Eliza was restless and agitated after the opening. She and Oscar encountered Fiona after their seemingly unnoticed reemergence from the stairwell.
“Oscar!” Fiona greeted him with a kiss on the mouth, which surprised Eliza.
Now that love had been declared, she was possessive even though she had no right to be since she was engaged.
She leaned over and kissed Eliza too, her champagne-flavored mouth lingered just a little longer than expected. When she pulled away, Eliza was unable to describe the look in her eyes.
Champagne continued to flow along with random conversation.
“Trigger warnings for novels for students? I wish I had trigger warnings for my every day life. A warning about who not to fall in love with for example,” Fiona began.
Eliza felt her hand tighten around the delicate stem of her champagne glass. She was afraid to look at Oscar, but observed him peripherally.
“Life is a trigger. An imperfect poem, love should come with trigger warnings. It is never what you expect, it never can be. Eliza, do you ever think about that now that you are getting married? That Rafe might not live up to everything you want or expect?”
“Rafe and I know that love evolves, that things will change over time. We are not expecting to be surprised by that.”
Fiona looked at her with a bit of a smirk, before raising her champagne glass.
“Well cheers to the two of you, you have always been the most solid couple I know. I do not think anything can tear you apart.”
Eliza shrugged her shoulders, still avoiding looking at Oscar.
“Thanks Fi, we certainly are not perfect but it is nice to hear how you think of us.”
“Well then again, the one time I fell in love it was the complete opposite of what you and Rafe have. I fell in love with a woman I could not have. I really loved her and am friends with her, more than friends she is practically a sister…but I could not have her. She was in love with someone else, and then another person while still with the first person. She gives her love to everyone but me. Or maybe to no one at all.”
Eliza looked at Oscar finally, he looked at Fiona with a soft expression.
“Fiona, you are too beautiful for someone like that. You need to find someone who will love you.”
Fiona’s eyes filled with tears, but she blinked them like a butterfly so the tears would not fall.
“The problem is Oscar, no one loves me.”
“I love you Fiona.” Eliza hugged her fiercely. “You know I love you.”
“You’re like a sister…” Fiona said blinking her eyes quickly.
They ended up at the bar they were at the other night for dinner, the fire colors even more striking to Eliza. She embraced her role as sister when Fiona passed out over the table, her knife and fork a blur as they fell to the floor. Fiona’s head in her lap, Eliza ran her hands through her hair and caressed her cheek softly.The innocuous interaction with Fiona made her forget about the congestion she felt between her legs and rising. She had not been with Oscar for this long an amount of time without having sex. She wanted to so bad she was not sure what was going to happen if they did not.
Everything was a trigger…
“She is very fragile,” Oscar whispered watching her caress Fiona’s cheek and hair.
Eliza continued to avoid his eyes because she could not deal with the emotion that would be there, when there was no way to be any closer to him than she was now.
“Yes, she is and I am afraid to tell her that I am going to have to leave Shanghai soon too.
“You are leaving? When?”
“Soon. To New York, and pretend none of this happened. Maybe Fi will realize that she wants to come back home after being here alone.”
“To the perfect family…”
“Nothing is perfect, nothing at all…”Eliza shifted in her seat so heavy with desire, she was afraid it would burst.
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photo by f dot leonora