Author's Note: This is a story about loss, cheating, and the aftermath. If that's not your jam, don't come to this party.
Anyway. I listened to Lips of an Angel by Hinder today on a loop. I fucking love that song.
He scrapes the remnants of dinner from the plates into the sink and watches the pasta slop down the drain. The sound of the disposal grinding drowns out the television in the next room. Anything to distract him from the tasteless food that sits in his stomach and the remaining minutes of a movie he can't even remember the name of.
"Jellal?" her voice carries from the living room. "Are you coming back?" He closes his eyes and chastises himself. Yukino deserves better than this. Most days he is better. He enjoys going out of his way to make her smile. He wants to hear her sigh against the pillows. It calms him to smell the jasmine of her body wash on his sheets. She makes him happy.
Then there are other days. Days like this one. Days where a song on the radio reminds him of other times and other people – another person. He still has a box of things on the top shelf of his closet that smells sweeter than jasmine.
"Jellal?" Her voice directly behind him is startling and he jumps. "Are you okay? You've been quiet all night."
"I'm fine," he lies. Yukino's hair is the color of the moon and he really does love it. She usually pins it back in a side part but wisps are always escaping in the slightest breeze. He thinks the fly aways make her smile prettier.
"You don't seem fine." She steps into him and wraps her arms around his middle. "Did you have a bad day?"
"Yeah," he mutters, dropping a kiss on the exposed part of her shoulder where her jacket has slipped down. "It wasn't a great day. I'm glad it's over."
"Do you want me to stay? I don't mind. I can call my neighbor to check on the cat." She gazes up at him with wide, eager eyes. He doesn't deserve her concern.
"I'll be fine. The week's almost over and I can't ask you to stay here and then rush home to change in the morning." She doesn't turn away until she's satisfied, and she isn't satisfied until he smiles and kisses her lips. Even her lip balm is wrong.
"Okay," Yukino whispers. She doesn't quite believe him but doesn't know where exactly to dig for the lie. He kisses her again, softer this time.
"Call me on your lunch tomorrow and we'll make plans for Saturday." At the mention of plans, she smiles. He does love her smile. He does.
Yukino reminds him to water his plants before she leaves for the night. He couldn't have been more relieved to be alone. The shower is hot and damn near painful but he wants to wash – scrub – the day away. After the water runs cold, he strips his bed. The scent of jasmine drives him crazy on the nights when all he wants is honeysuckle.
The fresh sheets please him. They smell like nothing at all. A blank slate. Jellal falls backwards into the bed, still wrapped in the clean towel he'd meant to toss in the washing machine with the sheets. If he hurries, he can catch the cycle before it truly starts – but Jellal never makes it back to the laundry room.
Before he even glances at the face of his vibrating phone he knows who's texted him. He knows. The feeling has been sitting – congealing – in his gut ever since that goddamn song played on the radio.
'Call me?' The message is short. Brief. To the point.
He should delete it.
But he doesn't.
She wasn't in his contacts anymore but she doesn't need to be. He would know her number even if asked to dial it blind. Her voice in his ear is like the sweetest honey.
"Erza?" Her name on his tongue is even sweeter.
"I'm sorry," she whispers. "I shouldn't've –"
"I thought of you today," he blurts. "I was in traffic."
"I heard it too." Erza pauses and the silence between them suffocates him. "Jellal..." She breathes and he can feel her weighing her words.
"Come over." Jellal regrets the invitation the instant he says it but not enough to rescind. When she ends the call abruptly, he isn't sure what she'll do. His words hang in the air in front of him. Guilt. Shame. Self-loathing. He feels them all.
But only until she knocks.
He doesn't bother to dress and when she steps inside his apartment she glances over her shoulder nervously. As if there are eyes on her back – there aren't. The instant the door closes he has her against it. Her kisses are greedy and he thinks maybe he hears a whispered, 'We shouldn't' but her hands on his body disagree.
Erza smells like honeysuckle. Her hair is long and slides through his fingers like the finest strands of silk. She is smaller than Yukino here, but fuller there. The comparisons are the worst part but his mind won't shut off. He supposes he shouldn't have the pleasure without the flagellation anyway.
Her dress doesn't make it to his bedroom. Neither does his towel. Her skin is the softest thing he shouldn't be touching but he can't stop himself. He takes her on her back until she takes him on his back.
A curtain of red spills over her shoulder as she gasps into his pillows. Jellal is drawn to her shoulder. The curve of her neck calls to him. His teeth scrape over her skin and she reaches back to card her fingers through his hair. Erza's mouth falls open and he knows what she wants – but also knows better. He can't mark her. He won't.
Her fingers tighten in his hair almost daring him to do it. His teeth sink in just enough but he can't bring himself to draw her skin into his mouth and leave the bruise he wants. When his hand slips between her legs, she grasps his wrist. Her nails hurt and he loves the sting.
Just like every time, her finish is his finish. She drags him into her spiral of pleasure and he doesn't even try to stop it. His forehead falls to the back of her neck and his arm circles her waist as she catches her breath.
When he falls to the bed beside her, she watches him closer than he'd like – but that's Erza. She isn't easily fooled like Yukino. She knows him far too well to buy into his bullshit.
"Why am I here?" she asks. Jellal brushes a strand of her sweat damp hair behind the ear not pressed into his pillow.
"Because I'm a bad person," he whispers.
"I won't wait forever, Jellal." He knows she won't. He hopes she will but he knows she won't.