Never Been Loved(7)

By: C.M. Kars

I wonder what the Elevator Babe would say when she saw this place. Aly’s already seen it and I hate the way she looks at the furniture, the paintings, even the floor. Like it’s all going to be hers one day. Which is true, but still, keep that smug look off your face, I don’t care how nice you can suck my cock.

“Where have you been?!” Mom asks, and the edge of shrill she adds to her voice has my eardrums popping.

“I had a date.” If a date constitutes Aly fucking my brains out, then yeah, that’s exactly what I had. In the morning light, I know what I am – I’m a transaction; instead of money, I pay in orgasms.

“You can’t just leave him here! What would the neighbours think?”

I snicker. “That you’re his grandmother, yeah? Which you are, just to remind you.”

She’s wearing those big sunglasses that Hollywood seems to be wearing, and she’s nursing a glass of something that tinkles with ice every time her hand shakes. It’s not even ten-thirty in the morning.

“No need to get smart. You could have called, Hunter. I raised you better than that.”

I want to tell her that she didn’t raise me at all, but I’m not in the mood for her crocodile tears, not when I have to gear up for Matty’s antics in the next five minutes.

“How was the kid?”

Mom’s mouth twists, and she takes a noisy slurp of her drink. “As if I would know. Edouard? Edouard?! The man is like a ghost, I have no idea how he moves around so silent- oh! There you are! My son has come to collect my grandson, Edouard, would you kindly collect him from his room?”

Eddie materializes to my left, nods, and I hear his soft footfalls climb up the stairs. I thought Matty would be ready by now, shoes on, dressed and all that shit. Now I’m going to have to do it, and the little guy is going to fight me every single step of the way.

“Who was your date with last night? Someone I know?”

I bare my teeth. “You don’t know her.” A picture of the Elevator Babe comes to mind, her walking in these pristine halls, maybe awed at what she finds in this house. I’d tell her that looks can be deceiving, that we’re really in Hell.

“What about Alysha? How has she been doing? Why, I saw her mother just last night, and she was asking about you. When you two are going to set a date for the wedding?”

I fist my hands, satisfied when my knuckles crack. “You’re still not pushing that card, are you?”

Mom whirls on her stilettos (not Converse) and pushes the swinging door to the kitchen. I count to ten and then follow when I don’t hear anything from upstairs.

“There is no reason why I shouldn’t want to look after my boy, and wishing him to find a suitable...companion for the rest of his life is one of those ways I can do that. What is wrong with Alysha?”

I want to bust my skull open on the granite countertop. It’ll take maybe three good hits with my forehead and that’ll be it – all over, all done. No more guilt, no more responsibilities, no more diabetes. No more Matty. No more reminders of Jules being dead while I’m still here, struggling through.

“She hates Matty,” I say, staring down at the countertop, picking up the traces of gold, black and brown, running a finger along the colours.

Mom swirls her glass, ice making music in time to her movements, and purses her lips. “Well, I’m sure that’s none of her doing. Matty is a handful and a half. Much more so than other boys his age.”

I want to punch something. We both know that extra half handful is because Matty’s diabetic. Just like me. Heat boils in my gut, and I stuff my hands in my pockets so I don’t let fly and do something I’m going to regret.

“Because he was born that way? The least she could do is talk to him, it’s not like she’s going to catch diabetes by touching him for fuck’s sake.”

Mom slams her glass down on the granite, amber liquid sloshing over in tsunami-like waves over the glass and onto the counter. I’ve gone and rattled her and feel like beating my chest in triumph. The woman’s an ice queen, and I like thawing her a little when shit doesn’t go her way.

“Alysha is the only one who will have you, Hunter. Or do I have to remind you of the string of other women you’ve gone through these past years?”

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