“It was the only way I had to get at my parents. Did they really think they could marry me off without a fuss? And what a fuss I was prepared to make.”
Jessica’s breathing continued but Miss Ashdown felt a tremble in her stomach. “You can’t let him know that you’ve seen him in the shadows; that would ruin everything. So you decide to make the most of the opportunity that’s fallen into your lap. You decide that you’re going to give him the most passionate performance of your life and you know that, after this, he’ll be at the show tonight, and he’ll come and find you afterwards, and you’ll know that, if you want him, you can have him.”
Miss Ashdown felt Jessica’s breathing quicken: the fantasy seemed to be working. She continued.
“Now, drop your arms by your side, but keep your eyes closed. Don’t leave that auditorium and, whatever happens, don’t open your eyes until I tell you.”
Miss Ashdown took her hands off of Jessica’s torso and the student lowered her arms, keeping her eyes closed and her breathing deep. She was almost starting to drift in her imagination when she felt a pinch in the small of her back, and then Miss Ashdown’s hands pushed her unfastened bra off of her shoulders and down her arms and she heard it drop to the floor. Her breath shuddered and it was an effort of will not to open her eyes and close her arms across her chest to cover her breasts.
Jessica couldn’t remember the last time another person had seen her breasts. Her nipples hardened in response to that thought, and even more as she felt the cool air. Miss Ashdown’s voice was soft in her ear. “You can almost hear a gasp from the back of the concert hall as the object of your desire leans forwards to take in the sight of your naked chest. He can’t believe he isn’t dreaming. You want him to imagine what it would feel like to touch your skin, to feel your thin waist within his firm hands.”
“I think it flustered her to find me waiting naked at the door. The funny thing was, rather than point out how odd it was she just continued with the tour as usual.”
“No,” Natasha said, “I just… prefer it this way. I used to hang about in the house naked when I was by myself, and then Georgia would come home and find me like it and at first she thought it was weird, and then she got used to it, and then I’d completely forget about it and answer the door to some friends without putting anything on first, and then they’d get used to it too, and now I’m pretty much naked all the time, unless there are a lot of strangers around.”
“Oh,” I said, as if I understood, but obviously I didn’t really understand at all. Natasha smiled again.
“Most of the people here I know, and Georgia usually tells other people what to expect. And it’s my place so I can do what I like, eh? People don’t have to stay.”
I couldn’t disagree with that, although I still couldn’t really see why that meant being naked. Natasha was so comfortable as she was that I knew she wasn’t just doing it as a one-off. I can be pretty self-centred sometimes, but even I couldn’t believe it was all a trick to freak out the English girl.
“But, but,” I stuttered, “But don’t you feel odd, with everyone staring at you?”
Natasha smiled. She’d been asked that question dozens of times before, of course.
“Look around,” she said, and I complied, “Do you see many people staring?” I did see a couple of people staring, actually, and a couple of young guys looked away as my eyes met theirs, but it wasn’t as if we were the focus of attention in the room by any means. “See? And those guys were looking at you anyway, the Asian bombshell in the tight dress and high heels. They grew tired of looking at me ages ago, but you’re an unknown, and their imaginations are running riot trying to imagine how it would feel to put their hands around that tiny waist of yours, and wondering how those big breasts of yours will look without a bra and dress to support them.” I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks. “What’s there to imagine about these tiny things?” Natasha continued, and rubbed her nipples and her small breasts wobbled in response. “No, they’ve been looking at you the whole time we’ve been talking.”
“What on earth possessed me to strip naked during dessert? And where did I leave my clothes?”
Model: Maria Lipina
Photographer: Dmitry Lobanov
“You’re awake!” she said with a smile. She pushed the door open and skipped over to sit on the side of the bed. She was, of course, still naked. I instinctively held the duvet tight over my chest to cover myself, and then realised just how silly a gesture that was. Natasha saw it and smiled.
“Did you sleep well?” she asked.
“Like a log,” I replied.
“Good. Well, if you want to sleep a bit more you’re welcome to.” I shook my head; it felt a bit thick-headed, but not sleepy. “But there’s a shower through there,” Natasha indicated a door that must lead to an en-suite, “And I’ve put a toothbrush and washgear in there for you. And a razor, if you need it. Take your time. And there’s a bathrobe on the back of the door too.” That was a nice gesture; I didn’t want to have to get into my tight dress right after a shower.
“I’ll be around somewhere when you’re ready,” Natasha continued. “No rush,” she emphasised and then turned to leave. I watched her lean, naked, colourfully painted buttocks as she retreated out of the room.
“It seemed the logical step that a display of nudes should be presented by the artist, also nude.”