Artist Dreams Ch. 01byLadynStFreknBed©
Special thanks to FernieLyn for taking the time and effort to edit this story.
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The rain tapped on the window as Chloe flipped through her CD case. She made a selection and placed it into her paint-spattered stereo. Her studio apartment was filled with meaning, carried by melody. She approached the challenging blank canvas on her easel.
Chloe closed her eyes and let the music warm her mind before choosing the colors for today's palette. She always allowed the music to dictate her palette when painting to music. This music was slate blue, gray, and mauve, with traces of yellow and white. She prepared her canvas accordingly.
Chloe did not attempt to predict what the music would paint. She gave herself to it. She obeyed it. She translated it for the world to see. Emptying her mind of judgment and expectation, she dipped her brush in the oil paint adorning her palette. Her brush traced the music onto the canvas. Chloe was soon engrossed in the transformation of her paint into art. She would have remained that way for hours if the phone had not interrupted the process.
Setting down her brush and palette, she hit the pause button on her stereo. She wiped her hands on her denim overalls as she rushed to answer her cell phone.
"Hello?" she answered.
Following a brief pause, she continued, "Yes, I still need a model for tomorrow. Ten o'clock will be fine."
A moment later, she concluded the conversation. "Yes, of course. Thank you."
She flipped her phone closed and set it back on the table. Tugging at the strap of her tank top nestled under her overalls, she stood in front of the refrigerator. She grabbed a diet soda and returned to her easel. Snapping on the stereo, Chloe took a deep, cleansing breath before giving her brushes autonomy to create art once again.
The movement to the inspiration was not limited to her brush-wielding hand. She danced. She became one with the creative process. Wavy tassels of red hair slipped from her ponytail. She absentmindedly brushed the hair from her face, streaking blue paint across her cheek.
Stepping back for a full view of the day's work, she stood in awe at the power of music. Music was universal expression. The dance of the soul had graced her that day. She was pleased with the result. Her canvas had almost mystically evolved into an abstract scene of fight, flight, and recovery.
Rinsing her brushes, she was filled with contentment. She took the remainder of her soda with her to her bedroom. Sipping the rest of her soda, she looked in her closet. Making a mental note of what she wanted to wear, she went to the bathroom to take a shower. After scrubbing the paint stains from her body and washing her hair, she emerged from the shower and dried herself.
Chloe returned to her room and dressed in her favorite short skirt and camisole top. Her long, wavy, red hair cascaded over her shoulders. After applying a modest amount of makeup, she grabbed her messenger bag and left the apartment.
Settling into a chair at a local coffee shop, she nodded in acknowledgement of her usual waitress. The waitress brought Chloe a large, spiced chai. Chloe and the waitress chatted before the waitress was forced to attend to other customers.
Chloe retrieved a wire-bound sketchbook, a small collection of drawing pencils, and a gray, kneaded eraser from her messenger bag. She had been using the coffee shop as a studio away from home for several months. Chloe was somewhat insecure about her ability to draw the human form, so she had been practicing. Anyone she saw was a potential, unsuspecting model.
Looking casually at her fellow customers, she caught a glimpse of a petite businesswoman in the corner. From Chloe's vantage point, she could clearly see the woman's conservatively clad form. Though her gray suit was rather boorish, a pink, silk camisole was visible through the opening of the jacket. It was as though it was begging for recognition as a mark of femininity in a man's world.
Chloe's pencils danced across the pages of her sketchbook. The strokes of the pencil followed the curves of her female subject. The gentle slope from her shoulders to her breasts, the elegant line of her neck, the curves of her calves that fell to the prominent ankle and led to her black heels were captured in a series of quick sketches.
Chloe reminded herself that she would be working with a female model tomorrow.
Though she was a little nervous, she looked forward to the opportunity. Chloe did not like to create in the presence of others. She didn't even like friends coming to her apartment if there was a chance they would see unfinished work lying about.
It was not only judgment of inadequacy that she feared. She longed for someone to understand her, to actually see her. But whenever she let someone close, a distance remained no matter how hard she tried to tear down the wall.
The wall was a deep-seated fear. A fear of rejection and a fear of judgment haunted Chloe like a scared, little girl. Like many artists, Chloe was very aware of herself. She knew she had a fear of intimacy. It was just one of the flaws for which she chided herself almost daily.
Chloe packed her art supplies and walked the short distance to her apartment. She wasn't home long when there was a knock at her door. Peering through the peephole before letting in the intruder, she saw the friendly, unassuming face of her sister, Elizabeth. Chloe unlocked the deadbolt and invited her sister into her apartment.
"How are you doing? Mom asked me about you yesterday. Then, I realized that I hadn't even talked to you in almost a month," Elizabeth explained.
"Tell her that I'm fine," Chloe replied.
"Well, I will, but I know that she wants to hear it from you. I wish you'd call her every once in awhile so she'd get off my back about it," Elizabeth said.
"Lizzy, you know what happened between us. She's the one that kicked me out, remember?"
"Yeah, I know," Elizabeth said with a sigh.
They sat on the overstuffed couch and talked for well over an hour. Most of the conversation centered around Elizabeth, as she updated Chloe on the activities of her daughters. Chloe had spent time babysitting her nieces when she lived at home. Now that she was on her own, she rarely connected with her family.
"How's dad?" Chloe asked.
"He's fine. I know he misses you and regrets the distance between you and mom," Elizabeth said.
"Tell him to call me some time when mom isn't home."
"Chloe, really, why don't you just patch things up with mom? You know she loves you. She, well, your announcement about your, well, lifestyle just took her by surprise. That's all. I'm sure you two can work out your differences now," Elizabeth said.
"I'm not ready yet. It hurt, ya know? A mother is supposed to love her daughter, whether she is gay or straight. If I had a daughter, there would be nothing she could do or say that would make me push her away," Chloe said as she fought back the threat of tears. It had been almost a year since her estrangement from her mother, and it still hurt.
"Aw," Elizabeth said and she gave Chloe a hug.
Lizzy stroked Chloe's hair before ending the embrace. They made some sisterly small talk. Elizabeth talked about her relationship with her husband.
"Have you been seeing anyone?" Elizabeth asked.
"No," Chloe said while her gaze drifted to the floor.
Elizabeth touched Chloe's shoulder. "Don't worry. It will happen," she assured her.
Chloe pulled away from her sister's touch. "It doesn't have to. I'm okay."
Lizzy looked questioningly at her sister. "Chloe, I know you. You are not usually alone very long. You need someone to love. It's just the way you are, nothing wrong with that. You are just a loving person."
"I'm not saying that I don't miss having a girlfriend. But, really, I'm okay alone too," Chloe said aloud, trying to convince herself.
"I know," Lizzy said softly. "I probably shouldn't have brought it up. It's none of my business. But, when you do meet someone, I want to meet them, okay? Bring them to dinner at my place."
"Well, of course you will meet her," Chloe laughed. "But, you sound like you're ready to push me into a relationship with the first person I meet."
They both laughed before Lizzy conceded that her invitation did sound a little presumptuous.
"Chloe, some of the family have been asking me about you and what happened between you and mom," Lizzy said solemnly. "I don't feel like it's my place to talk to them about it, but some of them, like Aunt Cindy, seem genuinely concerned."
"Elizabeth, look, please just stall them as much as you can. Tell them I've been really busy participating in art shows, which wouldn't be a lie. After what happened between me and mom, well, I'm not ready to put myself out there like that again. Why should I? I feel like I finally got honest and bared my soul only to get slapped in the face, literally," Chloe explained.
"I understand. I'll do my best to stall them. But, when you feel up to it, maybe you should at least call Aunt Cindy. You know she would show her support for you, especially since mom hasn't," Lizzy postulated.
"I love Aunt Cindy to death. You know that. But, God love her, she has a big mouth. If I tell her, everyone will know," Chloe reasoned.
"Well, at least it would save you the trouble."
"I'll think about it," Chloe said.
"Well, I really better get going. Mark will wonder where I am," Elizabeth said as she stood to leave.
"Hey, what's this about?," Lizzy asked as she passed a stool setting across from Chloe's easel. "Are you painting with models now?"
"Yeah, well, starting tomorrow. There's a female model coming," Chloe explained.
"Hmmm. Ok. Let me know how that goes."
"It's not like it's a date," Chloe laughed.
"Well, I know," Lizzy said as they reached the door. "Call me" were her parting words.
Chloe plopped down on the couch and flicked on the television. After scanning the channels and briefly watching an old sitcom, she decided to call it an early night.
Chloe awoke to the screeching of her alarm. Dressed in a pink tank top and faded overalls, she made herself a quick breakfast. She turned on her favorite morning show and tried to relax. As her program concluded, there was a knock at her door. Chloe felt the knock in the pit of her stomach. She peered at the young, blonde woman on the other side of the peephole before opening the door.
"Hi, I'm Sarah," the woman introduced herself.
"Hi, I'm Chloe. Come on in," she responded.
Sarah was about 5' 6" with long blonde tresses that framed her face and flowed past her shoulders. Her porcelain skin and rose lips were the nature of a classic beauty. Great. She's good looking, Chloe sarcastically thought.
"I have to admit. This is my first time. I have a stool there. I could get the cushions to the couch and drape a plain sheet over them for you to lie on," Chloe said.
Sarah spun around to meet Chloe's green eyes, "You're the boss. Whatever you want. My only rule is that I won't do anything that could be considered porn. Not while you're painting anyway," Sarah said with a natural laugh.
Chloe mustered an almost casual laugh. One would think that Sarah's light joking would have eased Chloe's nerves, but it had just the opposite effect.
"I'm not really sure what I want," Chloe said shakily.
"Well, you have me booked all week. It's not like this is a once and done deal. You can try different positions each day," Sarah suggested.
"Okay, yeah, you're right. Let's try the stool for today then. The bathroom is over there. There's a clean robe hanging behind the door," Chloe informally instructed.
"Okay, I'll be right back."
Chloe watched Sarah walk away from her. She couldn't help but notice her adorable ass.
Stop it! she scolded herself.
Chloe selected a medium canvas and set it on the easel, tightening the screws to hold it in place. As she took out her palette, Sarah emerged wearing Chloe's blue silk robe. Chloe thought the sight of Sarah in her robe was the most erotic scene she had witnessed in months. Sarah's mass of blonde hair, her blue eyes, and fair skin seemed almost angelic.
"You ready for me?" Sarah asked as she gripped the belt of the robe with her fingertips. Sarah stood poised to follow Chloe's direction.
"Um, sure. Why don't you go ahead and pose on the stool while I finish getting ready."
Chloe watched Sarah turn away from her and lower the back of the robe slowly. Chloe regarded the curves of Sarah's back to be the perfect balance between muscular and feminine. Chloe quickly turned to her CD collection and chose some mellow music that she hoped would help her relax.
"Is music okay?" Chloe asked her before inserting the CD.
"You're the boss," Sarah said as she perched, naked, on the edge of the stool. "Is my belly button ring okay, or would you like me to remove it?" Sarah asked, drawing Chloe's attention to Sarah's toned core.
"Oh, um, no, that's fine the way it is. I may or may not include it in the painting," Chloe answered while she tried to focus on selecting her paint.
"Is this position okay?" Sarah asked.
Chloe accepted the necessity of studying Sarah's form. Her eyes studied and scrutinized the lines of the model's shape. Chloe visually adjusted Sarah's position in a variety of ways. She approached Sarah while still focused on the latter's body.
"Well, maybe if you turn just a little more towards the canvas," Chloe suggested.
"Like this?" Sarah said, as she turned to face the canvas almost directly.
"Um, not quite. More like this," Chloe said, as she tentatively touched Sarah's shoulder to show her the angle she desired.
"You want me to arch my back a little bit?" Sarah said, as she thrust her chest out towards Chloe.
"Oh, my. Well, not quite that much. Just slightly," Chloe directed.
With that last bit of instruction, Chloe was satisfied with Sarah's pose. Chloe retreated behind her canvas, all too aware of the moistness she now felt. Chloe trembled as she attempted to capture the first lines of Sarah's form. She took a deep breath and tried again.
"Is something wrong?" Sarah asked.
"Oh, I guess I am just a little nervous. I'm not used to having people here while I work. I guess that must seem pretty stupid for me to be nervous," Chloe explained.
"Not at all. It makes sense to be nervous when you do something you aren't used to. One of my friends always says that success only happens when you step out of your comfort zone," Sarah said encouragingly.
Chloe took another deep breath and concentrated on trying to copy Sarah's body. Her lines were visibly unsure. Chloe thought she was going to cry; not even the music helped to make her at ease.
"Maybe we should just relax and talk for a few minutes," Sarah suggested.
With a sigh, Chloe agreed. She turned off the stereo and walked over to Sarah who was draping the robe on her shoulders. Sarah let the robe hang open. Chloe's gaze followed the supple, inner curves of Sarah's breast down to her stomach to her thighs. She forced herself to look at Sarah in the face. Sarah had her head cocked slightly as she had been watching Chloe admire her body.
"Sorry," Chloe whispered.
"Don't be," Sarah said as she stepped forward towards Chloe. She took both of Chloe's hands in her own. "Now, what can we do to help you relax?"
Immediately, Chloe's mind went to sex. It had been far too long since she had a lover. Even then, her lover was more of a playmate than the best friend she longed for. She chastised herself for her sexual thoughts.
Sarah kept holding one of Chloe's hands and led her to the overstuffed couch. They sat close to each other. Sarah pulled the robe closed and reclined into the comfort of the couch. Her thigh was against Chloe's. Sarah continued to hold Chloe's hand. Their hands rested on top of Sarah's hip.
"Ooh, this is nice," Sarah said. "I feel relaxed. Now, how can I help you relax?"
"This is pathetic. Sorry," Chloe apologized.
"Shhh.. don't talk like that," Sarah scolded. "Will you show me some of your work?"
"Oh, I don't know," Chloe said.
"Oh, come on," Sarah prodded.
With a sigh, Chloe got up and Sarah followed her to a series of paintings decorating the wall on the other side of her apartment. She reluctantly showed Sarah the paintings, naming them as she pointed them out.
"You're talented," Sarah commented.
"Thanks," Chloe replied, more from manners than from meaning. This was not because she was rude, but because she doubted the sincerity and truth of statements such as Chloe's.
Sarah studied Chloe. "You don't believe me," she confronted Chloe.
"It's fine. A lot of people say that I'm talented just to be nice. It's the proper, well-mannered response," Chloe replied.
"Did you ever consider that they might be telling the truth?" Sarah asked.
"Not really," Chloe said. "There are a lot of artists who are much more talented."
"Hmmm... I don't believe in degrees of talent among artists. You're either artistically talented or your talent lies elsewhere. Artists are more or less as talented as each other. They are just different," Sarah theorized.
Chloe disagreed with Sarah's statement, but she appreciated the model's perspective.
"So, what do you think is stopping you from painting me? You obviously have the talent," Sarah asked.
"I guess I'm just nervous... afraid of making a mistake or not being able to do it. When I paint these, I paint the music that I listen to. There's no right or wrong to painting the music. I'm just painting as the music moves me," Chloe explained.
"Okay, then let me be your music," Sarah suggested.
"Let my body inspire you like music does."
Immediately, an angelic depiction of Sarah flashed before her.
"Come on," Chloe said enthusiastically as she took Sarah's hand and rushed her to the stool. Sarah smiled as she took the previous position.
"Same position?" Sarah asked.
"Not quite. Can you lean backwards a bit? Hold the stool from behind you and lean back. Yes! That's it!" Chloe coached as Sarah assumed the position Chloe described.
Chloe quickly cleared her palette and added mounds of warm colors and white. She coated a large brush with an earthy brown. Chloe began painting the background. She added varying shades of yellows, greens, and burnt sienna.
"Can you tilt your head back a little and bend your knee a bit, lifting it up? Yes, the one farther from me. I could go get the cushions. You might be more comfortable that way," Chloe requested.
Sarah responded by adjusting her position accordingly. "No, I'm fine."
Chloe took delight in portraying the lovely curves of Sarah's body. She used light beiges and subtle pinks to duplicate the model's essence. In the painting, Sarah's golden hair was framed by white light. Her gaze was tilted upwards a bit, but more in submission than haughtiness. Within the hour, Chloe finished the painting in a frenzied pace. When she had finished, she realized that she had forgotten to turn on the stereo. She hadn't needed it.
Chloe stepped back, admiring the beauty of the subject. She stood in awe and appreciation, not at her talent, but at her inspiration.
"Can I see now?" Sarah asked.
Chloe nodded. Sarah hopped down from the stool and joined Chloe. Sarah stood naked next to her admirer. A smile overtook Sarah's countenance as she studied the painting. In an impulsive gesture, Sarah wrapped her arms around Chloe's neck and kissed her. Chloe, surprised at first, started to pull back, but then yielded herself to the kiss. Chloe's lips pressed into Sarah's soft invitation. Chloe let out a whisper of a moan as she pulled Sarah's nakedness closer.
When they parted, it felt as if it was too soon for both. However, no amount of time would have satisfied them at that moment. Sarah reached up and gently traced the side of Chloe's cheek.