he was long, stringy hair and fingertips stained with charcoal. he liked watercolors.
the small chair in the art studio was not big enough for both of them, but he sat on her chair, him behind her. she always felt him growing against the base of her spine. he would put one hand over hers, guiding her brush over the canvas. he would talk against her neck, making her skin vibrate. the fume of paint thinners would go to her head and she wouldn’t object when he would rest his free hand on her thigh.
he came to her work; would sit at a single table in the coffee shop and watch her. he ordered every drink on the menu. behind him, the window light would change as day turned to dusk. he’d walk out to her car with her, linger at the door, watch her take off her apron and let down her hair and a smile would play at his lips. she knew he wanted her and she enjoyed not giving herself to him almost as much as she imagined she would enjoy pressing her flesh to his.
he started calling her at home. he’d ask her about her art — what moved her? who inspired her? his voice was thick. he poured his words and questions over her; she undressed while on the phone with him and told him about it, describing how each item slipped off carelessly and fell to the floor with a hush.
in class, he focused all of his attentions on her. it did not go unnoticed by the rest of the group. he was becoming more insistent. the hand on her thigh crept higher. his chase became frenzied.
but she was just learning her power. and the day that his acrylic-scented fingers wove their way under her skirt, she calmly and coolly picked up her paint knife and pressed it, flat on its side, onto the top of his hand. the pressure was firm enough to send a clear message. his eyes met hers; she kept the gaze locked. slowly, his hand retreated.
it would happen, or not happen, on her terms.