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The Weak's End
Author's note: This book was based entirely on the album "The Weak's End" by the band Emery. Starting with "Walls" and ending with "The Secret." I hope you love it and enjoy the forbidden story of Lucian and Kali. <3
Scribbles marred the pages, notes being jotted down beside them, but otherwise scenes of a catastrophic landscape screamed off the worn paper in red ink. Hidden eyes followed the crude movements of the pen, the drawl of voices all around him all blending together into a dull hum; the screeches, the whispers, it was all the same. The only thing that seemed to matter now was wounds that seemed to depict this youth's imagination, now tearing into the composition.
It would seem to anyone else that the male was frustrated as he tore the paper to shreds, letting the pieces scatter to the floor of the room, but this was what he always did with his work... Emotions set on paper. Once dry and in clear light, he destroyed them so no one could ever know what they held.
Of course, Lucian never considered that anyone would notice besides the janitors. Every day seemed the same to him. The same gibberish lectures, the same false smiles from the slaves to fashion. Even in silence, he could hear people scream behind their pencils and their mascara-tainted lashes. Everyone was sick of this, no one ever wanted to be here and act like the puppets they were, but no one ever left. It was a part of them, a family through some twisted fantasy of 'school spirit'. The Purple, the Gold, the pride; yet secrets untold... Everyone was hollow, everyone was cold. They were all one in the same, but in different bodies. Funny how no one would admit to it.
But Lucian always felt that his drawings, the ramblings he left upon clips of paper were the keys to his innermost being. They deceived him; they cut and exposed him raw. But no one here could be vulnerable. No, for if they were, they would be verbally lashed back into their places, some abstract rank unspoken yet brutally obvious. So he became like them, in his own specified ways. He cropped his straight hair in mismatched angles, put streaks of whitening bleach through the deep brown locks and almost every day they were tinted with a different color. Lucian also never showed his true eyes, always having in different colored contacts to match or conflict with his hair color of choice for the day. He felt like every day he represented someone else in a twisted way, not being one person, but many.
That suited him well enough. People said Lucian was such an extrovert, but in fact, he would avoid speaking to anyone at almost all costs. Hardly anyone, even teachers, recognized his deep voice. He had long ago built up the walls that surrounded his inner being, never letting anyone within them. The only way someone had ever seen around the facade was through his artwork. Though even that, Lucian thought with a smirk, was proclaimed as being... oh, what was the word? Oh, yes. Dark. How ironic, seeing that his name meant 'light'. But life was always a little impractical like that. People believed in 'Stereotypes'. Lucian was the personification of 'Life' and what it thought of Stereotypes.
Though there was one thing about Lucian's work that no one had ever come to understand. When he drew rooms... the windows. He always left the windows completely blank. There was no outside, no scenery. It was just that...he couldn't capture it. There was this... beautiful place in his mind, untouched by the world and there was this feeling he always got when he thought of the seaside utopia... Closing his shielded eyes, Lucian pictured it in his mind, suddenly feeling so light, so pure... like he didn't have to hide anymore... But he could never depict it on canvas, so he always left it blank.
Opening his eyes, currently colored in a metallic silver, Lucian suddenly felt trapped in the whitewashed room. The laughing, the eyes, even the air he breathed felt like it was choking him. Standing abruptly, his long, lanky form almost toppling the hard desk he forced himself to sit in, but he managed to catch it before it clambered to the tiled floor.
All eyes were suddenly on him. Straightening the desk and his own spine, Lucian cleared his face of all emotion, though panic started to rise up in his toned chest. Swallowing it like a bitter pill, he looked straight forward, allowing his vision to go out of focus and blur as he started down the isle, snatching up a pass and flashing it to the 'educator' before stepping out the door into an empty hallway.
Lucian took a few steps, making it around a corner before slamming himself back against a wall, breath coming out in shaking rasps, his head tipping toward the ceiling as if he might be able to retrieve fresh air where no one else had dwelled. But it still almost felt impossible, his body starting to shake in an invisible panic. His eyes shut against the world, Lucian slumped back against the wall, sliding to the cold, filthy floor.
Why did this always seem to happen? He felt like he was always in some sort of nightmare. Dreaming when awake. Nothing ever seemed real anymore, least of all himself. He couldn't even show them his true eyes! He was as much of a puppet as the rest... And yet he couldn't share their gaze. If he did, he feared they would all be able to see straight into him; dissect him piece by piece until there was nothing left to display.
Taking several more strained breathes; Lucian was able to finally open his silver-clad eyes, somehow feeling almost on the verge of tears yet dreadfully dry as the desert. There was such pain in his chest, it felt as if he were being pulled apart, each vein shriveling under his skin, invisible bruises marring every inch of his flesh as he was bled dry. When had such fear driven him into hiding? He could hardly remember when he took shelter behind himself.
Come get to me... he could feel his lips wording soundlessly, his soul crying out in sobs, but never heard. Here he was, an open wound, yet no one ever seemed to notice. He could scream at the top of his lungs, but it would fall upon deaf ears within the puppets of people always surrounding him. Come get to me…
Lucian let his head fall slack against the hard stone wall, eyes foggy but not from tears. But when they drew back into focus, there seemed to be a pair across from his, whispering wordlessly, I am here...
And she was. So far away, but her face spoke like any verse never could, robbing Lucian's lungs of air. She just stared at him from the other side of the hallway, her eyes like a sorrowful storm as she passed through him, yet never moving. She seemed to be shaking, quivering for an unknown fear that could not have been her own, but Lucian's as well, burning herself into his being, unblinking. And he knew that he could never forget... the way she saw straight through him, and discovered what could never be spoken.
Their moment was broken, and they were once again two different souls. She shook her head from the trance, wisps of artificially blonde hair brushing her cheeks as she, too, became plastic again. Glancing at Lucian one last time, he could feel the line that had suddenly been drawn between them ignite once more, warning never to cross its threshold. They were... different... It was Law in this world... And now anything... everything... was to be locked away, swept under the door to never be seen in the light of day. And as she sauntered away to the one who had beckoned, the key had turned, the silent sound reverberating in her footsteps.
But shouldn't he have something to say in this? Shouldn't his walls have something to say..?
Standing, Lucian looked around the corner and watched the girl who had stolen him away. How was she to justify what she had just done? Didn't she know...? He swallowed his heart in his throat, seeming almost out of breath again. Didn't she know that he had just formed everything around her? That she had taken and crumbled in a moment what he had taken a lifetime to build? Those walls... They had meant everything... Now...? Now she had taken their place.
The neon digital numbers just kept flashing over unblinking eyes, its green glow casting light over the face that stared unseeing into them, as if looking for answers, but there were none within the stark darkness of the room and void between time. The male's eyes had long ago become dry, but he never thought to blink, almost in fear of missing what he had waited so many nights to know. But it all eluded him... Questions, answers... They were one and the same, and like the blinking glow in front of his face, there was held no truth, for his symbolic clock had been out a long time ago, and he had never thought to reset it.
Lucian had searched for her again so many times this past week. She had burned herself into him with a look, and now she’d disappeared. And every night since then, his memory of her eyes had faded and he clasped what faint clips there were left to him, trying to bring them to life again. But now it seemed as if she had only been another cloud in his dark gray sky, just passing over to rain on him and, with the flip of her fake hair, gone again.
But then why did it have to be this way? Why did he have to feel as if he were... outside that window...
Closing his eyes, Lucian ignored the sting that came when salty tears coated his dry lenses. The numbers in time spoke that it was ten past three in the afternoon. So it was about five in the morning. With a sigh, Lucian knew that it would be just another night like the last several. And the day..? It would be the same as well. Everything was always the same... Yet he knew that he would still be going out to that hallway, always searching, always waiting for her.
He would wait forever just to see one glimpse of those stormy eyes again. Maybe he was a fool now, letting someone get to him so badly but... he had been with others before. He had shared soulless kisses, empty smiles and meaningless words... The beautiful repeated mistakes often thought original but it was all the same, just a different face. They had tried to change him, tried to get him to... smile...
But how was it, when he went over those mere seconds over and over in his mind, he could feel the muscles in his jaw tightening, straining against a pressure that was so unfamiliar to him? Had she really made that much of an impression? No waxy kisses, no whispered lies, not even a smile of her own... But, oh, how he longed for such a gift. It burned him; such a desire for so simple a thing, but, as most all else, was denied.
That line that was drawn, it made him feel like they were in two different worlds, even though the same building caged them. And their contact had just been by chance, when they had both only been humans instead of People. And People never socialized... Unless they were one in the same, a slave or a master. It seemed that in some way, everyone wanted to be used, so they could be able to be told that they were beautiful at the end of a whip, discarded when the scars became blemished polished skin.
And it scared Lucian to think of another's fangs sinking into her throat as she moaned for them to beat her. He wanted to rip them away from her and curl her into himself, whispering that there was so much more than this and it didn't have to be that way. It could be... pure...
But she didn't even know his name. Kali's head couldn't be where he was now, where his thoughts could fill a room in a whisper. It tore him to pieces thinking of this, knowing that she had no idea that Lucian was more flesh than ghost. And for him to want nothing more than be in her shadow, yet never even graced by it.
With a groan, Lucian rolled over onto his back, his long hands covering his equally long face, feeling more uncomfortable and restless from being constricted by entangling blankets. He was obsessing over this female who had answered his most weak of calls. And for what? There was no affection there and she didn't even look back when she had been called off. How could he feel so deeply for one who had been hovered over his head his entire life? This is what you should be like, he heard his demons whisper. But he wasn't and never had been.
So instead Lucian had been taunted for being himself, just under the borderline that defined what was to be or not. They always threw it back in his face, spit on him, and left bruises in places they couldn't even fathom. How could those without a heart know how it crumbles? So he had built those walls that were but rubble now. Thanks to her.
Uncovering his face, Lucian stared up at the darkened ceiling. Why was he so bitter now? Because he had expected so much from one mortal who had shared a moment with him? Every inch of his being screamed at him to stop, leave her alone. He didn't need to talk to her, didn't need to think or feel about her, didn't need to punish her for all the wrongs he felt. But she was the nearest target, a representative of those who had tortured him, so why not? Just walk away...
But now Lucian felt broken, betrayed. How could he have trusted her with his deepest emotions without a word? How could a look promise that everything would improve? Why did he have to fall for her..?
These thoughts carried over into the next days, each one he felt the bricks going higher and higher around his heart, thicker. He had been such a fool, stifled without a word and everything he was, who he had been... destroyed! Anger was building now, the notes around his desk piling up around his feet as he tore into himself with the bloody pen he called his own soul, only to dash the scraps to the wind.
Every hurt Lucian had ever felt, any and every disappointment, he made her the blame. For betraying him, for making him trust her then shattering his world. Delusions, deceptions. These were her foundations. He no longer wanted to see her beautiful face, hoping that acid would dissolve her poisonous sugar coating.
But then why did he always hear her whispering within himself? Why did he want to tear out his own heart for her, just to make her look at him again? Was that the only way to make her notice that he even existed? To take himself away, make him another nameless face and maybe then, she would come...
And yet he still waited, with love, with hate, for that moment with tearstained eyes. The trails wore away in his face where they had fallen and corroded. His spirit cried out for hers, just to meet one last time before he withered away, so exhausted… Every morning until dawn, the sun, like her touch, soothed his brow so that he might rest. If only to be awoken mere moments later.
But she would never know... That all he longed for was just one last moment. But now he was so tired... so tired and so alone within himself...
Lucian... he thought he could hear her whisper, knowing it was her voice not by the sound, but the feel. The same breathless feeling whenever he thought of her.
Please don't wake up, he begged himself. All he wanted was to be with her again and now his name was materializing into his consciousness. He could weep from the longing. Why did his dreams always mock him so..?
"Lucian," a soft voice said near his ear, a touch to his shoulder.
Slowly he opened red-coated eyes to stare back into those across from him, gray like a brooding cloud. Blinking, this didn't register correctly. This couldn't be happening...
"Lucian..?" this time it was a question as his dream girl pulled back to look at his long crumpled form lodged into a school desk.
Did she just. Say his name..? This couldn't be happening... His breath started to come in shallow as he began to panic again, almost wishing that it wasn't true. After all that she had put him through to find her, could she have really just appeared to him? Could they just suddenly be friends without warning? This wasn't right, what was happening, he didn't understand!
"Kali, I...” he managed to stutter out before getting lost in her eyes, not realizing the look of fear that was passing over his features.”Shh...” she whispered to him as she smoothed her fingertips over his brow almost out of instinct. In that moment, as Lucian cradled his face in her hand, he felt as if they were in their own world, stealing away moments from paradise. But inside, he was begging her. Please walk away... before this night is done... and my heart will belong solely to you…
Exhale. Inhale. Each breath felt better and tasted sweeter than the last, leaving his head feeling light and clear. Maybe in these past moments he had died. The days before them had been anxious and now, by some miracle, he had made it into his utopia. Streaks of golden silk were curled through his fingers, the head of an angel resting on his leg. The hard wooden bench beneath them could have been Cloud Nine for all he knew. If it had been a bed of burning coals, he wouldn't noticed
Lucian could hardly remember what it was like before this moment, suddenly feeling alive like never before, but it had to have past some time. An elongated dream in which he dwelled, yet somehow material. So how long? A month, a year, a week? No, just a handful of glorious days. He felt like a poet. Or a new, eager puppy that had just been bought by a kind word and gentle touch.
Kali hadn't walked away, though they had not been the only ones in the room, the presence of others had been staring at how Lucian, the lone cynic to life, had fallen all over himself for the school skirt. They had snickered in the way she had held his face, making calls at them, though the snide remarks had fallen on deaf ears. The two hadn't cared at the time, lost within each other.
But Kali had come to deliver a message that day for the male she so tenderly handled, and once she felt the touch on her leg from a male sitting behind her, one of her past 'admirers', she had reluctantly pulled away from Lucian. He looked up at her with sad eyes behind crimson contacts, almost pleading her for one more moment. And she couldn't resist a dying man one last wish. Besides, when had she ever refused a male that... needed her?
So she had gone along, brushing away the stares that followed them through the room, laughing echoing in her ears, but she would still hold her chin high. Her pride demanded it of her and all her life she was trained for moments like these. To show or not to show how she really felt to their criticism. She was a porcelain doll, but she would not break.
Besides, it was just for a little while and she could go along with the roll newly handed to her in the shape of a silent cry. Kali knew well how to brush off the comments made to her back and smile prettily. Put on a show. Though her makeup was cracked and peeling under the mask, she had grown to know as her own complexion. She wouldn't say anything for now, just get what she wanted then lay out an excuse to return to flitting her skirt with an empty smile full of false truths.
But it was so hard when this new male, this... Lucian... smiled at her genuinely, though it looked so very odd on his angular face. So... unpracticed. Didn't he sit in front of a mirror like everyone else and smile for an invisible audience? Didn't he force himself to laugh with everyone when all he wanted was to hide away within him? Wasn't he like Everyone?
'Stay with me, Kali... Please don't leave me again..' she heard him whisper softly one night, his voice and vulnerability staying with her for so long, hovering over her like a ghost. She replayed that moment so many times in her own mind that she just wanted to scream for him to take it back. He didn't know who she was, what she planned on doing to him. He didn't know that she would destroy his spirit with glossy words spilled from wax lips as she smiled and fluttered her lashes. He didn't know how truly damaged she was. Why would anyone want someone like her?
But Lucian was jubilant, feeling as if at last he was free. Free from everyone everywhere, even himself and the rubble, which had once been his heart. The lines that had been drawn seemed to fade and twist to the way his own desire guided them. Others tried to warn him against Kali, saying he was blinded by false hopes whispering sweet nothings into his ear and cloud-gray eyes that were as airy and vapid as those they resembled.
But Lucian didn't care for others opinions. He finally had found..his love. And he felt that he could paint the night with his soul, spreading his joy amongst it, having the pieces shimmer brighter than the stars, shaming them. Anything was possible now and every word she breathed was soothed into his being, reviving him from the living death he had once dwelled in.
And looking down at her now, she seemed so.. small. She couldn't have been more than five and a half feet tall in shoes and light as a feather. Her hair spilled over his lap and through his lanky fingers. A fallen angel, as cliche as that reference was. But it didn't matter now; he could feel. Such an odd sensation, this feeling.. It had been so long.. And so innocent... He felt like he could share anything with her..
She stirred, slowly rolling over some to look up at him, her eyes foggy as if she had been caressed by sleep’s touch. A dull lamp glowed over them in the evening haze, the sound of night life awakening as well. The soft yellow light and the dusky blues danced over Kali's gentle face. Lucian's breath caught silently, savoring the moment as if he could just.. capture it. Something in the back of his mind told him this could never be again, but he brushed it away. There would be a thousand moments like these. There had to be..
Though a week later his own fears were being tossed back into his face. Their fingers linked together, Lucian was guiding Kali back to that bench in the park a block or two away from his home, but she was.. quiet. She hadn't been even looking him in the eye for a day or so. And wouldn't now.. She was avoiding something, but her body still acted just the same, although mechanically. She was so tense and so quiet, he could almost hear the gears working under her limbs.
"Kali?" he asked softly, his tone worried. The image of her laying in his lap, the way his heart soared and fears whispered flashed back to him. His hand tightened around hers a little, wishing with all his strength that this wasn't happening. He just gazed at her as they walked into the twilight and she just stared ahead into the afterglow of the sun, the streaks of dim red light seeming to take away her purity.
"Kali," Lucian tried again, "what's wrong?" What's happening now..? "This is tomorrow, Lucian.. So take it or leave it," she said blankly. He drew his dark brows together, not understanding. What was she trying to say? There was so much more than what he had given her to offer yet. There was so much..
"What do you mean..?" he said, not allowing the terror in his voice to protrude into his tone. She turned to him then, a look of almost anger sparking within her eyes, taking Lucian back. "What do you think I mean?" she said with irritation. "There's nothing else to say. I don't want this. You keep staring at me, you keep holding me as if I were a little girl."
She pulled away from him then, tugging her hand from his and faced him fully.
"I'm not a little girl! I'm not something to be treasured! You know, I keep a journal, but I can't write about you. You're just a blank page to me! You keep so clean and you think I'm so pure, but I'm not!" by then tears were streaming down her cheeks, liquefied anger and fears of her own. "I'm not.." Kali whispered again before she found herself wrapped in Lucian's lengthy, strong arms.
Lucian held her close to him, feeling her silent sobs against his chest and just held on tighter, resting his chin on top of her soft hair. Closing his eyes, Lucian fought back tears that threatened to fall, feeling her pain is if it were his own. He could see how Kali always tormented herself. The looks from others as they walked hand in hand down a halls, the calls, what everyone said.. He knew so much more than he had let on, but he wanted to show her how it never had to be like that with him. He wasn't.. Everyone.. Yet it had all gotten to her and maybe she wanted him to abuse her like those before him. But he would not. Lucian would do anything for Kali, had vowed to himself and to her. But this is where that promise would break.
He would give Kali anything, every piece of him, no matter how insignificant.
"I.. can't take this anymore, Lucian.. I can't be.. yours.." she rasped out through her tears, trying to pull back from him. But he wouldn't release her, wouldn't let her quiver on her own, as she always had. She had suffered too much not to be held for even just a little longer. And once she felt that his arms would not give, she collapsed back into tears against his chest, feeling as if she could never stop. "I know.." Lucian whispered into her hair, "if you stay.. this world that we live in.. everything I could give you.. would be ours to take.."
Slowly Kali looked up at him, tears still streaming silently. This was all too much, she felt like everything she had known was caving in on her, suffocating her. This new feeling made her so afraid, but it was as if she knew she must die to live again, to be reborn into this person that Lucian knew was there. But she was comfortable! She didn't want a new life, even if the one she abided in now was so tainted with her own blood, she didn't want change. She didn't want to trust him. She had never wanted this, it was only supposed to be a game!
Then why had she cried for him..? She never bled her tears for anyone before and now, as this male held her, she broke down as if to make up for lost time. He had been holding back so much and he offered himself, no strings attached. But she couldn't live like this with him, not forever. No matter how good it felt, no matter how much she wanted all of her days to be like this now, it couldn't be. The World wouldn't let it; the cruelties of society would cast her out without a thought and she had worked too hard and lost so much to give into pleasure now.
"For now.. I give you my heart, Lucian.." she whispered, resting her head against his tear-soaked chest. "But I can't stay here like this.. You can't ask me to do that.. To lose everything for you.." "But I have for you.." he whispered back, every emotion he had ever felt, ever, was hidden in his voice. "But I'll take anything you give me, Kali.. Even if it's just for now.." Kali said quietly, so sweetly, "I'm going to break you, Lucian.. Just so you would know.."
Each day seemed to be just another on a long, downward slope that held the air of inevitability since the night that Kali had cried. Tears of crimson, they had to be, for each one had stained Lucian's skin through his shirt, burning his flesh where he could not reach. Each day he held her hand, hoping to give life to her withered form. However, his beautiful white rose died under his touch still. Bruises of fatigue grew darker under her eyes and he felt as if it had been his own hand to mar her perfect skin. No matter how she smiled, they were more hollow each day until her lips could hardly curve anymore, her mouth a flat line as if to represent the monitor of her heart. He had killed her.
Kali had begun to grow still whenever she heard the taunting laughter from their peers, her fingers falling slack in Lucian's hand and seeming so fragile under his grip. Could this really be her anymore? His ghost of a girl who seemed to be so frail under her disguise of lip gloss and running eyeliner. The pain she so vividly radiated was washing away her layers and anyone who had ever known her knew that it was his fault. It was Lucian's fault for damaging their doll, for soiling her with false hopes that maybe everything wasn't so bad. She didn't need dreams, she needed cold, hard reality where everyone was a tool for someone else's satisfaction. They needed her back in her harness so she could be their slave once more.
He thought he could save her..
It was too late..
"Kali..?" why was it he always said her name as a question; she was never there with him.
"Hmm..?" she looked up at him, vacancy, where the shine in her eyes was supposed to be. It was after school and Kali was waiting for one of her 'friends', who, of course, just happened to be serving some time with a teacher. Lucian would normally walk her home and wouldn't leave her alone for an hour at the abandoned building and she didn't protest. Then again, she didn't exactly agree -or say anything- towards the matter. Now in a hallway near the east exit, Lucian couldn't take his eyes off her made-up form. She looked so.. tired..
"Kali.." he struggled with what he wanted to say, trying to gaze into her eyes, but unable to hold them. "What's wrong? Are you feeling alright?" Lucian reached out to touch the girl's pale skin just below her elbow, but she shied away from it. The gesture seemed so small but spoke what must have truly been on her mind. "I'm fine," she said, almost seeming like it was more than a habit than the truth.
'Fine' was never good. "Kali.." this time Lucian stepped closer to her, bringing a gentle hand up to touch her cheek. She was as frigid and unresponsive as a piece of ice.
Leaning down, Lucian almost placed his lips over hers, had never done so previous this time, but before his breath could even caress her polished mouth, there was a crack of pain striking over his left cheek, horror in the girl's eyes. Buried deep within his own astonishment, Lucian held his marred cheek, not really feeling the jolt from the slap, but the way his heart ached. Was she truly that repulsed by him? He had never touched her offensively and the moment he even tried to show her affection beyond imagination, she had lashed out.
Stepping back, Lucian came up short against the wall behind him, willing himself to sink into it. What had he done so wrong? And why did Kali look at him with disgust and rage so? He would never force himself upon her, never make her do anything she didn't want..
Or had he? Did she ever really want to be with him? He had silently begged, but.. was it what she had desired? This life, the feelings that he felt, had they ever truly been mutual, or had he been sucked into the plastic world around him like everyone else? Had he been dubbed in by a sweet smile and tearstained promises..?
"Don't.. touch me.." Kali finally rasped out between her teeth, her indignation seething between her lips like the blood dripping from her fangs, his spirit clamped within her jaws. I'm sorry.. Lucian wanted to whisper, but when he opened his mouth, no words escaped. Now who held the chains? Who wore the collar and the shackles? Fear like he had never known crept up Lucian's spine, its talons curling around his neck to press razored edges to his throat, allowing him no breath.
He was going to die..
But he somehow still made it home that day, not another word spoken between the two bodies, yet Lucian knew that his dreams had turned back into stark reality. And only his heart survived the gore, crying scarlet for his awakening. There had been nothing, it was all just mirrors and smoke. He had been tamed into another act, run ragged and now.. Now he was just another broken animal.. Everywhere he turned they stared back at him, no amounts of glitter or fancy costumes could cover up how tired they all were, how useless they knew themselves to be. They had all once had so much potential, so much to live and love for, but they gave up. Everyone always gives up in the end..
So now how long was it going to take? How many days must he count until death came to claim his worthless body and send him to peace he had only known for such a short while. How much longer would he have to remember his fantasy world where angels cried into his chest and made him feel like he had died already? How much longer would life tease him?
Feeling like a blank page, Lucian had entered his home, being mechanical in his movements. He felt nothing. Tasted, smelled, saw, heard.. nothing.
Stepping up to his bathroom mirror, Lucian started a routine before drifting towards a void of unconsciousness. But just as he was about to take out the blue contacts he was currently wearing, he just stared at his own reflection.
What color are my eyes..? he found himself wondering, having long forgotten it seemed.
Slowly, he took out one contact, careful with it as he replaced it in a case among various others. And it was so odd how he was almost gripped by fear of looking up to find the answers he longed for. And what would he find? Just a color? The justifications as to why he was hiding at all? Why he did or felt... anything..?
Slowly, Lucian lifted his head, eyes cast downward as he felt a growing panic in his chest, his heart pounding as if he had been running from this for so long… When his reflection met him again, Lucian nearly stumbled back from the shock of gold before him; not a light brown, but the gold of a predator, the gold of an animal, the gold that men worshiped and others sold their souls for.
Breathing heavily, he stared at his uncovered eye, though his image in the looking glass blurred. Tears…
Why..? Why did everything have to happen like this? Why did he have to always hide and be afraid of himself? He wasn't scared of anyone who might patronize him, just of his own reflection. The way his eyes told everyone who he truly was… Glaring at himself, he knew that tomorrow would never be the same as yesterday. That he couldn't go on like this anymore, couldn't hide, couldn't seek. He had held himself down, gravity rasping sweet lies into his ear as the ropes shackled his soul.
There was no more life for him here.. No more dark goddesses to grace his door. It was time to go his own way, to swallow his life and start from the beginning. Swearing it to himself, Lucian left his image and his pride in the room at his back and stepped onto the alter of sleep.
Pride was what kept him together now, resignation for himself and the oath he made to the Void. But all else was gone. All hope, all love, all life was gone, left behind in Kali's eyes, which he knew he would never see again… He prayed for his place in the world, knowing he could get there, but never as the man he once was. Now he just had to wait for that peace again. Sleep as long as it took until he would never wake again…
Years could have been days in Lucian's mind, coming and going, in and out like the blood that continued to course through his heart, which should have stopped beating an eternity ago. It should have frozen over from disuse and the constant chill that had subdued every emotion, every passion he could have ever held.
Through this, the only outlink he had to the world was through his artwork, which soared in reputation whereever he went. People seemed to always want to know who the magical works belonged, seeming entranced by their mystic images and the bittersweet feelings they donned upon the viewer, but when they saw him, he always detected their confusion. Wasn't such an artist of magnificent works supposed to be that was as well? Then why did only a shell of a man stare back at them from behind golden eyes?
But old habits die hard, and Lucian couldn't bring himself to care what they thought of him, inside or out. He had discovered the seaside paradise he had dreamt about, built a home looking out to the sparkling waters and was on the verge of fame for all his twenty-five years. So why was it he still couldn't capture the sun quite right, of the way the moon reflected off of the perfect rippling water? Why did his windows remain so empty..?
Lucian had tried to draw them in, tried to replicate what he knew and loved, in more than one sense, but to no avail. He could never be happy with a substitute and could never imagine past the original. She had taken away everything he knew..
But he would never regret giving it up so willingly...
The memory of her silky hair running through his fingers.. it haunted his very dreams and any other waking moment that didn't belong to something more pressing. Sometimes Lucian would watch the water when the sun broke the horizon in riots of colors and imagined that she were by his side.. or at least watching with him no matter the miles between them. And he felt connected. As though the sun were some imaginary brige, linking them at heart. Lucian supposed that by holding on to such dreams were what made him so foolish; he should just accept the truth and move on, allow her spirit rest without constant prying from his own.
And now, how convenient that the sky would reflect his feelings, the snow falling slow and lifeless behind his window pane, ice frosting over the edges of the water outside. There wasn't so much as a breeze to influence the drift of the snow, which vanished into the Void at the slightest contact. This was perhaps the third time snow had ever visited his current home, always an enlightening yet discouraging sight. There never seemed to be hope in the soft flakes for him, no matter how he might protest the reasons.
Staring blankly into his fate, Lucian didn't hear the faint knocking at his door at first, dismissing it as the wind or just the echoes within his own mind. But the second time it was louder, drawing him out of his state of diversion. He didn't exactly live out in the middle of nowhere… However Lucian could hardly remember when he last had a visitor, especially unplanned.
And it was like ice shattering within his ear as he pried the oak door from its latch and stared into hollow eyes that haunted his every thought for seven years. They were still the color of a moody sky, still just as vapid as he had left them beneath layers of blackened fringe and too many years of nothingness..
Staring at her, Lucian could feel a searing heat spread through his body, rooted at his heart where it had bled for so long. He hated her. How could she possibly think to dare stand at his door after everything she had done to him? All those sleepless nights, all those unshed tears, the feeling of his heart crushed into pieces as the shards drifted through his veins like glass… Lodging themselves within him, making him bleed internally until he thought he might die. But no. He had lived. His will was nothing for this blasted mortality and the fact that his humanity forced him to move on. He could rip her to shreds with just the words he felt, wishing her to feel the anguish that he had suffered for longer than considered possible.
"Hello," Lucian's voice was clipped, cool... revealed nothing of what he felt as he stared blankly at her. Kali seemed to want to say something, her mouth dropping open once or twice before she launched herself past him. Heading for the nearest door. Thankfully she had been correct in finding the bathroom as Lucian heard her lurching into the toilet, the sound drawing no pity from him. Slowly he closed the door and padded over in his bare feet to the bathroom after a few moments, swinging open the door once he heard the sound of running water from the sink.
And there was his fallen angel, her forehead pressed against his mirror, droplets of sweat and water running down her face as her eyes drifted shut, her false blonde hair sticking to her skin and the mirror as it, too, was damp with the tears. And for some odd reason, Lucian felt a pang of sympathy for her, an old sensation he thought vanished a long time ago, with the rest of his positive emotions. There was still a withered part of him that wanted to gather her up in an embrace and brush back her sticky locks and soothe her brow, welcoming her home to him. If only..
But his need for self preservation dominated that longing and pushed it into the dark regions of his being, leaving him staring at her, expressionless. Slowly, she lifted her head back up, seeming to get a hold on herself. With a few quick swiped of her hands, she straightened her appearance and turned to face him as if she just hadn't launched bile from her system. Her smile was plastic.
"There's a spare toothbrush in the drawer, toothpaste beside it," Lucian said, ignoring the look of horror Kali gave at his bluntness and walked out, his steps barely audible on the wooden floors. It would be a few minutes until she would be more presentable again, in which time Lucian took the liberty of putting water on for tea, a taste he had picked up a while back, and then went out to the spacious living room which held black leather couches and overlooked the water from behind large glass walls built into the woodwork. His home had a... cabin feel to it. Lucian liked to imagine that he was out somewhere that no one in the world could locate him. Well, now Kali had just broken that fantasy…
After some extended time, the female in question resurfaced from the dark porcelain room, looking better than she had when she had first graced his front door. She was in a dark gray dress that spoke hints of blue and a pair of black boots that hugged her calves like another layer of flesh. Such a getup for an occasion as seeing her cast away toy. There was a part of Lucian that said not to scrutinize her, but it was ignored. She shouldn't have come.
"Take a seat," Lucian said in his calm demeanor, rising in a mock courtesy, until she did so. Gingerly, Kali sat on the edge of one of his sofas, sinking in somewhat. Lucian watched her carefully, his mouth a flat line as he waited for her to speak, which she had yet to do since she had arrived.
Again, her mouth played open once or twice as she stared down at her hands, fiddling with some miscellaneous piece of jewelry dangling from her pale wrists. Several long minutes went by before Lucian lost his patience and went to go get some tea, bringing out two mugs and various bags of herbs for her to choose from. The mint in his own seeping through its bindings.
Kali just gazed at the steaming water until Lucian suspected she wouldn't take part in it. But she added an orange peal baggy to the mug before it lost all of its heat. Then there was silence, a Void that sparked with tension from both bodies, each waiting for the other's next move. "How have you been?" Lucian decided for small talk, lifting his tea to his lips. "I think I'm pregnant," Kali burst out, but Lucian only took a slight pause in his movements before sipping his drink.
She dared to look at him then, but he remained emotionless as he set his mug on a black coaster that was resting on the edge of the glass table before them. "I'm pleased to hear that," even though he sounded far from it. "Congratulations." Kali seemed to go speechless with that, her skin ashen. Lucian couldn't describe what he felt with the revelation, if anything at all. Somehow he wasn't surprised. So was that why she came back to him? To rub salt in his still open and throbbing wounds that she was now blessed --by someone else-- with something he doubted he would ever have with her? But he fixed her with a cool, metallic look from his golden eyes and managed to quirk one corner of his mouth.
"Who's the father?" he asked in all nonchalance. "I...don't know," she whispered, fear in her voice. "I've been--" "Ahh, so old habits die hard, huh Kali?" She looked back at him then with injured eyes. But she found no warmth in those across from her. Even if what he said was true, that most men used her for mainly one purpose, stating it so... bluntly, still stung.
"You don't have to be so hurtful about it, Lucian," she said softly, pushing for any bit of dignity she could grasp. "Why not? I thought that's what you liked, Kali," there was a slight tip of his head, a tug at the corner of his mouth, but no humor there. "You like to be used and abused. A tender touch burns you, an innocent kiss--"
"Stop it!" she screamed at him, pivoting to her feet in one edgy motion. "Don't you have any mercy at all?"
But Lucian's eyes grew dark at that, a raw, almost terrifyingly cool chuckle rumbling in his chest, "Not for those who have shown me none in return." "I've never done anything to you!" she yelled at him, her whole body quivering from fear that her last lifeline was being cut.
Slowly, Lucian drew himself to stand, almost towering over her as she felt about three inches tall. He stepped closer to her in smooth movements and his dreadful smirk was replaced with what might have passed as a genuine smile if only his eyes had not been so flat and lifeless. Gently he took her hand in his. His touch was like ice. "It's been so good to see you, Kali," he lied, "and you still have impeccable taste in fashion, your dress matches your eyes in a lovely way." It was then that she noticed he was leading her to the door. Panic jolted her like a strike to the gut.
"Please," she pleaded, turning to face him more. She had to swallow her pride. "Please, let me stay here for a while, Lucian. I-I promise not to be a bother, not to get in your way or anything." Words just seemed to be spilling from her mouth now, "I can cook my own meals, clean up whatever you might want. I'll even pay rent if you--"
Lucian held up a hand to silence her and when she did so, he looked at her quietly, face revealing nothing. To allow her to stay would be something like suicide to his own purposes and almost every fiber of his being screamed at him to throw her out. But the tiniest of voices, the one that held anything good within him anymore and had been plaguing him all night seeped into his consciousness and finally had its way with his decisions.
"There is a guest bedroom on the second floor. You may stay for a little while until you get your head straight, or until the end of the month, whichever comes first." Kali's relief showed with no hindrance on her face, and through the makeup that she had dolled herself up with, Lucian could see the dark splotches under her eyes, the way she looked so tired. He almost thought he could feel something cracking under the weight of feelings that he bound back. Give an inch to feelings and they'll take a mile..
Without another word, Lucian led the woman up a curving wooden staircase to the second floor of the cabin-like home and into the second door to the left, leaving her there to investigate the cleanly but homey looking room while he went to get an extra blanket, seeing that despite its warm colors, the chamber could sometimes get drafty.
Coming back with a wool blanket in tow, Lucian paused in the doorway, watching the gentle rise and fall of Kali's form as she drifted off to sleep on top of the bed. It reminded him of one of those classic occurrences when someone says, 'I'm just going to rest my eyes a moment,' and the next they are in an immovable sleep. This thought made a corner of his mouth tug up ever so slightly and something warm go through him. It had been a while since Lucian was actually warm..
Stepping into the room quietly, he unfolded the blanket in his arms and moved to drape it over Kali's slim body, tucking it around her feet a little, a faint memory slipping in for just a moment, 'My feet are always cold,' she had said with a little humor and a smile. Gently, Lucian curled the blanket back from her face so the itchy material couldn't scratch her when she moved. But he couldn't quite bring himself to pull away from this sleeping beauty. It had been so long..
Slowly he leaned in to brush his lips against the air just above her forehead, not able to actually touch her in fear of her awakening. And the fear that he might melt into her again, just as he had always done.. But wasn't that what he was trying to prevent? It was so dangerous for his state of being to allow her remain with him. He was a threat to her and to himself, for Lucian didn't know how much he would be able to take before snapping, his person frail and brittle. This arrangement seemed so easy.. but any misstep and it would crumble again. Lucian would crumble..
The next few days were almost excruciating for Lucian to abide by. He had to keep his cool exterior around Kali at all times, not allow her to see what just her mere presence was doing to him. She had gone to get her things from a meager apartment she had been renting, Slowly she started to make that small guest room her own, with little trinkets scattered all over everywhere, her belongings filling empty drawers, and taking closet space.
There was a shoe box that she kept pictures in, where he had accidentally caught her staring at one... of him. He vaguely recalled when it was taken, maybe in the first few days that they had 'dated', but he was smiling, with some crazy neon contacts in and many streaks in his lopsided and mismatched hair. Somehow he felt a loss, glimpsing at that picture. It was from back when he had hold of his soul..
Kali commuted every day to her work as a bartender in town --using Lucian's Jeep-- and always came back as if every ounce of her energy had been drained from mixing drinks and making small talk with people. And every time Lucian thought of other males ogling at his Kali --His? Where had that come from..?-- the pang of jealously ripped through him like a beast of rage. How dare they use her like that? Undress her with their eyes, soil her with their filthy hands disguised as innocent touches.. How could anyone live with themselves for harming such an angel..?
But every day his angel would vomit before leaving again in search of.. something.. The seed of an unknown male made her ill and yet she still searched for him, when Lucian was right there.. He was the one, after a few days of inner struggle to keep away from her, who would hold back her soft hair and cradle her exhausted body in his arms. He was the one who would watch her from the candlelight when she fell asleep on the sofa when she was too tired to go upstairs. He was the one who.. loved her...
Then there was those mornings where she would smile at him as if he had saved her from every trouble in the world, and, cautiously, Lucian would return it. It was as if they were on their way to being friends again, instead of boarder and landlord. A new start... But there couldn't be a new start between them, he couldn't forgive her so easily, couldn't burn the pages that she had bled him dry upon. She had first drawn him in with a look and won his heart with a caress, then shattered it to unfixable pieces with a word. It was so simple for her, to smile and touch and pretend as if everything was so easy. But it couldn't be..
Now, doorknob in hand, Kali started to exit again for another day.
"See ya, Lucian," she called back to him, a usual parting phrase of hers.
"Kali, wait.." he almost sounded distressed as he came around the corner in time to catch her. He just couldn't take this anymore... Kali looked up at him with a questioning expression, brow slightly wrinkled as Lucian stepped up to her, his lanky frame hovering over hers somewhat. He couldn't meet her eyes or else lose all courage. "Yes..?" she implored, trying to lean into his gaze somewhat, but the closer she got, the farther away it moved.
With a heavy sigh, she looked at her watch, "Lucian, I don't really have the time for--"
Suddenly Kali found herself encircled within Lucian's arms, an almost desperate embrace, his face buried against her hair. She was too shocked to react at first, not really realizing what was happening, but soon her arms went around his waist in return, giving a gentle hug, which caused his grip to grow tighter around her.
"Please.. please don't leave.." Not again.. Don't go into the world that destroys you over and over.. I don't know how much more I can take.. "But I have to. My job.." "Call in sick," it was a plead. "Lucian.."
"Please.." Lucian whispered again, not willing to release her until she agreed to just spend one day away from everything.. To stay with him.. "You can't ask that of me..."
How familiar this all seemed to be.. He was begging yet again just for a few more moments, and she, again, wouldn't grant them. Had things really changed? Had they changed at all..?
Slowly his hold grew slack around her and she stepped back again. Looking up at him, Lucian wouldn't meet Kali's eyes, growing ridged under the stormy gaze. He had known that if he gave way to his feelings they would be reduced to nothing with a word from her. They stood in silence for a long while before Kali looked at her watch again.
"I have to go, Lucian," she said as she turned back towards the door. "See you later."
"Goodbye," he said in return, his voice empty.
Only when he at last heard the door shut did Lucian look at the space Kali had been occupying and all if the ice he had drawn around him in those moments melted into invisible tears of sorrow. He had wanted to mean everything to her, as she did to him. Yet she just kept leaving, disregarding his protests like nothing only to come back later in the evening disassembled. And despite everything, he was always there to put her back together, just to be dashed again the following day. It was a vicious cycle.. and no matter where he stood, there was no way to win with Kali.
For the next few days, Lucian began to act like he had the night when she had first arrived: cold, bitter and unfeeling. He wouldn't answer her when she asked what was wrong, just kept avoiding it with acid remarks and that horrendous, sarcastic smile. Only when he thought she wasn't looking did Kali see his guard fall and pain fill his eyes. And somehow she couldn't understand why.. What had happened to make him this way again? Was it something she'd said?
One night Lucian required the use of his own vehicle to take care of a sale of a painting in town, leaving Kali to find another mode of transportation. He didn't really say much about it, but there was a hint of concern in his voice when he told her of this, but it got put away quickly behind his cold exterior. She waved it off, saying she would maybe call a cab, seeing that was how she arrived there in the first place, and Lucian just shrugged.
Once the front door closed quietly behind Lucian, Kali made her way to the phone, which perched on a wall in the kitchen. Taking it out of its cradle, the dial-tone hummed in her ear as she made a last minute decision. Instead of pressing in the number to the cab company, she called up her work, canceling for the night.
She had no idea when Lucian would return, he had neglected to tell her, but maybe there was a chance to make everything up to him. Kali had never been the sort to cook and clean and do the whole lovey-dovey romantic thing, but she had seen enough movies to know something. Even though now she would be playing a somewhat male role in setting it up. She tried for the whole deal, scrounging around for candles and wine and trying to make a big fancy dinner, which wound up burned... the whole package.
By the time Lucian returned home and the smoke had cleared, Kali had slipped on a dress that was a little less low-cut than usual of elegant black and trimmed with shiny milky white beadwork. She usually wore it when she was out at some fancy dinner spot when a male would like to flaunt his cash, which she rarely minded. But now she adorned it for Lucian, to show him that she could be more than she appeared most days. That she, too, had a little class running through her veins.
There was a flash of surprise within his golden eyes, a set which was sometimes hard to get accustomed to with their intense stare, but was then followed by the lift of his dark brow. She just smiled in response, hoping that it wouldn't look as nervous as she felt. It had usually always been so easy to be around Lucian.. when he was happy. But lately she felt that if she made one wrong move, he would crack, tossing her to the street.
Offering no real explanation, Kali stepped forward to take his cool hand in her own, the action earning a slight flinch from him. She just tried to smile reassuringly, which in turn made the corners of his mouth tip down. Oh yes, Lucian had his pride and if anyone saw through what he put up, he had a tendency to get defensive. But she waved it off with the flick of her painted lashes and lead him out to the expansive balcony, looking out over the water and lit by dancing candle flames in a light breeze. The only hitch was that Kali feared it might rain, seeing it was something of habit when she tried to do something special and the season happened to be spring. Beautiful timing..
But currently there were few, non-threatening clouds, so maybe she wouldn't worry too much about the weather and more about the look in Lucian's eyes to grow more soft towards her again. But they remained solid up until she turned on some soft music from within the house and came back, offering her hand to dance. He just stood there, staring blankly at her gesture until taking it in his own and pulling her towards him without a word and sweeping her into a low dip. A slight sparkle flashed in his metallic eyes and an almost menacing smile curled his lips before he brought her to stand again, stepping closer and starting to lead a slow, rhythmic sway.
Kali's pulse seemed to drum with the beat of the music, skipping almost every time she stared up at Lucian as he pressed her body up against his. Swallowing hard, she smiled at him, watching how the soft candlelight danced upon his skin, like stars sent to them personally from Heaven. Somehow she found herself looking at him in a new way.. He wasn't really stumbling over himself anymore as he used to.. He somehow became more handsome in his quiet ways, but she knew that there had to be something more that could make those eyes molten. She had seen it.. sometime...
"Why didn't you go to work today?" Lucian broke her thoughts. "I thought this would be a better use of my time," she said with a smile. "You didn't think so when I asked you," he said, voice clipped. He wouldn't allow himself to show her how the silent gesture had hurt him. "That's why I'm doing it now.. to make up for it," she tried, a look coming over her face that almost begged him not to get angry.
"So you told your boss that you were ditching work to spend time with your landlord?" a brow lift. She looked off to one side with that, guilt flooding over her senses. Why was he being like this..? "That's what I thought," Lucian said softly, his voice still somewhat hard, but not as much so. He figured she would have probably called in sick. She'd have to be to spend time with him upon her own accord.. "Lucian.." her voice was a plea and he finally realized that their movements had come to a halt, the echo of music still vibrating through the air.
She shouldn't have done this at all, Lucian thought to himself, the confidence that he had held against her starting to crumble, just like everything else Kali touched that belonged to him. "Lucian, please look at me.." he heard her say into the fog that clouded his mind.
"I can't.." he whispered in return, his gaze set upon the darkening sky above them.
"Please..?" he felt the cool touch of her fingertips on his heated cheek, knowing that she was giving him a look that said 'I'll die if you don't..'
Even though he couldn't see her, Lucian felt the press of her gaze, of the words that went unspoken between them. Slowly, he let heavy lids fall as his head tipped down to her. He didn't want to face her now, why did she so insist? Couldn't she tell he was always raging a losing battle against her and his own emotions? She had made him fall in love with her too many times without any effort at all and now she expected him to look at her and keep up the walls he tried to guard himself with. But the moment he lifted his lashes, all would be destroyed again.
But, hesitantly, when she had yet to remove her hand from his cheek, Lucian opened his gold eyes to stare into those of silver. And it was like a shock of electricity ran through him, jolting every molecule he possessed as he stared into her cloud-like eyes and saw the emotion rippling through them as well. And this bolt that shook him so deeply urged him forward, longing for her magnetic contact.
But then something else struck him. Fear. Would she disappear the moment he touched her again, just like the last time? Would she strike him away and walk out that door as he was forced to in their last encounter..? He couldn't do this... He couldn't close the mere inch that separated them now.. It might not have been that far to anyone else, but it was as long as the miles that would soon distance Kali from him.. "Lucian..? What's wrong?" Kali whispered, confusion spreading over her features. "Nothing," he said, pulling back from her, though keeping hold of her hand as he lead her to the table where food sat prepared for their eating.
Kali remained quiet as Lucian took over the role of male once again and pulled out her chair, making sure she was seated before serving her in the most polite ways that he could. After preparing his own plate, Lucian seated himself at the opposite arrangement and started to eat, complementing Kali's cooking despite a few blackened areas.
They hardly talked through the late dinner, though Kali couldn't help but stare at him every once in a while, lost in thought. Of course, Lucian always knew when she was, for his eyes never left her form, in a sense.. He would un-focus them and she would always find a way into his line of vision.
They stayed like that for a while into the night before Lucian detected Kali shivering under the silky dress she wore. She knew it would get cold outside, why did she wear such a thing? Though, admittedly, she did look nice. Not like a modern 'sexy' look she normally went for but.. classy. She was beautiful.. "Would you like to go inside?" he asked softly, reluctant. If they did, it was probably the end of their night.
Kali took a pause before answering, "No," a small smile adorned her gently glossed lips, "I like it out here." Lucian couldn't help the upward tugs at the corners of his mouth as he nodded in agreement, but went inside nevertheless to get a soft blanket from the arm of the couch, bringing it back and draping it over her shivering shoulders like a cloak. She smiled up at him in appreciation, which was returned. Offering his hand, Kali was lead to sit in a set of comfortable wooden chairs, Lucian beside her so they could look at the dusky water and not have the hindrance of a table between them.
They talked softly into the blooming morning. About where they had been and what they had done in the past several years. It was the first time they had actually had a real conversation, it seemed, since she had come to his door. The month had long ago past, and another, and another.. But Lucian still pretended that it hadn't so she could remain with him.
Gradually the darkness seemed to fade into gentle pastels and finally Lucian could share the sunrise with this woman who had stayed with him from the first they met. He had dreamed of this moment, down to the coffee cakes that sat uneaten at their sides, which he had gotten not too long ago. Even the way their breath misted before them before evaporating into the crisp morning air.
Quietly, Lucian had glided his hand over to slip over hers, curling his fingers around hers tenderly as they watched the waves softly roll, the world awakening before them. They had drifted into a comfortable silence leaving Lucian feeling warm despite the cool atmosphere. He never wanted this moment to end..
"Kali..?" Lucian whispered, rolling his head somewhat against the back of the chair to look at her. "Yes?" she replied softly, gazing back at him after a moment.
Lucian hesitated a moment, trying to find a way to form the words correctly. "Stay with me.." Fear almost gripped him again when she didn't respond. Those words, they must curse him.. "Alright.." She.. agreed? Lucian's brow furrowed somewhat, looking at her in disbelief. Since when had she ever agreed to remain by his side? "Just as a boarder and a friend, Lucian," she made clear, still in a soft voice, shattering out his hopes.
He gave a hollow nod in return, had known the answer was too good to be true. But he still longed for more, for what was denied him so long ago. It was killing him, taking over every sense.. He wanted to mean everything to Kali, like she did to him. Yet he would always be in the background for her, always be there to fall back upon. And as her faithful and adoring servant, he would never leave.. No matter how many times Lucian pleaded and she would brush him off, he belonged solely to her.
The silence reverberated within the household, an after effect of the shrill crashing of porcelain against the wall. Lucian's breath heaved in low rasps as he held his face in his hands, the dusky liquid of coffee slowly seeping down the wooden paneling and into the beige carpeting.
He couldn't take this anymore, this teasing that his subconscious just wouldn't release. Every smile, every glance made his heart bleed in sorrow that he could never truly keep her happy. She was using him, staying for his humor and the convenience of a roof over her head. Maybe it was for the growing child inside her womb, a nice place to dwell instead of a run down apartment somewhere in the slums of town.
Part of Lucian didn't mind, he was the one who pleaded for Kali to stay. But every once in a while, his numbed sense woke from the self-inflicted pleasure-coma and whispered that he was slowly poisoning himself with her presence. He couldn't keep lying to himself that this was okay, as long as she was around, he would keep breathing.. But now, sunk into himself, Lucian couldn't see the light anymore. Everything was caving in on his manmade world that revolved around his elusive angel. No more..
No more. It had to end..
"Lucian?" Kali called from the front door, having just walked in, grocery bags in tow.
But he didn't respond, lost within his own morbid thoughts. Sensing the negative energy in the atmosphere, making the air heavy, Kali set the bags in the kitchen before coming back out in search of Lucian. Seeing him sitting on the black sofa, bent over, shoulders quivering, a jolt of fear struck Kali. He usually wasn't like this, so externally emotional, there had to be something terribly wrong.
Quietly, Kali went to his side, bending down on the floor beside him.
Setting her hand on his shoulder, Kali whispered his name again. But Lucian pulled away from her touch sharply, as if she had burned him. Stunned, Kali stared at him, "Lucian, what's wrong?" but he made no move to answer, not even lifting his head from his hands.
Hesitantly, she attempted to touch Lucian again, causing him to visibly flinch, but he didn't retract again. Slowly, Kali leaned closer, watching him carefully, breath held. She knew the torn male before her could be something like an animal, acting purely out of instinct when needed and the rest of his humanity was shut down.
"Please," she said just audibly, "tell me what's wrong.."
"I can't keep you anymore, Kali," Lucian rasped out, sounding as if he were mortally wounded, though fighting it.
"What do you mean?" Kali's brows drew together in a delicate line of confusion, staring at him still, but no other reaction came from him besides the muffled tones of his voice.
"I can't ask you to stay any longer.. I can't.. hold you," he shook his head into his hands, eyes closing tighter than before, trying to control himself, though everything he had ever felt was raging inside like a tempest.
There was a long lapse of silence between the two before Lucian felt slender arms go around his shoulders, making it seem as if all of the air in his lungs had been struck out of him from shock. "Why do you think that I wouldn't stay on my own, that you're forcing me..?" Kali said softly near his ear, her warm breath dancing against his skin, causing a ripple of tingles to spread over him.
"Why would you ever want to at all?" Lucian retorted with his own question, afraid that there was no answer to correspond with it. Carefully, Kali answered, trying to find the right wording, "You have.. always seen.. the best parts of me.." It took several moments for her statement to settle in through the cold fog that engulfed him, but once it did, there was the feeling of the sun shining through into the deepest regions of his being. A fearful warmth spread over Lucian, this emotional light illuminating his doubts and making them shrivel, but tentatively. Allowing himself to breathe again, Lucian lifted his head from his hands, squinting somewhat when his eyes attempted to adjust from their previous state and truly see what was before him.
And what met his gaze was the most beautiful sight that had ever graced his morbid existence. Kali, with her hair still wind-blown and cheeks slightly blushed, she looked at him with such trust and an openness that he never thought possible. He could actually see inside her, and tell that she was sincere, not for herself, but for everything she felt.. for him.
As if she were afraid to harm him, Kali slipped her free hand into his, her touch light, almost feeling surreal. She wasn't forcing herself on him, but easing her presence to mold with his, support him when he felt like crumbling yet again. Quietly, Lucian stared at her hand and she didn't remove it. And in those moments, it was as if everything seemed to melt away. The atmosphere, once heavy with unspoken burdens, now was like a warm cocoon, keeping the World out from the soft isolation the two bodies longed for. And it was as if finally the darkness that has lingered over them had set for the last time, and no longer would hover around them, for they were one, in senses and minds alike. They needed each other, as they always had, and the elements would finally let them be.
"I've always thought that I'd failed you somehow," Lucian whispered, afraid to break the bond between them still, "That I've never been good enough to have you."
The wisps of Kali's hair that brushed her shoulders was the only sound when she shook her head and smiled warmly for him. "And I always thought that if I showed you who I really was, I would let you down, destroy some image that everyone seemed to hold over me," she said in her own softened voice, feelings as raw and exposed as his own.” No, Kali," he gave a small, insecure smile, "you see, you saved me from death, one that I would have inflicted upon myself. When you came here that night a while back, you saw me bleed. I was killing myself, emptying my veins of all feeling. So when some final blow struck me, I would be unfazed by it, because I would be hollow.."
Kali gave his hand a gentle squeeze, looking down at them as she linked her fingers carefully with his, "You brightened an invisible light in me." Silently, Lucian studied this girl's face. He had always thought he knew every aspect of it, every expression. But this was new, this unguarded innocence that could have only been just born from what pains she had once felt. This is what she had always hidden, and it mirrored his own.
"Kali," Lucian brought a hand up to gently tip up her chin to look at him.
Her gray eyes looked unshielded into his, growing soft under his gaze. They held there for several long moments, each holding their breath in fear of breaking the spell that had woven itself around them.
When Kali's lashes dipped, so did Lucian's head, just barely brushing his lips against hers in a breath of a kiss. In that moment his heart skipped and stopped. They were suspended in time and were both so unsure of everything that was happening, but unwilling to fight it. And it seemed so natural when Kali closed the whisper of space between them yet again, touching their lips once more, lingering there as if nothing else mattered but this moment and their joined spirits sang in wonder of it.
The truth is... he had become one again. And Lucian let Kali see this. He used to be two people, bound into separates by a harsh hate, and Kali had brought the two together. With a delicate hand, her soft lips, and the angelic face that had betrayed oh so many times. Finally they both could breathe again. He didn’t have to hide behind the paper his drawings showed and hide the metaphorical knife that sliced through his soul. He’d given it all up.
And she… She had finally let go of her hideous past. The life she led with a different male everynight tying to be something she wish she had never started to be. The first ‘love’ that had cut away her bright eyes with a knife had become but a memory as the days grew warmer and sweeter and easier… Kali loved Lucian for this. The light his name so clearly represented, finally broke through and brightened her eyes. Gave her a new outlook on the life they would have.
Lucian still painted, but through the blank window to the open scenery he saw a new view. A moon, so full and such a perfect ivory… Melting into the dark blue of a clear lake below. Stars gently frosted across the smooth surface. Only one thing broke the surface and it was a gorgeous white swan gracing the lake with it’s gentle appearance. Sending light ripples across it’s perfect glass-like state…
He was able to show this through his paintings too. Instead of sketching blank sceneries with a simple shadow outside the windows, he could paint scenes of dark starry nights and of bright sunny days. The cloud that hovered over his soul had been burned along with his towering walls. All thanks to her.
Kali continued with her job as a bartender. No matter how much jealousy ripped away at Lucian’s lungs and forced harsh breaths to escape. But she didn’t flaunt around in a tight little skirt and cut off tops anymore. She simply came and went, and when she got home she was greeted with more love and understanding then she could of ever imagined she would. She no longer had to push him away, had to pretend, she was the real her now. The Kali that Lucian adored. His fallen angel. The world was finally as it should be. Or so it seemed…
Months later as June blossomed Kali started coming home later and later. Worrying him. Although Lucian completely loved her and was hooked… he still didn’t completely trust her. So in a fit of curiousity he called a cab to follow her to her work at the local bar. He saw as she stepped out of the car and stepped so gingerly into the smokey atmosphere. Lucian followed closely behind, careful not to let her see him. He watched as she had a brief chat with the manager then carefully slid behind the bar, with a hand lightly resting on her now bulging belly.
As men came to the counter Lucian watched spitefully as there eyes swept down her body, unappaled by her pregnant appearance. He could easily read their expressions, it made him sick.
He kept his cool though untill one man came up and said, “I’d like two pineapple cocktails if you would miss,” He gently carresed her cheek, “And a little something extra for a tip…” He had a half-bald head, yellowed teeth, and tattoos painted up and down his arms. This made Lucian snap. In a flash he was across the bar and on top of the man that had just poisoned his angel with his horrid thoughts and intentions…
Everything was just a blur. First all he saw was the bar, flashing by. Then his eyes met Kali’s, full of shock and fear. Then finally the man’s face as he hit the floor. Without time to think it through he saw his fist reach back and hit him once, twice, three times right across the jaw with a sickening snap. This must have been about when the man realised what was happening because, broke jaw or not, he wasn’t going to take that.
He threw, literally threw, Lucian across the bar… right into Kali. “No…!” he screamed, watching his love fall head first into the side of the bar. She slipped off and hit the floor, unmoving. Blood gushed from the side of her head. “Someone call an ambulence! Someone! Anyone!” He screamed, half mad. Everything flashed through his head. The first day they met, the day she cried to him, her hand slipping from his, the day she came back into his world, their first kiss… Tears flooded his eyes and everything was a blur as men ran in in blue suits dragging away his everything on a stretcher. He took a deep breath, not being able to take it all… and blacked out.
It was as though he was trapped in quicksand. The dreams he had as he lay unconcious showed him standing in the room from his paintings. He looked out the window, hearing her scream, knowing she was right behind the screen, but unable to get through. The image was gone. He didn’t know what was outside the window… couldn’t get through. Was trapped. The walls around his closed in and the window stayed still, still impossible to see through. If only I could see her face. He thought, If only…
Then the walls were on him. Crushing his from every side. Ripping him apart as he had ripped apart his sketches before he met her… Little pieces of paper falling to the floor, impossible to put together. That was going to be him. Noone would be able to put him together.
Then the image faded, melted to a new one. The night Kali had made dinner. The menacing look in his eyes as they danced out on the balcony next to the table of mostly black dinner. I won’t stand here… and watch this. “If this is the last time… what words have you to say?” he asked her. Knowing she didn’t see or hear a thing. Just the cold smile I gave her in the past.
Then something happened I didn’t remember. I saw a tear roll down her cheek, “I won’t forget you… Exhale the last breath.” I didn’t understand. “Kali…?” but the image flickered and started to evaporate into the cool night air. “Kali!” He wanted her to talk to him again… to say something, anything, anything. “This is the last time. You will be afraid.” Her voice whispered, invisible. That’s when Lucian woke up.
“Wake up Lucian.” A voice instructed sweetly. His eyes opened slowly… “Kal…?” The red curls bounced on the nurses shoulders as she put a hand to my mouth, “Shhh, we don’t want her to awake for any reason.” Confused Lucian looked over to the white bundle in the corner. It was Kali. Her eyes were shut and a tube was leading down through her mouth. Half her head was wrapped in gauze. Her stomach was oddly flat though.
The nurses bright green eyes must’ve noticed Lucian’s look of confusion because she quietly said, “The baby was badly injured, it had to be removed as soon as possible.” Removed? He thought. Realization hit him, “You mean…”
“The baby didn’t make it.” She finished. Lucian bit his lip to stop the tears from searing through his closing eyelids. Moisture pursued the nurse’s own eyes and she quickly looked away, closeting her emotions. “Kali…?” there it went again, the question. “Kali is battling her own body,” the nurse answered. The baby had a different blood type then her. During surgery, alot of it entered her bloodstream and now it’s fighting her own blood, thinking it to be a foreign disease.”
“She’s killing herself…” Lucian choked out. The nurses tears silently streaked her cheeks, “I’m terribly sorry.” Lucian thought and thought, trying to decide what to think, what to do. “Can I please talk to her?” he asked softly. “That wouldn’t be good for her health.” The nurse said gently, almost apologetically. “He can…” an incredibly weak voice broke through the silence. Both heads turned at the same time.
“Kali!” Lucian’s tears surfaced as he basically jumped across the room. Lightly carresing her cheek he whispered, “Circumstances mean nothing, when it’s over, we’ll both be okay. Okay Kal?” Kali gently shook her head, laughing in a painful tone. “Lucian… This is war, I cannot take it anymore. I’m falling faster… bleeding more…”
“No Kali. This isn’t over,” His tears soaked her white sheets, darkening them, “Life is yours to save or take away.” Kali laughed again, sadly. “Remember that one time you told me the exact words, if I stayed.. this world that we live in.. everything you could give me.. would be ours to take?” Lucian laughed coldy, “Of course I do my love.”
“Well…” she continued, “You gave me it… the world. I left then came back to stay and you gave me it.” She smiled weakly, “Now it’s time for me to give it back.” He carefully took her hand and cradled his head in it, as he had the first day. “I love you Kali.” “I love you too Lucian.”
“Now…” Kali said, voice quieting, “ When I float away to another place, where heaven is waiting right outside. You have to promise me to take the world. Live the way we would...” She smiled, “The way we were supposed to.”
Lucian wiped his golden eyes and said, “I can’t… but yaknow it’s funny you say that… because I used to consider you my angel, my fallen angel… And I never thought I’d have to let you fly back to where you belong.” He watched her unpainted lashes flutter shut. “Kal?” he shook her gently, “Kali!” he heard the steady beeeeep of the heart moniter flatten out, “Goodbye Kal.” He whispered. Standing up, he placed a single kiss on her forehead, then walked away.
He walked home. Past the school they had once walked to together, past the ColdStone Creamery where she had once dropped icecream on her shirt and had to change at his house. He walked pst the library where he had forced her to go for a project, only to do the project for her while she laughed and put letter stickers on his back. Past the trashy apartment that she had once lived in. Past the bar that had taken his child and his love. Past his own house. He didn’t even want to go there. He just kept walking and walking and walking…
Untill he got to cliff beyond his house. The one that overlooked the ocean that he could see from his clear glass window. It was perfect... The wind was silent, the waves were still, and the sky was a perfect gray that reflected into the salty cold water below. Not a single bird plagued the gray sky, leaving it a clear view for any onlookers of any kind. He was searching for something that wsn’t there. Left to pick up the pieces of the night that cut so much deeper then the memories.
What had his life become without her. He was like the swan in his paintings. He had a perfect world around him. A world of oppurtunity in his little pond. But noone left to share it with. Absolutely noone. He headed home thinking, Just a swan, just a pond, just another ripple…
“It’s all my fault!” he half growled-half screamed. Nightmares like this happened everynight, almost like his new ritual. They weren’t pleasant dreams either. They were the kinds that would make you writhe and scream and cry. The kind you couldn’t wake up from… So everynight he relived the same dream from the hospital. Where the walls crushed his body and then she whispered those same puzzling words… “I won’t forget you… Exhale the last breath.” Then he would be overwhelmed with darkness and confusion as she she whispered, “This is the last time. You will be afraid.”
It just didn’t make any sense. But either way, everynight he woke up screaming and crying. Some nights he’d wake up shaking, reaching for her warmth and finding only the scratchy blanket he had once pulled up to her chin… It was torture… a simple Hell-on-Earth feeling… Absolutely heart shattering…
The nights weren’t even the worst. During the day he had to work. And his work was painting the images which had died with Kali, so he had nothing to paint. The childish drawings from high-school came back. The darkened room with shadowy windows, the single chair in the middle where noone sat. It’s presence a sheer waste of canvas. Useless. He would be frustrated when he would try to paint peoples portraits and would simply end up painting her… The cloudy gray eyes, bleached hair, perfect ivory skin… He would completely desecrate the painting, throwing it across the room, slahing it with a knife, burning it in his once warm fireplace.
That was another thing. Everything had been cold since she had left. Even the warmest of smiles didn’t affect him, were nothing. Everything was just so cold… But death never came to him. The icy feeling of shards in his heart simply hurt him, never killed him. Even though he wished they would. He didn’t have the nerve to do it himself. HE couldn’t do that to Kali anyways, so he kept living. Dealt with the invisible knife that had stabbed and was twisted farther into his heart daily.
Simple things seemed to exhaust him, for he barely slept. Afraid of what he might wake up to and of what he might not wake up to. But he kept going still. Little by little the pain numbed. Never left, no, but numbed. Crying himself to sleep, screaming himself awake… It was all the same. He would mumble things to himself, Somebody please tell me
what am I suppose to do? And try to talk to her through his dreams questioning her, begging her. One time he thought he thought he heard her voice through the window in his dream. Not screaming, but talking. He quickly said all he could before the walls crushed him, “Why did you die? Don't leave me, please…” Then it was over and he was awake with the empty nothigness that greeted him daily. Same routine, same pain, same lonely existence.
Finally, sick of having nothing, he went up to the guest room. Or, as he liked to call it, Kali’s room. He carefully went through her jewelry, slighly fading with disuse. Through the box of pictures, which surprised him a little bit. So many were of him and her. Finding the knife stabbing deeper he quickly put the box back. Then came something he hadn’t noticed before.
There in the very corner of the closet, covered with dusk and paintings in nailpolish lay a small red book. Painted across the front in black nailpolish read Kali’s Diary. He grabbed it from its ancient spot behind the clothes and wiped off the thick layer of dust and cobwebs, slowly opening it to the first page. The date at the top read 3/5/09. Four days before they met in the hallway. It was full of her life details. Of a man named Ken who had betrayed her and used her and hurt her… He quickly flipped the page.
More Ken. Then Jimmy, Luke, Brian… Finally he got to the day they met. In a dark red inkpen at the top it read 3/9/09. He swallowed hard and let his eyes wander down to the writing. Only four words were scribbled across the page. “What have I done?” He turned the page it read 3/10/09 “Dreamt of him last night. Can’t help this feeling… Like I’ve done something…wrong?” Shock leftd Lucian’s mind blank as he flipped to the next page 3/16/09, the day she had approached him at the desk… “I could hardly wait to see you again… to feel your hands covering me. Like they did today…” Little hearts were scribbled across the bottom of the diary page. Once again he flipped the page.
5/1/09… the day she cried to him. Told him she hated the way he looked at her like a little girl, “Why do you look at me that way? I would never
keep a secret from you… All lies… It must end…” He sucked in a deep breath, turning the page one lst time.
11/19/10. The day she came back to his life… His eyes burned and his heart ached. It read, “What have I done… what seemed to be the end
was not the end at all. I still love you… I swear. I always will.” He closed the book shut and carried it in his hand. He knew where this belonged. He stepped outside into the frosty October air, the smell of pumpkins and Fall lightly seasoned through the chilly breeze. He opened his Jeep door and climbed in, shutting it behind him. He turned the radio on and lay the book in the console. Roaring down the road he soon came to a stop beside the cemetary. He checked his watch 3:25 AM it read. He didn’t care about the time.
He clambered across the rocky path, searching for his target. Untill finally he saw it, engraved in a pure white marble gravestone it read Kali Marie Oliver. He walked over to the grave and lay it gently on top. He stood only a moment before carefully digging a small hole beside her grave big enough to hold the book.
Once he figured it would be big enough he picked it up and flipped through it one last time. Gently closing it he put it in the srude hole and covered it with the black soil. “I'll be leaving, don't you cry. I'll be back soon or…” He glanced at the small mound at his feet, “At least i'll try.” As he carefully made his way back into his Jeep he could’ve swore he heard her sweet voice whisper, “I still love you… I swear. I always will.” He smiled, turning on the engine. “I love you too. I swear… I always will.” And drove off into the moon-lit night