He’d heard about the hot blonde at the bar all week, from almost every guy he passed. So it wasn’t that surprising when he walked into a bar full of guys surrounding one pool table in the back. The lighting wasn’t as dim as he was used to in most of the crappy bars he’d frequented; in fact, it was well lit, and the music was too loud and too familiar. There were a lot of things, all of a sudden, that were just too damn familiar.
He wound his way through people, up to the bar and sat down. He ordered a beer and turned in his seat to watch the pool game through the throng of raunchy old men and horny college boys. He thought it was almost funny how some things stay just exactly the same as they always were, even after you run a few thousand miles away.
He couldn’t hear anything being said, but she tossed her head back and laughed, long and loud, blonde hair flowing down her back. Her tee-shirt was tight enough to show that her bra wasn’t padded, which was just as obvious by the points of her nipples through the thin fabric; her jeans looked like she had to be poured into them. He watched someone lick her throat, sprinkle salt on the wet spot and then lick it again before doing a shot of tequila. He watched her hold the lime between her lips and as the guy leaned forward and took it, mouth lingering too long before pulling back with the lime between his teeth. Sam wanted to gag, watching the display, but he didn’t move; he sat with his beer, watching everything going on.
He drank slowly, watching her dancing now. She let skeevy guys get too close, put their hands on her hips, wind their fingers in her hair, and Sam’s fists were itching to connect with their faces. Sam choked down another gulp of room temperature beer when she was sandwiched between two guys, grinding between the two of them. She lifted her arms, beer in one hand, and tipped her head back onto the shoulder of the guy behind her, while the guy in front of her held onto her hips; he ground their pelvises together and bent forward to put his mouth on her neck. Sam could feel the fury building up and boiling to the surface; he felt his face heat up with anger.
He’d heard at least a dozen guys talk about fucking her; heard half of them talk about her mouth (God, her mouth…) and he didn’t want two more to have a dirty story to tell about her. Part of him knew she was doing all of this shit because of him, because he left, and it’s as much an outlet for her as it punishment for him. He knows her, he’s known her his whole damn life, and he knows she picked this bar on purpose; this bar that’s not even twenty minutes from his dorm house, this bar where college boys went and could go back to campus and share their conquest stories, of which at least one would have to make it back to him. She did this shit on purpose, and maybe he deserved that, but he was pissed. He wanted to grab her and shake her and ask her why she would degrade herself this way, why she would let this guys even touch her.
When the guy behind her started to kiss her and the guy in front of her was sliding his hands up her tee-shirt, Sam had enough. He’d just had enough. He slammed his beer bottle hard enough on the bar to make the bartender glare, but he didn’t even apologize, just made his way over to the three of them. He pulled the guy at her front by his shoulder, practically ripping him off of her, and Sam didn’t even pay attention to the pissed-off what the fuck shot at him. She pulled her mouth away from the other guy and smiled – she fucking smiled – and said “Hey, Sammy.”
“Let’s go,” Sam said, grabbing her arm and yanking her away from the other guy.
“Hey asshole, we’re having a good time here,” he said.
“Don’t,” Sam said, towering over him; he could feel his anger practically dripping off of him, and there must have been something in his eyes that let this guy know that if he touched her, he’d pull back missing a limb because he raised his arms in surrender and let Sam drag her out of the bar.
Outside Sam pushed her against the brick wall and held her there; it was colder out here and her nipples stood out under the flimsy tee-shirt. “What’s the matter, Sam? Don’t like what you see?”
“Fuck you,” he seethed. “Why would… Jesus Christ, Deanna, why the hell would you slut yourself up like that?”
“So now I’m a slut?” She asked, eyes making perfect contact with his. She was pissed now, and he was glad; he wanted her to be pissed off, he wanted her to be just as angry as he was in that moment watching other men paw her. “That’s better than being a coward,” she hissed, alcohol on her breath.
“Don’t you dare call me a coward,” he said lowly. He wanted to hit her; he out right wanted to punch her in the face, even though he never would; so he hit the brick wall beside her head. “Don’t you fucking call me a coward!” She looked a little surprised and he barely noticed the pain in his hand. “I left so I could have a life, so I could make something of myself! And you’re just pissed because you’re stuck, Deanna. You’re stuck following Dad around like a lost little puppy and following every goddamn order he gives you. You’re stuck saying ‘how high’ every time he tells you to jump!”
He didn’t see it coming, but her fist connects solidly with the side of his face. He has to turn his head with the force of it, and takes a minute to touch his hand to the sore spot; there’s a split in his cheek from the ring she always wears, and it hurts. It hurts and he presses his hand against it to hurt more, to feel something other than the numbness he’s felt instead of the triumph he thought he’d feel when he left.
“Fuck you,” she seethed. She shoved him hard in the chest, hard enough to make him stumble back a few steps. “Fuck you, Sam! You ran away! After everything you fucking left me behind!”
And there it was. He left her; he always knew that’s what it would come down to. The anger drained out of him, and suddenly he was just tired. He was tired of trying to justify a life outside of hunting, away from credit card fraud and hustling pool to get money; he was tired of trying to justify being safe, having a normal life, so that maybe someday he won’t have to subject his own children to a life on the road, a life full of lies.
“Deanna,” he said. “I didn’t leave you. God, why don’t you get that my leaving had nothing to do with you?”
“It had everything to do with it, Sam,” she said shaking her head. “You were so desperate to get the hell out, just dying to have your normal life; you didn’t even consider me, how I felt. You just said you were leaving… and then you were gone.”
“But it wasn’t because of you, goddamn it!”
She shook her head. “Whether I was the cause or not, you left me. Don’t you get that?”
For the first time Sam could see real hurt in her eyes. He knew she didn’t want him to go, she all but begged him to stay, but he didn’t think it was because she actually wanted him to hang around; he thought she was being the dutiful daughter, trying to keep the family together because it’s what Dad told her to do. He felt suddenly so helpless, so clueless; he felt like he didn’t know anything.
“Deanna,” he said softly, looking down at the gouged pavement.
“We should fix up your hand,” she said. This she was good at; she could dodge and avoid things like no one he had ever known, and it was clear that at least for now this conversation was over. Sam just nodded, knowing there was no fight left here. “I’ll drive us back to your place.”
He didn’t ask her how she knew where he lived; he led her up the stairs to his room and unlocked the door to let her in. There was a lamp on in the corner; he always left it on when he left, or when he came in he’d couldn’t see and wound up hitting his shins on something. He was thankful that his roommate was gone for the weekend because he knew Deanna, he knew them, and sometimes things between them could get ugly and he didn’t want to have to explain to anyone.
“Where’s your first aid kit?” She asked, and Sam motioned to the nightstand. She found it in the top drawer with an unopened box of condoms and lubricant. Her eyes shifted to him, but her face was expressionless and she said nothing, so he looked down at his lap. “You’re an idiot,” she said and Sam’s eyes shifted back up to her. “Why the hell would you hit a brick wall?”
He shrugged, not about to say it was better than hitting you, but the way she looked at him let him know, clearly, she knew that was his reason. “You should go,” he said. “I can wrap this up myself.”
“Shut up,” she said, kneeling down in front of him. “Tomorrow, you need to get your hand x-rayed.”
“It’s not broken,” Sam said, bending and straightening his fingers to prove his point. “I just sprained it and cut my knuckles; it’s fine.”
Her hands were gentle as she wiped at his knuckles with an antiseptic wipe, and gentle still as she began to wrap the bandage around his hand and wrist. Her touch had his skin on fire and it made him antsy, unable to sit still; he didn’t know if he wanted to push her away and tell her to just get out, or if he wanted to pull her in his lap and kiss her until they couldn’t breathe. “Dee,” he said softly and she looked up as she taped the end of the bandage in place. With his free hand he touched her face, and for a moment she let him; then she closed her eyes and turned her face away.
“Sammy,” she said softly shaking her head. He waited for her to push him, to storm out and slam the door, but she didn’t. Instead, she leaned up and kissed him, her lips full and soft on his. And it was like the floodgates burst open; there was no stopping this now. He grabbed her and pulled her up into his lap, hands tangled in her hair, angling her head the way he wanted it; she wrapped her arms around his neck and held on, fingers tight in his hair.
“God, I missed you so much,” he panted against her mouth and he pulled her shirt over her head, his following right after. He pressed his mouth to the curve of her neck and shoulder and pressed his hands to her back, fingers working open the clasp of her bra. His pulse was racing and his heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest when he felt her fingers working open his belt, the button on his jeans, and then sliding down his zipper. He had never been so hard in his whole life, and he wanted this so bad it almost hurt.
When she pushed him back he was afraid she was changing her mind, but she was only sliding off her jeans and panties; he followed her example, sliding out of the rest of his clothes. They switched positions – she lay on her back on his bed, and he hovered over her. “I’m sorry,” he whispered into her skin, pressing kisses everywhere he could touch. She gripped his hair tight, pulling him up to her mouth, and he shivered.
“Come on,” she urged, thrusting her hips up to make her point.
He reached out to the nightstand, the top drawer still open and grabbed the box of condoms; he sat back on his heels, still hovering over her legs and opened the box. He tossed the box on the floor and tore the foil with his teeth; he rolled the condom on himself and lay back over her, kissing her softly.
“Just come on, Sam,” she said, pulling him forward by the hips.
It was easy to push inside her again, to feel like this again; it was too easy to get caught up in it, lost in all of this. He didn’t think about what was going to happen tomorrow or the day after that – he thought about the way she felt around him, warm and slick, panting against his mouth. He didn’t wait any longer, thrusting into her too quickly, but they found a rhythm and it was like nothing had changed.
She dug her nails into his skin, leaving small crescent marks when she came; it was all he could do to hold on. He lost his rhythm and his whole body trembled, and he cried out softly against her mouth when his orgasm crashed into him. She ran her fingers through his hair, ran her hands down his back to soothe the tremors still wracking his body. He could hardly hear anything over the rush in his ears, could feel himself drifting, exhausted from all of it – seeing her with other men, fighting with her, fucking. He was just exhausted, and if he imagined her saying she loved him, it was okay.