Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Hey Bash what's up man? How are you and Triton doing?"
"We're doing alright just got through eating dinner"
Sebastian smiled as he watched Triton let out yawn as he rolled on his back. The mastiff had been sleeping on the balcony for the past two nights so he didn't reek the cabin with his skunk funk.
Sebastian had just finished eating his hearty bowl of chili on the balcony as he watched the sun set on past the Pocono mountain skyline.
Ariel had chosen to eat dinner inside and was painting now; so she was still keeping her distance. Their talk in the forest must have scared her and she was still pissed off about him putting her self-portrait on the bookcase.
Sebastian made a mental note to check on her once he was finished talking to his cousin Barnett.
"How you liking it out in the mountains country boy?" Barnett teased
"Hey you keep on forgetting that I'm originally from the area I wasn't born in Manhattan like some spoiled cousins I know"
"You picked a hell of a time to go" Barnett said, "this corona virus is literally all over the city"
"It's everywhere man"
"So it's just you and Triton quarantining together?"
"No actually the cabin was also rented by another tenant so I'm sharing it with her"
"Her?" Barnett humored "sounds like you're having a cozy quarantine"
"Knock if off dude" Sebastian chuckled "she's an old acquaintance from high school"
"Hey you never know I'm just glad it sounds like you're getting over Gretchen"
"I wasn't about to raise a baby that's not biologically my child; she cheated on me"
"True but I can see why she she'd try to pass off her baby as yours with your NFL check she'd be set for at least eighteen years"
Sebastian cringed and found himself annoyed; he thought Gretchen loved him but he was wrong she loved his dollar signs more.
"Look I came out here to take some of my mind off of Gretchen and recharge my batteries" Sebastian said "I was getting myself ready for the draft at the end of April but with the way the virus is going it might have to be virtual anyway"
"Yeah and you might have to stay with your acquaintance for a while too maybe you'll get better acquainted"
"Alright dude you stay out trouble and tell Uncle Rick I said hello"
Fuck Gretchen Adams
It's dark now and Triton was fast asleep.
It to check up on the creative mermaid and see what creative mess she was doing.
Ariel accidently touched her cheek getting some gesso on it. She just spent the last two hours applying gesso to her other two canvas boards. The whole time she kept looking up at her self-portrait that Sebastian propped up on the bookcase.
She still couldn't believe he did that. He was so fucking arrogant and it wasn't his place to do that. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? Three time winning running back of the Super bowl in the last ten years that's who.
Most people are able to move on from their high school crush but that was hard to do when that person is constantly in the spotlight. Meanwhile look at what Ariel was a failure of an artist and still running from the scars her ex boyfriend left her.
When Ariel zeroed in on the slash at the throat again and found herself getting angry that she was getting upset over it.
"Ariel turn that light off I'm trying to sleep"
"I'm sorry Hassan but I have to finish this piece I told the client I'd have it done tomorrow"
"I have to get up for work at six though"
"Could you sleep in the living room tonight?" Ariel asked.
It was already almost eleven and Ariel had just gotten home from her day job; she was tired too but she had to keep her freelance business running.
"This is my house I should be able to see in my damn room"
"Okay I'll work in the living room then---"
"No I can't sleep with any of the lights on that light always peaks through the bedroom"
"But I need to work---"
"No the hell you don't Ariel!" Hassan cut her off harshly "you really think a painting is more important than my job that pays for this apartment?!?"
"That's not fair Hassan I still work a day job too---"
"It's not enough Ariel!" he snapped at her "you need to get a real job this art shit isn't cute anymore!"
Hassan reached over Ariel's shoulder and ripped the sheet of watercolor she had set up to paint in two.
"That was for a paying client Hassan!"
"I don't care!" he retorted "this art shit ends now!"
Hassan then stomped into the living room and proceeded to go through the rest of Ariel's art supplies and works to destroy them.
"Hassan! Please don't!"
"Your art ain't worth a damn just like you"
Hassan then took her prized self portrait and smeared a tube of black paint on it purposely---
"HASSAN STOP IT!"
"You alright Carmichael?"
Ariel turned around to see Sebastian enter the room and she was immediately embarrassed. She tried to wipe her tears away but forgot that she had gesso on her fingers and ended up smearing some on her face. Along with the gesso on her cheek she probably looked crazy.
"You don't look okay," Sebastian said folding his arms "you look upset and sounded like you were crying"
"What are you a detective Stone?" Ariel spat back hiding her embarrassment
"I'm no Sherlock Holmes but anyone can tell you're upset right now" Sebastian said
Ariel bit her lip refusing to look at him.
"Why don't we go wash that gesso off?"
"I can do it"
"You can trust me Carmichael," he said taking her hand "come on"
"Turn your face up so you're looking at me" Sebastian gently teased her "I need to see those pretty brown eyes"
"Save it Stone" Ariel said "you've seen one pair of brown eyes you've seen them all"
Sebastian wrung the warm washcloth from its excess water and chuckled. Ariel felt like a little kid who scrapped her knee on the playground as she waited for Sebastian to clean her face as she sat on the toilet seat.
"Something tells me Carmichael brown eyes are special though"
It was already a tight and intimate space in the little bathroom so when Sebastian kneeled down in front of Ariel it felt that way even more so.
Sebastian gently rubbed the washcloth against Ariel's cheek to pick up some of the caked up gesso.
"So you want to tell me how this ended up on your face and not your canvas?" he asked trying to lighten the mood.
"It got on my canvas it's just sometimes when I paint my materials are all over the place"
"Were you one of those little kids in preschool who went ham on finger painting projects?" he asked
Ariel blushed and couldn't help but give a little smile
"Looks like I've got you"
"My dad has pictures of the day he picked me up from my first day of preschool and I was covered from head to toe in paint from a simple finger paint project" Ariel said "I had just turned three years old"
"Yeah" Ariel said "my dad said that from day forward he knew that I would be an artist like my mom"
"Your mom is an artist too?"
"Was" Ariel corrected, "she died giving birth to me"
"I'm sorry to hear that"
"It's life" she insisted, "my dad has shown me pictures and home videos of her"
"Yeah but still it must be tough as a girl especially to not have your mother"
Ariel didn't reply and Sebastian continued to wash her face.
"You want to tell me who Hassan is---"
A tear that Ariel had been trying to hold back ended up rolling down her cheek into the washcloth.
"I said no Sebastian" she said firmly her body shook a little bit. It was the first time she addressed him by his first name since he got here. Ariel was pretty serious about that boundary.
Sebastian put the washcloth down and took her hands in his. Ariel tried to take her hands back but Sebastian took a light grip of her wrists to keep them in place.
"Hey look at me"
Ariel reluctantly looked in Sebastian's eyes
"If you want to talk about him I'm here okay?"
"Okay" she replied "but I don't want to talk about him"
Silence fell between the two of them as Sebastian finished cleaning up Ariel's face until all of the gesso was gone.