Shenanigans 3 - Appreciation

by Sandra Davies

Leo, little-known and restless, exuding feral hunger, his active, outdoor body contrasting with most of the other men present, since they appeared accustomed to being clothed was afforded more genuine, more avid attention than any of Annabel's paintings.   She was grateful, therefore, that he studied them with a far from casual interest and an air of noli me tangere - no mean feat when virtually every woman in the room was angling for his attention.

Chloë at least recognised true interest in artistic merit when she saw it so was able to both restrain her own curiosity and divert Caroline, who was less than coherent and overcome with confusion at Chloë's uncannily comprehending kindness.

Chloë had observed Caroline's swifter than usual imbibence of alcohol and knew it was due to the unanticipated appearance of her adulterous arsehole of a husband, not that Caroline's husband was blameless, being blind to and therefore blandly unsupportive as ever of his wife's unhappiness.

In fact, Felix, aware of the advisability of apparently ignoring Annabel, spent time talking, when he was able to catch her attention, to the deceptively demur Liz, who was discreetly delighted with his claim to have been the model for Annabel's work since she knew fine well that it had been Dan.

Indeed, even if Dan hadn't told her Liz would have discerned it, despite the fact that the work wasn't exactly representational, but she hadn't known that Felix and Annabel were that intimate — possibly Felix was boasting about that too.

What she was less sure about, a lot less sure, were her feelings on seeing Annabel, at Leo's directing, place red spots beside the two largest — and most explicit — of the paintings in the exhibition — if he planned to install them in their bedroom she would find them more than a little distracting.