Black and Blue
On November twentieth PinkCherry Inc. held their annual Thanksgiving celebration and as every one of their parties always does, it took my breath away.
For the first time in four years, the management at PinkCherry waived the no touch policy on the account that every participant signed away their soul for a half hour.
The men from the Cockpit came as a favor to Jason, an old friend of the owner. There was only one rule, put on a great show.
What they didn’t know is that a lot would go wrong.
My eyelids felt as if they had ten-pound weights attached to them. The nervous bustling around me told me nothing about where I was.
I forced my eyes open just in time to see Kitty arguing with the Cheif. His eyebrows were knitted together and her fists waited eagerly by her side.
It was clearly not a friendly chat among two ring leaders. Sarah was the first one to notice I was awake.
She leaped across the room and grabbed my hand, her voice was still very distant and garbled.
My first thing out of my mouth was a slur of curses as I sat up. The room swirled around me and suddenly I was on my back again.
Sarah grabbed my hand, “If you move around it’ll only make the headache worse.”
Worse? I already felt like I was dying. My lips were dry and I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to see Kitty fluttering out the door.
The next time I woke up the room was silent. I peeled off the blankets that were encasing my body and dangled my feet off the bed.
The fluorescent lights flickered as I stared at the room; The familiar squeaking of the ceiling fan and messy work table told me all I needed to know.
When my eyes finally found him, tucked into the nearest corner by my bed I nearly sobbed.
His breathing was soft and peaceful as he slept. The thick black tresses of his hair fell over his eyes like a curtain.
His costume was stained red down the middle and his knuckles were covered in dried blood.
I swallowed down the fear of what I assumed was a fight. But with who? I remembered those Hazel eyes as he yanked the hand off me and lifted me off the table.
My fingers wandered over my neck; It was still sore. Just as I was about to get up the back door opened and I was face to face with my knight in denim jeans and a button down.
“Ethan?” My voice was barely audible but he still looked relieved.
He set a couple bags on the table and rushed to my side, “How’s your head?”
“I’ve never had any complaints,” It hurt to laugh.
The grin on his face set my mind at ease. Clearly, he wasn’t the one that got hit, “I’m glad you feel like you can joke about this.”
I gave him a weak smile, “How long was I out?”
“Five hours,” he said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here the first time you woke up, I was trying to find him.” Ethan nodded towards Jason.
“After putting on a very convincing performance a unnaturally large man nearly choked you to death.”
I blinked back the flashes of the table and tried to push the memory from my mind, “I meant what happened to Jason.”
Ethan’s face fell at my question and he sighed, “He punched Sam a few times.”
He must have seen the panic form in my eyes, “He’s okay. Just a little black a blue.”
“The guy who nearly killed you.”
Finally, a name for the golden haired Adonis. “Is he still here?”
“Kitty is bandaging him up in the dressing room.”
“How hard did Jas-”
Ethan cut me off before I could finish, “Hard enough.”
“But the blood on hi-”
“Isn’t his,” Ethan said, “He did what he thought he had to do.” I glanced over his sleeping figure; He seemed so tranquil.
“I’ll be happy to answer more of your questions after you eat something.” Ethan grabbed the bags and brought them over to me.
“I can’t even think about food right now.” There was a sentence I never thought I’d be saying.
“Fine,” he handed me a soft drink, “At least drink something so Jade doesn’t hit me.”
I took a sip and fought down the urge to vomit. Ethan watched me intently, probably bracing himself in case he has to rescue me from toppling to the floor.
“I didn’t know you were coming tonight,”
He shrugged, “I was in the neighborhood.”
“Were you really?” The chill of the soda can felt nice against my palms.
Ethan’s eyes met mine, “I wanted to talk to you.” Whoop, there it was. Ever since I took the job everyone needed to speak to me.
Maybe because I couldn’t stay out of trouble. “What about?”
He opened his mouth but the groaning in the corner cut him off. I turned to see Jason stirring.
“Maybe we should talk later,” Ethan’s tone was flat and quick as he watched Jason fall back to sleep.
I bit my lip, “No, I think we should do it now.”
Ethan nodded and motioned toward the door. My bare feet stuck to the floor as I followed him out the room and tried not to wake Jason.
Once the door was shut behind me I asked Ethan what was going on.
“Would you ever consider leaving this place?” I could tell he was holding back his disgust for the building we stood in and who ran it.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” I lied. I had thought about it many times since I had shown up for my first day. There just never seemed to be enough of a reason, until I was strangled.
“I think you should. ”
Ethan stared at me, “Are you serious? You were almost killed today.”
“Is it really about that?” I looked up at him incredulously.
“What else would it be,”
“Jason.” His name rolled off my tongue so easily it was almost ironic how hard Ethan’s expression became.
“It isn’t healthy being here.”
“It’s the only place I have.”
“You can come work with me,” Ah yes, the big CEO of his own company. “It’s not as glamorous as this but we do use our desks for actual work.”
I couldn’t decide whether I was insulted or honored. “That’s sweet but I like it here. My frien-”
“You mean Jason,” Ethan interrupted.
I swallowed, “Not just him. I could never leave Jade, Sarah, and Kitty.”
“Even if I told you that Kitty was the reason you nearly died on that table.”
“What are you talking about?” He had to be insane.
“She told Sam to be rough with you.”
“But she didn’t know he would choke me.” I knew she was mad but there was no way she wanted me dead.
Ethan sighed, “That’s not the point here.”
“Then what is the point,” I asked with sarcasm dripping off my tongue, “That you don’t enjoy seeing me get fucked by other men? Because that’s my job.”
His jaw stiffened, “No actually I don’t. Unlike some people, I don’t get turned on by watching someone I love in pain.”
I blinked at his confession and tried to find the right words buried in my throat.
“Just think about it, okay?” His voice was tired and yet still hopeful that I would abandon everyone I knew, for him.
I nodded; I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it. Ethan looked like he had more to say but lucky for both of us his phone started to ring.
“You should get that.”
He glanced down at the screen, “You sure?”
“Absolutely. I’m not going anywhere.” I gave him a weak smile.
He answered the phone and placed his hand on my shoulder before walking down the hall.
Suddenly it was just me and my thoughts, or so I thought. The door creaked and I decided it was time to have a chat with Kitty.