“Took your own sweet time to come home. Had a great evening and forgot all about me, didn’t you Scarlett?”
Scarlett was not in the mood for Tristan’s jealousy. She did not want to hear anything. She did not want to think. She wanted silence. She wanted to not feel like a fool. She wanted the reigns of her life back in her hand. She did not want to follow bizarre hints and clues and chase something which she did not even understand.
Tristan must have sensed her tension because he kept quiet for few minutes before asking, “Are you alright? Why are you so… distraught?”
The tender tenor of Tristan’s thoughts brought tears to her eyes. This is what feels like to have someone understand her even before she said something. But today she did not have the strength to appreciate his concern and affection. She wanted to blank out her mind. She called her mother and told her that the shopping has been done and also sent the pictures of the curtains. Then she took a long bath and ate a quick dinner. And then she opened the wine bottle.
No more fears to have wine. She was as sane as the next person in the building or maybe even more sane. She filled the goblet with thick red wine to near full and downed it in one go.
“Whoa Scarlett, easy on that…”
Tristan’s sound was a careful murmur, a soft warning, a gentle concern. And she loved it. It was like a warm blanket on a cold night. A relief after such a happening day. How badly she wished that he was there beside her in flesh and blood, to hold her close, to take away her glass when she was drinking in excess, and she would drag him to the balcony and force him to sit on the floor and watch her count the stars, make him sing to her and then take her to bed and make drunk love to him and lull her to sleep.
Scarlett reached out for another glass and then another and then another. She could have gone somewhere, at any of the numerous bars and her friends who did not mind any reason to have a drink. But she did not want anyone. She wanted to come home to Tristan, to his crazy banter. Strangely, Tristan was silent all the while. It was like he knew that she needed the quiet. She relaxed in his silent company. The bottle was almost over and she was too tipsy and too drunk. But still, she stood up and dragged herself to the painting.
She wanted to touch him once again. She wanted to feel him again. Before she passed out, she wanted to know that he was real, that he was a rock solid presence in her life, that his concern wouldn’t disappear, or appear for that matter, when she got drunk. Agreed that Tristan needed to get back to life, but then, so did she need a life. Scarlett wanted it to be with Tristan. There was this Sophia between them. When had it come down to such emotions and sentiments, she did not know. Was it possible to love someone like this, in so less time? With someone whom she wasn’t really sure that will be alive…
But she did, with all her heart.
Scarlett is upset. And this was making him more upset than being stuck in the frame. Why did it pinch his heart to watch her drink silently? If he could be there with there, sitting on the floor sharing the night and the wine, he would have talked her silly and made her laugh. But as he watched her closely, he realized that it was not words nor laughter she craved now, it was companionship and understanding.
Like some sorrows are not expressed in words, some feelings are just felt. He knew there was no way for Scarlett to hear him. But still he could not say a word. Somehow he felt it in the very core of his heart, that she needed him. Just him.
She was coming to him again. Tristan wanted to extend his hands and keep her from falling. But damn this frame. He wanted to crush her into himself and let her head fall back in the crook of arms and feel her silky hair fall back. She didn’t cut it yet. He wanted to taste the wine on her lips and smell it on her skin and capture her sigh in a kiss. He wanted to enter her veins and mingle with her blood and the wine and feel her from the inside.
“Scarlett… My love… Go to sleep darling. You are exhausted. And maddeningly drunk. Please go to bed.”
“I am cold and sleepy. Come and sleep beside me. ”
“Darling… only if you knew how I wish to be with you now… How badly I want to kiss you and taste the wine on your lips and distract you away from all that is bothering you…”
Scarlett once again raised the index finger of her right hand and moved it along the edge of the frame. Just an inch away from Tristan. With whatever senses was left of her, Scarlett prayed to the gods, “Please let me feel him… please let me touch him… please… please… please let him live for a second…”