Blood. There’s so much of it. A metallic taste fills my mouth as sharp pains shoot down my arm. Rage builds up in my chest. My body is hot, or maybe the room is too hot. It’s probably both. My surroundings are blurred with warm tears.
“I'm sorry,” I say to no one,“Im sorry, I’m so sorry.”
And then the screaming starts and I have no control, I can’t seem to stop.
The door bursts open. I have no idea who walked through the door, but I can’t stop. Large arms wrap around me and my screams start to get quieter. My throat raw, I scream till nothing but a whimper comes out. Shoulders heaving, I can see blood all over my clothes. The pain slowly starts to creep in. My eyes close from exhaustion, physical and emotional. I feel the arms holding me move around my body to get a grip of my now limp body. I feel myself being lifted up in the air and then laid on the bed. Feeling him leave, I try to open my eyes enough to see who it is. I don’t want to be alone. I see his large figure walking out of the doorway to mine and Blake’s room. I’d recognize his large figure anywhere. Elijah. His hair looks freshly cut as he walks back into the room smiling at me, not a single ounce of judgement in his eyes. In his hands he has paper towels, peroxide and bandages.
He looks on the floor for the source of my current suffering and when he finds it, he turns and throws it in the trash can by the door. I smile at his broad shoulders, in his usual sweatpants and baggy thermal long sleeve shirt. He turns back to me and kneels on the floor by the bed. Taking my arm, he starts to clean me up. Knowing I’m safe with him, I start to drift off, but before sleep can take me, I whisper one last time.
A few hours later, I slowly start to stir awake. I feel warmth wrapped around me, and for a moment I think it’s my husband, Blake. I turn my head up expecting his lips to meet mine, and when lips touch mine, I know they aren’t his. Opening my eyes, I see Rebecca as she starts to caress my face.
“It’s okay. Shhhh. Stop your crying,” she coos as she wipes away the tears on my face that I didn’t know were there. More tears begin to flow as my anger rises again. Of course Blake isn’t in this bed. He’s in a different country thanks to the military, and he won’t tell me where, even though he can. In fact, I could have gone with him. The military would have allowed it if he didn’t fight it on every turn. He wanted to explore the world on his own. I cry knowing I won’t physically see him for 11 more months. I cry for the picture I received hours ago. A picture to destroy marriages, which was most likely its intent. I cry for the phone call from Blake that happened after. Of his accusations because he was doing wrong. I cry for the mistake I made: marrying the man who never picked me. I cry for the control I lost. Reaching for my phone, I pull up the picture and show it to Rebecca. The picture shows a a man and a women seeming to be in deep conversation in a poorly lit bar. Both leaning into each other, close enough to kiss if they wanted. The man’s hands rest on her legs, one on her knee, the other under her skirt. Her mouth hanging open as if to say something or to show the pleasure I’m sure she feels. The man...my husband, his face is set in a look of excitement. Determination. Clearly, he had no clue the picture was being taken, and I have no clue who sent it. But it confirmed all my suspicions.
“Elijah called me to watch over you for a few hours. He didn’t know what was wrong, but he cleaned you up and stayed till I got here. He will be back later.” She hands me my phone back.
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” I sigh.
“You can’t stay with him!” sitting up in the bed, she looks down at me.
“You can’t keep letting him hurt you. You let him take away your dream to join the military, you let him take away your want to go to school, you let him take away your friends,” she says still wiping my tears away.
“I didn’t LET him do anything...these were all my choices,” I say swatting her hand away.
“He manipulated you into those choices,” she exhales. Looking at me, she gets out of the bed.
“Let’s go do something. Federal House?” she smiles changing the subject
Our favorite bar. Looking down at my bandaged forearm, I roll my eyes.
“I need to change.”
After an hour I’m wearing a dark blue sheer, long sleeve shirt and bright white shorts. Good to cover my wounds and thin enough to not get hot. I wear my long curly hair down, and throw on a bit of makeup. Not trying to impress anyone being married. We take my car and as I drive she sends a text to Elijah, letting him know that she convinced me to go out. We pull into the parking lot and as I’m about to get out of the car she stops me.
“Should we take off our rings?” she whispers.
Not even knowing she was given a ring, I slide my ring off my finger and put it in the cup holder. She does the same and we rush into the bar. The music is loud and the floor is covered with drunken dancers. I don’t hesitate, letting the music get under my skin. My hips start to move and I pull Rebecca to me, moving her hips with mine. She smiles putting her forehead to mine. She winks at me right as someone grabs my hips and starts to move with me. I turn my head up to see who is now all over me, and this random man takes that as an invitation to lean in and kiss me. I step forward to get away from him, but Rebecca has me pinned against him. When I try to move my head away, he holds my chin firm. His eyes are closed, all I can see are his eyelids and the bridge of his nose. I have no idea who is kissing me. Why do people keep kissing me? Digging my nails into his hand, I pull it off my chin and jerk my head away. He looks at me and shrugs, pushing me aside and moving to Rebecca. She starts to dance with him and when he turns her face to him, she doesn’t fight it. She kisses him back as if she’s been with him this whole time and not my new brother. Scratching at my wrist I make my way to the bar, not feeling like dancing anymore.
“Single malt!” I hoarsely try to yell at the bartender over the loud music.
Somehow he heard me and places the glass in my hand. As I’m pulling out my card to pay, he puts a hand on mine and leans forward.
“On the house, you’ll need it!” he shouts pointing over to Rebecca. I smile shyly.
“Thank you!” I shout back.
Knowing you’re supposed to sip a good whiskey, I down it in one gulp. Gritting my teeth, I dig through my purse and pull out a tiny little pill. A pill I know will pull me out of this terrible mood I’m in. I signal to the bar tender for another and he pours me another while gesturing that once again it’s on the house. Popping the pill in my mouth, I down it again in one gulp. I slide the glass back to the bartender and thank him.
Twenty minutes later that pill did exactly what I wanted it to. My skin feels electrified and again the music is under my skin. My body moves with every heavy beat of the music, my heart pounds as if the music is the rhythm in which it beats. Once more, I can’t stop. I won’t stop, not for anyone or anything. Rebecca’s body moves against mine, we dance and kiss for what feels like hours. She has collected a few numbers from the men she’s danced with, and moves off the dance floor to take a break. I on the other hand dance until i’m the very last one on the floor dancing and the DJ is playing music just for me. I can feel Rebecca watching me, and i turn to face her. I’m dancing for her now, moving slowly towards her feeling as high as life could possible bring me. I run my hands down her arms as she stands up to me, grabbing her hands I pull her back onto the floor. The few people left stop what they’re doing to watch us.
“Everyone is watching,” she mumbles.
I laugh out loud, and grab her face pulling her closer to me.
She tries to pull away to go sit back down but I pull her back to me, pulling her mouth to me. She lets out a small giggle.
“Fine, Okay. I’ll stay,” She leans in to kiss me once more letting out a hiccup. But jerks away suddenly throwing up blue all over the floor. Grabbing for her stomach, she renches again.
“More?” I ask.
She nods as I rush to get her outside. I don’t even remember seeing her drink. Stepping outside I try my best I to sober myself taking in a couple deep breaths of the cool night air. She turns and starts to walk towards a nearby ally. As we reach the ally, she lets it all out. Blue everywhere. Jumping, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s the bartender; he has two cups in his hand.
“Might help you sober up,” he says handing me a cup of black coffee.
Walking around me he pulls a cloth napkin out if his pocket and hands it to Rebecca, she gladly takes it wiping her face.
“Water?” she says with a shaky voice.
And the bartender hands her the second cup, which is indeed water. I reach out and take his hand.
“Thank you,” I say
He covers my hand with his.
“Thank Jason. I would have thought you were just some random drunk girls. He asked me to look out for you guys tonight,” he smiles.
I make a mental note to thank him later.
“Help me get her in the car?” I ask.
He laughs a nice deep laugh. Still high his laugh makes my skin tingle.
We somehow manage to get her in the car without getting her throw up on us. I climb in the driver's side rolling the window down shouting out a thank you one more time as we pull off.
We somehow make it safely back to the house, where Elijah and Jason are sitting on the porch waiting for us. They get Rebecca out of the car and in a bed and come back out to the porch, I sit silently with both of them.
“Thank you...you know, for the bartender” I say looking at Jason.
He leans in close to my face, looking into my eyes. And we sit this way for a moment, I feel as if he is about to kiss me. Slowly I start to fidget and finally he lets out a long breath leaning back.
“She’s high,” he says looking over my head at Elijah
I shake my head laughing at the two of them.
“You can’t keep doing this,” Elijah says.
“Tell your best friend that,” I snarl at him, my mood suddenly changing.
I pull my phone out and show him the picture. The boys take turns looking at the picture. Then looking at each other and back to me.
“What are you going to do?” Jason asks.
“I don’t know,” I say annoyed.
My phone vibrates in my hand with a text from a number I don’t recognize I open the message.
I had fun last weekend, Jason gave me your number. If you’re not too busy we should hangout sometime - Malcom
I notice the time log for when I got the message. It was hours ago. Maybe it really is to hang out and not some type of booty call. I can feel Jason leaning over my shoulder to read my message.
I look at Jason suspiciously, “Will he try anything?”
He laughs and shakes his head, “You’re not his type. I can go with you if you want.”
I shake my head no. “No, if you think it’s really to hang out then I’ll go. But stop giving my number to guys. I’m married”
He looks at me a little shocked.
“Are you?” he asks tentatively.
“Do you see a ring on my finger,” I snap lifting my hand up to him, with a still empty finger.
I jerk my hand back shaking my head, feeling the tears brimming again. I shut my eyes and take a deep breath. Quickly, I text Malcom back.
Friday @ 7. Dinner. You pick a place and I’ll meet you there.
Not expecting a reply due to the late hour, I stand preparing to walk into the house. I turn looking at Elijah.
“Thank you, for earlier,” not breaking eye contact, he slightly nods his head speaking silently.
I walk into the house and go down to my room. Closing the door behind me, I start to take off my clothes from the night of dancing and the door opens. It’s both Elijah and Jason.
“Sorry, but after today we don’t want to leave you alone.”
Standing in nothing but my shirt and underwear, I heave a breath.
“Fine, but I’m not giving up my bed,” I say glaring at them. Both raise their hands as if surrendering and each find a spot to sit. Both watching me I finish changing into my night clothes, which consist of an oversized shirt and shorts. I climb into bed looking at both of them, my phone vibrates again stealing my attention. I look to see Malcom replied at this late hour.
I have the perfect place but I will pick you up. It is a surprise.
I look at Jason. “ He won’t try anything?” I ask once more and again he says no. I reply to Malcom.
Ok I’ll see you friday. You can get my address from Jason too.
I turn off my phone, shove it under my pillow and turn to my side. I hear both boys moving around, and then feel them climbing onto the bed. Elijah cuddles up behind me and Jason in front of me. We say nothing as we drift off to sleep.