Fractured

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“If you were going to dump me-“

“I wouldn’t dump you.”

“Well, if you were going to dump me, for a guy, who would you choose?”

“That’s a baited question, isn’t it?”

“I’m just wondering.”

“I’m not straight, and I’m not going to dump you, so why does it matter?”

“WellÔÇŽyou’re always pretty friendly with Kevin. More so lately. Aren’t you?”

“Oh my god, Rae. Can you give it a rest?”

“Seriously, Kim. I need to know. Do you like Kevin?”

“Not like you mean.”

“But you like him.”

“I’m allowed to have friends.”

“Friends aren’t people that you go off and whisper with, and giggle around. You don’t flirt with friends.”

“I wasn’t flirting with him.”

“Right.”

“Sometimes, being friendly might look like flirting. But it wasn’t.”

“Right.”

“What’s your problem with Kevin?”

“You guys go off together, hang out, spend time alone all the time. It makes me, well, jealous. It hurts my feelings that you’d rather hang out with him than with me.”

“There’s no reason for you to be jealous. You’re my girlfriend.”

“There’s plenty of reason.”

“What’s that?”

“You’ve been with men.”

“So? Some people don’t start out knowing exactly what they want. I had to find out for myself.”

“You’ve never been with me.”

“Okay, I get it. You’ve made your point, okay?”

“How do you even know you’re gay if you’ve never been with a woman before?”

“Maybe I don’t. I’m allowed to be confused, aren’t I?”

* * *

Rae’s hands touched me in the middle of the night. I knew too well the soft skin, the insistent fingers that worked their way under the blankets and up my nightgown. Cold air swept into my bed and sent a chill down my spine.

“Go to bed, Rae,” I whispered, pulling away from her touch and tucking the blanket back under my chin.

She didn’t say anything, but I could hear her heavy breaths. Soon she turned away, and I heard her soft footsteps travel down the hall until she reached her own bedroom.

In the darkness I opened my eyes, the tears gathering like heavy puddles. I struggled to keep them back, but was either too tired to do it effectively or really wanted them to come. They flowed freely, and I tried to shift my mind to other things, to keep it blank. To concentrate on anything but the pain I knew I caused Rae each night, each rejection. Rejection. Not my word; hers.

Images danced behind my closed eyes. The park. My first look at the girl I would grow to love. My stomach tightened as I remembered the mystery surrounding her, the group of people she was with that I longed so badly to belong to. I fell asleep again, and twisted fitfully as dreams refused to come.

* * *

I met Rae in the summer during one of my few trips into the city. She sat with friends under the shade of a large tree, smiling, laughing, talking. I sat alone in the sun, my sketchbook in my lap, my eyes squinting even behind sunglasses due to the bright glare bouncing back from nearby pavement. With her short hair and punky look she caught my eye, and then I was drawing her slowly with my pencil, tracing the lines of her face in my lap. Carefully I drew her youth, captured her smile, shaded her eyes.

“Nice drawing,” a voice from above startled me.

“Thanks,” I muttered, pulling the book up close to my chest. It seemed childish but I wanted to keep the girl to myself, not to share her with anyone else, not even her picture. I hadn’t met her and yet I was as possessive as if she were already mine.

To my horror, the one that had complimented my work went right to the group in which my muse sat, and bent over to whisper something into her ear. Her eyes widened, and she looked at me. Before waiting for any accusations, I jumped up and left the park.

I tried not to think of what the girl must think of me. Pervert. Stalker. Sicko. Dyke. It wasn’t until months later that she and I would cross paths again.

* * *

“Do you love me, Kim?”

“What?”

“Do you love me?”

“I don’t know why you’d ask me something like that, Rae.”

“Maybe to find out if you love me.”

“You already know.”

“Maybe you need to tell me, anyways.”

“You can’t force me to say it out of the blue. I say it when I want to.”

“Fine.”

“You know I do, so why should I have to say it all the time?”

“Because I like to hear it.”

“Well, I’m sorry.”

“Why can’t you just say it to make me feel good?”

“Why can’t you just leave it alone?”

“Why can’t you admit that you don’t love me anymore?”

“I do love you.”

“You don’t do a very good job of it.”

“Well. What am I supposed to say to that?”

* * *

Jason came to bed later than usual the last night we were together. His breath was bitter with the scent of beer, his shirt scuffled, his hair messed. I was already in bed, sitting up, knees pressed protectively against my body, reading a book when he came home.

The door slammed loudly when he entered our apartment, casino ┼čirketleri the windows shaking with the force. He was never an angry drunk, but sometimes he forgot his own strength. “Kim,” he mumbled, coming into the bedroom.

I put the book aside and straightened out my legs, watching my boyfriend as he watched me.

“Hey baby. Don’t be mad.” His words were slurred, and he took the few steps towards me required to reach the bed. Smiling, he dropped himself down on top of the blankets, and I grunted with the weight forced on me. “My pretty lady Kim,” he said. His stale breath made me grimace. “I love you, baby.”

Busy hands were stroking my legs through the thick blanket. My body was pinned underneath his weight, and I struggled to free myself. Even with someone I trusted so much, the restriction scared me.

“Jason, get off me, okay?” I hated being weak. I hated being weaker than him.

“Sexy lady Kim.”

He moved quickly for someone under the influence, his lips bruising mine in a heavy kiss while his thick breath filled my mouth. He descended upon me like an animal in heat. His tongue penetrated my lips, pushing deep into my mouth; his strong hands grabbed my breasts roughly through the blankets. I twisted my head, trying to escape, trying to get away, struggling to release my mouth from his sour taste, but he was much too strong.

It was a useless struggle as Jason pulled the blankets aside and rolled on top of my body, pushing my nightgown up my legs and straddling me with his heavy weight. I cried out, shouting for him to stop, trying to convey that I was serious and that everything he was doing to me was wrong. My protests fell on deaf ears, and soon my throat was sore, my voice hoarse.

His thickly erect cock pushed through my painfully dry flesh. It felt as though he were ripping a hole right through me, breaking straight through my skin to get into my warm body. I stopped struggling as the burning pain spread through my body, my cries turned to mere whimpers as he pushed and shoved his way inside me. I don’t know if I blacked out, but I don’t remember what happened between the first real hard thrust and the last, when he came inside of me.

Is it rape, I wondered to myself afterwards, if the aggressor is someone you know and love? To him, it may have been like every other time we’d joined, but something had been much, much different. Can it be rape when he thinks he is making love to his girlfriend?

Jason fell asleep on top of me, his breath deep and heavy in my ear, his weight almost dead on top of me. I rolled him off gently, unwilling to hurt him. I went to the bathroom and turned on the shower, hoping the hot water would make some of the pain inside me go away. The water did nothing to cleanse me.

I slept on the couch that night, and I left the next morning. I couldn’t bear the thought of climbing back under those sheets, of sleeping peacefully next to the man who had hurt me so much. It almost made it worse to think that he didn’t even know why I was upset. After Jason there were no other men; no lovers, no boyfriends, no dates. Whenever I thought of the power a stronger being could have over me, I shuddered. Such strange, unfamiliar feelings of doubt inside me.

* * *

“You’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“I do. That day in the park, when I drew you, I thought to myself ‘that girl is the prettiest girl to ever walk this earth.'”

“And at the bookstore?

“Same thoughts. You were like some sort of angel, descended from heaven to smile at me and only me.”

“Love at first sight, huh?”

“Well, lust anyway.”

“Not love? Not even a little bit of love?”

“Well, maybe love.”

“Maybe?”

“Well I didn’t know you, then.”

“Do you now?”

“Sometimes I think I do. But sometimes you surprise me, Rae, and I’m not sure again.”

“Well, Kim, surprises are the spice of life.”

“Maybe.”

“‘Maybe’ again?”

“Well, a little predictability can be good, too.”

“That’s why I come home every night.”

* * *

Accepting Rae into my life was the hardest and the easiest thing I’d ever had to do. All I had to do was stay seated and listen to her, but forcing myself to remain with her instead of running away at first sight was very, very difficult.

I hadn’t forgotten the girl from the park. Sometimes strange waves of uncharacteristic sentimentality would flood me and I’d find myself flipping back through my sketchbook to the partially finished picture. The eyes disturbed me in a way I couldn’t describe.

The bookstore I frequented had a large supply of art books and a staff that wouldn’t bother me if all I wanted to do was sit and read, no matter how much time I spent there. I liked to sit for hours, lost in the shiny pictures of great paintings I might never see. My fingers lightly traced the words as I read a description of Andrea Montegna, a picture of one of his frescos on the opposite page.

“You like that?”

I looked up sharply, startled casino firmalar─▒ out of the world I had dreamed myself in to. It was her, the girl from my dreams. So much time had passed since I’d last seen her face, and yet I knew every line. Her short hair curled just at the level of her eyes, nearly blocking the dark orbs from my sight.

“Yeah,” my response was hardly audible, more of a croak than a word. The girl smiled, and to my horror and delight took the seat across from me.

“Me too.” She lifted the heavy book she was carrying so I could see the title, her cheeks flushing in quick embarrassment. Naked Truths: Women, Sexuality and Gender in Classical Art & Archaeology. “Go art.”

I smiled and looked down.

“You drew me, didn’t you?”

The color must have flooded my cheeks faster than anything ever had before. Embarrassment heated my blood, and mumbling something along the lines of an apology I jumped up from the table.

“No, please,” she cried out, “stay.” Her words were as effective as hands pulling me back down into the seat. “I’m Rae. What’s your name?”

* * *

I could hear her in the kitchen. Rae could be loud when she wanted to be. I rolled over and tried to block it out, pulling a pillow over my head. I hated facing her after what she called a ‘rejection.’

Rejection was the title she gave it, not me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with saying ‘no;’ after all this was something very new to me.

A long series of crashes and swear words came from the kitchen. Staying in bed seemed better and better, but I knew that if I wanted to stay on Rae’s good side I’d need to pull myself up soon.

Rae made the decision for me, her footsteps loud in the hall. My door banged open.

“Good morning, sleepy-head.” Her petite body was wrapped in that sheer robe that made my heart flutter. She was naked underneath, her tanned skin showing through the fabric. I could see everything, her large nipples and soft breasts, the slight curve of her belly, the v of hair between her legs. “I made you pancakes.”

“I’m coming, give me a second.”

She glared at me, her eyes narrowing for just a moment before she seemed to relax again. Slowly, obviously trying to be seductive, she reached down and pulled the tie to her robe. The soft fabric fell away, exposing her bare flesh. The ploy was working; I could feel heat traveling through my body straight to the hot place between my legs. But as hot as she made me, the feeling was accompanied by the usual twisting of my stomach, something quite painful and scary. Anxiety flooded me, and as quickly as I’d been turned on, I was frightened away, and averted my eyes. It had been like this from the first night we’d spent together. Guilt seemed to be my constant state around her.

“I’ll be out of bed in a minute, okay?”

She turned and left, not saying anything.

* * *

We didn’t start dating, the relationship between Rae and I seemed to just happen. We went to movies, bookstores, concerts, lunches; neither of us was really taking the other out. We were just hanging out together, like friends would do. I was coming into the city almost every week, and soon I just couldn’t afford another trip.

“Stay with me,” Rae coaxed. “There’s no reason to pay such high hotel prices when you have me. I’ll even pay for half your gas, tooÔÇŽjust come, alright?”

“I don’t know,” I said, fingers fiddling with other fingers in my lap. It made me uncomfortable to think I’d be at her mercy to come and go, unable to escape her if the urge overtook me. I didn’t like thinking I might be helpless around herÔÇŽaround anyone. But the thought of seeing her again made my heart flutter.

“My roommate moved out last week and I’m lonely Kim,” she whimpered. I could see the smile on her face even though miles separated us. “Look, no pressure. I have the extra room, I have an extra key. I’d love to have you over, it’d be ‘girls night’ okay?”

“Well,” I said, drawing it out, “We can’t have you lonely. I’ll come.”

Rae squealed happily into the phone, and a smile that threatened to break me in half spread across my face. I was happy to hear her happy, and that was all that mattered.

That Saturday was the best ‘girls night in’ I’d ever experienced. We popped popcorn, watched movies, and drank a whole bottle of wine. My head was spinning but I’d never felt so alive.

As the last movie ended, Rae scooted closer to me on the couch. Her bare knee touched my skin, and she put an arm loosely around my shoulders.

“I love having you here,” she said softly, looking into my eyes. I quickly averted my gaze, my stomach twisting into knots as she went on. “I’ve been trying to get you into my apartment for months now, you know that?”

I nodded, and looked back at her. Her eyelids were heavy, her lips parted slightly. I could see the tips of her pearly white teeth, the soft redness of her tongue.

“I’m lusting over you big time, Kim. You know that?” Her hand moved to my leg, the fingers lightly brushing against my skin, sending goose g├╝venilir casino bumps up and down my body. I shivered, and she bent in closer. “Ever since that first time in the park, I’ve wanted you. Tell me you want me, too.”

I nodded again, and shut my eyes. She took the lead and lowered her face to mine, her sweet breath filling my nostrils as she pressed those soft lips against mine. I moaned into her mouth, opening my lips and letting her tongue penetrate me. She was so gentle. It was as though I’d never felt the touch of another human being; it felt like heaven. Maybe this time I’d be able to go further than I had since Jason.

Rae’s hand stroked my leg more intently, moving up towards the hem of my nightshirt. Slowly she moved on top of me, her lips never leaving mine as her kiss became more intent. The arm around my shoulders slid down behind my neck, pressing my face into her kiss as she started to suck at me, dragging me out through my mouth into hers. I tasted her, tasted the sweet flavor of her body, the smoothness of her teeth, the gentle roughness of her tongue. She moaned into me and pushed her hips towards my body. Something inside me broke, then, and I felt hot tears begin to roll down my cheeks.

Busy hands found their way under my shirt and lightly stroked my breasts, my nipples coming to life at once and tensing into hard nubs. I whimpered, the tears coming heavier and faster, as Rae tickled my flesh. She opened her mouth wider and pushed deeply into my mouth, her moans filling me completely. A sob escaped my throat, hiccupping, and she pulled back with a start.

Closed eyes opened wide and she gasped at the sight of my tears, her hands yanking back from my body in an instant. One moment on my lap, the next she was standing in front of me, hands limply at her side, chest heaving as she stared at my tear-filled eyes, my red face, my open lips.

“Kim?” she whispered.

I couldn’t meet her eyes, my humiliating tears burning my cheeks like acid as they slipped down my face. I was ashamed to have such a reaction to her touch, the knots in my stomach twisting from good to bad. I felt sick.

“Are you okay?” she said, but her voice was shaky. “I’m sorry,” she said, and she ran away from me.

If I’d known her then like I know her now, I would have followed her as she walked away seeming so defeated. That’s what she wanted. She walked away in hopes that I would follow and beg forgiveness. But I didn’t know her then, I didn’t know how her thought process worked. I didn’t understand that she felt rejected. I thought she was rejecting me. Instead of going to her I went to the spare room and curled up on the bare bed and cried myself to sleep.

* * *

“Why don’t you want me?”

“I want you.”

“But you don’t want me.”

“I do. I justÔÇŽI don’t know.”

“You want me, but you don’t.”

“Please, Rae, just give me time?”

“We’ve been living together for four months, been going out for six. You haven’t even kissed me in weeks.”

“Can’t you just give me time? Please? I’ve never had a relationship with a girl, I’ve never loved a girlÔÇŽI don’t want to move too fast and spoil it.”

“Maybe something’s wrong.”

“With me?”

“No, Kim. Maybe there’s something wrong with us.”

* * *

The kitchen smelled good, but the sweet smell of pancakes made my stomach churn. Even good scents can be bad ones if you can see disaster coming. I sat down and Rae set a plate in front of me, taking the seat across the table.

“What do you think?” she asked. I hadn’t even taken my first bite.

“They look great,” I said, staring at the plate of food. I glanced up at Rae, her dark eyes wide with expectations. Whatever I said next would be the wrong thing, and I knew it.

“Well, eat up.”

I took a forkful of food and slowly fed it into my mouth, my eyes watching Rae as she watched me. I was wary of her in this mood. I’d experienced her bitterness before and it never left me feeling good. My heart pounded in anxious anticipation of an argument to come.

“About last night,” she started. My face heated up at the mere mention of the incident. “I’m sorry, you know? I just want to be close to you.”

I didn’t answer, only nodded, my eyes falling down to my plate. I choked down my mouthful, the food seeming dry in my tight throat.

“Sometimes I don’t understand my own actions, you know? I don’t know why I’m so stupid, why I seem to want to hurt myself. I hate being rejected and I keep setting myself up for it.”

“I don’t mean to reject you,” I whispered, my heart sinking with each word that left her lips. Sometimes she made me angry, talking like this, other times she made me sad.

“You mean to, but that’s not the point. The point is, Kim, that we’ve been living together for a long time, and you don’t want me to even talk to you.”

“That’s not true,” I said quietly. She went on as though she hadn’t heard my protest.

“Maybe it’s time we spent some time apart. Maybe I ought to move out, let you have the place to yourself.”

“I don’t want you to move out,” I said.

“Don’t bother. I’ll get my stuff and be out by this afternoon.”

“It’s your apartment.”

“I know, but I should still move out. After all, I’m the one causing the problems, right?”

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