Authors: Caddy Rowland
That evening as he began his journey back to
, he had already taken inventory of the things he did possess. Focus, drive, talent, looks and passion. He knew none of them would be enough alone, but combined he would succeed. Because he would use those traits however he could to get power. And with power, dreams become reality.
As Gastien made his way down the street he saw a couple looking at jewelry through the window. They looked happy and in love. Maybe he could draw them! He approached them, stating kindly, “Forgive me for interrupting your private moment. But you both look so happy! I can’t wait until I find someone that makes me smile like you two smile at each other. I am wondering, would you mind if I drew a picture of the two of you? It will not take long and I need the practice. I am learning to be an artist.”
The man looked like he was going to brush him off, so Gastien turned his huge brown eyes to the woman. She gazed at him, seeing how cute he actually was and how vulnerable he looked standing there. He has guts, the way he had boldly approached two strangers, she thought appreciatively. Yummy, those eyes! And that mouth! Someone was going to be very lucky and get kissed by that delicious mouth! She immediately felt ashamed. She was engaged, for goodness sake! Still, that does not mean I am dead, she continued rebelliously. What female alive could look at that face and not start imagining things?
She smiled prettily at her beau. “Oh,
, please Jacques. What fun! Let’s give the boy some practice! Let’s give him a nice pose so that he can capture our love.” With that she threw her arms around Jacques, pressing herself to him.
“Well, um, err,
… all right,” sputtered Jacques. “But don’t take all night about it! I am anxious to take this scrumptious morsel back to my place for a glass of
, to celebrate our engagement!”
Gastien gave them his biggest smile “Oh what perfect timing! I will do my very best. Perhaps, if it is good enough, you will even try to talk me out of it as a memento of the occasion!” He quickly got out a charcoal stick and his paper. His hands flew while his eyes absorbed every detail. His eyes saw things most eyes could not. He saw the love between them, the sparkle in the young woman’s eyes, and the protective thrust of the man’s jaw. He saw the playfulness around the mouth of the woman, the raw need of the man in the way his hips jutted forward. Before anyone knew it, Gastien was done. It had not taken long at all.
He looked at the final drawing. She looks even prettier in my drawing, he thought, holding it out. “What do you think? Did I do all right? Did I capture your spirits?”
“Oh!” The young woman clapped her hands excitedly. “That is wonderful! How can you do that? And so quickly, too! It looks just like both of us! Oh, look Jacques! He even has the cute little crook on your nose!”
Jacques had to admit the drawing was quite excellent. The boy had talent that was for sure. “
he did. Very nice work young man,” he beamed.
The girl pouted prettily and stamped her foot. “Jacques! Don’t you dare walk away without that drawing in your hand! I want that drawing for our bedroom after we are married!”
“Oh, Jeanine…he was playing us the whole time, hoping we would buy it.”
“Well, but if you knew that, you accepted when you let him draw. It is really, really good! I WANT it, dear. Very badly!” She looked up into his face with widened eyes.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, all right,” Jacques said resignedly. “How much are you going to take me for, kid?”
Gastien could not believe his luck! He would eat at least one small meal tomorrow. “I will let you be the judge of that,
. How much will you pay for something your lady so dearly loves? Only you know what that is worth. I know you will be fair.” Gastien quit talking. He winked shyly at the girl, giving her a little smile. Then he cast his eyes down. And waited.
Jacques got out his wallet. As he took out some money, Gastien held his breath. That was more than he would have asked for! It would buy him a very nice meal.
To his surprise, the young woman said, “
! Don’t insult him, Jacques! You know how good this is, we have seen other artists on the street with their little drawings. Please give him a bit more!” she pleaded. She caught Gastien’s eye and winked back. Her smile said, I will do whatever I can for you, because I like what I see. I can’t have it, but I will reward it. If I were available I would pay you another way. Gastien nodded his head slightly, acknowledging that he appreciated her working over her man for him.
! You are going to be the breaking of my wealth, darling!” Jacques laughed and doubled the money. “Here. Don’t expect you will always be so lucky, young man. Artists are always hustling people around here. Most draw for peanuts.”
Gastien took the money and handed them the rendering. “
, both of you! This means so very much to me. You probably won’t believe this, but this is the first piece of artwork I have ever sold.
” he said humbly.
“Well, I doubt that, as good as you are, but you are welcome. You have made my Jeannine very happy!” With that Jeanine stepped forward and gave Gastien a kiss on the cheek. “Merci,” she said softly, “I will treasure this always.” The couple then joined arms, walking away.
Gastien was very pleased. He had enough money to eat two huge meals! That would take care of the next two nights. More importantly, he had made a sale on the first try! He knew most people would not pay even one fourth of that, but that did not dampen his enthusiasm. Funny how one could start out the day with feces being thrown on them, yet end up on top of the world!
Without knowing it, he had worked that couple with the expertise of a career salesperson. He saw the opportunity (a couple obviously in love), created a desire (a need to capture the special moment for eternity), analyzed which of two held the power (in this case, Jeannine), and became teammates with her (using his eyes, smile and other body language that told her he, too, wished she was unattached). He then offered a way to satisfy the desire (the ownership of the drawing).
The most important thing he did, though, was not name a price, but restate the value of the drawing, in the eyes of the woman the man paying for it loved. He would process those details later and would remember them. Those skills, or parts of them, would be used repeatedly. They worked not only to sell his art, but to make women think they were seducing him…and to accomplish other goals in life, both large and small.
That, however, was not all he was going to learn before the night was over. Not only was he about to lose his virginity, he would move quickly from student to master during the sexual situation he would become involved in. Most men don’t master sex in a lifetime. The vast majority are only interested in their own satisfaction. During Gastien’s lifetime, that was true for all of them. Gastien learned it in one night, simply because it was a way to make people want him. That gave him self-validation and made him feel loved.
In addition, he was blessed (or cursed, depending on how one sees it) with an extremely high sex drive. This intense need would eat at him throughout his life. Finding relief would many times be his immediate priority. Perhaps it was an extension of the need to express who he was, or perhaps a need to create. He would always consider sex and lovemaking as other art forms.
A man who wanted to make women happy sexually was a rare thing in the nineteenth century! His ability to attract women, and keep them coming back for more until he decided otherwise, would become legendary in Montmartre. Many women would desire him, and many would act on it. Both men and women would talk about it, some laughingly teasing Gastien – if they knew him well. Some men would be jealous, some just in awe…but all of the men would wish they had even a third of the sexual opportunities that seemed to come Gastien’s way. They would never understand why, or how much he worked to make sure the partner got what they wanted from the tryst. Even if they had known, most would have been too lazy and self centered to use the knowledge.
His power that he achieved over people would rankle some who did not understand that his motives were simple. He was going to get what he wanted. He had lived his first eighteen years doing things he hated and being beaten for even thinking about doing anything else.
It would be said that he was arrogant and selfish about decisions he made, how he treated people, and how he lived his life. On the other hand, although many times he could be arrogant about his looks and his sexual ability, he would never be arrogant about his art. He would also always be honest about what he wanted from women, and what he was or was not willing to give a woman for that desire to be met.
He would not trick or manipulate people. They would know going in exactly what he was about. If they chose to ignore what he told them and hoped to change him, then that was their unfortunate mistake. He was who he was. No one would stop him from living his life how it needed to be lived in order to paint. Gastien would make sure he was free of anyone telling him when to work, how to live, or how to think. Once he got his studio, he vowed that he would never again be powerless against another human being.
His art, and to great extent sexual relationships, would be everything to him. If he had to live unconventionally that would not cause him the least bit of concern. The way he saw it, his life was now his business. Others should be taking care of their own lives, not worrying about his. The beatings had done some good after all. The iron will they built gave him the ability to press on when anyone else would give up, to make decisions others would find too abhorrent, and – ultimately – to achieve his dream.
, there would be a price, but all things worthwhile have one. His journey was just beginning now, though. He would prove once again tonight that he would stop at nothing to get exactly what he needed, at the same time providing exactly what was wanted.
As he continued down the avenue, he saw two young women coming out of a shop. They looked about his age. He noticed their fine clothes and how attractive they both were. The girls also noticed him. Gastien could hear them giggling. His good looks still being somewhat new in his mind, he immediately wondered what was so funny about him. Did people with money find his peasant clothing funny? Perhaps he had charcoal on his face! Just when he was starting to get embarrassed, he overheard one say, “Oh, my goodness, just LOOK at him! He is darling! I know we shouldn’t, but I really want to do more than just look at that boy!”
The one other scolded, “Be quiet. He will hear you! We are not street whores! What would Mother and Father think if they heard you?”
“Oh please, just because we want to have fun does not mean we are whores. We have only experienced one boy. That hardly counts! Come on, Char. Mother and Father are out until late tomorrow. Let’s at least invite him to have
As they approached him, Gastien looked up. Char’s breath caught in her throat. Her sister was right! This boy was dreamy looking! Before she could change her mind, she said “
. My sister and I are wondering…I know this is bold…but you look kind of lonely…do you want to join us for a glass of
! Just my luck, Gastien thought. Two great looking girls, probably twins, approach me and I need my money for food! I just can’t use it for anything else. He smiled sadly. “
, I am afraid I cannot.”
“But, why not? We don’t bite,” flirted Char’s sister, Chantelle. “Unless, of course, you ask us to!” Char gasped. Looking at each other, they both giggled.
Gastien laughed. “Oh, I would very much like you to, but I have to get home. I am, literally, a starving artist. I am new to the city. There is no money for fun right now. I am very sorry. I would have loved to buy you both a glass of
“What! Oh, no,
Ladies don’t drink in restaurants, not unless they are out with a gentleman at dinner and having
We are not suggesting drinking in public! We would like you to come home with us for a glass. Or two. Or… “ Chantelle replied suggestively.
Gastien could not believe his ears. “You want me to come home with you?”
, exactly! My sister and I are looking for fun. You look fun! In fact, I am thinking you would look even more fun in less clothing!” She blushed. “I know that I am being forward, and good girls shouldn’t. But this is Paris! We are progressive here! Char and I are just starting our lives of freedom, at least while we can, before marriage. I am rambling on….how about it? Want to come over and have some fun?” Chantelle batted her lashes at him.
Gastien could not say
fast enough. Damn! Is this what women in Paris were like? They definitely were not street whores, they looked and smelled too good for that. Thank goodness he had bathed in the river. “Lead the way,
” Gastien said as he offered an arm to each.
They actually ended up quite close to
. The houses were well spaced and very fine looking. As they turned up a walk toward an imposing structure, Chantelle said, “I am glad we gave the servants the night off. Mother and Father will be out until late afternoon tomorrow. We have the whole place to ourselves. However, I think you will find my
quite comfortable. It is a bit larger than Char’s and – oh! Here we are!”
They entered the house in silence. Gastien was suddenly very nervous. The girls giggled some more as they went up the stairs. Char opened the door to Chantelle's sumptuous bedroom. The bed was staring right at them. Gastien felt completely out of his league. “Are you sure you want me in here?” he asked.