“I go places,” Nica said. “In my mind. Dark places.”
She frowned into the words, leaning into the hard inflections as if she were frowning with her whole body. Nolan had seen fleeting glimpses of this before, but tonight felt different. It was something in her mood, as if she were reaching more deeply into her own shadows.
Her full name was Veronica, which in the language of her ancestors meant bringer of victory. The simple accident of her being there was probably victory enough.
“We all do that,” he told her. “The only problem is if you don’t remember to come back.”
He was in the armchair facing the wall of glass. Lights of a small city filtered through rain to cast her in a bluish-amber shroud. The room was otherwise dark, and he was mostly in shadow as he watched breasts almost too big for her body move with anxious breath. She was a profusion of grace and luxurious curves.
Everything about her made the kind of sense that didn’t need explaining, and lately, anytime she was close, Nolan felt on the edge of something.
She was wearing a thin tank top. One of his. Seeing her in something of his felt good in a way he couldn’t explain. She was even wearing a pair of his boxer briefs. They were snug but not tight. He was wearing the same pair.
“How bad is it when you start losing track of which places are the dark ones and which are bright?” Her fingers worried the hem of the top.
She had the confusing ability to be in his face yet elusive at the same time, as if something inside her were continually dancing to and away from him. Maybe it was just because he seemed to spend so much of his time struggling not to reach out. He still wasn’t sure if her dropping into his life as she had wasn’t some kind of existential joke. All she had to do was enter the room, or walk down the street too close to his side and his mind filled with tendrils of opium smoke.
“Some of us would call that a normal day,” he said.
“Is that a normal day for you?”
He let the question hang.
By now he’d spent hours upon hours studying her naked or, at most, partially cloaked in sheets or silks as he sketched and painted. He’d practically memorized every dimple. He almost knew the black and blue riot of her flowing hair better than his own mind. Her skin was a creamy olive that had settled into a deep, rich shade now that she’d been on the island a few weeks.
She was quiet for the most part, but sometimes she’d feel like talking when she posed. He pretended to ignore her most of the time, trying to appear more focused on his sketches than her, as if he weren’t losing the ability to know the difference. He supposed being naked or partially naked around him had started to lose any meaning for her, and recently, she’d taken to helping herself to various items of his clothing.
It felt good in a way he couldn’t explain.
“Just keep coming back,” he said quietly. “Whichever way you come and go.”
“Well, I’m here,” she said.
Her hair was streaked blue in the peripheral light. He had a fleeting vision of grabbing a fistful and pulling it hard enough to pull her head back. It wasn’t an urge, just one of those irrational flashes. What would it feel like doing something he’d never do?
Things he would never do. He reminded himself to make a list one day.
His eyes drifted to the proud contours of her ass. He saw himself yanking down the shorts and swinging the flat of his open palm across one cheek just to hear the sharp crack of his hand on her flesh. And then, how would she look at him? Stunned surprised? Would she slap his face and say if he ever did something like that again she would leave, or would her eyes glaze like burnished jewels?
Sudden lightening lit her up like a blue spirit. The crack didn’t come until the flash was gone, and only then did she flinch in surprise.
“It’s all this stuff going on in my head,” she said, as much to herself as him, leaning into the stuff
the same way she’d leaned into dark
He waited. She’d been distracted all night, and now she was talking about dark places in her mind, dancing with her own thoughts. He kept quiet, letting her know he’d be there when the song came to an end.
“Something happened today,” she finally said. “I mean…I saw something.”
She turned toward the glass and gave him her back. He waited, watching the line of her shoulders and arms, the contours of her legs, giving her time to put together whatever her mind needed to fall into place.
“You know what I realized today?” she said, deflecting. “No one has ever looked at me as much or as closely as you, and I don’t have any idea what you think.”
“It’s just a job we both have to do,” he said. It sounded like a lie. “What difference does it make?”
She exhaled a sigh of tired exasperation. A quick storm flash lit her up and Nolan picked up the camera on the table by his chair. He caught her in the view finder and took a few shots with the soft lights of the rainy city playing on her skin. He was really waiting for another lightening flash, wanting to capture the striking vision of the way it lit her up in blue.
“Take off the shorts,” he said. She did it without hesitation, automatically stepping into her role as his model. “Slide your hand under the top. Yeah, like that. Lift it on that side. Quarter turn left so the light touches the curve of your ass…right. Like that.”
She followed instruction flawlessly. Nolan was nearly beside himself wanting to capture the feel of her gestures in frozen imagery. He took a few shots in the ambient light, but told her to wait for another lightening flash. It was quiet a moment or two. They waited. Then they waited some more.
“So…you saw something,” he reminded her.
The hand in front under the top moved upward, closer to her breast, lifting the tank hem higher on her cheeks. Nolan’s skin started to feel like it was turning upside down.
Lightening cut her off. Nolan hit the shutter button for a burst of successive shots. He’d see if there was anything to work with later.
“…down by the grotto,” she said after the flash died down.
Nolan tensed. He wasn’t sure how to feel. He was sure of what she’d seen, if not how much.
“You went a long way,” he said. Measured calm.
“Maybe too far.”
He agreed in silence.
“I saw you,” she finally whispered at the glass.
“Okay. Down by the grotto where couples often go.”
“I didn’t feel…I dunno… normal.”
“Normal is a hoax perpetrated by megalomaniacs too drunk on delusions of self-importance to know when they’re lying.”
“So you always say.”
“So I do…”
She uttered one of those soft, single beat chuckles. Nervous laughter that never gets past the first breath.
Nolan got up and approached her. He started taking close ups of her face in the rainy half-light.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything,” she said as he photographed her. “It was an accident. I’m sorry.”
She tripped over an unspoken thought. Nolan waited. It was something he was good at. Sometimes. He stepped back to get her shoulders and breasts in the frame.
“Grab the hem,” he told her. “Yank it down…yes, but further, so it rides just above your nipples.”
Again, she followed instructions perfectly. She was looking straight on at the lens, with her breasts nearly spilling out of the tautly stretched top. Nolan waited, trusting her to understand he was waiting for another lightening flash.
“You were with that Angolan woman who works at the kiosk. The one you always say hello to. Sometimes you talk a long time. I think you forget I’m there. She never looks at me much. When I go there myself she barely looks at me at all. Like when someone wants you to know they’re actively ignoring you.”
Nica paused and waited. She looked back at him through the lens. He studied her face in darkness and highlights. Nolan had never seen light and shadow play on a woman’s face the same way before. He’d chosen her from photos. It wasn’t his usual practice to hire a model from photos alone, but she’d been all the way in Bahia, and that had seemed to lend a certain urgency to the situation.
Most of the time, he found adequate models in his wanderings on the beach. They generally sat for him a day or two – sometimes more – then returned to their native countries. Asking a model to live in the house as long as he needed for the current project had been a daunting decision, until he saw Nica. He’d made his decision instantly, without considering any possible consequences.
Even in her photos there was a storm of perfection and imperfection in her face that kept him from looking away. She was undeniably beautiful without looking like a model. There was no sneer of self-importance he’d seen far too often and always rejected out of hand.
“I never forget you’re there,” he said, barely under his breath. He wasn’t sure if she heard him, but he wasn’t about to repeat it.
“It makes me feel kind of…jealous, actually – which I know sounds stupid,” she finally added.
While she looked at him, waiting for him to validate her confession, he felt the mood rising off her skin. It was impossible to push his way out of it, past it, or around it, so he didn’t say anything. He just wanted her to speak again so he could watch her lips move.
Another lightening flash struck and Nolan fired off shots in burst mode until the light died back down.
“So…um…I didn’t know what to think. I was just…I don’t know…it made me mad at first, and I know that’s just as stupid.”
“Stop saying stupid.”
His tone was soft but full of definition. She looked at the floor and then around the room. Everywhere but at him. He kept taking pictures of her awkwardness.
Everything had this inside out feeling. He had the sensation of feeling scraped out. It wasn’t supposed to be possible to want anything – anyone – this way, this much, knowing how perfect they could be for you while everything about you is wrong. She was right there in front him, close as another planet about to fall off the sky.
He thought she might’ve whispered “ok”.
“Take off the top,” he told her.
Her mind seemed to be anywhere and everywhere but on the automatic gesture of peeling the tank top over her head. Nolan was wrapped up inside the way she ignored the camera yet seemed acutely aware of his attention. She never looked at the camera, but through it. She cupped her prominent breasts in her hands, thick nipples pinched up with thumbs and forefingers, and looked back out at the storm. The sound of the shutter almost disappeared into the shifting rhythm of the rainfall.
“How long were you there?” he asked, fishing, wondering why it should play at the ends of his nerves until his blood felt sticky.
“Until you left,” she said. Half the story.
He slid down to the floor and sat with his back against the glass.
“Put your foot on my shoulder. Hands against the glass and look down here.”
She loomed above him in a dance of shadows and velvet curves. He shot her from down there. Lightening flashed and he shot her ten more times.
“And when you got there?”
She looked through the glass and spoke to the storm.
“You were kissing her breasts. You were holding them like something precious and beautiful…and yet almost like you wanted to punish them at the same time…maybe it was like you were making love to them and not her. She was clutching the back of your head. I felt shocked at first. Angry for some reason. Even hurt. And then I was thinking how big her nipples looked. How dark they seemed. Does that sound crazy?”
“No.” His pulse began to jolt in his cock. He couldn’t have said he was glad she’d seen, but he couldn’t have said he was sorry, either.
“I don’t like her, you know.”
“Because she’s too skinny and her tits are too big. Before, when I only saw you talking at the kiosk, I wondered if you loved her. I thought, maybe…but I wasn’t sure.”
There was a quick flash and she looked back down at the camera, breathing visibly, breasts gently heaving with the effort, but she hardly seemed aware of it.
“Does it matter?”
“I don’t know.”
“Touch your pussy now.”
“No. That wasn’t part of the deal.”
“Touch it. Spread yourself with your fingers.”
Her hand moved over her mound. Silence. Her fingers cupped and splayed her petals, already beginning to flush and dampen. Nolan’s pulse felt like traffic.
Nica’s clit slowly distended and started to shine as they waited for the next bolt of lightning. Nolan had never studied a woman’s clit quite that way before, and he was sure she’d never been studied that way at all. Her fingers held still, waiting for the shot to come and go, but she was breathing harder. Her body was beginning to talk to both of them.
“Taste me,” she said in a rasp of anxious breath. “Like you tasted her. Don’t you ever think about it?”
Lightning got between Nica’s question and Nolan’s answer. The flash washed her flayed open slit in electric blue edged in coral. The shutter didn’t stop until seconds after the flash died away.
Nica’s fingers closed into a tight cup over her mound and ground in a circle against her lips. Breath rushed out of her body while Nolan’s cock grew into a thick, pulsing spine of heat.
“Lie down,” he said. “One leg up, one down…like an L. Touch your thigh. Twist your body slightly.”
She nearly slithered into position, but instead of touching her thigh as instructed, she cupped her hand protectively over her pussy.
“You didn’t answer,” she said.
“Move your hand,” he told her.
Nolan sighed in resignation. Trapped in his briefs, his cock was wrenched in painful confinement.
“You never should’ve seen all that,” he said.
“The way you devoured her…you were so deep. Fucking her like that with your tongue.”
His cock flexed against his briefs. The harder he got, the more he wished she hadn’t seen them.
“I was sure you loved her when I saw.”
“Move your hand,” he said again.
Lightning hit again, and however he didn’t want to admit it, the shots he took with her hand covering her pussy promised to be spectacular. The tip of his ensnared cock was leaking heavily, forming a wet slick where its bulky shape strained against his briefs.
Something foreign came over him and balancing the camera on his knee with one hand, he grabbed her ankle and squeezed.
“Move your hand.”
“Ow,” she said. “You’re squeezing too hard.”
He squeezed harder and hit the shutter button without even looking in the view finder to see what he was getting. She whimpered softly and moved her hand. Nolan loosened his grip. He pushed her raised leg downward, toward the floor and lay down along the edge of the glass wall, angling the camera closely onto her pussy.
“Put your hands on your thighs. Closer to your pussy. Good, that’s close enough. Now push against your skin. Knead yourself and spread the lips. Good, but wider.”
Her pussy struck him like some secret of perfection the air was ashamed to tell. The pulse rippling through his cock felt stuck in his throat. He took several more shots, but he was really waiting for another lightning flash to throw blue highlights over her softly heaving body.
Nolan leaned close and inhaled the scent of Nica’s humid arousal. He closed his eyes and imagined being able to keep that single breath of air inside his head forever.
“Yes,” he told her, letting his breath wash over the syrup –dripping heat of her slit. “I think of tasting you more deeply than I’ve ever tasted anyone. Sometimes I even think of you like that when I’m sketching you and I should be concentrating harder, but the thought won’t leave me alone.”
The words just started to flow out of him. He might have said more, but the lightning cut him off and he moved to take close ups of Nica’s open pussy before the flash died away.
“Relax your grip now,” he told her. “Let your lips close.”
A loud breath slithered out of her body as she followed instructions. Her pussy was wet and swollen, and her petals only came back together like a mouth in a half gasp. Nolan looked up to study the round swells of her breasts from the vantage between her thighs. Her nipples were hard and standing up defiantly.
“Sometimes I think a woman looks more beautiful from here than any other way,” he told her.
“Taste me,” she sighed, ignoring him. “Give me your tongue. Deeper than you gave her.”
He photographed her pussy as it was, relaxed yet swollen and throbbing.
“Ball your fist and rest it on your mound,” he told her. “Keep the middle finger straight. Rest the very tip on top of your clit. Just…like…that. Hold…”
She did as he asked through the first few shutter clicks, and then through the next storm flash, but then Nica’s finger began to move. Her hips began a very subtle rocking motion while she drew hard, slow circles around her clit.
“Just taste me,” she sighed. “If you think of me the way you say, taste me.
“It’s complicated,” he said. “It’s just not possible.” He finally stood up and watched her from above. She looked up at his face and put her finger in her mouth, giving it a lazy suck before putting it back on her clit.
“Push your finger inside.” His voice was on the verge of cracking.
She pinned his eyes with hers while her finger slid inside. Her lids went heavy and her breasts pillowed between her arms. Nolan’s cock rippled with heat. He finally shoved his briefs down and let his broiling shaft snap free. He was oozing sap like a broken spigot and could barely hold the camera steady as she studied him through it, speaking more fluently with each pulse.
“I watched you push your cock inside her,” she half whispered. “When I heard the way she suddenly gasped so deep I wanted to be in her place. That should have been us today. And I think you know this is true.”
He kept taking photos as she spoke, moving around her body from different angles, kneeling or standing, taking close ups of her face, her nipples, the wet finger plowing her maw. Her hips began to rock. She paused to suck her finger again, and he photographed that.
“I couldn’t move,” she confessed. “I watched your body rocking and gliding inside…your cock just filling her up.”
The lightning flashes came in quick succession the next few minutes. Nica raised her ass off the floor and rocked her pussy against her hand. Nolan’s throat clenched and his cock was trailing heavy beads of precum.
“Look how hard you are now,” she said. “Don’t you just want to fuck me as hard as you fucked your skinny African whore in the sand?”
“Don’t call her that,” Nolan snapped.
“She doesn’t love you,” Nica moaned. “I could see in her eyes. She loves you, but not in that way.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s enough.”
“Since when is enough ever enough?”
She slipped a second finger in her pussy and pushed the other hand toward her clit. She was right, and Nolan felt as if half his life just burst into flames. He let the camera dangle from the neck strap gripped in his left and curled his right around the pulsing shank of his cock. His chest was gripped with anxious breath.
Ironically, it was the power of his desire that held him back from touching her. The power of his own affection. She had this vulnerable ferocity about her, and he knew if he ever touched her - if he ever reached out and just took her as if he had the right - it would ruin her somehow, and to ever ruin something like her would only mean to ruin himself.
“You don’t love me, either,” he grunted, his fist furiously slapping his lather soaked cock. “And how could you think I love you?”
“I don’t…” she groaned, lifting her ass again, grinding back at her pumping fingers, “…but we could and you know it. There’s immense possibility between us. You…know this…oh fuck, you know that we could…”
“Thinking like that is pure trouble,” he muttered between mounting breaths.
She narrowed her eyes. “Why do you make art if you don’t believe in possibility?”
The wet slapping sounds of their hands rode just above the hard patter of the rain. Each of them was heaving too deeply for air to keep talking. Nolan watched her and knew she was right. The knowledge was throbbing in his cells and plugging his throat, but he kept straining to swallow it back down.
Nica’s huffing breath gradually transformed into a stutter of whimpers. Her body began to jerk with each one, her thighs flexing to the rocking fuck of her hips at her hand, her breasts tossing on her chest in heaves of satin blue flesh.
“Fuck!” she cried sharply as her sinews tensed and her body seemed to float.
“Fuck!” Nolan cried as a river of need crashed over the floodgates and his cock shuddered with spasms.
Moments later, he found himself watching her on the floor, standing over her as he realized his own breath was going in and out of his body to the rise and fall of Nica’s chest. He realized she was glittering in the storm light where dollops of his cum spattered her skin.
She was watching him back, dark eyes glazed but piercing him hard and fast. He raised his left hand and aimed the camera at her, leaning his finger on the shutter button to keep snapping photos of whatever would be there to see later on. The camera stuttered as he sank to his knees beside her. He took her by the wrist and pulled her hand away from her pussy.
He sucked her wet fingers into his mouth and closed his eyes while the sensation of pure honey replacing his blood flowed through him.
“The part of you I used to know went away with her,” Cristiana told him.
They were standing in Nolan’s studio looking at the series of lithographs he’d made from the photos he took the night of the storm. Several of the prints featured tight close ups of Nica’s face gripped in contortions of passion. Others were unabashedly explicit – fingers clawing at distended pussy lips, a nipple viciously squeezed between thumb and finger, dabbles of cum on her smooth mound gleaming in the blue of a storm flash.
Nica never said where she was going when she left that next day. Nolan had assumed she was sleeping when he went out that morning. He’d gone to the kiosk for the international paper he read most days, then to the café where he sat drinking coffee and making sketches on the pad he carried almost everywhere.
When he’d returned to the house, the only traces left of Nica were the images he’d sketched or painted over the preceding weeks. There were also the photos he’d taken the night before, but he’d been so disoriented to discover her gone he’d almost forgotten them.
Cristiana’s eyes sparkled with devious amusement as she looked at the renderings Nolan had made from the photos he’d taken that night.
“You made her shine,” she said. “It’s like there’s something ethereal in them. Even the nasty ones. Maybe especially those.”
“No,” he exhaled in resignation. “She’s just like that.”
“She didn’t like me,” Cristiana smirked.
Nolan gave a short chuckle. “She said the same thing about you.”
“She was right,” she said, her eyes moving from one image of Nica to the next. “I never liked her. She followed you around like a whimpering little show dog. But I supposed you loved every moment.”
“Don’t say things like that.”
She nodded and smiled, but Nolan could tell her mind hadn’t taken the same turn as her face.
“These are going to make you famous,” she noted quietly. Her tone was matter of fact, as if she might have been pointing out there was sand on the beach. Something obvious and inevitable. There was a thin air of melancholy behind her stoicism.
He put his hand on the slender curve of her spine and let his palm drift to her ass. She caught his wrist and held it still.
“Not here,” she told him. “Anyone who ever looks at these will see they’re an act of love.”
Nolan left the room without another word. Cristiana lingered in the studio, studying his images of Nica one last time. A few minutes later, she let herself out of the house.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
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