Finally, it’s actually my post and I’m not just covering for someone else! Here’s a short story for you guys! Again, just a friendly reminder, if there’s a story you’re dying to see written, drop us off a request on our “Contact Us” page.
She opened her apartment door and the stench of rotting vegetation made her pause, almost recoiling as her stomach heaved. Her dark eyes flickered with curiosity and she eased the door open, thousands of rose petals laying in various stages of decomposition on her carpet.
“With love,” someone said, their voice nearly a purr in the almost-darkness. “Always with love.” Beckett wrinkled her nose in distaste as the cloying smell of a hung over man invaded her senses.
“You’re drunk, Orrin.” She said flatly, setting down her suitcase. “I’ve only been gone a week. You couldn’t keep it together for one week?” Her tone was soft, but her voice, dangerous. Orrin sat up, albeit, very slowly, working his jaw.
“You can’t keep going around kissing random strangers, pretending that they’re me.” He says, his voice surprisingly clear for a drunk man. Beckett glares at Orrin, resisting the urge to slap his smug grin off his face.
“We. Are. Through.” She hissed between clenched teeth. “We’ve been done for weeks now. I don’t know why you keep hanging around like a lost puppy dog.” Orrin shook his head almost fondly, the same goofy smile plastered on his face. His large brown eyes followed Beckett hopefully, as she stepped gingerly around the rose petals.
“I’m not even going to ask why these are here,” she muttered, grabbing a broom.
“For my love,” Orrin grinned, gesturing at the room.
“We are through!” Beckett yelled, throwing her hands in the air in exasperation, the broom falling to the hardwood floor with a loud clack. Orrin winced.
“Must you be any louder?” He asked, massaging his temple.
“Yes.” Beckett said curtly, walking around to the large picture window, throwing open the curtain. The bright morning sun pierced through the gloom and haze, making the decomposing flowers seem even more macabre. Orrin sighed, shielding his eyes as pain throbbed through his skull.
“Why can’t you just say that you’re sorry like a normal person?” Orrin asked irritability, as he glared at Beckett through slitted eyelids. Beckett shot him a grin that one could only describe as predatory as she threw open the next window with more clattering. Orrin sighed again, laying back down as he daintily covered his eyes with his hand, peering out from under his thick eyelashes.
“You know, I quit college to get away from freaks like you.” Beckett drawled, her hand propped on her hip. Orrin smiled again, standing slowly as he pulled on his beat-up leather duster.
“A freak?” He chuckled. “Beckett, you wound me,” he declared, pressing a hand over his heart. He laughed to himself as Beckett prodded him impatiently towards the door. He caught himself on her doorframe turning to look at her seriously.
“You know, Beckett, you really shouldn’t hole up here all by your lonesome,” he said with a slight frown. “You have good friends if you need someone to lean on.”
“Yeah,” Beckett snapped. “Drunks who show up when they need a place to crash and get sober so their mother’s don’t catch them acting out.” Orrin recoiled as though Beckett had struck him, letting the door fall shut with a sound that seemed to echo through all of eternity.
Beckett remembered doors like that. Being slammed in her face, the final killing blows of locks slid home, to keep her out. When she was five, she watched her father climb into his beat-up truck – the one with the broken headlight from when he ran into the old oak tree by the driveway, gouging a cut into the bark. He never admitted that it was him, but Beckett knew. He yelled that he loved her and he’d be around to hang out sometime, but she knew somehow that he wasn’t coming back. She walked into the house, listening to her mother cry through the thin, thin walls of her home while she sat on her bed, numb. She didn’t feel anything at all, but she grew twenty years older in those few gasping moments. The next day, she swept her long hair into a messy bun, only to grow neater with practice as she tore her way through the library, devouring books with a passion, learning anything that she could get her hands on. She was never going to need anyone. She was never going to hurt. So much anger contained in a such a small and fragile soul, while she listened to her teachers complain to her mother about her anti-social tendencies – she’d rather sit indoors and read an encyclopedia than play with the other children, and her classmates mock her when they thought she couldn’t hear. She could, she just never gave any indication their words had hit their mark.
They would never bother her again -even though they tried so hard, dogging her heals throughout her entire adult life- because Beckett Amherst was dying. Her doctor came through the door only moments earlier, straightening his jacket, his face impassive. Professional. She had taken one look at him, rising from the uncomfortable plastic chair and walking out of the carefully organized room with the colorful informational posters, her head held high. She fumbled with her car door and pulled onto the highway, her vision blurry.
Dying. Such an awful word.
She didn’t know where she was driving. Anywhere. Nowhere. She was driving until the crummy little town that she grew up where everyone knew everyone else was nothing but a distant nightmare. She pulled up to a quaint house with white walls and a dark blue door. On wobbling legs, she inched her way up the driveway until she stood in paralyzed indecision at the door, her hand raised as if to knock.
“What are you doing here, Beck?” Orrin asked as he walked up behind her, a large sack of groceries propped on his hip. He looked at her and flashed her his crooked smile and despite herself, Beckett grinned.
“Hey Orrin,” she said softly. Orrin paused a few steps away from her.
“Geez Beck, you look like you’ve seen a ghost. Let’s get you instead, yeah?” Orrin asked while unlocking his door. He ushered her inside before dumping his sack by the door.
“Orrin,” Beckett started before her voice cracked. She coughed once, pulling her shoulder in. She looked so small, so vulnerable in the dim half-lighting of Orrin’s living room.
“Here,” Orrin murmured, handing her a glass of water. Beckett nodded thankfully and took a small sip as Orrin sat in front of her, perched on the edge of the chocolate brown couch.
“The doctor say,” Beckett started again before she stopped, feeling the burn of repressed tears. “He says I’ve only got a couple of weeks.”
“Jesus, Beck.” Orrin said lowly. “Way to completely spring that on me.”
“Do you not hear me?” Beckett whisper-shouted, her voice hoarse. “I’m dying. Me. Dying. I’m not going to be around to kick your drunken self into shape and I’m not going to be around to give you coffee and Tylenol when you come to my house completely wasted and I,” she broke off as her shoulder shook. She buried her face in her hands. “I’m dying,” she whispered, almost to herself.
“Beck,” Orrin said softly, laying a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him with her deep brown eyes so full of pain and fear that his heart nearly broke in two. “Beck,” he said again, his voice wavering slightly. “Let’s go out for ice cream.” He finished with a slight grin.
“Ice cream?” Beckett nearly shouted.
“Of course,” Orrin shouted back, his familiar boyish energy almost tangible in the room. “Nothing to make you feel better like a pint of ice cream!” Beckett sighed her usual aggravated sigh that she saved specially for Orrin, but did it with a smile.
“Thanks Orrin,” she said quietly.
“Hey, what are good friends for?”