"Giles? What are you doing? Where are you going? Giles?"
He threw the canvas, watched it sail across the gallery floor. Then he ran, hitting the door so hard it shattered, glass going everywhere.
He didn't even look back at his sister and manager, Marisa's screeching filling the air. "Giles!"
No. No more. Not right now.
None of the canvases looked right. None of the pieces hung right. The light was wrong. The mood was wrong. He couldn't do this anymore.
He turned the corner and running harder, sandaled feet slapping the pavement. If he ran hard enough, fast enough, he would silence the thoughts screaming in his head.
Giles turned another corner and careened right into what felt like a wall. Only it moved, turned, and six and a half feet of muscle stared down at him, hands grabbing his arms to steady him.
"Sorry. Sorry." Big. Whoa.
"Are you all right?" Mr. Big had a great voice. It kind of lodged right in his balls.
"Yeah." He shook his head. "You?"
"I'm fine. It takes more than a slender man like you to knock the wind out of me." One big hand cupped his head, fingers stroking on his scalp.
He blinked up, the touch surprising, stunning, completely inappropriate. "I. I. Thank you? I mean, I'm sorry. I mean..." He was very confused.
Mr. Big jerked his head toward the right. "There's a pub there. Why don't you come in with me? Have a seat for a few minutes."
"With you? But..." He shook his head to clear it. "Didn't your mother tell you not to talk to strangers?"
A low chuckled filled his senses. "After sitting together for a while, we won't be strangers anymore. I'm just worried. You seem... confused."
"No. No, just--" He heard his name, his sister's voice. "A beer would be good." ENDEXCERPT