Chapter 39: Nobody Loves You When You're Making Out

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This chapter is probably gonna get my watty revoked for explicit sexual content warning

Like a sack of potatoes I sat on his couch, slumped against its arm, adorned in a royal red canvas. My eyes slowly took in each stitch of the couch, where its areas were threadbare, where the seams met the canvas. When I was done taking that in, I systematically moved on to the floor. Rose carpeting. In the parameters of my eyesight, a pink rose popped out amongst the beige background. I followed its stems to an ocean of beige, and then out of nowhere, another pink rose appeared.

    He had put me carefully on the couch, hesitating for a moment before gently undoing my fingers from his arm, and stood there for a few moments. Then his English reaction came into play: In A Crisis, Make a Pot of Tea. And then he had bustled off to the kitchen and I heard the kettle going off.

    I gazed at the bookshelf across from the couch. A small 1950s television. The domesticated living room: a brown wooden bookshelf, a television set, rose, carpeting, the couch I was sitting on. So different from the man I knew who slept in a filthy room in Germany, staying up till three in the morning, drinking beer for breakfast.

    So this was the house of Mimi I had heard so much about.

    He came back, holding a steaming mug with several ceramic cats in various positions: playing with a ball of yarn, licking its paw daintily, stretching, claws out, tail in the air. He spoke, practically spitting the words out and then shutting his mouth like a trap. "Chamomile. Calm you down."

    I wanted to thank him, I wanted to tell him I liked the mug, but nothing came out, and I unclenched my hands from my purse and accepted the mug, its warmth flowing into my hands. I was still wearing my coat and shoes. Previously standing before me staring, he suddenly bent down and carefully removed my shoes: first my right foot, then my left, and put them aside by the base of the couch. "Why," came out of the corner of his mouth, a deliberate whisper. My gaze moved from the rug to his hands, holding my shoes, touching my feet for a split second before they moved away and my source of warmth flooded back to the tea in my hands.

    "You're a dumbass," John continued, his eyes narrowing into slits of anger. "Why—why in the world—would you into a stranger's car. You don't know anything about them. They could have killed you. You could have been killed." He took a shuddering breath and stood up, turning away from me, staring at the books on the shelf behind the easy chair in the living room.

    I sat like a statue on the couch, holding the untouched cup of tea between my hands. I watched the back of his neck, turning a reddish color now, and the way he hugged his body, as if somehow protecting himself. One hand tightening around his arm in his leather jacket, the material stretching under the pressure of his fingertips. I sat watching a man who used to be mine, soaking in his little habits and communications. He liked to use his hands, to express wanting, anger, emotion, love.

    "How did this even happen? You're lucky, you're a lucky bitch to be near people, you're lucky the car door was unlocked—"

    I listened to him speak, the wine in my stomach (it seemed like a millennia ago), a half closed look on my face, ignoring the obvious insult. John exited the room, still muttering, and returned with a wool blanket. He reached over to take off my coat and unfolded the blanket. He put it over my shoulders, making careful yet rough motions. My gaze moved from the ground to his hazel eyes and straight nose without expression.

    "Aren't ye going to say something?" His voice, oh, every tilt and crevice I took in, drinking up the melody line as if it was the comforting tea and not an incredulous statement.

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