|These Lives I Walk
Author: HighOnBrokenWings PM
"What is the meaning of life?" there was more than that behind his eyes. "I don't know. I'm a hooker, not a counselor. Didn't you see the badge?" "No, can't say that I did. It must have come off while you were having sex with me."Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 3 - Words: 10,830 - Reviews: 773 - Favs: 225 - Follows: 188 - Updated: 02-08-13 - Published: 04-22-09 - id: 2664073
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tuesday July 14th 1998
He drove for some while. The silence was near to complete as I sat there, all that prevented me from losing my nerve was the faint hum of the stereo.
I didn't know where we were going. And maybe, just maybe, I didn't care.
The car slowed and I carefully peered out of the heavily tinted window. The world seemed darker from in here, but the bright building - stretching far into the sky with internal lights peeking from half closed curtains - lit up my sights. We approached it steadily before being devoured by the fluorescent bulbs and the underbelly of the large hotel.
"Come on," he told me gently, taking no time to get out of his car. Chagrin coloured my cheeks, I didn't know how to open the door. It left me with little option than to sit there like a moron. As if he knew I'd be struggling, he was already around the other side of the vehicle and was opening the door for me, his gorgeous face lit up and expectant in the light of the underground parking lot.
Nice going, Sienna, now he thinks you're an incompetent idiot.
Trying to flush away my embarrassment as quickly as possible, I shrugged my bag over my shoulder and rose to stand next to him. The car was so low to the ground, and my heels were so damn high, that getting out of the passengers seat itself was a mission. I had to have looked like a right uncoordinated buffoon, all knees, elbows and hands clutching to keep my skirt down. He'd made it look so goddamn easy!
I looked levelly at him, his eyes plugged in to every last nerve in my chest. His eyebrows flew into the low lying line of his fringe. "Fuck you're tall," he commented, his eyes sweeping quickly down my body. As they returned to my face they hovered on my lips for a fraction too long, making the muscles in my pelvis clench.
"Shoes." I explained breathlessly, indicating my feet.
No, not really. I really was tall, taller than most men. Taller than the boy who'd been my first and last boyfriend.
"I'll take them off," I suggested, swiftly hooking my shoes from my aching feet. Instinct told me that his ego was threatened by my encroaching height.
The fact that I had taken my shoes off seemed to please him, as he piped up eagerly, "Carry them, it makes it look like we've been dancing."
Of course, I was aware he didn't want people knowing that he was about to have sex with a prostitute, but it did get to me how openly and willingly he expressed the excuse. That he was content with lying. That it was the only option, that coincidence and convenience were crossing lines… I guess the difference between him and I was that he knew people around here, that he didn't want to be labelled as desperate enough to meet up with someone like me.
I truly did not matter.
I did do as he said though, carrying my shoes as he looped his arm around my waist and held me tight against his muscled side. Truthfully, I wanted to die right there and then. It was horribly unreal, the way that he was touching me. And I knew it was all because the people surrounding us could look on and believe that there was really something between him and I, while in reality there was nothing. Nothing but sex-drive and money. Both he and I knew it, and he was such an amazing actor that we would be the only two to ever know it.
God. He was so warm, so hard-muscled; he made me feel so small and fragile, as if it would take no more than a few touches to break me. I'd never ever felt like that before. With utmost confidence, he led me to the far wall and towards the elevator. When the doors dinged open an old woman wrapped in daring leopard print, accessorised with a chihuahua, shuffled out, casting us a disdainful glance through her large dark glasses. He nuzzled my hair, as though whispering something to me. The woman huffed off, muttering to herself and he smirked with an air of success.
We only made it up one floor before the elevator came to a halt with a bright ping noise, and opened up to a majestic, marble floored reception. As a tired looking business man in a navy suit got on, I questioned the fact that my companion was standing stock still, "Don't you need to pay?"
That made him smile again - one of those arrogant, self-pleasuring smiles. As if he was in on a joke that he was inclined on telling me the behind story to. "Uh, my father owns this place."
Oh. Oh. Right, well that made sense.
I nodded blankly, trying my absolute hardest not to show him how much that fazed me. Mr Mid-Twenties-Businessman placed his flashy leather suitcase on the ground. As he rose at the hip his eyes tracked to my naked thighs, a sly smirk quirking at his lips. I self-consciously tugged at the bottom of my skirt with my free hand. Having felt the movement through our bodies, my to-be-client glanced up and caught the other man as he was now relishing in the view of my revealed cleavage. His brow furrowed and he tugged me closer. The older man received a smug glare and diverted his eyes.
I glanced up at him, and like magnets, my eyes found his. Dark and deep set, they completed his caramel complexion, strong jaw and full lips. I looked away.
We had stopped again, and this time a petite young woman got on.
I didn't know why, but whenever I was around an attractive and successful woman I couldn't help but feel personally threatened. To my dismay this new arrival was no different. It was as though this woman had arrived with the sole purpose of making me feel inept in every way - from her slick black pumps, right up to her delicately twirled chocolate hair. I could imagine him tracing the line of her delicate neck and slender waist, even though his hand was around mine. She certainly didn't have the layer of flesh his fingers were gripping. But although her backside was pert - as I'm sure Blondey would be able to confirm - it wasn't as full as my own. Disgust at myself lifted into my mouth with the dry taste of bile. Why did I always have to be perfect? The best?
It was only a few floors before she got off again, departing with a alluring glance in his direction.
Three-quarters of the way up – on about the twenty-fourth floor – the businessman got of. We were finally alone. I almost wanted to call out to those people, ask them to get back on the elevator so that I wouldn't have to be in this enclosed space with no one more than him and I, so then I could continue to fool myself into thinking that the point of connection was never going to have to come…
He didn't release my waist when the door slid back shut with a ding – when we were cut off from prying eyes – if anything he pulled me a little closer. I could smell his scent now; it was rough yet smelled civilised. The kind of scent that just begged for sex - as if his body wasn't enough.
"Are we actually getting off?" I asked as we went straight past the thirty-first floor. He laughed, as if what I'd said actually had some humour to it. He had a nice laugh; (I wasn't sure why I'd expected anything else. I guess I just I just wanted for him to have one flaw,) smooth and effortlessly arousing. Damn, damn, damn! Hell, Sienna, what are you thinking! I clenched my thighs tighter. His hand moved sensually down the curve of my back, as though it was in answer to my question. I guess I should've known that he was showing me the second meaning to what I'd said.
The doors opened for us a moment later at the top floor. As we walked out he began to let go of me a little, trailing his fingers along the length of my arm and intertwining his with mine. Never had I been so aware of the sheer number of points where nerves brushed the skin of my palm and fingertips. His skin was smooth but slightly calloused under my careful touch, while his thumb absently massaged the back off my hand. This was too intimate, far too intimate.
I was a whore, he wasn't meant to treat me like a human being…he was meant to treat me like a hole to put his dick in. That was what he'd paid me for. Not to mess with my emotions and sanity. It'd cost him a lot more to treat me as if I actually meant something to him. To give me that false sense of belief to cling on to, just for him to crush it as soon as this disgusting act was over.
He led me to the end of the hallway, a dead end with only a single door that had the looks of a cleaning closet. He disentangled himself and progressed to unlock it, unknowingly giving me space to breathe and admire the dark gold locks that waved gently to the edge of his strong jaw and began to fall in his, how the sun bleached ends fell so easily from the crown of his head...with a start I realised he was looking at me, faint amusement in his eyes. In the light they looked faintly red. Like the earth had given up and began to rust, and he held a sense of mirth in that fact. With a tilt of his head he opened the door.
It was dark inside. It took me a moment to realise that the seascape that I saw was real, and that the walls were made of glass. It was so dark, the only light illuminating the place being that of the moon and city below. In front of us, rising up at a slope and bending back on itself multiple times to create an ornate spiral, was a staircase. It's clear panels reflected back the world. He reached for a light switch, and dull lights flickered on, wrecking the peaceful mirage.
His footsteps tapped up and out as we took to the stairs, him two at a time. My bare feet made no noise, but I knew that they would be leaving a trail of inelegant sweaty smears on the pristine glass steps. This was like some childhood creation. The perfect prince taking his maiden up into a hidden room that only he and the dust bunnies knew of. Only it wasn't. Because in childhood we did not know of sex, let alone people that sold their bodies away for it. Those sick people that'd just lend the whole of their physical self to faceless strangers for a night…
People like me.
There was something bubbling in my chest. I was unsure to whether it was fear, anticipation or some sort of…contentment? Surely not. Please not. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to handle that at all. He didn't talk to me, not until we had reached the landing, and he stood, unlocking a second door. A guy of few words, there was nothing wrong with that. Less talk, less time to know him. More time to leave it down to what I was here for.
It wasn't going to be long now. I couldn't seem to breathe properly anymore. He opened the door, holding it back for me like a true gentleman would, but remaining in the way so that I had to press my body quickly against the front of his to get in. The room was so open,with the whole of the night sky raining down on us. My entire body was quaking uncomfortably, as if there were millions of micro earthquakes occurring somewhere deep in my bones.
Everything after that – from him pulling away my dress, to me lying on the bed in the low light with his strong body over top of me in a moment of hesitance or the feel of him stretching the cold places deep inside of me – became far off, fuzzed at the edges… There was no way in the world that I wanted to remember this.
So I wouldn't. I'd push it from my memory, cry later, break down as soon as I was far enough away for him not to see it…
I'd make it through this. I always did.
Wednesday July 15th 1998
He hadn't said a word about what he wanted, what he expected from me, and without that direction I'd almost become lost. I was already lost within myself, only letting the seconds pass because I knew that come the next, I wouldn't remember the last. I'd had to go on his body movements to know what to do, how to bend, where to lie. It was more personal than being ordered, but I guess it's logic to assume that listening to a partners body would take intimacy points over being told what to do.
Usually there was some sort of disgusting act men wanted me to perform – because that was what they saw my purpose to be, to perform acts their wives wouldn't do – but there was nothing like that. It seemed that he plainly wanted to have sex with me. That and a few, not so odd, extras.
Now I was standing in the shower with two doors separating me from him – one wooden, one glass – washing away everything that had just happened. I could physically smell him on my skin; I didn't want to have that memory. I scrubbed at my pale skin until it became pink and then red with the effort and heat. Better that than feeling dirty - physically and emotionally. I didn't know when my next real shower would be, so I was enjoying the joy of hot water as much as I possibly could as the tears ran easily from my eyes.
I didn't want to leave this steamy room, it blurred the clarity of what I'd just done. How I'd just slept with a man who couldn't be much older than myself, a few years at the most, how attractive he was…how I enjoyed it in this dirty unforgivable way.
Maybe that was why I was really crying.
A knock on the other side of the door was followed by the call, "Are you alright in there?"
I jumped to a start, and then tried to wipe my tears away with the backs of my wet hands. It was as if I was convinced that he could see me crying, that I needed to get rid of them before I could even think to reply."Yeah," I croaked before swiftly clearing my throat, "Yes, I'm fine, I'm uh, I'm just getting out."
"You don't need to rush," he told me. There was too much humour in his voice for it's meaning to be anything slightly good-natured. Hell, I would be rushing now! I was quaking again, the tremors breaking out along my skin this time. The only thing that was keeping them from going global was the heat of the shower pounding across my body.
Reluctantly, I pulled myself from the stream of hot water, wringing out my hair and reaching for a towel. I was unsure to whether or not I was really able to use it, but went ahead anyway, telling myself that I'd dry myself as quickly as possible and get straight back into my dress.
I really didn't want to put my body back into that trap. It held so many horrendous memories, most of them much the same as this one, and some longer ago that were even more painful to think of. The difference was in the choice accommodation. Usually it was the back seat of a car, or a cheap motel…
This was different on that level, as well as on so many others.
I towel dried my hair, knowing that it'd be nowhere near enough to dry it entirely, and reached up to de-fog the mirror. I almost didn't recognise the girl that was staring back at me, with her big opossum eyes lined with the remains of cheap tear-streaked makeup, the damp waves of hair saturated black by the water, and blotchy skin from where she'd scrubbed too hard. Quickly – noticing every second that I was using – I rubbed away the black marks under my eyes and attempted to straighten out my hair.
When I slipped out of the bathroom he wasn't standing near to the door like I'd been anticipating, instead he was sprawled on the bed in only his underwear, staring at the ceiling. Or maybe it was the sky…it could easily be either, or just as easily be both.
The ceiling was made of glass. Like an extended sky roof. "It's a two way mirror." He said, as if in answer to a question I hadn't even voiced.
I'd been sure that he was asleep, that or at least not aware to my presence.
My sights and thoughts drifted back to what I'd registered earlier; the fact that he wasn't really wearing so much… Okay, I really needed to stop staring at him. But even as heat boiled high into my cheeks I didn't divert my gaze, he was occupied with the stars and would never be any the wiser. My eyes greedily traced the lines of his firm abdomen, the swell in his powerful thighs when he moved even slightly and the bulge pressed against his body, covered only by the taut and daringly thin material of his briefs...
"Hey?" his sudden question awoke me from my trance with a start, and I fell back into reality with an almost audible thump. The heat that had been solely in my cheeks spread across my body, and my heart palpated as though he had caught me ogling. In order to resist temptation I angled my body as to look over the city. I almost didn't want to know what he wanted. I was done with him. I had a whole lot of his money and just wanted to get the hell away from this hotel and this intriguing and horrifically unreadable man.
Yeah, maybe I was scared. Not of him, no, but of my own emotion.
I didn't verbalise the fact that I wanted to hear his pressing question, but he must have taken something out of my moving closer and taking a seat on the chest at the end of the bed. Either that or he'd already decided he was going to ask it no matter my reaction. I reached down to fish my shoes from underneath the bed.
"What's your name?"
That caused me to freeze and risk a glance over my shoulder. He was still lying down, not even looking at me. It was as though he was asking me a completely run of the mill question. I knew I needed to lie, to give him a false name and a false idea of me. There's a lot to hold in a name. If I gave him a fake name then it'd make the whole thing would become less real in my mind. It would mean that lies and cover-ups had been – and would be – enough. "Sienna." I blurted. Right, idiot.
"Yes, surprisingly," My shoes were firmly on my feet and I stood, readying myself to leave. I walked towards the nightstand where the money was sitting, splayed across the pale surface like a deformed butterfly. I reached for the bills, but he bet me to it, putting one of his large hands over top of the small pile.
"You're leaving," he didn't ask me whether or not I was going… He knew I was leaving, and he stated that fact to me in a manner that said I shouldn't be doing so.
"Yes. Are you not going to pay me now?" I asked edgily. It'd be extraordinarily low of him if he didn't. I'd feel twice as ripped off.
It had only been a few months ago that I'd been snickering at a joke I'd overheard a girl reciting to one of the cuter guys at my old school – How do you make a hormone? Don't pay her. If it was someone else that was eating karma's dust, then maybe I'd find the irony funny. But I couldn't muster up the courage to laugh at myself, it was too much. He wasn't going to let me get my hands on that money again. He'd conned me, well and truly.
I wasn't going to just give up like that, though. I had no reason to not try and get it back. He'd taken my a little part of my soul, my integrity, pride and intellect as a human being, begging wasn't below me now. Credit had to go to the guy though; he had me fooled into following his lie that he wouldn't be ripping my cash back off me anytime soon. Usually I was able to read people's intentions in the nervousness of their words, the slightest flicker of their eyes, or the slightest increase in the pace of their speech. I was torn between the desire to run, to fight for it and the need to cry.
The sharpness of his disbelieving laughter jolted me from my panicked state, "Of course I will, I didn't think you'd just get up and leave like that."
Relief flooded through me, but it was soon followed by confusion and my own disbelief. I had everything I wanted, he had everything he paid for…what more was there to stick around for? Some bonding? A bit of time for him to make me feel like a bigger heap of crap than both he and I knew I was? Was it more sex that he wanted?
"I'm Riley, by the way." His eyes were shinning brightly, as if he was looking straight into my own two eyes and seeing what I was thinking. As if he knew.
Still, the name Riley suited him. I hadn't been able to gauge him as an anything; all other names were a square peg and a round hole. But Riley fitted just perfectly…
I'm sure a comparison isn't necessary for that one.
I didn't say anything, not in reply or as an indication that I'd heard him. Riley raised his eyebrows up into the fall of his hairline. "You're still leaving?"
I lifted one shoulder in a slight shrug. "Can I have my money?"
"Your money?" his mouth was lifted in a small devious smile. Not enough to get me sweating in fear, but just the right amount to unleash one small shudder down the length of my spine.
"I told you the conditions of this before we started," I stated sourly, staring in the place I assumed his eyes would be. He continued to lie back on the large bed, his head resting in his left hand and a smooth expression plastered to his face, an expression that I knew would match the strong feel of his muscles-
I wasn't meant to be envisioning things like that! The thought of him – and what we'd done – was meant to sicken me to the stomach. I was supposed to be thinking about the revolting person he had to be on the inside to do what he'd just done, not the heaven fallen angel exterior that he played up. You can dress a Rottweiler up in fairy-wings and a tutu, but it'd still bite your head off if you decided it'd be funny to play tag with the pretty little mutant doggy.
"When money switches hands it generally means that it's no longer yours." Speaking to him as if he were entirely mentally impaired? Guilty as charged.
He wasn't offended by my intentionally degrading newsflash, if anything he found it amusing. "Yeah, you can have it, just stay for a bit." There was no second option. It was either stay or leave without that twelve hundred dollars that I so desperately needed.
End of story.
Fucking prat. If I wasn't already antagonised by the many repulsive things he was making me feel, then I'd definitely be wanting to pop a cap in his arse now. I must admit, that considering the circumstances, it was a little disappointing that I didn't own a gun of any kind. I knew there was still a slim chance that I'd be able to knock his arm, grab the money and run. He was strong, that much I could remember, but I didn't know if he was physically powerful enough to hold the money down so far away from his body with just the strength of one arm. Just as I was seriously contemplating going for it he
"What's the point in this?" I huffed while sitting down on the foot of the bed, not naïve to the fact that it was probably more sex he was after. It was an open question, but I did feel as though we both already knew the answer. That I was just going through the motions. He astounded me with his words; they weren't the one's I'd ever expected to come from his mouth. They were the words that belonged to a good friend, or those that your mother morosely ask you when she found your last razor blade…
Riley was sitting up against the head of the bed, the moonlight lighting up his tousled dark-blonde hair like a halo of indecision rising above his head. His eyes were on me, I could feel their gaze, their presence, it made me slightly nervous. "Are you all right?" His words were enough to make me question my Rottweiler comparison. Perhaps he wasn't really that kind of a person – vicious, egocentric, arrogant - maybe he was just a Lab dressed up in a Rottweiler suit. Maybe it was a double façade…
He wasn't asking whether I was okay right here in this very moment. I knew - as illogical as it was - that he was asking me if the bigger picture was being painted the way I wanted it to be. He was making sure that I hadn't slipped and messed the canvas completely. "Why are you asking me this?" He didn't care. No way did he care. I wasn't going to let myself fall into that false belief, no matter how much my voice shook in order to question it.
His broad shoulders shrugged once, the shadows that were casting over his eyes directed straight at me. The way that they were lingering here, on me, it wasn't making any sense. I could feel the layers of protective outer shell being torn away from my heart. This was different to the shedding of my clothes…this was hiding something more than just my naked body. These layers were hiding my otherwise unprotected soul.
"You looked down, you still do."
Because it really wasn't as if I had a reason to, right? Was he trying to be funny? Or was it just that he was completely ignorant to what had just happened? Maybe he had his memory catcher on self-erase in just the way I had. "My life…it's just sucked lately, that's all." It really wasn't that hard to add two and two together and get four, was it? Surely he'd seen that was the only answer I was going to give him. Surely it was so obviously right there, in what was sitting at the start of my eyes.
A single dark chuckle cut at the air. "Mine too."
I was completely perplexed, had he not heard the tone of my voice…? Was he really comparing himself to me? There was no feasible way that what he was experiencing could be as bad as even a fragment of my fucked up life. Not because I had become so absorbed in the idea of my troubles that it was all I could see, but rather because I was sitting here, looking at his face, completely unable to see how a man like him could be hating his life. "Are you serious?"
"Why wouldn't I be serious?" He was leaning forward now, with his face far too close to mine; I could even see the dimention of the colour in his eyes. The warm caramel, dark flint grey and the beautiful red-brown colour that I was unable to find any word for.
"I don't know, why would you assume I even care?"
"Ow, ouch, what crawled up your ass and died,"
"Do you really want me to answer that?"
The intensity in his eyes pushed up three and a half notches at that point, warning me that he wasn't about to rebut to my sarcastic comment. "You didn't answer my question."
"The one I want an answer to."
"Is it really that important to you, how I am? You don't even know me." I breathed out, suddenly extremely tired.
"What. Is. Wrong?" his impatience was showing through the cracks, now. Impatience for what? Impatience for someone that didn't matter to him, for something he didn't need to know.
I sighed, giving in, finally telling him what I truly believed. "Everything? If I could peg unhappiness to one thing, then I'd be sorted. I'd know the meaning to life. I'd be all knowledgeable." I wasn't sure why I was so aware of Riley's eyes, but for some reason I watched every movement he made with them, every last thing he looked at... I couldn't not look at his eyes, and it was scaring me. It was frightening that I'd become so obsessive - so habitual - in my actions, so fast.
Right now his eyes were staring into mine. Again.
"What is the meaning of life?" There was more to it than what was spoken. I could see some sort of hidden meaning or interpretation peeking out from behind the attention grabbing, obtrusive words.
"I don't know. I'm a hooker, not a counsellor." I retorted briskly before double taking. Why had he asked a question of me that blatantly contradicted what I'd just said? Was I the only one who couldn't make sense of that…? "Didn't you see the badge?"
"No, can't say that I did. It must have come off while you were having sex with me."
My breathing slipped from me for a heartbeat. When I managed to get a hold on myself the air whipped in like an uncomfortable offshore breeze. Bitter and cold. "Are you done patronising me?"
"Patronising you?" he asked, somewhat amused.
"That's what I said."
"I'm not patronising you," his tone gave him away; he didn't care whether or not I believed him, he merely wanted to contradict me.
"I think you are, and I also think that I'm going to leave."
He didn't make any movement to stop me when I moved towards the bedside table and scooped up the hundreds of dollars that had sat there stockpiling while we had...
While we had fucked, effectively.
I could barely believe it, swiftly moving towards the door and my ticket out of here as I slipped the small stack into my bra. My hand was even on the handle when he pressed me against the door, taking my hand and making me recoil in shock. I hadn't heard a creak of the bed, or the swish of material being misplaced. I hadn't even felt his presence, or the weight of his breath until it had been too late. Not until he was right there, staring into my eyes, forcing me to stare back into his.
His fingers were hot between my own. Why wasn't I blocking this out? No, more importantly, why couldn't I block this out? Why did I like the structure of his firm hands around mine? Why was I getting electric pulses shooting from one end of my body to the other?
I knew the answer.
It was because this was different. This was after, there was more than raw animalistic instinct and distanced lust firing off between the slight gap between our two bodies. I was overflowing with nameless emotions and thoughts, things that I couldn't catch long enough to even look at, let alone identify.
It was all wrong.
He leaned towards me, eyes distinctly focused. My instincts pulled me forward but my brain caught on quick and managed to pull me back into the real world. He was a customer, and no matter the occupation, you didn't go around kissing customers like that. Never. His lips were a hairs breadth from mine when I finally mustered up the courage to speak, "D-don't kiss me," I muttered, the slight movement of my mouth brushing the sensitive tips of my lips against his.
The sky hung in its place for a moment, the world paused, and yet his hesitation was the only one that I could see. His eyes were asking me why; yet his body understood that I didn't want for him to kiss me. I couldn't stand him kissing me. I'd fall apart. It would start something that there was no way of me being able to handle.
It would start something that wouldn't make sense on neither his end nor mine
For all those reasons I was out the door and flying down the stairs before he could even think to blink – before I had the chance to breathe. The darkness below the stairwell entrenched me, swallowing me whole. There was no light following in my wake, because the room had been just as dark as here, lit only by moonlight…
I only just caught his words as I pushed past the second door at the bottom of the steps, his voice dry with humour, "See you, Sienna."
And the sick thing was, I really did wish for fate to reunite us, for him to be more than right in saying that. I didn't want to just see, I wanted to feel, taste and breathe him all over again... I now wish that I hadn't wished so hard that first night, meeting Riley White.
It's funny how your hopes and dreams can come around and bite you on the arse when you least expect them to.
Thank you for reading :) Please do not hesitate to tell me wht you think, any improvements you think I could make, or even your guesses to where this story is going to head! This was a long chapter, so it took me a while to edit, and there's potential for a few mistakes to have evaded me.
A big thanks to:
For taking the time to review and for the thoughtful comments made about the story.