Calling

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zero.

It’s around two-thirty in the morning when I get a phone call that brings me to. I blink slowly, hoping I’ll stop seeing constellations in front of my eyes so I can focus. The shrill tone bounces off the walls pierces through the alcoholic fog that clouds my senses. Managing to keep one eye open, I groan and roll over onto my back running a hand through my hair, my shoulder colliding with something hard. My phone is too far away for me to see who’s calling so I allow the call to go to voicemail, the screen going dark.

I hear a sigh next to me and a large warm arm wraps itself around my middle, pulling me close. It takes a moment more for my brain to process, but the familiar scent of his cologne and the ache between my thighs confirms where I am and that the night had gone the same way it always has - I’d given myself to him, as I always do.

I try to shift away from him, but this causes him to move. His arm now pressing across my chest and his hand at the base of my throat, where it had wrapped around hours before. A cold shiver travels up my body, my hairs standing on end as I recall the words whispered in my ear earlier tonight, his voice thick with lust and fury. I wince as his million-watt smile flashes through my mind. My mouth runs dry as I remember the bitter-sweet taste of cigarettes and vodka when his mouth had crashed onto mine. Shame pools heavily in my stomach, disgust creeping up my limbs and pins me to the bed.

I don’t know how long I lay there, listening to the sound of his heavy breathing in the darkness, building up the courage to move. His warm breath fanning across the side of my face. Through the gap in the curtains I can see the moon high in the sky, calling me away. Her haunting glow illuminates the room.

My eyes adjust, stars no longer dancing across the ceiling of the guest bedroom that I’m all too familiar with. We never go to his room. Each time I vow it is the last time, but like the masochist I am, I return willing to be consumed and broken once more. I certainly never stay the night. I need to leave; I’ve stayed far too long. It’s just how things are.

Taking a long deep breath, I reach up to take hold of his wrist, my touch feather light. Slowly I place his hand on the pillow next to his face. In the half-light he looks even more handsome, his features somehow harsher. God-like. He has always had a strange aura about him – radiating charm and grace, he has everyone gravitating towards him.

I am drawn to him like a moth to a flame, so mesmerised with his devastating beauty that I failed to realise that destruction that he would bring. I willingly opened my soul up to a demon, now must pay the consequences of hell. My wings are burned, and I am broken. I cannot fly away. I am a body carefully chosen for the way I look and how I make him feel when I am naked.

After what seems like an age, he rolls over to face the wall and I take the opportunity to to escape. Grasping the mattress, I pull myself up and prize both eyes open, placing both feet on the floor in the hope to stop the room from spinning. Grabbing my phone from the nightstand, I stand and leaning against the wall for support.

I shuffle over to the corner of the room to scoop up my dress, carelessly discarded along with my handbag and heels. Bile now rising up my throat, I pull my dress over my head, the thin shoulder strap broken and hanging down my front. My joints and muscle shout in protest and I scoop up my shoes and handbag, cramming back in the contents which had spilled out onto the floor. Making a swift exit from the room, I shoot a fleeting glance towards the bed confirms he’s still sound asleep. Blissfully unaware of the damage done.

I half run down the hall to the bathroom, slipping through the door and dumping my things onto the vanity by the sink. Nausea overwhelms me and I lose the contents of my stomach in the toilet. Shaking but feeling no relief, I pull myself up to the sink, I allow myself a moment to assess the damage inflicted tonight and state of myself.

My mascara has smudged slightly, although my eyeliner remains fairly sharp. The pink lipstick is smeared across my cheek and down my chin. There’s a small cut on my lower lip, a purple bruise forming. My hair cascades down my back unruly matted waves. Leaning over the sink to turn on the cold tap, I notice more bruising developing round my wrists and elbows. This happens every time. A constant reminder that I am his. A pretty rose to be plucked and presented for his enjoyment, only to be crushed and discarded. It’s just how things are.

I splash the cold water across my face and wipe away the lipstick until I’m satisfied that I no longer resemble a clown. I make a silent exit from the bathroom, handbag on one shoulder, heels in the other hand.

The house is deadly quiet. He’s still asleep. I make my way down the hall, stepping over a guy pass out against the wall, weaving around the discarded bottles and paper cups, praying I don’t cut my feet or wake anyone. I am in no mood to talk or explain myself, I just need to get away.

Swiping my finger across the screen of my phone, I scroll bypass the social media notifications and open the message from Sophia, my friend:

Sophia: Gone home with James. Talk tomorrow x

Typical Sophia. I expect no less. If her on/off boyfriend James beckoned her, she would always disappear without saying goodbye. I don’t bother to reply, because I know she won’t care to read it. I also know that I am no different. We’re friends of convenience. That’s just how things are.

I tap away on my phone, ignoring the voicemail. A notification lets me know a taxi was less than five minutes away.

I pad down the stairs to the front door, yearning to breathe in the cool night air. We had evidently partied harder than usual, suspicious white powder smeared across the cabinet in the hall. Likely why so many people were passed out in the living room to the right of the hall and why there was a thunderstorm underway in my head right now.

By the time I reach the street, the effects of the drugs and the alcohol had begun to wear off. London’s cool spring night air envelopes me, but it does nothing to refresh me. The feelings I’d spent the whole night trying to numb, threaten to rise up from the depths and suffocate me.

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