"So," Kaida concluded with a smile, "That damn old man has been going through my lingerie..."
Neal grabbed his housecoat, and went for the door. He was worried, not sure of she was being skeptic or sarcastic.
Neal chatted with the building inspector amiably while Kaida tidied and got dressed. She'd always admired that ability about him to so easily insert himself into the social flow of whatever came his way. She was a different sort, calculating and controlled.
Of course, everything she had accomplished with her life she'd accomplished through sheer will and determination. She envied Neal his chameleon-like social-skills. It was why they' made such a fantastic couple. They complemented each other. But the sad truth was that he still wasn't enough.
Kaida dressed hastily. She opted for a fairly conservative blue mini-dress that showed off her legs. She didn't wear hose. She had no business meetings lined up for the day, and the cool air of the waterfront would feel nice. she slipped on a pair of white sandals and a pale robins-egg blue jacket. She flipped hair back and stood, transfixed, for a moment.
The face in the mirror hadn't been her own. Where she'd stood, a taller, slightly heavy-set brunette woman stood, dressed in a black peignoir and heels and nothing else. The woman gazed back at her with surprise and... something else, a hunger. there was a hollowness about the woman, a ravenous need within her, that resonated all too well within Kaida. The woman's steel-blue eyes burned into Kaida's with a yearning and a promise.
Kaida gasped, and found herself clenching the back of the vanity chair.
"Kai?" Neal poked his head in. "Everything okay?"
Kaida nodded. Neal's theatrics and the utter lack of sleep in the past few days was driving her over the edge.
"It's the guy from the leasing company. Here to inspect the electrical system." Neal said. Kaida nodded mutely and stood up. She followed Neal out into the hallway.
"I should probably jaunt soon." Neal said, pushing beyond Kaida to gather the rest of his clothing. "I've got a meeting with One-Below about a possible gallery show. If I'm lucky, I'll buy you dinner tonight." he smiled. Kaida could feel her heart sinking already. One night of adequate sex did not make up for over a year of comparative neglect.
In the kitchen, the electrician had one of their outlets disassembled. He'd upgraded their groundings. His back had been turned to them when she entered. Kaida stood for a moment, admiring the view of his lean torso emerging smoothly from the back of his jeans. He wore enormous work-boots and Kaida already felt herself grow slightly faint. She could only see the back of his head, blond hair shaved so close she could see his scalp.
He stood and dusted his hands. "Yup." he said, turning around, "You're still going with knob-and-tube. I'm thinking..." her eyes caught his, and his face was at once familiar and alluring. "we're going to want to--"
hammer me silly until we get a noise complaint? Kaida thought devilishly.
"--rewire it all to code." the electrician finished. Kaida felt herself blush furiously.
Neal came back, half dressed tucking his shirt tails into his jeans with a carefree attitude. "She'll show you where the old junction-box is. In the closet by the en-suite bathroom."
The electrician nodded. "Okay."
And Neal was out the door.