200 – 8

He always whispered when we were in bed. I found it most intimate when his voice was rough. He smelled of Marlboro red and the future doctissimo viagra 25. I used to look at the ceiling and paint our portrait in his words. He used to touch my hipbone in triangular patterns. I’ve always loved triangles.

His car carried the smell of Fahrenheit. Occasionally it smelled like weed and sex and what could only be two people loving each other.

200 – 7

Tell me you love me, he said. I was peeling potatoes in a rare display of my housewife side. He was an occasional thing, a rather interesting distraction when I had to wait for my love to come home. He said it again and this time I laughed. I enjoy your dick, I replied, nothing more. He pouted. Stood behind me and hugged me. His hands held on to my tits. That’s a shame, he said. I’d give you everything you ever wanted.

I turned in his embrace. Can you bring him home faster, I asked. He sighed. You crazy bitch, he offered affectionately. You stupid girl, he kept saying. I could love you like no one else ever will, he told me.

I pulled his head back, bit his neck. How about you eat my food and fuck me well, and I might consider going out with you once, I asked. He snorted. If you do that thing you always do, he started, his hands on my ass, I’ll do whatever you want.

I smiled. Dinner was late that night, but my love returned early. I don’t know if it was the other proving his love, but it worked.

200 – 6

Mornings have always been harsh to me. On the worst of them, it felt like I was Andersen’s Little Match Girl looking through a window to the future I would never have. He would open his eyes and look at me. What are you thinking about, he’d ask. Well, love, I’d say with a sigh, can you plan a wedding from the bed?

It was our little joke, talking about getting married. I bought him a cock ring once, just to prove that I was serious. His voice first thing in the morning was the preemptive bliss of the life we would spend together. When he complained about pulling a muscle, or wanting coffee, it felt like there was little more to care for in the world other than stroking his stubbled cheek.

He’d smile and tell me all about it. The Western like modern fairy tale without the virgins and the castles. Who’d give you away, love, he’d ask, and I’d have to joke and tell him it would be him.

We’d fight over the wedding night: rough or gentle, then proceed to act it out, in a territorial role-play game of fucking and loving.

200 – 5

There was something about his smile. Not radiant, like romance novels would have people believe, but rather carrying the burden of undertones, of layers. There was him, and right under his skin there was another him, with the left corner of his mouth a fraction higher than before.

I heard a knuckle or two crack next to my ear. He shifted. I gasped. Above me; that’s when I think his smile was the most honest. When he shook his head to get the strands of hair out of his eyes. I lifted my hand and brushed them away.

Slow down, I told him. He raised an eyebrow. I’m not asking, I started and lost my breath for a moment because he shifted just so, I’m not as-as-king you to re-enact Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I said, you don’t love me like that. He stopped. Buried his head in my hair.

I held on to him, kept him on me, in me, with me. When he looked up again, his smile was there. It grew into a smirk, the familiarity of it safe and inviting. His fingers caught in my hair and pulled.

Only when I let you, he ordered. Only then.

200 – 4

When he came over that day I wouldn’t get out of bed. He let himself in and sat down on the bed. Picked up my guitar and played that folk song to me. I cried quietly. I lacked the energy for anything else.

Love, he said to me. Love, he started, and I couldn’t make the distinction between the noun and the endearment term. Come, he said, and I crawled into his arms. I crashed into him.

He kissed me; held me through the night. Slowly, when the sunrise came so did I.

I love you, he said. I love you more than anything else. I nodded. I knew pas de viagra.

He lit my cigarette, held it for me. You’ll be okay, he said, we’ll be okay. In his arms, where I was no more than a child mourning her favourite character’s death, it was quiet and warm. He brushed my hair back. Kissed my temple. Held me when he sank again and again. Later, when I was much better, back in make-up, I told him I like it when we make love. He smiled.

200 – 3

He read Whitman to me; I was in the tub, legs up and a razor in my hand. When I cut my thigh he sighed, put the book down and crossed his arms. You don’t see me slicing my face off when I shave my beard, he said. What, that once a month thing you ask me to do for you, I asked. He laughed. Looked at me. Your left nipple is harder than your right, he pointed. Well, I started, well, even that’s bipolar about me.

It was hot as fuck, even with the windows wide open. He fanned himself with my novel manuscript. I sat next to him, cigarette lit and dried blood on my leg. He scratched it away and smiled. Brought his lips to my ankle, kissed it and pulled me closer to him.

It’s too hot to fuck, I told him. He pulled the blue scarf from under the bed. I don’t remember asking you anything, he whispered. My “yes, Sir” was hushed with a look. Now be a good girl and lift your arms. Now be a good girl and remember all this; you’ll write it down someday.

200 – 2

When he grabbed the back of my neck, I thought I was going to swoon. Not like a Disney princess, but like a spent whore. I had to look up to see his smile, and it made me want to kneel and choke. I got Chivas in my car, he said. What, do you drink and drive, I asked. He pulled my hair and made me look him fully in the eyes. No, he said. No, I drink and fuck. I laughed. Have you ever had your dick sucked when you were doing 180 on the fucking highway? He closed his eyes for a minute.

When he finally stopped the car, my heart was racing faster than his midlife crisis car was minutes before. I was only half a good girl, and when he could speak again he pointed it out. I only got home two days later, with rope burns and a newfound appreciation for cushioned seats. I never saw him again, but he called me once. He told me he’s a dad now. I told him I can do second gen as well.

200 – 1

I don’t want to go out today, I told him. He raised an eyebrow and smiled. Why, he asked me. Well, I started, I don’t feel pretty today. And you’re gonna have more fun without me. He laughed. Actually laughed. Then he brought me my make-up bag. I looked up; I thought you didn’t like me wearing too much make-up. I like you happy, he said, and for you to be happy you need to be confident, and if that’s what it takes, I’ll hold your mirror for you. We were late that night. My lipstick was on point, though.

Back to back

NB: Not fitting the 200 words or less pattern, but a one off because it is thematically identical to the rest.

He came down to see me one evening. The summer chill of approaching rain was welcome in my too hot bedroom. I sat cross-legged and waited. He looked around my room, taking in the drawings and the yellowed hue of the walls. He had helped me colour it with cigarette smoke. Eventually he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“I dreamt of you last night,” he said with a small smile.
“Was I naked?”
“When are you not? It was a good dream.”
“I’m not naked now,” I offered.
“You’re briefly naked.”
I was rather half clothed, indeed. My long hair fell down to cover the low cut of my top. It was particularly hot. He lunged for my wrist, held it and stared for a second. Then he kissed the inside, where my veins were too blue under the thin skin. In years to come, getting a tattoo there hurt spectacularly. His eyes never left mine; the brief protection of my glasses was suddenly not enough.
It started raining, complete with the rolling of thunder.
“I know what you like the most,” he said, licking the side of my wrist.
“Well, you are my established boyfriend,” I told him kindly.
“Such a strong term. Are you sure?”
“I have to be, you’re in my bed and we’re about to have sex.”
“Oh, you’ve decided. I came for dinner, actually.”
“I’m about to come for dinner,” I joked.
“And don’t give me that shit about being in your bed. How many others have been in your bed before?”
I had no answer. No specific one, anyway. “Do you remember all the girls’ special spots?”
“Only the ones I love. And the one I had last night, but she was vile. My ears are still ringing. She had this thing about her ribs, said it made her tickle in a good way.”
I laughed, got up and cooked for him. We had our food on the kitchen balcony, where the storm would occasionally get to us. I sneezed four times – hay fever was a bitch that year.
He later said he loved me again, and this time, when I stopped crying, I said it back.

I went to see him one Sunday. His great grandma was in church. She was partly deaf and fairly blind. Old as fuck as well. We used to call her ‘grand-maman’; the pronunciation was getting progressively worse as we got drunker. She never picked us up on it, bless her. Odds are, she didn’t hear.
He opened the door with sleepy eyes, dressed in jeans and beautifully shirtless. I blinked, then hung my head.
“What’s up?” he asked leaning on the frame. His hand shot out to touch me, but ran through his hair instead. We were still upset or something.
“I can’t find my pencil. The ochre one, you know?”
He sighed and opened his arms to invite me in. They wrapped around me like a cage of sorts. In the entrance to the unexpectedly modern house, he engulfed me in the whole that was his being. If he could let me crawl inside his soul and sit there, waiting for the world to end, he would have.
He was taller than me, with a flair for making me feel safe. It was a home I found myself craving too often for comfort. It scared me the way darkness did, because it left me uncertain of what I would be capable of doing once I realised the gravity of things.
“I’m sorry,’ I told him, my whisper muffled by the skin I was pressed on.
“I know. So am I.”
The door shut quietly behind me while he guided me to the bed. We stood next to it, drinking in each other. When we were finally a tangle of limbs and skin, my chin rested on his chest. He looked down and stroked my cheek,
“Sometimes you look at me with such adoration, it scares me,” he said.
“Shh.” I smiled wider. “That’s because I do adore you,” I replied.
He pretended to get out a notepad. “Can I quote you on that?”
He did; to all our friends. I don’t think I ever lived it down.