Missionary Position(5)

By: Daisy Prescott

I spent the rest of my afternoon looking at fleshy women romping or lying around in the buff. I was born in the wrong century. The failed diets of my twenties and thirties proved it. My curvy body refused to be svelte and a size zero. Hell, it hadn’t seen single digits since college. Rubens and his contemporaries honored every roll, flap, curve, and expanse with loving detail. Where were those men today? And how could I find one?

Outside, I discovered a warm and surprisingly sunny afternoon. People basking in warm sunlight crowded the park adjoining the museums. I decided to walk to my little hotel. Boats navigated the canals and anyone who owned a bicycle appeared to be riding it through the streets. Like the Pacific Northwest, the Dutch were accustomed to gray and rain. Sun was something to be celebrated.

After changing into a red jersey dress, which would be appropriate for the reception and meeting Gerhard, I took a tram to the auction house. My dress said “smart but sexy in a classy and not harlot way” … I hoped.

Smartly dressed men in suits and women in pencil skirts and pearls stood in small groups on the sidewalk outside of the elegant brick facade of the auction house. I fluffed the scarf I’d wrapped around my shoulders and entered the crowd. Most of these people came to socialize and be seen, but a few top collectors of African art would also be in attendance.

After accepting a glass of champagne from a waiter, I made my way through the throng, looking for a single familiar face while trying to appear confident. To be honest, I loathed these schmoozing events. Being short meant I spent most of the evening staring at backs and boobs. Worse, most major art collectors collected for investment rather than love. They’d rather talk about increased value over historical importance. In other words, a big collection, like an expensive sports car, might have been compensating for a small penis.

I found open space near a display of sculptures. Scanning the room of schmoozers, I noticed a tall blond man in a beautifully tailored navy suit. He was holding court with a group of men in similar, expensive, perfectly tailored suits and a couple of women teetering on sky high heels, acting as arm candy. My own foolish bravery dared to combine kitten heels and cobblestones, knowing it could end badly after a cocktail. I was living on the edge.

Mr. Navy met my eye, and I quickly glanced away. I stared at the sculpture next to me, pretending to read its description on the pedestal. It took me a minute to clear my head enough to realize the sculpture had an obscenely large phallus and I stood eye-level with it. No way could he have walked around with such a penis.

I laughed softly and went to take another sip of champagne. My empty glass signaled the need for another, and I searched the room for waiters. One stood near the cluster around the handsome blond, and I headed in his direction. Free champagne meant I was a woman on a mission—art history professors don’t make a lot of money.

As I reached for a fresh flute, Mr. Navy Suit took the last full glass from the waiter, leaving only a tray of empty glasses. My frustration came out as an audible sigh. I added my own empty flute to the collection and looked around for the bar.

“Here, you should have this.” The deep voice had a slight Dutch accent. A hand moved the champagne into my line of sight.

I lifted my eyes up to the navy clad arm holding the glass, and then further up to a pair of eyes the color of the cold water of the North Sea.

“Oh, I couldn’t.” I attempted to be polite while concentrating on not openly gaping at his handsome features.

“No, I insist. Ladies should always come first.” His sea-colored eyes sparkled.

Although confident the double-entendre had been lost in translation from Dutch to English, my body still flushed over his words.

He let his fingers brush mine when I accepted the glass. I noticed he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome—” A red taloned hand on his arm cut off his words.

“Darling, Gustav asked you a question.”

“Enjoy the champagne,” Mr. Navy Suit said, returning his attention to his companions.

I’d been summarily and impressively dismissed with a single “darling”. Typical.

I spotted one of the curators across the room. Her stylish, yet simple maroon dress and sensible shoes were an island of comfortable familiarity in a sea of ostentatious display.

After greeting me warmly, Martha commented, “I saw you chatting with one of the men from TNG, our sponsors.” She gestured to Mr. Navy Suit’s group.

Of course the suits were bankers. Business men, especially wealthy ones, were so very, very not my type—even less my type than backpacking boys who could be in boy bands. My first college lover became a wealthy banker. I guess at one point they might have been my type. Briefly. Really only the one time.

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