Monday, April 25, 2011

Wanderlust part 42 "Au-fucking-relia"



Good morning. Last day of Spring Break. Booooo! :( Back to getting up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow. But for today there is today. So, I shall go enjoy :)

Hope everyone had a great time off. And now I commence with coffee...

Yum.

XOXO
Sommer

Wanderlust
part 42
by Sommer Marsden

#42

I woke very much alone to an empty room and light streaming through the busted up cheap Roman shades. I blinked hard and fast because I would not cry. I hadn’t earned the nickname Snowflake from being a pussy. It had been due to my coldness. My hardness. My command over my emotions.

That was when I saw something stuck to the room’s front door. I wrapped myself in the sheet, realizing that at some point while I was out he’d untied me. The rope was gone, probably coiled in a trash can somewhere like a nylon snake. I swallowed a burble of laughter—as irrational and crazy as it was, it was laughter—because he’d stuck a lip liner scrawled note BE BACK SOON to the door with a maxi pad.

“The only thing he could fine even remotely like tape. Note to self, replace emergency maxi pad with new one.” My voice sounded too big in the small space.

I removed the note and folded it up. I slipped it into my purse. Snowflake or not, I couldn’t throw it out.

I sat on the edge of the bed and ran a shaking hand through my hair. Had that happened? Had he freaked out and brought some woman in and had we—I stared at the bed. Yes. We had.

Part of me loathed him, part of me felt liberated. Another part of me wanted to crawl back in the bed and sleep for days.

Instead, I picked up the beige room phone and started to dial. Long gone were the days of operators on demand, so I did everything the electronic voice told me to do and the phone started to ring.

“Hello?” she sang it out.

“Bren?” I said.

“Au-fucking-relia!” she yelled. “Where in the hillbilly hell are you, sweetheart?”

And I started to laugh. And cry. Bren had that effect on me. All the coiled slippery dark and nasty stuff I had bottled up inside of me came sliding out in a mucky mess just hearing her voice.

Brenda Hartley had been a brand new student the year I was in third grade. Smelling fresh blood, I knocked her down and took her cherry Jolly Rancher candy stick. Brenda—Bren to friends and enemies alike—promptly kicked my ass from one end of the school yard to the other. And then, when I was broken, beaten, humiliated and fully sniffly, she plopped down next to me, brushed her plaid skirt clean, snapped the candy stick in half and handed me mine.

We’d been best friends ever since.

And so in a rush of air and tears and laughter I told Bren the whole damn thing. Including Fallon, including the begrudging orgasm, including the sweetness of shame.

“Wow, girl. You have life by the balls right now. And he has you by the heart strings. You do know that, right?”

I shook my head. “No. It’s not like that.”

“Oh, you might not think it’s like that, but it is.”

“Nope. He’s not…he can’t do that and neither can I.”

She laughed at me, her laughter putting a spotlight on my clever words and easy lies. “Whatever. Are you safe?”

“Yes.”

“Would he hurt you?”

“No.”

“You’re sure?”

I sat there for three heartbeats to make myself listen to my instinct. “Never,” I said, honestly.

“Do you want to come home?” she asked. I heard her light a smoke and wanted to beg her for the millionth time to quit. Ever since my mother, my paranoia over those I loved smoking was so big and bright and crazy.

“Not unless I have to.”

“Good. Well, you know where to find me if you want me. I know you don’t have a phone. Your dad found the car and the phone at the grocery store.”

I smiled and heard a car door slam right outside the doorway.

“Maybe I’ll grab a cheap phone with no plan.”

“Either way, be safe. Call me if you need me.”

“I will,” I whispered. “He’s here, I think. I have to—“

“Fine, fine, go, go. But Really?”

“Yeah?”

“I told you so.”

“What? You told me what?” I laughed. “I don’t know what you mean, Bre—“

“That’s for later. When you’re telling me you love this guy. I told ya so.”

And she hung up.

The door swung wide and I dropped the heavy receiver onto the base. I wasn’t trying to hide the fact that I’d been on the phone. I simply wanted to see where he’d been.

Johnny looked at me for a moment before looking away. Great, he was pissed. But then I looked again. No. Not pissed. He nearly looked embarrassed.

“Hi,” I said.

Awkward much?

“You’re talking to me,” he said. It was a statement.

“I’m pretty sure I just did.”

I took the pink bag he offered and opened it to a bacon, egg and cheese on an English muffin. It looked greasy and heavy and…”Fucking perfect,” I said and dug in.

I caught him grinning at me and I grinned back.

He looked startled again and I said, “What?”

“Nothing.”

“Aren’t you eating?”

“I ate in the car.”

I saw the other bag. A plain brown bag and my stomach rolled over. I was exhausted—inside and out—from the Fallon encounter. What dreaded thing lay in that bag, I wondered. I cocked an eyebrow at it and waited. The breakfast sandwich lodging in my throat.

“What’s that?”

“For you.”

“For me? You don’t have another woman in there do you?” It was supposed to be a joke but it came out half wild giggle, half sob.

He frowned at me. I had truly meant for it to be funny, but he looked almost hurt. I felt bad, but then part of me felt vindicated. Good. He should feel bad. What a confusing fucking pit stop this was.

“No. I don’t. it’s for you.”

I held my hand out. “Then give it.”

He looked unsure but handed me the bag, just saying, “Careful.”

Inside was a straight razor. An honest to God straight razor. “Johnny—“

“I got it this morning. I need a shave. I thought you could…” He looked away again.

“My god. You thought I could what? Slit your throat?”

Those blue eyes, eyes that allowed no untruths or even a flicker of discomfort to pass without taking note, pinned me and he said, “That is one option that came to mind.”

Oh. I shook my head. “Don’t be—“

“I’m at your mercy when you have a razor to my head.”

“Where did you get it?” I asked, flicking it open. Beautiful, shiny, dangerous thing.

“A barber in town. I had to pay him nicely for it.”

“And he just sold it to you?” I asked, incredulous. I turned it in the low light of morning and sunlight bounced off the old blade. Old but still effective, I could tell.

“I told him it was important. Sometimes men take each other at their word over the importance of things. I told him it was a woman I needed it for. And that it was…important. And not illegal,” he added.

“I don’t want to slit your throat,” I said softly.

“There is a line,” he said.

“And you crossed it.”

And how many times did you cross it with Jackson? How many times did you kick him in the guts with your actions? Penance, dear, Really. Penance.

His jaw muscle flexed and his body went tight. To someone who did not know him, he appeared perfectly normal and simply alert. To me, he looked fit to hit something. Or someone.

“I know that, Really.”

“But I willingly followed you and leapt over it right after you,” I said. I could pay for my sins by forgiving him his. “So enough. Just don’t—“

He waited.

“Just don’t do it to me again. Don’t prove how much you don’t care by stepping all over my insides,” I said softly. “Please.”

“But I do care. And that’s the problem. I can’t get close to you, Really. I can’t get close to anyone. Not for true.”

I bit my tongue. Now was not the time to argue. I took one more bite of my sandwich, though it had lost its decadent appeal, and put it down on the greasy bag. “How about we shave your head?”

He grinned. “Or cut my throat.”

“I could never do that,” I said. And realized it was true.

He looked unsure but nodded.

“Give me two minutes.” I jumped in and washed all the memory of Fallon and her haunting eyes off of me. I was done with that particular encounter. It was in the vault, locked away, gone.

When he came in, I took his clothes off one piece at a time and he let me. He let me. Then I settled in the motel’s shiny white tub and put the warm water on. Johnny got in front of me, the water level shooting up, and settled back between my open thighs. I put the shaving lotion on his head as he pressed himself back against me. His stubble bit at my bare breasts, his arms rested on my thighs, his hands on my knees. I cradled his head to my chest and said. “Be very still. Don’t move. I like you living and I like having two nipples.”

He laughed, a long, low rumble that made my gut clench and told me everything would be just fine between us. Then he stayed still as I started to shave him.

STAY TUNED...

13 comments:

  1. *exhales slowly*

    Brilliant.

    Absofuckinglutely brilliant.

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  2. Really handled this very well. I'm so proud of her. Great installment. Didn't think Monday would ever get here.

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  3. I love how Johnny acknowledges Reallys sense of betrayal and hurt by intrusting her with the act of being vulnerable under the blade and being naked in the tub to reinforce their intimacy. Good way to build trust.
    Yay, I got my fix.

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  4. Yay. I was so tempted to post this yesterday but am glad I didn't. A few little snippets emerged between yesterday afternoon and this morning. :)

    Thanks for being here y'all. :)

    xoxo
    S

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  5. But is it enough! I don't know! :)

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  6. WOW - I love Really. Seriously. I'm jealous of her adventures. I love the way you portray her and how you manage to nail down each one of her complexities and insecurities.

    Beautifully written as usual Sommer.

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  7. Jo, I guess we'll have to see! :D

    Miz Angell, thanks. I think she's pretty keen myself. ;)

    XOXO
    Sommer

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  8. What an amazing update to come home to.

    Although I'm jealous she can eat breakfasts like that day in and day out without having the hips to show for it. Gotta love fiction, eh? ;-)

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  9. Actually, I know women like that. It takes all of my self control not to punch 'em in the head. ;)

    xoxo
    S
    p.s. I hope to be one of them in my next life!

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  10. Just write those women into your next WIP and take your revenge there. Never, ever, ever piss off a writer. LOL

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  11. You know Sue Grafton wrote her first mystery novel while going through her divorce. She wrote her rage out. She killed him. Just on paper. lol.

    Look at her now!

    xoxo
    S

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  12. I read earlier today about Steven Moffat creating a character for one of his TV shows based on his ex-wife's lover, for the sole purpose of having really bad things happen to the guy.

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  13. gives 'creative outlet' a whole new meaning :)
    xoxo
    s

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What sayest thou?