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Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 10


Margo isn’t shy about making her feelings known about the unexpected departure tomorrow. I’ve been sitting on the edge of her bed, taking in the mess that is her room, as she loudly packs her bags. She can’t do anything without adding some theatrics to it.

Her bathroom door slaps the wall as she flings it open, a large toiletry bag in her hand.

Even when she tosses the bag in her open suitcase, it’s thrown harder than necessary. She walks to her closet, flicking through the clothes on the hangers. The hangers make loud scraping noises on the rod as she looks through them, occasionally pulling clothes off the hanger and tossing them onto the bed.

“You know packing all of this isn’t necessary,” I note, picking up a sweater that seems to have seen better days. I hold it by the collar, noting the fraying threads scattered throughout the worn knitting.

Margo turns around, giving me a dirty look. I’d never tell her this, but the look is far more endearing than it is intimidating. “I need clothes to wear.”

I pull at one of the loose threads of the sweater. “We’ll go shopping in New York. You can’t wear this to work.”

Her eyes narrow. “I don’t have money to buy anything at any of those fancy stores in New York.”

Throwing the old sweater on the bed, I take a deep breath. My fingers pinch the bridge of my nose as I think about what I want to say without offending her. I have to tread lightly. I know Margo enough to know she’ll put up a fight if I tell her I’ll buy the clothes for her, even though I have more money than I know what to do with. I’m not going to allow her to show up to work in clothes that are obviously old, the fabric now more itchy than it is comfortable. “I’ll buy the clothes, Margo. I have accounts with multiple stores where you’ll find what you need. Just please make it better than…that.” I point toward the discarded sweater.

“I’m not your little project to take pity on and dress up all nicely to impress whoever you want me to impress.”

My phone has already rung countless times during the twenty minutes I’ve sat here as she’s determined what to pack. My patience is wearing very thin. Her comment is just about sending me over the edge of what I can handle. I don’t see the point in her taking the time to pack some of these things when she’ll never wear them because I’ll just buy her all new stuff. It seems pointless. Standing up, I close the distance until I’m backing her into her tiny closet. She attempts to run away from me until her back is hitting her clothes. I stare down my nose at her, impressed by the defiant look in her eyes. “You’re not, and never will be, my little project. I didn’t mean it that way and you know that. You’d just rather argue than allow me to do one thing for you.”

She opens her mouth to do what I’m learning she does best—argue—but I put my palm over her lips before she can do so. “So, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to pack the things you need. The things I can’t buy you when we get to Manhattan. Sentimental shit or whatever. You can leave whatever you want here, to give to your friends or keep for whenever you visit. Truthfully, I don’t give a fuck what you do with it. And then we’re going to leave here. We have a few places we need to be today; you can tell your friends you’ll have a goodbye dinner with them or fuck, even breakfast with them tomorrow, and then we’re getting on the jet tomorrow afternoon. Understood?”

I feel her angry sigh against my palm. Her breath is hot against my skin. My mind can’t help but wonder what her breath would feel up against far more intimate parts of me. My cock stirs in my suit pants at the idea. I remove my palm from her lips. “And for the record, you could wear a paper bag and impress anyone.”

Margo places her small hands on my chest and pushes against me with an angry groan. I smile, letting her push me a few feet away from her even though I was having fun unnerving her a little with my close proximity. She may think she’s playing it cool, but I could feel the warmth from the rush of blood in her cheeks. I felt every sharp intake of breath against my palm and could see the curious desire in her eyes.

Shocking me, instead of arguing, Margo turns around and begins to rifle through her closet once again. Bored of just sitting on her bed and looking at work emails, I walk around her small room, itching to find out more about her just by what’s in here.

I’m busy looking at a bunch of polaroid pictures she has taped to a floor length mirror when she speaks up from behind me. “Just for the record”—she mocks the tone I just used—“I’m going to spend so much of your money on new clothes.”

“Wouldn’t expect anything else.” I smile, reaching to grab a picture of Margo with a huge slice of pizza next to her face. The giant thin slice with large, round pepperonis is instantly recognizable as a New York style pizza. The sweatshirt she wears with large NYU letters on the front also clues me in to the fact that this must be from her college days. I pull it away from the mirror, and there’s a ripping sound as the tape comes off the glass.

Holding the picture in front of me, I let my eyes roam over her face. She looks so happy, completely carefree. Her hair seems to be a few inches shorter than it is now. It must be from her early college days. It’d been about the same length it is now when I’d first met her in The Hamptons. She stares right at the camera, her mouth slightly open like she was laughing at whatever the person behind the camera was saying.

Various sounds come from behind me as Margo continues to pack while I look around her room. I neatly stick the picture back to the mirror, moving on to look at the next thing. My feet come to a stop in front of what must be her art space. It’s tiny. A small wooden chair sits in front of a desk barely large enough to fit a sketchbook and a holder of drawing utensils.

I slide my finger underneath the cover of her sketchbook, itching to know what she’s spent countless hours drawing on the pages within. I’ve got it raised a few inches, the beginnings of a sketched hand appearing when it snaps shut.

“Those aren’t for you to look at.” Her voice is quiet, her breath quick with what might be nerves.

“Why not?” I push, my voice low. My mind flashes with a memory. To a hot summer night when the moon was high in the sky and questionable decisions were made. “I seem to vividly remember a time where you let me look at every single page of your sketchbook. At what you’d drawn. Who you’d drawn…”

The air around us becomes electrified. Her pouty lips open as she stares at me in shock. Neither one of us had ever acknowledged that summer night—until now. “That was different.”

Her gaze travels from mine to where her fingers splay across the cover of her sketchbook. I pull mine from beneath the cover and first page. My fingertip slides across the cover until it meets her finger. Lifting my hand, I put my hand over hers. The size of our hands is a stark difference. Mine dwarfs hers. I link my fingers through the empty space between hers, letting mine hook around until they rest against her palm. I lift our joined hands, removing them from the cover.

“I don’t see how,” I utter, still keeping her hand in mine as I place them on the edge of the desk. “If anything, I feel like now I’m even more entitled to know what you’ve been drawing. Tell me, is it still me you draw in there, Violet?”

She snatches her hand from mine, the moment gone between us. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she snaps, stealing the sketchbook from the desk and stuffing deep into her suitcase.

Lies lies lies. She knows exactly what I’m talking about.

My lip twitches. “If you say so.”

One of these days we’re going to talk about what happened that night. But I’ll let her warm up to me more. I’m not typically a patient man, but for her, I can be. It’ll be well worth the wait once we finally acknowledge it.


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