We’re All Looking For Something To Ease the Pain

June 21, 2012

She doesn’t blink when he asks for two shots, doesn’t flinch when he nudges one back at her with a tight nod of his head and a twenty on the bar. She downs the cheap whisky, his drink of choice, with him, avoiding his gaze as she brings the glass back to the counter for a quick refill, trying not to notice the new scars, choosing not to notice the deeper lines in his once handsome face. She looks around the near empty bar before slamming back the second shot, wondering if anyone sees, if they care, before risking a glance at the man before her, before moving his twenty silently back across the bar at him.

He smiles at her then, a rueful thing that tugs on what little heartstrings she has left and before long she’s off shift, or close enough to it, perched half on the stool next to him, a quiet sort of companion just waiting for her sign, for that slight brush of his hand against her knee or her arm, for that question in those dark, tired eyes. 

He never asks out loud, never says those things that the other men in her bar say, doesn’t use meaningless words or false pretenses to lure her; doesn’t ask much of her, not until his surprisingly soft lips brush up against hers, tasting of mint and stale booze and a sweetness she’s never been able to put her finger on, whispering her name so soft sometimes she sometimes wonders if she imagines it. 

He takes her hand in his, leading her to the creaky bed in the small apartment over the bar, her bed with it’s white, frilly sheets and girlie flower duvet, a place where he sometimes lays his head, if only for a night. He settles back on the too soft mattress, wincing as it or maybe he creaks, as she crawls onto his lap, straddling him, wrapping her arms around him while she can, giving him the thing he never asks for, the thing she thinks he needs.

His calloused hands roam freely over her body, tugging off clothes in search of bare skin, the cool of a gold band sending chills over her otherwise overheated skin. She doesn’t ask about the ring, never has, the sadness in his eyes tells her all she needs to know. Her answer is in the way he noses up into her, the way he tastes her, messy and wholly and desperate, always attending to her needs before his own, the name he cries out in the dark as his body trembles telling her more than he ever could otherwise.

He holds her after, always holds her, stroking her hair, her skin, making her feel safe and warm until she starts to drift off. She fights it the whole time, begs him silently to stay, though he never does. And she wakes in the morning, goes about her day, tending to that bar, waits for him to walk back through her door.

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