Chapter Sixteen

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Not auburn, strawberry blonde, or even the brightest of redheads, it was tangerine orange! I turned my head slightly, reaching around to draw the full length over my shoulder. The colour gradually faded into white before ending with pure black tips. Extreme dip dying or what? How on earth was I going to explain this one?

I tiptoed back into the bedroom, pulled on my jeans, an assortment of tops to layer up, and added some thick, warm socks, before adeptly pinning my hair into a tight bun, making sure that all the black-and-white ends were tucked safely underneath. A light sprinkling of make-up and I was done.

I walked over to the window and pulled the curtain to one side to see what the day had in store for us.

Outside, the sun was beginning to rise. A light sprinkling of snow dusted the rooftops and pavements like icing sugar on a cake, but the trees were still and the sky free of clouds. A pink glow on the horizon blended subtly through muted shades of yellow and green to the expected blue of the day, and tiny bird silhouettes flitted between the chimneys and nearby electricity pylons.

Letting the curtain fall from my hands, I turned to face Sebastian. He was lying on his side, studying me intently, with a loving smile on his face.

“I didn’t realise you were awake yet,” I said.

“Only for a few minutes.”

I mouthed a silent Oh and joined him on the edge of the bed, unconsciously fingering a stray bit of fringe that had already escaped its constraints.

He reached up to stroke the side of my head. “A rather daring choice for someone who doesn’t crave attention but it certainly makes a statement. Is this the new you?”

“Apparently. Although not through choice.”

“Hmm. Tokala’s work I presume?”

“Unless there’s a psychotic hairdresser who likes to inflict crazy colours on people as they sleep…then yes.”

“Well, I like it. It’s kind of Bohemian, and with you being an art student, I don’t think anybody will question it.”

Apart from one person, maybe, and she was sleeping in the next room. We’d have to leave before she woke up.

“Do you have plans for today?” I asked.

“Not until tonight. Father’s hosting a media event at La Gratia in Carleigh. I thought you might like to go, and I’m sure he’d love to meet you.”

I’d heard of La Gratia. It was a modern art gallery, built in the swanky part of town about two years ago. A piece of art in itself, the gallery was shaped like a giant slice of melon, with full glass walls and a funky, modern water sculpture adorning the entrance. Mr Arkwright had mentioned it in our contemporary art class, and I’d been dying to visit there ever since.

“I’d love to.”

“Excellent. So how do you want to pass the time until then?” he asked cheekily.

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