By the time they got back to Amazon House, the unfriendly words had been forgiven, but Diana's rematerialized past was still hovering in the air between them, making intimacy impossible. Adrian threw his jacket in the corner and laid down on the bed, hands behind his head. "So, do I get to hear the demo tape now too?" He wasn't sure if he would be able to concentrate, but at least it would be something to do, something relatively safe.

"Sure," Diana said, relieved at the suggestion. She switched on her stereo and put a tape in the tape deck. Soon her own voice filled the room. She went over to where Adrian was lying on the mattress on the floor and sat down next to him. They listened to the song in silence.

"Nice," Adrian commented.

"I wrote it for Mercy."

"Mercy doesn't seem very fragile to me." Adrian stared at the ceiling. "Have you got a name for your band yet?" he asked.

"Slight of Hand."

"I could use a little of that right now."

"`Slight' without the `e'," Diana explained.

"Clever. But then I should have known. You always are."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Anything you want." They were silent for a moment, uncomfortably so.

"So what do you think of the band?" Diana finally asked.

"The bass and the guitar are good, but that drummer is the pits," Adrian observed.

"I thought you'd say that. But do you realize how fucking hard it is to find a female drummer in this city?"

"Are you willing to give up your musical integrity for a principle?"

"You're about to give me up for a principle, aren't you?"

"I haven't decided yet. And it's not for a principle."

"Don't leave me now, Adrian. I haven't thrown you out yet." Diana's facial expression barely reflected her attempt at humor.

"Nothing gets you down, does it?"

"You should know me better than that."

"Okay, I should, I admit it. But I'm not doing so hot." Adrian's gaze did not leave the ceiling, as if he could find the answer to Life, Love and Everything in the pattern of the stucco. "I knew about Geoff all along, but I've never had to face up to the situation. Today I did. And now it's staring me in the face with his charming green eyes."

"So we ran into Geoff today. So what?"

"So, I saw how you reacted to him."

"And how was that?"

"Like you've never reacted to me."

"Are you jealous or something?"

"Sure I'm jealous. I wish I wasn't, but I am. If I worked on it I might be able to accept it, but now I can't."

"Accept what?"

Adrian finally looked at her and shook his head. "Don't you see? I guess I'm afraid of losing you. Or maybe I'm just being confronted with the fact that I don't have you."

"`Have,' `lose,'" Diana repeated angrily. "What a lot of possessive bullshit!"

"I wouldn't know what other words to use. I don't want to be possessive, but I feel threatened."

"Why should you feel threatened?"

Adrian smiled briefly and returned his attention to the ceiling. "Because you're still mightily involved with that man."

"I'm not involved with him, though."

"Oh, yes you are. You have been all the time we've been together. Your imagination is completely caught up with him. You've never written me a song, have you?"

"No." When directly confronted, Diana was all but incapable of lying, even to keep the peace. Or a good lover.

"Are you in love with me?"


"See, the first major disagreement. I fear I'm in love with you." Diana looked at him in shock. She'd thought that might be the case, but he had never actually said it. "Are you in love with Geoff?" Adrian asked.

"I don't know."

"That's more than you're willing to grant me. Can you still claim you're not involved with him?"

Diana's gaze drifted to the Franz Marc art print above her bed. The cool blue shades soothed her. "I guess not."

"I don't want to be unreasonable, but I can't handle that. I really had the feeling you could have been 'the one'."

"Past tense?"

"Past tense."

Everything was going much too fast for Diana. Maybe she'd overreacted when she saw Geoff, but why should Adrian drop her just because of a little thing like that? Besides, men didn't drop her, she dropped them, with the exception of Geoff, that is. Adrian had no business dropping her. He was her ego maintenance crew. "But what if I find out I don't love Geoff anymore?" Diana asked with unusual timidity.

Adrian sat up abruptly. "And I'm supposed to wait here until you do, is that it? I don't like competition in matters of the heart."

"Most men do."

"Well, I'm not most men."

"I know."

Adrian looked at her sharply. "Do I detect a compliment?"


"Look, Diana." Adrian never called her Diana. "I can't deal with this up and down business anymore. I'm tired of it. I'm not sticking around for more."

Diana looked contrite. "Then how about sticking around for some cookies?"