Disarranged(4)By: Sara Wolf
“If you want to talk about it –”
“No, I’m fine. Thanks.” I smile. “The Beginner’s Ski course sounds fun. I think I’ll do that. It starts at one. That gives me enough time for a nap – this jetlag is killer.”
Grace’s dark eyes are tender and understanding. She tries to match my smile and picks up the phone.
“Alright, it looks like it’s at noon tomorrow. I’ll tell them you’re signing up for it. There’s rental ski gear at the desk, too.”
I put my toothbrush and makeup case in the bathroom. When I come out, she’s lying on the bed, looking at the ceiling.
“What about you, Ms. Haute Couture? Any relationship problems you want to talk about?” I ask. She sighs.
“Jen and I’ve never been apart this long. We Skype every other night but it’s still so hard not being able to see her in the flesh. Not that I’m not grateful. I mean, at least I can still Skype with her. Some people can’t even do that.”
Lee never answered the texts I sent him, and when I tried to call him the voicemail said the phone had been disconnected. I hadn’t heard a single word from him since that night he tied me up in the hotel room – something I still can’t think about without blushing ferociously. But the blushing always devolves to pain flickering across my face. I try not to let it show.
Grace jumps up from the bed. “I’ll let you sleep. I’ve got a photoshoot down in the forest. We’re taking snowmobiles, and I think one of the cameramen is bringing a dogsled.”
“Try not to freeze your butt off.” I smirk.
“What butt? Models aren’t allowed to have butts,” She laughs and grabs her coat, whirling in the doorway and pointing at me. “Oh, and we have dinner reservations tonight.”
“Yup, seven-thirty at the four-star in the lobby – Jacques’. Ferdinand’s been dying to see you.”
Ferdinand – he was the photographer who took that picture of Grace and I that ended up in Seventeen. In the whirlwind of the last few months I’d almost forgotten all about my secret stint as a model. But the thought of seeing him again and hearing his strange accent brings a little smile to my face.
“Sounds great. I’ll try to dress up.”
Grace winks. “That’s my girl.”
Before I fall asleep in the cool bed, I look at my phone longingly. It’s stupid to think that just because I’ve met up with Grace again, Lee would contact me. But they look so much alike – the same shade of dark hair and intimidating height. Even their olive skin tone is the same. With Grace around, I can almost taste Lee’s ghost. I feel a step closer to him, and after months of life without him one step feels like seven hundred. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe I shouldn’t have come here. Hanging around with Grace is now just an excuse to be that much closer to Lee. And that’s creepy ex-girlfriend behavior on my part. Besides, I’m not giving Grace my full attention as a friend. She doesn’t deserve that.
I pull the blankets over my head and stare at my phone until I fall asleep. Praying. Praying that he’ll call and I’ll hear his voice one last time. One last time, and I’d remember how to breathe again. One last time, and I can live my life without him a little easier. Do I sound desperate? Am I one of those clingy girls I promised myself I’d never be?
Is it too much to ask for just three seconds of closure?
Three seconds of his voice saying goodbye?
Kiera smiles at a passing waiter and crosses her legs under the table. I pick at my fettuccine and try to ignore the way her foot rubs on my ankle. Even at a ski resort in the mountains, she prefers fashionable clothes over sensible ones – her feet inside tiny beaded sandals. She rubs higher, over my shin, and scoots her chair forward to give her legs more length. I know where this is going. I sigh into my wine and adjust my suit cuffs.
“Is this really necessary? Can’t you wait until we’re alone?”
She pouts her baby-pink lips. “You used to like exhibitionism.”
“I used to like a lot of things. Like freedom.”
She laughs and waits until the waiter is come and gone with water. The restaurant buzzes around us, the predominant language French. I don’t know how Kiera convinced me into coming to the goddamn Alps – something about a vacation and a change of scenery. Even if she thinks she’s clever, she’s so transparent sometimes. She just wanted me away from L.A. Away from the people I love. Her constant jealousy of any woman who looks at me or talks to me is nauseating. Her jealousy moves her like red-hot puppet strings, burning her and everyone who tries to take control.