“Is that your cell phone going off?” Ms. Gordon inquired with a raised eyebrow. The sound of the vibrating phone persisted as she lowered the sculpting chisel to her side, resting her hand just below the short hem line of the off-white sun dress she was wearing.
“Sorry about that.” Doug broke away from his pose and grabbed his phone. “Normally I ask my wife not to text me during training sessions, but it’s our anniversary tonight and we’re trying to wrap up our plans.”
“Anniversary?” Ms. Gordon inquired, waiting patiently while he texted his wife back. “How many years?”
“Uh,” Doug appeared overwhelmed at the challenge of multi-tasking. “Five.” He threw the phone back on his pile of clothes. “Okay; there shouldn’t be any more interruptions.”
Ms. Gordon watched intently as Doug returned to his place on the small platform in her art studio. He was the perfect balance of both handsome and muscular; a modern day ‘Achilles’ that most women only wished their husbands could resemble.
“Do you love your wife, Doug?” Ms. Gordon asked as she raised her chisel to the marble statue in front of her.
“Of course I do,” he responded defensively.
“I see.” Ms. Gordon lightly chipped away at her art. “Then why do you lie to her?”
Doug’s semi-erect manhood began retreating, as though the temperature in the room had suddenly dropped. “I thought we agreed that we wouldn’t discuss my personal life?”
“It was your cell phone that went off,” She said curtly. “Besides, our time is nearly up and I realized I don’t know much about the man I’ve been sleeping with these last few months.”
Ms. Gordon continued with her work, ignoring Doug’s pouting. Her perfect olive skin and muscle tone suggested she was in her 30’s, though Doug suspected she was older than she appeared.
“Sorry. I just…I don’t want to talk about it. Jenny’s a good wife, but with the kids and my long hours, things have gotten, you know, difficult.”
“I admit, I’ve never been married, but from what I understand ‘difficult’ comes with the territory.”
“Sure, but it’s tough. I barely make ends meet as a personal trainer…although this gig you gave me is really helping out.”
“And I suppose it doesn’t hurt that you get to sleep with your benefactor at the same time?” Ms. Gordon’s tone had a bite to it that had taken Doug by surprise. “I’m not paying you to have sex with me, Doug. I’m paying you to model.”
“Yeah, I know, but I’ve got needs and Jenny…she’s just always with our kids. Doesn’t leave much room for me.”
“And I suppose the fact that I have no strings attached makes things with me…’simpler’?”
“Exactly. Hell, I don’t even know your first name.”
“That’s because you never asked me.” Ms. Gordon stepped up on her stool so she could better reach the muscles on her sculpture between its shoulders and neck. “It’s Barbara, by the way, and it’s a good thing you’re beautiful, Doug, because you certainly don’t make a woman feel very special with your words.”
“What the fuck?” Doug crossed his arms out of frustration while the veins in his muscles began to bulge slightly. “I thought you were having fun too? I can just pose for you if you want to skip the pleasantries?”
“Oh, now don’t get your feelings all hurt. Obviously I enjoy your company or I wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. My point is simply that someday, your beauty will run out…and you might want to think about the kind of man that will leave you as.”
“I’m only 25; I’ve got plenty of time.”
“You’d be surprised.” Barbara took her eyes off the sculpture temporarily and looked at Doug. “Would you please uncross your arms?”
The red in his face faded slightly as he re-positioned his arms.
“How about we change the subject?” Doug suggested as he rolled his shoulders back to accentuate his physique. “You say you don’t know much about me, but I don’t know anything about you either.”
“I’m an open book,” Barbara responded. “Ask me anything.”
“Well, where are you from?”
“Before I became a ‘California girl’, I lived in Savannah, Georgia.”
“Your accent doesn’t sound Southern?”
Barbara laughed. “That’s because I’m originally from Greece.”
“Oh, that’s cool.” Outside of remembering a few details about Greek mythology, Doug wasn’t very familiar with the country. “How about your statues, er, sculptures? Who usually buys things like that?”
A sly grin formed on her face. “Mostly women who want something ‘pretty’ to look at.”
“What do you charge them?”
“As you can see from my residence, I do okay.”
Barbara’s house was located in the hills of Santa Barbara with a clear view of the ocean. Although her studio was modest, the rest of the house featured high ceilings, marble floors, and an amazing pool in the back that she and Doug had fooled around in on many occasions.
Barbara stepped down from her stool, took a step back from her work, and sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Doug asked.
“Well, I’m thinking I might need to re-do your face. It’s just not coming out the way I wanted.”
“Can you do that?”
“That’s kind of up to you. See, your body came out perfect, but look at your eyes.”
Doug stepped over to observe the sculpture. “Yeah?”
“There’s no depth to them.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Big shock there,” Barbara teased as she patted him on the rear. “Stand back over where you were.”
“I was thinking,” he said as he walked back to his designated spot, “since this is our last session, maybe we should celebrate afterward?”
“Let me guess; you’d like to see me naked one last time before I send you on your way?”
“Naked is a good start.” Doug pictured himself removing Barbara’s sundress and taking her right there in the studio, their bodies writhing together in a dance of ecstasy he’d become addicted to ever since their first ‘session’.
“If you’re quite ready to put your libido aside for a moment,” Barbara moved away from the sculpture and stood directly in front of Doug, “would you please look into my eyes?”
“Sure.” After a few moments had gone by, Doug began feeling awkward. “You want me to just keep staring at you?”
“Yes.” Barbara replied. “Now, picture your wife.”
“Just do it, for God’s sake!” Barbara commanded. “And no talking. This will only take a minute and then we’ll be done. I need to see your soul and right now you’re looking at me as a sex toy, which just won’t do. I need to feel your heart, Doug.”
“Think about Jenny,” she continued. “How you’ll be looking into her eyes across the table in the restaurant tonight. Reflecting upon the last five years you’ve spent together and the lifetime you hope to share with her. Think about how much you love her.”
There was a distant light within the dark pools of Barbara’s eyes that began shining brighter and brighter. An overwhelming amount of guilt flooded Doug’s thoughts. He refused to cry, but was suddenly feeling unbearable anguish on the inside.
“That’s it. That’s the depth I needed.” Before the words had even left Barbara’s mouth, Doug felt his entire body stiffen as though he were paralyzed. He tried to look around, but couldn’t move his head. He could neither breathe nor feel his heart beat, although he was still able to see and hear everything.
“Wondering what happened to you, are we?” She asked with a gleam of treachery in her eyes. “I’ll fetch a mirror for you.”
Barbara raised a small compact in front of Doug’s face. In the reflection, he saw a stone-faced version of himself.
“Alas, that’s what I meant by you’d be surprised as to how quickly time can run out.”
Barbara walked over to Doug’s pile of clothes and scooped them up.
“Doesn’t appear you’ll be needing these anymore. I’ll just set them in your car after I drive it down to the park and leave it. Handy for me that you never told anyone who you were with or where you were going, eh? That’s why men like you are perfect for my line of work; eager to keep secrets, and so deserving of the end result.”
Doug watched Barbara as she exited the studio, leaving him to reflect upon his wasted life and the eternity he would spend regretting the decisions he had made. His wife, Jenny; their two young children, Ana and Jacob; the life they had planned; all of it, he quickly realized, was lost forever.
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