A well paid model

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two friends, a jealous aristocrat, a lover...
A story of love and passion set in Venice.
All fiction,of course ,any resemblance to reality is a mere coincidence.

When I met Gayle, we were both young, young girls looking for something to do, something more than just being women in a world not built for them but in spite of them.

She was not yet beautiful, she was good looking, in an expectant sort of way. She was to become beautiful later on when she was hired to model haute couture clothes when magazine covers showed her smile and her body wrapped in all sorts of fabrics and her smile that somehow never reached the rest of her, leaving one to think of her as the snow queen or some other eerie creature.

She was also to become quite well off as a natural consequence to her beauty, beauty usually calls money and money looks for beauty, they need each other, one to bestow her favours, the other to possess them.

Gayle was to become rich for just a moment, no one had taught her that those stations in life are temporary, if not treated with equanimity and care.

Well, Gayle treated her fortune with detachment and little care. She never knew where her money went, she spent in a frenzy that should have scared everyone and yet failed to do so. Everyone was too busy enjoying her lovely parties, her gifts, her radiant presence. Every one but myself, I had seen my parents´wealth crumble due to poor management not to fear for her. Poverty seemed to me the most depressing of fates, the one that bespoke of years of service, of bowing unto others, of having no freedom. I feared for Gayle.

And so one day, she became poor, it took her just one bad patch for her not to be able to keep up with her expensive tastes, very much in the same way it took her one drunken bout to be fired, no one ever enjoyed seeing a model shaking in her stilettos.

So, when Gayle had only debts and faced having to live in an attic in some old building a stroke of good luck placed the Baron in her way. A friend of mine had invited all of us to one of her parties.I knew the Baron well, only too well not to be aware of what would follow...We had been friends for years, our friendship was platonic with some bouts of sexual intimacy none of us considered strong enough to form a bond that excluded others…

The moment was right to meet Gayle, when they left together she avoided my eyes and he smiled at me. I smiled back, I was losing but little, they were building their fate. Their parting confirmed my cynical belief that human bonds are but brief and at their best when they end or change into something else.

So the Baron doted on Gayle, why wouldn't he? And also taught her how to behave elegantly in the best of societies, while she taught him how to perform well in the worst of company..Their liaison was perfect in that way and many others.

And so, they started their moving around Europe, living in expensive hotels, arriving in the middle of the night only to leave days after, leaving unmade beds, drawn curtains and Gayle´s rosewater scent lingering in the stale air. In the days I had spent with the Baron we had done the same, only that I never wore any rosewater and we saw countless dawns together, after nights of talking, both secure in our friendship born out of complicity. We had kept our relationship intact throughout the years, precisely because we slept in different beds with other partners and we only joined to compare our adventures and regain strength for the future ones…

Gayle was an interruption to our liaison, albeit a welcome one. We had never played the big love game, we had explored all forms of sexuality together and had emptied our shared grail of pleasure to the very brim, we were eager for a change. Thus,I was glad to see him leave with her and he was glad to show me he was still able to sweep a woman off her feet. Everything was perfect, as usual with us.

And I, alone and melancholy, too wise to be happy and too cynical to believe in anything, called young Giancarlo to spend the night with me. He was sweet and kind,I made sure he was well paid

for his ministrations. His mother lived across the piazza, she was a nice woman, a widow who never suspected her beautiful young son was a well-appreciated escort in a circle of women who enjoyed youth and beauty and didn´t mind paying for it if necessary .I, for sure, didn't, though at times I got the idea he sort of liked me. Still, I wouldn´t, couldn't run any risks, money made things t so much easier. Money always does.

With money of her own, Gayle perhaps wouldn't have agreed to live with the Baron and the events that followed would not have taken place...Still, no one escapes destiny. We all play a game in which sooner or later we all lose.

It was at that time that Gayle´s beauty became legendary, a cameo to be preserved at all costs. The parties, the touring around hotels and palazzos, the escapades and the heights and lows of living with the Baron never seemed to erode her beauty. On the contrary, all this gave her a worldliness that would enchant and mystify many. It enchanted the Baron so much that at times he

left her alone to visit discreet brothels and spend the night in the arms of girls young enough to be his daughters, to forget Gayle for a while, for she was to him necessary as air and he needed to regain his independence from time to time, to prove he hadn't fallen hard for her. But he always returned, eager to find her waiting, among her whirlwind of discarded clothes and shoes, ready to go out, happy to see him and yet unconcerned about his previous absence...If he had given full rein to his dark desires, the ones he kept for other women, that Baron would have branded his initials on her delicate skin, to show the world she was his. He had bought her at a party, paying her debts, caring for her well being and contentment in spite of all, he knew she was damaged goods but he managed to wrap them in the soft and yet firm ropes of his obsession. He only expected her to honour her part of the contract and that Gayle managed to do quite well, so well it set him thinking it was more of a pose than real feeling.

It was then some agencies dared to call her again, to model clothes that defied gravity, comfort and circulation and she accepted, much to the Baron´s satisfaction.

He could then pursue his interests and affairs, both of the heart and lust. And he could also see me from time to time and tell me how his life was unfolding and ask me about mine.

He had never forgotten the evening I had read his fortune in the Tarot cards, after one hurried encounter in my bed, too uncomfortable for his standards and yet welcoming in every other sense. It has been then I had told him of adversaries and love and of his victory over all.I never told him the ways he would get there, no need to worry someone over things written in shifting sand and yet turned over and over by a strong wind that rendered them in the same place, to begin again…

Gayle did so well in the world of fashion that the Baron bought her a small building to do as she

pleased, she could start her own haute couture shop, her model agency, whatever she wanted. He envisioned their lives going on smoothly, his keeping of Gayle and her beauty for himself while keeping himself for the myriad of experiences he was still eager to live...The Baron was a man of passion, of many passions. Inasmuch as he loved Gayle, she was to him an eternal mystery. The Baron had little time for mysteries, they charmed him for a while and then he got out of their reach. Gayle had proved more interesting than most so he decided to keep her with him.

And thus they lived, Gayle with her clothes and fashions shows and the Baron with his businesses around Europe, his open and known love for Gayle and his secrets tastes that knew no boundaries…

And thus I also lived, their friend, the one who loved them both, enjoying their presence when available, missing them when they were gone. I loved the Baron with that love that is resigned to loss and bereavement, the kind of love that hides under the mere mask of desire lest its intensity be revealed...I loved Gayle because we had grown up together and had found each other´s company agreeable. But who did Gayle love? We despaired to find an answer to that question, the Baron more than myself because he had paid full price for her,I had merely moved out of their way, something not so difficult when a woman realizes one man is very much like the other, provided he likes pleasure and can give it to his lovers, be these occasional or regular…

Our lives had a way of unfolding in a leisurely manner we should have found almost frightening in its perfection ...but we were only too human and felt entitled to our relative albeit real happiness.

And then, it happened. There is always that moment in some lives when something changes everything, something unexpected, sometimes disguised as a blessing, a retrieve, but most of the times lethal...Gayle was to meet Him, the lover, the one that came into her life, carrying bliss and sorrow as his gift...

The Baron saw it at once, he saw it all, or so he thought and turned a blind eye. All this went on till it became too much even for the Baron to ignore. The calls at odd times, the cryptic texts allowed by the technology that had crept into our lives, the dreamy look in Gayle´s eyes...all bespoke of a sexual tension precluding a passion too intense to be denied, too strong to be forsaken, too unique to be left aside.

And so, they succumbed to it. They met in the darkest corners of Venice at night, they kissed in old doorways, they became one on the steps of ancient houses..They craved each other with a hunger that was too much for any of them to bear apart from the other. Somehow they always managed to meet under the nose of the Baron and his friends.

I saw all and kept it to myself. After all...the Baron had his entertainments that were far more savoury than kisses and love in doorways. But, being human nature quite perverse, the lovers would not be allowed their happiness. The Baron, so inclined to share his virility and his whip in boudoirs and brothels alike, would not be generous in what he regarded to Gayle. He grew jealous to the point of forbidding her to venture out, something Gayle found unbearable and caused her many tears.

I found his behaviour in very poor taste. A man of the world does not engage in petty jealousy, he knows affairs come and go so he does not fret, just waits for his time to claim what and who belong to him. Still, this affair seemed determined to stay, it proved to be more than a release of sexual tension and threatened to affect the Baron´s domestic contentment. It never occurred to him Gayle had never pried into his secret life, and if she had done so she would have kept quiet about it…

But...he had bought her, she had not bought him, that was clear. So, he asked her to choose and to choose wisely. Wisely meant to let her lover go, to put her newly awakened desire to sleep and to resume her life of fashion and luxury.

Gayle refused, she would not give her lover up, she could not give her life up. The Baron was horrified at her intensity and so, with the guile of the gambler that he was, that he had always been, he reminded her of the passing years, the small lines around her eyes that would become so visible all of a sudden when no longer under candlelight, he reminded her of the fact her lover was so young and so would tire of her...Still, Gayle refused.

The Baron despaired, he had not found a woman who would not crack under pressure, except for myself but then,I did not count, for he had never put me to any test.

So, he decided to address the lover only to find the same wretched reluctance,

So the Baron grew tired and sent two thugs to advise the young man to go. To this very day, I ignore the methods they used to convince him. The lover left Venice, with a heavy heart but his body in one piece. He had sworn to himself he would come back for her but he never did.

The Baron bought Gayle another local, she hired a designer and models started flowing in, lovely girls only too happy to work for Madame la Baronesse, as Gayle liked to be called out of her harmless vanity...The Baron, who had never thought of marrying her, seemed at that time to entertain the idea...after all, the years together, the many hotels visited, the cities that had welcomed them counted for something...And yet…

Gayle and the Baron went back to their old life, before the Lover. She seemed somehow older and I knew it was not the mere passing of time. She seemed even more beautiful but her beauty had a streak of finality that warned me something was not right. The Baron looked, if possible, more self-assured than ever.

He visited me one afternoon and told me the story, I listened with the expected attention and served us some wine. We drank looking at the sunset, no words were needed between us. The story lingered in the air and we parted in silence.I slept alone that night.

The following morning they left Venice to go to Paris. I was told they looked happy together.

Life was what it used to be, or so it seemed to me at the moment but I was wrong…

Days passed, I kept busy, out of need and also a desire to forget them for a while, to forget everything and live quietly among my books and writings. But even this proved impossible

and so, one morning I decided to leave Venice for a while, to see the world on my own.I would be a traveller without a destination, going around cities of beauty, dreaming of love, pleasure and destiny…

One morning among mornings,I ended up in Paris. It was a cloudy day, even the weather was sadly appropriate for the events that would follow…

Madame Charcot, the owner of the little hotel where I stayed, handed me the newspaper that morning. She was a small woman,with a shrewd look about her that masked a great deal of kindness and a greater deal of Gallic logic...I had stayed at her hotel before so we knew each other and as my French had always been passably good she had accepted me as a companion more than a guest.

And so, that morning, when she handed me the newspaper and my coffee, I knew something was terribly wrong. And she knew I knew.” Pauvre Madame”, she said. I don´t know to this very day if she meant her or me, or both.

There it was, in the newspaper. Gayle was dead, she had shot herself accidentally while cleaning some guns in the Baron´s house in the country. As far as I knew, Gayle had no interest in firearms...I could not imagine her wanting to clean them...And as for the Baron, he did not keep them loaded…

The bullet had worked its way into Gayle´s perfect body with a precision a surgeon would have envied. The housekeeper had found her in the early morning, not yet dead and no longer fully alive. She called for help, help came but that there was no use.

When the Baron arrived, she was already dead. When the police came, they found him holding his dearest possession in his arms.

The police officers asked the routine questions, he answered calmly. No one suspected him of anything, after all, he had spent the night at a party with his friends, seen by everyone. No one asked why he had been there on his own, everyone knew the Baron and the Baronesse entertained different tastes.

The Baron himself told me these details when I joined him in the country. To say he was devastated would be to underrate his pain, to say he would eventually be resigned to his loss would be foolish. He just did not belong to the kind of men who accepted either loss or pain, he was intent on having his own way even when such a thing was utterly impossible.

And it was then when I remembered the Tarot card reading of years before,I had seen doom and had failed to tell him, I had seen and yet had chosen to keep silent, afraid of his volatile reactions...Surely one day I would forgive myself but not before a long time. Nevertheless, there was nothing that I could have done, events had unfolded with a life of their own.

We returned to Venice together, the Baron to his place and myself to my old flat near the piazza. Eventually, he went back to his affairs and pleasures,I returned to Giancarlo´s embrace.

  1. lives seemed to have returned to normal but something is missing. Gayle´s absence looms over us. Years pass and soon we will have no one to talk to about her, we talk little about her ourselves.

The Baron and I have taken to spending some evenings together, we find some comfort in each other's presence. The setting sun often finds us looking at old buildings, the same ones that once sheltered Gayle and her lover´s encounters. The first star never finds us there, we can't desecrate those shrines to their passion with our presence, we have agreed on that and find it natural to honour our agreement.

Only one thing goes through my mind all the time, Gayle had also been invited to that party, she had pleaded tired and had chosen to stay in. The Baron had not felt inclined to go but she had encouraged him to do so, she had almost insisted on it as if she wanted him out of her way. You need people out of your way when you are intent on being out of their lives soon...To this very day, I can´t understand why he had not found her insistence suspicious.


Submitted: September 25, 2020

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