He had decided to try to drink away his vices, which wasn’t a good idea, and although other people took his vices
seriously, he didn’t.
Two hours later he’s sprawled out in his chair, never as drunk as he wants to be.
He dry swallows a Vicodin, following it with a large mouthful of whiskey. He’s not worried about the combined effect
they’ll have on him. He’s never been drunk enough to roll over and choke on his own vomit. Not that he recalls;
he tends to black out. It’s a lovely way to spend the weekend.
A muffled ‘House’ accompanied by loud
knocking is heard coming from his front door. He debates whether to answer it or not, but assumes if he doesn’t the
knocking will get louder and with his current blood alcohol level he’s not in the mood to deal with an increase of decibels.
stands up and steadies himself, then grabs his cane from the coffee table and answers the door.
Cameron,” he sneers after the door swings open, “as I live and breathe.” He scrunches up his face. “Well,
not so much with the living, maybe.”
She ignores his comment, but files it away for when she’s ready to
admit some things to herself.
“What I said earlier about Stacy,” she says, pausing to stare down at the
floor, and then continuing, “I was out of line. I apologize.”
He rubs a hand over his face and then braces
it on the doorknob, preventing her from entering.
“A person should never apologize for something they’ve
said,” he says. “People will start to doubt whether anything you’ve ever said has been genuine.”
surprised; she thought he’d wallow in apologies given to him.
“But, I want to apologize,” she tells
him, “and I’m sorry.”
He notices the two-inch heel on the shoes she’s wearing. How exactly
was she planning to apologize, a runway show?
“Not accepted,” he says, firmly.
“I want --”
--” he interrupts.
“I’ll just --” she tries.
“You won’t --”
once --” she asserts.
“No!” he yells, and then slams his hand on the wall next to her.
startled by his unexpected movement, and bites her bottom lip, as if to keep from talking. He takes a deep breath and speaks.
many times do I have to tell you no?” he asks. “A million? I’ll count each one.”
standing perfectly still, but her eyes dart to his hand planted on the wall next to her shoulder. She wraps her hand tight
around his forearm and moves it off of the wall, letting it drop back to his side.
She swallows. “Why do you
make things so hard?”
His eyes widen and he slams the door shut.
“Why are you so hell bent on making
things easy?” he asks, voice wavering. “Nothing is easy.”
“I came here to apologize,”
she crosses her arms, “not to hear a discourse on why it’s near impossible for you to love another person without
killing yourself in the process.”
“You think another dinner date will put everything in perspective for
you?” he asks, angrily.
“There is no clear cut answer for this,” she says, gesturing between them.
“Your mind’s like a computer, trying to analyze everything, find logic in the world around you,” she looks
at him, “in the people around you, their actions. It’s impossible to apply logic to any situation involving emotion.”
on a roll,” he encourages, with a crooked smile, “finish telling me how wrong I am.”
She shakes the
hair away from her eyes.
“There is no logic in a person’s feelings. Behavior can’t be broken down
into a timeline, with points A, B, and C. You asked me why I like you,” she hesitates, thinking about the last time
she said those words, “and I told you what I like about you. Not why I like you. There is no reason in that. It just
is, and you have to understand.”
“I couldn’t begin,” he says.
“I did what I came
here to do,” she replies, standing up straight, “apologize. Don’t worry about what else I said; forget it.”
shakes his head, disbelieving what he’s hearing.
“You think you love me,” he says, half chuckling,
“and I cannot forget.”
He looks, not at the floor underneath his feet, but at her. She wonders what’s
got him brave all of the sudden. A glance at his coffee table, littered with some half empty bottles and a lone glass, answers
She gives him a sad smile. “You’ve, uh, been drinking, I see.”
He tilts his
head. “You want to save me, right? Make this situation seem more aesthetically pleasing?”
she replies, crossing her arms in front of her. “I don’t.”
He stares, noting the self-resigned purse
of her lips and slump of her shoulders. Sweetheart, everybody lies.
“Why not?” he asks, quietly.
takes a step closer and wraps her hand around white knuckles that encircle his cane like a vice. And she looks at him, through
him, nearly rooting him to the spot with her gaze. He holds his breath because he never will get over the way she stares at
him, eyes burning with an uncertainty that wrenches something from him, and always, always searching.
He pushes her
against the wall next to the door. She removes her hand from his and puts it flat on his chest, over his heart. She doesn’t
feel his heartbeat; at this point she’d be surprised to feel her own.
“I don’t want --”
interrupts, “But I do. And the part of your brain still eight years old thinks human contact will make me a better person,”
he says. “I’m a toad, you’re a princess, and we are so pathetic it’s easy to believe it.”
doesn’t answer. He begins to untuck her shirt and thinks he sees tears in her eyes. When it’s unbuttoned he pushes
it open, ignoring the way she jumped from the contact with his hands. Her arms fall to her side.
I thought,” he murmurs, cupping her breasts through the gossamer material of her bra. She bites back a moan but he can
read the blush spreading across her chest. “Besides, I’m sure you can hate me a little bit more. You haven’t
been trying hard enough.”
“I don’t hate you,” she tells him.
He takes her wrist and
leads her to the sofa.
“The night’s young,” he replies, sitting down.
She shrugs her shirt
off and sits on his lap. His arms move to her back and she thinks he’s going to hug her. Instead she feels him unhooking
her bra. He slides it from her body and throws it next to him. Her eyes follow it, falling from the sofa to the floor.
going to work with me here?” he asks, taking a nipple into his mouth.
Her back arches in his grip as she rolls
“I work with you enough.”
Her arms are around his neck, hanging limply; a noose she can
tighten any time she wants.
“Cameron?” he asks, tucking his hand in the back of her jeans.
at him, attempting to dig through the bullshit blue of his eyes, to see anything besides amusement or lust or disappointment.
don’t like me,” she says, softly. “I won’t forget.”
She slides off of his lap and stands
at his feet. He takes off his jeans and underwear without getting up from his spot on the sofa. Her own pants join his on
the floor and she realizes she’ll be apologizing for that, too.
“I’m too tired for consequences,”
He’s slouched on the sofa with glazed over eyes and his erection pressing on his stomach.
ducks her head. “That’s all we’ve been,” she replies.
He rubs a hand along his jaw, trailing
a finger across his lower lip, and stares at the floor.
“I’m tired of that, too.”
holds his hand out to her; she takes it as she straddles his lap again, careful to avoid his thigh, not knowing it hurts regardless.
His hand is bigger than she thought and she’s starting to sense she really did have him all wrong. He holds her to him
tightly; trailing wet kisses across her shoulders and chest. His erection is sandwiched between them, leaving a trail of moisture
along her waist. He’s all over her, with his hands and mouth and eyes. She can’t help but hate herself a little,
knowing she’d accept even less from him. He is searching for something now, and she waits. Finally, in a jerky motion,
he leans forward and kisses her on the mouth. The kiss is sloppy. Their cheeks are almost brushing.
She presses a kiss to the side of his neck instead and rises over him, hands planted firmly on his shoulders.
He groans in surprise as she guides him inside her and they resume in reluctance. It was too early when he entered her, she
was tight and dry, and with coarse predictability, straining and sour, he came after six rasping strokes.
By the time
she slides off of him, he was nearly passed out from the alcohol and exertion.
She picked her clothes up from the floor
and went to find the bathroom. She found it easily and cleaned up, not bothering to look at herself in the mirror.
returns to find him in the same position in which she left him. He shouldn’t be left alone since he passed out, but
she has no intention of staying. There’s a possibility of her becoming his Florence Nightingale, and he already has
Wilson for that.
Before she goes she covers him up with a blanket and then rummages through her purse for a pen to
leave him a note. She won’t sign her name, because Wilson is his Florence Nightingale.
She leaves the door unlocked
He wakes up around eleven, which is normal for the Saturday mornings after the Friday nights
he’d rather forget.
He remembers a few things, one thing, Cameron. She’d come over to apologize and he’d
ended up having sex with her. She was passive enough, almost as if she weren’t there. He doesn’t regret it, but
wishes it happened at another time. He likes to space out his fuck-ups.
As an endnote, he peers down, to make sure
he is naked and didn’t have a nightmare. Yeah, no clothes there. But what caught his eye are the words written across
his lower abdomen in black marker. He tries to read it from his position on the couch, but can’t, and gets up with a
sigh to stand in front of a mirror.
In front of his bathroom sink, squinting from the vanity lights, the words are
too clear, “he does not have to feel because he thinks/ (the thoughts of others, be it understood) no thanks.”
He grabbed his phone before the words registered, called her as he went back to the sink, and waited impatiently, angry with
her because she keeps throwing things at him he will never understand.
“Hello?” she answers.
have paper, you know. In fact, I have paper everywhere, literally on each surface in my apartment.”
over the sink to get a better look at his face in the mirror.
“I wanted to make sure you got my note.”
it?” he asks. “You wrote on me. I doubt I can misplace myself,” he says.
"Read it to me?" she asks.
forgotten what words you defiled me with already?"
"He does not have to feel because he thinks/ (the
thoughts of others, be it understood) no thanks," he reads, thinking it sounds even more stupid out loud.
do you think it means?” she asks.
His bladder painfully reminds him that it needs to be emptied and he debates
whether he can use the bathroom and still talk to her on the phone.
“I don’t do this ‘delve into
House’s psyche’ shit before noon, and I’m going to hang up now. I’ve got to piss and I’m sure
you’ve got to do something as equally inane,” he tells her, lifting the toilet seat. “Somewhere there’s
a despondent individual that needs saving, I’m sure.”
“I know you’re curious,” she says.
There’s a guilty pause on her end of the phone.
“I’ll Google it,”
he repeats. “Okay, tell me. Why won’t I Google it?”
“When I left,” her voice gets low,
proud of what she’s done, “I took your computer’s power cord.”
what if I have another one?”
“You do, next to your computer. I took that one, too,” she says, a little
He doesn’t want to, but he’s got to say something about the previous night.
she says. “The last two words are the title of a book.”
“Cameron,” he tries again.
is fundamental, you know,” she says, before hanging up.
“No, I don’t know who wrote it,
he says, frustrated. “Isn’t that what you’re here for?”
The librarian, who was probably alive
during the Civil War, glares at him. The effect is lost on him because one of her eyelids is a little droopy. He resists the
urge to ask her if she’s been having any problems with it.
“Try using the title, then. Or is everything
“What’s the title?” she asks.
“I told you less than two minutes
“The title?” she repeats.
“It’s,” he pauses, having forgotten the
title as well.
The librarian opens her mouth to speak, but he holds up a hand to stop her.
got it here,” he says.
He puts his cane on the counter in front of him and then lifts up his shirt to look at
“Here,” he says, pointing near the waist of his pants, “right there, take a look at
The librarian is moving away from him, running her hand underneath the counter, apparently searching for
some kind of alarm.
“I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t seen before,” he accuses. “Come
on, get a thrill. The last two words.”
The librarian glances at the words across his stomach, but does so out
of arms reach.
“No Thanks,” she says.
“That’s it,” he replies. “Where is
She writes down the number and hands him the piece of paper.
“Third aisle over from Young Adult
Fiction,” she says, pointing to the far right corner of the library, “and please don’t come back.”
runs a finger along the spines of the books while his eyes glance at the titles.
“Come on you little bastard,
I know you’re here.”
He finds it on the second to last shelf from the floor.
he says, bending to reach the book, “I am not a squatting man.”
He stands up with book in hand and starts
to flip through it.
“Need some help?”
He glances up from the book and replies.
fuck me sideways,” he says to Cameron.
She glares, willing him to be quiet.
“It’s a library,
not a church,” he says. “Why are you here?”
“I thought you might kill the nice librarian.”
purses his lips, “No. If I’m going to kill someone, I want to work for it. She’d be too easy,” he
says. “Tell me about this,” he holds up the book, “so I can leave and ignore this part of my life.”
you’re good at that,” she replies, taking the book from him. “It’s e.e. cummings. He thought about
what he felt, but unlike you, didn’t try to categorize it in terms of good or bad,” she crosses her arms, “or,
in your case, stop and go.”
He takes the book from her and puts it back on the shelf in the wrong place.
means nothing to me. You can bury me under Freud and cummings and your pained expressions and heartfelt apologies but I’m
as confused as ever,” he says.
“Everyone’s confused,” she says, looking at him like she wants
him to break just so she can put him back together. “No one has everything figured out.”
“I am not
a happy person and I wish you’d give up already,” he says. “You’re, well, you’re you and I basically
throw shadows at people.”
“I need oxygen, water, and food; everything else is unnecessary. I want you as
broken and bruised as you come,” she answers.
He steps away from her. She steps towards him. He has nowhere to
go but his mind is already out in the parking lot.
“I love Stacy but I’m not in love with her. I love my
job except for the fact that it’s a job. I know three things about you, none of which I’ll ever admit, that are
certain, that can’t be refuted despite any of my moods,” he says. “I see you and I want all these different
things at once, and I hate not being able to make sense of it.”
She moves away from him and to the other side
of the aisle.
“And now what do you want?” she asks.
“To stop being asked so many questions,”
“Tell me one thing,” she says, “just one, and I’ll go.”
towards her without a thought; walking back to her was one of the hardest things he could do. He inhaled deeply, lungs burning
with expansion. He liked the feeling of earning his breath. Reaching behind her, he takes the clip from the back of her head,
and watches as hair spills over her shoulders.
“I like your hair down,” he says, taking another step closer.
rips through his leg and settles in his thigh; his worries sit low on his hips like faded jeans.
“I have no idea
what I’m doing,” he whispers, wrapping his fingers around the back of her neck.
“That makes two of
us,” she says.
He kisses her flanked by Cummings and Dickinson.