Author's Note: There are pictures for this one; I hope you like it. I have lots of pretty scintillating ideas for upcoming chapters; this story is complete fantasy for me.
Nice reviews are better than chocolate, unless maybe you're licking that chocolate off someone.
I've taken this tour so many times I could probably give it myself. We'd just entered the area which housed the modern and contemporary art and although modern art is not my favorite, I found myself drawn toward a painting on one of the far walls. I stared at Monet's Waterlilies, thinking about how I was drawn to other things in this museum as well. I listened to his deep, quiet voice and wondered what it would sound like if he whispered in my ear. I do that a lot, wonder, I mean.
He led the rest of the group to where I stood and began explaining the Monet. He basically repeated what it said on the description on the wall, but he didn't have to read it. I stared at him, possibly a little too hard, while he spoke. He was slim, but I could see the distinct definition of his body under his dark grey sweater. His hair was messy in that perfect until I had all that hot sex way. He used his hands when he spoke, gesturing outward from himself. I had to hold back the impulse to touch his chest. I took a step back, maybe a little too far back; I bumped the man behind me. I muttered a quick "sorry" to him and he touched my arm.
"It's quite alright," he replied, giving me a look that said it was more than quite alright.
I smiled uncomfortably and tried to focus my attention back on what our docent was saying. When I looked up I got the feeling he'd been staring at me, like he'd just turned his face away. I resumed my studying. He had a small silver nametag that he's never had before that read "Edward." What a nice name. Edward.
I stayed around the back of the group for the rest of the tour, that way I could stare to my heart's content without it being too noticeable. It ended back at the front of the museum; I debated following Edward to see where he went, but decided that was my one way ticket to crazy. Instead I found myself wandering back to the painting of the waterlilies.
I sat on a bench in front of it and imagined that I was at the edge of the pond, the only sound were the raindrops hitting the water. I was the only person for miles. I didn't work for a boss that I think secretly hated me, didn't live in an apartment building that may have a budding meth operation in the basement. It was just me, the pond with the waterlilies, the rain. I closed my eyes.
I heard someone clear their throat; I opened my eyes to find Angela sitting next to me. We had been friends since high school; she worked in the gift shop to help pay for her schooling. She was also the only one that knew about my fascination with a certain docent. "That's what? Twice this month so far? You should just volunteer here," she grinned at me.
"That would mean I might have to actually talk to him."
She laughed in this quiet way she did no matter where we were and took my arm, standing me up. "Want some coffee? My treat." We turned and went back to the front; there was a coffee kiosk outside near the entrance. Angela got coffee for us and I went to sit down in the nearby courtyard; I noticed another person I knew and groaned mentally. It's not that I didn't like Mike, but he was just a lot to take, and I wasn't in the mood. Plus I think he had a thing for me, or Angela, or both of us. He worked close by and met Angela for lunch sometimes. He saw me and waved; I waved back half heartedly.
Angela came back and set a cup down in front of me, "look who else is here," she mumbled, nodding her head toward someone standing across the courtyard. Edward. I felt all my internal movements stop for an instant when I looked at him. He looks like he should be on display inside the museum, not giving tours of it. I heard Mike start laughing and then I remembered he was there. Angela gave me an apologetic look. Mike grabbed my cup and took a big drink.
I nodded, trying to keep my sarcasm to a minimum today; I opted for not saying anything. He handed the cup back to me; I took off the lid and stirred in cream.
"So, who was she talking about?" Mike directed at me. I have this bad habit of spilling the complete truth when I'm asked a possibly embarrassing question.
"One of the docent's," I should have stuck with saying nothing, it works for me. Mike turned to where I had been looking and started laughing again.
"I'm pretty sure he's gay."
"He is not," Angela was trying to help, but once Mike got rolling he wasn't easy to stop. I tuned him out, pretending to look at him, but actually staring past his right shoulder to where Edward sat at a table by himself. A braver person would have gone to sit with him, but apparently that isn't me because I suddenly felt tied to my chair. At one point he looked up…at me? He probably thought I was some lonely cat lady that had nothing else to do but see the museum tour every couple of weeks. He was bound to have recognized me by now, I'm not exactly proud to say that this has been going on for a while. I don't want to say how long; let's just say you don't measure it in weeks. After a few minutes Angela had to get back inside, she excused herself and said she'd call me later. That left Mike, who apparently had no place to be. I stayed half zoned out, only half since I no longer had a buffer.
Had he asked me something? I tried to search my memory, but it was mostly full of images of Edward. Drinking his whatever it was, reading the newspaper, running a hand through his hair. I was kind of hoping he'd do that last one again, it gave me an impulse to get up and ravage him. Oh right, back to the present.
"I asked you if you were doing anything tonight."
It didn't take a genius to figure out where this was headed. "Yeah, actually Angela and I were going out." Might as well save her too, he had on one occasion asked her out and then me right afterward when she rejected him. The man had no shame.
"Where to?" He wanted to tag along.
Think think think. "Pedicures." Not bad.
"Pedicures at night?"
"Yeah," he had a point, sort of. "It's tradition." I'm not sure where I got that one. He made small talk for a little while longer and then said he had to get back to work. I lingered over the last of my now lukewarm coffee, hoping that by some small miracle, ok big miracle, that Edward would rush over and declare his love for me, even lust wouldn't be so bad. After ten minutes or so of that not happening, I got up to throw my cup away back near the kiosk. I was browsing their magazines when I began to get that feeling that someone was right behind me. I didn't want to turn around; I'm not entirely sure why.
It was Edward, he stood almost directly behind me; he leaned past me to grab a New York Times and for a split second I felt his chest bump my shoulder. I stood immobile like a complete fool, holding a random magazine I'd picked up to look busy, while he paid for his newspaper. I tried to look at him through my peripheral vision; he was looking at me strangely. "It's upside down."
Did he just say that to me? What the hell was he talking about? "What?" I chanced a look at him; he looked like he was trying not to smile.
"Your magazine, it's upside down." Edward looked down to the magazine and back up to me.
Of course it is, "oh, I know." Ok, that was stupid. He chuckled at what I assumed to be my ineptness, but made no move to walk away.
"I'm Edward," he put his hand out to shake mine. I dropped the magazine back onto the rack and shook his hand. It was cool and soft, not girl soft, guy soft. I held it for maybe a second too long before we let go.
"Bella…I don't have a cat." Oh my God, shut up.
He raised an eyebrow at me, but didn't ask, thank goodness. I didn't know how I would have been able to explain that. "Were you getting more coffee?" So he had seen me at the table or he'd at least seen me throw my cup away. What does that mean? Probably nothing. What had he just asked me?
"Uh, I'm fine," I said it like I was asking a question. I knew I should have just said yes, I'd love some coffee, I'd love to sit and talk with you for hours until you fall madly in love with me, yes that would be lovely.
"Oh, alright, well it was nice meeting you. I'll see you in what? A couple weeks?" His eyes were bright as he said it. I was mortified. He knew I came in all the time which meant he must know about my obsession, or at least enough that he could jump to the right conclusion. Crap.
I tried to think of anything I could say that might make me look like less of an idiot, but all I could come up with was an uncomfortable laugh and a mumbled "maybe." He smiled half way at me and took a step forward as if he was going to say something. Instead he gave me a small nod and walked away, back to his table.
My stomach fluttered on the short drive home. I talked to Edward, ok well actually he talked and I acted like I've never been in contact with humans before. He smiled at me though, that was nice, really nice.
As I walked in my front door the thought crossed my mind that maybe he had more than just a passing interest in me. Is that plausible?
I doubted it.