A Different Blue Page 75

Wilson's eyes were on my mouth, and I could tell he was fighting an inner battle whether to establish his kissing prowess or let me calm his guilty conscience. He really couldn't have it both ways. Either the kiss was a very big deal and we were in an entirely different relationship than he was ready to admit, or the kiss was just a game among friends and he could go on pretending that everything was tidy and uncomplicated and he was just the good guy who looked out for Blue Echohawk.

He approached me, moving deliberately. He stopped just below me so I was only one step above him. Our eyes were now level, as were our mouths.

“It was no big deal?” he said softly.

“Just a silly game,” I answered, just as quietly.

“So why do I want to do it again?”

My heart was pounding so hard that it echoed in my head.

“Maybe you just need to prove to me that you aren't an old woman?”

“Ah . . . that's probably it. I just need to show you that I am indeed a man, capable of delivering a kiss that won't make you think of crochet needles and baggy stockings.”

“And talcum powder and dentures.”

Wilson's mouth was a breath away. “That must be it.”

My eyes fluttered closed as he nipped at my bottom lip and then my top. Then he parted my lips with a nudge of his tongue, tasting me softly. His tongue found mine, and we stood, with only our mouths touching, only our mouths moving. For several minutes we remained this way, our bodies inches apart, our hands at our sides, completely focused on the meeting of our lips. The kissing was slow, sweet, languorous, like a cat stretching in the sun.

And then it was over. I held myself still – waiting, hoping – for his mouth to find mine again. But it didn't. My eyes slid open heavily, unwilling to face the end of a truly staggering kiss. Wilson was watching me, a small smile on his lips.

“Take that, Camilla,” he whispered. Without another word, he sidestepped me, walked up the stairs and unlocked the door. He held it open, waiting for me to turn and join him. My limbs felt sluggish and I couldn't keep my eyelids open. The roof of my mouth was so sensitive it was as if I'd eaten peanut butter while in a coma.

Wilson walked me to my door and whispered, “Goodnight Blue.”

I didn't respond. I just watched him walk up the stairs to his apartment, wondering how he had managed to get the last word after all.

Wilson resumed avoiding me for the next month. Maybe he was busy, maybe the new semester had him working late. Several nights I heard his footsteps in the apartment above me after nine o'clock. A teacher's life was a thankless one, I supposed. But I suspected it had more to do with the kiss on New Year's and staying away from me than an increased work load. And, of course, there was Pamela.

Pamela was back from England, worming her way back into Wilson's life, gobbling up his spare time. They went to the movies, out to dinner, and even played tennis over the weekend. I had never even held a tennis racket. Guess we wouldn't be playing doubles. Plus, I didn't exactly have a partner. I couldn't imagine Bev being very good at tennis, and other than Wilson and Tiffa, she was my best friend. And that was just plain sad.

Chapter Twenty-Four

And then the lab called.

I had worked seven straight eight-hour shifts at the cafe, and when I wasn't at the cafe, I was in the basement, wallowing in all the space I'd been given. Wilson stayed away. The only connection I felt with him was at night, when I sat beneath the vent, listening to him play his cello. I had tried to wean myself from even that, simply because the music chaffed at my longing and made me feel raw and rejected. But night after night, I found myself with my face upturned, torturing myself with sound, cursing Wilson and his space.

It wasn't that I had forgotten about the pending results of the DNA testing. I hadn't. But I hadn't awaited them eagerly. So when the call came, I was unprepared.

“Blue Echohawk?”

“Yes. This is Blue.”

“This is Heidi Morgan from the Forensics Lab in Reno. We have the results.”

My heart actually hurt it was pounding so hard.

“Okay.” My lips felt numb, and the simple word was all I could form.

“We have a match, Blue. We'd like you to come back to Reno.”

“Okay,” I repeated. They had a match. They knew who I was. “I . . . I need a second to think. I will have to get off work and get a plane ticket . . . and I . . . I need to think,” I stuttered out, sounding ridiculous even to my own ears.

“Absolutely,” Heidi Morgan replied warmly. “Give us a call when you've made your arrangements. I have been in contact with Detective Moody and Sergeant Martinez. Everyone is pretty excited, Blue. This kind of thing doesn't happen very often.”

I promised I would be in touch and disconnected the call, collapsing onto my old recliner where it rested beneath the vent, awaiting another late night symphony. I tried to calm my racing heart and breathe through the nerves that had me biting my nails and tapping my feet against the floor. I needed to tell someone. I needed to tell Wilson. But he wasn't home, and I was mad at him. Without pausing to talk myself out of it, I grabbed the keys and headed out the door. I would go see Tiffa.

Tiffa's building had a doorman, and I supposed that was good because he warned Tiffa I was on my way up, giving her time to compose herself in the face of my surprising visit. But she answered the door immediately and pulled me into the house with a fierce hug and a wide smile.

Prev Next