This e-book file may contain adult scenes and language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
The Prince and the Painter (Box Set)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Emily Carrington
Excerpt from The Prince and the Painter (Part 1)
Jason stared helplessly at a blank piece of paper after the teacher was done explaining their first lesson in androgyny. This class is too advanced for me. He could draw stick people. Hell, he could draw graphs full of figures and parabolas. He could even draw the mathematically correct plans for a simple architectural structure. But this… Forms and lines, shading and curves… He was lost.
Thank God it was only the first week of classes and he could quit this one and find another.
In the meantime, he was caught by the androgynous wo/man reclining on the block in the center of the room. Aaron — or Erin — wouldn’t be his first crush on a not-quite-male-or-female person, and surely s/he wouldn’t be the last. There was something beautiful, artful about an androgynous human being. In a way that had nothing to do with the androgyny of buildings and animals, people who could be either male or female, or maybe some alternative to these two opposites, were simply nature’s gift to the world.
Jason concentrated on one of the model’s eyes and drew that. The shape wasn’t exactly circular, but starting from a geometrically perfect arc helped him keep the basic curve. He made the pupil and iris before drawing the outside. It was far from perfect, but he thought he’d caught the slight upturn at the corner that seemed to reflect the model’s smile.
When Jason sat back, he realized he was sweating. Shaking his hair out of his eyes, he looked at his picture. It didn’t look exactly like the eye before him, but it did at least look like someone’s eye. Then he glanced at the clock and saw thirty minutes had passed. How was he possibly going to finish the rest of the drawing?
He cursed under his breath. That single eye took up most of the top half of the page.
On the platform, the model adjusted position, leaning on elbows that looked near as pointy as a protractor’s needle. In fact, all of the model’s features — face, arms, legs, chest — were narrow. They had a chin like a triangle and cheekbones like two half circles. That doesn’t sound flattering at all, but damn if s/he doesn’t look hot with those features.
Giving up on squeezing the rest of a face onto the first sheet, Jason put this one at the bottom of his stack. Then he tried drawing the angle of the elbow on the block and the shadow under it.
This drawing failed miserably. Too bad they’re aren’t as easy on the pencil as they are on the eyes. Jason smirked in spite of his failure and shuffled this drawing also to the bottom of the pile.
The model’s eyes sparkled as if s/he knew what Jason was thinking.
By the time the class was over, Jason had six failed drawings and no progress.
“If you check the class website on Poster –” the SUNY Besker website “– you can choose one of Aaron’s poses to draw. Your first drafts are due Wednesday.” And the teacher began packing up.
Jason got up and approached her. “I wanted to let you know I’ll be dropping this class.” He realized he’d brought two of his drawings with him and showed her, feeling shamefaced.
She took the pictures, studied them for a moment, and then said, “I think this class is too advanced for you.”
Everyone else was leaving. Jason nodded.
“Don’t give up on it, if art is what you really want to do,” she told him. “But learning to swim by falling into the deep end is really not the best way to go.”
Jason winced. He returned to his desk to collect his failures. What was I thinking, working with live models?
“You didn’t draw anything?” the model asked from behind him.
Jason groaned and covered his face. “Yeah,” he told the unknown voice because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut, “but it all looks like shit.”
“Let me see.” A delicate hand with long fingers took Jason’s stack of paper and shuffled through. “I like this one.”
Jason looked up into the guy’s face, knowing the model was male because of his voice. His narrow face held a pair of hypnotic, dark brown eyes. “Which one? They’re all pretty terrible.” That was an understatement.
Aaron retreated to the raised platform in the middle of the room and hiked one skinny hip up onto it. “I like this one,” he repeated, and then showed Jason the drawing of his eye.
Jason shook his head. “That one’s okay, but it’s not small enough. If I could even fit your nose in there it would be a miracle.”
“You just need a bigger piece of paper.” He slid off the edge and returned the drawing. “You haven’t taken an art class before?”
“Is it that obvious?”
“Not from your work, from your face.” Aaron grinned. “Let me see that page again.”
He bent over Jason’s eye drawing, flipped the paper over, and wrote something on the back with one of Jason’s pencils. “Here. Try this book. It’ll make your life easier, especially if this isn’t your passion.”
Jason read the underlined title and frowned. “It sounds like a biology book.”
Aaron laughed. “It’s an art book. I promise. But it’s more enjoyable and less technical than most.” He headed for the door. “I’ll see you later, Jason.”
Don’t let this one go. Jason blinked, unsurprised and a little annoyed to hear his friend, Shawn’s, voice in his head. But he called, “Hold up a minute. I’ll walk out with you.” He shoved his paper together, grabbed his pencils and the bag everything had come out of, and rushed to join Aaron at the door.
“I’m headed upstairs to do more work,” Aaron said. “But you can walk me as far as the stairs if you want.” He said this without looking at Jason, and there was something chilly in his tone.
Jason kept pace. “You’re an art major?” he asked just to be saying something.
Aaron nodded but didn’t ask anything in return.
I’m losing him. “You’re a great model. You really know how to, um, hold still?”
That got him the flash of a smile. “Thanks. It’s harder than it looks. Especially if your nose itches.” They’d reached the stairs and Aaron said, “Bye,” as he went up.
Jason stood at the bottom, retreating a little as other students rushed around him. He watched Aaron’s ass in the tight jeans until other asses, most less attractive, cut off his view. Then, mildly disappointed, he headed away from the stairs and toward the front of the building.
Go after him.