Rose Water

Chapter 6

Monday / Mid-afternoon…

"Justin, are you okay? What happened? Open the door," I say as I stand outside the bathroom. My heart is racing and I can feel the uncertainty in my soul. I can hear movement inside the bathroom and I take in a breath as I hear the sound move closer. I stand back a little as the door starts to open, giving the questions room to breathe. Heated air spills out of the door when he opens it and I let my captured breath release.

"I…I umm broke your little cotton ball jar thing," he says as he rambles on and on. I don't hear him; my eyes are focused on the thin line of blood that is barely breathing air on the surface of his skin. He looks at me and tears are hugging him but not easing their grip. He moves his arm a fraction of an inch, out of my sight. "I can buy you another one. I just got a little nervous when you called me and knocked it over," he tells me. I don't need to know the real reason.

"Fuck it," I tell him. I let his eyes follow mine as they travel to his flesh wound. "You sure you're okay?" I ask again. I pick up Gus when he comes running toward the bathroom.

"Yeah, I…I think…I think I should go. Yeah…yeah," he says as he moves past me, pausing just enough for me to know that leaving is the last thing in his heart. "Thanks for lunch," he says. The way he says it sounds final. Any other time I would welcome that distance and finality, but, not with him. I watch him as he walks down the steps, towards the couch.

He grabs his uniform jacket and heads to the door. His movements are quick, purposeful. I move toward him as he reaches the door. Gus is holding tightly to my hair and I move fast to release his grip, moving him a little more to my side.

I slide the loft door open for Justin and when he is almost all the way through it I close my hand down on his shoulder. I feel him quake under my touch. He is like the shifting of the ocean floor, hard to predict… but then again, so am I.

I push back all the thoughts I have in my brain and move on feeling, closing my lips onto his. I can feel him. I feel happiness tap dance through my lips and into my soul. Dive deep.

I release him from our world and watch as he gives a small smile. "Later," I say as I gently guide him out the door.


"Later," I breathe as the door closes on me. I felt his hand on my shoulder and my whole body loss feeling and gained it back again in less than a second. I run my fingers along my mouth, I can smell the blood on my arm, it smacks me back to the real reason I was in a hurry to leave. I reach the front door of the building and push it open. I don't know what happened, I know better than to let myself lose control like that. I just went to the emergency room for losing control like that.

I reach the bus stop and sit at the bench. I see the bus coming down the street and I stand to meet it. I get on the bus and settle into my seat, thinking. I feel a smile creep onto my face when I move around and smell his house on me… him, on me; his lips, on mine.

I watch the scenery fly past the window, blurry and oddly shaped, it's a lovers vision. The bus lurches to a stop and I get off, turning in the direction of my house. 'That was a mighty good adventure,' I think. All except for the last part; I bring my arm up to eye level and inspect it. "Nice one Justin," I say to myself as my house comes into view.

I can see Molly sitting on the porch as I walk up and I notice Craig's car in the driveway. I glance down at my watch and the time shows that it's just past four thirty. I wonder how long she has been sitting here.

"Hey Molly," I say as I reach the porch. "Why are you sitting on the porch? It's hot as shit out here, why don't you go in the house?" I ask. I watch her shift uncomfortably and then she answers.

"Mommy told me to come out here and wait," she says as she looks at me. Her eyes squint as she tries to block out the sun that is behind me.

"Why'd she tell you that?" I ask. I see tears fall down her cheeks and I sit down next to her. "What happened?"


4:00 p.m.…

"Where are we going Craig?" she asks me again. I have avoided that question since she asked it five minutes ago.

"I figured we'd go somewhere new," I say as I drive through the stop sign.

"Where exactly would this new place be?" she asks as she runs her hand behind my head, down my torso and over my swelling dick. I shift in my seat as I push the pedal a little closer to the floor. "My house," I tell her. I feel her hand move away from me.

"Your house, are you fucking crazy?" she asks me. "What if your wife is there? Oh my god, what if your kids are there?" she asks. I grab her hand and place it back in my lap.

"My wife is still at work and my kids are not home yet," I tell her as we get to my street and I pull into my driveway.

We are all over each other before I can get the door open. I pull her with me into the house and close the front door. I can swear for a moment that I hear movement coming from upstairs. I stop and listen as she kisses up and down my neck. I don't hear anything else as we move to the living room, clothes dropping in our wake. We fall over the side of the sofa and our assault on each other continues. Our tongues fight each other for access. I arch my back as I sink into her; Cheater.


4:15 p.m.…

I stare down at the sketchbook and photos in my hands and I feel the walls of my world crumble completely. I place the pictures back inside the sketchbook and lay them on the bed next to me. I bring my hands up to my face and wipe the tears away.

I didn't even know I was crying. I pull in my breath and stand up from his bed, stepping over the ruins of my life as I remember it. It will all be different now.

I make my way to the door and look back into the room. I can see Justin at different ages, different stages of his life… moving through the shadows, not really there at all. I close his door, leaving it slightly open like I found it and I walk toward the stairs. I pause on the fifth step from the bottom, the smells of lust and secrecy billow through the air; Liar.

I walk the rest of the way down the stairs and turn toward the living room. The sight that I see stops my heart, but, strangely I feel nothing but numb. They say that feeling something is better than feeling nothing at all. "Son of a bitch," I say, and it comes out barely above a whisper.

"Shit, Shit…Craig…Craig stop…STOP it's your wife," I hear the red haired woman say to him. I could pull every strand of her hair out of her head. He stills his movements and looks at me. I dare him to move, dare him to speak…dare him to even think to breathe; Caught.


"Are you fucking shitting me?" I ask Molly as we sit on the front porch. I am smoking a cigarette and dabbing at the break in my skin. I can see Molly looking at it but she says nothing, she learns fast. "They are in there right now?" I ask. Molly nods her head and wipes the tears off her face.

"I walked in and saw mommy standing at the entrance to the living room and I could see daddy sitting on the sofa and some lady with red hair was on his lap," she says. "And they were naked," she finishes. I take another pull from my cigarette and watch as the smoke I exhale folds into the fresh air, choking it.

I feel the last seed of hope I had for this family die. The air is suddenly stale and heavy, every minute seems to last for days. I suck my lip into my mouth, tonguing the split that is starting to heal. I pause when I faintly taste Brian on me.

I close my eyes and remember the kiss. When I hear yelling come through the door I whip back into focus. I turn a little, so does Molly, and we stare at the door,



"Whoever the fuck you are, you better have a good reason for buzzing me," I say into the intercom. I depress the button and wait for the mystery person's voice to come blaring back at me.

"It's me, Justin…Justin Taylor," he says. "I was wondering if you would mind some company?" he asks and I push the button to release the door before he is finished talking. I wait by the door as the lift makes its noisy way down and then back up.

I watch him as he steps off the lift, blue jeans, t-shirt and sneakers…sexy. "Hey," he squeaks out. "I hope you don't mind me coming to see you," he says as he adjusts his bag on his shoulder.

"No, come on in," I say. God, I am being so fucking nice. I move back and let him pass me breathing him in as he walks by. I watch as he sits on the sofa after glancing at Gus in his crib. I slide the loft door close and move to sit next to him. "So, do you want to tell me what happened?"

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