Making a Masterpiece

Rated R (language mostly)
Summary: An artist's dilemma: Xanatos agrees to
pose for you in the nude. So do you draw him or ravish him?
(I'm sure nobody would understand this dilemma except another
artist.) This fic is chock full of unintentional double entendres.
See if you can catch them!


My very liberal, environmentally-conscious roommate, named Mardella, thought I was absolutely crazy when I told her.

"And how much are you planning on spending, Perdy?" she asked.

"I promised myself I wouldn't go over 20,000," I replied.

Her eyes widened and she shook her head. "20,000? For him? You're crazy," she muttered.

"Look, it's my money," I answered defensively. "I earned it. I'll spend it any way I damn well please."

"But this?" Mardella held up the flyer she had brought home advertising the Save Our Wild Groves Foundation fundraiser. "A bachelor auction?"

I sighed. She would never understand, but I tried again to explain why I felt compelled to blow 20,000 on a bachelor auction to raise money for a charity I didn't even support.
It was because HE was going up on the auction block.

Neither one of us had ever met him before. We had only seen news footage of him, but that had been enough to motivate me into action.

"This may be my one and only chance," I whined. "And actually, I don't care how much he costs. I think he's worth it."

Mardella gave me one of her looks. "Not from what I hear," she countered. "He's a greedy, self-centered prick. I'm sure he's only volunteering for this to get the environmental pro-action groups off his back. This is just a PR ploy. He doesn't give a damn about saving Telos' groves anymore than you do."

I smiled slightly. "There. You see. We already have something in common."

Mardella wasn't giving up on my salvation just yet. "Think, Perdy. You could hire a professional model for a month for that kind of money," she reasoned. "Even if you win him, you'd only have him for one night. You're not going to be able to finish the work in one night."

"I can do it. I just have to stay focused."

At that, Mardella laughed. "Oh, I can imagine how focused you'll stay when he's sprawled out naked under the studio lights. Or how focused he'll stay. I understand he's a real philanderer."

I put my hands on my hips. "I never thought you were the type to listen to slanderous rumors."

"Well, okay. How about this. What if you pay all that money for him and he won't do it?"

I actually hadn't considered this. Most men jump at the chance to pose for me. I scowled at Mardella. "He'll do it. He'll feel obligated. Especially when he hears how much I paid for him."

Mardella finally held up her hands in resignation. "Well, like you said, it's your money to waste."

I frowned. "It won't be a waste! Not if win him. You know I have always had a thing for Xanatos." I threw myself melodramatically into a chair. "And I've always wanted to use him. He's absolutely beautiful, there's no denying that. His coloring is unique. His bone structure is simply exquisite. He'd be perfect for this piece, I know he would. Having someone like him pose for me would be a dream come true. This auction is my chance to make that dream a reality, Mardella."

"Well, then," Mardella sighed. "By all means. Dream on."


By the time I took my seat beside the stage at the Save Our Wild Groves Foundation Fundraiser, I was totally psyched and raring to go.

A young politician's son, was the first bachelor up for bids. He promised a night of fine dining and a tour of the Kerth Nebula onboard his father's private yacht. The bidding began. He was snatched up for 62,000.

The next one up for grabs was an actor who was currently starring in a play on Centerstreet. He promised front row tickets to his next performance and backstage passes. He was kind of famous and went for 70,000.

The following bachelor was a pilot. He sold for 68,000.

By the time Xanatos was due up, it became painfully clear to me that none of these men were selling for anything less than 60,000. Then a miracle happened.

Unlike the other bachelors, Xanatos was not attending the auction. I was a little disappointed that I would not get to meet him tonight, but I have to admit, I was also a little relieved.

Apparently, he was off-planet and wasn't scheduled to return for at least another week, but the fundraiser organizers weren't sure exactly when. Also, unlike the other bachelors, who promised their dates nights of glamour and romance, Xanatos had promised nothing. The organizers had no idea what he had planned for his winning date. But this would actually work to my advantage, since I already had plans for us.

In his absence, the organizers showed an old news holo of him which was fuzzy and somewhat unflattering.

Lucky for me, most of the women at the auction wanted a tangible male and a guarantee of getting their money's worth.

So, when the bidding began for Xanatos, no one bid.

The MC had to lower the opener over and over again. When it went down to 10,000, I smiled and raised my number card.

But the MC clearly didn't care for that meager amount and started encouraging competition for me from the audience.

"Ladies! Don't pass this opportunity up!" she began. "Xanatos will honor his contract in the name of our most worthy cause I'm sure he truly wanted to be here tonight, but he is a dedicated, successful businessman. Please, don't hesitate to bid. I'm sure the winner will be treated to nothing less than what our other fine bachelors have to offer." The MC hopefully looked out over the audience as I cursed her and held my breath. Suddenly she smiled. "Ah, 15.000! Wonderful! Do I hear 20,000?"

I quickly looked behind me to see who had bid against me as I anxiously raised my number again.

"20,000! Splendid! Do I hear 25,000?"

My opponent raised her number. She was younger and even more desperate-looking than I was. She had been bidding on and had lost every bachelor since the auction started.

"25,000! Excellent! Do I hear 30,000?"

Oh fuck it. I frowned and raised my number. This would have to be the very last bid. I was already over my bachelor-budget.

"30,000! How about 35,000?" the MC urged, looking at my opponent.

No! I pleaded mentally. I glared at the MC. Close it! Close it! He's mine, damn you! Mine!

"Going once...twice...Ah! 35,000! Superb!"

Shit! I slumped down in my seat and lowered my head. Now the MC was looking at me. There was no way I could blow 35,000 on this. Mardella would have me declared certifiable.

"35,000. Going once, twice...."

Of course I could always run to the TMA machine in the lobby and get a cash advance on my credit chip.....Was Xanatos really worth the debt I would be in if I did? Yeah, I know, stupid question. I fixed my eyes on the fuzzy hologram and felt my heart beat faster. I sighed. You had better cooperate, that's all I can say.

"40,000!" I yelled enthusiatically and waved my number at the MC.

All eyes were on my opponent now. When she frowned and shook her head, I could have kissed her.

"40,000, once, twice....Sold! To the lady in white!"


The following morning, since I had to go downtown anyway for art supplies, I stopped by OffWorld Corporate Headquarters to see if I could find a way to contact Xanatos.

I entered the building through the main double doors and crossed the spacious lobby to the elevators. The directory listed Xanatos' office as being Suite number 415, level seventeen.

So I took the elevator to the seventeenth floor and got off. Suite 415 was the second office on the left. I wandered in and was taken aback by its opulent interior. While I was looking around, I was confronted by a receptionist who looked like she had been hired because she matched the decor more than anything else.

"May I help you with something?" she asked me, sitting forward slightly and folding her perfectly manicured hands on her desk.

I futilely tried to smooth down my wild curls and brushed at some lint on my sweater. Standing next to her was made me feel considerably underdressed and dowdy.

"Umm. I think so. I was wondering if you could tell me how I could reach Xanatos? I need to contact him. I know he's off-planet right now and he's not due back for at least a week. But if you could give me a number that I could call. I would really appreciate it."

The receptionist looked me up and down distastefully. I'm sure she was convinced by my appearance that I was one of those crazy environmentalists.

"If you would like to leave him a message, I'll be sure he gets it upon his return."

I shook my head. "No. I'd really rather talk to him." I rolled my eyes and took a deep breath. I was going to have to tell her the truth if I wanted her cooperation. "Look. I won him last night in the Save Our...well, in a charity bachelor auction."

The receptionist grinned. "You won him?"

I nodded. "It was for charity," I reminded her, feeling my face redden. Yes, I was one of those eccentric artists who had to purchase her dates. Something you would know nothing about, I'm sure.

The receptionist licked her lips. "Well, if you want to see him, you'll have to make an appointment." She leaned back and tapped delicately on the keyboard of her data register. "How's the third sound? I have a 10:00 and 6:00 o'clock opening. Which would you prefer?"

I stared back at her in dismay. "Didn't he leave you a number where you could reach him if you needed too? I don't want to wait until the third to see him." I was hoping to have my artwork completed and displayed by then.

The receptionist smiled placatingly. "He's a busy man," she murmured. "Ten or six?"

What a bitch. "Ten. And if something opens up before then--"

Something suddenly did. The door just behind the receptionist's desk opened and a bedraggled Xanatos stalked out.

I felt my jaw slacken and drop and all of a sudden I couldn't breathe.

He was a lot taller than I had expected. His hair was longer and his handsome face was decidedly more rugged. But I don't think I had ever seen him unshaven before. This morning, he sported at least a day's worth of stubble. Maybe that was why.

"Sloan, that fucking intercom's not working again," he fairly growled and tossed several file folders on the desk in front of the receptionist. "Get these down to Ashely right away. Tell her they're the files immigration subpoenaed. But I want them censored before she turns them over, understand?"

The receptionist, Sloan, quickly gathered the files in her arms. "Oh, certainly sir! I'll get right on it." She seemed to have forgotten all about me in her haste to obey him.

"And while you're at it, order something catered for lunch. I haven't eaten since yesterday morning."

"Yes sir!" Sloan replied, standing up. "Any preferences?"

Xanatos thought for a moment. "Something with blood in it. No seafood. And no poultry!"

Sloan grinned and scurried off. Suddenly, Xanatos and I were alone. I looked up, and up, at him and smiled.

When he finally noticed me standing there, he scowled, and looked me over.

"Who are you?" he demanded. I'm sure he was convinced I was one of those environmentalists he loathed.

My smile faded and I inadvertently took a step back. I had to admit, despite his casual, disheveled appearance, I found him a little intimidating. I cleared my throat and tried to think of something to say to put him at ease before he sicced security on me.

"Ah, I was told you were away. Off-planet in fact." In fact, your girl Sloan had outright lied to me just now.

He narrowed his eyes at me and put his hands on his slim hips. "I was until about an hour ago," he explained. "And you are....?"

I told myself to breathe and summoned forth a trembly smile. "My name is Perdina Voy." I extended my hand out to him in greeting.

Warily, he took it and shook it once before releasing me.

"Well, Miss Voy. What can I do for you?"

I distinctly got the impression my name didn't mean anything to him. Just as I had suspected, he hadn't been told.

"Uh, I was the one who won you last night at the charity bachelor auction." I coyly twisted a lock of my hair around my index finger. "What a nice surprise this is. I really wasn't expecting to meet with you today, even though I have been looking forward to meeting you for quite some time now. I know I must look a mess, but it's only because I didn't think you were actually here...." I noticed Xanatos was massaging his eyes and forced myself to stop babbling.

Xanatos took a deep breath. "Right. Won't you come into my office, Miss Voy?" Without waiting for a reply from me, he turned on his heel and slipped back through the open door.

I skipped after him once I had recovered from my initial shock at his impromptu invitation. I just couldn't believe my luck at times. I didn't need an appointment after all. We were going to make all the necessary arrangements right now!

"Please," Xanatos began, directing me to the chair opposite his enormous black marblelite desk. "Have a seat."

I looked slowly around his office. "This is a really well-decorated room," I told him. "What a beautifully blended green that is. Actually, the whole color scheme is perfectly coordinated and the artificial lighting is very well positioned. It gives the room great atmosphere."

Seating himself behind his desk, Xanatos nodded, but stared over at me through wary, red-rimmed eyes. His full lips were pursed, making his attentive expression appear condescending.

I sighed heavily. "I'm an artist," I told him, feeling compelled to explain to him why I went off in rapturous soliloquies about light and colors.

"I see," Xanatos mumbled. Suddenly, he leaned forward and placed his elbows on the desk. "Miss Voy, let me be frank with you."

"Please, call me Perdina. Or Perdy, for short."

Xanatos didn't acknowledge my correction. Instead he focused his attention on the data screen on his desk and began sifting through files. I watched him curiously. Finally, he found what he had been looking for and opened the file before turning his attention back to me.

"It's like this. The Wild Groves Foundation and I have an understanding. I regularly contribute to their cause to, mmm, shall I say, maintain? this understanding. Originally, my part in this auction which you attended, was supposed to be strictly financial. My former public relations personnel were to make the necessary arrangements while I was away, but instead, they mistakenly informed the Foundation that I would be participating in the event itself." He paused and laughed humorlessly. "In other words, I never had any intention of prostituting myself in the name of charity. It was all an unfortunate mistake. I'm sure you understand."

My worse fears were coming to light. Mardella's words rang loudly in my head. He was backing out. He didn't feel the least bit obligated to me. I was just out forty grand.

"Understand?" I spat out, suddenly incensed. "But you were on their roster! I had to come up with a lot of money to buy you! Two months' rent for me. Doesn't that mean anything to you? You owe me!"

Xanatos took a long, steadying breath and pushed back a few loose tendrils of hair that had escaped the tether at the nape of his neck.

"Let's be reasonable, shall we?" he continued, visibly struggling to remain calm. "That fucking Foundation had no right to promise you anything on my behalf."

"They didn't promise anything!" I informed him, rising to my feet. "All the other bachelors were taking their winners out for a night of glamorous romance. I wasn't promised anything...but I bought you anyway."

"Calm down, Miss Voy." Xanatos leaned back in his chair and looked me over again. "You're taking your frustrations out on the wrong person."

I peered over at him and frowned deeply as an ugly thought surfaced.

"Oh, I get it. This has nothing to do with some mistake your personnel made. This has to do with the fact that I'm not exactly the caliber of woman you normally let yourself be seen with. Admit it, I'm nothing like Sloan or Ashely out there, so you are backing out of your commitment even before you hear my proposition for our night together."

"Sit down," Xanatos growled, narrowing his eyes at me. He continued staring at me until I seated myself, then seemed to relax some. "You haven't heard me out either," he continued. "So, I'd advise you to guard against such unbecoming accusations. And appealing to my conscience will get you no where with me."

I slumped dejectedly in my chair. I could see my dream slowly slipping through my fingers. "But you owe me this," I grumbled and fixed my gaze on the floor.

Xanatos sighed. "Oh, I'm sure your proposition is a guaranteed night of unparalleled glamour and romance, but let me make myself clear. The Foundation offered my time in error so you simply have to face the fact that I am not legally obligated to meet your expectations. Your grievance is with the Foundation, not me. However...."

Not obligated. His words echoed in my mind as my eyes misted over with tears. I wiped at them before they could fall and stood up.

"Well, far be it for me to waste anymore of your precious time," I sniffed.

"Oh, Miss Voy, please don't cry," Xanatos groaned. "Once and for all, sit down and hear me out."

Intrigued, I paused and peered up at him, then dropped heavily back into my chair as if I was doing him a tremendous favor.

Xanatos scratched thoughtfully at the day old stubble shadowing his face. "Look, I'm willing to have my lawyers contact the Foundation to get your money returned to you. Would that suit you? In the meantime, I'll transfer funds into your account to cover the amount you spent at the auction."

I blinked up at him in surprise. "Then it really was a mistake?"

He nodded.

I sighed and shrugged. "I'd really rather have you, but I'll settle for getting the money back."

For the first time this morning, Xanatos smiled at me. His entire face was instantly transformed by it, lightened and softened by the warmth glittering behind his eyes.

"Good," he announced. "I knew you could be reasonable it you tried." He turned his attention back to the data screen on his desk. "I'm not entirely without heart, Miss Voy, and I'm also extremely sensitive to the pathos of beautiful women such as yourself." He quickly entered information into the file. "Now, what was the amount?"

I could feel myself blushing at his compliment and resisted the urge acknowledge it. Instead, I sat forward in my chair and licked my lips anxiously.

"40,000," I told him.

Xanatos' eyes flashed as he abruptly looked up at me from the data screen. "40,000? Is that the entire amount?" He seemed stunned.

I nodded, confused by his sudden anger. Shit, maybe that was too much to ask for. Maybe I should have only asked for half.

"40,000?" he repeated and swore under his breath. He quickly switched off the data screen, then leaned back in his chair. "That's it? That's all I raised? I'm supposed to feel obligated to wine and dine you for 40,000? 40,000 will get you banged across my desk. Take it or leave it. If you want anymore glamour and romance than that, try 80,000!"

My jaw fell open in utter shock as I realized he wasn't outraged, he was insulted. I cleared my throat and seized a stellar opportunity to polish his tarnished pride.

"Well, you weren't there," I consoled. "So they showed this old, out-of-focus hologram. It didn't do you any justice at all."

"Granted," he conceded, "but I still should have raised more than 40,000." He pouted then, his face shifting from hard-assed CEO to unloved little boy. "Didn't anyone want me?"

My moment had truly arrived. I nodded slowly, fixing my eyes on his. "I wanted you, Xanatos. Badly."

Another smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. His gorgeous, albeit bloodshot, dark eyes twinkled with amusement now. Gods, he had such a beautifully expressive face! He really was perfect for what I had in mind.

He sat forward again and folded his hands on his desk as he gave me his undivided attention as well as a luxurious view of his chest through his partially opened shirt.

"I suppose the very least I could do for you is hear your proposition," he said and sighed. "So tell me, what kind of a date with me did you have in mind?"

My heart suddenly leapt with joy. I straightened and leaned forward to bridge the distant between us. My eyes traced a path down the gentle slope of his forehead, along his arched brow, over the soft curve of his cheek, and caressingly around that peculiar scar under his right eye. I ached to draw him.

"Actually, Xanatos," I began steadily. "What I had in mind for you wasn't a date per se." I paused. He looked back at me intrigued so I continued. "I believe I mentioned before that I am an artist. A disciple of the old mediums, in fact. I only work in black and white and I do people mostly. Faces, studies of different areas of the body...and nudes. I love the way light plays on the human form." I paused again and took a deep breath.

"Go on," Xanatos urged.

I smiled. "Anyway, I'm in need of a worthy subject for my lastest endeavor."


"And, well, you're perfect," I whispered dreamily, then caught myself. "Ah, perfect subject matter for the image I have in mind. I need to do something above and beyond the ordinary because I've been offered a spot in the capital's art gallery."

"Congratulations. You must be good," Xanatos rumbled.

I grinned, encouraged. "If you would pose for me, I know I would get the inspiration I need to make this piece truly exceptional."

"You want to draw me? That's all you want?"

I nodded vigorously. "One night. That's all I'm asking. Please." My heart was beating wildly. He hadn't said yes yet, but he hadn't said no either.

Xanatos leaned back slightly. "What would I have to do exactly?" he asked and gnawed his lower lip thoughtfully.

Trying to sound nonchalant while nearly bursting with enthusiasm, I shrugged and pursed my lips. "Actually, you just need to stay still while I draw you. Of course, you can take breaks. Eat, drink, go to the fresher when you need to. All I require from you is your time, your cooperation...and an unobstructed view of your body."

Xanatos' brow shot up. "I'm to do this nude?"

I held my breath and smiled at him hopefully. "Umm, yes. That's what I do. Portraits of nudes."

When he didn't respond right away, my heart sank.

"I'll be the only one with you, I promise," I hurriedly explained. "I'm a professional and this is strictly a business arrangement. Your privacy matters. I won't even use your face if you prefer. It's your body I really want anyway."

Xanatos grinned. "In that case, you can have it," he announced in a throaty voice.

I nearly fell out of my chair. "You'll do it?"

"I'll do it."

"Oh, Xanatos!" I exclaimed, shooting to my feet. "Thank you! Thank you so much! You won't regret it, I promise."

Xanatos licked his lips. "When do you want to do it?"

I paused, thinking. "When are you available? According to your friend, Sloan, you aren't free until the week of the third. I'd really rather not wait that long, but I will if I have to."

"How about tomorrow night?" Xanatos suggested.

My heart began doing double-time again. I nodded gratefully. "What time?"


I smiled. "Perfect." I knew I would have to kick Mardella out for the night, but she would understand. "Try to get a good night's rest. And if you wouldn't mind, could you shave and wear your hair loose?"

"Oh, yes, I know. I look like a wreck this morning. I haven't slept in two days. Ship lag. But don't worry, for you, I'll even shower," he said with a crooked grin and stood up. "Well, Miss Voy. I promise I'll be at your door tomorrow at nine. Until then, I really must get back to work. In my absence, my employees managed to reduce production by half." He paused and shook his head ruefully. "Give Sloan your address and leave a number where you can be reached, just in case."

I nodded. "Oh, of course. Good-bye for now and thank you again," I breathed excitedly and headed for the door. "And I'll see you tomorrow night."

"Mmm, you most certainly will," Xanatos replied and winked.

I giggled girlishly at his remark and hurried out. My pulse quickened with the thought of seeing him naked and Mardella's words suddenly surfaced in my mind. I began to wonder if she was right after all. How focused could I stay? How focused would he stay?

Only time would tell.


Mardella nearly split a seam when I told her she would have to find somewhere else to sleep. She followed me around the apartment complaining as I tried to clean the place up a little before Xanatos' arrival.

"You've never kicked me out before with any of your other models," she protested. "What makes him so special?"

"Out of common courtesy, I promised him I would be the only one with him tonight."

Mardella put her hands on her hips. "Well, what if I just stay in my room? I won't come out unless I have to use the fresher. Okay?"

I frowned and shook my head. "No. You have to go. You can't stay." I stalked back into the kitchen and busily crushed some ice for drinks.

"Then can you at least get him to reimburse me for the hotel expenses I'm going to accrue tonight while protecting his purity?"

I whirled around to face her, almost throwing a chunk of ice at her. "Absolutely not! Look, I'll pay you back, all right? Stay anywhere you please, but just GO! Go now!"

A knowing smile crept over Mardella's visage. "Oh, I get it. I know why you want to be alone with him." She laughed annoyingly. "Just in case, huh?"

I glared over at her, but felt my face redden. "Hardly! I am an artist of integrity. I don't lure men to my apartment under false pretense then pounce on them afterwards." I paused and took a calming breath, placing my cold hands against my cheeks to cool them. "I have one night to finish this piece. One night. There won't be time for what you're implying anyway." Damn.

"All right, Perdy. You win. I'm going. Just let me pack a few things before His Eminence arrives." She finally left me and disappeared into her room.

"Thank you!" I called after her. "I sure appreciate your understanding how much this means to me. My one and only dream come true." I glanced up at the time and gasped. It was already a little after nine. "Gods, hurry up Mardella! He'll be here any minute!"

Mardella immerged from her room, satchel in hand, and headed towards the door. I walked with her to ensure a timely exit on her part.

"Remember, you owe me for this, Perdy," she grumbled. "I'm doing this for you not that black-haired reptile"

"And I appreciate it, I really do," I replied and reached towards the door lock. Just then, the chimes rang.

My eyes widened and my breath caught in my throat. I hauled Mardella aside and pointed a threatening finger at her.

"Not one snide comment from you, understand?"

Mardella knew our friendship depended on it and nodded in earnest.

I found myself smoothing down my hair and hastily straightening my clothes. Stop! I told myself sternly. This is not a date! But I couldn't help consulting the mirror in the hall just before opening the door.

Ah, there he was. Oh gods. My jaw slackened and dropped as he fixed his dark, jewel-like eyes on me.

"Well hello again," he greeted pleasantly.

"Xanatos, hello," I barely breathed, staring back at him. He managed to look fifty times better then the last time I had seen him, and I had thought he looked pretty good then.

Apparently, he had taken my instructions to heart. He seemed alert and well-rested. He was clear-eyed and clean-shaven, and as I had requested, he wore his long hair loose.

He looked past me into the apartment. "Are you ready for me?"

Suddenly realizing I had yet to invite him in, I flushed and quickly stepped aside. "Oh, I'm sorry! Come in, please! Of course I'm ready!" I caught a glimpse of Mardella out of the corner of my eye and gasped in alarm. I had forgotten all about her.

Much to my surprise, she was rendered speechless by Xanatos and was gaping up at him completely spellbound. I reached over and discreetly poked her with my finger as Xanatos sauntered into our living room. She suddenly snapped out of her trance and leaned into me.

"Gods! You didn't tell me he was so gorgeous!" she whispered.

"I've told you a thousand times he was gorgeous," I whispered back. "You just refused to believe me!"

I pulled away from Mardella and cleared my throat to get Xanatos' attention.

"Let me introduce my roommate, Mardella Delores. Mardella, this is Xanatos." I watched as Mardella dreamily drifted in his direction. I grabbed her arm and pulled her back to the door. "Ah, she was just leaving," I announced.

Xanatos gentlemanly bowed his head at her. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance," he told her.

Mardella sighed. "And I am so pleased to meet you too," she cooed and batted her eyelashes for all they were worth. "I've been such an admirer of yours. You've done so much for Thani and Telos. The schools and museums and libraries. You're quite a model...uh, citizen. Quite a model citizen."

I looked over at her with an incredulous expression. All this mush was coming from the same woman who had compared him to a reptile earlier.

However, Xanatos was eating up her conjured flattery. He smiled disarmingly, displaying a mouthful of perfectly straight, white teeth.

"Why thank you, Miss Delores," he said smoothly. "I've always tried to give as much back to the community as I take, and I eagerly offer my patronage to the arts." He deliberately turned his gaze on me just then.

I fanned myself with my hand. Gods it was hot in here! I had turned up the heat so he wouldn't be cold, but I think I had turned it up too high.

Mardella looked at me pleadingly. "You know, I could stay and help out if you need me to. I could help adjust the lights or fetch you things."

I shook my head adamantly and all but pushed her out the door. "No thanks, I'll manage just fine without you." I faced Xanatos again. "Mardella was just leaving," I reminded both of them loudly.

My smitten roommate looked so crestfallen standing outside the threshold, I actually felt sorry for her. I leaned close to her and whispered in her ear. "You can see the picture in the morning."

At that she brightened and I quickly closed the door in her face.

Xanatos tugged off his cape and draped it over a nearby chair. "Shall we begin?"

He seemed eager to lend me his patronage all right. I took a deep steadying breath. "Ah, before we get started, is there anything I can get you? Something to drink, perhaps?"

Xanatos shrugged. "Mmm, what do you have?"

"Tanglo juice and water, sidne and rocha root."

Xanatos grinned. "All very healthy, thirst-quenching drinks, but actually, I had something a little stronger in mind."

"Oh. Mardella has some Estivita mix. I'm sure she won't mind if I use it. I already have crushed ice. It'll take me five minutes to whip some up. Would you like that?"

Seemingly satisfied with Estivita, he nodded and I scurried off into the kitchen,
pleased to be able to grant his wish.

"Just try to relax and make yourself comfortable," I called out to him. "This won't take long."

I quickly scooped up the crushed ice and plopped it into two goblets. I found Mardella's Estivita mix on top of the fridge and hurriedly read the directions. Juice, sweetner, and a dash of aloah spirits. Into a shaker and shaken for all it was worth. Then I poured it over the ice and snatched up the goblets.

In my absence, Xanatos had removed his shirt. His back was to me as I stepped into the living room and he was studying the art I had displayed over my bookcase. He put his hands on his hips and my eyes were immediately drawn to the easy flexing of his back muscles. He was as lean and well-toned as I imagined he would be, but not in a thin, wiry way. And his skin...gods, it was so fair it was almost white. I couldn't help but sigh in appreciation of his natural sex appeal, but in doing so, I inadvertently announced my presence.

Xanatos peered over his shoulder at me, then gestured up at the art.

"Did you do this? It's very good. I like it alot."

Nodding, I held out the goblet of Estivita towards him and he took it with a quick smile. "T-thanks. I'm glad to hear you like it. I'm going to use the same technique on you."

Xanatos grinned again. "He's very sexy. Who is he? An old flame?"

I took a drink, made a face at the excessive amount of alcohol in it, and shook my head. "Oh no. He was just a guy I noticed on the street one day."

Xanatos turned away from the art and sipped his Estivita. "How convenient."

"Umm, you don't have to disrobe right now," I offered. "I want you to feel completely comfortable with the idea first." I didn't mention to him that I needed a little time to feel comfortable with the idea as well.

"The idea of what?" he asked and started unfastening his belt. "Being nude?"

I tried to sound blasé. "Well, being nude in front of me, a total stranger in a way."

Xanatos sighed. "I'm sure when we are finished tonight, we won't be strangers anymore."

I lowered my eyes. The way he was looking at me was unnerving. "Still, I'll try not to look at you until you feel ready."

Unexpectedly, Xanatos reached over and raised my chin with his hand until my eyes met his once again. "You can look at me now. I don't mind."

A deepening heat was spreading through my body and I felt my face warm substantially where he was touching me. I sighed heavily. And he wasn't even completely naked yet.

Watching me, Xanatos blinked slowly. Long black eyelashes lit briefly against the thin skin under his smoky blue eyes.

"Tell me. Do you like what you see?"

I swallowed hard and allowed my gaze to drift along his jaw to the smooth, elegant line of his long neck, down to the curved planes of his muscular torso. I nodded.

"Definitely," I breathed shakily.

Xanatos smiled slyly. "So, where do you want me?" he asked, his voice thick and seductive. "How do you want me?"

Oh my gods. I forced my eyes back to his face and tried desperately to keep from blushing. His eyes glinted with amusement at my obvious discomfort. Those were loaded questions and he knew it. Well, two could play at this game.

"In the bedroom, on your back."

Licking his lips, Xanatos fought back another smile and bowed slightly before me. "As you wish."

Feeling slightly triumphant, I turned and led Xanatos down the hall into my room. I had already set up the lights and positioned some extra pillows on the bed which was against the wall in the corner.

As Xanatos drew up beside me at the foot of the bed, his expression sobered. It was as if he had only just now realized what he was about to do. He threw back the last of the Estivita in his goblet, handed it to me, and took a deep breath.

"If you would like, I'll leave until you finish undressing," I offered.

He shook his head and glanced over at me. "I'd like it more if you stayed."

"Fine, then," I quipped, determined to keep my professional cool. I took the goblets and placed them on the dresser, then I went over to my desk and gathered the supplies I'd need and brought them over to a chair and end table I had placed in front of the wall opposite the bed. Then I busied myself turning on the lights.

When Xanatos began to slither out of his pants, I pretended to adjust one of the lights, but watched him out of the corner of my eye, humming a distorted mixture of three different songs I had heard on the transistor earlier today.

I suddenly realized how incredibly turned on I was at the prospect of seeing him nude and if I wanted to get any work done at all tonight, I had to maintain my focus. Of course his steady relay of erotic innuendoes didn't help matters. I just couldn't let him get to me.

When I heard the bed creak, I finally looked down. There was Xanatos, stretched out in all his sumptuous naked splendor, gazing up at me expectantly.

I blinked several times just in the off chance I was hallucinating, and took several deep breaths.

"," I heard myself declaring and was rewarded with a dazzling smile from my subject. This wasn't some bored, overpaid, generic-looking model. This was the man whose mere two-dimensional images made my heart palpitate and my mouth salivate.

With an appreciative savor I normally reserved for viewing the finest works of art, I slowly looked him over. Immediately I noticed how the shadows in the room pressed into the curves of his body, sculpting and shaping him, while the light softened the defining lines of his fair skin. He was both ruggedly handsome and delicately beautiful.

Suddenly, I couldn't wait to draw him; to capture his essence and mold it into my own interpretation.

"Oh, Xanatos," I whispered, moving closer to him. "You are truly exquisite....perfectly breathtaking."

Xanatos' smile slowly faded, but he peered up at me, clearly pleased. "Mmm, I suppose you would know. I'm sure you've seen quite an impressive number of naked men in your line of work." Then he licked his lips and ran his hand distractedly through his hair. "And you think I'm breathtaking?"

I nodded and knelt down beside the bed. "I know you are," I said and smiled. "I keep having to tell myself to breathe."

Xanatos smiled again as I continued to devour him with my eyes as I constructed the perfect position for him in my mind.

"Here, I need you to angle your body. Put your head at the corner of the foot of the bed." I stood up as he complied and studied his incredibly long, shapely legs. "Oh gods, these are perfect," I told him, my voice sounding distant and dream-like. Without thinking, I ran my fingers down the length of his thigh. I felt his muscles tense and quickly withdrew my hand, shooting him an apologetic look. "Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot to tell you. I need to be able to touch you. To pose you. May I?"

Xanatos locked his eyes on mine, then slowly nodded. "Yes, of course. I didn't realize you would be touching me and I just wasn't expecting it when you did." He smiled reassuringly. "Besides, your fingers are ice cold."

Ice! Oh my gods, no wonder he flinched. I had my hands in ice earlier. "I am so sorry! I won't touch you again."

Xanatos furrowed his brow, then unexpectedly reached over and took my hands in both of his, his eyes never leaving mine. He rubbed them briskly and blew his warm breath over them as I stared back at him stunned.

"There," he announced as he released me. "Now you can touch me all you want." He winked at me devilishly.

Feeling myself begin to lose focus again, I quickly broke eye contact with him and turned my attention back to his legs.

"Uh...Okay. Could you move your hips to the left a little--yes, right there. Now, give me your left leg."

He obediently bent his knee and draped his leg over my outstretched arms. I took hold of his calf and ankle, stretching his leg up against the wall.

"Now the right leg," I ordered. He raised his right leg. I took it and bent it and crossed his ankles. Then I stepped back to view my handiwork, once more feeling my artistic enthusiasm for his form edge out the sexual tension I had felt earlier.

"Am I going to be able to talk while we do this?" Xanatos asked and squirmed slightly.

I nodded. "Until I tell you to close your mouth, you can talk all you like. Now, lift your head for me."

I knelt down at the foot of the bed and gathered his hair in my hands as he raised his head. Then I fanned it out over the edge of the mattress.

Xanatos laughed suddenly. "Perdina, this isn't very comfortable."

Warmed by the rich sound of his laughter and the fact that he had finally addressed me by my first name, I reached down and patted his cheek affectionately.

"I know it's a little unnatural, but you look fabulous," I reassured him, appealing to his vanity. "Here. Put your left hand under your neck, arm out, there, good. Is that better? Now, put your right hand on your chest. No, wait, that's too far."

Xanatos allowed me to make a few minor adjustments. I splayed his fingers over his nipple and tucked his elbow closer to his side. I stood up.

"Tilt your head to the right. Look at me. Mmm, yes. Keep your eyes on me now, okay?"

"Okay," he agreed and watched me walk over to my chair.

I sat down and looked up at him.

"You have very pretty eyes," he murmured. "Has anyone ever told you what an intense gaze you have? I can almost feel your eyes graze the surface of my skin when you look at me like that."

Focus Perdy. Keep your focus. "Yes all my models tell me that," I replied nonchalantly, but quickly looked down at my pad.

He clearly wasn't expecting me to say that and he smiled drolly.

"How long do I have to stay like this?" he inquired and turned his head a little to far to the right. "I'm getting cramped already."

Son of a bitch, I hadn't even started yet. I sighed and put my pad down. "Until I can get the overall position drawn," I explained and got up to readjust him. I took his head in my hands and leaned over him slightly. "Just try to relax." I brushed the hair back from his eyes and smiled down at him sympathetically, then began massaging his temples to help him loosen up a bit. "This is the most difficult part of the process for a model. You can't move at first, but when I finish the basic outlines, then you can move anything I'm not currently drawing."

Xanatos closed his eyes and moaned softly. "Um, you had better stop doing that," he told me in a breathy voice. "I feel like all the blood in my body is rushing to my head."

I stopped rubbing his temples and frowned, double-checking his coloring. "It is not," I assured him. "Your face looks fine."

He opened his eyes and smiled deviantly. "Actually, I was referring to my other head."

Unwittingly, I looked down between his legs and heard him chuckle deeply.

"Would you like to pose that too?" he taunted.

I closed my eyes and bit my lip hard, hoping the sharp pain would keep me from blushing again. Damn it all, I was a professional artist. I worked on nude men all the time. I could not let this particular one's teasing distract me anymore. I had to teach him a lesson. Summoning every ounce of boldness I had in me, I opened my eyes and glared down at him.

"As a matter of fact, I do!" I snapped and seized his cock in my hand. I was pleased as punch to hear him gasp in surprise. I tried to stay clinically detached as I arranged and futilely rearranged that gorgeous member of his to get the position of it just right, but he was only getting harder and the way he felt in my hand nearly sent me over the edge again.

However, I won out in the end. When I finally stepped back this time, I noticed my subject seemed considerably more compliant than he had all night and was breathing rather erratically. I smiled smugly and stalked back over to my chair.

"Now, don't you dare move," I ordered him and took a deep breath. I picked up my pad and started drawing.


"May I pleeeease move my legs?" Xanatos pleaded after a half hour had passed.

I was so engrossed in my drawing, his sudden vocalization startled me. He hadn't said anything to me since I had reprimanded him earlier.

I studied the drawing before replying. I wasn't finished with his legs yet, but I could work on a different part of him for awhile.

"All right. I'll work on your right arm," I told him. "You can move your legs."

With a deep, appreciative moan, Xanatos slowly eased his stiff legs from the wall.

"I'm going to have to hire a fucking masseuse after this if I ever want to walk normally again," he complained, taking the opportunity I'd given him to stretch out his left arm as well.

"It's no wonder you're stiff; you've been a veritable statue since we started. Why didn't you move at all? You haven't so much as wiggled your toes." I put my pad aside. "Here, let's just take a break, okay?"

At that, Xanatos grinned. "Why, there is mercy in the world after all," he cooed to me and rolled over on his side. He winced slightly as he pushed himself up with his hands and struggled to his feet.

I stood up and stretched as well, watching him. "You don't have to stay completely still all the time. Remember, I told you you could move different areas at different times."

Xanatos stretched luxuriously, raising his arms over his head and flexing his back. He groaned sensuously.

"No, I don't remember that. You told me not to move...and I haven't. For over an hour."

"Half hour," I corrected him, slipping into a voyeuristic daze.

He frowned. "I think I'm going to need another drink," he said, rolling his shoulders.

Now I frowned. I was rather enjoying myself watching him work out his kinks, but now upon his request, I would have to leave.

"Oh, okay. I'll be right back." I took the two empty goblets from the top of the dresser and ambled into the kitchen for more Estivita.


After mixing Xanatos' drink, I took a towel and ran it under warm water, then wrung it out and draped it over my arm.

When I returned to the bedroom, I found Xanatos studying my preliminary work. He looked up at me and smiled.

"I'm impressed," he said quietly. "It's nice to know I'm suffering for something worthwhile."

"Why thank you," I replied modestly even though his praise made my heart sing. I handed him the Estivita I had made him and watched him finish it off in three long gulps. Then I took his glass, placed it back on the dresser, and stepped around behind him. "Here, this might ease some of your suffering," I told him as I gathered his hair in my hands and draped it over his shoulder. Then I reached up and pressed the warm towel to the back of his neck.

Damn, he was tall. Standing behind him, I only came up to the middle of his back, but I could feel his body slump under my hands and he took a long drawn out breath.

"Oh yes....That good," he murmured.

Encouraged, I moved the towel over his back and down to his thighs. "It should help increase circulation. I do this for all my models," I added. Well, it was only half a lie. I did actually bring them warm towels. Slowly I climbed to my feet and tossed the towel aside.

Xanatos' back glistened from the moisture under the lights beside the bed. I was standing so close to him I could see tiny variations in his skin, insignificant scars and slight shifts in his pigmentation but for the most part, his skin was flawless, his muscles smooth and hard.

I heard myself sigh as another surge of desire swept over me. I longed to lean against him and encircle his slender waist with my arms. Run my hands over the rippling planes of his abdomen and lay my head between his shoulder blades.

It was then I became acutely aware of the fact he was watching me over his shoulder.

"I said you could touch me all you wanted," he whispered in a thick, sultry voice. "So why don't you? I know you want to." He was eerily perceptive at times.

My insides turned to liquid heat and for one fleeting moment, I almost took him up on his enticing offer, but propriety suddenly overruled my desire and I found myself scuttling back to my chair, red-faced and raw-nerved. I sank into it and picked up my pad.

"Are you ready to continue?" I asked, sounding harsher than I had intended.

With a distinctly sour expression, Xanatos locked his eyes on mine and put his hands on his hips.

"It's getting a little cold in here, Perdina. Would you mind turning up the heat?"

Sighing heavily, I frowned and put my pad down again. I knew what he was implying, but got up and adjusted the heat setting anyway.

By the time I had returned, he had already resumed his pose on the bed. I made a few minor adjustments, touching him as little as possible, then went and sat in my chair to continue drawing.

Xanatos didn't say another word. He merely closed his eyes and settled himself in for the duration of this particular session, seemingly resigned to his cruel fate.


Three hours passed. I finished his legs and the majority of his upper torso and was ready to start on his face. I needed his eyes open.


He didn't reply.

"Xanatos?" I leaned back in my chair and studied his posture. He appeared considerably more sedate than he had been previously. I put my pad aside and walked over to the bed. "Xan--?"

He had fallen asleep.

I smiled sympathetically, remembering he had mentioned suffering from a bout of hyperspace-induced insomnia a couple of days ago. He must still be feeling some effects of it if he could actually fall asleep in this position.

I knelt beside the bed and began softly stroking his hair. "Wake up," I whispered. "I need you."

Slowly, his eyes fluttered open and he smiled drowsily. "Mmm, am I dreaming or did you just say you needed me?"

"You were probably dreaming. You fell asleep," I told him, not missing a beat, and quickly stood up.

Xanatos stretched and lowered his legs.

"Ooo, ow, shit!" he swore, reaching down to rub his bloodless thighs. "They're so numb, they're prickly. Gods, how long have I been sleeping?"

I shrugged and sat down on the bed beside him. "A couple of hours at least."

He groaned. "I can't even feel my feet."

Knowing I was indirectly responsible for his distinct discomfort, I tentatively began massaging his right foot, working my thumbs over his arch and down his heel.

He closed his eyes and grinned ear to ear, then sank slowly back down on the bed. "Oh....yeah."

I couldn't help but laugh. "I'm sorry. I really didn't realize you were asleep. I think I was too engrossed with drawing."

I moved my hand to his other foot and kneaded the bones threading the top, then ran my knuckles along the side and squeezed his heel. I glanced down and licked my lips somewhat apprehensively. Good gods, he even had sexy feet. I stopped massaging him and stood up.

"Noooo," he moaned. "Please. Don't stop."

I shook my head. "Maybe you should get up and walk around for awhile," I suggested. "Are you hungry?"

Xanatos slid off the bed and stretched languidly. "What do you think? Lying around nude under the unwavering gaze of a beautiful artist can really work up a man's appetite," he purred. "I could use a little something to eat as well...."

I felt my face flush for the one-hundredth time tonight. But Xanatos pretended not to notice how effortlessly he unhinged me. He stalked over to the dresser and picked up his empty goblet.

"Perdina, would you be a dear and make me another one of these while I use the fresher?" He handed me the goblet and started sauntering towards the hall.

Even though I had been staring at him all night as he lay naked and sleeping in my bed, seeing that body in motion was a whole 'nother experience entirely and brought on a new surge of lascivious cravings for me. I loudly cleared my throat to get his attention. He paused and turned around to face me.

"Uh, did you bring a robe with you?" Hopefully something tattered and bulky and generally unflattering.

He shook his head and knit his brow in confusion. "No. Do I need one? I'm not cold. As a matter of fact, it's sweltering in here."

I rolled my eyes and sighed. What a prima donna he was. "It's not that. It's just that I don't want you to have to walk around...nude when I'm fully dressed. I don't want you to be uncomfortable."

Xanatos looked at me for a long while, then walked back into the bedroom and snatched his pants off the floor. "Well, you could always get naked with me. Then there would be no reason for me to feel uncomfortable." Without waiting for a reply from me, he turned on his heel and stalked off.

I raised my brow, intrigued by his continual provocative gibes. It suddenly occured to me that what I had been dismissing as teasing all night maybe wasn't teasing at all.


Knowing I was getting under his skin as much as he was getting under mine gave me a newfound sense of empowerment.

I sat at the dining room table nibbling slices of tanglo fruit, mesmerized by the slow rhythmic sway of Xanatos' hips as he paced a short distance from me.

His feet were bare and his shirt was open, but for the most part, he was fully clothed. Entirely in black too. The sharp contrasting color of his clothes against his skin mesmerized the artist in me. It gave him an ethereal appearance. I wondered if I should make the sheets black in the picture.

I cleared my throat and Xanatos came to an abrupt halt in front of me.

"Uh, how's the legs?"

He shrugged and reached down to pick up one of the tanglo slices. "I'm fine," he said and popped the fruit into his mouth. Then he licked his fingers. "You're almost finished with the drawing, aren't you?" he asked unexpectedly.

I wondered if he was getting impatient with the process. Reluctantly I nodded. "Yeah, I'm almost done. Maybe another hour or so. I'm basically just adding details now."

"Mmm, good," he told me and picked up another tanglo slice. This one was unpeeled, but he apparently just wanted to suck on it.

Suddenly I found myself wishing I were a slice of tanglo as I watched his mouth caress the succulent fruit, his jaw gently grinding and scraping the rind, his tongue lapping delicately at the juices from the pulp which burst against his oh so perfect teeth. I finally had to look away, not wanting to lose my empowered edge.

I sighed heavily. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate you doing this for me. The picture is coming along nicely. You've been very cooperative, so I've been able to get a lot done. We're actually way ahead of schedule." I looked up at him. Thankfully he had finished the tanglo. "I won't need you much longer."

Xanatos raised an eyebrow. "Not at all?"

I shook my head. "No. You'll be completely free to go." I pushed back my chair and stood up. "Come on. We might as well get back at it. I'm sure you're anxious to be on your way."

Xanatos didn't reply. He followed me back into the bedroom and pulled off his shirt.

Since I was going to work on his face, I really didn't need him naked anymore, but I wasn't about to tell him that. My time with him was growing short and by damn I was going to get my money's worth. I actually stood right beside him and watched him peel off his pants. It didn't phase him in the least. He merely glanced over at me with an amused look on his face.

When he was completely nude again, I pointed at the bed like a dominatrix. He obediently flopped down on it, but was clearly reluctant to resume the same position he had held for nearly four hours.

He looked up at me pleadingly. I sighed.

"All right. You can just lay there, you don't have to pose." I walked over to my chair and picked up my pad. "I'm going to be working on your face now. I need your eyes open and your mouth closed."

He nodded and lay his head back on the mattress and fixed his gaze on me. Having moved around a little and eaten, he now looked perfectly relaxed and even a little sleepy again.

I frowned. This was not exactly the expression I had in mind. His expression would be the singularly most important part of the whole piece. I had to get it right.

"Xanatos, I need you to look predacious. Aroused and seductive. Think lustful thoughts."

He laughed. "I have been. Why do you think I'm smiling?"

I suddenly remembered the way he had looked when I grabbed his crotch earlier. That was very similar to the expression I wanted now. I chewed my lower lip thoughtfully and put my pad down on the end table. I was just going to have to touch him again. Slowly, I rose out of my chair and walked over to him.

He watched me, his eyes never leaving mine as I knelt down next to him.

I placed my hand on his chest first and flattened my palm against his breastbone. I could feel his heart beating gently under my hand and smiled. Then I slowly dragged my nails through the soft black hair furring his chest, down over his stomach and held it there. His pulse had already quickened.

As my hand languidly stroked his abdomen, I could feel his breath catch and his skin quiver slightly. He was very sensitive and reacted to every minute caress.

"Why are you...doing this to me?" he said, sounding fairly tortured. He sighed and shifted his position slightly.

"Ssshhh," I whispered, peering down at his delectable supine form. "Mouth closed. Remember?" Little did he know, the torture was just beginning.

I took my index finger and traced the thin line of hair he had from his navel to his groin. I slid my hands up and down his sinewy thighs and wondered what he did to keep himself in such great shape. These gorgeous hips must get quite the workout. He gasped again as my fingers delved through his pubic hair.

Now I sighed. His skin was so warm and silky. I started rubbing him everywhere, gently at first, then with increasing pressure. He was already so hard, he was making me salivate. I wrapped my hand around the velvety tip of his cock and let it slide caressingly down the length of him.

Xanatos' body clenched and he emitted a soft moan that faded into a single expelled breath. I turned and looked into his eyes and fought back a smile. Now that was the expression I was looking for.

Finally, I stopped stroking him and moved to stand up, but before I could get away, Xanatos reached up and grasped my head in his hands. He pulled my face down and guided my mouth to his for an incredibly devouring kiss.

Now it was my turn to gasp and whimper. Oh gods! He had the fullest, softest lips and his delicious mouth was hot and sweet-tasting from all the Estivita he had drank and the tanglos he had eaten.

I found myself pivoting around the foot of the bed, my lips still plastered to his, desperately wanting to kiss him right side up. He encircled my waist with one muscular arm and pulled me down on top of him.

"I want you Perdina," he suddenly growled into my ear. Then he started pulling at my clothes. "I've been kept naked, stared at, touched, and teased all night by you. I want you...NOW."

That's when the whip of realization snapped in my brain and I came crawling back to my self-imposed artistic celibacy.

"No! Wait! Please!" I begged, forcing myself to sit up.

Xanatos paused, breathing hard. "What's wrong?"

"We just can't fool around right now," I told him, hastily scrambling off the bed. I took several deep gulps of air.

Xanatos rolled over and sat up. "Why not?" he panted and licked his lips.

I shook my head. How could possibly explain this to him? "Look," I began shakily. "I only get to use you for one night. I only have one night to complete this artwork. I'm almost done! I'm so close to being done, I can taste it! I can't stop now! I just can't."

For a moment, Xanatos looked at me like I was out of my mind, but then he took a deep breath and swallowed down any further protests. He dragged his hand through his tousled hair in frustration and threw himself back down on the bed with a low growl.

His expression was still a little off. He looked more pissed and rapacious now, than aroused and seductive, but I could work with it.

I sighed with relief. "Oh, Xanatos! You're an absolute jewel!" I exclaimed, hurrying back to my chair. I grabbed my pad and immediately started drawing. "I love you for being so understanding!"

"Yeah, well, I just want you to 'love' me when you've finished that damnable piece," Xanatos whispered huskily. His large elegant hand slithered down between his legs and he stroked his already quite impressive erection sensuously until he was sweating and writhing with passion on my bed. His expression soon changed back to one of carnal desire; his dark eyes were like the inner blue core of a very hot flame.

I drew on excitedly, thoroughly inspired. "Oh yes! Perfect! Just like that!"

"And I'm going to 'love' you back," he continued, locking those fiery eyes on mine. "I'm going to love you so hard and long, you'll be throbbing and sweating and screaming my name with every climatic breath you take."

At that, my mouth went slack. I stopped drawing and leaned back in my chair.

Was I insane or something? The only reason this art meant as much to me as it did was because of him. That undeniably sizzling male specimen masturbating on my bed. Once I believed drawing him was the only way I would ever possess him.

But now he was offering me another way to possess him. Another way I could adore him. With his way, I could caress him with more than just my eyes. I could influence his body with more than just light and shadows. His way was actually what I had always dreamed of. Why then did I insist on settling for second best? Gods, I was insane!

Suddenly I shot out of my chair and threw my pad aside. I jumped on the bed and into his welcoming arms.

He covered my face with kisses, then eagerly helped me out of my clothes.

"I was really starting to wonder about you," he told me breathlessly. "I've never known anyone with such incredible self-control before. Well, yeah, I have, but we won't get into that now." He gnawed my neck and kneaded my breasts with his warm hands. "I couldn't understand how you could look at me the way you did and touch me as intimately as you did and still go back to drawing when I was nearly at my wit's end with desire for you. I've never had to work so hard to seduce anybody in my whole entire life."

"It's not that I didn't want you too," I told him, running my fingers through his glorious hair. "I was afraid I had insulted you earlier when I asked you to stop. I wouldn't have blamed you if you said to hell with this and walked out on me."

He paused and kissed me lingeringly, then rolled me over until I was lying beneath him. "Actually, I knew beyond a doubt you wanted me. I could feel it. But I could also feel another passion inside you that was almost as strong. Your passion for your art. I knew how important it was to you. I wasn't about to deny you that."

I smiled as my hands roamed his perfect form; reveling in the sensation and the fact that I could finally touch him the way I had been longing to all night long.

"At first I didn't allow myself to believe you could actually be so attracted to someone like me. I thought all that teasing was just a way for you to release some of your tension."

"Teasing?" Xanatos exclaimed and pulled back slightly to look into my eyes. "Perdina, I've been smitten with you since the moment I saw you. Don't you remember me offering to screw you on my desk?"

My eyes widened. I did. "I...didn't think you were serious."

Nodding his head as he rose up on his knees, Xanatos lifted my left leg and draped it over his shoulder. He nibbled on my ankle and stroked my inner thigh.

"Yes, my lovely artiste. That was a genuine offer," he murmured thickly, then impaled me with one powerful thrust of his hips, nearly sending me sliding over the edge of the bed. He caught me just in time and drove himself into me even deeper.

I gasped and squirmed against him as he began sensuously moving inside me, my mind already clouding with ecstasy.

"Oh...but isn't it amazing...what 40,000 can get a girl these days?" I moaned.

He smiled and leaned down and kissed me once more.


As it was, I never did finish the drawing of Xanatos. I had enough of it done to display it, which of course I did, in my bedroom over my bed, but not in the capitol's art gallery.

The picture I did end up using for that was one of a tanglo fruit rind laying discarded on a table top. It's pulp sucked dry. Oh, and there's an impression of teethmarks in the rind. Perfectly straight white teeth to be exact.

I still see Xanatos from time to time. He usually calls me for brief late night trysts in his office over his desk.

He's even gone out with Mardella a few times. Needless to say, she has totally changed her political environmental opinions.

With Xanatos I just take what I can get, which is more than I ever thought I would have.