And you feel yourself being watched in turn.
You turn to see, and a too-familiar-scent catches you in mid-turn and you wish you hadn’t acknowledged, hadn’t smelled, hadn’t seen, hadn’t come here tonight at all. Because you know this girl, this slim sweet thing sitting all by herself at a table in the almost-dark. Her dress shines like shed blood and her hair is thick, is golden, looks honey-sweet spilled over her shoulders; her curves are all so apparent in that dress and her eyes are dark and knowing, and everything about her is a preview of what it would be like to fuck her. Her scent is dark honey and myrrh and a few afterimages of Somewhere Else and wholly a scent of predator. A lure and a warning.
You haven’t seen her in ten years, but you know her instantly. How could you ever forget? How could you have not been thinking of her all along? That’s the question her posture asks, that lean forward so her breasts are almost spilling out of that skintight dress, that slight knowing tilt of a grin.
You realize that you’re no longer watching Aaron.
She raises a hand, reaches for you, and her presence reels you in; you sit across from her, and her smile widens. “I know you,” she says - just loud enough that you don’t have to strain to hear her. “Yes.”
“I-” You don’t know what to say, what to do. You are coiled up tight inside yourself, wanting to run, wanting motion, wanting her to not be here. This was sanctuary, this was his place, this was safe. Nothing bad had happened to you here. It was safe.
She laughs, low, self-satisfied. “I remember you. You’re what’s left when the fire’s gone.”
“And you remember me, too. I’m flattered. But then, I was your first, wasn’t I?”
You sit back, fold in tighter, because she knows it isn’t true.
She knows. “Your first girl, silly.”
“Yes.” Your first night as roommates in the psychiatric ward. You curled up in your bed, sheets rough and cold, pulled into yourself like you wish you could pull in now, lonely and afraid. Kai kneeling beside your bed, stroking your hair, then kissing you - you trying to pull away, and her small hands tightening on you, her whispering shh, shh.
“There’ve been others since.”
You don’t answer.
She laughs again. Rich and molasses-sweet. “I know, honey. I can tell. Besides, you’ve never cared what you do, what your body does. You’re never really there anyway, are you? At least, you’re trying really hard not to be.”
You are silent and still. You are not thinking about the things you have done and the desperate longing with which you have done them. You are not thinking about Kai ten years ago and her hands, her mouth, her voice - shh, shh.
“Has it ever worked? Have you ever gone back?”
You meet her eyes, and you don’t have to tell her the answer. You suspect she didn’t even have to ask.
“Poor little Ash.” She sips her drink, something amber, neat. Licks her lips, the same deep red as her dress. She leans over the table, extends her hands palm up - an invitation to put your hands in hers, to literally put yourself in her hands. “You know,” she says quietly, in a lull in the music - “I can send you back.”
"The Death of Enefa" necklace by qotcpcf, inspired by N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Snowflake obsidian, frosted quartz, white agate, labradorite, garnet, sterling silver knife charm. Necklace is 20" long. Metal bending all done by hand by the lovely Queen of the Cat People!
'And then I heard a voice, except it wasn't a voice, and he asked, "Do you love me?"
And I said, "Come and I will show you," and opened my arms. He came to me and pulled me hard against him, and I did not see the knife in his hand. No, no, there was no knife; we had no need of such things. No, there was a knife, later, and the taste of blood was bright and strange in my mouth as I looked up to see his terrible, terrible gaze...
But what did it mean that he made love to me first?'
-- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
This one said Kai to me. Kai is a knife and blood and honey...
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