Rose Water

Chapter 17

Pure ecstasy… is blinding. Pure ecstasy… is pain. Pure ecstasy… is pleasure. I want to die wrapped in it. I want to live inside it forever. It comes in many forms, and there are too many to name, too many to experience. Ecstasy is on the edge of the unattainable. It is so far out of reach. It is closer than a breath of air. Not everyone can grasp it. Not everyone who manages to grasp it manages to hold on, but if you can… if you do. Close your eyes… and let go. Exhale.

Clothes are on the floor. Clothes are on the sofa. Clothes are on the steps. Clothes are on the bed. Clothes are on… the beam? Wow, we must have got a little too excited. My back is crushing into the duvet, clinging to it. It is almost a part of me. I hear nothing, nothing at all.

Justin has a need for control. I let him have it. I let him release his feelings, his questions and his answers onto me. He trails his tongue down my body and I grasp his hair, pulling slightly to increase his pleasure and numb his pain. He takes me into his mouth and I bite my bottom lip. Flesh against bone.

I lose myself in the sensations. He releases me from his heated confines and I hold back the moan that threatens to escape from between my lips.

He follows the trail of cooling saliva that led him to my cock. He follows it back up my body until his lips rest against mine. His hands are grasping at my shoulders. My hands are trailing up and down his back. Our tongues are searching, prodding, pushing… pressing into each other.

He sits up, legs on either side of me. He says nothing. I say nothing. He smiles and moves back a little. Our pulsating muscles are resting on top of each other, wanting release.

I want him to grab the condom and the lube. I want him to slide the condom on me and let me fuck him. I want to release inside of him. He has other plans. He needs more. He wants more. He leans forward and kisses me, soft and deep. He sits back up and places his fingertips on my shoulders, firmly smoothing them down my arm with just the right amount of pressure. My nerves twist and coil as he moves along, teasing.

He repeats the action and my cock responds, straining to touch his welcoming hole. He moves back further. He trails his fingertips down my torso, adding nails to heighten the journey, further the experience. I shiver as he lets his hands reach behind him and continue the motion over my thighs, down my legs, pass my calves and back up again.

He lifts up completely, moving off of my body and nudging me. He wants me to roll over and still we say nothing. I comply.

He reaches over to the nightstand, opening the drawer. A shudder runs through me as I feel a cool, thick liquid hit my skin. I feel his hands, warm and welcoming, running along my back, coaxing my muscles and begging them to relax. I can smell the skin-warmed oil as it coats my body. It smells like fruit, and then I feel his tongue.

He is sucking on the back of my neck and I can feel my pulse respond. My heart is racing. He kisses down my back, stopping to place a kiss on every vertebra. I moan, soft and low. I am leaking steadily, soaking the sheets. He knows it, and he takes his time. He shifts his body again, rising up and giving me enough room to turn over.

I flip onto my back and hiss as our cocks bump into each other again. He smiles down at me as he slowly starts to move his hips. A rush of heat flushes through my body as I feel his pubic hair graze my leg.

I move my hands up his thighs, planting them on his hips, stilling his movements. I hold him there, suspended in motion and wanting. He is breathing hard and deep… panting… waiting. So am I.

I breathe deeply, pushing my orgasm back down. I watch him. He is doing the same. He is desperately trying to calm himself. He is trying to steady his nerves... bury his anticipation. So am I.

I hold his hips and turn us over in… one… fluid… motion.

I bring my lips to the flesh of his neck, bypassing his parted lips. I want to explore inside his mouth. I want to taste his tongue. I want to press our lips together until they bruise… but I hold back. I suck on his vein, crushing his pulse and claiming it as mine. I stay there for what seems like hours, devouring the delicate skin.

I lick over the heated surface, cooling it slightly before heating it again. I move down his neck, licking and kissing. He is moving beneath me, arching up to places unknown. He is completely reckless. It's sexy. I pause, and he comes down from his high long enough to wonder why. I smile against his chest as a small whimper escapes from between his panting lips.

I work my way down his body, licking the pre-cum that is pooling at the head of his throbbing cock. He is hard and ready. I let the sweet taste coat my throat and burn into the tissue inside of my mouth. It's like nectar, but sweeter. I move down to the inside of his thigh. The flesh is more heated here, porcelain white and in need of attention. I lick… I kiss… I touch… I blow air on the seemingly smooth skin. Justin is swimming, drowning.

I worm back up his body, pinching his erect nipples and biting at his skin. He tastes like fruit, the residual effects of the massage oil. It transferred onto him. I capture his lips in mine, finally giving into the desire to join my lips with his. The kiss is infinite. I bite down on his bottom lip and he bucks into me. I feel his hands press into my back.

I move my hand up and down his body. The beat of his heart is melting into me. I trace his lips with my fingers as I look at him. He opens his mouth and takes my fingers in, sucking rhythmically. He gets them wet. He coats them. He pants. I want him.

My cock is throbbing as he sucks. I remove my fingers and trail them over his body, moving his legs further apart as I place my finger at his waiting hole. He shivers. I circle his hole before pressing forward and breaking through his barrier.

He wants to move but I hold him still. I feel his insides, slowly moving my finger in and out as I watch the colors of his eyes change from crystal blue to heated cobalt.

I add another finger and he groans deeply. I reach over and grab the lube and a condom. I place them on the bed next to his head and add another finger. I release my hold on his hips and let him move. I let him wiggle. I let him buck up and thrust into me as I move my fingers inside of him, and then… I stop. He is arched up off of the bed and I am smiling. His eyes are closed and his bottom lip is rolled into his mouth, held in place by his teeth.

I reach for the condom and the lube and he turns his head to suck on my arm. He is sucking on my arm and I let him. My eyes shift from the lube and condom in my hand to his lips as he works on my skin. I can see the bruise already forming there. I move my arm, reluctantly. His eyes lock on mine. He smiles.

I open the condom and slowly roll it onto my leaking cock. I take the lube and squeeze it onto his hole. Justin moves a little from the cold before settling into the duvet again. I squeeze some of the lube onto my cock and press it closed. I grab his legs, pulling him closer to me. His legs are resting in the bends of my arms and I spread him wider. He is breathing hard. So am I. I place my dick at his quaking hole… and press forward.

He gasps and I stop, giving him just a moment. He needs to relax. I need to wait. He lets out a rush of air and wills his body to release. I feel myself slide forward and before I know it I am flat against him. I move back out and pause before pressing back into him again. We are timeless… limitless.

He is hot and tight around me, holding me firmly inside of him. We move together, dueling for dominance in the race to release. I move my arms and let his legs go. I can feel the sweat pooling on my skin, I can see it on his. I lean down and take his nipple into my mouth, sucking deeply as I thrust. His hands move around to the backs of my thighs, pulling me closer and urging me deeper.

My heart is racing. I fall on top of him, pacing myself and backing up from the ledge of the building. We steady our breaths together. He brings a sex shaken hand to my shoulder, kisses my lips and pushes me over. I settle into the sheets. He straddles my legs and licks my jaw. My condom encased dick is squealing for release.

He kisses along my jaw, down to my ear, taking the lobe into his mouth. He lifts up and carefully lines himself up with my cock. I hold him steady, one hand on his hip and one on my cock as he sinks down onto the hard shaft.

The breath he releases in my ear is warm and stunted. He sounds beautiful. He bites down hard as I push up and into him. My hands fly up and grasp his arms to help level out the pain. He lets my lobe go and sits up, wincing from pain and pleasure. I hold onto him. He steadies himself and starts to move. He rises up and down on my pulsating pole, milking my orgasm from deep within the confines of my body.

I roll my top lip into my mouth and bite down. He is moving, fast… hard and steady. I can feel him gripping and releasing me. He slows down as I thrust to meet his movements. His cock leaks pre-cum onto me. It escapes from his slit and mingles with my pubic hair. I run my fingers through it and press them to his lips. He opens his mouth and I slide my fingers inside. He licks down my fingers and through my palm, coating my hand in his saliva.

I move my hand from his mouth and encase his dick. It is warm. I slide my hand along the length. He pushes down harder. He is more determined with every thrust. I feel the vein in his dick pulsate and then erupt, coating my chest in his seed. He leans down, licks a trail through his fresh cum, and takes my lips into his. I can taste his seed on my lips, in my mouth, over my tongue and down my throat.

Eternities later I follow. He leans forward and bites down on my bottom lip as I come. He bites and sucks, working the soft skin between his lips and tongue. I kiss him. He kisses me. He pants into my mouth as his heart tries to slow down. He whimpers into me as I press my ass into the mattress and gently pull on his legs, raising him up and allowing myself to slip free.

He moves off of me and rests his head on his pillow. I hold the condom and slide it off, tying it quickly and tossing it onto the floor. He sighs and I reach over to grab a cigarette off the nightstand. I light it and drop the lighter onto the bed. I feel Justin's fingers on my arms. I take a deep drag and blow the smoke out as I turn to look at him. He smiles at me and I kiss his temple. There are no words.

I look back at the ceiling and in no time I hear the soft breathing that is Justin sleeping. I put my cigarette out and leave the unfinished butt in the ashtray. I turn my body toward his. He is half on his stomach and half on his side, slicked in cum and sweat. I trace my fingers down his body, from his face to his thighs.

The scars from his cuts seem to glow in the post euphoric haze. They stand out like statues, monuments to times gone by. They are erect and strong. The irony is that the event has not passed. The memorials are premature. The battle is not over yet. Justin moves a little and I get up out of the bed and head to the bathroom.

His toothbrush is on the counter. His soap is in the shower. His clothes are in the hamper. His presence in my life is so… palpable.

I grab my toothbrush and brush my teeth before stepping into the shower and letting the heated water wash over me. I wash my hair. I rinse his smell from my body. I rinse his smell from my hair. I rinse his smell from my cock. I rinse his smell from my hands, my feet, everything. I can't erase his smell from my memory. I don't want to.

I turn the water off and step from the shower, walking into the bedroom to get dressed. I put on my jeans, one leg and then the other. I grab a black snap-up shirt and pull it on, snapping it up as I walk to the kitchen. I open the refrigerator and reach for a bottle of water. I turn the cap and take a long drink, swallowing the liquid.

Justin stirs in the bedroom and I hear him moan. It is a well-fucked, satisfied moan. I smirk. He gets up from the bed and walks to the bathroom. I hear the shower turn on and finish the rest of my water. He emerges a few minutes later, a pitch black towel snuggled firmly on his waist.

He gets dressed, jeans and a white shirt. I focus my attention on the campaign I am working on. I am at the computer. "Hey," he says as he comes out of the bedroom and walks into the kitchen, searching for food.

"Hey." He turns to me after his futile search. He walks over to the edge of the counter and taps on the top.

"I'm hungry." I mentally roll my eyes. "Let's go get something to eat," he says with a smile. He walks closer, stopping at the edge of my desk.

"You go, I'm working." He walks over to the door and turns around, walking over to the sofa and sitting down. He picks up his sketchpad and starts to draw. I can be the biggest mother-fucking asshole on the face of the planet and refuse to move, but I decide not to be. I save my work and shut the computer down. "Okay, let's go," I say.

He jumps up and moves over to the door. Off to the diner we go.

"There is no way in this world that you are going to eat all that," I say to Justin as we slide into a booth. He is on one side and I am on the other.

"Yeah I will. I worked up quite an appetite," he says with a small laugh as he eats his food. I look down at his plate and frown before taking a sip of my coffee. We have skirted around all conversation about the doctor for a week. I know he doesn't want to talk about it, I know that, but he needs to.

"Justin," I start. He keeps eating as he looks at me and I can tell. I can feel, that he knows I am about to shift his mood.

"Yeah," he answers as he waits for the other shoe to drop.

"Are you going to go back and see Dr. Jacobs?" He looks at me, the question running through his brain. He stares at me, past me, through me. I can tell by the look in his eyes, he wants to disappear. He is taking too long to answer. "Well?"

"I don't know, maybe," he offers. He puts the straw that is staked through his soda into his mouth. I open my mouth to say something but before I can I hear the bell above the diner door ring. I don't look, I don't need to.

"Hey Brian, haven't seen you in a while," Michael says. "Hi Justin," he adds. They have never been the best of the friends. I don't expect them to be. They are trying to share me and neither one wants to give an inch.


Michael is here. We tolerate each other. Any other word to describe our relationship would be a lie. He sits down in the booth, next to Brian. After my initial response to his greeting I don't say anything. "Where have you guys been?" He asks. Brian answers him and he seems satisfied with what he hears. He is looking at me.

"Did you say something?" I ask. He looks at me a little weird and repeats himself. He wants to know how my classes are going. Fuck my classes. He wants to know when I am graduating. "My classes are going pretty good. I graduate in about three weeks." He nods his head.

"That's great, are you excited?" No, not really. I haven't really thought about it. I go to class in a daze. I don't really pay attention to all that. I am terrified of thinking of the vast expanse of time that stretches beyond the confines of high school. Terrified… and so fucking… ready.

I am supposed to be happy about graduating. I am supposed to look forward to it. I do look forward to it, well, I do and I don't. I push myself through my thoughts and back into the conversation. "Do you want to come with us to Babylon? I am meeting the guys over there," Michael says. Brian looks at me. If you ask him he will deny that he is asking me, silently, if I want to go. I throw the ball back in his court. Brian reads my silent offer for him to choose.

"Yeah, let's go," Brian says. Michael is so happy he almost chokes. He gets out of the booth quickly and Brian follows.

The men are everywhere. They populate every corner. They pulsate with the beat of the music. They are sweating. They are moving. They are heated… ready… and waiting. They are meat to be consumed, and right now, I am one of the cattle.

"Hey," the guys say as we walk up to the bar. They are all here, everyone. Brian leans against the bar and orders two shots, turning to hand one to me. He downs his and runs his hand down my chest as I trickle the burning liquid down my throat. The guys don't see. They are not paying attention to us.

Brian steps up to me, pressing his lips to my ear. "Come on sunshine, let's dance," he says. He takes the glass from my hand and puts it on the bar along with his. He walks out onto the dance floor, trailing me behind him. We are in the center of the room, the center of the world. He props his arms on top of my shoulders and we begin to move.

Sixty minutes later and I am still on the dance floor. Sixty minutes later and I am soaked in sweat, nearly dehydrated, but still moving. Brian is long gone, abandoning me on the dance floor for the sanctuary of the backroom. I push it out of my mind.

I don't know the lyrics to the music. I don't even know if there are any. Its okay, I don't need them. I can feel the music inside of me, or maybe it's the beating of my own heart. I am alone, all alone. Vertical sex.

"Hey, let's get out of here," Brian says as he creeps up behind me. He is back from his romp in the backroom. I am supposed to pretend that it does not bother me. It does. He moves around my body until he is facing me. "How much have you had to drink?" He asks. He thinks I am drunk. I am. I stayed here on the dance floor, blending with the music. Men bought me drinks and I drank them, dismissing the giver at once.

"Not that much," I say. My words are slurred. My thoughts are blurry.

"You shouldn't except drinks from strangers," he tells me. Yeah, well, you shouldn't fuck strangers in the backroom of a club when you have a willing party at home. He snakes his arm around my waist and pulls me toward the exit.

He stops at the bar to say something to the guys. I say something. What am I talking about? We move away from them and when the cold air hits my face my heart speeds up.

Brian slides the loft door open with one hand, holding half of my weight with the other. He slides it close behind us and enters the security code. We move as one, up to the bedroom.

He pushes me down onto the bed and I feel my clothes leave my body. He doesn't lie down right away. He moves around the loft. I hear the toilet flush. I hear the water run. I am in a state of detached consciousness. I see him as he falls into bed, covering himself with the duvet and falling asleep. He does not try to touch me. I fall asleep.

My head is pounding. I get up and move as quickly as I can to the bathroom, emptying the contents of my stomach into the toilet. I brush my teeth and wash my face before coming out of the bathroom and walking over to the kitchen counter. There are two tablets and a glass of water on the counter waiting for me. "Thanks," I say.

"You really shouldn't take drinks from people you don't know," he tells me. The phrase sounds so familiar. Did he say that to me last night?

"I know," I say as I put the tablets in my mouth and swallow all the water that he poured for me. Brian gets up and walks over to the counter. He leans against the stove and tosses some envelopes at me. I look down and the seals of the three schools that I applied to months ago are staring up and me. Brian takes a drink from his coffee cup and waits.

I pick up the envelopes and my eyes settle on the Dartmouth one first, my father's choice. My eyes travel over to the envelope from The Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Arts, my choice. Finally, I look at the letter from Carnegie Mellon University, my backup plan. "You gonna stand there and stare or you gonna open them?" Brian asks.

He moves back over to the dining room table. He has panels and spread outs of his latest campaign littered across the surface. I stay where I am at the counter. "I don't know. If I open them, it makes it real." I grab the three envelopes and move over to the other side of the table sitting across from him. I reach down to the floor, grab my bag and stuff the letters inside. "I'll open them later. What are you working on?"

"The Titus Motor Sports campaign, they have a brake pad that the company is pushing out onto the market and they want a campaign to highlight it, but at the same time they want to draw more attention to their other products." I listen to everything, happy to help and not have to think about any of my bullshit.

I sit with him and help him smooth out the rough edges. "I used to do this in art club," I say. I keep my hands moving, helping him arrange a panel. I grab the logo for the company and try it out at different places on the panel.

"Why'd you stop?" He asks as he watches me work. I have pushed him to the side and taken over. My natural ability for art and design is in full gear and my brain is pooling with thoughts of what to do with the board.

I shrug my shoulders and let out a huff. "My dad didn't like the art club. He said it was too 'gay'," I tell him, throwing my hands into the air and making quotation marks around the word. They should really educate people about the loose tongue caused by too much alcohol consumption. "He confronted me in the kitchen one morning. Actually, it was the same morning when I first met you."

"Is that what happened to your face?" He asks. I pause as I listen to the lift outside the loft creak and moan with its movements.

"You remember that?"

"How could I forget?" He asks rhetorically. I guess you would not be able to forget someone covered in bandages with a bruise on their face and a busted lip. "You looked so…. Yeah, I remember." I smile.

"Well, he had my sketchbooks. They were filled with naked men and shit. He insisted that the art club was to blame, and he got pissed when I told him that I wasn't going to quit. Let's just say he destroyed the kitchen and got a few good hits in on me too."

"Fuck, just because you wanted to draw?" I laugh to myself and glance at him before starting to manipulate the panel again.

"I knew." He waits for me to clarify. I put the paper in my hand down and look at him. "I knew about his lady on the side. I knew, but I didn't tell my mother." Brian just nods his head. "I told him though. When he hit me the second time I blurted it out, loud and clear. You should have seen him. He was so pissed. That's when he really got angry," I say.

My mind drifts back to that day, that time. I shake it off and cover it back up, at least for now. "That's when I started staying over here all the time. I didn't want to see him," I say.

"Do you think he knows you're gay?" Brian asks.

"I think he knows it, somewhere deep down. My mom says I should have dinner at the house sometime. Come by and see Molly. Call my dad," I say.

"Uh-huh, and do you want to see your dad?" Brian asks as he gets up and pours himself a drink. He searches in the kitchen drawer, looking for his new pack of cigarettes.

"They're in the drawer on your left, and I don't know. I hate him so much and then I hear this voice inside of me that screams out to love him. I don't know."

"Yeah well, if he can't accept you the way that you are… I say fuck him." Brian places the drink to his lips and I digest what he said. I want to say fuck him. I want to. The words just won't seem to leave my mouth.

My cell phone lights up across the room and starts to vibrate. I get up to answer it and my brain registers the name slightly after my finger presses the call button. Damn my trigger finger. "Hey mom," I answer.

Brian lets out a grunt and returns to his work. "Hello Justin," she says. I see we are going to act like sugar and spice. Everything's nice. "I was wondering if you wanted to come over for dinner. Your sister is going to be at your dad's. It would just be you and me. We can talk," she says. I know what she wants to talk about. Brian.

I look over at Brian and cover the phone. "She wants me to come to dinner," I say. He gives me a look that says, 'what the fuck are you looking at me for?' I uncover the phone and answer her with much apprehension. "Yeah, I'll come to dinner." She tells me the time and I press end.

Dinner with someone you haven't spent a lot of time with can be an eye-opening experience. It can make you laugh. It can make you cry. It can change the course of your life or make you wish you were dead. It can be the single most depressing event of your life. Pass the bread.

"I have missed you Justin," she says after she hugs me and ushers me into the house. I walk in and sit down on the sofa. "How is… umm, Brian?" She asks. She asks to be polite. She doesn't really want to know.

"He's fine. I told him that you called back while he was in the bathroom and invited him. He really wanted to come but he is getting ready for a presentation," I tell her. He made it quite clear that the last thing he wanted to do was go to dinner at my mother's house.

"Have you heard from Dartmouth?" She doesn't know about the other schools. We move into the kitchen and sit at the table. She made spaghetti, my favorite. The minutes tick by, changing to hours. Half the night is gone.

I sit next to her on the sofa, talking about nothing. It's almost like old times again… and then the illusion is shattered. The front door opens and I stare into eyes that are so much like my own. "Justin," he says. That's all the greeting I get.

"Craig," I answer back. If he wants to play the name game… so will I. He is not pleased with my nerve to use his first name. That… makes me happy.

The parental relationship is special. It is unique. No matter what they do, you find yourself seeking their approval… their love. You tell yourself that you don't care. You tell yourself that you are strong enough to make it on your own. It's all a lie.

"What are you doing here?" He asks. He is standing in the entrance to the living room. I get up and go to stand in front of him. Never show your fear. I am terrified.

"Having dinner with mom, she… still wants to see me."

"I never said that I didn't want to see you."

"You sure as hell acted like it."

"Watch your mouth." Now he wants to act so fucking paternal. It's enough to make me almost obey him. Fuck that. Molly comes in the house, her bag in her hand. My mom didn't say that she was coming home today. Or maybe I just assumed that she stayed with him longer.

"Justin, wow, you haven't been here in forever. I missed you," she says as she drops her bag and wraps her arms around me. I hug her back. This is genuine happiness.

"I've been busy," I tell her. She is talking a mile a minute. I can barely keep up, and then she breaks the sound barrier.

"Where's your boyfriend? Mom said that you have a boyfriend not a girlfriend like most boys. Is he cute? I like boys too. Is he here?" She asks. The questions are rapid fire. I am looking at my father. He obviously does not ask anything about me. All of this is news to him. He probably didn't even ask himself where I was living if I wasn't living at home.

"What the fuck is she talking about?" He asks. Molly looks up at me and she knows, she knows. She just fucked up. I smile down at her.

I look him in the eyes and I can feel my mother move from her spot in the living room. She comes closer and waits. "I have a boyfriend."

"What do you mean you have a boyfriend?"

"I'm gay. I have a boyfriend. I stay at his place," I say, laying out all my laundry. I glance down at his hands. They ball into fists and release.

"Who is this kid? What's his name?" He moves forward again. I move a fraction of an inch back.

"He's not a kid, he's almost thirty," I tell him. He laughs. He actually laughs. He doesn't want to believe it. He shakes his head.

"You're lying. You're not a fag, you're just… confused," he rationalizes. My mouth opens before my brain engages.

"I'm not confused. When I have a warm dick inside me my…." He hits me before I can finish. I should have been ready for it. I can see him shouting but I don't hear him. He turns to my mom and directs his shouts to her. I see her gesture to me but all I hear is ringing in my ears.

I don't wait for anything else from them. I grab my bag off the floor by the bottom of the stairs. I kiss Molly and walk out the door.

I walk and I walk and I walk. The side of my face is burning and throbbing and I walk. I look up and see the bright lights of the diner. I have come so far so fast. I open the front door and walk in, the bell signaling my presence. I look around and see Debbie in the corner serving a customer. I try to move past her but she sees me. "Sunshine, what are doing here so late?" Is it late? I don't know the time.

"Umm, I just wanted to get a cup of coffee." Believe me, please believe me.

"Holy shit what happened to your face?"

"Nothing, it's nothing. I need to use the bathroom." I move past her and toward the back of the diner. I walk through the bathroom door and lean against it closing my eyes, jumping slightly when I hear the water turn on. I move out the way to let the bear out. I ignore his eyes as they roam my body as he walks out.

I walk across the bathroom to the handicap stall, closing and locking the door. I line the seat with toilet paper and sit down. I stare at the wall, at the floor, at my shoes before bringing my hand up and touching the tender flesh of my face.

Blood is warm. Blood is nourishing. Blood is essential. Blood is the most natural dye in the world. It can stain your hands… your legs… your clothes… your soul. The presence of it can stop your heart. Blood is mesmerizing.

I get up off the toilet seat and lower my body to the floor, the dirty, filthy floor of the Liberty Diner. I open my bag and pull out my kit. Brian got rid of my other one. He threw it out. I bought a new one the next day. I couldn't breathe without it. I open the kit and look at the contents. I stare. I stare. I stare. I think of all the things that my father said and all the emotions that I have had over the past few weeks, since the last time.

I move on auto-pilot, coasting through the motions. I sit the kit on the floor in front of me and quickly unbuckle my belt and pants, sliding them down and exposing my thighs. The tiles are cold on my cotton covered ass. I reach into the box with shaking fingers and pull out the scalpel that I took from class so many months ago. I press the tip to the skin on my thigh and the small pinch sends a rush to every nerve. I gasp.

I drag the scalpel over my skin, making small cuts, long cuts, medium cuts and they all feel good. I start to rock, slowly, back and forth. The feeling is heaven. All I can see is red. I move to the other leg, pressing into the skin. The blood is flowing more freely as my cuts get reckless and my thoughts become more jumbled.

I barely see the red as it drops from my body and paints the tiles on the floor. "I loved you." I repeat it over and over again. I don't hear myself.

I move to my arms, one gash then two, multiple injuries. "I loved you." I can't see. My vision is blurry. I feel light headed. More cuts. Reckless pain management.

I don't hear the bathroom door open. My legs are visible under the stall door. The blood is forming a small pool in between my legs. I stop moving. I can't see through the tears. I can't feel… anything. "Hey, are you okay?" I hear a voice. He is banging on the door. "Hey… HEY!"

I hear a sound. Is someone climbing up the stall? "Holy fucking shit." I hear footsteps, running. I hear rushed movements and shouting. I hear banging on the door. I can't see through the pain. Someone climbs the stall wall again. The door is unlocked.

I hear muffled voices and shouts. Utter chaos.

"Don't touch him, all the blood," someone shouts. "He could have something."

"Call an ambulance." My ears perk up. My mouth mumbles.

"No," I breathe out. I am barely audible. "No… hospital," I say. I can't move. "Brian," I whisper.

"No… hospital… no hosp…."

"Brian." Blackness.

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