At first, it's not at all horrible. It's like a blanket--a safety blanket. There just to wrap around you when you feel lonely, or cold, or like covering yourself away from prying eyes and your jacka** of a father. Or, I don't know, maybe you had a loving father. I didn't. I'm sure he cared about me in the way one cares about his favourite award or trophy--it's just there to bolster you with confidence and success. I made him look like a good man; a stable man. Others see a married marine with a child and they think of stability. Trust. A damn fine hero. The type of guy who waltzes into your home, steals your wife, fu*** her on your mattress, and you don't give good godd*** and actually feel proud to share a cigar with him afterwards, but the great thing about him is that he would never betray your trust like that, anyway.
Forgive me if I'm bitter. I've been drinking tonight. It's been awhile since I've tasted the burn of alcohol down my throat.
Obsession, at first, is like that blanket. There to protect you from your worries. If things get tough, you just pull up the reserves. Bring in the benchwarmers. Focus on whatever you'd rather think of than the ice water surrounding you; numbing you; so cold it's like fire. That's what gets you through the chattering teeth and water being steadily filled with more ice. If I didn't have something to focus on, then I'd go insane with the thought of how da** cold that water was; how da** solid that ice stayed, only smoothing around the edges instead of melting like I'd prayed for it to do. God never listened, because he's not real. People say my lack of belief comes from my fear of being punished. Comes from me not wanting there to be some almighty being casting men down for his own twisted fancy. Didn't like the fact not everything went my way. That my disbelief is fuelled only by my hatred.
Maybe they're right.
I swirl the amber liquid of my drink around the three blocks of ice, clinking against the crystal.
My first obsession was the Bible. Good piece of fiction, that. A few plot-holes. Canon discrepancies. Whatever.
My father was a God fearing man. Or hell, maybe my beliefs are hereditary. Maybe the fu**er didn't believe one ounce of his word. Mom did. Wasn't too happy to find out what a crock it was from her daughter's mouth. At any rate, Father made me go to church every Sunday and like any good like ankle-biter I gobbled up the beautiful, fancy fairy tales of a happily ever after. Gave up my heart to Christ, drank his blood, ate his flesh, and snickered and pretended like I was thinking blasphemous thoughts of Easter basically being Zombie Jesus Day. And on the days I became too much of a burden, a rotten little brat, or whatever, I got sent to the tub, or outside, and instead of focusing on how damn cold I was, I focused on Job. Abraham. Paul. Peter. Noah. Repeated verses in my head, recited Psalms under my breath, prayed and prayed and prayed.
Just a d*** blanket. Doesn't do a d*** thing but keep you warm on a cold night. Protects you from imaginary monsters in the closet.
Maybe I'm just praying wrong, I'd think. Certainly couldn't have anything to do with Mommy and Daddy being right, oh no. Something was wrong with me, not the bullsh** Sky Bully. Obsession saved me from the thoughts of the tub, but it also gave me a lot of time to think over what I'd learned in school.
I don't know when I realized he wasn't real. At a pretty young age, I imagine.
Thought maybe it wasn't the right religion. Obsessed over theology. Got me through the nights outside, under the trees, in the snow, in imaginary forts, or sitting in the cold, almost-frosted mud, rain smattering me with a thousand reasons why none of it really mattered. Mormonism, Judaism, Hinduism . . . All a bunch of hastily scrawled words scribbled hundreds of years ago yet somehow given more credibility than what Stephanie Meyer of Stephen King write. Somehow people find it easier to believe that one man can split a sea in half than that vampires might exist. Somehow, it's accurate and acceptable to think some invisible figure nobody has ever seen actually gives two ***** about what we do, but Zeus and Hades--no, they can't possibly be real. That just doesn't make sense.
Obsession saved me. Stopped me from keeling over and just letting myself die. Kept me from thinking that my father must hate me; that I must have done something wrong. The my existence was so da** offensive in his eyes that he had to make a Bravehearted hero christian outta some scared little girl who barely ever believed in the first place!
People think that obsessive men or women like it. Like it's some sort of game. And hell, maybe that's how it starts. It did for me. Keep my mind off of what I didn't like. I'd looked up riddles in books; find puzzles to sneak into the night; read a book or poem that was years beyond my understanding and spend hours turning everything over and over in my head. Had to figure it out before sunrise. Best way to keep my mind going on something other than the sharp wind on my face; the biting freeze on my thigh; my father's belt, fast and quick, against my bare ***. I loved my obsessions. Loved those puzzles like most love humans. Loved those riddles and books like most would love a child. And when my father made me squat against the walls for hours at a time, my legs burning with overexertion and ankles weakening beneath me, I asked myself what Hamlet really meant. What was the purpose behind Romeo's monologue? This is what kept me going on the nights I lied in bed without dinner for the third night, stomach grumbling.
This is how I kept from breaking down and telling my mother.
I might be an ***, but she didn't and doesn't need to know. Would do no good now; wouldn't have done a damn thing then.
The problem came when I moved my focus from abstract, inanimate things and moved onto people. Seems like people don't much like you studying their every move.
Time for more scotch. Aydriens's not going to be happy. Right. If he even comes home. Won't blame him if he doesn't. Everyone has a limit. Love is conditional; thought maybe for once I could be wrong, but I really doubt it. I never am. Not even when I want to be.
I was fourteen when I met him. Odd boy who sat in the back of our classes on base. Sometimes I try to remember how it was we became friends; how did we meet? Why did we speak? Sometimes I swear we met outside flying kites, but other times I think that happened after we spent all night outside, whispering back and forth while I hoped my father didn't see him in the shadows, keeping me company. The memories bleed together and sometimes I wonder if half of them are just memories I invented. I guess how we met doesn't matter. Nothing, in the end, does.
It wasn't too long before I replaced logic puzzles and mystery novels with him. Instead of focusing on pentameter and rhyme in the tub, I'd think of what his voice sounded like; how his laugh ebbed and flowed with my jokes; the way his hand felt on my shoulder and his eyes sparkled when the sun hit them just right. I'd dissect every sentence, every tone inflection, every smile and breath and touch. I'd be at dinner with my family and instead think of how his clothes fell over his short fr
Every other word out of my mouth was his name. Nothing else mattered but him and what we did together. The thought of his face kept me from shrieking and crying when Dad threw me in the tub for touching myself. He didn't have to know who I was thinking of--it was all a sin, anyway.
It was a beautiful, wonderful feeling--having the memory of him wrapped around me, cocooning. Kept me safe from harm. Hours and hours of analyzing, too.
As it turns out, people don't like being obsessed over. Maybe I would've known that, had I ever had a chance to have friends before him.
Turned out, he didn't like me following him all the time. Turning up at his house in the middle of the night. Demanding he tell me every reason for every little thing he did. He didn't like me talking incessantly in bed when we tried to sleep, or me curling up as close to him as possible.
Suddenly, he was being mean. Didn't like me talking to him. Started insulting me, like everyone else, and instead of focusing on how he ran his hand through his hair, I focused on the way he pushed me to the ground; shoved me into the dirt; spat on me.
Obsession is wonderful when it protects you. Keeps you from getting lost into the pain of reality. It's not so great when all it does is cause you pain and when you know you should just let go and give up, you keep going back for more. Stay on the ground as he kicks you and he and his little replacement friends circle you and kick dirt on your face. When all you want to know is why, why, why things went wrong and nobody will ******* tell you. It's not so pleasant when you love without expectation; love someone so damn much it doesn't matter, because all you care about is him, and at least he's talking to you when he insults you; touching you when he shoves you.
It's a great thing when it keeps your mind off of the familiar noise of boots against wood, closer to your room with each step; it stops you from giving too much away when you tell your mother everything was just fine, that you just fell at school and you and Dad get along great when she isn't around.
But like those nights when nightmares fill your head and you toss and turn in bed with your safety blanket curled around your face like a python, that obsession shifts from comfort to hell just as easily as one slips on ice and breaks his nose against the rough, icy ground beneath him. Every little thought revolves around him. You can't not think about it. It seeps into your veins like some sludgy drug and invades your head and heart. You toss and turn at night because your mind literally cannot shut off. Thoughts just whirl at warp speed, getting louder and more intense; his eyes won't leave the darkness of your room. You hold yourself and spill buckets of salt and muffled cries of either pain or pleasure--hard to tell which--and tears brim your lids and it doesn't help you sleep; you rub yourself at thoughts of him caressing you and saying your name until it just won't take anymore, and still his images dances and croons and taunts and laughs before you, and the thoughts never go away. And even when it isn't him you think of, you find some new obsession. Or at least, I always did.
I guess I thought I'd eventually burn out with thoughts of him. Like a movie that gets boring after the fortieth time you watch it. But no. Each thought, twisted and turned and examined at every possible angle, and still, there's more to think of. The way he smiles, the way he laughs, the way those insults would taste on my tongue as he shoves me to the ground; rides me; loves me. It never happens, but the idea that it might, one day, keeps you going.
The only way to get him out is to shove him aside and replace him with something else.
Obsession never goes away. It just sets up in a new location. So I stopped thinking about him and focused on my schoolwork. On new people. On my piano and my ice baths and whatever book I could jerk to my chest when his eyes flashed in front of me. I obsessed over not obsessing over him. I found a new boy to follow; a boy who wasn't like the others. A boy who clung to me almost as much as I clung to him. I found diseases; I found animals; I found whatever I could to think about until the seeping, crawling sensation of him left me entirely.
The obsession didn't. It never really does.
It moves from music to diseases to patients to books to movies to people . . . And it's always the people that never turn out well. Music doesn't get bored of you. Obsessing over saving someone gets you a pat on the back. Understanding diseases and puzzles makes you intelligent. That doesn't make you insane. It doesn't make people look at you twice and scrunch up their faces in disgust. It doesn't shove people away or suffocate them. You might be an *******--a distant, career-loving ******* with no social understanding of how people interact, but damn it, at least you're not stalking people; scaring them with your obsessive nature. Ruining their lives to keep them in yours; gripping them tightly and never letting them go.
My mind doesn't shut up. It keeps me awake hours after tiredness sets in; never-ending thoughts and obsessions, running around in my head.
Scents, touches, poisons, blood, sex, Aydrien, hospitals, cancer, Aydrien, Sam, Aydrien, Aydrien, me, music, Aydrien. . . Mostly Aydrien.
He wasn't always here, you know. There was a time I didn't obsess over how he smelled. His shampoo. His mouth. His eyes. The way he touches my shoulder sometimes but I don't think he realizes he's doing it. The way he stares at me while I play my organ.
I should've known one day he wouldn't handle me anymore.
God, he'd left before, hadn't he? Why the hell would I think he wouldn't do it again?
It's not a pretty thing, obsession. I don't condone the psychotic men and women who steal families or kill presidents to impress some utter fantasy of a person they obsess over, but I understand that feeling; the feeling of going insane; lectures being replayed over and over and over until the only way to drown out the sound of his voice is to pound onto the keys well away into the night. I know exactly how they feel sometimes... and it scares me...
I wonder if he knows I stand right behind him and sniff his hair when he stops in front of me; I wonder if he knows why I get into his space; press my knee to his. I obsess over what it means, that he doesn't push me away . . . I obsess over what it means that he never reciprocates my touches.
Love isn't fluffy and pretty and beautiful. It's gritty and rotten and painful. Obsessions. It overtakes your senses; fills your mind like a drug until you crave seeing him more every day; feeling the pain of him walking away, no closer to him than you were three years ago, despite sharing a home and bathroom and longing glances and beer.
Scotch sloshes over the glass and onto the counter. How many is this? I don't know. My head is fuzzy. His voice can be loud when he's angry. He clenches his jaw and his face gets red. Veins pulse. Spittle flies. Hands start waving around empathically and he throws things when he gets really pissed. Never at me, of course. Far too nice for that. Half the time he slams a door, lecture tapering off. He growls, he spits, he pushes into my space and his eyes get wide and dark and fiery and a thrill fills me; like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. A line of coke straight to the brain.
Can't be normal that it's the same feeling when he touches my hip; leans a little to close to whisper into my ear. I know he can't possibly feel for me what I feel for him, but I can't stop thinking about it. Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn't. All depends on how my mind decides to twist his words and actions as I stare at my Rubik's Cube or rubber band or television or listen to him ramble on, as he occasionally does, about something I couldn't care less about but somehow hang onto every word anyway.
I make games out of it. How long can I touch him before he moves away How far can I push the innuendoes before he stops replying and just changes the subject?
Music helps. Books do too. I find other things to occupy myself with because I can't not obsess over something. When it's not him, it's something else. Relieving my pain through medication or other means; chasing the elusive answer to my dying patient; scribbling in numbers in boxes and adding in my head; reciting the same poem backwards and forwards in as many different languages as I can.
People wonder why I sucked down booze and Percocet so much. Not only to relieve myself of the gnawing, non-stop pain that twists and burns throughout my head, but to get my mind to just shut up. The calm, euphoric feeling of everything slowing down; simplifying. The narcotic haze of drugs slowing the world down to a comfortable pace; hours of staring into nothing and not a damn word or person invading your mind.
Alcohol is a poor substitute. Doesn't always shut away the thoughts. Sometimes, it only amplifies them.
I wonder if Aydrien would've ever been the guy shoving me down in the dirt, insulting me for getting a little too close one night; for pressing a tiny kiss to his mouth in the kitchen. Would he have kissed back? I don't think he would've kicked mud into my face; split my lip with a sloppy punch. Maybe I should try it sometime.
Only I never will. He means too much to me.
Or he did. And now he's gone. Probably. Most likely.
I stumble towards the kitchen. My leg throbs and the floor lurches beneath me and I don't even care about where my cane is. Tunnel vision leads me to the counter where I have that bottle of scotch I bought a few hours ago, Aydrien's angry words repeating through my head like a scratched record that I for some reason couldn't change.
It's not like what happened was the worst thing I've ever done. But the smallest straw will break a camel's back, if there's enough piled underneath it. Following him around on his dates with Sam wasn't new, and neither was screening his phone calls, or obsessing over what he ate, or calling him in the middle of his date or paging him during lunch out with his insipid girlfriend, or hiding the remote, stealing toilet paper, moving the milk, messing around with the dishwasher . . . Turning up my music as loud as possible when I know they're trying to have quiet sex in the other room; knowing they're asleep at three in the morning and pounding away on my organ . . .
It's different now because before, when he was with some bimbo, we didn't live together. I didn't have to see her daily. Grit my teeth and act overly polite; try not to snap when she turned her sugary sweet tone onto me, flashed a believably kind smile in my direction, and acted as if we were all lifelong friends. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I went too far with my comments; comments that were like anvils to others, but subtle when I said them. Comments that made Aydrien give me the look but Sam just laughed away as if she were too naïve to understand.
I knew before that eventually she wouldn't be able to keep up her little game of pretending to think me adorable or whatever the hell she was trying to pretend. She snapped. I snapped. We argued. Aydrien stepped in, and then they argued, then Aydrien and I argued, then all three of us were arguing, tears and shouts and threats following.
I can't even remember what I said. It doesn't matter now, I guess. She stormed out, screaming obscenities, and Aydrien growled and lectured me, and said . . .
I choke back on the bitter taste of alcohol and it went down smoother than his words to me had.
My face is wet underneath my eyes but I don't want to say it's because of the tears. I walk over to my organ and my chest is tight from the memories of sitting at it the first time, filled with glee. Glee. Yes. I was ******* gleeful. How the keys felt underneath my fingers; the pedal beneath my foot. Now, though? Far from it.
Aydrien has the most gorgeous smile on the planet. I used to think Damion's smile (ex- husband. Deceased. I'm widowed) brightened up the room. His brightens up the world.
I finish the last of my scotch and place it overly-delicately on the floor beside the organ and press down on the keys. If I play long enough, I might forget. I might forget the screaming match. His parting words.
I play whatever song comes to my head first, and it's maudlin and reminds me too much of him, but I can't get it out of my head now. I play the notes to the chorus over and over, until the notes are a mantra and my fingers move of their own accord, and his smile flits in front of my vision and his words repeat in my head and his hands are on his hips, cheeks a faint shade of red, lips pursed tightly while he growls and accuses.
He knows who moved the milk and he knows why. It's not to help them. He knows that. He knows I want them to break up, leaving him all to me. I'm sure he's thought up many platonic theories as to why I obsess over him so much and I know he knows I obsess over him because he comments on it. I'm sure he's got his safe, perfectly platonic reason for why I clutch onto him and never release. He's not the first I've obsessed over.
Girls. Boys. Men. Women. He's not the first person I've been addicted to. He is, however, the only one who has lasted. Well. Until now. Maybe.
I'm sure he's wondered about me. He's not an idiot. Well, mostly he isn't. He's had to have wondered. Hell, maybe he knows. Maybe that's why he's always trying to push me onto Dier or Dean whatever other boy is flitting into my radar. Push that distraction into my everything. Could've worked for Dean if the idea of us getting together wasn't just a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe he just clings onto me because he has no one else. Maybe he's too nice.
Maybe he obsesses over me, too. Maybe he knows what it's like to have thoughts racing so loudly in his head he can't sleep. Categorizing every move I make; analyzing every word I say. Maybe he's spiraling deeper into this dark, depressing world of sickening addiction, tearing up his insides until nothing's left except the image of me, imprinted on his organs and mind and blood like the traces of heroin in urine. Maybe we're two screwed up, obsessive, insane almost-lovers dancing around the edges of truly loving one another.
I laugh despite my mood. Sounds like something they'd show on Lifetime.
Besides, I know it isn't true. I'm just some little boy in the dirt, blood and dirt in my mouth, focusing on the brief taste of some boy's lips on my own while he rants above me. Wilson might not be the one kicking me in the ribs, but he's certainly not down in the muck with me, licking the blood off my lips and running his hands through my hair.
I think of hiring a male prostitute just to feel someone inside me, or feel someone enveloping me, and closing my eyes and repeating his name in my head. I think of getting in my Corvette, vision swimming, and wrapping it around the trunk of a tree. I think of the song I'm supposed to be playing and how it doesn't sound like anything at all.
It sickens me. I can't even focus on my music. It's all about him. All about his hands flitting around in the air while he paces and shouts and Sam shrieking and words overlapping and impossible to decipher. I think of Sam storming out of the loft and Aydrien standing there, hands on his hips, totally silent for five whole seconds while I stare at him, and then he looks at me and says . . .
My stomach spins and I heave off of the stool and hurl my guts across the wooden floor. It's part nausea from the memory, part alcohol, part pain in my leg radiating into my stomach and the anger filling me when I think of how moronic it was for anyone to assume I could go from Percocet to Ibuprofen and things would go absolutely fine.
I landed awkwardly on my knees and I almost fall onto my side, but instead grab the glass. The ice had melted into water fully now and has lightened the liquid to a yellow color, and I stand shakily. Where's my cane? Bah, it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. Maybe I think I deserve the pain. Sometimes, even my thoughts are in Aydrien's voice.
That's something he would say. Tell me I'm hurting myself purposely. Like I feel I deserve it. Hell, I probably do.
The taste of vomit in my mouth only fuels me to go to the scotch again; burn it out, away. Burn thoughts of him away.
It won't work.
It's been so long since I've gotten drunk. He's really going to be angry if he gets home.
You know, Fayte, he'd said, hands on his hips while he stared at the floor before meeting my eyes, tears moistening his skin, sometimes . . . I ******* hate you. He didn't scream it. He just . . . said it. Then he turned around and left.
He'll come back. He has to. Maybe.
He'll come back to lecture me and make me move out so him and Sam can live in their little fantasy, maybe.
I slip on the kitchen floor and catch myself on the counter with one hand. The bottle is blurry and warping in front of me, and I think I've probably had enough but . . . He's with Sam right now. He's been gone for hours. It's past midnight now. He's not coming home tonight. Probably having either angry sex or make up sex. Or a combination of both.
I wish he would've screamed it because then I could attribute it to his anger. Pretend it didn't really matter. Like he really didn't sometimes ******* hate me. Like I have room to talk. Sometimes I hate him, too. Hate every little move he makes. Hate the way he lectures me. Hate how he's always so damn close but far away at the same time and how he never, ever lets up. He's always in my head, whether it be a fantasy or memory or my damn conscience that's actually taken on his voice. Everywhere I go he's there, even when he isn't here, and the shattering of glass tears me from my thoughts and I realize I've chucked my glass right into wall.
I rub my palms over my face. It won't end. It never will. His hair, his smell, his words . . .
The door opens and I sigh. It's late, but he's coming home, which means he probably hasn't had sex with Sam, which means he's still in a bad mood since he probably did nothing but argue with her. For hours. Maybe he stopped by the bar and had meaningless sex with a stranger.
He walks into the living room and sees me. His chin is lowered and his eyes settle on the bottle of scotch I have on the counter, small puddles and splashes surrounding it. Oh boy. Lecture time.
"Well, congratulations. She left me. Again."
"Told you so," I mutter, most of my weight balanced on the hand clutching the counter. "She'll probably just come back to you tomorrow. Like last time."
"No, House. She won't." He walks into the kitchen and yanks the bottle off of the counter, shaking his head and pursing his lips. "Because if she does, I'm done. I'm done trying, Misery Fayte." He chuckles airily but it doesn't sound very humorous. I wrinkle my nose at the use of my full name. I call him by his first name, Aydrien, in my mind, but talking to him its always Heart, his last name. He twists the cap on and goes over to the freezer, yanking it open and stuffing the bottle of scotch in there more roughly than I would've liked. I wonder if he'll notice me taking a few steps forward and sniffing his hair.
I let go of the counter and my upper body sways backwards, so I clamp down on the counter again.
"You'll never let me have anything, will you? You leave banana peels all over and--and move the milk--you think I don't know that's you? Do you honestly believe I'm that stupid?" he spins around and shuts the freezer.
"You really want me to answer that?" I ask. I'm sure it sounds less coherent to him than it does to me. I let go of the counter and go to step towards him or out of the kitchen. I put pressure on my right leg and it crumples immediately, pain shooting through my spine and hitting my head, splitting into a sudden migraine.
Naturally, he catches me. I'm not surprised. His arms are encircling my chest and he pulls me to my feet, our faces inches apart. "You can't let me have anything, can you?" he mutters.
"You got me," I tell him in what I hope is a sarcastic or snappy way and not wistful.
He sighs and I can't really tell if it's exasperated or amused or depressed or what. He moves me so my right arm is draped over his shoulder and I'm using him as a cane. "Come on. Let's get you to bed," he says.
I press my forehead against his cheek. I want to feel him. Need to check that he's really there--not just some drunken hallucination. I know he's real, but I just . . . need to touch him. Smell him. I sniff his hair and the scent of his shampoo has drifted away so now he just smells like hair but it's nice, anyway. I'm pretty sure it's obvious what I'm doing, but I'm not sure his hand gripped my waist tighter is on purpose.
Isn't it pathetic how damn happy that makes me? The fact that he's single make me grin into his shoulder as we turn into the foyer. Even though that's probably why he hates me--because I broke up yet another doomed relationship. If you ask me, I just sped things along.
I think of his parting words and the alcohol in my stomach churns; bubbles. I groan at the nausea, then pull my face away from his shoulder. I didn't realize until the pressure on my mouth disappeared that I'd been kissing his neck.
"You said you hated me," I remind as he opens my bedroom door. I lean heavily against him. He stumbles but doesn't fall, like I had half-planned. It would be fun to land on top of him. Feel him underneath me. Staring up at me.
"Everybody says things they don't mean," he insists as he sits down on the edge of my bed, taking me with him. "Go to sleep."
He go to stand but I grab his arm, my head spinning suddenly. "You meant it."
He lets out a harsh sigh and then turns to face me. His eyes are shimmer-y. He's been crying. Over me? Or her? Both? "At the time, yeah. Sometimes I do hate you." It's like he reached into my chest and tore out my heart. He puts one hand on my shoulder, grounding me. It felt like I was being shoved to the floor to be kicked and ridiculed and mocked. His hands are larger than mine; square-ish. I must've looked away because then he's grabbing my chin and making me look at him with the hand not gripping my shoulder. Our knees are touching. "Don't act like you don't hate me sometimes too, House. It doesn't . . . mean anything."
He lets go of my chin but he's still touching my shoulder and our knees are pressed together.. He's on my bed. He's so close. His smell, his skin, his eyes . . . "I hate that you're always in my head," I admit, and he furrows his thick eyebrows. The eyebrows that somehow look amazing on him but would've been ridiculous on someone else. Not that I'd ever say that. "I can't stop thinking about you. Ever. Every damn day, it's just--all about you. The way you speak, smell . . . God, you're everywhere. I can't--I can't get away from you even when you aren't here. I'm--I'm ******* obsessed with you," I spit.
He looks like I've smacked him with a fish, or like he's figured out the answer to a math problem he's been working on for the last hour. I can't decide which. His mouth is open and moves like he's about to say something, then he closes his mouth.
I kiss him. Full-on grab the collar of his stupid expensive shirt and slam my mouth to his, and I know I'm not tasting the alcohol on him but I can still taste it anyway and I squeeze my eyes shut. Don't pull away. Don't pull away.
"You'redrunk," he says, as if it's one tiny, whispered word, like some sort of bad word one utters when he's realized he's left the oven on.
He stands suddenly and I'd been using him for balance more than I thought because I almost topple off the bed. His hands are on my shoulders, steadying me. I grab at the bottom of his shirt so tightly I tug it partly from out of his pants. "Don't leave me," I demand. I do not whimper.
"I'm not going to leave you. Just--just go to sleep. You're drunk. You need . . . you need to sleep."
With that, he turns and walks out of my room quickly, shutting the door and I'm sitting on my bed, head reeling and the taste of dirt and blood in my mouth, imaginary pain in my ribs from being brutally kicked, over and over.
I wonder if that boy ever actually existed in the first place.
When I wake up, I can't breathe or move. At first I panic but then I realize I'm just caught underneath my blankets, heavy and thick and hot. It's tight around my chest, twisted around my megs, and wrapped around my face, fabric stretched across my mouth, my humid breath moistening it while it presses against my tongue. My body aches and my head throbs in time with my leg.
I push the blankets away from my body and moan when my stomach drops and rumbles. I turn off the alarm in my bedroom that I definitely didn't set. I stumble into my bathroom and glance in the mirror to see I'm gaunt and sickly looking. Bags under my eyes, lips chapped . . . I smell like dirty socks, vomit, sweat, and scotch, and I ***** myself, leaving my clothes where they fall, and get into the shower, scrubbing myself free of last night's vacation into whiny, emo angst-ridden hormonal teenaged depression.
Yeah, so I got maudlin and whiny. It's been known to happen. Sue me.
My shampoo doesn't smell any different than my soap, and unlike Aydrien I'm not a girly kinda girl so I don't have to spend more than eight minutes lathering up and scrubbing myself down, but still, when I step out of the shower, steam makes the room feel heavy and my clothes are gone, the empty toilet paper roll is replaced, and the scent of watermelon shampoo is probably imagined.
I dress and my head is still pounding, my stomach is still rumbling, and the ground isn't as steady as it should be. Probably still a little buzzed, but the bright lights and noisier-than-they-should-be noises are quickly slapping that buzz right in the face.
When I grab my cane from the wall it's been generously put against (and I'm not the one who put it there) I walk into the kitchen. Aydrien is at the oven, bacon sizzling, and the smell of breakfast hits me hard enough to make me realize how ravenous I am. There's already a plate ready for me on the table--pancakes, covered in syrup, bacon and sausage, four little pills beside the plate, a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee, still steaming and black. There are no eggs.
He knows what I need and want when I have a hangover even though it's been a long while since I've needed it. Hell, he always knows what I need and want no matter the situation.
"I told Litty (our boss) we'd be a little late," Aydrien explains as his breakfast sizzles below him.
I glance at him. I've never been blessed with the ability to forget all I've said and done in a drunken haze. So me admitting I'm obsessed with him and then kissing him . . . Still fresh in my mind. He wasn't drunk last night so I know he remembers. I sit at the table and start wolfing down my food. If he doesn't mention what happened then I'm not going to. I'm hoping he blames it all on the alcohol, even if he probably knows I meant every word.
He clears his throat. "You broke one of our good glasses."
"I know. I chucked it across the room."
"I poured the rest of the scotch down the sink and threw the bottle away," he tells me as the sizzling stops.
I swallow a mouthful of pancake and glare at his back. "That wasn't cheap liquor, Heart." Remember I always use his last name outloud.
"And I'm not worth relapsing over." He grabs the plate he had beside the oven and walks towards the dining table.
I put my fork down harsher than I'd intended. "I didn't take any pain pills. I'm not relap--"
"No, but you chugged down more scotch than you've had this whole year combined and puked all over the floor. The fact it was straight scotch and stomach acid means you'd already puked up the dinner we actually managed to eat before you insulted Sam, which, by the way, bleach only chases away the smell of vomit when you remember to flush, and the next time you puke all over my bathroom I'm making you clean it up, drunk or otherwise."
I toss the pain pills into my throat and wash it down with orange juice. He knows just what I like after a night of alcohol, and even though there is an edge to his tone and it's a little rushed together, he's not speaking loudly. He does over-gesticulate a little before turning back to his plate.
I turn to my pancakes and use my fork to cut off a bit drenched in syrup. I chew it and keep my eyes on him. He stares at his plate for a few seconds before his brown eyes finally lock onto mine. Even though this isn't anything worth mentioning--our eyes meet all the time--it somehow feels different. He knows I meant every word. He knows I meant that damn kiss.
I wash down my mouthful of pancakes with some orange juice, my eyes never leaving his, and he chews slowly. I think of how he knew everything I need--from the cane placed against my wall, to the breakfast, to the fact he set my alarm and called work to tell Litty we'd be late . . .
He looks away and I remember the boy's name.
I look up from my desk in my office in the hospital and Aydrien is there. I'm not surprised. He's leaning against the glass doorfr
Leaning against the fr
He sits and plucks my ball from my desk and wets his bottom lip. "Sam stopped by my office today. She said she wanted to get back together."
So that explains the smug aura permeating this office and the casual confidence of his slinky moves. God, I think I'm gonna be sick. "Well, congratulations. Seems you've picked a real winner."
"I declined," he says and he focuses on my oversized ball. "You're right, Fayte. We . . . We're not going to last and I'm tired of just putting off the inevitable. Every time we have a disagreement, she cuts and runs. You've said harsher things to me on a weekly basis. I--I've said worse things to you just as much. Every time things aren't going absolutely perfect, she'll just . . . and you'll," He cut off and let out a long sigh, then briefly caught my gaze. "So I'm done. Done with her, done with . . . with everything."
I raise my eyebrows. "Right. So, what? You're just going to never date anyone ever again?"
"Well that depends."
He places the ball on my desk and catches my eye. "On you."
"So now you're demanding I change just so you can get some damn fuzz?"
"I'm not demanding anything," he tells me quietly, then stands up from the chair and stares down at me with his eyes darker than normal and his head tilted slightly to the side. "Just . . . waiting."
He doesn't answer; instead he lowers his lashes slightly and tilts up his chin, and I swear if he keeps staring at me like that for much longer I'm not to blame for pouncing on him. He taps the top of my desk once, nods at me, then turns and his lab coat swishes.
My heart is still hammering when the door shuts behind him.
The rest of the day is awkward. Every time we talk, he's staring at me and I know he's expecting me to bring it up but I'm not going to and he must know I won't, but I can feel it, bubbling underneath each word we speak. The fact I kissed him. Told him I was obsessed with him. Every time his arm brushes mine or his eyes linger or he pauses before he talks about something unrelated, it burns me. I wonder if I can put it off entirely or if eventually he's going to be the annoying little woman he is and need to sit me down and talk about my ******* feelings that I purposely ignore for this very reason.
I flick my tongue across my bottom lip and try to remember what it felt to have his mouth on mine even if it was only for a split second. I try to memorize how he'd smelled, pressed against me, and try to extrapolate. Imagine what it would've felt like had he kissed back. Slipped his tongue in between my teeth and ran his hands under my shirt . . . but he didn't and he won't, and I don't want to talk about this or think about it but it's difficult because he's sitting next to me on the couch, very tellingly silent. He's even sitting closer than he normally would, knee bumping mine every few minutes as he shifts in his seat--which he's doing far more often than usual.
I can't stop thinking about it, which isn't strange. I can't stop thinking about anything. It's what I do. Obsess. Get some little thought in my head and think of it over and over from every possible angle repeatedly. Wrap it around me and drown in it and breathe, eat, drink whatever it is until I find something else to suffocate myself with. Until I find a new safety blanket.
I know he has to be thinking about it because straight men don't going around kissing their best friends without making the other one wonder about it. All day long eight seconds of last night have been stuck on repeat, me telling him I'm obsessed with him and kissing him and clutching onto him like some insane toddler afraid of being left at the supermarket. Over and over and over again, my mouth pressing into his and him pulling away. Mostly the part with him pulling away.
"Fayte," he starts, and the heavy way he says my name make my heart stop for a brief second. Damn it. He couldn't go one day, could he? One damn day without bringing it up. "About last night--"
"I'm going to bed." I get off the couch and start towards my room.
I stop, clutching my cane. I must've grabbed it when I shoved off of the couch and made a run for it. He sed my first name. We never use each other's first name... That sly bastard, spending all damn day getting into my personal space, gazing at me, touching my arm, and now he brings up what happened and uses my first name? Was he priming me so I wouldn't avoid the subject, was he trying to make it more personal so it would lessin the blow? Well that sure as hell isn't going to work.
"Misery, you kissed me," he reminds, as if I somehow forgot. I've been avoiding the topic all day. I do not like talking about emotions and certainly not when they involve me but some people I know that have an extra X chromosome despite appearing to be male (that's Aydrien, in case there's any confusion) enjoy sitting around campfires and analyzing feelings. Possibly ending each Lifetime Movie Special conversation with a hug.
I squeeze my eyes shut. I know him so well (because I obsess over every little thing he does, with the exception of boring stuff like cancer and dying children) that I don't even have to look to know he's putting his hands on his hips. "I was drunk," I justify.
He doesn't say anything but I hear him sigh. "You said you were obsessed with me."
I turn around and face him. Yep, his hands are on his hips. I was right. Naturally. "I was drunk. I didn't mean it." He stares at me and I can tell he wants to continue this and drag it on, so I tap my cane against the floor. "I'm going to bed," I repeat, then turn around and leave, heading straight to my room.
He knows I meant every bit of it and I know that he does. But eventually we'll both just ignore it like we ignore everything else, just like I ignore that damn look he gave me when he bought me that organ (at least, outwardly--it's another one of those things I obsess over) and the innuendoes and the fact anyone with eyes can tell my platonic feelings for Aydrien are mythical. I can't deal with the inevitable rejection. It's not like Aydrien is the poster child for platonic feelings for his best friend either, or at least that's what it looks like, but he's the one who hops from needy blonde to sexy proxy without thinking twice; Mister Married Two Times is the only thing I have left in my life I really care for and friendship-destroying kisses are not to be dwelled on. If he decides that he can't take this to the next level--if he's not in love with me--if he rejects me, then I will be crushed.
I can't handle being shoved to the ground, humiliated, kicked, and mocked by him. Obsession isn't all fun and games for the obsessed, either, as much as people think it is. People don't understand that I can't ******* breathe without him in my life despite the fact the constant thoughts of him can be suffocating. I need it and I hate that I need it but at the same time want to need it. I never pretended to be normal or sane. Unlike Aydrien, who practically wrote a book on the façade of I Am Everything You Think I Should Be.
So eventually, this will go down as another Molly (girl who almost split us apart), another organ (which he bought for me), another longing glance and too-long touch, and he can go pretend that he's never once stuck his hand down his pants and whispered my name into his pillow when he thought I couldn't hear or see him. He can sit there and act like we have a normal, female/male friendship that Miramax could show to Christians when he knows what those shower dreams mean. He'll ignore this like he ignores how he leans into me when he's drunk and he smells my skin or compliments me randomly for no reason at all.
And I can go back to the safety of not-quite-enough and obsess all I want and allow myself to be teased and constantly try to distract myself so he doesn't tire of my possessiveness and leave me high and dry to the point that no amount of parental death and hired private investigators with no talent at lying will bring him back.
I hear my bedroom door open and I sigh, staring down at my bed.
"Despite your many claims in the middle of crowded hallways, I am not actually an idiot," he says quietly and I clench my jaw. So he isn't going to ignore this. What's the purpose of him dragging this out? I admit that everything I said was true and then what? He leaves? He actually finds his nuts and does something about it? What? Or will I push away like so many times before? It's a game. A game that's really not at all funny in which we continually push closer and closer and see who backs away first. I don't think we've decided who wins and who loses--the person who pushes or the person who backs away.
"Aydrien," I warn as I turn around and look at him. He freezes when he hears me say his first name which i certainly hadn't meant to do. Looks at me funny and takes a breath, closes his eyes, and another step forward. I almost tell him he doesn't want to do this, but that would be a lie because he knows what he's doing. He standing in the doorfr
He steps into my room and lifts his chin and I can see the muscles in his jaw shift. He's steeling himself. From what? As if I could ever reject him.
"I know it meant something. I can tell when you're lying." He walks closer slowly.
Which, well, is more accurate than I like to admit. "How?" I ask, expecting him to give me my tell so I can eradicate it immediately.
"Because I'm ******* obsessed with you."
My words in his mouth, and they taste far sweeter than they did in mine. Which, in case you didn't get it, means he's kissing me. He'd reached forward and pushed his mouth to mine, and I realize he's copying me. This is a repeat of last night--the same damn image I've had replaying over and over in my head, only this time I'm the recipient. And instead of pulling away, I'm clutching at his arms and opening my mouth, tasting the words on his tongue.
He's not as gentle as I'd thought he would be. Then again, if he's anything like me, he's been holding back for years so it's not much of a surprise that he's holding my jaw with a bruising grip with both hands.
It strikes me suddenly that he's had to deal with it too. I wonder if he's ever been shoved to the ground for sneaking a kiss; being punished for getting obsessive with some other girl. I wonder if there were nights he couldn't sleep, images of green eyes and pianist fingers dancing behind his lids, and by the way he's gasping and sucking air out of my lungs before he nips my lip, I know he's spent hours analyzing the way I've said something; why I did something; what I was doing when he wasn't with me.
We fumble at each other's belts and chuckle through sloppy kisses. We don't tumble to the bed; we pretty much trip onto my mattress and he knees me in the thigh, kisses me deeply as an apology; and the sex is imperfect and nothing like the millions of times I imagined it would be. He obsessively licks as much of me as he can and I clutch at him and claw at him and catalogue every interesting, new, wonderful thing he does in that part of my brain that is devoted to him. His naked flesh is slick against mine with sweat and everything about this is new.
If I worship Aydriens's mouth with mine, and if very nearly every aspect of my life revolves around him, it's obsession. If someone devotes his entire life to his pathetic, fictional religion, he's admired. His life revolving around me is unhealthy; our fixation on each other is abnormal and should be fixed. People spending hours practically fanwanking their precious Bible until it makes some sort of convoluted sense is called Christianity. Us spending hours turning over a sentence repeatedly in our heads or replaying a certain glance a million times over is pathetic.
I scratch down his back and mumble incoherent praise when he bites my shoulder, and this (sex before marriage) is a sin, then I'm a deviant. The fact Aydrien could outlast a million ice baths and impromptu camping trips in my backyard is wrong, but assaulting those of a different faith is completely okay. We're all so damn obsessed with something, but it's only a dirty, filthy word when someone else decides to tell you it is.
We find a rhythm that suits us and it's fumbling and imperfect and we don't meet each other's eyes for longer than two seconds. We don't spout off meaningless, poetic phrases, and even if my whole world is spinning off its axis and tilting, and I'm sure his is too (judging by the way he utters nonsense and gulps out vowels sounds at a volume which would surely embarrass us if we cared) but in all reality, the sun will rise and set tomorrow, the world is still going to hell in a hand basket, and nobody really cares.
Religious zealots might call this nirvana, or being Saved. I call it having a mind-blowing org*sm of epic proportions, but that's just me. They can have their pretty, clean phrasing to make them sound benevolent and I'll take the dirty, filthy, unhealthy sin and just run with it. Our org*sm is not simultaneous; I come before he does. It's imperfect, sweaty, unhealthy, obsessive, and I love ever minute of it. I love every moment I spent obsessing if it led to this. Sometimes, obsession really does have its positive side.
Tomorrow we will both be choking on the too-tight blankets drowning us with its too-hot covers, but hey, at least we'll be drowning together.