“How do you do it?”
He gestured with his hands and my eyes followed their movement as he spoke. “I start off with a bunch of angles, one for her head, one for her middle and one for her hips and legs. I call that the framework. Then, once that base is drawn, I start drawing the actual shapes of her body. It’s hard to explain. I just do what I see in my head.”
“I’m gonna tell you a secret,” he said.
“Wouldn’t be the first.”
His mouth curved into a smile. “I haven’t drawn a single one since moving here.”
“You just can’t?”
“You’re gonna think I’m crazy.”
“Too late for that.” I grinned.
“In order for me to draw one, I have to visualize the person. They’re not real people, but I have a clear picture of her in my mind. But ever since the day we met, I can’t see any other woman in my head except you.”
“Have you ever tried?”
“To draw me.”
“I honestly think it would be too much for me. Too real. And to be honest, I’m not sure I could replicate you.”
I didn’t really know what came over me. Seeing the dozens of beautiful images he’d created left me with an overpowering need. I was already drawn to him in so many ways already, and then to discover this amazing talent was overwhelming. I wanted to be every one of these women, the objects of his desire and passion. I wanted to see him create.
I knew why he was standing away from me. Because all of this—our confessions, his showing me his most intimate creations—ignited emotions that were too powerful. Tonight further solidified the fact that it was even more important to stick to my original plan to leave town. This attraction between us would continue to simmer until it exploded, destroying everything in its path in order to be satisfied.
If I couldn’t stand to hurt Elle, if I was going to be selfless and leave, then I at least wanted to take one piece of him with me.
I stood up from the bed. “I need you to draw me.”
I stood there dumfounded and honestly didn’t know how to respond.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to do it. It was because I wanted it so much that I worried about the aftermath. A feeling in my bones told me she was going to make the decision to run away from all of this, to leave home. Whether I said yes or no to drawing her tonight, either way, I would probably regret it.
More than anything, I was confused about what she expected drawing her to entail.
Still keeping my distance as I leaned against the wall, I repeated her statement, “You need me to draw you…”
“I think they’re beautiful, and I want to see how you see me.”
The look of melancholy on her face was killing me. There wasn’t a trace of humor or even happiness in her request; she was dead serious. She wanted me to draw her, yet at the same time, something about that was making her sad.
“I told you. I don’t normally draw real people. The images in my head are self-created. I don’t know that how I imagine you would translate well enough onto paper.”
She shocked me when she said, “I could take off my nightgown.”
Never in a million years did I expect her to suggest that. “Why would you want to do that?”
“I don’t have to. I just thought maybe that would make it easier for you to draw me.”
How could she think that would be safe? Did she have no clue what she did to me? “No. No way.” I snapped, “Why are you doing this?”
She looked surprised and mortified upon my adamant refusal. “I’m sorry. I can’t believe I even suggested it. Forget I said anything. This was a mistake. I have to go.”
She rushed out of the room heading in the direction of the front door.
Grabbing her wrist from behind her, I said, “Stop.”
She turned back toward me, closing her eyes but said nothing.
“Open your eyes.” When she obliged, I said, “Don’t ever be ashamed to tell me what you want. I’m sorry I overreacted. The truth is that I want to draw you so badly right now that it’s scaring the fuck out of me. I just don’t think it’s a good idea, so I’m gonna say no. But please don’t leave. Stay with me.”
After a long pause, Evangeline nodded and followed me back into the living room. She sat on the couch, clutching a pillow. “Do you have anything to drink?”
“What are you in the mood for? I have soda, water, coffee…”
“I meant a drink drink.”
“I have that, but I didn’t think you drank.”
She laughed. “I don’t. But I never needed one more than now.”
Smiling in understanding, I said, “All I have is beer. Is that okay?”
Cracking open a can of Bud Light, I glanced over at her. She looked beautiful in her white nightgown as she curled into my couch.
This was what I wanted every night.
I poured the beer into two glasses and brought them over to her.
As we sat drinking, she said, “I feel like we need to eat something with this. Do you have any Pop Tarts?”