Reign Within


Our lives had finally started. That’s what I kept thinking, as I stood in a thin jacket in a November cold snap, waiting for a cab. Or any type of transportation in this freezing weather. I had brought a thick sweater in order to be prepared for such weather conditions, but I hadn’t unpacked it from my suitcase. Instead, I decided to suffer as the frosty air bit at my knuckles.
Holt leaned down beside me, struggling with his zipper again. He was worse off, wearing only a t-shirt and a pair of gloves. Goosebumps were visible on his arms. He tried ripping the zipper of his bag over the fabric it had been caught in, but the zipper remained, stubbornly, where it was.
I got onto my tiptoes, trying to spot a cab coming down the (strip of parking lot) lane. When I saw one with a ‘vacant’ (equivalent) light on it’s roof, I raised an arm high over head to call his attention. The cold air ripped up my shirt to my exposed stomach. I shivered as the cabbie pulled up beside us, parking the car to assist us as we lifted our luggage into the trunk.
Holt helped with the first two bags while shivering. “I’m sorry, I gotta get out of this wind.” He said rubbing his gloved hands up and down his arms, trying to relieve some of his goosebumps, which could be seen at a distance. I smiled at him as he hustled into the vehicle. I assisted the cab driver as we loaded the rest of our belongings.
“Thanks.” I said as he pulled the door down (like a hatch or whatever, where you pull it from over head to closed position). He looked me up and down with a raised eyebrow. “Where are you guys coming from? It has to be somewhere south if you thought you were going to get away with dressing in that jacket during a cold snap (first reveal of cold snap instead of earlier).”
I laughed as we both got into the vehicle. “Far enough south that we didn’t know what a cold snap was.”
The cabbie looked at me through the rearview mirror. “I’d say Texas, but you don’t have a Southern drawl.”
Holt watched as I buckled my seatbelt. “California.” He said, giving him a familiar smile.
“Ah.” The cabbie grinned, (this is a talkative cabbie, he has an opinion on everything, friendly and inviting, follows stereotypes etc. Holt likes him.) “The land of beaches and sunshine.”
Holt laughed. “That’s the one.”
“Thats a place I’ve always wanted to go. All those pretty girls. But you dont have to worry about that, look like you brought one with you.”
I smiled briefly, and looked down at my hands.
Holt stared at me, lovingly. “Yes, I certainly did.” He reaches over and takes my hand in his, kissing the back of it. He didn’t let go of my hand even as I was unbuckling it as we got to our address. (Cabbie notices the love and sees it as love and care, smitten, and is light hearted as they drive away. Avery sees it this way too, however later it is more possessive and a show of dominance ‘I own this one.’ ‘you make me feel like im a fire hydrant and youre a dog marking your territory.”
The cabbie helped unload our bags, and I tipped him generously.
Holt had the keys to the apartment. He had to take off his thick gloves because he kept fumbling the key. .I shivered as I waited.

He opened the door to the building and we started our commute up six flights of stairs; no elevator. Again I waited beside him as he fumbled with the lock. He turned it and held his hand on the key, turning to me.
“Ready?” He grinned. I nodded eagerly, a smile on my face. He swung open the door in a grand gesture, to reveal a moderately sized apartment. It had a decently sized kitchen and a large sitting area with a big bay window. The bathroom was small; Holt would have a hard time taking a shower with his height.
We dropped our bags off at the door, the keys scattered across the counter.
“Welcome home!” I shouted, giving him my biggest hug. He laughed.

We started unpacking what few items we had. I lay out my nursing equipment. It was a double bedroom (they were cheaper than a single bedroom) and Holt could use the extra space for an office. He was going to start applying for jobs as soon as we hooked up the internet. I decided to hang my nursing scrubs across the bar in the closet. With no coat hangers and no dresser, there werent many other options.
I already longed for the moving van to arrive.
After most of my luggage was unpacked, I took out my coat and put it on. After experiencing the cold snap, I questioned whether or not even this coat, that would have been sweltering in California, could protect me from the winter wind.
(Have more converstation between Holt and Avery. )
I found Holt in the bathroom. THe house was oddly, unfamiliarly, echoy. I could hear him as he placed each of his hygiene products on the counter; the sound travelled making the place ffeel too big.
“Check out this shower.” Holt stepped inside and pulled the door almost barely open. I should see him try to manuever awkwardly around in the small space, looking like all limbs. Elbows awkwardly tucked in to avoid hitting a wall.
I stepped inside the small space.
“I guess shower sex is out of the question.” He laughed. “Maybe a blow job, but I think I;d have to put my back up against these knobs here, just so you have enough space to get down there.” He put his back against the knobs to emphasize how little space there was. It was true, we’d have to keep the door open and my feet would have to hang over the metal lip just so I could get into a reasonable position.
I quirked an eye at him. “I’d prefer to just stick to the bed in that case. No sense in getting bruised and uncomfortable.”
-she gives him a blow job in the shower later to try to patch up the relationship, despite it being abusive and her not wanting to and him being emotionally volitile.
Holt grinned and leaned down, placing his lips on my forehead. “Not my girl, my girl should feel like a queen.”
I laughed, squeezing him tight. He laughed. “Not in here, I don’t think I can bend over more than this.”
We stepped out of the small enclosure. He moved, heading toward his luggage. “Hopefully the truck will get here within a reasonable time.”

I sat down on the wood floor, my back to the wall. “Hopefully,” I agreed. “Although, sitting on the floor has some appeal.”
Holt peered back at me as he put his spare shoes beside his boots at the door. “You’re crazy.” I laughed again, cause so far I have no character.

It was a sunday morning. August sat on a high stool with an intense look as he stared at the painting on his easel. He had murky black and purples thrown onto the canvas, and looked to be dashing about streaks of white. He held the tip of the brush against his lips with an absent mindedness.
I wondered if he knew I was watching him. If he did, he hadn’t given me any signs of it. I sat with my legs up stretched across the couch, a cup of coffee that was gradually becoming warm instead of hot beside me. Every once in a while I glanced up from my book and saw August start dabbing his brush into the paint.
At one moment, I saw him dip the dirty brush into his coffee mug. It took everything I had to not laugh. I just couldn’t break his focus. August continued to work on the painting, and finally putting the brush down to get a good look at the canvas. It was then that he picked up the coffee mug, bringing it to his lips, deep in thought.
It was when his face crumpled into a look of disgust that I burst into laughter.
He looked up at me in surprise, a scowl still on his face as he spit the drink back into the cup.
“That was awful.” He said, running his tongue across his teeth.
“I imagine,” I laughed. I put down my book and took his mug into the kitchen, replacing his drink. When I brought it back, he was absorbed into the painting again.
I placed the cup down beside him, away from the paints. He looked at me and grinned.
“Thank you.” He took my hand in his and placed it on his shoulder, taking comfort in my proximity.
I was surprised by the gesture, but found it to be oddly enjoyable. I allowed myself to take the time to notice him breathing as he measured his painting in front of him. I grazed my fingers softly over his wrists as he thought, enjoying the sensation of being delicate as I ran my fingers over each of his knuckles and down to the inside of his wrist, feeling the slight definition of his veins. Something about being slow and gentle as he was lost in thought was comforting.
It was when he reached for his paint brush again that I started to pull away to give him space. He surprised with a suddenness movement, reaching for my wrist.
A sudden sharp pain flaired up on my wrist, I pulled away in shock and looked down to see a small red welt where a bracelet had once been. It had been so long I had forgotten I was even wearing them. I flashed a look up at him and saw the mischeivous grin. In his hands he held a yellow bracelet. My mind raced as I tried to recall the meaning assigned to the small piece of plastic.
My gut started to sink as his smile grew playful. “I think this means I get to touch your womanhood Ms. McDougal.” He laughed at how ridiculous it sounded and stood up from the stool, stretching his back out.
“Yeah, I guess it does,” I murmured slowly, a nervous flutter of butterflies formed in my stomach. I felt an electric buzz start in all my fingers and shook them out to expel the feeling.
August sighed as he looked at the painting. He shook his head. “Well, I’m no picasso that’s for sure.”
I laughed nervously. “It’s not so bad. I like the white there.”
He titled his head, “Yeah? It was a gut call more than skill. It reminded me of a crashing wave.”
I examined the painting again, and saw the beauty in the chaos.
He shook his head and turned to me, a grin on his face. “Well what do you think?” He laughed, stretching his arms open wide.
“About what?” I asked, feeling small in the large room. Suddenly the intensity made it hard to look him in the eye.
He laughed and charged at me, swooping under my legs and hauling me over his shoulder. I gasped, and dug my fingers into his shirt for something to grab onto.
“Fe, Fi, Fo, Fom!” He cried as he marched us into the bedroom. “Where hast my girlfriend gone!” He threw me over his shoulder onto the mattress, landing in a heap on top of me.
I was breathless, my nervousness turning into a knot in my stomach.
He breathed heavy, laughing. “I need to start going to the gym again.” He propped himself on one elbow and looked down at me. From where we had landed, he still had his right hand tucked between my thighs at knee height.
They felt like hot elecricity through my jeans as he ran his thumb down the length of my leg, lining his finger on the bone in my knee.
He placed his lips on my knee and I felt myself go cold in response. He started kissing his way up my knee, following the curve up to my hip bone. I placed my hand in his hair, trying to calm down my breathing, trying to have some form of control for speed. “What are you thinking about, Avery oh my?” He said, teasing his tongue just over my hip bone.
I tried to clear my head. “What?” I gasped. It was taking all I had to just keep my breathing a notch below hyperventilation. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing for a moment as I felt he pinched my skin with his teeth.
He laughed, taking a moment to look up at me. I kept my eyes closed, one hand still in his hair, the other on my chest as I counted my breaths. “Woah.” He said, the teasing from his voice vanished. “Avery, whoa, it’s okay. We don’t have to do anything.” I felt him readjust, sitting up beside me.
I opened my eyes, tears leaking down the sides of my face. “I’m sorry.” I whispered, trying to get around the thickness in my voice. His expression was that of worry, his eyebrows were pinched together as he looked down at me. I covered my face with my hands, trying to stop my tears.
“You don’t have anything to apologize for.” Arthur said, raising a hand to stroke my head. He pulled it away. “I’m sorry, I won’t touch you if you don't want me to.”
For some reason that made me start crying even more. I could only shake my head as a signal to no, as sobs started hard.
He sat beside me awkwardly, unsure of what to do. It took me a few minutes to be able to speak again. “I do.” I said, my voice thick, my eyes hot. I removed my hands from my wet cheeks. “I do.” I said again, unable to say more.
“You do?” He asked, trying to piece what little information I could give him together.
I slowed my breathing, coming into a calmer state.
“I do want you to touch me.” I said quietly, unable to look him in the eye. “That’s why its so hard.”
He sat beside me, staying quiet as I began to wipe my eyes. “What do you mean?” He said, after I had finished clearing my throat.
I sat up, playing with my hands in my lap. Why was it so hard to maintain eye contact?
I took one deep breath, determined to express myself, and looked him in the eye. “I do want this. I like it when you run your fingers through my hair, or rub my back, or even just give me a squeeze when we hug. It’s just… when we start getting physical it makes me nervous. And I want to do it, and I want to be sexual with you, and I don’t want to disappoint you, and -”
Arthur cut me off, raising his hand for a chance to speak. “Avery,” He said, a slight smile on his face. “What I want more than anything, is for you to be comfortable and eager and even excited to be with me. You don’t owe me sex, even if I’ve done nothing but nice to you all day, I’m not expecting sexual gratification as payment for my nicetiest. Even if I were to pleasure you, I do not expect anything in return. That’s a lot of guilt to harbour just because I was nice to you.”
I looked at him as he smiled down at me. “Thank you.” was all I could muster, taken aback by the thought process.
“That being said,” Arthur said with another mischievous look. “You like it when I play with your hair huh?”
I blushed, unsure why I felt this admission was embarrassing. I looked away, nodding sheepishly.
“Is that so,” He looked at his own hands and was quiet. “May I run my fingers through your hair now Avery?” The sincerity in his voice made me look at him, a softness was there that i didn’t expect. And despite it being something as simple and seemingly mundane as playing with my hair, there was a vulnerability there.
I stared at him, surprised by the simplicesty ofo it. I nodded.
He nodded back to me, adjusting himself. He put a pillow on his lap and pat it as an invitation for me to lie down. I do so slowly, watching him carefully.
He was slow and methodical in is movements. Starting from the crown of my head and using slow movements to brush through each strand. He was careful as he came to tangles, taking the time to separate them as he went. It was here my breathing slowed, matching the rhymthic pace of his hand, warm on my scalp, running through my hair.
At some point, his hand still at work, I felt myself falling asleep.
“That’s feels nice,” I murmered.
“Shhhh.” was his response, as he continued to play with my hair in the mid sunday afternoon.

“So how did you two meet?” The

Falling into numb-ness,
The death of a world is easy to come by
You poison the life source with lies and belief,
Mighty is the beast who believes in his truth
Unconquerable; blind
And down the well we fall and wander within the escaped
Minds. Trapped inside the skin, teeth, blood of
The whimpering soul
Who are you to challenge my domain?
Trapped within your own vision, cracked on every seam
Smile with broken teeth, biting into bloody apples
Scared of the words between your lips as they slide into oblivion
Thoughts attack your fragile soul, guarding
You in this emptiness. You who has no soul and the blood of fire and rain
Merged into nothingness. What is the truth you abide by?
Ripped into the stark air as if its a game, a goal to feel disturbed and
Different. As if what was was never good enough. To just be
A soldier in this war of confusion. On a battlefield that doesn't exist.
Have you ever been truth-less?
Have you ever been unbound, unchained?
Of course not, you’ve never tasted the screams of unadulterated freedom.
You, the wandering soul in a world of mirages; chained by your beliefs into suffocation.

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