Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Chapter 25 continued

He accepted my invitation, and I stood back to let him pass. His face was unreadable, though I did catch his eyes scan my person and -- I swear -- a look of relief (?) passed over when he saw the pant legs of my pajamas.

What more could I think at this point, as I watched him take a seat at the small table where most of my room service still sat, growing progressively colder and less appealing? His eyes surveyed the meal, no doubt taking stock. I could just hear his mind whirling about my appetite.

"I had breakfast, if you're wondering." Instantly I wanted to take the words back. They were too harsh. Snapping and defensive, as if I were hiding something. It wasn't how I wanted this conversation to begin.

A muscle in his jaw twiched. "I didn't ask." I remembered the last time he sat at a table for a confrontation. Enlighten me, baby. And I'd thrown my wine in his face, furious at his insolence. I wondered if he'd be cocky like that again.

I didn't have any wine this time. A glass of flat soda was as good as it was going to get.

He was studying me now, openly taking in the sight: robe over light cotton pajamas, half-dry hair, not a spot of make-up... a woman standing before him with a million new thoughts and fears rushing through her. If I said the wrong thing, I'd lose him forever. If I said the right thing, and we became more, would I lose him anyway? Would I be enough? Or, once he had me, would he decide that I wasn't enough to ruin a relationship, loveless as it was?

He said he loved me, shouted it actually.  We'd known each other for a few years, but only truly became close when he moved into my office and we started working on the Foyer account together last year. He didn't love me though; he loved the woman he worked with. The one who had more issues then she could count and who kept herself to herself. He didn't know half of me, really.

Frantic apologies for innocent mistakes never crossed my lips at work, nor did pleas for attention. In the office I felt brave enough to speak, to shout, and to tell the truth. At home I shut my mouth and looked down to keep the peace with a man whose affection was purchased with golden silence and a 1950's housewife mentality. Lessons from Aunt Geenie put to good use.

He didn't know about how living tired me and how much I wanted to go back in time and change everything that happened on that day that boy laid me down -- either stop him from the start or let him finish. Perhaps I should have said yes. Would any of those changes change this moment, this here and now? Would a "yes" or a scream have taken me out of this room where this man stared at me with a calm expression and anxious eyes?

Did that memory make me want to challenge men sexually, to see if I could push and prod without another...? Was I testing some sort of limit within myself and was he my experiment? Or was all of this from Reed, who had been trying to convince me that I was meant to be an ornament on his arm?

"How did you find me?" I took a seat on the edge of the bed, not to entice but to distance. I didn't want to be so close that we could touch. Or kiss. Insanely, in spite of my anger and hurt, I wanted to do both -- just throw myself at him and claim what I missed: his touch, his hands on me, his kisses. I wanted to smell him, to bury my head in his neck and just breathe. If we never touched again, today would be enough... if I could have today. I'd take the memories and live on them forever, if I could have today.

Could we have more though? Was it too much to think that we might last for years? I could wait if I knew that... mentally shaking myself, I stopped. It was his turn now. "How did you find me?" I asked again.