00 | Prelude
“I wish we had more time,” Viktor hoisted himself up, leaving a sweaty imprint on my chest right below the tight fibers of the rope.
Once untied, I rolled to the middle of the bed and, finally, spread my arms wide, covering a few nasty stains and a faint trail of the midday sun. Unwillingly, I caught myself thinking about her again as I was watching Viktor dress up.
The more I tried to eliminate her from my mind, the more she haunted me. I tried to focus, but her hazy face kept on resurfacing, again and again, provoking a crippling tightness in my chest; it always brought out the well-known restlessness creeping out deep from my insides.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Observe.
Viktor was standing in front of the mirror, getting ready to leave. If he hadn’t been such a perfectionist, he would have already gotten ready; but there he was - the same man who fucked me the whole night - still in my room, putting on the beige cotton shirt I gave him last Christmas.
Today he wasn’t as meticulous as usual—I noticed he skipped a tiny luminous button, an insignificant error that has captivated my mind. It might have been meaningless, humorous at best, but today it was everything I could have wished for: the more Viktor neglected it, the more time we got to spend together. I wondered how many people had me as their button, an unused opportunity that brought souls together.
I’m not sure whether Viktor saw my reflection or just felt my observant gaze creeping from behind, but he finally broke the silence:
“What are you thinking?”
“You always say that.”
“Well, because it IS nothing.”
I closed my eyes. Shit. There she was again; this time I could see her clearly, as if she was standing in a broad daylight; her sapphire eyes shimmering brighter than the sun. Why did she have to be so goddamn beautiful? I’m pretty sure she went under a knife. Or didn’t she?
Disobedient as they usually were, my hands began shaking. I didn’t want Viktor to worry about me—or so I thought. No, I wanted him concerned; I wanted him distressed; I wanted him to stay. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t even bother hiding the second wave of excruciating vibration that ran through my body, leaving me nauseous and dizzy.
Viktor was already dressed, looking sharp as always. The luminous button had found its way home and blended in with the others, losing its uniqueness and, most importantly, its purpose. Viktor was brushing his hair so attentively, not a single strand of hair was out of place; the most egotistical parts of me craved the same attention.
Now I was sure he caught my reflection with the corner of his eye—I saw his concerned gaze peeking through the mirror.
“Hey, Bee. You know you’re my favorite guy in the world, right?” Viktor said, his eyes finally observing the mess that I’ve become.
“It’s just another business trip.”
“I’ll miss you,” I muttered.
“Don’t be dramatic. You’re like that fat John’s dog. It wouldn’t stop barking, remember? It just makes me feel so... guilty.”
“I know you love me.”
He was wrong. Bear wouldn’t bark—she would scream bloody murder each time fat John left his apartment. I hated that dog at first, especially when I just moved in. But somehow she grew on me, especially after John had kicked the bucket. Now I could clearly understand her; I felt like I’ll do the same once Viktor leaves.
“Come here, gorgeous,” Viktor uttered, still holding the hair comb in his hands.
I submerged my entire body into the blanket. I didn’t want to see him leave. Don’t leave.
“C’mon. Kiss me,” he added.
I wanted to say that I loved him; I wanted to ask if I could go with him, but I couldn’t; there was an enormous lump in my throat and it kept on growing each time I thought of him abandoning me.
“Don’t catch a cold, dress up,” Viktor kissed the blanket where I had buried my head.
I couldn’t even say goodbye.
“See you, Bee.”
As Viktor was leaving through the door, the only thing I could utter was: