Brigit's Flame - December: Week 1
Word count: 818
“Thanks for coming with me!” He kissed her, “Did you have a good time?"
She stared out the car window, watching the landscape go by in a blur. It felt like a dream. The snow sparkled in the moonlight, dressing the world in thousands of tiny diamonds that were reflected in the clear night sky. The smell of a wood fire burning brought her back to her childhood. A time when life seemed simpler.
“Play us another one Daddy,” she’d asked excitedly while dancing in front of the fireplace. He always did. He’d play for them until they ran out of songs.
Her mind came back to the road before them, visible only as far ahead as the headlights could reach. Like life, only a small part of it was illuminated, while the rest happened around you, out of sight.
“Yeah, it was pretty good,” she lied in response to his question. The truth was that she’d been incredibly bored most of the night while he’d mingled with the executives and directors. But he’d been so happy to know she was there, supporting him and even now, she could see how much it had meant to him. There was no point telling the truth. She would have been much happier sitting on the couch, eating a carton of ice cream and watching movies, instead of being dressed in uncomfortable clothes, pretending that she gave a damn about politics and the lives of rich people.
It wasn’t until Annabelle came over and started talking to her that she really started to feel uncomfortable. They’d been introduced earlier in the evening when she’d pointed how interesting Liana’s “vintage” dress was.
“Didn’t Versace have a design just like that a few years ago?” she’d asked, knowing full well that Liana wasn’t wearing anything that even remotely resemble a designer label.
Annabelle had a gift for wrapping insults in a compliment, complete with a satin bow, and Liana had expected to encounter it at a corporate event. Annabelle was simply one of those people who found it easier to shine by making others look dull. Chances were, her own life was a lie, filled with emptiness and disappointment. Liana had ignored the insult and thanked her for the compliment, not wanting to play the game, before excusing herself.
She walked through the crowds of people, each vying to be the centre of attention, showing off their beautiful plumage for one another. An ice sculpture of a beautiful nude angel stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by a theme of gold and diamonds. The entire room was meant to evoke an atmosphere of wealth and beauty. It was not her world.
Annabelle appeared beside her as she watched the crowd from a corner of the room.
“So, you’re John’s new item?” she said, a hint of amusement in her voice.
Liana didn’t answer, knowing that the question was rhetorical.
“I guess he had to look outside the office for a change... I never would have thought you were his type.”
Neither of them said anything for several moments. Liana knew that the comment was meant to be hurtful and she ignored it. She was about to excuse herself when Annabelle turned to her, a look of sudden seriousness on her face, stripped of all pretense.
“Do you love him?”
Liana was stunned for a minute, wondering what had motivated Annabelle to ask her something so personal. It was a deceptively simple question. A question that she had no intention of answering. It was the same question that she’d been asking herself for several weeks. She’d finally admitted the truth to herself but she hadn’t told anyone else. The only person she want to tell was the one person she couldn’t.
“I don’t know,” she lied, just as he pushed his way through the crowd and found them standing there.
“I’ve been looking for you. I have someone I want to introduce you to,” he said, pulling her back into the crowd. She was certain she saw Annabelle wink at her before she disappeared among the glamour and glitz of the guests.
“I know those events aren’t really your thing Li,” his voice brought her back to the present, “Thank you for putting up with it... especially Annabelle.”
She looked at him, his eyes meeting hers before returning to the road. It was uncanny how he knew just the right thing to say.
“You’re welcome,” she said, “You know I don’t mind.” Should she tell him?
Time slowed as they sped home, neither of them speaking for several long moments.
I love you, she thought, and I can’t tell you.
“I love spending time with you. Thanks for inviting me” she said instead. The moment slipped by like the landscape around them and Liana stared back out the window, wondering if he knew the lie for what it was.