Red! Red! Red!
A one-shot for competition winner N-Boston about the first time Christian safe-worded with Elena, aged 16.
Today was different. And I’m still processing what I think about that. Who am I kidding? My mind is too fucked up beyond all recognition to think clearly about anything.
It started three weeks ago.
Some days I felt like my head was about to explode with all the fury, all the crap that passes for thoughts. You know those anti-smoking posters they show you in school, diseased lungs and all that? That’s what I imagine my mind looks like: twisted and black and disgusting; the kind of mind no-one wants, and no good person should have to be near – certainly not my family.
I went through the motions of living, if you can call it that: I went to school, I ran track, I rowed – mostly single sculls because no fucker was dumb enough to want to pair up with me anymore. I went to kick-boxing classes but the teacher was too worried that I’d beat the shit out of one of the other students to let me spar with anyone but himself. The only micron of relief I have from the foulness eating at me, is music. Sometimes, only sometimes, I can lose myself in the music.
Mom and dad were worried about me but they couldn’t save me from drowning. I didn’t think anyone could.
I started swiping dad’s Scotch a while back but there’s only so much water you can add to a bottle before someone notices: in this case Elliot. I’m grateful that he covered for me but he made it pretty clear he wouldn’t do it again. I just wanted to numb these intense feelings; I couldn’t take the way my brain seemed to bleed with anxiety every fucking second of every fucking day. My skin felt too thin and I just wanted to stop feeling all the time. I just wanted it to stop.
But every time some loser fucker made a comment to provoke me or even looked at me the wrong way, I lashed out. I got expelled from two schools for fighting. Mom and dad were going crazy trying to figure me out. Good fucking luck with that: nine shrinks and counting hadn’t got very far, and the useless fucker I was supposed to be seeing now didn’t have a clue. But the look of disappointment on my mom’s face just killed me. And as for dad, the only way I can describe it is that he looked scared: like he’d always expected this would happen… or some screwed up shit like it. So I drank more.
I started stealing liquor from anywhere I could, but it was getting harder. Out of my school uniform, I could just about get away with buying alcohol from one of those late night stores that didn’t really give a fuck about fake ID. But I got caught trying to swipe some Bourbon once and the security heavies beat the crap out of me. Mom just thought I’d gotten into a regular kind of fight: she patched me up and sent me to my room ‘to think about what you’ve done’. As if I ever did anything but think. I wanted to tear my brain out and mash it into a million pieces just to get some peace. One of the older students at school was known to sell uppers and downers: believe me, I was thinking about it. Do you know how low I sank? I was thinking about taking the money that Mia had been saving up. I knew where she kept it and one day I found myself in her room with the bills in my hand. How fucked up is that? I managed to put them back but I kept thinking about that money.
I couldn’t focus on anything: it was like watching one of those music videos where the images go so quickly, you can get dizzy trying to keep up.
I thought about sex constantly. I seemed to have a hard on constantly. If there was a competition for jerking off, I’d have won hands down, if you know what I mean. Elliot had a pretty impressive collection of magazines so I made sure some of them ended up in my room. Not that I needed a magazine.
The girls at my latest school knew me too well to hit on me after the first couple of months. I couldn’t bear anyone getting near enough to touch me, even though all I could think about was pushing them up against a wall and fucking them senseless. They thought I was stuck up or weird or gay, probably. It didn’t make any difference and I didn’t have space in my head to care what they thought. I just knew that sex, real sex, wouldn’t be possible for me. How can you have sex with someone if you can’t let them touch you? Yeah, my therapist was no fucking use answering that question.
So when mom said she’d got me a summer job working for the Lincolns I was happy enough to be out of the house and out of the reaches of her anxious eyes – and to earn some cash.
I knew the Lincolns vaguely from mom’s endless fundraisers. All us Grey kids were expected to dress up, pass around the canapés and sweet talk all the rich fuckers who came. Elliot was pretty good at that: he could charm the women and be all buddy-buddy with the men. And everyone loved Mia: she was so cute and pretty and used to get away with saying all this outrageous stuff. It was pretty funny really. So that just left me: the ghost at the banquet.
Mom dropped me off at the Lincolns at 8.30am on the first Monday of the summer break. I’d wanted to cycle over but they didn’t even trust me to have access to my bike in case I disappeared on it somewhere. Mom hugged Elena and thanked her for giving me a job and then took off for the hospital.
I dug my hands into my jeans pockets and stared at the ground.
“This way, Christian,” said Elena.
I’d never been alone with Mrs Lincoln before. At least she didn’t try to be super nice to me like some of mom’s friends, or talk to me in that soothing voice reserved for nervous pets, which always annoyed the fuck out of me.
She led me around the side of the house to where they’d had an extension built onto their utility room. There was builders’ rubble all over one side of the back yard. My job was to clear it up, load it into a wheelbarrow and throw it all into a dumpster. Doing that by hand would take about four or five days. After that Elena had vaguely mentioned some work around the yard. I didn’t care: all that interested me was the $10 an hour she’d promised to pay.
The work was back breaking, not that I cared about that, but it was really hot, too. One of those Seattle summers where the breeze from the Sound doesn’t make it as far as Bellevue. I was out in the scorching sun for four hours, heaving bricks and wheeling them to the dumpster. I must have moved a quarter of a ton that morning. The palms of my hands were pretty tough from rowing, but even so, I was starting to get blisters. I wondered if there was a pair of workman’s gloves I could borrow but I didn’t know where Mrs Lincoln was so I couldn’t ask her.
Mom had given me some cold pasta and an apple to eat for lunch. There was no-one around so I’d pulled off my sweaty T-shirt and was cooling down under a tree. I heard a car pull up in the driveway and a few minutes later Mrs Lincoln came out with a glass of lemonade for me.
I was grateful for that because I’d drunk almost all the water I’d brought with me.
“I thought you might like this, Christian,” she said.
“Thanks, Mrs Lincoln. It’s gotten pretty warm.”
“So I see,” she said, looking me up and down, “rather hot, in fact.”
Her gaze made me feel uncomfortable and that made me pissed. Who the fuck did she think she was to stare at me like that?
But she was really attractive, too. She was wearing a thin summer dress that clung to her and she had bare legs that looked like they belonged on a model. I knew she was younger than mom; I guessed she was about thirty or so. It gave me a hard on just looking at her.
“You look pretty hot, too,” I said, arrogantly.
She didn’t smile or look embarrassed. She didn’t even look angry. She took a step towards me, took the glass of lemonade from my hand and put it on the grass.
I had no clue what she was going to do.
She slapped me, hard, rocking my head to one side.
It was so unexpected that I hadn’t had time to defend myself. But then she took another step towards me, grabbing my face with both hands and kissed me roughly. She forced her tongue into my mouth and pushed me back against the tree.
I was so fucking scared that she’d touch my bare chest, I was paralysed. Every bit of my fifteen-year old cockiness and arrogance was stripped away. I was utterly exposed, raw.
But she didn’t touch me. She just kept kissing me and before I realised what I was doing, my hands crept around her waist, holding her loosely. She increased the pressure on my mouth, crushing my lips with hers, her teeth clamping down, and I was lost in a sea of lust as desire spiked through me. Suddenly she pushed away from me and I was left gasping. Then she slapped me again, turned on her heel and walked away.
I was reeling. I had no idea what had just happened. I was so turned on, but shocked, too, and both my cheeks stung from her blows.
I stood and stared at the house, wondering what to do. My heart was racing and I felt like I’d just gone ten rounds with my kick-boxing instructor.
But the house was quiet and there was no sign of Mrs Lincoln. I stood there, a fool in the summer sun. Finally, I picked up the lemonade and drank it down in one go, wiping my mouth with my arm. I went back to work.
I had no frame of reference for what had happened; no way to interpret or explain. No way to understand.
At 4pm, I heard my mom’s car in the drive. I pulled on my T-shirt and wandered around to the front of the house.
Elena was standing in the drive, talking to my mom through the car window. She completely ignored me.
I got into the car and slumped back in the seat.
“Christian!” said mom. “Where are you manners? Thank Mrs Lincoln for having you.”
“Thank you,” I mumbled.
Elena gave a brittle smile. “It was a pleasure. Same time tomorrow, Christian.”
Her words were calm but the unspoken promise went straight to my dick: I really wanted to see her again in the morning.
I was virtually silent on the drive home, answering all mom’s questions with monosyllabic answers. Eventually she gave up, sighing deeply, and simply told me to go take a shower.
Mia was waiting for me, sitting on my bed and bouncing impatiently.
“What do you want?” I said in a surly tone.
“Don’t be mean, Christian. I’ve been waiting ages for you. You promised we’d watch that movie together.”
That was true: I’d said we’d watch ‘Titanic’ together because she got scared at the bit where it started sinking. But I really didn’t feel like being with my little sister right now. I needed to be alone.
“Not now, Mia.”
“But you promised, Christian!” she whined.
“Maybe tomorrow, ok?”
“But you promised!”
I ignored her and pulled out some clean clothes then headed for the shower. Behind me I could hear her strident, pleading tones. I blocked them out as best I could.
The shower soothed my muscles which were aching pleasantly and the sunburn on my neck and shoulders. But it couldn’t soothe the vortex of half-formed thoughts that whirled ceaselessly in my head.
Why did she kiss me? Does it mean there will be more? And why did she hit me – twice? Does she like me? Does she hate me? She can’t know what I am or she’d never have come near me? I don’t understand. But I really, really want it to happen again. Just thinking about her rough touch had my body pulsing with desire. My cock was getting hard again so I took advantage of the privacy of the shower and pumped hard until I came, feeling some tiny bit of relief. It didn’t last. It never did.
The evening meal was a nightmare. Dad started going on about how difficult it was going to be to get me into another new school in the fall if my present one decided to expel me after another ‘incident’ at the end of the semester, and that if this kept up I’d have to be educated at home and take my High School Proficiency Exam by myself, and what did I think about that?
Frankly, I didn’t give a fuck but even I knew not to say that to my dad, so I just sat there in silence – a gesture he chose to construe as dumb insolence.
I got sent to my room again. For fucks sake – at this rate I was never going to get to finish a meal. And I was hungry after my day of laboring.
I lay on my bed and stared at the ceiling. Dad had already confiscated my CD player, I can’t remember what for – there were so many ‘incidents’ to choose from, so I didn’t even have the comfort of music; and I was too hyped up to read. I stared at the ceiling with no relief from my thoughts – thoughts chiefly about her.
I wasn’t surprised to hear a soft knock some time later.
I couldn’t be bothered to reply. After a moment’s hesitation, mom walked into the room. She sat on the end of the bed and sighed.
Great. Just what I needed: another fucking guilt trip.
“Christian, sweetheart, you really shouldn’t wind up your father like that. He only has your best interests at heart.”
That stung. “I didn’t say anything!”
“Exactly. He was trying to have a conversation with you.”
“That wasn’t a conversation: it was another fucking lecture.”
“Christian! You will not speak about your father like that!”
I didn’t start this!
“I’ve made an appointment with Dr Fostile for Wednesday. Maybe you’ll talk to him.”
I seriously doubt that: the guy is a dick.
Eventually she gives up but she’s left me a plate of bread and cheese. A baguette – my favorite bread. At least I’m not hungry anymore. Just fucked in the head.
The night passes slowly. Even though the house is quiet, I can’t sleep. Lying in bed feels like torture, so I get up and wander downstairs. I listen carefully before going into dad’s study and heading for the liquor cabinet. For the first time, it’s locked and I’ve no idea where he’s put the key. I guess he’s gotten wise to my game. Fuck! It’s the only thing that helps me to sleep.
I think again about what happened with Mrs Lincoln. I don’t understand what that was all about. It’s almost as if I dreamed it but I know I didn’t: my lips still burn from her touch. And I really want her to kiss me again tomorrow.
As dawn arrives I head back upstairs to bed. My eyes feel tired and scratchy but my body is alert. I sleep maybe twenty minutes before I hear Elliot thundering around down the hall. I pull on my jeans and a clean T-shirt and head to the kitchen for breakfast.
Mia is chattering away to Elliot and mom is making pancakes. Dad is half listening and half reading the paper. Whatever: I’d rather be ignored than yelled at again.
It’s my turn to clear the plates so by the time I’ve loaded everything into the dishwasher, dad and Elliot have already gone: dad to his office and Elliot to a summer internship he’s got with an eco building company in the city. Mia is going somewhere with her ghastly friend Lily, so mom drops me off first.
“Please be civil to Mrs Lincoln,” she says, warningly. “She’s my friend and she’s doing us all a favor by having you work for her.”
I watch as she pulls out of the drive then I make my way round to the backyard feeling tense. There’s no sign of Mrs Lincoln, so after a short pause I start clearing rubble and loading it into the dumpster.
I’m lost in the work, enjoying the physical labor when I turn and see her studying me. I think maybe she’s brought me another lemonade, but her hands are empty.
“There’s a coffee waiting for you in the kitchen,” she says, her eyes watching me appraisingly.
I note that she hasn’t asked me how I like my coffee as I follow her into the kitchen. I don’t know why but my heart starts beating faster. The chances are nothing will happen, that she regrets what she did yesterday. But a small, restless part of me is hopeful.
When we get to the kitchen she turns and leans against the breakfast bar. There’s no sign of coffee and my heart rate picks up again. She’s wearing tiny denim shorts that show off her great legs and tiny waist. She’s so fucking hot.
She walks towards me slowly. It’s almost as if she’s some sort of sleek predator and I’m her prey. Christ, I hope so!
She stops a few feet away.
“I’m going to kiss you again, Christian, like I did yesterday.”
She watches to see that her words have sunk in, then she pounces. She pushes me up against the wall, her hands in my hair, pulling hard. She bites my lip and then her tongue is in my mouth. Her right hand lets go of my hair and presses hard against my erection that’s sprung to attention.
Fuck! I nearly come on the spot.
Then she pushes her hand inside my jeans, inside my boxer briefs, and starts to stroke me. I’ve never been touched by a woman before and the feeling is indescribable. I feel baking hot and icy cold and my whole body is trembling. But then she lets go and slaps my face again.
I’m so confused. I don’t know how to respond. I just stare at her, my eyes filled with fear and lust.
“I know you want to fuck me, Christian, and I’m thinking about it. It depends on whether I think you’ll please me or not.”
“Do you want to please me, Christian?”
I nod wordlessly.
Her voice is imperious.
I’m stumped: I don’t know what she wants me to say.
“Yes, I want to please you.”
I think I’ve made the right answer because she smiles and a cold, calculating look crosses her face.
“Good. Come with me.”
I follow her up the wide staircase and into a bedroom. The room is cool and white and has a large bed pushed up beneath the window. There’s nothing personal in the room and I wonder distantly if it’s a guest room. My heart is hammering in my chest and my cock is aching for her to touch me again.
She closes the door and stares at me.
“Do you trust me, Christian?”
Once again I don’t know what to say. I barely know her. I swallow and my eyes flick to the door.
“I promise I won’t touch your chest. Or your back. But if you let me touch the rest of you, you won’t regret it.”
I try to process what this means but my brain is in shut-down; there’s only one part of my body that is capable of responding. It’s pretty obvious which.
“Take off your T-shirt and give it to me.”
I’m not happy doing that: I feel too exposed. What if she’s lying about not touching me?
“Don’t hesitate. Do exactly what I say – or leave now.”
I don’t want to leave but I’m so fucking scared.
Slowly, I pull my T-shirt over my head and hand it to her.
She takes the T-shirt and holds it up to her face. She closes her eyes and breathes deeply.
“Mmm… nice and sweaty. You smell really good, Christian.”
Her words are such a turn on. No-one has ever spoken to me like that before. But she intimidates me, too. So I stand there, a mute fool, while her eyes drink me in.
She drops the T-shirt on the floor and cocks her head to one side.
“Take off your pants. Slowly.”
My mouth has gone dry and I feel like I’m going to pass out. I kick off my sneakers and socks at the same time. I swallow again and pull down the zipper on my jeans. My erection is pushing against the thin material of my boxer briefs. I feel my face flush with embarrassment and humiliation.
“Don’t be embarrassed, Christian,” she says quietly. “You have a fabulous body; a man’s body. And I’m going to pleasure you like a man.
She steps forward and I automatically take a step away from her, but the back of my knees hit the bed.
“Don’t walk away from me,” she says sharply.
She rests her hands on my hips and lets her nails dig into my skin. I gasp and stare at her. Then she runs her fingers around the waistband of my briefs tugs then down briskly.
And now I’m truly naked before her: every part of me stripped away. I have to trust her. Can I trust her?
“Lie down, Christian.”
I do as she says.
“I will only touch your face, your arms… and below your waist.”
I nod nervously.
“Good. Now put your arms above your head.”
She takes my left hand and slips something over my wrist then pulls hard and clips it to the headboard. Panic lances through me and I try to lunge off the bed.
“Calm down, Christian. You can trust me. Believe me, I have more to lose that you do.”
Her words pierce through the molten confusion of my brain and I let her cuff my other hand. I’m staring up at her, wide-eyes and scared shitless, but also aroused beyond anything I’ve ever known.
I realise she’s holding a riding crop in her right hand. She runs it up my thigh and along my pulsing, aching erection.
“Now I’ve got you where I want you, what shall I do with you?”
* * * *
Today it’s my sixteenth birthday.
“Hey, little bro! Happy birthday! Sixteen! Woah! You’re legal to have sex, buddy!”
I know he’s trying to get a rise out of me and has no idea of the unintentional irony of his words, but it’s not lost on me. I’ve been having sex with Elena almost every day for the last five weeks. The days when I can’t see her hang slow and heavy. Mostly, this is because her husband, Linc, is around, or because she’s got something on in town that she can’t get out of.
I’m not grounded anymore, which makes things easier. I can jog over to Elena’s place in 20 minutes. The sex is just off-the-chart amazing. I never knew it could be like that. None of Elliot’s magazines showed anything more than spanking, but Elena has opened up a whole new world to me. And she talks to me – really talks to me. No-one has ever talked to me like that, like a friend. She’s teaching me about wines from around the world: the different grapes and shit like that… although she won’t let me touch hard liquor. Once I turned up and she tasted Bourbon on my lips: I won’t do that again. She beat the shit out of me; I mean, really beat me. I had to be really careful about making sure I didn’t wander out of the shower in a towel like I usually do, because then it would have been pretty obvious what was going on.
As it is, mom and dad don’t have a clue and I’m going to fucking well make sure it stays that way.
And she’s really into music: mostly golden oldies but she loves to dance and I’ve got no problem feeling her body pressed against mine as we move around to the music. For an older woman, she has a fucking fantastic body; I can’t get enough of her. And weird as it seems, I think she feels the same. She’s so sexy when she dances. Well, she’s fucking hot all the time but when she dances she seems a lot younger. And she’s teaching me. I used to watch mom and dad dancing and I thought I’d never be able to do that because I couldn’t let anyone get that close to me – Mia being the exception – but Elena has kept her promise; she’s never tried to touch my chest or back or any of my no-go areas. I can relax with her. I trust her. And we’ve fucked in ways that I don’t think even Elliot has dreamed of. But we have to be careful: if we got caught… I really don’t want to think about that. I’d lie and say it hadn’t started until I was 16; that’s the least I could do for her.
I don’t know why the whole submissive thing works for me, I just know that it does. Maybe it’s that there’s no uncertainty. I know exactly how I have to behave; she tells me exactly what she’s going to do, when and how she’s going to do it. She makes all the decisions; it’s like she’s put everything into black and white, and before everything was shades of gray. Somehow, my world has come into focus since I met her. I’ve got another way of expressing myself; somewhere else I can pour my energies. I can turn off part of my brain and give myself over to Elena. She knows what’s best for me.
She’s taught me a lot about my body already: about pushing my limits, about extending my pleasure and hers. I even enjoy it when she beats me because I can see how much it turns her on. It’s a real fucking head-spin trying to understand why I enjoy the pain. If I had a halfway decent therapist I might risk asking him, but the latest guy is an asshole. I hate having to see him but Elena says I must, because it makes mom and dad happy.
I don’t like taking money from her because it makes me feel like she’s paying me for sex or something. But she says if I didn’t have money for doing the yard work, it would blow our story. I’m going to save the money for something important: a car, maybe, when I’m seventeen.
Elena says pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin and I sort of understand that now. It was weird at first but she said I’d get used to it, and she was right. At least I thought so. Now I’m not so sure…
I had a couple of hours to myself. Mom and dad were less stressed about letting me out by myself but I still had to give them a fucking itinerary every time I made a move. Because it was my birthday they said I didn’t have to work at the Lincolns. Of course it was the only place I really wanted to be, so I said I was going for a run.
I arrive at Elena’s in 17 minutes, shaving 98 seconds off my personal best. The house is quiet but I know she’s in there somewhere, waiting for me.
I head straight for the guestroom, removing my clothes and folding them neatly the way she’s instructed me. Then I kneel by the door and wait. The room is cool and I shiver slightly, the sweat on my skin leeching heat from my body in the slight breeze. But my cock is already hard and I’m tense with anticipation.
I hear the door swing open and I straighten my back, keeping my eyes on the floor.
“You may look at me.”
I glance up and she looks fucking hot. She’s wearing a corset in a silvery color with plain silk stockings. She’s holding a thin cane in her hand. She said we’d be moving onto canes soon; I just hadn’t realised it would be today.
“I have two treats for you today, birthday boy,” she says softly. “Bend over the bed; let’s see that glorious ass.”
I do as she asks.
“Now stretch your hands out in front of you.”
I know this is because she’s going to tie them to the other side of the bed making it hard for me to move.
I can smell something fragrant. Hand cream, maybe? She rubs her hands together then starts massaging me.
Fuck! That feels…
She’s forced something up my ass and my mind is reeling, my body rebelling.
“Hush, now. Suck it up like a good boy.”
I try to breathe deeply and relax. The feeling is strange, alien and I know she’s crossed another boundary. I don’t know how I feel about this.
Then she starts with the cane, lightly at first, across my ass and thighs. She increases the strength of the blows and I can hear her breathing becoming ragged. The stings are getting hard to handle but she stops abruptly and pulls whatever it is out of my ass so suddenly that I cry out again.
I turn my head and see her walk around the bed to loosen my hands. My shoulders feel stiff.
“Lie on your back.”
My hands are still tied together so I have to shuffle awkwardly up the bed.
She stands looking down at me: I think she’s pleased. It’s hard to tell. Then she pulls down her panties and straddles me. She takes my cock in her hand and pumps it a couple of times. I can feel it building inside me and I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to control my reaction the way she’s taught me.
“Not yet. Oh, not yet.”
She kneels up and then sinks down onto me.
Yes! This is what I want! This is what makes sense!
She starts to ride me hard and I groan underneath her. I can feel her body quivering around me and I try to hold on, I really do but my body betrays me and I throw my head back, pouring myself into her.
I know I’ve disappointed her and I can’t meet her eyes but she strokes my face gently, lovingly.
“I think we’ll have to try that again,” she says softly.
I know it’ll only be a couple of minutes before I can follow her instructions but right now my brain is somewhere out of the entire fucking State.
She lies down next to me and continues to stroke my face. I open my eyes and stare into hers and I can’t help myself.
“I love you, Elena.”
Her eyes harden immediately and she sits up.
“Don’t be so fucking stupid.”
I’m stunned. She’s never spoken to me so coldly.
“You have no idea what love is, Christian. You’re just a fucking kid. When are you going to wake up and smell the fucking coffee?”
“I’m sorry! I…”
“Shut up! Shut the fuck up! Christ! Why do I saddle myself with such losers? What a complete fuck up! You stupid boy! You’ll ruin everything. Do you understand? Everything! When you come here we fuck: that’s it. That’s all.”
I don’t understand. I don’t know what she’s saying. What about the talking? The dancing? The music?
And then I realise. It’s me. It’s me: I’m so fucked up and disgusting that a woman as fine as Elena could never want or need my love. She’s revolted by it; she’s right to be revolted by it. I’ve always known that I was made wrong. She’s tried to show me a way to live with it and I’ve thrown it all in her face.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
“Don’t be so fucking pathetic, Christian! Don’t you have any control? Do you always have to behave like a fucking child? What’s the matter with you, for fucks sake?”
She carries on shouting at me, yelling at me about needing control, telling me what I already knew about myself and I can’t stand it. Not from her. Please, not from her.
She grabs my face in her hands.
“Look at me!” she snarls, and slaps my cheek hard.
I look into her beautiful, angry eyes and something inside me snaps. I’ve reached my limit.
“Red!” I whisper. “Red! Red! Red!”
I close my eyes tightly and turn my head away from her. There’s a sudden silence.
I feel the bed shift as she moves up towards the headboard. She unties my hands, lifting them down so they rest at my side.
Her fingers are in my hair, stroking it softly.
“My poor boy,” she croons. “My poor baby.”
We lie like that for some time as she strokes my hair and my face.
When my body has stopped trembling she sits up.
“Time for you to go now, Christian.”
I nod, feeling numb. She leaves the room and I pull on my T-shirt and running shorts.
I walk home slowly. I don’t have the energy to run. I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know how to feel.
“Happy birthday, Christian!” trills Mia as she sees me walking through the kitchen.
It’s like I’ve lost my voice so I just stare at her. Her face falls and I know I’ve hurt her but there’s nothing left inside me. I don’t know what to feel.