When it rains, it pours…
What had he done?
Garry felt the ball of dread settling down in his chest. He was sure Scarlet already knew, so why ask still? To mock him? Look down on him? To make him spell it out and rub it in his face? He wasn’t about to play her game. Scarlet quirked an eyebrow at him, showing no intention to let her question slide. She wanted an answer, and he could just give her one. See here… the answer was simple, so damn simple. But for that very reason, he couldn’t find it in him to say it out loud.
“You already know.” He lowered his voice, feeling conscious that it wasn’t just Scarlet who could hear him. He reached back and pushed the bathroom door so that it was more closed than opened.
“No, I don’t,” she spat back. “I think you did something, and, god forbid, press a knife to my back if it pleases you, I am not setting one foot into that room until I know.”
His teeth ground together. What was he supposed to say? He had forced himself onto an eleven-year-old girl and smeared his lust all over her. He had done it, and loved it. Crossing the line had blurred any common sense he might have had left. He thirsted for her like a desert thirsted for rain, and every kiss only made him crave her more. Even as she cried and pleaded, a part of him was convinced deep down she enjoyed it and felt even remotely the same way he did. So he never stopped.
Oh yes, he loved every single second of it.
I raped her, and I fucking loved it.
If only he could spat those words out and see the look on Scarlet’s face then. He could’ve sworn he had hated this girl all his life. He hated, hated those… those red eyes. So calm and patronizing, as if judging him. What right did she have? She knew nothing. The things that he had been through, the depth of his feelings… this girl knew jack. His fists curled tight by his sides.
“Spineless chicken.” At his silence, she hurled him an insult.
His hands started to shake despite him gripping them so tight he could feel the bones of his knuckles jutting out against his skin. Then again, it was because of his grip that they were shaking in the first place. He felt so restricted. He just wanted to lash out at this annoyance in front of him. He imagined, for a swift moment, seizing her by the neck, stopping short of crushing her windpipe. But something was keeping him back. It wasn’t enough. This wasn’t enough. Where was it? That final push so that he could blame the circumstances and just lose control. She was right; he was still a coward.
“… I touched her,” he finally said, eyes on the floor.
Rape wasn’t the right word. It was too violent a word. He was gentle. He cared.
He loved her.
An exasperated sigh broke his train of thoughts. “How far?”
He glanced up from under his bangs to meet with her piercing red gaze. “What?”
Don’t judge me.
A roll of the eyes. “How far did you go?”
Don’t judge me.
He bit his lip.
His left ear rung abnormally painful for a slap that barely echoed in the quiet room. His silence had told her all she needed to know. Scarlet brushed past him without another word and closed the door behind herself.
It had been a mistake calling her here. He uncurled his hand and raised numbed fingers to his burning cheek, his throat clogging up.
His love wasn’t a crime.
She felt so dirty even as she exited the steaming shower. The biting cold was now a distant memory, yet her body still shivered every so often. She remembered. The memories were so vivid she could have sworn his hands still roam her body even now. His voice, the hoarse sighs that rumbled her eardrums. His rough fingertips raked at her sides, and greedy kisses that smothered her. Dizzying pain and wambling caress. She just wanted to go back under the hot water and maybe, finally— she would feel clean. But Ib knew from her wrinkly fingers that she had stayed in there longer than anyone would have liked it.
Standing in front of the lavatory mirror, she waited in a daze, not at all eager. The droplets of water tickled her cheek and neck as they seeped and rolled from her hair. Ib brought a hand up to wipe the itch away. She felt like crying again. The rims of her eyes were prickling with new tears as she fought to keep them in. Scarlet could be back anytime now with a new towel – one that wouldn’t smell so much like Garry – and the last thing she wanted was to show the stranger any more of her miserable side.
She looked into the mirror to make sure her face remained expressionless and briefly wondered just how much of an embarrassment she had been since yesterday. Ray was wrong. She should never have taken his advice. Like a fool, she had opened up and laid her feelings bare. Like an idiot, she rambled her thoughts aloud. Look where it had gotten her.
Her fingers shakily underlined a tiny red blotch just at the end of her right collarbone. If she closed her eyes, she could still feel his teeth grazing her skin, his hot tongue laving the shell of her ear… the absolute dominance he had held over her body. She had struggled uselessly against the cage that was his chest. That wasn’t right. In his arms was supposed to be a place of comfort… her place of comfort.
A chilling jolt broke out where her heart was when the door opened and the silver-haired lady stepped inside, towel and clothes in hand.
Ib discreetly placed her palm over the thumping in her chest. As she received the things from Scarlet, her mind clumsily planned out her course of action. She told herself that she would dry up… dress herself… and then leave…
She was going to leave…
She would have to go home… He would let her go home, right? There was no other way… Somehow, that didn’t feel right.
Garry sat on the couch, a leg drawn to his chest, chin resting on his knee. Scarlet had taken the new towel he had brought out and gone back inside the bathroom, leaving him once again alone with his thoughts.
He said thoughts, but he really only had one. Ib. Or to be fair, a million thoughts, big and small, revolving the little girl. He was still fixated on how she had refused his hand. Then there was the problem of getting her out of there. He hoped she was feeling better, but that was unlikely. Poor girl must have been so confused and frightened. Even he was confused. Last night still felt like a dream, and he still couldn’t believe he had embraced her. But the pleasure was real. He could still feel it with his entire body. He couldn’t even begin to describe the satisfaction of having his libido sated by the girl he loved, the ecstasy in knowing that he had been the one to give her every single sensation she might have been conscious of.
If only he could do something more than just sending a stranger in to take care of her. If only he could make her understand even just a little bit of his feelings for her.
He heard the doorknob turn and thoughts flashed by his mind at the speed of light. Ib was most likely done and coming out. How was he going to face her? Would she even let him? He could already imagine her averting her eyes and scurrying away from him. He needed time that he didn’t have to work things out with Ib. He needed to talk with her, but he also needed to send her away as soon as possible. His benefactor was coming, and he didn’t want that smarmy bastard anywhere near his Ib.
But what would she tell her parents? He should be able to ask her to keep quiet, but… would she hear him out? After what he had done?
The door opened.
He couldn’t get a single word in as Scarlet refused to listen to him. I don’t want to hear it, she said, and it was almost laughable because he wasn’t even trying to talk to her. Ib didn’t look at him though. She kept hiding behind Scarlet, who was a stranger. That wasn’t right. He should be the one she hid behind.
This can’t get any worse…
They were leaving. He chased after them and grabbed Scarlet by the shoulder. “Let go. Am I not here to take her home?” Yes. He did want them to leave soon, but not like this. He had to talk to Ib first, and, dammit, it shouldn’t be this hard.
Here’s an idea.
“Fine.” He let Scarlet go and walked passed her, towards the door. “I’ll get the door for you.” His hand on the doorknob, he turned around. For a moment, his eyes lingered on Ib, who stood a little away from Scarlet. Perfect. She met his gaze and instantly looked to the ground… but this was perfect. Scarlet was giving him an incredulous look, so he cocked a brow at her. With a huff, she started putting on her boots as he anxiously waited for her to finish.
“Let’s go, Ib.” The blonde stood up straight and walked up to him… and into his reach. Ib was following close behind her, but not close enough.
Garry twisted the knob in his hand, yanking the door open, and took Scarlet by the arm before she could react. He was just about to shove her outside when—
“Oh, am I interrupting something?”
It felt as if a cold, slithering snake was dragging itself down his spine as he turned to face the owner of the dreadfully familiar voice. “… Mr. Garland… sir…” His insides iced over and hit wits vaporized, Garry didn’t even think to cover up the fear written all over his face.
The dark haired man simply smiled and lowered the hand that seemed to have been ready to push the doorbell.
Why? It wasn’t ten yet, was it?
“U-uncle Leo?” He heard Scarlet muttered behind him, and his eyes widened.