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When Melanie’s plane landed at the Manchester Airport, she couldn’t have been more tired. Lousy weather in New York had caused her original flight to be canceled. She was forced to switch airlines, fly to Toronto and board another flight at midnight, to finally arrive in England four hours later than expected. Even though she hadn’t slept at all, sandwiched between two snoring men, she was still feeling optimistic, until she discovered her luggage didn’t arrive with her.
“Excuse me, I’ve been waiting for my luggage and there’s nothing else coming around the carousel. Can you help me?” she inquired at the baggage counter.
Tears filled her eyes after several checks confirmed all three of her bags were nowhere to be found. Although the young man who had been helping her couldn’t have been nicer, he was not used to dealing with tired, crying, American women. Screaming tourists were fine and he had grown a thick skin to the language that was thrown at him; beautiful women quietly crying were a little beyond his skills.
Working with the clerk and his supervisor, Melanie was sent away with only her lost baggage claim check and a telephone number so that she could check to see if they were found. Tears were still falling as she turned and walked away.
As she came out of the baggage area, Melanie wiped her tears away and scanned the crowds hoping to find anyone holding a sign printed with her name. Manchester University promised they would try to find someone to greet her, but with people still away on holiday, they couldn’t be sure that anyone would be available. She had trusted her mother to get word to them of her new flight information. Melanie gripped the piece of paper that contained the address of her new flat and prepared to find a cab.
Her chin started to quiver and the tears threatened to return when she saw him, holding a sign above his head – MELANIE HARRISON. She picked up her pace and headed towards him.
Jeffrey Blackstone peered out over the expanse of people heading towards the exits. All he knew, when he volunteered to meet the associate professor from America, was that he would be meeting a woman in her early thirties. The faculty office had failed to forward her photograph. Standing a full head above most of the people around him, the sign he held stood out like a beacon in the night.
Jeffrey knew her almost immediately, when this tall woman with red eyes and a look of absolute hopelessness approached him. The chestnut colored hair she had put in a chignon was in complete disarray. Her teal blue eyes were rimmed with tears and her clothes and raincoat were crumpled, indicating the hours of travel she had endured.
“Hi,” her voice shook as she greeted him. “I’m Melanie Harrison.”
“Miss Harrison, I’m Jeffrey Blackstone from the university; how do you do?”
Before Melanie stood the epitome of her idea of James Bond; he was probably mid forties, over six feet tall, clean shaven and dark brown hair, with gray at the temples, lending to his distinguished air. It didn’t hurt that he had incredible blue eyes and an athletic build.
Melanie felt even worse, looking at this debonair gentleman and then looking down at her wrinkled attire. Her emotions got the best of her and the tears escaped her eyes.
“I’ve had a really bad day,” she sniffed. “I really need a hug.”
With that little warning, Jeffrey found this disheveled, young woman leaning into him and resting her head against his chest. Not all that reluctantly Jeffrey put his arms around her and let her cry. It had been over five years since he had held a crying woman; not since his partner of ten years said goodbye.
It finally dawned on Melanie that she was getting Jeffrey’s Burberry trench coat wet and she jerked out of his arms.
“Oh God, Mr. Blackstone, I’m so sorry. I….I’m not the hysterical type, honest, but you see, all three of my bags are lost. I’m literally holding everything I own,” Melanie explained.
Jeffrey was sympathetic to her plight, but smiled and tried to reassure her. “Miss Harrison, I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and more than once I’ve arrived at my destination before my luggage. I promise you, the airlines are very good about finding these things. In the meantime, let’s get you to your flat, take inventory of what you may need in the kitchen, and decide if you need anything in the way of clothes. You know, you’ll probably be back here tomorrow to pick up your bags.”
Jeffrey took Melanie’s arm and guided her to the shuttle that took them to the parking lot. Melanie raised her eyebrows appreciatively when Jeffrey unlocked her car door. Before her was a stunning 1963 Jaguar XKE. Befitting the image that Melanie had of him, the car was fully restored to its original splendor. Melanie melted into the soft bucket seat and when Jeffrey turned on the engine, the car came alive to the music of Black Sabbath. She had only meant to lean her head back for just a moment, and was awakened by Jeffrey’s hand on her shoulder.
“Miss Harrison,” he said quietly. “Miss Harrison, wake up, we’re at the flat.”
Melanie’s eyes fluttered open when she heard his soft voice, and realized the car had stopped moving. Jeffrey was parked in front of a three story brick apartment building. He escorted her up the walkway that was flanked by rose gardens. He took keys out of his pocket and opened the outer door, and then the lobby door.
Melanie saw a stairway straight ahead, and then looked left and right down the hallway.
“You’re in #3A, down here to the left,” Jeffrey told her. “This is a small, but friendly complex. Many of the visiting faculty members stay here. Each flat is completely furnished, the kitchens are stocked with dishes, pots and pans, and there are bedroom and bathroom linens. If you like, I can leave you to rest and come by later to take you to the market.”
He handed Melanie her flat key and let her do the honors. She opened the windowed wooden door to a small dark hallway, containing a coat rack. To Melanie’s immediate left was the bedroom. It was rather nondescript, but at least it contained a bed, a night stand, dressing table, and armoire. There was additional storage on the shelves in the closet. Next to her bedroom was the small bathroom with tub, sink and toilet. Jeffrey pointed out the heated towel rack.
They walked through the last door on the left and entered the combination lounge and dining room. A round dining table sat in front of a great window over looking the rose garden. To the left of the window was one last door, leading to the galley kitchen.
Melanie had never seen such a compact space. Everything she needed was there, but in a much smaller size than she was used to seeing. There was even a small washer and dryer. There were no upper cabinets, just open shelving. Another window looked out over the roses. Jeffrey reached up and cracked the window, letting in the heady fragrance of the colorful flowers. The one thing Melanie wished she had right now was her sketch book.
She turned to look at Jeffrey, still feeling a bit awed by his good looks. “I appreciate the offer of letting me rest, but I honestly think if I was to lie down, I wouldn’t wake before tomorrow. Would it be an imposition to go to the market now?”
“Not at all, Miss Harrison, let’s make a list of all you’ll need. Will you require toiletries and such?” he inquired.
“Those I have, but I will need to pick up a couple items, if you wouldn’t mind stopping at a clothing store. I have my toiletries and sneakers in my carry-on bag, but that’s it. My luggage may show up tomorrow, but that won’t do me any good tonight,” she said wearily. “Give me a few minutes to wash some of this grime off, and I’ll be right with you.”
She was still a bit crumpled, but Melanie appeared refreshed. She had abandoned the chignon, so that her dark hair hung in soft waves on her shoulders, giving a beautiful frame to her face. And what a face, Jeffrey noticed; not only the arresting teal eyes with their long eyelashes, but a cute nose and luscious plump lips. He smiled and thought they were the kind that invited a kiss.
Jeffrey thought the best place for most of her personal needs would be the Arndale Centre, a fairly large shopping mall. He tried not to notice as she looked over the lacey lingerie, choosing a nude colored bra and a couple of pairs of boy shorts, or the short nightgown she chose for sleeping attire. He was forced to help her with the sizing, and nodded approvingly when he was asked if the low rise jeans fit her all right. There wasn’t much that wouldn’t look good on this tall, statuesque woman. She grabbed a couple of v-necked tees and they were on their way to Tesco.
The Tesco food market was a modern grocery store. Melanie was surprised at the wine selection that was available. She explained that where she was from in New York, you could only purchase wine in liquor stores. After her ordeal, she felt she deserved a couple of bottles on standby. Jeffrey pointed out some good tasting, but affordable white wines.
She concentrated on fresh produce, fish and poultry, as well as her staples. Jeffrey advised her on a good wheat bread and a couple of kinds of cheese. She came to a complete stop when she looked at the tea.
“Until we can take you to a proper tea shop, PG Tips will be fine,” Jeffrey told her.
Jeffrey helped Melanie into her flat, with all her packages. He automatically reached to put the kettle on for tea, while Melanie went to change. The sound of his stomach growling reminded him that they had yet to eat, since her arrival. When Melanie came back into the lounge, Jeffrey had her dining table set with mugs of steaming hot tea, grilled cheese sandwiches, and some cookies.
Hands on her hips she looked at him and smiled earnestly. “Mr. Blackstone, how will I ever thank you? I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been at the airport. I think you’ve gone well beyond the line of duty, taking me shopping, and now fixing something to eat.”
“You can start by calling me Jeffrey, and allowing me to call you Melanie. I think spending the day shopping, especially for women’s clothing, does entitle me to that. I’m leaving you my card. Before I leave, I’ll go over the workings of your gas heater, and show you how to dial my number. If you find your luggage has arrived, I’ll be more than happy to run you back to the airport.”
“Oh no, I can’t ask you to do that. I’ll call a cab. You’ve tied up your whole Saturday with me, and I won’t tear you away from your family on Sunday, too,” she said.
Jeffrey grinned and said, “No worries, none of my family is close by. I normally use Sundays as a day for walking or painting. If your luggage arrives, we’ll pick it up, deposit back here and then I’ll run you over to the university and give you my own private tour. We’ll also pick up the bus schedule so you’ll know your way about. Classes start in another week, and we don’t need the professor being late for class.”
Jeffrey and Melanie chatted about the upcoming term, normal class sizes and the workings of the Art Department. Melanie shared her love of still-life and landscapes. She was partial to pastels and watercolors.
“What I miss most right now is my sketchpad and my books. No matter where I am, I always have them. It makes any place home for me,” she said.
“I’ve never been any good at watercolors. I work in pencil, ink, and oils. My concentration of late has been a study of the human body. I’ve also been playing with photography, black and white, of course. The studios at school are great, but I’m also partial to the light I have in my library at home.”
“Well Mr. Blackstone,” she caught herself. “I mean Jeffrey; I’d be please to help you with watercolors, if you would take me under your wing when it comes to the human form. I have no problem with perspective, color, light, but ask me to draw a person and it comes off looking like a caricature.
After their light meal, Jeffrey made sure Melanie was comfortable with the workings of all of the appliances, and said his good byes. As he walked out to his car, he could see her watching him from the large dining window. He liked her, he decided. She was going to bring a fresh perspective to the art department and he decided this year could be quite interesting.
Jeffrey was awakened to a very excited voice on the other end of the telephone, announcing her luggage had arrived. Melanie could hear him yawn and stretch, but still he promised to be over within the hour.
“No, you don’t understand, they’re sending them to me by courier. You’re free, you don’t have to bother yourself with me!” she exclaimed.
“Nonsense, it was never any bother. Call me when you’re settled and ready, I’ll come by and take you to the university. There are some great pubs nearby and we’ll grab a late lunch,” Jeffrey told her.
He came by around two o’clock. It was a beautiful late summer day, not a cloud in sight. As Jeffrey maneuvered his car onto the university campus Melanie gasped. The campus was a mixture of 1800’s buildings and modern architecture. Looking at Whitworth Hall, Melanie knew this was exactly the experience she was looking for, in her year as an exchange professor.
“Last year, we had over 40,000 students and more than 10,000 staff. Our library is one of the largest in the UK and our Observatory has the third largest fully-movable radio telescope in the world. Our teams compete in 28 different sports, where we’ve had some considerable success in the British University and College Sports competitions,” Jeffrey spoke proudly, as he gave Melanie an overview of Manchester University. “Ah, here we are; the Whitworth Art Gallery.”
Melanie stared at the large building. She had read about the collections of watercolors, sculptures and textiles, and started towards the entrance.
Jeffrey put his hand on her arm to stop her. “Unfortunately, it’s not open. Maintenance staff uses the weeks prior to the start of term to make repairs, clean and polish the floors. Come on, I can get you inside the studios.”
Their footsteps echoed in the vacant hallways. Melanie felt her excitement peak as she entered what would be one of her classrooms. The room was immaculate, because of the summer holiday. There was a glass display case exhibiting some of the pieces created by the students. She looked around the room and was in awe of the sketches that were affixed to the wall. She walked towards them to get a better look.
From a distance, she couldn’t really tell what the object in the sketch was supposed to be. Upon closer inspection, she realized that these sketches were of the human body. There was the bend of an elbow, the back of an ear and neck, a collarbone and shoulder. The sketches could have been black and white photographs; they were that good.
“Wow. This kid is really good. Is this graduate work? Is he still a student here?” Melanie asked.
“Thank you, no, I teach,” Jeffrey said proudly.
Melanie blushed and smiled, “You really are good. Do you think you can help me? I would give anything to be able to draw like this. I’ve tried, but it just never looks right.”
“Have you had much practice? Have you worked with nude models? I find if I pick out just one part of the anatomy and concentrate on that, it’s far easier for me. But no worries, we’ll have plenty of time to work on that, as long as you remember our bargain,” Jeffrey said with a bit of a gleam in his eye.
The term started and Melanie soon became a favorite among the students, especially the young men. Because she was young and new, she couldn’t go anywhere on campus without being hit on by the adventurous. She didn’t look anywhere near her thirty-two years, and Jeffrey found her to be the subject of more than one sketch, in his class. Melanie, of course, let the boys down gently, and professionally.
Jeffrey decided to hold a reception in his home, to celebrate the new term, and to introduce Melanie to the others in the Art Department. The lights glowed from every window, when Melanie arrived that night. She smiled at the urns containing flowers, flanking the entrance of his converted coach house, in West Didsbury.
Melanie could hear soulful tunes coming from inside, even before Jeffrey opened the door. The music was joined by the laughter of the party-goers, indicating a good time would be had by all.
Her heart skipped a beat as she entered his home, brushing by his hard body. He stood smiling at her, and offered to take her coat. He was dressed casually in a pair of black chinos, and a steel gray-blue v-necked sweater, that hugged is sculpted body.
He politely put his hand at the small of her back, guiding her towards the merriment. He had to admit to himself, the feel of her hips swaying beneath his hand had an effect on him, that he would have to take care to hide. She left his touch, to join another female professor, who was beckoning her to come over. He watched her walk away in her brown pencil skirt and cr? colored cashmere sweater and thought, for just a moment, this woman had a killer arse.
Jeffrey had hired a bartender and waiter, so that his time could be concentrated on his guests. After a couple of hours, one by one the other professors started to take their leave.
“Excuse me, Jeffrey,” Melanie said, coming up behind him. “May I use your telephone? I need to call for a ride home.”
“Don’t be silly Melanie; let me run you home,” he said with a smile. “I can’t have one of my guests be inconvenienced twice in one night, if you don’t mind waiting until everyone has gone.”
Melanie opened her mouth to object and was promptly shushed with his finger pressed against her lips.
“No arguments, Miss Harrison,” he ordered and then turned to his remaining guests.
Melanie had kicked off her shoes and was curled up in the corner of the leather sofa, after the last guest had left. Jeffrey returned and handed her a snifter containing a rich amber-colored liquid.
“I’m not much of a drinker,” she said as she accepted the crystal glass.
Jeffrey had a glint in his eye as he said, “A little cognac never hurt anyone. It’s good for the soul – at least that’s what my grandfather always told me.”
He eased into the other end of the sofa and took a sip of the smooth liquor. Jeffrey couldn’t take his eyes off of Melanie, slowly dissecting her.
“And you’re lovely. Do me a favor and don’t move,” Jeffrey requested.
He briefly left the room and returned with a sketch pad. Melanie said nothing and held her position. It seemed he made very few strokes with his pencil when he turned and showed her what he had done. It was a sketch of her long neck, her collarbone and a bare shoulder.
“Of course, I had to imagine you sans clothing,” he said, causing Melanie to blush.
She tried to cover her embarrassment by joking and saying, “Well, just wait until it’s my turn to imagine you.”
Jeffrey stood and asked, “Tell me, did you get a chance to explore the house? Did you see my library? I’m really quite proud of it.”
He led Melanie through the foyer to a carved wood door. When Jeffrey opened the door, Melanie was greeted by the sight of what she considered the perfect English library. The walls were paneled with dark walnut. Two of them held floor to ceiling bookshelves that were filled with beautifully bound selections. All of a sudden, the room was filled with a smooth jazzy saxophone sound. Melanie turned to see Jeffrey in front of a huge armoire, adjusting the sound system. This unit was devoted to LP’s and CD’s, hundreds of them.
There was a large desk in the center of the far wall, and behind it was an arrangement of brightly colored oil paintings; an easel stood nearby. Melanie immediately recognized Jeffrey’s work, based on the examples in the art studio at the university. These were different, though. The posing and detail clearly defined the nude studies. Melanie tried to turn away, but a few of the paintings mesmerized her. One black and purple piece captured her attention. Upon closer inspection she could see it was a woman’s breast, in a state of arousal.
“Come with me,” Jeffrey said to Melanie as he flicked an electric switch and opened French doors onto an enclosed garden.
It was like walking into a magical place. You could still hear the soft music while standing under a canopy of trees lit with fairy lights. He invited her to sit at the caf?able in the corner, and lit the candles on the table.
Melanie crossed her legs and leaned back in her seat to take in her surroundings. Jeffrey looked at her, admiring her shapely legs, and for just a moment, imagined them wrapped around him. He shook his head to remove that image from his mind. No sense in complicating things.
The clock moved into the wee hours of the morning, while the two shared their love of art and artists. Jeffrey promised Melanie a weekend trip into London, to explore the majesty of the old masters.
“You really are too kind, Jeffrey,” she said earnestly. “I feel like I’m taking up all your time.”
“Well, that is my choice now isn’t it,” he told her, smiling his devilishly handsome smile.
One late afternoon the next week, Melanie sat in the courtyard of her complex, in front of a beautiful hydrangea, filled with big blue blossoms. She never heard the smooth engine of the car, or the man who walked up behind her. She slid her brush across the canvas, deftly mixing color and water to bring the painting to life.
“This is exactly what I was talking about,” Jeffrey’s voice said softly behind her. “I am envious of anyone who can make watercolors look so easy.”
Melanie looked up, squinting against the setting sun, and smiled at the man who towered over her. She was surprised when he dropped to his knees to watch more closely. She spoke as she painted, as if instructing her students. Jeffrey sat quietly, absorbed in her speech.
Without warning, the sky turned black and the heavens opened. Big, fat rain drops plopped down on them, quickly soaking everything. Jeffrey helped Melanie gather her things, but not before becoming completely wet, and seeing her picture ruined.
They left a wet trail of footprints in the hall as they scurried to Melanie’s flat. Once inside, she immediately went to the lounge and turned on the heater, and then started a kettle on the stove.
“Get those wet clothes off and I’ll get you a towel. You’ll catch your death,” she said, rushing by a dripping Jeffrey.
When she returned, he had his tweed sport coat draped on the back of a chair and shoes off, resting in front of the heater. Melanie tossed him a warm towel, a large fleece shirt and some sweat pants.
“Come on get out of those wet clothes. These should fit. I’ll change in my room, so you have full run of the bathroom.”
When Melanie re-entered the lounge, she could hear Jeffrey in the kitchen attending to the kettle. He joined her with steaming cups of tea, looking a little uncomfortable in the slightly too small clothes she gave him. A small giggle escaped her mouth.
Jeffrey couldn’t help but notice how lovely and fresh she looked, with her wet hair resting on her shoulders, leaving wet splotches on her long sleeved tee shirt. She had begun running a brush through her hair while the tea cooled, until Jeffrey stopped her.
“Do you mind?” he asked taking the brush out of her hand. “My mum had beautiful long hair and she used to let me brush it for her.”
He stood, walked behind her chair, lifted her hair and began brushing it. The act was so innocent, so thoughtful, and yet so sensuous. Melanie felt herself relax at his touch, but also felt parts of her body become excited. She leaned back against the chair. Jeffrey towered over her, looking down at the swell of her breasts and the telltale sign of aroused nipples.
“Melanie,” he said softly. “Would you pose for me right now? Please. With your wet hair and this dim light, I am so inspired.”
She sat up, turned and looked at him. “What would you have me do?”
He sounded confident while he told her his plan. “I would like you to undress and come back wrapped in this throw. I will pose you on the sofa, with your back to me. I promise you, it will be discreet.”
Melanie wasn’t sure about his request, but was caught up in the moment, his voice, and the way he made her feel. Without saying a word, she picked the throw up off the sofa and left the room.
Jeffrey helped himself to one of Melanie’s sketch pads, and located her pencils. He was adjusting a lamp when she came back into the room, her hair still wet, and simply wrapped in the knitted blanket.
He didn’t want to scare her so he told her what he wanted and let her get into the pose herself.
Melanie sat, half reclining against the side of the sofa, facing the back. She loosened the throw so that it fell down her back, draping against the curve of her hips. Jeffrey asked if she would mind if he made minor adjustments. He exposed her long, shapely legs, pulled her hair to one side, tilted her head to show her profile, and moved her arm to lay down the side of her body, along her hip. Melanie thrilled at the touch of his warm hands on her bare skin.
Jeffrey flipped the switch on Melanie’s radio and tuned in a station playing soft Celtic music. They sat in silence with only the sound of the music and the movement of his pencil on paper. He concentrated on his work but not without appreciating the curves of the woman he was drawing. He had noted how soft her skin was as he helped her move into place. What was it about this woman?
She had no idea how long she sat still, but when Jeffrey announced he was done, she was glad to be able to finally stretch. Melanie turned without thinking, as the throw slipped from her breasts. Jeffrey quickly turned his head as she gasped and reached for the blanket. To her, he hadn’t seen a thing, but he had, and it aroused him. She left to change and he looked at what he had sketched. She would make a fine addition to his wall.
When Melanie returned to the lounge, she was fully dressed with her hair tied back. Jeffrey was sitting at the dining room table, still working on his sketch. He never heard her enter.
“Oh my,” she exhaled, looking over his shoulder.
“You approve?” he asked.
“Jeffrey, I never imagined anything like that. My God, you’re good. You made me look wonderful. I’d say I’m speechless, but I’ve already proven that statement wrong,” Melanie laughed.
Jeffrey grinned at Melanie’s ramblings. “It’s not a watercolor. Don’t forget, you owe me a session where I can practice.”
“Now wait one minute, Mr. Blackstone. I’d say you are on the owing end at this point. Our next session will be me learning from you.
Oh, he thought; there are several things I would like to teach you, Miss Harrison.
During the next few weeks, anytime Melanie had a free period, Jeffrey let her audit his classes. She sat quietly in the back of the studio, sketch pad on her lap, drawing the same objects he gave his class to draw. At the end of the day, he would review what she had done, and give her pointers on the use of shadow and light to emphasize and contrast her figures. Jeffrey helped her put light in the eyes of the models and softness to their hair. It was going well until his Friday class.
Melanie walked in and took her place in the back of the room. A young man entered and walked past her, making his way to the center of the room. Just as suddenly as he entered, he dropped the blue robe he was wearing and sat on the stool, legs spread, absolutely naked. Melanie felt herself turn red and broke out in a sweat. While the rest of the students silently began to draw, she could barely move, just staring at him, her mouth open in shock.
Jeffrey watched his colleague with a bemused look on his face. He knew he shouldn’t, but there was some satisfaction in watching Melanie fidget with embarrassment. He promised himself to treat the review of this experience very, very gently.
After class, he expected her to stick around, as always, and discuss what she had drawn. Today, however, Melanie was the first person out the door. Jeffrey almost felt bad about the way she must be feeling, but he reasoned, she was a professional and should have expected this at some point.
Late Saturday morning, Melanie was returning to her flat, from posting a letter home. Jeffrey was parked close to the front entrance of her building, leaning against the hood of his Jag. Melanie felt her face turning crimson, once more.
“So you weren’t home. Here I thought you were ignoring my ringing your bell,” Jeffrey said with a Cheshire cat grin.
“Why would I ignore you? What reason could I possibly have for doing that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps you were trying to avoid the subject of yesterday,” he told her, walking to the passenger side of his car and opening the door. “Come on, get in.”
“Excuse me? I don’t believe we had plans for today, Jeffrey,” Melanie said, looking surprised at his audacity.
“Please Melanie,” Jeffrey said seriously. “Come home with me and let’s talk. Let’s work. Let’s create.”
She had no will of her own when he spoke to her. She simply nodded and got into his car. Melanie watched the city pass by as he smoothly maneuvered his car through the streets, but didn’t really see. They didn’t speak. The only sound in the car was the music playing, and the gears shifting.
Jeffrey let Melanie into his home and said, “Please wait for me in the library; I’ll be right with you.”
Melanie felt like a child. She looked down at her jeans, sneakers, and the light-weight fleece top she wore, and then thought about her hair pulled back in a pony tail and not wearing any make-up.
No wonder she felt he could tell her what to do. What was wrong with her? She was a grown woman; no one should be ordering her around. Melanie stood and started to pace – he showed up out of the blue, telling her to get in his car, not giving her a choice. Well, she would show him. She would demand he take her home.
Jeffrey came into the library carrying a tray with French bread, a plate of cheese, a basket of green grapes, a bottle of Chapel Down Pinot Reserve, 2001, and two wine glasses.
“I thought we could use a light snack, since it is mid-day,” he said, handing Melanie a glass of the pale lemon colored liquid. Tiny bubbles streamed to the surface.
After he took a taste, Jeffrey set his glass down on his mahogany desk and turned on some Afro-Cuban jazz. The sun streamed through the French doors and Jeffrey opened them to let the warm autumn air into the room. Still without speaking, he slid the chaise lounge from across the room, to the sun-drenched spot in front of the doors.
“Now Melanie, we will begin.”
“With what?” she questioned, looking surprised. “I’m not posing again. I don’t care what you say.”
Jeffrey turned and picked up a sketch pad and handed it to her. “No, my dear, YOU are not posing. Now, how do you want me?”
“What? No,” Melanie said in an almost panicked voice. “I can’t. Don’t you see, I couldn’t do it yesterday, and I can’t do it today. I’m going to stick to my watercolors and my botanicals. I’ll draw buildings and still-life but I am NOT drawing people anymore.”
Jeffrey set the pad on the desk and put his hands on her shoulders, looking into her teal blue eyes. “You can do this, you know. I have faith in you. Now my dear, pick up the pad while I ready myself, if you wouldn’t mind turning your back.”
Melanie turned her back, but continued her argument, “Jeffrey, I can’t do this. I mean, not because of the subject matter. After all, we’re both adults and professionals, so of course something like this wouldn’t bother me, but honestly, I’m not good at drawing people.”
“Then you need to practice,” he told her. “Now be quiet and start drawing.”
Melanie slowly turned around. Jeffrey was reclining on the chaise lounge, completely nude, a book resting on his lap. The upper part of his body was shaded by the room and his legs and feet were exposed to the sun coming through the open doors.
He had a somewhat amused smile look on his face when he asked, “Does this pose suit you? Is there anything you would like to adjust?”
Melanie picked up her glass of wine and took a quick swallow, trying to calm her nerves. “Nn…no – it’s fine.”
“Good, now be a dear and hand me my wine. You don’t want your model to become parched.”
Melanie’s hand trembled as she carried Jeffrey’s glass of wine over to his nude body. She had been attracted to him from the beginning, but looking at him lying on the chaise, she was surprised at how her body reacted to the sight.
His dark brown hair was slightly tousled from pulling his sweater over his head, giving him the appearance of just having crawled out of bed. His chest had a small amount of hair on it, trailing down his well-defined abs, and under the discreetly placed book. His legs were long and sinewy, as her eyes swept over his body. This was a man who was comfortable with his body, and confident in his sexuality.
Melanie pulled a club chair over and set about sketching the outline of Jeffrey’s body. It seemed that every time she looked up, his eyes were studying her. She could swear she physically felt them on her skin.
Jeffrey sat for over an hour, occasionally taking a sip from his glass. Finally, Melanie put her pad and pencil down on her lap, and rubbed her eyes.
“Finished?” he asked. “I’d like to stretch, if you are.”
Melanie sighed, “As finished as I’m going to be.”
Jeffrey arched his back and fully extended his arms and legs in a big stretch, the book precariously balancing on his lap.
“Come here and let me see,” he requested.
Melanie intended to just hand Jeffrey the pad. She held it out to him and said, “It needs more detail. I think its okay, but it’s far from good. I told you, I don’t have a knack for this.”
“Sit down, Melanie, let’s look at this together,” Jeffrey said as he moved his legs in order for her to sit down.
While Jeffrey studied her work, Melanie carefully sat down on the chaise, trying very hard not to touch him. She stared at the Oriental rug on the floor, forcing herself not to look at his incredibly toned body.
“Look here, Melanie,” Jeffrey said as he sat up a little. The way he held the sketch pad, forced her to move closer to him. “This is spot on. You captured the shadow and light perfectly. You could have used a firmer stroke on this area. And don’t forget to put the light in your subject’s eyes.”
Melanie’s head was very close to his, and he could clearly smell the soft fragrance of her perfume. He put his arm out and around the back of her neck, pulling her face to his. When his lips met hers, there was no denying what would happen next. Melanie felt herself giving into a kiss she had only ever imagined.
The kiss started tenderly, but the longer he held her mouth captive, the more passion began to infuse its way into the act. He felt her relax her lips and open them a bit, inviting him to explore. Melanie leaned into his body, putting her hands on his chest, and then moving them up around his neck. Her tongue met his halfway, following his into his mouth, to begin explorations of her own.
It was Jeffrey who broke away, cupping her face in his hands, and bringing his forehead to hers. Heat radiated off his body, and Melanie’s breath caught in her throat.
“Well Miss Harrison, it looks as if we have a dilemma here,” he said in a husky voice. “A smart man would apologize and insist that we stop now. No one has ever accused me of being smart, when it comes to a beautiful woman.”
He lifted his face and looked deep into her eyes. “I want you. I want you in a way that I haven’t wanted anyone in years. I also want to be perfectly clear. I’m not offering you my heart. But I am offering you a wonderful time, one friend to another.”
“There’s something else about you, Mr. Blackstone,” Melanie said, placing a single kiss on his lips, then starting to work her way down his throat, to his chest, breathing in his spicy aftershave. “You talk too much.”
He smiled while Melanie’s dark head move away from his face and he pulled at the band that held her hair, releasing her beautiful mane. Jeffrey gasped as she took one of his nipples into her mouth and began to suck, moving her hand to the other and massaging it. It was a rare woman who paid attention to that part of a man’s anatomy; he closed his eyes and lost himself in the pleasure.
The desire Melanie felt for this man had been building for some time. There wasn’t a day she saw him that her pulse didn’t race a bit. Never had she met a man who was this physically attractive, could carry on intelligent conversation, had an appreciation for the arts, and was genuinely a nice person. She had imagined lying in his arms, flushed from making love. That thought renewed her quest. Instead of the feeling the least insecure, she had a determination in her, to make him want more.
Melanie left Jeffrey’s nipples, hard and aching, and kissed her way down the dark strip of hair that led down his stomach. She moved off the chaise and onto her knees; raised her head, and looked at the book still resting on his lap. She gently placed her hand on it, and it seemed to jerk. Carefully, looking deep into Jeffrey’s blue eyes, she lifted the book and tossed it aside.
He greeted her, hard and erect. Melanie put her hands on Jeffrey’s hips and ever-so-lightly brought her hands down the sides of his thighs, just barely touching his skin with her nails. When she reached his knees, she opened his legs and moved between them. There was no mistaking Jeffrey’s excitement as his staff waved to her.
As lightly as she moved down his body, she ran her fingers up and down his shaft, and through the wiry public hair to gently touch his balls. Melanie noticed that Jeffrey tightened his grip on the back of the chaise lounge, and took that as a sign of approval. The second sign he gave was the low moan he emitted when she started at his balls and licked up the entire shaft, to the tip of his cock.
She didn’t leave one spot of his cock untouched as she licked him, making him even harder than before. She kissed the head and ran her tongue all around it. Jeffrey watched her though half-closed eyes while she made love to him. When Melanie took him in her mouth, his hips raised to meet her is if they had a will of their own. Each time he thought he was ready to explode, Melanie grabbed the base of his cock and backed off, giving him time to calm.
“My God woman, you’re torturing me,” Jeffrey said in exasperation.
“Quiet yourself and enjoy, Jeffrey,” Melanie said with a smile, and then took him in deep again.
Now, she didn’t let up. When she sucked his cock, she massaged his balls. When she took his balls into her hot mouth, she continued stroking his cock to keep the excitement continuing. Melanie gently pulled at his sack with her teeth, and then gently nibbled her way up the side of his shaft, to once more play with the tip. She used her tongue as an artist uses a paint brush, covering the canvas while using both firm and gentle strokes.
Melanie felt Jeffrey’s legs begin to tremble, and quickly engulfed his cock one last time. His hands went to her hair, rubbing her head, but not forcing her down on him. He didn’t have to because she had one thought right now, and that was to bring him to the brink of ecstasy, then let him fill her. Her mouth was relentless and Jeffrey felt his balls tighten, while her hand massaged them a little harder. His back arched when he felt the boil begin to rise; his hips thrust forward as the explosion began.
She felt the first salty spurt hit the back of her throat and tightened her lips around his shaft. Melanie continued to move up and down, sucking the juice out of him, and swallowing it all. When she felt Jeffrey’s body relax and his cock begin to shrink a bit, she came off him and slowly cleaned him with her tongue.
Melanie finished and sat back on her knees, looking at the man panting on the chaise lounge. She gave him a sultry look, stood up and filled their glasses with wine.
“Here,” she said. “I think you could use this.”
Jeffrey reached for his glass, and for her arm, bringing her to sit beside him. He moved forward to kiss her, a not so tender, not so innocent kiss. A little wine spilled over the side of his glass and onto his chest. Melanie was quick to lean down and lick the wine from his skin.
“Miss Harrison,” Jeffrey said with a slight smile. “If I didn’t know better, I would think you had planned this.”
“Me?” she questioned. “It wasn’t my idea to come here and have you take your clothes off. But I will say it’s not something I hadn’t imagined.”
Melanie drained her glass and bent to set it on the floor. When she sat up again, Jeffrey grabbed the front of her fleece and pulled her to him. Her arms went around him and his arms drew her closer. The passion he thought had been drained from his body, seemed to spark again. By the time he was finished preparing her, he would be ready
Their kisses intensified, and Jeffrey worked to unzip Melanie’s top and remove it. When he threw it across the room, it landed near the discarded book – very appropriate, he thought.
Their hands moved over each other’s body. His caught the hook on her bra and he freed the luscious breasts that had been held captive. Melanie sat up to remove the garment and Jeffrey moaned his appreciation for her. His hands went to the beautiful mounds, with their peachy-pink areolas and beautiful nipples. He massaged her to arousal before capturing one of her breasts in his mouth. Melanie grabbed his hair and held him close, while he licked, flicked and suckled her. Suddenly, he pulled away.
Melanie’s mouth opened in surprise as he pushed her to stand and then rose up off the chaise lounge. With one smooth movement, he raised her into his arms and began walking out of the library, up the stairs, to his bedroom. While Jeffrey carried her, she nuzzled his neck and nibbled on his ear, making him speed his pace a little bit.
Jeffrey’s bedroom was done in rich jewel tones, with incredible oil paintings of beautiful women. He had an antique iron bed, covered in silk fabrics of sapphire blue, ruby red and rich gold. When he lay Melanie down, Jeffrey ran his hands all over her soft skin, sliding them down her flat stomach, to the button and zipper on her jeans. Melanie raised her hips as he eased them down her legs and dropped them on the floor. He could see a small wet spot on the little pair of boy shorts she wore.
Melanie wasn’t cold, but shivered with excitement. She could hardly wait to feel his bare skin against hers. When Jeffrey removed her panties, the air was filled with her scent; the fragrance and the sight of her landing strip urged him on. He crawled up her body and lay down on her, taking Melanie in his arms and kissing her with his entire body. Every body part that could touch the others did. There was no way the lovers could get any closer.
It was Jeffrey’s turn to kiss Melanie’s body and pleasure her. He traced her jaw with his kisses and nibbled all around her neck and collarbone. As slowly as she had moved down his body, he also took his time savoring every scent, every taste of the exquisite woman lying underneath him. His attention was drawn back to her breasts, with nipples that were tight and hard with excitement. He licked all around the globes, nibbling the sensitive area underneath, before making his way back to her nipples.
Melanie was making mewing sounds while running her hands through Jeffrey’s hair. Every time he latched onto a nipple, she held him firm, wordlessly urging him to feed from her. And while he paid attention to her chest, his hand began to move once more – to discover whether or not she was still on the brink of excitement. There was no question; she was.
Jeffrey moved his palm between her legs, and she opened them expectantly. His mouth left her breasts and kissed its way down her side, and while he began to rub up and down, Melanie opened her legs wider and she raised her hips, inviting him to play.
He separated her lips with his middle finger and just as he began to push it inside her steamy hole, his lips found their way to her clit. Melanie moaned as a pulsing current moved through her body. Jeffrey sucked on her hard nub and moved his finger in and out, filling the room with the sound of moist excitement.
“Please, please,” Melanie panted. “Don’t make me wait.”
“All in good time, my dear,” replied Jeffrey, getting up on his knees and rolling Melanie onto her stomach.
He straddled her legs and began massaging her back, with his hands and with his lips. His hands came down over her butt, kneading her round flesh. He noticed how hard his cock had become, and how he poked her as he leaned up to rub her shoulders.
The next time he moved up again, he whispered in her ear, “Are you really ready for me, Melanie?”
“Yesss,” she hissed.
Jeffrey got off of her, opened her legs, and pulled her up on her hands and knees. He ran his raging cock up and down her slit, before sliding it in to her wet pussy. You could hear Melanie inhale deeply, at the feeling of being filled by him.
He held onto her hips and watched his cock slide in and out of her, fast becoming covered with her essence. Melanie had a wild look in her eye, as she looked at him over her shoulder, deliberately meeting his thrust with one of her own. It was obvious to him that she wanted this, and wanted it now.
Jeffrey held on tighter, moving faster, harder, giving her all his power. She met him, showing him that she was his equal. He reached underneath her to catch one of her breasts, and give it a tweak, while he nibbled at the base of her neck. Melanie moved harder against him, forcing him to hang on and move faster.
All that could be heard was the slapping of skin on skin, moans of passion and an occasional grunt of desire. Melanie’s voice was the first to break through the air.
“Oh…oh…oh God, Jeffrey,” she cried out. “Now…oh God…I’m…I’m…”
She couldn’t continue. Her hands gripped the pillow in front of her as she screamed into it, pushing back against him with her trembling body. The convulsing muscles of her orgasm began milking Jeffrey’s cock. He was only human, and he succumbed to her like Sampson to Delilah. With each spurt, he pushed into her harder, until he was drained.
Melanie’s arms had collapsed on the bed, and when he let go of her hips and moved away, her legs slid back and she lay face down on his bed, panting. Jeffrey lay down next to her, lightly running his fingers over her back. Melanie jumped.
“Oh please,” she said, rolling on her side to face him. “Please don’t touch my back.” She was visibly trembling.
“Melanie,” Jeffrey whispered, as he pulled her close. “Are you okay love?”
“I’m fine. It’s just my nerves are on overdrive and I can’t seem to calm down.”
Jeffrey held her close, careful not to rub her back. She looked up at him with her amazing teal eyes, and lips that begged to be kissed. A gentleman could not say no to an invitation like that. Their mouths fed greedily on the others.
Melanie woke a little later, to the feeling of Jeffrey rubbing her breasts and gently rolling her nipples between his fingers. She could feel him becoming hard, pushing at her from behind. When she rolled over on her back, she held her arms out and welcomed him once more. Except to retrieve food and drink, and bring it back upstairs, they never left the bedroom until late Sunday.
With their eyes wide open they began a relationship based on friendship and trust. They spent Christmas in London and New Year’s in Paris. They enjoyed this time, visiting museums, palaces and out of the way places. On the weekends, Jeffrey would take her on long drives out into the countryside, where they enjoyed simple but fine food, and talented local artists.
The end of the school year was in sight, and Melanie began to box up her belongings to be shipped home. Jeffrey stopped by one afternoon, just as she was finishing up another box. He was a bit started by the sight of the two boxes she was shipping.
“Well,” he said, putting his arm around her shoulder. “This sort of makes the end very real, now doesn’t it?”
Melanie didn’t say anything, and just turned away to tape up the last box. Jeffrey stopped her by pulling her into his arms and kissing her.
“Are you okay?” he asked, truly concerned about her.
“I thought I was, Jeffrey. I promised myself that I would leave, treasuring what we had, but saying good-bye to a very good friend,” she said very quietly. “I didn’t expect it to hurt.”
“Melanie, we’re not going to say good-bye, not forever. There will be holidays, and you promised to show me New York. You’re a dear woman and I adore you. We will meet again, I promise you,” he said earnestly.
“I know, and I knew that this would only be a friendship – a loving friendship, but nothing more. It’s just…I’ve grown quite used to having you around, and I’m sorry if you think this is very immature of me, but I don’t want to leave here.”
Jeffrey cupped her face and kissed her tears away, saying only two words.