Safeword:Quinacridone(2)

By: Candace Blevins


The few geeks Cara had bothered with had been horrible in bed, with no clue of what they were doing. Travis had confidence and a nice personality, but he was still the stereotypical geek — quite tall, too thin, khaki pants and a blue button-down complete with white t-shirt peeking out of the neckline. His hair fell somewhere between dirty blond and light brown, and was a couple weeks past needing a cut.

Her gaze paused at his eyes, trying to come up with their color — they weren’t quite blue and not really hazel, either. She’d have never considered the color for eyes in a painting, but they were striking and she made a mental note.

Returning her attention to the conversation, she looked at the entire picture again. He was so totally not her type, but she’d been wanting to eat at The Melting Pot.

“I’ll meet you there at 7:00 tomorrow evening. Will that work?”



* * * *



When Cara walked into her bedroom after her shift she pulled her clothes off and donned comfortable shorts and oversized tee before heading to the kitchen to make an egg sandwich. She lived in a large Victorian house, with a grant from the local Arts Council designating it exclusively for musicians and artists. They still had to pay rent, but there were rooms set aside for them to work, and it was heaven.

Her friend Kiki came in while she cooked, pushed herself up to sit on the counter, and asked how her day had been. Cara briefly told her about meeting Travis, dumping the scrambled eggs onto her bread as she finished.

Kiki stepped behind her to check the stove as Cara put the mayo and eggs away, congratulating herself for remembering, but her face went red as her friend turned the eye off.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’d do without ya’ll to take care of me.” She’d been thinking of buying ingredients to make Kiki a cake for her birthday, but instantly decided to order one from the diner instead.

“No biggie,” Kiki shrugged. “We all look out for each other. I want to hear more about this guy but I know you won’t go into details until you complete your project and can relax.” She smiled, almost daring Cara to argue, and finished with, “Come find me when you’re done?”

Cara walked the pan to the sink and flipped the faucet on, washing as she talked. “Yeah, yeah. It might be a few hours though. If you’re still up, we’ll talk.”

She quickly dried the pan and put it away before grabbing her sandwich and heading to her room.

Three hours later she sighed in relief as she uploaded the completed files to her client’s server and sent an email to her main contact.

Figuring she’d need to know something about Mr. Travis Winslow before she talked to Kiki, she googled him and discovered he was kind of a hero amongst the tech crowd. He’d written his first major piece of software at twelve, and sold his first company for several million dollars a month before he turned fifteen. Now, at twenty-six, he came up with new ideas, and created applications using technology in innovative and often groundbreaking ways. He’d develop a website or company around the software, get it up and running, and promptly sell it — usually for many millions of dollars — before moving on to another project.

There was also much speculation about him. According to the gossip sites, he’d never had a long-term girlfriend, and two of the women he’d taken to awards dinners had later been outed as very high-priced call girls. Some assumed he was gay, while others figured him too much of a geek to get and keep a girlfriend.

Cara found herself turned on by thoughts of Travis with a call girl, and wondered how he might treat her on a date. Would he handle her like a whore? Would he want to use her without worrying about whether she was enjoying herself? Maybe this Travis Winslow had potential after all.

She reached for his card and moved the cursor to the top of the desktop, activating the web cam and grabbing a shot. She wasn’t good at keeping up with things so she took pictures in case she lost them.

The occupants of the house currently included musicians, artists who worked with flat mediums, sculpture artists, a vocalist, and Papa Bear. Most people figured Papa Bear was named for his size and beard, but they didn’t see how he took care of them. He could look at their work, ask a few questions, and open up a thousand possibilities. Sometimes his questions might answer why a piece hadn’t felt right and what it might need, but he never told them these things; just found ways to help them find their own answers.

The musicians had soundproof rooms in the basement while the artists and sculptors had the sunroom, built onto the back of the house to give them privacy while they worked. During the day the lighting was perfect, with three sides and the roof made of glass and the fourth side mirrored, providing all the natural light you could stand. Full spectrum lights illuminated the space at night, and they were all on when Cara entered, flopping onto the large chaise after turning it so she’d be able to see Kiki’s graceful fingers shape the clay as they talked.