Max and I had been invited for dinner at Cutlass and Bobo’s villa on the beach. They said someone wanted to see me and they were very secretive about it.
I walked into their living room with the pin lit portrait of Rosa Azul and a very handsome young man with neatly clipped brown hair came toward me.
“Dearest Sylvia!” he said. “It’s been too long!”
I couldn’t place him yet he was so familiar …… it couldn’t be could it?”
I couldn’t place him yet he was so familiar ……. it couldn’t be could it?
I took a deep breath. “Scorpion! Is that you?” I cried and hugged him. “What a surprise! How are you, dear?” I looked him up and down. He was wearing a white linen shirt rolled to the elbows, open halfway down his chest. His trousers had a slim, expensive belt with a silver buckle. He was wearing conservative penny loafers. All tattoos, earrings, earplugs and piercings were gone. Only lovely, smooth skin showed.
I gasped and nailed a smile to my face hoping he wouldn’t notice my disappointment at the loss of my wild man. “Where are your tattoos and piercings?”
“Had them removed in Europe – the social ones anyway.” He laughed, two rows of perfect teeth glowing. “I still have a few private tattoos.”
I didn’t dare ask.
“But Scorpion, they were so much a part of your identity!”
“My younger, artistic identity. I’m no longer in the art world.”
Feeling weak in the knees, I sat down. “What do you mean?”
He sighed. “Creating art and then thinking about running a gallery felt like – how best to describe it? Like Alice Through the Looking Glass – upside down, topsy-turvy and backwards. The only thing missing was the caterpillar smoking a water pipe saying “And who are you?” He picked up his cocktail and sipped.
I guffawed. “That’s an accurate description of the art world.”
“And by the way, I’m no longer Scorpion. I’m using the name my parents gave me – Etienne.”
My mouth dropped open. Tears stung my eyes. Where was my savagely beautiful Scorpion? He was still gorgeous but the X factor was gone. I collected myself and called on years of training bending the truth to our catering clients. “You still look marvelous!”
“You’re such a lovely liar! I know you’re shocked but,” he said, running fingers through his hair, “I’m finally wearing my right skin. I’m the epitome of a businessman. Mother is proud. Her little boy has – grown up! ……. But I can see your eyes asking, where’s Scorpion the adventurer? The art scene was a rebellion against my family but my spirit is still here. You and Max taught me that. You both always followed your heart spirit. Please be happy for me.”
He followed our example. How sweet. But I lost my ravishing beast. Where do I go for a refund?
Bobo gestured us all outside, singing, “Drinkies, drinkies, drinkies on the terrace!”
Drinkies was exactly what I needed! Lots of them.
Max steered me forward and I saw a little “Ha! Ha!” smile on his face. If only murder were legal!
We sat at a table and watched the sunset on the ocean. A champagne cork popped.
Max turned to Scorp …… oops! …. to ETIENNE ….. and asked, “Dear boy, what are you doing now?”
Etienne scratched his eyebrow. “Mother always longed for me to join the family’s pharmaceutical company and now her dream has been realized. I’m a sales representative.” He smiled broadly ….. but did I detect a hint of sadness?
“So,” Max said, leaning back to enjoy his champagne and glancing at me, “you’ve gone from being an artist to dealing in drugs!’
They all laughed. Ha! Ha! Except me. If I find a carved vegetable within a mile of my kitchen, I’m stomping on it and kicking it into the gutter.
The dinner went as smoothly as any soap opera. Appetizers were double entendres, daggers for entrees, and insincere smiles for dessert.
At the end of it, I dug my nails into my palms, hugged Cutlass and Bobo, and said, “You certainly know how to surprise a girl. I’ll never forget you for it.” The one thing I really meant all evening.
My beastie man has been replaced by a door-to-door salesman and my husband has “Ha! Ha!” imprinted on his forehead.
If that’s what Scorp ……. I mean Etienne wants, so be it. I would be a true friend and support his wishes. Still …. my divine beast!