Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Mult, Consensual, Romantic, Exhibitionism,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Whatever became of The Cat? The fourth of the Tony and Nancy Series.
The folks at the Census had gotten around to mailing out some paperwork for us to fill out. I passed and it went out with the trash.
The folks at the government can be annoyingly persistent and they sent around this kid just out of high school, who figured out that because there were two mail boxes, there had to be two apartments and the little bastard came up the stairs while I was trying to get the Cat to yodel. Nancy and the Cat and I had been at this party and on the way back to where we had left the VW in the parking lot of this Roman temple looking place they put up for the World's Fair in 1908. I'd been grabbing her playfully by the crotch (Hey, she started it!) in this domed area. She grabbed me back and I jumped and went "Whoa!" We'd been walking, (sort of... ) and the sudden echo from the dome we were walking under echoed it back loudly. We'd all gotten fascinated (okay, so there was drugs involved) and played with the sound. Then someone said, "It would be really cool to ball and hear that kind of reverberation coming back at you." And pretty soon, I have my hands around the Cat's tits under her sweater, she's leaning back against me and Nancy is standing lookout one way while egging the Cat on with whispers and fingers in her pie. The Cat can sometimes make an amazing noise when she comes and she got into it big time. So much so that a group of young guys started over our way to investigate. Nancy saw them coming and let loose with a hell of a yodel, which matched into the Cat's cries. Nance had twitched her head to point out the guys and we'd whooped and hollered and Nancy said, "You're terrible! Can't take you anywhere!" And the Cat laughed and folded her tongue up at Nancy in the best illustration of 'pure teasing bitch' that I had ever seen on her face. I got my hands out of her sweater, her skirt dropped down, we were decent again and away we walked. So getting the Cat to yodel was a private joke that a few of us shared.
The Cat and I had been fooling around in the hot tub, and only people who knew where the stairs were could find their way up to the place. So here comes this kid up the stairs and into the back yard. I have the Cat on the deck, I'm playing 'pop the weasel' with her, and I'm on the slide it up her slit part of it when he shows up. We paused to look over to see who it was, and...
I had almost forgotten that the Cat even had a real name. She hung out with us so much that everyone just accepted her as an adult. Yeah, it had been a kind of sneaky thrill for the first times, but hey, you aren't making it with numbers, you're making it with someone, so you just kind of forget about it for a while.
Click! This could be very awkward...
"I take it you two know each other?" I said conversationally.
"Uh, yeah, you were in my advanced English class my last year in high school."
"This is so embarrassing. Terry, Tony, Tony, Terry. So you're working for the Census, huh?"
He had a big button on that said, Official Census Taker or some such, and a big canvas USCensus bag over his shoulder with the paperwork. The Cat was laying on her back on the deck with my dick playing plow and mushroom games as I stood on the bench. Maybe it was the shrooms, but I could suddenly picture my next photo assignment: What It's Like Living With A Roommate Named Bubba.
Well, fuck that, get your mind on what Cat's going through: This gets around her high school, it could be bad for her. She'd mostly hooked up with our group for her social life, but still had friends there.
"Well, come on up. Any friend of the Cat's is a friend of ours. Make yourself at home, there's some iced tea on the tray if you're thirsty."
"I can come back later if you want." The kid's face was the color of a bad sunburn with embarrassment. Well, huh. The kid would probably be calling up every guy he ever knew with this story.
"Naw, come on up. I gotta leave town for four days and I might as well get it over with." I stepped back down off the seat and the Cat sat up with a pull from my hands. "Thanks for the massage, Tony. That felt great."
"Anytime." She sat down on the bench. Evidently that "graze one over, then one in" little trick we'd been playing was a "massage." You want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn? That wasn't the Cat's clit sticking up there, girl, so let's see you close this sale!
With the both of us just shoulders out of the water, the Cat came over to the side of the tub closest to the walk. The kid got up enough courage to come the rest of the way up from the top of the stairs. "I'm really sorry to barge in like this..." he began. The Cat cut him off.
"Wow, I haven't seen you since you graduated, Terry! How do you like Berkeley?"
"Uh, it's great. I really like my classes and I've gotten to study under some really good teachers. Well, mostly good!" He chuckled.
They traded gossip for a while and he sat down and began to pull out the paperwork. My dick went down during this time and I was about ready to get out when he passed over a clipboard with the forms on it. The Cat and he chatted and I started listing all of the junk that the government wants to know about its citizens. Sex. Where's the yes box? I thought as I worked my way down it. I got out of the tub on the deck and wiped my legs down and went back to it. The Cat got out of the tub and paraded naked into the house. Terry kind of gulped and his eyes were suddenly finding something interesting in the far back yard. The Cat came back with another glass and sat down in the papa-san chair across from him and began toweling her hair. Terry was kind of flustered by all that girl flesh sitting across from him, but as she was toweling her hair, he looked. I was checking out how this was going to play out from under my eyebrows, while still looking like I was enthralled by the paperwork. The porch they were sitting on had a fiberglass roof over it and a trellis on one side. The tub was out in the back yard and I was on the deck in back of it. Even though people there are only ten or twelve feet away, it seems like they are further away because of the hanging plants and such.
"So what are you doing in your time off?" Cat was drawing him out and she was done toweling her mop of dark brown hair. He said that he had been studying so much to maintain his scholarship, and then doing the Census, he was sorry, but he forgot what the term meant. Cat laughed. "Well, that's what comes from being a bright boy. People want to make you work!"
He asked the Cat what she'd been doing. She got into telling him about her photography. He politely said he'd like to see some of her work sometime. She beamed at him. "Okay, I'll be right back!" And bounced up out of the chair and zoomed into the house. A minute later, she popped her head back in. "Where's the Twins set?"
"Bottom drawer, brown filing cabinet."
"Okay if I show him them?"
"Sure. They're your work."
"Yeah, but it's your ass, buddy!"
I laughed as the screen door slammed. Terry didn't get it, but it wouldn't take him long.
The Cat took a bit longer to come back then I though it would and Terry finally mustered up his courage to ask, "How do you know Katherine?" Biblically, I thought instantly.
"The Cat? I teach her photography and she's a friend of ours."
"Oh." That 'ours' I put in would have made Nancy proud of me. It put him at ease, having a defined kind of picture of me and another girl besides the Cat.
She brought out the envelopes and a blue binder of her "public" work. She tossed them on the table and said, "This is some of my stuff."
"What should I look at first?"
"The stuff in the blue binder," I called over. "That other shit'll make you go blind!"
Cat flipped me the bird.
"Uh, can I use your bathroom? I had a lot of iced tea with lunch and..."
"Sure, Cat, show him where it is."
While he was taking a whizz, the Cat and I had a quick talk. She pulled on a robe and sat back down in the chair she'd been sitting in.
Terry had a kind of stunned look on his face when he got back. I think it was Gwen's picture hanging in the bathroom, right above the toilet. I wondered what he would think if he knew that the Cat had taken it?
I think Terry was a bit disappointed when he got back to see her covered up in a thin cotton wrap. The Cat had some nice dark areas with bumps sticking through them that seemed to hold his attention. Being nude was one thing, but he was seeing her as clothed now, so he was okay with looking at her.
He flipped through the blue binder and offered complementary comments on stuff. I knew her best stuff was good, but it was just learning stuff. Pretty postcards. Still lifes, scenery, stuff you shoot when you're learning, some of it good, some of even better than good. I was about two thirds of the way through the forms, and it was the long form.
"This is the type of stuff that I've been doing recently," the Cat said as she passed him the brown envelope. "It's a change of genre for me, but I think I've improved as a photographer technically also. What do you think?" I was dumbfounded at the Cat's artistic bullshit, delivered in the best gallery opening chit chat: The unsuspecting straight guy was being set up by a master of the game. Where the Hell do women get it?
"Hey, Cat, you start talkin' like that, Nance's going to think we're corrupting you!" She laughed.
"I just had to try that out!" I laughed back at her. Terry opened the envelope and his eyes got wide.
"You did these?"
"Hell ya, I did. Do you see this in the corner?" It was a stylized little cat, its tail saucily formed by the letters "t" bent to one side and the "h". Hind quarters, ass-on to the viewer, a chubby e slewed arount to form the body and a suggestion of foreleg. The "c" became the cat's face, winking back at the viewer. "That's my trademark!" And it was, too. Her alcoholic attorney dad had done the paperwork for it as a present to her, somewhat bemused at her odd request.
The quick glance he shot my way was all the verification he needed to tell me he'd figured out that remark about it being my ass Cat had made. He was stunned by the stuff in his lap. "Told you it would make you go blind!" He grinned weakly over at me.
"Are you sure that you want me to see these?"
"Aw, go ahead. I talk about stuff in front of models all the time, so I guess I can take it."
The Cat excused herself to use the john and I rolled over and put my back against the light post at the edge of the deck. I was now facing away from him and he could take his time in privacy looking at the photographs Cat had shot of me and Katrina. I hoped she'd pulled out the last of the sequence when she was taking so long in finding them. Oh well, I shrugged mentally. She knows the guy so don't go borrowing worry.
The Cat came back after a while and sat down across from him again. "So. Whaddya think?"
"Wow, these are amazing, I mean, they're really good!"
"Oh goodie!" She jumped out of the chair and kissed him a quick one on the cheek, grabbing his head while she did so. Then she bounced back to the chair and twirled and sat down. I know she knew exactly what she was doing in that robe as we'd bought it specifically for a shoot and she knew exactly how when she twirled like that, it would fan out and show her ass. "That is so cool! I mean, I can't show anyone I know these, so saying you liked them means a lot to me! Thanks!" Jesus, is this really the Cat? It sure didn't sound like the one I knew.
"I don't know what to say, I mean, they're really... uh..."
"Pornographic or erotica?" The Cat stuck in quick.
"No, I mean, what are they? Pornography or eroticia?"
"Uh, if I was forced to label them, I'd say Art." Nice dodge, buddy.
Last fuckin' page!
Cat laughed. "Thanks, but I'm really curious, what would you call them?"
"Hmmm... I usually think of Victorians when I hear the word erotica, but I'd say that it almost fits. But these are photographs, and somehow, I don't generally think of photographs and erotica in the same way. I mean, Victorian erotica. But Victorian photographic erotica is sepia toned and brown, petticoats and, and..."
"Big hairy bushes?" I suggested.
He glanced over at the Cat, who was just laying back in her papa-san chair and grinning at him. "Yeah," he said, somewhat hesitantly. "Not color. That's not what I think of in my mind when I hear photographic and erotica used in the same sentence."
"Not like this, hey?" and the Cat flashed him a quick peek at her beaver, just lifting her leg and lowering it quick. He choked. "Cat got your tongue!" Then she blew him a raspberry. And broke up again.
It was an old game we played.
"Hiyall! How's ya all doing?"
"I just... right... now..." I said as I signed my name to the form packet, "finished the census!" I sat up and handed them to her. "Da DAH! Your turn!"
"Shit. Gimme a minute to get out of these clothes and have a doobie and some wine. I just got here, for Chrissake!"
"Sure, hon. How about I get you some wine and a nice neck rub before you start it?"
"Wonderful. Go get the wine out for me and I'll be right back."
Nancy wasn't having a great day, I could see. So I dug out the wine and some snack food and took it back out. I had just finished filling her plastic around the tub wine glass as she came back out. The Cat had not been a slouch in the welcome home Nancy department either, having pulled out the tray from under the side table on the porch and whipped up a rather good sized bomber. She had the second one just finished when Nancy came out in her birthday suit holding a towel. Terry had been checking her out in her clothes, and she was damn great looking in them, but having this blonde suddenly out right in front of him, leaning over to get the joint Cat was holding out to her, tits a-dangling right in his face. Wide-eyed doesn't even begin to cover it. "Nance, this is a friend of mine, Terry. He's working for the Census." Nancy took a lungful in and held out the joint to him. "pleased to metcha" she choked out around holding the toke.
"Likewise," he said as he reached for it. She plopped down the bench that faced the two chairs. They passed the joint around and I came over and sat beside Nancy after giving her a quick kiss on the lips. I had wrapped a towel around my waist and we sat and chatted and passed the joints.
"Well, I am going to get my ass into that tub before it falls off. Anyone care to join me?"
"I promised you a neck rub, sure, I guess I can make the sacrifice."
"Terry, we've got some clean towels if you want to take a tub."
The classic deer in the headlights moment. "Yah, come on. Tubs are great." Cat said.
"Uh, if you're sure?" We all said it would be cool and moved towards the tub. He stood up awkwardly and put the envelope on the table reluctantly. The sizeable bulge in his pants made him somewhat shy. "You have to use the bathroom shower to rinse off in first. I'll go grab you a towel." Nancy said. "Follow me." I almost felt sorry for the guy. Nancy had her usual major impact on the guy, as she does on most guys. I'd give pretty decent odds that he would have followed that wonderful back and ass and legs all the way to Hell if given half a chance. And I'd also bet that there would be some quick handy work going on before he got out of that shower.
The Cat and I were in the tub talking about how Terry knew her through her sister. They'd been on the gymnastics team together and the Cat had hung out at their house after practice a lot. His sister now had a boyfriend to fill her free time with, so their friendship wasn't as close as it had been when they were thirteen. Terry knew a lot of her classmates as he'd just graduated the June before. So we were all well briefed on who he was. Then Cat said she'd had a crush on him in school, but hadn't done anything about it. Nancy interpreted that to mean, "So you behave, Tony!" "Got it. No hiding the salami in the jail bait." I made a face. "I hate the fuckin' census!" We heard the shower stop and a moment later Terry came back out. He somewhat diffidently took off his towel and climbed in. I motioned over to the side of the tub. "Can you sit over there next to Cat so I can work on Nancy on that wall?" It was the only part of the tub without a bench, so you could stand and lean over the deck. I stood with my back to it and Nancy took a drink of her wine, put her glass down and came over and stood in front of me. I started to rub her shoulders.
"I'll give you a week to stop that," She groaned out.
"Promises, promises," I told her. "Relax."
Nancy leaned back against my lap and I worked her shoulders. "Neck, too."
"I noticed the Cat showed you her work. What did you think of the Twins?"
"They're really good," Terry said. "I'd never seen stuff that good before."
"The Cat's good." Nancy said. "Myself, I think the one in the bathroom's the best."
"You took that?" He asked the Cat incredulously. She blushed and shyly nodded.
"My reaction exactly. It's the first photograph she ever sold." The Cat dimpled at me.
"Tony told her the day he bought one of her pics would be the day she was a photographer." Nancy said. "I like her stuff myself, but not everybody does."
Terry blurted out what was on his mind. "How did you get her to pose like that?"
"Gwen always wanted to see what she looked like coming. So she hired me to shoot her as she liked my Twins stuff."
"Wow," he said again.
Cat grinned at him. "Guess I've changed a bit from when I used to hang out with Sarah, eh?"
"I guess." He said. "It's pretty amazing stuff you shot."
"Yeah. I think so, anyway."
"She's got most of the technique down, and she's good at working with people." I offered in praise. "She's going to go far."
The Cat beamed at me and jumped up and gave me a kiss, leaning right over Nancy to get to me. "Thanks!"
"Welcome." I said back to her and smiled. I knew this kid didn't know me from Adam, so he didn't know I was becoming kind of minor name in photography. He didn't know about how much I had torn in to the Cat's work, how stinting I had been in my praise for her. So this was kind of gushing praise from me. I also realized, somewhat sadly, standing there in the tub, that this teenager had been taught about as much as I could teach her. Yeah, there were some odds and ends of this and that, but she'd found her own true voice and I knew she hadn't far to go before she was recognized. Or disillusioned with the commercial world and the hassles of trying to become recognized and put it away a few years from now. Talent and competence don't always make it in this world, you have to have drive, stamina... and luck.
The Cat plopped back down in the tub and found out a bit more about what he was up to in school.
After that icebreaker in the tub, I don't know what Terry thought of the Cat. She started to see him on weekends about every other week. I don't know exactly what the relationship was, just knew that she was dating him.
I wonder what it was like, dating a girl in high school while going to college? She'd go over to Berkeley and hang out at his shared house and I am willing to bet that nobody in the house knew that she was in high school until his sister dropped by to find her in the living room with some of his hipper roommates smoking dope. She asked about the Civics final in Mr. Durpee's class and the Cat was out of the bag, so to speak. How old are you anyway? Quickly followed by terms like "a minor" and "we could get" and his straight arrow roommates had a quick house meeting and the Cat couldn't come over and play weekends any more. Two of them were into the Berkeley Student Young Republican whatever.
Of course, having been barred from the house didn't keep Cat and Terry from getting together. We gave her permission to use the house when they couldn't find a place. Sometimes it was the living room and when we were out, our bedroom. The so-called guest room had gained a whole bunch of junk spread out in it and was off limits while I got the book together. I had a system of sorting out stuff that is best described as pure chaos. I liked to stand and look at the pictures and move them around to see what went with what and what was next after that. Considering my usual anal-retentive work habits, it was slob city and everyone understood that the penalty for moving even one envelope was a very unhappy Tony, so the room was verboten.
The Cat was a very serious person under her happy-go-lucky style. She knew what she wanted at a very young age and photography was IT as far as her career goals went. She was in high school, but that was just a holding pen for her, a day job so that the parents would support her and she could get her diploma and go to the Art Institute. I could understand her drive, as I had it myself. I am not sure that Terry could.
Thinking about how damn advanced the Cat was, I can see how it went wrong. Or maybe where it was supposed to go. The Cat and Terry were into that lust bubble that people sometimes mistake for love. Or maybe they did love each other. I don't know. Sometimes I could hear them when I was walking up the steps to the tow of them going at it in our bedroom with the window open: Giggling and thumping away and the calls and groans of lust coming out of the window. It sounded like she was having a good time.
When it went down, it was strange what broke the two of them up.
There was a woman-run vibrator store over in Berkeley a friend of ours worked at. They would put up erotic art on the walls to sell to people and our friend had suggested the Cat take over some of her photos to see if she could get an exhibition and make some sales. They liked her work and she was accepted to display her work in January.
The Cat later told me that Terry had been a virgin the first time they got it on. That was about three or four weeks after we had crossed paths at the house. They'd been at a film festival in Berkeley and she'd blown her BART/bus connections to get home, so had stayed at Terry's place for the night. Usual first time quick to fire, followed by a nice night of 'practice makes perfect' exercises. She'd become a regular visitor to the house and then came the scene with Sarah blowing her cover.
After the store gave her the okay on her first exhibit, she was off the charts ecstatic. They'd gone back to Terry's house and thought that they would be alone for a while. One thing led to another and two of the roomies walked in on her and Terry going at it in the living room. They'd made a scene, instead of leaving them alone. They couldn't have young, underage girls hanging around in the house.
The Cat had gotten up off of Terry's dick and pulled her clothes back on, furious about these two guys standing around and bitching at Terry while ogling her shamelessly.
When she was dressed, she turned around and said, "Listen, you assholes! I just got my very first show today, and I'll show you just how 'immature' this 'kid' here really is!" She snatched up the big professional portfolio I loaned her and unzipped it. She slapped it down in front of them on the coffee table, a 16x20 shot of blatant sexual imagery blazing up at them.
"This look like a kid did it, asshole?" Flip. "No? How about this one?" Flip "Any of these?" Flip, flip. "How come you can't say anything about this stuff? Or do you need a live sex show going on in the living room before you can open your mouths? Fuck off, you creeps! And get out next time a woman's getting dressed, you mannerless imbeciles! If you want to look at naked girl, go buy a Playboy and go jack off! Don't look at me, that way, just get the fuck out and give us some privacy!"
The Cat could have a temper. She was short and had a blocky kind of body and was a jock.
That was why Terry was spending some weekends at home. So he and the Cat could get together and he wouldn't have to find another place to live. Evidently the guy she'd torn into was the name on the lease, and he was a very conservative business major Young Republican and could carry a grudge. It came to a head when we stopped by to pick up Terry at his place for the opening. He wasn't ready to go, so we were all invited in to hang out in the living room while he got showered and dressed.
The opening was in the store and there was a lot of food we had brought prepared on trays for it. I'd gotten a deal on some fairly good wine (in Nancy's opinion) and had dropped it off at the gallery and set up just after they closed and before we picked up Terry. I had brought Nancy along as she wanted to see where Terry lived and we both wanted to get the Cat some place we could get her high and relaxed a little for the forthcoming Big Event.
Nancy and I and the Cat were dressed up for the opening at eight o'clock and the Cat was pretty nervous. We decided that a little natural herbal therapy wouldn't hurt, so we smoked a joint to kill the time. One of the housemates came in the back door and saw us in the living room. Kind of a good looking but button down shirt and blazer and this on a Saturday night, and he was coming in at seven thirty from somewhere. He saw Nancy in one of her sexy fringe numbers and came into the living room out of curiosity. The Cat was sitting on a chair with her back to him and he didn't see her.
"Hi, I'm Alan." He came on, all smooth charm.
"I'm Nance, and this is Tony. I 'spec you already know the Cat." Nancy drawled. Alan had barely glanced over with a nod, but his head snapped off its focus on Nancy's body when Cat's name was mentioned.
"What are you doing here?" Evidently he wasn't too pleased to see her from the way his voice sounded.
"Picking up Terry so we can go to my opening." If she'd added, "what's it to you" it would have given voice to the statement on her face.
"Well, you're underage, so I guess I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"Why? You selling liquor on the premises?" Nance asked. "If ya are, I'll have a Jack, water back."
"She's not allowed in the house." Alan said, trying to sound reasonable. "She doesn't know how to behave." Nancy gave him a disbelieving look.
"Let's just say that she's a disruptive influence and we've asked her to leave."
Nancy looked at this guy like she was trying to figure out how to respond to that. "Oh, guess that's cause you saw her fuckin' in the living room and she wouldn't give up any for you, huh? Maybe if you'd have behaved like an adult, you wouldn't be up on your high horse right now. Off hand, I'd say the Cat knows how to behave really well, much better than you, in fact. Since we're invited guests of Terry's, I assume you'll be polite about the situation and just leave us alone while he gets ready to attend the opening. I'd invite you, but I don't think that the Cat would enjoy your scintillating company tonight."
Nance doesn't like assholes. And she really doesn't like them being mean to her friends. They stared at each other a minute. "Well, I guess the best way to get rid of you is to do something dirty in the living room." She flipped up her dress and wasn't wearing underwear. "BOO!" She shouted. He looked at her stunned and left. We cracked up.
Terry came down the stairs. "What's so funny?"
"Just something Nancy said," I explained. "You'd a had to be there."
And snorting and snickering, we merry band of pranksters escorted the bemused and soon to be evicted Terry from his domicile.
It's something like getting your cherry popped: The first opening. You're high because someone thinks enough of your work to show it, on edge about what people are going to say, damn near sideways with anticipation and also full of butterflies in case the people there think your work's shit. You aren't going to know about what it is unless you've been there, and sex is like that, too.
I was thinking those thoughts as everyone chattered away in the van on the way over. When we got out, I leaned over into the Cat's ear and said, "You remind me of the night you accepted Nancy's birthday gift." I kissed her on the head. "Relax, you're gonna like this, too." She grinned at me and laughed.
"Thanks, T." We hugged and entered the gallery, her leading the parade. Our friend who worked in the store saw her and started clapping and the maybe dozen or so others there picked it up. The Cat blushed and nodded her head and grinned.
The people in the store who had arrived early were almost all friends of ours and they gathered round her and gave her little pats of praise. "That one of Katrina and Tony looks so good framed like that," was the least of it. One of the strangers asked her who should he see about buying the one over there and The Cat was launched.
"An amazing exhibition of erotic images," had been the blurb on the little ad the store ran. During the next four hours, she sold all but three of the pictures and two gallery owners had handed her their cards and asked to see some of her other work. A woman came up and asked if she could talk to her a minute and they walked off a few steps and were followed by a guy kind of hanging back. The woman whispered in the Cat's ear and she looked over at him and smiled. She started to nod in agreement with the woman's request and they hugged and then split up and the couple walked away discussing in low tones something or other. I'd watched the little scene play out.
"What was that about?" I asked her.
"They want me to take picture of them."
I smiled at her. "Like these?" Indicating the walls with a nod of my head.
"Yeah! Cool, huh?" She beamed a grin at me you could have blinded stars with. "Five hundred fuckin' bucks!" She whispered to me. I whistled.
"Man, have you got balls!"
"Well, what would you have charged?"
I shrugged. "I dunno. I guess you're worth what you can get. I can't remember what I charged Annie and whatshername, but it sure wasn't that much." Most of the erotic pics I took wound up in personal portfolios, not hanging on walls, and I had a good racket going with what I was shooting pictures of. I'd had a fluke success with an advertising thing and I had gotten into that field and did rock and roll pictures that sold to magazines and newspapers and in the odd gallery here and there. Five hundred bucks was a lot of money back then. "Suppose that includes processing and framing, right?"
"Yeah, we didn't discuss the details."
"Well, don't forget to get their number." And an omygod! And the Cat was gone.
"Hey, hon, havin' a good time?"
"Yeah. Don't look now, but guess who just walked in?"
"Jesus, just what we don't need."
There was Alan and another guy in a sport coat and short hair I would bet was the other roommate that had walked in on Terry and the Cat.
"What should I do? Get Jerri to throw them out?" Jerri was a lesbian who had a somewhat dim view of men. I'd been vouched for, so I was barely okay.
"Man, if they something to upset the Cat, I'm going to deball em both." She said with a deadly certainty in her voice.
"Hi, guys, come on down to get some kulcher?" Nance drawled, emphasizing the last word.
Alan had already met Nancy, but his side kick's eyes got the dumb look men frequently get when looking at Nance.
"You know her, Alan?" I heard sidekick whisper into one of those sudden conversation silences a crowd can sometimes get. It was a "how did you ever meet someone as gorgeous as that and why the Hell didn't you tell me about her before?" whisper.
"Who's your friend?" Nance asked.
"Steve, this is uh darn, I can't think of your name right now..."
"I'm Nancy, that guy with the beard is Tony. We're friends of Cat's. How did you find out about the show?"
"Um, my roommate had an ad up on the refrigerator door. We thought we'd stop by and see what the show was like." Steve said.
"Well, enjoy the show. Most of the stuff is already sold, so if you want to buy anything, you better act quick." She leaned over and kissed Alan on the cheek and whispered something really fast in his ear. He looked over at her as much as he could while Steve ogled Nancy's tit hanging out in the low neckline of the dress she was wearing.
She walked back over to me and I could see Steve checking out the sway of her ass in the thin dress. I wondered if it was obvious that she wasn't really wearing underwear or if Alan had told him about that bit in the living room as we were leaving and he had to check to be double sure Alan wasn't lying. Or more likely, it was just Nancy's ass swaying that had his attention. He had one of those "oh-man-did-you-see-that!" looks on his face that I knew all too well. She knew they were looking and put a little extra sway into it, smiling at me and laughing in her eyes. I smiled back.
"I figure maybe I can cock tease the little pricks a bit and get them into leaving the Cat alone." She said conversationally to me when we were in earshot. "How am I doin'?"
"You ever want to know what a guy looks like lickin' his shoelaces, just look behind you." She laughed, but didn't bother to turn around. She'd seen that look before.
"Well, I did promise Alan that I'd castrate him if he fucked with the Cat. Did it look like he's taken it to heart?"
"If you mean, did he look poleaxed, yeah, I think he got the word."
"Let's get some more wine before these swine guzzle it all."
Nancy and I went over to the counter and refilled and then we split up to talk to various people we knew. A while went by and I wandered over to where the Cat was chatting with this older guy with a goatee and a tweed sports coat.
Now, I didn't know it at the time, but Terry had told his housemates that a guy named Tony was teaching her photography up in Marin. I don't know how much Alan had to drink before he came over. He certainly got loaded on a couple of glasses of wine at the opening, but he certainly surprised me when he came up to the guy in the goatee and suddenly said rather loudly, "She didn't take those pictures, he did!" I'd been passing the time talking to this short blonde about the Cat's pictures and what one in particular made her feel and we stopped talking and we both looked over just as Alan said, "She's only sixteen, she couldn't have taken them!"
My mouth fell open and then snapped shut. I stepped forward and tried to restrain my temper and the amazed guy with the goatee said, "Really? You're only sixteen?" while Alan smirked at her. An art critic heard Alan and started to come over.
I started to ease my way around the Cat and anther person to get to Alan and he said, "She's a faK-EEEK!" because Nancy had a full handful of his family jewels.
"Jeez, Louise, Alan, I told you about what would happen to you if you had anything bad to say to the Cat. Guess you thought I was just bullshitting you." She still had her wine glass in one hand and her hand gave a squeeze and Alan EeeeK'ed again. "Now, you can either leave with or without these, so what's it going to be, pal?" Alan was looking a little strained right then. Kind of white faced, too.
"Now, it's one thing standing around staring at someone until they remind you of your manners and ask you to leave. You didn't take that hint, so I told you what was going to happen here tonight if you made a scene. Now were going to walk on outta here and your pal Steve is going to give you a ride home because you had a lil' too much to drink and you're being rude to people, okay? Here, Tony, hold my drink, would ya sweetie. I gotta take out some trash." Alan had no choice but to follow her. Steve followed them out, looking embarrassed to be looked at by all the people watching the disturbance his friend had created.
I stood there with two drinks in my hand and handed one to Cat.
"Sorry, the guy's an asshole and I apologize for the disturbance!" I called out to the room.
"Aren't you going to go help Nancy out?" Terry had hurried over to us as soon as he could.
I laughed. "Nancy can take care of herself."
"Boy, I'll say!" I heard the Cat mutter into her glass.
We just had that moment, and then the critic got there and asked, "Is this your work or his?" He'd said some nasty things about some work of mine a few months ago at a group show after Nancy had shot him down, so it was a little "get back at her boyfriend" kind of cheap shot review.
"Ah, Larry, how nice to see you again," I muttered under my breath.
The Cat looked blank.
"She took the pictures, Larry."
"Oh? And she's really sixteen? I really don't think so!" he smirked at me.
There the Cat was, holding an empty plastic glass of wine in her hand and looking somewhat stricken. Her folks sure didn't know about the kind of subject material she was doing these days, and they certainly didn't know about the opening. She was supposed to be over at a girlfriend's house for the weekend. And in that cut to the belly cleavage little black dress she was wearing, she certainly didn't look sixteen by any stretch of the imagination. Anne had helped her get the make up and her hair looking casually rich and sophisticated.
This thing spelled S-T-O-R-Y all right. I heard a small bang! from outside and pushed past them and out the door. Nancy was just ending a confrontation with Alan. I'd seen her open up her small purse when she was escorting him to the door and I knew that the little twenty-five automatic she'd carry once in a while was in it.
"Now, the next one isn't going to be between your feet. You really want to me to aim higher? I know your dicks' a pretty small target, but if you'll just step up a bit, I'm pretty sure I can hit it." Steve grabbed the paralyzed Alan's arm and started dragging him away.
Nancy gave them a second to make sure that they had really gotten the idea of what was best for them and then turned towards me and the doorway back into the shop.
"Hiya, hon. I think I jus' really fucked up ol' Terry's livin' situation," she said casually as she put the gun back in her purse. As she'd once said to me when I asked about why she carried it, "Honey, peace and love is all fine n' dandy, but where I come from, some of the guys have trouble hearing the word 'no.' And it's 'specially difficult when you look like I do, so I stick this up their noses and then they seem to suddenly get a brain to have an idea in and get the idea that I ain't about to let them have no free ride on the Nancy-go-round. Of course, most of them get the idea without my having to kill them, but some of them I've had to put a round or two in before it really got across to them that I wasn't in the mood for no back seat pawing or anything else they thought they could take." Nancy sauntered up to me and kissed me lightly on the lips.
I quickly told her what was going on and she cocked her head and thought it over.
"Well, I think that is an interestin' development all right. Let's go see if we can catch it before it goes down the drain."
We went back over to where the Cat and her inquirers were. "Sorry about that, I was just makin' sure the boys got home all right." She said to the group. "How ya doin', Cat? Looks like the show's a great success. Thanks, Sue." As one of the store people handed her another glass of wine.
"Is she sixteen?" Larry asked her.
"How the fuck would I know? Do I look like I card people at the door?"
"Did she take the pictures or did Tony?" He turned to me without waiting for a reply.
This time I had an answer for him. "See the two over there? That picture of the two backs and the bodies in the mirror?"
"See the scar on the guys ass?"
"How did I take that photo?" I turned around and pulled the drawstring in my pants and bent over and mooned him. Nancy's loud peel of laughter brought everyone's attention focus back onto our small group.
"He's got you there, Larry!" the guy with the goatee chortled.
I turned around and pulled up my pants and grinned at him. The Cat was totally cracking up and whooping out loud literally. "Shall I drop 'em again so you can see if I'm circumcised or not?" Goatee had taken that moment to try and drink some wine and act like he was so sophisticated that he could be cool at something that outrageous. He choked.
Larry could be a mean little prick and I had the feeling that there would be something ugly in his review tomorrow, but I didn't really give a fuck right then about playing his "kiss my ass because I'm a critic" game right then. The Cat had an almost sold out opening going right then, so there wasn't any thing he could really do to hurt her success.
"Ain't no bad publicity, is there Larry?" Goatee murmured. Larry saw that he'd been boxed and finally laughed insincerely. I knew I'd never get any kind of a good review out of him after tonight, but I hadn't only had one good review out of him before then, and a lot of my work was sold in LA and New York. The damn advertising people didn't care about good reviews as long as their products got sold. He shook his head and walked away, probably to plot revenge.
The old guy with the goatee introduced himself, Don something or other. The Cat gave Nancy and I grateful expressions of thanks, and we stood around while the opening party got back to drinking and talking and gave up on gawking at us. He asked her some questions that was about her work, about how she'd done something or other in one particular shot and she answered him, describing the way she'd had to have "this really great photo tech named Gwen" dodge in where the flare had almost ruined the picture and how they had souped whatever the film stock was a half under. He listened and asked a couple of more questions about her technical chops and then asked a question about how she established her rapport with her models. I half tuned out of the conversation and mulled over how weird it could have gotten... and still might.
"So what do you think, Tony?"
"I'm sorry, I was woolgathering. What was the question again?"
"I was asking what it was like to work in front of the camera for a change and how Cat was to work with."
"She's great. I was a little nervous about taking off my clothes with Katrina and all, but it went down okay. She let us know what she was going for as we went along, but not in a... hmm... guess you would call it an intrusive way. She really kind of told us what she was going for and we went along with her directions. Sometimes she'd be shooting from the hip and wouldn't say anything for a long time, then she'd tell us to go back or try something else or whatever." I glanced at the Cat. "She's really easy to work with, if that's what you're asking. As far as how I felt, well, it was weird at first, being on the other side of the camera, but she helped me get over it.
"Great photographer to work with," I finished.
He then asked the almost universal question people asked when they see the Twins series. I grinned and shook my head and denied it was my sister. Nancy told him about the weird coincidence of having Katrina walk in and how she's from Austria and all and we chitchatted for a while longer and then split up.
The show wrapped at midnight and we said good nights and thanks for coming's and all the rest of that stuff, then helped the store staff clean up the mess. Laurie, one of the store people, shoo'ed us out before they started vacuuming the rugs, saying we'd had a big night and still had a long drive home. Terry came along with us and we all headed back to Marin. The Cat and he in the back of the van and me and Nancy up front: The air-cooled engine made it so we couldn't hear her talking to Terry and they couldn't hear us.
"Think that sixteen year old stuff will blow over? Or do you think it will get in the paper?"
"Nobody would believe it, Nance. I think it'll blow over."