This is probably my least favorite scene in this story. It’s not that it’s a bad scene, necessarily, but more that the character Link is different in my head now than he was three years ago and I don’t see this scene playing out the same way today.
I’m not exactly sure what I would do to change it. I think it may just be that Link is more open, and therefore his conversations wouldn’t be over so quickly. I’m not sure.
I could have edited it before I posted it, but I didn’t for two reasons.
One, I’m lazy.
Two, I’d like you guys to see it as it was before, not as it is edited.
Anyway, read on!
* * *
By the time I realized I was in over my head, it was too late to back out. My options were simple. I could forsake Blackout, risk being hunted down by Kenneth’s men (likely by Demetrius herself, who would be able to find me without lifting a finger), and run away with Link, or I could do the opposite–cut Link out of my life entirely, remove myself from the situation, and explain to Kenneth I needed to be reassigned. Neither option was particularly appealing.
My problem was that I had fallen into the old clichè: “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” I wanted both–my job and Lincoln Scott. I didn’t want to forsake a profession I loved–the allure, the enigma, the excitement! Similarly, I didn’t want to give up Link. It had taken months to get this close. He was unlike any male I’d ever been with. I wanted to hold on. I wanted to hold on so badly.
So I tried. I tried to balance the two halves of who I was, but it was difficult. Demetrius was aware of the conflict–I could see her watching me at every meeting, wondering when (it was not a question of “if” anymore) the issue would surface itself. My time at the office was becoming more and more infrequent as I looked for excuses to spend time with Link. My jobs were piling up. My answering machine full. My email horrendously neglected. I pretended I was making headway in Link’s case, building his profile. Demetrius knew better. I’m sure Kenneth did, too.
But things weren’t working out any better with Link himself. It had been over eight months by this point, and he still hadn’t once asked me to his flat. Our meetings were either public or at my place, and he was starting to distance himself from those occasions, too. He didn’t answer half of my calls, and when we spoke over the phone it was always short and to the point. Our physical meetings were simply that: physical. Conversation seemed to have died.
When I asked about it, he went stubbornly silent.
“C’mon, baby,” I murmured into his ear. He was sitting at the edge of my bed, elbows propped on his knees and chin on laced fingers. I went up behind him and wrapped my hands around his shoulders. He stiffened. “What’s bothering you? Talk to me.”
“Talk to you?” He snapped, tearing away from me and jumping to his feet. “Eve, I don’t know anything about you!”
“What do you mean?” I said, hurt. “You know plenty about me!”
He scoffed and paced by the curtained window. The morning light filtered through in thin beams, giving him an eerie back-glow. The light outlined his musculature as he moved, the skin rolling soft and supple. At long last he turned on me.
“I know your name,” he countered. His tone had lost the dangerous volume, but low it sounded cold and insincere. “That’s all. That’s all you’re willing to give me.”
I didn’t respond. Instead, I looked at the ground, away from his handsome face, away from that guilt. He was right. I knew it. He knew it. I couldn’t divulge anything personal about myself. For the past ten years, my life had revolved around Blackout. I couldn’t let him into that part of who I was. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to–oh, God, I’d never wanted to tell anyone anything so much in my life. I was obligated not to. Demetrius’s words flashed through my mind: “you have certain loyalties you need to remember to keep.”
All Link did was watch me through the silence. He was hoping, praying, that I’d open up to him. I could see it in his eyes. When I didn’t speak, he furrowed his brow and looked off to the side. WIthout a word, he gathered up his clothes, dressed himself, and stormed out of my room. The front door slammed in his wake, and I could do no more than crumple in on myself and let Demetrius’s pity in at last.