TITLE : Caroline and the Sleepy Portraits
AUTHOR : Karen Gomes (pyrie@hotmail.com)
TYPE : Prose
RATED : PG-13?! Oooh lala!
DISCLAIMER : All characters/premises belong to their respective owners. So there.
NOTES : Well, I had a creative burst today, and decided to write a short-ish (okay, so it's bloody long as usual) fic about an idea I got while taking an afternoon nap. Hey man, I deserved that nap!!



Caroline and the Sleepy Portraits


Richard finished packing his clothes back into a small black suitcase. "Thanks for letting me stay at your place, Caroline." He smiled a little uneasily. It had been a grueling six days, but he had managed to sleep on the couch with no incident. Sleeping so close to Caroline - knowing that she was a mere floor above had tormented his dreams every night, causing him to sit up at unruly hours and sketch them out in a small book which he kept hidden underneath the couch. «I must remember to take my book.» He thought to himself.

Caroline watched Richard carefully fold each black sweater, black pants and … black underwear. She blushed. «Oops, I shouldn't be looking at *that*.» She thought, scolding herself. The past six nights had been tough, but she managed to get through without any event presenting itself. «I just don't know if I wanted something *to* happen…» She trailed off and smiled, as Richard looked up. "Don't worry Richard. It's unfortunate that they had to have your apartment fumigated so close to the Christmas holidays." Caroline shrugged, trying to hide the happiness she felt for the past week. Being so close to Richard, especially during the holidays, had a magic of it's own. She wasn't going home to visit her folks this year, Annie was spending the holidays at an 'All Cats Bash' and Del was with some girl at a cabin up north. Charlie … well no one knew but he did mention something about teaching monkeys to sing with a British accent, so he was quite busy as well. That left Richard, and despite being left last, Caroline knew that he was her first choice. "At least you can go home tomorrow after work."

"Yeah…" He too trailed off, trying to hide the delight he had felt as well. Though he didn't want to get too close, spending the past few days with Caroline had been a dream. It was surreal how much they connected, and how secure he felt in her loft. "Well, you *did* cramp my style, but I managed." He mocked sarcastically.

Caroline rolled her eyes as she went up the stairs. "I'm going to change into my PJs." She stated. Richard shrugged and did the same.


A few minutes later, Caroline descended the stairs clad in a pink and blue medley of kitten imprinted pajama suit. She struck an exaggerated pose, twirled and almost fell due to her slippery matching socks. "Shut up." She play punched Richard who was, obviously mocking her. Caroline looked at her watch. "Well, it's 9:00pm, time for movie of the week."

"You thrive on these, don't you?" Richard paused and watched her intently. "Or…the evil programmers at NBC just wait until I am over at your loft to put these 'menaces to society' on, so that I can be bored to death while *you* eat all the popcorn and steal my body warmth." Richard muttered as he got under the blanket.

She smiled giddily as she went to get the bowl of popcorn from the microwave. "Oooh, hot! HOT!" She yelped as she juggled the bowl all the way to the couch, promptly handing it to Richard as she cooled her hands.

"Hot HOT!" Richard howled, as he clumsily placed the bowl on the table in front of them. "Daamn you…" He said in a deep voice and glared at her playfully.


Two hours into the movie, Richard was looking up at the ceiling playing 'guess that stain' while Caroline was enamored by Meryl Streep's performance. "Spinach-y substance." Richard muttered aloud.

Caroline tore her eyes away from the screen, happy that a commercial about toe fungus was playing. "Oh, that was when I made my first dinner for Del." She too looked up, leaning closer to Richard. "It was such an awkward night, and he obviously didn't like my spinach keish."

Richard let out a grunt. "Who would?" He asked sarcastically, whilst still looking up. "And the tomato stain?" He pointed.

"Charlie rolled into me from behind, while I was carrying my homemade pizza. Scared the bejeepers out of me."

Richard turned to look at Caroline, and finally noticed that their faces were so close. Close enough that they might have been mistaken for two people joined at the hip.

At that point, Caroline turned her head, facing Richard. She could feel his warm breath tickle her lips, and unconsciously licked them. She could swear that she heard Richard let out a sotto moan. "Richard…" She whispered and leaned in ever so slowly.

Richard panicked. He noticed Caroline leaning in, and slowly he leaned in too. But at the last minute, he grabbed popcorn from the bowl, and shoved it in Caroline's mouth, leaving a few for him. "You're right Caroline … this popcorn is fa-bu-LOUS!" Richard said, popping a few kernels into his mouth and returning his eyes back to the movie. "And Meryl Streep?!" Richard gave an exaggerated 'thumbs up' to the screen. "Cream of the crop! Wonderful! I hear she was nominated for a Golden Globe, but didn't win. It was rigged, I tell you. I also heard that…" Richard finally dared to look towards Caroline, only to find that she wasn't there anymore. He watched as she silently ascended the stairs to her bedroom and closed the door. "Shit." Richard let out a deep breath and started to make his bed. "The faster I get to sleep, the faster morning will come, and the faster I can go home."


Night lay dormant in the sky as Richard turned about. He felt bad at what had happened, but he knew Caroline didn't love him. Sure, she cared about him, but to love…? «Nah, good things never happen to me.» He cursed himself. «You could have still gotten a kiss, you idiot! Why didn't you just kiss her!» "She was vulnerable after having watched Meryl Streep win her 'knight in shinning armor'. You know her, she lives in a fantasy world most of the time where knights and mages run rampant." Richard told himself. "When she would have finished kissing her 'knight', she would have opened her eyes to see the 'dragon behind the armor'. He tossed and turned some more, as sleep further eluded him.

Meanwhile, Caroline had finally obtained the sleep she craved, after having bribed the Sandman for a one-day pass to Slumberland. «I'm such an idiot!» She had muttered to herself. «Was I the only one feeling something there? And now, I've made a fool of myself! Arg! It's going to be so awkward from now on!» She had finally cried herself to sleep.

Richard sat up on the couch, and retrieved his sketch book. He flipped through the pages: all portraits of Caroline flashed back at him. Portraits, scenarios that involved her - ones that he dreamt of. They were so vividly burned in his psyche that it seemed he almost forced himself awake to sketch them out. He got up and looked at the stairs. «I wonder if she's still awake.» He thought, glancing at his watch. «1:03am. Maybe…» He climbed the stairs to his Eden, and opened the door on his sleeping beauty. He noticed that her light was still own, creating a deep sensuous glare that caressed her features. Noticing a see-through shawl on the floor, Richard picked it up and placed it on her dimly lit lamp, which created a stunning blue-ish hue in the room. The light fell upon Caroline's figure, who was asleep on her back, but slightly to the side. One hand lay firmly on her abdomen, the other was lost in the wild tangles of her fiery hair, which once caressed by the calm blue seemed to tame, right in front of Richard's eyes. Her face was one of a peaceful fairy, deep and true, almost searching for the meaning of life. Richard looked down at his sketchbook, and opened up to an empty page. He shakily grasped his pencil, considering whether it would be an invasion of privacy if he sketched Caroline while she slept. «But this romantic tranquility will never be seen again, and to *not* capture the very essence of beauty would surely be a crime.» He reasoned to himself, and commenced expressing the enchanting emotions that were only exposed when Caroline was around.


Morning sleepily awoke, as it's anemic rays shone through Caroline's window. She stirred peacefully from a somewhat restful sleep. She shook the odd sense of a secure night's sleep and headed for the bathroom to get ready for the uncomfortable day that will surely present itself.

Meanwhile, Richard had spent the rest of the night coloring in it's wake. He had managed to finish coloring all but one of the sketches - the last one remained a scritchy-scratchy masterpiece. He kept it that way, so he can enlarge it on canvas, and give it the melody of colours that it deserves.

Caroline descended the stairs just as Richard quickly shoved the book inside one of the desk's drawers. She looked at him suspiciously and then shook the thoughts out of her head.

"Morning Caroline." Richard said carefully. He wasn't sure how she would react.

"How long have you been up?" Caroline asked, as on closer inspection, she realized that there were large darkened bags under his eyes.

Richard shrugged. "Since about 1:00am." They both stared at each other, the tension rising between them. "I couldn't sleep." Richard said, his eyes burning through hers.

"You know Richard. You can go home now." Caroline stated as she got herself a cup of coffee. "These cards can be finished tomorrow, or the day after … or whatever." Her last statement was cold as she took a large gulp.

Richard cast his eyes down. «Why is she so caught up on what happened yesterday?» Richard wondered to himself as he went to retrieve his suitcase. "Well…" He paused, not sure knowing what to say next.

"Bye." Caroline answered for Richard, her back always towards him.

"Yeah…" Richard left, closing the door a little too hard behind him.

Caroline turned and watched the closed door. She stared at it intently, for what seemed like a good ten minutes, perhaps making sure that he was gone, or perhaps hoping that he might come back.

She took her cartoons, and sitting at his side of the desk, commenced coloring. "See Salty, I may not be as good as Richard, but I can still get the job done pretty well." She talked sweetly to the cat.

Caroline had worked feverishly throughout the day, hoping she could finish the panels before the night. «If I can finish them off tonight, Richard won't have to come in tomorrow on the 23rd, and I won't have to see him until after the New Year.» Caroline sighed. «Maybe he'll forget about the whole mishap…and things won't be so awkward.» Caroline shook her head. "Why do I always get myself into these messes?" She asked aloud. Caroline finished coloring the last panel. "There, done and done." She turned to Salty. "We have the rest of the evening to ourselves!" A beat passed. "That's really sad." Caroline plopped her head on the desk. "I'll just put these panels inside the desk, for later." Caroline muttered to herself, opening the desk. Her eyes fell upon a small black sketchbook. She bit her lower lip, contemplating whether or not to look through it. «That's what Richard was hiding from me this morning.» Caroline picked up the book in her hands, feeling the power of Richard's passion caress her delicate fingertips. She took a deep breath, and opened it to the first page. A small gasp escaped her lips, as her eyes scanned the picture. «Me?» She thought. "Me?" She repeated aloud. She quickly flipped through all the pages, not paying attention to the symbolism, but more so looking for the figural sense of his ideas. While the others were fantasy portraits, the last creation echoed of realism. Caroline raised her eyes, staring straight ahead - but at nothing at all. Her eyes glassed over, she tried to recall her sense of serenity that consumed her this morning. «He was in my room last night. I felt him in my dreams. I sensed him…» She closed the book, holding it close to her heart. She then got up, with the book still in hand, and prepared her dinner. Once that was done, she went up to her room with her plate, and sat down with the Richard's sketchbook.

Caroline counted a total of of seven pictures, all dated from the first night Richard had stayed over. The first few featured Caroline's form, almost a shadowy figure. However, her body was filled with a vibrant color surrounded by darkness, with a small white-ish hue surrounding her. The second batch featured Caroline looking straight at the viewer, though this time the colors seemed to be tamer, she could feel the fire in the eyes. Richard chose to portray her inner strength through her eyes - her passion … her love? The last sketch was not colored, and Caroline wondered why. For some reason, this one seemed to express so much, that Caroline herself was unsure of its meaning. She closed the book, holding it close to her chest.


Richard cursed himself for leaving his book at Caroline's house. «Let's see, it's midnight, so she must be asleep by now. I'll just enter and then leave.» Richard sighed as he envisioned himself sketching Caroline once again. «My God man, this is quickly turning into an obsession.» He scolded himself, as he entered Caroline's building. He slowly opened the door, and crept inside. In the moonlight, he made his way to his desk. Turning on the soft light on the desk, he noticed Salty curled up on his chair. "Off beast." He mumbled softly, as he pushed Salty off the chair. He opened the desk and his eyes fell upon the panels. He raised his eyebrow humorously at Caroline's attempt to color them in. "She's really good at drawing, but coloring isn't her thing…" Richard told Salty. A beat passed. "Great, now I'm talking to an overgrown excuse of a fluff-ball." He lifted the panels, and found the book to be nowhere in sight. «She couldn't have…» His eyes grew wide. «What will she think of me? A pervert who likes to draw her?» Richard tried to reason with himself. «Maybe the artist in her will see the beauty I see…will see the life I see.» Richard's thoughts were broken as he noticed Caroline standing at the foot of the stairs.

"I thought you would come back for this." She said, holding up the book.

"I thought you didn't need me to color anything, though you really could of used my help." Richard tried to humor the situation as he held up the panels.

"Don't change the subject, Richard." Caroline walked up, and sat at her side of the desk. As Richard reached out for the book, she yanked it back, holding close to her cheek. "What's this about?"

Richard lowered his head, but his eyes remained on Caroline. "Promise you won't be creeped out?"

"Richard, with you everything creeps me out." Caroline said. She noticed the pained look on Richard's face and tried to decipher it. "But it creeps me out, in a good way, and way that I wouldn't have any way else." Caroline smiled reassuringly.

"I've been having these dreams…" Richard said, looking at the book. "They keep me up at night, but I not because of *what* I dream of…but because I don't want to go back to sleep. I want to re-live them, and I can only do that through my pictures."

Caroline opened up the book to the last page, and held it up. "And…"

Richard smiled fondly. "That's my favourite." He cast his eyes on the desk, and remembered that night. "You don't realize the beauty I see, Caroline. I crave passion, and the only passion that satisfies my hunger…is from you."

Caroline swallowed the lump in her throat. She looked back at the sketch and noticed the love that was thinly imprinted in the light pencilling. But there were so many pencil traces, it finally dawned on her; the love this man had for her. She let out a little chuckle. "You sure have a funny way of telling a lady you fancy her, Karinsky."

"Oh, I don't fancy you, Duffy." Richard got up, playing along. He noticed the disappointment on her face. He walked up to her side, and took her face in her hands. "I'm completely, head over heels, madly in love with you."

Caroline broke out into a smile. "So, you show me that by breaking into my house in the middle of night, and drawing me in the dark?" Caroline grinned.

"We all have skeletons in our closets." Richard smiled, Caroline's face still in his hands.

"Well, go ahead then."

"What?" Richard asked quizzically.

Caroline raised her eyebrow sexily. "Kiss me, fool."

Richard's eyes lit up, and he bent down, tasting Caroline. His lips melted with hers, as his tongue yearned to make a long term commitment with hers. Caroline gently slid her arms around Richard, under his shirt. Her hands explored his strong naked back, gently studying each muscle with her palms. When the kiss finally broke, they finished it with a quick peck. "So…this means…"

Caroline laughed giddily. "What do you think…" She brushed her hand through his sandy blond hair. "It's love."

"It is." Richard stated, gently kissing her cheek. "So…do you want to…" Richard raised his eyebrow, motioning upstairs.

Caroline broke free of Richard's gentle grasp. "I don't know…that popcorn incident is going to cost you, Karinsky."

"Caroliiiiine!" Richard whined, walking up behind Caroline.

"Well, we'll see." She paused, looking at him saucily. "We *can* discuss it…" she paused, walking up the stairs, "in the bedroom." She skipped up the rest of the stairs.

"She wants me." Richard said aloud. "She wants me!" Richard turned to Salty. "She wants me." He grinned evilly at the cat, whom promptly meowed. "You're right, I better get up there." Richard started running upstairs. He stopped, and looked at Salty. Biting is lower lip, he picked up Salty and holding her at a safe distance, he opened his desk and plopped Salty in. "Coming Caroline!" Richard called out as he closed the desk top.

Salty pushed the top of the desk up with her head, and hopped on to Richard's chair. A small tinkling sound could be heard, and Salty jumped off Richard's chair leaving a wet patch in her wake.

"What is it Richard?" Caroline said from upstairs.

"I could have sworn I heard Salty laughing malevolently."