by Akane Arisu (赤音アリス)
I’m the Queen of Hearts…bitch.
I hate little girls.
I hate my husband.
I hate cats that freakin’ smile too much.
I hate you.
I love myself.
He’s so violent, so vain. So beautiful and dangerous, slick and gorgeous, an ideal that watches from the bushes, waiting for you to relax before choosing an attack. I wish his violence was as blatant, as obvious. Not the slyly said, “You sure you want to wear that, honey? It makes your ass look bigger than usual.” When he says it, it’s in this tone of voice that brooks no argument, because that’s how he does things. He never accepts an argument.
For some reason, I love him for it. And I hate him for it.
Now, I watch him slink down the catwalk, the masculine ideal: the pretty, golden blond hair that falls in slow, carefully-done waves I’ve seen his hair and makeup specialists shout over when they were just a touch off.
The show is soon over, and I’m not sure if I’m glad or sad to see it end.
“See you later, darlings,” he waves over his shoulder, and leans in to kiss me hello, saying with his lips and no words, “I’ve missed you.” Behind him, the models toss civilized insults at one another. Compliments cloaked with poison I’d once have stated, when very drunk and very surrounded by beautiful women made of toothpicks. They’d giggled vapidly. At that point, I may have made less sense and used bigger words.
Their eyes should be drawn to the way that the jeans cling to his ass, but it’s not. What they’re staring at is me . In their world of social fantasies and heroin, I stick out. His dark eyed King of Hearts, he always called me. I’m nowhere that regal, just another artist in beatnik style.
His fingers tangle in my hair. It almost hurts, but then his lips brush over mine again, tongue dancing over my lips. When he does that, I can’t complain. I can hardly think or breathe. It’s like a chain wrapped around my heart and chest, with the other end tied into him, somewhere invisible. I wonder if he ever feels the other side, his burden.
From the show to the taxi and the taxi to my apartment, we say nothing. The taxi driver watches us in that nervous, silent way in which taxi drivers worry: whether they’re going to be on tomorrow’s news, with their wives and children waking up to find that they’d been killed by some psycho they’d picked up.
The only one of us to make it on the news the next day will be the one who sits next to me, his fingers on my knee.
We don’t talk or touch as we enter my apartment. I’d almost say we barely acknowledge each other, if we don’t avidly avoid touching each other.
The first thing I do is move my cat into the laundry room, and when I come back, he’s sitting across my couch, staring blankly at my things, the belongings that make this place my home. Not his, but you’d never be able to tell from the way he gestures me over to sit next to him, with the same easy, casual wave of his hand that had me wanting him so badly when I saw him for the first time.
He acts like he loves me, my head on his shoulder while he traces my curls with his fingertips.
“What do you think of them, darling?” he whispers, pressing his lips against my temple, his lips soft and satiny as they brush my skin.
“They’re very pretty,” I murmur, unsure of what to do with myself, my hands closing and releasing against my thighs. It’s tempting to ask which one he’s sleeping with, but I don’t.
“As pretty as me?” he kisses my ear, making little waves of goosebumps slide down my back.
He has a disarming smile, all white teeth, pretty and perfectly spaced. I never ask, even though I’m so tempted, whether they’re really that way or not.
“Nowhere close,” I promise gently, stroking his painfully perfect cheekbone with my thumbs.
He looks up at me and I can’t read his eyes, the blue darkened with some odd emotion.
“I could get you fired for this,” he whispers, his voice low and sullen.
Ah, that’s what that emotion was. A hint of affection, a feeling that he likes having me across his lap, my head on his chest, just listening to the steady drum-beat of his heart. How very, very odd. How child-like, how cute. He loves it. He hates me.
The irony is hardly lost.
He toys with the zipper of my jeans, giving me hope that he’ll lower them, but just to be evil, he undoes the fly but leans back, flipping on the TV. There I’m sitting, with my pants open, panting and flushed, while he stares blankly at the basketball game playing on the television. He hates it when I touch him, so I wait for him to get bored.
I really, really want to help with that. Standing carefully out of the way of the television, I start to slide the rough denim down my hips. My shirt’s still on and it hangs down to cover my ass along with the smiling cartoons on my boxers.
He loves when I look like this, well kissed, sexual, and bored. I love and hate the way he’s looking at me. He’s telling me with his eyes that he’s interested and I’d better prove it worth his while. I feel somewhere between cherished and like a whore.
He puts his hands behind his head and watches me, though the TV is still playing behind me, the announcer’s voice an annoyance that I can’t quite ignore. I think it’s a side effect of being watched all the time, because sometimes, he likes to change the side he’s on. His eyes are hot and almost like fingertips as they trace my legs, and worse when I start to take off my shirt, dropping it to the floor.
Sometimes, in public, he’ll give me that look, and like Pavlov’s dogs slobbering at the sound of a bell, I harden until it feels like agony to be sitting or standing next to him.
There I stand, hard as could be, and all I want is him on me, touching me; in me, fucking me.
When he looks like that, I know I’ve got to make do with myself for a while. He tempts me forward with a crook of his finger, whispering to me, “Make it interesting and…” He doesn’t have to finish. I’m sitting on my knees in front of him, touching myself, willing to abase myself just long enough to make him think he loves me, think he wants me.
His eyes grow hotter as he watches me, the boxers down around my legs even as they grow unsteady and awkward, my hips pushing forward into my hand. I’m panting, wondering whether this lust, this throbbing, is going to end right here, like this, with my hand moving.
I may have nearly reached the edge when he finally stops me, pushing my hand away and making my hips thrust pathetically. I hate when he does that.
I’d do anything he told me to.
He’s got the lube and the condoms I always put out when I know he’s going to be in town, and his eyes are glazed as he puts them on, staring breathlessly at me.
I am only worthy of the most cursory of preparation before he slides into me, thrusting and moaning and shuddering, his lips are against my shoulder and he whispers nonsense words, names that aren’t mine.
His hands are everywhere, making me want, need, have. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up with a hickey on my shoulder, where his lips have latched on, but I don’t care. In fact, as ashamed as I am to say it: knowing that tomorrow I’ll be wearing his mark makes me throw my head back and come, moving wantonly against him.
He growls and leaves another as he follows me into orgasm, before falling limply off of me. His gold hair is plastered to his forehead and I trace his bangs softly while he almost lovingly wipes the results of our activities from my stomach. He leaves me just long enough to trash the condom and the paper towel he’d cleaned me off with.
“Thank you,” he whispers into my hair, wrapping me up in his arms, his face buried into my neck.
I nod slowly, solemnly.
This, I realize, is what matters. Not how we got here, the use of each other, the clawing and kicking and biting and fucking that means nothing except release. It’s after it’s all said and done, after all of that abuse of each other, after we tell each other to leave with everything we’ve got, but we’re still here. We still… need each other.
He’s wrong, you know. The King of Hearts is the suicidal king. I always bow to the king as he passes, indulging his every whim. I guess that makes me the queen.