“So please don’t lie to me, Moses. That’s all I ask. Don’t lie to me. And I won’t lie to you.”
Do you want me to go? You said you wouldn’t lie to me. Do you want me to go?”
“Yes.” No hesitation.
I felt the word reverberate in my chest and was surprised at the pain that echoed behind it. Yes. Yes. Yes – the word taunted.
“Yes. I want you to go. And no. I don’t want you to go,” she amended in rush of frustrated, pent-up breath. She stood up abruptly, threw her hands in the air and then folded them across her chest defensively. “If I’m telling the truth, then both are true,” she added softly.
I stood too, bracing myself against the impulse to bolt, to run and paint, like I always did.
“I don’t know what the truth is this time, Moses. I don’t know.”
“You know the truth. You just don’t like it.” I never thought I’d see Georgia Shepherd afraid of anything. But I was afraid too. More afraid than I’d ever been in my whole life.
“What about you, Moses? Do you want to leave?” Georgia threw my words back at me. I didn’t answer. I just studied her trembling lips and troubled eyes and reached out a hand for the heavy braid that fell over her right shoulder. It was warm and thick against my palm and my fingers wrapped around it tightly, needing to cling to something. I was so glad she hadn’t cut the braid. She had changed. But her hair had not.
My left hand was wrapped in her braid and my right hand snaked around her waist and urged her up against me. And I felt it, the same old charge that had been there from the beginning. That same pull that had wreaked havoc on her life…her life even more than mine. It was there, and I knew she felt it too.
Her nostrils flared and her breath halted. Her back was taut against my fingers and I splayed them wide, trying to touch as much of her as I could without moving my hand. Her eyes were fixed on mine, fierce and unblinking. But she didn’t resist.
And then I bent my head and caught her mouth before she could speak, before I could think, before she could run, before I could see. I didn’t want to see. I wanted to feel. And hear. And taste.
But her mouth filled my mind with color. Just like it always had. Pink. Her kiss was pink. Soft, sunset pink, streaked with gold. The rosy blush swirled behind my eyes and I pressed my lips more firmly against hers, releasing her hair and her body to hold her face in my hands to keep the colors in place, to keep them from fading. And then her lips parted beneath mine and the colors became leaping currents of red and gold, pulsing against my eyes as if the soft sweep of her tongue left fire in its wake.
The color popped like a needle to a balloon as Georgia suddenly wrenched herself away, almost violently. And without a word she turned and fled, along with the colors, leaving me panting and drenched in black.