Unwinding ghosts from my fingertips


She had no way of knowing what was wrong with me that night.  We’d not spoken since the niceties from two days before when we’d gone our own ways to our own places.  In all honesty, I was contemplating just how to break her heart and tell her to go away, that she’d over-stayed her welcome by one too many smiles.  She liked the pretty me, the image, the collection of grooming and genes and money.  It always reached the point where it was unsustainable – boredom caught up, monotony took over, and the restraints I put on myself began to fester.

The words were on the tip of my tongue the entire evening as we moved through the usual sort of date.  Dinner.  Wine.  Whatever boring shit was going on at her work.  I’d declined a date to the Dave Matthew’s concert when she eyed me warily.

“Take your sister.  She’d probably enjoy going.” I mumbled, sliding my gaze over to the waiter and tilting my chin upward.  He hurried over with the check and I dropped my card in without looking at the total.

She flicked her wrist at his departing back. “Hello, what if it was wrong?”

I smirked.  “I think it’ll be fine if I’m charged for an extra bread basket.”

Her face scrunched up.  “What is wrong with you tonight?”

I shrugged.  “Nothing.”

“Yeah, okay.”  I looked up at the sarcastic tone, caught her eye roll, but said nothing.  I put a total at the bottom of the slip the waiter returned, scrawled my signature, and stood as I handed it back to him.  I shoved my wallet back into my pocket and gestured a little too flamboyantly towards the door.  She stood stiffly and walked past me with her chin in the air.

She breezed past the passenger door to my car and I paused at the driver’s side in a moment of indecision.  She was walking stiffly down the sidewalk in the general direction of her apartment, about three miles away.  I exhaled a moment later, slammed the door to the driver’s side and locked the car with a beep as I jogged to catch up to her.

“Erin.” I called her name but she didn’t respond.  I caught up to her and grabbed her arm.  She jerked it away, the bracelets on her wrist jingling together.  I exhaled again, exasperated.  “At least allow me to give you a ride home.”

She put her hand up and laughed without a trace of amusement.  “You don’t need to do me any favors, D.  I can take care of myself.”

“Erin.  Have some sense.  It’s late.”

“It’s late and I’m a big girl.”  She started walking back down the side-walk and crossed the street with an indignant huff in my direction.  I allowed a car to pass and followed her as she cut across a park, slipping out of her shoes as she crossed the grass.  “Erin!” I bellowed.

“No!”  She rounded on me and narrowed her eyes.  “I’m fine.  Believe it or not, I’ve had an asshole date or two in my lifetime, and I can find my way home.” She hiccupped and I saw her brush away a tear with the back of her hand.  She pointed the heel of her shoe at me when I stepped closer and yelled, “And don’t think I won’t brain you if you come any closer.”

I laughed.  I couldn’t help it.  I held out my palms and pressed my lips together as mirth bubbled over.  She raised a shoe and thought better of it, and pivoted on her foot and began walking off again.  “Asshole.”

I walked behind her for a while.  A few minutes later, she sat down on the raised edge of a fountain that had a three large, stone fish in the center, spewing algae tinted water from their open mouths.  “You owe me for these stockings.”

I sat down not far from her.  “I don’t owe you a thing.  You walk, you earn the blisters.”

Her lips thinned and brows shot up but she didn’t say a thing.  “You’re being such a dick.”

“Perhaps, but I forgive myself because you’re acting like a brat.”

“Ugh.  Fuck you, D.”

“Fuck you, back.”

She turned and looked at me for a long silent moment. She swallowed twice. “Just go,” She said quietly. “I’ll be fine, really.”

I nodded.  “As soon as you’re home.” I paused.  “I’m not going to be the last person you were seen with before your body was found,”  I smiled, humorlessly, “Thanks though.”

“I can take..”

“..care of yourself?”  I finished for her and smirked.  “Look around, Erin, who’s here?”

“Exactly my point,” she said tightly.

My hand darted out and grabbed her hair, tilting her body towards me as I pulled her closer.  “Yeah?  This taking care?”  I leaned down near her face and as I did, felt her hand slap against my cheek.  I ignored the blossoming burn.

“Let go of me, damn it!”

“Yeah, Erin, I gotta say, you are sure doing a bang up job.”  I twisted my hand a little harder and she seethed out the breath between her teeth.

“D, so help me God, I’m going to hurt you when you let me go.”

I leaned in closer and shifted my position, my eyes sliding deliberately from her face to the heaving sight of her breasts.  I tightened my grip, glanced back at the water.  “Also a reason to not let go.”

When her hand moved to hit me again, I jerked on her hair and pulled her back until her head submerged into the water.  She half toppled, her head turning as sharply as she could, feet kicking.   My free hand pressed against her chest to keep her body from twisting further.  Cold water-soaked the arm of my shirt, crawled its way up my arm.

Her choked scream was muffled by the water, and bubbled out of her lips in round pockets of rage and panic.  She was fighting, her arms trying to use mine as leverage, her muscles frantic to escape the grip I had.

I pulled her up and she gasped, sputtered and coughed. I didn’t let go.  Her black hair plastered to her face and neck like glue, soaked the front of her red dress, which had ridden up to show the edge of her underwear.

I leaned in and hissed, vehemently.  “If it wasn’t me, Erin, you’d be fucked, and not in the pretty little neat way you like, either.”

Water was coming out of her nose and she sputtered something in response.  I eased my grip and when she recovered enough, she hit me hard across the cheek.  I grabbed her hair again and sent her under, held her there for seconds longer, my teeth gritting against the pain of her nails as they scratched my forearm.  She screamed and the same water-muffled sound sent the edges of my lips curling up with pleasure.

Again, I pulled her out of the water, unwound my hand from the soaked, coiled mass of black ink that spilled everywhere.  She rolled over to her side and coughed up water for minutes.  I untangled the broken strands of her hair from my fingers with some disdain.   “Need another lesson?” I said this low, my thumb rubbing over the ridge of a hot scratch she’d put in my forearm.

Eventually, she shook her head and I stood up to give her a moment to collect herself.  She did, gathering her dignity that lay scattered like the water droplets littering the cement around us.  It was exquisite, an elegant motion of fluttered hand movements and captured breaths.  She raked her fingers through her hair and stood, picked up her shoes, looked at me, nodded and walked on.

I followed her until, in silence, we got to her apartment.  We fucked like animals until dawn.

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