Chapter 2- Dealings
Liam's apartment, although small, is clean and modern- obviously expensive. "So what do you do?" I ask.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, this is a nice place… and you're no prostitute."
"How do you know? For all you know, I could be a real classy one." He chuckles. He's obviously not a prostitute- you could see that a mile off. Well, a prostitute could anyway.
"Yeah, there's no way in hell you're a prostitute. No prostitute could afford this." I gesture around the apartment. He chuckles as he makes his way to the kitchen and grabs a bottle of champagne. "And no prostitute could afford that." I say as he snaps the seal on the bottle. He starts drinking straight from the bottle, not bothering to use a glass. "Are you avoiding the question?"
"Yes. And no, I'm not a prostitute, or a dealer, or a Sob."
"So what are you?"
"I have a feeling saying I'm not going to tell you would make you… angry. After the dealers. No idea how you survived that." I can tell he's avoiding the question, and he's right, I am getting angry. I need to pass the emotions on, or I'm going to have to live with them. Liam is surprisingly cool and collected despite what he took.
"I just want to know who you are."
"You know who I am."
"Do I?" The truth is, all I know about this guy is that he almost hit me with his car, took some of my bad emotions, and has a really nice apartment.
Liam accepts this, and says, "I guess you don't know. But maybe it's better not to."
"Maybe it's better not to piss me off."
"What are you gonna do?" He looks slightly annoyed now, and it crosses my mind that his calm persona could mask… other things.
"Nothing. I just want to know. You did help me, after all." Liam keeps drinking, and I keep staring at him, waiting for an answer. I'm not sure why he wants to hide his job, but I'm pretty sure the reason isn't good. Why else would he not tell me? My first guess would be that he was working for the government, but he has a shackle. Confusion sets in and combined with what the dealers gave me, it's an odd combination of emotions.
"You should get some sleep." Liam says after a long pause.
"In my bed."
"Don't you need to sleep there?"
"It's a big bed." I'm silent for a minute, not sure what he's implying. "Nothing like that, Ame," He laughs at my slightly innocent expression. "Come on." I don't go, and I know I need sleep, but the thought of sharing a bed with a man who I've known for less than a day has me a little anxious. Liam raises his eyebrows. "You coming?" I size him up, trying to see if there's a double meaning behind his harmless comment about his large bed.
"Fine. But just sleeping. Got it?" Liam laughs, and I cross the room to a door that I'm assuming leads to the bedroom. But when I open it, I catch a glint of black metal before the door is slammed shut from behind me.
"Don't go in there." Liam's expression is dark, and I know I've seen something I shouldn't.
"Just… don't go in there." His expression softens as he takes my hand. I jerk it away, and while he shows me to the bedroom I keep them rigidly by my sides, not wanting the whole bed-sharing to lead to anything.
"You need clothes?" Liam asks. I look down at my dress, and wonder how my life changed drastically in the past few hours. I'm honestly not sure what this is- Liam and I. What is he doing? Am I staying here for a night, or for the foreseeable future? Does he expect payment? Do I need to continue selling my happiness? I have no idea what's going on, really, but after thinking about it I decide it's best to wing it. I've always lived in the moment- sometimes not in a good way- and have never really had a permanent residence, sleeping on the streets. "You need clothes?" Liam repeats.
"Uh, yeah, sure." I say. Surprisingly, Liam pulls out women's nightclothes from his closet. "Why do you have women's clothes?" I ask. More pressingly, I want to ask, "What's in the closet?" but after the bad reaction he had to me opening it, I decide to keep my mouth shut.
He doesn't answer, and from the brief time I've spent with Liam, when he doesn't answer he's not going to answer, so I drop it. He hands me the clothes and leaves me to get changed. I strip down, put on the clothes and crawl into the bed. Liam's right- it is huge. I hear a knock on the door, and after a few seconds Liam comes in. "Comfortable?" he asks.
"Better than I'm used to." It's true- I'm used to sleeping on concrete. Liam starts to strip, and suddenly I'm worried he sleeps naked, but he leaves his pants on and crawl into bed, keeping a fair distance away. Maybe I scared him with my rejection of the bed idea. Or maybe I myself scare him. After all, prostitutes have little dealing with the rest of society.
To the rich, we are scum, to the well-off we are a source of happiness, and to the poor we are unattainable sources of happiness. We are the poor, but there are other poor people, shop clerks and such.
"Goodnight," Liam says.
"Thank you." The words come out of my mouth unchecked.
"Everything." Again, I don't think before I say the word. I am usually very careful with who has my trust, but here I am, lying in bed with a man I've known less than a day. I have no idea how I got here.
My sleep is not deep- in fact I don't know if I sleep at all. All night I am in a daze, a land between waking and sleep, and I make no effort to escape it. I have never felt this safe, this comfortable, in my life. I know Liam has fallen asleep when he turns over to face me. He looks younger asleep. I study his face, his hair, his body. The sheets have come off in the night and I can see his torso and arms are muscular. This only adds to the mystery of what his job is.
I'm not sure what Liam is to me. I've known him a day, but I've trusted him with more than anyone else in years. I've never really had friends, as in my world if you want to survive, you can't trust many people. But for some reason, I've trusted Liam with everything. My life, my emotions.
Liam moves in his sleep, and I quickly shut my eyes in case he wakes. I don't think he does, and he just turns slightly in his sleep. His sandy hair is ruffled, and his face looks perfect and young in his sleep, and something runs through me. I have no idea what it is, but it runs into my shackle before I can try and figure it out.
Something runs through my mind. Liam refuses to tell me anything, but I could tell a lot with a touch of his shackle. I don't know if the intake and outtake of emotions would wake him, though. I decide against checking his emotions, and turn over with my back to him. I don't want to tempt myself.
I wake better rested than I have been in years. Sunlight filters through the gap in the dark curtains. I look over to see if Liam is awake, and find him still asleep. Or so I think.
"Good morning." He turns to face me, and gives me a smile. I don't return it, and he doesn't look surprised. I'm scared of becoming attached to Liam, to anyone really, as life seems to have a habit of separating me from anyone I care about.
"Hello." I say instead of a smile.
"Like my bed?" He says. Before I can contain myself, I laugh. I stop immediately. "Laughing is allowed, you know."
"In my world it's not."
"What exactly is 'your world'?" he asks. And I can't give him an answer. "Whatever it is, you're not there anymore. You're here." After a second of hesitation, he adds, "With me." I don't know what to say to this. I'm not sure if he's implying romance or friendship or neither. He looks at his hands awkwardly. I want to break the ice, but I'm not sure how. Eventually I just settle with the nicest reply I can conjure up through varied emotions.
"Did you sleep well?" Well, probably not the nicest reply, but I don't know what he meant by 'with me' so I steer clear of referencing that so as not to make a fool of myself.
"Yes. Fine. Yourself?"
'That's good." It's still awkward, and I don't really know why, but it just it. Liam gets up and puts a shirt on, which makes me a bit more comfortable. My mind is not ignoring the fact that he's a good looking guy. But, as usual, I try and shut these thoughts out.
I follow suit and get out of bed, as comfortable as it is. While I was contemplating Liam's good looks he laid me out a dress. It's nice. Fancy. Expensive. I put it on, making sure to check the door is closed, and head out into the kitchen.
Liam is cooking something. I don't know how he's so productive at this hour. I'm usually asleep from midnight to midday, as Customers are more common later at night.
"So… anything you need to do today?" Liam asks. I think he's hinting that I need to leave. I've never been smooth with words, so blurt out, "Do you want me to leave?" He answers with a shake of his head and a glance at me. His blue eyes bore into mine for a second before dropping down. This gives me an odd feeling, a small rush, that again I don't have time to examine before it goes into my shackle.
"No what?" he asks.
"I don't need to do anything. Unless you need rent?"
He laughs. "I have more money than I know what to do with. Don't worry about rent." I'm sure his comment about money was harmless, but I can't helping thinking of all the prostitutes facing poverty everyday, while he has what I imagine to be piles of money sitting in a bank somewhere. I push it out of my mind, though. I don't want the dealer's anger resurfacing directed at Liam when he's been so nice to me.
I've been standing here for a while, and I don't see the food in front of me until the clatter of cutlery hits the plate. Liam is already eating, and I begin slowly, but I'm so hungry I begin to shovel it down. If Liam is questioning my table manners, he doesn't mention it. Within a few minutes the food is almost gone. I haven't had a decent meal in ages, and this food is so good I can't stop eating.
"Just make sure it doesn't come back up." Liam advises.
"Sure, sure." I dismiss his comment. But within a few minutes, I feel ill, but I'm determined to hang onto breakfast. To try and distract myself I return to out previous questions. "Do you need to do anything today?"
Liam thinks for a minute before saying, "A few. You can come… if you're not scared of the city." He smiles. His teeth are perfect.
His comment about the city is a bit weird, considering I do all my work in the city. But I see why he thinks I'd be scared. With all the Sobs around during the day, it's not a good place for a prostitute. But I don't look like a prostitute. My dress is clean, I don't have money in my underwear, and I'm actually… happy. At least I think this is happiness. It's hard to tell. At the very least I feel safe. So if a Sob checks me, he'll be surprised.
"Of course I'm not scared of the city." And to my surprise and Liam's, I smile too.
"I didn't think you would be." He looks into my eyes, as if he's searching my soul, and for reasons I can't explain my heart melts. Maybe it's the food. Or maybe that's what I want to think.
While Liam washes the dishes- having ignored my offers- I stare at the closet behind him. I can't imagine what's in there. The metallic gleam I saw looked like some kind of weapon, a gun maybe, but I can't be sure. Liam's reaction was so strong and immediate I don't want to ask. But I don't like mysteries. I don't notice Liam staring at me staring at the closet.
"It's best if you don't know what's in there." I look at Liam. His expression is stony. "Trust me." And, just like last time, I decide to trust Liam. I'm still curious, but I don't bring it up. Maybe I really don't want to know what's in the closet. So instead of staying and investigating, I agree to go to the city with Liam. Not sure what he needs to do, but he hasn't offered it and I don't ask.
Instead, as I did last night, I follow him into the unknown.
Thanks for reading. More action in the next chapter! Feedback appreciated as always .