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Secrets and Favors

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51 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:09 am

"Exactly," I say quietly, a small frown on my lips as I hesitate. "Sometimes-," I stop, unsure if it's too much information or not before I force myself forward. "Sometimes I can't even stand just thinking about it... you know, on my own..? I'd swear, I can hear someone breathing in the room, moving by the door, sitting in the chair... I feel like he's watching me. All the time. And if I go to touch myself, I swear, I expect someone else's hand to reach out from the darkness to touch my leg or my neck, and I work myself up into a panic until I have to check every nook and cranny of the house just to be certain that I'm really alone."

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52 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:11 am

Listening to Marnin, I realize I don't think I've ever considered how isolating blindness must be. To be in a world all alone, and surrounded by others all at once. 

"Is it suffocating?" I ask softly, "Living in the dark?"

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53 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:18 am

"Terribly," I breathe, the sound coming out almost like a sigh of relief, like it's some secret I've never shared. "I know this sounds silly, but... I'm fucking terrified of the dark, Lju. Ever since I was a kid, I couldn't sleep unless I had a night light. It took me ages to adjust after I lost my sight, but I swear, I still lie in bed at night sometimes and scare the shit out of myself wondering what's beyond the edge of my bed. It's ridiculous because I know every particle of dust in the room, but I'll get it into my head that there's still something out there I can't see with all my other senses - not just Richard - and then all of the sudden I'm at your door at two in the damned morning with a box of banana chips and every video I've ever owned under my arm."

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54 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:24 am

Shifting my arm out of the body of my sweater, I snake it through it's sleeve so I can slide my hand down his arm to entwine my fingers with his. Squeezing tightly, I rest against his side for a moment before nuzzling his shoulder.

"You used to come over a lot," I sigh, more remembering than anything else, smirking a bit as I lean in to whisper teasingly. "You're such a pansy."

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55 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:31 am

"Yeah, I really was," I laugh, not even trying to deny it as I squeeze her hand, a smile lingering on my lips at the contact. "Those first few years were pretty rough," I admit after a moment. "I was simultaneously afraid of Richard being there and also upset that he wasn't. I don't think I'd slept without being in his room in over a decade... and it was my first time really, genuinely alone. Sort of made me realize how dark the world was, being alone in the silence. I used to come sleep outside your door, just to hear someone else breathing. Until Mags chased me off anyway. I think she thought I was stalking you."

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56 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:37 am

"She thinks you're a heathen." I grin.

"You still owe me like two favors, you know." I add after a moment, squeezing his hand as I look over at him. "I haven't forgotten."

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57 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:38 am

"And you still owe me a secret," I chide as I bump into her side. "Now that I've shared a ton with you."

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58 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:39 am

"I'm kicking myself for ever mentioning a secret," I respond, "It's not a fun little secret like yours were yesterday... It was just the first thing that came to mind."

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59 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:49 am

"I've told you that I'm afraid to masturbate because my brother, the boogie man, might be watching from a thousand miles away," I laugh, my cheeks flushing a bit at my own bluntness. "I think we're at a pretty decent point where we could tell each other anything, regardless of how horribly depressing or whatever it may be."

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60 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:58 am

"Okay," I nod softly, sighing as I adjust my hand against his in my pocket. My palms have gone clammy and my mouth dry at just thinking of telling him what I plan to. 

"My secret, that I never told anyone - And that's the only reason it popped to mind! - is I had an abortion just before I was sixteen. It was the main reason I wanted to move to the city, and I talked everyone into it without really ever mentioning it. Not even Maja knew."

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61 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:27 pm

"Really?" I ask in surprise. I know my expression has betrayed my shock, but I can't seem to get it under control. I don't know why, but I'd always just assumed that Ljuba had never been a sexual creature. Even before our somewhat disastrous encounter the first time we'd ever done anything together. It's sort of what made me feel comfortable around her, odd as it sounds.

"Really??" I repeat, still trying to wrap my head around it. "You were pregnant..? Who was the father?"

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62 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:47 pm

I draw in a sharp breath, looking ahead at Jean with a pained look.

"It didn't really matter," I shrug. "I was fifteen, and neither of us were in a position to be saddled with a baby."

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63 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:24 pm

I nod in understanding, shock still buzzing through my body as I stare vacantly ahead of me. I'm not sure how I feel about this... I mean, obviously she'd been with people before... it shouldn't surprise me like this, but somehow it does. My whole world feels off-tilt a bit now.

"Do you ever regret it?" I ask curiously. I can't honestly say I've ever considered having a baby, but now, considering it in this very moment, I can see how it might leave an ache to have lost a child - however willingly.

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64 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:31 pm

"No." I respond simply, and I nearly wince at my own cavalier tone. "It was the right thing to do, it would've only complicated things for everyone. Besides, I don't think I could've lived through the disappointment if I'd told my father."

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65 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:38 pm

"Why would he be disappointed?" I ask before nodding and rolling my eyes at my own question. "Right, because you were fifteen... I forget that people care about age in some parts of the world. I was thirteen when I became a man, as it's been so eloquently put. Apparently I bloomed early. People thought I was sixteen when I was actually ten or eleven."

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66 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:07 am

"You were fucking at thirteen!?" I gape a bit, my gait faltering a bit. "I hardly entertained the thought before I moved into the city."

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67 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:48 am

"Well, it wasn't fucking fucking," I say a bit defensively, my complexion flushing pink in the cold winter air. "I mean, it was, but... I don't know, it was Richard. His girlfriend and her sister were staying with us, and he and his girl wanted to watch... or he wanted to watch. I don't know about Sophie... frankly, I think she was too afraid to tell him no, and Sara just wanted to prove she was cool, and I just did what Richard told me to do."

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68 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:59 am

"He made some girl fuck you when you were thirteen?" I frown, my opinion of the mystery man only falling further as I shake my head. "And that was your first time? Did you even want it?"

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69 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:24 am

"Yeah?" I respond a bit uncertainly, my shoulder shrugging as I huddle closer to her in the cold wind. "I mean, she was fourteen and she was nice and just as awkward as I was, but it was... pleasant, I guess? And it was all still so new... there was a fucked up part of me that was thrilled with how enthralled they were watching us, and with how jealous it made Richard. I was never allowed to speak to Sara after that, and he and Sophie broke up with the worst kind of prejudice.

"And then it became a sort of game," I admit a little shamefacedly. "He'd put together these double dates, always skirting around what he was after even though we both knew. We'd go through these ridiculous dinners and the intense intimacy afterward, and then he'd be angry and volatile for days before doing it all over again. I think we fooled around with five or six girls before he finally came out and accused me of enjoying it... and then I was only enjoying it to hurt him... and then it was because I didn't value the bond, the possessing someone entirely, and I needed to be taught what it was to need someone the way that you need to breathe.

"And that's sort of when things started... when I learnt that needing him was needing to breathe, and if I didn't have him, didn't embrace that need, then I didn't get to breathe. You don't know how many tries it took before I understood what I had to do to get him to let me breathe. For the longest time, I didn't realize there was a way to get him to stop. I just thought it was like the choking game we'd played before it had made me blind, and one day I just wouldn't wake up, or I'd wake up deaf and paralyzed and too braindead to know what was happening to me."

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70 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:36 am

"This is the same man you said forcibly married you?" I practically whisper, stopping entirely as I look at him. "That you love?


"Marnin, how are you okay with that?" I ask weakly, my hand pulling from his as I tangle my arms across my chest to brace against the wind. "Everything you've said about him points to mountains of abuse. You're smarter than that."

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71 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:45 am

"I never said I was okay with it," I say quietly, my voice almost meek, as though I'd just been scolded. "I just... adapted. I didn't know anything else, no one believed me if I tried to tell them, to ask for help... and running?! Lju, you don't even know the things he did every time I tried. And I tried, God help me, I tried. I'm still trying to work out exactly what made this time different. If it's agreeing to keep the phone or if he's found someone new to entertain him, I don't know, but I'll take it."

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72 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:48 am

"That isn't what concerned me, though," I frown, "It's the way you talk about him - with reverence. You respect him on some level."

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73 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:06 am

"I don't want to talk about that," I breathe, the truth of the statement nearly pulling the air from my lungs as I grind my teeth, tears threatening to sting at my eyes. "I hate that I feel that way, Lju," I blurt out, my whole body shaking as I drag the words out from the deepest pit of me. "I hate it so much. But I do. I fucking do. Everything he ever wanted me to feel for him, I do. 

"Love and respect and adoration and longing, and it makes me sick. It's conditioned into my very bones. If someone is beating on me, I miss Richard; if I'm suffocating and I can't breath, I want Richard. Can't sleep, hurting, afraid, hungry, cold? Richard, Richard, Richard. I fucking hate it, and I used to think the only way I could ever be free of him was if I died.


"And then I met you," I admit lamely, quietly. "I don't even know how it happened, but after awhile I started to notice that some of the things that made me want him had me wanting you instead. It's mostly the little ones, being hungry or cold or not being able to sleep, but I can see little shifts and changes more and more every day. Surely that's got to count for something?"

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74 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:24 am

I find myself staring at Marnin at a loss, my chest stilled as I forget to breathe in the face of what I've been told. It isn't until I hear the faint 'oof' from several yards ahead of us that I realize Jean never stopped walking. 

"Jean!" I call, "Will you wait up?!

He stops to look back at us, still rubbing at the locket in his hands despite almost slipping only a moment before. Content that he's stopped, I turn back to Marnin, sighing quietly. 

"I don't want to be a replacement..." I say, wincing a bit at the coarse phrasing, "I- That's not what I meant, I meant that I maybe-" I sigh heavily as I reach up to rub at my face anxiously, exhaling thickly before continuing. "This is going to sound so wrong, and I promise I won't mean it that way, but I don't want to- I really hate that I can't find the words right now! - I don't want to be his replacement. This attachment you have with him isn't healthy, and shifting it to me isn't going to fix anything."

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75 Re: Secrets and Favors on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:35 am

"That's not-," I nearly choke on the word, disgust rising in the back of my throat with the heavy taste of bile. "That is NOT what's going on here, Ljuba. Not at all. I was ready to be alone, I WAS alone, and it was terrifying, but I was okay with that! Alone and afraid was better than how it was before.

"But then I met you and it was completely different, SO different... I didn't expect to feel better, I just did. I wasn't afraid because of your absence and seeking you out because it was the only way to get it to stop... It was just better just because... I had someone, someone who expected nothing of me and just let me exist. I... I just can't explain it, okay?! Why should I have to be seeking a new Richard just because I feel better with someone?!"

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