24. PRINCE

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Cestello Annunciation, Botticelli, 1490
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Most people would be familiar with that saying about making lemonade whenever life gives you lemons. Ever since he was young, Isaac considered the phrase absurd, because one would also need a variety of the right ingredients in order to not find themselves gagging on the taste of watered down lemon.

As he awoke in an unrecognizable bed, he started thinking more and more about the quote. He wondered if he's ever made lemonade before in his life, or if he's only ever resorted to its failed counterpart lemon juice. Sticky, sour, bitter lemon juice.

Then he remembered his night with Jesse, and all the fucking lemon juice he created.

"Good boy," Jesse said, finger pressed against his lip, "you never fail to surprise me."

"Wait..." Isaac had hesitated. "...I have one request though."

"Oh?"

"I wore a silk scarf here," he explained, "I want you to use it on me. Blind me."

The man only bit his lip and stared with growing excitement. He smirked, like he knew he was going to have a good time. "If you insist."

It was a strange request, and Isaac was afraid to make it. For some reason, he had an overwhelming desire to have one of his senses taken away. Maybe, at the time, he thought it'd remove the guilt of his decision. Maybe it aroused him to have the smooth material on his skin.

Maybe it was his sick, disturbing way of being able to picture the right face on the wrong body.

He didn't need to see the man to know that he was there. All he wanted to do was feel. Sight never proved existence to begin with.

Isaac hurried out of bed. Examining his surroundings, he noticed that the room he was in was bare. There were no signs of life or character, so he made the assumption he was in a guest bedroom. Behind a barely drawn curtain, he could see that time had not yet reached the crack of dawn. He had to have slept for a few hours though, so it couldn't be too far off.

Quickly, he gathered and threw on his clothes, scrambling out of the apartment like he'd just committed the crime of thievery. He liked to think he wasn't a suspicious looking person, but from the way he sprinted out the door and constantly looked around him, he wouldn't be surprised if the neighbors were put off.

Outside was viciously cold, especially in his knit jumper and flimsy denim. It kind of reminded him of the night where he kissed William. Except, then it was the end of spring, and now it was the start of winter. He was fortunate he didn't face any form of precipitation other than morning dew clinging to sharp blades of grass beneath his sneakers.

And, in comparison to that spring night, his winter morning wasn't leading him to places unexpected, but instead to the familiar run down apartment he'd managed to afford with the money he could scavenge.

Thinking about it, there were really no similarities between the two days. He only wanted there to be.

He took a bus home. It took everything in his power to not fall asleep and miss his stop. To distract himself, he ended up having a pleasant conversation with the little girl one row ahead of where he sat.

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