The Deal by wizardtho
Mr. Cooper held his arm out for me to take. I tried not to turn completely beet red as I took it. He lead me leisurely, gently holding my hand to his arm as he guided me down the main stairs, then out to the patio through the family room french doors.
It was hard not to notice his strong arm, since my hand was curled around it, and I admonished myself every time my thoughts went down a more intimate path. He pulled out my chair, guiding me into it once we reached the table, then took his own seat across from me.
It was only a minute or two later that Audrey came out, setting a beautiful presentation of Chicken Marsala in front of me, along with a caesar salad and a glass of what looked like red wine. She placed the bottle in a silver ice bucket, then said with a smile, “Enjoy, Makenna, and please let me know if you need anything else.”
Mr. Cooper was looking at my food with curiosity, so I thought I would explain. “This is a caesar salad. This is Chicken Marsala... an Italian dish. I don't know how it smells to you, but to me it smells delicious.”
He smiled, “It does not smell unpleasant, but my system would not tolerate it. I may have a glass of wine with you, though. That my body will tolerate well.”
I swallowed the bite of salad in my mouth, then wiped my mouth with the napkin before asking, “Is it all alcoholic beverages, or just wine?” He nodded, “All, Sweet Makenna. How to explain... oh. Our bodies can absorb alcoholic beverages, but they need to be straight, meaning no mixers or ice added. Jack Daniels is fine, but not a Jack and Coke. As soon as the alcohol is mixed with something else, even plain water, it becomes intolerable for some reason. Does that help you to understand?”
I smiled with a nod, then said, “Yes, that does make sense. Can you mix the different alcohols themselves together? I have heard that some shots are mixes of different alcohols, with no extra fillers.”
He gave me a beautiful smile in reply, “Yes, that we can tolerate well.”
As my dinner went on, Mr. Cooper kept up pleasant conversation with me, and I found that the red wine was pleasant. It complimented my meal well. I ended up eating most of what was prepared for me. Mr. Cooper seemed pleased that I ate so well. I explained, “I told Audrey earlier that I was not a picky eater, that I loved Italian and Chinese cuisine. It has been a while since I have had either, so I was happy to savor this.”
He smiled gently, “I hope you continue to eat this well. I liked watching you gain pleasure from your meal. Never be afraid of enjoying yourself, Makenna.”
We talked about little things for a few more minutes as I finished my second glass of wine, then he rose. He came and took my hand gently, then asked with a beautiful smile, “Are you ready? I have a surprise for you.”
I couldn't help my small giggle at his enthusiasm, then nodded as I stood to take his arm again. He guided me up the stairs, then turned me while asking, “Do you trust me enough to close your eyes and let me guide you?”
My heart sped up slightly, but I took a deep breath before nodded silently. I closed my eyes, then felt his hands move to my hips as he whispered from behind me, “I promise never to hurt you, Makenna. Thank you for trusting in me.”
He slowly guided me forward, told me when to step up or down, and turned me carefully by my hips when needed.
When he brought me to a stop, he didn't remove his hands from my hips. I did feel his cool breath against my neck, though, as he whispered near my ear, “Open your eyes.”
When I did, we were standing at a closed door. I turned my head to give him a curious look, but he smiled as he released me and went to the door. “Happy birthday, Makenna.”
He opened the door, holding out his hand for me to go first. I took a deep breath again, then slowly walked into the unknown.
My hand went to my throat as I gasped at what was beyond the door. It was a two level lounge and art studio. The higher level came first, which was the lounge, then after a couple of steps down, was the actual studio part.
It was the perfect space for me to sketch or paint in. Tears swam in my eyes. I looked back to Mr. Cooper, then asked shakily, “Is this... how... when...”
He smiled in reply, “This is your private studio. I hope I got the right supplies. One of my friends owns a gallery. I asked him what would be appropriate, from what Audrey told me when I woke.”
I shook my head as I looked around, seeing Holbein 'Duo Aqua' water-miscible oil paints in every shade on the market, painting and quick-drying mediums, both cotton and linen canvas rolls, several stretched canvases in different sizes, a Mabef 'Master Studio Plus' easel, several different creatively shaped palettes, as well as a full line of Da Vinci 'Maestro' brushes in every shape and size.
It took me several minutes to to form words. When I did, tears were running down my cheeks silently. “Mr. Cooper... this is too much.”
He shook his head, “Painting is something you enjoyed when you had the opportunity, correct?”
I nodded as he wiped my tears with his thumbs, then he said, “Then this is nowhere near too much. I want you to be happy here, Makenna. If I find that you enjoy something, I want to be able to provide that for you. I know that money may have been an issue for you before, but that is not the case now. Even after the millions I donate every year to charities, I literally have more money than God. Please, Makenna, accept this as my birthday present to you, and enjoy yourself in this room.”
I nodded silently as I stared into his swirling blue/gray eyes, then whispered, “Thank you, Sir. It's more than I ever hoped for, and I promise to enjoy myself... once I have the urge to paint.”
He smiled, then asked, “Would you mind if I saw your sketches? I could look at them in the study while you continue to browse the book collection, if you wish.” I smiled and nodded, then told him I would meet him there.
I got my sketch journal and other sketch pads, then took the library stairs down to the study. Mr. Cooper was sitting behind his desk, smiling up at me when I reached the bottom step. I gave a shy smile in return, then laid the items in my arms in front of him. “You don't have to sugar coat anything. Please be honest about what you think of them.”
He nodded seriously, then waited until I went to my previous position at the bookshelf to continue my perusal, before he opened the first sketch pad.
He took his time looking through each pad, then started on the journal. He gasped slightly when he reached a certain page, then looked up at me in what seemed to be awe. “Makenna? When did you sketch this scene?”
I walked over to look at the one he was pointing to, smiling as I said, “Mmm... that was only the fourth one in the journal, which means that was the dream I had on the fourth night after receiving it. The journal has become somewhat of a dream journal. I've not been able to sketch in last night's dream yet, but all the others are there.”
He looked at me intently, saying, “This scene... this place... is on my property, Makenna. This is one of my favorite places to relax. I've never told anyone about it... yet you dream of it.”
I suddenly felt sure that he was going to be upset, but I didn't know what to do. “I... I'm sorry, Sir. You can have it, if you want. I swear I didn't know.”
He shook his head, “No... you mistake me. I am not upset in the least, nor would I ever take something like this from you. I was just awed that you seemed to know exactly what one of my favorite places looked like, without ever having been there. I truly am not upset, but may I ask you a favor?”
I nodded slightly, so he asked, “Will you consider doing a painting of this for me?”
I smiled widely, “Of course, Sir... if you're sure. I loved sketching that scene, so I have no doubt I would love painting it.” With a genuine smile to me and a nod, he went back to looking through my journal at a leisurely pace.
Several times while I was reading the book titles, I could have sworn I heard his breathing hitch slightly, or a soft groan, but I couldn't figure out why he was making those sounds. It only clicked to me as I heard him shut my journal. There were several erotic dreams that I had sketched in there. I instantly went beet red as I choked out, “Oh, dear God.”
Mr. Cooper's eyes shot to mine, so I stammered, “I didn't... I forgot... holy torture, I...”
He slowly rose, coming to stand only inches in front of me, then tipped my chin up gently with just his index finger. I was sure I was blushing from head to toe, but he only brushed the back of his fingers against my cheek again as he repeated, “There is nothing to be embarrassed about, Sweet Makenna.”
Then he continued as he said softly, “Even vampires have erotic dreams. From your reaction just now, you forgot that they were in your journal, so I must apologize. I would not have looked at them, had I known that you forgot they were in there. I understand that those dreams can be quite personal, and do not wish to invade your privacy.”
He released my chin, causing me to instinctively avert my eyes. I whispered after a few seconds, “I... think I'd like to take my sketch books back to my room, if you don't mind.”
I felt a light kiss to the top of my head, then he smiled tenderly, “Of course. I have a few things I need to take care of, but feel free to come back and look through the books any time you wish.”
I nodded slightly, whispered a thank you, then dashed to get to my sketch pads and journal. I rushed up the stairs as quickly as I could, letting out a breath as I leaned against my closed bedroom door.
After taking a minute to gather myself, I sat at the edge of my bed to open my journal. I flipped to the first page that showed an erotic dream, then winced at what I saw. I could clearly make out the tops of my breasts in my leaned back and seated position, along with the round curves of my rear. The look on my face was pure ecstasy, but you could see nothing of my dream lover. I quickly flipped to the next one, which found me in an even more revealing position. I was laying on my back, my lover seemingly kissing his way down my front, my breasts on full view, but my lover’s body thankfully hiding my core. My hands were fisted tightly in his dark locks, which reminded me of Mr. Cooper's for some odd reason.
I hurried to find the next... and the one after that... then several more after those. Each one showed me in a more and more compromising position, little by little showing more details of my dream lover. When I reached the last one and saw familiar swirling blue/gray eyes, I dropped the journal in my lap while gasping, “Jesus Christ! How the hell-”
There was a sudden knock at my door. Mr. Cooper sounded frantic. “Makenna? Are you alright? Are you hurt?”
I groaned, then said, “I'm... I'm fine, Sir. I apologize for disturbing you.”
He waited for a second, then asked, “May I come in to see that you are truly well? Your heart is beating quite rapidly.”
I groaned again, then agreed. He hesitantly made his way into the room, but I realized that I still had the open journal in my lap. His eyes flicked to it before he looked me in the eyes to ask, “Are you sure you're well?”
I nodded, buried my head in my hands, then whispered, “I am so sorry. I didn't remember... only thought you looked familiar this morning. I'll burn them, so there won't be any trace. I-”
My hands were gently pried from my face, then those blue/gray eyes were looking deep into mine. “You were going back through the journal? You didn't know right before you left the study?”
I nodded, then shook my head, “I sketch, and it's like a release. Oh, God... umm... disregard that term. I can sketch it, then forget about it, if I choose. With the erotic dreams, that's what I've always done, so I don't dwell on them. I've never... well, it was just better to put them out of my mind.”
His eyes widened briefly, then he asked, “So you didn't realise they were of us until you returned here. Makenna, I must say, I was quite taken with those sketches. I have never felt the way I looked in those scenes, yet it's something I long for. I know I'm being forward, but I... I want what I saw... with you. I will never pressure you or force you to do something you don't want, but I hope that someday you might possibly see me as you have in your dreams.”
I was totally flabbergasted. That was all there was to it. Did Mr. Cooper just say that he wanted me as his lover? That he wanted what he saw, and hoped I could see him as a lover, too? Sweet torture, don't think about that now. Mr. Cooper released my hands, bringing me out of my thoughts, then whispered, “I'll leave you in peace, now that I know you are uninjured. I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, Makenna.” He was gone before I could correct his mistake, closing the door quietly behind him.
I spent the next hour analyzing my thoughts, then I decided to take a long bath and get ready for bed. I was mentally exhausted, so to try to keep all thoughts away, I made sure to take my iPod into the bathroom with me. I found a wonderful smelling bubble bath in the basket on the ledge of the tub, so I poured a bit in as I started running the water.
With Mr. Cooper proving that he wouldn't come in without knocking, I decided to leave the bathroom door open, then stripped down to get in. I set my iPod in the basket, so there was less risk of it getting wet, then slid down into the steaming water.
Once I turned the tap off, I was covered from neck to toes in bubbles and steaming water. I hummed as I put my earbuds in. I selected a playlist, hit play, then smiled when 'Gravity' by Sara Bareilles came on. I found myself singing along as I closed my eyes, relishing the relaxing feeling of the hot water.
I must have fallen asleep somewhere after I listened to Stateless sing 'Bloodstream', because the next thing I registered was a soft stroke to my cheek. “You were dreaming. I did not want to disturb you, but I was afraid you might end up slipping under the water.”
I scrunched my eyebrows as I tried to gain my bearings, then realized I was still in the tub. I tried to slyly make sure the bubbles were still covering me, but I let out an audible breath when I realized I was in the clear. Mr. Cooper noticed. “Shh... relax, Sleepy Beauty. No harm will come to you by me. You are covered as long as you do not sit up. I only wanted to make sure you did not slip under the water.”
The only thing I could think to do was bite my lip and nod. After another second of him stroking my cheek, my heart rate calmed. He smiled in reaction, “There we are. I'll just leave you to dress, and wait in your sitting area to wish you good night. I'll close the door behind me, so you will be insured your privacy.” He stood to leave, so I whispered that I would be out in a minute.
As I dried off, I thought back to how Mr. Cooper had woken me up. He had only stroked my cheek, as far as I could tell. His eyes stayed locked with mine. They held a mixture of tenderness and hope... but hope for what, I couldn't understand. Then, when I started to freak out, he called me a Sleepy Beauty. Did he mean to call me Sleeping Beauty, from the fairy tale? I would have felt it if his lips had touched mine, right?
I unconsciously licked my lips, but all I tasted was a faint trace of my cherry lip balm.
I brushed my teeth before walking into my closet to find my night clothes. I ended up picking one of the last presents my mother ever bought me. It was a pale green and white silk robe and chemise set. There was a floral pattern on the white sections of blue, cream, a slightly darker green, and charcoal. Once I found my pale green lace boyshorts, I dressed quickly before grabbing my brush.
Making sure that my robe was securely closed, I opened the bathroom door to see Mr. Cooper sitting in the same chair I ate my snack in. I smiled shyly as I walked further into the room. He smiled in return, “All better?”
I nodded, then said softly, “Thank you, Sir. For waking me, I mean. I didn't realise I had fallen asleep in the tub. That's never happened before.”
His smile brightened slightly as he replied, “There's nothing to thank me for. I'm glad your bath was able to relax you. It had just been a bit too long that I hadn't heard you singing. When I checked your heart rate, it indicated you were sleeping. Since I had not heard the water draining from the tub, I became slightly worried, so came to check on you.”
I blushed slightly, then asked, “You can hear all of that?”
Mr. Cooper gave me a genuine smile, then held his hand out toward my vanity table. “Come. With your hair being this long, it must take quite a while for you to manage on your own. Would you like some help?”
I quickly sat down on the chair at my vanity, sighing, “Thank you, Sir. That would be very helpful. I have been thinking about getting it cut since... well, since my mother's passing. She always helped me. She did so even more after the chemotherapy, since she had started losing her own. She refused to let me donate some of mine for a wig for her, though. It's just become so long that it takes four hands to care for it.”
He chuckled, then gently took the brush from me. “It is no trouble, Makenna. I assure you. You have lovely long curls, and I would hate to see you cutting it for only that reason. I would gladly help you any time you need it.”
I looked up at him through the mirror to whisper, “As long as it doesn't become bothersome for you, I think I'll take you up on that.”
He gave me a genuine smile as he continued to tenderly brush out my damp hair, then ran his fingers through it for several minutes. It was soothing, and I found my eyes closing with a small smile.
I only opened my eyes again when I felt a kiss to the top of my head, along with a gentle squeeze to both of my shoulders. “All done, Sleepy Beauty. I think it's time for you to climb between the sheets.”
I smiled as I voiced my question, “Don't you mean Sleeping Beauty? Like the fairy tale?”
He chuckled, then shook his head, “No, Sweet Makenna. I said exactly what I meant.” He kissed the top of my head again, then said, “I will leave you to rest now. Should you need anything, I will be in the house all night.”
I thanked him before wishing him a good night. After he quietly closed the door behind him, I shed my robe, crawled between the sheets of the enormous and fluffy canopy bed, then fell asleep quickly.