|Bella (standard:other, 2826 words)|
|Author: Annemarie St. John||Added: Jan 19 2001||Views/Reads: 2594/1159||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A small turning point in the life of a Beverly Hills socialite.|
Bella It was nearly noon by the time Joan Elizabeth Perdu drove her gold Mercedes westward out of Beverly Hills, along the Santa Monica freeway toward the coast, toward an afternoon that she had been anticipating, nervously, for several weeks. Her car was a gift from her anaplastic surgeon husband. The personalized license plates on the Mercedes read "4BELLA". She thought "Joan" was too common, "Liz" too flippant, and "Elizabeth" too formal, so she called herself "Bella". It had for her just the right touch of mystery, a continental sound to it that made her feel like more than just a Beverly Hills socialite. Bella loved the firm, quiet, ride of the Mercedes, and the attention it always attracted. She especially loved to drive it on these bright, clear fall days. She would turn on the radio, roll down the windows, and let the wind blow through her dark, short cropped hair. It reminded her of younger, happier, freer times. On days like today, Bella longed to experience once again the sense of passion and vitality that somehow she had lost over the sweep of her life. Across town, in a bachelor apartment in Hermosa Beach, Paul Newcomb stood before his mirrored closet door and brushed his longish brown hair into a pony tail, fastening it with a tooled leather barrette. With long slender fingers, he combed through his broad, neatly trimmed Vandyke beard, then brushed his hands on his jeans. He stood before the mirror, striking several poses and carefully noting the effect. He winked at himself. "You look marvelous darling," he quipped. From the reflection in the mirror Paul surveyed his room. It was artistic and tasteful, everything carefully orchestrated to work together to produce the best effect. Paul's talent was in making everything look good. He was an upcoming fashion photographer. Portraits of his clients - fashion models, actors, and executives - filled every wall of the apartment. Today he would photograph Bella, the wealthy, older, Beverly Hills doctor's wife who had made the highest bid in the charity auction in which a day with Paul was the prize. He relished the thought of an entrée into her social world, and the opportunity for increasing his clientele. A timid knock at the door interrupted his reverie, and he smiled to himself at the gentle sound. "So," he thought, arching an eyebrow, "let the games begin." "Come in, Mrs. Perdu," he called out. "It's unlocked." The door opened slightly and Bella Perdu, carrying a small picnic basket, slipped into the room and quickly pushed the door closed behind her and leaned against as if catching her breath after running a great race. "Well," he said, moving close to her, "hello Bella." Bella stepped around him and into the small apartment with a movement like a ballerina. Without saying a word, she put the basket on the table and slowly walked around the room looking at the photographs on the wall. She moved from one to the next, pausing before each, studying it, as if she were on a docent tour in a museum art gallery. As Bella studied the photographs, Paul studied her. She was wearing a rhinestone-studded white T-shirt tied in a knot at the waist. It was two sizes too big for her and hung from her thin narrow shoulders as if on a coat hanger. Her tight, faded blue jeans were low on her hips. Around her neck was a gold necklace with a large diamond pendant. Her hands were soft and smooth, her nails manicured and polished, red as new blood. Her face was full of worry. "Did you take all these?" she said at last. "Each and every one," he said, standing with his hands in his hip pockets. "Do you like them?" "Yes," she said in a very matter of fact voice. "They are quite good. You have a real talent for capturing the best in your subjects. They are all so beautiful, and ..." she hesitated for a moment searching for words, "... so believable," and her face seemed to fall just a little. Then, brightly, "Look, I've brought you something," she said, offering Click here to read the rest of this story (260 more lines)
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