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only the gray clouds against dark blue, and her arms stretched out as she spun, turning her body in time with nature’s rhythm. When she stopped, she saw him, Lucas, underneath the covering of the building, looking at her as if he was watching the sun rise over the ocean – intent and amazed and in love with its beauty but unable to truly touch it. And she just stared back, not really smiling but laughing, mouth open, tasting the rain and the air, giving herself over to the moment completely. “When I finally got you in, I took off your clothes and wrapped you in a blanket, but you refused to stay in bed. You kept crawling onto the floor with me, rubbing your nose against the back of my neck in a really sexy sort of way, whispering ‘no rain…no rain...’.” She blushes at the boldness she once had, the sexual abandon that she forgot, until now, was possible and came so naturally to her. “I thought you meant you wanted it to stop storming but you just wanted to hear that damn song.” “I love that song.” She rubs the lime on the side of the shot glass, pulling her eyes away from his. “I hated it before that night.” She pauses to think about what he just said, reading hidden meanings in his short declaration. Scenes from their two-year relationship, starting with that night in the rain, weave together in her mind: the nights they played Rummy for hours on the bar table, the Halloween they dressed up as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, the Sundays they stayed in bed all day listening to the bad 80s music from their childhood, and the mornings she would wake to a Pop Tart and a note on his side of the bed because he had earlier classes than her. But she can’t do anything with those words now, so instead of going back, she refills her glass. “You love your vodka.” “Nothing else like it. It doesn’t warm you like whiskey and it doesn’t have the aftertaste of tequila. Vodka slides down, stinging at first but then cooling the insides – a sharp pain that leaves you cold.” As she takes the shot, pushing the alcohol down to control the pain, a sudden flash of memory floods her and she feels their calloused fingers burning into her long goose neck again, crushing every scream as it tried to escape, keeping her bound beneath the perpetual beat of the ceiling fan. Unwillingly, she puts the glass back on the table. She exhales, tunneling a small icy breath from her lungs. “I’ve never understood how you could pack shots away like that. There’s something admirable about it.” “I suppose.” And in that moment, a feeling of sobriety that only drinking can create takes hold of her and she once again sees the boy she loved beneath the covers their last night together almost a year ago. The smell of the cigarettes and the vanilla of her hair, the taste of the tequila in Lucas’s kiss and the dirt under his fingernails, and the feel of his body on top of her own; all fold together and seep into her. That night she felt the hardness slip from her steel eyes and burst into vibrant

rays of satisfaction, her legs prickle from the October wind after a football game, and his hand quietly fall into hers as if it belonged. There is something in her wanting to preserve the moment, wanting to crawl back into his arms and sleep in his heat. She remembers how it was to love him and to be with him, and she feels the air shatter within her, leaving her breathless. She wants to be back in that place with him again, but she can’t – forgetting the pleasure is better than remembering the pain. Lucas looks down at his watch. It’s 3 a.m., and she doesn’t show any sign of all the alcohol she has had – her eyes remain still and linger in his. “Doing better than you used to.” When he looks at her, his eyes go directly to the faint pink scar beneath her thin right eyebrow. There are chips of the broken beer bottle buried beneath the skin, an extinct animal clawing its way from its burial ground back into existence. Even a year later Stella still remembers how the blood oozed through her pale skin, penetrated her lashes, and colored her eye a candy-apple red. “Practice makes perfect.” Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Lucas reach for the bottle before she can begin again. “What are you doing?” “Stopping you.” “You never have before.” She is drunk, now she knows for sure. She would never have the courage to say that sober, or at least not the way she wants to say it. The memories and the shots catch up to her and hit her all at once with a slow dizzy realization of what they have been avoiding all night. “That’s not fair.” “What the hell is fair, Luc? There is no fair or right, only what happens and what doesn’t and either way we’re fucked.” There is a pause. She feels the pieces of words jumbled in her head and she can’t put the puzzle together in a congruent picture – she never will. “I loved you, Luc. I loved you and that’s not fair.” “I loved you too. I really loved you.” There is no emotion in his face, only a complete blank slate waiting for something to appear. But it never materializes. Instead, he sits across from her, just looking at her. But she won’t let him off that easy – she has to say all the things left unsaid and undone. “We made love in that same bed only an hour before –” “Before it happened, everything between us, everything we had, was perfect, Stella –” “And then they came in…” Her voice trails off and her mind won’t focus. Her head is spinning to the rhythm of that dusty ceiling fan in Deuce’s room again and it won’t slow down. Now the same slippery worm of fear slides down her throat and into her stomach as it did nearly a year ago. “And after it, you were distant – closed off…” “They tore all we had apart, Luc.” “And I didn’t know how to love you like that.”

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undefined : book seven

Profile for Mark Pointer

undefined magazine Book 7  

No fluff, no filler. Just Columbia and the outstanding artists, musicians, architects, chefs, designers, painters, sculptors, craftsmen and...

undefined magazine Book 7  

No fluff, no filler. Just Columbia and the outstanding artists, musicians, architects, chefs, designers, painters, sculptors, craftsmen and...

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