I woke up to empty bed. Normally I’d wake up with Klaus beside me. I rubbed the sleep and guck from my eyes and looked around. It was 7:00 am, Klaus normally wasn’t one to wake up early. I rolled out of bed and got dressed in some shorts and went in search of Klaus and a cup of coffee. The bathroom was empty so I popped into Klaus’ greenhouse that was shrouded in glows of red, green and blue from the stained-glass windows and shadows from the many plants growing. It reminded me of an indoor rain forest. The air was warm and humid. I walked down the rows of plants one by one and found the back-balcony door open. I walked up to it slowly and peeked out. Klaus was studying a colorful patch of flowers with eight petals each. He removed some dead leaves and watered them. The flowers were drooping and he looked concerned. He gave a sign and stuck the cigarette he was holding back in his mouth and turned around.
“Maybe they’d grow better if you stop smoking around them,” I start.
Klaus jumps a little at the sound of my voice.
“Declan?” he breathes.
“Did I scare you?” I question smiling. “Why are you up so early, anyway?”
“I was going to make you breakfast after I watered them,” he replied placing the watering can down on the wooden planks of the balcony.
“When do I get to cook?” I ask.
“Well, I have to repay you for painting me and loving me somehow, it’s one of the only things I can do and enjoy doing,” he explains.
“You know you don’t owe me anything, I love painting you,” I reply quietly.
He smiles at me and puts out his cigarette in his ashtray.
He stepped back inside and went to a radio he had sitting on a chair in the greenhouse and pushed play.
“I gave up a long time ago. Trying to find love. TV told me, it was like the movies. But it never was. I couldn’t beat it or join it so I just avoided it…” the song started.
Klaus took my hands and we start to slow dance.
“Come what may, then you…came. And I wanna hold you in my arms. I want to let you break my heart. I wanna feel the way it feels to make you stay. And I know you’ll bring me to my knees. I know you’re way out of my league…”
I look into Klaus’ eyes but keep silent.
“I can’t afford the price I’m gonna pay, but I want you anyway.”
I smile and spin Klaus around before stopping and kissing him. He’s smiling, I swing him back up and we continue slow dancing. I pick him up and he starts laughing with his arms wrapped around my neck. I spin around with him in my arms before putting him down. He has one of the biggest smiles on his face I’ve ever seen. His dark eyes are shining with excitement.
He reaches up and touches my face, he seems to be studying my sage-colored eyes before stepping back to turn off the radio and finish watering his plants.
“Which one is your favorite?” I suddenly looking around realizing I don’t know.
“The cosmos,” he replies pointing to the back balcony with the colorful eight-petal flowers. I side-glance the plants and get an idea for later.
“What’s for breakfast?” I continue.
“What do you want?” he asks.
“Pancakes,” I answer sheepishly.
“Then I’ll make pancakes,” he replies touching my cheek and setting the watering can down again.
“Why don’t you go relax? It should be ready in an hour,” he replies.
He leaves and I hear him on the stairs soon. I exit the greenhouse and go to my studio room to get my painting supplies and move them out to the back balcony. I know I shouldn’t start painting because in an hour or so Klaus will call me for breakfast and I will want to finish the painting of the cosmoses before eating. But the little flowers are driving my inspiration, it’s kind of like when you pick up a book and start reading you can’t put it down, except I don’t want to put my paintbrush down.
I decided to start by painting the pot Klaus has the cosmoses, a navy ceramic with vine designs reaching from the bottom of the pot to the top. I then paint the pear-green stems of the plants before starting on one of the flowers with a magenta outline and amaranth center and yellow pistils.
I start mixing colors, trying to get a cornflower blue for the next cosmos.
“Declan?” I hear Klaus behind me in the greenhouse.
Had it been an hour already?
I heard the sliding door open and turn around to see Klaus.
“You couldn’t wait till after breakfast?” he replies smiling and my painting.
“Inspiration is driving,” I reply.
I don’t want to waste the paint I’ve just mixed, but if I go have breakfast now it will have dried and been useless then. I contemplate it for a second before putting the palette down. No amount of wasted paint was worth being away from the person I loved.