A Creative Challenge Ch. 25byPvidal©
"Let's go home, Sam."
"We've only a few more days. We'll be home soon."
"I mean now. Today."
"I thought you liked this place. I thought you were enjoying it."
"I do. I am."
"Then what's the problem?"
"I don't want to get to like it too much. I want to get out of here. You know me, Sam. Impulsive is my middle name."
"OK. If you want to go home, we'll go home."
Amy was sitting next to me on the sofa later that afternoon, with her head on my shoulder. She had been very quiet, but I knew it wasn't just that she was blissed out after a sex-induced dopamine high, she seemed more thoughtful somehow. When I agreed to do what she asked without arguing, she leaned back and looked at me quizzically, as if she had been expecting more resistance. Then she leaned forwards and kissed me, very tenderly.
I didn't argue with her, because I didn't want to make her explain her reasons. As soon as she raised the subject of going home early I immediately jumped to the worst conclusion. If I was right, and there was no other way to explain it, then getting both of us out of there as soon as I could was as much in my interests as it was in hers.
I had quickly realized that it wasn't this place that she didn't want to get too fond of, it was one of the people in it. Something had clicked between her and Buckingham. She knew it, he knew it, and I was pretty sure Marlee knew it. I was the only one who hadn't been conscious of it until just then, and it was bothering Amy enough for her to want to conceal it from me.
I guessed she could feel that something powerful was happening between her and our butler, and the fact that she wanted to run away from that meant that she wasn't able to just play with him any more, she wasn't able to enjoy the experience with him as just another wild impulse. It meant that she was afraid of becoming committed to this other person, of losing control of her emotions and her independence.
I was less bothered by her attraction to Buckingham than by the fact that she had no such fear of commitment while she was with me, and still wanted me to take her home. The foundations of my current happiness were crumbling, but perhaps the façade would stay up a little longer if I could turn my back on the earthquake and pretend it didn't exist.
I had my reasons for not wanting to talk about her sudden change of plan, and Amy had hers. And neither of us wanted to talk about why we didn't want to talk about them.
I got us onto the first flight I could get that was going in our direction, and we left early on the morning after our intense drawing session. I signed and dated the eight drawings, and left them on the bed as a gift to Marlee and Buckingham with an apologetic 'goodbye and thank you' note. Greta would have been mortified, but I really didn't want them, and I had no intention of going to the trouble of trying to get them home in one piece.
Jimmy took us to the airport, and was somewhat surprised that Amy didn't do anything at all embarrassing during the journey. She had become something of a legend among the resort staff, and a subdued and pensive Amy was not what he was expecting.
"Did you folks not enjoy your stay at Fantasia?" asked Jimmy as he helped us out of the limo.
"No, we had a fine time. We really did," I assured him. "We have some urgent business to take care of at home, that's all."
That was a feeble lie, because Buckingham knew that we had no phone or computer with us, and the other resort staff would know that they had received no messages for us of any kind, but I was not inclined to offer any other explanation to Jimmy. I told him we would be back for another vacation as soon as we could. Another lie.
During the flight, Amy pushed the armrest up and snuggled in to me for most of the flight. She was making an effort to be her usual affectionate self, but her provocative, mischievous edge wasn't there.
"We said we'd come back at night, so we could join the mile-high club right here, didn't we?" she said at one point.
"I'm already a fully paid up member," I said. "And I don't know about you, but I think we earned our membership in the MHC Hall of Fame on the way over."
"It will be getting cold back home. Soon be Christmas," she said without enthusiasm.
"Overcoats and thermal underwear. What fun."
"I don't think so. Central heating and bare bodies as usual indoors, pleated wool skirt and riding coat whenever we leave the house."
"You still want to make my tired old fantasies a reality, then?"
"Of course." Amy said the right words but they didn't seem to me to have the same joyful naughtiness they would have before.
Home seemed much colder than before we went to Jamaica. We had become very used to the comfortable freedom of tropical warmth in only a few days, and by comparison our part of the world was that much more wet, and cold, and grey. Greta was happy we were back, but it still took both of us several days to find the energy to heat the studio up and get back into the everyday routine of doing some work. Neither of us talked about what happened in Jamaica.
I wanted to find a way in my art to go past the exploration of the erotic games that Amy had been playing out in front of me on her podium. I wanted to include other facets of her personality besides her sexuality, which had been our entire focus for some months. I wanted to capture more of what I loved about her, which was not visible on the surface of her at all, but was in the goodness of her heart, the kindness of her soul, and the freedom of her spirit. I didn't have any idea at first how to do that, but all my work with her so far now seemed trivial. It was full of erotic energy, but as my feelings for her had deepened, the art we had produced now seemed shallow in every other way.
I felt a pressure to capture the essence of her quickly, as if it was about to disappear.
I found myself concentrating on her face, so that every piece I started, no matter what the physical pose, turned into a portrait. Her face became for me a window to her inner nature, and I wrestled more and more with the subtleties of the meanings in the fleeting expressions that crossed and recrossed her countenance. Her nakedness in these portraits was almost incidental to the main subject. Her lack of clothes only revealed her body. It was the other less visible masks that I was trying to peel away. I wanted to reveal everything that made her who she was.
The problem with trying to achieve subtle and ephemeral goals is that it is very hard to tell when you are successful. I could look at our earlier work and the excitement in my genitals would tell me how well the piece worked. With the newer, more observant and contemplative works, it was more difficult to judge how close I was getting, or even if I was making progress at all, so I found the task very frustrating.
Amy tried to understand what I was doing, and she tried to help me find a way to do it, but she was less of a creative participant now than she had been before, because I was on such a subjective path of discovery. She sensed how important she had become to me, and was pleased to be held in such high esteem, but the intensity of my determination was spooking her a little, and working with me in the studio wasn't bringing us closer together as it had in the past. If anything, it was making her more distant, and was becoming a barrier between us.
My search for a way to represent how I saw the real Amy was like chasing a butterfly. The harder I chased it, the more it eluded my grasp. If I could have been more patient, the solution may have simply presented itself to me, like a butterfly that comes and sits on your shoulder when you stop chasing it, but my sense of urgency drove me to keep up the pursuit.
Amy had gone to lectures at college one morning when Greta rang me to ask if she could stop by the studio to see me. She had a publishing contract for me to sign, and I was keen to get her opinion of my latest work so that was fine with me.
I had only completed about six pieces since we had been away that I was happy to show her, and she looked at each of them in turn as I brought them out, carefully, and in silence.
"Oh dear, Sammy, you have a bad dose of it, don't you?" she said sadly.
"Are they that bad?"
"No, they're brilliant. I don't know how well they'll sell, but they're ....different.
"Greta, you know Amy pretty well. Do these pictures really get who she is? Don't bullshit me."
Greta thought carefully before answering this difficult question.
"They're very intense, I'll give you that. The thing is, Sam, do YOU really get who she is? Amy's a free spirit like neither of us have ever known before, and here you're trying to analyse her and define her, and nail her to your canvas. It's like you're trying to possess her emotionally."
"Is that what she told you?"
"Not in so many words. But that was the general drift. She dropped in at the gallery yesterday."
"She's always been able to talk to me. Why didn't she say something?"
"Perhaps she did. Maybe you're not listening."
Had I been so wrapped in my own obsession with Amy that I was no longer receptive to her real needs? Was I trying to own Amy through my art without realizing what I was doing? Perhaps Greta was right.
"You can't possess her Sam. Let her go. If she comes back, she's yours..."
"... and if she doesn't, she never was. I know the saying. Greta, I never thought I'd hear you of all people sound like a fifty cent greetings card."
"Don't laugh at me, Sam, clichés are clichés because they're true. Do you want my honest advice?"
"It's why you came to see me, isn't it? You didn't come to see the new pictures."
"I came because I care about both of you. You make Amy happy because you let her be provocative and outrageous, you give her the courage to push her own boundaries, you don't judge her or censure her or try to control her, and your appreciation of her makes her feel better about herself. But now she's starting to feel smothered and possessed. If she ever starts to feel trapped, you'll never know about it, because I'm telling you now, she'll be long gone."
"What should I do?"
"Sammy, I think you should lighten up. You're taking her... this... everything too seriously. Play more."
Greta was right. Thinking back, Amy was at her best and happiest when we were just playing, especially when she was deliberately flouting the rules of conventional behaviour just for the hell of it. My work was also a form of play to me, but lately it had just been work to her.
By the time Amy came home, I had been out shopping and I had a couple of surprises for her.
"Are you hungry?" I asked her, almost before she had stripped off her college campus clothes and dropped the worn old jeans and t-shirt in the laundry basket.
"Starving," she said. "but I don't want to cook. Let's get a takeaway delivered."
"You just want to give some poor delivery boy a treat when you open the door naked, don't you?"
"I have to admit, I do love to see their faces."
"I heard that the delivery boys at Pizza Napoli had a fight in the carpark over which one of them got to deliver our last order."
"Did they?" The thought of that brightened her up, but then she realized I was making it up.
"If I was seventeen and pimply and delivering in this neighbourhood, I'd KILL for the chance to ogle your tits."
"Would you really?"
"I would, but I would much rather be me, taking you out somewhere very nice for dinner tonight. With, of course, a chance to ogle your tits."
It was good to see her smiling again.
"Sam, are you offering me a romantic dinner somewhere classy?"
"More than that. I intend to be in the best restaurant in town tonight and watch someone have a heart attack and fall off their bar stool when you walk in. I expect every man in the place who survives your entrance to be in lust with you before we get past the hors d'oeuvres, and I want you to make the cynical old head waiter drop an expensive bottle of wine on his foot when you shine your eyes on him. Then I want to be so horny I have to undress you and eat your pussy in the elevator on the way up to our suite where we will drink champagne and I will make love to you until you beg me to stop."
"How does that sound?"
She walked over to me, grasped my hand and turned it palm up, then took my middle finger and wiped it up the inside of her pussy lips towards her clit. She was already wet enough to fuck, and she held the now slippery finger up to my lips for me to suck.
"Will this answer do?"
I'll take that as a 'yes'," I said.
My description of what was to happen later this evening had had an enlarging effect on part of my anatomy, and still looking me in the eye, she took hold of it with her other hand.
"Would you like me to put this away somewhere warm and cosy now, or do you want to eat first?"
What a choice to offer a man! If I had been her age, I wouldn't have thought twice. When you're young you can always have the bird in the hand as well as the two in the bushes later. In her uncannily telepathic way, Amy immediately understood my momentary hesitation and stopped stroking my cock.
"No, park that thought, Sam, I'm too hungry. Omigod, what am I going to wear?"
"Here's my suggestion. There's a cab waiting outside to take you to the Regency Hyatt. Tell them at the desk who you are, someone will take you to our suite. What I hope you would like to wear tonight is on the bed. The hotel has someone from their salon standing by to come up and help you with your hair and make-up – they'll have whatever you need. I'll meet you in the bar of the Pinnacle Restaurant on the top floor as soon as you're ready. But it's only a suggestion."
She put her arms around my neck and kissed me gently and slowly.
"Welcome back, Sam. Where have you been?"