Garrett grinned, left the box where it lay and moved slowly to an easel near the far wall. On it was a portrait of an elderly woman. Each brush stroke captured the lines in her face, the kindness around her eyes, and there was something impish in her smile. There was a very lovely photograph taped to the easel that the painting was apparently based on, but Patrick's painting gave the woman far more personality.
"I'm not an art critic or anything, but I like this one. She looks like she's ready to jump off the canvas at me and tell me a dirty joke. You can really make a living doing this?" Garrett asked, forgetting himself. He stepped sideways as a stack of paintings leaning against the arm of a wooden captain's chair caught his eye. He blinked at the one on the top of the stack twice before realizing that he was, in fact, looking down at a nude portrait. A nude portrait of a very handsome, and very well-hung, man.
Patrick laughed, answering the question Garrett had already forgotten he'd asked, "Oh, yes. You'd be surprised."
"You sell these, too?"
Patrick cleared his throat and Garrett snapped out of whatever fascinated, hormone-driven trance he'd been in. "Not often."
"I have three paintings to go out today, Garrett. They're all by the front door."
"Oh, I'll take care of them." Garrett's cheeks burned, but fortunately most people couldn't tell when he blushed. His mother was African and his father Haitian and together they'd made one very dark-skinned son.
"Oh, no," Garrett lied as he headed out of the room. But lies never sat well with him, so he stopped and looked at Patrick. "I just wasn't expecting--"
"Portraits of beautiful men?" Patrick sounded almost coy.
"There are more," Patrick offered. "Would you like to see?"
Torn, Garrett hesitated in the doorway.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sure you have other stops you need to make, Garrett." Patrick lingered near the paintings, his eyes saying more than his words. "Thank you for helping me with that box."
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