A punch of color, Tanya thought staring at her pale reflection, that’s what I desperately need. She picked up her mother’s scarf, and fingered the fuschia silk between her fingers, releasing the scent of Joy perfume, it’s aroma swirling around her head like a ghostly presence. She inhaled deeply, hoping to channel her mother’s energy and strength.
For life had begun to unravel for Tanya, her relationship with Tony coming undone at the seams and disintegrating before her eyes. She could feel the growing distance between them, but she had no idea how to bridge the gap.
Perhaps a vacation, she thought, a long trip just the two of us, walking along the beach and sipping champage. Or something more adverturous – an Alaskan cruise or even a safari.
Who was she kidding? She draped the scarf around her neck, letting it hang loosely down the front of her black t-shirt. She had none of her mother’s adventurous spirit, none of the signature style had that made Jocylen Ventura so widely admired. Why, she couldn’t even wear a scarf the right way.
She pulled the soft fabric from her neck and tossed it carelessly onto the bed.
“What’s up, doll?” she heard her stepfather’s laconic voice from the doorway behind her.
Startled, Tanya turned, her eyes taking in Tony’s olive colored skin, his warm dark eyes, his tall, lean frame dressed in charcoal gray slacks and form fitting sweater. Color rushed to her cheeks, and she looked quickly away.
“Nothing,” she mumbled, plucking the scarf up from the bed and twisting it nervously around her fingers.
Tony stepped closer to her and lifted one end of the silk scarf to his face, burying his nose in its scented folds. “God,” he murmured, “this smells just like her, doesn’t it?”
Tanya’s eyes focused intently on him, pure fury burning through the irises directly onto Tony’s bent head. How could he be so oblivious? she wondered. Hadn’t he realized her mother didn’t really love him? She simply used him for “arm candy,” a ridiculous expression but particularly appropriate for the situation. He deserved so much better, Tanya thought, suddenly overcome with a desire to cup his cheek in the palm of her hand.
At that moment, Tony looked up, his eyes meeting her own, so full of pleading and expectation. She could feel him recoil slightly, even as he took a step back, placing a good distance between himself and her body.
“May I keep this?” he asked, deftly pulling the silk scarf away from her grasp. “It reminds me so much of Jocelyn…”
Tanya shrugged. “It’s yours,” she replied, pulling back into her shell and closing the dresser drawer behind her. “Enjoy it.”
She shrugged past him, careful not to let any part of her body touch him as she walked out of the room.
Hopeless, she thought, the image of Tony’s face buried in his dead wife’s favorite silk scarf, inhaling her scent as if it were a magical elixir.
Too bad he doesn’t know, she thought to herself, remembering the way she had wound the length of silky fabric around her mother’s slender neck.
Too bad for him.