The first of a series. Each part will cover a bit about the people who move into the zany apartment at 31 Potpourri Drive. More on the rest to come.

Some will definitely recognize this piece as the 'clean version' of beLIEve, an excerpt I did previously for the Gravity Attack universe (the alternate yaoi spin-off, of course). If you're looking for a yaoi version of this, just e-mail me and we'll talk.

Potpourri Drive

Black-Eyed

It's odd the way you turned out to be here, of all places, he thought to himself, as he scratched off the recollection of days unto the peeling paint on the wall. It was an out-of-place thought, one of those that don't really mean anything.

The young man sat on a battered leather couch, enshrouded in the darkness of the cluttered, studio apartment he now found himself in. Beth Orton's piano songs came from a distant radio somewhere, and the blinds on the windows only let in enough sunlight to gouge out an eye or two.

The apartment's walls were home to paintings; clumsy collisions of colors and shadows, posters of long-dead icons & Jesus Christ. Where there were no scratched in lines marking days gone by, poems were scrawled hastily in magic marker.

getaway car-crash scenes.

eyeliner, living mockery!

toilet seat dreams.

The place smelled faintly of long-dead incense sticks, sweat, and cigarette smoke. Various magazine clippings were strewn about the floor along with torn black & white photos of yesterday and today, bullets, and a girl.

Her hair was blonde & she wore nothing, save for a shirt that was too large for her. Antiquated, with Jim Morisson's face on it, and covered in dry sweat. It was his shirt.

The sun climbed higher into the sky and forced her to open her eyes. Pernicious was her gaze, and their color blue as veins.

She used to be a pop star. One of those one hit wonders you don't even wonder about once they fade away from the charts. Now all she did was sit in the darkness, smoke her Indonesian cigarettes and write her poetry.

"BOOM," she said,

with her red nail polish and

a penchant for answers.

He didn't know why he was there again, in her apartment. They had met in an alleyway where he had been forced to wrap up one of his assignments; the job had been messy. It had splattered blood all over her white dress, painting it in the red of crushed passions.

She had been high that day, and hadn't realized that she had just played witness to one man smashing in the face of another with his fists. They had been meeting each other ever since.

Sometimes, he wondered if she had ever understood.

they say

that in the land of the

Blind, the One-Eyed Man is

King. do you

see me, then? do you

see me?

"You're pretty," she said, watching him as he uncurled to his feet and approached.

"You're vacant," he returned before he kissed her.

To him she smelled of sweat and old roses, and her mouth tasted like Indonesian cigarettes and fire. To her he smelled of ashes and classic cologne, and his mouth tasted bittersweet as Russian Blacks and burnt up dreams.

that must be it.

slow, like a cigarette burning through a plastic

cup. warm and gentle, brutal all the

same, soothing jangled nerves, soothing rhythms of

delight. spasms of lust, dream-dusted and slathered

in nightmares, sitting among opaque silhouettes of

yesterday. swimming in a sea

of pain.

They weren't in love with each other. They had made that clear to each other years ago, after he had kept her up throughout their first night together. His line of work didn't include love in its agenda, and she didn't want any commitments. Besides, human beings needed a good fuck dosage to stay sane in a lopsided world like the one they lived in.

The kiss lasted longer than originally intended. He rose up to his feet, barely disturbing the photographs and the newspaper clippings that surrounded her like some sort of mockery of a flower field. She watched him with her quaint gaze, tracing his process across the dingy room. He was unto his fifth cigarette for the day.

"You're here because you needed a place to crash, am I right?"

So that was the reason that he couldn't find. He couldn't help but smile at her. "You don't mind, do you?"

"No. What happened last night?"

"The target got away. I was careless."

"That isn't like you."

"I've been weird lately."

"And I don't help?"

"You do sometimes."

you fondle my

Trigger, then you

blame my Gun.

He was the shadow across her room, a tall and charming demon with an angel's face that haunted the corners of her one-bed apartment and edged her dreams with sensuality. He was her poetry and a bit of Goth in motion written in the cold ink of remorse and the heat of spilled blood. Sometimes, it was blotched up and cooled by tears.

She rolled to the side and pushed herself up to a sitting position, watching him languidly as a cat well satisfied would watch the prey it took notice of for fun as he took a drag and later added to the nicotine dreams in the air of her apartment.

Black Armani shirt that was loose around the neck. Military fatigues that pooled at his feet because they were too big even for a tall one like him. All class, pure death. He was hers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays were a maybe, and Thursdays were on a blue moon. On Saturdays and Sundays, he was his own man and she was busy finding Nirvana within a bottle of French rose wine.

Back in the yesterdays past when he was still new to the job and used to cry himself to sleep in her arms, he was all hers. Nowadays, he was the stray cat that'd turn up at her doorstep when the rain had turned him into a drowned rat, wanting a pet and a warm bed to curl up in.

She didn't mind it anymore. He really was more than worthy of occupying his bed, more so than the simpering fan girls and the sleazy old men that used to. She always did like a kitty whose claws were still sharp.

She fancied that hers were still sharp too.

you reek of poetry, my love, all pleasure and

pain mingling with the scent of ash, cheap

cologne, and moonlight. I'd tell you

that, but you'd laugh, wouldn't you?

"I found a place to stay."

It was the sharp intake of breath that startled him a little, and through the grimy whitewashed window before him, he looked back at her reflection and her vein blue eyes, ones wide that stared at him now as though he sprouted antennae.

"I would think you'd be happy. You always did complain about how I smoke cigarettes like there's no tomorrow and how your alcohol cabinet's never full anymore."

"Where are you going to stay from now on?" It was almost as if she hadn't heard him.

"31 Potpourri Drive." Her usual question went more along the lines of who's the unfortunate bloke who'll catch your disease? or Heaven forbid, ANOTHER poor soul to torment other than me? "You've seen it, I guess." She never spoke civilly. It wasn't in her book.

"Yeah. Owned by this Sanders lady?"

"That's the one. I won't be dropping in so often from now on. I might not even come back to bother you anymore. You should be happy."

No.

No, they weren't in love.

No. They weren't in love.

her Other Half smiled and

tore the pink paper heart

apart. "i believe," she said,

pointing to the hapless shreds,

"that was yours."

He fell back against the couch with all the faithlessness of someone who was looking, fetching the gun from where he had tossed it among the jutting springs and the torn up cotton. It was a beauty of a weapon, all sleek steel stained black, 290 millimeters of FMJ round gunfire. In white, curvy letters, words were emblazoned across the ebony like fire.

Jesus Christ is in Heaven Now.

She rose to her feet, and realized how pale and pallid her legs were. She couldn't stand straight, but she wouldn't let him notice.

"I'm going to take a shower."

He didn't answer.

"when i said i wanted to be alone, i meant it!"

"we could have been alone together, you know."

"no shit, Sherlock. but YOU left."

(conversationwithmyselfkillsandripsmeapartlikeyoudidwiththepinkpaperhearthatbelongedtome)

She walked into the bathroom, peeled off the shirt, and stepped into the shower stall. She turned on the shower, sank to the tiled floor, and let the sobs mingle salt with ice cold water.

He sat in the darkness, fiddling with the black gun. He didn't hear her.

i'm the one that hurts.

i fall victim to my own plots and thoughts.

your name's forever been etched crudely

with a cutter on a table in the classroom

of my thoughts and my heart.

End.