CHAPTER 22 –A crush-
‘ That security guy has a serious crush…`
Alicia`s eyes grew wider at the sight of the DVD`s Kalinda held in front of her. She had been surprised at the information that the security guy`s feelings for their clients mother and his stalkerish behavior, but not as surprised as she was at how normal her voice sounded. How normal it felt, even, to have Kalinda sit in the passenger`s seat, next to her, informing her about the case. She tried to focus, but found it hard. It was as if she saw the world through a mist, and, several times, she had had to ask the investigator to repeat something. Her focus, which should have been on the road, was much more on the woman she did NOT want to focus on.
Little gestures, a fingertip following the shape of a CD-case, a hand finding a painful spot, right under the always tight up raven locks and massaging a knot, the elegance in which she took out the orange notebook. Everything was so familiar. It felt like home. More like home, Alicia had to admit, than the apartment. More like home, than the man she had thrown out the day before. How could she have gotten so accustomed to Kalinda in such a short period of time? She tried to fight the feeling. But all she managed was to suppress the urge to reach out and massage the painful spot for her. All she managed was a wave of sadness that made her swerve so much, Kalinda insisted on taking the wheel before continuing her explanation.
`Yeah, well, he is a serious creep… He even had a list of the times for all her baseball-practices. Said he liked her outfit. But maybe he IS a creep who has helped up out in this case. By installing the camera in the master bedroom without the inhabitants knowing, maybe he has caught something we can use.`
Kalinda caught her disgusted expression and smiled sourly.
`I know, I know. He says he hasn`t watched it. But he is, however, willing to testify, even if that means losing his job.`
`How did you manage that?`
Although Alicia wasn’t sure she wanted to know, the question had slipped out anyway.
`I told him women have a soft spot for honest men.`
The grin with which Kalinda spoke the words forced Alicia to look away. Honesty… Not only had Kalinda not once been honest with her, she was not honest with herself. How could she allow herself to feel so comfortable with the investigator? Even now she knew… This? Why was even her own body betraying her? Her fingertips tingled with the immense desire to touch the other woman, which now seemed even harder to suppress then when they had been friends. Just drinking, just talking. Just them. Maybe it had been easier then because she knew that she COULD have, had she wanted to. That all she had had to do was to reach out and follow the curve of Kalinda`s elbow, find the crook of her neck. And now, that possibility was lost to her forever. Which made her want to do it even more.
Angry with herself for the contradictions in her thoughts, but even more so, her feelings, Alicia bit her bottom lip a little harder than intended. The metallic taste of the blood she drew made her lips curl up in a sarcastic smile. Maybe now she knew what “Irony” tasted like.
The pain in her neck was causing Kalinda to be less focused than she would normally be. She heard herself talk, but the normally fluent connections of sounds came out hesitant, as if she was listening to a broken record. Of course it was not just the pain in her neck causing her to be distracted. But it was the most concrete thing for her to focus on. She, now and again, let one of her fingertips trail the tense muscle that covered the border between her neck and her skull. The pain she felt, pressing it, allowed her to stay awake long enough to focus on the road.
‘To the office?’
`Isn`t your car there?`
While she nodded, -an action making a nauseating pain shoot through her muscles- she tried to analyze what it was about Alicia that was different. Was it the shortness of her words? The way she, quickly, looked away at the moment Kalinda glanced at her? Or was she just making it up, because of what she knew lay ahead of her?
`Has Blake come to see you again?`
The question exited her mouth without restraint, and Kalinda hadn`t noticed she was holding her breath until she caught sight of the look of genuine surprise on Alicia`s face, telling her the answer to it even before words were part of the equation.
`No particular reason.`
Again reaching for her neck, Kalinda swallowed, while turning to park the SUV properly. The task, which she fulfilled with precision, allowed her to avoid eye contact as she asked the question that had been lingering on the tip of her tongue. She had a feeling. A feeling she recognized but did not trust. She had a feeling, and it scared her.
`Do you want to work at my apartment again tonight?’
Reluctant to watch the video`s by herself, Kalinda had to, consciously, let out the breath she was holding in order to fight the lightheadedness that surrounded her. She wasn’t sure if she just didn’t want to do this task alone, if she wanted to take the opportunity to talk to Alicia, despite her 48 hour respite, or if she just wanted to take advantage of the little time she had left before she was going to break everything apart by speaking the words that would make it real.
She wasn`t sure, but what she was sure of something else. Something that was confirmed by the drop of her heart when she heard Alicia`s answer.
`No, I think I`ll do better on my own. We do only have 48 hours, after all.’
Kalinda looked away, using the unbuckling of her seatbelt to hide her facial expression from the woman beside her. She shouldn`t have bothered. Alicia looked everywhere but at her. And she was sure what the burning feeling in the pit of her stomach represented. She was sure she had yearned for Alicia to say yes.