Fortress of Solitude
That’s all I could think while I downed another shot of vodka.
Fuck this shit. I’m done feeling pity for myself. I’m done crying over this. I’m done feeling like crap. I want to feel good tonight and damn it if this magical bottle wasn’t going to help me!
After bawling my eyes out in that room upstairs, I had quietly snuck into the kitchen to drink my sorrows away. I didn’t want to see Vincent right now. He was going to ask nosy questions and make me feel bad for blowing up ‘his plan’. I didn’t need to feel worse than I was already feeling.
So I had been hiding in the kitchen for the past half hour, downing shot after shot of vodka until my thoughts began to blur and the humiliation I was feeling slowly ebbed away. The memories of my conversation with Matt swirled and vanished in my head and the pain in my chest turned to blissful numbness.
And then Vincent found me.
“Taylor?” His worried voice caught my ears. I spun around to face him and the room shifted under my feet, making me lose my balance.
“Hey, Viiince! Wassup?” I greeted him cheerfully as he caught me.
I grabbed my bottle of instant happiness and took another big gulp out of it, feeling loads better immediately. I was not one bit sorrow for myself at all. No sir.
“What happened?” he asked with a frown. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m drinking this, ’cause I want to forget something, but I don’t remember what I want to forget!” I giggled, but he looked like he didn’t find the situation funny at all. He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned at me some more.
“You look cute when you’re mad.” I chuckled, pinching his cheeks. “Cute, cute, cute. Does that word sound funny to you too? Cuuute…”
“What happened upstairs, Holmes?” he asked again, swatting my hands away.
A memory of Matt flashed in my head. I still remembered his eyes – cold, ice blue… full of pity, remorse and sadness. I needed to forget that look in his eyes. Desperately.
Shrugging his intruding question off, I took a large swig from the bottle again. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.” My voice sounded slurred, but I carried on talking. “Do you want a sip of this? It tastes awesuuum! You’re going to love it. You are so pretty, Vince…” I blinked at him, studying his hazelnut curls. “And your hair looks so soft!” I reached out and grazed my fingers through his locks, savoring the softness of it beneath my fingertips. I’d always wanted to do that, but never had the guts to touch him.
I gasped in delighted surprise. “Oh my God! It’s so much softer than it looks! How is that possible? Does it smells as incredible as it feels?”
Vincent took my hand gently away from his head and held them down at my sides. “Taylor, tell me what happened? Maybe I can help.”
He was trying to reason with me, but I was beyond reasoning. My special bottle of happiness had drowned all logic thinking away.
“Taylor, were you crying?” he asked, studying my face. “You’re a mess. Tell me what happened, please.”
“Stop asking questions, Vince.” I snapped. “You’re so nosy and annoying!”
I tried to walk away from him but my legs felt weird and weren’t moving like I wanted them to. Or maybe it was the damn kitchen floor that couldn’t stop shifting under my feet… Just as my body stumbled forward, Vincent caught me in time by my waist. Thankfully, the bottle was still firmly in my grasp.
“Okay, that’s it. You’re coming with me. Come on.” He ordered and proceeded to drag me out of the house.
“Where are we going?” I asked puzzled, while everything blurred and the world swirled before my eyes. The party was inside and yet he was taking me to the front lawn. Why?
When I realized he was dragging me to his car and planned to take me back home, I struggled against his hold, wriggling skillfully away from his arms.
“No! I don’t want to go home!” I protested, taking another gulp from the bottle in my hand.
“Okay, you’ve had enough for tonight. Hand it over, Holmes.” he commanded, reaching out for the bottle.
I yanked it away from him and hugged it protectively against my chest.
“No! It’s mine!” I shouted with a pout. “You can’t take it away from me!”
“Taylor.” he chided.
“Vincent.” I quipped back.
This vodka was giving me super powers against his commanding ass. And it. Was. Awesome! How could I ever think that I’d never drink this stuff again? This stuff was amazing! I was invincible! Hurray to Le Vodka!
“Taylor, seriously, what the hell happened up there? It can’t be this bad!”
“YES, IT CAN! I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT IT, STOP ASKING, DAMMIT!” I exploded, screaming.
He was making me really, really upset. And he was ruining all my fun!
He eyed me cautiously for a second before he raised his hands up in the air in surrender. “All right, we’ll talk about it when you’re ready. Doesn’t need to be now, you’re upset now. We’ll get back at it later. Let’s try to take it easy now, shall we?” he said slowly, eyeing the vodka as if it was a loaded gun.
I glanced down at the bottle and giggled. “This isn’t a gun, silly! ’S just a bottle! And I’m not upset. I’m great. I’m more than great. I’m freaking awesome!” I exclaimed euphorically.
“Of course you are,” he said carefully. “How about I get you home now, huh?” He began patting his pockets and a frown showed on his face.
“Where are my keys?” he mumbled to himself, searching in every pocket he had on him. “Shit. Okay, I must have dropped them somewhere inside, I’ll go look for it and you stay put. Don’t move. I’ll be right back,” he said and stalked back into the house to look for his keys.
I wobbled across the lawn and leaned against the white fence at the front, to steady myself because without Vincent to offer some support, I was seriously out of balance here. The street was deserted, not a single soul in sight but I still heard a voice calling on me.
I turned to see who it belonged to.
“Ugh. Not now, David.” I grunted when I saw him approaching me at the fence.
He was the last person in the world I wanted to see right now.
“I’ve been watching you all night, Taylor,” he told me.
“Is that supposed to be flattering? ’Cause that’s just creepy, you know.”
“I saw you going upstairs with Matt. He’s stomped down those stairs looking very upset. What happened? Did you guys have a fight?” He probed nosily.
“It’s none of your business what happened, David.” I snapped, putting my bottle on the ground so I could cross my arms over the chest and glare properly back at him. “Why don’t you leave me the hell alone? Go back inside and stalk someone else.”
“He doesn’t deserve you, Tay,” he said, pretending he didn’t hear my jab. “Look at you, he’s making you cry! But I can make you feel better. You know how much I love making you feel better. I remember how you used to moan because of me. Don’t you want to feel that again, Tay? Don’t you want to moan again for me?”
In the blink of an eye he was grabbing the back of my neck and forcing his lips on me. I struggled and tried to push him off of me, but I felt weak and disoriented. My voice was muffled as I tried to tell him to let go of me, to stop, but he pushed his lips forcefully against mine again, pinning my body against the fence.
“Stop fighting me, Taylor.” He growled. “I know you want it.”
I froze in fear. I knew that tone, the feral warning in his voice. Disconnect images of the parking lot flooded into my mind, making my heart race in my chest and panic take over my slurred thoughts. I didn’t want to kiss him. I didn’t want him touching me, but if I kept struggling, he was going to get mad, and I knew well what happened when David got mad.
He grabbed my wrists and pulled them behind my back, to control me more easily, and when I tried to break free, his grip on me tightened, so hard that I cried in pain, while his other hand slid beneath my shirt to grope me freely.
He took advantage that I cried in pain and shoved his tongue inside my mouth, kissing me even harder. I whimpered, feeling suffocated, and struggled against his hold once more, but he was too strong. David was always too strong.
No, no, no, please, someone, make him stop! Please!
As if the angels had answered my prayers, David’s body lifted from me and I slumped back against the fence, sliding to the grass gasping, sobbing and cradling my aching wrists. When I looked up, I saw Vincent holding David by the scruff of his neck, dragging him forcefully away. He let go of David and punched him right in the face, hard. I’m sure I heard David’s jaw crack when Vincent’s fist made contact. David stumbled back and fell on the grass, with a streak of blood running down his swollen lip.
Vincent adjusted his clothes and brushed some invisible speck of dirt off his knuckles before he spoke, and when he did, his voice was so cold and unforgiving, it made me tremble in terror.
“You’re lucky I’m letting you off with only this light warning.” He informed David. “I don’t know who you are, but be damn sure that I’m going to find out soon enough. And when I do, you better prepare, because I’m going to rain down hell on you. You have five seconds to disappear out of my sight.”
It wasn’t a suggestion or request. It was an order with a death threat oozing menacingly from his every word. The fact that Vincent looked so fucking calm as he checked his watch made it so much more terrifying. He wasn’t yelling in rage and losing control. He was scarily composed, but you could still see the cold hate glinting at the corner of his eyes.
It promised a life time of hell to pay on Earth.
He stared down at his watch and counted the seconds out loud. “…two… three... four...”
David scrambled to his feet and ran like the devil was on his back. If I were in his place, I wouldn’t want to stick around to find out what Vincent would do after the five seconds were up, either. I wasn’t even the one who got the death threat and I was scared shitless here.
Vincent watched David run away with an eerie detached expression on his face, and only when he was satisfied about David’s distance that he walked back to me. “Are you hurt?” he asked, crouching in front of me and checking for injuries.
“I-I’m o-okay.” My voice trembled, betraying me.
“Don’t worry about him. He’s not going to bother you anymore. I’ll make sure of it.” He promised me in that business-like tone he used when he had to deal with pesky problems of life.
“T-that’s okay, you don’t really need to. You already scared him to death. I don’t think he’ll try anything again.” I mumbled, rubbing my wrist absent-mindedly.
“Do you know that guy? Or did he just randomly choose to assault you here?”
I glanced away, ashamed. “His name is David. He… erm… he used to be my boyfriend. He’s my ex.” I explained.
Vincent didn’t comment or passed any judgment, but I could see him working out the relationship dynamics in his head.
“He wasn’t always like that. He was nice to me… in the beginning…” I mumbled and stared down at my bruised wrist, feeling like I should justify myself for dating someone like David.
“He is ‘like that’ now. That’s all I need to know.” Vincent stated with a sharp edgy to his voice. “You said you weren’t hurt.” He glanced at my wrist and his jaw clenched when he saw the red marks spread all over.
“I-It’s nothing. I’m fine. I just bruise easily...” I justified and hid my wrists from sight. Then I grabbed the bottle of vodka still leaning against the fence with trembling hands, and took a huge seep out of it. I needed to get back to that invincible, amazing, happiness again, but this annoying tears insisted to keep falling down…
This night was turning out to be the worst night ever.
Vincent let out a loud sigh. He didn’t like me drinking, I could see the disapproval all over his face, but he didn’t have the heart to berate me for it, in the state I was in now.
“Come on, Taylor. Let me take you home?” he asked, prying the bottle gently away from my grip.
“I don’t want to go home.” I sobbed, staring at the ground and wiping at my tears with the back of my hands.
“You want to stay here?” he asked softly.
“No. This party sucks. It’s the worst party in the history of crap parties, in the whole wide world. And the universe too.”
“Got it. Party, bad.” He translated my crazy talk.
Then he stood up and extended his hand for me to take. “Come on, you can crash at my place tonight then. We’ll call your mom on the way to let her know.” he proposed.
“Really?” I took his hand and gave him a grateful smile. “Thanks, Vince! Are you sure it’s okay?” I asked while I wobbled hesitantly to his car.
Vincent was very reserved about his private life and particularly his home. During all the time we’d been hanging out, not once did he take me to his place. I suppose it made sense, I mean, if he really was a teen Bruce Wayne, he wouldn’t want people ambling near his bat-cave.
“Yeah... sure, why not?” he replied as we both slid inside his car. “It’s not like it will get crowded in there with you. You can pick any of the million guest rooms in the mansion.” he joked as he drove off. “Let’s go home, Holmes.”