Rose Water

Chapter 7

Monday 11:00 p.m. …

I have been laying here on my bed listening to my parents fight for hours. You could cut the tension that is swelling in the house with a knife. I run my fingers over my fresh scar from earlier and I wonder again how I could have been so careless.

I push up from my bed and walk over to my desk, grabbing a fresh sketchbook from the drawer and moving back to lean up against the bed. I push the things that litter the floor away with hatred, not noticing the sketchbook that has fallen victim to my mother's snooping hiding in the covers of the now vacant bed, waiting for me to discover its mutiny; Traitor.

I press the pencil to paper and let my feelings take over, emotions and unexpressed desires assault the page and bring the drawing to life. I pause for a moment and focus on what I am drawing; the image that stares back at me eases my discomfort and causes a smile to tickle my lips. I see Brian clearly, his colorless eyes stare up at me from the swirls of granite, asking me to smile, asking me to be stronger than I think I can be right now.

I run a finger over the lips of the drawing and wish that they were real, that they were here, that they were warm, alive and loving…that they were mine. I take a breath and ignore the part of me that is growing harder by the mere thought of the handsome and intriguing man.

Why didn't I take the kiss and use it as my stepping stone? Why didn't I claim the prize that was being so easily offered? I know why, because blood was warming my skin and tearing my attention away from the moment. My addiction to pain and control has become my friend, my crutch.

I jolt my hand to a stop when I hear glass crashing outside my door, so close and so far away. I hear words of anger and hatred, betrayal, lust and desire all mingled together to form one feeling…emptiness.

"No," I breathe. I regret it immediately. I have never seen my father move so fast or so swift before. I close my eyes against the attack that I am know is coming. I feel my head jerk to the side and like a rag doll my body follows, afraid of losing its control. I feel my hands grab onto the coolness of the refrigerator and I take in a calming breath of air.

I turn my body around and open my eyes to the one person in this world who is supposed to love me without hesitation, without reason.

I know now that this is not true, he has no obligation to love me and with that revelation also comes the knowledge that I am not required to love him either…but I do, and it hurts. I watch as he brings his hand up and lets the open palm kiss my face, blood spills from my lip this time decorating the front of the refrigerator door in a modern art masterpiece.

I bring my lip into my mouth on instinct and I feel the blood trace a pattern over my tongue and down into my throat, painting my insides with clarity. Blood is trailing down the side of my face from the first wound and just like the world it feels cold and endless.

"Don't you ever fucking say no to me, do you fucking hear me? Do you understand me?" he asks, his hands are squeezing my arms now, pleading with my muscles. I can smell the liquor that is visiting his breath and I nod my head to acknowledge him.

"Yes," I squeak out. 'Yes to what?' I think. I can't stop drawing its like air, I need it... I want it. I pray for release and when he lets my arms out of his embrace I press my back against the refrigerator door and grasp at stability. I watch him back away from me and when he moves a little more I allow my eyes to mourn the loses of my sketches, so many hours went into them.

The slight movement of my eyes is all my father needs to see. He can since the future resistance and rebellion and like a serpent he intends to strike once and to make this session count. He starts to search through the drawers in the kitchen and my brain is scrambling to try and process what he might be looking for.

I push away from the cold metal and inch toward the doorway. I step on a spatula that has been thrown to the floor and my heart stops. He turns slightly and I am so scared that I cannot see what he is holding in his hand. When he holds it up and smiles I hear love walk out the door; Insanity.

I blink away the scene and stare at my reflection in the mirror. I remember where I am, in Brian's loft, and the anxiety that I feel makes me sick, I need to control it… to feel it. I pull the scalpel from my pocket and drag it across my arm without thinking. The cut is swift and relentless but gentle; Love.

I hear knocking on the door and I quickly put the scalpel back into its sheath and place it back into my pocket. "I…I'm fine. I'll be right out," I say.

I hear another crash and more glass splinters into the argument. I pull my hand away from the drawing and rub my fingers together, granite staining white. I put the sketchpad down and move over to the door, stepping lightly and quietly. I press my ear to the door and I can hear the angry shouts, they sound like they are right in the room with me, the door does little to mask their audibility.


"I can't believe that you would bring her here, to my house and fuck her on my sofa," I say as I throw the crystal he bought me for our resent anniversary. I watch the glass shatter and I see him flinch from the shards as they scatter for cover.

"Jennifer, calm down just let me explain," he starts. I feel the heat rise to my face as his mind forms the words and they flow over his lips. I pick up the glass vase that was his mother's most prized possession and hurl it toward him. I smile inside when it hits the wall and shatters. "Jesus Christ," he yells in surprise.

"You shut the fuck up. You don't get to explain, I don't want to hear your bullshit…your lies," I tell him. I scream it, belt it out at the top of my lungs; Bastard…Release.


I pull my ear away from the door and walk over to my bed, snatching up the small locked box that contains my comfort. I take the box and walk over to the window, slinking down to sit along the wall. I take the key from around my neck and open the box with purpose. I stare at the contents inside the box and slam it close.

I wrap my arms around myself and gently rock, willing the shouting and the fighting to go away. I can feel the walls of my room closing in on me, suffocating me, pressing me in and away from myself.

I open the box and stare again. I see the tears fall onto my hand and I quietly wipe them away. I look up at the ceiling like I am expecting something, like the roof is going to tear off and the answers to all my questions will be visible in the open space.

When I trail my eyes back down I catch a glimpse of my uniform pants, thrown haphazardly across my bed. I move forward and grab the edge of the pants, pulling them closer to me. I reach into the pocket and grab the scalpel. I uncover the sharp edge and watch as the moonlight tickles the metal. I pull my top lip into my mouth and stare at the tip, waiting for something to happen.


"How many times have you fucked her, huh?" I scream. I don't know if I want to know but I know that I need to know.

"It doesn't matter," he tells me.

"Bullshit it doesn't matter," I scream.


I force my vision to block out the tears and I yank my pants leg up, dragging the blade along the fine skin on my leg. I watch the blood as it trails along my leg before I grab a t-shirt off the floor and wipe it away. I lock the box and place the key back in its place around my neck, letting it drop under my shirt. I push up from the floor and grab the box.

I walk over to my desk and grab my disregarded bag, tossing the box inside along with my sketchbook and some pencils. I fling the strap over my shoulder and walk over to my window.

I step out onto the roof and walk along the top for a minute. When I get to the lower portion I slide down on my ass and jump to the ground below. I pause for a moment and wait to see if my movements were heard, they weren't. I take off down the street, my legs pumping fear and oblivion.

I reach the loft and I didn't even have a destination in mind. I press the buzzer, thinking of the time after the act is already committed. "Whoever the fuck you are, you better have a good reason for buzzing me," he says. I swallow a little and for a minute I don't know what to say.

"It's me, Justin…Justin Taylor," I say into the intercom and I immediately feel stupidity creep over me. I could have at least tried to act less nervous and more seductive. "I was wondering if you would mind some company," I add. Maybe that will cut the nervousness in my voice. Before I finish my sentence he is buzzing me up and I feel a little of the pressure stay at the door.

"Hey," I say as I step off the lift. "I hope you don't mind me coming to see you," I offer hesitantly as I adjust my bag. He smiles and moves to the side, letting me pass.

"No, come on in," he says. I can feel him taking me in as I walk pass and I smile a little. I walk over to the sofa, stopping to glance at Gus, and plop myself down right in the middle. I hear the loft door slide close and I know I am trapped in his lair. I feel him slide into the space next to me and I catch my breath. "So, do you want to tell me what happened?" he asks me.


I watch him play around with the answer to my question and I bite my tongue to keep from making him rush. I don't have much patience for bullshit and I have even less patience for it at midnight on Monday after a long day with Gus and the lingering effects of a stiff cock caused by him. I let out a stiff puff of air and take it in again.

"Stop trying to think of some answer that you think I want to hear and tell me what the fuck you want to say, tell the truth. I don't want to hear the politically correct answer that your overactive brain is cooking up," I tell him. I raise my arm and place it in the space behind his head. I run a hand over my hair and wait.

"My father was fucking some bitch on the sofa. My mom was home and my sister walked in on him. They have been fighting about it all night," he spills. I take a breath and look over at him.

"Wow, that's fucked up," I say. I don't understand why the fuck people bother getting married when they can stay single and unattached, avoiding all the bullshit.

"Yeah, it is," he says. I pull my arm from around him and offer him a drink. "Yeah, thanks," he says and I get up to get it. I pour two shots of beam and bring the bottle back over to the sofa, placing it on the coffee table. I down my shot and watch as he slings his back. I feel the side of my mouth rise a little and I can tell that I might have met my match.

"I guess you've had a couple drinks before," I say. He smiles at me and licks the liquor that is tainting his lips off. Electricity jolts through my system and I have to remember to breathe.

"Yeah," he says as he puts his glass down on the table and flings the strap of his bag off of his shoulder.

"You carry that fucking thing everywhere," I say as I pour myself another drink. "What the fuck is in it?" I ask. He opens the flap and pulls out a sketchpad and two pencils, turning slightly on the sofa to face me. I feel my cock get a little excited at his shift in position and I urge it to behave itself.

"My sketchpad and some other stuff," he answers. He opens the pad and turns to a new page, placing the pencils into the right position in his fingers. "I am going to sketch you," he says. I love the way he shifts to certainty when he is drawing, it's almost like two different people.

"It's fucking 1 a.m. and you want to paint my fucking picture," I say. I can't give into him easily and just let him draw me. I watch the pout push onto his face and I cannot suppress the laugh that comes out.

"No, it's 1 a.m. and I am going to draw your fucking picture," he says and I laugh even harder. I have no idea why he makes me laugh but I cannot help myself. "You better stop laughing before you wake Gus up," he says and I do my best to squash the laughter.

"Now, just sit there and be natural he says as he presses the pencil in between his lips and studies me and then the blank page. After a couple of minutes he presses the pencil onto the pure surface and I watch his hand move over the page like liquid. I settle into the sofa's comfort and close my eyes, listening to the swishing of the pencil as it glides over the page.

I open my eyes after a while and I see that he is still drawing, engrossed inside his black and white world. I glance over at the clock and the time reads 2:45 a.m. "Justin, I think I have been sitting here long enough. My ass is falling asleep," I say.

"Sorry, I tend to get lost in my work," he says as he starts to close the sketchpad.

"I noticed," I tell him with a smirk. "Can I see the picture you were so engaged in?" I say as the front flap is almost all the way down.

"You can see it when I'm done," he says with a smile that rivals the darkness in the sky. I see the twinkle of happiness and sadness inside his eyes and I wrap my hand around his wrist pulling him closer to me. I am tempted to speak, to say something but I don't.

I pull him to me and press my lips onto his, sliding my tongue slowly inside his mouth. I feel his tension evaporate into the air. I trail my hands lower, slipping them over his back and into his jeans. I hear him moan into me and I lose all control.

I pull away from him and I see the tears that are falling from his eyes, I kiss his lips again and pull him to his feet, leading him up to the bedroom and laying him back onto the bed. I remove my clothes slowly and then piece by piece I remove his, passion and heat covering the scars and bruises that hitchhike on his body.

I lie down on top of him and trail kisses down his chest and back up again. I feel his body shaking beneath me and I stop to see what's wrong. I look into his eyes and the light that was so bright there seems to dim. I can't tell if it is lust or pure sadness that is causing the shift in hues. I pull away from him and sit back on my haunches.

I smooth a hand along his arm, barely touching his skin. "What's wrong?" I ask him. I wait for his answer and before it comes more tears drain from his eyes. I pull him into my arms and wait for him to collect himself; Confusion.

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