It was too hot for clothes. She sprawled across the bed and tried to will the breeze to come in the window. No luck. There was only a bare hint of a breeze, and it seemed to suck air out of the room.
“I wonder where that fan is?” she thought. Mentally ticking off all the places in the house it might be hiding, she narrowed it down to two spots. The back porch or the closet. She got up off the bed and headed for the closet. Digging around in the shoes, boxes and fallen hangers only frustrated her. No fan.
“Oh hell,” she said out loud. She headed to the porch. It faced into her back yard, so she didn’t worry too much about clothing. “It’s my backyard and I can walk around naked if I want to,” she thought. Turning over tarps, moving boxes, she burrowed down to where she thought the fan was hidden. One more box, and there it was.
“Hurray!!!” she said as she grabbed it. The dust that fell off went everywhere. “Gakk!” she said as she spat dust. As she turned, she could have sworn she saw something or someone move out of the corner of her eye. Putting down the fan, she looked across her yard. Nothing. No bushes moved, No branches creaked. No stray cats, nothing.
She walked back into the house and set the fan on the kitchen table. Getting a washcloth, she cleaned it up and then headed back to her bedroom. Setting the fan next to the window, she plugged it in and turned it on. Slowly, the fan began to turn. Air moved across her body. Smiling, she headed to the shower where she rinsed the dirt off. She didn’t bother to dry off, but instead stood in front of the fan and let the air dry her.
“Oh this feels good,” she said. She giggled as a thought crossed her mind. “I’m gonna have to get a cat before the neighbors think I’m crazy for talking to myself.” She found her book, and stretched out across the bed again to let the fan cool her while she read. It wasn’t long before she fell asleep.
He’d seen her walk in front of the windows and was amazed when he realized she was nude. Figuring that she was headed for the back of her house, he headed out his own back door and smiled when he saw her start to dig around on the porch. He worked his way quietly to the lilac bush to get a better view. Short black hair with a little curl to it and soft curves in all the right places. In trying to get a better look at her face, he hit a branch. She startled, and he held his breath. After a moment, she went back to digging for whatever she was hunting. A moment or two later, she pulled a fan from somewhere and went into the house. He waited a moment before walking back inside.
He walked back to the hall where a window was catty corner to her bedroom window. Standing very still, he waited. She moved back into her room carrying the fan. She put it next to the window and then disappeared again. He waited. His reward was seeing her stand in front of the fan with water dripping off of her and then her laying down on the bed with her book. She was on her stomach reading. Kicking her feet up gave him a lovely view of her upper thighs and just a tease of her crotch. “She must shave,” he thought as he could see just a hint of her lips as she brought one leg up and then turned on her side. He continued to watch as she fell asleep. The sun came in the window just right to highlight her face, breast and upper thigh. She looked like a painting.
Maybe now wouldn’t be a good time to introduce himself. Then again, he’d been her new neighbor for two weeks. He decided to take a shower. A cold one.
She woke up to a noise coming from the front of the house. Someone was knocking on her door. Grabbing her sarong, she headed for the door. She could see a tall shadow on the other side of the glass top panel. She didn’t recognize the silhouette. Opening the door, she saw a tall man she didn’t know.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“Hi, I’m Gabriel, your new neighbor, and I thought I ought to come over and introduce myself,” he said.
“Oh, hi. Um… I’m Kelly, nice to meet you,” she said trying to wake up, and take all of this in. He was a tall, dark and handsome with a smile that would melt chocolate. Not that much older than she was either. “Damn, he’s a dangerous combination,” she thought. “Excuse my bad manners, but I just woke up. I fell asleep reading,” she said. “Come on in and I’ll be back down in a minute,” she said and after pointing towards the living room, she headed back to her bedroom to grab her clothes.
Gabriel walked into the living room and looked around. Lots of art books. Picasso, Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Froud, and the Hilderbrant Brothers. Interesting mix. He continued to peruse the shelves. Classics mixed with Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Heinlein and Pratt with Briggs and McCaffrey. At the far end Trevanian, Cussler and Clancy. Very eclectic tastes. He sat down on the couch and started looking at the photos and paintings.
Kelly grabbed her jeans and a teeshirt. “Where the hell is my bra?” she wondered. “Fuck it!” she thought and headed back to the living room where Gabriel the eye candy was sitting looking at her photography work.
“Nice photographs. Yours?” he asked.
“Yes. I did a series for an art show a few years back, and decided that I liked them enough to look at daily,” she said. The photos were of nude models on breaks from posing. Men and women relaxing, eating or drinking and all of them very relaxed about being nude.
“Not every day you see nudes like that,” Gabriel said.
“No, most times they’re stiff and posed for somebody trying to draw the human form. Or, someone trying to send a message with a person using sex as the medium,” she said.
“That’s a little jaded,” he said.
“No, just realistic. Art schools are really weird. Either they are really into showing the form, or they desperately want to send some ‘socially responsible’ message. I like the first and detest the last.”
“Was this series taken at the first or the second?” Gabriel asked.
“The second. It was my way of humanizing the assholes. The one model I really wanted to photograph was dismissed because she had too much belly when she sat down. It wasn’t like she was obese, but they wanted nothing but the body beautifuls.” Kelly said.
“So you attacked them by photographing the models relaxed?” asked Gabriel trying to figure her out.
“Yeah, and then entered the series in one of their own snooty shows. Got second place too,” she said with a smile.
“What took first place?” he asked.
“A painting of the model they dismissed. I have a friend who likes women shaped like that and connected her with the model. They loved the idea and my friend did a gorgeous painting of her in the style of Goya’s La Maja Desnuda,” Kelly said.
Gabriel laughed. “Nude I take it?”
“Yes. He reproduced the background and then put her in it,” said Kelly.
“So, is photography your business? Or a hobby?,” he asked.
“A bit of both. When I’m not behind the camera, I help at a local art gallery. What do you do?” Kelly asked.
“Promise not to laugh?” he asked.
“I’m not sure. That usually means I aught to laugh when someone asks me not to,” said Kelly.
“I’m one of those art professors that uses nude models. I just moved here from Canada, and I’m suppose to start teaching in June,” he said.
Kelly smiled. “At the university or the college?” she asked.
“The university. I’m replacing a woman by the name of Nickels,” he said.
“Wooohooo!” Kelly said with a shout.
Gabriel blinked, rather surprised by this outburst. Then he thought for a second and things fell into place. “Oh! She was the one who dismissed the plump model?” he asked.
“Yes, Got it in one!” said Kelly. “Have to admit I am not sorry to hear that she’s gone. What a disservice to art everywhere.”
“She couldn’t have been all bad,” said Gabriel wondering if he’d come close to his new neighbor’s standards for an art teacher.
“Well, she had good technique, and a decent eye for color, but in her worldview, art history was a waste of paper. Art is ‘only in the now or the present and one should never look back’ which I think is a bunch of bullshit,” said Kelly.
“History is worthless?” Gabriel asked.
“That was her viewpoint. Heaven help a student who expressed a liking for an old master or a style of art,” said Kelly.
Gabriel heard the tone of disgust in Kelly’s voice and noticed the body language. Nickels must have pissed Kelly off or harassed her in some way. “I take it from the tone in your voice that you were one of those students who ended up on the wrong end of her?”
“Oh yeah. First university art class. I almost gave up because of her,” said Kelly.
“Why?” asked Gabriel.
“She was so negative and frustrating that I had a terrible time working. It was like the Muse dried up the moment I entered the studio,” she said.
“What made you not quit?” he asked.
“A friend of mine who challenged me not to let Nickels win,” she said.
Gabriel smiled. “Good.”
“Yeah, but the art program had a lot of casualties that first year. At least until people understood the way she worked. And, to be honest, if you were there simply to draw the human form, the perfect human form, it was a great class,” Kelly said.
“And how long was she there?” he asked wondering just what he was walking into this time.
“Damn. I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me,” he said.
“Well, as long as you’re decent to your models, don’t demand that your students only think in the ‘now’, and have a heart for the struggling art students, you’ll do fine,” said Kelly.
Gabriel nodded. A thought crossed his mind. “Do I dare?” he thought. “Yeah, might as well,” “Do you ever model?” he asked.
“Why do you ask?”
“Well, I saw you earlier today and think you would make a beautiful model for an art class,” he said. “There! I said it and I’m still breathing…”
Kelly took a moment to realize what he had said. “OH! Oh god! That was you out in the back yard?” she asked as the blush crept up her neck.
Gabriel nodded. “I, um… was heading to the back yard and saw you pass a window, and um… I didn’t mean to be a voyeur, but there you were,” he said.
Kelly was flabbergasted. “So, you came over why?”
“I came over to introduce myself, because I am your new neighbor, and I figured that if you were that comfortable walking around nude, that you might model for my classes. Honestly. Once I got over the delight of a beautiful naked woman next door, the next thing I thought of was my class. I’m new here and don’t know a soul,” he finished. He knew it sounded lame, but it was the truth.
“Part of me wants to slap your face and kick you out, and the other part wants to take you up on the offer,” said Kelly. “Oh, and buy black out curtains.”
That brought a smile to Gabriel’s face. “I take it that I’m not going to get kicked out?” he asked softly.
“Well… No. I’m the one who was walking around nude, so I guess I shouldn’t be so prudish. It was just too damn hot and I couldn’t get cool. So, I went looking for a fan.”
“Would dinner help your wounded pride?” he asked.
“Hmm… Yeah, but I get to pick,” she said.
“Okay. You’ll have to give me directions, because the only places I know here are the university, my house and the local grocery,” Gabriel said.
“Fine by me. I’ll drive, you pay,” said Kelly. She went back to her bedroom and grabbed her shoes. Looking for the left sandal, she found her bra and took time to slip it on. She felt better, and headed back to the living room. “Let’s go,” she said.
Gabriel followed her out the door and over to her Volvo. He smiled at the way she slid in behind the wheel and dealt with the standard gearings. Fifteen minutes later they were at a greasy spoon diner.
“Best place to eat in town,” she said as they walked in the door.
The aromas that assaulted his nose as they entered upheld her claims. Maybe this move wouldn’t be so bad after all.