I remember thinking that I just needed a little more green paint. That was right before I felt the tingle at the base of my spine. It felt like someone was watching me as I painted. I turned to check my surroundings and nearly tripped over a very large man with gorgeous green eyes. He was attractive, but I was annoyed and gave him a look to tell him as much. He smiled and gave me a nod before walking away.
I had been commissioned to paint a mermaid on a yacht. I had done that, and more…I created a topless mermaid with black hair, hazel eyes, full breasts, and a tail that reminded me of the ocean. She was a permanent resident of the vessel they called Obsession; the yacht was a 300 some foot Lurssen whose owners were paying me a handsome sum to paint her. I didn’t ask questions. After the first ten hour day working on her, I decided to give her a name. I called her Claire Aslin meaning bright future. Claire and I shared many moments together during the three weeks it took me to get to this point. It may sound odd, but I talked to her in the same way some people talk to their pets. I explained that I like my coffee with plenty of cream, and that I missed my ex and was sick of men.
Painting, like any art, is a sort of outpouring of self and since I was given very little direction with this project, Claire was my own creation. My hair was limp and dull, hers was shiny and full of bounce and life. I was built like a boy, she had an ample bosom. I appreciated her in a way that a mother might adore her own daughter and made her the way I looked in my dreams. I gave her a quick wink as I packed up my supplies and promised that I’d be back in the morning. As I closed my locker door I was startled by the same green eyes from before. This time, he didn’t leave after I gave him a look of disgust, so I asked “can I help you?”
“No thank you” said a booming voice with a delightful accent that I couldn’t quite place. I was quickly trying to assess if he was British or Australian.
I thought he would have walked away; he stood there looking at me and I clearly was not going to win the staring competition. I turned to walk away.
“You know Val, you’re a lot prettier than she is.”
He walked away.
Who does that? (I thought to myself) Who just says something like that and walks away? I bet he’s a sociopath. I grabbed my duffel bag and headed home. I couldn’t help but wonder who he was and what his story was. I had plenty of guy friends, but no one had really hit on me since Josh and I split up. Most of my friends called me a tom-boy and I guess I wasn’t super approachable to most guys. This guy was the exception to the rule apparently.
“You know who that is, right?” said the tall slender blonde cleaning the storage area near my locker.
“Are you talking to me?” I asked (she had never spoken a word to me and suddenly I existed…I would have preferred to kick her as to talk to her).
“Yes, you” she said with an eye roll and some sort of rude body language. “That’s Paul Tucker. Famous chef with the restaurants and the tv show. You truly are daft.”
The blonde bitch turned and walked away. Call me daft, but whoever this guy was or wasn’t – I didn’t care. The Obsession and my beautiful Claire were set to sail in a few days and I would never seem him, or them again. In three short days, I became the object of his affection. The details of our courtship were as delightful as a seven course meal with double dessert. Now I live part of the year in the South of France, part in Las Angeles, sleeping on luxury linens with staff folding my intimates. Who would have thought that a poor girl from a Midwestern town would have found true love. I didn’t care about his money and he didn’t care about my past and that seems to be a recipe for eternal bliss and dreams come true.