He dabbed at the individual colors on his pallet, adding a bit of the titanium white to the pink. There were faint graphite lines drawn on the canvas, partially erased. He looked on.
“The fireplace feels nice. My parents had one long ago.” She rubbed her neck, wavy hair flowing down onto the cushions of the lounge chair.
“Stay still, honey.” He started passing the brush horizontally, with the lightest of touch.
“My front side is cold, though.” She complained. He sighed out his nose heavily. Setting aside the pallet, he pulled up his side table. He stood up and disappeared to the other room. A few moments later, he reappeared with tall glass and a bottle of red, the plain beige label coming up at the corners just slightly. With his stained fingers and stubby nails, he picked at the foil on top.
“You had a bottle at dinner, already.” She sat up to grab the shawl that was draped over the foot of the lounge. The soft wool had a slight shimmer of gold fibers weaved into it. Her feet danced back and forth as she pulled it up over her dainty legs.
“It’s good for the creative mind.” He winded the foil down in a spiral fashion until the last little bit relinquished its hold on the neck of the bottle. The opener was right at his hand, by the pallet. He made eye-contact with her as he inserted the corkscrew and twisted it down. “When you’re my age, you will understand why us adults thrive on this stuff.” Her shoulder strap fell down ever so slightly as she rolled her head in boredom.
His eyes drifted away as he went to pull out the cork. It gave a satisfying pop as it came loose, and a barely noticeable mist of wine floated around the inside of the neck. He swirled it back and forth for a moment before finally pouring it. The wine trickled slowly down the side of the glass and into the basin, about three-quarters of the way to the top. She fixed her shoulder strap, and laid back down in the pose.
Taking a deep sip, he returned his eyes to the subject. The glass let off a light ding as he set it down and replaced in his hand the pallet. The colors had dried ever so slightly along the edges. The fire glowed and danced behind her, gently popping. She looked back at him, his every movement as he looked between her and his canvas propped up on the stand. He switched back and forth between the glass and the paintbrush. His feet tapped lightly, sitting at the stool uncomfortably.
The colors were pooled on the pallet meticulously, in the same arrangement as he had done before. Her pale white skin that glowed gently against the light of the fire was the pure white of titanium with just a dab of rose color. Her hair was a perfect distribution of crimson and sienna. The same sienna went into making the almost imperceptible freckles on her face and shoulders, dabbed onto the canvas with the tip of a toothpick..
She watched as he rubbed his beard, made up of stubble both in salt and in pepper, toothpick wiggling up and down between his teeth. He grabbed the wine bottle roughly by the neck and poured the remainder into his cup. He knees shifted places under the shawl. He made an audible sigh as he down most of what remained of his drink.
“We can take a break, if you want. If you’re tired.” She spoke up. The fire popped loudly in the silence. The brush stood still in his hand.
“Okay, let’s.” He set down the pallet and placed the brush at an angle on top. Groaning, he stood up, wobbly. She stood to follow. He moved away from the canvas, the light from the fire dancing upon the darkened corner of the room. There was a velvet couch tucked away. She fiddled, putting the shawl back into place before moving over to him.
He had placed himself down on the couch, laid out, facing the back cushion. His even breathing came up from his body like that of a large animal. She knelt down on the floor in front of the couch. Any attempt to prod at him failed. The smell of alcohol laid heavy on the air. She dropped her head down into his side. His vest was rough, and her eyelids tender. A deep breath entered her lungs, and and she exhaled, so came the tears she could no longer hold back.