Lucia was nearly forty—the red sports car age. Yet, she looked youthful without even trying. The closer she crept toward forty the more beautiful and sensuous she became. As her December birthday neared, she was looking better than ever.
Throughout the years, I have learned that fantasy is an important part a balanced sexual diet. Fucking allows couples to stage imaginings and share themselves in a totally different light. Lucia enjoys fantasizing in the course of our lovemaking, and I encourage it.
“You want another man’s cock inside?”
“Mmm, it would be exciting,” she teases.
“Would you tell me about it?”
“How would you handle knowing that I fucked someone else?”
“It would make me very hot.”
“Are you sure about that, Wyler?”
“Blazing,” I answered.
Of course, this kind of talk made us sizzle. We live in Salinas, California, Steinbeck country, about a twenty-five-minute drive to the exclusive hamlet of Carmel. Once in a while, we visited to see how the one-percent lived. Cars roamed the streets that were worth more than our combined annual salary. Clint Eastwood lived nearby and even had a turn as mayor. On the cusp of her fortieth, Lucia and I walked hand-in-hand, turning more than a few heads.
Lucia fit right in with the way she dressed—Indian skirts and Mexican blouses, dangling earrings, colorful necklaces and an occasional ankle bracelet. Physically, she was exotic looking. Casting directors would appreciate her universal appeal—at turns looking Italian, Indian, Asian, or Middle-Eastern, yet she is Mexican. The spiky dark, bobbed hairstyle allows her wide, beaming smile to glow like a beacon. Her almond eyes perceive the world beneath thick, arching eyebrows. Lucia looks as though she drives a Bentley and lives in a beach house. Yet we lived in a studio apartment. I taught at a small rural high school and tried my hand at writing while Lucia was finishing a dissertation in Algebraic Topology.
We found the Andreas Ricci art gallery on a side street away from the showcase galleries. As we entered the small two-story cottage/studio, the artist peered down from his upstairs loft and did a double take. Dressed as though she were strolling through Kashmir, he followed us with his eyes as wiped his hands.
“I will join you in a moment, please take your time.”
“Thank you,” Lucia answered.
He left us alone for a while, and then descended the stairs with a broad smile. He held out a hand for me, and then took Lucia’s allowing it to slip away slowly through his trailing fingers.
“Lucia—that is a very Italian name. Are you Italian?”
“I am Mexican.”
“Ah, Mexico, what a wonderful country. I love it there. Mexican people are like Italians—so passionate, no?”
Lucia blushed, “We haven’t been to Italy yet.”
“Oh, you must go. I return twice a year—almost my whole family is there.”
He began showing his work. Each of his paintings represented an aspect of sensuality—fruits and flowers became lovers, men were tigers, women’s breasts were transformed into smooth stones poking up from a cool stream, their thighs becoming the fork of a tree. Unlike other artists, Andreas didn’t hide sexuality behind a leaf or a shadow, opting instead for a bold celebration. The detail was stirring.
“Are you visiting or do you live nearby?” he asked Lucia.
“We live in Salinas,” I said.
Still looking at Lucia, “And what do you do there?”
“I am a mathematician,” she blushed.
“Ah, then you have heard of Leonardo Fibonacci.”
“Of course. Each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.”
Andreas saw that I was feeling left out, and he quickly set me at ease, “And you, Wyler, what do you do?”
“I teach and do some writing.”
“Ah, a teacher and a writer,” he gestured at me. “What kind of writings do you make?”
“Novels, short stories, poetry, and a few essays,” I answered.
“I would like very much to read some of your work, where can I find it?”
I gave him a business card with some titles and a website where he would find a list of previous publications.
“Thank you, I will definitely take a look.”
Lucia squeezed my hand and rubbed it with her thumb—an unconscious signal that she was having fun. Andreas was handsome in the way artists can be—long, straight black hair hanging loosely about the shoulders, a five-day growth of stubble—unavoidable dark brown eyes.
“Has anyone ever painted you, Lucia?”
“I am surprised. Would you allow me?” Without waiting for her answer he fished a card from his shirt pocket and handed it to her. “You don’t have to answer now. I pay fifty dollars an hour and I will give you a print of the original.”
“I’m not a model,” she said.
“Thank the gods for that. No, you are a natural beauty—no artificial flavors, eh?” He laughed heartily.
Lucia fanned her face and looked at the business card to avoid his eyes.
“Hmm,” I said, taking the card from her and reading it.
“What do you think, Wyler? Can I borrow your lovely wife for a few sittings?”
I shrugged, “It’s entirely up to her.”
Andreas jerked his head toward Lucia and she gave him a disarming smile, “The winter break starts after next week,” she said.
“Great! Fantastic!” He clapped his hands together, “When is convenient for you?”
Lucia took out her cell phone and scrolled her calendar. “I’m free after the fourth.”
“Perfect! How about the evening of the fifth, sixth and seventh?”
Lucia looked at me for approval and I felt a wave of shame. After all, she wasn’t a possession. We had always supported each other to follow our passions.
“She will be there,” I said quickly.
“Wonderful!” He pumped my arm and kissed Lucia on the cheek, “Is seven o’clock okay? It will take two or three hours for each sitting.”
“Yes, seven is fine.”
Silvia looked effervescent as we walked into the Hogsbreath Inn, a restaurant/bar once co-owned by Eastwood.
“How does you feel?” I wiggled my eyebrows.
“He is only going to paint me.”
“This can be my birthday present to me,” she said.
I took her hand, “Just the painting, right?”
“Oh, come on, Wyler, open your mind.”
She knew how to get my juices flowing. “I saw how he looked at you.” An erection pulsed beneath the table as drinks arrived.
She added the sitting fee on her fingers, “Seven hundred and fifty dollars just for sitting.”
“Ay, Costner,” she answered, “don’t worry.”
Although Andreas invited me to stay for the first sitting, I was clearly the third wheel. The living room was littered with accoutrements of his trade—half painted canvases, dirty rags, unwashed brushes, and beat-up furniture. All things being equal there were also dozens hand-painted pots overflowing with flowers and plants.
“I live alone but my neighbor’s cat comes for breakfast every morning,” he joked as I was leaving.
At 10:00 that night, Lucia text-messaged that she was ready for pickup. When Andreas opened the door for me, she was beaming at his side.
“You have an amazing wife,” he said, “I only hope I can do her justice.” He kissed Lucia’s hand, “Arrivederci.”
“How did it go?” I asked as we drove to Salinas.
“He made me feel very comfortable.”
“Did you keep your clothes on?”
“It’s a painting, just like hundreds he’s done and—
“No, you’re not like any other.” And I knew it to be true.
Lucia took my hand and kissed it, “That’s very sweet.”
# # #
The following afternoon I walked her to Andreas’ door. He greeted Lucia warmly and kissed both cheeks.
Lucia gave me a brief peck and I was left at the door. I strolled town for a bit and then drove a short distance to Monterey to purchase a pair of gold ear-cuffs for Lucia’s birthday the following day. Other arrangements were already made—a hotel reservation in romantic Half-Moon Bay.
I returned to Carmel and waited in a small coffee house for Lucia’s text. I had pestered with questions about how she was being portrayed for the painting, yet she steadfastly refused.
“You will just have to wait and see,” she said.
“I want to paint you too—with my tongue.”
# # #
On December the seventh, Pearl Harbor Day, Lucia had her final sitting for Andreas. Lucia was forty. I sipped coffee, graded papers and edited a short story until ten-thirty. Growing impatient, I walked to the cottage. We had a long drive to Half-Moon Bay and I didn’t want Lucia to be too tired.
A ruffled looking Andreas met me at the door, “Lucia is freshening up in the bathroom, please come in,” he motioned me into his painting loft, stopping along the stairs the way to show me staggered photos of his family.
“I am visiting them next month,” he said. “If you come to Italy you must visit my family.”
“We’ll plan on it,” I said.
Lucia was taking her sweet time, and I was eager to get started. There was a pregnant pause in our conversation.
“Excuse me for a moment,” Andreas said, “I need to feed my friend.” He poured dry cat food into a bowl and went out the back door.
Lucia finally emerged from the bathroom, running fingers through her hair, “Hi, darling.”
Andreas returned, “He was very hungry.”
“Well, we have to be on our way,” I said, not wanting a long, drawn out farewell.
“I will call when the painting is finished—two or three weeks. Then we will celebrate, no?”
At the doorway, he embraced Lucia, kissed her cheeks and presented her with a large bouquet of flowers.
“Happy birthday, Lucia.”
“Thank you,” she blushed.
“Please accept my apologies for keeping your wife late on such an important day.”
I nodded. His growing attentions had begun to stick in my craw. After we left, Lucia was quiet until I took an onramp in the opposite direction of Salinas.
“Where are you going?”
“Never mind,” I said, reaching for her hand and lifting it to my lips.
“Okay, I like surprises.”
She stared out the side window distractedly.
“How did it go?”
“How does it feel to be forty?”
“Are you all right—you seem as if you’re somewhere else?”
“Sorry,” she shook her head and focused, “I’m a little tired.”
Along the way, Lucia asked to stop at a gas station to use the bathroom.
“I’ll top off the tank,” I said.
# # #
The hotel provided a vase for her flowers and she set them on the balcony table. The sea rushed back and forth, filling the suite with primal essence. Lucia excused herself to the bathroom again and I sat on the balcony watching the glowing surf. My lips felt dry and I remembered that she usually carried lip-balm in her handbag.
Wadded inside the purse was a soiled panty, starched heavily at the crotch with the unmistakable leavings of a man. The toilet flushed. I returned the panty and returned to the balcony. A cool breeze caressed my face as Lucia joined me.
“It’s so peaceful and romantic,” she said, hugging me from behind. She lifted my shirt to kiss my back and reached around to unbutton my pants. Then she tugged me toward the bed and pushed me onto my back to straddle me.
“You’re not wearing any underwear,” I said.
“You like that?”
“Yeah,” I moaned as she lifted her hips and impaled herself.
“You should cum,” she advised, circling her hips, “I’ll have more energy tomorrow, I promise.”
“This feels more like my birthday,” I managed, and carrying an image in my head of Lucia fucking Andreas, I followed her good advice. Forty never felt so good.