“Nubiana: A Love Story” by Rg2
. . . Monessa decided to visit the ladies room to freshen up before sitting again. She followed the lettered signs to the main lobby, marveling at its floor plan. The towering banana trees that sprung up from the first floor gave the hotel a safari milieu. She paused by a glass handrail encircling the middle of the floor and admired the scenic layout. Along the lacquered stone-carved walls hung hand paintings worthy of study. She walked over to get a closer look, awed by the collection, one in particular.
“An Avery Coutrezant replica, one of his most celebrated works.”
The unexpected voice took her attention away from the painting. She turned and met the same pair of alluring eyes that made their introduction from across the room earlier.
“He originated that piece in the late 1700s while in bondage on a southern plantation. His fingers were severed when it was learned that he’d done it. Exceptional, isn’t it?”
Monessa gazed back at the artwork. Somewhere between the majestic masterpiece and the words that had just been spoken, she was momentarily voiceless.
“It’s breathtaking,” she finally released.
“Only two types of viewers are attracted to a work of art like that.”
“And who would that be,” she questioned, her eyes still fixed on the painting.
“A beautiful person or a beautiful mind. Maybe, just maybe, both.”
She looked back at him once again, the shared visual language suddenly heightened, sensing a subjective motive beneath the surface of the comment. She liked it.
“Thank you. That’s nice of you to say.”
“What did he have that I didn’t?”
She gave him an empty look.
“Beg your pardon?”
“You turned me down and then you danced with someone else.”
She focused on the painting once again, having placed his question on hold, letting go of a slight smile realizing what he was referring to.
“Better timing, I guess,” she finally remarked, allowing eye contact again.
“Timing. I see,” he shot back, mildly. “How’s my timing now?”
She turned toward the man and looked more deliberately at him, a from-the-shoulders-up examination that led again to his eyes. The dim lights in the other room had actually concealed his physical assets. He was even more attractive than she’d gathered.
“I’m afraid it’s off again,” she said with a hint of bravado. “If you’ll excuse me there’s something I forgot to do.” She began walking away until his next statement arrested her movement.
“You look fine . . . you don’t need a mirror to tell you that.” If he weren’t standing there, just beyond a handshake’s distance, she wouldn’t have believed he’d said it. “I figure I’d save you the walk to the ladies room. Nothing needs to be done, trust me.”
She knew when she was being flirted with, but there was something terribly different about this man’s come-on, it intrigued her. Still, she played him off.
“Thank you, but wrong assumption, I was going back to the party,” she fibbed.
“Care for an escort?”
His assertiveness merited consideration, almost.
“That really won’t be necessary. I think I can find my way.” She began walking away as he stood watching her every step.
“I didn’t get your name?”
Once again she faced him, the widened zone of emptiness between them marked only by the hanging artwork. He stood in the same spot with his hands planted comfortably in his pockets.
He shortened the space between them with a subtle step toward her.
“Monessa. Is there more?”
“Monessa Endicott,” she gave him. The space between them lessened further, gravity had artfully changed direction. “And you are?”
“Kolin.” He extended his hand and she placed hers in his palm, traces of his cologne adrift in their shared air.
“Kolin,” she repeated. “Is there more?” Seizing on the perfect opening for a little verbal fun, her wit, belying her usual seriousness, became a bread breaker.
“Kolin Pearson,” he gave back to her, with a measured smile. “The pleasure’s all mine, Monessa. I have to say, I’ve never seen a woman wear red the way you do.” He let go of her hand. “And thanks for turning me down tonight. Maybe my timing will be better on the next one.” Her eyes trailed him to the escalator as his tall frame descended and disappeared into the night. She wasn’t quite sure what had just happened, but the man certainly made an impression . . . .
Romance . . . is alive. Are you? -Rg2
“Nubiana: A Love Story” © Roy Greer/Romance by Rg2®