Not MCR, but if you like my story Send In The Clowns, you'll like this.
My first thought when I open my eyes and see the black panties on the generic hotel carpeting is Oh Jesse, what have you done?
I shut my eyes and breathe in, not daring to look as my nose is filled with the scent of smoke and cheap perfume. Not even perfume; body spray. Victoria’s Secret probably, or something similar from Bath and Body Works like Magnificent Magnolia. Meaning she’s old enough to want to make herself attractive, puff up her feathers; but also young enough not to buy real, expensive perfume. I cringe and force myself to roll over and look at the sleeping creature curled up next to me.
She’s snoring , dark wisps of hair floating up and down in front of her mouth, just a little bit of saliva visible on the rims of her lips, a small bead of drool clinging to the pink skin. Her arms are tucked tightly against her chest, in an almost protective position, but through them I can see perfectly average sized breasts, and I breathe a sigh of relief. True, she could be younger and just have huge breasts, because you never know, but odds are she is at least 18.
I rub my temples vigorously. Each pulse of blood brings a soft wave of pain that breaks smoothly over me. I ignore the pain, pushing it to the back of my mind, but still grimacing unpleasantly. I brace myself against the mattress, and carefully push myself up. My attempt to be stealthy fails; the bed groans noisily beneath me, and the girl gasps, eyes popping open, wide and frightened. She looks at me, brows coming together over narrowed eyes, decorated with what used to be elaborate make-up. The evening has turned it into a smeared mess of dark colors, marks stretching down her cheeks, as far as the end of her nose. As she gazes at me, she seems to have a sort of epiphany, looking down at her panties on the floor, then back to me with a blush covering her cheeks.
It’s hard to tell which one of us is more embarrassed, I think, as I reach down and pick up her underwear, handing them back to her sheepishly.
“Thanks,” she murmurs, not meeting my eyes as she accepts them.
I look at her for a moment more before realizing that she is waiting for me to look away. I turn my head too quickly, my neck snapping and then tingling manically, sending further waves of pain to my already throbbing head.
The sheets rustle as she pulls her underwear back on. The bed protests again as she gets up slowly, seeking out her bra and clothes. I don’t turn around until I hear a zipper grating as she pulls it up to fasten her blue jeans. Now she stands before me, clutching a pair of worn down combat boots, and a faded Smiths t-shirt (the reason she caught my eye in the first place) that is falling off her shoulder, stretched and rank with cigarette smoke.
She nervously brushes her tangled hair behind her ear, watching me uncertainly. She opens her mouth and speaks in an awkward clipped voice. “Well, uhm, thanks. That was…” she chews her lip. “Great. It was great.”
“Hey, thank you too.” I manage to say in a rusted morning voice, scratchy from lack of use.
She stares at me with doe eyes for another moment, pale but pink cheeked, before stumbling towards the door, throwing me one final glance over her shoulder when she leaves, ripe with an emotion I can’t quite pin down.
After she shuts the door I stand up, locking the door behind her. I pass by the full length mirror in the small hallway and look at myself, uncomfortable with my own nudity. I locate the shirt I was wearing last night, which reeks of sweat and is still damp. I toss it aside, mildly disgusted with myself. The boxers are a must- I tug them on eagerly, and then pants over those. More at ease with my own company now that I am clothed, I flop face first onto the bed, lying motionless.
Everything is spinning, though all I can see is black. I feel like I’m whirling around, and I roll over and open my eyes, reminding my body that everything, including myself, is stationary. Still, even the paisley wall paper seems to be moving, rippling slowly across the walls. I blink dizzily, fighting the urge to pass out- whether that’s an exaggeration or I’m actually about to lose consciousness I’m not exactly sure. But it’s morning, and there are other places I need to be, so loss of consciousness is not an option.
I force myself up off the bed and stumble to the bathroom, reminiscent of a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time. I turn on the shower, avoiding the mirror as much as I can, because I know my reflection with probably sicken me. I strip down and step into the shower, feet tensing to avoid falling. I close my eyes, allowing the water to hit me full in the face. My lips part and some of the drops roll over my chapped lips into my mouth, filling slowly like rain dripping off of a rooftop. I rest my forehead against the tile, lungs working hard as the bathroom fills up with steam. I stand there for some undeterminable amount of time, my mind completely empty, which leaves me feeling oddly serene. I feel like I only semi-existent, but that could easily be an effect of all the steam.
After a while I finally gather enough drive to turn off the water and step out of the shower. Again I avoid the mirror and throw on the same clothes that I had before- expert I may be, you’d think I’d remember a change of clothes at this point. But no, I always return to wherever I came from, ashamed and dressed the same as when I left.
I towel my hair haphazardly, locate my keys and double check that I have everything that I came in with—these items being my wallet, which is now empty, and my phone, which I rarely use. Now I flip it open to check the time. It’s early, only 7:15. The girl, whatever her name was, was a good sport for getting up so early. To be honest, she probably thought it was a lot later than it actually was. I vaguely wonder how she got home- I was the one to drive to the hotel, and she was so drunk before there was no way she could’ve recalled where she was. I feel the familiar guilt setting in, but I try to shake it off. I don’t have time to wallow.
I paid for the room last night when we checked in, or so I think. It was only $40- a shitty Ramada fee, so I don’t have to stop at the desk on the way out. I stare at the floor as I leave, not wanting to make eye contact with anyone I don’t have to this early in the day.
I find the car without too much difficulty- drunk as I had been, I’d been able to get a pretty decent parking spot, but then again, this is a shitty Ramada, and thus not particularly crowded.
It’s freezing outside, and in the car. I can see my breath and the hairs stand up on my arms as I jam the keys into the ignition and throw the car into reverse, peeling out of the parking lot at a speed I’m sure isn’t legal.
I turn the radio on to some Golden Oldies’ station as I tear down back roads to my parents’ neighborhood, where I am residing yet again. It’s funny; I had every intention of getting as far as I could from all this- becoming independent, staying in school. But college wasn’t for me. It was too…juvenile somehow. I was looking forward to adulthood, to some level of intelligence and maturity, but I had not found it at college. It’d been the same idiots from my high school who’d dominated the football field and the gym, now controlling all the stupid parties and frat life. No. College was not for me.
The sun is just coming up, shining eerily through all the fog that is covering the world as I pull onto the street where I grew up, parking the car in front of the house rather than in the driveway so my dad can get out and go to work, before I can recall that it’s Sunday morning. This is a pleasant realization- hopefully, everyone will still be asleep. With any luck I can sneak into my room, like I did all through high school , and fall back asleep, like I’ve been there the whole night.
I cross the threshold, stepping gingerly with practiced feet, trying not to walk on the spots that will creak and give me away. I glance into the front room, where my sister Haley sleeps on the couch- she has a room, but most nights she stays up late watching old movies, so she rarely makes it upstairs. The couch is empty now though, and I continue up the stairs, walking on the balls of my feet.
I make my way to the end of the hallway and sigh as I enter my room, kicking off my shoes and turning around to close the door. I’m about to fall onto my bed, but an instant before I notice that someone is already in it. Jolted, I catch my breath. My little brother Cody is curled up on top of my mattress, wearing one of my sweatshirts and holding the sleeve for my vinyl copy of Hatful of Hollow. I watch him sleep for a moment, pondering why he might be in here, and then I realize with another pang of guilt that he must have stayed up, waiting for me to come home. I put my hands behind my head, exhaling loudly and shutting my eyes.
I open them again a moment later, and look for a blanket, because he’s still shivering, even through my sweatshirt. There isn’t one except the comforter, which he is on top of, so I settle for another sweatshirt. I drape it over him as carefully as I can, but he rolls over, eyelids flickering.
“Jesseisthatyou?” He mutters sleepily, starting to sit up.
“Yeah, it’s me. It’s cool buddy, go back to sleep.” I ruffle his hair, and watch him lay back down, falling back asleep almost instantly.
I leave Cody to sleep, shutting the door softly and peering into Haley’s room. Her bed is empty as well, and I wonder for a moment if she slept at a friend’s house, before I notice the cool air that is coming from her window, which is cracked. I smile and laugh quietly to myself, pushing the screen out of the way and climbing out the window onto the roof.
Haley is sitting in between the two peaks of the roof, smoking a cigarette with her eyes closed, her head tilted up towards the sky. Her dark curls are splayed out around her; she looks angelic. She takes a huge drag and blows out a slim stream of smoke as I slide down beside her. She opens her eyes slowly, and they are clear and sad.
“Cody stayed up all night waiting for you.” She says simply.
I cover my face with my hands. There’s a moment of complete silence before I move my hands, running them through my hair, and then dropping them into my lap helplessly.
Haley doesn’t reply, taking another drag of her cigarette. I narrow my eyes at her, and wait for her to look back at me before I speak.
“I thought you were gonna quit.”
She holds my gaze with eyes that are as hard as diamonds.
I try again. “Haley, you’re fifteen. You shouldn’t be smoking those things.”
Her voice lashes out like a whip. “Don’t pull that shit with me. You’re only a few years older than I am. “ She pauses, bites her lip. “And you shouldn’t be sleeping with a different girl every night.”
“I-“ I stammer, then cover my face again. “I’m sorry?” I offer weakly, speaking through my fingers.
Haley stubs out her cigarette on the shingles, tossing it into the gutter.
“I thought YOU were gonna stop doing that.”
I groan. “I’m sorry,” I say again. “I just…ugh. I don’t even know.”
Haley sucks in her cheeks, looking at the sky again. She sighs and scoots closer to me, tucking her hair behind her ear and leaning her head against my shoulder.
“What’s happened to you Jesse?” The question hangs in the air awkwardly, and it echoes in my brain, bouncing around continuously. I can’t bring myself to respond to it, and I don’t have an answer for it anyway.
We sit there in silence for a few minutes, watching the sun come up over our street. My guilt is multiplying by the second, and by the time the sun is hanging over the house in front of us, I’m trying hard to keep from becoming a trembling mess. Haley notices me shaking- she sits up and turns, looking at me with wide eyes that are full of concern.
“I’m an asshole.” I mutter.
Haley smiles a melancholy half smile. “Nah. You’re just in a rough patch.”
I snort. “It’s a damn big patch.”
Haley nods to herself, staring at her bare feet and wiggling her toes slightly.
“Yeah it is. “ I don’t know how to reply to that either, so I say nothing.
Haley puts her head back on my shoulder.
“Straighten yourself out, alright Jesse? You can’t keep going like this. I want my brother back.” She pauses. “It’s not fair. To anyone. Not to yourself. Not to Cody. He was so happy you came home. He missed you so much. And he stays up all night, most nights, hoping you’ll come home to be with him...and don't think he doesn't know the things that you do. He's young but not stupid."
It’s like she’s stabbing me. But she’s never been anything but honest. Which makes it worse.
“We love you Jesse. Just think about that alright?”
I bring my knees to my chest, hiding my face and biting my knuckle as a couple rogue tears sneak out and slide down my cheeks. Haley rubs my back absently. It’s not that she isn’t attentive, but she knows I’d rather her not see me like this. I pull myself together, sniffing and wiping my nose on my jacket sleeve.
“Hey,” Haley whispers. “It’s just a rough patch.”
Thanks for reading, if you did. I honestly have no clue where this is going, but if you wanna find out, you should rate and review and let me know. Otherwise I'll just write it for myself. Thanks again if you read. Cheers. xoxo Evangeline.
Oh. For those of you who don't know of him, this is the incredible man called Jesse Lacey.