A Different Blue Page 29

“The battery in my truck is dead. I'm parked out in the parking lot. I saw your car here and wondered if you would be able to help me,” I said softly, still not making eye-contact. I kept my eyes fixed on the floor.

“Are you all right?” he asked gently.

“Yes,” I said. And I was. Miraculously, I was.

A small white square of fabric appeared under my nose.

“A handkerchief! What are you, eighty-five?”

“Humph! I'm twenty-two, as you well know. I just happened to be raised by a very proper, slightly old-fashioned, Englishwoman who taught me to carry a handkerchief. I'll bet you're glad she did.”

I was. But I didn't admit it. The cloth felt satiny against my swollen eyes and tear-stung cheeks. It smelled heavenly . . . like pine and lavender and soap, and, suddenly, using his handkerchief felt incredibly intimate. I searched for something to say. “Is this the same woman who named you Darcy?”

Wilson's laugh was a brief bark. “The very same.”

“Can I keep this? I'll wash it and give it back. I'll even iron it, like your mom does.” The devil in me had to have her say.

“Ah, Blue. There you are. I thought for a moment you'd been body snatched by an actual human girl – one who doesn't take great pleasure in taunting her history teacher.” He smiled down at me, and I looked away self-consciously. “Let me get my things. I'm done here.”

“What? You're going to knock off this early? School only ended eight hours ago,” I teased, trying again for normalcy. He didn't respond, but was back moments later, his instrument in a case slung across his back. He flipped the light switch at the end of the hallway and we descended the stairs in silence.

“How did you get in?” he asked and then immediately shook his head and waved the question away. “Never mind. I really don't want to know. However, if on Monday I find that the walls have been spray painted, I'll know who to point the finger at.”

“Paint is not my medium,” I sniffed, offended.

“Oh really? What exactly is your medium?” He locked the door behind us as we stepped out into the night.

“Wood,” I clipped, wondering why I was telling him. Let him think I was a graffitti artist. Who the hell cared. “You do,” a little voice taunted mildly. And I did.

“And what exactly do you do with wood?”

“I carve it.”

“People, bears, totem poles, what?”

“Totem poles?!” I was incredulous. “Is that supposed to be some kind of slam to my ethnicity?”

“Your ethnicity? I thought you told me you weren't Native American.”

“I don't know what the hell I am, but that still sounded like a slam, Sherlock!”

“Why don't you know what you are, Blue? Haven't you ever tried to find out? Maybe that would make you less hostile!” Wilson seemed frustrated. He stomped ahead of me, almost talking to himself. “Absolutely impossible! Having a conversation with you is like trying to converse with a snake! You are vulnerable and tearful one moment and hissing and striking the next. I frankly don't know how to reach you, or even if I want to! I only said totem poles because they are usually carved from wood, all right?” He turned and glared at me.

“Cranky when you stay up past your bedtime, aren't you?” I mumbled.

“See?” he griped, throwing his hands up. “There you go again.” He stopped at his car, his hands on his hips. “I know you are incredibly bright, because when you are not being a smartarse your comments in class are very insightful, and when you ARE being a smartarse you are witty and clever and you make me laugh even when I want to slap you. I know you are either an adrenaline junky or you have more courage than anyone I've ever met, and you know how to unload a weapon. I know you were raised by a man with the name Echohawk. I know you don't know when your real birthday is. I know you have no plans to go to university when you graduate. I know you enjoy being the class clown and making me the butt of your jokes.”

He counted on his fingers. “That's eight things. Oh, and you carve something out of wood. Most likely NOT totem poles, since that seemed to get a reaction out of you. So nine or maybe ten if we count being a smartarse.” He put his hands back on his hips. “I would really like to know more. I don't want to know about the little blackbird who was pushed from the nest. I would like to know something about Blue.” He poked me in the center of my chest, hard, as he said 'Blue.'

“It's a parable,” I whined, rubbing the spot he'd jabbed with his long finger. “My father – Jimmy – used to say I was like a little blackbird, far from home.”

“Eleven things. See? Not so difficult.”

“You're kind of cute when your angry.” I meant to ruffle him, but it came out sounding flirtatious, like something Sparkles, aka Chrissy, would say. I felt stupid and darted a look at him. Luckily, he just rolled his eyes. Funny how you can tell someone is rolling his eyes, even when it's dark and you can barely see them.

Wilson dug into his pockets, feeling in every one. Then he tried his car doors. I could have told him they were all locked, but I wisely remained silent. I suppose that would be twelve things: I can be wise.

“Bollocks!” He pressed his face up against the car window, hands shielding his eyes on either side. “Blast!”

“You have a filthy mouth, Mr. Wilson,” I chided, trying not to laugh. “Isn't saying blast like saying the F word in England?”

Prev Next