Sweet Dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
Sweet Dreams – Eurhythmics
Oh, God, oh God, oh God, oh God…
Inky red blood oozed from the smallish cut on my palm, evidence of Edward's unusual salutation.
It was sticky, and it smelled like rust.
I knew that I shouldn't be staring at it; with my phobia for bodily fluids gawking at the wound would be like asking for nausea. It was too late now, though, for I was hypnotized – I couldn't bring myself to look away. I sprinted down the hallway, not really watching where I was going, my feet automatically knowing the way to go on the well-worn standard carpet, bumping my hip roughly against the island counter as I made my way over to the sink.
With my other hand, I flipped up the faucet handle and hurriedly threw my hand beneath the running water. It was only after the cut had been soaked did I realize it was hot. I yelped, pulling my smarting palm out from beneath the mini waterfall and hastily switching the setting to 'Cold.' As the cool water eased the ripping sensation in my palm, I allowed myself to relax and breathe deeply, trying to keep my nausea under control.
I contemplated on what an overreactive fool I've been. But I'm terrified of blood – no – terrified is not a strong enough word. I felt heat rising in my face, and new for a world that I was blushing furiously. After literally six seconds of being in his presence – Edward? – no doubt already thinks I have serious mentality issues.
I blinked for a few more seconds, and turned off the water. At least I didn't get any blood on my mother's precious carpet. The woman is obsessed!
Speaking of Mom, she entered the kitchen, her lavender hat in her hand and her dry forehead wrinkled with concern. "Honey, are you all right?"
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the black-clad figure of Edward at her side.
I wanted to say it stung, ripping a sheet of paper towel from the roll on the counter and pressing it to my hand. But then I glanced up to see the panicked, fear-stricken worry on Edward's face and I didn't have the heart to say 'no.'
He looked down at the floor, his black Einstein hair falling into his unhealthily pale, slightly chubby face. He stared down at the floor, keeping his body to himself as if he was trying to become as small as possible. His dark-rimmed raccoon eyes were so full of guilt that one might assume he committed murder. His scissors intertwined, as if he folded his 'hands' together.
"Yeah," I told my mom, watching Edward. "I'm fine."
Mom bit her lip, compulsively smoothing out imaginary wrinkles on her lavender business coat. "It was an accident, Kat, Edward didn't –"
"I'm sorry." Edward mumbled suddenly, avoiding I contact with me.
"Me too." I replied softly. "I overreacted."
Mom looked relieved. "You certainly did." She grinned at me to show she was kidding. "I'm glad you're all right. Edward?"
She frowned at his clothes, reaching out to brush her fingers against the slippery feel of the leather on his shoulder. "Edward, I'm sure my husband has some old clothes we can get for you to wear."
Yeah, I thought, back when he wasn't so fat.
Suddenly, the pastel-pink phone rang, and my mother lunged for it, twirling the spiraling chord around her gloved fingers.
"Oh, hello Joyce!" She cried brightly.
I made a face. Joyce, no matter how much my mother wanted to deny it – was the town Man-Eater. She hit on everybody, whether it was the milkman, the electrician, or worse – the paperboy, all fell prey to the busty, red-headed Calypso. She was the type of woman to put thongs in her purse and bend over a lot. All the kids at school knew it, and even Kim, Miss See/Hear/Speak-no evil, agreed with me.
"Yes, he's a family guest." My mom explained into the receiver, patience forever her key repertoire.
I rolled my eyes. Everyone in Suburbia was too close for comfort, their noses and unwanted opinions poking around in your case until you just want to scream so loud it rips atoms in two. Edward had probably been with my mom for fifteen minutes, including the drive and the whole 'bloody handshake' fiasco. Now everybody knew about it, and everybody wanted to meet the pale, unusual stranger.
Mom covered the mouth piece with her hand. "Katrina dear, see if you can find a shirt and maybe some pants in the hall closet. I'm pretty sure we've never gotten rid of your father's old clothes." She smiled at Edward. "See if they fit. I'll be in a minute."
Awkwardly, I stepped around Edward, hoping my hesitation of his…er…hands was not desperately obvious. I asked him to follow me, and felt his silent presence behind me as we pattered down the hall. Upon reaching the closet, I stopped so suddenly that Edward bumped into me.
His chest was in my back for only a moment, but I could feel every ridge from the shiny zipper tracks and buckles of his suit before he pulled away.
My shirt was thin.
Edward mumbled a quiet apology.
I acted like nothing happened, twisting the door knob and rising on the tips of my toes to scour the top shelves. I found a white shirt and charcoal pants with suspenders. Glancing back at Edward, I thought he'd look like a barber in them.
I almost pushed the clothes into his arms, but that gestured seemed a little cruel, since he couldn't very well hold them. Instead, I hugged the material tightly to my chest and again beckoned for him to follow me.
We were in Kim's bedroom. I don't know why I led him there, it looked like a playland for little kids.
I dropped the pants at the foot of her waterbed, spreading them out so he could step into them. I turned away as he put them on, even though they went over his…clothes…it was still awkward to stare at someone as they dressed. I heard a snip about three minutes later, and I spun around.
The pants were on, but Edward was watching me with a sheepish, tale-tucked grimace on his face. He held the severed strap of one suspender in his right scissors. God, how I was terrified of those scissors.
"I'm so sorry." He murmured. The way he said it, you could have thought we've been friends forever and he backstabbed me the other day.
I shook my head. "It's fine." For some reason, I didn't want this person to feel uneasy, I didn't want him to feel unwelcome…unwanted. I cracked a grin. "They get in the way anyway."
He looked at the ground again, but I could see the line of his mouth curl into a soft smile of gratitude.
I helped him with the shirt, mindful of the sharp knives of his hands as I delicately scrunched the sleeves up their lengths. When that task was finished, I fixed his collar, straightening and smoothing them out beneath his chin.
It was a plain, white button-down shirt, cotton – naturally. It hung open, revealing his torturous-looking suit, and I couldn't stand to look at the wearable device. So, I reached for the buttons and began looping them through the holes, starting from the bottom and working my way up.
Even though I was only helping him, something about this act seemed dreadfully intimate.
I avoided eye contact, trying not to breathe too loudly. Edward stood there, silently, his body limp as he waited for me to finish. He seemed like it wasn't uncomfortable, like it didn't bother him at all. Why was he so calm? Instead, he was so blank and silent as if he was observing something impossible.
Finally, I reached the last button, the one just below his chin, and my fingertips grazed against the cool skin of his throat.
"Thank you." He murmured softly, like a child, sweet and innocent.
"Sure." I said lamely.
When I looked up at his face, I froze a little. His black onyx eyes were looking in to mine, and there was such a broken expression to them, like shattered glass. The wide-eyed innocence seemed to contain all the sadness in the world. It was intriguing, and I stared openly at him, shamelessy, scrutinizing every detail in that pale face. Faded scars were engraved into his ivory skin, accidently self-inflicted battle wounds of those scissors. I pitied him, imagining the contrast of red blood on his white skin.
I reached out to touch his face, as if stroking my hand across his smooth skin would somehow make the cuts dissapear. I would have touched him too, the fool that I am, had not Mom finished her conversation with Joyce the Maneater.
"Katrina, did the clothes fit?"
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Merry Christmas! :)