Drama Romance Crime

The reflection from the satin brass light reflected in her aqua blue eyes as she stood gazing at the fourteen by twenty-eight inch painting. Her long blond hair, like waves of satin, wrapped to one side. It flowed across her left breast like a soft bubbling brook of gold. Are those my legs? She thought, as she reminisced of the day she’d sat while Tommy lay on his stomach, as he sketched. She giggled to herself. Remembering how she’d surprised him with her Sharon Stone leg crossing stunt wearing no panties, of course.

“Excuse me madam, are you alone?” Tommy probed with a coy smile, handing her a glass of champagne.

“Not any longer. Thank you for that.” She answered and turned to face him.

He moved in close and pulled her to him. Her low cut red sequined evening gown, exposed the tops of her breasts. They scraped against his shirt. Tommy put two fingers to her lips and pressed against her, “Can you believe it’s on display at the New Mexico Museum of Contemporary Art? I mean, this is Santa Fe. It’s Georgia O’Keeffe country.” He gushed.

The new extension of the art gallery opened in the railway district of Santa Fe a few months ago. Only it’s second exhibition: Invented Realities. The ideal venue for Tommy Ground’s most fervent work of his fledgling career. At thirty-four, tall, thin, with black wavy hair, well-kept stubble, and emerald eyes. He was now on his way to stardom as an aspiring artist. A single, metro-sexual man enjoying the profuse harvest of his artistic talents.

Tommy met Skyler, a late thirty-something, stunning natural beauty, at a coffee shop on the square in Santa Fe. Tommy on a sojourn in New Mexico. The trip was an overdue escape from Houston to spur his creative subconscious. Skyler, an associate professor of archeology on break from the University of New Mexico. She wanted some time to enjoy art and culture away from rocks and sediment. 

Their eyes locked, and the rest of the world seemed to freeze, as if they were in another dimension. One without boundaries where they were the only inhabitants. Like in a slow-motion aerial ballet, he was propelled to her table. She looked up and smiled.

“Hi, my name's Tommy Ground. Do you mind if I join you?” He asked, taking the liberty to pull out the chair across from her. “Such a beautiful lady shouldn't be sitting alone.” He spun it around and slid down, straddling its back.

She giggled, “I've heard better pickup lines. What makes you think I'm alone?”

“Just the look in your eyes. They're beautiful but look lonely.”

She glanced down at the table, then back up, she added, “Actually, I think I would rather get out of here.”

Disappointed. “Of course,” he swallowed hard and stood to walk away.

“No. Wait.” she said. 

He turned and gave her a puzzled look, “What?”

“I mean, I'd like to go someplace else with you.”

They strolled along the square, neither speaking. She motioned to cross into the plaza. A crew was assembling a stage for the upcoming performance. She wore khaki shorts and a white cotton blouse with two open buttons. Her thick blond hair clipped up and off her neck. He motioned toward a shaded bench. 

Time seemed to evaporate as they talked. So much more in common than either of them ever expected. She laughed and tossed back her head, and her eyes reflected the sky. A tingle ran down the back of his neck. The sun began to seep behind the clouds as the band started tuning their instruments.

Tommy, turned toward the Plaza café, “Dinner?” Red umbrellas and hundreds of fragrant flowers surrounded the outside dining area.

“Sure.” When they stood, she took his hand. A tickle ran through his loins the moment they touched. He flashed an infectious smile at her as they wandered over to the restaurant.

Minutes melted into hours as they sat and sipped wine. The waiter broke their trance.“Hey folks. We’re closing.” She cupped her hands over his, “I’m not ready to call it a night. Are you?” Their gazes met, and she gave him a warm smile. Then she led him to her hotel room.

The next morning, the yellow hue of the sun streaked alongside the bed. She lay on her side, clutching the sheet to her breasts, admiring his profile as he slept. He opened his eyes and turned toward her. He gently pressed his lips against her innocent smile. Abruptly, he turned onto his back. Staring at the ceiling, “I have an idea for a landscape picture.” He grinned and winked at her. “Have you ever seen the Las Cruses Mountain range, where the Jemez Springs flows down into the valley?”

“No. Where's that?” She asked with a winsome smile.

“It's not far from here.”

“I'd love to see it.” she said, turning onto her back.

“I want to do a portrait of you with that in the background. Think of it as sexy meets nature.”

She giggled, “Okay. That sounds like fun.”

Along the way, he stopped at the mall and parked in front of the Macy’s department store entrance. He opened the car door for her and took her by the hand. They strolled through the door and directly into the shoe section. He took her to the sales clerk. “Excuse me, would you happen to have some black Stilettos that would fit her?” He gloated, throwing his arm around Skyler.

“What size, dear?”

Skyler, puzzled, glanced at Tommy, then to the clerk. “Size seven”.

Tommy asked the clerk to hold them. “Now to the ladies department,” Tommy said, pulling Skyler by her hand.

“What are we doing?” She asked with a confused look.

“It’s for the sketch I'm doing. Black shoes and a white dress.”

“That one” he said, pointing to the manikin. Stepping out of the dressing room wearing a slinky ruched sleeveless white dress, she asked, “How do I look?” At five feet five inches, and an exquisite figure. She turned slowly with her hand at her waist.

“Breathtaking!” Tommy leaned back, laughed and clapped. “Just fricking awesome.”

They arrived at the spot he’d found a few days before. The sun was high in the sky. Some fluffy, soft white clouds had gathered near the skyline just above the view of the gently flowing spring. While he pulled his sketch pad, a blanket and a folding camping stool from the back of the car. She looked over her shoulder, twisted back her hair and snapped on a hairband. Then she reached up under her skirt and wiggled her butt to slip off her panties.

She slid out of the car in the dress, holding the black Stilettos by the heels over her left shoulder. The grass tickled her toes as she tiptoed to the spot where Tommy stood, taking in the view. “That’s astounding.” She said, looking toward the mountains in the distance. “Where do you want me?”

Tommy, mesmerized by her, stood awed by her astounding beauty. Her beautiful blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight. “Here, right here.” He said, popping open the camping seat and setting it down. Then he took her by the shoulders and turned her around. Looking over her shoulder, he said, “That's simply splendid.” With no words, she put her arms around him, kissed him and bent her knee.

Tommy wanted to take her. He started fumbling to undo his shorts when the moment was shattered by a crackle in the woods.

She said, “Is there someone there?” They both looked over. Only to see a mule deer stare back at them. He darted off down the hill. A man, out of view, stood holding binoculars with his back to a tree.

She sat and twisted on the Stilettos. Tommy tossed the blanket out in front of her and stooped down. He rolled over and flipped open the sketch pad. He looked up at her. She crossed her legs. “The view’s even better from here.” He moaned. She gave him an irresistible smile.

“I’m going to call it Stiletto Skyler” he said as he started to draw. She laid back her head and held on to the stool. Her eyes fixed on the clouds drifting across an indigo blue New Mexico sky.

He sketched for a little while before holding it up. “What do you think?”

She gazed at him, then the picture. His emerald eyes glistened in the now setting sun.

“Beautiful.” She said, sliding off the stool onto her knees and twisting him over onto his back. She planted a kiss on his lips as she reached to unfasten his shorts. They made love as the sun slowly set.

Two months later, Tommy had decided to move to New Mexico to be closer to Skyler. He was feeling discouraged as the apartment manager fiddled with the keys and unlocked the door of loft number ten in the Hamilton building. He had seen almost every available loft in Santa Fe. As the door swung open, his spirits lifted immediately. His eyes widened, and a radiant smile broke out across his face. Nearly a two-story ceiling to floor window with multiple large panes greeted him. Open pipes overhead with exposed brick walls. Gray polished concrete floors and a spiral staircase to the open balcony bedroom and bath above.

“What do you think?” She said.

He darted up the spiral staircase, glanced around and bent over the rail, “It’s wonderful!” He said. “I’ll take it.”

“Six month lease with the first two months up front.”


Tommy spent the next two weeks turning the loft into a home and work studio. With the window to his back and his easel on a make-shift work table of saw horses and plywood. He was set to create a one of a kind masterpiece.

When Skyler arrived, Tommy swung open the door, and she was awed. She turned in a circle, looking around, admiring the place.

“This is made to order for you to unleash your artistic genius.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. He took her by the hand. His eyes glistened with a devilish smile, as he led her up the stairs to the balcony bedroom above.

Tommy, naked, jumped up from the bed and pulled on his jeans. “Come on, you’ve got to see it,” he said as he quickly circled down the stairs. When Skyler reached the final step, she tied the belt of her robe. Tommy pulled off the tarp covering his work of art. “It’s nearly done,” Tommy said with an innocent smile.

“Tommy, it’s incredible.” She slowly leaned in closer to admire it.

He didn’t care that Skyler was only able to break away from her commitments sporadically. Likewise, he found it odd, but accepted that she wouldn’t take his calls or would sometimes answer and quickly snap “Not now.” He just assumed her job must be demanding.

When she did get away and came to Santa Fe, they cherished every moment together. Tommy had undoubtedly fallen in love with Skyler.

At the art show that evening, the museum curator tapped the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen. If, at this time, I may have your attention. We’d like to introduce tonight's featured artists.”

Once, the applause subsided for the artist preceding him. “And, next, Tommy Ground, proudly exhibits his Invented Reality: Stiletto Skyler.” A burst of applause broke out. Tommy slowly jogged forward and onto the stage. He took a slight bow, then blew a kiss. His eyes and Skyler’s connected. The crowd applauded as he scurried down and walked back. They turned toward him as he made his way to Skyler. She clapped slowly and flashed him an encouraging smile as he grew closer and kissed her.

Several of the museum visitors stood admiring Tommy’s masterpiece. Others chatted with him about the setting. Some inquired about the location, others mentioned the unique idea of merging a sexy image with a landscape.

Skyler squeezed his arm and spun around to face him. Her eyes went wide with trepidation and nervousness. “Are you okay?” Tommy shuddered.

“I’m fine.” She whispered before scampering off to the restroom.

Tommy looked in the direction where she had been looking. He only saw museum goers mulling around and sipping champagne.

Skyler was not back until the exhibit was closing down for the evening. Only the museum workers and some artists remained. She was shaking when she took his arm from behind.

“Where have you been?”

“In the ladies' room.” 

“All this time?”

“Yes, I don't feel so well. Are you ready to go? Can we leave?”

“That was a great opening night.” The curator said, reaching to put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder. He shook his hand. “I know we’ll be seeing more of you and your work in the future.”

Skyler, with her arm locked in his, leaned her head onto Tommy’s shoulder.

“I’m so proud of you.” She trailed off, looking up at him.

He kissed her head and pulled her close. “Come on, let's get you home.” He said with a quiet smile.

She sighed. “You’re so good to me.”

Bending down to unlock the door to his loft apartment. “It’s time you got to bed.” He smiled mischievously.

“Who are you?” Tommy said, glaring at a middle-aged bald man with a dark goatee. He wore wire-rimmed glasses, a black shirt and slacks, with a pork pie hat on his lap.

“Aren't you going to introduce me?” He stood and put on the hat. Under the hat he was hiding a gun with a suppressor.

“Tommy, this is my husband, Walter, Walter White. He is ––or was, a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque.”

“Yeah, well, I've come a long way from that.” He snapped. “So this is the big attraction here. Looks more like an infatuation with an artist than love of art to me.”

Tommy, in total disbelief, stood with a blank stare at the man who held a gun pointed at him. “Your husband?” He gasped.

“Yes. She's my wife, Skyler White.” He got even closer to Tommy. With rage in his eyes,“And you know what?” Tommy felt Walter’s breath on his face, In a furious tone, he said, “My operation is big enough, I could have had you erased months ago.”

“Walter, please.” Skyler begged with fear in her eyes.

Walter's temper flared, “I wanted her to see this.” he pointed the gun at Tommy’s crotch. Overcome with jealousy, he fired three shots. Tommy grabbed his loins, crumpled and fell forward. Walter turned back. With hatred in his eyes, he stood over him, and shot him again in the head. “An artist is only famous after he dies. Now, Skyler, get your stuff. We're going home!”

Copyright © 2022 by Chandler Wilson

December 03, 2022 20:27

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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