Here's the second part of the short story I posted here. Same as always, if you like it, let me know, and please give credit where credit is due.
#37 Part 2
“Where are we going?” she asked while slipping her hand in mine. The look in her eyes told me exactly where she wanted to go.
“You’ll see when we get there.” It wasn’t too far of a walk; we would be there soon enough.
She turned her head so she could see my face, “Do you enjoy being mysterious? Is this how you get girls to follow you into dark alleys?”
My heart jumped. It was too early for her to get scared, “Would you follow me into a dark alley?”
“I can think of worse things to do.” She grinned up at me. I wondered if what she was thinking the same thing I was. Probably not.
“Like what?” I held my breath waiting for an answer. Could she tell that my steps got just a little quicker?
“Like not following you.” She slipped her arm around my waist and rested her head on my shoulder. She was starting to stumble, excellent.
I stopped outside my building. “Your friend’s right, I’m probably not the best person to put your trust in.”
“Who said I trusted you?” She looked up at the old stone façade. “Besides, what’s the worst thing that could happen?” If she only knew.
We were so close that my heart sped up. “I don’t know. It’s still early.” I opened the door and motioned her in, “Come on, up these stairs.”
“Are you gonna tell me where we’re going?” She stepped inside the building first, but let me take her hand and lead her up the stairs.
It was hard not to break out into a run, but I managed. “We’re not there yet. Almost, but not yet.” I stopped at the top of the landing and stuck my key into the heavy metal door. There wasn’t much that I left when I remodeled my loft, but the door seemed appropriate so it stayed.
“Is this your place?” She looked at the door oddly. I did get a lot of comments about the dungeon-like quality of my front door.
“You’re full of questions tonight aren’t you?” I twisted the key and turned to face her.
“It must be the writer in me.”
“Yup this is my place,” I answered her question, “But, you don’t have to come inside if you don’t want to.” I always liked to give them one last chance to back out.
“Is there a reason why I shouldn’t come inside?” She laughed softly, “You got something in there I shouldn’t see?”
“Maybe, I can’t promise you’ll like what you see in here, but I can promise you’ll leave in one piece.” I smiled, hoping she wouldn’t catch on yet.
She didn’t, “And you told me that you weren’t a person I could trust.” She playfully poked my side.
“Okay,” I opened the door and stepped aside, “Inside, let’s go.” She paused right inside the door. I took her purse and set it down on the small table next to us. This was one of my favorite parts, when they saw my studio for the first time.
She immediately started examining all the paintings hung along the walls. “Wow, are all these your paintings?”
“Yup, every single one.” I watched her face carefully for any sign of reaction. So far all I saw was admiration.
“How often do you paint?” She stopped right in front of my latest piece still on the easel. I called it ‘#36’.
“It comes and goes. I get really inspired and paint three or four in a week, and then do nothing for a while.” Standing beside her, I reached up and touched the canvas, surprised at the tingling in my fingertips.
“How long has it been since your last piece?” She traced the muscles in my raised forearm with her finger again. “Is this it?”
“Yeah, this one was finished about ten days ago.” I was waiting for my favorite part. I stared at her expectantly.
“These are mostly women. What inspires you?” She started moving again, following the wall around the room.
I caught up to her and stepped in front of her so I could see her face. “They’re all women. I guess women inspire me.” Any minute now, the smart ones always caught on faster.
“Where do you find all your models?” It was starting to sink in, her smile faded. “Some of these paintings are kind of morbid.”
I was walking backwards as she started moving again, this time a little faster. “Bars mostly, but I found this one in the park.” I pointed at the painting closest to us. The subject of #15 looked a lot like her; I couldn’t help but smile at the memory of that day. Blondes are always more fun.
She turned away from her twin, “So are they named after the women you paint?” Her voice was lower now, almost a whisper.
“No, I just number my work. It makes it easier to stay detached.” I kept my gaze even though my pulse was racing. “That one’s #33.” I pointed to a painting of a brunette with dark bruises around her neck.
It was starting, she was a lot smarter than I gave her credit for, “And are they all so, uh, lifeless?” Her voice cracked.
“Still life, remember?” I took her hand gently, ”but mostly, it’s just however the mood strikes me.”
She yanked her hand away. “Yeah, so, uh, why did you bring me here?” Looking up at me with wild eyes, she had an edge in her voice that was unmistakable, “Is the mood striking you right now?”
This was it, my favorite part. I loved that wild look, the complete fear. “You could say that.” I stepped in closer and leaned to whisper in her ear, “Would you like me to paint you?” She didn’t move; she looked afraid to even breathe.
“I don’t know. Um, will it take long?” I could see her mind racing. She was already coming up with excuses to leave. “I have a hard time holding still.” She took a quick step toward the door, but I extended my arm until my fingers touched the wall, blocking her path.
“Don’t worry,” I put my other arm out behind her, trapping her where she stood, “After I’m done, you won’t have any trouble holding still.” I lowered my head, burying my face in her hair. Her scent was almost enough to knock me over.
She spun around and pressed her back against the wall, “Really? And, uh, how are you going to accomplish that exactly?” Her voice was barely audible, and her eyes were wide with fear. I couldn’t help but grin just a little.
“I have my ways.” I leaned over even further until my nose was inches from hers. “I haven’t had a model move yet.”
She pushed against my chest, bracing herself against the wall. “Huh, you know, I’m thinking now wouldn’t be the best time for this. I’ve, uh, got a piece due tomorrow that still needs polishing. Yeah, I should go now. My friend wanted me to call her soon anyway.” She was grasping at straws now. If I could draw this moment out forever, I would.
My hands left the wall and wrapped around her wrists. I pinned them to her sides ignoring her struggles. “No, I think now would be the perfect time.” I stepped close enough to her that my body pressed her to the wall. “Yes, the mood is definitely striking. I know you’ll like what’s on my mind. They all do.” I tilted my head to whisper in her ear, “You shouldn’t have worn that dress.”
“Still, I think I’m gonna leave now.” She tried pulling her arms free, but couldn’t. She swallowed hard, “One piece, remember you promised me I’d leave in one piece.”
“Yeah,” I chuckled, “I did promise you’d leave in one piece, but I didn’t say if that piece would still be breathing.”