The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
This was clearly the wrong thing to say. Jean-Felix looked stunned. “What do you mean, a while? How long?”
“I don’t know. A while.”
“And you’ve been acting for me? Is that it? Christ, Alicia. Don’t end it like this. Don’t discard me like this.”
“I’m not discarding you. Don’t be so dramatic. We’ll always be friends.”
“Let’s just slow down here. You know why I came over? To ask you to the theater on Friday.” He pulled two tickets from inside his jacket and showed them to me—they were for a tragedy by Euripides, at the National. “I’d like you to come with me. It’s a more civilized way to say goodbye, don’t you think? For old times’ sake. Don’t say no.”
I hesitated. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I didn’t want to upset him further. I think I would have agreed to anything—just to get him out of there. So I said yes.
When Gabriel got home, I talked to him about what happened with Jean-Felix. He said he never understood our friendship anyway. He said Jean-Felix is creepy and doesn’t like the way he looks at me.
“And how is that?”
“Like he owns you or something. I think you should leave the gallery now—before the show.”
“I can’t do that—it’s too late. I don’t want him to hate me. You don’t how vindictive he can be.”
“It sounds like you’re afraid of him.”
“I’m not. It’s just easier this way—to pull away gradually.”
“The sooner the better. He’s in love with you. You know that, don’t you?”
I didn’t argue—but Gabriel is wrong. Jean-Felix isn’t in love with me. He’s more attached to my paintings than he is to me. Which is another reason to get away from him. Jean-Felix doesn’t care about me at all. Gabriel was right about one thing, though.
I am afraid of him.
I FOUND DIOMEDES IN HIS OFFICE. He was sitting on a stool, in front of his harp. It had a large and ornate wooden frame, with a shower of golden strings.
“That’s a beautiful object,” I said.
Diomedes nodded. “And very difficult to play.” He demonstrated, sweeping his fingers lovingly along the strings. A cascading scale resounded through the room. “Would you like to try?”
I smiled—and shook my head.
He laughed. “I keep asking, you see, in the hope you will change your mind. I’m nothing if not persistent.”
“I’m not very musical. I was told so in no uncertain terms by my music teacher at school.”
“Like therapy, music is about a relationship, entirely dependent on the teacher you choose.”
“No doubt that’s true.”
He glanced out the window and nodded at the darkening sky. “Those clouds, they have snow in them.”
“It looks like rain clouds to me.”
“No, it’s snow. Trust me, I come from a long line of Greek shepherds. It will be snowing tonight.”
Diomedes gave the clouds a last hopeful look, then turned back to me. “What can I do for you, Theo?”