All in a Day's WorkbyTxRad©
"So, what are you going to do for a living?" Vivian asked the young man who was visiting along with her son from college.
"I'm retired," Paul Redman replied with a grin.
"Uh, you're kind of young for that aren't you?" Vivian asked in confusion.
"Yes ma'am, I am."
Vivian's son, Cal, said, "Paul was a millionaire by the time he graduated high school."
"More like five million," Paul corrected.
"Five million by the time you graduated high school! You must be some kind of a genius," Vivian said in shock. She had never met anyone worth that much money.
"It was just luck," Paul said shyly. "I was playing around on my computer and came up with a program to streamline and synchronize robotic commands."
"Do you remember the fighting robot, Paul and I worked on back in high school?" Cal asked his mother.
"Sort of. I remember you talking excitedly about something to do with a robot but that's about it. At the time, I was more worried about keeping you in school, housed, and fed. Your father never did get any life insurance."
Cal frowned at the mention of his father. "Yeah, one big screw up after another," he said under his breath.
Vivian looked at her son sharply. "Don't be talking about him like that. He was a good man and did the best he could."
"Mom, he was a diver on the off shore drilling rigs. It's a dangerous job. Not having insurance for his family was irresponsible."
Vivian sighed and shook her head. Looking at Paul she asked, "Are you going to college with Cal?"
"What are you majoring in?"
"You mean besides, naked girls," Cal said with a chuckle.
Paul blushed and said, "I'm studying Art. I want to learn to draw and then to paint. It's something I've loved since I was five and my mother got me one of those paint by numbers kits of a farm scene."
"Hey, I remember that painting. It hung on your bedroom wall forever. I didn't know you painted it. I thought you bought it."
"Yeah, I painted it, if you can call following the directions and staying inside the lines painting."
"Everyone has to start somewhere," Vivian said smiling.
Paul nodded. "I'm taking Art appreciation and two drawing classes."
"Yeah, and I know the one you enjoy the most," Cal said with a big grin.
"Like, you wouldn't?" Paul asked his friend with a similar grin.
"I'd enjoy it as much as you do, even if I can't draw a lick."
"What class are you two talking about?" Vivian asked.
"Uh, it's a, uh, an anatomy type class." Paul replied with a blush.
Cal laughed. "That's a good way of saying they sit around drawing pictures of nude models."
"Hey, it's hard work," Paul protested. "Do you have any idea how many muscles make up a persons body and how they are all different? Not to mention how different they look on different people."
"It's a dirty job but someone has to do it, right," Cal said with a laugh.
"Cal, that's not fair. You know I take my drawing seriously, as seriously as you take your math and science."
"I had a nude drawing done of me one time," Vivian said with a faraway look in her eye.
"What!" Cal said with shock in his voice.
"Your face has good bone structure. You would make a very good model," Paul said softly.
"Hey, that's my mom you're talking about," Cal protested.
"I was told that before but it was many years ago. The bones may be good but time hasn't been good to me," Vivian said ignoring her son.
"Time has just added character to classic beauty," Paul told her.
Vivian grinned at Paul. "You're about as smooth a talker as that other guy was."
"But could he draw? Now, there is the question. Do you still have the picture?"
"It's in the attic, I think. I hid it there when I lived here with mother, back in my early college years. She would not have approved at all. A lot of other stuff was moved up there when mom died and we moved back home. I have no idea where it would be."
"Maybe Cal and I could have a look later," Paul said looking at his friend.
"Yeah right, like I want to see a picture of my mother nude."
Paul laughed. "You sure don't have any problem looking at my drawings from class and some of those ladies are someone's mother."
"Yeah, but they are not my mother."
"Is there something wrong with your mother?" Vivian asked with raised eyebrows.
"Uh, well, no, but seeing you naked just isn't right."
"Uh huh, but looking at other woman naked is. Is that what you're saying?" Paul asked.
Cal looked from Paul to his mom and back again. "Well, uh, no, but they are not my mother."
Vivian grinned and said, "I think some lunch is in order."
After lunch, the picture was forgotten as the boys ended up in the garage rehashing stories and times with Cal's robot. Vivian finished some laundry and ended up in the living room reading. She lost track of time in the book and was startled when Cal called to her as he headed for the front door.
"I'll see you later, I have a date tonight."
Vivian started to ask what time he would be home but changed it to, "Have a good time and be careful." Cal was almost twenty and she had to force herself to remember that. Where had the time gone?
"I'm always careful, mom. Never prudent but always careful." Cal replied with a wave and a big grin as he went out the door.
Vivian sighed and returned to her book. As she read, something nagged at the back of her mind. Finally, she closed the book and sat looking across the room, deep in thought. Then she realized that Paul had not been with Cal. That thought reminded her of the picture.
Several hours later, Vivian still had not found the drawing. She sat down in her moms old rocker and propped her bare feet up on a trunk. She took a moment to fan her long skirt and then the bottom of her blouse. The attic was hot and she should have changed before coming up.
"Did you find it?" Paul asked with just his head sticking through the floor where the stairs led up to the attic. He had a grin on his face. Vivian was sitting at an angle that had given him a good view of her bare thighs as she fanned the skirt. She had damn nice legs for an older lady.
Vivian had jumped at the sound of Paul's voice. She had forgotten he was downstairs. "Uh, no. There is just too much junk and it was so long ago."
"It couldn't have been that long ago," Paul said softly.
"It was before Cal was born." Vivian paused and frowned. "You had to remind me, I'll be forty next month."
"You don't look forty. Do you feel forty?" Paul asked climbing on up the stairs.
Vivian watched the tall young man, as he appeared to emerge from the floor. He was on the thin side but his arms and shoulders showed good definition. The black sleeveless t-shirt he had on wasn't tight fitting but it showed off his chest.
There was a small catch in her breathing as his lower half came into view. Very short, soft, gray shorts accented his strong thighs. He must ride a bike, Vivian thought as her eyes went to his equally muscular calves.
As her eyes came back up, he turned to face her. Her eyes paused on the front of the shorts and the bulge that showed. She looked away quickly as she felt her face grow warm. "Sometimes, I feel a hundred," she whispered in answer to his question.
"They say age is a state of mind. I can see where that is true. If you think you're young then you will be," Paul said thoughtfully.
"The only problem with that is the fact that life wears you down and out. The harder life is, the quicker it happens." Vivian replied.
Changing the subject, Paul asked, "How big a drawing was it? Was it on paper or a canvas?"
"It was a canvas, a long narrow one." Vivian replied. "It was covered with a smooth off white paint. I remember the pencil lines were faint but the ink he used was bold and sharp."
"Ah, a pen and ink drawing."
"Yes, he did the pencil drawing one night and then a few days later called me to come see the finished drawing. I was shocked by how so few lines could show so much of me." Vivian paused to grin. "Not that there was so much of me back then."
Paul walked over to sit on the trunk next to Vivian's feet. "Did you wrap it in anything?"
Vivian thought a moment and then jumped up and hurried toward the back of the attic. "I can be so forgetful sometimes," she said as she dug through a high shelf covered with stacks of old cloth. A moment later, she pulled a long rectangle down wrapped in light blue cloth.
"My mom was short so I figured she would never see anything wrapped in cloth up that high," she said as she unwrapped the drawing. She tossed the cloth over her shoulder and held the drawing out at arms length.
After a moment, she shivered and lowered the picture. "That's me alright, in all my radiant glory," she said and then laughed. "I remember feeling so grown up, beautiful, and sexy as I lay there on that chaise lounge naked. His eyes on me made my nipples ache and my...."
Paul could see the older woman blush even as far away as she was and as dim as the light was. He grinned as his mind finished her sentence. "Modeling can be highly erotic," he said aloud.
"Yes, it can and yes it was," Vivian replied with a far away look in her eyes.
"Can I see?" Paul asked softly.
Vivian didn't move or reply for nearly a minute and then she gave a little jerk and sighed deeply. Looking down at the drawing she whispered, "I'm not sure that would be a good thing. Cal would have a fit if he found out I let you see it."
"I won't tell him, if you won't," Paul said with a grin.
Vivian looked at Paul for a moment and then said, "I've never shown this to anyone and this is just the third time I've looked at it since the night I hid it. I can't even remember thinking about it since I got married."
She paused and looked down at the drawing again. After a minute or so, she said, "Back then I often wondered what it would be like to show this to someone. I guess now is as good a time to find out as any."
With that said, she turned and walked to where Paul sat. She held the picture close to her chest for a moment and then moaned softly as she handed the picture to him.
The picture was face down to Paul as he took it. Looking up at the older woman he asked, "Are you sure you want me to see? I can hand it back and you can wrap it up and put it away."
Vivian shifted her weight from one foot to the other and then shook her head. "Please, look at it."
Paul slowly turned the picture over and then let out a soft whistle of appreciation. Someone had done an excellent job of capturing love and lust in a few dozen bold lines. Vivian had moaned softly and covered her face at his whistle. Paul smiled up at her and whispered, "This is one of the best works I think I've ever seen. Do you by any chance remember the guys name?"
Vivian shook her head but kept her face covered.
Paul returned his eyes to the drawing. This time he looked at the subject instead of the style and sweep of the lines. "He had a gorgeous subject I must say. Any artist would be hard put to capture your grace and beauty."
Vivian giggled from behind her hands and then peeked out between two of her fingers. "I thought he told all the naked girls on that chaise lounge the same exact thing."
"In your case it was not a line, believe me," Paul whispered as he brought the picture closer and looked for a signature. Finding none, he sighed. "Too bad it's not signed, it might be worth a lot of money as this guy had loads of talent. Natural talent."
Vivian dropped her hands to her sides and said, "His first name was Carl but I don't know if I ever even heard his last name. He was in school with me for part of the year and then he disappeared."
"I'll have to do some research and see what I can come up with," Paul said slowly as he studied the lines closely. The light pencil marks were still there in places and only added depth to the drawing.
Handing the drawing back to Vivian, he said, "I just wish I had half his talent."
"I'm sure you have talent of your own, if you have the desire to paint."
"Desire and talent are two separate things," Paul said standing up. "This guy saw things as lines that went just so. That cannot be taught. It can be learned but it could take some of us a lifetime."
Vivian looked at her picture and smiled. "I think I will hang this on the wall above my bed."
Paul chuckled and then grinned. "Cal will have a fit."
Vivian looked Paul in eyes and whispered, "This is my house and it is my bedroom, I'll hang what I want, where I want." She paused and grinned. "Anyway, he doesn't go in my bedroom very often."
Paul laughed and shook his head. "Need some help?"
"Maybe some moral support." She glanced down at the picture and added, "Maybe that should be immoral support."
"Morality is in the eye of the beholder," Paul said as he turned and headed for the narrow steep stairs.
Vivian followed and then handed down the picture to him. She turned off the light and then turned to climb down the stairs. She had always felt safer going down backwards so she could hold onto the steps. Why a handrail had never been installed, she didn't know.
It took Vivian a half hour to find a picture hanging kit. She knew she had one but could not remember where it was stored. Two junk draws and two closets later, she found it. It only took Paul half the time to install it on the back of the frame.
Paul stood in the middle of her bed holding the picture against the wall as she decided how high to hang it. She finally decided on a spot two feet above her tall headboard. Paul drove a screw in the wall and hung the picture.
Vivian stood at the foot of the bed staring at the picture as Paul climbed down and joined her. "You look good up there," he said softly.
With a light blush, Vivian replied, "Yes, I do."
"One day when I get a lot better than I am now, I'd like to draw you in that same pose," Paul whispered.
Vivian felt her face grow even warmer as she remembered that night posing for the picture and what had happened afterwards. For some reason Paul's face kept slip in here and there. She finally had to fan her face and turn away.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"You didn't embarrass me, I did that all on my own," Vivian whispered softly.
"I don't understand."
"Memories can be wonderful things but they can also embarrass you if you let them. I was thinking of the night that was drawn and things that happened later."
"Ah," Paul said as the light above his head came on. "I take it, you two made love afterwards."
Vivian laughed and nodded. "That's one way of putting it. Mutual rape would have been closer to the truth." Having said that, she stiffened suddenly as she realized what she had said. "I mean.... I.... Uh..." she stammered in horror.
Paul laughed. "You're not telling any secrets that I hadn't already guessed. That look on your face in the drawing tells it's own story. A story of love and lust that can't and won't be denied."
Vivian looked at the painting from over her shoulder. Her eyes zeroed in on just the face and she shivered hard. Yes, there was definitely lust there but it overlaid a softer loving look also. She had never realized how much she had loved Carl until after he disappeared.
"Was he your first love?"
Vivian turned and looked at the young man next to her. He asked very pointed questions in such an offhanded way that they seem almost natural to answer. She knew he was about her son's age but he seemed much older, more mature.
"I think you should be studying psychology." She replied with a grin.
Paul smiled and said, "I've been told that before."
"Yes, he was my first love and my first lover. I'd had crushes before but I had always been too self conscious and shy to do anything about them."
Paul nodded. "That's about what I figured. Most people think beautiful women are wholly self confident, but exactly the opposite is true most of the time."
"Is that from experience or observation," Vivian asked with a grin as she hoped to turn the tables and put him on the spot.
"Pure observation. My personal experience with women beautiful or not is very limited." Paul replied without missing a beat.
"How much experience are we talking about?"
Paul grinned and shook his head. "Limited."
Vivian laughed and turned to sit on the end of the bed. "That's no fair, I answered your questions."
"And I answered yours. I'm a gentleman after all so I don't kiss and tell."
"That's good to know," Vivian whispered and then blushed deeply.
Paul laughed and sat down next to the older woman. "You blush at the damnedest things. You're as bad as my sixteen year old sister and nearly as much fun to tease."
"I was married to the only other man I ever made love to for nearly fifteen years, so my worldly experience is, as you said, very limited."
Vivian paused a moment and then asked, "Why is your experience so limited? You are an extremely handsome young man and rich. The woman should be falling all over themselves to get to you."
Paul nodded and then sighed deeply. "That's the problem. I can never tell if they are interested in me or my money. I don't play games and I hate people who do or try to anyway."
"Oh. I see. I hadn't thought of it that way. That could definitely be a problem and a romance killer."
Changing the subject, Paul asked, "Your husband died five years ago, if I did the math right, so why are you still alone?"
Vivian shrugged. "I've thought about getting back in the dating game but I don't have a clue where to start and...." Vivian let the sentence trail off as she again found herself saying more to this young man than she ever had to anyone else.
"And the thought of putting yourself out there scares the crap out of you," Paul finished the sentence for her.
Vivian chuckled and nodded. "That's one of the reasons."
"What are the others?"
With a sigh, Vivian looked at the young man next to her. Although it felt good to be talking to someone, she wasn't sure Paul was the right one to be spilling her guts too. She was still trying to make up her mind as Paul turned and looked at the painting.
"You're still that girl up there you know, just an older model with more experience and a better grasp on life in general," Paul said softly as though he were thinking out loud.
"But that girl didn't have a twenty year old son, not to mention stretch marks," Vivian said with a grin.
Paul looked at the older woman and nodded. "Cal can be.... Well, protective is a good word."
Vivian laughed softly and nodded back. "Yes, that is a good word. He rants and raves about how his father screwed up but he loved his dad and me looking for a replacement might not go over too well at all."
Paul looked thoughtful for a second and then shook his head. "Maybe not. I think he loves you more than anything and your happiness would matter to him."
"My happiness? Now there is a can of worms I don't want to open," Vivian muttered under her breath.
"Most people feel the same way I think. They look after others and help friends and family but they never think about themselves."
Vivian sighed as she nodded her head. "I understand that completely."
"Maybe you need a friend," Paul said as he slipped his arm around Vivian's shoulders and pulled her closer. "Someone to look after you for a change."
Vivian stiffened slightly and then allowed her upper body to be moved closer to the young man next to her. When she laid her head on his shoulder, she sighed softly and relaxed. "That would be so nice," she whispered softly, dreamily.
After several minutes, Paul asked, "You don't remember me from years ago, do you?"
"Yes and no," Vivian replied and then added, "You were Cal's friend, the tall skinny kid with glasses and braces on his teeth. You lived down the street three houses and your dad drove an old red pickup truck."