Chapter seventeen – The Wind Drifts Us Apart
She remembered the bare contact of her lips with the cigarette and the contrast as his hand had slid on her nape; soft, warm flesh against her own one.
She remembered the way she had stayed still instead of turning around to face him; as if she hadn't wanted to make it too easy to him.
Then his lips had landed on her shoulder and he had pushed her against the wall in the darkness of the night; the traffic below echoing their stifled sighs.
She had left without a word, barely looking at him before readjusting her skirt and only as her cab had driven away towards The Upper East Side, had Karen understood that it would always be like that.
She had told him about her abortions, and the doubts she had gone through. She had said it all without any warning with all the harshness her frustration had brought. Yet they couldn't have cared less. They hadn't even talked about anything. No. Instead, they had simply had sex – rough sex – as if nothing had happened and one more time they were back at the beginning. It had left a singular taste in her mouth; the feeling to be unreachable and yet bitter, vulnerable.
Cries were stuck in her throat. They had failed in the nothingness of their relation. Odd it hurt so much when she thought about it. Yet she couldn't really help. Will. His name had turned into an obsession and that was it. She needed him. She needed his body against hers, in hers. His voice whispering against her ear and the taste of his lips; the scent he left on her skin.
If she was in love with him then it had to be a dark love; a suffocating one. Addicting. Perhaps in other circumstances, they would have made something of it. But there they were, now. Trapped in their own game. And it hurt.
He had to care about what she had lived, the nightmares she had experienced. He couldn't remain cold before it because if he did then he was just heartless and she should leave him. Except she had reached this point when nothing could push her to do so. Will was killing her softly and that was how it had to be. She liked suffering when it came from him. At least it made her feel alive.
"You won't get a divorce from me, will you?"
Slowly, she let her fork wander around in her plate; brushing the fish and the vegetables she had not eaten yet. She would have imagined that such question would touch her, would at least stir up some sensations but it hadn't. She swallowed hard, closed her eyes for a few seconds then passed her tongue over her lips.
"No, I won't."
And that was it. She looked at Stanley stand up then leave the room with a satisfied smile on his lips. Who had said marriage wasn't easy? Questions had answers, it barely took five seconds to get through it. What was so complicated when feelings weren't involved?
"Just don't bring him, here. Please."
Surprised, she turned her head around and saw Stanley by the door. Apparently, he had come back at some point. Probably to make things clear. She simply nodded then looked away before clearing her voice. Everything went wrong, lately. And nothing made sense.
"How do you know?"
A disillusioned smile lit up her husband's features and for a few seconds, Karen assumed he was sad; if not bitter before their obvious failed relationship.
"I may have not shared your bed in a while, I still know you by heart."
It hit her harder than a slap. Only the truth could hurt like that; and that odd sensation that everything was slowly falling apart.
She should have never got married. Thus, she wouldn't have found herself in that hotel and she would not have met Will. She shouldn't...
It wasn't late October – early November but mid-January and as she stepped out in the street, Karen came to face the wind. It swept the streets in the night; in silence. The sound of her stilettos echoing behind, she went down a few blocks before turning on her right. It was still there. She had carefully avoided to pass in front of it so many times in the past.
Without thinking it twice, she went up the few steps and pushed the door. No. Nothing had changed. From the fireplace in the lounge to the old, impeccable carpet on the floor; English style.
"A dry Martini."
The waiter left and she settled down in an armchair then grabbed a cigarette out of her pack. Before she could reach her lighter, the matchbox to the name of the hotel landed on the coffee table. She looked up, obviously surprised by the unexpected move, then frowned; taken aback.
"I rarely take by briefcase by night. I needed something else to get your attention, this time."
A bit speechless and uncertain to understand everything, she let Will sit down on the armchair next to hers and nodded thankfully to the waiter as he brought her the drink.
"Same for me."
The employee left again.
"What are you doing here? Did you follow me? Did you stop by the mansion to talk to me? Yet they don't know where I was going. I didn't know it myself until the last second."
Will shook his head before vaguely motioning at the lounge; shrugging.
"I come here every since and then. I like it, here. It makes me think of you."
Now, that was unexpected. Flattered yet nonetheless uncomfortable, Karen looked aside and bit her lip in silence. As if carried on by a troubling whirl of courage, Will kept on talking.
"I'm sorry you had to go through all of this. You should have told..."
She rose her hand and he stopped in his tracks. As a matter of fact, she didn't need to think about it; not even a second because it seemed clear. And fine. Just like that, all of a sudden.
"It belongs to the past, now."
She took a sip of her Martini. Drinking was easier than talking.
"What if the wind drifts us apart?"
She hadn't expected such question from him. Yet it meant a lot if not just everything. He cared. Maybe he didn't have the right words nor the courage it took to face it all properly nor at the right moment but a single sentence had finally – unexpectedly – resulted enough. Slowly, she bent over and captured his lips in a soft kiss.
"It won't. Because it will always be like this."
Precarious - painful - yet terribly addicting. In a word, just another love story. Not perfect. Endlessly secretive. But sweet.