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“I’m not sure I want to do this,” I said, as we wandered into the university’s art centre.
“Tough. You’re doing it,” said Krista, looking up at the new building in amazement. It had certainly improved a lot since we’d graduated almost a decade ago.
“What if I suck at it?”
“What if you do?” she returned, glibly. She looked at me seriously for a moment. “Do you like drawing?”
“Would you reluctantly admit that you sometimes think that you’re quite good at it?”
“I guess,” I replied.
“Then that’s all that matters. People didn’t like Van Gogh’s work when he started out, but he didn’t let that stop him from painting.”
I decided not to add that the lack of support from his contemporaries was possibly one of the reasons Vincent Van Gogh killed himself, because, bless her, Krista was trying to help and I was just being customarily morose and contrary.
I had agreed to go to an art class and I had agreed to make an effort. After all, it was just a still life class; how badly could I draw some flowers or a bowl of fruit? Well, pretty badly but yes, it probably didn’t matter. I was supposed to be meeting new people, getting out of my shell and having some kind of life outside of my tiny apartment. And to be honest, I was okay with drawing inanimate objects and animals. Human or even human-like forms were for some reason, far more difficult for me. I suppose I was worried about offending someone when my artwork did not actually look anything like the person in question. However, I did need to get used to accepting and dealing with criticism and this kinda seemed like a good place to start.
“Okay, fine. You’re right. And I’m here, aren’t I, so let’s just go in and mangle some fruit bowls.”
“I guess that’s the spirit?!” Krista said, with a laugh, her blue eyes twinkling at me with her usual good nature.
As we walked into the classroom, I couldn’t help but feel amazed and blessed to have such a good friend; Krista is petite, with blue eyes and pixie-cut blonde hair that suits her sharp features, attractive and much more confident, outgoing and friendlier than I am, although we’re equally intelligent and creative. I, on the other hand, am depressed, sarcastic, shy and retiring, tall, with long brown hair, big brown eyes and thick glasses, and yet she still tries to make me believe that I am better than I think I am.
There seemed to be a buzz as we walked in, most of the easels already occupied, with mostly female artists. There was another set of students that was a little more fifty-fifty, but there were definitely more women than men in attendance.
“I thought you said this was a small class for like ten people?” I said, turning to Krista. Half of the reason I agreed to her crazy attempts at making me having a life, was that it was a small step.
“I’m sure it is,” said Krista, looking equally surprised at the number of people there. “I swear; please, let’s just do this class and if it turns out to be too much, I won’t make you come again.”
I took a deep breath, looked at the door, and let out a sigh, nodding and shrugging. I could always just ignore everyone and concentrate on my fruit bowl after all.
There were still two easels next to each other at the front group and we slid onto the empty stools. We looked at each other and shrugged. Krista turned to the woman next to her, as I reached into my bag for my pencils, although there were already several drawing mediums on the easel.
“Excuse me, but I thought this was supposed to be a small class for still life drawing and painting?”
“Yeah, it is normally. However, it’s National Nude Day and for the past couple of years, Phillip — Jameson, the tutor — has brought in these rather stunning nude models and I guess word got around, because it’s now a thing. And he allows more students to attend for one night only,” the woman replied.
Krista looked at me and smirked. Not only do I hate drawing people, because I’m not very good at it, I’m also not particularly comfortable around nakedness.
“Does that mean everyone gets naked?” Krista asked, shooting me a wicked glance, before giving her attention back to our classmate.
I glared at her, completely unimpressed, and not particularly thrilled by the fact that she knew I would never do such a thing.
The lady grinned, and looked Krista up and down appreciatively. “No. Although a few do. Usually the ones sat in the other group, given the actual students are here week after week.”
“Makes sense,” said Krista, returning the lady’s bold stare and smiling back, clearly interested. I know it’ll sound mean, and it’s definitely not meant to be, but Krista isn’t picky when it comes to finding a new romantic interest or in her words “fuck buddy”; it’s more that she’s more open and fluid in her sexuality, whereas I, in her words, am a prim and proper prude, completely adverse to risk and sexual adventure. I prefer to think of it as having exacting standards. “I’m Krista by the bahis firmaları way; this is Jane.”
“Diana,” the athletic looking, ash-blonde woman replied, and I gave a small wave in acknowledgement. “Pleasure to meet you. It’s normally really quiet and chilled in here, and Philip’s an excellent teacher. Pretty easy on the eyes too. Most of the new girls try to hit on him, but I wouldn’t waste your time because he’s never shown any interest, although he’s not married and hasn’t explicitly said he won’t date a student. Given that we’re all adults here and it’s not like we get graded or assessed, I don’t know that it would be ethically unacceptable, but whatever.”
“Maybe it’s because he’s saving himself for me,” said Krista with a grin, and they both laughed as I smiled with them, briefly wondering if I’d agree with Diana’s assessment. I could certainly think of at least three occasions at high school when the girls in my class had swooned over a teacher, but I had never agreed. I didn’t imagine that this would be any different.
A man and woman, dressed only in robes, suddenly entered the room and conversations stalled. There were a few little laughs and murmurs of surprise from our group, and I followed Diana’s gaze to the man and then quickly looked away, trying to hide behind the large sheet of paper in front of me. I wondered if my face was as red as it felt, given that I might not have a crush on the teacher, but I definitely had one on the male model.
“Well, I see our Nude Day Life drawing class is proving to be as unpopular as ever,” the tall, brown-haired robed man said brightly, in a deep voice, laced with an American accent. There were more than a few laughs and grins, and he carried on good-naturedly. “Why you don’t all just go explore your nakedness elsewhere, I’ll never know, but welcome. For the sake of the newcomers, I am Philip Jameson, artist and art teacher. I’m normally the one walking around, tutting at your stick figures.” He smiled kindly, letting them know that the ‘tutting’ at least was a joke. “For the voyeur group as we now call you, you will be drawing the lovely Miranda.” The tall, dark-skinned woman with long black hair stepped into the middle of the other group and smiled at everyone before disrobing, revealing her lithe, toned dancer’s body, demurely draping an arm across her small bosom and the other across her waxed sex.
I watched her for a moment, studying the grace in her movements and the bearing in her poses, before the artist’s eye was replaced with my ordinary one, and I looked away, uncomfortably, feeling all the more embarrassed as I seemed to be the only one with any issues. Why does the earth never swallow you whole when you need it to? I wondered.
“The rest of you, including my poor students, will be stuck with me. Our male model unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute, and given that it does not hurt to practice what one preaches, I have stepped in. Regardless of our individual hang-ups, the human form is a beautiful thing and worthy of our appreciation, and hopefully, in studying me and Miranda as artists, you might be able to find a bit more love for yourselves as individuals, as well as improving some drawing skills. Normally, I would have our models pose in one position for the hour, however, given that I do need to inspect my students’ works, we will be doing 15min poses and I want you to try and sketch what you see. I want you to get a basic outline and a sense of the model that you could build upon if you wanted, rather than trying to capture every single detail in one moment. Of course, art is subjective and ultimately, you should express yourself in the way that suits you best, however, it is good to get some basics under your belt, in case you find yourself wanting to draw something you don’t have the time for. I suggest for this evening then, people stick to pencils, pastels, pens and charcoals. Also, if you wish to swap models during the break periods, that’s fine.”
He took a sip from the bottle of water upon his desk and surveyed the room. “Okay class is now in session.” A few conversations started up again, while other people started to approach their first sketch in various different ways. “And you lot,” Philip said, grinning as he walked into the middle of our circle, his gaze taking in each of his regular students “I want no mention of this ever again.” They all laughed and Krista looked at me, her expression clearly suggesting that I was somehow acting weirder than normal.
I gave her a wan smile and peered around the side of my easel, biting the inside of my bottom lip, as Philip let the pale blue robe fall to the floor, revealing a near-perfect body. There were a couple of cat calls and wolf whistles, all made and taken in good humour, but the appreciation was genuine. His hazel eyes met mine and if he recognised me, he hid it well.
I ducked back behind the paper, feeling a stab of disappointment and told myself to get it together, especially as I hadn’t expected kaçak iddaa him to remember me; hell when he’d told me to I call him, I figured it had to be a joke. So, of course I hadn’t, although I hadn’t quite managed to throw the napkin with his number away either. No name, just a number; cocky, confident without being arrogant, tall, gorgeous, a weariness in his hazel eyes that suggested he was older than he looked, and smartly, yet casually dressed in a white shirt, blue jeans, black trainers, and a modest watch on his left hand… and I had not been able to stop thinking about him.
Now I didn’t need to keep wondering about his name or his job or what he looked liked naked… and none of those facts were going to stop all the romantic and sexual fantasies I’d had about him.
I tried to keep my attraction and desire at bay, and study him as though I were trying to draw a mannequin or a bowl of fruit, but it wasn’t working. Broad shoulders, muscular arms and wash-board abs, a deep triangle in his well-defined hips drawing the eye to his modest, semi-erect cock, all supported by long, lean muscular legs. Even trying to look at each part in isolation, could not stop me thinking about it relative to my own body, imagining what those arms would feel like wrapped around me or how firm that chest might be beneath my trembling fingers…
“What is wrong with you?” Krista asked, interrupting my wayward thoughts as she leaned over to look at my blank canvas.
“I hate drawing people,” I muttered, cheeks flushed as I immediately began smudging some charcoal on the paper, trying to make some semblance of a figure.
“Stop trying to draw a person then,” said Krista, having already sketched out the rough outline of a standing human. “Just fit some lines together.”
“Easy for you to say, he’s not looking straight at you,” I murmured, feeling my cheeks flush, as I briefly looked around the side of my canvas to see those hazel eyes still boring into me. It honestly felt as though he was studying me as much as I was studying him, more so, given that I was trying not to stare, despite the fact that I wanted to and sort of needed to if I wanted to get anything drawn.
The break couldn’t come quickly enough, although I had no more desire for him to see my abysmal excuse of a drawing any more than I wanted him to be staring at me when I had to stare at him.
“You must be Krista and Jane,” he said, after reclaiming his robe, coming over to us and shaking our hands. I was probably imagining it, but he seemed to hold my hand a fraction longer, his gaze a little too lingering. “Pleasure to have you join the class.”
“Thanks,” I murmured, as Krista enthusiastically thanked him for giving us the last couple of spots.
“Sorry that your first class is slightly shambolic. If I’d have known it was going to go like this, I would have recommended that you start next week.”
“It’s fine,” said Krista, brightly. “Wouldn’t want to have missed out on all the fun. And at least none of us will waste any time imagining you naked now.”
Philip laughed. “I wasn’t aware that should be a concern, but I’m glad everyone will be able to work properly from now on,” he said, giving me a quick sideways glance. He frowned as he looked at the black lines on my paper. “Perhaps you could see me after class, Jane?”
Somehow, the next hour passed, with several “students” getting naked whilst also completing artworks of varying competency, skill and style. Everyone re-dressed and after quick critiques from Philip and a round of applause for the models, people began to leave, with murmurs of continuing the Nude Day festivities elsewhere.
Krista tapped me on the shoulder and I turned to face her, realising that I’d been staring unseeingly at my last awful sketch. I unclipped it and folded it up, fighting the urge to scrunch it into a ball and launch it into the nearest bin, figuring that I should at least recycle it.
“Hey, are you okay if I go with Diana? Apparently there’s a naked beach party happening and honestly, I want to go, but I know it’s not your thing and we were supposed to get dinner and everything. Of course, you can come if you want to…” She paused. “Or I guess I could not go…”
“Just go,” I said, smiling. For so many small reasons I did not want to go and for one very big reason, in that I was sure Krista was hoping to hook-up with someone and I would definitely cramp her style. “Besides, I’m already in trouble, remember?”
“Oh yes. Being asked to stay behind on the first day, tut tut. What do you think it is?” she asked, genuinely curious. Neither of us really believed I was in trouble — that clearly wasn’t my style, but obviously our teacher felt something needed to be addressed.
“Probably the fact that my stick figures weren’t very good,” I joked glibly, although it was probable.
“I don’t understand why you’re not better at life drawing, to be honest. I mean, your animal drawings are amazing.”
“Maybe Mr. kaçak bahis Jameson feels the same way,” I replied. There were so many reasons why the class had been very unproductive for me; I had been out of my comfort zone and trying to work in a very different way to normal. I liked to start with the eyes and draw outwards; if you could get the eyes right, everything else seemed to fall into place, so trying to ignore the small details was hard.
Krista laughed. “Trust you. Just call him Phillip. Anyway, I will see you later. Maybe.” She crossed her fingers at me and I rolled my eyes, my wry grin suggesting that I wished her luck.
The door closed behind her with a click and I sat back down at my easel, staring into the distance of my blank canvas. Feeling more relaxed in the silence and loneliness, I picked up the charcoal once more and tried again to draw something that vaguely resembled a human figure.
“You didn’t call,” Phillip said, breaking through my thoughts.
“No,” I confirmed, startled to realise that he had indeed recognised me. I turned my head to look at him. He was wearing only the pale blue dressing robe, and I swallowed hard, trying to ignore what I thought that might mean. “I figured you’d made a mistake.”
“A mistake,” he echoed, eyebrows arched questioningly, as he walked around me and my easel, seemingly inspecting my posture, tools and technique, as I continued trying to draw.
“Sure. That you still had sleep in your eyes; residual beer goggles, that kind of thing.”
“Why would you think that?” he asked, bemused, practically circling me like a predator closed in on its prey.
I shrugged, nerves coursing through my body, making me feel as though my skin was on fire, butterflies in my stomach. “Well, because, quite frankly, attractive men like you do not go for decidedly average looking women like me.” And to be honest, I felt that was being generous to myself.
“Perhaps I’ve been thinking that the reason you didn’t call is because you’re out of my league?”
“As I said at the beginning of the lesson, we all have our hang-ups and insecurities. And we see the world with very different eyes. The people you and I see are most likely vastly different to what we each see in the mirror.”
“I suppose so,” I begrudgingly acceded.
“You see someone “decidedly average” when you look in the mirror?” he said, watching as I nodded my head, trying to keep my eyes on him as he continued to circle. “I see a beautiful, intelligent woman too inhibited to let out all the passion and creativity that is bursting to get out.” He stopped and stood close to me, close enough that I could smell shampoo and cologne and a musky, manly scent beneath it all, as he looked at my latest attempt. “This is better. But you’re still thinking too much about what’s out here,” he said, waving a hand at the room “Instead of feeling what’s going on in here.” He put his hand against my chest, over my pounding heart, his fingers lightly grazing my left breast as he pulled it away. “Strip,” he said, taking a step back.
“Strip. Take all of your clothes off. I want you naked.”
“Are you mad? I’m not undressing here, in front of you,” I exclaimed, my cheeks burning with indignation and embarrassment.
Philip sighed and looked at me patiently. “You are never going to be able to draw the human figure as well as you’re capable of, if you don’t embrace it first. If you don’t accept the beauty in your flaws and hang-ups, accepting that the imperfection of our bodies is precisely what makes them unique and beautiful, and becomes one of those added factors of personal desire. So, in order to help you, you need to strip.” He suddenly took my chin in his hand and forced my myopic brown eyes to look into his hazel ones. “Don’t make me tell you again, Jane.”
Fuck knew what was going through my head, but I began to remove my clothes. I had no idea if this was a strange kind of date or a genuine extra study session, but I didn’t just undress as though I was alone and getting ready for bed. Although my slow and hesitant movements were from genuine embarrassment and shyness, I knew that they also conveyed a certain element of teasing anticipation. I crossed my arms and removed my sweatshirt and thin vest top first, revealing my medium sized breasts encased in a pale pink, padded t-shirt bra. I slipped off my black ballerina pumps, undid the button and zip on my black jeans, and slowly pushed them down over my hips and thighs, my long legs stepping out of them as the denim hit the floor, and I silently thanked the gods that I had shaved my legs and armpits the night before.
“Lingerie too,” Philip said, a strange note in his voice, although the tone was decidedly nonchalant. His eyes flickered over the thin lacy pink material covering my intimate areas, devouring my near nakedness. The fact that he was not immediately disgusted by the sight of my exposed flesh with all of its spots, scars and excess weight, was a relief, and the sudden realisation that it was, in fact, arousing to him, emboldened me slightly. “Take off your bra and panties, Jane,” he commanded, locking his eyes with mine, and a deep shiver ran through my body.
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