Tristan had a heart attack when Scarlett identified the change in his position in the painting. He was so sure that she wouldn’t notice and yet she did and he didn’t dare move again to resume his previous angle. Scarlett will come back from the office soon and Tristan still couldn’t decide what he should do. Change or retain his place in the painting, which allowed him to see more? To be or not to be…? The classic dilemma…
But Tristan was weak and selfish. He wanted to see her more and he wanted her to see him more. He did not have the strength to ignore the possibilities and opportunities to drink in the sight of Scarlett. Why hadn’t he done this before? Shit… Why hadn’t he thought of this before? Tristan was eagerly waiting for Scarlett. He and his hopes were alive only when she was around.
What time was it? She had talked about terminating an employee today, some Mathew. Such days were never easy. Tristan wished he was there to take her in his arms and draw out all the tension and fatigue when she came home and lull her to sleep.
Home? Was it home for him as well? Indeed, Scarlett did feel like home. Tristan was slowly starting to hope and dream of a life outside the frame. He may have to wait for long years still. He was a wreck that was being built from the ground up. Reconstruction always took time. Tristan had many things to accomplish and still many more things return – to his family, his friends and all those who had looked up to him and whose faith he had not bothered to keep. He wanted to correct all those mistakes.
Tristan had finally stopped apologizing and regretting the mistakes done long back. The time now was to rectify them and take care never to repeat it, ie., if and when he came out of the frame. He remembered all those faces and their small and big deeds that transformed the title case Tristan Chase to full caps TRISTAN CHASE. There were many people behind his success, he couldn’t have done all that alone. Scarlett, of course, was at the centre of all his thoughts. But he also knew that he was not worthy of her. She need not know the mess he was. Tristan vowed to himself, if and whenever he was released from this prison, he will always watch out for her, from near and far. In all the years he lived, this was probably the most selfless thing he had thought. Funny how he did not feel bitter about his ‘framed life’ anymore. All thanks to Scarlett. Fall down seven times, get up eight… Tristan learnt it from Scarlett and he will forever be grateful for that particular lesson.
The doors clicked open and Scarlett switched on the lights in the hall. Its almost 9 and she felt so hungry. Ravenous actually. She walked into the bedroom and slumped into the rocking chair with a chilled bottle of wine from the fridge.
“Hi Tristan, how was your day? I had an exceptionally bad day. Mathew couldn’t stop swearing up and down after the news. I mean, its not like he was not at fault. I hate doing the dirty work, you know. I am already edgy and things like this makes me double edgy and I hate it.” Scarlett sighed and drank deeply from the bottle and closed her eyes, willing her jumping nerves to calm down.
“Oh how I wish somebody opened the door everyday with a smile and cooked dinner by the time I returned from work. Or atleast somebody be there with me to have food. I am tired of lonely dinners. Maybe I should hire a maid.”
Scarlett turned to observe the painting and frowned. “Were you really like this from the beginning?” She shrugged out of the blazer, took a swig off the wine and walked up to the painting.
“I don’t remember seeing this much of your face. ”
Tristan was holding his breath and trying to be the still life painting he was. But somehow it was stifling inside the canvas. Scarlett had removed her coat and was fumbling with the buttons of the pale blue silk shirt she was wearing. “Remember? Once I thought your hair looked like Pierce Brosnan? I think you may also have that square jaw and cheek bone too. Did the artist draw Mr Bond? And your ears,” she lifted her finger to point it out, “have very nice curves.”
Tristan was positively hot now. Electric sparks were connecting his nerves and never ever in the last five years did he experience such a feeling. No, not even before that. It was more than he could bear. The anticipation and the yearning and the longing and the craving and the need and the want and the desire and the imagination, together with Scarlett’s tantalizing presence was all too overwhelming.
Scarlett looked like a Victorian beauty. The only difference was she removed the buttons of her shirt instead of a corseted gown with a different kind of hunger burning in her abdomen. Her muscles slowly relaxed under the ministrations of wine. Drinking wine on empty stomach affected her faster, entering her blood immediately, giving her a heady rush.
Watching the curves of the ear drawn on the canvas, Scarlett imagined moving her tongue across it. The soft bone and flesh caught inbetween her teeth and tongue. Tristan was afraid he might involuntarily jerk his head away in an attempt to control or relieve the tension imagined in his body and felt in his mind. If he did, she would scream and probably pass out as well. She might get scared and think the painting is possessed or cursed and throw him out tonight itself. Tristan saw her cream skin revealed inbetween the blue silk. What he saw, silently promised luscious and silky mounds that hid all the tastes and pleasures of the heaven. He longed to smooth away the shirt off her shoulders and trace the countours of her figure.
“I would have remembered these lines on your forehead. I never miss that kind of artistic details, you know. How did I not see that before? Were they not there before? Did it appear after coming here? Why did you worry so much after coming here? Was I not a good host?”
Scarlett was drunk. He saw it in her languid movements and eyes that were getting smaller and smaller by the minute. Her question aggravated the heat in his body. Tristan struggled to understand the intensity of the feelings from behind the frame. He only knew too well how this night would end if he was on the other side of the frame. He was fighting a losing the battle of lying still infront a Scarlett who was fast removing, well, everything.
” Your ears, cheeks and forehead are all mighty fine Tristan, but its your lips that have me arrested. You are a painting right? Then why do you have such real lips? Pink and perfect. That hint of the curve of a smile! Oh… I can almost see it flash the most sexiest and flashy smile. Or maybe grin! Isn’t that what handsome men do? Grin and smolder and half smile. I’ve read in all the books.”
Scarlett chuckled after saying that. The soft silk on her skin made the hair on her nape stand up. “Mmhhmmmm… Tonight I might be naughty. Might be little touchy bitchy.” Tristan was on fire now. “Too bad its not thrusty and pushy.” Scarlett was completely tipsy. She let her shirt fall in the floor. With one hand on the wall she removed her pants as well.
“How about using that hand of yours? Some exercise to that strong hard biceps?”
Scarlett slowly lifted her hands and kept it on the shoulders of Tristan. The heat of a man – hard and aroused – burnt her fingers. Tristan jerked his head in that half inch of freedom and she gasped and fell back on the bed. Her eyes wide, practically naked and her lush lips open in bewilderment.