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Four Bidding For Love (a novel)

Part 46: An unstable elixir ready to boil over (5/4/13)

     Afterward, just when Ross thought his luscious bedmate had fallen asleep, Alexia turned over and nestled against him. As his heartstrings were exquisitely tuned to female vulnerabilities, her small voice of longing touched him with a sharp immediacy. "Would you make me ranchos huevos tomorrow morning?"
     Stifling his surprise at her request, he exclaimed, "Of course I will, my toothsome little Aphrodite. It's one of my specialties. Do you have any tortillas?"
     In the darkness he detected her happiness in her murmured reply. "Hmm. In the freezer." Cuddling closer, she whispered, "That's very sweet of you."
     In response Ross gently stroked her hair, and his conflicted feelings renewed their battle. Long after Alexia had drifted into the regular breathing of deep slumber, he lay awake mulling the peculiarities of Fate, Karma, and God's Will, and wondered how he could have been so wrong about GreenDollGal. Yes, he saw the financial desperation behind her obsessive, go-for-the-throat online bidding, and in this the difference between them was less than the thickness of a sheet of paper. The loathing he'd felt so keenly now seemed terribly misplaced, and the swirl of affection, desire and sympathy he felt for her now felt like granite beneath his feet while his fury at her clairvoyant winning streak was like a puff of steam dissipating before his eyes.
     And where was her clairvoyance now? Had it mysteriously failed her, or had her budding feelings for him clouded her third eye? Or perhaps she'd already sensed and accepted his true identity? As a woman of high feelings, it was a fool's errand even to guess her reaction to such an intuition, and the uncertainties looming before him kept Ross awake far into the night.
     As Alexia left her window ajar at night to allow in zephyrs of fresh air, he heard a plaintive solo saxophone drift up from the street. At first Ross reckoned it came from a passing car, but since no engine or tire noise accompanied the solo, he realized that the sax was being played by a passing pedestrian on the sidewalk. It was a peculiar and unexpected strand of extemporaneous live music in the quiet night air, a mournful tune rising as the player approached and then fading as he or she walked slowly past. Ross did not recognize the music, but he knew what it expressed: a sighing acceptance, a tip of the hat to life's curious beauty, and perhaps a lingering shadow of regret.
     What a pickle, he told himself once again; should I stay and hope she'll accept me as no-longer-the-enemy, or should I get out before she discovers the truth? Sliding his hand onto her warm bare rump, the agony of his decision intensified and Ross thought, hoist on my own petard; I'm madly in love with the woman I loathed just days ago.
     No, he told himself, it's up to me to rescue her from the pool of degradation she's flung herself into. Oh, poor GreenDollGal, it's all so obvious now: the shoes and the dolls and the film posters, the loveless sacrifices and surrenders on your sofa, all pathetic substitutes for the affection you deserve and crave; I know, because I've been on my own path of self-imposed ruination.
     You can't abandon this poor dear sweet woman now, he told himself, and let her keep trading herself; no, you have to save her, no matter how much she resists, for it's not only your duty, it's your heart's highest calling.
     Though Ross could not hear her shifting uneasily beside Robin's supine figure, Kylie was also wide-eyed with disturbing thoughts. Her intuition warned her that lies, even seemingly modest ones assembled to serve some worthy cause, had a way of simmering for a time and then exploding; and if there was ever an unstable elixir ready to boil over, it was Alexia and Ross upstairs. The two should have created a violent chemical reaction at their first meeting; how the pair had avoided setting off a conflagration Kylie could not imagine. But the reaction had begun just the same, Kylie knew, and the build-up of heat would soon reach flashpoint. The question which plagued her was unanswerable: would the truth clear the air of poisonous fumes, or act as the spark which finally ignited the hot mixture?
     As unpleasant as it might be, Kylie knew the only hope of resolution lay in telling the truth. Tomorrow morning, she resolved, I'm trooping up there and laying out the truth to Alexia, no matter how much Robin protests.

Next: A slow measure of her folly (Chapter 13)

To read the previous chapters, visit the "Four Bidding For Love" home page.

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