His Fantasy Girlbyheartfelt©
Special thanks to KimMarie for her kindness, and Sinsnaps for editing.
I stared mindlessly out the window as I washed the dishes. I felt as if I was encased in the snow that blanketed my view. Cold and immobilized. I heard a sound at the front door that was probably the dog. I was too blue to care, calling out to her "We will sally forth soon, Sally." My usual line to her when the answer to her quest was "not right now". I would walk her after the chores were done.
Saturday had a routine. Breakfast, kiss Mike goodbye as he worked on Saturdays, start laundry, do the dishes, straighten the house, vacuum, change the bed, finish the laundry, walk the dog, do the finances, have lunch, go to the supermarket, put away the food, let the dog out, start supper. After supper we would go to friends or out with others to a movie. After Christmas is hard on everyone I sighed to myself as I continued through the list like an automaton. My marriage with Mike wasn't bad, it was just in a routine too. We both worked hard, trying to get ahead. We were still each others best friends, but how had we been treating each other lately? We would get home and be too burned out to do much more than complain about our days as we threw together the most time effective dinner we could muster. Where was the joy that we used to find together doing these things? The experimentation?
As I put fresh sheets on the bed, I looked at the room that I was deliriously happy with when I decorated it such a short time ago. It was beautiful and tasteful, but all the colors were beige. Is that what was wrong with my life? Safe, stable, boring, and tepid. When did I become the beige girl? Did Mike feel the same way I wondered, as I grabbed a sweater out of the dresser and made my way to the front door.
There it was. On my front entry rug a postcard in soft pink, with a deeper blush color around the edges. It looked lurid and out of place in my beige home. I bent to pick it up, pushing Sally away from it, as she was doing her usual dance of excitement around the front door. The card had an embossed heart and a texture that I had not felt since picking out our wedding invitations. I rubbed it between my fingers. In flowing cursive script it said "Sweetest Dreams Photography -Portraits-Special Moments-Boudoir- Valentines Day packages starting at $200 Phone for an appointment" and the number. I threw it on the entry hall table to transfer to the trash later and prepared myself and Sally for the frigid weather. I snapped the leash on Sally's collar. The colors in the card still caught my eye.
I walked Sally, the card tugging at my brain, and the word boudoir. Mike had teased about buying an Instamatic so he could take some racy photos of me. After all, what photo shop would develop sexy photos? Or worse yet, if they did develop them, who would have seen them? Who would have copies? An Instamatic seemed cheap and sordid though, and I refused.
He was very attentive when he was trying to talk me into it. Sensual. He was sensual when he tried to convince me. I knew that he had that stash of magazines in the basement. I tried to get him to throw them out when we moved in together. The war wasn't worth it, but I still resented them. What if I became his dream girl? His personal fantasy girl? My mind swirled at the implications. Once in a while, I would open our wedding album and I always felt amazed at how we both looked in them. When we looked at them together, we would both become more romantic, playful and thoughtful with each other. What if...?
I chided myself. What if you let yourself freeze to death! Sally was having fun, but it was time to turn back home and let her run in the back yard for a bit while I did the bills. The world seemed pale and gray around me even thinking of my regular routine. I tried to remember the last time we had been daring and adventurous. My mind had to stretch a long way back.
I let Sally and I in through the back gate and came in through the kitchen, intending to go do the finances that were ready in the office just off the kitchen. The card seemed to glow from the front hallway. I carried my shoes over, hung up my coat, and picked the card up again. I carried it over to the office and went over my books. With very little self sacrifice, I could do this. Maybe not the boudoir photos, but some really nice portraits. Yes, that's what I wanted. Portraits. I picked up the phone. I expected to get an answering machine, but instead, a woman answered on the second ring . "Sweetest Dreams, Michelle speaking." Her voice had a light french accent, was mature and calming.
My hand tightened on the handset, and my voice sounded distant to me. "Hello, my name is Vanessa. I'm inquiring about your photography package." I cleared my throat as I laughed nervously. "I know that I want some portraits done, but I think that I am also interested in your boudoir photos."
She reassured me on a number of points, and explained the process of meeting, going through albums of past work and setting up for the pictures. I asked Michelle if we could meet today, before I lost my nerve, or my husband got home. She told me that the photographer was not available, but I could certainly come for an initial consultation and gave me the address of their studio. I called in the dog and grabbed my keys. As I drove my hands felt sweaty and hot on the steering wheel.
Their studio was in a large house in a well to do older neighborhood. I rang the doorbell and was greeted by Michelle, a pretty, but unassuming woman in her early fifties. It turned out that they were a couple. Frederick was the photographer, and his wife Michelle handling marketing, scheduling, hair and makeup. They had been doing photography for years and were now in semi retirement. They had recently moved from France to be closer to their family and were trying to get a clientele and reputation built.
We talked as I looked at amazing photographs that covered a wide range of genres, from European landscapes, concerts, sporting events, to portraits. Her pride in her husbands work was evident. I felt reassured that I could trust this woman. I think that she could sense my earlier nervousness, and my growing comfort.
She asked if I was willing to look at some boudoir shots. I nodded eagerly. She brought out a large album that was filled with photos that ran the gamut from playfully modest, showing nothing but hinting at so much, to almost shocking. As I turned the pages what I realized that each picture was beautiful. She explained to me about their contracts, and the reputation that they had built back in France. My eyes were hungry for the next picture even as I lingered over the one I was looking at. In the back of the book were forms in French, obviously the models release forms.
The last book was Michelle herself, from much younger to present in various states of undress. All of them were breathtaking. They portrayed every emotion a woman could have. Every picture of her was an expression of love by him. I had not yet met Frederick, but I knew that this was what I wanted. A plan hatched in my mind, and I decided to seize the opportunity. I knew that I was a beautiful fit woman. I also knew many local people, having a high profile job as an aerobics instructor. I also could see some cross-marketing opportunities that might be mutually beneficial. Michelle and I talked for a while. She was a sharp woman, and an excellent negotiator.
We came to an understanding, discussed my favorite pictures and what I liked about them. I asked her whether I should do my own hair and make-up. She asked me what music I liked and other details, and we made an appointment to do a session the following Saturday.
I left and went to go talk to my boss Janet, seeing the world in brilliant colors once again. I was bubbling over with ideas. I had known Janet since I was in school. She and her husband Jerry owned three fitness clubs. Both of them were always open to new ideas for their business. What if we had ads that showed our own staff, instead of the models that they usually paid for? If they would pay for the shoot they would get some photos for advertising.
I convinced her to take a chance on it, even though she joked that all I wanted was the free photo session. She, Michelle and I worked out a deal. Janet and Jerry would be able to use the pictures that had me in my exercise wear in ads. I would get a number of photos for Mike and I. Michelle and Frederick would be able to advertise in the fitness clubs, a demographic of adults that had disposable money, and vanity. I would also release some of the boudoir photos to Frederick and Michelle so that they could show someone local as part of their portfolio. Everyone was taking a bit of a chance but if it worked out we would all be ahead.
My biggest trick was keeping it all quiet until after Valentines Day. Janet met with Michelle in the intervening time, and gave the go ahead. I was getting a full day photo shoot, and a package that would rival my wedding album.
By the next Saturday I think that Mike knew something was up, but we were both happier with my new attitude, so he didn't pry too much. I let Sally out while I took care of the breakfast dishes and a few quick chores. Then I left a note on the table, called the dog in, and left.
I arrived with a selection of exercise wear, some of my favorite lingerie, and a few new lingerie selections that I had managed to pick up. I met Frederick, a thin man exuding joy and energy. I filled out forms, and we talked a little more of what the plan was. His accent was much thicker than Michelle's, and she would sometimes translate quickly for each of us.
I was used to being in various stages of undress in front of other women because of the fitness club, and in front of my husband, but I was a little nervous about being unclothed in front of a strange man. I took a deep breath and asked "Where do we begin?" Frederick asked if it was all right if he took some test shots as we prepared. I agreed, loving a few of the sets that I had seen that covered the whole process of the day.
They gave me a tour through the house that had lovely music piped into every room. They had set up many of the rooms as different sets, with an eye for the beautiful architecture and period feel of the house. I recognized the over-sized clawfoot bath from one of Michelle's pictures that I especially loved. I told Michelle I loved how it all looked. We talked of how she decorated the place, with her husbands help, of course. She smiled at him as he clicked away.
Occasionally he would hand her a camera, and she would empty and refill it, or he would give directions to one or both of us, like "look up", "stop", "lift your left arm", "step back". He would adjust lights, change cameras and adjust other little things.. Other than that he managed to make himself completely unobtrusive, even the sounds of the camera melted away.
We finally came to a sparkling white bathroom that was huge. One wall had a long bench in front of a huge window of glass bricks, allowing a lot of natural light and a tangle of plants to flourish. There was also a makeup counter in front of a mirror, a hairdressers chair and a shower stall with translucent glass. This room kind of reminded me of the change rooms at work. I was not going to feel comfortable naked anywhere more than right here, so I asked if I could take a shower.
Michelle told me that this was my day, I was to do whatever would make me comfortable. I have always been a jump into the deep end girl. I stripped and put my clothes on a hook by the towels, reached in the shower and turned on the water. I adjusted the temperature, and stepped into the shower. The hot water sluiced over my body, and I ran my fingers through my hair. I took the snowy washcloth lathered it up and started to rub it all over my body.
I was very aware of Frederick taking pictures of me on the other side of the glass. I felt incredible, naughty. I thought about the look on my husbands face when he got these pictures. Would he be angry? Shocked? Aroused? One way or another I was committed. I was beautiful, and my body was at a peak. I was 24, and I had a lean muscular body. If Mike did not like these photos, they would still be something that I would cherish for the rest of my life. As I washed my stomach I thought about how my body would change in the future, childbirth, gravity, wrinkles and gray hair. After today I would have more than just my wedding pictures to look at in the future and say I was beautiful. Hopefully when we looked at these together, we would be thinking what a knockout I was.
I prepared myself mentally and shut off the water. I stepped out naked with my hair plastered back and reached for a towel. Frederick stopped me and handed me a smaller one. He asked me not to dry myself yet, and he took pictures of me with that against the door of the shower, against the white wall and more by the window and the plants. I still had little droplets of water on my skin, and I hoped that they would think it was the cooler air that was causing my nipples to harden. He was saying things softly that I could barely hear, like "Magnifique!" I was sure that I was blushing, but I was smiling as well.
It took very little time and soon Michelle handed me a thick robe and I towel dried my hair. As I sat in the chair Fredrick said softly "Here, you will see Michelle's magic." It had already been decided that Michelle would do hair and makeup, and Michelle scrutinized me from all angles. "You have such a beautiful face, and a lovely body." she said. We opened my bag and we went through the outfits that I brought. In some ways it reminded me of a sleepover at a girlfriends. Both of them had said many flattering things as I was readied for the rest of the day. I felt like I was being treated like a princess, or a socialite at a spa.
She made my hair a little more structured than I ever did. I usually towel dried it and ran my fingers through and was off and running. This was a little more sophisticated and elegant look. She had a very light touch with the make up. She used lusher tones than I used, but more sparingly. I was unsure at first, but the mirror didn't lie. I still looked like me, just...more. We talked as she worked quickly the brush lightly stroking my face and neck. She had a way of making me feel at ease that I realized was probably half of their success.
I knew that I was getting in of the ground floor. Soon word of these two would skyrocket and I would never be able to afford them as the demand for them would be through the roof. I would count my blessings. I hoped that Mike would as well.
Throughout the day, I changed outfits and went from room to room. Frederick snapped away and Michelle adjusted my hair, makeup, and the set around me. She suggested things that she thought would add little touches, make it a better picture, or a nicer experience. We both deferred to Fredrick's eye on a picture, and he never pushed me into anything that I was uncomfortable with.
We had a glass of wine with lunch, and I posed with it during a set or two. All the while we talked and laughed. Michelle would ask me about Mike, what I loved about him. Too quickly the time that I had was drawing to a close. The last planned set was that magnificent bath.
The room was set up with candles all around. I once again ran water. This time the glow in the room was from an array of scented candles and directional lights instead of sunshine streaming through the windows. Michelle suggested I pour in the whole contents from a cut glass bottle that rested on the ledge ran the height of the bath. I opened it up and smelled it. It smelled like lily of the valley flowers. I tended to stay away from any scents, but this was a day of experiments. I poured it in and it swirled into the flow. It turned the water a milky white under a cloud of tiny bubbles.
Michelle asked if I would like to wear a pearl choker that she handed me. I thought of how it would look on me in that set, and I impulsively hugged her. I put it around my neck, and asked her to do up the clasp in the back. Her hands sent a tingle down my back as she adjusted it. Her husband was taking pictures like a madman. I imagine that we did look beautiful with me holding my hair up, naked, and her dressed and attending me. She laughed and smiled at him, and he said something in French. She laughed and told me that Frederick had said that he felt so fortunate to have such a beautiful wife, and that he hoped my husband felt that way as well. As I once again stepped into the water I realized that I was exhausted. It was a wonderful day, but draining at the same time. I almost never took a bath, because they took too much time. I relaxed into the bubbles and closed my eyes soaking into the water.
Michelle said that Mike would fall in love with me all over again when he saw these pictures. I smiled, thinking of him looking at these pictures. If they looked half as good as I thought they would, he was going to pop a gasket. Michelle handed me a champagne flute. I sipped at it, loving the feel of the cold liquid when I was so warm. I picked up a handful of bubbles and blew then towards Frederick. He was laughing as he continued to move and take pictures. In a few moments he excused himself and gathered his stuff and left the room.
Michelle assured me that I could take as much time as I liked just enjoy myself and she left as well. I reveled in the atmosphere of the room, the day. This was probably the first time that I had been alone all day except for bathroom breaks. I knew that I had to face the real world again, and finished washing away the unique hair and makeup of the day. I was sorry to see it over, but so fired up that Mike was in for a very pleasant surprise tonight.
When I was dressed, I walked into the kitchen area of the house, where Michelle was sitting with a coffee. She invited me to join her in a cup, but I demurred, saying that I had to run. She told me that Frederick was already in the darkroom working on developing, and that he had asked that she extend apologies on his behalf. I told her that none were necessary. I told her that I had a wonderful day. I told her that I thought that she and Fredrick had a beautiful relationship. She laughed and told me that they had their moments, but did truly love each other. "It took us years to get to here, Cherie" she said, with a smile that would have put the Mona Lisa to shame.
Once the test sheets were ready, I was to get a call at work and then we would proof the pictures that Frederick had chosen, and approve the ones to be seen by my bosses. I could barely wait.
When Mike got home, I told him that one of the girls at work had not shown for her shift, and that I had been gone all day. He groused a bit about the house and his job, and then he hugged me. "That's new." I asked him what was new. "You smell like flowers." I stepped towards the kitchen and told him that I had borrowed some lotion from one of my clients at work. What did he think of it? "I don't get to stop and smell the flowers very often." He said with that smile that I loved so much. He stalked toward me, growling and making sniffing motions in the air like a dog. "Smell flowers, want to play in the garden."
"Oh Mike, stop, the house is a mess, dinner's not ready, I have a pile of laundry, I haven't changed the sheets yet, and we are supposed to meet Derek and Kim tonight." He enfolded me in a bear hug from behind and nuzzled my neck. "I'll help with the housework, we can order pizza, I'll phone Derek and Kim and tell them not tonight, and I'll make the bed. After we mess it up." I put up a shamefully token resistance, then we went off together to the bedroom.