The moon slept against the horizon of the midnight sky. Closing my eyes, I soaked in the moonlight. The wind wove its fingers through my hair and dragged its fingernails against my scalp. Shuddering, I grasped at the window's polished handle and closed the French doors. I sighed and allowed my boredom to overtake me. My forehead collided with the window pane with a dull thud.

"I'd be sighing too if I wasted my time like that."

I twirled around and stumbled, my balance shifting. "Cypress, how'd you get in?"

He stepped forward; his shadowed silhouette gave way to the lilting glimmer of the moon. Peppered across his sooty hair were gray strands, further accented by the refracting light. Blame for Cypress's premature grays was placed on his father whose hair turned to silver by twenty-five. It was one thing that he shared with his father—one thing too many, he believed.

Cypress smirked, corners curved. He held all of his secrets between his lips, caught within those rigid creases. "You're too old for fairy tales."

I glided towards him, so close that I could feel the heat radiating from his body. "I only believe in the truth. Some fairy tales have some truth to them, but you're too much of a stoic to believe it."

"Trying to burn me, Addy?" His eyes caught a certain glimmer, one that caused my stomach to seethe. His pupils enlarged and hid the color of his irises. Only a two-toned contrast was visible in his eyes—black and white, dark and light.

My eyes slipped from his face and traveled south. I held my breath and stared at the floor. Calloused skin grazed my jaw. My head rose with the pressure of Cypress's fingers pushing up at my chin. My eyes fixed on his face once more.

His lips quivered. It was as if they were warning me, those light tremors, of the spark that was caught in his lower regions. He masked his lust with humor and falsities, but I knew how to unravel Cypress. I knew his feelings, and I knew I meant more to him than he thought I believed. Sometimes, I wondered if I should indulge. Perhaps he had something more to offer than a well-sized dick and an impish ego.

"Addison Matthews, if that boy is here at this time of night—"

Well, perhaps not. It wouldn't be wise for my mother walk in on a midnight tryst between Cypress and me. Knowing her, she'd secretly enjoy it. The whore.

The sound of my mother's stilettos echoed against the wooden floors. I memorized the sound of her clicking heels years ago. She had one brand in the same style—at least five times over. "They're so comfortable, darling. They practically last forever!" she had said, her capped veneers gleaming.

To avoid looking foolish in front of her coworkers, she owned them in every color they made. No one could call her out for wearing the same pair of shoes every day. "Oh, they're the same style, different color. Chic, isn't it?" Her statement was almost enough to make me vomit all over her stupid shoes. My mother wouldn't know chic if it slapped her on a runway.

Glancing towards the sound as it magnified in the hallway, I saw her—the whore. My mother stood in the threshold, wide-eyed and rigid. Her hair was windblown, akin to Medusa. She'd broken my mirrors enough for probable evidence of a blood relation. Thankfully, the Gorgon blood had diluted into worthlessness when she passed her genes on to me.

"I was just leaving, Mrs. Matthews," Cypress said.

"Let's certainly hope so," my mother said, liner-caked eyes fixated on Cypress.

The silence suffocated me. "I'll see you tomorrow, I guess."

My mother made a grating sound in her esophagus. She faked a "throat clearing" session by repeating the process a couple times and placing her hand on her neck.

"Sorry, the pollen ouside's been getting to me," the whore said, her lie slithering through her teeth.

I had checked the weather that morning, hoping for clouds instead of sun. They predicted rain—and a low pollen count because of it.

The lying slut.

I faked a smile. "So, tomorrow, Cypress?"

He glanced towards me and muttered a noncommittal reply, one that I was used to getting. I would see him tomorrow, yes, but commitment and Cypress fought like enemies in the Trojan War. He didn't even allow his father to grapple him into a situation he found uneasy. Ruling his own world, Cypress believed that he needed to barrage all other territories into surrender. For leverage, of course. He wanted it all. He wanted to manipulate. He wanted to win. And he found that he always—almost always—did.

Cypress slinked past my mother, avoiding any contact that she might decide to use against him in the future. Everyone learned, rather quickly, how she operated. My mother was a manipulative witch. I certainly didn't need to tell my friends about her past actions, as slimy and vindictive as they were, but I made sure that they had their facts straight before they met her. False charm was my mother's greatest tool.

After centuries appeared to pass, the front door slammed shut. Cypress was gone, and I was at the sharpened end of a stake. She was the Huntress, and I was the Vampire in the corner, caught between the rising sun and a bloody knifing. Choking on my own blood, I decided, would fair better than burning in Apollo's clutches. My mother would be my executioner, but at least I could have a scuffle before my destruction.

"I would tell you to apologize, but I know you never mean it. Really Addison, I just don't want to see you waste yourself on someone that isn't worth it. Someone you'll regret."

Her eyes, narrowed into blackened slits, watched me. She meant none of what she said, I knew. I felt like a chemical equation that needed solving. The problem, though, was that the chemist was already riddled with primary errors. Fucked at the start.

"He's better than you think he is." Spit thickened against my tongue, a heavy burden as I spoke. My teeth clawed against each other as my jaw tightened. I wished I could just tear my mother's head from her neck.

The feature film flashed against my eyelids as I blinked. The blood would spurt from her flailing arteries and land on the ceiling, walls, and bed. Her body would rock back and forth, just before crumbling on the floor into a lifeless mass. Then I would laugh, mimicking a mad scientist in those made-for-TV movies that people watched when they were home alone.

"You're lying to me."

My mother—the fool.

My fists seized together, melding as a solid entity. The sting of my nails as they cut into my skin was almost enjoyable. It was a bittersweet sensation, to be sure.

"Goodnight, Mother." Heat blistered my cheeks; she had better leave. I didn't want to be held accountable for any violent actions that might result from her persistence.

"What do you want from me, Addison? I try to help, but you always push me away. It always has to be a fight with you, doesn't it?"

"That's not it." A fool, as I said prior, fit my mother exquisitely. She didn't understand. Why did my genius go unnoticed? Why did she treat me like a feces-licking child?

The floor creaked as my mother stepped into my room. "What is it, then?"

"It doesn't matter. I'm going to sleep."

I couldn't deal with her idiocies; I hadn't even gone to college yet, and I was smarter than her forty years ever could dream to be. My eyes felt heavy, a sure cause of boredom. Conversations with my mother pained me more than my menstrual cycle.

Looking away from her, I plopped on the bed. Her unhinged jaw bothered me. Grasping at the covers, I pulled them out from under me and burrowed beneath them. The covers concealed my sneer, but left my eyes naked and exposed. When I saw her whore-hips swivel around, a blur against my bottom eyelid, I spoke.

"Shut the door on your way out."

The ceiling bored me after a few hours. Popcorn ceilings lost their appeal once you were lucid enough to remember that popcorn would never come falling into your mouth at midnight. I ignored the fact that midnight had passed long before I was even in bed. The fact that I was contemplating popcorn falling from ceilings was ridiculous enough.

"Why does a lack of sleep drive people insane?" I said. Outloud. I waited, hoping that my statement wasn't loud enough for my mother to hear.

My muscles strained—an involuntary reflex. Relaxation and I were never acquainted with one another, it seemed.

Hearing nothing, I exhaled a sigh of relief. The last thing I needed was for my mother to come barging in, questioning me about my mental caliber. Hers was the one in question, not mine.

Cypress told me, a couple months ago, that I should masturbate to release the tension. "Forget about your mother and the shit in your life. Just think about me and fuck yourself," he had said. I was doubtful. I felt no desire to touch myself in order to regain a few molecules of sanity, but experience—on his part—confirmed the liberation he'd described. I would know. He tested that particular hypothesis when I was in the room.

He, of course, had offered to let me finish him. How utterly charming. I had declined, making the cliché excuse of not knowing where he had been. He had chuckled and continued his pleasure streak. Making a show of groaning my name, he had varied between whispers, hoarse cries, and pleas. The tingling of my clitoris irked me; why did he have to affect me? The bastard.

Cypress had fallen asleep after he was done, illustrating his point; I heard the light snores and the heavy breathing from the other side of the room. I did take a peek—just to make sure that he had closed up the O.R. He hadn't, though, and I'd seen more of Cypress than I'd ever wanted to see.

Sunlight began to filter through the window, and I wondered if Cypress was awake, or if he was even at his house. He rarely slept. An insomniac to the very soul, he found that it was easier not to even bother with it. He rarely did anything that involved much effort. Even sex.

"Why bother trying if you can get girls that know how to ride?" Cypress had said. It was the middle of spring break, and I remembered laughing off the comment at the time. A slap across the face was what he'd needed—not encouragement.

My cell phone beeped, tossing my consciousness into the present. I reached over my side table and groped at the surface of my dresser. It beeped again, and my ears adjusted to the location. I looked across the room and squinted, spotting a blurred flash on the top of my TV.

I stumbled out of bed and trudged over to the bulky mass. Shutting my eyes, I attempted to remember the purpose of such a daunting excursion.

Beep. My head collided with the TV screen. I jerked back and slid into a state of temporary lucidity.

"Cell phone." I grabbed the thin, red device and squeezed it against my palm. "They really need silent versions of this shit."

Flipping the phone open, I looked for the cause of sound. "New text message."

I closed the phone and threw it on the floor. "Text messages can kiss my ass," I mumbled to myself.

A quick shuffle or two and I was in bed again. My sheets seemed more welcoming than before, so I took advantage of their hospitality and drifted off to sleep.