The next morning, right before Maya woke up, she knew exactly where she was. She couldn’t even fantasize that it had all been a dream. The year she spent living in freedom seemed like a figment of her imagination.
Henry was sleeping beside her, soundlessly. His right arm was outstretched under her pillow and his left was wrapped around her like a vice. He hadn’t left her alone all night. He had followed her into the shower, pushed her up against the wall and fucked her almost tenderly. It was eerie, considering only minutes before he was gripping her slender neck in his hands and calling her a slut. When he was finished, he simply left; there was no kiss, there were no words, but she could still feel his body against hers. Her shoulder and neck were raw from his stubble and teeth. Even when he was gentle, even when he remembered he loved her, he still caused her pain. She stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her glistening body.
She opened the bathroom door and he was in her face. She let out a light scream. She’d forgotten how he loved the element of surprise. He grabbed her and threw her to the ground. She tried to break her fall with her hands but he was already pressing against her from behind. Her breasts scraped against the carpet. She felt him grab a handful of hair on the back of her head and crush her face into the rug as he thrust into her, slamming into her with an angry force. The realization that he had been able to enter her much too easily, that he must have lubed himself in preparation, came a split second before he slipped into her ass. Her back arched and she cried out in pain.
The tightness was exquisite; he was only a few inches in but he already felt he wouldn’t be able to last another second. Her anguished moans weren’t helping either; usually her outcries of torture helped suspend his orgasm because he loved to hear her visceral suffering and didn’t want her to stop, or shift to the whimpering that came when he was finished. It wasn’t like he hadn’t had his share of pussy while she was on her little vacation, but he realized now how intense was his preference for her husky, yet feminine voice, and how he loved the way she begged for mercy without forming actual words.
He pushed in deeper, spreading her thighs apart with his knees. He started to pull out, but couldn’t contain himself and he came hard as if she were depleting him of every essence his body contained.
She could feel him quivering over her. He was still for a moment, then he drew himself completely out of her and headed into the bathroom. She laid on the floor, breathing heavily, the carpet underneath her wet from tears and sweat and spit and cum and traces of blood. She was in pain, but knew that she couldn’t show it, not now that he was finished. In the beginning she used to cry audibly, in the beginning she had even been outrageous enough to complain, to wonder why he had been so forceful, to ask him to be gentler next time. He liked her weak in every capacity, but he hated it if she complained. So she pulled herself up and collapsed onto the bed, trying to stabilize her breathing so that when he did come back he might not even notice she was there. He woke her up three more times during the night.
But now it was morning. The sun glinted through the sheer curtains, casting a thick, hazy golden glow over the entire room. She wondered if she’d feel it when she walked through the room; she imagined it would be like swimming in cotton. Soft, but impossible. She took a deep breath and slid out from underneath his arms.
She crept out of bed as quietly as she could and tip-toed into the kitchen. Renton and Jeremy were still asleep. No one had bothered to set the timer for the coffee the night before, and she wondered if they’d had coffee at all while she was gone. She couldn’t really envision any of them making it, let alone having the foresight to set it up the night before. She sat at the kitchen table and lit a cigarette, waiting, and trying not to think of anything besides what she was going to make for breakfast. She went to one of the cupboards and peered in, but there was no box of pancake mix, so she’d have to make it from scratch, if that was what she would decide upon. She wondered if they even had any flour.
Jeremy padded into the kitchen, eyes swollen and hair tousled. He blinked at her for a moment, as if his sight was blurring, and then he grinned and shook his head. “I completely forgot that you were back.” He snorted. “I’m glad. It just feels right.”
She didn’t reply.
He sat down at the table. “There’s not really any food in the house. Maybe he’ll let you go shopping today, and we can start eating real meals again.”
She opened a few more cupboards and found that Jeremy was right. A few canned vegetables, some pouches of beef jerky, a half-empty bag of Doritos. She pulled down a box of Cheerios, poured what was left into a bowl and splashed some milk over it. Jeremy was watching her very closely, looking for any sign that she was too miserable. It was okay if she was sad, but it was when she was too sad, too depressed, instead of giving up she became irrational. Like last time. It wasn’t like Jeremy didn’t feel bad for what happened to her, but she shouldn’t have run away. He wanted to make sure to keep tabs on her emotions, so that maybe he might be able to stop her if she got crazy again. He noted the rash-like scrape of the side of her face, the marks on her shoulder interrupted only by the delicate spaghetti strap of her tank top. Secretly, he loved the wounds; there were a perfect contrast to her porcelain skin. She took a large spoon from the drawer and set it and the bowl in front of him.
“You always put in the perfect amount of milk,” he said after a few bites, “I always put too much or not enough.”
She laughed in spite of herself. “I didn’t know there was a ‘perfect amount’.”
“Oh, fuck yeah there is. Too much, soggy cereal. Not enough, dry and you can really taste how stale it is.”
Maya said, “I don’t think he’ll let me leave the house so soon. Even if someone was with me.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Maybe you can make up a list of shit you need and he’d send someone. I’m so fucking sick of macaroni and cheese. Well, mostly I’m sick of making it. You know how it is around here; he won’t eat unless you put something in front of him and Rent’s lazy as fuck.”
“So, you played housewife in my absence?”
He grinned at her. “Not very well.”
“What the hell did you say about me?” grumbled Renton.
“Morning, Rent,” she said softly, and got up to pour him a cup of coffee.
He tried his best to ignore her. After all, he had chastised Jeremy for groping her yesterday, and the last thing Renton wanted to do was give the impression that he had even worse fantasies. When he did glance up at her as she set the coffee in front of him, he tried to pretend that he had never seen that glorious body without a stitch of clothing, completely uninhibited…