“There is a whole universe of things about you I don’t know, but that in itself tells me volumes.
“In ordinary life, you are friendly; in bed, you are a fireball; but in anything that touches any deep part of you, you are an ice maiden. Sexually liberated, but emotionally frigid.”
She stared out the window with such intensity that I thought the glass might melt. I shut up. You can only go so far with a monolog.
After some miles she said, “You aren’t blind.”
“I’m a lot like that, myself.”
“I know, Ian. I’m not blind, either. But we get into habits, and act out parts we have become comfortable in.” She was speaking with metronymic precision. When she joked around, her Hispanic accent sometimes became thick. When she was thoughtful, it almost disappeared. Clarity of speech was an index of her mood.
“I tend to dominate situations,” I said.
“You are a master of understatement.”
“And you don’t like being dominated.”
“Not at all.”
“So you decided to show me who was boss.”
“You knew I was hooked on you. So you used Will for leverage, to put me in my place. To demonstrate the precise length of my leash.”
“It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t calculated. It was an impulse.”
“So it wasn’t planned – it comes to the same thing.”
After a moment, she shrugged half agreement.
“But it didn’t work out. I wasn’t the only one who was hooked.”
Raven laughed harshly. “That is one way of looking at it.”
“How else could you look at it?”
“I could say that you answered my challenge in a way I could not resist.”
“Oh, come on!”
Raven looked puzzled. Our conversation was losing its central thread. Somehow, we had stopped talking in a shared language, and I did not know when it had happened. She said, “I can’t believe you underestimate yourself.” She stared out the window again, her face lovely and opaque. Speaking into the glass, she said, “What do you think we are?”
“I think we are two domineering people trying to fall in love, and trying at the same time to see who will end up as boss.”
That amused her. Her view was obviously different. She said, “Who is going to win?”
“I hope it will end in a draw. An equal partnership.”
“You know me a little,” she admitted, “but you don’t know yourself at all. Why do you stay with me?”
“I like you.”
Her eyes flew wide. “Like me!” she cried out. “Just like me?”
I laughed out loud. She could no more have helped that reaction, than a wet cat could keep from spitting. more tomorrow