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This is a long one that Alifletcha wrote in four parts.

I glance impatiently at the clock on my studio wall, the latest in a string of men, (and I use the term loosely) that my friend Lyssa has been procuring for me is due soon.  Her instructions are to find guys from her campus that are half man, half god, the ones she's been sending me are half man, half god knows what. I may have to reassess my finances and hire a professional model, it will be a stretch, but at least I will have the physique I require. I sigh.......heavily, I've been preparing the huge block of marble for weeks in the hope I can recreate the vision I have, any longer and it will fade along with my hopes for my masterpiece.

I make a pot of strong coffee, it's aroma filling my tiny studio like a comforting hug, as I remember the call from Lyssa last night, she was excited, "I have the perfect man for you", she practically shouted. Unfortunately, that's what she said last time, the reality turned out to be a spotty youth, who weighed six stones wet through, not exactly the adonis of my admittedly vivid imagination. Lyssa cut through my protests and swore this guy was perfection. I've decided this the last one, I can't bear the hurt faces when I reject them and the ever more elaborate excuses, telling the guys they are too good looking is not going to work forever.
Suddenly a knock at the door, interrupts my introspection. I straighten my spine and march over to open it, mentally preparing to soft soap another poor reject. I open up, to find myself gazing up into one of the most alive and intelligent faces I've ever seen.....I can feel my spine melting. 
 
Wow! so far so good! "Hi" the vision says, "my name is Daniel Jackson, er....... Lyssa sent me over"? I introduce myself and motion him in and then follow him into the studio, my eyes riveted to his rear view. I move to stand before him, I can see him looking around interestedly at all my triumphs and disasters that litter the place.

I offer him some of the coffee and the beguiling eyes light up behind his glasses. Over coffee I tell him about my ambitious sculpture, about my small but growing reputation and that this piece will be a life-size neo classical figure based on work by the great renaissance sculptures. I also told him the pay would not be massive, that I could need him up to four or five hours a day for four weeks, but I could fit it around any other schedules he might have. In return he told me he was an archaeologist and was raising funds to help with a dig. So far so good, now came the sticky part, "ermm" I began confidently "this reclining figure, well it's er of a um reclining figure in a short er toga and robe off the shoulders and um.... nothing else...er would that be a problem"?

There was a long pause, I was praying 'please say you'll do it' 'please say you'll do it'. Daniel blushed.......adorably "well er no, that's fine" he said. "Actually" I replied "there's something else you ought to know", he looked enquiringly at me, 'oh God, here goes', "Ermm, well, you see" spit it out you stupid woman "well I will need to um touch you and run my hands over your face and body, I need to feel my art you understand not just......... see it"? I finish breathlessly. I peek at him, he looks astonished and open mouthed, it's a very sexy....er cute look on him.
"Well" he replies slowly "as long as you warm your hands first, it should be ok".
 
Alifletcha
 
*****

The next day I'm literally dancing around the studio as I wait for Daniel to come for the first session, I've laid out all my tools, and I've set a pot of coffee on the go, then right on time he's here, doing the twinkling thing with his eyes, he really is a total babe. I strive for professionalism, but I am really nervous as I hand over the abbreviated clothing and sandals and motion him over to the screen so he can change. Ten minutes later, he emerges feet shuffling and I look up.......... oh...................my...................god!

On his feet are the sandals with leather ties that chris-cross his legs up to his knees, leaving his toes bare. The short toga barely covers his upper thighs, his legs look sooooooo much more long and lithe without covering. His abdomen and chest are bare because the robe is falling off his shoulders to billow behind him. Daniel has removed his glasses and..............I know I wanted half man, half god but before me stands a living breathing deity for sure. I can see as he shuffles towards me, a scar peeking out from the top of the low slung toga, it looks like some kind of operational leftover, a blemish, yet it actually adds to the perfection because it makes him human. Suddenly I'm seized with an overwhelming need to do justice to this man with my hands and the marble. 
 
 Aware of the lengthening silence as I drank him in, he asks, "will I do"? when I don't reply he adds "that bad uh"?
"No" I almost yell "you're.....it's fine......... yes............... er totally..............fine". He gives me the shy twinkle of a smile again, I pull myself together and say "would you mind if I make some adjustments to your hair?"
"Sure, help yourself" he answers as he sits down.
I ask him to bend over and I begin to sweep and ruffle his hair forward in a classic 'Brutus' look. Once I've tweaked to my satisfaction I lay a wreath of laurel leaves on his head. I take him over to the couch that he will be posing on, but the ties on one of his sandals come loose and fall. Daniel needs to stay upright so I bend to do up the laces myself. I kneel on the floor and bend the ties around his leg, I can feel Daniel trembling,
 
"Sorry," he chuckles. "I'm extremely ticklish".
Mmmmm I think as I deftly tie the lace under his knee, Daniel laughed and said he couldn't remember the last time someone tied his shoelaces for him, I laughed in return and looked up with some quip. Oh................Oh my...................Oh he's .........well that's dedication.................. it's draughty in here, I'm going to turn the thermostat up, I don't want him catching cold. 
 
I ask Daniel to lay on the reclining couch and I begin to position his body, draping a body decoratively is hard work.......usually, it took me quite some time to arrange Daniel's to my satisfaction, but eventually he's done. He's half lying with one long leg stretched out and the other crooked up at the knee, one muscular arm behind his head, the other idly toying with a feather on the floor, his face his half turned towards me. I told him to do his best to look like an idle dilettante with hundreds of minions serving his every whim. He laughed his attractive laugh and told me it would be a stretch, but he could just about manage it. I'd already decided to start on the face, which is unusual, but I felt inspired. I approached him, asked his permission, got it, then began trailing my fingers over his lovely features.

Alifletcha
 
*****

The sculpture progressed wonderfully, I was seized with the desire to do justice to this gorgeous man, that it truly was going to be my masterpiece. Daniel came everyday, sometimes due to his archaeological commitments it would be late in the evening, but he never failed to show up. As I worked, we talked about every subject under the sun, sometimes his lovely eyes would dim with some unexpressed sorrow, that he would skip over and change the subject, he was so easy to talk too, that I realized I was confiding in him things I had not told any other person before. My coffee maker was threatening to go on strike and I was warning Daniel that I was going to pay him in coffee beans. I soon realized that Daniel Jackson, though lovely on the outside was, unbelievably, even more amazing on the inside. Intelligent, intuitive, interested, extremely kind, humorous, his eyes were truly the window to his soul. All in all a pretty wonderful potent package.
 
I was so focused on the sculpture that I forgot the original, astounding as that may seem. One day after a couple of hours of total concentration in unusual silence, I looked up and noticed that Daniel was holding his arm at a peculiar angle. "Um Daniel are you ok?" I asked, he looked up surprised at the sudden conversation, "yes I'm fine" he said and smiled, though in his eyes I saw him wince. I glanced at the studio clock and to my shock I had been sculpting him for nearly....... five hours! in the same position and he had not complained or brought my attention to it. He brushed aside my profuse apologies with his trademark twinkle and that he completely understood, because he tended to get more than a little focused himself in projects. I could see his arm was painful so I offered to massage it for him, one of the benefits of sculpting is extremely strong hands and fingers, he hesitated but agreed and stretched out on the couch in a more relaxing position than his posing one. I found some oil and began.   
 
I started a deep, penetrating sweep of his arm from the shoulder, down over the bicep, into his sensitive inner arm, onto the strong wrist and his long artistic fingers and then back up to the shoulder, nipping and kneading the spasm into submission. I found myself lingering on the powerful shoulder, by now he was lying flat out on his front, I tentatively began to rub his shoulder with one hand, Daniel made no protest so I allowed my other hand to creep onto his back and it began to manipulate the sleek skin covered muscles. As I began to knead his shoulders with more vigour, I was startled to hear a huge, husky sigh from Daniel,
"mmmmm..................that feels.................soooooooooooooooo good................. don't stop.............mmmm please"? I did not reply, I just poured my heart and soul into my hands and fingers, more than I had ever done with any sculpture, as they toyed with his spine, traversed each vertebrae down to the toga, roamed over his flanks, moulded his shoulder blades and nipped his naked nape. During the course of the massage Daniel had groaned a couple of times, a sound which I could still feel vibrating in my toes.

As my hands lingered on his beautiful back, I was startled by the next sound to emanate from Daniel, I chuckled to myself and stepped away, he might be the
most gorgeous man I had ever met and the near ideal to a admittedly myopic Prince Charming, but he was snoring like a freight train. 'Ah well' I thought to myself as I covered him with a throw, there has to be a flaw somewhere, he is a man after all.
 
Alifletcha
 
*****

Five months later.

The day after Daniel had fallen asleep on the sofa in my studio, he received an offer to participate in an archaeological dig near Tangiers, he came round to tell me, "it's an opportunity I've been waiting for" he told me, he had to fly out the very next day, he was brimming with enthusiasm, but also seeking my understanding. Of course, I nobly denied that I needed him further, that the sculpture was virtually
completed anyway, (I'd been dragging out Daniel's participation) and that I could manage just fine,........................well what did you expect me to say? I wrote him a cheque, which he tried to refuse, made him one last cup of coffee, over which he described the proposed dig in detail, made him promise to keep in contact, which he gave most ferverently, and then I showed him out, he kissed me gently on the cheek and told me that sitting for the sculpture had been one of the most uplifting things he'd ever done.......................and then he was gone. As I stared at the closed door, a cold empty space opened in my heart.

 Over the next few days, I went to the studio to complete the Reclining Adonis, but..................I could not bear to touch it. I realised how much I'd depended on spending time with Daniel, looked forward to it, relished it and ultimately cherished it. Then I could not bear to go to the studio at all, I kept it locked and did not venture near. The sculpture was too poignant a reminder, the cold, lifeless marble in place of the vibrant, stimulating man. The eyes, empty and soulless instead of blue and sparkling. The skin hard and icy instead of warm and soft yet with the leashed strength of muscles underneath. I went through a phase of actually wanting to take my largest mallet and smash it to smithereens, but, sanity prevailed. I was not bitter, honestly, I was truly happy that Daniel was doing something he really wanted, drat, that's how far gone I was.

 After three weeks of isolation, I went back and finished the sculpture, then after a couple of months I worked up the courage to show it to a couple of people in the business whose opinion I trusted. They praised it lavishly. One of them contacted a prestigious gallery, and after viewing it, the owners wanted to give it the full works of an unveiling. They have really gone to town as well, Champagne, Canapés, Ice sculptures all in a Romanesque theme. All the staff dressed in togas which actually looks quite funny, some of those legs should not be seen outside a trouser leg. I'd been given some tickets to the event to dispose of as I liked. I sent one to Daniel's address, I knew he could not attend, but half the kudos belonged to him, he had been the inspiration after all, and I felt comforted just by the act of sending the ticket.

 So here I am, I know I'm being remote and stand-offish, I'm managing infinitesimal upward movements of my lips, and apparently this is not coming off as rudeness, but adding to my mystique.............. okaaay. I can't help smirking at the irony.  I've done my duty such as it was, and I'm wandering through one of the deserted corridors in the gallery, my gaze resolutely down, when suddenly a hand holding a glass of Champagne, is thrust into my line of sight.

I recognize that hand, I've touched it, massaged it even. My eyes follow the line of the extended arm, ...............please don't let this be a dream...................I see the shoulder and chest, it is immaculately dressed in a stunning tuxedo. I ever so slowly raise my head...................please........please...............I see the chin, those luscious lips, the cheekbones, then the gorgeous eyes, currently twinkling, and it is.................it's................it's Daniel.
"What?"............"How?" ............."Where?" Pull yourself together, you silly bint, I tell myself. Daniel ignores my stuttering and twinkles even more, his eyes are even brighter than I remember in contrast to his suntanned face, he looks absolutely bloody gorgeous.
"When did you get back?" I at last manage to gasp out, huskily.
"Mmmm that would be this morning" he replies teasingly, "Jet lag will kick in at any moment, know any sofa's I can crash on?"
I'm blushing and opened mouthed, but I don't care. Daniel is still holding the glass of Champagne, but I don't dare take it, I will drop it I'm trembling so much.
"I didn't think you would be back so soon," I manage with credible coolness, but I'm not fooling him for a second, he's quirking his brows up and grinning at me.
I have no control at all because I'm grinning back, inanely. If anything of what I feel is in my eyes then he would not need to be a mind reader.
"Well" he says "I need help handling my artifacts."
What on earth is he's rambling about? but who cares he's here and he's talking to me. He tries again, "Errrrrrr I have a two person tent and I'm one person short." He gives it another shot "Um, we need an expert to help us in the field, when we find pieces of sculpture." Daniel looks down in my completely oblivious face and grates out "Will you come to Tangiers with me? I've missed you so much."
I'm utterly stunned and completely spellbound. Daniel looks at me in mute enquiry, a hint of desperation in his eyes. The hole in my heart suddenly closes and I hear myself saying "yes..........yes please."

 
Alifletcha

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