"She said no."
Alex didn't know who or what Steve was talking about; figuring maybe Steve has asked his girlfriend for head again. Alex flipped to the next page of his 120-page textbook "Art and Artists," as he took a sip from the Pepsi can resting on the pavement underneath his chaise lounge.
"Michelle, I mean," Steve said. "She doesn't want to pose for you."
Alex almost gagged on the cola that trickled down his throat. He placed, no, practically threw his text book aside to avoid spitting the cola all over the fine glossy pages as he tried to restore the air into his lungs.
"You asked her?" Alex said in disbelief.
"Well yeah, dude," Steve said, peeling off his shirt and eyeing the diving board above. "You said you wanted to draw a naked chick, right? I thought I'd help you get the ball rolling."
Alex slammed his text book shut and slid it into his book bag.
"I hope you didn't say it that way!" Alex said. "Michelle's gonna think I'm a pervert!"
"So? She's not gonna do it anyway," Steve said. "You'll have to ask someone else."
Alex rolled his eyes. Steve had never shown a sense of tact in the five years Alex had known him, why should he start now?
"Hey, why don't you just do a still life?" JB asked. JB only briefly looked up towards Alex to make his helpful suggestion before resuming his attention to his iPhone, furiously pressing the buttons to ensure the T piece landed neatly onto the I and L pieces with no spaces in between.
"Cause this dude's still a virgin who's never seen a naked chick in real life," Steve said, picking up a bottle of sunscreen.
"Shut up, yes I have," Alex said.
"The man's got a talent, might as well use it to get him some pussy," Steve said, smearing the sunscreen onto his arms.
"Artists don't sleep with their models, Steve," Alex said.
Don't know why they wouldn't," Steve said. "Especially if they got a good-looking one. Speaking of that- daaaaaaaaaamnnnnn!"
Steve almost dropped the bottle of sunscreen as he twisted his head to ogle two bikini-clad girls who had just emerged from the women's locker room.
"What do you think?" Steve asked. "The brunette could stand to lose a few, the blonde, no problem, no problem."
Alex turned to check out the newly arrived babes. He agreed the brunette was a tad overweight but had a pretty face nonetheless. The blonde had fantastic breasts and shapely legs, but perhaps a bit too much makeup. Alex tried to imagine her under softer lighting with a prop next to her. That might make a decent piece, Alex thought.
"Aw man!" JB shouted. "I got over 15,000 points and I just lost!"
JB shrugged and set his iPhone aside.
"Well screw this, I'm going swimming," JB said. He pulled his shirt up over his chubby torso and dropped it onto his chaise lounge.
"Woah, Casper, nice tan!" Steve laughed.
"Shut up Steve, not everyone spends their winters in a tanning booth trying to get that perfect shade of carrot orange," JB said. He then curled in to a ball and slammed his rotund body into the pool, splashing water all over Steve and Alex.
"My sketchbook!" Alex shouted.
The rush of displaced water careened onto the cover of Alex's sketchbook, which he had resting at the foot of his chaise lounge.
"You got it wet, dickhole!" Alex exclaimed. He grabbed his towel and meticulously wiped the water from the cover of his sketchbook. Alex flipped the book open. His collection of pastel and charcoal drawings appeared undamaged. Alex flicked a speck of dust from the corner of one of his drawings and shut the book again.
"Hey Leonardo, the pool is for swimming, not drawing," Steve said. "Why don't you get in and do a lap?"
What the hell, Alex thought. He wasn't getting much work done anyway, and was still no closer to finding a model for his project. Alex put his sketchbook into his book bag and zipped it shut. As an extra precaution, he moved his book bag a few feet further from the pool.
"All right, Gentlemen, let's clear the landing pad," Alex said as he stepped up to the pool's edge. He waited for JB to swim out of his way, only to find JB apparently hadn't heard a word he just said.
"Hello, Earth to JB," Alex said, but JB was staring intently at the pool entrance.
"She's here," JB said.
"What?" Alex asked.
"Hold onto your cock, sir, look who just walked in," Steve said.
"Who are you guys talk-" and then Alex stopped mid-sentence when he saw her.
Audrey Poma, Alex's crush of six years, just stepped out of the pool office building. Geared up in a very form fitting red swimsuit with the word "Lifeguard" sprawled across the front in bold white letters, Audrey scanned the pool area through her ruby red-framed sunglasses and licked her lips. Alex had to take a step backwards when he felt her gaze pass him. His heart skipped four beats and he went momentarily catatonic. Steve and JB, while not carrying the torch for Audrey that Alex did, were still very much captivated by Audrey's alluring presence.
Steve wrapped his arm around Alex's shoulders.
"Now THAT'S the girl you should get for your art project," Steve said, admiring Audrey's curvaceous body.
"She'd never do it," Alex said is dismay.
"Won't know unless you ask," Steve said.
Alex turned to Steve sternly.
"Do NOT ask her," Alex said, with a penetrating stare into Steve's eyes.
"It's on you, buddy," Steve said, and jumped into the water.
Alex was too busy watching Audrey climb the lifeguard tower to mind the water Steve had just splashed onto him.
What a perfect body, Alex thought to himself. She would be a great model for Alex's final project, which he had informed Steve and JB two days prior would be a female nude. Alex's professor has encouraged the assignment, but Alex did not have the money to hire a professional model. He'd spent the past few days in the hopes of finding a girl who would do it for cheap, if he could find a delicate way to present the question.
Now here he was, in front of the perfect girl, and he had no idea how to ask.
"Come on, dude! Jump in!" Steve said.
That's right, Alex said to himself. I need to just jump in. Taking a deep breath, Alex stretched his muscles for a few brief seconds, and plunged into the water below.
"Now THAT'S the girl you should get for your art project."
Steve's voice echoed in Alex's head as he felt his heels touch the bottom of the pool. Ignoring the multitude of shuffling swimmers above him, Alex tried to imagine Audrey's slim, sexy body easing out of her tight swimsuit. Sliding the slinky material down her long legs, her round, firm breasts emerging into view. The mental imagine of Audrey's naked body danced about in Alex's brain. Firm. Gorgeous. Beautiful. A body any man would want to squeeze against his own.
Alex leapt to the surface and took a breath of fresh air. He wiped the water from his eyes and saw her right in his line of sight. Audrey lifted her left leg and rubbed sunscreen up and down her calf, up over her thigh, around the outside of her thigh and then the inside as well. Even from this distance Alex could see that Audrey was absolutely fantastic looking. Alex felt lost among the crowd of swimmers around him. He was just another fish in the sea.
"That's the girl," Steve's voice echoed again.
Alex knew Steve was right. There was no sense just staring and thinking about it. Audrey might say no, but Alex was going to have to ask. There was nothing else he could do. Alex climbed out of the pool and dried himself off with his towel. Grabbing his brush and quickly combing his chlorine-soaked hair as nice as he could manage, Alex took his sketchbook from his book bag.
Here goes nothing, Alex thought.
Alex walked along the pool's edge. Every few seconds he glanced up towards Audrey, just in case she might have been looking at him. She was watching the pool.
Alex finally arrived at the foot of the lifeguard tower. His heart felt like it would jump out of his chest. He had to do this.
"Hi Audrey," Alex said.
Audrey didn't respond.
She might not have heard me, Alex thought. Alex considered saying it again. Wait, what if she had heard him? If he said it again he would sound desperate. Maybe Steve had told her what he was doing.
Shut up, shut up, Alex told himself. It was time to get his head in the game. Alex cleared his throat.
"Hi Audrey," Alex said again.
Audrey looked down towards Alex. She lifted her sunglasses. She had the most gorgeous bright blue eyes that sparkled in the sunlight.
"Oh, hi Alex," Audrey said, smiling. Alex melted. "How's it going?"
"Great, you?" Alex asked. He tried to act casual, while clutching his sketchbook as if it contained the nation's nuclear arsenal codes.
"Just working," Audrey said. "I was supposed to have today off but Nick called off."
"That sucks," Alex said. He felt a gust of wind, and detected the scent of Audrey's hair. She smelled fantastic. Alex wondered how she kept that herbal smell in her hair when she sat by a large tub full of chlorine all day.
"Hey, whatcha got there?" Audrey asked. She was looking at Alex's sketchbook.
"Oh this?" Alex asked. "My sketchbook for art class."
"Ooh, can I see?" Audrey asked.
"Um, sure," Alex said. He handed the sketchbook up to Audrey. Audrey flipped it open to a page depicting a charcoal drawing of JB sleeping with his head on his desk. Audrey laughed.
.... There is more of this story ...