“Where did you say we were going?” Ellie asked.
Justin shot her a quick glance and mischievous grin before putting his eyes back on the road.
“I didn’t.” he said.
He drove on, still grinning, He could see Ellie out of the corner of his eye and could tell she was grinning too.
“We’ve just been on the road so long, I’m getting a bit tight.”
She stretched in a way that Justin felt was to accentuate her curves more than to relieve any muscular tension. In fact, in ways it increased his tension.
He risked taking his attention off of the narrow back road to take in that nice form of hers.
Elisabeth was quite a bit older, but he wasn’t sure how old. His guess was in her mid-40s, but it might have been up or down by as much as a decade. He had heard that women that age liked guys in their mid-20s, particularly guys like him who spent a lot of time at the gym: fit muscular men in their physical prime. Actually, she could be mid-60s for all he cared, because she was pretty hot. He had been itching to undress her from the moment he first saw her.
He made sure he only glanced away for a moment. Didn’t need to have any accidents before he reached his destination. He half laughed at himself. And he didn’t want to wreck the car either.
After a few seconds he said, “I rented a cottage in the woods. It used to belong to an artist, years ago. His sister rents it out occasionally. It was a lucky find.”
“A small artist retreat in the middle of nowhere?” He nodded. “Sounds charming. Do you have any ideas of how we should entertain ourselves? If not, I have a few.”
He liked the way she said it and risked another glance.
Damn, she was sexy.
“Yeah, I have a few ideas,” he said.
“You’re going to finally cook me one of your world-famous dinners, aren’t you?” she asked.
“I think it would be great when we first get there. We’ll be hungry and a romantic dinner would set the right mood.”
His grin grew. The weekend would be epic.
The cottage was all Justin could ask for and more. Or perhaps less, as it was very cozy.
There was a small, but well-equipped kitchen that opened into living room. A corner of the living room had a small table for two. Other than that, there was a small three-season glass porch, where the artist once had his studio, a single large bathroom and a single bedroom. Elisabeth just smiled when he put both suitcases on the single bed.
For an artist’s retreat it had very little art work. The only real painting was a crude portrait that took pride of place in the living room. Justin studied it for a moment and turned towards Ellie. He gasped.
“What’s wrong?” She smiled.
“That painting looks a lot like you.”
She frowned at it for a moment. “Do you really think I look like this?” She pointed at the painting, wrinkling her nose.
“No, no. Uhm, no, of course not, now that I look closer, you are far better looking, you…”
She laughed. “Sorry for teasing you. Yeah, it does look a little like me, doesn’t it?”
Justin laughed, but he was slightly shaken. “You said you once dated an artist…”
“And you are wondering where he put all of the nudes? I’ll show you later.” She gave him a burning look, full of hunger and desire.
He stepped closer. “Of course I know it isn’t you. The sister said he died decades ago and I’d guess that model was about your present age, so…”
Her smiled teased at him. “How old do you think I am?”
He stammered for a moment. “My mother told me to never try to guess a lady’s age,” he finally said.
“Smart lady and smart son for listening.” She started to undress. Justin’s jaw dropped. “Anyway, I’m going to take a shower. It was a long drive. Why don’t you cook me that meal while I’m freshening up? I’m famished!”
She went into the bathroom and closed the door.
As he puttered around in the kitchen, Justin was constantly aware of the portrait. He felt that the eyes followed him. It winked when he wasn’t looking and smiled a sexy smile. He smiled back at it, but caught himself. Was he really flirting with a painting? He shook his head and thought about Ellie, the flesh and blood person, instead.
He began to think about sex, sex with Ellie. He had always wanted to make it with an older woman, and then she showed up. He knew he had to have her. That’s what it was all about, right? The conquest? She teased him and always stayed just out of reach, but he knew he it was just a matter of time and location. And then the weekend away came up.
His mind grew even more graphic as he imagined what they would do after dinner. A sort of sexual dessert.
Someone was watching him.
He spun around.
It was just the painting.
But there was something wrong. It wasn’t flirting. It wasn’t even smiling. It was regarding him with complete disapproval.
He walked closer. He studied the paint, the brush strokes. He could see the texture of the canvas. It was so simple. How could some pigments show emotion?
The portrait stared in contempt, as if he were an insect.
That couldn’t be right. The painting was just a painting.
“Is dinner almost ready?” Ellie’s voice was slightly muffled since the bathroom door was still shut.
“Yeah, about two minutes.”
“Well, call me when it is ready.”
Justin gave the portrait one last glance and finished preparing.
“Ok, Ellie, it’s ready.”
Ellie came out of the bathroom wearing a semi-translucent black negligee.
Justin stood transfixed.
“Great! I am starving. You wouldn’t believe how long it has been since I last ate!”
She took a step closer to him and waved him over.
He took a step but then stopped.
He turned his head and froze.
“It’s a good thing you didn’t try to guess my age,” Ellie said, but Justin didn’t really hear, his mind captured by the painting. “I’m sure you wouldn’t have been able to get within four hundred years of it!”
At those words, Justin ripped his eyes from the painting and back to Ellie. He screamed.
“Dinner time,” Elisabeth said, closing the last couple of steps that still separated them.
The Actual Painting
I did the painting in a portrait class years ago. I recently looked at it and thought it was a little creepy – I left blurred areas instead of eyes. I took a photo and put it on the computer and it didn’t look creepy at all. So I changed it ;)
The creepy, contempt version was where I originally stopped Wednesday night. Then Thursday morning I decided to make a few quick changes. it took five minutes to create the scary version. I wrote the story Thursday night and decided I needed a smiling version, so I took the first one and made it sort of smile, though it is still creepy…
Hope you enjoyed story and painting.
This is a little closer to how it really looks: