A Nice Tan?

He’s tall. She didn’t jump. She could hear herself breathing, but she wasn’t startled. She didn’t understand why she wasn’t startled. She had locked the door. She clearly remembered locking the door. He’s blond, too. She opened her mouth to ask something, but nothing emerged. He smiled, slightly, a curve to his lips and a spark in his eyes. What beautiful amber, golden eyes. Kate stared into his eyes, losing everything in them.

He didn’t move. Perfect stillness, like a painting that seems real until the stillness takes away the illusion of life, and you’re left wondering how it was created. He looked like that, artistic perfection by tricks of tints and shades and brushstrokes. She could hear his breathing, but his eyes kept her from seeing him move. The light shown around his eyes, sparks of sunlight burst into miniature flickering flowers surrounded him. She stared.

He slowly blinked, a languorous release from an encompassing event. Kate inhaled deeply, holding her breath as she savored that moment.

“Who are you?” escaped before she realized what she was asking. She lurched back to the room, standing still, and finally seeing all of him again. He’s very tall, taller than James. “How did you get in here?”

“I walked through the door,” he gestured to the open door beside her. She blinked, several times, remembering clearly closing the door. She looked from him to the door and back, confusion visibly building in her eyes. It happened quite a lot. This constant memory game of what was real and what wasn’t real, and she was wrong more often than right. Maybe. She really couldn’t recall being right, or feeling right, in so long. James was there, he was perfect, they were in love. He was gone, she was broken, alone, and lost. She’d wake up knowing that he was asleep beside her, and then really wake up to the nightmare where she drowned in their bedding, alone. She’d ripped sheets to shreds. She’d slept at friend’s, on the couch, in her car, in the office. She wandered alone in a crowd for hours, wondering if she’d ever feel again. She’d feel something, somewhere, and then remember that she couldn’t share it with James and would break.

“Kate?” Jules bounded through the doorway, in full mother-hen mode. “What’s up?”

Kate started and gasped, falling backwards to the wall and then sideways into a chair. Jules quickly caught her arm and stopped her from planting her forehead into the carpet.

“That would not be cute.” He smoothed her sleeves and held her shoulders, forcing her to look him in the eye. “You can’t explain away rug-burn on your forehead. The nuns never buy your story.” Kate laughed, slightly, and some of the life returned to her eye, only to fade, as quick as it came.

“Where did he go?” She searched the room, but there was no where for him to hide.

“Dennis? With Miss Hates-his-guts to try to salvage the shit work he did for her. Why?”

Kate kept looking around the room. Jules didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Conference table, chairs, the easel, the windows, the world outside. Nothing to see here.

“Not Dennis. He…” she stumbled over the memory, searching for his name. “I think he said Elijah or something.”

“You think who said ‘Elijah’?”

“The man. In here.”

“There’s been no man in here. Just me and Dennis,” Jules’s right eyebrow shot up, “neither of whom qualify.”

“Queen, I’m being serious. There was a man in here,” Kate’s hands were moving as she talked, helping her to describe what she could remember of him. “A tall man. Big. Gold.”

“Gold? Like the metal?”

“You know what I mean.”

“A nice tan?”

“No.” She stopped, crossing her arms, then twirling a strand of her hair. “Maybe. I don’t know. But he was here.” She pointed to where he’d been standing, right at Jules’s feet.

(I found this in my odds and ends, and I really should probably write the rest of this story, but I have no clue what it is. How delightful.)






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