I woke up with a start, gasping for air out of the dream I’d been in but keeping my body completely still. I learned a long time ago how to wake up panicked and not panic the person you’re with - punching the guy who brought you home is a one way ticket out the door. I let my body calm down, feeling the familiar drain that E puts on my system. The emptiness after being everything. I loved it, loved this feeling. Especially when it was coupled with being completely banged out.
I let myself enjoy the sensation for another moment before deciding to face the morning. I stretched, wondering if whoever had brought me home last night was watching, and opened my eyes slowly.
I was alone.
More than alone, I was clothed. And on a couch. And did I fucking mention clothed?
What the shit had happened last night?
I sat up, groaning, and pressed a hand to my head. I remember I had been dancing and then. And there had been a fight, okay, that’s why I had the bruise on my shoulder, and why my ribs felt like fire, and probably why my jaw hurt so bad, but then.
I turned around and saw that stupid, fucking man. Not fucking, apparently, not with the way I’d woken up, but stupid, so fucking stupid. He was leaning in the doorway of what must have been his bedroom, green eyes soft from sleep and wearing nothing but his boxers. I watched him yawn, saw muscles and scars and the quiet way he grinned through his body forcing his mouth open as he hid those lips, fuck, I remembered those lips, they had been so soft and kind and they had held so much more than I’d wanted them to and I hated him, hated him so much for not touching me, hated him so much for making me want him to.
And yet, here I was, clothed. I had thought he had wanted me. I had fucking seen it all over his goddamn face.
Had I been wrong? Why did that thought make me feel so. So.
“Fuck,” I groaned, and leaned over to throw up in a strategically placed bucket.
He didn’t say anything. I heard water running somewhere, and then heard him coming closer. Don’t you dare, I wanted to scream. Not now. Now when I’m so fucking empty. If you touch me now the only thing inside of me will be you and I can’t, I won’t.
But he didn’t touch me, just placed the a glass of water down next to the bucket in my vision. I didn’t look up but I could tell he was still there, but I couldn’t tell what he wanted.
“Your jaw,” he said quietly, and I raised my hand to it and winced. There must be a bruise there with how it felt, the way even the smallest touch made my skin pulse with pain. Just in time I caught sight of his hand reaching out to do the same and I ducked away, unwilling to let this stranger press on a bruise that was fucking sensitive as hell, unwilling to have his touch like that after he’d kept it from me in all the ways I’d wanted.
His hand froze. “I’m sorry,” he started, and I immediately turned away, rolling my eyes. I didn’t need his pity, and I didn’t need his guilt. I’d needed him to fuck me, and for some goddamn reason he couldn’t be bothered to do that. I never learned what he was sorry for, though, because just then the door slammed open.
Both of our heads snapped up to the small man standing in the entranceway. He took in the man crouched before me, nearly naked, and then his eyes turned to little old me, bruised up, still under blankets and again. Let me remind you. Still fully clothed.
“What the shit, Coop,” the guy in the doorway said. Coop, I thought, glancing at the man crouched near my puke. No. Doesn’t fit him. Not gonna call him that. “You brought home a junkie?”
Huh, I thought. That was a quick assessment. And very judgmental. I glanced over at the man before me and wondered if that’s what he’d told him.
He sighed and leaned back. “He’s not a junkie.” A knot released in my chest; who told that it was okay to be there? Why the fuck did I care what he thought of me?
“Do you even know his name?” the guy in the doorway snapped.
The man and I looked at each other.
“Fuck,” doorway man said, and slammed the door closed behind him.
“Slammy sam,” I muttered, and I thought I saw the man close to me smile. But I wasn’t in the mood for that; I was empty, and this was impossible to be around. I pushed myself up to standing, feeling the world sway around me.
“Jesus, look at him,” the doorway man was continuing. I wondered just for a moment if he was referring to my clubbing clothes, which, if he was, fuck him, or the fact that I was struggling to stand. Which then. You know. Kinda fair.
I rolled my eyes at the question and started to move before I realized I had no idea where I was going. “Bathroom?” I asked, doing my best to sound in control.
He pointed, and I tried not to look at the way that made his muscles super, awesomely defined as I moved past him in the direction he pointed.
“What,” Bren repeated, “the shit.”
I sighed. “I didn’t know what else to do with him, Bren.”
“Leave him? Let him go home with someone else?”
“He was really fucked up,” I told him quietly, the memories of last night pressing up against my skin.
“That isn’t your responsibility. This isn’t your problem. Shit.” Bren passed a hand over his face. “You okay?”
“He didn’t try to give you anything?”
I shook my head. “I wouldn’t have taken it, you know that.”
“Yeah, no, I just.” Bren shook his head as we watched the bathroom door open. “I worry about you.”
I smiled up at him. It was good to have someone looking out for me. I didn’t have that for a long time, which might have been how I got to where I was. “I know, Bren. But he’s alright.”
But Bren’s face was clouding over. “Fuck, no he isn’t. Coop, he just took something.”
I snapped my gaze back up to the man just in time to watch him coming out of the bathroom, tossing his hand up to his mouth. I caught the hitch in his throat as he swallowed, a look passing over his face that I recognized a little too well. Bliss, anticipation, relief, all rolled into an instant that you can’t mask, that you don’t even know you’re showing. Oh, fuck, I thought, and headed over to him.