His fingers remained on her pulse for brief seconds. By now her blue eyes were fixed on his face and she stared at him, this man she had never seen before, as raptly as if her life depended on him – which, at that moment, perhaps it did. “Keep talking to me Pamela Jane, tell me what you do.”
“I run a consignment store,” she grunted.
“Oh yeah? Clothing?” His fingers moved up to her temple. Blood was streaming from what looked like a small cut right there at the side of her head.
“Yes. Good clothing, shoes, handbags, dresses. Our stuff,”she giggled, “has to have a pedigree before it comes to us.”
“Uh huh, I’ll bet it does.” With a small, delicate motion, almost like the graze of butterfly wings, he caressed her face – all around the wound – with the fingers of one hand. The other hand he placed over her clavicle. The bleeding stopped. Not gradually, but abruptly as if a faucet had been turned off. “No need to call 911,” Victor said to the room at large.
“Maybe she needs stitches,” someone suggested.
“No stitches, she’s gonna be fine.” And indeed, as we watched, the cut seemed to shrink, close up.
“Wow,” someone else said. “How’d you do that?”
“Dunno. It’s what I do,” Victor said as his fingers continued to caress Pamela Jane’s face. Meanwhile Pamela Jane was talking up a storm, telling Victor all about how she sold clothes, which she really loved, but how she really wanted to be a writer. “And you know what?” she said, interrupting her own gush of words. “I think I’ve fallen in love with you.”
“Well, you’ve certainly fallen,” Victor said with a laugh. “Now let’s see if you can get up.”
Her dress was ruined, stained with blood, and so was Victor’s jacket. No matter. The two of them were now happily bonded, like survivors of a disaster, strangers who’d escaped a burning building or the rising waters of a flood together. They stayed at the party for a little while, holding hands, talking to the many people who kept approaching with questions and exclamations of how amazed they were by what had just happened. Visually it was pretty bizarre. Pamela Jane’s face had been cleaned up, but her blond hair was matted with blood, and the fact that they were both in white, blood-stained clothes as they stood there, holding court, added to the oddity of the situation. After about forty-five minutes he took her home.
The rumor was that they became an item. But Victor’s involvements with women never lasted long. Pamela Jane came to me with raspy-voiced complaints and tears. “I thought he was into me, that he really liked me. We were going to go to Tulum for a week. We had plans.”
By then I knew the story of Rachel Glazny, the beautiful girl I’d seen weeping in Victor’s arms in the parking lot a few months before. He was not a man to fall in love with.
To be continued…
Cover Photo ~ (257/365) Bloody heart, Sarah, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/