Old Wounds

A Pink Dormouse Production

 

He actually knocks, and waits for me to answer, which is a first. I stand in the doorway, unsure what he wants. After all, he’s practically ignored me since Exbar.

"May I?" I nod and step aside. He sags onto my bed.

"Want to talk about it?" I ask. He shakes his head. I go to sit wi’ him then remember I left that bottle of brandy in the rec room, an’ he looks like he needs it right now. "Two minutes." He looks up briefly then drops his eyes back to the floor.

***

Just what I didn’t need. More hassle involving one of Avon’s exes. So what if it’s sent him runnin’ back to me? I still don’t need the grief.

Blake’s talking to Del Grant in the rec room. I slip round the edge and retrieve the brandy, then Grant looks across at me.

"Hello, Vila," he says. "I see you ended up with this lot as well."

I mutter somethin’ about it bein’ a small universe and try to escape.

"Weren’t you with Tal last time I saw you?" he asks.

Shit. I’d bin trying to forget about Tal. Or at least forget enough not to say anythin’ in front of Avon I might regret later. Tal never did get over Avon dumping him. I only let him sleep at mine at first ’cos it looked bad having him sleep at the pub. Anyway, me an’ Tal ended up working together... and the other stuff. I think at the end he was thinkin’ about getting his act together an’ seeing if the lab would take him back. Then Security got him when they raided the pub, day afore I got picked up. I expect he’s dead now. Never told Avon that either.

***

I mutter something about needing to be somewhere and scarper. I still miss Tal- he always made breakfast- even when he was sleepin’ on the floor at the beginning. With Avon, I’m lucky if he turns the coffee machine on.

When I get back, Avon’s got his left sleeve rolled up and a single-edged lock-knife in his opposite hand. Fuck. Doesn’t look like he’s started wi’ it yet, though. I sit down next to him and slip an arm around his shoulders, then slide my hand down to take the knife.

"It’s not worth it."

He looks at me.

"How would you know?"

I don’t really have an answer to that so I just hand him the bottle. He takes what must be one hell of a swig for him and hands it back.

"I didn’t... When I heard she was dead. I put it out of my mind, concentrated on getting away." He leans against me, stares at the knife where I’ve laid it on the floor.

"It would make me feel better."

"You don’t need any more scars. An’ I don’t want to see you bleedin’."

"All bleeding stops eventually. All skin wounds heal."

"If you really wanted to do it, you wouldn’ve come here. You’d have stayed in your cabin an’ done it. Or you’d have locked yourself in there," I point to the shower room. "Where I couldn’t stop you. Dammit, Avon, do what you want to yourself, but don’t do it in front of me." He takes the bottle off me an’ has another swig, keepin’ hold of it this time.

***

You, learn things, workin’ in a pub. Not that I ever did, not officially, but I knew all the bar-staff at me local. And when one of ’em skipped town on account of owin’ Big Ray the Sociopath more’n he could pay, well I sorta minded his job for him. Just until he came back. Anyway, first thing you learn- after mindin’ the till and givin’ the right change- is how to tell the difference between them that want to talk and them that jus’ want to drink.

Avon doesn’t want to talk. Not now. But he might after a few more drinks. So I wait.

***

We’re out of brandy. Not that I’ve had much of it. He gives the bottle a shake then drops it on the floor.

"None left," he says.

"None left," I agree.

"Is Grant still on board?"

"Yeah, him an’ Blake look like they’ll be talking politics all night."

"Mind if I stay here tonight? I don’t really want to run into our visitor again so soon." Sayin’ he’s half-cut would be putting it mildly. That bottle was over half full when we started an’ I don’t reckon I’ve had more’n a couple of glasses-worth out of it. I used to be able to knock back half a bottle of spirits easy, but I can’t remember Avon ever havin’ more than two glasses of anything. I get up an’ put the bottle in the waste disposal. Wouldn’t do for either of us to go trippin’ over it.

***

When I turn back round he’s lying stretched out on the bed. I sit down on the floor by his head. It’s a bit awkward really. If we hadn’t, or if we still were, then I’d have no problem getting back on the bed with him. But we were, and now we aren’t, so I’m probably better down here. Be different if the bed was wider, I s’pose but it’s not and there’s no way two people can lie on it without a lot of touchin’.

***

I jump when I feel his hand on my shoulder. He’s just looking at me, completely unreadable.

"You never saw her," he says. I shake my head. "I have a picture... in my wallet... in my jacket... which is..." He looks lost. I reach up and place my hand over his.

"You didn’t bring your jacket, show me some other time." Getting drunk has solved nothin’ for him. He still looks as bereft as he did when he came in, just now he’s got more reasons not to be thinkin’ straight. "If you’re stayin’ the night, you could at least take your boots off," I say. He sits up and fumbles with them. "Here, let me." I help him with his boots and socks then decide that any more would be too much like temptation.

"I’m hardly likely to object you know," he says, sensing my discomfort. Bastard.

"You’re in no state-"

"Promise I won’t pass out before you finish."

"You’re definitely in no state to be doin’ anything." Why am I bein’ so generous? I move back to the head of the bed and sit back down on the bed next to him. Suddenly he’s got his arms round me and his face buried in my shoulder.

"It’s okay," I say stroking his hair, "you’re just a little bit wrecked." We stay like that for what feels like hours then, without warning, he pulls away again.

"I shouldn’t impose. Maybe it would be better if I go."

"Don’t be daft. You’re pissed and you’ve had a crap day. Course you can stay." He shrugs and it dawns on me how tired he probably is. Looks like it’s only stress that’s keepin’ him awake.

"Let me get you something to stop you feelin’ so bad in the morning. Then you can get some sleep."

***

Now what does he want? Water would be the obvious answer but it’s not going to help him sleep. The drinks machine does a decent mug of cocoa if you set it up right so I fix some for us both. He looks most confused when I hand it to him.

"I suppose I get a bed-time story as well." Not quite sarcastic but I s’pose it was meant to be.

"Only if you drink it all."

"If I must."

***

"So, you want to hear about the last big job I did? Back on Earth, I mean?" I’m sitting at the head of the bed an’ he’s lyin’ with his head in me lap. Which is nice.

"Lovely collection of diamonds. Had a buyer lined up an’ everything. So I checked out the house really carefully over a week, got inside a couple of times. There was this big party planned and it looked like the ideal opportunity for us to get in an’ out." I miss out the little detail of Tal bein’ me look-out but give him a full run-down of just how beautifully we pulled it off.

He’s asleep by the end of it, which doesn’t surprise me at all. Maybe he’ll get to have nice dreams now.

***

Cally told me once that I’m over-protective of him. Well, it’s hard not to be sometimes. I mean, none of us’ve got anyone, except each other. I asked him about his family once and all he’d say was that they’re safe an’ no one can connect them with him. I think he misses them though.

There’s so much I don’t know about Avon. Think he’s got brothers but no sisters, not that he mentions them much I gather he never got much chance of bein’ a normal kid. I had to grow up fast first time they shipped me off Earth but at least I had some fun times first. Always lots of me cousins and second cousins about, an’ me sisters of course. We got up to a fair few things no one ever knew about, of course, mostly daft stuff but a few things too that’d have got us into trouble if anyone had found out.

I know my lot’ll always be okay, they don’t ship Deltas off into exile if they can get work out of ’em on Earth. Or at least, if they think they can, not much of a work ethic in my family.

***

I slide down the bed to lie next to Avon. He sighs in his sleep an’ snuggles in to me. I stroke his arm. The scars don’t bother me any more, I’m glad he hasn’t added to them but maybe I’m startin’ to understand why he might want to. I’m still not sure if this is him back wi’ me for a while or just him hiding from Del Grant.

Wonder what his Anna was like. Maybe if he remembers about showin’ me that picture he might tell me something about her at the same time. Must’ve been really special to have made that much of an impression on him. Never knew him settle wi’ anyone for long. Think Tal lasted longest of the ones I knew about an’ that was what? Few weeks? Not nearly long enough to deserve all the fuss Tal made about it. Thinkin’ about Tal again, shouldn’t do that.

Don’t think I’d be too keen on Avon goin’ out wi’ any of my sisters to be honest, or the cousins. Maybe second cousin Lyzbet, but then she might be a bit to, well, girlie for him. I’m sure they’d have plenty of stuff to talk about though, given her line of work. It’s been quite a busy day for me too an’ I’m starting to feel it.

***

He wakes me up next morning by biting my neck, so I assume things’re back to normal. He doesn’t seem very hung-over, which is most unfair. Or maybe it isn’t, seein’ as he’s determined to make up for nothin’ happening last night. I’m not really awake yet so I just let him get on with it and to hell with the fact I haven’t had at him in a while. Come to think of it it’s just as long since I’ve come in his mouth. So that’s all right then.

It feels like he’s managing to be everywhere at once. Licking, sucking, occasionally nibbling. His hands must be involved somehow as well but I’m havin’ difficulty keeping track. I rest my hands on his shoulders, not wanting to force the pace, jus’ wanting to touch him.

I nearly lose it when he licks slowly and deliberately from base to tip, but get a grip on meself an’ on his shoulders. He slows the pace right down an’ works on me shaft with his lips. I try watchin’ him but that’s hardly going to make me last so I shut me eyes again.

I’m trying very hard to resist the urge to thrust into his mouth an’ the equally strong urge to drag him back up the bed and fuck his brains out. Then he slips one finger into me an’ I arch upwards. And he’s swallowing and I’m coming like I’m never going to stop.

***

He slides back up along side me and he’s as breathless as I am. I feel him rub hard against me hip so I reach down an’ take him in hand so to speak. He thrusts into my palm again and again. He’s whimperin’ and begging me with his eyes to give him the word to let go. I stare back at him, an’ there’s somethin’ there, not quite how he looks at Blake sometimes, but somethin’ nearly as good. I nod an’ he pulses over me fist, then nestles his head into me shoulder.

"That good?" He jus’ nods.

***

He’s still curled up in me bed when I get out of the shower so I sit down next to him.

"Hey." He looks up at me through one half-open eye. "You need to get up."

"Got anything for a hangover?" Looks like it’s hit him after all. I get up to fix him something. He takes the pills an’ downs a glass of water. Then he sits up slowly and I jus’ know the room’s spinning for him. There are red thumbprints over his collarbones an’ matching fingerprints on his back; I didn’t mean to do that.

"I might come back tonight."

"If that’s what you want," I say. Well, I can’t sound too eager.

***

So Del Grant’s leavin’. There’s stuff I’d like to have asked him but it’d be betraying Avon’s confidence too much. I can’t do that, it just wouldn’t be, well, fair. I collar Grant once I’m sure no one’s goin’ to hear us.

"No hard feelings about Avon, eh?" I say.

"He’s changed." Grant seems quite impressed but then he knew Avon a lot better’n I did way back when.

"Yeah, well prison does that to a person."

"No, I meant that he’s actually grown up."

Well, if that’s what he wants to think... Me, I’m not so sure. I mean, give Avon half a chance an’ he’d be the same slut he always was. Not that he was when he was seein’ her. Or if he was, he was doing it somewhere I didn’t know about, an’ I don’ think that’s very likely.

"Mebbe he has," I say eventually.

"He helped me because of my sister," Grant says, "I suppose I did rather spoil our friendship, the way I reacted to his seeing her."

"Understandable," I say, not needing to point out that I’d have bin the same. I hear the others coming down the corridor so I leave it at that. I’m sure we’ll run into him again sometime, then maybe him an’ me can swap a few stories about the old days over a drink or three.

 

 

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