With just enough pressure I brush the match against the back of the book and the flame bursts into life. I bring it up to my cigarette and take a deep drag. With a precise flick of my wrist the match is extinguished and i place it in the ashtray. My left pointer and middle fingers caress the sides of my menthol and I inhale one more time before I pull it out from between my lips and exhale the smoke slowly in one steady line.
"You're getting very good at that." I look up to see my friend Alex staring at me, a glass of yingling in his hand. "Lighting those matches I mean. It's almost like watching a weird seduction between you and the flame." He sits down beside me, but doesn't offer a smile. He doesn't smile, and he doesn't like humans. Except of course, for me. "So my enchantress, how many hearts did you break today?"
I laugh as I blow out another line of smoke. "And give you more fuel for your writing? Not a chance, darling. Though I will say, I was able to talk myself out of a speeding ticket today." We were both English majors, taking a three hour workshop class weekly. We had to start a story at the beginning, and have it finished at the end of the semester. Every class, we all read the work we wrote throughout the week. Alex's story was about me. This isn't me just assuming either, he straight out pointed out at the very first reading that the story was about me. In front of the entire class.
You see Alex and I have had several classes together in the past, and he fell in love with my writing. He says he's not in love with me, which I believe, but he does admit to being transfixed with my entirety. I'm unlike anyone OR anything he's ever met. "See! I knew you would be that girl that never got a ticket." He was about to say something else when my friend Jim approached our table.
"Well isn't it the phantom princess." He puts his hand on my shoulder and we stretch to kiss each other's cheek.
"Phantom Princess?" Alex asks, eyebrow raised.
Jim nods, taking a seat on other side. "I call her the phantom princess because she comes and goes as she pleases. Her brilliant mind is full of secrets. I could go on and on, but phantom princess feels uncomfortable when I talk about her too much don't you?"
I nod my head, having no idea why either man is so entranced with me. The two talk of their opinions of me when I go back up to the bar to get another drink, and I decide to stay there for a while. As the bartender hands me my drink I feel a hand on my back slide from between my shoulder blades to my derriere. I turn around quickly, ready slap a bitch. But the face I see stops my heart.
I can barely find my voice. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to perform." Of course. It was open mic night, and she was trying (and succeeding) to get her name out there. Someone from the stage calls up her name and she smiles softly before saying, "You look beautiful tonight," and turns away from me.
I watch as she steps into the red light and picks up her guitar, welcomes everyone, and starts playing. As soon as I hear the beat I feel chills and know exactly what she's doing. Playing our song. Crying by Russian Red.
Of all the people in the bar, only one person could even begin to read me. Luckily it was the bartender. Don didn't know why my mood changed, but he sensed it right away. He took the cup of yingling away and handed me a double shot of Captain Morgan and murmured, "on the house." God bless him.
The ice cold liquid raced down my throat and heated my gut instantly. I slam the glass down and he fill it quickly. "One more. Make it quick, the boss is watchin' ya." I exhale fire before i tilt back the glass and upend the amber liquid into my mouth and slam the glass down again. "Atta girl," Don says, reaching over the bar to kiss my cheek before he picks up the glass and moves away to take care of another customer.
By that time that damned song was finished, and I was well buzzed, ready to saunter back to my table as if nothing was wrong. As I sit down I pick up another cigarette, light it and blow smoke. Cool as a cucumber, Baby, ya got that right.
Todd the bouncer approaches the table, his hands massage my shoulders as he leans down to ask how I'm doing. "Why, I'm fine dawlin', how's ya night?"
"Wow, I haven't heard your accent come out in a long time. You must either be really pissed or really drunk."
I wink at him and smile, not answering. Alex and Jim ask Todd what he means, and as he explained I looked back over at her. She was still singing, her eyes on me. I feel the them penetrating the ice that I had built up around my heart, and I looked away quickly, not allowing that to happen. Again.
Todd leans back to me, whispering in my ear. "I miss you. Will you come home with me tonight?" I nod my head, taking another hit from my cigarette and purposely focus on the burning of my lungs. Let's do this, shall we?
His hand on my lower back, I refuse to look at the stage, just wanting to get the hell out of there. Back at his house, we fuck. There's nothing sensual, frantic or erotic about it. With his cock in my pussy I block out ever image of her face, her body, and tell myself that I do not love her. It's not until Todd fiercely slaps my ass that I remember what I'm here for. I twist around, gripping his neck and throw him onto the bed.
"Oh yeah baby, get rough for me." He says, smiling from ear to ear as I straddle his cock.
"You want rough baby? You got it." I squeeze my kegel muscles so tight around his cock he cries out and rises up like a sexual monster ive created. "Good boy," I coo as grab the back of his neck and hang on for the ride I'm about destroy us both with.
I pretend I'm happy.