If I Had a Heart

My name is Andrea Cantillo, and I hate the dentist ("Hi, Andrea.")

So I was not in any way looking forward to going in and getting all four of my impacted wisdom teeth yanked out while under general anesthesia, or, even more-so, NOT under general anesthesia.

I had no insurance, whatsoever, and this was going to run me about $1000, even if I just got it done under laughing gas.

Or maybe I'm kind of mistaken. I did kind of have insurance, but it was in the form of my boyfriend, who seemed to have more than a few secrets. Like where he got all of his money.

So the less he had to pay for, the less I had to explain away to myself.

Laughing gas it was. And not a moment too soon, so said the dentist when I'd arranged the appointment – apparently everything was super-impacted and messed up and Jesse had heard that if your wisdom teeth got too impacted you could die or something.

Jesse being the boyfriend I just mentioned.

So I had Jesse watching Brock, which my grandmother did NOT approve of. Not at all.

"Andrea, when will you get it through your head that men like this, like this Jesse, they are not your friend, they ALWAYS only want to use you, you need to find yourself a stable man, better yet get yourself stable first, you have a SON, Andrea… a son."

But as much as I wanted to cut in and just tell her to forget it, that I would have her watch him like I usually did, I stood firm. If I was going to trust Jesse, then I was going to really trust him.

But did I? I couldn't help but be suspicious. Jesse seemed to be… a magnet, for extreme good things and extreme bad things.

Jesse wasn't evil, I could tell you that. His eyes were gentle, and the way he talked to me and Brock… He cared, no matter what anyone thought. He cared, maybe even loved us.

But then there were the things that had happened since Jesse had been around. I'd told him about Tomas, and he'd had this, this look in his eye like if you looked too far behind them you'd find blood gushing, spikes, and then the next night Tomas was dead and the same night those two… evil bastards who'd made him do these things, they were dead, too. Run over.

And it all seemed like Jesse's hands were all over it. So why was I still here? Why did I leave Brock with him, even for a couple hours? Why was I going to crawl into bed with him, too drugged up after this, and trust him to protect me and not take advantage, and use me like my grandmother had said?

I wish I knew.

There was just something… something calling me to trust him, almost. Something knowing that deep down, Jesse's heart was good.

I opened the door to the dentist's office and stepped inside.

There was no undoing it now, after all.

"Hi, I'm Andrea Cantillo," I told the receptionist.

"Alright, Miss Cantillo, just take a seat and fill this out." She handed me a clipboard, and I fought a shudder. Always with the paperwork at these places.

I took a seat and filled out three sheets that appeared to ask pretty much the same exact questions.

"Miss Cantillo?" a voice called, and I looked up to see my dentist sticking his head out of his office. I rose and walked into the room he directed me to.

The next bit was all slow motion, lying down and having a mask put over my nose, the feeling of something being just – off – a little floaty.

And then white. Just, the color.

I saw her eyes first, and I recognized them instantly, even before the image filled in with the hair, long black hair, and white skin – that's what the white turned into.

It was the girl from the painting. Jane, her name was. Except she was even more perfect here, angelic even – pure light.

I hated her, and I tried to say so, but my mouth was open apparently and I couldn't speak. So I just tried to address it with my eyes before I felt the briefest, feathery, tingly touched against my thigh.

This bitch cannot be serious.

Then her voice, in my ear, taunting, "Jesse will always love me more than you."

I willed her to shut the fuck up.

"You know why? 'Cause I'd do all the things you're afraid to do. I'm wild. Can't be tamed – don't even try." There was an evil laugh, like a tree splitting after being hit by lightning. "You're just a slag with a kid. A one-time good-time, Andrea. An easy one. I mean, come on, the night you met! Could you be any more of a slut than that?"

I could feel tears coming out of my eyes but couldn't stop or even really connect them to what I was feeling. It was the truth, the truth…

"Just remember, when Jesse's sleeping with you, he wishes he was with me."

And with that, she was gone.

"And we're done." The dentist's voice drifted like smoke out of the room, seemed like it came from the room itself now. "Andrea? Try and sit up now."

I did, or at least I must have. Three more forms were handed to me, and I must have called Jesse to pick me up because I turned around and there he was, Brock's hand in his and smiling at me.

"How are you feeling?" I didn't answer. We drove to CVS, picked up my prescription, and drove back to my house.

I started wanting to cry again. I'd given him keys – or had I? Did I trust him?

Why did I trust him?

"Andrea, hey, here you go." He handed me the pill and a glass of water, keeping his finger tightly around the bottle. Oh, yeah, addict. I see.

I swallowed the pill and just found myself standing there for a moment.

"You should lie down," Jesse told me. And then we were up in my room, my room Jesse bought for me, my house Jesse bought for us, my house…

I pressed my lips to his.

"I want you."

Jesse hesitated and broke away.

"You're out of it. Let's wait."

"No. Now."

Jesse kissed me back and took my hand in his, slowly leading me to the bed. Here we go.

He rose up off the bed and pulled the blanket up to my shoulders.

"Get some rest, Andrea. Okay?" He smiled and walked out of the room.

I didn't know what I had wanted him to do, reinforce my trust or violate it.

I still didn't feel any better. I still couldn't help but be suspicious about it all.

I could run.

But I don't want to.