Day Three 8:00pm
Day Three 8:00pm
“Warner, where on earth are you taking me?” I frown through his hands which are covering my eyes.
“You’ll see in a minute.” He continues to tease.
Warner had parked the car in the center of the city. Dusk had fallen painting the sky a pastel ombre and the palm tree’s sway in the summer breeze. We’d walked around a few blocks before Warner placed his hands over my eyes, holding me in the anticipation surrounding his determination to give me the best surprise he possibly could.
Familiar sounds of traffic had slowly drowned out as Warner took me around corner after corner meaning that we are somewhere quiet, the only question now is where.
The clinking of metal against metal filled the momentary quietness between us as Warner twisted a key in its lock. As we entered a cooler building, Warner released his hands from my eyes. The darkness of the room resembling the nothingness of my eyelids being closed, the flickering of an exit sign creating a low light for my pupils to adjust to.
“This is what you consider to be the most exciting night of my life?” I ask sarcastically.
“No, you haven’t seen anything yet.” Warner rolls his eyes.
As he guides me through the cramped hallways, we are met with yet another door, one which reads ‘to the gallery’.
“Wait-” I begin to say before the sound of the door opening cuts me short.
Warner flicks the switch and rows of lights flash on, unveiling the copious amount of paintings which line the decorated walls.
The long car journey now made sense as we slowly walked the marble floors of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; a museum I have visited many times and a museum that will always have a special place in my heart.
Every year my parents would bring me here for my birthday and we’d take a week’s vacation in Santa Monica. I’d be so excited to stroll around, admiring the artwork whilst using it as my inspiration to better my skills.
Art has been my passion for as long as I can remember and my parents always helped to endorse my dreams. They knew it was my dream to go and study art, minoring in the history of art at UCLA, it’s just a shame that they never got to see me graduate…
“How did you get a key for this place?” I ask in awe, gawping at my surroundings.
“I have contacts.” He shrugs, a smirk lining his face.
For a while, we go our separate ways, Warner allowing me to explore and enjoy my time in peace. Occasionally, I spot him observing the information plaques below the frames, showing an interest, something that I didn’t even know he was capable of.
Warner catches up with me in the contemporary art room, standing next to me as we silently admire the balloon dog architecture.
“So…” He begins to say, urging me on to praise his efforts.
“What?” I reply, acting clueless.
“Are you going to admit that I’ve done well or is that ego of yours stopping you?” He jokes.
“Don’t be an ass.” I roll my eyes, letting out a chuckle.
“Come on Mila, you just hate to admit that I know you better than you think you do.” Warner scoffs.
“God, you spend three days with me and now you claim to know every depth of my life.” I laugh harder than before.
He furrows his brow, trying to string together an answer that makes him look good.
“You know, we’re not all that different.” Warner suggests.
“I highly doubt that this is the most we’ve ever spoken.” I frown.
The two of us slowly make our way over to the next statue.
“I know you think I’m all parties and a mess but I do have my interests.”
“Like what?” I raise my eyebrow, ready to argue.
“Do you know what I majored in at UCLA?” He stops in his tracks.
“Sports?” I stumble, racking my brain for an answer yet deep down, I have no idea.
“No. I studied chemistry.” He smiles.
“You? A scientist?” My laugh echos around the gallery.
“Yes!” He pouts, crossing his arms over his chest.
My mind pictures Warner standing in a lab, a white coat swishing around his ankles with his goggles steaming up due to the concoction he’s making in a conical flask.
I mask the giggle teasing at my lips with a cough, not wanting to offend Warner any more than I probably already have.
“That’s unexpected.” I take a serious tone.
We walk again, heading into the next room. Sculptures from centuries ago sit inside glass boxes, immersing you into the history which riddles every art piece.
“Fine, so I didn’t know that you studied chemistry but that doesn’t mean that you know me. We’ve practically been strangers until now.” I say.
“That’s not true. We used to speak a lot when you first moved in. I used to try and invite you to my parties and help you out.” He lists the individual moments on his fingers.
“I remember the first time we met. You knocked on my door because you couldn’t figure out how to get the water to work. I came into the apartment, almost knocking over a mountain of boxes and after fixing the problem, I spent the rest of the afternoon helping you unpack.” He smiles as his eyes relive the memory.
“Yeah and then later that night, I was banging on your door telling you to turn the music down.” I frown.
“I did invite you to join!” He laughs, remembering my frustration as I stood before him in my cartoon themed pajamas, clearly giving him his first taste of the attitude he’d meet almost daily.
“We’ve had our moments but the times when we have had nice conversations have been nice.” He offers as we enter the next room.
The sound of trickling water fills our ears as we reach the middle of the rain room. Darkness yet again gripping us with the water richocheting light around the room. As we near it, it stops for a second, as it always does when it detects a person nearby but it continues as we walk away, watching without making a sound.
“I’m not all bad am I?” He asks as I realize that I haven’t answered anything he’s said to me in a while.
His voice is filled with his usual tone, one that tests and teases me with the typical Warner Taylor charm yet an underlying hint of worry becomes apparent and for the first time, I realize that Warner does care about how I view him.
“I suppose not.” I try to joke yet his earthy eyes capture mine.
“In all honesty, I think the reason I’ve tried to gain your friendship over the years is that I admire your lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I love being the king of parties but your whole life oozes with culture. I’d catch a glimpse of your wine and music-filled evenings when I’d ask you for extra ice whenever I ran out mid-way through a party and I’d always be met with a pang of jealously.” He speaks to me in a way that he never has before.
“Warner, you wouldn’t know culture if it slapped you round the face.” I suck in my lower lip, squinting into his desiring eyes.
“Can’t you teach me.” His voice is low as his attention draws to the movement of my lips.
Shadows of water droplets wash over his face, flashing the hints of gold in his leafy eyes. For the first time, Warner is vulnerable, finally relying on me rather than leading the way. Whether it’s the emotive atmosphere of the museum or the underlying pressure of the end of the world, his words hold a meaning that neither of us has witnessed before and neither of us knows what to do.
His hand reaches forward, taking its usual place in my hair, caressing my cheek and I can’t help but study his face. Watching his eyes scour mine as his lips shimmer in the light, their moisture enticing mine.
My mind spins in circles, trying to grasp the situation. I always keep a lid on these kinds of feelings, never allowing myself to end up in a situation like this, especially with someone like Warner but right now, all I can feel is the sensation that someone wants me.
For the past few years, I have lost everyone who has ever needed or wanted me, succumbing to my loneliness and waiting for the day that it would all change. Yet right now, with only seven days left on this planet, here I am, listening to someone admit the words I have craved for so long.
And the most confusing part is that I can’t tell if I’m happy or not that that person is Warner.
“OI, YOU TWO!” A voice shouts as a flashlight floods the room, interrupting our moment.
“Shit.” Warner says, looking for an exit.
He takes my hand, leading me out of the rain room as the security guard chases us.
“Warner!” I shriek as he pulls me through the gallery, my legs racing towards the exit.
The adrenaline pumps around my body, thrill masking my embarrassment of the situation. Only Warner would break into an art gallery with me and now we are playing a game of cat and mouse to escape.
This really is the Warner Taylor way of life and I’m starting to realize that I love it.