Cancer: hidden portrait

Her painting of me is... well, technically it's amazing, but it's of me. And she made sure to make me look good.

"It's... it's very good," I smile. "You made me look good again."

"I only paint what I see," she shrugs and returns the smile.

"You're half blind, then, if this is what you see," I laugh and put a hand on her shoulder. "But... I see none of my tattoos in this painting." I wink and gesture to where the painting cuts off at my neck.

"Inspiration," she says awkwardly. I grin and move back to the chair.

"Sure, sure." I say, waving a hand dismissively. I knew it. She just wants to gawk. I can't help but feel my ego inflate just a little.

"Hmm, one more picture." She mumbled, picking up an A3 sized canvas. "Unless you still want to sleep."

"Nahh, I'm quite happy being gawped at," I chuckle and sit back to let her get on with painting.

"I wasn't gawping!" she protests, blushing, but she starts painting. I smile and cross my legs on the chair, falling silent so I don't distract her. Times like this, I wish I could slip into that blank state I like. But my mind is whirring. I mean, it was kinda obvious that she wanted to see me naked, and when she reached out her hand to touch me, I can't help but wonder if that was simply to trace my tattoos as she said, or an excuse to just touch me without pissing me off.

Bored, I start to move things around, books, the paintings, pens and stuff like that. I pick up each painting on the walls and bring it closer, studying each one. They're all good, but really I wouldn't know what to say about them. I'm a musician, not an artist, or an art critic. I have a flick through one of her books, but I'm not much of a book fan either. I didn't spend enough time in school to gain any kind of appreciation for literature. So I put that back, too. I make her stationary spin around in the air by her head, smiling. Such stupid things amuse me. Simple pleasures, eh?

"Hey! You better put them back later." She says, batting away a pen that gets too close. I'm too busy making the pens to acrobatics to really concentrate on her words. I nod and go "uh-huh" as they do synchronized back flips in the air between us. "That is really off-putting." She sighs, looking up. I smile and make them dance back to where they belong. Her eyes flicker behind me to the wardrobe and then back to the canvas. I twist and look at the wardrobe.

"What's in there that you don't want me to be moving around?" I ask curiously.

"A painting," she says. Well, that wasn't what I was expecting to hear. I was expecting something really embarrassing, like... I dunno, whatever it is that girls don't like guys seeing. It is her bedroom after all.

"A painting," I repeat. I've looked at all the paintings in here, but clearly not this one. The fact it's hidden only kindles my curiosity further. "What of?"

"My mother," she replies. I wasn't expecting her to be so honest. It kinda puts me off, really. And I figure that if it's of her mom, and it's hidden, it's hidden for a reason. I drop the subject.

"You nearly done?" I ask, facing her again.

"Yeah. I'll do the background tomorrow." She says, stepping back from the easel.

"Cool. Can I look?" I get up. I'm really fidgety, for some reason. I feel the urge to be doing something. I've recovered from being tasered. Which reminds me. I need a shower.

"Yeah, sure." She smiles at me and I move around to look. It's like that sketch she showed me in the cell. It's a full body picture, with the single black wing around me. She's painted my skin pale, which makes my tattoos stand out, black and bold against my skin. In the flesh, I'm pretty tanned, having spent a lot of time at the beach with Rayn when we were supposed to be in school. I nod and smile, but I can't help wonder why she wants to paint me so much.

"It's really good," I say, the slight embarrassment I feel about her apparent love of painting me evident in my voice.

"That shall be the last one. The collection, complete!" she beams at me and I can't help but narrow my eyes, suspiciously.

"Collection? You're not going to sell these, are you?"  My tone turns incredulous.

"These, no. But I would love to put them up as the main pieces in my gallery!" I cough and find myself lighting up in an attempt to stop myself putting a fist through the canvas. They can't go up in a gallery!

"Right." I mutter. "I'm going to... I'm going to have a shower. Is there a towel I can use?"

"Yeah, they should be in the cupboard at the top of the stairs. Take any." She nods and gestures out of her doorway. I thank her and grab a towel from the cupboard, making my way to the bathroom. I wash the last of the blood from the police off, wondering why Gemme hadn't mentioned it before, and I know I need a shave, but I can't be bothered. Realising I didn't bring any clean clothes with me into the bathroom, I wrap the towel around my waist and leave the room, naked save for the towel.

Quickly, I move down the stairs into the living room to look for my bag.

The End

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