Zelda Stein sat alone on the red leather sofa in her living room of a posh Park Avenue apartment. 'All dressed up, with nowhere to go!' she thought to herself. As her aunt Sophie would say, “A fine kettle of gifilte fish!” But it couldn't be helped. Her date for the society bash at the Metropolitan Museum, philanthropist Martin Eisenberg was delayed in London. His flight had been canceled, fog had fudged their plans.
She would have gone alone, but Murphy's Law was fucking up things this side of the Atlantic too. The babysitter was sick and their nanny who had the night off, had already left. Of her two children, Leia, pretty princess of six was already asleep. Zack her proud prodigy progeny of fourteen was still up. She did not feel comfortable letting him take the responsibility for his younger sister for the evening, so she was stuck home rather than being at the ritzy soiree.
Here she sat, ready to go out, with the large pearl strand and diamond earrings out of the safe. The Vera Wang evening dress, a chic jet black silk number, was purchased especially for the black-tie affair tonight. The Jimmie Choo heels on her feet were to die for, but there was nothing to do but to sigh for the wasted opportunity. Her raven colored hair, done in a French twist for a turn at being seen by the finest folks of New York City high society. All for naught!
Nor would there be any naughtiness tonight. To top it off, there had been the promise of sex with the man she had been dating for several months. She was still a vital woman, full of life and zest. Martin was a good lover, if too often overseas or across country on business. She had gotten horny in anticipation of going back to his place afterwards and having a romantic evening. Or even better, a wild one; for she and her beau could be quite the raunchy pair, when he had the energy and she had the freedom from parental duties. Oh, well, what the hell; there would be other nights, but it was a let-down nonetheless.
Zachariah Stein knew his mother was a great beauty and cherished her; and even though he was her young son, more than admired her, desired her. Indeed he had been planning to seduce her for over a year now. While he had been gathering elements of his strategy, the entree to such a situation eluded him. His mom's new gentleman friend was competition he didn't need either, though he could do nothing about it, since the guy was totally charming. But now he saw in the monkey-wrenched plans of the evening a serendipitous chance to see if he might make a sneak attack on his mother's virtue.
He walked into the their parlor and made his opening foray at trying to fornicate with his mom. “Can I get you something to sip, mama? You look very beautiful tonight, really elegant. I like that superb dress, it reminds me of a story, but let me get you your drink first.” Zelda was a bit startled at the curious courtesy of her son, he normally wasn't so thoughtful. It was refreshing to know that her attempts to teach him proper manners were working. Her teen offspring returned with a rather full tumbler of an amber liquid. On the rocks, a good stiff one of the good stuff; good, she could use it.
To her surprise, he then turned to the stereo and put on a CD of music. As the music played softly, she smiled, she loved Rachmaninoff! How did the boy know? Indeed, Zach had noted in his head such things that were useful for making the mood just right for conquest of his maternal parent. When at a dinner party, he had heard her remark to someone, “I adore Rachmaninoff, his music always puts me in a romantic mood.” it was noted and remembered. When having a coffee klatch with her gal pals he inadvertently ease-dropped (accidentally on purpose) their 'sex-in-the-city' banter, and gleamed her confession, “If you take me to a ball, pour me a glass of Dom Perrion; but if you want to ball me, pour me a few shots of Chivas Regal!”
So Rachmaninoff and top notch Scotch it was, to start. At a cocktail party she had thrown, he had caught this snatch of conversation, “Nothing makes me more randy than a story of a scandal, the more risque the better, the sexier the wetter I get.” She had said that to Martin soon after having met him. No doubt it was a provocative remark intended to catch his interest in her as a possible partner, and it had succeeded. But Zack hoped that it might get his cock into his mom's tail, if his tale got his mother's snatch damp and dewy. To that end he also brought a white satin pillow from off her bed. He wanted her to be relaxed and comfortable while he schmoozed to get into her cooze.
Zelda spoke when he had delivered the ivory colored cushion, “Well this is all very elaborate, am I the Sultana to your Schehera-Zachariah tonight? Am I to be entertained with a tale from the Arabian nights?” [ When he was little, Zach had delighted when his mother read him bedtime stories. One of his favorite books had been 'A Thousand-and-One Nights']
“No mother, not a Sultana, perhaps more of an odalisque, in the manner of Renoir or even Ingres' Grande Odalisque.
Zelda laughed, “You can't possibly mean what you just implied. Do you have any idea what you just suggested about your mother?”
“I do. All those Saturdays we went to the Met and other museums we visited on trips, like the Louvre? I was paying attention, you'll see! But this story is of an unknown yet famous scandal. It is set in Paris, and best yet, it is true, though none can prove it so.”
“Oh that does sound intriguing!”
“Not only that, it involves the Met, and a famous painting. You are one of a great city's famous and beautiful members of upper crust society. That's why your dress reminded it me of it.”
Zelda laughed at the exaggeration, hyperbole, but complimentary and not without a modicum of truth just the same, which made the introduction all the more of interest to her. “Go on . .” she encouraged her son.
“Let me sweep your imagination away to the time of a hundred and twenty five years ago. A young struggling artist and an elegant lady met one day in Paris. They both were from the United States. She had been born near New Orleans of French nobility, he a was born of American parents in Italy and was raised quite Continental. Her family had fled back to France after the Civil War. He of course as a painter, went to Paris to become famous. But he was not so yet. She would become his best known subject, but his portrait of her was a great controversy. It took a generation before it was displayed, after the uproar. Yet, she was more modestly dressed than more accepted works of art at the Acadamie des Beaux-Arts' Salon a generation before her likeness was painted.
“I am genuinely curious now. What painting is it? Have I seen it?' Zelda's eyes shone and she took a sip of her drink. She was fascinated by art history.
“I will make you a deal, under the 'Solemn Seal of Solomon'.” Which was their family's way of saying that the arrangement could not be broken once agreed to. Simply a different way of putting a, “stick a needle in your eye”, sort of seriousness to a verbal pact, which was understood to be held as sacred between the two parties. That kind of accord was rarely gone back on, among their relatives one to another. It had been handed down as a family tradition for generations, though it was not a cultural thing.
Zelda saw Zach's trap, knew he would not have invoked that tradition, unless he had in mind something that she might otherwise be reluctant to follow through on. But the evening had been such a bummer, that she was willing to take the risk for the sake of saving the night from being a complete washout. “Nu? What the deal, schlemiel?”
“If you can't guess which painting it is, after the story's told; you allow me a libertine liberty, a licentious license, a thrust of lust.”
“What the hells does that mean?”
“I get to make out with the girl of my choice.”
He was always using highfalutin language to describe more mundane activities. His mother figured that meant he wanted to bring some schoolmate over one afternoon and be given permission to make-out with her in his room. Well, he was getting to that age, and if he could convince some teeny-bop to let him put a hand up her skirt, (rots-a-ruck kid!), she was willing to let that hanky-panky happen – as long as the door to his room was open a crack. That was her mother's rule and it wasn't a bad one (now that she was a mother). So she gave the 'okay' sign with her fingers, a nod yes with her coiffed head and hoped that the prize was worth it. The whole thing sounded too fascinating of a narrative to miss at this point.
He continued. “They were young, he was twenty-eight and single still, she just twenty-five, but already married. After months of trying to get her to sit for him, almost despairing of having the famous beauty as his subject, she finally agreed. For weeks she came to his studio, where he made sketches of her, studies of her; she was seated, she was kneeling on the settee with her back to him, she reclined, she posed for hours and hours. They talked, while he drew her. He was more interesting than her dull husband Pierre. So, slowly, but inevitably John and Virginie fell in love.”
“John and Virginie? What were their last names?”
“You must guess from the clues about the painting, that is the game! Then one day she arrived at his studio, but she could not stay but a moment, she was going to a Grand Ball, the whole of Paris society would be there. She was dressed in a magnificent black silk gown, carrying a black fan. In her rich toned red hair a tiny tuft of feathers at the front, no hat, just the little pheasant plumes and the winding silver wire that held her coppery locks in place in a tight French coif. As she stood by the table about to leave he had to ask, he could no longer hold it inside him, 'Virginie, do you love me?' he sighed.”
She looked at him, and then looked way. She did not speak, but she put her right hand to it's shoulder, and demurely dropped the strap off the rounded bare joint of her limb and let it fall to her arm. Such a gesture in those conservative times could only mean one thing. Right then, he vowed that this was the way he would paint her. Just like that, and with the strap off the shoulder too. It was the moment of inspiration and the instant he
knew that she loved him, too. Though as a married woman she could not declare it outright. She looked back at him with longing. Then she left.”
“Is that the end, that can't be the end!”
“No mom, of course not, this is a love story as well as a mystery, and not only an art history lesson but the true intimate tale of scandal. She came back and posed in that dress, in that manner, with that air of longing, the heartache of beauty that could only be captured by the hand of a great artist. She posed for him - with the strap down.
As he painted, he kept a large brush near him, it was a brand new paint implement. She picked it up once to examine it, the hairs were soft and long. She asked about it eventually. 'Was he going to use that brush for some final coating of her portrait perhaps?' she queried.”
“'No,' he said, 'that was for another project entirely'. But he didn't say what. Her curiosity was aroused. 'What was he going to use it for?' she wondered aloud. 'That', he said, 'is for when I paint you nude'.”
“She blushed, and her feminine parts felt flushed, because she was not shocked, but rather excited. 'But it must be done in secret, no one ever must know!' she told him, 'No one could ever see the painting, it would be for his eyes only.' After all she was a married woman in high French society, the daughter of a Marquis.”
“Bowing to her, 'Of course,' he agreed.”
“Boldly looking him in the eye, 'When would you like to start on that painting?' She asked.”
“Meeting her gaze, 'Now,' he replied. She dropped the other dress strap down . . . then she undressed. When she was naked and reclined on the couch, like an odalisque, John approached Virginie. But he didn't touch her right away, not with his hands nor any part of him, not right then. What he did was . . .”
Zach could see that he had his mother in the palm of his hand, and in the grip of the the narrative, and in his nefarious clutches. “What he did was . . he used the brush, like this . .” Zach brushed the arms and shoulders of his mother with his index finger ever so softly like the brush of an artist. But he was an artist of seduction now. “All over her naked body he brushed her.” Zach ran his fingers over the back of his mother, then down to her side and up her front. “Especially delicate places like this,” on her breasts Zach's finger stroked.
Zelda was too mesmerized by the erotic turn the tale had taken, too turned-on to realize that it was her son with his finger and not the artist of the story that was touching her with a brush, she was Virginie. Her nipples ached with desire, her womanhood wept with passion which the story stirred. She imagined the stripped young woman stretched out before her lover, ready to have him, but tortured by this tickling brush as it teased her flesh, inflaming her lust and awakened in her a soulful longing for physical fulfillment.
Zach lifted his mother dress and ran his fingers lightly along the length of her thighs. She didn't object, she was in the throes of her own horny needs and this was just what she could use, a loving touch tonight to take her to another world, one of romance and pleasure and . . . Oh, my God! What was Zach doing to her? “Enough! I get the idea!” Were her white panties showing when he had made that audacious intimate move? “I can't remember anything like that, from all the art history I've studied.” Zelda sputtered, non-plussed at what her son had subtly done, but still it stirred her.
“Do you want a clue?” suggested Zach, distracting her, but not pulling her gown back down either. Zelda nodded her affirmative. “Nicole Kidman duplicated her pose a few years ago in 'Vogue'.”
“I must have missed that.” his mother mused.
“The painting hangs in the Met, a large canvas that shares the room with four women of equally imposing stature.” Zelda frowned thinking. She gave a little shake of her head, frustrated.
“Her last name begins with a G and his an S.” Her son could see she still hadn't an inkling. “Give up?”
She nodded, admitting defeat, but riveted by the saucy narrative her son had spun.
“Remember, that it was your dress that reminded me of the story, think about that, while I freshen your drink”. He took the glass and when he returned he was also carrying a couple of books.
“Zachariah, I have to admit that I'm miffed that I'm mystified. With everything I know about art history, and that was my minor in college don't forget, for the life of me, I am baffled. I love a scandal. I certainly would have remembered a nude portrait that created a stir in Paris . . a hundred and twenty-five years ago that would have been . . (she did the math in her head) . . the mid 1880s. There was Manet's Olympia that was in . . Eighteen Sixtyyy . . five, but that – was a generation before - which you referenced.”
“That is one of the one of the ones from the Impressionists, yes. Also Manet's Le D'jeuner sur . . . that picnic picture, you know the one I mean; but do you concede that I have you stumped and won the contest?”
“Yes, you get your deal, you scheming little scam artist of art scandal.” She took another sip of the scotch.
“Nice phrasing, mom, but that doesn't get you off the hook. By the way, all five portraits that share the gallery are larger than life, I don't know if that helps. So here's a final clue. I already hinted at the answer when I mentioned your black gown and that 'you are one of a great city's famous and beautiful members of upper crust society', so was she as well, in Paris. If the painter, who's initials were JSS did your portrait in the dress you're wearing, perhaps he might have entitled it, 'Madame Z'.”
Zelda rolled her head back and gave a little laugh. “John Singer Sargent's 'Madame X', Madame Gautreau. But he never did a nude of her!”
“OH! Not on canvas; just 'painted' on her with that big soft brush while she was naked, thus he 'painted' her nude. But not she, nor he, ever told anyone about that, of course! After all she was a married woman in high French society, the daughter of a Marquis.”
“So how do you come by this information, Mr. Know-it-all, Mr Tell-it-all, or did you make it all up?”
“As I stated at the start, it is true, though none can prove it so; but it is an unknown yet famous scandal. There is some evidence, actual proof, that she was quite the coquettish flirt.
“You cheated, she is not painted with with a strap down like some Gallic strumpet.”
“Not now, but originally she was. That's how it was hung in the 1885 Salon Exhibition where it created such a row that Sargent took it away himself, for fear it would be damaged afterwards. There is photographic evidence of the original position of the right strap being off the shoulder, and a newspaper caricature of the painting, when it was first displayed, shows that detail as well. Later on, before the painting was displayed at the 1916 Worlds Fair in San Francisco, then eventually sold to the Metropolitan Museum for a thousand British pounds sterling, John Singer Sargent retouched the portrait and painted the strap as it is seen today.”
“Where my 'beamish boy' did you learn all that?” A big slurp of the liquor this time, she had obviously been set up, as she suspected she going to be by the son and scion of her interest in things both of art historical and good gossipy.
“From this book I got at the library.” He handed her a volume entitled 'Strapless: the Rise of John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X' by Deborah Davis. She flipped through the small tome and sure enough the illustrations bore out his story about the strap's repositioning. Son of a bi... - no she wasn't, and she'd honor the devilish elaborate demand he laid on this bargaining. She had been snookered, and she was getting snockered she thought to herself as she knocked back another snoot of the booze.
But a though came to her, she wasn't completely without her wits or Whitney Museum – they had some of his works too. “John Swinger Sargent . . . you know who I mean, he never painted a nude woman, I know he did some studies of stripped men but . . .
“Oh yes he did!” exclaimed Zach, who had been waiting for her to raise the issue. He picked up the second book that he had brought and flipped to a page that was marked with a slip of paper. “Here is the 'Egyptian girl' done in 1891. He showed his mom the piece. A beautiful young Semite girl standing with her back to the artist was on the page. “Here's another nude he did in 1878, of a boy on the beach.
There, at another spot booked-mark for quick finding, was the image of a youth obvious about the same age as her son. Zelda was startled to find the image not only interesting to her, but erotic. Zach had to be that handsome and . . . noo couldn't go there! She finished her Scotch.
Without even being asked Zach got her another top-off of her libation. If he wasn't her son, what with the music and the several whiskeys and the erotic story of a girl seduced by a painter, she would have suspected him of trying to do the same to her. In fact, she was missing Martin quite a bit at the moment, and wasn't for his companionship at the Met, it was for his company as a partner for a frisky frolic. The horny heat that had hit her right between the thighs, returned to haunt her honey-pot and dampen her panties. That Zach had exposed them was confirmed now, as she could sense the air wafting a draft up her dress, though it did nothing to cool her ardor.
Odalisque indeed! Perhaps she ought to complain to this little perverted Portnoy that his sensuous touch had stirred up her libido. God! if she did that, she would be admitting that his seduction was getting to her. Noo! . . . Zach wasn't trying to tempt his own mother . . . was he . . or WAS he!
“What did I agree to let you do, if I lost?” Heavens! He didn't mean to make-out with her, not his own mom, for the sake of all things sacred!
“Under the 'Solemn Seal of Solomon', my odalisque, you acquiesced to allow me a libertine liberty, a licentious license, and a thrust of lust.”
“Why with the girl of my choice.”
Sensing she was in dangerous waters, and awash in whiskey, (nonetheless she imbibed another swallow of her drink) she asked, “What was the first thing?”
“A libertine liberty.”
“And what is that?” She knew better that to ask, but she was loosing inhibitions, the mood was so mellow and . . . yes, romantic. Zach was so precious and he loved her. She admired him for his knowing so much about art and women, and she loved him. This was a wonderful evening after all, a dirty little secret story to sauce up the night, some serious good sauce in her tumbler, and this saucy boy with his leering lecherous lessons about seduction and scandal and scheming to get her dress up. Worked too, the audacity of a such a brazen tyke looking up a lady's dress, his mother's at that!
“This is a libertine liberty”, said Zelda's sinfully naughty son as he once more ran his finger along her exposed thighs, as he did before, as Sargent had to Madame X according to the teller of tales that was tickling her tail with his tantalizing digit. She took yet another sip, as once more she slipped into the role of Virginie, who was naked with her soon to be lover. She felt the tickling paint brush as it teased her flesh, inflaming her lust and awakened in her a soulful longing for physical fulfillment. Her nipples ached with desire, her womanhood wept with passion.
“The second thing your prize comprised of?” There! How inebriated could she be if she could still turn a phrase like that!
“A licentious license.”
“To do what?” she whispered, as if they were involved in a wicked sexy scenario.
“'This . .” and he pulled her panties down to mid thigh, once she was exposed he reached out to her labia and touched her moist quim. “John stroked Virginie with the clean dry brush,” Zach narrated, “then he gave her dirty strokes in her damp bush!”
She was in a blur of fantasy and real desire; between a dream like fugue and an alcoholic haze and a turned-on trance. She watched with a mixture of fascination at the boldness of her boy and at the same time under a sexual spell of his magical administrations and the arousing renewal of his risque, even outright raunchy lewd lechery. She couldn't resist, she didn't want to. She knew where this was leading, she new the answer to the third question. She was sure he would do as he intended. But she asked anyway, her mind in some disassociate state, as she spoke the fateful words. “The third thing, the thrust of what?”
“The thrust of lust.” affirmed the prince of the Park Avenue apartment. In a thrice, he had his bottoms off and the firm prick of the proud prodigy progeny of hers was up and pointed to her pussy. Zelda looked on as he placed his manhood at her opening and pushed and penetrated her place of passion. It felt so good! It was like her tissues were primed for his peter, like they were eager for his entrance and they joyously, gratefully engulfed his entire length. The sweet swaying of his youthful hips bumped her bottom with his fuzzy tender nuts.
But as inexperience he must be, she was being boffed wonderfully and felt her climax wash over her genitals like a wave of ecstasy she hadn't felt in years, then soaring once more for a perfect peak of a cum, as her kid's cock continued to work in her cunt. Then he was shooting his seed in her, so much semen! He didn't stop until the throbbing of her baby's boner bubbled a stream of goo, which dribbled out of her vagina in a piddle of cream that ran down her ass cheek onto the Vera Wang. Not to worry, she had excellent cleaners 'round the corner, next to the deli.
After her child had been satiated with his seduction of his mother, and satisfied her too most certainly, Zach leaned his arms on Zelda's hips and grinned at her. He was sure that this incestuous liaison was not the last they would likely enter into.
“Tell the truth Zachariah, you who's schmuck shmeered his mama Zelda's zadnitze with his putz's schmaltz, did John Singer Sargent really schtup that shayner Madame X, or did you just make up that bupkis bullshit to get into your mother's panties?”
“Chutzpah your boychick has in abundance . . . but who's to say that it didn't. We aren't going to tell anyone about our errant ways, are we? About our secret fun fucking, especially not Martin? So maybe Singer seduced her, or maybe they didn't an affair. But her strap was down, in private, that's true.”
He continued, “By the way, speaking of Solomon; he had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines, so Jewish odalisques have a long tradition. You can be my harem, what do you say?
Zelda looked at the clock. “I say it's time for bed young man.” then leaning up closer to him she said with a tone of conspiracy Madame X might have used to insist on complete confidentiality, “and you had better get back to your own bed from mine before your sister, Leia, wakes up in the morning!”