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“Do you still see the Bulgarian?” The question tumbled out.
“Yes.” Her reply was instant, instinctive, intuitive. “His name is Krasimir.”
“Sorry.” He stuttered his response. “Didn’t mean to pry… just a silly question. None of my business. Sorry.”
“It’s OK.” She attempted to heal. “I have no problem with your question. Not like it seems…he’s an artist.”
They each speared a forkful: she of lobster thermidor, he of Cajun chicken. Both silent for the time required to receive, masticate and consume.
The next question rose to the fore. “Do you pose for him?”
“Yes.” The answer came easily… no cause to hold back. “It’s an ‘arty’ thing… totally innocent.”
They continued eating in silence.
He drank his brown ale… took the conversation in a lateral direction. “Sorry to hear your Mum’s been ill. Is she better now?”
“Much better.” The enthusiasm was apparent. “New tablets seem to be doing her good… slept well last night. The old girl will out-live us all. Thanks for asking. I appreciate your concern.”
“Great news. I like your Mum… lovely lady… one of life’s characters.”
An awkward pause settled on the conversation.
The next question was inevitable. “Does Krasimir paint you in the nude?”
She sipped her Chateau Le Touron Monbazillac… hesitated momentarily. “Yes. That’s what he does: paints models in the nude. He’s an artist… nothing more.”
“Sorry… I don’t mean to be nosey… it’s just that paintings intrigue me. I love Constable’s landscapes: the way he captures old-world, country scenes… how he depicts the English weather. I enjoy art exhibitions… always something fascinating on show.”
The waiter suddenly appeared. “Ok, Sir, Madam? Everything OK?”
“Fine, thank you.” They spoke as one.
“Excellent meal,” he said. “Our compliments to the chef.”
“Thank you, Sir.” The waiter politely retired.
They both sipped their respective drinks and continued to eat.
“It is nice in here,” she offered. “Food’s lovely… well seasoned… nice ambiance.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “I’ve only been here once before… about two years ago.”
“Did you get to see your son last weekend?” she asked, as the chat waned again.
“Yes, thanks. He’s doing OK. Big lad for his age… made the school team. He’s the goalie… so proud… never stops talking about it all. It was great to see him again.”
“That’s fantastic,” she enthused. “Perhaps I could meet him one day?”
“Yes, you must. I’ll sort something out. You’ll like him… he’s a smashing kid.”
The conversation lulled again as they continued with the meal.
“Can I ask one final question about you and Krasimir?” he requested.
“Yes, of course,” she rushed. “Ask away.”
He drank of his beverage. “It’s a personal question. Are you sure you don’t mind?”
No,” she affirmed. “I have no problem with any question.”
“Well…” he began.
“Yes?” she encouraged.
“When he’s painting you in the nude…”
“Are you also nude?”
Gizza kiss and I'll tell yer a silly story.