Belize Survivor, part 46

Like all women, Alexis needed compliments from time to time, and it was nice to feel appreciated. As he drew, she studied Richard and suddenly realized how attractive he really was. His features were fine, yet paradoxically, rugged. His hair was short blond and curly, yet appealing. Of medium build, he was lithe, yet muscular, with strong features that contradicted the usual stereotype of the effeminate artist.

"Now this time I want you to face me, full front. Extend your left leg, front and center. Let's keep the modesty with your right foot on the rung of the stool and your knee raised a little. Good. Now give me that preoccupied look – like you've got a lot on your mind."

I do have a lot on my mind, she thought. I can't stop looking at you.

An hour later, it was time to take a break. Alexis was surprised that posing was actually hard work; it wasn’t easy to hold still for that long.

"All right, let's take fifteen,” said Richard. “Get dressed, and we’ll continue shortly. Would you like a some wine?"

"Sounds great. Thanks." He poured two glasses, gave one to her, and they walked out on the screened lanai together. It was a lovely room, full of lush ferns, philodendrons, hanging Swedish ivy, and tall ornamental bamboo.

"You know, Alexis, you're a very appealing woman. You’re passionate; your energy and vibrancy are obvious. I think you’re just beautiful, inside and out." He paused meaningfully and looked into her eyes. She took another sip of wine to cover her uneasiness. He reached out and caressed the side of her face. "I've been an artist all my life.
I've drawn women, been with women, and have certainly seen lots of unclad bodies. It's art; it's what I do. But I have to admit that I don’t think I’ve ever felt so turned on before while doing my sketching. With you, I can hardly concentrate. To tell the truth, I've been tempted by you from the moment we met in Key West." Alexis dropped her eyes self-consciously. She felt like Max was watching, and almost bolted from the room. “I want you – bad,” he continued. Simple and direct; he had come right out and said it. “I really want to make love with you. Here. Tonight. Right now."

"I can't do that, Richard. I'm married. Not that I don't find you attractive, because I do. But what about you? What about Rita?"

"We have an open marriage and are involved sexually with other people from time to time. It doesn't harm our relationship. We've been together for five years. For us, it works."

"I don't believe it. It never works,” Alexis stated adamantly. “People are possessive and jealous by nature; it's that ownership thing. It would never work for Max and me.

Neither of us could handle it. Are you telling me Rita wouldn't freak out?"

"No, she wouldn't. She thinks you're beautiful too."

"You mean...?"

"That she's bisexual? No, not exactly.” He paused. “Let's just say she has an eye for beauty. With Rita, art is art. It could be a man, a woman, a sunset, a painting, architecture, or a flower arrangement – just as it is for me. That's why our relationship works."

For a breathless moment, Alexis closed her eyes and gave in to the fantasy of reckless sexual diversion with Richard. Wouldn’t it be fun, and wild?

"No, I can't.” She’d made her decision. “Free love used to be part of my life. Now I take my marriage seriously. I could never face Max again. I like you very much, and I'm flattered, but I can't."

"I won't pressure you," he said, smiling softly. "Forget I even said it. Would you like some more wine?"

"No thanks. You know what? I'm really exhausted. It's been a long day, and if you wouldn't mind, I'd just as soon adjourn with the posing and turn in." She hugged him and climbed the stairs to the loft. "Thanks for being so understanding."

"Goodnight," said Richard, warmly. There was no animosity in his tone. "Sleep well."

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