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stop. rewind. repeat.

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“Master Wei!” Wen Ning’s voice calls from up front. “Mr Lan to see you again.”

Wei Ying pauses in sweeping up the studio space, setting his broom against the wall and skirting by a large plywood set piece. “What does Mr Lan want?” he calls.

“To schedule another session,” says Mr Lan when Wei Ying emerges out front. His hat is in his hands and his suit is as white and pristine as ever, and in the evening light his hair falls soft against his glasses. Wei Ying’s breath hitches, though not of his own volition. “I cannot seem to recall… if you have any shots of me with an agreeable expression?”

“Define agreeable,” says Wei Ying, poking through the envelopes full of developed prints for people to pick up. Mr Lan fiddles with the brim of his fedora. “You didn’t really smile, if that’s what you’re looking for…”

“Not severe,” says Mr Lan, a rather bashful tilt appearing in his shoulders.

“Well.” Wei Ying triumphantly pulls out a folder marked ‘Lan’ on it. “I might’ve had a few shots of that.”

Mr Lan pulls out the photographs in question, thumbing delicately through them with his brows furrowed. “You… have quite a talent,” he murmurs after a moment, setting down the prints on the counter in quiet awe. Wei Ying has to admit, he’s also quite proud of how these ones turned out. Mr Lan in the photographs looks ethereal, untouchable, like a god who had descended to earth to play with the mortals for a season or two while searching for a greater meaning in the universe.

“I had a good subject,” he demurs. “So, are you sure you want to schedule a return appointment? Have I gotten the perfect shot yet?”

Mr Lan considers it, before putting all the photos back in the envelope. “No,” he says. “How about Wednesday, ten in the morning?”

“You got it,” says Wei Ying, winking at him. Mr Lan swallows visibly, before setting down a couple bills as payment and sweeping out the door. Wen Ning chuckles as he rings him up.

“You think his watermelon’s sweet?” he teases.

Wei Ying elbows him.