Sometimes you just want to feel close to him, even though it hurts. I told him to go away and he did, or maybe he didn't, maybe I just can't see him. Sometimes I think I can feel him, but he's never there. Sometimes I want him to be there. Since you can't FaceBook-stalk a ghost I do the next best thing. I go to the basement, to the little hidden space in the brick where he hides his stuff and run my hand over it; feeling the scratchy wool of his favourite sweater, his scent still clinging faintly to the fabric. I remember when that scent was always on my sheets.
But it doesn't make you feel closer, just brings the longing into sharp relief. So you put his things back, and hope he doesn't notice, but kind of wishing he would.
I don't know how long I've been sitting here. Always. Forever. It doesn't matter. Time means nothing. The only indicator of it the pile of cigarette butts in the ashtray next to me, the sun or moon filtering through the window behind me. As Kurt Cobain screeches out the last lines of Where Did You Sleep Last Night he gives voice to the pain I have inside of me. I shake my sleeve back and push the burning ember of the cigarette into my flesh. The smell is almost enough to make me retch; the pain barely registers.
"You're breaking your promise." My eyes are focused on the little red dot as it sizzles, and I don't bother looking up when I tell him it's because I'm bored and curious; wondering when I'm going to find a way to hurt myself as much as he hurt me. I don't need to look up to see the pain on his face; it's always there anyway. His voice sounds like he's shredding into pieces, and that's the other reason I do it, because hurting myself hurts him more than me.
"I promised not to cut. This is different."
"How about last week, in the bathroom?"
I smiled at the memory; he really was there.
At some point the pain chokes you, drowns you in it, and you'd do anything to make it stop, to just not feel for even a second. When you don't have any more tears left in your body you start weeping blood. At first just a little, just a small, delicate razor across your skin; little drops staining red. It doesn t work anymore; the little gash isn't enough to bleed out the ocean of pain inside of you. When you can't die sometimes you take things too far.
As the tub filled with water I dug the razor into my skin, missing the major arteries, saving them for last. Nice long, deep gashes, flaying my flesh open, dripping red and heavy onto the white tile floor. The water felt nice, warm, comforting; taking the nausea from the blood loss away. I was hoping it would slow the healing process, stretch the oblivion out as much as possible. I let one arm dangle over the side, enjoying the creep and flow of it over my skin. It almost tickled. I almost giggled.
I saw him shimmer into my peripheral vision. From far away he asked me why I was doing this. I smiled, I think, said he did this to me. Maybe I didn't. It was hard to tell, everything was slipping away, blurring together. Maybe he wasn't there; He wasn't when I woke up. I drained the rusty water and did it again. Just for fun; just because it made me not feel for a while. It was better than sleeping; when I slept he was with me, a perfect him that hurt more than reality. Killing myself was better; I didn't dream when I was dead.
The smile was still on my face when I finally looked up at him. "Whatever happened to 'you should never hurt the ones you love, ever.'?" Fuck off ringing through my words. His only reply was to look stricken and mumble something about not knowing me when he did those things. "Oh, I'm sorry. Did you expect a pass for raping my mother?" The sarcasm in my voice more biting than anger could ever be.
He ripped the cigarette from my skin and flung it across the room. "How much longer, Vi!" And he sits on the end of the bed with his back to me trying to hide the anger and bitterness he has no right to, but I can still see it in the stiff set of his shoulders .
"Is this how you became such a monster? All the pain twisting into cruelty?" When he didn't reply I answered for him. "I think so." I crawled over and nuzzled against his back, slipping an arm over his shoulder to rest on his chest. "Do you still love me?"
"Yes, always." But he's still angry, and I press my lips into the back of his neck.
"I love you too, always." All the anger draining out of him at my words. "Tate?" He's leaning back against me, making a pleasured noise I take for a yes, and I kiss his ear before I whisper, "go away." And like that, he's gone. I lean back against the pillows and light another cigarette. "I can be so much more cruel than you." I say to no one.
The thing about being dead, you have a lot of time, too much, and poisonous thoughts that fester with the lack of distraction. So maybe he didn't really love me; maybe I was the only one suffering like this. You didn't see him killing himself over and over again to escape the pain, because maybe it wasn't there for him. That hurt; twisted my pain in a new frightening way.
Since it was Halloween I decided on a special false death. I took the Metro-Link to San Pedro and walked to the big green bridge. I climbed over the railing at the apex, and sat there smoking until I heard the sirens and people telling me I had every reason to live. I just smiled and pushed myself off the edge into the harbor.
Falling took forever. I didn't realize how high up I was. The water hurt when I hit it; strangely solid after falling from such a height. I broke a lot of bones when I hit. It didn't hurt as much as being the only one who was suffering did, and I wondered just how damaged I'd become. As I sunk down I hoped I'd make the news. Maybe L.A. would have a new ghost story. You re welcome.
I woke up in the basement the next morning, and he was sitting in front me asking me why I was doing this, his words hard and cold as the concrete against my back. "Because I hoped the impact would be enough to break those parts of you still in me away." I sat up and watched as the pain washed over his face, and I felt a sort of sick relief; I wasn't the only one suffering at least.
He told me tried to make it right, tried to make it so I wouldn't be alone. The pain twisted through me at the memory until it was engulfed by hate. I screamed and sobbed that he was an asshole. That what I wanted was him, only him, and not anyone else, and he should fucking know that if he loves me. But maybe he just didn't get it because to him I was that easily replaceable. I keep screaming because words cause wounds so much deeper, and maybe getting rid of some of mine will make me feel better.
I scream all the things I never told him when I was alive, or at least when things were good. How he was the only person I let in, the only one I loved, and how it would never be the same with someone else. All the longing, all the need, pouring out. I can see it there in his eye, a flicker of hope that maybe forever had passed. And I smile, just a little because he's so shortsighted he can't see where I'm going with this until I get there, screaming that he broke us, broke me, and his happy forever is now torture because of the things he did. I'm not happy, never will be because of him.
Finally he cracks, and I didn't know I wanted it until I saw it happen. All the pain of my words wounding him, mirroring my own wounds, and now he's the one crying and screaming that he loves me, that he wishes he could die so he would at least not feel this pain anymore. How he follows me invisible so he can at least still be near me even though he wants to cut himself, jump of bridges, jump off something just to take the pain away like I do. But he doesn't. He feels it every second, and it's his perverse penance and apology all wrapped up in one.
I can't listen to him anymore, so I kiss him. Our tears mingling, hands and lips finding each other a better oblivion than any thing else. But I want to be cruel because his pain makes me feel better, and if he loves me he'll understand, so I focus my thoughts and I'm gone; leaving him clutching nothing but empty space. I don't even bother going to my room. I don't have any tears left, so I cry blood. It's sticky around my feet, and I sway into the tub again, saving the best veins for last, so that soon I won't feel the awful wave of pain that follows in the wake of cruelty.
I should be cold. I don't know how long I've been gone for. However long it takes my skin to heal and liters and liters of blood to form. I should be cold though. I've done it enough to know that. I should also be wet, but I'm warm and dry. There are arms around me, and I feel lips lightly kissing the back of my head; the warmth and pressure of his body pressed against me, over the blanket I'm naked under. I squeeze my eyes tight shut and pray this is some horrible sense memory, but it's not, and I know it. When I open my eyes I can see his arm covered in a striped shirt wrapped around me; his large, rough hands enclosing mine. "Do you always do this when I'm gone?" I feel him freeze against me; muscles locking down, bracing for impact. I don't really feel anything that he's here, no pain at least, and that's surprising. Mostly there's just a blank sort of annoyance that he might have fucked me while I was unconscious. "Should I be feeling violated right now?"
"No, I swear Vi, I didn't do anything. I'm sorry, I know you don't want this." His voice like a child's desperately pleading innocence after getting busted with his hand in the cookie jar. He moved to leave and I grabbed his arm, staying him.
"Then what were you doing?"
"Telling you all the things you won't let me, don t want to hear, when you're awake."
"More lies, more bullshit. I'm glad I was out for that." My words should have been harsh, but mostly they were just bored.
He pressed his face into my hair. "I just wanted to feel close to you again."
I rolled over and looked at him for the first time. "Do you ever think about when it was good?"
"All the time." And he makes it sound like torture. Maybe it is.
"I think about how it was to see you, and touch you, and talk to you. How it was so simple and uncomplicated. I think about how beautiful you are when you're happy."
"It was a lie." It's truth, and it's cruel in only the way truth can be, and I feel him recoil from it.
"Do you want me to go?" His voice broken, shattered. I closed my eyes, and told him it doesn't matter. If I told him to go he'd probably just come back invisible anyway, so what's the point? But he stays, and I hate myself for liking it, for feeling safe and comforted, and loved. The love is worse than anything because that wasn't a lie, or at least what I felt wasn't. So he stays, both of us broken and fucked up, and maybe it will never be right, but it's nice in a way to pretend that this is still simple and what it was for one night.
When I woke he was still curled around me, and I felt sick with love and hate, so I bolted to the bathroom and let the water burn me as I scrubbed myself red trying to get the scent and feel of him off my skin.
"Do you want some?" I held out the rag to him, my arm seeming to float in mid-air. It was one of those summer nights where even after the sun went down the heat didn't let up. So I was sprawled on the back lawn looking at the stars when he walked up.
He took it from my hands, and inhaled deeply before laying next to me. "You're not going to make me go away are you?" The ether was making his voice seem like it was floating out of space. I mumbled something about being too blitzed to care if he was there or not. It was a kind of weird, dreamy high, but a little maudlin too. "I fall asleep in your branches..."
"Song I have stuck in my head." I was sleepy; slipping in and out of reality. My hand ferreted around until it found his; the warm weight of it like an anchor. That was real, maybe; it was hard to tell. "What are you doing out here?"
"You weren't in your bed." It took me a while to figure out how that had led him out here.
"You watch me sleep?" The air felt heavy, like I was underwater. "That's kinda sweet in a weird way." I giggled. "Why?" I sat up with an effort and reached across him to take the rag out of his hand, lying across his chest in the process, and he took the opportunity to kiss my neck.
"You don't yell at me to go away when you're asleep."
"I'm sorry, I hurt."
"I know." So much pain in little words. "Besides I like how you moan my name sometimes when you touch yourself." I probably should have been pissed, but I was blissfully unconcerned. I pressed the rag to my face and inhaled. "I like it, but sometimes it just sucks. It should be my fingers inside of you making you come." I wished it were. I mean why the fuck else would I be doing it? My fingers just weren't long enough to hit that spot that he always could. "You told me to go away. I didn't think you d want me creeping into bed with you." I pressed my fingers to my mouth. Had I said that out loud? Must have. "I still think about you, you know. I can't remember the last time I thought about someone else." He was mumbling, one hand held in mine the other absently palming himself through his pants.
"Is that what you think about... when you touch yourself?"
"You touching yourself? No, lately I think about going down on you. How pink and wet you'd be... how you taste... how I'd work my fingers in and out while I lick through your folds." His voice was soft and sounded distant, dreamy. "How you'd whimper and moan."
He leaned over me to grab the rag and was grinding his half-hard dick into my leg, reminding me. "Why couldn't you get it up that night at the beach?" Yeah, it still bothered me. Clearly it wasn't because I was alive at the time; my mother was very much alive when he raped her. He dropped his face against my shoulder and mumbled in a frustrated way before rolling off me.
"If you're dead you can't have an erection." His tone saying I was really dense for not figuring this out before. It made me want to press the rag to his face until he passed out.
"Yeah well you shouldn't be able to walk and talk either, at least not without an overwhelming desire to feast on brains." The lack of ether was clearing my head and I took the opportunity to light a cigarette before putting the rag over my face.
"I don't know why then. I wanted to, and I couldn't." The ether fog had descended again, and was making the orange ember at the end of my cigarette burn in a friendly way. I was staring at it and wondering why he had raped my mother instead of me. "Jesus Christ, Violet!" I looked up to see Tate sitting up, running his hands through his hair. It took me a minute to connect the dots; I must have been thinking out loud again. Oops.
I tried to collect my thoughts, but they were so insubstantial and fleeting that it was hard. "It just seems like it would have been easier to 'accidentally' get me pregnant."
He lowered his head to his knees, slightly muffling his voice. "I was going to kill her... so Nora could have the baby. I thought at first about raping you instead... but I couldn't have done that to you, and then what if you didn't want to give it to Nora? After I fell in love with you I couldn't even take it away when it was your brother. It just seemed easier... to rape her instead, at first." After a minute I threw the rag over his shoulder, so it landed in front of him. "Thanks."
I probably should have felt something, but the fog in my brain made everything muffled, and out of focus, and really it just didn't matter, and it took too much effort to care. The thought that maybe the ether would wipe my short-term memory galloped through my head; I wanted to wave at it, but it was gone and I forgot. "Violet?" But I was already asleep.
I was hiding behind the garage, trying to escape the beehive of activity the house was right now with a bottle of wine. Between the movers and the new owners it was noisy. Most of the ghosts were being nosy, but I just wanted to be alone. "Poor little dead girl. You look so lonely without your monster." When I didn't reply he asked, "So where is Norman Bates Jr.?"
"I don't know where he is." I snapped. "Were you always such a bitch Chad, or is this purely a post-death thing? What do you want?" I was a little drunk, a little surly, and really not in the mood for his shit.
"You took the last bottle of white, Elvira, and I need a drink." I finally looked up at him. "Patrick is inside invisibly cruising the new owners." I handed him the half empty bottle. "Just my luck the new owners are gay."
"They won't be here long."
"Long enough for him to whore around. Still it could be worse; at least he's never killed anyone."
"I get the hate Chad, but why don't you take it out on the person who deserves it, and not me." I snatched the bottle out of his hands.
"You still love him."
"You still love Pat." I spat back.
"He's not a monster."
I scoffed. "We're all monsters here, some of us are just worse than others."
"He's the reason I'm doomed to spend eternity with a man who doesn't love me."
"Do I look any happier than you princess? You think he didn't cause that too?"
All the anger seemed to drain out of him. "At least he still loves you." I gave him back the bottle. "Sorry."
"We could bludgeon Tate in front of the new owners; might be fun, therapeutic." I offered, and the idea actually cheered me a little. He just grimaced. "It's not like we can really kill him." I was thinking of bashing his skull in, all that blood making my palms slick and red. It would take forever to get out from under my nails. I wondered if his brain would be gray and squishy, or clearly diseased. I smiled at the thought.
He finished off the bottle, and said, "I think I'll pass."
"Suit yourself." I got up unsteadily, and he sighed and grabbed my arm, helping me into the house. It wasn't until much later that he found me in my former bedroom. "I really hate what they've done with this place." I said in my bitchiest voice as he walked up behind me.
"You still want to kill him?" I turned to look at him, raising an eyebrow questioningly. "Patrick" He practically spat the name, "is downstairs getting friendly with the new owners. I thought you could put on a little show for them when they get to the bedroom." I just shrugged; whatever. I was kinda bored, and it did sound fun. "I'll signal you when they leave."
I sunk through the floor to the basement. He was sitting in his favourite chair, feet up on a box, looking at the brick wall. "Looks fascinating." At the sound of my voice he turned and gave me a brilliant, happy smile. "I'm bored. You want to help me scare the new owners?" His smile just got bigger, and he stood up, letting me lead him upstairs.
Once we were in the master bedroom I started rummaging through the boxes looking for something heavy. "What do you have in mind?" He had walked over to the bed, and was looking at it. I found a nice bronze bookend; very heavy. "Seems a shame to waste the bed, you know."
I walked up behind him. "Some other time maybe, tonight I just thought I'd kill you." Before he could turn all the way around in wild-eyed surprise I hit him as hard as I could across the back of the head, and he collapsed, face down, on the bed. I flipped him over and straddled him. 15 minutes, and 3 smacks across the head later Chad appeared behind me, told me they were on the way, and handed me a kitchen knife.
It was perfect. Just as Tate came around, and tried to lift his arms feebly to protect himself I started stabbing his chest. Blood went everywhere. He even gaped his mouth like a fish out of water for a moment, which made me smile. The new owners ran out screaming, leaving Pat standing dumbfounded in the doorway. I tossed the knife aside. "Sorry for ruining your night." I said blithely. My dad and Moira walked up as he stormed off. "Help me move him in case they call the cops." We got him up to the attic and I watched him heal. Once his eyes focused on me they were furious.
"What the hell, Vi! That really hurt. You didn't have to keep knocking me out."
"Yeah, I know, but it was fun." I leaned down to kiss him, but he turned his head away. "Fine, stay up here and pout by yourself." I slipped through the floor to watch the cops take in a very strange crime-scene.
I didn't see Tate for weeks after that. I hadn't seen the new owners in almost as long; despite the onslaught of paranormal activity they had stayed almost a week. But they did leave those really nice high thread-count sheets, and I thought it was a shame to waste them, so I was lying between them naked listening to the rain outside. I was trying to sleep, but mostly just tossing and turning. "You look frustrated." I didn't need to look at his face; the anger was clear in his voice.
"You just need a good fuck."
"You're probably right. I wonder if Travis is busy." I felt the sheets get ripped off the bed, exposing me, and whipped around to watch as he undid his belt, dropping his pants to the floor. He looked at me the whole time, arrogance all over his face. You're going to lose.
He pulled my legs apart forcefully and rested between them, his face next to my ear. "He'd never fuck you like I do." Anger in every syllable as he pressed his hardness against my core.
"I'm willing to do the research to find out." I snapped, turning my head to look at him. I watched as his face contorted in almost feral rage. He pressed against me harder.
"Really? Because you're already wet." He challenged.
"You think you're the only one who can do that?" I shot back. Both of us were breathing hard and glaring at each other before he pulled away, kissing his way down, and wrapping his arms around my legs; gripping my hips painfully, holding me in place. His tongue was gentle against my folds at first; barely there, teasing. But soon he was more forceful, making me arch my back and fist the sheets in pleasure.
"So wet" he murmured against me, before releasing one of my hips and moving his arm so he could slip a finger inside. "Do you love me?" When I didn't answer he stopped, and I looked at him.
And he started again, slipping another finger inside of me, his tongue running circles around my nub. "Do you miss me?" I tangled my hands in his hair to hold him in place, but my answer was immediate.
"Every day." I could feel him smile as his fingers and tongue continued to attack me.
"What do you think about when you touch yourself?" He slipped a third finger in; almost, but not quite, mimicking his cock.
"Always?" He was still angry, even if I couldn't hear it in his voice, I could feel it in his touch.
"Always." I moaned out.
"Roll over." It wasn't a request, but even it was I still would have done it. I could hear him licking his fingers. "Just like I remember - musky and sweet." I felt him shift, and then his hardness was nuzzling against my wet entrance. When he was fully inside of me he rested his weight on top of me, and started thrusting in and out, hitting that perfect spot I could never reach. My breath was erratic and filled with moans when I felt one of his hands snaking under my hip; I lifted up slightly to accommodate him. As his hand caressed me he whispered in my ear, "I want you to remember what it's like when I make you come. When it's my fingers, and my cock, and you're screaming out my name." His voice rough with anger and lust.
He had barely finished speaking when he pushed me over the edge, and I came just like he wanted, screaming his name. As my walls convulsed around him he thrust into me harder, drawing it out; the force of it left me trembling. As the last quivers of it died away he stilled inside of me, taking a deep breath, holding off his own climax. He rolled off of me, and pulled me on top of him. "I want to look at you. His voice softer now; full of longing."
I sunk down onto him, making his breath hitch, and I leaned down to whisper. "No one will ever fuck me like you because it's not love." I pulled away, watching his face as he took in the words, and his hands came to my hips setting the pace he wanted.
Once we settled into a rhythm I could feel another orgasm building inside of me, and I slipped my hand down to touch myself. As it rocked through me I threw my head back, moaning inarticulately. "Fuck, Vi, you have no idea..." His voice cutting off as he bucked up, and twitched inside of me. He was so far lost he didn't see the smile of triumph on my face. As soon as I felt him twitch a second time I was suddenly gone, across the room watching as he desperately wrapped his own hand around his cock and finished himself off.
I sauntered across the room, picked up his clothes, and threw them into his chest. He was too bewildered and angry to say anything before I sniped. "You lose. Go Away." Checkmate, asshole. I collapsed on the bed, and fell almost instantly to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning the rain was still coming down, and Tate was watching me from a chair next to the bed. "What? Come to yell at me or something?" I expected a blow-up after what I did last night, but as I watched his face it was unreadable. It reminded me of the first time he had held my hand, in this very room, so long ago. Like it did that time his silence was kind of freaking me out. "You look like shit."
"Funny, I feel like shit." Silence descended again, and I pulled a cigarette from the pack on the nightstand, Tate getting up to light it for me.
"That must be new and different for you." I said coldly. He didn't even get angry. It was kind of disappointing. I sighed. "What? You're obviously here to say something, so what?"
He took my hand in his, flipping it over the so the palm was up, and he could trace the lines with his fingers. "I'm sorry." I tried to pull my hand away, but he held it firmly. "I think you were right about pain making people cruel. Both of us were last night, and we never used to be, not with each other anyway, so I'm sorry." He pressed his lips to my palm, and then pressed it to his face. "I hate what I've done to you; hate myself -"
His words should have softened me, but all they did was make me irrationally angry. I wanted to fight, and yell, and scream. That was the only thing that was going to make me feel better right now. "Do you ever shut up? I'm so fucking sick of hearing your 'sorry's'; they don't mean anything." I pulled my hand away from him. "If that's all you have to say to me, get the fuck out; I've heard it all before." I leaned into the pillows behind me, my face an angry mask as I watched him get up. Seeing him walk out made me want to scream in frustration and pain. Instead I picked up the heavy glass tumbler next to me and pitched it his retreating figure.
It landed with a sickening smash right in the back of his head, blood and broken glass everywhere as it knocked him out cold and he hit the floor. I lit another cigarette and watched him twitch and reanimate, willing him to wake up as vicious and vindictive as I felt. When he finally stirred he sat up, with his back to me and said "Every tear you've shed, I shed one too. I watched you every day and every night, crying beside you the whole time-"
"Shut up!" The scream ripping through my throat. "You don't know anything about the pain I've felt."
He got up, and faced me, intensity seeping out of him. "I've watched you every night. I was watching the night you touched yourself for the first time, and how you sobbed afterwards." My eyes were locked onto his, and for the first time in my life I really thought I could kill someone. I'd never felt more hate and more pain, ever. I wanted to eviscerate him; rip the skin away from muscle, muscle from bone, and pick them apart into neat little piles sorted by size. "You think you were the only one suffering that night?" I bit my lip so hard I could taste blood. He came flush with me and I tried to get up, not really having a plan, just wanting to hurt him. A lot. But his hands forced me back down, and he straddled me, pinning me.
He leaned his forehead against mine, and I felt his tears dropping onto my face. I don't know why I did it, but I tilted my head and pressed my lips to his. At first he didn't respond, and I thought maybe it was unwelcome, having a horrible flashback to that night on the beach, and just as I went to pull away his lips pressed back. At first they were gentle, disbelieving kisses. I pulled him closer, tighter, curving my body into his as he pressed down on top of me.
His kisses became more forceful; his lips pressing mine open so he could play his tongue around my mouth. I pulled back, breathless, moaning his name. My hands pushing off his cardigan, pulling off the shirt, feeling his skin under them. All that messy shit, all he'd done, didn't matter. His hands and lips kneading, and kissing, and caressing my skin; his teeth marking me, reclaiming what was once his. When his eyes met mine, he was so fragile, and breakable; made of nothing more substantial than glass.
I didn't regret my cruelty, he deserved it, but I was ready to leave it behind. He lowered his face to wallow in the softness of my skin, and I forgot; let the sweet feelings burn through me and char those parts that were no longer important. There were no words, we'd already used them as weapons, even the loving ones. Instead it was a discordant symphony of ragged breaths, and moans, and gasps. I curled into him, and breathed him into me; ran my hands over him remembering his contours, mapping them.
He didn't take his lips from mine as he laid me back down, and ran his hand down to my thigh, hitching my leg up. I could feel him sinking in, fitting into me perfectly. He looked that same intense look, boring through me, spearing me in place, and I knew no one would ever love me like he did.