Aric stepped out of the bathroom feeling cleaner if not better. He was still unnerved by his attraction to Liberty. What was it about her that made him want her, to need her?
Looking around the room, he saw her kneeling in front of the fireplace burning something in it's grate.
Moving silently forward, he saw over her shoulder that it was the clothes she'd been wearing earlier.
As they melted, Liberty cried, wiping tears from her eyes as she moved things around making sure everything burned.
"Liberty," he said, touching her shoulder.
Crying out in surprise, she scrambled away from him on all fours seeking shelter against one of the armchairs.
"I'm sorry," she hiccuped, looking up at him with red rimmed eyes.
"What are you sorry for?" he asked, squatting down next to her.
"For making you angry," she sobbed, cringing from his outstretched hand.
"What makes you think I'm angry with you?" Aric inquired.
"You dragged back here without a word after...," she sniffed, wiping her nose with her sleeve. "Then you flung me aside before locking yourself in the bathroom. What else am I supposed to think?"
"I'm not angry," he assure her, "just confused."
Rising, he reached down offering her his hand.
Seeing no way to refuse, she accepted it, allowing him to lift her to her feet.
"Sit down," he said, motioning for her to sit in the chair.
Pulling the other chair closer, he sat down across from her, wanting to say something, but looked down at his clasped hands instead.
"Did I hurt you?" he asked, finally breaking the awkward silence.
"No," Liberty said, shaking her head, still not looking at him, but her hand moved to her arm where he'd grabbed her.
"I did hurt you," he said, reaching for her arm.
Liberty flinched when he took her wrist, but didn't try to pull away as he pushed the sleeve of her shirt up to reveal a series of deep purple bruises on her upper arm.
"I'm the one who should be apologizing," he breathed, leaning in to kiss the marks.
Unable to stop, he kissed his way up her arm, moving to her shoulder, neck and finally her lips.
Liberty moaned as her arms snaked around his neck, wanting nothing more than to be his again.
"Stop," he breathed, pulling away from her.
Confusion clouded Liberty's face, her empty arms falling to her sides.
Shaking his head, Aric pushed himself up and left the room, leaving Liberty to curl up into a ball and sob.
Leaving the house, Aric got into his car and drove away hoping the distance from her would help him clear his mind.
"What the fuck?" he screamed out loud as he drove, slamming his hands on the steering wheel.
Driving through the deserted streets of Spokane, tried to decide where to go. Suddenly it struck him, turning south he drove to the bordello's, planning on using every single woman there until he'd gotten Liberty out of his system.