The Loft


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the story! Also, a big thank you to MarieWriter for her excellent work in editing for me.


Between my junior and senior years at university, I spent the summer tending my next door neighbor’s stall at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Mr. Williams had been newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was told to work less, and I wanted to earn money to move out of my parent’s house by autumn. It was a win-win situation. Plus, the market is a really colorful, incredibly interesting place to people watch, and as an aspiring writer, that was one of my favorite pastimes.

Mr. Williams went with me the first few days I was on the job to introduce me to all of the other sellers and ensure I could handle the traffic. The market gets crowded with tourists and locals alike during the summer months, and the little wooden trinket and jewelry boxes he made out of local cedar were popular. But all the vendors were really friendly and there was a great sense of camaraderie, so I wasn’t worried about whether I could manage.

The stall across the aisle belonged to a watercolor artist named James who sold spectacular prints of Seattle and the San Juan islands. His work was really popular, too, and foot traffic had a tendency to bottleneck around our tables.

James only tended his wares Monday through Wednesday, and the other days, he paid a guy named Wesley to sell his work. Wesley had longish blond hair and looked like a prettier version of Kurt Cobain, except without all of the angst and suicide. It was the late 90’s, so hiring Wesley was an especially astute move on James’ part.

I got a fair amount of attention from visitors because of my looks, too. My mom is Japanese and my dad is of Irish descent, so I ended up with those nonspecific ‘Eurasian’ features that make people look twice. But it was from Wesley that I learned how to charm and flirt with potential customers, both men and women, who dared to make eye contact with me.

When it wasn’t too busy, he and I even made a game of it, choosing random people out of the crowd for the other to attempt to close a sale with. It wasn’t mean spirited, we were just having fun and trying to keep ourselves entertained. What I didn’t realize when I took the job was even a steady stream of fresh-cut flowers and live music and foreign accents could get a little tedious after a while.

A month and a half in, on a Tuesday evening, James came over when he was done packing up his boxes of prints and asked if I’d be interested in sitting for him.
“Like, posing for you? While you paint?” I asked.

“It would just be for preliminary sketches, but yes.”

“I didn’t know you painted people.” I’d only seen the landscapes he’d created to sell at the market.

He ducked his head a bit and smiled. “I haven’t for a long time. I got lazy, actually. It’s easier to paint some pictures of the city and make money off selling the prints to tourists. But I’ve had this idea that was inspired by you, Kate, and I feel like if I don’t try to paint it, I might go crazy. Maura said I should just ask you to sit for me and get it over with.”

Maura was his wife, a lovely woman who worked swing shift up at the hospital on the hill. She often hung out with James and his paintings in the morning before work.

“Would I be naked?”

He actually blushed a bit. “In my vision you are, but not in a tasteless way. I don’t do pornography. What I have in mind is a bit…” he paused a minute to choose his words, “sensual and provocative, but not explicit in any way. And if you weren’t comfortable with it, you could just say stop and it would be over. I can always find a girl from over at the Art Institute. They have a pool of models to choose from.”

I’d never been naked in front of someone who just wanted to look at me, and the thought of being examined and captured on paper made me suddenly shy. In spite of that, a weird flurry of jealousy erupted that some random girl might pose for paintings inspired by me.

“Can I think about it?”

“Of course!” He seemed excited that I was even considering it. “I’d like to start as soon as possible, but I understand it’s a strange request. I hope you’re not put off by my asking.”

“Nah,” I said. “I know your wife, I know you’re actually a painter, and it’s not like you’re a dirty old man or anything.”

James smiled a little. “I wouldn’t say that. All males have a dirty old man in them, even teenage boys. But I promise I won’t touch you. You’ll be completely safe.”

It was a strange sort of reassurance, and I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or nod solemnly.

His request was all I could think about that night. I called my friend Tina to talk about it and she said I should, “Totally do it.”

She thought it was hot to get naked in front of an older man, and most of her questions were about James and what he looked like. She didn’t believe me when I said he was completely average, with short salt and pepper sex hikaye hair and a preference for band tee-shirts and well-worn jeans. Typical Seattleite.

And Tina didn’t particularly care about the art aspect, but she was ready to jump a plane from San Diego to offer herself up in my place.

“Is he going to pay you?” she asked.

“Don’t know. He didn’t mention it. Should I ask for pay? That might make it feel more legitimate.”

She sighed over the line. “He’s a known artist, Kate. It’s already legitimate.”

I couldn’t really argue with her rational, and by the time I went to bed that night, I’d decided to do it.


James was ecstatic. So excited he asked if I’d go to his and Maura’s loft that evening after closing up shop to get started. “It’ll only be about an hour, probably,” he said. “And I completely forgot to tell you I’ll give you $50 an hour for your time.”

I didn’t know if that was a little or a lot in the world of art models, but it was way more than the fifteen bucks an hour I was making hawking wooden boxes. I thanked him and got on with my day, all the while with this nervous anticipation of engaging in something completely new and a little bit naughty. I didn’t know what James’ idea of sensual or provocative was, and my imagination distracted me with all the possibilities.

After everything was packed up for the day, we stopped for a quick meal of pelmeni from the Russian food stand, then walked to his and Maura’s loft, which was two blocks up on the top floor over some shops. Maura once told me they replaced their suburban home with the loft downtown to keep them young after their boys went away to university. They both struck me as fairly young, anyway. I wouldn’t have guessed they had grown children.

The loft had high ceilings and exposed brick walls that were lit by a wall of windows facing out onto Second Avenue. To the right was a small galley style kitchen with stools pushed up to an island countertop that worked as their dining area. Beyond was a living room section with worn brown leather couch, rocking chair, and small TV, and a curtain enclosed nook that housed their bed.

Tucked off to the left of the loft near the windows was James’ painting area. A large workbench was pushed against the brick with shelves bolted into the wall above it. A colorful array of jars and paintbrushes and tin boxes took up most of the shelf space.

The thing in the loft that particularly caught my eye was a large painting of a nude lounging on a pile of pillows that could only have been Maura. It was absolutely beautiful, with muted colors and a feeling of ethereal light floating around her.

Any remaining hesitation I had went straight out the window.

“That painting is amazing,” I said, gesturing to it.

James gazed at it with unbridled love. “Successful painting has everything to do with inspiration. This one’s nearly twenty five years old,” he said. “Maura’s the first and only model I ever touched. We got married not long after I finished it.”

He seemed lost in thought, so I checked out the rest of the art on the walls, mostly souvenirs from their travels.

Finally, he turned away from the painting and led me to his artist’s corner. With a dramatic flourish, he whipped a patchwork quilt off of a blue velvet chaise longue that rested parallel to the window.

“Sunlight is hell on velvet,” he said by way of explanation.

I didn’t know much about furniture, but it looked antique, or maybe it was a reproduction. I made a mental note to research historic furniture styles at some point in the future. It had a curved backrest on the left end and a low back that tapered out halfway down its length.

“The bathroom is through there,” he said, pointing to the blue door by his workbench. Its color matched the chaise. He grabbed a knit throw off the couch and tossed it to me. “You can cover up with this while I get everything together. It won’t take but a minute.”

“Okay.” I tried to sound cheery, but my nerves were getting to me again because this was almost the moment of truth. I was about to expose myself to a man I mostly knew by reputation, who had already admitted he was part dirty old man by merit of gender, if not actual experience.

Just go with it. I reminded myself I could leave any time I wanted and never come back. At the very least, it would be something to write about in the future.

The bathroom was tiny and the only place to leave my clothes was folded on top of the hamper. I wrapped up in the grey throw and mumbled a parsed Hail Mary. I’d long forgotten the words.

When I opened the bathroom door, James was at his workbench and said, “I think I’ll have you start on the chaise.” He gestured with a pencil and pulled a stool around between the chaise and the window. He held up a short red scarf. “This is part of what I imagined, but I want to make sure you’re comfortable before you put it on.”

“What is it?”

“A blindfold.”

He saw the alarm in my eyes and said, porno hikayeleri “It’s not necessary, just part of the provocative aspect of the scene. It gives the sense that you’ve given up part of your control, or someone’s taken it from you, even though in actuality, you have complete control.”

“Uhhh…” I wasn’t sure what to say about that. “Can we just start without it?”

“Of course. Whatever you want. Come around here and lie belly down with your feet at the headrest. We’re putting you upside down and backwards. Knees bent, upper body propped up on elbows, chin resting on hands. Got it?”

I was still flustered about the red blindfold, but I awkwardly took my position on the chaise, throwing the blanket off at the last minute. It got stuck under my thighs and I felt incredibly unsexy as I wrenched it out.

James just chuckled. “Relax, Kate. You’re fine. You’re a beautiful girl and you’ve nothing to be ashamed of.”

I looked down at my breasts, which were pressed into the velvet of the chaise, thank goodness. Really, my bare ass was the only thing I wouldn’t have had on display if I were laying on the beach instead of the chaise, so I didn’t feel terribly exposed.

James went to work, his pencil flying over the art pad he was holding.

For twenty minutes, I held still and he sketched away, moving to different positions a couple of times for new perspectives.

I wished I couldn’t see the clock on the wall because time seemed to drag by. At around the twenty three minute mark I started thinking maybe the art modeling business wasn’t so glamorous or naughty after all.

Finally, James said, “Alright. Let’s reverse and you can lay back on the pillow.”

I almost fell off the chaise because my back was so stiff. On the bright side, I was too worried about not falling to be concerned about my nudity. I lay back on the high end of the chaise against the blue velvet pillow.

James didn’t give me a chance to be modest. “Left arm resting over your head, left knee up against the back of the chaise, right leg straight, right hand resting on your low belly.”

True to his word, he didn’t touch, but he was very particular about where I was positioned, right down to my fingers. It took a few minutes of repositioning until he was satisfied. After five minutes, he said, “This isn’t working. Right leg down over the edge of the chaise, please.”

Right leg over the chaise meant I was opening my crotch up to his view. Not wide open, but enough.

James raised an eyebrow. “Are you ready for the blindfold yet?”

At that point, the blindfold was appealing because it meant I didn’t have to see him looking at me, which was clearly not a big deal to him. I guess he knew that.

“Give me the scarf,” I said.

He grinned and tossed it to me. “Just tie it at the back. Not too tight or it’ll start to annoy you.” I didn’t ask how he knew that.

I tied the thing over my hair at the back of my head and resumed my previous position, lowering my right leg off the edge of the narrow couch last.

A strange thing happened with my vision taken away. I became aware of everything else happening around me, times one hundred.

The scratch-scratch of pencil lead on paper.

The muffled sound of traffic outside.

A weird, rhythmic wheezy sound. “Do you have a pet?”

“Yes. That’s Crowley you hear breathing. He’s Persian.”

I was aware of the warm knap of the velvet under me and the cool air of the loft drifting softly over the rest of me, exciting invisible hairs. I heard my heartbeat in my ears and felt my blood moving all the way down to my toes.

“How do you feel?” James asked, and for a split second I wondered if he could read my mind.

“Fine. Good.”

He chuckled. “Come on, Kate. I thought you said you were an aspiring writer. Use your words.”

What did I feel? When I considered all of the extraordinary sensory awareness, it was like someone had switched me on. Had turned me up to 11. “I feel like a 21 year old newborn, if that makes any sense. Open. Alive.”

“It makes perfect sense,” he said, and then nothing more for the rest of the hour.

When he was finished, he said, “Why don’t you go get dressed, then I’ll show you what I’ve got so far.”

I did as I was told and when I returned to the front room, James had his sketches spread out on his workbench.

I was immediately confused. The woman in the pictures had silky dark hair, long legs and big boobs. She had a small waist and seductively curved hips.

She had a great ass.

“That’s not me,” I said.

He laughed. “Sure it is.”

“No, really. I don’t look like that.”

James cocked his head to the side. “When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror while naked?”

I felt myself blushing. I didn’t actively avoid it, but nothing good had ever come from examining myself in the nude. “Not recently.”

“You should give it a try. You might be surprised. Or you can just look at my drawings.” He studied them erotik hikaye for a moment. “I really am quite good, aren’t I?”

I rolled my eyes. “And so modest.” When I had my fill of looking at the woman who he claimed was me, I grabbed my backpack and headed for the door.

“Wait,” James said. “I’ve got money for you.”

I had forgotten all about the fifty bucks, and I didn’t feel right taking it. Wasn’t quite sure why. “No, you keep it.”

“How about I save it for you in case you change your mind,” he offered.


“Same time next week?”

“Sure. See you at the Market.”

It was getting dark by the time my bus came, and I nearly missed it because I was so lost in replaying every moment in the loft. My brain was still on overload, and my body felt primed for something that wasn’t going to happen. Somehow, I was disappointed.


The next week passed quickly, and before I knew it, Wednesday evening had arrived. James and I shared a ham and cheese baguette from Le Panier before heading over to the loft.

When I stepped through the door, his first finished painting from the week before was waiting propped against a stool just inside the door. He’d clearly planned a grand entrance.

It was the one with me splayed on the couch with my leg hanging over the edge and it was stunning. Somehow I appeared both innocent and erotic, and I understood then the value of the blindfold in creating his vision of provocation.

I couldn’t believe he’d made me look so beautiful.

After seeing the painting, it was easier to drop the blanket in front of James and easier to pose, too. I tied on the blindfold straight away and slipped into a sensual state of awareness. Hyperawareness, actually. My mind wandered as I listened to the scratching of lead on paper.

Toward the end of the hour, James asked, “What would you think about posing with someone else?”


“Wesley is looking for extra cash. You two would be attractive together, him the golden boy, you the dark haired beauty. Although, I have something less substantial in mind for him. As far as the painting goes.”

What did that mean, less substantial? It sounded as though he’d already planned it all out in his head.

Also, it felt as though he was changing ground rules that we hadn’t technically even established. There was only really one, after all, no touching.

Still, the idea of handsome, charming Wesley being there while I was feeling like I was in that moment was intriguing.

“Have you asked him yet?”

“No, I wanted to be sure you were alright with it.”

“I guess so,” I said, then wondered if I should have made him wait longer for an answer. Whether he would judge me for agreeing so quickly. “Nothing sexual, though.”

“I told you I don’t do pornographic, Kate. But it will be somewhat sexual, that’s the nature of the provocation in this case. Nothing you don’t want, though.”


It was for art, after all.


That night I had second thoughts about posing with Wesley.

Whatever he said to James’ proposal, things would be weird between us. How could they not be? Even if he didn’t agree, he would know I was posing nude for James. He would wonder what the paintings were like and maybe develop his own ideas about how provocative they were.

If he did agree, and he and I posed together, most likely touching in some way, certainly seeing each other naked, how would I be able to look at him across the Market aisle on Thursday morning and every morning after?

How would everyone else not know something unusual had happened between us?

James had apparently called and asked him right after I left, because first thing the next morning, Wesley strolled up with a crooked smile saying, “So, Kate. I hear you’ve made a foray into the art world.”

I wanted to dissolve into the concrete floor and never have to look at Wesley again. Instead my cheeks and everything down to my bellybutton, probably, reddened. I reminded myself I had nothing to be ashamed of. That there was a long list of girls at the Art Institute who did the same thing. “Yes. You should see the painting he finished. It’s amazing.”

“I’m sure it is,” he said. “Do you really not care if I pose with you?”

I shrugged and tried to appear nonchalant, a difficult task when it felt as though the blood had drained entirely out of my brain and into my face. “It’s nothing too crazy. Sexy in an artistic way. But not, you know, pornographic.” So much for sounding like a sophisticated university student.

“That’s what James said.” Wesley leaned in until his face was near my right ear. “I’m going to tell him yes.”

His breath ruffled the strands of hair that hung over my ear, tickling the shell. Caused goose bumps to rise on my already heated skin. Good God, it’s really going to happen.

Wesley was a guy I had offhandedly fantasized about seeing naked since I’d met him, and this was probably the only way it was ever going to happen. I’d personally witnessed super-hot chicks asking him out right in the market, with actual shoppers competing for his attention. It was a running joke with Tara, the lady who sold hats in the stall next to me.

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