Chapter 23: Soft Touches
“Rage!” Iris’s voice comes from somewhere far “Please, Rage.”
The hurt in her voice brings me to. I snarl and stop hurting myself, trembling with the effort. I focus my eyes on her and she is crying. I take one step back. I should have never brought her in my room. She doesn’t want to be there, lock up with a fucking mess. I remember that day back in the parking lot. She said I smelled bad and she fainted. No one would ever like me. I am a freak. I am dead inside and I am rotting and she can smell it on me.
“Please, Rage.” she implores again “Please, do not do this to yourself. It pains me to see you in pain.”
My eyes widen. There is not fear in her eyes, no disgust. Just pain, hurt. With great effort she moves to the bedside table and grabs the plate with the sandwich.
“I am going to eat, Rage. I just waited for you to eat with me. I like eating with you. That’s all. But if you want, I will eat. Just stop, please.”
I lean my head to the side and study her. I can’t fathom the meaning of her words but the smoothness of her voice sooths me and keeps the Hellhound at bay. Her cute little mouth opens and she takes one small bite with her pearl teeth.
“I’ll eat with you.” I say.
She swallows the small bite and turns to me. And smiles. Fuck those smiles but they turn me inside out. I open the door and yell at Wood to make me something. Minutes after he comes in and hands me the plate without even looking at Iris. Good. That fucker was the one working with Iris, helping her out and I didn’t like it. Luckily, he is a thrall that knows his place.
I take the plate, I sit on the bed and take one bite. She does the same and we eat in silence just looking at each other. After we are done, I make sure she takes her pills and help her down. Doc said she had lost a lot of blood and she isn’t to get out of bed for at least a day.
“The bandages need changing.” I say when her head hits the pillow.
The Doc said as much. He said that they need to be changed at least three times a day but I can’t...I’ll touch her. I can’t touch her, she’ll be hurt.
“I can call Ava to do that.” I get up and away from the bed.
“You...You don’t want to?” she is barely audible.
I bite my lip. Changing her bandages means touching her, applying some cream Doc left me for her back, my filthy bloodied hands on her wounds. I will hurt her, make her cry. But her eyes plead to me and I am a goner. I will do it if she wants me to.
I get up and go to the bathroom to wash my hands. It is still hard for me to believe that this is still my bathroom, all clean and white, without blood stains and black filth everywhere. I look at my face on the new mirror. I can do this. I can touch her without bringing her any more pain. I throw some water on my face and I go out the room. Then I realize she needs to take that t-shirt off. I was in the room when Doc took care of her and it took all my will not to break his arms as he touched Iris and clothed her. The realization that I will touch her naked skin makes my dick twitch. Fucking psycho! I scream in my head for thinking about her like that.
“I think Ava should come.” I say in terror.
“You are not going to hurt me.” she reads my mind.
I hesitate for a few seconds but then move to the bed and she rolls on her chest, her eyes on me. I swallow hard and sit by her, sliding the sheet down her waist, barely touching her. Then I hook my fingers at the edge of the t-shirt and roll it up to her neck, revealing the extent of her wounds that spread almost to her whole back. I let out a growl upon thinking what she has been through. As I pull the t-shirt up, she moves to allow it to roll over her belly and chest.
I try to focus on the job at hand but my eyes get a glimpse of her breast as she lays back on the bed. It is full, round, white, perfect. I shift on the bed adjusting myself in my jeans that suddenly feel uncomfortable. What kind of psycho gets excited upon seeing the naked flesh of a tortured girl? I grind my teeth and I focus back on Iris.
I start ungluing the tape that holds the bandage in place as softly as I can. The moment my fingers touch her skin, the little hair stand up. Iris is scared of me, I am making her shudder with fear.
“Am I hurting you?” I utter.
“No.” she inhales sharply.
I take the bandage off and it is my turn to inhale. All my excitement is gone and anger rises quickly in its stead. Her back is an open wound with lashes tearing up her skin, still open and fresh. Every inch is inflamed, red and swollen, marred with long lines of torn flesh, a map of pain on her soft skin.
“Fuck.” the growl coming out of my mouth shakes the windows of the room “I should have killed the bastard with my own hands.”
Her whole body shifts on the bed and my focus turns to her. She is looking at me almost ashamed of her wounds but with a steel determination I didn’t expect to see on such a fragile thing.
“He is gone. After all, I’ve had worse.” she struggles to smile.
My hands tighten into fists and I am almost up going to Zhang and finish what I have started with Daultrey.
“He...has done this before?” I stay put.
Iris looks down for a while but I wait. She then looks at me with eyes glistening with ready tears. I open my mouth to say something, to comfort and soothe her but nothing comes from the fucking mess that is in my head.
“For years.” she mumbles “Till he got tired. He then would let me heal. And he would start all over again.”
I dart up and pace up and down the room forgetting that she is laying there with her wounds open. My Iris has suffered in this man’s hands. Years! For fucking years. I breathe heavily through my nostrils and I rub my head to keep the Hellhound at bay. It screams and scratches the back of my skull to be unleashed and show that fucking bastard how it is to suffer for an eternity. My mind races with the things I would do to him and I let out a manic laugh.
She is looking at me softly. I pause and the Hellhound retreats as if those grey eyes are the greatest threat it has faced.
“It’s OK, Rage. You are here now and I am safe.”
“No one will ever hurt you.” I promise and go back to her taking all I need for the change.
She falls back on the mattress with a sigh as I apply the cream on her scars. I go over each one of them, careful not to hurt her, tracing her wounds with my fingers. For a while all that is heard are our breaths both even but heavier by the minute. Not even once does she flinch away from my touch, not once does she show she is hurting. That little girl laying on my bed looking like a porcelain doll is stronger than she lets show. She has suffered more than anyone should ever have and she is still a caring, loving person.
“It’s done.” I tell her as I tape the bandages down.
“Thank you. Your touch is so soft.”
I look at my hands. They are rough by riding a bike, big and coarse. I never thought there was anything soft on me. Inside and out. Slowly I grab the hem of the t-shirt and pull it carefully down. As I do, my fingers traced her skin on her sides down her waist. She stops breathing and so do I as long as that connection lasts. When I withdraw my hands, I feel an immeasurable pain to be deprived of her touch but I know that it can’t last. Shouldn’t and wouldn’t last.
“Rest!” I order again.
The sun is setting and the night is upon us. She needs to rest, to get her strength back, be the girl she always is. My Iris.
“Are you staying?” she asks.
“You want me to?”
“I want you to.”
I go to the wardrobe and grab the roll I have with me on the runs and a pillow. I throw the roll on the floor, unroll it by the bed and I sit on it. I place the pillow under my head and turn to her. There is something intense in her eyes as she is looking at my whole body, examining every bit of skin and it is as if I can feel her touch on me. The excitement that was vapored when I saw her wounds comes back flooding me and my dick demands release as my balls tightened. I panic thinking that she will see my erection and shift uneasily.
“I am so sorry I drove you off your bed. Maybe I should go back to my room.” the bed creaks.
“Don’t you fucking dare.” I bark and all movement stops “I am not letting you out of my sight, Iris.” I look at her sullenly and expect to see her scared at my angry voice.
“If you say so.” is her reply and she gives me a faint smile.
I lay on the floor and turn on my side to look upon her. Her long lashes flutter and then she shuts her eyes. Exhausted as she is, she falls asleep instantly, her lips part a little as she breathes. As for me, looking at her cute face, her white skin, the long lashes almost kissing her cheeks and her ebony hair on the pillows I know that it is going to be a long, sleepless night. But for the first time in my life it is for a good reason.