Sun light streamed in through the thin curtains, Alice sat on the floor by the bed, the gun hanging loosely from her hands. Her eyes were red and tired. She had vowed to stay awake and had. Alice yawned and stood; her back cracked and she grimaced. Imprints were left on the pale pink carpet from where she had sat all night long.
“Alice?” A knock sounded from her door, she eyed it curiously but shrugged.
She walked slowly to the door and cracked it open. Alaine stood with her arms loosely by her sides, her hair pulled into a tight ponytail, but no matter how much makeup was put on her face Alice could see she had been crying. “Hi,” she whispered as she opened the door fully.
Alaine jumped at the sight of the gun, Alice rolled her eyes and set the gun down on the desk. “What the hell are you doing with a gun?”
“What the fuck do you think I’m doing with it? Protecting myself.” Alice crossed her arms over her chest and stared at her sister dead in the eye. “Why didn’t you tell me about our father?”
“Grandmamma made me promise I would never say anything.”
“Why?” She demanded, maybe too forcefully as Alaine seemed to shrink unto herself. “Alaine, Christ,” she blew out a stream of air, “I’m too tired and sore to deal with games. Spit it out.”
“Because there was no point in telling you.”
“Why are you dancing around this, Alaine? For fuck sakes, I’m old enough to hear the truth.”
“Because you left!” She shot back. “You ran off to the city life, abandoning tradition and heritage! Did you even think for a moment whether or not it would affect us?”
“Oh, so finding myself is so bad that it hurts you? Grow up, Alaine! I left because I couldn’t stay here! Why should I have stayed? To watch the man I loved run around sleeping with anything in a skirt?”
“Just leave, go back to the city, that’s where you belong, isn’t it?”
Alice smiled to herself, “I think I’ll stay. I’m going to find our father and put a bullet through his skull. Excuse me,” she turned and walked into the tiny bathroom.
Water gushed from the small fountain, birds chirped in the distance and the sun shone down ever so softly and warmly. Alice sighed; it was too nice of a morning for what had happened the night before. She stared up at the pale blue sky, soft wisps of white clouds dotted the sky; it was too peaceful. Alice grimaced as she shifted her weight, the hard stone bench felt too straight and narrow beneath her.
“Hey, sugar,” Keith sounded from behind her softly.
“Where’s your usual macho?” She asked dully.
Keith sat down beside her, dwarfing the stone bench. He shrugged and stared at the small fountain. “Not in the light of circumstances. Can’t be friendly?”
“Friendly from you isn’t what I would exactly expect.” Alice sighed and looked down at the pebbled ground. “I’m sorry about last night.”
“Don’t worry about it sugar,” he took a deep breath. “Things happen, and some times, we have no control over what we feel or how we react, no?”
Alice laughed, “Sure, I know what you mean.” Not to mention running off when I was eighteen because I was hurting too bad to see you. She kept her comment to herself, no need to bring her dirty secret to light.
A couple walked past them, the woman’s long blond mane fell below her waist, she looked at Keith and blushed. Her eyes twinkled a deep blue, her counter partner hadn’t noticed, the bullheaded blond man was too engrossed with her. Alice ground her teeth and looked instead at the small stone fountain again. The water was a crisp blue, gently gushing into the belly of fountain, and then pooling into the pump to be gushed out again. She knew this because she had helped her grandfather build it when she was eight.
Alice looked up and noticed the couple had stopped walking and the woman was openly staring at Keith with a hunger even Alice could notice. Alice took a side glance at Keith, who only shrugged. Of course women of all ages and types wanted him. She rolled her eyes. “You get a lot of attention still, I see,” she spat it out with a lot of venom.
“Doesn’t mean I go for them all, Angel.”
She made a sound that could pass for “mmm-hmm”, he raised an eyebrow at her.
“You take me for a man whore, sugar?” He emphasized the word whore enough to get her to squint her eyes. “Oh, come on sugar, I ain’t that bad a person ‘round ‘ere.”
Alice snorted. “Tell that to the girl whom you broke her heart some ten years ago.” She clamped her mouth shut. She hadn’t meant to say it, but it had sneaked past before she could catch it. “Fuck,” she whispered.
“When did I break your heart, Angel?” Keith leaned towards her, his golden eyes staring intensely into hers.
“Doesn’t matter, past tense.” She ground her teeth at her stupidity. “Would you back off, you barbarian?”
He laughed darkly, his eyes flashed hot and steady. She gulped nervously. “Not a chance, Angel.”
His arms were around her quicker before she could react, she yelped in surprise, her eyes as wide as saucers, full of fear and uncertainty. He took the opportunity to lean closer, his eyes holding a predatory gleam, his mouth tilting into a sly grin. Alice uselessly pushed him away, her hands meeting a hard plain of muscles upon muscles on his chest.
“Let me go, Keith!”
He growled into her ear, a deep rumble ran through his chest and up his throat. His voice was soft and smoky, “not until I get what I want.” He pulled back an inch to catch the O that had formed on her lips. He smiled wolfishly; he aimed to get a kiss from her pretty lips. He took the initiate to lean towards her; he tilted his head and laid a hard, deep kiss on her resisting lips. A sting ran from his lip up his face, he pulled back and tasted blood. She had bit him.
Alice glared angrily up at him, the bastard he was, had always been a good kisser, and she was a sucker for good kissers. Before she let him catch his breath, she slapped him hard across the face. The SMACK! Sounded throughout the small clearing in the park, drawing the attention of onlookers. The woman from before stared at Alice with mock horror, her jaw had dropped, forming a delicate O on her lips.
“Try that again, you self-absorbed asshole!” Her voice rang throughout the clearing, she was sure people at the park could hear her. Keith stood and laughed. Alice instinctively took a step back, preparing to bolt. “Christ, your only one step up from a caveman. Where’s your dinosaur bone? I’m sure it would be useful right about now.”
He had to smile, her sapphire eyes blazed with anger and fury but she was still gorgeous. “I think I left it back at the cave,” he leaned down to her and caught the feint scent of lavender perfume. “Want to come back with me to find it?”
“Fuck. You. Keith. Gordon.” She went to slap him, but he easily caught her wrist and pinned her with a naughty-naughty look. “Unlike all the other little… tramps you run around with, I don’t sleep with anyone for the hell of it. I have standards.” She yanked back from his hold and stared up at him with a look of hurt and hate.
She turned and bolted from the clearing. The onlookers who had witnessed the scene stared at her in mute horror. She knew what they were thinking and she hated it. Poor thing, getting used again by the same man who had hurt her ten years ago. The poor darling, she’ll be alright, she’ll simply run off again. The hell she will, she thought bitterly to herself. The fools of this town labeled her as a run-away when she ran off nine years ago and that was why she hadn’t come back to visit over the years, they stared at her with open dislike, labeling her a deserter because she wanted to get away from the man who had ultimately shattered her heart.
Alice’s vision blurred, the tears she had fought against in the clearing now ran down her face, the faces around her blurred and distorted. She hadn’t come home to face the demons of her past, she came to heal and fate was laughing in her face. Keith, the selfish, self-absorbed asshole had the gulls to kiss her! As if she needed any physical evidence that she still loved him. Ha!
A well-used old bench came into her view, it was vacant and she thanked God that it was. Alice threw herself at the bench and sat down. Sobs shook her body all the way to her toes; she clutched useless at her now rumpled blouse and pulled it down. Her attempts to straighten the fabric went on uselessly. Her denim capris hung shamefully from her hips, her sudden and long run had rumpled the poor things into a submissive state of shame.
The park went on, the birds chirped happily to one another, children squeaked and yelled at one another, people walked by and talked merrily to each other. And here she sat, barely raking together enough sanity to open her eyes. Alice stared out into a field of dark green, the hills sloping gently into flat fields. Trees dotted the flat land; the leaves a dark shade of green and the bark a gentle brown. She noticed none of it however; her heart was elsewhere and her mind was shutting down to protect her heart.
She didn’t need to be reminded of the pain Keith had caused her. Every time he was around her, pain and old bruises resurfaced their ugly faces, sneering and laughing at her. She had fled her home, ran like Satan himself was after her, and ran to the city, to get lost in the crowd and to forget her own pains. Forget broken, her heart had shattered. She had barely picked the pieces up, no amount of mending and solitude had melded the pieces back together, what was left of her heart was guarded. The glue holding the tiny pieces together would let go at the mere thought of Keith. After all these years… he could still cause her so much pain and emotion.