“I’ve seen some of your paintings on Facebook.”
I hummed a bit, remembering what was online already. “Those are kind of older. I have new ones. I have a healthy turnover. Sold half my stock at my last show. Oh God, I’m so not bragging. Ha. I sound conceited.”
“No, you don’t, Dal. I want to know.”
“Hmm, well, it’s boring. It’s all paint, paint, paint and then go to a show, and then paint again…” Silence sat between us like a breath. “I see everything in colors now. When I close my eyes. And…”
“Yeah? What do you see?”
“Right now. You.”
Still no sign of Alec or Wendy. No phone calls or texts from Daltrey either. Not that I deserved to hear from him. How was I going to tell him what had happened? What had happened? I’d thought it was just casual sex the first time, but Wendy hadn’t been happy with me blowing them off afterward, and here I was doing it again. Relationships were too hard, took too much energy to keep it going.
I went to bed early, pulling the covers over my head and wishing I could run away from myself.
I slept until late Sunday morning when a pounding on my door got me up. I pulled on a pair of khaki shorts and opened the door. A hot, familiar-looking guy with straight, bleached-blond hair falling in his face stood there with his mouth open. “Uh, looking for Alec?”
I groaned a little and pointed at the stairs. “Upstairs, dude.”
“Thanks, man,” he said and turned away, but then he stopped and looked at me again. “Hey! Aren’t you that guy Tad’s all worked up about?”
I definitely knew the guy. He was in Tad’s band. Guitarist, maybe? “Uh? What? Worked up?”
“Seriously.” He pushed his hair back out of his eyes. “From the party Friday night.”
“Oh. I mean, um, I know Tad but didn’t think he was worked up over me. Or anything, really.” I lifted my eyebrow, thinking that was the truth. I’d never seen extreme emotion out of Tad one way or another. The guy was too cool. Maybe that was what I didn’t like about him.
The guy rolled his eyes. They were an unnatural shade of blue, almost neon. He had to have contacts in, but they were striking against the bleached hair and sharp cheekbones. He rolled his tongue across plump lips and fiddled with the hoop pierced through it. “Oh, well, I’d say he’s worked up. Maybe he just wants what he can’t have, but he’s totally into you.”
“Too bad,” I said and shut the door. It wasn’t particularly nice, but I didn’t give a shit if he thought I was rude. Fuck Tad for being into me now. He’d blown his chance. And why the hell couldn’t I be that assertive about anything else in my life?
Still, it felt a little exciting knowing he wanted me. I rolled my eyes at myself and went to start the coffee and then get a shower. Daltrey had promised to call, and I couldn’t wait to talk to him. It seemed like it’d been ages, not just one day.
By the time Daltrey called, I was at the park, wearing my khaki shorts and aviator sunglasses and walking around aimlessly in the sunshine and trying to calm my acidy stomach that insisted on boiling over like a superactive volcano. I’d popped five antacids already and was just about to give in and call when the phone rang. “Dal! Hey!”
“Hey, Marty. Missed you.” His happy voice made me glow like the sun. Distracted, I tripped over my own feet, stupid deck shoes, and fell into a bench.
I grunted. “Missed you too.”
“Sure, yes. Sitting here in the park. What’s up?” I didn’t want to tell him what a freakin’ klutz I was.
“So, like, I’ve been, um, working some stuff out, and I’ve booked a show in LA”
“What?” I gasped. LA? He was coming to LA? My heart stopped beating.
I heard his soft chuckle, sounding like he had his mouth covered. “That’s what I’ve been working on, and, uh, like, I had to get a lot of shit lined up yesterday and two of the paintings I’ve been working on, and like, I had to get those finished, so just busy, you know?” he rambled on nervously. “Is that okay? Um, do you, like, want to see me? When I’m out there?”