By E Walk
(Copyrighted by the Editor)
Edited by Will B.
Chapter 37 - Artist At Work
This is Ben.
Tea was a fun time. Prince Harry kept giving Brian a difficult time but Brian was dishing it right back. Prince Harry was asking everyone all sorts of questions, but he kept getting vague answers. The Prince finally had enough, "Would you people stop playing with my mind and answer my questions?"
Prince Harry looked at Vicky, "Okay Lady Victoria, Brian said you met him on the airplane on the trip here. Is that correct?"
Vicky giggled, "The six of us were all seated in the same row. When we first boarded Ben was sitting next to me. Ben and Brian changed seats and then Ben and Grant spend part of the flight sitting next to Inga and Maria."
Prince Harry looked at the group, "Finally a straight answer. Grant, Brian said that you and Ben met Maria and Inga at college."
Grant looked at me, "Ben and I had gone to Cornell for some testing and Maria and Inga were assigned as our escorts. We had a fun time with the young ladies and spent quite a bit of time with them while we were there. In fact they will be living in the house that Ben bought when school begins."
The Prince looked totally confused, "Ben, if you bought a house and Maria and Inga are going to live in it, where are you going to live?"
I could see why the Prince was confused, "Grant and I will be living in an apartment in the basement. The two young ladies will have two rooms on the second floor. The other bedrooms will be rented out as a bed and breakfast rooms which will be managed by Uncle Harley."
The Prince shook his head as if he were finally beginning to understand. "So you made plans to come to visit the ladies in London while you were at school."
Brian interrupted, "Our plans to come to London were made before Ben and Grant made the trip to Cornell. We were originally scheduled on a later flight but it was changed at the very last minute and thus we wound up on the same flight as the three ladies. I guess you could say it was predetermined by some higher power."
Poor Prince Harry was looking confused again, "Maria, you mean to say that you and had not planned to meet up with Ben and Grant while you were all here?"
"Your Highness, Inga and I had planned to spend the first week here in London with my parents. We will be flying to Sweden on Sunday to spend a week with Inga's family." Maria added, "It has been great having Ben, Grant and Brian around. It has been far more exciting than if it had just been the two of us."
The Prince looked at Grant and me, "Are you going to accompanying the ladies to Sweden?"
Brian answered for us, "Nope, we're going to a nude dude ranch in Colorado with Ben's and my family. Grant is going with us."
Vicky was laughing, "You're not really going to a nude dude ranch are you?"
Brian pouted, "Well, it is a dude ranch that belong to Uncle Clay and his parents."
Prince Harry was nodding his head, "I think I am beginning to get an entirely different perspective about what is going on here. I have some more questions."
He stopped and pulled out a cell phone which we had not heard ring. He opened it, "I'll be right back Chelsey is calling. Her examination must be finished."
He disappeared so that he wouldn't bother the other patrons. He came back and asked, "Chelsey wants to meet you people. She thinks I am making up stories about you."
Brian answered for everyone, "Prince Harry, we would very much enjoy spending the evening with you and Chelsey, but we need to check with our hosts first before we commit. Vicky and Maria probably need to check with their parents, also. May we call you as soon as we get home and check with the appropriate people?"
The Prince nodded, "Do you people realize that almost anyone would have committed to spending an evening with a prince without hesitation. But no, not you people. You have to think of others first. I must tell you that I appreciate that you were thinking of other people before your own personal interests. I'll be right back."
Prince Harry left again. Brian looked around, "I hope I didn't upset Prince Harry, but we really do need to see if our hosts and your parents have made other plans."
Prince Harry returned, "Let's bust out of this joint. I have already paid the fare. Let's get going so you can check with your hosts and parents. Why doesn't everyone check in with Brian and he can relay the plans to me and then back to you."
The Prince's car was at Buckingham Palace so Rafael left him off first. Brian climbed off the bus and hugged Prince Harry, "Thanks for a fun afternoon. I hope we can get together this evening."
We dropped Vicky off next and then the rest of us except for Maria and Inga got out at Uncle Hank's and Uncle Rod's house. Matthew excused himself saying he needed to go check in. When we entered the house, Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod were playing chess.
Brian announced, "I need to go to the bathroom, I'll be right back. Ben, why don't you check and see what Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod have planned for tonight while I am gone?"
Grant and I told Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod what Prince Harry had proposed and then what Brian's response was.
Uncle Hank started to laugh, "Brian amazes me more every time he does something."
Grant chimed in, "Yep, he and Ben beat the Prince and Rafael at polo. Brian and Vicky won the obstacle course race and then Brian bested Prince Harry on the equestrian course. I guess you might say that was just another boring day in England."
We were laughing as Brian returned with his easel and his pastels, "I'll man the phone while you two go do the celebrating you need to do. I am going to draw a picture of The Wizards at Play. Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod keep playing your match please."
Grant and I went to our room. Grant practically threw me on the bed, "You need to pay for besting His Royal Highness. I'll take care of you first and then I settle with your brother. In your case you are going to get an injection to make you more respectful, but first we need to drain that lizard of yours before the cream ferments."
Neither Grant nor I lasted long. I was wondering what had gotten into Grant. This was so atypical. He finally admitted as we were getting dressed, "Ben, I'm sorry if I got carried away, but the events of this entire day made me extremely horny. I need to be reassured that we belong to each other exclusively."
I held Grant, "Dearest Knock, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. I think everyone realizes that we are committed to each other, even Prince Harry now. We know that Maria and Inga will never try to intervene. Brian would probably be our most brutal defender if he thought someone was trying to come between us."
When we returned to the parlor where Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod had been playing chess, Jaime, Shamus and Mrs. Proust were standing behind Brian as he put the finishing touches on his artwork.
Mrs. Proust spoke, "Sir, Brian those are beautiful likenesses of Master Cox and Master Peters. You should sign it."
Brian put a title on the border and signed and dated the painting. He held it up for Uncle Rod and Uncle Hank to see. They looked at it and tears were forming in their eyes. Brian had caught their inner spirit. You could almost feel their love for each other.
Brian put the work on the table, "Please don't anyone touch it until I have a chance to spray it with fixative so it doesn't smear. Jaime, since you aren't going with us tonight, do you think you could get me a can of fixative spray at an art store? By the ways guys, we are going to be picked up and Rafael and we are to meet Prince Harry and Miss Davy at Trafalgar Square. Mrs. Proust, I'll come help you finish the evening meal."
After Brian left with Mrs. Proust, Uncle Rod looked at me. "Brian is a young man with many talents isn't he?"
"Uncle Rod, Brian is probably like our father was at Brian's age. Brian has had many experiences that our Father never had in his early life. Dad won't talk much about his early life. Brian is very artistic where Dad is more musically inclined. Me, I'm just a lover with no talents. I truly don't think that there is much that Brian couldn't do if he tried. He seems to hide his talents so he doesn't draw attention to himself. He likes to portray himself as poor little second fiddle."
We were interrupted by the arrival of Brian, "Monsieurs, your presence is requested in the dining room immediately. Aunt Beau and I have decided that you will all need to go take a shower after the meal. Remember, it is not good manners to pick up the bones to get the last parcel of meat off of them. Just leave them on the plate and I'll scrape them for breakfast."
Brian and Mrs. Proust brought in a steaming bowl of some sort of fish chowder and some fresh melon. Brian was doing everything possible to get a rise out of someone. He slammed down his spoon, "That does it, you all start your course in etiquette 101 first thing in the morning. I don't have much time to properly train you now."
Uncle Hank wasn't about to let Brian show everyone up. "I guess that is why Her Majesty called this afternoon. She wants to make sure you had an intensive course in manners before the reception on Friday. She is worried that your Uncle and Aunt will think we Brits have corrupted you."
Brian wasn't finished, "They would know better. Ben and I have been corrupting their children for years. Aunt Beau, I'll clear the table, while you serve the main course. Make sure I get the three biggest chops. They smell like they are going to melt in my mouth."
Dinner was great. After dinner Jaime suggested, "Brian, why don't we go to art materials shop around the corner and you can get the fixative since I haven't a clue what I would be looking for. Shamus, Grant and Ben can do the cleanup while we are gone."
Brian and Jaime were back before we had even finished the cleanup. Brian carefully put the portrait on a newspaper and took it outside to spray. He was spraying when Rafael arrived with the three young ladies. The girls looked at the painting. They were surprised at how good the likenesses were. Vicky looked at Brian, "Brian, you should bring your supplies with us tonight and do a likeness of the prince. I would really like for you to do one of me too. My parents would be thrilled."
Brian was a little unsure, "Don't you think it would be a little tacky and presumptuous to ask Prince Harry to pose?"
Maria reassured Brian, "Brian, if he would rather not do it. I'm sure he will tell you. Personally I think he might think it would be fun. I think you should do one of Vicky first so he will realize that you have a talent."
Brian went to get his supplies and his backpack and started to the limousine.
As we were going to the limo I heard Vicky talking to Brian, "By the way Brian, my parents would like for you to come to dinner tomorrow night since Ben and Grant will be going to a meeting with Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod."
We arrived at Trafalgar Square before Prince Harry and Chelsey. Brian had started to draw a portrait of Vicky after he showed her how he wanted her to pose. He was just about finished when Prince Harry and Chelsey arrived. They said nothing and we were all watching Brian as he worked. Finally he motioned for Vicky to come look.
When she saw how he had portrayed, she reached down and kiss Brian,
"Brian, it's beautiful."
Prince Harry made the introductions and Brian didn't waste any time. "Okay, Your Royal Highness, it's your turn. Why don't go over there and look like you are going to mount that horse and I'll see what I can do?"
Prince Harry didn't even quibble and Brian set to work. Brian was attracting quite a large gallery of spectators who were watching him work.
I noticed a well dressed gentleman carefully watching Brian as he worked.
This is Grant.
I have to say that I am just overwhelmed by Brian. He is so talented and I am beginning to see why he seems to have so many different facets to his personality. I think the great thing is that he would probably give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.
I was just amazed at what Brian had done with the pastel portrait of Prince Harry. He had made the horse come alive and it looked like the gray dapple horse that The Prince had ridden earlier today. Prince Harry was dressed as if he was going to play polo."
Brian looked closely at the painting and made a last minute change. "Okay, sir, come see if you approve."
The Prince looked a little skeptical until he saw the picture, "Brian, I am just amazed. That really does look like Sir Anders and you even made me look great. May I pay for the painting and take it?"
Brian shook his head no, "No you can't pay me for doing it. I will have Jaime or Shamus deliver it when it has had the fixative sprayed on it and it has a chance to dry." Brian carefully put the painting between two piece of velum.
He looked at Chelsey, "Your next, Miss Davy. I don't know much about you other than that you are a student. If we had a book, I think it would make for an interest painting."
There was a young man about Brian's age watching, "You can use this history book if it would work."
Brian looked at the book, "Perfect."
The crowd was really growing now, as Brian took Chelsey and had her sit on the grass with the book on her lap, "Okay, Miss Davy, please look at me as if you are trying to make sense of what you just read."
Brian was meticulous. After he was satisfied, "Miss Davy, your likeness is ready for your inspection."
Chelsey came over and looked the painting. "Wow, do I look good? I have to have this for my parents."
Brian looked at Inga, "Inga, do you want a picture by yourself or would like to have one with Grant to take to show your family when you go home next week?"
Inga didn't even take time to think, "Why don't you do one of Grant and me together. I can hardly wait to see how you have us pose."
Brian took us to a wall. He had me sit with one foot on the wall and had me lean back and put my hands on the wall. He had Inga sit down facing away from me and got her into position. His final instructions were, "Now turn to look at each other."
Brian quickly started to work. People in the audience were applauding. He made some finishing touches and held it up, "What do you think Your Highness?"
Prince Harry was shaking his head, "There is no question that that is a painting Inga and Grant."
When Inga saw the painting all she said, "Grant, may I please have that?" She leaned down and kissed Brian.
The people gathered applauded. "I have time for one more, Maria would you like to be alone or with Benji?"
Maria left no doubt, "I would prefer to be with Ben."
Brian had Maria sit on the ground with her legs behind her so Ben could put his head on her lap. His directions were simply, "Look as if you are trying to read each other's minds."
The well dressed gentleman who had been watching, moved closer to Brian and watched Brian as he was working. I realized that Shamus and Rafael had also moved closer. I thought to myself, `Please don't let there be another incident.'
Brian finished and held it for Prince Harry and Chelsey to see. They simply nodded. "Okay, come see what I have done."
Maria was thrilled. Prince Harry looked at Ben, "How come you are not commenting, Ben?"
"I have been forced to pose for Brian so many times that I feel like I am a piece of plastic with the things he has made do. Pastels are not really his best medium so be thankful that he wasn't doing his oils on canvas or you would be so stiff you wouldn't be able to move. Now let's go get something to eat."
The gentleman in the suit stepped forward, "Brian, please don't pack up yet. You have drawn everyone in your party except yourself. Would you please do a self portrait? I would like to see what you would do with it."
The audience applauded, Brian moved away so no one could see what he was doing. He thought for a short time and then started to work. When he finished, I could see him writing the title on the frame. I could hardly wait to see the work. Brian brought the work and showed it to the gentleman."
The gentleman took a deep breath, "Brian, this is very powerful. I would like to buy it and hang it in my gallery. I'll pay you one thousand pounds for it."
Brian's self portrait looked like him except half of the picture depicted him as an angel and the other half made him look like a demon. Half of the heart that was showing shown like gold and the other looked like cold stone.
It was like a gasp went up from those assembled. Brian was totally caught by surprise, "Sir, you may purchase it but please make the check to a charity that supports people who need the funds. Shamus, who do Uncle Rod and Uncle Hank support?"
Shamus answered, "They are very big supporters of the Abused and Battered Children`s Fund."
Vicky added, "My parents also support that fund."
"There you go sir, but first, why don't you tell us who you are? I'm Brian Benson."
Brian put out his hand and the gentleman shook it. "I know who you are, Mr. Benson. I am sure that many of the people here recognize you from the pictures of you and your friends that have been appearing in the London Times. My name is Edward Johnson. I own a gallery in Knightsbridge.
I like to show and sell the works of promising young artists."
The young man who had loaned his book to Brian for Chelsey's portrait approached Brian, "Brian, we took up a collection and collected a few quid for you to add to donation to Abused and Battered Children's Fund. My name is James Arthur. You are extremely talented. Good luck in the future."
Brian shook the young man's hand and handed the money to Shamus to take care of.
Mr. Johnson wasn't finished, "I heard you mention that you were going to get something to eat. Please let me treat you all. I have a proposition for you all."
Ben and Brian were looking at each other. We did indeed go to a local delicatessen and everyone ordered what they wanted. Mr. Johnson proposal was very straight forward. "Brian, I would like to display all of the pastels that you did tonight and do while you are here in London. I will even have my staff matte and frame them at no cost to the owners."
Brian looked at the people who he done pictures of and they all nodded in the affirmative. "Sir, after I get them sprayed, I'll get Jaime or Shamus to bring me to the gallery. It will need to be tomorrow or Friday since Ben, Grant and I are leaving on Saturday. Everyone will be busy in the evenings. Do you have a card so that we can call you before we come to visit?"
Mr. Johnson handed Brian a card and excused himself. He had already paid for what we had eaten. Prince Harry and Chelsey stood, "We need to be going, also. We'll see you all on Friday night at The Spanish Embassy."
We went to the limousine and as we were going home, Brian apologized, "I'm sorry everyone. That wasn't much fun for anyone tonight."
Maria answered for everyone, "Brian, you are all wrong. We just had a once in a lifetime experience. Not only were we with a Royal Prince and his date, but we had the opportunity to watch a budding artist at work."
Brian had to have the last word, "Let's just hope this budding artist gets a chance to bloom."
When we got home, the house was quiet so we just went to our bedrooms. Ben looked at me as we were lying on our bed, "It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. Everyday has been an adventure since we have been here."
Author's note: If you want to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might wish to go towww.tickiestories.us.
Editor's comments: Our Esteemed Author has excelled at composing a fascinating tale again! I'm glad the mysterious gentleman was not some villain.
Another Editor's Notes:
This was a wonderful chapter. I strongly suspect that Brian will become a very good artist. I sincerely doubt, however, that he will limit his talents to art. I can hardly wait for the next chapter.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher