I turned around just in time to see Lea arrive and take off her robe. The model was wearing sandals, a kind of loin-cloth, and a light bodice which covered her breasts, but left her midriff bare. Her head was also bare, the hair drawn tightly back so that it looked like a golden helmet in the strong lighting.
“Wow, I’m afraid to ask who you’re supposed to be.”
“Coward,” she replied placidly, making sure the clothing was on her bod like it was supposed to be. “All our talking isn’t distracting you, is it?”
“On the contrary. I’d usually be bored to oblivion by now.”
“Then I’m glad I can keep you awake.” She let that one hang there, just long enough for me to grin, then continued. “Putting aside what that does to my ego, how come you don’t talk like this with other models?”
“At the risk of inflating your ego even more–” I stared at her breasts just long enough for her to get the joke–“it’s simply because most models are bimbos. When I see one like you, with intelligence and a sense of humor, I’d rather talk and get to know you than shoot you.” I thought about it. “Well, I’d rather do both, really. . . and speaking of that, change the earrings.”
“Because I don’t want anyone to see this photo and say ‘Check out the earrings.’ They’re supposed to be looking at you.”
“Good answer!” she beamed as she grabbed the dangles and literally yanked them out the earlobes before tossing them away. “That’s why you make the big bucks!”
“Don’t move! If you feel uncomfortable or something starts to cramp up, let me know. Don’t be a hero, but otherwise for now make like a statue.”
The model chuckled. . . but didn’t move.
A few minutes later I told her to take her time getting into the next costume. Instead she dressed quickly, though making sure to wear her robe over her modeling clothes, lest that freaky assistant wander by and get jump-started into puberty. . . except this time I was ready for her, and the shoot went by quickly.
I was sitting in a small office, chugging a seven-up, when she came back out for the last time, once again attired in jeans and so on like when she’d arrived. She saw me through the open door and sat down across the desk with a smile, not bothering to ask permission. Apparently she never did, for she reached across the desk for the soda can and downed the contents, only to find to her chagrin I was almost finished with it.
“Glad you don’t think I have cooties,” I drawled as I reached behind me for another can.
She tried to pout, but it really wasn’t in her nature. “Sometimes you take things too calmly.”
“Why are you trying to disturb me?”
She laughed. “Because men who are TOO secure are not a turn-on.”
“Take me as I am.”
“He was an existentialist.”
“I don’t think so!” Then she realized I was joking. “Well, he wasn’t like Voltaire either.” We’d discussed Candide during the shoot. “Anyway, I hope I didn’t turn you on too much. I’d hate to see you spend the hard-earned money you earned today getting your rocks off with some hooker who looks like me from behind.”
That caused a big smile. “No one looks like you, least of all from behind.”
Yeah, she’d known she’d left that one wide open, but hadn’t been able to stop herself. “Anyway, you know what I mean.”
“I think of models the same way I think of sex,” I grinned. “I never pay for it.”
“I ain’t doin’ this for free,” she warned, then winced. “The modeling, I mean, not the sex.”
“What I mean is, someone’s paying you, and that same person or corporation is paying me.”
“Ah, I get ya.”
“By the way, are you flirting now?”
“Yes. Now let’s get back to the sex part you mentioned. . .”
She grimaced, having realized as soon as she’d blurted it out that it was the wrong thing to say, then had hoped it’d gone past me. Not hardly. . .
She made a quick decision and kissed me lightly, not much for the very first kiss ever between us. “I hear you’ll be here a couple of more weeks. No rush. . . and no cooties. Just a lemony soft drink taste.”
“You may want to think about this logically.”
“Oh?” This was going to be good, she hoped.
“If we wait till my last days here to have sex, and it’s not very good, then it makes no difference than if we did it tonight and it wasn’t very good.”
“True so far. So?”
“On the other hand, if we have sex tonight and it’s so good you want to do it again. . .”
“I see. Very logical. Damn.”
I grinned, but I knew that, just on principle, she couldn’t let me have the win so easily.
She plucked a card out of the back pocket of her jeans. “Got your address and phone number. I’ll think about it tonight. Who knows? You’re only a phone call away. . .”
Can we assume my place is better than yours?”
“Safe bet, all things considered. Plus I know where you live now. You want me to surprise you?”
“No, you should call ahead. I’d just rather not step outside the door into this horrid city any more than I have to.”
“Will you reimburse me if I bring dinner?”
“Absolutely. But when you call ahead, ask what I’d like. I have a discriminating palate.”
She patted my stomach. “So I see. Make sure you’ve got something for the microwave in case I decide to wait.”
“Obviously. I’m assuming you won’t come tonight.”
She had started to walk away, now halted and turned, but only her head. “Why?”
“Because I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than unpleasantly surprised.”
Now she turned around fully, putting her hand on her hip as she thrust it out, like she’d been doing the past few hours. I wondered why she did that, what her point was, or whether it was just a natural modeling instinct for her now. “You use psychology throughout your life, or just when it comes to sex?”
“Show up and find out.”
And now I spun the chair away, leaving her standing there and gawking, then laughing as she went back to her original plan of leaving the room, but without the satisfaction of having the last word.