Hazel's life had been ripped apart at the seams, the fabric of everything she'd built torn from her grip, but painful as the restitching of her career, her plans, her self is - there's a certain satisfaction to it, too.
She travels for several weeks after Paris. Goes to Vietnam, chasing errant sparks to rekindle the inspiration that had launched her designs. As she weaves her way through colorful city streets, there’s an hurt that threads deep in her bones. This place is her family’s home; this place is her family’s heartbreak.
She catches sakura petals in the palm of her hand in Kyoto, watches an intricate sand mandala be dashed in a Tibetan temple, roams the halls of St Nicholas Cathedral in St Petersburg - her heels the only sound and yet still too insignificant to echo.
The sketchbook she’d bought in the airport bookstore is nearly full by the time she gets back. Her fingers drum on the car ride home, itching to sew.
She’d deliberately disconnected herself from the fashion world, from her life. But now, watching the sun set outside the bay window of her beach house, mug of tea in hand, she opens up her messages.
Work predominates, of course. Even as tactless as her ousting at HB was, still fashion houses are feeling her out. For contract or consulting strictly, and mostly medium-sized organizations. All of them want her knowledge of the industry rather than her creativity.
There’s...several texts from Emma. They start out with a flair of flirtation, but as the weeks of no answers wear on become only sporadic business updates.
It’s better this way. Hazel knows this. Emma is young and unbound and should catapult into design free of any influence that their entanglement might suggest.
She steeples her fingers, eyes on the waves, and remembers. The kiss, their bodies flush, the wicked grin that graced the younger woman’s face when Hazel moaned her name.
Hazel sighs, and goes to the liquor cabinet to pour herself a stiffer drink.
She needs to leave well enough alone.
Somehow, though, by midnight she texts back: Have dinner with me.