Fiona walked about the rooftop, restless. The stars were practically on top of her, along with her own photographs hung up everywhere. She loved the attention, she always had.
Ever since Shanghai, when she was there with Eliza, it was all that she relished. The attention that she got because of her own talent. Photographs had always been her map to the world, the way she absorbed things and the way she translated everything. Holding her camera, the circles she made around this earth, everything that was in her eyes was in her pictures. It did not matter if it was the supremely beautiful, or the most common of things for her as an artist. It made her smile because she had told Alice about her love of Jean Dubuffet, who loved to highlight the most basic of things. Alice had introduced her to her boss Polly, who had just acquired a Dubuffet as a surprise in Paris. They were negotiating now the private sale of the painting.
Fiona smiled even more when she thought of Alice. The beautiful girl had wandered into her vision through a crowd in Paris, like she was tumbling down the hole and Fiona felt like the bunny that led her down. She could tell when they first met that Alice was starstruck, Fiona’s reputation as a lothario of sorts was out there and a lot of girls wanted to be her next conquest. But that was just it, Fiona wanted a conquest. Someone she had to chase. Well she used to, anyone she could not get that was who she wanted. She had to admit that that was part of her love for Eliza. Not that it negated her love, but she had to admit where it was coming from.
But as she talked to Alice, she saw that she was really smart about art, self-possessed and that she liked her.
Alice was the reason she had agreed to this birthday shindig at the gallery which she was going to veto, but she wanted to see Alice again. As it turned out, she was with Polly when they went in the private viewing room to look at the Dubuffet earlier which made Fiona’s heart burst with joy as soon as she saw it. The almost fecal tones, it was that earthy and she loved it. She started snapping pictures of it, and one she snapped while Alice was looking at it. Alice’s side profile defined with her lovely head cocked to one side, and her hips thrust out.
Fiona liked her, and judging by the way Alice looked at her with alternate smiles, or avoiding her eyes she was pretty sure Alice really liked her.
It was with the stars on top of her, and with a birthday cake on the table covered in edible gold and silver stars, that Alice appeared. With her hair out, Alice effortlessly made the transition from day to night. A touch more makeup and glitter, made her shine more than all of the stars in the sky to Fiona.
“I was wondering where you were,” she said to Alice, watching her sentence register over her face.
“I had to finish up some work, but I told you I would be here. Especially since Polly could not make it…”
“Let us eat cake then!” Fiona took Alice’s hand in hers, and the softness of Alice’s hand felt like a soft fire in hers. “I eat cake on my birthday, but I want more champagne really!”
“I barely like sweets,” Alice said.
They cut into the buttercream-filled layer cake, and took one piece. Fiona piled stars on their slice, laughing as people watched her pile on the stars. Balancing two glasses of champagne,
they took the cake back out onto the roof, Eating cake to distract her from staring at Alice, Fiona captured a forkful with lots of buttercream frosting and a small star. She let it hover over Alice’s mouth. Alice looked surprised, but she opened her mouth to accept the cake. Fiona took out her phone, knocked a glass of champagne off the ledge of the roof, and took a picture of Alice. When Alice looked like she was protesting, she took more pictures and continued to feed her cake.
“You’re beautiful,” she said finally, as she filled Alice’s beautiful mouth with the last scraping of buttercream frosting.
“Thank you,” Alice said quietly.
Fiona’s eyes lifted toward the stars, as she fingered the frosting-smeared plate.
“What was your birthday wish? I see you looking at the stars, and I was not here when you blew out the candles.”
Fiona stared at Alice, turned to face her fully, pushed out her hips and lowered her lids.
“I wished for you.”
Fiona whirled away from Alice, and mingled with the crowd. She had not been drinking, but she barely heard anything that was being said because all she was thinking about and feeling was Alice. When Alice left, she was no longer there either.
It was awhile before she left herself, but she eventually did and got into the car that was waiting for her. Alice sat by the window. When Alice turned and looked at her, Fiona leaned forward and pressed her lips to the mouth that she had photographed on the roof, focusing on it like a Tom Wesselmann. Alice moved into her, and Fiona pulled Alice’s legs over her own and felt herself click like a key had been turned between her legs. Fiona closed her eyes, and before she did she saw the stars in the sky. Such a heavenly view, she heard that fragment of Coldplay’s ‘Sky Full of Stars’ in her head as they kissed. Alice’s soft fire turned hard, as their kisses deepened.
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tom wesselmann study for smoking via google images