Sometime in the middle of the night he pulled her body across the bed and tight against his chest. It was where she was used to sleeping, where she always felt safe. And it felt good for a moment until she remembered that she hated him. Yet she still loved him too. But that love was dying inside her and turning slowly turning her body into a graveyard. She hated him with all the passion reserved for someone who had penetrated her heart.
In the morning he kissed her before he left for work. Shadows fell across his face. The dark stubble on his face she used to love merely felt abrasive now.
In his mind as he drove to his office, everything was okay now, the slate wiped clean. He thought he could remove it all so quickly, like a clinical procedure. Men have conveniently short memories, but women never forget anything. She had visions of blood slipping through her fingers, an endless red river flowing onto porcelain. Red is the color of a scream.
Good bye life, good bye dreams, good bye happily ever after.
She hid under the covers and thought about staying in bed the entire day. Why bother going through the motions of the day that culminated in facing her tainted lover again, trying to fake happiness?
A little beep pulled her out from under the tent of bedsheets. She picked up her Blackberrry…and after a quick glance she leapt out of bed.
Gloss was applied, perfume was sprayed…she walked up towards a glittering pool with her heart pulsing with excitement. She had spent too long thinking of consequences, of the dark mass smothering her soul. The sun was shining on a perfect Beverly Hills afternoon.
He smiled at her behind sunglasses and handed her a cocktail, which she hungrily sucked up through the straw. A drink to replace it arrived before she even set the glass down. Nothing wrong with drinking while the sun was still up. Midday decadence.
The sun and the booze warmed her flesh quickly. She hadn’t had a drink in so long, not since…
She wasn’t going to remember that now. She turned those thoughts off the way her boyfriend always did, like a little surgical removal of a memory. Clean and anesthetized.
She laughed for the first time in weeks. He set her at ease, hiding his eyes behind his glasses, his mouth curved in desire. Sunlight bounced off the water and made him glow. She wondered why she had resisted him so long. Of course she knew why—she’d been drugged with fairy tales her whole life. She thought love would transform a beast into a prince. But sometimes the beast is just a beast.
The pool was emptying. The afternoon had darkened into into the pale lavender of twilight. She was drunk and not going home.
The night went on. More places, more people, more drinks in her hand. His mouth soon found hers. It had been years since she felt another man’s lips.
She woke up the next morning in another bed. She was nude and not quite sure how she ended up there other than that it had been her intention from the moment she left the house. A few flashes came back to her of gentle love-making, in stark contrast of the raw savagery of sex with her boyfriend. But she didn’t like pain anymore. Gray morning light filtered in through the curtains, onto the face pressed into the pillow next to her. She was so struck by his beauty in repose that she gasped a little. His eyes opened. They were as bright blue as a sunny California sky.
Her Blackberry was ringing. It was a call from her boyfriend at home, where she hadn’t been in over 24 hours. She pressed a button and sent it to voice mail.