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Sue Carrington knocked on the door before turning the key and opening it. Peeking through the opening she yelled a “hallo”, before returning the key to the key-safe and locking it. Entering she called again, before pulling on her blue latex gloves. She slowly walked into the lounge and saw the huddled figure of Rowan Pilkington in his chair, she moved towards him, not sure whether he was breathing or not. Carefully she touched his neck, feeling for his pulse. Finding it strong and regular she realised he was just sleeping, although his chest barely moved.
He was dressed in an old but clean short sleeved shirt, trousers and socks, but no slippers or shoes. He was tall but rakishly thin and clean shaven. His hair was clean, short and parted to the left. Hard to believe the man was nearly seventy, he’d pass for mid to late fifties easily. His long eyelashes fluttered and he woke, starting slightly as he focused on Sue’s face.
“Sorry Mr. Pilkington, I didn’t mean to startle you, I’m Sue, and I’m here from the Agency to help you today.”
He nodded and sat straighter in the chair,
“That’s OK Sue; sorry I must have dropped off, silly old fool that I am.”
“No you’re fine, just tell me what needs doing and I’ll make a start.”
“Well I’ve got most things done, but I’m struggling with getting the vacuum cleaner upstairs, if you could do that I’d be obliged.”
“Do you want me to make a start and do some of it, I’m timed for a half hour with you?”
“No that’s perfectly OK,” he replied, “I prefer to do it myself, it gives me a bit of exercise, it’s just the dead weight of it that defeats me,” he said.
His voice was deep and rumbling, seeming to come from way down in his boots. Sue felt a primeval chill; it was a compelling and affecting tone. He had an easy smile and suddenly there was a wink and a sparkle in his eyes. Sue wondered why the others had asked not to be assigned to him. They said he was difficult, strange, creepy, eerie and just plain weird. Sue nodded and asked where he kept his cleaner. After finding it she moved it upstairs. On the upstairs landing were four doors, one of which was open and she could see it was the bathroom.
She heard him coming upstairs behind her; he appeared at the top, a little breathless, but a better colour than when she arrived. She smiled and stepped back from his path and he walked over to the machine and wheeled it towards a door. She followed, not really meaning to intrude, but intrigued what kind of decoration would it have?
“This is my studio, I like to paint. When I retired, my hobby became my life, used to drive my wife mad.” He grinned and opened the door.
Sue followed him in, by her standards it was a large bedroom, about nineteen feet by nineteen feet. The window was a single double glassed pane, about fourteen feet wide and about eight high, the window looked out to the south and today the sun streamed in. Along the walls paintings hung or were stacked against the walls. Some were propped up on the stacks. There were probably over a hundred canvases.
She saw with a slight alarm that a lot were nudes, women mostly. “Good God!” she started, there was her supervisor Ellie, wow that must have been painted over three or so years ago. Seven or eight larger pictures occupied one wall. They were again all nudes, charting a woman from her late twenties to her late sixties probably. Beautifully painted and showing the woman gracefully ageing.
“My dear wife, she died eight years ago, I miss her so much, but, she was in so much pain at the end, it was a blessed relief for her when she passed. No more pain, no more agony, dreading each day.”
“I’m so sorry Mr. Pilkington, gosh she was incredibly beautiful.”
“Wasn’t she just, a Lady in all respects. She kept me on the straight and narrow.” He laughed and bent to plug the vacuum in.
Sue watched him move it around the polished wooden floor, carefully avoiding contact with the canvases. Sue dodged as he swept round; grinning as he studiously avoided her and the stack of canvases she stood by. Soon he had finished and unplugging it he wheeled the machine onto the landing before coming back in.
“I would do more, painting that is, but I’m afraid I’m running out of models.”
“Oh really, do you arrange this with an art club or what.”
“Recently two of your colleagues were happy to oblige, although they both insisted on taking the finished articles with them. I don’t suppose…” He let the sentence drift away, whilst looking at her wistfully.
“Who? Me? I don’t think so; I’m not really the model type am I?” Sue looked down at herself. She was forty five, the mother of four boys and rake thin. Her job helped her burn off more calories than she could eat in a day, and she barely had time to eat anyway. She looked up and was aware of Pilkington appraising her. “Hang on, don’t you get all painterly with me Mr. Pilkington, I’m not prepared to take my clothes off in public, so it’s not going to happen.”
He laughed and murmured “pity”, under his breath. Looking up at her he ataşehir escort ran his hand over his chin. “You know I can pretty much guess what you look like under that absurd uniform anyway, so I could go ahead and do it from memory and guestimation, but I really would like you to do it for me because you want to. Why not think about it.”
“I have and I won’t, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back, Mr Pilkington, this is all very irregular.” Sue was about to leave, when she caught sight of Ellie’s portrait again. Yes she was nude, but it was the face that drew you in, she looked loved and respected and sure of her self.
“She was a very beautiful lady, I miss her sitting for me, and she had such ambition and hope. Where is she now, do you know?”
“She’s my supervisor; she works in the office at Kingston.” Sue replied.
“Then why don’t you speak to her and see what she says.” Rowan Pilkington replied grinning.
“Perhaps I will, Mr. Pilkington, Perhaps I will.” Sue replied, before clattering downstairs. “I have another client now, goodbye.”
“Oh not goodbye, surely au revoir, til we meet again,” he said laughing from the head of the stairs.
Flustered, Sue fled and the rest of her day was a blur. As she finished and phoned in to clear her last visit, she thought of Ellie. “Is Ellie there?” she asked Rose the secretary.
“Ellie’s off today Sue, can I leave a message?” Rose asked helpfully.
“No it’s okay; I’ll catch up with her in the morning.” Sue rang off and putting her mini into gear drove away towards home. She arrived at her empty house and made herself a cup of tea, sitting down she put her feet up. She’d kicked her shoes off at the door, wedging them under the radiator in the hall. Her coat had been hung on the hook in the hall with her others. Settling down she sipped at her tea. Suddenly remembering Rowan Pilkington she smiled. Just then the phone rang and Sue was surprised to hear Ellie’s voice in her ear.
“Hello pet thought I’d phone as I know Rowan was on your list. How did you find him?” She could hear the smile in Ellie’s voice.
“A bit, err, different, strange.”
“Umm, did he mention he paints?” Sue heard the inflection change,
“Yes. He showed me his studio, interesting hobby.” Sue waited.
“Dammit! Sue, you saw the portrait he did of me?”
“I did, it was… beautiful, you looked so alert and full of energy, I liked it.”
“Good, I liked posing for it; he was charming, a gentleman and a gentle man. Did he ask you..?”
“Yes he did, I said no and I’m asking you to remove me from his rota.”
“I don’t want to do that Sue; I think Rowan could be the thing you need to push yourself on.”
“Oh no! Not the ‘you need a man’ talk again?”
“Yes that, look you’ve been divorced four years now, you need to get over it and get on.”
“Yes I know, blah,blah, blah, etc. etc. etc. well what I really need to do …”
“…Is to get out and meet people, get drunk, get laid and get on with life.”
“You’re not my type.”
“Good, I wouldn’t hump you if the fate of the world depended on it.”
Ellie laughed and Sue couldn’t hold it in, she too laughed out loud.
“Seriously Sue, don’t stop going to Rowan’s, he’s very special. Consider his offer too, I did, it was an eye opener, not least because he paints nude too.”
“Yup, he paints completely starkers, like his model. He says why should he wear clothes and be intimidating, when he has no more or less than anyone else. Don’t tell him I said so, but he’s actually pretty well hung. Not like a donkey, obviously, but a young racehorse certainly.” Ellie giggled as she saw Rowan in her minds eye.
“Bloody hell, he doesn’t… you know when he’s painting, does he?”
“What get a hard on, well he did one time, but mostly not, he’s too busy painting to see the sexual side of it. He also is a great talker and he makes you feel totally relaxed. I know I came away feeling so much more laid back after a session with him.”
“Look, I want to say no, but because it’s you, I’ll stick with it for a few days and see how it goes.”
“OK fair enough, thanks Sue and don’t shut any doors in that respect.”
Ellie rang off and Sue finished her now cold tea with a grimace. She lay back and somehow drifted off until about eleven pm. waking she stretched and yawned and went upstairs to bed. She’d not had anything to eat but somehow she wasn’t hungry and just needed to rest properly. Next day she went to work and dealt with her calls diligently.
About two days intervened before she returned to Rowan Pilkington’s house. Inside she found him wrestling with the ironing, so she stopped him and completed it for him. Nothing was said about his offer and he thanked her profusely for rescuing him from a job he really hated.
After a few weeks Sue went to the house without fear or trepidation. Inside she would hear his cheery response to her call. He was often upstairs and in his studio. Sue would walk up the stairs and see kadıköy escort the door was open and he would be inside beavering away at his current project. She was now used to his open nudity. One day she arrived and went upstairs to his studio. Inside, completely nude and unconcerned, stood Rowan Pilkington and a young girl. She was sitting on a dais, nude, legs bent up and arms round her knees. Rowan was making sketch marks on the canvas. Turning to Sue he beamed,
“Hello, Sue, I’m just marking out the outline in sketch form, before committing to canvas. This is Jenny my niece, she’s been sitting for me for a few years now.”
“Hello Sue, Uncle Rowan has promised me this in time for my wedding, it’s for my Mum and Dad, to say thanks, and to remind them of what I look like.”
“Jenny and her Fiancée, Shaun are moving to Norway, because of Shaun’s job, so my brother and his wife, won’t see Jenny so often.”
Rowan stepped back and Sue could make out the sketch he would work from. Taking up a camera Rowan took a couple of shots and checked them in the display. Nodding he looked over at Jenny.
“OK poppet, that’s fine, can we do a review in a week, say and you can let me know if it’s what you want.”
Jenny stood and Sue saw a healthy twenty-something, with firm breasts and an enviable flat stomach, confidently walk towards her uncle. They embraced and she kissed him several times. He flushed and held her tight. Parting she waved to Sue and walked out of the studio.
Rowan had turned towards her and Sue could see that Ellie wasn’t lying. Her ex had been well equipped, as far as Sue knew, but Rowan had a long pendulous semi erect monster hanging between his legs, no rising between his legs. She grinned and felt a bit warm, no, definitely hot come to think of it. She giggled and blushed. Rowan winked and walked past her, placing a hand on her arm as he went. Sue’s blush deepened.
“What do you want me to do today?” she called after him.
“Could you bring my laundry up, I’ll put it away, it’s just a big load and I can’t carry it all at once. Otherwise I’ll need to make four or five trips.”
“OK on my way,” Sue went downstairs and found a laundry basket full of clothes, all neatly folded and shirts ironed and on hangers hanging in the doorway. She gathered it up and took it upstairs.
“Mr Pilkington, which room are you in?” she called from the landing. The door opposite the studio opened and he appeared in shirt and pants, but no trousers.
“Over here dear lady, just pop it on the bed and I’ll deal with it.”
“Well I’ll put the ironing away, otherwise it’ll crease again, here.”
Sue pushed gently past him and opened his wardrobe; she placed the shirts in and arranged them so there was a little space between each. Turning she saw him zipping his fly and smoothing his shirt.
“Mr. Pilkington, I spoke to Ellie again, she speaks very well of you. She sends her love.”
“Bless her, she’s a lovely lady, I remember her being all shy at first, but by the time we finished she was a bright bubbly little thing.”
He strode past Sue and went downstairs. Sue walked back to his studio and looked inside. The many faces looking at her seemed calm, serene, happy, she could almost hear the laughter and giggles, as Rowan Pilkington painted and joked with his subjects. She wandered downstairs to the kitchen. He was making tea, she walked over and found two cups, then remembering found a third. She went to the fridge and took the plastic two litre milk container out. Seeing him pour she tipped a little milk into each. Turning she replaced the container in the fridge.
“Oh tea, thanks Uncle Rowan, just what I need.”
Jenny grabbed a mug and kissed Rowan’s cheek. Sue took her tea and Rowan picked up the remaining mug. They stood in the kitchen.
“Why is it?” mused Rowan, “that all life gravitates to the kitchen?”
“It’s where the food is,” said Jenny with a grin, “Don’t suppose you’ve got any biscuits?”
“Top shelf that cabinet,” said Rowan and grinned.
Jenny found a packet of HobNobs and passed them round. Each silently dunked the biscuit into their tea and placed the soggy end into an open mouth.
There was a few minutes silence.
“mmm, I love a HobNob,” said Sue, finishing her biscuit and sipping her tea.
“Best biscuit ever,” exclaimed Jenny, reaching for another, and then offering the packet round.
Rowan inspected the packet and sighed, took one and nibbled at it. Sue accepted one and ate it slowly. Jenny again dunked and rammed the soggy end into her mouth quickly, as it drooped alarmingly at an angle. They laughed, Jenny dabbing with her fingers at the crumbs on the corner of her mouth. Sue finished her tea and popped the empty mug into the dishwasher. Looking at her watch, Sue made her excuses and moved to her next client.
On her next visit, Rowan was in his studio and working on Jenny’s portrait, he had painted a cream background and now was adding the outline to the figure. Sue watched fascinated as he expertly added a few bostancı escort bayan lines which defined the space the figure would occupy. Sue tapped on the door frame as she walked in. Rowan waved a hand and carried on. Sue stood so she could watch him at work. Sighing he stretched and stepped back.
“Hello Sue, as you can see I’m working on Jenny’s portrait, but I’m going to stop now and give it a rest for a bit. I need to visualise the finished portrait and be clear in my mind, how I’m going to proceed.” So saying her placed his brush in a jar and picked up the photo’s laying on a small table next to him. He looked and raised his eyes to the canvas, then looked again. He repeated this for four or five minutes, til with a nod he placed the photo’s down and turned to face Sue.
“Tea my lovely?” he enquired.
“I’ll go make it, are you going to come down?”
“Yes, a few minutes to ponder and I shall be with you.” He nodded and turned his gaze back to the canvas.
Downstairs Sue made tea and finding the biscuits placed a half dozen on a plate and took them with the tea on a large tray into the lounge. Rowan Pilkington walked in a smile on his face.
“Mr Pilkington, can I ask you a silly question please?”
“You may get a silly answer,” he giggled.
Sue laughed and sat on the sofa, legs together, the tea balanced on her lap. “You seem such an organised and self sufficient man, why do you pay for a Carer to come in? I mean you seem to do most everything for yourself. As far as it goes, you’re probably the most agile and co-ordinated of my clients.”
“Well, it’s a long story. Basically after my wife died, I didn’t cope very well. Jenny will tell you how it was. I let myself go and basically I had an episode ending up in hospital. I think it was some kind of breakdown. My heart went arrhythmic, they called it bradycardia. My brain decided to shut down everything not required to maintain life. After being in hospital for a long period, I came home but needed help. Social Services liaised with your company. As I recovered I realised that it would be a long haul and sat down with my brother and we looked at the options. He and my Sister in Law offered their home to me. In all honesty I couldn’t accept, which led me right back to your people. I arranged for a care package, which I pay for, and here you are.”
“Thank you, I hadn’t realised and I apologise for prying.” Sue stroked his hand and he smiled. She felt his eyes boring into her.
“It was Ellie who persuaded me to try painting again, she was wonderful to me.” His eyes moistened and he harrumphed and covered his embarrassment with a handkerchief, wiping his eyes and nose.
“Please call me Rowan, Mr. Pilkington was my Dad.” he grinned.
“Okay Rowan. I think I’ll take you up on your offer, I don’t know why, but I think this is something I should do. This is pure madness, but Oh God! I need to do something to change my life.”
“Right, thank you. When are you free?”
“Well now, you’re my last client this week. I’ve had a break booked, but I never booked a vacation place or anything. Wait, what about Jenny’s portrait?”
“Well as it happens, Jenny is due in tomorrow morning for another sitting. It might be easier for you if you’re here with her. Safety in numbers, if you will, so you can get used to being naked around people. Is that OK with you?”
Sue nodded and walked to him, she placed her arms round him and hugged him gently. He placed his arms round her and held her close. Sue waited a few moments before breaking the hug. Stepping back, tears in her eyes she said thank you and prepared to leave. Rowan Pilkington held her hand and nodded slowly. A feeling passed between them, a fleeting mutual happy feeling. She nodded back and took her leave.
“About nine thirty OK?” he called as she fled down the hallway.
“Perfect,” she shouted and pulled the door shut behind her.
The next morning, Sue woke early and grinned. Slipping out of bed she made her way downstairs and made tea. She sat in her bed sipping and planning what to wear. She had told Ellie that night and Ellie was delighted. She offered advice, including surprisingly that she shouldn’t wear underwear as it left marks, especially a bra. She had a few summer dresses and thought one of those would do. She had a cheerful yellow number with giant sunflower outlines on it. She leapt from her bed and removed it from her wardrobe. It made her think of sunshine and summer, fields and meadows. Grinning she headed for the shower.
Half an hour later and she stood in her bedroom gazing at herself in the full length mirror mounted on the wall by the door. She twirled slightly, feeling the dress spin away from her legs. She grinned; even without her trusty bra her breasts looked natural and full. It was also a little weird, she decided, feeling her breasts move in such a fluid and natural manner. It was really quite pleasant, but then she wasn’t over-endowed and breast feeding her children had left then a little saggy. Maybe she could get used to this, she thought, which made her giggle. She went to her dressing table, sitting and applying a little makeup. Satisfied she made an “O” with her lips and blew a kiss to herself. Grabbing her car keys she headed downstairs, picked up her handbag and left.
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