Chapter 58: Sweetest
The water was running.
He felt like he was swimming in air. Or maybe he was flying. Or falling. He also felt like he was being watched. He could feel the eyes all around him. They were pretty blue eyes, and they looked through him, and into him. It was like he was being held safely in a warm blanket.
Who was Lucas?
Here there was no pain when he thought of it. Here he could wonder about it all he wanted. However, there was no answer for him in this place.
When he realized that, he struggled. He tried to free himself of it, but it was hard to shrug off. The more he struggled to surpass the feeling, the more it hurt.
And that blue-eyed watcher faded into the background of his mind.
Slowly, very slowly, X started to see gray. And he heard the water running.
He was in a bed. A small bed. With railings.
As his eyes came into focus, he saw that there was someone else in this small room with him.
She was standing at the foot of the bed. Her back was to him and her long black hair was all the way to the middle of her back. He couldn’t tell if she was wearing anything so he tried to look away.
He twisted his head to the side and saw the door. For a brief second he had a terrible dread that the door was locked. Against his better judgment he felt his pulse start to race and his breath quicken.
There was a snake.. He remembered the snake, the mahogany haired snake, and she bit him.
X lifted his hands and he felt thick bandages across his middle. He couldn’t feel the skin underneath – everything felt delightfully numb.
He slowly turned his attention back to the girl. She had the water running. He could just see the side of her face in the reflection of the mirror over the sink. And she was not naked.
She had on a pair of underwear and a tank top. She was washing her hands and arms. She wet a paper towel and wiped at speckles of blood that were on her face.
Then she wiped her eyes. She pulled off a layer of paint that had hidden her from X and he finally saw who she was.
“L-Lenora.” He croaked. His voice was dry, and he coughed. It hurt deep inside and he felt everything constrict.
“Shh.” She murmured to the sink.
When he looked over again, she was gazing at him from the mirror.
“Lenora. I didn’t.” X felt his eye twitch.
Don’t say anything stupid. You know what you were doing. You knew it at the time too, don’t fool yourself.
“Shut up!” X reached up to cover his eye. “I can’t talk to you, stop talking to me. Stop, stop...”
Each breath now felt like there was a razor blade hidden under his skin. He tried to breathe shallowly. He felt a rush and then a recession of anger, a confused jumble of feelings licking over his skin. He felt like there was a coat of sludge on him that he wouldn’t be able to get off. X, in that moment, tried to scrape it off of his arms.
“Shh.” A hand touched his arm.
X’s eyes opened.
“I’m sorry.” He croaked. His eyes started to blur, and in a panic he wiped at them. He expected there to be red in his vision, he expected there to be more anger. He expected to feel that rush…
But her hand was still touching him. And his hand came away wet.
“Shh. It’s all right, X. It’s all right. You’re safe now.” Lenora slowly reached out to his face, and he let her. She brushed some hair from his eyes, and she smiled at him.
He felt the racing of his heart calm. The fire in his blood cooled to an ember. He looked at her.
“My - “ He started.
X reached out and touched her face. His hand came away with blood. But when he looked, he already had blood on his hands.
As he stared at himself, Lenora quietly returned to the sink. The water still ran. She continued to clean off her face, and she slowly got dressed.
“I don’t have friends.” X said.
“I’m your friend.” Lenora said.
X dropped his hands back down and he stared up at the ceiling. “My sweet friend. Sweetest.”
Lenora didn’t respond. She was tying up her hair. For a minute he stared at it. He was afraid it would change.
Everything changes. You change. You’ve changed. Haven’t you?
“I don’t know.” He muttered.
Lenora turned to look at him.
X closed his eyes. “I would....” He chuckled, then winced.
He felt her hand on his arm, and he pulled it away. He couldn’t look at her. Not again. He couldn’t.
“X?” He heard her voice as if from far away.
“I would... I would give you anything.” He mumbled. “Why? Why.” he took some slow breaths. His eyes tracked to an I.V. Bag hanging beside him. He must be on drugs.
“Why don’t you get away?” He croaked.
Lenora was very quiet. Quiet for what seemed like a long time. For a hitched moment he thought she had disappeared, but when he turned his head, she was still standing there.
“Everything turns to shit. Everything is shit. I break things.” X confessed.
Lenora looked away, into the mirror and then back to X.
He could pick out the differences now. Between her and that woman. The other woman had been a fake. An illusion. She had been taller for one. And her hair had looked shorter. But was longer. Her teeth had been longer too, and her eyes had been snake eyes, and her skin had been covered with scales.
No wait. Wait.
Lenora was.... Lenora. She was beautiful. She was real.
“Because you were there for me.” She touched X’s arm again, and he didn’t move away. “And I haven’t broken.”