A Different Blue Page 44

“Your aunt said I would find you out here,” he offered by way of greeting.

“She answered the door? Wow. Wonders never cease.” She'd been asleep on the couch when I'd slipped out. I tried not to pull at my red tank top and my shredded jeans shorts. My belly had just started to round, but it wasn't noticeable in my clothing. I looked down at my flip flops and curled my painted toes. I had showered and shaved my legs, but my hair had still been wet when I had come outside, and I had pulled it up in a high ponytail to keep the wet strands off my neck. I hadn't even looked in the mirror. I didn't know what bothered me more: Wilson seeing my like this or the fact that I cared that Wilson was seeing me like this. He had stopped walking and was staring at me. I cringed and then immediately got defensive.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

Wilson stood with his hands shoved in his pockets, his eyebrows lowered quizzically over his somber gaze.

“You look different.”

“Well, yeah!” I scoffed self-consciously. “I look like crap. No makeup, my hair's not done, and I'm wearing these scruddy clothes.”

“Scruddy?” Wilson's eyebrows shot up.

“Yeah, you know. Cruddy and scummy make scruddy.”

“I see,” Wilson nodded sagely. “Like scrummy, only . . . scruddy.” He tipped his head slightly. “It suits you.”

“Scruddy suits me?” I tried not to be hurt. “Why thank you, Mr. Darcy!” I said in my southern belle accent and fluttered my eyelashes. “You are as romantic as your namesake.”

“Natural suits you. You wear too much makeup,” Wilson shrugged and turned away.

“A girl can never wear too much blue eye shadow,” I quipped, trying to pretend that I didn't care what he said or what he thought. I ran my hand over my hair, feeling the rumpled strands and the off-centered ponytail.

“Tell me what you're doing.” Wilson moved to stand next to me. He reached a long finger out and followed a groove that widened into a hollow space.

“I'm never sure what I'm doing,” I answered honestly.

“Then how will you know when you've done it?” Wilson smiled.

“That's always the question. When to stop. I usually start to get a feel for the shape as I work. It rarely comes to me before. The inspiration comes through action.” I bit at my lip in concentration. “Does that make sense?”

Wilson nodded. “If I squint it almost looks like a cello that has been melted down and pulled . . . like taffy.”

I didn't tell him that I kept seeing a cello too. It seemed too personal, as if it would again introduce the feelings that had risen within me when I had first heard him play that night in the high school, the night I'd vowed to change.

“What's that?” Wilson indicated a small hole whorled into the now smooth surface of the wood.

“A worm hole.”

“Will you sand it away?”

I shook my head. “Probably not. I'll just fill it with a little putty. The problem with fixing one problem is that sometimes you uncover two.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well this is a relatively small worm hole, right?”

He nodded.

“If I start cutting it away, the hole may widen and veer off into a new direction, creating a much bigger problem or, at the very least, a much bigger hole. There is no such thing as perfect, and honestly, if the wood were perfect it wouldn't be as beautiful. I seem to recall someone telling me that 'perfect was boring' anyway.”

“You were listening!” Wilson smiled again.

“I usually am,” I replied without thinking and then worried that I might have given something away.

“How are you this morning?” Wilson's eyes were grave as he switched subjects.

I stopped filing and flexed my muscles. “Tough as nails,” I said dryly, not wanting to talk about what I knew he was referring to. I had spent about an hour feeling absolutely hideous, bent over the toilet in the apartment. But I had managed to keep down about ten crackers and the fresh air outside was doing me good. I wondered again how long I was going to be able to stay in the smokey apartment. It wasn't good for me, and it definitely wasn't good for the baby inside me. My stomach knotted up instantly, and I wondered briefly if part of my on-going, never-ending nausea was just plain old fear.

“Does your aunt know about the pregnancy?” Okay, now Wilson was being blunt.

“Nope,” I responded shortly.

“Have you been to see a doctor?”

“Not yet.” I didn't make eye contact. I didn't think my trip to Planned Parenthood counted. His silence felt like condemnation. I stepped back from my sculpture and sighed loudly. “I have an appointment with someone at Health and Human services. I should be able to get some kind of medical assistance, and they will tell me where I can go to see a doctor, okay?”

“Good,” Wilson replied shortly, nodding his head. “You know you're going to have to stop smoking too, right?”

“I don't smoke!” It was as if Wilson had heard my thoughts moments before.

Wilson lifted an eyebrow in disbelief, and smirked at me, waiting for me to come clean.

“I don't smoke, Wilson! I just live with someone who smokes like a chimney. So I smell like an ashtray all the time. I can't help it if I reek, but thank you for noticing.”

Wilson had lost his doubtful smirk, and he sighed gustily. “I'm sorry, Blue. I'm incredibly good at dropping clunkers. I don't have a big mouth, but somehow I manage to stick my foot in it quite frequently.”

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