The words that I’m forbidden from saying…
The thoughts that I forbade myself from thinking…
Garry dropped his shirt onto the sink where he’d left his khaki pants beforehand and started to undress. As soon as he got out of the grey shirt he was wearing, his eyes fell onto the laundry basket on the marble shelf, pushed against the wall opposite of him. Over the week, his clothes had managed to accumulate into a fair mount inside the basket, but that wasn’t what caught his attention. Crowning the top of said mount was the unmistakable white of her hoodie.
He cautiously scanned his surrounding, as though someone could be spying on him in the empty bathroom, before crossing the small distance to the laundry basket. His jaw worked as a slight discomfort shot through his stomach, and he slowly brought his hand to touch the fine material of the hoodie. At first, he hesitantly ran his fingertips over the crumpled surface, but it didn’t take long for any second-guesses he might have had to vanish without a trace. He picked the hoodie up and took note of the small turtleneck and skirt lying directly beneath it. His heart beat slowly, but loudly inside his chest as he used his other hand to search through the basket. He didn’t see her panties, so he could now rest assured she at least had them on underneath his shirt.
Ignoring the questionable pang of disappointment that lurked in a corner of his mind, he put the hoodie back down and… grabbed the turtleneck.
Just by holding it near, his nose could already begin to get whiffs of the faint fragrance coming from the creamy fabric of her shirt. The sweet smell seemed to pull his face closer and closer by the seconds, in spite of the ugly churn in his guts. The part of him that was fervently against this was slowly becoming numb, fading away. Reaching down, he pulled at the zipper, hand sliding under the waistband of his briefs.
He really shouldn’t.
But he couldn’t care less.
Swallowing the saliva practically gushing from his glands, he pressed the piece of clothing to his face and let her scent flood his nose and fill his lungs to their brim. His lids became heavy and fell shut. His fingers curled around his hardened shaft, freeing it from its tight confines, and started a stroking motion.
Indecent fantasies began forming in his head.
On the dark marble floor warmed by the shower water pouring down on them, she squirmed under his weight, small fingers desperately clung to the back of his neck, gripping at his hair. Her body was feverish against his. He had an arm snaked under her petite frame to keep her back off the hard marble floor as he roughly thrust in and out of her.
Garry exhaled into the fabric warm from the prior breaths he’d taken and prematurely sucked in another one through his nostrils, relishing the waves of arousal that ran down his shoulders and spine. He felt himself sway back and instinctively bent forward. He might be losing balance, but he couldn’t be sure – his eyes were closed and he couldn’t spare the strength to open them, too immersed in indulging his putrid desire. As heat gathered between his legs, slowly building up, his knees suddenly caved and he collapse onto them. His hand didn’t stop; he was too far gone, his mind overflowing with vision of her young body dominated by him.
Her eyes squeezed shut as she bit back a surprised gasp; pink, dampened lips did their best to keep her voice down in vain. Her hair was soaked, sticking to her cheeks and neck, and splayed on the glazed floor. She shakily parted her eyelids, ruby orbs peeked up at him from underneath. Her usual calmness disturbed, she arched her flat chest towards him and threw her head back.
Sweat beaded his forehead and dampened the skin on his back. He grinded his jaw and nuzzled further into the shirt crumpled in his hand. His toes curled against the hard floor, he could feel his entire being tighten up. His climax was coming. He gave himself one final tug, groaning out loud and nearly shouting as his seeds spilled all over the floor, white mush stark on black tiles.
Garry breathed heavily, shoulders rising and falling in a hazardous manner. He lowered her clothes away from his face, his other hand fell limp by his side. His chest hurt from chaotic heartbeats and lack of oxygen, but nothing could dull the pleasure that coursed through his veins.
He looked down at the wrinkled turtleneck, swallowing amidst his ragged breathing. Just like many times before, after the hormones high had passed, all he was left with was a gut-wrenching guilt.
Garry slowly exited the bathroom without daring to look back. It was as though he was turning away from some contemptible side of himself together with its deeds inside. He turned the lights off. Shrouded in the darkness of the apartment, he took a glance at the light pouring through the kitchen’s door, trying to return to his normal mindset. He… already had his moss green shirt on, and brown khaki pants, a-and he’d put the used clothes – hers included – into the washing machine. Was there something else he should do before coming back to her? He hoped there was nothing off about him.
He patted down his body, checking the pockets on his pants to make sure that there was nothing that would give away that episode back inside the bathroom. Though if he thought about it, there shouldn’t be anything. Well, better to be safe than sorry.
Breathing deeply, he prepared himself for the sight of her in his baggy shirt and walked to the kitchen.
As it turned out, with proper preparation, seeing her sitting in wait for him at the table was more adorable than alluring. He felt silly to have reacted so fiercely before. Of course, he had to admit that her sitting on the other side of the table helped. It prevented him from seeing anything below her chest.
Ib didn’t say a word of complaint when he came back, and he was aware he’d taken his sweet time inside the shower. She only noted that the food had gone cold, to which he mock-chided her for waiting even though he’d told her not to. In any case, microwave easily fixed everything, and they soon began their dinner. Nothing fancy was on the table: rice, veggie omelet, a side of pickled cucumbers that his aunt had given him a while back, and soy sauce. Ib didn’t seem too fond of the pickles, he noticed. She only took one to eat out of courtesy and didn’t touch them again for the rest of the meal. He would like her to have something better, but he just wasn’t prepared to have guests. It was the end of the week and food in his fridge was running low. He hadn’t even expected Ib to show up without any prior agreements, much less to have her sleepover.
After dinner, it was fairly late into the night. He quickly rinsed the dishes, and Ib then helped him put them into the dishwasher. Unlike usual, he was the one to put the dishes inside and Ib just passed them over, because he didn’t want to have her crouching in front of him.
Then they both went to brush their teeth. His heart couldn’t help but quicken a little as he followed her inside the bathroom. There was a small panic as he couldn’t remember where he’d put the toothbrush she’d always used before; it had already been over a year after all. He’d put it away for it was too distracting outside.
Finding the toothbrush was easy enough, and afterwards, the real problem began. It was time to put her to bed.
“You’re not sleeping with me tonight?” she asked, a disappointed look on her face.
The girl sat in the middle of his bed with the blanket, thankfully, covering her legs.
If only she knew what her words could suggest. God forbid should he jump her right now.
“Sorry, sweetie,” he patted her head. “I have some homework to take care of. It’s really urgent,” because homework right after midterm was totally a thing.
Ib sullenly nodded and lay down, shuffling into the blanket. She rolled onto her side and watched as he headed for the door. “Garry, please don’t turn off all the lights.”
He halted just before flipping the white switches and turned back to her. “My, there’s only one light in here,” he chuckled, gesturing at the large widow wall on the other side of the room. “Isn’t the light in the garden enough?” She shook her head as clearly as she could lying down. “How’s this? I’ll leave the door open and study just outside on the couch. Hm?”
She appeared to hesitate, but nodded anyway. Usually, he would think more for her fear, but right now he just wanted to leave as soon as possible. “Good night, Ib,” he smiled.
He flicked the light off.
Ib continued to stare out the gap in the doorway that Garry had left for her. She couldn’t sleep, or perhaps she was waiting to see if Garry would finish whatever he was doing and join her in bed. A small part of her was sulking, but the sweet lavender smell coming from the sheets placated her somewhat. Still, this couldn’t be compared with Garry himself. It was cold even under the thick blanket, and she wished she could snuggle with him and share their body heat. And as they would drift to sleep, she could talk to him a little more.
Maybe it was because they hadn’t been together for a whole month that she felt especially loquacious today. She wanted to tell him about the things that had happened when he wasn’t there and see the gamut of his reactions.
She rolled onto her back and observed the protruding geometries of the ceiling. A year had passed since she’d last slept at Garry’s, and it’d slipped her mind that there was only one large light system installed above those blocks of shapes. Why did she stop sleeping over in the first place?
As she lay in silence, Ib thought about a lot of things. She just didn’t feel tired. Staying over was so that she could spend more time with him, and if that wasn’t possible then what was the point? She realized there were still so many things that she had yet to tell Garry: her last baby tooth finally fell out the day before; there was a blonde girl who had just transferred to the class next to hers; her recent essay got the highest grade in the class thanks to the rich vocabulary that Garry had taught her; the boys in class messed with her less now, and also…
The girl sat up and pushed the heavy blanket off her body.
It was so quiet. The tall lamp next to television did everything to ward off the eerie darkness in the living room; its orange-yellow light seemed to make the air a little bit less cold.
Garry lay sprawled on the couch, his head resting on one of the tall armrests. Even with the furniture’s length, he still had to bend his long legs slightly in order to fit himself in.
A hand over his eyes, he slowly massaged his lids while his other arm hung down from the cushion, knuckles touching the rug beneath. This sure reminded him of the time when he still had to share rundown apartments with other guys. It was quite hard to find guys willing to live with his habits – they acted like he would jump them in the night or something, and staying with girls was out of the question, so sometimes he would’ve found himself on some train station’s bench. Of course, this couch was still absolute luxury compared to those spine-bruising benches, but it was the cramped space that took him back.
He really had gotten used to the life of comfort, although he shouldn’t. Mr. Garland did not provide for him out of kindness. The man could take away everything right now with a single signature. None of this was his. He owned nothing, not even the clothes on his body. He was a stranded street rat… while she a pristine flower.
Don’t even dream of touching her.
Turning his neck, he glanced at the hourglass left on the corner of the table and lazily hefted his hanging arm to flip the bulb. The sand began flowing again.
Suddenly, his ears picked up a soft tapping sound. Before he could even wonder about it, she emerged from behind the couch.
“I-Ib?” he tensed, propping his elbows behind his back to push himself to a half sitting position. “What are you doing up?”
“I couldn’t sleep,” she answered, leaning forward on the armrest at his feet as he retracted his legs. Her eyes scanned the empty table, “Are you done?”
Garry inwardly winced. As far as she was concerned, this wasn’t his makeshift bed for the night and he would join her after he was done with his nonexistent homework. He really hadn’t accounted for her to come out and check up on him. “Er… no, no. I’m just… taking a break right now,” he managed with a weak smile. Just how long would it be until he could no longer fool her with these shameless lies?
“Oh,” she sounded disappointed.
“Don’t wait for me and go back to bed.”
She walked around the couch to stand next to him. “Can we talk a bit more?… Please?”
Her small hand tugged at his shirt’s shoulder. Garry looked up at Ib, not entirely focused on their conversation. He was tired… and she was beautiful. Something about the darkness just made her red orbs seem more mysterious. He lowered his gaze in a sigh. He really couldn’t win against her.
He fully pushed himself up to a sitting position and swung his legs down from the couch. Patting the cushion next to him, he smiled, “Alright, I’m all ears.”
Her features brightened up, and god, did she look adorable as she flopped down by his side. Stay calm. He could do this. It was just talking, what could go wrong?
They stayed in silence – one that wasn’t exactly awkward, but it wasn’t any comfortable for him either. He needed something to distract himself from thinking, and was hoping whatever talk she wanted to have would do the job. Ib needed time to prepare though. She always did, but he was feeling a rare impatience towards her tonight. He wanted to get this over with.
The hourglass wasn’t enough to hold his attention anymore, and he found himself glancing sideways at her. She gathered her legs to her chest and sank further into the couch, and he squirmed in his seat. The hem of his shirt was slipping from her thighs, revealing the smooth skin of her legs. Under the warm hue of the lamp, her skin took on a honey colour. The notion made his mouth watered. How defenselessly naïve. The way she rested her chin on her knees – hair spilling down her shoulders and arms – greatly stirred him. She was so small, so lovely. This kind of attraction towards a child was abnormal, but what was he supposed to do?
“Garry,” she unexpectedly called. He should be pretty used to her suddenly starting the conversation by now, but he still flinched.
The little girl turned fully to him, “Recently I don’t get…” Her words faded out as he stared at the dark space between her thighs. He couldn’t hear what she was saying, it was all a meaningless buzz in his head. He tried to keep his gaze up, but it kept scrolling back down. He couldn’t even open his mouth to tell her to lower her knees. His body stiffened. It wasn’t good. He was too conscious of her while she wasn’t at all aware of what her actions could do to him. Garry tentatively crossed his legs in attempt to suppress the unnatural bulge forming in his pants. Lord, he needed a distraction, but there was no cocoa or macarons for him to pour his attention onto this time around.
“Do you know why?”
Garry blinked. “E-eh?” he stuttered, hastily analyzing the situation and coming up with the appropriate smile to match her cheery demeanour. “Erm, w-why is that?”
Thankfully, Ib was too absorbed in whatever story she was telling to notice his lame response. With a bashful tilt of her head, she said in a small voice, “Ray was there.”
Ah… This again…
Garry held back a sigh and averted his gaze. For some reason, it didn’t feel like much of a shock anymore. She kept mentioning that damned brat randomly in their conversations. He understood from her stories that she was fascinated by the idea of having a friend her age, but really, was she that fascinated? Wasn’t he enough of a friend for her?
“Ray said he would protect me, just like you did,” oblivious to his mood that was quickly turning sour, Ib went on. “Um, he’s actually a lot like you.”
“Oh? How so?” he folded his arms, the bile rising in his throat. Now she was telling him that he and the brat were similar?
“Well, he’s… really kind and… really patient,” her finger nervously twiddled together as she tried to find the words to express herself. “… He says the same things that you do. Like the time that…”
He wasn’t listening anymore. She was actually telling him that the brat was the same as him? Treating her just like he did… saying the same things he did, the brat was basically him, and still she chose that brat over him?
A stab of pain shot through his lungs. His lips parted and the corners of his mouth twitched. He could just laugh at the ridiculousness of this all.
… You never considered me, did you?
Garry propped an arm on the back of the couch, turning to her. “Why, isn’t that good?” he chimed sweetly with a wide smile; the faux ring to his tone was annoying even for his own ears. “Seems like I won’t need to worry anymore. You two sound like you get along ju-st fine.”
Ib gave him an embarrassed look as he patted her head. He should be glad she was still too young to understand the sarcasm dripping from his voice, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t satisfied – at all. “So… Let’s go our separate ways from now on, you and I.”
He kept his smile, watching as hers was replaced with a look of horror – a sick glee bubbled inside him. “… W-why?” she stuttered to ask as he ran his fingers down her face. Garry only offered a vague hum in reply, busying himself with caressing her soft cheek. The girl grabbed his wrist, gripping at his sleeve, “Garry, what do you mean?” She sounded scared.
Cute little Ib.
“Ah well,” he gently wriggled his wrist free and shrugged. “You already got Ray. He’s just like me, yes?” Heck, the brat might even fit her description of ‘Garry’ more than Garry himself. He wasn’t kind. He was just kind to her. His patience was only towards her. The words he said were only for her. “What do you need two of the same thing for?”
“That’s-” she was shushed by a finger to her lips.
If you know… will you be afraid?
At her confused expression, Garry deepened his smile and continued with his hypocrisies. “You see, boys tend to back off if a girl has a man by her side. They’re funny like that. On the other hand, they absolutely hate seeing the girl they like with another man.”
Will you be disgusted?
“Yeah! Don’t you want him to like you, Ib?” he stroked the skin under her eye, noticing how the corner had become watery. She was going to cry… This was stupid, but he couldn’t stop these poignant words spilling from his mouth. “If it was me, forget seeing, I don’t even want to hear about my girl hanging out with some other guy.” Probably the only truth he could let out without ruining his pretense. “So,” he curled his fingers and took his hand back by his side, “shall we put some distances between us?”
I’m all dark and black inside.
“B-but you’re special!” she reasoned, getting to her knees and moved closer to him. “You’re an excepti-”
“What is ‘special’ to you, Ib?” his smile waned as he hid a satirical snort. “Like Ma? Like Pa?”
Ib was silent. It didn’t look like she had an answer, and he didn’t expect her to. He wasn’t sure why he was talking in riddles – to a child at that. A way to let his spite slip out perhaps.
“To me a special person is the only one. See here, I’m not ‘special’ at all, so don’t use that word so loosely.” It makes me mad, his mind added. “Now be a good girl and go to sleep. I’ll send you home first thing in the morning… and that will be goodbye.”
“What? N-no… Garry I don’t want that-”
“My, then it’s fine if Ray hates you?” he tilted his head, smirking at how she balked. Ib sank down on her haunches, her expression a mix of lost and disbelief. Her trembling lips parted, but she didn’t make a single sound. He was not pleased. She couldn’t choose between him and the brat? “I thought so,” Garry smiled brightly, ruffling her head as he got to his feet. “Well, let’s not see each other a-”
“No!” it was her turn to interrupt him.
Ib was on the verge of tears now, and some sadistic part of him enjoyed it. She clung to his sleeve, his wrist; her bleary red orbs were pleading. A dry chuckle escaped his lungs, “Really, Ib-”
“No,” she whimpered, her voice breaking. “I don’t see why we can’t meet.”
His smile disappeared completely as he stared down at her. She would never take the hint now, would she? He didn’t have the strength to keep up this façade anymore. He could only continue to stay beside her if these feelings were gone, but that just wasn’t possible. Not right now, not ever. Not even if he were to die. Garry lifted his free hand to her cheek and wiped away the stagnant tear at the corner of her eye. Should he demonstrate what all this bullshit is about? Lacing his fingers into her hair, he languidly rubbed his thumb against her ear.
So lovely. He’d be damned if he laid hands on her.
She’s off-limit. He wasn’t allowed to touch her.
It’d be such a shame if I didn’t.
“I’m also a man, you know.”
He pulled her towards him and bent his tall frame.
Her lips were the softest thing he had ever felt against his.
- when the narration is from Garry’s POV, Ray is never addressed by name