“Hey, would you model for me?” he stammered. She was walking through the hallway as he spoke, on her way out the door.
“What?” She said to him, turning on her tall, black heels sharply. His cheeks reddened, and he felt his ears grow hot.
“I-I said, would y-you model for me?” Her eyebrows raised behind her oversized Chanel sunglasses, and she cocked her head to the left. “I was thinking about how er…what you said earlier, about how people had called you Amber Rose, and how…um…how you didn’t like that people said that because they never had anything to show for it.”
“And…?” There was a light impatience in her voice.
“And well, um, I was thinking that maybe I could, like, paint you or something?” He exhaled deeply, and the vibrant red that had filled his cheeks washed away. He looked down at the ground, ashamed, as the room filled with silence.
The words floated through his mind like wooden planks down the Nile. Then, she clucked her tongue once and tapped her heel.
“I’ll think about it,” and she turned to walk out the door with half a smile. He listened in stunned silence as she walked down the hall, each clack of her heels fell with the same heaviness as the beat of his heart.
* * *
He scrabbled with the lock on the door; his arms were filled with bags and his myriad of keys were all jumbled together. When he finally got it open, he hoisted the bags up higher so he didn’t accidentally let one slip.
“Hi there,” he heard from around the corner. He walked in, set the bags down on the counter, and began unpacking
“Hello again, I picked up a few jugs of—” his eyes drifted up and his voice caught in his throat. She was standing in the room, fully exposed save for an exceptionally tiny bikini. He looked back to the contents of the bags, “I-I picked up a few containers of milk this weeks since everyone went through it so fast.” She laughed at him.
“Thank you,” she said, “I decided you can paint me—”
“I didn’t quite mean—”
“You didn’t mean today? Good. I wanted to spend this afternoon tanning.”
“Well I was thinking I could paint you, perhaps, in a little different setting?” He had turned to face her, and could feel the heat in his body rising.
“Oh?” She said. After a quick pause, her eyes lit up, and she reached behind her back to undo her top, “nude? I’m game to do nude.” His cheeks burned inside him and he turned his head away.
“No I was thinking something that didn’t…objectify you so much? Maybe something like sleepwear?” There was a silence. He felt the air grow cold around them. Then, roughly, she grabbed his chin with her thumb and forefinger and turned him to look at her.
“You want to paint me right?” She asked firmly.
“Yes,” He tried to look away.
“And why do you want to do that, hmm?” she pulled him closer to her, so that they were within a few inches of each other.
“What, do you want to fuck me?” He tried to pull away but her grip was tight, “you want to fuck me? Turn me over, lay me out? You think coddling me with kind words and romantic pictures will seduce me?” Her thumb pressed harder into his chin. “Let’s get this straight. You won’t fuck me because you’re nice to me. You won’t fuck me because you’re mean to me. If you fuck me, it’ll be because I want you to.” She glanced down meaningfully. “And you’ll paint me how I want to be painted. Not how you want. Not how some man wants. Me. Ok?”
“Ok.” He said. She released his chin and smiled.
“Good,” she snaked up and kissed him softly on the cheek, then turned to walk away, twirling her top in her hand, “tomorrow it is then!” she called back, and put a hand up to wave goodbye.
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