Summary: When Rayne Carter has enough of his abusive boyfriend, he leaves, with terrible consequences; he soon finds a solace in his best friend. The two become close and something more than friendship blooms. M/M, sex scenes, abuse. Rated M for a reason.
Black & Blue Sky
I remember the first time he hit me well; it's burned into the back of my eyelids, so when I close my eyes to sleep I see it.
When it happened, he'd been drinking; drinking whiskey. His breath had smelt of the strong alcohol. I came to hate it when he stank of drink.
He had come into our small apartment, stumbling around the sofa and knocking over the side table. I'd been reading a book in the kitchenette, I looked up and he was standing over me, a grimace on his normally pretty lips, the grimace made them look ugly. I'd frowned up at him and made to open my lips to speak. He'd cut me off with sharp words. Words I'll never forget, for he'd never called me something so vile before.
"You whore!" He'd screamed at me, taking me by surprise. "You slept with him didn't you? I know you did because you're a slut." I had no idea what he was talking about and when I'd asked he gripped me by the shoulders and shook me. Hard. So hard my teeth rattled.
"Rayne," he had then snapped. My stomach had crumpled into a small ball and I'd stared up at him; watching his blond hair that had become messy, watching his pale eyes that were slit with anger. "I know what you did."
I wanted to tell him I hadn't done anything, that the alcohol was messing with his brain, but I couldn't open my mouth. My dry tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth and my lips felt sewn shut.
"You slept with, Brian," his fingers had dug painfully into my shoulders then, "didn't you?" he had asked in such a menacing tone it made goose bumps raise on my skin. This time I felt ready to defend myself. I knew he'd gotten the wrong idea from Brian and I. We were close, but it was only a close friendship.
"Vin," I had said, my voice sounded shaky even to my own ears but I cleared my throat and continued. "I didn't sleep with anyone, let alone Brian. He's my friend, that's as far as it goes. You should know this."
That's when it happened. He had growled before he pulled back his right hand, I hadn't even cringed, I had never expected this from him. It happened quickly. His growl ended and he brought his open palm forward with such speed when it hit me my book tumbled from my hands and I crumpled backward into the bench.
I had nursed my stinging cheek with my hand, holding onto it and staring directly into Vincent's blue eyes. He hadn't even blinked. He hadn't even cared what he had done. There were no apologies that day or in the days to follow.
That was the first time he'd been abusive toward me. Many more times followed.
The second time he hit me was worse. It came with another accusation that I had been sleeping with Brian and once again Vincent was drunk. We had been out together at a dance club, I should have stopped him drinking after he became surly, but I wasn't thinking. I stupidly believed the slap had been a once off thing. I was wrong.
He cornered me outside the back of the club, all hulking muscle and angered eyes. I had been afraid. I had wanted to push him away and run. But I hadn't.
He'd advanced on me, taking unsteady steps and I knew he'd had too much to drink. I remember calling out to him, telling him to quit it, telling him he was scaring me. For some reason this had made him leer at me.
Before I knew what had happened I was flat on my back with him on top of me, slamming his fists into my jaw painfully, so painfully my eyes watered.
"Why are you cheating on me?!" He'd screamed at me, his tone rough, loud. I was surprised no one came to check on the noise. They didn't and I had to endure minutes more of the pounding.
He gave up on me when I didn't reply and left me bleeding in the back alley of the club. Alone. Hurt. Scared and broken. I couldn't face him for days after. I avoided him like the plague. He made no move to apologize and I made no move to bring it up. For a while things were okay, almost like how they had been.
Then my birthday came around, and that's when the worst of it happened.
The amber liquid in my glass sloshed against the rim, threatening to spill over. I steadied my hand, hating that one look from him could make me tremble like some scared school girl. But I was scared. He'd drunk more than enough already and was still going. He watched me from the other side of the room, watching me so closely, no, watching us so closely.
Brian was by my side, talking about something pointless, something I had no idea about. My attention was solely focused on Vincent. He had a gleam in his eyes that told me things would get nasty if I wasn't careful.
Brian stopped talking suddenly and the unexpected loss of his steady, rumbling voice made me blink and turn to him.
Brian was a tall guy, with shoulder length russet hair and a prominent nose. His dark eyes were always kind and shining brightly. He was attractive in a masculine kind of way.
"You're not listening to a word I'm saying are you?" he asked with an easy smile. I shrugged. He raised his eyebrow. "Am I boring you?" he then questioned.
"No of course not, Bri, I'm just preoccupied is all." And I was. It wasn't a lie, all my attention was focused on Vincent and how many drinks he'd consumed or how his expression looked. Upset? Angry? I was on edge.
Brian flicked his gaze to where mine was staring and he sighed. "I know what it is," he said then, "you can't wait to be alone so you can get a special birthday present. And by that I mean sex." He clarified even though he didn't need to. I knew what he was on about. But it wasn't my reason.
I didn't want to be alone, and I had the childish urge to demand Brian stay the night. But I doubt that would have sat well with Vincent, so I refrained from saying anything. Instead I forced out a chuckle and took a sip of my whiskey. The burn as it went down my throat and settled in my stomach was welcomed.
Brian was nursing a beer and he took a sip when I did. The gleam in his eye told me he thought he was correct. I couldn't be bothered to tell him otherwise or else there'd be one hundred and one questions on why not, and right now I couldn't deal with them. Not when Vincent was stalking towards us with a scowl pulling his lips down.
Swallowing thickly around a sudden ball of unease in my throat I took a steadying breath. If Brian noticed my unease he didn't say anything. He probably mistook it for anticipation.
"Rayne," Vincent said and I looked up at him. He was a good few inches taller than me, which made it more intimidating when he glowered like he was now. "It's getting late, shouldn't we call it a night?" he voice was thick from drink. It wasn't a good sign.
Brian took Vincent's displeasure for eagerness and he chuckled.
"I should go anyway, no need to forcefully remove me." He joked. I wanted to forcefully grab him and hold him in place so he couldn't leave me. That would be a little odd though, so I didn't.
Instead I smiled thinly and nodded my agreement. I saw Vincent flash me a look that appeared pleased and a breath of relief left my lungs. As long as I played it safe I might just heed off an outburst.
"Yeah, it is getting late." I agreed. Secretly I wished Brian would stay, if he stayed Vincent couldn't hurt me. Wouldn't hurt me. Not in front of someone. I knew that much. But Brian was gathering up his things, shrugging his backpack over his shoulder and smiling at me. This didn't sit well with Vincent and I saw his jaw clench and pulse. I suddenly had the wish that Brian wasn't such a nice guy.
"Happy birthday, Ray," he said and then he leaned in and kissed my left cheek. It was something he always had done ever since I first met him. Countless of times Vincent had seen him do it and not battered an eyelash at it, but now he did. His jaw ticked and his eyes hardened. I knew I couldn't play it safe after that.
As soon as Brian left, I knew I was in for it.
It was like I was his prey. He stalked towards me as soon as Brian had closed the front door. My heart was beating a tune deafeningly in my ears and I couldn't hear anything but lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.
His lips pulled back into a sneer and damn if it didn't look threatening. His blond hair was tousled from him running his fingers through it and his eyes glinted with menace. In short he was a scary sight.
"I saw the way you looked at him," Vincent said, "I saw the way he looked at you." I cringed when he slammed his hand down onto the countertop; the smacking sound was overly loud but still rivalled by my heavy breathing. I was beginning to panic. I was beginning to realise Vincent was out to really hurt me this time.
"I saw it all, Rayne!" he shouted then; loud and caustic. It was like breaking glass, cutting me hard, cutting me deep. I tried to deny it. I did deny it.
"It was nothing, we're friends, Vin, best friends, but that's all."
I hated the tone he used. It was deep, guttural. It held a promise of pain. I couldn't understand how a normally loving boyfriend could become so – so, frightening. Abusive.
"It's the truth," I exclaimed, even when I knew it was pointless to argue with him. "He and I have nothing going on. I would never cheat on you!" And it was the truth. I loved Vincent, I wasn't about to ruin things by cheating on him with Brian. Why couldn't he understand that? Why wouldn't he understand that?
We had been together for a little over a year, surely he was confident in our relationship and knew me better than that.
"Bullshit," he said again in the same tone, "I know you have been sleeping with him. Why else would he kiss you on the cheek? And smile at you in that way."
"In what way? It was the same way he smiles at you, Vin."
Vincent slammed his hand back down onto the countertop again, this time growling low in his throat. "It's not!" he yelled.
I paled at his tone, "it is!" I insisted. Hating how he was acting, hating how he was ruining my nineteenth birthday.
"Don't lie to me, Ray," he said, putting emphasis on Brian's nickname for me. "I know what you to have and it's not a simple friendship. I saw you casting him coy little looks all day, like you wanted him bad. Well I've got some bad news for you. You can't have him, because you're mine."
"I swear it's just a friendship, Vincent. I swear it." I was panicking now, he was advancing on me faster and I realised dully that I was stepping backwards just as quickly.
Soon I was up against the wall with Vincent leaning over me, his teeth bared.
"I told you not to lie to me." He ground out through gritted teeth. I wanted to cry or scream at him that I wasn't lying, but I knew he wouldn't listen. He never did when he was in such a mood, in such a state of aggression. "I warned you twice, you do it again and I will hurt you."
The scary thing was, he'd hurt me regardless, he and I both knew it.
"I'm not lying, Vincent, I'm telling you the truth –" I tried to explain, but he cut me off with a sudden slap to my cheek. It stung and I knew the skin would flush pink.
I blinked hard, trying to hold back my emotions. He dropped his hand to his side and stared at me hard as if I were some stranger to him. The look hurt.
"I told you not to lie." He said in a quiet but deadly voice. My bottom lip trembled at his words, from the need to cry and from fear and panic. I didn't cry. I held it together and calmly looked him in the eye.
"I wasn't –"
Another hard slap across my cheek startled me and I couldn't catch the whimper that escaped my lips. The pain bloomed sharply and smarted.
"I said don't lie!"
I closed my eyes tightly against his scream and pressed myself further into the wall. I hated how small I felt next to him. Hated how he made me feel worthless and scared.
"Don't lie! Don't lie!" He yelled in my face, his own face was growing red from anger and spit collected on his bottom lip when he yelled. "Just stop it." He said.
I wanted to tell him to stop it but I couldn't speak, my tongue was heavy from fear and I knew my eyes were over bright. When I stayed silent for more than a minute, Vincent got madder.
"Say something!" he ordered angrily.
I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out, no words would leave my tongue, I was too frightened and I knew whatever I said would be taken badly by him. What could I say? Anything I said was deemed a lie. It was infuriating. It was scary.
I remained silent and it was the wrong thing to do.
"Fucking say something!" Vincent yelled at me while grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me hard. It hurt but I still remained silent. "You can't even defend yourself, because you know it's true, don't you? You're just a slut." He said with such disgust it hurt me. Cut me deep to see someone I love look at me like I was the most vile person alive.
Finally I found my voice. It was croaky and quiet but I managed to reply to him.
"Please stop this, Vin, stop it…," I had no other option left but to beg, he wouldn't listen to my denials, maybe he'd listen to my pleas?
"Don't tell me what to do!" Vincent said loudly. "Don't you dare tell me what to do." It was then that he hit me, and not just an open handed slap but an actual hit with a closed fist. His knuckles connected with my jaw so painfully I let out a shout of surprise as I fell to the floor. I was dazed. It had hurt.
"You're just a slut!" he yelled down at me before kicking me in the side. I screamed at him to stop it but he appeared not to hear, all his rage was directed at me and he kicked at my face. His boot smashed into my nose and I heard a crack before warm wetness flowed from my nose.
"You have to stop this!"
"Shut up! Shut UP!" A kick to my side had me gasping for air even as I was winded. "Don't talk to me!" he demanded flying another kick square at my head, I shouted and ducked my head into my arms for protection. It did little; he continued to kick until I was bloodied and sore and even as I danced on the edge of unconsciousness he continued.
The last thing I remember is looking up into his blue eyes, seeing nothing but hatred, anger, despise. It made my heart shrink into nothingness.
I had to escape from this. I didn't deserve it.
The inside of the car smelt like Vincent. I tried not to breathe as I drove away from the apartment, my knuckles white on the steering wheel. It was raining, but it was winter so I guess that wasn't surprising.
I was crying as I drove, staring at the wet road with blurry eyes. I was shaky and afraid and wondering what the hell I was doing. I knew I had to run, but damn, it was hard. I wanted to turn the car around and crawl back into bed like I had never left. I knew I couldn't do this. Vincent had probably already figured out I'd left already.
I was twenty minutes away from the apartment and twenty minutes closer to Brian's. I had nowhere else to go. I didn't even know what I would say when I got there. How could I explain away my broken nose? The bruises covering my neck and sides? I really couldn't. I needed help. Brian was my solace. I just hoped he would believe me.
The radio crackled and I listened dully to an Adele song that was playing. I didn't take much notice of the lyrics; my attention was focus fully on what I was doing. I was leaving Vincent. I was never going back to him. It hurt, god, it hurt so badly.
My knuckles knocked against the wood of Brian's front door, it wasn't a loud knock but it was desperate. He answered it straight away which was surprising considering it was the middle of the night.
"I heard your car," he said and as soon as the door was opened enough for him to see me he gasped, clearly he saw the bruises on my face and neck, "what the fuck happened to you, Ray? Who did this to you?"
I didn't know what to say so I just shook my head, fresh tears came quick and wet and soon they were trailing burning lines down my cheeks. Brian reached out immediately for me and when I flinched back out of surprise he winced and dropped his hand.
"Ray, you look like shit…,"
"Thanks," I said sarcastically.
"I mean it, you look dreadful, and you have to tell me who did this to you. Does Vincent know about this?" Gods, how I wanted to tell him it was Vincent who had done it, but I didn't know how to so I just dipped my chin to my chest.
"Yeah, he knows." I said quietly. Brian's dark eyes glimmered with some emotion I couldn't figure out.
He shifted on the threshold and then came out onto the porch with me; "why hasn't he done anything about it, gotten you some medical attention? You look like you need it."
"He doesn't care." I deadpanned, although my voice hitched slightly and it was a dead giveaway that I was upset with him. Brian reached out again and this time I quelled the urge to startle. I knew Brian wouldn't hurt me. He grabbed my wrist gently and held it softly.
"Ray," he breathed coming closer to me slowly, "tell me what happened." It was more a request than an order.
My eyes felt hot and stung from crying, I felt my bottom lip tremble and watched Brian's eyes flicker to see it happen. His brows furrowed and he rubbed his thumb over the pulse point in my wrist.
"What happened, baby?" he had only ever called me baby twice before. Once when he was drunk and slurring all kinds of nonsense and once when I was drunk and vomiting up my guts in the bathroom. Both times had been said in a kind, soft manner, and this time was no different.
Suddenly, as if that one word had undone me, I felt my tears get heavier and my nose began to sniffle, before I knew it I was confessing what had happened; "Vincent," I gasped around my tears, "Vincent – he, he hit me…,"
Brian didn't show any emotion for the longest time and I felt he must have not heard me, then his face twitched and a mask of anger over took his features.
"Bastard," he said vehemently into the night air, "he's a bastard." He didn't even question me. He just believed me. He was my best friend, I guess that explained it. But now that the barrier had been broken down I wanted to talk about it, I needed to talk about it.
"He just went psycho, he just started hitting me and k-kicking me. Bri, I didn't know what to do, I didn't know where to go, so I came here."
"Good," he said, "that's good."
"No it's not." I said with overbright eyes. He looked to me, his jaw was set and it pulsed as he gritted his teeth. He was pissed; but not at me, at Vincent.
"Because, Vincent would look here first; and he will come looking for me, I just know it."