M A B E L
Hayes can’t seem to wipe the smug smirk off his face when we both finally walk out onto the front porch of his house. There’s a freshly lit cigarette resting between his pale pink lips, and his once dead green eyes now have a boyish glint to them when he leans against the wooden post. But he doesn’t keep his challenging gaze on the blue eyed man that stands in the yard, his green eyes flicker over to me– to my chest that is covered by nothing but a pathetic Winnie the Pooh bra. He chuckles lowly before taking a long drag from his cigarette, and blowing it in Hayden’s direction.
“What the fuck do you want?” Hayes speaks, flicking the ashes of his cigarette to the ground.
Charming as ever.
Hayden kicks at the ground with his shoes that I’m sure probably cost him more than his car, spitting into the dying grass with a hateful expression on his tan face. Part of me wants to growl out a few curses to him for showing up here when I specifically told him not to, but I stay quiet, watch him with angry eyes.
“I want to talk to you, Mabel.” Hayden grits out, glares at me over Hayes’ shoulder.
Hayes huffs out a breathy laugh, white smoke being blown from his flared nostrils as he pushes himself off the wooden post that’s connected to the porch, and he walks down the steps clumsily. I cross my arms over my vulnerable chest, the cold air causes goosebumps to form on my arms. There’s a breath of silence between the three of us, and the tension is growing thicker and thicker the longer we stand in each other’s presence.
“I don’t want to talk to you, Hayden,” I lower my head to glare at the wood of the porch. “So go home, and relish in your newly remodeled room.”
He laughs humorlessly, glares at the cigarette hanging from Hayes’ lips before narrowing his eyes at me. I step off the front porch in all my Winnie the Pooh bra glory, stand beside the smoking green eyed man. I can’t help but squint my eyes, shielding my face from the bright sun that beams down onto the three of us. Hayes doesn’t seem affected by it in the slightest, which is honestly surprising since he drank so much liquor I’m shocked he’s even able to stand on his own.
“Are you fucking baked?” Hayden’s eyes widen in astonishment.
This time it’s my turn to laugh, arms still crossed tightly over my chest to hide the embarrassing bra I still continue to wear. I really need to consider buying new undergarments, in all honesty the ones I have now are quite embarrassing, and sad. Nodding my head vigorously to Hayden’s angry question, I wet my lips, can taste Hayes, and the hint of vodka at the peak of my spit-slick skin.
“Like my mom’s homemade apple pie.” I respond with venom on my tongue.
He stares at me with wide blue eyes, like he somehow doesn’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know who I am anymore, and that’s the part that scares me the most. But there’s a scary part of me that likes not knowing, the new Mabel that has surfaced over a matter of days is a façade I don’t ever want to fade away.
“You’ve changed.” Hayden glares– hard, and angry.
“So have you, asshole, now leave.” I spit without any room for negotiation, wanting him away from me as soon as humanly possible.
Hayes smirks deviously, throws an arm over my bare shoulder before taking a long drag from his stick of cancer. I still don’t understand how the man can smoke those things one after another, the smell alone has me wanting to puke up my guts. Or maybe it’s just the insane amount of alcohol I’ve drank within a short amount of time. Hayden’s blue eyes drift lower than my face, down to my vulnerable chest, a muscle in his jaw ticks.
“Nice bra.” He grits out, meaning for it to be an insult as he turns around to walk back to his car.
“I know,” the green eyed man smiles that practiced smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes. “I like it too.”
The rest of Hayes’ house is quite the same as the living room. There’s nothing here really, no photographs to show any evidence of his family in the town over, hardly any furniture. It’s just Hayes and his ratted couch and a large flat screen TV with a crack in the upper right hand corner from where someone had clearly thrown something at it. Everything about him is closed off, like he doesn’t want to let people in, like maybe he’s afraid to. He’s a strange man with even stranger ways, but some part of me can’t help but be drawn to him. He’s different. Most men around his age would be out at pubs, and screwing endless amounts of women. But here Hayes is, a man that spends his days on his ratted couch with a bottle of Jack, and some weed just to clear his head. Part of me wants to know what he thinks about, what makes him so Hayes. But I know he would never even think about telling me how he feels, or what goes on his head because we’re just strangers.
Strangers who got hot and heavy against his window.
“Can I ask you something?” He asked after we had come back inside, and had lounged in his living room.
For some odd reason I don’t know why I didn’t decide to leave, why I still haven’t, I just like it here, it makes me feel as if I don’t have to be the old Mabel, or the new one– I can just be. So I nodded my head, watched intently as he stared up at the chipped ceiling like it was the most interesting thing he’d seen in his entire twenty-two years of existence.
“What’s it like to feel?” He whispered without any emotion in his voice, just emptiness. “You know, happiness, guilt, love.”
I honestly wasn’t sure how to answer his question that seemed to mean so much to him, all I could think about was how I completely forgot what it was like to feel. I’ve been numb for so many days that I forgot what it felt like to love, to be happy. All I could, and still can remember is the pain that I felt when I saw Hayden kiss that girl. All I felt was pain until Hayes had offered me weed, the escape I needed.
But now, now I think I can answer his question, now that he occupies himself in the kitchen at the stove cooking who knows what. Now that I force myself off his probably bug infested couch, now that I tiptoe into the kitchen where he stands with his back facing me, I know I can answer his question after over an hour of overthinking.
He’s cooking Ramen Noodles.
I clear my throat, and the small sound alone as him jumping slightly before he snaps his head around to look at me. Part of me can’t help but laugh softly because of how easily scared he is, but then I remember the abuse he had once upon a time witnessed, and my smirk wipes clean off my face. Sliding onto the kitchen counter, I tuck my hands into the pocket of the sweatshirt he allowed me to borrow. There’s no way in hell I’m going to give this damned thing back, it’s comfortable, and it smells good– smells like him.
Cigarettes and cologne and the faint smell of rain.
“You know, I’m honestly surprised I haven’t kicked you out of my house yet.” Hayes laughs softly, stirring the noodles with a wooden spoon clenched in his rough hand. “You’re the first to be here for this long.”
My brows furrow, sit on my hands to keep myself from fidgeting so much. I have to admit that it’s even strange for me, surprising to me that I’m communicating, and hanging out with someone other than Riley. I always used to be the type of girl to keep to myself, even Hayden had to work to try, and hold an actual conversation with me when we first met. But that’s how I’ve always liked it, to keep to myself so no one else can hurt me.
“Usually I’d just fuck the girl, and kick her out right after.” He mutters, pours the delicious smelling noodles into two separate bowls.
I laugh quietly, rolling my blue eyes before catching his green eyed gaze from across the kitchen. There’s a small, ghost of a smile on his attractive face– one that has me wetting my lips involuntarily.
“Such a gentleman.” I comment.
His small smile grows wider, and he’s walking across the large distance between us to hand me a bowl of Ramen. I take it from him, small fingers brushing against the rough skin of his hand by accident, and I mutter a quiet ‘thank you’. Hayes nods, leans against the counter with his hip before pulling a drawer open to fish out silverware.
“I know, right?” He chuckles, sarcasm dripping from his tongue. “I don’t know how I’ve never been in a relationship, I’m such a sweetheart.”
He tosses me a fork, and I’m too busy gaping at him like a fish to even bother catching it. The silverware drops with a loud clatter onto the surface of the counter beside my thigh, but I’m too caught in his green eyed stare to make an effort to pick it up. My noodles need a moment to cool off anyway, so what’s the point?
“You’ve never been in a relationship?” I’m flabbergasted.
I honestly don’t know why I’m so shocked at this information. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s insanely attractive, or that he’s interesting in every which way. How in the hell could a girl not want to be in a relationship with him?
“Nope.” He shrugs, shoveling Ramen Noodles into his mouth. “Never.”
I make a random, quite noise in the back of my throat before blowing on my steaming noodles, taking a careful bite with the silver fork I had finally picked up from off the counter.
“Wait,” I smile humorously. “Were you one of those popular assholes in high school?”
He laughs loudly, shaking his head, which causes his dark hair to fall over his forehead giving him a boyish look.
“No,” He continues to laugh. “I was actually a huge ass nerd in high school. You know, the typical nerd who attended every Star Wars convention, and read National Geographic magazines in my free time, and watched Bill Nye for the hell of it.”
I choke on my Ramen.
“Did you play with Pokémon cards?” I ask in a weird, throaty tone.
Hayes rolls his green eyes, lets out a dramatic sigh before eating more of his Ramen Noodles.
“No,” he feigns hurt, rolls his eyes once again. “I played Yu-Gi-Oh, for your information.”
A loud, uncontrollable laugh escapes my lips, causing me to spit noodles back into my bowl. Hayes scrunches up his nose at that, a playful smile on his face, and for the first time it actually reaches his eyes, which has me pausing for a second. I stare at the attractive man in silence– intent. He’s beautiful in that rough kind of way, like he’s made of nothing but gravel, and dry ice. Maybe he is, or maybe that’s just what the wall around his heart is made of, but it’s not like I would ever know, because I’m nothing but a girl with blue eyes, and anger issues.
We’re both staring openly at each other like we’re not strangers at all, but we are, and if anyone were standing in the kitchen with us they would have not a single clue. They would just instantly assume we’ve been friends for years, or in a relationship for that matter. But in totally reality, we’re just two adults that are physically attracted to each other, but are not willing to admit it. Well I’m attracted to him at least, I don’t know about Hayes on the other hand.
He clears his throat, quickly breaking eye contact with me by sparing a glance over his shoulder. I awkwardly look down at my empty bowl, scraping the fork’s prongs against the blue ceramic, which honestly makes the awkward tension worse.
“What were you like in high school?” Hayes finally speaks after a little while longer of total silence.
I breathe out a sigh of relief, which of course doesn’t go unnoticed. He chuckles, apparently enjoying my discomfort, and awkwardness.
“Typical goody-two-shoes,” I respond quickly with a shrug of my shoulders. “You know, made perfect grades and went to church every Sunday morning and was in a couple relationships with a couple of people I can’t stand now, Hayden being one of them.”
He nods thoughtfully before finishing off the last of his now probably cold noodles.
“Spent my time playing soccer and every other sport in the book and I was even head cheerleader,” I laugh humorlessly. “Back then all I ever wanted to do is reach perfection, to be the skinniest, be the prettiest. Now I don’t even give a shit anymore, and I know I should, but I just don’t.”
There’s suddenly a change of air– warm, it’s warm because Hayes is closer. He’s so damn close and he smells so damn good and he looks so damn attractive, and rough that I honestly don’t care if I get hurt by him. I just want a taste of him, of the lingering taste of Jack on his lips, of that damned tongue he used to leave angry red hickies on my neck, and collarbone. There’s still the faint smell of marijuana on his sweatshirt that he’s wearing, and part of me feels high all over again, but I know it’s just because of how close he is.
He’s leaning closer in, and there’s a sudden mischievous glint in his green eyes that I now realize has two beautiful blue rings around the irises. It’s strange– he’s strange, but I don’t care, I like strange and rough and green and the taste of Jack Daniel’s. I start to reach up, to touch the little scar that stretches over his dark eyebrows, but my fingers hesitate when I notice the way his eyes darken. The silver piercing in his lower lip catches the artificial lighting of the kitchen light over us, and I can’t help but stare at it for a millisecond, wanting to feel it scrape against my own lips. I force my fingers forward, thumb touching the tiny scar, a scar where it looks like he had a piercing there as well.
I raise my head, lips so close to his, and my eyelids begin to close when I feel the slight brush of cold metal against my wet lips. But then he moves his face to the side just as I lean further up to kiss him, to taste his lips, and then I feel him smile devilishly against my cheek. An aggravated groan escapes my lips when I realize he did that on purpose, and my fingers creep up into his hair just to tug lightly as a punishment for leading me on. Though when a low, barely audible groan passes out of his mouth, I know it’s anything other than a punishment to him.
He enjoyed it.
“Asshole.” I grumble, pushing him away even when part of me doesn’t want to.