Monday, May 11, 2009

Chapter 12

Since Jasmine’s and my encounter on the daphne path, a few months had gone by and the project was finally drawing to a close. At that point, we were only waiting for the final building inspection sign -off and the cleaning crew. Faraday was very pleased with the final result, almost giddy. How anyone could be so excited about a bathroom, I didn’t know. But, as Faraday first confided to me, it was his source of inspiration, his place for brainstorms, his thinking spot, or should I say, pot. So, I guessed that he was really glad to have it back. I wondered if his work had really suffered at all because of its absence. He had been gone an awful lot during the construction.

All of the finish work had been completed by Paul. All of his subs had been long gone by then and the estate was nearly empty of work crew. Trevor and Bruce had quit circling us like flies on shit and generally left me alone, except to remind me when the project would be done and when I could leave, permanently.

Back at my office, I was cleaning up and organizing my paperwork for Faraday’s project into bins for reference. Unfortunately, this project wouldn’t be making it into any design magazines or trade papers. I had signed the confidentiality agreement with Faraday that I would never publish my pictures or plans. At our last meeting, I felt like he was already ordering my cement shoes at the last meeting. Just business, he assured me, but the hairs standing up on my neck and spine didn’t hear it that way. I guessed that he had just wanted to press the issue and make sure his words and our agreement had made a permanent indentation in my brain.

This was supposed to have been a project that would make my name in the design community and get me some real “money” clients. Especially after the circus folk I had endured through it all. Jasmine had said that it would be good for me and my business, and I believed her. Through the leaks, I had received a few more clients to help fill the expense coffers. But once this project was over and, unless all of Faraday’s friends and associates used his crapper, how would anyone see the fantastic bathroom design and want to hire me? I could only hope now that Faraday would refer me to his friends and that Jasmine would continue to follow suit more publicly. To give both of them props, Faraday always paid and he never questioned my fees or expenses. Jasmine was always a good referral and really hadn’t let me down (if she indeed was the leak). I myself had put up the high hopes for the exposure. Four steps forward, one and a half back.

I was telling Paul all this after a final meeting with Faraday before he went off to Asia for the millionth time. We were driving up Highway One towards Malibu on a beautiful, sunny Saturday headed for Paradise Cove to spend the day at the beach.

“The jobs will come. Don’t worry.” Paul reassured me. “This whole year has been a good experience for you. When I started doing work for Faraday, the jobs trickled in at first, but
then they gushed in and I had to turn a lot away before I hired a crew.”

“Well I hope you’re right. I love having my own design firm, but for the rough, penniless slogging, misery does love company. The design work is trickling in. If it gets to be much more, I’m going to have to hire an assistant. Until then, I can’t afford to have anyone share the trenches with me. It does get overwhelming,” I said.

“You have me.”

“I know and I love you, but you’re not in the office everyday with me and my other projects,” I said. ”Just having someone to chat with would be great and it would boost my moral to see another face in my office when I come through the front door. Especially one that would do my bidding.”

“I thought that was my job already,” Paul teased me. Then, seriously, he said, “What’s really wrong, babe? Are you unhappy with how things turned out?”

“No, no, I’m not unhappy. I think I’m just exhausted and talking out of my ass. My own way of relaxing. What I really need is this vacation weekend we’re taking and some stiff drinks.”

“And a lot of lovin’, I hope?” added Paul, placing his hand on my thigh and giving it a warm squeeze.

“Oh, yes, I need lots of that!” I laughed, releasing some nervous tension. I snuggled down into the bucket seat and lit a cigarette.

“Oh, God, smoking! And in the car,” Paul said, exasperated. He was really trying to get me to quit. Although I had once gotten him to confess that he secretly did love the smell of whiskey, cigarettes and my perfume all over his shirts. Hee, hee. He’s just looking out for my longevity

“Hey! It’s a convertible and a rental,” I defensively and took a long drag.

We arrived at Paradise Cove, paid our twenty bucks to rent butt space on the beach and spent the rest of the day alternately lounging, drinking, laughing, and napping. At one low population point, we snuck around the outcropping and indulged ourselves in some vertical mambo action. That was exhilarating! Secretly, I wished someone was watching us. I was such a horn dog with that thought. Paul thought he’d really found my ‘On’ button. He came twice with me. God, I loved that man.

Around dusk, after a relaxing soak in the warm ocean, we made our way into the restaurant and ate a leisurely dinner, discussing future career plans and even a bit about our own future together. That was tenuous, but not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. He started it so I guess I was off the stereotypical hook. After dinner, we went out onto the beach deck with our drinks and settled into the deck chairs with complimentary blankets.

“God, I would love to live here,” I sighed.

“Yeah, it would be the greatest. A real bum’s life that I could get used to,” replied Paul. “You know Faraday has a beach house here, just down the road actually.”

“Really? Would he ever let us stay there?” I asked, visions of sun-drenched mornings and celebrity-studded beaches.

“I don’t know. I never had any reason to ask him before,” said Paul. Never had a reason before, huh? This guy is nuts to still dig me so much. I'll have to remember to get his head examined.

“You know we’ll have to tell him about us soon,” He added. I hadn’t thought about that and had forgotten that Paul and I were still keeping our relationship mum. It had become so routine, every little cover up, every white lie. It would feel weird to finally reveal it to the world. Would that be the jinx?

“Well, now that we aren’t working together anymore, what does it matter?” I asked. “Faraday can’t make me sign a contract to stay away from you.”

“I know. It doesn’t. I just thought of that important detail. You know, that he still doesn’t know,” said Paul.

“You make it sound like Faraday’s your dad.” I laughed. “And we’re not supposed to be together because I’m not worthy.”

“Well…” Paul chuckled. “I’ll ask him about staying at the house when he gets back from his trip.” He leaned over and kissed me under the jaw while cupping my bikinied breast with his warm hand. Electricity surged from my tail bone to my molars.

“Cool,” I said. I wrapped the deck blanket around me and sipped my hot toddy to quench the flame rising from below. I would need some rest for the highly anticipated morning sex of our vacation, my favorite.

The air was getting crisp as summer was again ratcheting down to fall. The moon hung close to the ocean, the waves below like the fox jumping for the grapes. I hoped our view from the bed and breakfast was as good as this was from the bar deck. The moon looked like it was ready to give birth and a thousand spiders would spill from its womb.

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