Music of Souls (Chapter 8, page 2 of 3)


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Chapter 8

"Apology accepted. I'm sure you don't have to deal with rejection very often."

"Apparently only when it really matters to me."

Elisabeth blushed and loosened her grip on the sketchpad. "Sidwell."

"Excuse me?"

"My name is Elisabeth Sidwell."

"Happy to make your acquaintance, Miss Sidwell." She turned her head with a questioning expression. He sounded noble, not at all sleazy like the other night. Jackson wondered what was different about her as well. She seemed much less guarded than when they met. She had lost that edginess and appeared even more beautiful than he remembered. After a moment of awkward silence he said, "I'm sure you know what your name means."

"Yes I do."

"And are you?"

She lowered her gaze and blushed even deeper. "Oh no, not at all." Elisabeth means 'God's promise'.

"Maybe you're not the best judge of that. I'm sure at least two people think you areā€¦ your mother and father."

"Yeah, there are two."

"I bet there are a lot more than that."

"Doubtful."

Another awkward silence.

Jackson closed his eyes tightly in an attempt to summon courage. "If I promise not to act like a misogynist pig, would you have dinner with me?"

"I'm not in the market for a relationship. Especially with a womanizer."

He clutched his chest. "Ouch!"

She laughed that laugh again.

"You have the most wonderful laugh I have ever heard."

Her lids dropped. "Things would not work out with us for many reasons, so I think we should quit while we're ahead."

Panic set in, and he wanted to beg right there, but knew he needed to get a grip to have any chance with her. He forced an easy smile. "Come on, one dinner, no expectations." She had put her sketchbook down on the bench. Jackson grabbed it and said, "We'll talk about your art."

"Give me that!" Her voice assumed a tone of urgency.

Jackson jumped away as she reached for it. He needed to see this now. Why did she freak out? So what if it wasn't any good. He didn't care; he just wanted to know all he could about her. As she kept trying to grab the pad, he avoided her reach and flipped through it. There were a few landscapes that were quite good, then he opened the page to a perfect likeness of himself. He stared at it incredulously for a moment before turning to her. She kept her head low, avoiding his shocked eyes. "You did feel it." She remained silent. He bent down in front of her and held her shoulders. "Look at me. Elisabeth, please." She slowly raised her head and met his gaze. "Tell me, do you feel that?"

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