Scales and Scars

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Art Shows and Games

The car arrived for Bethany and me shortly after I walked into her house. Rob was sitting in the recliner, box of tissues in one hand tea in another. He did not look like he was feeling well at all.

“Thank you for saving me. She would never let me live it down if she went alone. Sick or not.” He said with a cough.

I took a step backwards before covering my hand over my mouth. “No problem, I’ll just wait on the porch, no need to spread that further.”

“So dramatic…” Bethany said before placing a kiss on Rob’s head. “Feel better, I shouldn’t be too late.”

We slid into the backseat of the car while Bethany was doing something on her phone. She had a distracted smile on her face. I wondered how well she knew the artist of the show, or if it was a business venture.

“Do you know anyone at the show?” I questioned trying to grab her attention.

“Yes, my firm represents the artist. Talented woman, very young too. Amazing she doesn’t have the typical drug problems.” She mused still looking at her phone.

“Do you need me to come if your phone is your date?” I questioned slightly irritated.

I was never rude to my sister. I prided myself on being understanding when it came to her demanding job and life. Something was bothering me. I wasn’t able to put my finger on it. Maybe I was just wanting to talk about Tadeas? It seems crazy but I think I missed him.

“Sorry. We have a deposition in the morning and the woman is being extra difficult. I am all yours now. How was the date?” She asked leaning back placing her phone in her bag.

“Well, it was pretty amazing. We rock climbed a little, ate by a waterfall, went for a swim. You could even say it was… magical.” I tried to contain my smile with no success.

“OH MY GOSH!!! He sounds just perfect! I still can’t believe he found you in the woods like that. How romantic! Does he watch a lot of romance and stage it or something?” She spewed sisterly love with jealously.

The driver announced we were arriving and pulled just past the entrance of the gallery. I was excited to see someone who had impressed my sister. Her work must be spectacular. While it was normal for Bethany to support clients, she rarely went above and beyond since Tommy was born.

“Her name is Mia. She went through a divorce 6 months ago. The guy tried to take her for all her worth. She was lucky she hired the firm to handle it. We had coffee a few times when she was in the office.” Bethany finished explaining as we entered the building.

The gallery was set as I imagined. We were greeted by waitstaff with champaign. Bethany took both and handed both to me. I looked at her with a side eye before sipping the first glass.

“I am going to need you to be looser with your details, drink up sis.” She said with a wink before saying hello to another member of her firm.

I gladly drank the first glass setting it on a table nearby. I slowly sipped the second as I glanced at a piece on the wall. It seemed dark and angry to me. It was hidden in an array of colors, the deep defining edges allowing the truth to show.

“This is the artist’s favorite piece in the show.” A smooth male voice spoke from beside me.

“It’s an interesting piece. I appreciate how she hides the anger and pain in the edges.” I mused aloud before blushing. “I’m sorry, I have no clue what I am talking about. I am no art critic. I am just Aries.” I held out my hand to shake.

“Johnathon.” The man said with a large smile.

He was shorter than most men, possibly five foot seven inches. His sandy blonde hair was cut short on the sides slightly longer on top. It was passed to the side by his hand, falling loose. His build was average, slender even.

“Do you know the artist?” I questioned quietly.

“Yes, I am her manager.” He said as a whisper, with a smile. “She would appreciate your feedback. Let me grab her now.”

“Mia, dear, may I steal you a moment?” He said approaching a woman around ten feet away.

Mia turned around with a man on her arm. I was both shocked by her beauty as well as the man. Tadeas stood holding Mia’s arm. Her long blonde hair reached the center of her back. It was braided beautiful in several directions allowing a few strands to fly free.

She stood about five foot ten, several inches taller than Johnathon. She looked like she belonged next to Tadeas. Her piercing blue eyes forming slits as she felt Tadeas tense. My eyes met his as the air escaped my lungs.

I wasn’t sure what to do. My instincts told me to jump on top of this woman and tell her she was holding onto what was mine. He said early we were destined to be there together, yet here he is, on another woman’s arm.

Mia, flawless in her composure, reached out her hand as Johnathon finished whatever it was, he was saying. “Nice to meet you Aries.” Her perfect voice spoke.

“Nice to meet you too. You truly have a gift.” I forced a smile, keeping my eyes from Tadeas.

I could feel his gaze on me. He hadn’t moved to say anything, she hadn’t introduced him. He just stood here, holding her arm in his. Mia excused herself and her escort and turned to the table next to us. I could faintly hear the conversation.

“I hope you don’t think of this as to forward…” Johnathon was speaking, I was only pretending to listen.

“Would you like to go to dinner sometime? Maybe tomorrow night?” His voice seemed uneasy; his words taking me by surprise. I noticed Tadeas’ muscles tense out of the corner of my eye.

I thought carefully for a moment. I had no interest in going to dinner with Johnathon. He wasn’t attractive in that way to me. However, feeling like the fool I was to believe Tadeas was interested in me was eating away at my insides. How could I be so gullible?

“I will have to see if I am available, I help my sister some nights with her children.” I responded cordially not giving an official answer.

Just then I noticed the feeling of Tadeas’ eyes burning into my body had returned. I was unaware if it was really happening or in my head. I didn’t have the strength to look. Johnathon’s smiled widened slightly.

“I have a son that is 10 years old. Having help can be a blessing. If you would like, I can take your number and call you tomorrow to see if you are available?”

I smiled wide when he asked for my phone number, something Tadeas had forgotten to do during all those interactions. I saw Mia trace her hand across his shoulders from the corner of my eye. My blood boiled at the sight sending me over the edge.

“That sounds great.” I said pulling out my phone and opening a new contact.

“Here go ahead and enter your number and I will send you a message now. This way I am sure to answer.” I made sure I spoke clear but a little low so Tadeas would need to strain to hear us.

“I can’t wait. Until then.” He said nodding his head and heading to the next group approaching the painting.

After Johnathon was gone, I looked around for Bethany. She was nowhere to be found. I expected her to be at the bar or with the group of attorneys. After searching for a few minutes, I decided to leave. I called myself a car and waited patiently outside.

“Why are you here?” Tadeas’ deep voice came from behind me. I gasped and jumped slightly. I didn’t hear anyone exit the gallery after me.

“I am really sick of you asking me that.” I said irritated and detached.

“Aries.” He said inpatient, his voice tugging the cords of my heart.

“Don’t. You can forget I exist at all. I knew I was a game. It always is a game with you all isn’t it?”

“You all?” Tadeas’ voice was allowing his confusion to sneak past.

“Yes, men all of you. Always some type of game. Guess what, in my game you only get one life, you wasted yours.” I spat approaching the slowing car.

“We need to talk.” He said following me towards the car, grabbing the door to stop it from closing.

“We do not. What is there that needs to be said?” I questioned infuriated.

“Everything.” His voice was slightly broken yet irritated.

“Always vague answers with you. Never the truth you claim to speak.” My words ripped through him like a knife in soft butter. I reached out grabbing the door and yanking it closed before telling the driver to go.

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