Andi and Allie - Chapter 4 - Discovery
I did and I didn’t see much of Allie over the next week. She would come home and change into the most ragged clothing she had and then disappear into her studio. I understood entirely and I left her to work out whatever she was feeling in her buckets of ‘mud’. I often did good work when I had negative energy that I needed to vent.
Anyway, we didn’t really spend more than a few minutes together until Thursday evening. I got my laundry together and brought it into the laundry room to attempt using the machines for the first time. Allie was already in there sorting out her things. I dumped my clothing onto a long table and decided to watch her for a while.
“What are you doing?”
A logical question from a novice such as me who was accustomed to throwing everything into one machine and sorting after the dryer did its thing.
“Sorting… Of course…” She said quite astonished.
“Of course…” I blushed a lovely pink rose color.
Allie looked at me as though I had just arrived from another planet. Allie patiently explained what she was doing and why. I began to sort my things as she had shown me. When she noticed that I had all my panties, and other ‘delicates’ such as my hosiery, bunched together, she again interceded.
“Are you crazy...? You shouldn’t even be machine washing those things. Hand wash only; don’t you read labels?” She laughed at my naivety. “Just one minute. If you are determined to do this, let me give you something that will help.”
Allie reached into a cupboard and took out something. She tossed it to me. It was a netted drawer string bag.
“Put your panties in that. It’ll help protect them so that you won’t have to continually buy undies that get destroyed. But…” She took two steps closer to me and pointed her finger in my face. "Don’t you dare throw you stockings into that machine. Come with me young man.” She giggled.
Allie took my hand and walked me over to one of the large deep washroom basins.
“You can put them in with mine. Just take another bag to use or you can wait for mine to be done. Let them soak and gently stir the brew every now and then. This only takes a few minutes. Then you can hang them up on the frame over here.”
I noticed the folding clothes frame with the towels draped over the arms. Now I knew what that was used for.
“Mine are almost finished. They simply need to be rinsed gently and hung.”
“I can do that for you if you’d like. It would speed things up for both of us.”
“You don’t mind?” Allie seemed quite surprised. “It’s kind of a pain in the ass. My panties and bras are also in there.”
She seemed to be warning me that the job was bigger than it might seem. I smiled and began to fill the second basin with water. It really didn’t take me very long to do. I actually enjoyed this kind of semi-mindless work because it did give me time to think. I was amazed at some of the things…the panties…Allie had.
“These things are so…” I sighed. “…so amazing!”
“So you like…huh?” She giggled. “You should feel them on. If you think your cotton ones are soft and comfy.”
I had seen such things in magazines and occasionally when I went into a department store for one reason or another. But the things I purchased were off the rack and came in packages of three at Walmart.
“I love the lace inserts on this set.”
Sets…she had matching bras and panties. I needed boobs if for no other reason than to decorate myself with these colors and textures.
“Well…” Allie said somewhat wistfully. “If I must subject myself to these contraptions…” She pointed to her bras. “…then they may as well look pretty.”
“But aren’t they comfortable?”
I could feel an illusion about to be shattered. Allie looked at me and chuckled.
“Let me show you something!”
She laughed as she began to raise the bottom of her tee shirt. She raised it to the very bottom of the bra she wore and then pulled the bottom of one of the cups away from herself.
“See that?” She pointed to the place where the underwire had made an impression into her skin. “That…” Allie pointed again for emphasis. “…is not comfy. And the straps tend to bother my shoulders by the day’s end.”
Illusion shattered. Allie must have noticed the expression on my face as she put herself back in place…so to speak.
“But then again I am a big girl…especially here.” She hefted her boobs. “Someone with itty bitty boobies wouldn’t have those problems. They could go with a wireless bra.”
I stared back at the assortment of colorful things hanging on the rack.
“Why do you ask? Are you considering a…’home improvement’?” She giggled.
I smiled, blushed crimson, and shrugged my shoulders.
“You should buy one…one that fits you and see how it feels. It’ll probably be a little nothing. There’s a line called 'Barely There' that might work for you.”
I couldn’t believe I was having this conversation with a woman, let alone my roommate! But yet it felt so very comfortable and natural that it was as if we spoke of such things all the time and every day. We continued to do our laundry together and the time seemed to fly past. Before we knew it an hour and a half went past and two neatly folded piles of clothing rested on the tables. There were about a dozen things on hangers awaiting the iron and I told her I would get to it tomorrow.
We settled in the television room with a pot of tea and some cut up fresh fruit. Home life…oh my God… I finally had one.
On Friday evening Allie had a guest over after work. It was her friend and boss Jillian. She was a delightfully perky strawberry blonde with sparkling azure blue eyes and a rapier wit. Allie had called me at work and I offered to make a pasta salad. We already had most of the ingredients and Allie offered to pick up a suitable wine. Jillian was bringing dessert.
I got home before Allie and began the preparations. While the pasta was cooking I decided to try and do something special for the table setting. Allie had an enormous living space that was sectioned off into several smaller ones. The dining area, closest to the kitchen, was large and, to be honest, for three people, was quite cold. I decided to use the small area between our bedrooms in the front of the apartment. There was a window with a lovely nighttime city view and the coziness of a nook.
I set up several hastily made olive oil lamps after reducing Allie’s very long dining table to its bare minimum and half carrying half dragging it down three quarters of the length of the apartment. I used several pieces of cloth for a table covering that remained from several constructions I executed. They were colorful and had folk art designs stenciled all over.
I found several fluted salad dressing holders for the flowers I purchased down on the street and I set one on the table and two others on the windowsill. Between throwing the ingredients into a large serving bowl and shelling some shrimp, I managed to place three settings upon the table along with various condiments.
Allie was, of course, very surprised upon arriving and finding everything already in the works and headed for final assembly.
“Oh my God!!! I can’t believe you went through all this work! This is really just lovely. I would have had us at the counter in the kitchen.” Allie laughed as she carefully checked out each little detail of the dining area. “I should have told you where to find linens and the special china. You would have had a field day with that stuff. Whatever possessed you?” She put her arm around my waist and leaned into me.
“I simply felt like doing something different…something...special?” I shrugged my shoulders and placed my arm around her. “The salad is basically ready. We just need a dressing which, by the way, so do I!”
We both laughed and I went to my room to change my clothes.
I stood in front of my closet wrapped in just a bath towel staring at the assortment of hanging and folding things I had. I didn’t know what I wanted to wear. I would have loved to really done myself up in maybe something that sparkled or maybe a sequined top or something with electric colored beading? But I had nothing like that at all.
It would have been nice to have maybe something in printed silk that flowed…perhaps in mauve? But once again I had nothing. I really needed to go shopping for things that were maybe a bit more sophisticated than my work wardrobe and my ‘downtown’ duds.
I needed to go shopping in the worst way but that didn’t help me now. I picked out a pleated breast cream colored silk blouse. It was kind of a poet’s shirt style and it hung just loose enough on my body. I chose a pair of brown leather pants to go with it. Okay…so it’s not really original? But the combination looked nice enough. My brown lace-up calf boots were perfect for what I had. Maybe Allie was making a point when she asked if I wore skirts and dresses. Hmmm…
I quickly dressed and brushed out my hair and the entire time I was thinking; ‘who was I dressing for’. I will never forget what I thought at that moment. This was something I hadn’t felt in quite some time. I mean this was simply a dinner at home and not even a dinner party; just three friends getting together on a Friday night. Yet I wanted to be…noticed? I wanted to look…hot? I wanted to…to be desired; but by whom?
I knew right off that gold would be the color tonight. I put two sets of gold earrings on, the smaller in the front hole and the larger hoops in the rear. I put on my grandmother’s cut glass with a thin gold chain and two small gold rings on my fingers. I took one last look in my full-length mirror and was admiring the best I could do when the doorbell rang. Jillian had arrived.
“Can you get the door sweetie? I’m not ready yet.” Allie shouted from her bedroom.
I left my image…somewhat reluctantly…and walked to the door. I opened it to find a woman nearly my height. She smiled as soon as she saw me.
“Well now… You must be Andi; the roommate without a definitive pronoun.” She laughed and walked in as if she lived here. “Allie has told me everything about you.” She turned and cast her piercing pale blue-green eyes at me. “Everything!”
She laughed and continued into the kitchen. I closed the door and followed her.
“These need to be refrigerated.”
She turned and handed me a pastry box. I set it upon the counter and got out a serving platter. I opened the box to find an assortment of Italian pastries, most of them having chocolate to some extent. I set them all on the platter and, after covering it, placed it in the fridge. At this point Allie entered looking simply lovely.
She and Jillian embraced and kissed and complimented one another. Allie opened the wine whilst I began to place the various parts of our meal on the serving cart. The final item, the freshly made garlic bread, came out of the oven and, whilst still wrapped in aluminum foil, was placed on the cutting board alongside a bread knife. We then proceeded to the table.
“Oh my! This is quite lovely.” Jillian remarked as she gazed around the nook.
“It was all Andi.” Allie smiled and giggled as she too took in the sight.
“I love the table cloth. Where did you get it?”
“I made it.” Jill looked at me with a very surprised expression. “I made it for a construction I was doing but it didn’t work out to my liking? But I liked the silk screening so I kept it.”
“Very nice.” Jill crooned.
The sun had finally set behind the buildings and the oil candles cast a warm and fragrant spell over the small area. We sat and began to eat. The food was simply perfect and Jill, she asked me to call her Jill, was enthralled by me for some reason. One wouldn’t know it from her comments, which were laced with cynicism and biting humor, but her eyes betrayed the warmth of the person within.
I was surprised that Steven, Allie’s ex-BF, had been trying to speak with her. Evidently his wife, or girlfriend, threw him out and now he was telling Allie that he was free to pursue a more ‘meaningful’ relationship. Allie, or course, after the first few messages and texts, put his numbers on ‘ignore’. He then began to leave messages at her work number. He even sent flowers which she promptly discarded.
Jill, who was not only Allie’s friend, but also her boss as art director of the magazine, lauded her ability to blow him off. Jill had seen too many women give in and resume relationships that continued to go nowhere. She mentioned how she was guilty of just that sin.
“So my dear, what’s new in the world of the mud throwing?” Jill asked with a wry grin.
We had just finished dinner and Allie had returned from putting up the coffee.
“Well…?” Allie beamed. “I have some new ideas and I’m working with some new forms; more into the classical but with a twist. Would you like to see?”
And so it was off to Allie’s studio. I hadn’t seen her studio but up until this past week she really hadn’t been working in it. The very moment Allie opened the door I could smell the very feral odor of the clay in water. I was amazed at how clean her working area was. Normal the air and all surfaces are rift with clay dust.
Allie’s studio was extremely well equipped. She had a slab roller, two wheels and two kilns along with the various tools and tables necessary to produce pottery efficiently. She even had several molds for casting plates. There were several bakers’ racks full of pottery at various stages of finishing.
On one table a bowl caught my eye. It was on a bowl form in pedestal and about eighteen inches in diameter. It stood about nine inches tall. The sides of the bowl itself were no more than maybe three or so inches high. The very moment I saw it I had a vision of what it should look like as a finished piece.
“Can I paint this one?”
I was afraid to handle it because it had not yet been bisque fired.
Jill and Allie were at another table discussing something and they both looked at me.
“Please...?” I really had a very strong vision for this piece.
“Uhhh… Sure...” Allie giggled.
“Wait a minute Allie. That’s a very nice form.” Jill turned to me with a critical look in her eyes. “Where did you say you worked?” I told her…again.
“You work for Peter Grant?” Jill was almost as surprised as I was. She knew his name.
“Yes.” I said meekly…weakly.
“He hired you right out of school?” Jill’s eye brows arched.
“Well…sort of. I still had a month and a half to go.” I felt…weird about being taken so soon; before even graduating?
“What did you do…blow him or something?”
“Jill…!” Allie was shocked. “Really…?”
“Listen…” Jill looked at Allie with an almost bored expression. “That man doesn’t hire anybody without a proven track record.” Jill turned back toward me. “Let me see your portfolio.”
I was a bit embarrassed. I never bothered with one because I already had a job. Jill guessed my dilemma.
“Surely you can’t be serious? You don’t have one?” Jill was astonished.
“I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley!” I giggled.
“I won’t let you touch one of Allie’s pieces, especially that one, without seeing what you can do. So why don’t you gather what you might have around and we’ll have coffee and dessert.”
I looked at Allie who shrugged and had this…this apologetic expression on her face? So I went and gathered what I had. I was never much for hanging onto the things I did. I mean… What’s the point? If I was attempting to express myself, I would already know what the piece meant…to me. So I was accustomed to giving my stuff away. Getting money for it was something new but I felt I could become accustomed to that as well…if I had to. But then again...a wardrobe upgrading did call out to me.
I returned to the table with the delicious aroma of fresh coffee drifting throughout the nook. Under both arms I carried all that remained of my years of effort.
“This that all?” Jill looked quite surprised. “Normally when I ask an…’artist’…to show me his work, I get everything since birth!”
“This is everything since…well…middle school?” I giggled and blushed.
“Well…” Jill spoke with an almost bored tone to her voice. “Let’s se what we have. Let’s clear the table and you can set everything on that.”
With the table cleared onto the carte, I set my work upon it and took my seat. Jill, with a wry smile on her lips, reached for the first few pieces. Most of the work was in ink, crayon, or marker. She began to leaf through the first few between sips of her coffee and a bite or two of a Napoleon. Her wry smile faded quickly and she even froze her movements with her coffee cup in mid air while gazing intensely at one of my works. She suddenly looked up at me with a stunned expression on her face.
“Now I understand. Peter blew you!”
“Jill…! Please…!” Allie pleaded.
Jill looked at Allie and laughed.
“I’d blow him to get this kind of talent on my staff!” Jill tapped the piece and laughed again. “When did you do this one?”
She held up a still life I had done in crayon. Oh my God…! I really couldn’t remember.
“Ummm… I was maybe sixteen?”
Jill was silent of a moment as she stared intensely at me.
“Sign it. You didn’t sign it. Always sign everything you do…even scribbling. You need to sign everything.”
I went and got a crayon and did my signature thing using 'Andi'. Jill then took the piece and handed it to Allie.
“Here sweet heart... Take this and frame it. This may be worth something in a few years or so.”
Jill laughed as Allie looked at me for approval. I smiled, shrugged my shoulders, and nodded my head. I was delighted someone liked it enough to stick it on a wall. Jill continued to look through my things and even separated a few of them into a separate pile. She then looked up at Allie.
“Honey…let him work on anything he wants to. If he wants to draw on your toilet paper…let him. Get him to sign it, and then you squirrel it away.” She then turned to me. “And you…” She pointed her finger directly in my face. “…next time someone wants one of your works? You have them speak to me first! I am now officially your agent. I’ll have an agreement drawn up and you can have someone look at it…and you SIGN IT!” She laughed. “And maybe we’ll all retire young…or at least one of us might.”
Though I was stunned at what had occurred, I did manage to enjoy the remainder of the evening. Jill and Allie’s conversing dominated and they mostly spoke about Allie and how she might improve her craft enough to be featured in the magazine. I did notice that she was somewhat subdued and hardly made eye contact with me. I knew something was bothering her and I had a pretty fair idea what it was.
I began to clear the table even before Jill had left. I was in the kitchen washing and putting various things into the dishwasher. Allie hadn’t spoken a word to me since Jill departed. When I had finally finished, I removed the apron I was wearing and turned to lean back against the counter. When Jill past by I reached out and gently took her arm to turn her toward me. When she looked up at me, I spoke.
“Listen Allie…this is not what I’m all about.”
“What...?” She looked at me with a questioning expression.
I sang the words out with as much drama as I could muster. She laughed.
“So…art genius… What are you about?” Allie turned to place the dishes in the basin.
Both my hands shot out for Allie’s neck and I began to tickle her relentlessly. She squealed and her hands covered mine trying to pry my fingers away from her neck. I gently held her neck and shook her.
“I am a psycho hose bitch!!! I am the Tickle Monster!!! And I will not stop until you listen to me.”
“WHAT… WHAT… WHAT...???”
Allie was laughing so hard that tears began to come from her eyes. I relented and grasped her shoulders.
“If we are roommates then we must share things, right?” Allie nodded. “And if we are friends, and I’d like to think we are, then we must share ourselves.” She looked at me intently for a moment and then nodded. “I didn’t know what’s his name…Steven? I didn’t know he was still calling you. That’s something you could have shared, right?”
“I didn’t want to inflict my…" Allie paused and choked up a bit. "...drama on you.”
“Well, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll share my fame, fortune, recognition, popularity and…well…maybe not the blow jobs…” I quickly added. “...but there haven’t been any offers lately anyway…if you share what’s on your mind with me.”
Allie looked at me for a moment and smiled. She touched my cheek with her hand, tenderly.
“I guess I was a little jealous of you. Jill never spoke to anyone like she did to you and she never offered to help anyone unless it directly involved something she was doing. She is my dearest friend and she never offered to help me like she offered to help you.”
I was thrilled Allie opened up to me. I thought what Jill said to me bothered her.
“Well then… I’ll help you and then Jill will have no choice but to help us both.” I took a half step closer to Allie. “We can’t let anything or anyone get between us…our friendship, okay?”
Allie smiled and nodded as a tear rolled down her cheek.
Is Andy the next Hockney? Stay tuned for the next episode of Andi and Allie!
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