I must hurry before it’s too late. The painting really intrigued me. Alex Dupont. Who the hell is he? Anyway, I have to get it before I feel regret for the entire life. Karen Russell, at twenty-seven, was lovely looking, with a slim figure, shiny brown hair and a warm. She had just moved and worked for the US government in Russia and loved to collect the famous paintings. Karen was walking very hard on the thick soft snow. It seemed to her that the entire city was wrapped in a mantle of pure white snow and the icy December wind herded the Christmas shoppers toward the comfort of their homes. I wish I could park my car just in front of the Dom Naschokina, so I do not need to walk like this.
Five minutes later…
Thank God, finally! Karen reached the house of Nashokin. The old mansion was a beautifully designed house with tall ceilings, lovely skylights, a handsome and unique decoration staircase, and antique hardwood floors. The oak door was open. It was already filled with a lot of people. A dozen valuable paintings were hanging on the walls nicely. And Karen was heading toward the painting that she has been dreaming since a couple of days. She was not interested in others as she used to be. She just loved that painting. There you are! Thank God, it’s still here. Karen loosens the scarf which was wrapped around the neck. And she kept looking at the painting and smiling alone. Amazing! Alex Dupont. How could he paint it so real? It looks absolutely real!
An early thirty wildly attractive, tall and lean, good looking with boyish looks and easy was approaching and asking Karen “Mogu li ya pomoch’vam, Miss?
Karen was surprised. Her cheeks were blushing. She did not expect someone caught her whilst she was smiling alone.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Oh, Izvini”. My apology thought that you are from here”
Karen looked at him and smiled “it’s OK”.
“Vam eto nravitsya? I mean, do you like it?
“Oh yes, I do. I love that”, she said. “And I…
“Let me introduce myself”, he extended his hand. “I am Alex Dupont, the painter”, Alex said and smiled.
“I am Karen Russell, just call me Karen. I am a kind of paintings collector, well, I love them” she said. “Two days ago I came here to have a look around and interested to buy that one”, she pointed her finger at the big painting in the corner. “But then, I passed this hall and stopped by to look at your painting closer. It’s exotic and I love that!”
“Spasiba.,Thank you! I am honored to get the kind of words from someone like you who really knows the taste of the master arts”, Alex smiled shyly.
“Well, Mr. Dupont…”
“Alex, hmm…how much would you sell that for me?” sorry for being straightforward”, she asked and smiled.
Karen was sitting on the long soft white sofa in her living room and staring at the painting that she had just bought. Two beautiful young women and naked transformed into a butterfly and a mermaid. The mermaid was in the crystal pool, hugged and kissed the butterfly. They were in love. Alex added the beautiful flowers around and made the painting became more excited and exotic. This is my first time I love a painting from the unknown painter. And Alex? He had intelligent blue eyes. Geez, I cannot stop thinking about him. Am I now fallen in love with a man? Alex was so real and wonderful.
The telephone rang. Alex. Karen hanged up the phone. Right! Café Pushkin. Love it!
“Dinner was so delicious; this is my first time I ate Russian dishes” Karen said and smiled. “The broth? I love that and the meat with fresh steamed vegetables was cooked exactly the way I liked it,” she wiped her mouth with the red napkin. “And I did not expect that I could finish all!” she smiled and seemed embarrassed.
He looked across the table at her and said “moi aussie!” “I love the foods here. You know, I am French and been here for 10 years now. “And the mostly exactly what I love is the cocktail. That was just great!’, he tossed his glass to her. She tossed it back and smiled and asked, “and why…”Karen leaned across the table and said, “never mind”…
Alex smiled. “Vse normal’no”.I know what you would like to ask. Well, I am personally liking the Russian artists. To me, they are just different. One day, I went to visit The Tretyakov Gallery and it was amazing. And one gentleman approached me. He showed me his great art collections. And you know what? I was feeling so lucky. His name was Yuri Kuper. He was one of the greatest artists in Russia. We had a long conversation and finally he offered me to come by his studio and willing to teach me further about the arts. Ever since, I decided to live in Moscow. It was just a wonderful experience to me”
“That’s really great, Alex. You are a talented artist!”
“Merci, mademoiselle Karen”
“Avec plaisir!” she blinked and smiled.
Alex reached Karen’s hand and kissed it. His hand was so soft. Oh God, my heart was pondering. What is wrong with me? Alex was so beautiful and his eyes were just like a magic to me.
“Karen, would you mind if I take you to my studio? I will show you my collections and it’s just a walking distance from here.
“I would love to”, she smiled excitedly.
Because it was early December, Moscow and like other cities in Russia was preparing for the holiday season. The streets of the capital were decorated with Christmas lights and wreaths of holly and on almost every corner on the street Santa Clauses stood, tolling their bells for coins and children were running around them laughing and enjoying that moment, the Christmas spirit. The sidewalks were crowded with shoppers braving the icy winds.
Ten minutes later…
Alex’s studio was on Tverskaya Street, in a quiet residential section. A beautiful and clean, modest brick, white building with gorgeous garden and a small fountain were so attractively designed. Alex opened the door for her. Bookshelves lined the walls and a fireplace with a deep hearth already had wood laid for a fire. One large leather sofa was placed in the corner. The walls painted in white and Marlene Dietrich portrait hanging there; and the furnishing less masculine. The smell of lavender air freshener made them feel relaxed. Alex led her to the back of the house and what looked like his studio.
Alex grabbed Karen’s hand gently. “Would you like to have a look around?”
Karen was amazed and said “This is awesome! You have great paintings and portraits! And you would be a great painter, one day, well, you are!!!”
Alex took her closer and touched the curve of her face with tender. He kissed her lips softly. Karen did not protest it. She felt the earth below her melt away and all time stopped for that moment. “Gosh, he is a really good kisser and I enjoyed it!”
He drifted down onto her neck. The wonderful silky neck of a woman is to a joy to kiss and nibble. He moved down to her body, kissing every inch of her skin. Karen seemed to love it. Goodness sake, I love the way he touches and kisses me. Karen pulled him up and kissed his lips passionately. She took off his jacket and unbuttoned the shirt. Her mouth was open, she was staring at beautiful breasts. And Alex sealed it with a kiss.
“Yes, Karen. I am a woman I mne nravitsya, vy tak mnogo.
I like you too, Alex. Now I got it! I became what I am now is not my choice. I just follow my heart to be with someone who made me happy. Feelings! Karen looked at a beautiful and peaceful face who was sleeping next to her. No matter how hard you try to be looked alike a man, you are still a woman, nurturing and compassionate. Alexa Dupont. That was your real name.
MockBa, Dec 1997. Karen Russell.