A Different Blue Page 83

There was a crack in the glass. I hung the picture back up anyway, straightening it carefully. The crack separated the top half of our bodies from the lower half. Luckily, the picture wasn't damaged. We were still whole beneath the jagged scar. I stopped, considering. I was scarred, but I was not broken. Beneath my wounds I was still whole. Beneath my insecurities, beneath my pain, beneath my struggle, beneath it all, I was still whole.

I dimmed the lights and slipped out of my dress in quiet contemplation. And then, above my head, music began. I walked to the living room and lifted my face to the vent, listening. Wilson tuned and tightened the strings, plucking and playing as he went. And as I listened, I was filled with wonder. Willie Nelson. Wilson was playing Willie Nelson. “You Were Always on my Mind” had never sounded so sweet. It was as if it had been written for the cello, though I doubted most people would even recognize Willie Nelson in Wilson's arrangement. He played it several times before he left it, as if needing to make sure that I heard. And then it was quiet above me.

Chapter Twenty-Six

I awoke to pounding on my door the next morning. I had tossed and turned all night, restless with lust and love, weary with doubt, wondering if I should have taken what Wilson was clearly offering.

“Blue! Blue! Open up! I need to talk to you!”

“Holy crap!” I moaned, sliding out of bed and pulling on a bra, a pair of jeans, and a T-shirt as Wilson continued to pound.

I opened the door, letting him in, but I immediately retreated to the bathroom. He followed me, and I quickly shut the door in his face. I used the toilet, brushed my teeth and hair, and scrubbed my face free of all the makeup I'd gone to bed in. Wilson was still waiting outside the bathroom door when I opened it. He took in my freshly scrubbed face, his eyes lingering on my mouth. Without a word, he slid his arms around me and buried his face in my hair. I gasped, caught completely off-guard. He just held me tighter.

“I think it's time to end this,” he whispered against my hair.

I tried to pull away from him, rejecting him before he rejected me. It was easier that way. But he tightened his arms and soothed me with shhhing sounds.

“Shh, Blue. Just listen.”

I held myself very stiff, trying not to be distracted by his scent, by the way his arms felt around me, by his lips in my hair, by my desire to keep him there.

“End what?” I finally responded.

“This not knowing business.”

“What don't you know, Wilson?”

“I know a lot more than I used to, Blue. What number are we on now? I've lost count. What were some of them? I know you're brilliant. You're beautiful. You're incredibly brave. You have a wicked sense of humor. You carve unbelievable works of art . . . not totem poles.” I relaxed against him, smiling into his chest. “You have lousy taste in mates . . . although since I count myself among them, I might have to amend that one.”

“Tiffa says you have terrible taste in women, so maybe we're even,” I interrupted.

“I don't have terrible taste in women. I'm mad about you, aren't I?”

“Are you?”

“Yes, Blue. I am. I am completely gone on you.”

The feeling that surged in me was tempered by confusion and doubt.

“What about Pamela?”

“She kisses like an old woman,” he said softly.

I laughed, my heart immediately lighter.

“I told her last night that I was in love with you. Funny thing is, I think she already knew.”

I curled my hands into his shirt and took a deep breath, waiting for the axe to fall, because I could feel he had a lot more to say. He paused, maybe wondering if I would declare my feelings, too. When I remained silent, he sighed and spoke again.

“But this is where the not knowing part comes in. I have no real idea how you feel about me. One minute, I'm sure you feel the same. The next you're telling me it's just a silly game. One minute, I'm telling you I'm lost without you. The next you're telling me to sod off.”

“So that's what you don't know? You don't know how I feel about you?” I almost laughed, it was so obvious. “I'm not the one who's been dating someone else, Wilson. I'm not the one convinced it's inappropriate to be with me. I'm not the one who has been fighting this every step of the way.”

“That's still not an answer, Blue. How do you feel about me?” His voice was insistent, and his hands were on my shoulders now, pushing me away so that he could see my face. I couldn't answer. Not because I didn't know but because I did.

“Can I show you something?” I said suddenly. Wilson dropped his hands in frustration and turned away, running a hand through his hair.

“Please. It might help me to explain. I'm not as good with words as you are, Wilson.”

I leaned forward and grabbed his hand, pulling him behind me as I walked through the house. He followed, but I could see that I'd hurt him by not answering his question. I tugged him through the door in my kitchen that led to the basement, and I clattered down the stairs, not releasing his hand until we reached my workbench.

I pointed at my latest work-in-progress. “This was that huge lump of wood you helped me drag in a while ago. You asked me if I was going to make a life size replica of Tyrannosaurus Rex, remember?”

“This is it?” Wilson stared in disbelief at the carving that was still big, as far as carvings went – but when we'd lugged it in, it had been too big to get it on the work bench, and we'd had to use a dolly to even get it into the house. It had to have weighed 250 pounds. Since that day, I had carved away enough mass to actually hoist it onto the table myself. I pointed at the large sections of wood that I had cut away, creating a climbing, circular structure, almost like a circular staircase built for fairies in a wooded glen. It was going to be my first carving for Mr. Chen. “Do you see how the carving is created by removing wood? How I almost remove more than I keep.”

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