Late next morning she emerges, dishevelled. Desirable, despite wearing a shapeless, dull-grey facility issue tracksuit. A reserve of questions is apparent in her hesitant greeting.
“Did you put me to bed? I can’t remember getting there.”
I’m already up. Seeing as I slept on the couch that involves opening my eyes. An accomplishment that is barely sustainable. I haven’t moved further than opening a pill container and dribbling one last mouthful of Scotch into my mouth. I shudder in the thrall of last night’s drugs dirty residue, waiting for this morning’s fresh batch to kick in. Repressed urges make me grumpy. Like a Troll.
“Oooohhhh yeah, I carried your heavy arse. You were blind. On three shots!”
My attempt at a sneer sends shooting pains into my head. A guilty conscious slanders me by flushing cheeks with blood.
“Don’t drink that much usually. My head hurts.”
“It’s called a hangover, Ms Clean...look, let’s get something straight. I never touched you last night. Not in THAT way, just so you know.”
Blurting this out is a matter of urgency. The issue, now raised, requires a rapid conclusion before the arms of Morpheus enclose me. A background buzz comes alive deep inside my chest, promising great things. A tense silence draws out. She studies me curiously under a deconstructive microscope.
Shit. I need more than that. Did she really know?
Holy crap! The pleasure centres of my brain have started a party. I’m streaking through the stratosphere. Ground to rocket man, stay on track, repeat, stay on track.
The current problem is important enough to bring me back to earth. Things are strained enough around here. I can’t leave her moping around, clinging to mistaken beliefs. She’d second-guess my every move, and I’d worry about euthanasia at her hands. I’m selfish, yes; horny, yes; but I’m no rapist, and some frightened lesbian cutting off my dick while I sleep is a dreaded prospect.
“You wrote yourself off on purpose, didn’t you? So I could fu...have...sex...with you...by myself.”
Said with distaste, I make it sound shameful that she’d think I’d lower myself to such depravity. Her eyes widen at my bluntness, and it’s her turn to flush.
“Yeah. You can...it’s what you want isn’t it? I made it easy for you to...to pay you back for saving me from the Crawly.”
Her voice is flat, eyes downcast.
“Wrong! Well, partly right, but you don’t owe me. You got it off my face first, that’s reason enough. And then you nursed me when I was crook! Gonna take me forever to make that up to you.
This place is big enough for both of us. You can stay as long as you want. No strings attached. I’m no monster, Babe, I’m just your average fuck-up.”
Eloquently put old man. I sail a hand through the pressing air in her direction. Kristine shakes the floppy appendage, smiling in relief.
Her touch is disproportionately pleasing and I don’t regret giving up the key to her pleasure house. That brief, non-consensual encounter, would have sullied an unusually resilient mind. If she has the will and determination to get a grip on this new life, good luck to her. Far be it for me to bring her down to my level.
“Great. Glad we got that cleared up. I’m about to pass out, so why don't you amuse yourself for a while.”
I think about telling her not to molest me in my sleep and bite my tongue hard. The joke would fall miserably flat, maybe returning an elephant to a room already crowded with others. One’s name is Addiction, the other Mental Stability. They’d have to wait their turn to be dismissed.