Chapter _; bi
working chapter title: homesick hopes
He walked in the front door and tossed his keys onto the small table nearby. He didn't even have to lift his eyes. The palm of his hand was still holding the door open.
He could smell it.
In the air, in the lingering scent of her blood. Traces of it littered the oxygen around him.
It made him angry. How could she? He stood, stunned still for a moment, grappling with the idea in his mind. Hadn't he been clear? Hadn't she understood?
Did it even matter if she had, at the time? It clearly hadn't lasted.
A sinister anger infected his veins rapidly, coursing through his entire body in a heartbeat. She'd fucking lied to him, he thought. Pilot swallowed down the acerbic taste of fury on his tongue. He slammed the door and the frame buckled slightly.
Pulling out the tin of neatly rolled joints, his hand shaking, he dug into his jeans pocket for his lighter. His blood was on fire with a maddening vexation. He lit the joint and took a few deep drags before he considered searching for her.
His muscles relaxed incrementally, save for his jaw - which he clamped shut and loosened rhythmically; a tick he'd developed in basic training.
He looked down at the tin, fighting the urge to crush it in his palm. All that fucking effort, he thought to himself; all that fucking effort to get her this stupid fucking tin - and this is what she'd been doing?
Did she even fucking hear him when he spoke?
His feet moved before he consciously told them to, and he made his way down the hallway. He threw open the doors, scanning the room before moving on, and found the bathroom door slightly ajar.
His heart skipped a beat as he touched his fingertips to it, pushing it open. For an instant, he was eight again, pushing open his mother's bathroom door. He caught the first glimpse of pooling blood on tile just as the flashback ended.
Sunlight filtered into the room through the sepia tinted windows. The white tile floor was clean. He knew he'd found her before he saw her leg thrown over the side of the tub. The cocaine left a bad after-scent in his nostrils. Smoke wafted into his eyes and he took the joint from between his lips.
He moved closer and paused, surprised at how un-surprised he was to find her entirely nude and unconscious. At least there wasn't any water in the tub, he thought, exhaling, and leaned down to grip her chin in his hand.
"Wake the fuck up, Eden," he said, and she did.
Like a switch had been flipped, her eyes snapped open and she met his emerald eyes. She stuttered at first, scrambling to acquaint herself with the situation. "Pilot," she breathed, finally, "hi."
Her eyes glowed in the light, warm and familiar - a cross between melted butter and raw honey. She scanned his gaze frantically, her chapped lips attempting to offer him a smile one, two, three times before finally giving up.
She hated when he looked at her like that. She recognized the steel behind the lush forest greens of his eyes. A hidden city, shrouded by dense woods. Sometimes he could be more cruel in one gaze than she thought anyone could be with actions.
When he didn't speak, she grew worried. She watched him lift his smoke to his lips and rest it there. Periodically, he would blow smoke from his nostrils, but the silence stretched on.
"What the fuck were you thinking?"
It was the first thing spoken between them in over twenty minutes. He'd finished his first smoke and had lit another. He was nearly finished with the second, his voice was gravelly with all of the smoking.
She wanted to play stupid, to try for meek and helpless, because everything inside of her was afraid. Afraid he'd snapped, afraid he'd had enough. Afraid she wasn't ready. Afraid he hadn't snapped and this was just the beginning.
She sucked it up and sighed, "I thought I could be discrete."
His eyes hadn't changed, and she attempted to avoid them. Staring at her fingernails and digging out the small amounts of mystery grit beneath them. She tried to forget she was naked; she wasn't about to get up and get dressed, and it certainly wasn't like he hadn't seen her naked. Immediately, her mind wandered.
["Quit fucking smirking, Eden."
She slumped her shoulders, irritated at him and at herself for having been distracted. He didn't have to be such a jerk about it all the time.]
"If you were so desperate, you could have asked me," he said, but she wasn't sure she believed him.
She could just imagine how that would have gone over, she thought to herself. "No I couldn't, Pilot," she said, her voice low. She didn't want to argue.
"Stop it," he snarled. She looked up instinctively, alarmed by his tone. "Stop trying to dismiss this. We're having this out, right now." There was no room for compromise between his words.
Eden kept her mouth shut, but wondered what would happen if she continued to avoid the fight.
He rose from his crouched position, his legs obviously stiff but he ignored it, and snatched his bathrobe from the back of the door. Turbulent viridian worlds avoided looking at her as he threw the bathrobe at her. "Put this on," he said, "I'll be in the bedroom."
He was waiting for her when she made her way through the doorway, cinching the tie around her waist. Her auburn hair was loose around her shoulders and hung in front of her face. She kept her eyes downcast.
He hated when she did that.
"We're in trouble, Eden," he said. She seated herself in the recliner beside the window, her teeth worrying her bottom lip. "I'm serious," he continued, "I can't do this anymore." He shook his head, exasperated and furious and tired. "I'm trying to protect us, but it's like you deliberately make it harder for me." He wasn't sure how he was managing to speak so concisely when everything inside of him screamed to break the furniture and shatter the windows.
The fury within him raged against his skeleton. He struggled to look at her and not snap, not erupt with all the bitterness and frustration that was building in his chest. Swelling and growing, feeding on itself.
'You don't know what you're saying," she said, turning her attention to the world beyond the panes of glass. "You're high," she shook her head, as if to shake the thoughts from it, "you don't know what you're saying."
"I'm high?" He was screaming, then; for the first time in their relationship, he was screaming at her. "I'm fucking high, Eden? What about you?"
"That's the entire reason we shouldn't do this right now, Pilot!" She flung herself up from the recliner, the bottom of his bathrobe swishing about her calves. Her hair flew back from her face and he could see the heat in her golden eyes. A frenzy so fine, so pristine, it was like searching for shards of thin glass in the snow.
He scowled at her, sore that she was probably right. It would do them both some good to have this conversation when they were calmer. That wasn't what he wanted, though; his frantic nerves buzzed beneath his skin, the raw energy of his ire vibrating through his body.
He was going to leave, he realized, if the conversation continued. She'd known he was going to leave before he knew, he thought. Her father's voice rang in his head.
Just sleep on it. She needs you.