiful to him.
Without thinking, Arthur grabbed his camera and focused it on this mysterious girl. Making sure the zoom showed the hem of her coat and above, he pressed the button. The camera made the noise that indicated that it had taken a picture. He pulled it in front of his face – it was perfect.
"Nice photo," a waiter commented as he looked at it over his shoulder.
"I didn't even notice anybody there," the middle-aged man commented as he wiped a table down, "The snow was just too thick."
Arthur shrugged, noticing the snow falling down more slowly.
"Could you watch my table for a second?" he asked, "I have to go ask permission from the woman to use this in the media."
The waiter nodded kindly as the photographer stood up.
"Thanks," he called over his shoulder as he sped off, trying to watch out for any cars that could possibly be heading down. Luckily, nobody seemed to want to drive down the road.
Eventually approaching the pavement, he was surprised to see that she had completely disappeared. Realising that he could follow her footprint, he looked down…
….To reveal nothing.
No footprint, none at all. The snow was fresh and crisp, un-touched by humans in its flawless glory. Arthur frowned and bent down.
As he looked up to the skies, a single white feather flew down gently. It slowly swayed down to the ground, letting Arthur pick it up. Surveying it with a smile, he realised what happened.
He'd captured a snow angel.
Hey, hope you liked it.
Semper Fi xxx