Gunnar parked by the cabin. It was just turning dark and the nightfall was clear with the lighted horizon behind the mountains reflecting off the snow giving everything a soft blue light. He knocked the sawdust off his coveralls and went inside. He removed his winter clothes and hung them up in the mudroom before entering the living area just like every evening. He stood by the small wood stove and stoked the fire. The heat felt luxurious as warmth crept back into his arms and legs. He drew a hot bath and washed the sawmill out of his skin, hair, and thoughts.
After a good hot bath, Gunnar fed Gaston, who was perky and looking royally indignant, happy to see Gunnar return home. He fixed a stew and pot of spiced tea, placed it on a wooden tray, and made his way up to the loft. The tray rested on the dresser as the room filled with the savory smell of the stew and wisps of spiced chai tea. The rustle of sheets broke the spell of daydreams held in the fading light from the mountains shining through the picture window next to the bed. The woman in Gunnar’s bed felt his warmth against her as his arms encircled her.
She turned into him. The silk shirt his models always wore fell open as she hugged him and mimicked Gaston’s welcoming purr. Gaston cocked his head. She is finally learning, he thought. She lay on Gunnar’s chest and wrapped her arms around his neck to hold him tight against her. She had felt the change in him; a metamorphosis that promised she would no longer have to leave him and reset his mind. He was no longer slow and reserved with his passion. She felt his wildness become a fervor. She had promised herself when he was ready, she would consume him like a forest fire with her love.
“I love you, Char. With every ounce of my soul.”
She held him tight to her as a tear fell from her cheek to his neck. “Let’s eat before it gets cold, and then I have a favor to ask.”
He smiled and whispered through his lips attending to her neck. “Tell me.”
“Paint me,” She replied with a sultry smokiness in her voice.
Gaston lifted his head and tail into the air and trotted out of the room. He was a Tom Cat, to be sure, but he was no peeping Tom.