Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chapter 20: Enlighten Me, Baby

"It's amazing who they let into rooms, isn't it?" I said without looking at him, my eyes were on the wine glass which I began to move in small circles as he often did. The wine swirled perfectly. "All someone like me needs to do is make a few empty promises to the bellhop." The dry sarcasm in my voice was unmistakable.

He said nothing, just closed the door and walked toward me, taking in -- I'm sure -- my outfit, chosen quite deliberately. No dresses this time, no pantyhose or fancy necklaces. Instead, those size six jeans and a plain top.  He likes me dressed up, but I wasn't about to give him that satisfaction.

"I haven't anything to offer you. That's too thoughtful for someone like me."

"Knock it off," he snapped, standing before me.

"Oh, so you want me to play nice?"  I studied the wine swirling in the goblet, refusing to look at him.  "After that nasty little scene in the office, where you heaped it all on me, where you told me to wipe my hands off elsewhere, you want me to knock it off and be Miss Manners with you?"

"Get out."

"I will when we solve this."

"We have.  Get out."

"Just sit down so we can talk, will you?"

"Fine."  He sat down, the look on his face insolent as he took in my outfit.  I half expected him to sneer.    "Enlighten me, baby," he drawled, leaning back in the chair.

That did it. I tossed the wine in his face.

"You arrogant son of a bitch! You think that you're the only one who's going through every single emotion out there? You think you're the only one who climbs into bed at night and wonders if you even want intimacy with the person next to you? You think you're the only one with something to lose?" Liam was still trying to wipe he wine from his face and couldn't quite answer yet. Just as well. "Let me enlighten you, baby! If you think that what I have to offer is nothing but a lowly excuse or some pathetic declaration, let's remember who's who in this argument! I've no intention of being some weak little nothing who begs for your attention!"

"That's not..."

"No. No. It's my turn to talk now." I held my hands up as if to literally stop his words. "YOU had your turn when you had that... that... tantrum in the office today. You implied that I was some cock tease, some wanton slut who was using you..."

Apparently he thought he'd heard enough and could actually walk away from me. Perhaps he was only going to splash water on his face to get the rest of the wine off. Regardless, I stepped in front of him, forcing him to stay standing or shove me out of the way. Nearly nose-to-nose thanks to my heels, I glared at him. "You took everything I treasured about us, everything I loved and enjoyed... you ruined it, made it less. All I wanted to do was right thing!" I was poking him in the chest now, forcing him to take a step back to steady himself. "You spend all this time talking about my leaving, my deciding out of nowhere to say 'good-bye.' Yet one moment, one misunderstanding -- I won't call it a 'mistake' because that would imply that I was wrong! -- and you're ready to cut me out of your life completely. Who the fuck do you think you are, anyway?"

His hand swung up and caught my wrist in an iron grip.   "You really want to know?"  He snapped, his eyes cold... and suddenly I remembered how he would complain about his wife and how he'd threaten to punch her in the face, to shoot her, to strangle her.