I am walking through a park, morning sunlight just breaking through the clouds, as the birds chime in their song. I am the only one here as I look at the swings, the slide, and the rides that are normally filled with children taking their turn screaming in the childish games. Everyone else must be asleep in their beds, holding onto their loved one, their cherished toy, or a comfort blanket. That’s when I remember I was just in bed with Austin, holding him close to my body as we snoozed against each other, our bodies entwined after he showed me what it was to make love. That was the last thing I remember before I closed my eyes, wearing only my smile.
How did I manage to go from my bed to this park without any knowledge of even moving?
It has to be!
A small silver mist gathers around me, covering the ground of the small park in its shimmering glow, as the light from the sun dims slightly. It turns the scenery an atmospheric silver-grey. I survey the area, looking for signs of Austin, but only seeing myself all alone in my new surroundings.
I swallow the fear that is fighting to be released from my lungs, pleading to be allowed to fill the still air with my raging screams; to cry out for any sign of other people.
I can feel my body shaking slightly as a childish fear of waking up alone in a once full world tries to consume me. I spin around in circles, hoping that my eyes will fall upon any sign of another person, and there is nothing.
I stop spinning and grab onto my forehead, willing my brain to take in the fact that this has to be a dream and that things like this do not happen in reality. I fight to will my harsh breaths to calm down, to relax my body back to normality.
My eyes wander down my body and I become aware of what I am wearing. It’s a powder blue all in one, the same one I wore to bed as a child. I look around me again and I start to realise that I actually know this place. I suddenly remember this park. It’s the one I came to with my mother as a child as our little treat. I find my eyes burning with pending tears from the nostalgia of this place.
Why am I dreaming of this place now?
This is where I first ran to upon making my escape from care, sleeping in the only place I ever really felt safe as a child. It was a place my mother always brought me to in order to cheer me up. I remember spending three nights in this park, seeing what it’s become, as shadows from the night sky folded over it, filling every space as the many came out to say their hello. This place of innocence went from being a children’s playground during the day to the place that the adults came to drink, have sex, do drugs, and mug people. Many children my age would have ran from the horrors I saw on these nights, but not me. I had lived my horror; witnessed the only light in my life going permanently out, as death took my mother.
As I think of those three nights, I am still surprised I didn’t succome to any of the adult prey: forced to fall to my knees for a drunk or to inject myself with the needles that seemed to be filled with their drug. I managed to stay in the shadows, looking out to a world I had not yet known, a world I was to step slowly into. I still had my innocence then, still unaware of what I could do with my body for the begging men. All I wanted to do was hide away from those that intended to hurt me.
Eventually I chose to move, to hitchhike my way to another city, to get further away from my own hell.
My home town was the place my father still lived, caged in prison like the animal he was, but I still had to get away, as much distance from the life I once was cursed with.
“Tom, my baby boy, you came.”
My body turns to ice as I freeze in place, eyes widening in reaction to the familiar voice, the one I had prayed everyday to hear again.
Could it be?
No, surely not!
Slowly, my vision focuses on a small park bench at the edge of the playground, but settled upon it isn’t Austin. It’s something better. Someone bittersweet has made the bench their own and entered into my dream to say a long overdue hello.
I wobble on my feet, my breath hitching in my throat for a moment while I rediscover my voice.
“M…Mummy!” My childish voice echoes through the empty park. Tears burn down my face as I move towards her; the gracious lady of my youth. My feet don’t move. I literally float on air towards the person I have longed for since I was twelve.
I fall to my knees, my head resting on her lap as her soft, warm hands run through my hair. I melt under her familiar touch. It’s a touch I thought I would never feel again.
I cling onto her leg as I allow my sobs to break through my lips.
“My big, strong boy has grown up.” Her loving voice rushes through me.
Have I died too?
Have I left Austin after only just finding him?
The melody of my mother’s laugh causes me to look up into the face I have yearned to see again for so long.
“Tommy, darling, you’re not dead. This is just a dream.” She smiles down at me with that same gentleness she always saved just for her baby boy.
“So…so you’re not…really…here?” Grief falls down on me as I think I’m finally getting back what I lost, only to realise it was never really here.
Why does everything have to be so temporary?
She takes my head in her hands, guides my face up towards her, and bestows upon me one of those special kisses only a mother can give. Her gentle fingers wipe away the tears I forgot were falling, and I find my sobs starting to ease.
“I have always been near you, watching over my little angel.” Her voice somehow dances over me, with the same hint of melody that was in her laugh.
I shudder at the thought.
I never thought she would watch over me, see all the things I have done, all the men I have…
Her face softens further as she looks deep into my eyes. “Tom, my little teddy bear. I don’t care what you do, or what you did, as long as you’re happy.”
I scan her eyes for traces of a lie, yet see her rose red lips smiling back at me.
“Why didn’t you come to me before, tell me I would be okay and that you were watching me?” I ask through my falling tears.
Her smile finally falters, but only for a second before she catches herself.
“I had to wait until you allowed your heart to open again.” She looks sad for a moment before smiling again. “When I left you, your heart closed to even me, but I waited patiently, watching my little boy become the man you are today.” Somehow, her words seem to suck the shame of what I did to survive from me.
The shame of turning what I did to survive into my own sexual escapades.
How can she ever forgive me?
Will she, too, call me the names so many call me now?
“Tom, sweetie.” She doesn’t need to say more. Her gentle touch gliding down my cheek tells me she forgives me and that she could never hate me.
A question I always wanted to ask leaves my throat, echoing through the empty park.
“Mummy, did he…did he hurt you, when he…” My lip trembles as she puts her fingers to my mouth to gently silence me, shaking her head.
“The only thing that hurt, was leaving my baby boy!” Silver tears fall from her bright blue eyes, making her face appear angelic.
“Please don’t cry, Mum,” I beg.
Her smile stretches further across her face. “Not tears of sadness, only happiness, my baby.” She sees confusion appear in my eyes. “Happiness that my baby has finally found someone to make him love again. Someone you love more than yourself. Someone who loves you too.”
My aching heart speaks for me.
“It’s so…hard, Mummy. I don’t know if I can…” I exclaim.
She runs her fingers over my face, resting finally under my chin.
“Love is hard, baby. Austin needs you, just as much as you need him. Now wake up and go to him. He needs you. Mummy will always love you, and will always be watching.” She leans in to kiss my cheek. It somehow causes a spark to shake me awake.
I sit up in bed, but immediately I want to fall back asleep. I want to speak with my mother again, but I hear his broken tears and they cause her words to appear in my head.
He needs you!
I swallow the urge to run to my bathroom. His painful sobs are evident from behind the door and my heart wants to pull me to him. I pull back the door, which suddenly feels iron clad as I struggle to open it and get to the broken tears in the small room.
The scene that meets my eyes is Austin, crouched naked on the floor, holding what looks like a broken phone.
His puffy, red eyes look up to me and I want to tell him it’s just a phone, just a material item that can be easily replaced, but his pain filled words slice through me.
“They…know. They…will hate me,” he sobs, looking up at me for help with hope in his eyes.
What do I do?
I feel useless as I stand before him.
I want to pull him into me and take him in my arms to let him know it’s all okay, but I just can’t! My body is suddenly rigid and won’t move to my commands as I stand looking down at the breaking boy.
“T… Tom?” Eyes filled with hurt look up at me for help, but I just can’t move. I really want to, but I can’t. I want to do what I know I should: fall before him and pull him into me. I just wish my body would listen to my head.
It’s okay, baby boy, but he needs you. Bend down, come on…that’s it. My mother’s voice is in my head again, and I find myself finally able to follow her command. Good boy! Now take him in your arms and hold him. Just like Mummy used to do, remember? That’s all he needs.
Her words strengthen me. I find myself able to finally move and before I know it, I am sat beside him, pulling him into my chest as I just rock him back and forth, calming his tearful sobs.
“It’s okay, baby boy. I’m here.” My mother’s love filled words leave my mouth and make their way into his heart.
Thank you, Mummy.
I need to stop crying. I can hear him coming into the bathroom, but with my world crumbling around me, I just can’t move. Why, when one part of my life is slowly going great, must the other fall to shit?
I look in my hand at the collected broken pieces of my mobile, now irreparable, and just sob. My only way to contact Samara, to find out the details of how much they know, gone! Does she know how my parents are reacting? Will she offer me her support when it comes to facing them, or will I take that journey alone? No way can I expect Tom to get involved in all my own shit!
As the door pulls back to reveal a naked Tom, I look up at him, inwardly praying he can make it all right again. I want him to tell me it will be okay. I need to hear those words, just once.
He stands over me and all I see in his eyes is the old Tom, the dancer trying to regain control. My lower lip trembles as he looks down at me, and I prepare myself for another blow; the icing on my cancerous cake.
All we have built together these past two weeks, the journey I was hoping our hearts were on, just seem to be leaking from me and falling apart.
Please just tell me it will all be okay, Tom!
After agonising words fall from my lips, he just stands there looking down at me. So this is the final blow and I wait for him to say the words that will be my demise.
He lowers down, settling himself next to me and pulls me into his chest, rocking me back and forth. He’s not questioning me, not pushing me for answers, just simply holding me. I tense slightly in his arms before I relax into his embrace, the place my breaking heart needs to be.
His actions have more power than any reassuring words could. Words that could be built upon lies, but his strong arms hold only love.
I turn my body into his, allowing the sobs and tears to fall down his naked chest, feeling less and less alone as I give in to him.
Maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay.
Maybe, with Tom, I can face all the crap unfolding around me.
I lost track of how long I laid here in Tom’s bed, too numb to talk, move, or react. I don’t sleep. I just allow my eyes to settle on nothing in particular as I my mind plays out my parents’ reaction towards me.
I pull the duvet over my still naked body as I lay alone in the now empty flat. He held me as I sobbed, moved me from the cold floor to his bed, all without forcing me to talk. He just laid with me in his arms as I cried out my pain.
He held me for a while before he began pacing around me nervously, trying to get life to spark back within me.
“Are you hungry?”
I didn’t answer.
“Need a drink?”
I just looked ahead.
My voice fails me every time, my eyes ignoring the worry building within his. Any chance of speech only fills my throat with bile.
My parents know! They will hate me for sure!
The words played through my mind, over and over again, pulling all my focus to the echoing in my now dark mind. If I closed my eyes, I saw my parents’ faces, so I just allowed my gaze to focus on nothing.
Eventually he left me and didn’t say where he was going. He just looked at the pitiful sight in his bed, sighed, and left. I am too much for him; I know that. The blackness and shadows I am falling into is too much for him, but it’s so much easier for me to give in and kneel before misery than try and paint on a happy face.
I want to break free from this, but knowing my parents are aware about me and knowing how they will react, is haunting me. Two people I can’t help but love will now turn from me: their only son, the child they raised, the child that has…failed them. I will soon be just a distant memory to them as they mentally kill me off, telling family and friends that I am dead. Sounds harsh, yes, but I know all too well how easily it will be for them to do this: to give up so easily on a child who only means to love them.
I pull my knees into me, giving myself the hug I want from…from Tom. More tears fall from my already sore eyes, with more sobs joining in my plight.
All through this, my sobs and my pain at hurting Samara and my parents, all I want is him to hold me again, taking me in his arms like he did in the bathroom.
Please don’t leave me, Tom!
Is he going back to the man I thought he was moving away from? The man I hoped he was evolving into?
Why did he leave me?
I close my eyes, hugging his duvet. I take in his smell and the scent of our sex as I enter into the darkness that is unfolding. More tears make their sad, lonely walk down my face.
Why do people I love want to leave me?
All he said before caving in on himself was that they know and that they will hate him!
They, I assume, being his parents and ‘they know’, being his new love of cock. Is it really that big a deal? Okay, I guess I didn’t have parents to come out to, but still, nothing really changes. We are still human after all.
I finally got him off the floor, into bed, and watched as he pulled away from me, the light behind his brown eyes slowly diminishing. I stood staring, offering him anything I could think of, that I thought he might want; all of them he refused. Every small attempt I made to pull him back, he withdrew from.
I was losing him!
He just laid motionless, looking as white and delicate as those china cups Emily is obsessed with. I wanted to lift him up into my arms, but the fear of dropping him, causing him to permanently break, ate within me. The fear kept me at bay… kept me from falling to the bed and embracing him.
I didn’t know what to do.
My mother’s words echoed within me, telling me to protect him, but how can I help him when he just pushes me away?
Each touch, he refuses. Each attempt to get him to talk, he ignores. All of this feels like blades in my stomach, cutting their way within me.
I looked at the remnants of his broken phone and the only thing I thought to do was leave.
I know he thinks I left him, abandoned him as most people would assume was my inevitable reaction, but I didn’t leave to upset him.
I do what I think is a small gesture and something I hope will help him.
“Is this an upgrade or a gift for someone else?” The sales assistant asks, ignoring the fact I don’t want to talk to him. Get the fucking message, dick head!
“A gift, for a…a friend,” I say, thinking of Austin and his broken phone.
“Must be some friend! Wish my friends bought me an IPhone.” I sense him trying to engage me further into conversation and even sense him mind fucking me like he has done since I walked in.
I ignore him.
I have what I want, even if it is drifting into darkness on my bed.
“Okay, that’s £130, please.” I sense that he has finally given up, his chirpy tone now flat.
I hand him my debit card, taking the bag in my hand while he processed my payment. It’s a small scrape at my bank account, as I purchase what I hope will be the beacon of light to draw him back to me. At least this way, Austin can call his family; if he really wants to, that is.
I don’t think he should, but who am I to comment?
It’s his choice, one only he can make and if he wants to, then I will support him.
All I can do is try.
I just hope he doesn’t keep pushing me away.
I leave the shop, exiting out into the morning rain and keeping my head down, not standing tall like it used to. All I can see, all I can think of, is Austin curled up on my bed, giving in.
I won’t let him. Somehow, I will make him…fight.
I just really hope he can find the strength to fight.
I arrive back at the flat. Austin already up and dressed, eyes still red from crying.
He frowns at me, making my heart twinge.
“I got the message. I will get out of your hair. Sorry my shit is too much for you.” He looks deflated, all air gone from him as bitterness leaves his lips.
He pushes past me, making for the door and before I know it, I grab his hand, not looking back at him nor forcing his eyes back on me. I know without looking that we remain facing in opposite directions. he’s intent on running from me, yet we both stand motionless.
“I…I may not know how to show my emotions or to even help you with yours,” I finally find my voice. “I am trying though, in my own way.”
I hand him the carrier bag, finally turning back to him, before making my way across the room to my windows to look out at the rain filled sky. “A replacement, so you can call your family…if you want to.”
I didn’t hear him approaching. I had no idea he had moved until his arms move around my waist, his forehead resting on my back.
“I’m sorry.” Such simple words, yet powerful enough to freeze me within his grasp, sending my beating heart into overdrive.
I don’t reply, don’t force him off me, but I do allow my hands to settle upon his that are clasped around me.
I am trying, Austin.
I don’t say my thoughts. The words dissolve in my throat before I have a chance to let my vocal chords vibrate my breath.
I hope he knows I am trying.
I curve my arms around his waist, locking my hands in place hard enough so that not even a God could remove me. He doesn’t move and doesn’t force me from him. His hands gently settle over mine, his warm touch enough to melt my skin in place.
If only it was possible to stay this way forever, lost in each others arm
I thought he had left me and wanted me to leave his life after my morning breakdown. Yet here he is, giving me a gift so that I can sort my problems out, looking bashful and causing my heart to literally stop beating in my chest.
He left me to buy this?
I can feel my fears easing, slowly escaping me, as I hold onto him. I know he struggles and finds it hard to convey what he is feeling. I know that. Fuck, if I had to live through what he did, what eats away at his heart like parasites every day, then I would struggle too.
Who would blame me?
I really wish he didn’t have to see me like that this morning, not after opening up to me the way he did last night. He poured his heart out, only for me to pull all the drama back in my direction like a selfish brat. Yet he is still here, standing before me like I did nothing wrong.
Is he really this forgiving?
How could someone like him love someone as pathetic as me?
“Thank you.” The words appear before my eyes and I watch them seep into him.
Terrifying silence I fear will kill me by building its black hole around us.
I tighten my hug, still unable to let go.
“You’re…welcome…baby boy.” That name, that new delight he is now bestowing upon me, is something I never once expected him to call me.
I allow the name to enter into me. It flows from my ears and settles into my heart. It brands itself into every part of me. This bear I hold onto: my big, strong brute, blessed me with a pet name to bounce from his soft, perfect lips.
I turn him towards me, guiding him in my arms like a steering wheel. Releasing my grip finally, I pull his head to face me. We don’t speak, we just stand there holding onto one another’s waist, smiling.
His voice finally breaks our silence.
“I never got to tell my mother that I was gay but I don’t think she would have cared. If yours are prepared to give up on you then…then let them!” His eyes fall to my chin and hesitate there for a moment before he finishes. “I am not saying I won’t ever hurt you, but I promise to try.”
I am lost for words. My brain will not function to allow thoughts to form into speech. I do all I can. I brush my lips against his gently, closing my eyes as I taste his breath. Yes, he may one day hurt me, but I believe him when he says he will try not to. I only open my eyes again when I feel his lips leave mine and his hands run through my hair, his enticing voice pushing his breath across my face.
“You need to make a call, baby boy.”
My legs buckle at the thought of making the phone call, and he catches me mid fall, pulling me further into him as he kisses me again.
“Austin, you really need to make this call.”
He pulls my hand with the bag into my chest, smiling at me as he takes the box from the bag.
Well here goes…I guess.
I had to make her repeat herself a few times, thinking I had misheard her, the words not quite sinking in.
“Austin, did you hear me? I am about an hour from Leeds,” Samara panicking voice comes through my new IPhone, bursting into my ear.
She is coming back? Why?
“Samara, you’re…coming back?” My voice is strained. I look to Tom as he pretends to be busy in the kitchen.
“Austin, this is my fault! I am not staying in London while you face your family alone.” I stand there, eyes fixed on Tom, as I hear my girlfriend telling me she is coming back.
I tighten my grip on my mobile and can feel my knuckles going white. How do I face her, knowing how I hurt her so badly? How I betrayed her trust?
“You don’t have to do this, Samara. This is my problem, not yours.” She ignores my words.
“Austin, just meet me at the train station in an hour, okay!” It wasn’t a question and I had no chance to reply as the line went dead.
I stand there watching Tom, still pretending to clean the kitchen he clearly has never cooked one meal in, too afraid to break the silence. I just stand and watch him.
After a long and uncomfortable pause, Tom finally turns towards me, leaning his body against the kitchen counter with his hands holding on to the edges. He looks towards me, but our eyes don’t meet. His gaze glides past my shoulder, focusing behind me.
“So…the girlfriend is coming back?” I can sense the anxiety in his voice, but I pretend not to notice, not to embarrass him.
I nod, fearing my words will just break upon leaving my lips.
He turns away, head down, as he pretends to be busy again.
I don’t know what to say, but he gets there first.
“I have work in an hour anyway,” is all he says.
I can tell he is upset at the thought of my girlfriend, who I never made an ex, returning. It was hurting him. He was trying to not let me see that it phased him, or that the thought of me going to her was trying to bury him alive.
I blink repeatedly, trying to stop myself from crying, again!
“I will see you later.” I try to fill my voice with hope, so he knows I want to see him again and that I am not giving up.
As I gather my small amount of things, there’s still nothing. I can feel the walls and ceiling closing in on me, making my breath tighten in my chest. I mentally try to reach out, to force the closing back while keeping an ever watchful eye on my dancer.
As I go towards him, to say goodbye, there’s still nothing.
As I go to leave, I step out into the landing with tears now making their escape.
“I saved my number in your phone.”
His words allow me to relax and release the breath I wasn’t aware I was holding.
“See you later, Tom.” And I leave, carrying a small ray of hope with me.
“I want details!”
I ignore Kelly and make my way to the changing room, not wanting to discuss anything.
Not in a talking mood is the fucking understatement of the century.
My skin crawls at the thought of him falling back into her arms and going back to his old life.
“Hey, sexy.” Daniel comes up behind me as I pull up my thong, moving his hand up my back.
Oh, so now he forgives me, does he? Bounced back fucking quick, didn’t he? Clearly, he is still too fucking in love with me.
I ignore him as I feel him moving baby oil over my back. I turn to face him so he can do my chest for me, but I don’t look at him. I only think of Austin as his hands move around the surface of my chest and…hello!
“What the fuck!” I grab his hand, pulling it from my cock where he thought he could just fucking touch. “I. Say. When. You. Can. Fucking. Touch. Me. Remember!” I say, tightening my grip on his arm.
“Shit…Tom! You’re fucking hurting me!” I grip tighter, relishing in his pain a little, before releasing and grabbing his throat, forcing him abruptly into the wall.
I move my face towards the choking Daniel, up close and as personal as I can get, so he knows I mean business. “I am not, and never will be yours! Keep your fucking hands to yourself, or fucking lose them.” I release my hold, allowing the tearful Daniel to crumble to his knees while I enter into the club.
I slowly begin to rebuild my defenses as I enter onto my stage, pulling the ever lustful eyes from the men around me, to help build the foundations. I re-form the structure of what I partially demolished for Austin, lifting the mental bricks and mortar around me. I strengthen my walls again, protecting myself inside, just in case. I allow the old Tom Parks to resurface, but he feels different; tarnished.
I agonise deep within, trying to form cages around me. Solid, safe cages. As I feel the men around me manipulating their hands up my thigh, into my once happily open thong and brushing against my cock, my body goes taut.
Each of their gentle touches, their cheers for more, make me feel sick and dead inside. I want to push them from me to get their stinking hands away. The urge to run to Austin, pull him off his girlfriend and back to me, is running through my blood like a venom. My emotional floodgates are now well and truly open.
He didn’t call or text like I hinted. He came into my life, made my every waking thought about him, and now he leaves me to go back to his old life! He has become the bastard I once was.
Was he just learning from the once master of manipulation?
“Tom, you okay?” Kelly’s voice somehow fills my head. I close my eyes and try to ignore it, until it comes again. “Tom!”
I allow my head to fall heavily to the side, opening my eyes to see Kelly who is at my stage, looking at me confused with all the men’s eyes echoing hers.
I must have stopped dancing.
It’s only after I do it that I even realise it was going to happen. My body buckles forward and I grab a hold of my stomach before I disgorge my light lunch into the crowd before me, extinguishing any chance of a lust filled gaze.
Those three small words, the one beautiful man, all throwing my world into disrepair.
Somehow she seems the same, in her eyes, as she talks to me. It’s as if we were never lovers, only brother and sister. Could this really be happening? Could my girlfriend get past the shame I caused her and become the girl I want in my life, not a hate filled ex?
“Don’t blame yourself, Aust. If anything, I guess there’s blame to share. I had an inkling that maybe you were gay, but I chose to ignore it. I should have helped you, not ignored you,” Samara beams at me as we sit facing each other on my bed.
Does she really mean it?
A little hope rises within me.
“Samara…I…” She raises her hand to silence me.
“Aust, I have a whole lot of hurt still going on inside me, and part of me still wants to hate you. Then, when my mother called to tell me she blabbed, well I knew I had to get back here to help you.” She takes my hand in hers, trying to let me know it’s all okay. “Now, tell me, who is this Tom?”
I go scarlet. Can I really tell her about him?
Since I left his flat, I have wanted to call him to let him know I miss him, but I am sure he is okay. It is Tom, after all.
Samara had distracted me with her apology at the train station, checking if I was okay, and asking if I had spoken with my parents. Like Hell! We had gone over what had happened these past two weeks since we last spoke, how she had toyed with the idea of hating me, but for some reason she just couldn’t.
Tom wouldn’t be missing my call. He will be enjoying the male attention he feeds off.
I guess it’s just his way.
“Well?” She pulls my thoughts back, and I allow my eyes to settle on her delicate face. “Please, I want to know. I need to start getting used to this. I know it’s soon, but I am ready.”
Can I really discuss this with Samara? Should I? Will it just hurt her more?
I close my eyes, shielding myself in darkness as I tell her. My now ex girlfriend is about to hear about a possible boyfriend, so soon after she learned my secret. I leave out the obvious to make it all a little easier for her, but I tell her all I can.
About Tom Parks.
When I am finished, I open my eyes and settle back on her features and her clearly forced smile, struggling to keep the tears at bay. I take her hand in mine and it was enough to start her off, a flood of heart wrenching tears falling from her eyes, causing me to pull her into my chest, holding her as the quiet tears turn into heavy, heart breaking sobs.
Tears fall from my own eyes as I hold her head to my chest, running my fingers through her hair. My poor, beautiful Samara, brought to this uncontrollable state because of me! As I hold her, I try to absorb her pain and take it all from her so I can give it back to the person who deserves it.
Give me her pain. Please give me her pain. I say the words over and over in my head, like a silent spell I am casting. The pain belongs to only one person.
“S…sorry, Austin, it’s just so hard for me.” I don’t allow her to pull from my embrace. I just rock her gently, back and forth.
“I should be saying that, not you, never you. Can you ever forgive me?” Do I even deserve the honour of her forgiveness?
Not at all!
She pulls her arm up my chest, grabbing onto the collar of my shirt, squeezing lightly. “I…forgive you.”
I never expected it, but this is Samara, the girl I fell for. The beautiful, kind girl who will forgive even me. The girl who always saw the good, even in serial killers, never condemning them until they were proven guilty.
“Can I…meet him?” She isn’t serious, surely? She can’t be! “I just want to make sure…” She pulls her face free, to look up at me.
“Make sure of what?” I stroke back loose hairs from her face.
She reaches her hand to my face, gently stroking my cheek, smiling through falling tears. “That he is good enough for my Austin.”
Her words shock me.
How fucked up is this? The surreal moment when you sit in your flat, next to a man you may actually love, as his newly ex girlfriend sits opposite, smiling like she just won an award.
After my episode, I worked the bar at Halo’s, telling Kelly I was too ill to dance. Obviously she saw through my charade, but agreed and allowed me to get on with my work without nagging me for answers about Austin.
When my shift finally ended, after getting Kelly to agree to let me have the rest of the week off, I switched on my mobile and a text from Austin made my heart jump slightly. I had spent my shift worrying I had lost him for good and that he was again drinking from the pink sink.
Hey Tom, sorry for not calling. Hope you’re okay, I am. Can I see you tomorrow? I know this is weird, but… Samara wants to meet you! Is that okay?
I didn’t text him back, planning to ignore his ridiculous notion and just went home to sleep.
I found myself in the park again, with my mother as before. She urged me to meet this Samara creature, said it was important to him and that she would be a large part of our future. She also said that Austin needs her in his life. I tried to argue, tell her that meeting Samara was stupid, but she just smiled and said to do it…for her.
What else could I text after another dream about my mother, after she told me to listen? I know what I really wanted to send, but expressing my feelings for him was hard enough, let alone actually writing them.
She seems polite enough, offering me friendly smiles, all the while ignoring my short replies to her attempts to engage me in conversation. Did she really want to be here, for him? Talk about a fucking bunny boiler! I will come home one day and there it will be: Bugs Bunny, boiling on my cooker.
“So, Austin tells me you’re a dancer?” She asks, with a little bit too much buzz to her voice.
Is she always this…happy? I have kinda stolen her boyfriend, after all. I did expect a little more hostility. She must just be as pathetic as the rest, trying to hang on to her man as best she can.
Move on, bitch!
“Yes.” My reply is short, to the point.
She smiles, jumping over the hurdle that is my bluntness. “Where did you train for that?”
Do I tell her that I learned on the streets? How to use my body to entrap my prey?
“Just by doing it.” A safe reply.
Austin sits on his hands next to me, his uncomfortableness clearly evident. I reach over and pull his hand free, taking it in mine as I smile at her.
Yes, he is mine now. Can you see that? Best get your coat, little girl, and fuck the hell off. You’re dealing with Tom Parks now!
I could freak her out and piss on him in front of her, to mark my territory. I stifle a laugh at the thought.
Her eyes fall to our entwined fingers and I see a lump hitch in her throat. Austin, clearly sensing her discomfort, pulls free from me, getting to his feet.
“I need the loo,” he says before escaping to my bathroom, leaving me smiling at this little girl sat before me. As the door clicked closed, her eyes snap in my direction, her demeanor suddenly changing.
All emotion leaves Samara’s face. Her gentle, friendly, happy face turns to stone before my eyes. Her dark brown orbs pierce right through me.
“Listen to me and listen closely, because I will not repeat myself!” Not once does the ice cold look falter. “I am okay that he chose you and finally followed his heart. So, if you hurt him, believe me when I say you will see a very different Samara before you!”
I catch myself hanging on her every word, my palms going sweaty, as this short pixie like girl changes before me into a gremlin. As she leans in closer from her seat, I find myself pulling further away, back into the sofa, sweat appearing on my brow.
“I may be small, but a simple knee to your balls will still have you crippling before me. I will be watching you!” She smiles, but not the sweet smile that once was. This is more of a smirk that tells me I need to listen and pay close attention.
As Austin re enters the room, she sits back in her chair, her lips forming a smirk at me before replacing it with her beaming smile again. She is back to her happy, pixie like self and I am still trying to pull away, back into my sofa.
“Everything okay?” He enquires.
“Great!” Samara chimes at him. “We are just getting to know each other, aren’t we, Tom darling?”
I can feel my head nodding, not daring to take my eyes off her.
This must be a front. She must be as pathetic as all other women. She has to be!
I have never once let a woman gain power over me, and I don’t intend to start now.
As if she can read my thoughts, her stone cold face snaps in my direction.
Clearly not pathetic.
As I sit and watch her and Austin talk, I find myself making an apology to the female species. Samara, as if on queue, turns back to me, smiles, and nods.
Yes, she fucking terrifies me.