Conversation: Julian Howard & Slade Montague
Aug. 31st, 2006 @ 03:27 pm
Mr. Tyler and I are in the back room, sorting through yet another shipment of atrocious art. All very old-fashioned, all very bland. The tinkle of the bell on the door promises a relief, even if it does mean dealing with another boorish customer. Mr. Tyler seems eager to go out and great the visitor himself, but I tell him in my most subserbient voice that he should stay with his precious new paintings while I answer, since after all it's likely just a delivery boy or some such thing.
I've just risen from my place on the floor among the packing crates when I hear a familar voice from the front. It's all I can do to keep from letting out a laugh of relief. I'd forgotten that Mr. Montague said he would pay me a visit.
I go into the front. "Hello, sir," I say. "How may I help you today?"
He looks a bit confused; I take him by the elbow and steer him towards the windows, away from Mr. Tyler's hearing. "The owner is in the back," I whisper.(as eclectictastes7:)
I'm going to be away from the computor a lot in thte next few days, and then really busy (going back to school), so I'm sorry in advance if my responses lag.
It's fine, any interaction at all will be welcome. I tried to hold off for as long as possible, give Julian time to do what he needed to with James, but after he and Augie had their... "meeting", I could hardly hold back anymore.
The area between my clavicle and forehead flushes hot very quickly as Julian takes me by the arm and steers me toward the window. Imagine, a man shorter than myself, being so intimidating. He looks glorious today, a barely detectable glimmer of dust decorating his shoulders and hair. As he steps into the light, the sun illuminates the rustic touch, giving him a nostalgic beauty.
"Oh, I'm sorry, would you like me to come another time? I came to see when you would be free to model for me, but can come again if this is an inconvenience.... or I could pretend to be a patron actually interested in buying a piece of this,.. ehm,.. art
. The risk to my reputation as an art dealer would be considerable, but for you, I could enjoy the danger."
Oh gods, did I just say that outloud?
"No, I just needed to get you far enough that Mr. Tyler would not suspect you're no customer. I would never ask you to take such a risk for such mediocre works."
I decide to ignore his last comment. It is not for me to comment if he chooses to flirt in public.
"Anyway," I continue, "How have you been?"
His tone sounds somber, much changed. Upon closer inspection, though only an empathetic artist could perceive it, he looks unwell. Not sickly, but tired, strained. His formality stings at my pride, but I quickly recover myself, no stranger to rejection, and resolve, grudgingly, to replace the guard walls I have brought down for him.
"I'm.. alright" I begin slowly, calculatingly watching the movement of his eyes. "Sold a few pieces this week, at least two brought in a pleasing price."
His eyes are unfocused, the light shining straight through them, unseeing. His mind is elsewhere, I bite the inside of my lip and take this with a grain of salt. Clearing my throat, I take a deep breath and draw myself up to my full height, in a formally businessman-like posture.
"Anyway, I came to see whether you would still come to my studio to model for me as Adonis."
I smile. I'm rather tired today, I've been up late drawing these last few nights. It's funny how a much a burst of creativity tires one out when one has grown used to the lack of it. But still, any prospect of modeling will make me smile, any day.
"Yes," I say, "I would. When would you like me?"
His affirmative answer warms a smile across my lips. I appreciate men who hold their word, and I feel the sting of his formality ebb and evaporate. He has been working hard, and needs a rest. Perhaps I could sketch him sleeping?
"As I have no friends and walk in no wild circles, I am free always. I live in my shop and live in my art. My social life is non-existant and therefore does not compromise and carve up my time."
I pause and smile, having been thouroughly tawdry, in the most light hearted of manners. Drama is only amusing when imitated rather than exacted.
"Are you free at any time this week? I should like to begin immediately sketching roughly, to find a posture suited to your body and my ideal."
"I'm free most days," I say. "It seems we're rather in the same boat, in terms of social life... I am busy some nights, but the dark is not wonderful for sketching, anyway."
I count, trying to remember the date. Is it tonight or tommorrow that Penelope is visiting? It was six days from my day painting August, so... that makes it tommorrow.
"When would you most like to see me? Morning, afternoon?" Night? I add silently, looking at his smiling face. I cannot help but compare to August, my mind is still filled with him. You're terrible,
I admonish myself. Do stay in the moment, Julian...
I sense a distance between us that was not there the last time we spoke. Something has happened, he is much more formal, his mind in many places at once. When would I most like to see you? What a cruel cruel question. Of course I cannot answer truthfully, such would be completely brash and irresponsible. Then again, lighting does not matter to me, I rather like the ambience of drawing and painting by candlelight.
"I would see you when you would see me. I do not like to command or regulate my subjects and models. That is, rather than set you
come to me
would like to. My shop and studio doors are ever open for you, Julian Howard."
I smile at him; he seems rather thrown by my behavior, and it makes me feel bad. Just because I am distracted does not mean I should drive others to distraction as well.
"You should be careful saying such things, Mr. Montague. For all you know I lead ungodly hours and will appear at your door at two in the morning, begging coffee." I pause; he does not look at all displeased by that notion, if I judge him correctly. "But I will suscribe to decorum and arrive when the majority of London is still awake, I'd say. Would ten in the morning be a good time for you on, say, Thursday?"
alice: how would you like to proceed with this, another entry for thursday? would that work better for other beautiful boys reading along?
I fight with my mouth to suppress a smile at the notion of him appearing in my door way at two am. I hardly ever sleep these days, a bit of company in the early hours would be more welcome than not, especially by such a beautiful stranger. Even if only for the sake of conversation.
"Ten am?" I repeat, almost taken aback, I dislike waking up any time before eleven, even if my shop demands me keep early hours. No one is ever in the shop that early, I suppose that would be best.
"Yes, ten it is, as I say if it suits you
as eclectictastes7: I'd say we should do a new entry, yes. I'd like to backtrack and to try to start my conversation with James first, if that's cool.
He looks rather horrified by my suggested time. A late riser, I suppose. I used to be like that, but Bernardo trained me out of it. He loved, loves, the morning's light, and I found I liked it, as well. It gives a certain clarity unavailable in the afternoon, especially during these dreary English winters.
I smile at him. "I take it you might actually be up if I arrived at two, then? But no, if you prefer, we could make it... shall we say... one in the afternoon? I wouldn't like to impeed on your morning."
alice: that's fine,.. just don't keep me waiting too long. :3 there's a beauty in this rpg i miss in it's stagnant moment
ps i thought bernando was dead?
I ponder this, thinking over the schedule and flow of the shop and incomnig customers.
"Actually, ten or two would be more realistic, by one I might actually
run the risk of having a customer or two."
I smirk and cock my head slightly to one side, trying to take stock of the situation. I run my hand through my hair and turn to look out the window, trying to distance myself, though I'm not sure why. I want to be open with you Julian, but would you do the same for me?
Taking a deep breath, I turn back to you, with a warm, welcoming smile.
"Please, come when it is convenient for you. Be it two am, one pm, or anytime in between. You will be Adonis for the next two weeks, and will be treated as such."
I'll get it started soon, and keep it up as well as possible. If it's too slow, we can go ahead.
No, he's not dead. He's still alive and kicking back in Italy.
I laugh. "Well, aren't you optimistic?" I ask teasingly. He does not have much faith in the draw of his shop.
"It does sound nice to be Adonis," I say. Again,
I add silently. I glance out at the road, suddenly caught by the stream of my life. I doubt he could be aware of how much favor my looks have won me; I often forget, myself. I'm fairly sure that even Mr. Tyler hired me more for my looks than my personal skills or my ability with paints. Though I doubt this Slade Montague can bestow the favors of Penelope, maybe he can provide friendhsip or support, as did Bernardo. At least, I conlude, he can make me feel nice. Modeling always does.
"I'll be by around ten, then," I say, leaving my reverie as suddenly as I entered it.
Oh my god, I just came all over my seat. Your icon is so sexual it burns my eyes.
His eyes blank and the tiniest self assured smile haunts his lips, though only momentarily. He is a million miles away for a few seconds, and then seems to come alive all at once. Julian flesh flushes in one swift moment that seems to inflate his whole body at once. Suns rise and set in his eyes, and clarity clears the irises.Wish I could stop staring
"Ten then, on Thursday. I shall see you then Mr. Howard."
I give him a gentleman's bow, however, my lock on his eyes never falters or falls, until I stand erect and nod my head in customary fashion. My hand embraces the skeleton of the door, as I turn back slowly and speak softly, so only he could hear.
"Thursday is my favourite day of the week."
I pass him one farewell smile, and close the door behind me.
I'm... glad? Yes. I'm glad! You can check out the original Here Guh. So hot... anyway, back to matter at hand.
He bows as he takes his leave. I know of few men who still follow such formal procedures. On some it seems stiff and old-fashioned; on him it seems strange and oddly beautiful, with his strange hair falling before his eyes and his eyes smiling. I like it.
"I'm glad," I respond with a smile. "Until then."
I watch him as he moves down the street. A highly trussed-up woman with a very ostentatious hat almost trips over her own feet when he walks by her. He's nothing if not unusual.
I'm still laughing when I see that the same lady and her slightly concern-looking husband are heading for my front door. I pull my face straight. Until I get off work tonight, I remind myself, I am nothing but a diffident gallery boy.