a meretricious farce (metonymy) wrote in unrealized,
a meretricious farce

A short character piece; call it a half-chapter, if you like.

It wasn't often that she stayed. They would finish, and after resting against her shoulder for a few minutes he'd pull out and pull away, and call down to have his car brought around, and she would put on her clothes and leave. Often he wouldn't even get out of bed, just watching her and smoking a cigarette as she rolled up her stockings and tried to restore some semblance of order to her hair.

But occasionally, he would lie down beside her, arm wrapping around her proprietarily as his lips found her shoulder, and she'd relax against him, tired of struggling. And he would fall asleep, fingers twitching against her stomach every so often. It always took her a long time to fall asleep when he was beside her, but she always did. She was just too tired.

She always woke up before he did, too. As a very light sleeper, the first hint of light through the curtains would hit her eyes and she'd wake, flinching against the dim grey city sun. When she moved, he would hug her a little more tightly, and it startled her every time. He'd mumble softly, words that sounded almost like "mine" and "love you" but then again sounded like nothing at all. She would turn very gradually to face him, watching his face and the expressions that flickered over it like pictures on a movie screen, a range of emotion he'd never show when fully awake. And every time - every last time - she'd watch for the first hint of waking, when his eyes would open and then squeeze shut again, before
blinking open to look at her and smile slowly. It wasn't the cruel grin of demonic glee that accompanied violence, or the sadistic smirk that otherwise appeared; this was a small, happy smile, from someone who was waking from a happy dream to a pleasant morning.

She was hooked on that smile, more than any drug. And if she was lying close enough, if she'd twisted around in her sleep and was just a breath away, he'd kiss whatever was nearest, hair or forehead or throat or lips. He'd murmur a little "mm, mornin'" that didn't seem to come from his brain at all, and keep smiling. She stayed as quiet as possible to keep from breaking the spell, but it always shattered despite her best efforts. The smile would smooth out into the usual amiable mask, and he'd pull away and sit up, reaching for a cigarette. Soon enough they'd part, she going to practise her new tunes and perhaps mend a seam on a garter, he sinking back into the grimy criminal underworld. But she carried the memory of each morning and those stolen golden moments with her each day. It was that which kept her going back to him each night; the fear of what he'd do if she didn't, and the hope that she'd see his real smile and be able to pretend for a moment that he loved her.
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