you're too young & eager to love
13 August 2017 @ 10:47 pm
 
Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
- “Scheherazade”


Praise this beautiful, terrible world where we are opened
and crushed, where the kiss comes from a mouth that bites.
- “The Diver”





She hungers.

Roman can feel the yearning roll off her – silent, heated waves crashing through the air and landing against his dead skin. He isn’t sure if their connection is because of the blood they share, the thick, heady stuff he takes from her regularly (because he hungers too, he hungers more than he needs) and the drops he’s offered her over their many months together making a circle of their life, or simply because proximity has granted him an intimate awareness. But he can feel it: clear, obvious, undiluted. He runs his tongue against the sharp points of his fangs. He glances at her from beneath his eyelashes, body still against the floor, his hands behind his head and legs stretched forward. He has kept the room sparse, ever militant with his lack of need to display affection or familiarity, and made himself a marble statue posed in relaxation.

“Feeling needy, kid?” he asks.

Lene closes the wooden door separating her bedroom from the smaller, darker back room before shoving her hands into her pockets, her weight shifting to one hip. “No,” she lies. “Being home feels –”

“Home is never how you remember it as. Trust me.”

She rolls her eyes and kicks at one of his bare feet. “I was going to say good. It feels good.”

He moves so suddenly, so like the wolves lambs learn to fear, and snatches her foot. When he pulls, Lene tumbles, her small body awkwardly responding to pressure and gravity, while the beast inside of her instinctively charges with anger at the unexpected attack even as she outwardly laughs. She lands on the carpeted floor with a thud, the stone ground beneath sturdier than her bones. Roman crawls forward, ignoring the way her right knee jams into his rib, her left leg with her newly freed foot wrapping loosely around his hip, his hand pinning her elbow, her fingers in his long hair until they are half-holding, half-wrestling each other’s bodies.

“You smell like the sun,” he murmurs once the skip in her pulse has calmed, his wide nose near her neck, his teeth on her ear. He can lick the dust from her skin.

“You don’t smell like anything, old man.”

She pushes a palm into his face, the coarseness of his beard scratching her fingertips. He nips at her knuckles until she laughs again. It’s a sound like the wind through fresh grass. He’s more used to her nighttime sounds, to her sighs like nightingales and her vixen cries. Lene grins with her hair in her eyes and feels his body move above hers, his hands anchoring at her hips, until she’s rolled and is straddling his sharp waist. One of his palms slips across her stomach, pushing the fabric of her shirt up.

He raises an eyebrow at the bruise blossoming against her ribs and the welts only freshly fading.

“What is this?” Roman asks.

“Nothing.”

He digs his fingers in, hard enough to hurt, and sees the way Lene tries to hide her wince. She sighs, a huff of annoyance, reaching down to halt his hand by his wrist. “Nothing. The usual contenders, welcoming me home.”

“Ah, I see. You disappointed them by bringing me here, so they doubt you. Do you want me to eat them?”

“Oh, that’ll help. You’re a thousand-year-old child.”

Roman’s expression goes blank like ivory. He bites his own thumb then smears the blood across her welts. Lene accepts this, her eyelids shivering at the sensation of pinpricks near her ribs. Gradually, she shifts her weight, stretching herself slowly above him, bracketing his head with her elbows, the ends of her hair trailing across his collarbones, making a curtain around his long face.

“You don’t know what it’s like. A family. A pack.” she whispers.

“A nest. We call them nests, and they are dangerous. They breed stupidity and hunger and greed, liebchen.”

“Not here. It’s different here. We’re different.”

He tucks a piece of hair behind her ear, a soft gesture unlike almost all of his others. “So everyone thinks, kid.” He doesn’t ask what she means – which we she is referencing. Him or her family.

In the brief silence that follows, she touches his forehead with hers. Roman’s sinewy – not as broad around the chest as Lene had originally surmised him being, his narrow figure hidden behind heavy jackets and expensive suits, his length tapering into a finely muscled abdomen and defined hips sharp enough to batter against her thighs – but he’s a brick of a man. She can feel his solidity beneath her, his cold strength that has become a comfort to her, and for a moment it is enough. She had wanted to tell him about family, about a kinship different than heredity and genetics, how blood and bond can forge affinity, but she thinks he already understands. He’s simultaneously been a lover and a son, a father and a brother. She’s still not sure how to articulate her place in the history of his personal hierarchy; she doesn’t know how to ask.

Lene feels it as part of her desire, all those anxious and burning pains she’s felt low in her belly ever since they crossed the desert in Knight’s SUV.

Roman doesn’t wait. He feels the way her hunger is a quake, an ache that matches his, and sits them up. His arms circle her slender back, his fingers sliding along the nape of her neck until he can fist the blonde length of hair. She loops her arms around his shoulders, kissing him softer than she had intended to. She appreciates it when he bites her bottom lip; she likes it more when it’s rough, when she can feel the push and pull of him linger on her body.

“Your brother,” he says afterwards, when they are naked and lying close together, speaking against the curve of her arm, “do I have to call him Alpha too?”

Lene rolls her eyes. “Shut up.”

“He has longer hair than I pictured.”

“As if you ever sat around picturing my brother.”

“And his friend. He has long hair too.”

“Is this really what you want to be doing? Talking about men?” She shoves her wrist against his mouth, her skin knocking against his teeth. “Isn’t it feeding time?”

Roman does not respond to the bait. “I am wondering if you have a pattern. In the type of men who hold your affections.” He smirks, and she can feel the tiny stretch of his lips.

She punches him in the shoulder. “You’re a dick.”

His face splits when he laughs, his mouth wide and teeth white. His eyes crinkle at the edges. (This is how she likes to think of him when he’s being particularly difficult, when she’s having trouble deciphering whether his morals exist, or when his smug leers infuriate her. His laughter makes him surprising; he’s humanized by it.)

Outside the bedroom, all the way on the deck, Anders can hear the muddled sounds of Roman’s laugh traveling up through the maze of corridors. It pierces his ears like a warning signal.






The pack follows Anders. The majority keep their distance from Roman and are less than warm to Lene. They watch her with judgmental gazes. They whisper behind her back. But even this is a kind of homecoming. A familiar burden. It is Roman that she is unsure of, watching his tall figure stalking the trails, learning the area’s geography by night. She tags along too often, feeling like an unwanted shadow in her own house, showing him the paths from her childhood and the worn parts of the mountain that hide their secrets from the world.

After a week, she is still uncertain, still aware of the tense mood lingering around the trainers in the fighting pits, the old women stocking the storage units in the caverns, the children as they bathe, her brother as he watches.

She doesn’t think any of the pack has spoken to Roman outside of formal introductions, so she’s surprised to see a girl marching up to them as they descend a cliff path close to the main house, Lene’s boots skidding against the rock. Roman is a step ahead of her, pushing a hand back through his hair, glancing past the approaching figure to the giant face of the moon behind her. Lene realizes the girl is Rebecca, a brunette whose grown three feet since Lene saw her last, her body now at the brink of womanhood.

“Mama says you’re dead.” Rebecca tells Roman before Lene can even say hello, sure in her wording, her freckled arms folded over her chest in the age-old stance of adolescent defiance.

Everything about her is skinny, from her waist to her legs. Even her hair is thin, like straw, and Lene, still half-bent from where she’d been brushing the mountain grit off her legs, sucks in an air of breath without meaning too. He’ll eat her alive, she thinks, craning her head to the left to judge Roman’s reaction.

He arches an eyebrow but keeps his tone even. “Your mother sounds like an observant woman,” he says, glancing sideways at Lene with a hint of amusement in his hazel eyes.

“What do your teeth look like?” Rebecca asks, unabashed.

Lene waves her hands in the air in a gesture of shock. “Hello, rudeness alert. Young lady, you go tell your mama that I -” She’s cut off by the sound of Roman’s snarl and the way his body shifts in her periphery. He puts his hands on his thighs, crouching forward into Rebecca’s young face with the same predatory swiftness that Lene has come to know well. She finds herself holding her breath again, seeing his face contort, seeing the savagery in his expression and the glint of the moon on his descended fangs. Rebecca yelps in surprise, shrinking back.

Lene can see Anders, ten feet off, stalking towards them. She grabs Roman’s arm hard and pulls, but he is stone, not budging, and to her surprise Rebecca’s yelp has turned to giggling.

“Cool!” the girl exclaims with a grin, and Lene realizes Roman is smiling.

He doesn’t move when Rebecca touches one of his fangs with the tip of her finger, feeling the point.

“That’s enough,” Anders declares once he’s within earshot.

Rebecca lingers until Lene gives her a hard look, then she drops her hand reluctantly, stepping around and partly behind her legs. Lene places her hand atop the girl’s head, watching her brother watch Roman with open disapproval. Roman retracts his fangs before standing. He has to look down at Anders, a fact that Lene knows irritates him more.

“Is this where you tell me that I am a guest, and I should behave myself?” he asks, and Lene elbows his side.

Anders frowns. “You’re a guest,” he says, but nothing else.

Roman makes a noncommittal noise, not quite a hum, before continuing down the path towards the cabin. His shoulder hits Anders in passing, and he growls even though he’s staring at Lene.

“It will get better,” she tells her brother, squaring her shoulders despite her desire to expose the vulnerable white of her belly.






It starts with the children, so for a while Lene thinks she’s right.

Children are less carved by the word, more resilient and able to see past the fears of others. Rebecca becomes the ringleader, the springboard for the others to use as a gauge in ways that Lene can never be. Rebecca is not different; she was born into the pack and embraced by it – normal in all of their eyes. Willful. Beautiful only in her gracelessness and growing coltish limbs. She has a horse’s wild heart, the beast inside of her passed down from her father’s line, skipping the predator that is her mother’s shape.

She lingers near Roman during dinner hours, quiet except for the occasional smile she sends in his direction, until the lingering becomes a welcoming. When Roman slips down the mountain, headed towards the cold night sands of the desert, she follows his tracks dutifully. They return before dawn, sometimes side-by-side, sometimes with her legs thrown over his shoulders and her body hunched above him, her arms gripping his neck like winding ropes. They morph into one large figure, an amalgamation of monsters.

Before long, the pair doubles. Triples. Forms a group.

Harper has a lisp, but Roman smells scales beneath her skin, and a cunning that belies her shy speech. Isaac has eyes as dark as sage. He smells like forest things, like ancient oaks, but he barely comes to Roman’s thigh. Judah never speaks. He tags along reluctantly. Rebecca says he was rescued from the worst of the drifter cities only a few months ago; she’s surprised he follows at all. Bailey is the loudest – braying with laughter easily, the most untouched by hardship, the loveliest in her innocence – and she likes to cling to Roman’s elbow until he lifts his arm, her feet dangling above the ground, toes dragging over rocks and dust.

Lene keeps her face impassive except for when she grins at Knight’s raised eyebrow and shrugs a shoulder. She doesn’t say anything.

Sometimes she joins in their walks. Sometimes they tussle like she used to when she was their age. She lets their young bodies pile into and over her. She gets elbows in her face, knees in her ribs, laughter in her ear. Roman plucks them off of her one by one. He hooks them by their arms or the backs of their shirts and calls her name, searching for her beneath a pile of squirming kids. As easily as pulling weeds after a fresh rain. Their fingers splay, grasping at empty air. Once, Lene tackled Roman head-first, his arm still circled around Harper’s waist, and the three of them had caused tracks in the dirt.

He’d looked up at her from the ground, a smear of grit across his cheek, and laughed.

Harper had butted her head against Lene’s and scrambled over them, reaching for Judah’s nearby leg. When Lene stood, she’d offered Roman her hand like she’d done it a hundred times.

“Tell us about before,” Rebecca had demanded on their return back.

“Before?” Roman asked, picking a shrub from Lene’s hair.

“Before this, she means.” Bailey clarified.

“There was more color,” Roman said, “and men were kinder.”

Lene had looked at him with disbelief. Men had always burned hearts, her grandmother had said, but she appreciates the lie for what it is.


It’s better, she had thought. It’s getting better.

It isn’t the first time she’s been wrong.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
25 July 2017 @ 11:11 pm
 
Weeeelll, this didn't pan out. Posting just because.


-


Palmer flashes Mac a hard, fixed smile. “Back so soon?” he asks, digging his fingers into the rind of an orange, nails blunt but pressure hard.

Mac’s expression is boyish in response. “I’m a glutton, it’s true,” he says, his smile splitting his face, the hint of dimples at each corner of his mouth adding a flair of sweetness that Palmer knows he personally has never possessed.

Sunniva is more diplomatic. She pivots her weight to her good leg, taking Mac’s arm in a practiced gesture of welcome. “Patrons like yourself are always welcome here.”

“What she means to say,” Palmer clarifies, his fingers wet from where he’s broken into the heart of the orange, “is that you’re welcome as long as you can pay.”

Sunniva’s gaze is hard. Her mouth purses into a thin line. There’s a warning in the look she’s giving Palmer, but he ignores it.

“What? Let’s not pretend we’re running a shelter instead of a business, my dear.” He flashes a full-teeth grin that doesn’t reach his eyes.

Mac laughs good-naturedly. Sunniva looks unamused, but she steers the young man towards the atrium with an outstretched hand. “Come on. Eda’s waiting.”




The atrium is golden. It’s the finest room in the Isle, the mosaic tiles scrubbed to shine, the sun glittering off the clear waters of the shallow pool. There’s a few girls lounging on the lavish furniture, enjoying the afternoon breeze. Eda has her feet in the water, perched on the edge of the pool. She is resplendent in pink, the delicate shade of seashell and beach sand. The dress is damp at her calves where the water has hit her. She’s missing one of her pearl earrings, and Mac’s first thought is that she’s lost it swimming.

Sunniva releases his arm and clears her throat. The girls recognize the signal and rise together, slipping through discreet exits. They cast knowing glances over their shoulders. Eda is the Isle’s prize – she has a room larger and more lavish than any others, but she’s not limited to entertaining guests in a 12 by 13 space. She can have them anywhere, or they can have her.

“Take your time,” Sunniva tells Mac, closing the double doors behind her.

Eda dances her fingers across the water. When she smiles at Mac, her entire face arches into the expression. She looks like she’s spent her day waiting for him.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
23 July 2017 @ 05:57 pm
 
Trying out a newbie! Welcome, Calder, you silver fox.







I sink the boat of love, but that comes
later. And yes, I swallow
glass, but that comes later.
- Richard Siken




YOU STILL see your wife’s face after all these years.

It comes to you at odd times – when you’re scrubbing a cast iron skillet after breakfast, after you splash cold water on your face in the midafternoon heat, when you kick sand into the fire-pit before bed out on the desert – and you see her as clearly as if she were still slipping into the back room at Mick’s bar, her feet bare, her smile wide, hardly a day over twenty. She had a girl’s face, still round with youth, and a dusting of freckles across her nose that made you think of constellations in the night sky.

(She was younger than you; everything about her body proved it. You had a scratch of beard across your jaw when you met and a moral code that could only be classified as grey. You’d wanted her immediately, her face a sunflower between your palms.)

Sometimes you mourn the gaps in your memory. You can’t recall her voice (was it soft, melodious, or raspy, full of need?) or how she smelled, so you cling harder to what you can remember: copper eyelashes, the slight gap between her front teeth, the mole inside the shell of her ear. It’s the details that are precious. It’s the details you try to memorize.

You want to pay homage, but you want your guilt too.




YOU ACCEPTED the blame for her death long ago. Looking back, you’re almost grateful for it (the catalyst that is your cataclysm). Her death made you rootless, sent you crawling from backstreet gutters to mild, open planes, over sandy dunes and across mountainous cliffs. A misplaced soul. A rover. You needed a reason to change, and you were always the type of man to seize an opportunity (you know that’s how it all started – you see the irony).

Your grief was a stone in your chest, weighing you down. It threatened to suffocate you while you slept. You would wake, wide-eyed and clutching at the air, her name like a plea in your mouth. Drinking helped, but not enough. So you turned to the desert like a madman and used the elements as a test. If you could survive the land, you could survive your sorrow.

It took six months before you realized that you liked being unmoored. You liked trading the mud and blood on your hands for more honest callouses and the ache of a hard day’s work. Your body, as in approval, responded well to your new way of living; your face weathered the changes; your skin darkened; you lost your laugh lines.

You lost much.




IT TOOK three years before you decided to return to society. As far as you could surmise, not much had changed. It was still full of hatred, greed, spite. You remember having to look just as hard as before for anything good.

You’d gone to Palmer because he was familiar. You’d gone to Palmer because there was no one else.

“Calder! How’s your temper?” he asked as an ice-breaker, as unshakeable as you remembered him being. He watched you take off your coat and signaled to the bartender for another beer. “I just want to know if I should expect to get my ass kicked before the night ends.”

He passed you the beer, and you took a drink before answering. “Not your fault. What happened.”

When Palmer grinned, it was sly, foxlike, an expression you never cared for. But you sat with him anyway, drinking slower than you had in years, and surprising yourself when laughter escaped your throat from time to time. The bar felt comfortable. The din of other nearby conversations was not as grating as you had remembered it being. Even Palmer’s smugness didn’t bother you or the carefree manner he had of discussing the past.

It was Palmer that told you about the Range, the old Mistwood ranch a handful of miles out past the western ridge. Palmer had been scouting for land in your absence, on the hunt for a business opportunity, but he handed over the news as a favor.

“I owe you,” he’d said, and for once there hadn’t been a hint of humor in his voice. His face had been a closed door.




YOUR WIFE’S death taught you what happens after love.

You don’t want to forget the lesson.

You bought the Range.




THE RANCH is small, but it’s still hard work for one man. You start slowly and spend long hours making lists of repairs and materials needed. You start with the main house, mending the weak spots in the roof, digging a second well, stocking the pantry with canned goods, dried spices, and cured meats. You have to fix multiple posts in the fence running the length of the property. The best news you hope for is that patches of the land are still viable. You settle for a stretch of pasture hardly larger than an acre.

You start a garden out of necessity. You raise sheep for the company. You have three horses, one little more than a pony, and an old cow that still stands for her milking.

You can’t go much further west. There’s drifter towns to the south, desert to the east, and unexplored areas to your north. You don’t get many visitors. The western ridge is difficult terrain for the unfamiliar traveler, and the ridge hides your valley well. Even the headhunters stay away, preferring desert heat to untrustworthy, treacherous rock. Rumors suggest tribes of beasts occupy the area, migrant clans that roam the lands, laying waste to human allies and Compound sympathizers. Palmer doesn’t give the idea much stock, but you’re grateful for whatever reasons may support your isolation.

You’re on the periphery.





YOU AREN’T searching.

But he comes to you anyway. He arrives at the change of the seasons when the nights are a little calmer, the wind a little madder. He arrives during the month you’ve been dreaming of sharks and the coastal waters of your childhood.

You find him half-alive and feral in the barn, scaring your favorite mare with all the noise he’s making. It takes you less than a minute to realize he isn’t an immediate threat, not in his current condition, but you’re more cautious these days. He’s talking nonsense, his eyes mostly closed, clawing the far corner of your mare’s stall. There’s the smell of sickness about him and something else, something chemical, something synthetic. You open the stall door slowly, coaxing the horse into your steady hands, and out into the yard. When you return to the barn, you have a shotgun in one hand and a medicine kit in the other.

He’s passed out. You’re grateful, but you still keep the gun in reach.

There’s more blood than you were expecting. You have to go back to the house for hot water and clean bandages.

Later, you’ll find blood under your nails even after you’ve washed your hands. You’ll chew on the side of your thumb and taste copper.

You’ll see your wife’s face again.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
20 July 2017 @ 08:27 pm
 
Hello, journal! It's been so loooooonngg. I blame my descent into the world of fanfiction.

It feels good to return to my babies though. 3500 words - woohoo!

The novel I'm reading right now uses multiple spaces to separate sections of a chapter, but the author also capitalizes the first few words of each section. I stole that stylistic choice. I always worry about how many spaces I use for separation and whether or not aesthetically it works, so the added formatting helps me visually. /random

Title/text at the beginning comes from a Halsey song, of all things.

you're a masterpiece )
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
05 November 2016 @ 08:10 pm
 
At my Muffin's request, some Roman and Harrow and Lene!


~~~~


There’s a dinner of roasted lamb and salted oysters, glasses full of wine and whiskey, the scent of cigarettes and cigars muddling the smell of fresh meat in a layer of ash. Roman does not eat; he helps the women to the seats instead, picturing the long columns of their throats and how vivid their blood must be. There’s so many heartbeats, all of them thundering in his ears. Arletta’s is weak, sporadic. It lessens the more she drinks. He pours her three glasses of chardonnay, one after the other, and watches her pick at the assortment of desert fruit on her place, how she sucks the pieces into her mouth, her sly eyes never straying from Harrow’s thin lips.

The room is hot from the amount of bodies present – the couples, the affluent men of power, the bodyguards and companions – but Roman alone is cool to the touch. Women find reasons to press their fingers to his wrists and do not wonder why.

Harrow grins at him from across the table, a wolf in gentleman’s clothing.

They have this in common.

They have many things in commons.




Afterwards, Arletta whispers something into the shell of Harrow’s ear, her hand slipping invitingly across his arm when she steps away. A linger and a promise. Lene follows her, the black lace and sequins of her dress catching the candlelight, her face stoic in its impassiveness.

“She’s very pretty.”

“Who’s that now?” Roman does not lift his eyes. He has moved on to business now that the hour is late and the swarm of guests has departed. He feels the hair on the back of his neck stand. There’s tension in the room, a palpable warning, and none of it stems from the pile of documents spread before him on the table.

“Who’s that?” Harrow mocks with a laugh, the sound wet in his mouth, as warm as blood. (For a moment, Roman feels hungry. His teeth ache.) “Arletta’s little mouse of a guard. Though I know as well as any how deceiving looks can be with these beasts.”

He knows better than to say he hasn’t noticed. Instead, he tells Harrow that they’re all pretty – it’s a shame, a waste of good looks on a lowly set of DNA. With a sigh, he crumples one of the papers in his large hand, the Minister’s official seal a hard clump of wax in his palm. “Your sister is a pain in the ass. She’s ordering new pamphlets on the spread of disease - ”

“Why are you changing the subject?”

“What subject is that?”

“Ita sees everything, you know. She’s rather astute. She reminds me of that which I have forgotten.”

Roman looks. He’s forgotten the swan. She’s as still as a statue, perfectly poised, kneeling beside Harrow’s seat. He wonders how many even noticed her throughout dinner, if Arletta had stepped over her as others step through ghosts. He settles back into his own chair, grinning. “Are you spying on me now, brother? At least give me another drink before you interrogate me.”

Harrow laughs again – the same sound as before, the simulacrum of a laugh. He passes the bottle of whiskey though, feigning good nature, and Roman refills his glass himself.

“No, no. It’s alright. I have thought all this time that you have been so much the soldier. The red right hand. But here you are … hot blooded after all, I’m relieved. I don’t know how I never saw it before. How long has she been visiting you? Does Arletta know? We pulled the security cameras. She was seen outside of your room four times before you left to check the Eastern perimeters. Four times.”

Roman drinks. He is slow in his movements. “Du bist verruckt, bruder.”

Harrow grins. He leans forward, an elbow on his knee, his left hand forming a threatening point. “Now see, that’s very good. That language of yours. You only speak it when you’re drunk, but by my count that is your first drink of the evening. I, too, am astute. What’s her name?”

“You know her name.”

“She must be very talented or you must be very much enthralled to have kept her a secret so long. Arletta will be disappointed, however, to know that her own bodyguard has been fraternizing under her nose. She doesn’t like surprises, that woman. I would hate for her –”

“What would you hate, Harrow? This is getting boring, and I have work to get done. So say it. What do you want?” He is too sudden, too quick with his tone. There is a flare of annoyance in his voice that Harrow notices, and it is as if Roman has suddenly shown all of his cards.

“I am only hurt that you have not bothered to share, considering how gracious I have been with my own gifts.” He places his hand on Ita’s head, his fingers stroking her pale hair. “It is a curtsey that I even ask, you understand.”

Roman’s smile splits his mouth the way a fist might. He is all teeth. “You call this asking? If you want to fuck the bitch, fuck her. But if she calls out my name instead of yours, tell yourself it’s only from habit.”

For a moment, Harrow wraps his hand into a fist, Ita’s hair caught between his fingers. “Ah, defensive I see. Would you like to watch?”

It is his turn to laugh, and Roman’s is not like Harrow’s – full of bitterness and threats – but strong, barking. “I’ve seen enough of you as it is. My imagination will be adequate, I assure you.”

They do not shake hands, but they might as well.




Lene is out of her dress when he finds her in his room. He sees it, still catching the dim light, laying over his lone chair. She has swapped the lace for one of his white dress shirts, the sleeves rolled up on her slender arms, but the buttons undone so that he can see all the expanse of her flesh. She is a canvas like this – entirely fresh – waiting for his markings to color her.

“I only have a few minutes, but that dress was torture. I thought you would be hungry after all that meat and those women. Do you even notice how they look at you anymore?” She’s smiling, her voice easy, her movements languid when she slides from the center of his bed to sit on the edge.

“I’m not looking at them, liebling.”

“Liar.”

He smiles, but the swiftness of his movements do not match the softness of his sentiments. He crosses the room in three strides, a strong pillar wrapped in a suit, and leans his face into the tender crook of her neck when she wraps her arms around him. He thinks he hears her laugh when he kisses her skin, her shoulder, the inside of her elbow. He bites at her collarbone, her fingers tangling into his coarse hair, murmurs a spread of German over the top of her breasts.

She tugs on a fistful of his hair. “Casanova, we’re running out of time.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“I would ask if you died, but …”

Roman chuckles, a cinnamon sound warm enough to blanket his nerves, and slinks to his knees. He’s still tall. He has to dip his head to press his mouth to her stomach. She smells like grass and mountains, heat from the surrounding desert, and blackberries. When he kisses her hip and licks the salt from the skin, she tugs on his hair again, pulling his head back taut so that she can finally see his eyes. “What’s going on? You’re acting … this is different. Did something happen?”

“Keep pulling and I’ll want to use these fangs.”

“Roman.”

He does not sigh. He has never quite mastered that sound – the frustration or distress it requires to be believable. He settles back on his ankles, half disappointed by the easy way Lene releases her grip. She has a beautiful face he realizes, not for the first time. Her mouth is full and plush. He wants to tell her that he reminds her of a doll when she’s like this and that all things deserve to be cherished, even the ones who are strong enough not to need it. He wants to tell her that if he were a different man, he would be more frightened, more possessive, more capable. He wants to tell her that she is a weakness for him.

Instead, he says nothing.

He blames the whiskey for his softness, watching as she removes his shirt and slips back into her dress. He lets her go.

Much like Harrow, his words are only good for biting.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
11 October 2016 @ 07:27 pm
 
A bunch of random snippets. I meant to write more, write better, or at least write more significant things. Then I realized that they're just snippets, and I'm just wrapping my head around Austin and Sabra and pack dynamics. I didn't even proof read this. Oh weeeellll.


---



“She has every right,” Austin says, pulling her shirt up and over her angular body. She is lean muscle, her skin rippling over her ribs, her cells already sensing the change that is about to happen.

Chason scowls. It’s an angry expression on his otherwise beautiful face. “I don’t like it. We don’t have to fight each other.”

“We aren’t,” she laughs. “Not really. This is the most natural thing of all.” Her hands drop to her canvas pants and she undoes the old buttons, pushing the fabric down and away.

There are old scars on her legs, peppered with freckles and sun marks. They remain after she shifts, slashes crisscrossing through her abyss spots. She has sharp teeth, long and white, but Chason has never felt them himself. He has heard the clamp of her jaw on another’s tender neck, felt the hot spray of arterial blood against his muzzle, and cannot imagine the weight of her teeth on his own skin.

Tilly has. She’s thought of all the different ways this could play out, and no matter the outcome she finds the struggle essential. She’s already shifted. She’s down the dune, waiting with the rest of the pack, their role simply to observe and judge.

Chason is the last to change, the animal inside of him uncharacteristically cautious. He follows Austin’s loping shadow, eyes bright, teeth bared.



There are rules. Austin has not raised her pack to be uncivilized.

This is not about death, but in many ways it is about life.



She catches Tilly by the hind leg, her teeth slicing, gouging flesh and fur. The blood tastes bitter to her. Too familiar. Too like her own. She craves cold water, but now she’s caught the scent of vitality and copper. As tart as a lime. She shakes her bearish head and hears Tilly’s whimper.

(Austin lets go. Ever the matriarch.)

Tilly turns with such sudden viciousness that Austin slips in her surprise, claws and padded feet grasping futilely at the sand, body rolling in a final effort to avoid her snapping jaws.

Austin kicks. Tilly lunges. They reel.



“I just got lucky,” Austin says later, her fingers twisting, working to finish the last of her braid.

“You don’t have to say that,” Tilly murmurs, but she thinks otherwise. She thinks Austin wasn’t lucky at all, just more used to an audience.

“How’s your leg?”

“Hurts.”

“Tell that to my arm.”



Garret has a grin as wide and sloppy as his manners. He licks his fingers around the fire, too close to Chason’s left side. He watches Austin with a hunger that is palpable, burning ten degrees hotter than the flames centered between them.

He leans towards Chason, rubbing his hands over his jeans. “Don’t you wish her tits were bigger?”

Chason sneers. “She probably says the same about your dick.”

Garret laughs, a sound that is all bite.



Garret was their third. He was obnoxious when they found him, mostly drunk, ripping apart a drifter bar with half an arm dangling from his teeth. He’s still obnoxious; Chason can’t figure out what Austin sees in him. He thinks it’s because she wants the numbers – it’s safer to be in a group – because two people alone cannot be a pack. Or maybe she just likes their kind. He doesn’t know. She doesn’t tell him everything.

She can sense his distrust though. His disapproval like a bitter scent in the wind.

She winds her fingers into his air and nips at his ear. Chason smiles begrudgingly, feeling the weight of her hand against his arm when she stands to leave, trailing her palm across his shoulder.




Sabra hitches when she breathes. Her chest like a rattle, all the air strangling in her throat. She should be used to it by now, but the pressure threatens to knock her over every time. She has to rest, bent over, hands on her shaking knees.

She is sixteen years old and alone in the desert.

The sun scorches. The sand stings. She thinks it is a friendless land.

She is wrong.



Austin bites her wrist. Austin pulls her hair. Austin digs her fingers into her ribs till it is more painful than ticklish. She laughs and laughs and laughs, the sound like sharp glass.

Sabra doesn’t laugh. She whines and struggles to breath and pushes up. Her nails are blunt and do not scratch.

Austin rolls her eyes, relenting. “C’mon. Where’s your spirit? I’m only playing.”

Sabra can’t answer. Her words choke in her throat like her breath, and Austin is too impatient to wait.



She has steady, sure fingers. She breaks apart metal, electronics, rusted bits, frayed wires, and puts them back – makes them better. She shows Austin the repaired radio and feels pride warm her chest like a sunburst when her older sister nudges her arm and thanks her.

Sometimes, if she feels like she’s been helpful enough and deserves it, she curls into Austin’s bed and listens to the easy rise and fall of her chest as she sleeps. She breathes in her scent of pepper and lemon, the softer undercurrent of fresh cream. She smells like their mother, although she’s sharper, harder to curl against.

Austin never says anything in the mornings. If she’s lucky, Austin will pull their blankets up and over their heads and speak in her sulfur early morning whisper. Sabra will laugh then, the noise easier and more natural in the wake of Austin’s kindness.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
09 October 2016 @ 09:15 pm
 
I exist in two places,
here and where you are.
- Margaret Atwood




His hair is long when he finally accepts Austin, when he is ready to defer.

(It will be cut when he is forced into the compound. This will be their first act, the men with their needles and white jackets. They will shear him, clumsy cuts with dull scissors that leave the sides short and the top long, uneven, falling forward into his eyes. He will already be transformed by the time Ita sees him. He will be more beast than man, more feral dog than human heart.)

Austin drags her fingers through it, dark oil slipping against her callouses, softer than her own coarse curls and tangles. He is barely more than a boy; she is still half a girl. She nips at his strong jaw, pushing her nose into the curve of his ear. He holds her hip, laughing into her neck.

They have spent years together, picking their way through the wasteland of barren, drifter cities, creating a home in the heat of the desert. They are well suited for it – creatures of craft and shadow. They find a balance. She is stronger than he is, quicker, more persistent and capable. He is too prone to anger, too haunted by their shared pasts and its aching horrors. He does not speak of his parents or his brother, and she knows he has replaced all of them in his eyes, that she has been transformed into a new being entirely. She is herself, and then she is Austin.

(She does not mind, does not see the burden. He would die for her, she knows and it is enough. Sometimes, she wonders how much of it is genuine and how much is biology.)

She makes a choice. She will lead. He will follow, an eternal phantom limb, her second right hand. Austin seals the pact in the only way she knows how, in the only way that is provided to them: in flesh and blood. A promise born in salt and sweat and her body braced above his.

They will find the others together. One by one, they will join, until a family of six is forged.

A pack.





“What was she like?” Ita asks, highlighted in the warmth of the fire’s glow. There is sand in her eyelashes, under her nails, scratching her smooth skin red.

“Is. What is she like.”

“How can you know? That she is still alive?”

“Because I do.”

“Because you are bonded.”

Chason laughs, harsh like the wind through the sand. “No. We do not bond like that.”

“But–”

“You think we’re all sentimental birds?”

She flinches around the eyes at the insult, catching her lip between her teeth. Her mouth is dry with tension. “I think she was your-”

“She’s Austin. Don’t overcomplicate everything with your expectations.”

They are not bonded, he says. He insists. Like a liturgy.

He presses Ita to him on their third night, and she feels her heartstrings tighten and knot around their bodies. Something in Chason responds, the deep well inside of him lessening, ebbing, until he has made room for her inside of his chest, protected by the sharp cradle of his ribs.

It is familiar to him, and yet completely foreign.





They change together. His muscles harden, his skin darkens, his laughter deepens. She becomes taller, sinewy, more dangerous. There’s a sharpness to her jaw and a cunning to her green eyes that beguiles. They spend those first years growing strong until they have wrapped around one another, two solid oaks whose branches have intertwined.

Austin learns that his laughter stems more from nerves than confidence. That a heat storm causes the hair on the back of his neck to stand up straight. That he sleeps with an arm thrown over his face, careless as a housecat, although every muscle in his body is poised for a fight. Chason learns that she loves to run, in any form, her long legs pumping her narrow body forward and faster, her hair catching in the wind, her laughter like lightning. That she is not ashamed to cry, tears thick on her eyelashes, mouth twisted into a scar of grief. That she sings to herself, soft wordless melodies, fragments of a childhood far warmer than the world they found themselves facing now.

Their roots go deep.

Like all close pairs, they keep to themselves. They move every few nights, never staying more than two weeks in the same spot, circling back around to familiar, isolated haunts like ghosts. They become acquainted with the desert, learning its foul plays and temperamental nature. Austin knows the skies, the hazardous sun, the trickster moon. Chason knows the shifting dunes and the paths their feet have crossed, his mind an ever-growing map, forever adding details and never missing the mark.

If they sleep in each other’s arms, it is because of the cold.

If he cradles her sharp face in his strong hands and tries to claim her mouth until she accepts, it is because of loneliness.

Like so few remaining things, she has become a comfort to him.

She thinks it her responsibility.





“She had a sister. Has. We found her, somehow. It seemed like a freak accident. There she was, skin and bones. A cough that sounded like a death rattle. Just working in one of those end-of-the-world bazaars out by the Eastern slope, where the desert is the worst. You know they say there’s an oasis out there? But we never found it. Never went further than that bazaar. It was like Austin saw her sister there, and that was enough for her. She was ready to rest for a while. And why not? We knew the desert, or thought we did, we’d been living like that for years.”

Ita is sunburnt, her lips cracked, her fingers bleeding. But she doesn’t mind; Chason has been talking for twenty minutes, his voice low and full of growls, and he has been patiently untangling the knots in her silver hair. He pulls and slips the strands over his fingers. He has been in a better mood ever since he caught the pack’s scent four nights ago, and it shows.

“What is her name?”

“Sabra.” He twists the last section of her hair before letting it coil down her shoulder in a thick plait. “There. That should last for a day at least.”

Ita does not ask how he learned to braid or whose hair he learned with. She doesn’t need to. Instead, she feels a storm of emotion twist, low in her belly, so she turns her head suddenly and peppers small, sweet kisses across his jaw and neck. He laughs, smoothing his hands across her shoulders. Dips his fingers with more insistence and unwinds the many layers of scarves she wears for protection.

“Were you always this eager?” Ita asks.

Chason rasps a snickering sound against her wrist. “You mean, with others?”

She smiles, not half as bashful as he expects her to be.

“My circumstances have always required urgency, Swan Lake. I didn’t have the luxury of protective walls.”

“… Neither did I.”

She says it so softly that he barely hears her, his mouth already wet on her collarbone. He ignores it for now, preferring to keep her a treasure, untarnished and golden in a rotten world.





Austin stands with her hands on her hips. The darkness creeps across her face with the last remnants of the setting sun. She tucks the long, rope-like twists of her hair behind hears and sighs. Chason touches her elbow. He feels the sweat on her skin, can sense her nerves.

“They’re close,” she says. “The men with their big guns and bigger traps.”

The pack cackles behind them, warning howls on the horizon.

“We should leave then.”

“Nowhere else to go. We don’t have the supplies to head back. Wherever we go now, we’re all caught up in their nets.”

“We’ve been in tough spots before.”

There’s a sad little smile on her mouth when she turns to face him. A kind of knowing. She pushes her hand back through his hair, leaning her weight into him, feeling him brace against the sand to steady them both. “I think I made the wrong decision. We shouldn’t have come back. We should have taken Sabra and continued East. Should have found the oasis, the others, those rebel camps.”

Chason shrugs. It says a thousand things and nothing all at once. He dips his head and presses his hard mouth to her temple. It’s meant to comfort, but he can tell it doesn’t.

“Where you go, I go,” he says. He wants to make her smile.

He doesn’t realize how true his statement is until it’s too late.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
23 September 2016 @ 08:29 pm
 
My Muffinpants posted a piece, so naturally I became inspired, and this happened.

Oldies but goodies! A few snippets because I’m too lazy to write anything legitimate at the moment.

~



Chason has the hands of a miner. They are rough with thick callouses blanketing his palms. There are scars on his knuckles, old wounds with even older histories.

Ita presses her thin mouth to them in the dry desert night. She has a tongue that blisters despite her silver softness, and Chason instinctively bends his hand away from the heat.

She looks hurt.

But then, she always looks hurt.

“What are they from?” Her questions are never loaded, her mouth too unaccustomed to saying what she actually wants. Sometimes Chason swears she has trouble even shaping certain words.

Words like love, like separation, like future.

He forces the uncomfortable laugh back down his throat and pushes a hand into her pale hair, an apology of sorts (he does that a lot: laughs at nothing, at everything, hoping to hear the response of his brothers and sisters on the horizon). He curls his fingers, and he can feel the sand under his nails, the tangle of knots that cause his hand to stick. Both, he knows, are caused by their failing journey, and he feels the responsibility, the guilt, settle over him like a shroud.

She’s a delicate thing, long-limbed and snow-skinned. She is blistering beneath the heat of the sun and shivering during the long hours of the night. She is starving, he thinks, her ribs like sharp blades against her stomach when he presses her to him.

But she is his.

In this form or another, she is his now.




~


She likes her tea scalding hot with a heavy dose of lemon and just a hint of honey. Once, Ita brought her a gold-rimmed cup syrup-thick with honey, and Augusta had thrown it at her feet after one sip. The porcelain had shattered; the tea had burned; Ita had caught her voice in her throat.

Augusta had said nothing, and Radomir had made her a new cup, the saucer as fragile as a toy boat between his large hands.

When he placed it on the table beside her folders and official documents, she had touched his wrist in passing, a sweep of her fingers in gratitude. She’d sucked the end of a fountain pen into her mouth, her teeth white and sharp against the metal, and caught his eye. There was something amused there, something dark in her red glance, something he appreciated and understood.

Ita had seen it, and she had shivered.

Mated, she’d thought, bonded, paired.

The idea had unsettled her, and the scent of lemons still makes her skin crawl.




~

Eda is a waif, but she is horribly pretty. Too pretty, Sunniva sometimes thinks. She has all the beauty of a desert flower but none of the poison. Sunniva worries she might have bet her money on the wrong horse, so to speak, that her investment is not as promising as it once was. She could be losing.

Financially, and maybe something else.

Palmer shrugs, his movements slow from plum wine. “She’s a hell of a survivor though, that one. Better than a fucking flower.”

“Some cacti can survive two years without a single drop of water.”

“I thought we were talking about flowers? Who said anything about cacti?”

Sunniva rolls her eyes, her mouth a straight line, but there’s a slope to her shoulders that reveals her amusement. She finishes counting the last of the day’s coin and refills Palmer’s glass from the pitcher between them. It’s been a long time since she’s poured for charm’s sake, but there’s still a practiced, natural elegance to the way she holds out her arm, to the flash of her white wrist, and the curve of her fingers.

Palmer catches her hand.

There’s a hungry look about him, like a dog scavenging for bones, that makes her want to push her nails into his face.

But then he laughs, his off-kilter, off-balanced, rumbling sound, and strokes her the soft center of her palm with his dangerous fingers. “You could be a flower, you know. You’re pretty enough.”

“A flower?” she deadpans. “Tell me, does this type of approach work with all your women, or just the particularly vapid ones?”

“Eda likes flowers. She would be a Canterbury bell. Some dainty purple thing. But you, you would be …” Palmer sucks the air into his mouth in thought, still stroking her palm, circling his fingers closer to the thin veins near the bump of bone in her wrist.

He is silent for so long that Sunniva finds herself uncomfortable, unfamiliar with her embarrassment. “What?”

“A prickly pear.”

She snatches her hand back to the protective shield of her body, scoffing. “Charming. Very charming.”

Palmer laughs again and drinks from his refilled glass. “As ever, my dear, as ever.”

He flicks a coin at her playfully, but later he will fall asleep thinking of the desert claw and its copper blossoms.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
03 January 2015 @ 01:23 pm
 
I don't feel like cutting this, even though it's technically a rape scene. Although perhaps not from Roman's perspective, which is all types of distressing.

I have a picture of Roman in his suit that I wanted to upload, but I can't seem to get it to work. Poo.

-



Roman likes to watch. His kind has always been voyeuristic – it’s in his nature, to lurk, to stalk. He has been so accustomed to his role on the sidelines that he had not thought himself such an esteemed player; Harrow’s gift, then, resonates as a point of pride. Here at least, he thinks, when Harrow claps him on the shoulder and offers him his treasured swan over a tumbler of whiskey. As though they were exchanging cigars.

It’s a three-minute conversation. 180 seconds and Ita is his.



He sits so perfectly still, a tall, imposing figure wrapped in a white suit, perched on the edge of a white bed, caught in a white room. Ita thinks he may have chosen the color intentionally, as though he might be less intimidating in a shade that connotes innocence. His undershirt is checkered and silk; the watch on his left wrist is knotted silver, a present from Harrow’s father. He smells a little of bitter oranges and black pepper but there is a curious absence about him – an emptiness. The type of bleached bone smell found in desert carcasses and skeletal husks. The absence of scent.

Ita smells like disinfectant and another man. Another shifter, to be precise. Roman breathes deep. Even after returning to the compound, she still smells like her mate. Wild dog and spotted fur. Shifting sands. The rot of heartbreak. It’s buried in her skin, in her hair, under her nails. He’s sure her blood would be sour with it. There are other, fresher smells layered above. Blood and sweat and the virile scent of fear.

She is not naked. Her dress is thin, the translucent thread of a spider’s web; he can see her ribcage through the fabric, the pink of her nipples, the soft shadow of hair between her thighs. She has been washed and made new once more – virginal, ethereal, with her blonde hair free about her shoulders and down her back, her eyes wide, too full of emotion, and framed in golden lashes. Her eyebrows are very pale, he notices, and her face is devoid of laugh lines. Not surprising, considering her history. Harrow, he knows, is a barbarian posing as a gentleman at best.

He supposes he could say the same about himself. He knows some already do, though never to his face.

“Have a seat, Ita. I won’t bite.” His voice sounds too big for the room, and it fills every inch, pressing in on her. He hasn’t moved, but he extends his hand in a gesture.

When she settles on her knees on the cold floor, Roman thinks this is a small way of defying him. She could have chosen the bed. He arches an eyebrow, grins in a way that is unkind, and scratches his jaw. He can feel the winged thing inside of her flutter and her eyes shift, uncertain. Her pulse quickens, and he wonders if she feels more caged now, here, with him than before. If it has something to do with his reputation or more to do with what she must sense about him – that scentless quality, that cold emptiness.

“Do you remember me?” This is a silly question, he thinks, considering that he had only just returned with her two weeks ago, but he’s always wondered how bright the girl is.

“… I know who you are.” She speaks so softly, her mouth barely moving to shape the words.

Unlike Harrow, Roman has never been fond of meek women, of passivity, but this world, their world, offers fewer and fewer of the fairer sex that possess legitimate backbones. He thinks of Lene, suddenly, and her round face, the flippant way she speaks, the butter shade of her hair, her iron left hook. Lene would not kneel on the floor, her knees naked and cold. Lene would not hide her eyes from him.

He’s hungry, thinking about her, and he rubs the back of his hand across his mouth.

Abruptly, for emphasis, he claps his hands together once, the first quick movement he’s made and Ita startles. “Ah, good! So reminders are not needed then. Do you know why you are here?”

She shakes her head slowly and, for the first time, she seems to account for the bed and its pristine, snow colored sheets. There’s the flutter of her pulse again, and Roman feels that familiar ache deep in his groin, an insatiable thirst, a gnawing pain.

“Hm. Well, it appears, due to your recent behavior, that Harrow is, as I am sure you are aware, displeased with you. Nonetheless, one person’s loss is, as they say, another’s gain. While you, my dear, may have lowered yourself in his eyes, I have, on account of my resourcefulness and success in retrieving you, raised myself. Which is quite a deed, I may add, seeing as how I am already so well received, being Albtraum’s second, however unofficially.” He speaks like an orator, like a diplomat, gesturing with his hands and keeping his eyes calmly on her. He likes how her mouth twitches in the smallest of ways, how she tries to shield the flush of color rising to her skin, as though she might will it away by sheer desire.

“What I am trying to say, Ita, is that you have been gifted to me. Temporarily. … For the evening, as it seems.”

She blinks her bright eyes at him, poised but uncertain.

“Do you understand?”

“Yes,” she says, but Roman knows it’s only because she has been trained to answer all direct questions.




“Come here, mein vogel. Meine perle.”

Roman has undone his jacket, draped it over the corner of the bed, and he works the buttons of his shirt slowly, precisely.

Ita’s hands shake, but she rises and moves with practiced elegance. He can smell the despair in her stomach, and her breathing is stifled, pained, soft little gasps of air. When her knees brush his, her hem playing over the fabric of his pants, he reaches up to unclasp the hook of her dress from behind her neck. She has a beautiful throat, long and white, and he spreads his fingers up her collar, over the curve of her cheek, to brush his thumb under her eye where tears have sprung, like violent traitors, and clung to her eyelashes.

“Chin up, girl.” He tells her, the smooth rumble of his voice neither kind nor cruel. “None of that now. You can pretend I’m him, hmm? That dog of yours.”



He takes her from behind, like a beast, a hand caught in her hair, the other splayed across her hip, because he thinks this is how she must prefer it. He stretches his weight across her back, his mouth on her neck, the top of her spine, between her shoulder blades. He takes and he takes and she suffers the impossible burden of him, his heaviness and his hunger.

Roman is not quick. He bides his time, grounding himself in the moment, in the pleasure of the experience, in the feel of her. Her bones are brittle, and he bruises her when he forgets himself, clutching her pale skin and seeming all the more like a predator.

Once it’s over, once it’s done, he collects himself with languid ease. He fastens his pants and buttons his shirt, runs his finger back through his disheveled hair, collecting it at the nape of his neck. He leaves Ita wrapped in the sheets as he does this, her pretty, delicate fingers shifting the cotton soundlessly so as to cover her body. When he presses a kiss to her forehead, chaste and like a stranger, she flinches against him, the heat and flush of her body a poor indicator of her true feelings.



Lene is already waiting for him in his quarters. He is wearing his jacket again, but it’s unbuttoned, and the sleeves are rolled up so that she can see his forearms. He sits in a threadbare upholstered chair, elbows on his knees, fingers laced under his chin. She stands, her jeans dirty and ripped; there’s mud on her sneakers, and the shirt she is wearing is so thin that he can see the outlines of her breast. When she lifts her arms, the bottom of her stomach shows, glimpses of soft, vulnerable flesh. He’d like to put his mouth there, below her navel, and then lower still.

“You smell like her.” Lene tosses her words into the air, quick and dry, but they sound flavorless.

“I imagine she smells like me as well.”

“Like a corpse?”

Roman barks a laugh, and his grin is wolfish, charming. “I have yet to hear you complain. What is this, Lene? Jealousy? From a girl of mine?” He tsks, low and chiding.

Lene grinds her teeth so hard that it’s audible. Her face has the crumpled look of disgust and anger. There are no tears in her eyes, which he is grateful for. She shrugs uncomfortably in her own skin, tugs at her shirt, pushes away her hair. Her gestures are jerky, as though she’s restraining herself, but not sure why.

“You could have said no. You could have never returned with her.”

Roman laughs again, the same biting sound. “I could have?”

“Did you enjoy it? Did you think of me to make it more bearable? Did you do that thing I like?”

“Which thing?”

It’s Lene’s turn to laugh, the sound like a trumpet, and she fights the urge to put her hands on her hips, to stand like a petulant child. She catches her bottom lip between her teeth, and Roman wants to sooth her. To take her face in his hands. But that type of comfort is beyond them now, caught in an ivory bird’s feathers.

When the silence settles, he stands, shrugging. “What do you want me to say?”

“I want you … to enjoy it less.”

He sighs, fixated on her, on the anger that is radiating from her. For a moment, he thinks of letting her hit him. Of taking her fists until the bones in his cheeks and jaw shatter, till the blood breaks from his mouth, before his body heals itself and then maybe they could be connected by the pain of it.

“Want less then,” He chides, meaning to smirk, but his mouth can’t quite manage the lift.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
02 January 2015 @ 05:08 pm
 
This is long! And okay, I guess. I started with a distinct plan and then wrote porn and then tried to connect the porn with the plot. So, pay attention to the end when the link gets pretty thin.

Cut for length.

That's what she said.

Inspired, somewhat, by Roman's expression in this photo - https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/32/59/42/3259426bc9de1f24e3508aa6093af53b.jpg


Read more... )
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
08 November 2014 @ 03:20 pm
 
New piece! It's actually a completed piece too!

I'm putting it under a cut because, man, things escalate quickly. Notes/comments/thoughts at the bottom.

more than breathe )
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
07 November 2014 @ 10:33 pm
 
Trying out a new character!

--


Augusta was twelve the last time he crawled invited into her bed.
She remembers it because his eyes were wide and fearful – the eyes of a child – instead of hard and cruel. He had always been mean, and she suspected even then that Maximus indulged her brother’s peculiarities because he preferred cruelty to weakness, so the sight of his fear startled her because of its foreignness. Even by ten Harrow had begun cementing himself, furnishing his personality with savagery and hatred. He was never a child, not really, except for these occasions when his dreams forced him to reveal his age.
She was two years older than him, and she knew they were getting too old for such things, but she pushed aside her covers and let him slide his cold hands around her waist. He buried his head into her neck, his breath hot on her throat, and she felt the way his mouth twisted as he struggled to contain his tears.
If Harrow cried, he would never forgive himself; he would be horrible in his shame and angry with her for witnessing it, so she stroked the back of his neck to sooth him. “Do you remember your mother?” She never asked him about his dreams. It would be pointless. Intimate conversation was an art form, a skill to be mastered, a strategy to be implemented. It was not meant for siblings.
He shook his head. He was quiet when he was vulnerable. Quiet usually implied the possibility of an emotional outburst, but even Harrow would be punished if he was caught out of his rooms at this hour. Perhaps he was sulking instead – even after all these years, she could predicate his moods only occasionally. They came and went with the tides.
“Well, I remember mine. They say father fell in love with her the first time he saw her, but her family wouldn’t let her marry him. She was better than he was. She was too good for him.”
Harrow’s voice was soft but angry, a drizzle of heat on her collarbone. “Your mother was a whore. … Everyone knows that.” He sounded like a serpent when he whispered.
Augusta tsked, chiding him. “She was royalty.”
“Was not. Father said he found her on the side of the road. Father said he cut off her head because she couldn’t have a son.”
“She had me.”
“You aren’t his son.” He was using his mean voice, but it was intentional. Instead of sounding flustered, his t’s and n’s were sharp, blade-like.
Augusta preferred his mean streaks to his fear. She was more accustomed with his sense of entitlement. Her voice was soft, like a conspirator, as gentle as butterfly wings, and she kept stroking his neck. “But I’m still his first.”
Harrow pinched her side, twisting her skin. His voice raised two octaves. “Father doesn’t need you! He tells me all the time.”
Quickly, stifling the yelp of a wounded puppy, she dug her nails into his shoulder until he squirmed. “Don’t be ungrateful.”