Art , Assurance
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Ian Abercrombie initially mistook Paz Duarte for an Argentine. At the time Argentina occupied his mind. Having never met any Argentines, she looked like he thought a woman from the Pampas should.
Springy shoulder-length auburn hair fell around her square face. Hazel eyes did their utmost not to engage in any mirth yet tried mightily from bestowing too much skepticism. A strong jaw almost ran parallel with thin wide lips. When she smiled dimples hollowing her cheeks nearly matched the divot twisting in her chin.
Good posture made Paz appear taller than her 5-foot-4. Good posture also gave her pert breasts which dominated her torso.
She and Abercrombie shared the same gym. He worked out to lessen all possible middle-aged indignities. Paz apparently exercised to frustrate her male fellow 20-somethings.
In the month or so of her membership, Abercrombie had watched Paz shoot down drake after drake. Though not formidable in the slightest, to him at least, Paz managed deflecting every youth imagining himself that irresistible heartbreaking gallant.
To a man each took his dismissal hard. From his aerie of experience Abercrombie shook his head, laughed at their plights, then hoped he’d never swung that hard and whiffed at the same age.
Rumors finally moved him to act. The more hurt, less mature failed suitors began opining that Paz was a dyke. Whether true or not was immaterial. The angry claim simply piqued Abercrombie.
She was some kind of artist. That’s all he knew about her.
He broke the ice during a strenuous late afternoon. Abercrombie introduced himself. Before responding, Paz gauged him. Her handshake was firm. Neither shied in the presence of the other. Rather as she later told him he became fuller. It was the first time he’d really seen her smile.
Those thin lips hid a giant smile.
Abercrombie purposely focused on her face. Although she wore loose gym wear, honest toil had adhered swaths of clothing against her. He discerned she had a tight body. Being mistaken for a South American amused her. Paz lightly corrected him.
“No. Spain. By way of Mexico.”
Listening to her, really listening to her, Abercrombie heard remnants of Castile in her American English voice. Indeed hers wasn’t a Central American or Caribbean inflection.
“That’s a roundabout way of arriving,” Abercrombie said.
His unintentional understatement bathed him in her big smile and an even bigger laugh.
“Brother, if you only knew …”
Comportment regained, Paz confessed to having spied him. She liked how Abercrombie performed his workouts. Though not remote, he didn’t needlessly socialize. She said his efficiency matched her own.
Her nipples stiffened beneath the damp top as they chatted. He discounted his affect. Air flow from an HVAC vent could’ve caused the reaction.
“Besides,” Paz added, “you always read a book on the bike. You’re one of the very few in here who doesn’t watch TV while you ride.”
Reading made miles on the stationary bicycle pass faster. Nothing shown on any of the gym’s televisions ever did that. She valued he used his time constructively.
With practiced casualness Paz mentioned several pieces of her portraiture would be exhibited in the local art Mecca. She further let drop the premiere night and time as well as informed him of an open bar reception for contributors and guests.
He acknowledged the invitation and promised his attendance.
Curious rather than anxious, Abercrombie arrived at the appointed place at the anointed time. The exhibition hall filled the ground floor of a disused bank tower. Upper-floor suites had been refigured into ateliers or writers dens.
A good crowd attended. Most of it murmured appreciatively in a clockwise drift. “Hispanic” in all its permutations formed this show’s theme. Abercrombie didn’t know which the more excessive: the artists’ channeling Frida or too much magical realism mixed with mental peyote.
Fortunately the cava was chilled. He grabbed a stem and sipped.
Paz came upon Abercrombie just as he reached her works. In manner and dress she surprised him. Concerning the first, gone was the gym comportment. She kissed both his cheeks. Second, away from exertion, making use of lightly applied cosmetics, primped hair, and a demure outfit emphasized her shining fitness.
She complimented his suit. If she’d known designer labels, or had been aware of his modestly-paid profession, she ought have wondered how he afforded such clothes. The story behind this suit and numerous other pieces of clothing crowding his wardrobe was by turns exploitive and picaresque, eye-opening casino şirketleri and conspiratorial.
He looked Paz over twice. Neither inspection was involuntary. Abercrombie’s attention slightly embarrassed her. She recovered in short order. He almost apologized but before doing so she thanked him for his support.
His demurral got swamped when she continued.
“The other day just before you left the gym, you were talking to those guys. It was about me, right? What did they want?”
Yes, a tight clutch of lifters bogged Abercrombie’s departure. They were eager for any tidbits about Paz. Mainly how Abercrombie had gotten her to converse civilly. Each of them had tales of terse rejection.
“They wanted me to give them the key,” Abercrombie said. “the one that wends ways into your tenderness and generosity.”
Paz scowled. “Ah! Those muscle heads! After ‘hello,’ ‘what’s your name?’ their next topic always involves me getting on my knees or back.”
“That’s an abrupt transition.”
“They’re delusional,” Paz said. “Instead of lifting those weights, they let them smack their heads. What else did they say?”
“My telling them how smart and charming you are didn’t matter. They must’ve misheard me. To them you’re either a fool for preferring women or stupid from being strange. They weren’t going to be persuaded otherwise.”
Anger knitted her brow.
“Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how old they are, they’re still boys. None of them would ever measure up anyway.”
Paz’ sudden turmoil faded when a one-man, two-woman knot of well-wishers crushed the pair. After Paz and the arrivals exchanged cheek-to-cheek greetings, she introduced them to Abercrombie. These were some of her closest colleagues.
All taught at a regional ecole/lycee/college that jammed together students whose parents were conflicted ex-pats, French corporate pawns and oh-so-pretentious Americains.
The five felt fortuitous coincidence after Abercrombie announced himself as another slave in academe. He taught American Literature at one of the better small liberal arts colleges sprinkling the Hudson Valley. He saw his rising esteem reflected in Paz’ eyes.
Until his revelation the distance between them closed at cool molasses speed. Now she squeezed the gap between them.
Her male colleague, Greg, made a feeble attempt at being jocular.
“Must be tough. A big good-looking guy like you fending off all those hot and bothered English majors. Tell me, a lot of those girls think your course would be a grind that might boost the GPA? Certainly Am Lit sweetens the transcript, yeah? Man, are they ecstatic to see you or what?”
Greg’s shallow suggestion of male prerogative landed flat with his colleagues. They may’ve drawn salaries from a French school, but the women remained fairly American in attitude.
Abercrombie deflated Greg altogether.
“Greg, mine are upper-level elective courses. I’m a hard master so the kids don’t come in just batting their eyes. And showing some leg doesn’t make the cut either. Although lemme tell you when I was younger — and untenured — yeah, the abundance of available pretty women did tempt me to sample. But it’s a funny thing. It’s something more noticeable with young adults than with adolescents. The pool stays the same age. Only the diver gets older. And after a while if the diver’s smart enough, he realizes he ought to stay away from the pool before he’s regarded as an old fool.”
Paz’ female colleagues happily nodded their agreement. Greg, gently chastened as he was, took sharp interest in one of Paz’ canvases. The artist herself did nothing to disguise her greater admiration of Abercrombie. He couldn’t help simpering.
When the reception ended and goodnights said, Paz and Abercrombie remained among the stragglers and custodial crew. Before the event’s bartenders packed away all their service and wares, she filched two bottles of cava and stems.
Abercrombie heard Paz’ request for his accompaniment to her studio almost as a demand. She also caught her voice’s iron. Their shared grins were between sheepish and knowing.
She maintained a west-facing sixth-floor studio. Past the frosted glass door and opaque transom above beckoned a quiet warmly lighted creative jumble. Shoji screens divided the room into new geometries.
Half-finished canvases waited for creative bursts towards completion. Ideas rendered through rough sketches abounded either taped or tacked to any vertical surface. Paints and brushes piled on tables. Adjustable metal stools, several worn wing chairs, and a couch provided seating.
As an afterthought, maybe, a bed casino firmaları invited along the wall opposite windows staring into nighttime sky. Rumpled sheets and dented pillows demonstrated no effort to conceal their recent use.
“Cozy,” Abercrombie said.
“An adult playpen,” Paz said. “And I’m an adult!”
She quickly scoured a table free of art tools, filling the space with the bottles and glasses. In their gym, clunky gear dulled much of her physical appeal. Tonight, though, sheathed in a flattering dress, wearing heels that accented her calves and raised her ass, granted Abercrombie a pleasing new perspective.
Short steps took Paz to a closet where she’d set up the stereo. A few clicks and low Spanish yearning tugged at the susceptible heart.
Paz turned. She began swaying towards him in time with the sorrowful melody. Her motion wasn’t so much learned as inherited from humanity’s animal self. The moment Abercrombie had opened the first bottle of cava and topped their stems she grazed against him. They toasted nothing, preferring to drink greedily.
Paz’ eyes darkened when the head taller Abercrombie embraced her in his arms. She kissed ferociously. Her body was hard against his. He wanted to take her to bed but she balked. Instead of being led, Paz wanted to go along. Once he acknowledged her body language, they moved hand-in-hand, if not in precise step, to bed.
Both saved any coy behavior. Each watched the other disrobe from opposite sides of the bed. She fished a rubber from the bedside stand drawer. Except for that dull foil packet the table top was empty.
If it weren’t for the round ledges on Paz’ chest, he could’ve mistaken her as a tomboy. Naked, doubtlessly feminine, she was lean. Her upper torso eased into hips but her butt sat high. She’d shaven her sex bare. Under the studio’s subdued light Paz was pale.
Abercrombie guessed himself an easy 20 years her senior. Though still thickly packed throughout his chest, the beginnings of a gut tugged upon his abdomen as well as awareness.
Black and gray curls sprouted across Abercrombie’s broad chest then trickled down his belly until ending in a coarse dense pubic forest. Between big legs his balls hung low while his cock stirred towards Paz.
She warmed the sheets first. He joined Paz in bed. Their mouths met and their hands eagerly explored.
Familiar now with his body’s contours, Paz’ lips drifted off Abercrombie’s own. Starting on Abercrombie’s chin, Paz’ mouth plotted one ragged course down his neck, chest, belly until eventually nestling among his hairy balls and rigid cock.
Abercrombie raised himself on his elbows to watch the expected. She delivered something different. Instead of merely sucking his dick, Paz pleasured him to some barely endured threshold.
Paz shifted his dick towards his belly. The rod out of the way, she wrapped lips around one nut. Her rough tongue teased in crazy patterns. Paz’ teeth grazed more than bit into his ball sac. Abercrombie was grateful she had a strong jaw because while she rolled that nut his limbs shuddered, neck bulged, eyes squinted. He breathed unevenly.
Abercrombie voiced sounds fucking no longer prompted.
When Paz drenched his other nut it was twice as good.
Finished tensing and flexing his every sinew and synapse, Paz crawled up Abercrombie’s torso. Along the way she pulled a few errant hairs from her mouth. A weak smile lightened her face.
Before she climbed too far, Abercrombie twisted off his back intending to reverse their positions, intending to press their bellies together then plow. She changed his direction.
Once she ascertained his plan, that his motions weren’t prelude to grappling, Paz offered her posterior. His cock, now a long quivering pole, rudely bumped her ass while they brusquely arranged themselves. Foil swiped and exposed, he dragged the rubber over his turtle and rolled it down his trunk.
With her down on all fours, Paz’s smooth narrow ass defined enticement. Squeezing it wasn’t enough. Abercrombie kissed a spot. His exaggerated smack drew girlish laughter.
He slid a hand between her thighs. The other hand he flattened on a shoulder blade for support.
Paz must’ve shaven recently. His fingers never encountered the slightest stubble. Gentle fingers pried her secret spot. Manipulation and inquisitive repetition quickly moistened her. Paz gave off a strong though not unpleasant scent.
Abercrombie stopped fingering her and guided himself inside. Almost as an afterthought Paz reached around. Her groping was unnecessary.
Wet as she was, plunging was hard. A little tight wasn’t güvenilir casino an understatement. She bowed lower to improve his angle but this gesture didn’t help. Abercrombie resorted to brute force.
He edged closer, sealing the flesh of their iron thighs. Abercrombie tried not clutching her waist in a death grip. Then he drove. His cock inside Paz reminded him of his thumb pressing into a ripe peach. Paz cried out with his first full thrust. In control, Abercrombie gained and sustained joyous rhythm.
Paz whimpered. She sputtered soft nonsense. He loved the noise. Abercrombie drove her over the edge twice before he expended himself.
Spent and sated, Abercrombie released Paz’ waist and tugged his pecker free of her hairless crevice. She fell face first into pillows. Both laughed at her clowning. Abercrombie stretched beside her, where she then burrowed her back into his chest.
Paz’ hard ass pressed his dick, keeping him somewhat stiff. Then again maybe his forearm resting across her chest, the palm of which was at first happy to squeeze tits, then became nipple-playing fingers that further incited matters between his legs.
Paz ran small palms along his forearm and haunch. They lay this way for a quiet while. Her deliberate voice ended the silence.
“You are a bull.”
Classifying Abercrombie as such, she lifted the paw clasping her breast and kissed it. Paz snuggled closer. Her voice reflected their mutual contentment.
“This whole night has been like a reward. It almost makes all the shit I waded through to get here bearable.”
Abercrombie itched to ask. Instead he decided to learn what he could from her free association.
“I expected my friends to flatter my work. But absolute strangers? Unbelievable! Us here now is like the cherry on top. Oh, yeah, earlier this week I got my permanent residency. No more creeping around for this girl. No more worrying about misdemeanors leading to an immigration detention cell. Relief is nirvana.”
He asked how long she’d waited. Rue not flippancy underlined Paz’ answer. “Every single fucking day since I’ve lived in America.”
Abercrombie remembered her mentioning circuitous travel across the border. From Spain. By way of Mexico. Who the hell did that?
A mystery for idle time. She skipped back to the present.
“Our school director vouched for my ‘unique skills.’ I’m not just an ‘art teacher.’ I’m a ‘French art teacher.'”
“Don’t knock our age of specialization,” Abercrombie said.
“I have no idea what the difference is, but Monsieur Ghisalbert must’ve made it sound more than impressive. He gave the impression my position was essential. Vital even.”
“Encouraging kids to fingerpaint is vital?” Abercrombie asked.
“In the French manner,” she emphasized. “However he worked it, it was a godsend. Not only for me. For my mother, too. We’ve been living in nervous limbo while our neighbors acted out their American dreams.”
“This Ghisalbert sounds stand up.”
Paz laughed derisively. “Bottom line, he’s a Frenchman.”
She explained the corruption behind Ghisalbert’s benefice.
Ghisalbert found favor in Paz’ schooling, her diligence while navigating America’s immigration shoals. That he didn’t denigrate her accent, that she fluently spoke two languages other than Spanish and English as well as her rousing his interest certainly eased his decision.
Unlike an American with such power, Ghisalbert was solicitous. He insinuated. He didn’t insist.
“You traded favors,” Abercrombie said.
Paz twisted her head. She studied him through cold eyes.
“I’m just sayin’,” Abercrombie said, “not judging.”
She dismissed what she obviously heard as accusatory. A shrug and she turned away. Paz believed even if she’d let Ghisalbert’s sotto exchange offer wither, he still would’ve become her benefactor.
Paz erased her slightest doubt about the outcome by taking to his bed.
Whispering, Paz said, “I submitted.”
She described Ghisalbert. Average height. Build kept trim through tennis. A long face whose disinterest vied with indifference. Except for a brown-gray fringe of hair Ghisalbert was bald. Assuming Abercrombie wouldn’t take offense, Paz announced that the Frenchman was well-endowed.
“Though uncircumcised,” she added. “He’s aware of its effect. Or burden, if you like. But not vain. I think he hopes such modesty works to his advantage. You know, adds to his attraction.”
“What the hell is so attractive about a dangling pink anteater?” Abercrombie asked.
Lengthy loud laughter trembled through Paz’ body. Abercrombie even chuckled at his own “funny.”
Her amusement subsiding, Paz delivered a verdict true French themselves might’ve approved as a most apt putdown.
“Despite his sizable advantage, M. Ghisalbert is only technically proficient in an endeavor requiring passion.”
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