Ingrid's coat fell off her arms as she barraged into the house and stumbled up the stairs. She shook her shoes off one at a time on separate landings. Barefoot, she stormed into her room as she was pulling her jumper over her head and barged half-naked into the bathroom, where she crumbled to her knees by the toilet.
She barely had time to roll her hair up into a makeshift bun before all the junk she'd ingested throughout the day came up from her stomach and she bucked forward, half-hugging the toilet bowl as she retched. Steps bounded into the bedroom. Shuffled closer. A hand covered hers and took over hair-holding duties.
Ingrid made a move to get up and Edgar offered her his forearm for support. He helped her across to the sink and held onto her shivering body while she rinsed her mouth and washed her face.
"I need a minute," she told his reflection.
"You sure you're okay on your own?"
Their gazes met in the mirror. He was plaiting her hair. Ingrid closed her eyes and nodded.
"Alright. Almost done. I'll be right outside."
Bent over the sink, Ingrid splashed more cold water on her face, rubbing it down her chest and around her nape. Brushed her teeth with more aggression than necessary. Stripped and showered with mechanical movements, just going through the motions.
It didn't make her feel any cleaner or any safer. Or more in control. She felt it slipping, like blood draining from a slit vein. Just as lightheaded, too. Her fingers instinctively touched the cut on her neck. Leon had disinfected it and patched it up. She ripped off the band-aid and watched the thin, red line in the mirror. Wondered if it'd scar.
As promised, Edgar was in her bedroom, pacing around. He must have tidied up in her wake – a cursory glance round revealed her belongings neatly piled up on a chair in the corner. He stopped when he heard her. Eyed her with... pity? Guilt?
Ingrid balled her fists.
"I need you to do something," she croaked and cleared her throat.
"Take your clothes off."
Edgar frowned. "What?"
She fetched a vacant chair, placing it in the middle of the room. "Take your clothes off and sit down. Hands behind your back."
He looked bewildered, but complied. Ingrid stood over his naked body.
"Now, whatever you do," she whispered, "whatever I do, you don't touch me, understood?"
"I – Yes," he gulped. "I understand. I won't touch you."
"Good." Ingrid licked her lips. "I'm sorry. I won't – hurt you, per se, but, um... it might get a bit... hard for you to withstand."
He grinned. "Bring it on."
She cupped his face and kissed him. Grateful. Traced her fingers along his shoulders, caressed his collarbones, knelt to graze her teeth against the protruding bones. Edgar hissed, sighing in defeat when her lips found his nipples.
Her palms rubbed his thighs inside and out as she continued to pepper kisses on his pectorals. His muscles grew tenser by the second but to his credit, through gritted teeth and involuntary twitches, his hands never came round from the back of the chair.
YOU ARE READING
in which her american dream dies * once upon a time, ingrid had made an attempt at settling down in new york, after years of being on the run from herself. except her american dream turned into her worst nightmare and she hit the road again. now, br...