Rose Water

Chapter 2

Author's Note: Thank you to Carly for all her help on this chapter.


I can feel the blood as it trickles down my arm with reckless abandon. I open my eyes and the sky is rapidly changing colors, from dark reds to the brightest of white. My head is spinning, spinning without movement. I look down at my arm and quickly realize that I have cut too deep, in my anger and sadness I have cut too deep. I look around and see that I have nothing to stop the flow of blood.

I place my hand over the wound, pressing tightly and wincing at the pain as I rise up onto my knees. "Shit, fucking shit," I say as I realize that I can't stop the blood this time. I push onto my feet and start to walk; halfway there I know that I am not going to make it walking. I sit down on a bench and pull out my cell phone. Thank god I have it. I dial the familiar number and wait.

"Hello," I hear Daphne say. I can hear the gum as it rolls around in her mouth and for a second I forget why I am calling. "Hell...oooo?" I hear her sing-song.

"Daphne, it's me, do you think you can come by Arbor Park and pick me up?" I ask her. "I'll explain later," I add, anticipating her next question.

"Yeah, sure, I'll be there in a few minutes," she says and I can already hear her moving to put her shoes on.

"Thanks," I say before flipping the phone closed. I feel my eyes trying to close and a chill wash over me as I sit on the bench.

"Hey, are you okay?" I hear a woman ask, she has on a long orange coat that for some reason is the funniest thing in the world to me.

"I'm fine," I say, knowing the whole time that it is a lie. I know she is watching the blood as it soaks my shirt and jeans. I know she is watching the small droplets as they join together to stain the cement with my DNA.

I know she can see the old bruise on the side of my face and the blood that is cascading from just above my temple and the wonderfully fresh spilt lip, courtesy of one Craig Taylor. I tuck the offending lip into my mouth and rape the stinging wound with my tongue, more pain management.

"You don't look too good, are you sure you're okay?" she asks again. I start to say something when I see Daphne's car come around the corner. When Daphne stops at the curb I just give the woman a nice smile and a nod before trying to stand and make my way to the car. After the third try I manage to make it to my feet, walking slowly over to Daphne's car and opening the door, the woman watching worriedly.

"Holy shit Justin, what the hell is going on?" she asks. I pull the door closed behind me and take in a deep breath.

"Not now okay, can you just take me to the hospital, please?" I say, looking over at her, my eyes pleading. She nods her head and pulls away from the curb. Mercy Hospital here we come.


"What happened to the kitchen?" I ask as I come in and set the groceries on the counter, avoiding the glass, paper and various other kitchen appliances and utensils that are scattered everywhere. I wait for some sort of answer from Craig but he says nothing. I reach into the bag and get the milk.

Turning to put it away I see the front of the refrigerator; drops of blood decorate the front, not much... but blood just the same. I feel the milk slip from my fingers and hit the floor with a thud, liquid seeping from its belly.

"Craig, what is going on?"

"Me and Justin had a little talk," is all he offers. I look at him with multiple questions stinging behind my eyes.

"What about?"

"This stupid fucking art shit, about him being so weak, about him drawing nude pictures of guys and writing their names in his fucking sketch pads like he is some kinda fag or something," he tells me, slowly and in a monotone voice as if it is the most normal thing in the whole entire world. "But he wouldn't listen, so I had to tell him a little more firmly, in a little more man to man way. I had to put it all into perspective for him," he says as his eyes finally look up and meet mine and I know there is more to the story than what he is saying.

I look back at the blood and then at the slight shine that is glazing over my husband's eyes and for the first time since I have known him I feel a little stirring in the pit of my stomach, not quite fear but the strange tingling that courses through you when you are not quite as sure as you thought you were... the unwanted combination of anticipation and doubt. I force myself to speak, swallowing my anxiety, "Where is Justin?"

"He had to get out and get a little air, I am sure he's fine. He has a lot of thinking to do," he says as he stands up from the table and walks out of the kitchen. I look down at the table and see the sketchbooks, some ripped clear in half lying on the table, soaked in what smells like beer. I back away from the table and search my purse for my cell phone, there are secrets in this room and I want to know them all. I start to dial the number for Justin's phone. The wait seems like forever, I am about to give up when I hear a click and the invitation to leave a voicemail.


I can feel the vibration in my pocket as I sit in the back of the emergency room. I pluck the phone from the dark abyss of my pocket and look at the display. I see the number and am tempted for one moment to answer it but I don't, I shove it back into my pocket and wait for the doctor to come back with the supplies he needs to stitch up my arm.

They were finally able to get the bleeding to stop, so now I am waiting for them to put me back together. Daphne is in the waiting room and I know questions are popping off like bullets in her brain. I straighten up as the door opens and the doctor comes in with a tray full of supplies.

"How did you do this to your arm?" the doctor asks me and I answer him with a nice big dose of silence, I have no intention of telling him my problems and getting sent to some fucking juvenile facility and forced to see a shrink. "Okay, I guess I can take the silence as the clue that you're not going to be talking to me anytime soon," he says as he finishes patching me up. I work my way out and past the nurse's station after he is done and Daphne is on her feet in no time. I have already taken care of the insurance information so we are free to leave.

"So, tell me what happened, and start from the beginning," Daphne says as we are walking out the doors.

I tell her everything, everything except what exactly happened in the kitchen. I am not ready to talk about that yet.

Three hours later we are sitting in the Pittsburgh Museum of Modern Art leaning against the wall beside the abstract paintings. "So, that's everything," I say.

"That's not everything, I know you Justin, and that's far from everything," she says as she pulls her legs up onto the bench and wraps her arms around them. She lays her head on top of her arms and looks over at me. "But, I'll take what I can get."

"Thanks," I say. We hear someone approaching our sanctified area and we lower our voices a little more. "God damn," I breathe as the tall brunette comes around the corner, talking quietly to a tall blonde woman. I know the woman works here, I have been coming here long enough to know that but the brunette I have not seen before.

I can feel the moisture leave my mouth and I can also feel the heat as it travels through my belly and right down to my cock. I let out a small gasp as a shiver flows through me and I hear Daphne let out a little laugh.

"Yeah," she says, agreeing with my unspoken thoughts.

'You have no idea,' I think as the man turns and locks his hazel eyes with mine.

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