The skritch, skritch,skritch of charcoal against paper was the only sound in the room. Marshall glanced briefly at the page, before looking up at Luka again. He didn’t know which was worse: staring at the drawing or at the man?
Not that Luka was a chore to look at. Far from it. His fallen angel face and loose curls made him a dead ringer for the model Cellini had used for his marble Narcissus.
Marshall was no Renaissance sculptor, however.
Just a struggling art student who couldn’t hold down a day job. Or keep a relationship together.
He let his gaze roam over his former sub again, his pencil tracing the lines his eyes followed. Up the corded muscles of Luka’s neck, sharply angling to trace the jaw, curving over full, sensual lips. Marshall’s pencil—and heart—stuttered.
Something flickered in Luka’s gaze at the change in rhythm, but he was too well trained to move and disrupt Marshall’s art. Luka had picked the pose and Marshall regretted letting him. It was beautiful; no question about it, and the light was impeccable. But something about the way Luka’s temple and shoulder met the window revealed a disconcerting reflection. Although angled at a three-quarter profile to Marshall, the reflection in the glass made it appear as though Luka was focused on him. As if the long-lashed, sad eyes were staring straight at him. Imploring him.
Marshall ducked further behind his easel and scrutinized the sketch of Luka. The edge of an eraser traced down Luka’s nose, brushed the tops of his eyelids, and left little curlicues of light to highlight his hair.
Stilling, Marshall looked at the piece with a critical eye, his heart aching as he acknowledged there was no more to be done. Not for the sketch—which would be handed over to the gallery at the end of the week—or the relationship.
In truth, it had been over for a while now. Marshall had only asked Luka to model after the gallery curator begged him for an additional piece to complete the collection.
He cleared his throat. “I think we’re done.”
Luka didn’t move a muscle. “You think, or you’re sure?”
“I’m sure. It’s done.”
There was a bitter twist to Luka’s lips as he straightened and stretched. Without even the sound of the charcoal on the paper, the room’s silence became oppressive. Luka dressed, neither quickly nor slowly, but with the typical graceful economy of movements he always used.
Marshall mourned as the beautiful dancer’s body was swallowed by denim and cotton. He’d never see the strong, lissome curves again, unless he went to Luka’s performances, which he couldn’t afford.
At least I’ll always have my art, he thought bitterly as Luka reached the door.
“Thanks for agreeing to this,” he said aloud.
Luka hitched his canvas bag of dance clothes higher on his shoulder and paused with the door half-open. “It doesn’t have to be like this, you know?”
“Yes. It does.”
This story came together quite easily for me. Almost too easily. There’s a wicked plot bunny nibbling at me right now. What do you think? Would you want to read Marshall and Luka’s story?
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I look forward to seeing you next Monday!