25 July 2014

Julian stirred and forced himself closer to Solange, trying to make her the person he wanted and needed. Just like with Meredith before her, and Olivia before that. When they'd met some eight months ago, she'd seemed perfect, but they always did at first. And yet none of them were—literally speaking—the woman of his dreams.

It felt too warm under the comforter, and the balcony's French doors promised an empty beach beyond. Julian slipped away from Solange and out of the bed, hastily threw on some linen pants and a shirt, and went out to stand barefoot on the wet, hard-packed sand, just out of the reach of the incoming thrusts of water. He closed his eyes and breathed deep and she was there: green eyes, auburn hair. He felt his own body bend to lean into her; she was going to whisper something in his ear. A free-flying strand of her hair teased the side of his face.

"Julian?"

Not her voice. He knew the low, warm tone, and this was not it. No, this was a clipped, heavily accented, sing-song voice. Julian opened his eyes and found Solange coming toward him across the sand. Her wheat-colored hair came almost to her waist and fussed in the breeze, forcing her to continually swipe it out of her way. Occasionally she tossed her head to force the hair behind her.

"You're up early," she said as she drew closer. She was wearing his bathrobe.

"It's such a nice day. Seemed a shame to waste it."

Solange's eyes flew up to the grey sky. Hardly a beautiful day. And yet she smiled and said, "Yes, you're right."

And in that moment he despised her just a little for not calling him out on such a lie, for refusing to admit the truth, for just agreeing with him. Solange always agreed with him. She adopted his thoughts and opinions as her own and never had anything to say for herself. She hung on his arm like an ornament, equally empty of any personality except what its wearer bestowed.

"Breakfast?" she asked.

"I'll join you in a minute," he told her.

She smiled again and set off across the beach to the house. He would have to end it soon, he decided, as he watched her go. There was no satisfaction in her company. There was only one person that would do . . . If only he could find her.

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