CHAPTER 10 | first class desire

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Sydney frowned and considered her options.  She knew she would regret whatever choice she made.  It was inevitable.  She didn't know why she put herself through so much stress about it.  It wasn't as though anyone would know that she selected one over the other.  They weren't about to look pityingly on her and say, "That choice was very brave of you.  I don't think I would have been able to do it."

Pursing her lips, she furrowed her brow and continued staring at the objects of her frustration.  It was almost as if she were hoping the answer would leap out at her, taking the selection out of her hands.

She let out a defeated sigh, closed her eyes, and arbitrarily reached out towards the table till her hand came into contact with a solid object.  Opening her eyes, she glanced down at the small item in her hand.

The decision now made she smiled and relaxed.  Sydney placed the losing OPI nail polish back in her beauty bag and set about applying the winning colour to her toenails. 

She grimaced as the familiar strong odour assailed her nostrils as soon as she opened the bottle. Gotta love the smell of ethyl acetate and toluene.

After applying two coats, she sat back and admired her handiwork.

"Yep, knew I should have gone with First Class Desire," Sydney mumbled to herself.  The fact there was only a microscopic difference between her first and second choices didn't enter her mind.

Now that task was done, Sydney picked up her stack of paper and red pen.  The effortless flow that had let her soar through her story, which appeared to almost demand she tell it, had just thrown itself straight into quicksand.  The more she struggled to regain her original momentum, the greater the resistance of the words.  They were playing some sick game of find me if you can with her mind.  It was no use.  She was stuck.  Not able to budge an inch towards progressing her characters journey.

In light of this, she had decided a break from the pure creative and instead, focus on editing the chapters that had been written.  This too proved challenging.  Her mind was otherwise occupied.  It had been since the previous day.

"It's all his fault," she grumbled to a Prairie Warbler that had the misfortune of landing on the porch railing.  "I was fine until he turned up being all nice and amenable."

A hostile and aggressive Ethan MacMasters, she could handle.  She knew what to expect and how to deal with him.  An Ethan MacMasters without a snide or hurtful comment was unsettling.  One that was actively being charming and attentive was dangerous to say the least.

She had spent the entire time at the Café waiting for the bubble to burst.  Who the hell was that man impersonating her nemesis?  And what had he done with the other version of him?

Even Stephen had been sucked into his charm and charisma - once he had managed to escape Pauline's fawning.  She had been horrified when Stephen had crossed over to the dark side and made plans for a game of Racketball with Ethan.  How could he? Couldn't he see there was something very strange going on?  How was she the only one seeing this?

"What is the matter with you?" she chastised herself.  "Just ignore him."

That was easier said than done.

Much to her dismay, she had found herself weakening with each disarming smile.  In the end, she had managed to strengthen her resolve to keep him at arm's length.  Focusing on his icy disdain from the night of the Gala.

She again addressed the brightly coloured bird who had returned, hoping to find food.  "I don't trust his sudden change.  It doesn't matter how nice and charming he was yesterday."

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