In the bitter air Guy’s lips trembled slightly. He took time wandering across the bustle of the city street, secretly revelling in the chance to watch the tall figure who hadn’t yet seen him. Against the black sky, the object of his stares stood, his jaw illuminated by the streetlight. With his arms crossed over his chest, the man leaned and threw casual glances every now and again to check his friend had not passed by. He didn’t understand how impossible that could be.
Guy composed himself, but he could not control his racing thoughts. Approaching his friend, they shared a greeting smile.
‘Patrick,’ his breath flowed out in plumes of white in the cold air. Glad of this distraction from his burning secret he was sure his eyes and fixed mouth betrayed, he allowed his friend to speak.
‘It’s great to see you! I’ve been so busy since Caitlin had the baby. God, the business has taken off, too-I’m working late almost every night. But, honestly, it’s great,’ he sighed with a pensive smile, ‘Anyway, enough of me. How are you, Guy?’ He shoved his friend’s arm, which was considerably smaller than his. Guy nodded and shifted his weight from side to side.
Following Patrick’s lead, they advanced to cross the street. Patrick was oblivious to Guy’s peripheral glances, stolen and short. ‘I’ve been good. Yeah, just um,’ he paused. He was distracted, lost in the strong lines and curves.
‘So what made you recommend here?’ Patrick motioned to the facade of the museum, aged and invaded by moss, long from its former glory.
‘I’ve been getting into art again, especially Bacon,’ he raised his voice over the buzzing engines as they reached the other side of the street. Slick with fresh rain, the pavement glimmered. It was yet to freeze over.
‘Oh,’ Patrick turned to his friend, a surprised but amiable expression crossing his face. ‘Have you been painting anything yourself?’
Guy almost forced his hand to his forehead out of frustration. He had said it too quickly. He was sure his lies had been revealed. Yet Patrick continued his confident stride up the steps, absent-minded. Relief filled Guy’s chest. Nothing could stop him from thinking of his paintings. They flashed in his mind. All beautiful and strong, just as he had imagined it would be, but he had always go the same thing wrong. He could never get the mouth right.
‘It’s a shame,’ Guy adjusted himself as they entered the warmth of the museum, which was white with sparkling polished floors. ‘Caitlin always loved your work.’
Guy almost laughed. But he managed to restrain himself. She certainly would not love his most recent work. He thought of her body, limp and lifeless, broken and beaten-dead. Stop, he told himself. He had to be more careful.
‘She’ll be here in half an hour,’ Patrick flicked the glare of his phone screen off and shoved it back into his pocket. ‘Do you think we could wait in the entrance for her, or did you want to start?’
I could wait all night, Guy’s lips crept into a smirk. ‘Yes,’ he turned to the doors, where the rush of the city could still be faintly heard, ‘Sure.’
Seated in the tired old chairs of the museum entrance, surrounded by cabinets of faded leaflets, Patrick tried to question his friend. Concern, unable to be concealed, twisted his mouth. The small talk was over, now he had to ask the question. Guy was preoccupied with his carefully laid out plans. If it wasn’t for the thrill of thoughts of what was to come of the night, he would have snatched more lustful looks.
‘How are you, really? Are you okay?’ Patrick looked down, ‘I know it’s been two years since your… breakdown, but–‘ He trailed off. He didn’t know how to end that sentence, or, more importantly, if he wanted to.
‘I’m fine,’ he tried to look sincere, but he was annoyed. Why did he have to bring that up?
Soon, he would get what he wanted. He held in a burst of excitement as he imagined their screaming faces, contorted with pain. Slipping his hand into his coat pocket, he felt the cool blade of the knife. Soon. Then, he would get the mouth right-the mouth would be perfect. Through the glass door he saw her blonde head bob out of the taxi. Now it’s time. Now, whatever consequences I reap.
This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge.
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