He loved the way her hair smelt, how her bones rested on his, the breaths that went in and out of her body, her personality. At that moment he loved how vulnerable and adorable she looked when she was asleep as she laid on his big torso. Her thin brunette hair sprayed across the bed, her Spanish soul resting, her sharp eyes tucked underneath her eyelids, far away in the deep land of sleep.
It was 5am; he woke early again! He sat up and his mind ran away with thoughts. It became a habit he surrendered too, as if it was a sacrifice for begin a word smith, like when a person sugar coats their problems to avoid dealing with them. Originally he wanted to be a poet, painting developed later.
They rode along a country street which was a little south of Granada. The old rustic buildings were on either side of them, the sound of the small angry dog yapped as usual when it heard people passing its garden. This road led to the local grocers where they bought their shopping. Erika road in front of him. She was very skinny, most of the time barefoot or sandals. Her red skirt blew in the warm thirty plus degree air exposing her tanned, white skinny legs. A couple of dark haired men, unwashed and a beer in hand made flirtatious remarks as Erika passed them. However it didn't bother him, he was the type to see such things as a compliment.
He (name Alejandro) held the basket like a gentleman as Erika picked items off the shelves. Both of them were Spanish. Erika was from Oviedo, Alejandro was from Madrid. They met at the Salamanca University and then moved to Granada to start a proper life together-she wanted to teach, he wanted to write and paint.
Erika walked confidently, her hips moved from side to side with effortless sassiness. When the two of them reached the end of the isle, a lurking mysterious man with darting eyes was hovering close by. His attention was inappropriate as it watched Erika’s bum, and then he pinched it.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” Erika yelled.
The outburst made people at the other end of the store jump; a woman carrying a box of eggs dropped them and they exploded over her feet. The perverted man leaped out of his skin. Everyone seemed to flinch except Alejandro because he had seen that side to Erika many times, he knew it well; Erkia had a ferocious temper-destructive and dangerous.
“Sorry” the strange man said.
Alejandro paced to the man and punched him in the face, the guy crashed to the floor. Standing proud, Alejandro had a good punch, it was a macho thing he took seriously in life.
“DON’T YOU EVER PUT YOUR HANDS ON ME MOTHER FUCKER” Erika continued to yell as Alejandro pulled her away.
Later that day in the evening, paella fizzed in the pans which Erika occupied in total charge. She added a heap of chorizo along with chilli peppers. Alejandro was occupying a separate bowl, he was massaging the sauce with a big wooden spoon. He felt Erika liked spice and peppers too much, it was something she got from her family. When he stopped to look at his partner he saw her slight back facing him, her thin arms possessing the strength of five times its own. That was another thing he loved about Erika; her fire. He kissed her gently on the neck which sent warm waves down her back. Her sharp lips stretched, the little but bossy “purr” she made expressed she enjoyed it. But Alejandro felt another feeling immediately after that-change-and that was because Erika was different to him with affection.
At bed time, Alejandro touched Erika’s thighs and stroked the tips of his fingers down to her feet. The slightest contact like the sharp end of two pins touched each other. He kissed her legs gently, holding his lips longer on her breasts. His mind was engaged at this point as he knew Erika liked this spot (all woman did.) Erika’s eyes rolled back into her head, her grip on Alejandro’s hair held tighter. The excitement in her soul wanted to unleash her wild side (her favourite side) but out of courtesy she didn’t. She was used to getting her own way and selfish in sex.
Alejandro licked her neck and slid his tongue to her ear. By now he was hot and aroused, but half his mind and body was in Erika’s body; he didn’t want her to get bored. He opened one of his eyes and saw Erika’s were closed, when her head wasn’t facing his it meant she was bored. Alejandro was disappointed, he knew this was how they differed in sex and is what put the dent in their relationship-she liked it rough and he liked it passionate.
It was 5am again. Alejandro was in the room next to the bedroom. Only the lamp which had the height of a man was on. Alejandro was painting; he brushed a pale blue stroke against a mustard and orange background to create the night sky tone. His mind was in colour mode, not word mode that morning. The last thing he expected was Erika to be behind him at that hour, she was a late sleeper, she always had been all the time he knew her. However she appeared by the door dressed in a long tee shirt, knickers, her hair down most of it covering her face. She stood by the door for a while, her boney arms never unfolded. Alejandro felt her behind him, so he looked around to her.
"Why are you up love?" Alejandro said.
Erika didn't reply. Her sharp facial features didn't move, her mouthed remained down. She walked to Alejandro slowly, knelt to him and put both her arms around his head. Even when Erika was at her most affectionate, she had a kick in her movements, a natural force to handle things roughly. Her tiger owl brown eyes had a very serious back drop in them, something needed to be released.
"We need to break" Erika said.
Alejandro's heart fell to his feet.Then he felt it swim onto the floor like it was going to leave him for good and if it did return to his body it would be come back with permanent battle wounds and scars.
"We have tried, but we are too different in love, we don't understand each other" Erika said.
"Don't leave. We can make it work, it can get better" Alejandro replied.
"I know you don't enjoy making love to me" - Alejandro knew a very small part of that was true!
"We need to separate. See how it goes, then we will know if we are definitely for each other over time. Maybe, who knows." Erika said.
Alejandro's head dropped. Erika caressed it with both of her hands, her beautiful natural nails tried its best not to scratch him. She kissed him on the head. Alejandro didn't want her to leave.
A few months later, Alejandro was taking part in his art class. He sat to the left, his painting on the stand rested at a comfortable height for his seating position on the stall. His painting was lake where a crocodile and a lion played as friends. Far from finished, he was completing the strokes on the lion's golden back. The crocodile had rough scratches of blue which was smoothed over with a friendly light green on its body. It's large jaws was open like it was singing. Alejandro liked to tell stories of the unlikely becoming likely with a happy ending. However Erika still hadn't comeback into his life and he thought it was about time he let her go.
To the far right of the class sat Natalie, a well educated British woman whom had moved to Spain to learn the language and find spiritual time to paint. Her bright golden blonde hair resembled the lion in Alejandro's painting. She was about the same height as Erika, a bit more of a fuller figure, but still slim. She had clear skin and a perfectly unmarked face. Light green tee shirt with shoulder high sleeves, chinos and Adiddas trainers on her feet. Her posture was erect and confident, hair done in a pony tail. She had a crush on Alejandro. In between her painting she sometimes looked over to him. But disappointment would swim inside her as she suspected he was always taken. However that day Alejandro's strong dark eyes held its gaze on her and Natalie had no choice but to smile.
They walked and talked after art class. It was a vibrant day in a small town in Granada: the restaurants were busy, a busker played the guitar in the happiest of ways with a smile on his face. Natalie walked softly, her steps were delicate-appreciative of her movements like when someone enjoys the food they eat. She was pushing her bicycle; it was an old ladies type with a basket at the front, green, the kind of bike from the twenties now back in fashion. Alejandro didn't have his bike that day, he had found the recent need to walk everywhere.
"How long do you think you will stay in Spain?" Alejandro asked.
"I haven't decided. Maybe for good. It depends how my painting goes" Natalie replied.
She spoke softly, her voice came out of her mouth from a place of deep calmness. When Alejandro looked at Natalie, he fell for her bright green eyes, her light face so fresh she was perfect.
"What is next for you?" Natalie asked with her well brought up educated British accent.
"Have another good run at a gallery with my paintings" Alejandro replied.
"Are you going to be apart of any coming up?"
"Yes, in August. You should come, maybe it could help your career"
"That would be great"
"And how about a drink... Saturday?"
Alejandro felt it was the right time and he held his strong eyes on Natalie. A smirk lifted on her face, her pupils diluted with excitement. Her mind said "yes" perhaps a year before, it was the moment he actually asked which gave her butterflies.
"That would also be great" Natalie said.
The date was comfortable, the dimly lit surroundings made the atmosphere feel homely; the clinks of the wine glasses on the guests tables, the soothing jangles the guitarist played in the corner of the restaurant. Alejandro poured Natalie a glass of wine. She looked especially amazing: her hair was tied at the back with a small strand purposely falling over the right side of her face, she wore a green dress, shoulderless straps, but covered her chest area. She had class, which was the same as her table manners; using the appropriate cutlery for each course and never resting her elbows on the table during conversation. Everything about her body, spoken tongue and aura breathed calmness which Alejandro liked it.
He looked equally smart and cool: striped shirt with the sleeves rolled up showing his tan and strong arms. His slightly short brunette hair combed, but not too much. One of the things he liked about himself was he didn't try too hard. As conversation flowed which seemed effortless, Natalie sipped her wine carefully. When they were on their main course (Natalie eating a wild bore in red wine) her heart became warmer when Alejandro spoke about the roots of his painting and poetry. She chewed her food slowly, appreciating every word Alejandro had to say. By now Alejandro was half way through his Halibut stew and felt so at ease with Natalie he wanted to talk until midnight. She seemed an incredible listener, it was like she had a conversation without saying a word.
After dinner, they walked along a path which was about three hundred metres from a row of shops. The evening flies flew in the air, the crickets buzzed in the foreground.
"Why did you choose Granada?" Alejandro said.
"It seemed rural. I like to explore history and this town has a lot of it" Natalie replied.
"Not really. Try Madrid, there is a lot of history there"
"I like quiet"
"I am happy I am here"
Alejandro held Natalie's hand. Her skin was as soft as cotton. She responded straight away and a current transferred between the bodies. They stopped and looked at each other. Natalie fell far, far into Alejandro's brown Spanish eyes and magnetism brought their heads together. The kiss was gently and passionate, Alejandro felt like he was swimming in pure silk. When they parted, Natalie seemed dizzy, her eyes were glazed, she wanted to kiss him again.
No more than two weeks later, they were kissing each other on Alejandro's bed. Neither of them felt like things were going to fast or slow for that matter, it was the feeling of 'right' which brought them closer every time they were together. Alejandro undressed Natalie slowly, he brushed her body with the faintest of touches. Natalie felt like she was escaping her body and touched Alejandro's back the same way.
When they were both undressed, Alejandro placed Natalie's body on her back with both of his hands. Her breasts were larger than Erika's, rounder with slightly bigger nipples. Natalie was extremely aroused and felt safe; everything Alejandro did he did with care and as she looked at his face above her, she didn't want to be anywhere else other than that moment. As Alejandro began to thrust her gently, he knew they liked making love the same way. They understood each other in love. They filled the piece which was missing between he and Erika.
Six months later, Natalie had moved in. They were painting in the studio room, both focused and working hard. Natalie felt she had landed on her feet: her Spanish was improving, she could hold conversations and finish them. Her career was moving along as Alejandro introduced her to key contacts in the art world at the exhibition he was apart of that August. And she had a hot Spanish guy who was charming, handsome and the most amazing lover. She felt lucky and her life was finding its purpose. She wore her hair down these days and baggier clothes, accepting she was becoming a professional bohemian!
Facing the other wall in the room was Alejandro. He was going through a period of good form regarding his paintings. Writing was put aside for the time being. The piece in front of him was almost ceiling high and he was brushing orange strokes for a sunset. He seemed complete, but the part which made him in-perfect was Erika, he missed her. It was her dangerous and explosive personality which differed to Natalie's nice and perfect. Erika's fire excited him, but at the same time he knew it wasn't really good for him-the undeniable catch between love and lust.Then the door bell went.
"I'll get it" Alejandro said.
"OK" Natalie replied. And she carried on painting.
Alejandro opened the front door and Erika stood in front of him. She was just as he remembered her the day she left: skinny, so angular features they could cut paper, the resemblances of a tiger only in a slimmer frame, a sex appeal so aggressive it tested your bad side every single time. Her hair was down, the dark brunette colour so appealing it reminded all brunettes why they were meant to wear the crown over blondes. She was wearing a summery white skirt and dark shades. She seemed travelled, the smile on her face shone and her well set teeth showing.
"I am back. Missed me" Erika said. Then without asking she kissed Alejandro and walked in with her one bag.
"Erkia, wait" Alejandro said.
When Erika arrived in the studio room, she froze and her bag fell out of her hand. Her sights were fixed on Natalie, the heat of rage overtook her body as fast as quicksand.
"Hello" Natalie said politely.
"WHO THE FUCK IS SHE?" Erika yelled.
"Erika just calm down" Alejandro said and he held Erika's whole body in case of the worst happening.
"WHO IS SHE, WHO IS SHE, WHO IS SHE?"
"Natalie, my partner. You didn't expect me to wait for as and when you pleased to return? You broke up with me"
"I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU"
"You can't turn up here and expect things to go back to the way they were. What happened to you?"
"She looks British too. They are all lying pigs"
Erika went into hysterics but Alejandro knew her too well; she acted that way to get her own way.
"Natalie can you give us a moment?" Alejandro said.
"Sure" Natalie replied.
Natalie left the room. She didn't feel out of place, even though she was a guest to the country and Alejandro's past relationships. She knew it was Erika the moment she walked in.
"We can't go on. Not any more love" Alejandro said. Erika calmed down knowing she had Alejandro alone.
"We can make it work. I know I left you abruptly. But I have done some thinking and I have grown up. Even though we differ in love, I am willing to be patient with you" Erika said.
"No, it is too late, it can't happen" Alejandro replied.
"Come on. You love me. I am the Spanish woman you always dreamed of being with. You will forget that British traveller. They are cold and liars and their hearts never wake"
"You are not always right. We will always love each other, but we can't be together because we will end up hating each other. So please leave"
Deep down Erika knew Alejandro was always right and that she was he bad influence in the relationship. She got up and instead of going to the front door, she went to the kitchen. Alejandro heard a glass touch the table top and a bottle open and pour-Vodka!
He was left in the room on his own, in a difficult situation. He looked to the kitchen door and then the other door. He loved Natalie and he knew his heart lied there, but a piece of him was being pulled to Erika in the kitchen and he didn't know which room to go too.