A Different Blue Page 84

Wilson nodded, watching my fingertips skim along the valleys and shadows I'd created.

“It's not just about what's there but what isn't there. Do you understand?” I stumbled a little bit on my words, knowing what I was trying to say and not knowing if I was actually saying it.

“I think so. The space creates the silhouette, the dimension, the form . . . right?”

I smiled up at him, thrilled that he understood. He smiled back, so sweetly, so fondly, that for a minute I couldn't find my breath, and I scrambled to regain my train of thought.

“That's exactly right.” I nodded, my eyes re-focusing on the sculpture in front of me. “Jimmy taught me that when you carve, it's the negative space that creates line, perspective, and beauty. Negative space is where the wood is carved away, creating openings that in turn create shape.” I paused and took a deep breath, knowing this was something I had to say. If I loved Wilson – and I knew that I did – I would have to make him understand something about me that wasn't easy to grasp. It would make loving me hard. I had to warn him. I turned to face him and met his gaze, beseeching him without artifice or apology.

“Sometimes I feel like I have a huge, gaping hole from my chin to my waist, a wide open negative space that life has just carved away. But it's not beautiful, Wilson. Sometimes it feels empty and dark . . . and . . . and no amount of sanding or polish will make it into something it isn't. I'm afraid if I let you love me, your love will be swallowed up in that hole, and in turn YOU will be swallowed up by it.”

Wilson touched my cheek, intent on what I was saying, his brows lowered in concentration over a compassionate grey gaze.

“But that's not really up to you, Blue,” he said gently. “You can't control who loves you . . . you can't let someone love you anymore than you can make someone love you.” He cradled my face between his palms. I reached up and held onto his wrists, caught between the need to hang onto him and to push him away, if only to save myself from what he made me feel.

“So you're afraid to let me love you because you fear you have a hole that can't be filled . . . not by any amount of love. But my question to you is, once again, do you love me?”

I braced myself and nodded, closing my eyes against his gaze, unable to say what I needed to say with his eyes, so full of hope, trained on my face.

“I've never felt about anybody the way I feel about you,” I confessed in a rush. “I can't imagine that what I'm feeling isn't love. But 'I love you' doesn't feel adequate to express it.” I plunged headlong into babbling. “I desperately want you to love me. I need you to love me – but I don't want to need it, and I'm afraid that I need it too much.”

Wilson's lips danced across mine, and he reassured me between kisses, professing his own need. His hands smoothed my hair, his lips traced my eyelids and the corners of my lips as he continued to whisper all the reasons, one after the other, why he loved me. When his words became poetry, How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways, I sighed and he captured the sound with a kiss. When tears swam in my eyes and trickled down my face, he followed them with his mouth and trapped them between our lips. When I whispered his name, he tasted its flavor and lapped it up until I was dizzy with his attentions and wrapped around him like a frightened child.

But I wasn't afraid. I was gloriously ebullient, weightless, and free. Light. And though we spent the day in my apartment in blissful bouts of kissing and touching, interspersed with hushed conversation and drowsy silence, entwined like sleepy snakes, by some unspoken understanding, we didn't make love. And it was all new to me, novel and decadent, kissing for the sake of kissing, not as a means to an end, but as an experience in itself.

I had never held someone or been held without sex being the intended outcome. I had never run my hands across a man's back or linked my hands through his as he kissed my mouth without my mind being consumed with what came next. With Wilson, it wasn't about what came next but what was happening now. Touching wasn't orchestrated or choreographed to fulfill the requirements of foreplay. It was an event all its own. And it was erotically chaste, tender, and telling.

It was the ultimate makeout session, the kind I imagined took place in homes of teenagers all across America. Where every touch was stolen, every kiss a conquest, every moment a race against curfew. It was the kind of kissing that felt forbidden because Mom and Dad were sitting upstairs and discovery was imminent, where clothing stayed put and passions raged and kissing took on an intensity all its own, simply because going further was not an option. By the time the late afternoon sun filled my sitting room, my lips felt bruised and beautiful, and my face was slightly raw from nuzzling and nudging, from burrowing my face into Wilson's neck and from being burrowed into in return. I was spent without compromise, sated without sacrifice, completely and totally head-over-heels in love. And it was delicious.

The shadows of a perfect Sunday evening filled my apartment before either of us made any attempt to speak of the future. We had raided my cupboards for sustenance and discovered what I already knew . . . there was little sustenance to be had in my kitchen. We ended up ordering Chinese and waited anxiously for its arrival, distracting our famished selves with cinnamon bears and confession.

“I was the one who took the caps off of all your dry erase markers.”

“Really? Were you the one who replaced them all the next day, too?”

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