Weeks later, Perion was with Blaine again, as usual. They were both sprawled out on his bed languishing through a heavy cocaine buzz. They had just put away a few lines and were readying for the high. Blaine noticed that Perion was very quiet and morose, usually she bopped up and down until she wound down like a clock.
Blaine looked at her from the corner of his eye. She was so very sad and lost. “Perion, what’s wrong?”
“You know when Lein grabbed me that night at the ’Lane?” He simply nodded, then she continued. “I...I, oh dear God, he threw me out,” she wailed in tears, as if finally realizing what had happened for the first time.
“I’m glad he did, Peri.”
“How...how can you say that? How,” she wailed.
“Because he never understood you in the first place, did he? He never understood why you felt like you did. He never wanted to. But I do, Perion, I always have. When this whole thing first happened, I ached to come to you and hold you, but I couldn’t. You wouldn’t let me come near you, nor would he. I was breaking down, too, Perion. Every day, I was breaking; just like you, from the start. I realized you could’ve died, too. And I never could’ve lived with myself, especially after the way I dicked you over. I vowed to do what I had to do to get back in your good grace. I vowed to do anything. I think all this happened for a reason, I really do. If you’d just let me back in, Perion, I’d do my best for you. I’d keep you from breaking down, because I know how it feels. I know, because I’m going through exactly what you are, it could’ve been you and I didn’t want you dead. I didn’t want you dead because I still love you. God help me, but I still love you.”
Blaine rose up on one elbow, his hair falling over one shoulder, his face only mere inches from hers. “I tell you everything, from here, Perion,” he told her, patting himself in the middle of the chest where he assumed his heart was located. “What are you going to do? Beg him to take you back, a man who doesn’t get it? Or are you going to stay here, with me, with somebody who knows where you’re coming from because he’s been there, too?”
Perion realized her marriage was irreparable; nothing she and Blaine did would destroy anything that hadn’t already been destroyed. It might make matters worse, but how could it get any worse? Blaine seemed to understand, like he said, better than anyone around her. Even Debi had been brainwashed into believing nothing had ever happened. But she and Blaine felt the pain of the living, pain so severe there was nothing mental health professionals could do to dull it, only chemicals could do such work. What he’d suggested was utterly crazy; they had never been less than a tempestuous match in the first place. All they had in common at the present was their hurt feelings and cocaine habit. Nothing more, but it was one hundred percent more than she had in common with Lein lately.
“I...I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t fucking know anything anymore,” she bawled.
“I do. I can see it in your eyes, everything was always in your eyes.”
Blaine lowered his head and pressed his lips down onto hers. Some of her senses were dulled, but not all of them. She pushed him away. He looked at her in a confused kind of hurt.
“I can’t do this, Blaine, I’m not that stupid, afraid little girl anymore. I can’t let you-”
He cut her off. “And why the fuck not? This man you love so fucking much ain’t here, is he?”
She sat up on the side of the bed. “No, Blaine, no. I don’t care if he’s here or not. I can’t, I don’t love you anymore, if I ever really did. I’m not making that same mistake again.”
He knew, though, that she’d keep coming back for his cocaine, and for a time, that was all he needed of her anyway.