Tidal Wave on a Blind DatebyRogue Writer©
She looked down at her body and back up at me. "Still, this is a little presumptuous, isn't it?"
"Not as much as when you spoke of our plans later."
I could practically see Josie's face light up with the realization that she'd done that. Her mouth opened wide and she said, "Oh..." in a long drawn out fashion as she brought her lips together. Her eyes conveyed the rest of the statement, which was "...shit." When she was done with that she smiled and said, "I'm just batting a thousand tonight. Look, I'm sorry, I just...I don't know...figured sex, a good thing, what we're all striving for here. Least, that's what I was striving for, hoped it's what you were striving for. I mean, you let me drag you back here, we're in PJ's, all comfortable and ready for bed, kinda halfway there already...."
As Josie dropped the food at the table she watched me. I stared at her with a non-committal look on my face. She threw up her hands and said, "Oh come on! Help me out here...am I saving myself or just digging a bigger hole?"
I started chuckling. "I'm not sure, but it's fun watching you try."
She smirked. "You're getting too much enjoyment out of my pain." Josie turned and walked back to retrieve her clothing while my eyes tracked her the entire way. She said, "I suppose it's too late to warn you that I say what's on my mind. And that I'm a little impulsive."
"A little?" I said. When she leaned over to pick up her PJ's I was mesmerized by her ass. I enjoyed what I saw until I looked back up and saw Josie looking over her shoulder at me and smiling. So I looked away.
Josie started laughing. "You're blushing!"
I dropped my head and stared at the couch. "No I'm not."
She walked purposefully across the room. "Yes you are! You embarrass easy!"
I opened my mouth to say something, stopped, and sighed, conceding her point. Josie started pulling food out of the bags with a giddy smile, and began singing, "I know something about you now, I know something about you..." until she suddenly stopped and an angry look crossed her face. "Where are the egg rolls?"
I looked at the food covering the table. "They must have forgotten them."
Josie grabbed the phone and a piece of paper sitting on the table. She started dialing a number written on it. "Luckily I keep Ben's cell phone number around."
I said, "It's no big deal. My hips can live without them."
"No. This is unacceptable. I tip too well for this kind of treatment." I heard someone answer on the other line. "Ben! This is Josie. We are egg rolless! Where are my egg rolls?" A pause, then, "Well they do me no good when they're on your counter. I need them on my counter, ASAP...because you do not end a meal with egg rolls, they start the meal, that's why they're on the appetizer portion of your menu...I know you're busy, I know it's raining out, but egg rolls were promised, egg rolls were paid for, and egg rolls need to be in my tummy!" A longer pause, and then, "Tell you what, make us your next stop back and I'll have my friend nude tip you."
My eyes widened. I held up my hands and shook them and my head as violently as I could as I whispered, "No, no, no, no, no".
Josie looked me in the eyes and smiled. "She'd love to do it for you." I raised my voice with the no's, but the look in Josie's eyes said that volume wasn't the problem. "Okay, cool, see you in ten." Josie hung up the phone.
"What the hell is wrong with you? I am not nude tipping this guy!"
"First of all, we don't have the time or the psychiatric degrees to fully understand what's wrong with me. And second, you are nude tipping this guy."
"Remember a few minutes ago, the part where I embarrass easy!"
"And we'll soon have you cured of that."
"Who says I want to be cured?"
Josie pointed a finger at me. "People like you never think they need to be cured because they don't know they have the disease." She shook her head. "You're a classic case. Be glad I got to you early."
I stopped, took a breath, tried to compose myself, and calmly said, "It's simple. Embarrassment equals I am not nude tipping this guy."
"But as I mentioned before you also have a dirty mind behind that innocent face. Your embarrassment is covering something."
I froze. It sounded so logical, like when my therapist hits me with something deep. Ben must really have wanted to see me naked, because suddenly the phone rang. An excited look came over Josie's face. She answered it and hit the button to buzz him in. "Decision time. And you look like you're right on the fence. Are you going to do it?"
I was in a panic. "I don't know." And I really didn't. The thought of doing it was turning me on, but I kept thinking about the embarrassment I'd feel afterwards.
As if reading my mind, Josie held out a finger and said, "It's not as embarrassing if it's around people you don't know. I'm the only one here you know, and I want you to do it!"
There was a knock at the door. I looked at it, then back at Josie. She was smiling, the kind of smile that people would kill for. Another knock. I smiled back, got up and took off the pajamas. Josie's eyes widened as she said, "Oh, mama."
Completely naked now, I felt every inch of my body tingling with fear and sexual energy as Josie looked at me. That feeling increased tenfold as I looked up at the door. I took a deep breath and slowly let it out as I marched up to the door with a smile still on my face and opened it. My smile dropped. There was no Ben. Only two young men, one with blonde hair and the other with red hair, dressed identically in black rain slickers, white button down shirts and slacks. The blonde held a Bible, and the redhead held a handful of pamphlets.
I was standing stark naked in front of two Mormon missionaries.
The blonde quickly held up the Bible to cover his eyes while the redhead just stood there, his eyes wide and staring at my body. His jaw was hanging open and a whiny moan emanated from his mouth. I heard Josie cry out in laughter.
"Miss," the blonde said. "Could you please put some clothes on?"
From behind the couch Josie yelled, "We're doing laundry!"
Another whiny moan came from the redhead. He was looking at my body like this was the first time he'd seen a naked woman, which was probably the case. The blonde soldiered on. "Okay...well, uh, have you heard the good word Miss?"
Again Josie yelled, "No she hasn't! Tell her all about it!"
"Well, here in the Book of Mormon," he gave the book covering his eyes a shake. "The good word is..."
That came from Ben, who walked up behind the Mormons holding a bag. "This was totally worth the rush!" he said.
Suddenly I heard myself scream, "Give me the fucking egg rolls!" Ben's smile dropped as he held up the bag and I snatched it from him. I looked at the redhead. "Give me a fucking pamphlet!" Red looked up at my face for the first time and held out a pamphlet. I grabbed it and slammed the door in their faces.
I heard a cackle and turned around. The boiling anger I felt was increased tenfold by the sight of Josie laying on the floor next to the couch, her eyes squeezed shut, body doubled over and both hands holding her stomach because she was laughing so hard.
"That was fucking priceless!!"
After dropping the pamphlet and the egg rolls on the floor I stormed into the bedroom. I took my dress off the hanger and struggled into it, which was twice as hard as earlier because it was still wet. I got into my shoes and jacket, grabbed my purse and walked up the hallway. In the living room Josie had recovered from her laughing fit and was leaning up on the couch. She took one look at me and the merriment on her face dropped into confused disappointment. "Where are you going?"
"Wait a second!" Josie was on her feet and across the room before I got to the door, which she threw herself in front of like she was holding off an attack of Huns.
I stopped. "Let me out."
Josie held her palms out in front of her. "Hang on. Hang on one second, just hear me out."
I crossed my arms. "Okay."
"But first you need to do something." Without a hint of irony in her voice and a confused look on her face, she asked, "Tell me what exactly you're angry about?"
I dropped my arms and stared at her in disbelief. "How about the fact that you humiliated me?" I started towards the door but Josie threw herself against it again.
"Okay! Okay!" She took a breath. "Let me ask you this, and think about it before you answer. If I humiliated you so badly and you hated it so much, tell me one thing..."
I crossed my arms again. "What?"
"Why didn't you shut the door as soon as you saw they were Mormons?"
My mouth opened, but not because I had something to say. Suddenly I realized that I'd stood there the whole time and done nothing.
"You were turned on weren't you?"
I shook my head. "No."
"Yes! Yes you were! Admit it! It turned you on to be naked in front of them."
I bit my lip in frustration. She was right and I couldn't argue that. "Fine, maybe I was. But you laughed at me. And you made it go on even longer."
"Because it was funny! I mean c'mon, you open the door naked and there's MISSIONARIES standing there! That's a once in a lifetime event. Somewhere in the universe stars had to align to make that happen!" I felt a smile start to form on my face. Josie continued. "And think about it, of all the people in the world it could've happened to, it happened to YOU! That's a great story to tell!"
The smile dropped as I gave her a glaring look.
"...once you've had some time and distance from the embarrassment of it. But c'mon, you have to laugh at yourself some." Josie bent down, picked up the pamphlet and held it out towards me. "And look, you even get a keepsake! I guarantee you, months from now you'll look at it and laugh."
My smile started to come back. I took the pamphlet and said, "I guess it was kind of funny."
Josie smiled, put her arms around me and drew me in for a kiss. It was short but had some heat to it. She pulled away and said, "You're learning. Now let's eat before the food gets cold."
"Okay, but first...could you help me get out of this dress? I think it's stuck to me."
During dinner we stared out of the large picture window admiring how the rainstorm continued to assault the city. It had intensified, with the wind blowing hard and the sky flashing with lighting. But it was fun to watch, being inside all safe and cozy. As she stuffed her mouth with noodles, Josie said, "It's funny, you embarrass easy but you were wearing that dress tonight."
"What about my dress?"
"You know...it's sexy."
"Kind of the point. But it isn't slutty."
"No. Someone like you wouldn't do slutty. But you were pushing your envelope."
Again I fell silent. Josie wagged a finger at me. "There's a dirty side to you that wants out, I can tell."
She left it at that for a while. We ate some more and talked about Josie's living situation. After graduating from art school Josie got a job doing graphic design at a medium-sized company to earn a living while she painted. But after two years she became bored with the work and between the stress and long hours of the job her painting had become uninspired. A conversation with her parents changed all that. They said if she was serious about wanting to be a painter she should stop 'dicking around' with the corporate world and dedicate herself to her work.
The next day Josie quit her job and ever since she's been earning minimum wage at coffee shops while she worked on creating paintings and getting them seen. She was fired from her last job for giving away free coffee to the homeless people whom the manager had been trying to keep away from the store and his corporate level clientele. That kept her and Fearie living on friend's couches and occasionally squatting in abandoned buildings. We were finishing up eating when I said, "So I have five questions for Josie...shit, I'm sorry. I forgot your last name."
"Josie Carter. Question number one...how did you get a cab so fast on a night like tonight?"
"Resourcefulness. Where was I waiting for you?"
Clueless, I said, "In a hotel bar..." then I smiled as I wised up. "You walked into the lobby and out the front door like you were a guest."
Josie looked gleefully proud of herself. "The doorman got right on it for me. Besides, cabs haunt those high class hotels."
"And how old are you?"
"Twenty-five. I'm not old enough to want to lie yet."
I shot her a nasty look. "And how often do you talk to your family?"
"Whenever I can. Part of its money, but also my parents reunited the punk band they used to play with so sometimes they're hard to reach, busy playing gigs or practicing. They live in Cleveland, Ohio by the way. And my brother does real estate stuff in Chicago. Has a wife, two kids, house in the suburbs. He's the black sheep of the family."
"Where did you get Fearie?"
"Found the poor thing on the street."
That explained plenty. "What made you want to be a painter?"
"Easy way to get women naked in front of me."
I'm sure I looked startled.
"I'm kidding...mostly. No, when I first saw Edward Hopper's stuff, like New York Movie, Automat, Office in a Small City, A Woman in the Sun, they just hit me so hard and I could feel exactly where he was going. He captured the spaces in between the things you'd normally look for in a subject. I still feel his stuff, you know, like, here we are in one of the biggest cities on the Earth and there's days when I feel like the loneliest person, no one talks to me, no one pays attention to me. I can..." at that point she came out of her reverie and she was looking at me again. "...I can obviously go on for hours about this stuff."
"You've got lots of passion. Can I see some of your work?"
Suddenly there was a devious smile. "Even better...how'd you like to be one of my works?"
The second bedroom of the apartment had been converted into an office, which Josie had apparently taken over and started using as a studio. The ceiling in this room was extra high as well, giving it a very spacious look, and the window was obviously left over from the building's factory days. It was extra wide and split into two sections, a smaller lower section that looked like it pivoted open on a hinge, and the rest of it stretched almost to the ceiling. There was a settee in the center of the room, and an easel surrounded by small silver paint cans and a table covered with different brushes. Leaning against the wall in a corner were three canvasses stacked up against each other. I went over and looked. Two were nudes, one of a man and woman together and the other of just a woman, and the last I recognized as the view out of the room's window during daytime.
"My buddy Don has the rest of my work stored at his place, that way I don't have to move them every time I do."
"This is really good," I said, admiring her realistic style with hard lines and vibrant coloring. It was easy to see that Hopper influenced her.
"Thanks. Now take off your clothes."
I looked up from her paintings. "Take off what?"
"You seriously think I'm going to paint such an attractive woman wearing someone else's PJ's?"
"Oh." I said. The first immediate thought was to back out of it, but instead I figured why not? I've already exposed myself to religious missionaries and a horny delivery guy. Taking in a deep breath, I turned around and started stripping. I could hear Josie working on getting her stuff ready. After the PJ's were off, my brain had one more thought about how crazy this was. I went on a blind date and ended up naked in the apartment of some stranger I've never even met, about to have my nude body committed to canvas. I shut my eyes tight and took another deep breath. Then I turned.
Josie was naked too. She held a color palette and was selecting brushes. Mimicking Josie's tone from earlier I said, "Oh mama."
She looked up. "Ah, sorry, should have warned you. I always work in the nude. Helps keep me centered."
For a second I thought she was just doing it to make me more comfortable. Either way I didn't mind the view. When she was nude tipping earlier I noticed that Josie had several tattoos but now I was able to get a good look at them. There was a line of Chinese going down her back that translated to "Live, Love, Paint", on her left hip was 'In Voluptate Mors', the Salvador Dali work that was seven naked women formed into a human skull, a ring of stars created an anklet on her left ankle and when she turned I saw she had "Pucker Up" tattooed on her right butt cheek. When she turned I noticed her muff was shaved in a strange pattern. It looked like two dots and a line, and at first it was hard to make out what it was. The line was bowed down in the middle, and there was another short line at each end of the big one. Suddenly I burst out laughing.
"Did you shave your pubic hair into a smiley face?"
Josie chuckled as she stuck out her hips. "It's my latest work. Like it?" Then she went to the stereo, turned it on and hit play. Jazz poured out of the speakers. "Okay," she said, "if you wouldn't mind, sit on the settee." I laughed and parked my butt. She said, "Now chose a pose."
I opened my mouth and eyes wide and threw my arms and legs into the air. Josie shook her head, rolled her eyes and mumbled to herself, "Now she lightens up." Looking straight at me she said, "Do you really want to hold that pose for such a long period of time?"
I dropped everything. "You're no fun. How do you want me?"
She thought for a second and then came over to help position me. When she was done I was sitting angled towards the canvas with my left side against the back of the settee, so most of the front of my body was facing Josie. My left leg was bent at the knee with my foot behind my right leg, which lay straight out. She told me to look towards the window, stood back, smiled satisfactorily, and jumped behind the canvas.
Josie worked for a while and I just sat there. Stuck looking out the window I could see over a few smaller buildings until there was a much taller building, the same view as from the living room. The taller building looked like housed apartments, almost half of which had lights on, which wasn't surprising on a night like tonight. The storm raged on, with lighting and thunder and rain all working in unison to make it miserable for anyone stuck out there. Again I was thankful to be inside. I started thinking about all the unfortunate homeless souls out there, cowering wherever they could to steel themselves against the rain and cold. A week ago I got a mailer from a group helping the homeless asking for money, and I left it sitting under a pile of bills vowing that I'd give if I had any extra next month. At that moment I decided to write a check as soon as I got home. Then I thought of Fearie and that made me think of all the poor homeless animals stuck out there too, so I vowed to give to an organization for that as well. Great, I was going to be broke by the end of the month.
Suddenly Josie said, "You can talk if you want to."
"Oh, okay. I just figured I needed to stay super still."
"Your body and your head yes. But I'll let you know when I get to your mouth."
"Fine. So, um..." I struggled to think of a decent conversation to have while one is being painted in the nude.
Finally Josie said, "So how about five more questions for Gretchen Wang?"
"I got a better idea. How about tit for tat?"
"I mean lets go back and forth. I'll go first. Is that Miles Davis on the stereo?"
"Ah," I said. "So now you know I'm a super Jazz expert."
Josie laughed. "Okay, um...how old were you when you had your first kiss?"
I sighed. "I was sixteen, and it was with this girl named Tracy Campbell. She really knew how to kiss and I really didn't. So who or what got you into jazz?"