Something about having photos taken of me in a compromising position again really hurt my soul, knowing they’d be viewed by so many strangers making judgements on me. I’d long come to accept what my mother did to me that night, but sometimes something would just remind me of how fucking used I was, and all the crap it brought me.
I haven’t really stopped crying if I’m honest. I just keep drifting in and out of consciousness, each time to awake to a new comforting face as everyone takes it in turns to watch me.
Tara was here last time I woke up, she said that Jayce had taken Milo and May over to the pool-house for a sleepover, so neither of them were going to come in and find me here accidentally. I had work to do with everybody, but most of all with May.
I wanted her to be ready for that though, I didn’t want to do it like this, I didn’t want her to see me like this. We had fences to mend and this wasn’t the time for that.
Tara fed me soup and Aleah helped me to shower once all the tests were done. I sat at the bottom of the tray for a while but the water only seemed to make me feel dirtier with every drop that hit my skin. I kept trying to fight the voice in my head that was insistent on telling me I deserved this, but it wasn’t exactly a battle I was winning.
I really wanted a drink.
I was now wearing Jayce’s t-shirt and Aleah’s shorts from before she got knocked up, it was stupid o’clock in the morning and I was being woken by the sound of gentle snores from the little brunette next to me.
Turning to my right I see Josh fast asleep, his body on the chair but his head resting against the mattress at my side. This boy is like a toddler; no matter the place or the position, he can sleep. I’m so jealous of him sometimes...
I chuckle to myself as I sweep his hair back, spotting the cutest little trail of drool hanging from his mouth to my pillow. Okay, not cute, actually fucking disgusting but I was trying this new thing where not all of my thoughts were those of an absolute bitch.
I’m sure it wouldn’t last long.
My body was stronger now, although my head was still killing. I reached over to my glass of water, only to find it completely empty.
Should I wake my little rainbow slave?
I seriously considered it for a moment, until he giggled like a little school girl in his sleep and melted my cold as fucking ice black soul. This guy would break some serious hearts if he could just find a way to open his again. I wish he would... the life he has now is good but he just deserves so much more.
Swinging my legs over to the side of the bed I can sense how heavy they still are, but at least I can walk on them now. Taking the glass with me, I try not to let the shorts I’m wearing hit the floor with each step. I really need to eat a few fucking burgers or something, this is ridiculous, even Al has a bigger ass than me now.
The second I open the bathroom door I almost jump out of my fucking skin, Steve standing by the sink about to fill up his own glass in nothing but his tight black boxers staring back at me.
Shit. Now I know how Al felt all that time her and Jayce were sharing this thing.
He freezes when he sees me. The water he’s running fills his glass to the brim and then spills out all over his hands before he realises he’s still just gawking in my direction. It’s funny to see him so distracted by me considering how like crap I look.
“Shit!” He picks up the very full glass and puts it on the side before drying his hands. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
I shake my head at him. “It’s okay, you didn’t. You’re sleeping here?” Looking behind him I can see where he’s been wriggling around in Jayce’s old bed, the mangled black silk sheets telling me his time has been far from restful.
He scratches the back of his head as he looks from me to the bed, his perfect tight abs stretching as he moves. No matter how much I try to hate him, he’s still fucking delicious. “Yeah, Tara said it was too late for me to go back so I should crash... is that okay? I can go if it’s too uncomfortable for you.”
It’s not uncomfortable, it’s actually the total opposite, that’s the scary thing. Being around Steve still makes me feel so safe, especially after today, but I can’t exactly tell him that can I.
“No, it’s fine. It’s not my house, if Tara said you can stay then you can stay.... oh fuck, you’re bleeding.”
He glances down at where he just dried his hands and sees he’s split some of the scabs on his knuckles open.
Crap, he really tore himself up. I go into the cupboard under the sink and pull out the disinfectant along with the first aid kit so I can patch him up.
“Brie, I can do that.”
Yeah, like I’d ever listen to him. “Sit down you bloody baby and let me do it.”
He smirks, the glint in his eyes letting me know he’s missed me berating him. Honestly, so have I. I actually missed so much about him, but I wouldn’t let myself see it before now.
I put some of the disinfectant on a wipe and walk over to the closed toilet he’s sitting on. I reach out to take his hand but pulling back just as quickly. Shit.
“Brie, it’s fine. I’ll do it.” He attempts to pull the wipe from my clutches but I don’t let go. “Brie, you’re not ready to touch people, that’s okay.”
I want to laugh, but it’s just too fucking sad. “I’m ready to touch people, I’m just not sure I’m ready to touch you.”
He seemed slightly taken aback by my honesty but it needed to be said. I remember so clearly the feeling of Steve’s skin on mine, I’ve craved it more times than I can count over the last few weeks, just now that it’s right here in front of me I don’t know if I can do it.
The disinfectant starts to soak through the bandage I have wrapped around my own hand, I dug my nails into my palms pretty hard trying to keep myself conscious in the elevator and it was going to take time to heal.
No. I can do this. “Just, keep still.”
I crouch down in front of him and with shaking fingertips I reach out slowly for his hand, my skin barely coming into contact with his before the electricity erupted throughout my body.
Fuck. He’s my human heroin.
Resting my elbows on his knees, I run the wipe over his bruised and bloody knuckles as gently as I can, I realise he’s shaking now too.
“Does it hurt?”
He looks up at me but I don’t make eye contact, keeping my focus on the hand in front of me and not letting him turn me into the puddle of mush I know looking into those sapphires of his will. Even having his body heat this close to me is proving to be a problem.
“Physically, not really, I’ve had worse. Knowing I’m the reason you can’t look at me right now... yeah, that fucking hurts Brie.”
Hurts me too babe.
Yep, I went there. I can’t let myself forget it, as much as I want to, I have to remember that he picked her. I know he says he didn’t but he didn’t fucking pick me so therefore, he picked her.
He takes a deep breath, resting his other hand under my chin and tilting my face up to look at him. Fuck, why does he have to look like that...? Just looking at his bloody gorgeous face hurts me, being this close to him and not being able to even touch his lips... It makes the butterflies in my stomach develop spikes on their wings that pierce me from the inside out. I hate this.
“Brie, we shouldn’t talk about this now. It’s the last thing you need to be thinking about.”
I know we shouldn’t, but for the first time since we found out about the baby I actually feel calm enough to have this conversation. It’s now or never beaut.
My eyes can’t look away from his and that’s probably a good thing, I want him to know I’m strong enough to do this.
“I want to talk about it Steve. Look, I’m sorry for the way I was after the funeral, it wasn’t okay to be like that with you. I’m calmer now, we can talk about it... Are you happy with her?”
Please say no.
He looks at me like I’ve grown a third head. “Happy with her? Brie, I’m not even with her! Even if I was, I’d never be fucking happy with her. When we were together it was... comfortable, but it was never happy. I don’t love her and I never have... I don’t want her Brie. After I left your house that night I realised I never actually said that; I told you about the baby, I told you about her taking him away from me but I didn’t tell you what I wanted. I don’t want her.”
Is it stupid of me to feel happy about this? It’s not actually good news, if anything it just makes the whole situation more sad. He doesn’t want her but he’ll probably still be with her.
I realise I stopped cleaning his hand a while ago, now I’m just holding it. He realises too, glancing down at where his sits in mine before moving to interlock our fingers. We haven’t been this close in so long, I don’t know when we will be again after tonight.
I have to know. He moves his gaze back to mine and I know if I don’t ask I’ll hate myself forever.
“What do you want Steve?”
There’s a tremble in his lip, the hand he had holding my chin slipping down as I stand until it holds my waist. I step in closer, forcing him to arch his back and crane his neck just to look directly up at me.
“You know what I want Brie. You know what I’ve always wanted.” His view drops from my eyes until he’s staring at my lips and I can’t stop myself sucking my bottom one in-between my teeth. Damn it, I’ve been possessed by the spirit of the horny teenage Aleah that haunts this bathroom.
There’s gentle pressure against my hip where his hand sits and I know he’s desperately trying to fight the urges rushing through him. He wants to pull us in together, he wants to say fuck it, but there’s something holding him back.
“I just can’t lose him Brie, I can’t let her take my son away... I don’t know what to do... I don’t know how to fix this.”
I don’t want him to lose that baby. He deserves to have his son is his life, not raising him from across the country. This isn’t straight forward for him, she’s putting him in an impossible position.
“She wants an answer Brie, if we’re not going to be a family she wants to make arrangements to move over with her sister. I just...” His head drops, falling against my stomach and I see something I’ve never seen before in Steve – defeat. “Tell me what you want me to do Brie. Please.”
There’s only one thing he can do.