Thursday, February 6, 2014


Painting a Homage to Van Gogh by drice

Chapter 1

An ache settled into the small of her back, her feet hurt from the two-inch heels. Her carry-on briefcase seemed too heavy after a full day of lectures. Vera was exhausted waiting outside gate 36 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Adrian sat next to her talking about the future book tours and the list of talk show requests. She tried to make sense of what he was saying but all she could hear was the hiss and pop as the words tumbled from his mouth.

When they finally boarded the plane and settled into first class seating she closed her eyes in an effort to quiet his incessant talking and try to unwind by remembering more pleasant times. She recalled the day they first met. She was wearing those knee high boots and that flirty little baby doll dress that came half way up her thighs. Her long auburn hair hung loose, falling in waves over her shoulders. She remembered his gasp when she asked for help. His composure lost as he stammered and flushed while trying to give her directions to the administration offices on campus. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her nor would he let her out of his sight from that moment forward. They were married six months later and have been a couple every since.

Vera always knew he loved her more than she loved him but at nineteen she was happy to be with a man who adored her. He was smart and attractive and only had eyes for her. He would do anything to make her happy and for several years it was a perfect relationship. He had the skill to organize her scattered self and create focus for her many talents. Today she was a renowned author and lecturer. He was her business manager and controlled every issue of her life.

It was her fault for letting it happen. She felt so safe in his care she didn’t notice he was making all the decisions until she started questioning his choices. Now they argued frequently and almost never touched. Their only conversations centered around the topic for the next book, the next engagement, the next whatever and he did most of the talking.

She had been thriving in all the attention especially when she started getting nationwide recognition but now it felt like her needs were never considered. She had lost regular contact with most of her friends and rarely had time for her family. All of her relationships were business dealings. He was her only confidant and the relationship was getting too mechanical. If she was going to survive, this had to end.

“Adrian, I don’t love you anymore and I want a divorce,” that’s what I’ll tell him when we get home she thought to herself. I’ll be direct and to the point. That should leave very little room for argument.

Chapter 2

Adrian was thirty-seven and at the height of his game. He loved the wheeling and dealing of managing his wife’s career. She was smart, articulate and nice to look at but she could be the prima dona at times. The more famous she got the more she wanted. Everything she had achieved was the result of his hard work. He worked the contracts, made the deals, created leverage with the media for the next advantage so that she retained the rights to her work and was constantly in the spotlight. When she started making real money he made wise investments to keep the cash flow constant and their financial future secure. They made enough now to travel wherever they wanted, dress in the finest clothes, own more than a few properties and make an impact on their favorite charities. None of this would have been possible without him.

Lately however she was becoming more argumentative and wanted more say in all the decisions. He could relinquish some control but then they would be back to her vacillation, with key appointments missed and loads of opportunities lost to pure carelessness. He wouldn’t let that happen. Maybe a two-week vacation to her favorite villa in Sorrento, Italy would assuage her mood. The Mediterranean climate with good food, plenty of wine and no pressing schedule would help her relax and get back to herself.

He watched her sleeping and wondered what she was thinking about. The smile playing on her lips made him long to lean over and kiss her full lips. He missed the days when they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. He wanted her more than ever. He reached for his sweet beautiful Vera with her fair skin, beautiful golden eyes and auburn hair, an earth angel in an ugly dirty world. He gently caressed her hand and enveloped it within his own.

Chapter 3

She pulled away and said, “I need to sleep before we land.” He had interrupted her dream of an Adrian free life. She could see herself selling their Mansion in Beverly Hills and moving to the beach. She would buy a home right on the waterfront in Laguna Beach. She could get lost among the gays and eccentrics and be just another artist living close to the sea. 

She took a deep breath. You’ve got to do it tonight or you will never get free. She swallowed the lump in her throat and made up her mind to act. The plane landed without incident after a six-hour flight. Their driver was already curbside and took care of their luggage while they waited in the car.

“What are your plans for tomorrow?” Adrian asked pulling out his blackberry to check the master schedule.

“Why do you ask me if you already know?” she tossed a vague glance at the blue glow from his electronic gadget.

He smiled sweetly and put his arm around her, “We can make phone calls and change the schedule if there is something you want to do,” he whispered in her ear and then kissed her cheek.

She pulled away and mustered up her courage. “Adrian, we need to talk tonight. It may take a while but it has to wait until we get home.”

“Ooooh, it sounds serious,” he voice sounded playful yet paternal. “Are you going to leave me?”

She stopped breathing for a second, until she managed, “What?”

“I was just joking, what would you do without me. We’re a team and a team like ours can’t be pulled apart. I am you, and you are me… we’re inseparable, ” he said looking into her eyes.

It was like a blow to her midsection. This was going to be harder than she thought.

They didn’t talk the rest of the way home. Fortunately the traffic was good and the trip didn’t take long. After the driver brought in their luggage Adrian closed the door and walked into the living room. Vera was already pouring two glasses of wine.

Vera took a deep breath, and brought the glasses to the couch. She invited him to sit near her. After a few minutes of conversation about the trip and some minor business issues she started, “Adrian, it isn’t working for me anymore.” Her finger traced the lip of her glass.

“What do you mean? What’s not working?”

“My work schedule…our marriage.” Her voice sounded hoarse.

“I was thinking we could reserve our favorite villa in Sorrento and take some time off. Get reacquainted and refreshed.” Adrian paused, “What do you think?”

A long silence followed. “I think it is going to take more than a vacation. I don’t love you anymore. I want out.”

“Are you asking me for a divorce?”

“Yes,” Vera said.

“Just like that and it is over?” he sounded deeply hurt.

Vera took a deep breath. “This has been building for awhile. The only reason you’re surprised is because you haven’t been listening.”

Adrian stood up and moved to the other side of the room to get a better look at Vera then his words came out like a roar. “A divorce, I don’t think so. That will not happen. Not now. Not ever.” He threw the glass across the room and approached her.

She stood up to meet him eye to eye.

He pushed her back on to the couch. “You can’t do this Vera.” His fist clenched and unclenched. “You can’t discard me like last night’s garbage. After seventeen years together I deserve more than this. Is there someone else?”

Vera grimaced and started slowly, “This is not a sudden decision… I have been thinking about it for sometime now… I’m not happy being married to you anymore… I need space to make my own decisions regarding my life and no… there isn’t someone else.”

Vera got up again and continued, “Since it is my decision I will let you stay in the house. I will find a place of my own. I want this to be an amicable separation. I think we can work it out.

Adrian started pacing back and forth, his breathing in quick gasps, “There is more involved here than whether we stay together Vera. My livelihood is wrapped up in you.” He stared at Vera for a long time and his eyes went icy cold, then he said, “I think future conversations should be between our lawyers.”

“Why is it always business with you?”

Chapter 4

Vera learned to shop on the Internet. She felt satisfied with the mental stimulation and communications she’d established with a world wide virtual community. She learned how to generate income through the use of this technology. She could live in isolation but have access to the best minds on the planet.

After her divorce from Adrian she withdrew from the physical world. She had stopped her lectures, completed any last book contracts and declined television appearances. The world wanted to elevate her to guru status. She didn’t want that position so she quit.

It wasn’t the followers who alienated her but Adrian had bastardized what she was trying to accomplish and distorted her message. He was her husband but acted like her pimp. He would promise them anything to get a contract. He became infatuated with the money and power and wanted more and more.

She withdrew before she became the next headline news of another famous person captured on tape in a very public breakdown. She didn’t make excuses just gradually withdrew from public view. She needed to regroup and find her center and purpose in life once again. 

She was doing fine until she met Michael yesterday. Vera peeked out the window avoiding the attention of the man who had interrupted her meditation.  She wasn't expecting company nor did she expect the sudden flutter in her heart when she saw him. Her hand went up to her chest and she took a deep breath and then opened the door. Slowly she pulled the door toward her body being cautious to position her shoulder and foot in such a way to block it from a forced entry if necessary. "May I help you?" she asked.

He proceeded to make his pitch. "I hate to bother you but I couldn't help noticing the pressure that tree is putting on your roof. If you don't prune it this season it could cause expensive damage to your house."

"What?" Vera said, shaking her head. She could hear each word but she couldn't understand what he meant. "What do you want again?" She asked leaning her head to one side.

"I'm sorry… I'm looking for work," he said. "I just got discharged from the Marines… I was in Iraq… When I saw your tree I thought I could help you out and make some spending cash for myself… I'm not thinking clearly. I shouldn't have bothered you," he apologized turning around to leave.

Under normal conditions she would have locked the door and notified the police but there was something disarming about this young man. She wasn't afraid of him. "Beware of that wolf in sheep's clothing," she sighed under her breath and then to him she said, "Wait a second. Let me see what you're talking about," and she walked out onto the porch.

Was she so desperate for human company that she was infatuated with his presence? Did she recognize him from her dreams and actually anticipated his arrival?  Or was he evil dressed in white and she needed to run back inside and lock the door?

He pointed out the problem with the tree. It made sense to Vera to have it taken care of and Michael’s price seemed fair, besides his muscular build under that white T-shirt made him look like a hero and she did appreciate his willingness to sacrifice his life for her by going to war it was the least she could do.

Chapter 5

Michael liked the feeling of Vera’s eyes on him while he worked but after a few minutes he heard her let out a long sigh and he watched her go back inside the house. He could see her through the kitchen window. From what he could tell the sink must have been clogged and she was going to work on it. He was thrilled to see her handling what for many women is man’s work. 

He watched her take the plunger from the tall cabinet beside the kitchen sink and carefully put the suction piece over the drain. With her small hands on top of the handle she gave a push. He tried not to laugh when he heard the loud whoosh as the rubber piece slipped and dirty water splashed on to her blouse.

He was ready to offer his help but she reached under the sink and pulled out a small step stool to get better leverage and then tried again. Soon she was pushing the plunger up and down in a steady rhythm. Her hands midway down the shaft, the tip positioned against her shoulder, her midsection convulsing while she exerted the pressure necessary to clear the clogged drain. 

She was so concentrated on her work Michael knew she didn’t see him standing outside the window watching her feverish efforts. He stepped closer when saw her auburn hair fall forward over her bare shoulders, he could see the beads of sweat form on her upper lip, the movement of her delicate breasts exposed as she bent over the sink. Her groans blended with the sounds of the plunger as it created the necessary suction to pull the debris from deep within the pipe.

He stepped away from the window overwhelmed with desire to ravage her. He thought he’d better go back to work before he got himself into serious trouble.  He never dreamed clearing a drain could be so sexy. He had to get to know her better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment