A Different Blue Page 79

I stood my ground, waiting for him to make the next move. I had no idea what he was doing here. And he didn't seem to know either. When he looked at me again, his mouth was set in a grim line, and his eyes held a note of pleading, as if he needed to convince me of something.

“You said your art is about what you feel, not what you see. I told you what I see. Now you tell me what you feel,” he demanded.

“What are we talking about, Wilson?” I shot back. I walked toward him, hands shoved in my pockets. “Are we talking about the sculpture?” He watched me as I approached, but I didn't stop until our toes were almost touching.

“If we're talking about the sculpture, fine. I see desire and belonging and love without space.” I said the words like I was a guide at an art museum, putting emphasis on the word space. “What do I feel? Well, that's easy. I've been at work all day. I'm tired, Wilson. And I'm hungry. And I don't like Pamela. There. That's what I feel. How about you?”

Wilson looked at me like he wanted to shake me until my teeth rattled. Then he just shook his head and walked to the door. “I'm sorry I asked, Blue,” he sighed. He sounded weary and resigned, like one of those TV dads just trying to tolerate his teen-aged daughter. “Goodnight, Blue.”

I was too confused and befuddled to even respond. He walked out of my apartment without another word.

Chapter Twenty-Five

I spent a ridiculously long time curling my hair. When I finished, it hung in shiny dark waves down my back. I took great care applying dramatic makeup, more than I'd worn in months. I thought it suitable for an artist at her first exhibit. I had splurged on a cocktail dress that would highlight my eyes, and the electric blue was exactly the same shade. It hadn't been very expensive, but I was crossing my fingers that it didn't look cheap. It had small cap sleeves and a high neckline, but it draped lower in the back, almost to my waist. It skimmed my curves without being too tight or suggestive, and it ended just above the knee. I found a pair of high-heeled sandals to match. I thought I looked pretty good and squealed a little when I was ready. I looked grown up and alluring but sophisticated too, like Tiffa. I waited just inside my door, listening for Wilson to leave his apartment. If he and Pamela were meeting her parents for dinner, he would be leaving soon. I didn't have to wait long. Wilson strolled out of his flat and started down the stairs at exactly 6:30.

I calmly locked my door and walked toward the front door, just like I planned, reaching the base of the staircase before Wilson did. He was scrolling through his phone, but when he heard the click of my heels, he glanced up and his eyes widened. I tried not to smile. I had desperately wanted that reaction. He could think about me the whole time he was out with Pamela. I hoped he had a rotten time. His eyes traveled up and down the length of me and seemed to get stuck on my legs. It was all I could do to not giggle. I cleared my throat instead. His eyes snapped up to mine and he glowered at me. Wait. That wasn't what I wanted. Blushing, stammering, compliments – all of that was good. Glowering looks were not part of the plan.

“Where are you off to?” His voice sounded funny. Almost angry.

“Out,” I said lightly.

“I see.” Wilson's expression was indecipherable. “That frock's a bit short.”

“Really?” I laughed, incredulous. I looked down at the hem that really wasn't very short. “And why exactly do you care how short my skirt is?”

“I don't,” Wilson replied brusquely. He definitely did. Maybe he was jealous. That was a good thing. A very good thing. I shrugged and walked past him toward the door. My hair brushed against the bare skin of my back. Wilson cursed.

“Bugger! So it all starts again, does it?” Wilson bit out behind me. I froze. Pain lanced through me, and I spun on him. His face was like granite, his eyes icy, his jaw clenched. His arms were crossed and his stance was wide, almost as if he were bracing himself for my comeback.

“What do you mean, Wilson? What am I starting again?” I kept my voice low and contained, but inside I was quaking.

“You know exactly what I mean, Blue.” Wilson's voice was harsh and his words clipped.

“Oh, I see,” I whispered. And I did. It was written all over his face. Revulsion. He didn't see a glamorous woman on her way to a classy exhibit. He saw a tawdry teenager with a sordid past all dressed up for a night on the corner.

“I'm reverting to my slutty ways. That must be it.” I raised one thin eyebrow disdainfully and held it there, waiting for him to correct me. He just glared back and was silent.

I pivoted in disgust and yanked the front door open.


I didn't turn, but I paused, waiting for an apology.

“I'm not going to watch you destroy yourself. If this is the road you want to go down, I won't come after you.” Wilson's voice was hard, almost unrecognizable.

I shook my head, unable to speak. Where had this come from? What had I done to make him go all parental and self-righteous on me? I wanted to scream at him, scratch his eyes out, and tell him what a jerk he was being. But I didn't want to be that girl anymore. In spite of what he thought, I wasn't that girl anymore. So I turned and leveled a look at him.

“I guess the dye is cast . . . huh?”

I turned and walked out of the building, my spine stiff, but my chin quivering. If he watched me leave, I didn't know. I looked neither to the right nor left, but drove away looking straight forward. I did not cry. I did not curse. I just drove, stone-faced, to the hotel.

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