Eliza considered Fiona to be the most sophisticated person she had ever met. After they met Oscar and revisited Fiona’s declaration of love, Fiona never repeated what she said that night.
She’d told Fiona she loved her, and Fiona said not the way she loved Oscar in a drunken haze.
The thought never occurred to Eliza. When she met him, she went with him because she felt pressure. The urge to be perfect, which she was not. She had not expected to meet him in Paris, and Shanghai proved that she had far deeper emotions than she had suspected.
Fiona never mentioned it again, and Eliza tried not to think about it.
So of course it became all she thought about.
The gallery was decorated gloriously for the exhibition, there was flowing liquor as per usual. Fiona schmoozed with the inebriated and wealthy clientele who could buy whatever they saw.
Eliza wandered on her own, letting Fiona work. She always looked at Fiona’s work with admiration, but now she saw things that she had never seen before.
She paused by a ubiquitous untitled photograph in which Fiona looked away from the camera, but her body was completely exposed. Eliza had never acknowledged the sexuality in the photos. Fiona was beautiful, and there were a myriad of men and women around her. No one Fiona ever seemed attached to.
Until she made her declaration a few days ago.
“What do you see?’
Eliza was afraid to turn around and look at Oscar. This was the abandoned corner leading to the stairs that she had thought about in the bar in the other night because they could not have sex. She imagined they could tonight in a stairwell like this. The sound of his voice, and the closeness of his body made her wet.
“I see so much more in her photographs than I did…This particular series has a rawness to it…”
Eliza faced him and the raw desire on his face. She considered what would happen if she put her hand on the door to the stairs. The possibilities she would expose with that simple gesture. She faced the photograph again, Fiona’s body open but tight with unexplored desire.
Eliza wanted to explore.
His hand covered hers on the doorknob when she touched it, and moving as one they opened the door.
The darkness and coolness of the stairwell evaporated, as their bodies pressed together. Their nearness felt like sex. Every part of him that touched her, even his suit jacket and tie sent a shock between her legs. She closed her eyes with longing, realizing fantasy is always better than the reality. They could not push it any further here.
“Fiona said…” She said suddenly and stopped. She did not want to go on because if she said the rest to him, she would be in love with him and she could not commit to that.
Her committment was with Rafe.
She thought about it more now that she was thinking so much about loving Oscar. The decision to marry Rafe had not been one she had had to think about. She had known.
Now she knew something else.
“What?” Oscar asked.
His breathing was labored. She knew that being so close to each other was not the way she should be with him, considering what she was about to say.
“She said I loved you.”
Eliza buried her face in her hands.
She studied his face through the cage of her fingers, considered what her answer would mean and how it would change things.
His eyes paralleled hers.
“Do you love anyone?” he questioned her with almost scorn.
She pounded at his chest, the soft warmth she felt flared up into an intense heat as she pounded and he stood impassive.
“How could I love you!” she spat, her hands hot from pounding his chest and she stopped to cover her damp face with them.
“The same way I could love you.”
She peeked at him through her splayed fingers and considered what he said.
Their indirect confessions were enough. Oscar took her hands and kissed them. Kissed her tremoring mouth, and her cheek that pulsed with emotion.
He loved her. She cared less about what a mess she was, damp made up face in a stairwell where she still could not have sex with him.
He loved her.
That was the brightest picture in her mind, brighter than any of Fiona’s photographs that night even the one in the sun…
Consider more Wicked Wednesday here…
photo courtesy of wiki commons