Violet presses her lips into a thin line and lets out a dejected sigh. “Some girls spent the whole class passing notes spreading bullshit about me - that I was sucking the teacher’s dick and that’s how I did well on the midterm,” she gave a half shrug but her apathy was popped like a soap bubble when he cooed words that she had never heard before. Too good to be true. She felt her cheeks flush pink in sudden, girlish embarrassment and her lips pulled into a small, shy smile. His lips are covering her arm, but when she demands to be shown reciprocity, Tate abandoned her flesh in favor of his own. Stripping his chest bare, Violet’s doe eyes trailed over his skin. He looked like a statue of a greek god - veined marble, cracked ivory, lean and taught but tarnished, somehow, from age and neglect. Her fingers reached out daintily, tracing over the scars that zig zagged across his torso. “Holy shit,” she mumbles, more to herself than anything else, as her eyes scan over each scar, as if coveting them - trying to steal them and absorb them as her own — as if that’d help. Finally her hues meet his again and her hand pauses over his heart where she can feel it beating against his skinny ribs. “I’m sorry.” Violet’s eyes are wide and full of empathy and her hand, flat against his heart, is warm and, she hopes, soothing. Despite the nonchalance in his voice, Violet knows that, at one point, each of those scars seared his flesh and burned into his soul and while it may have been covered up by years of heroin use, self-numbing medication, at one point he hurt. Violet can’t help but feel the wealth of empathy hidden in her heart bubbling to the surface for the one person she should probably stay away from.
Her little story causes a laugh to fall from his lips but it isn’t at her expense. Rather, it’s at that of the girls who have tried so hard to knock his flower child down. “They aren’t worth spilling your own blood. Save it for people who actually deserve it.” Like himself. There’s nothing he wants more than to watch her drag the razor across her skin and then lick the blood away, kissing her with the very essence of who she is still staining his lips. He wants to make her hurt and then make it better, make her depend on him more than anyone else. Her eyes feel impossibly good against, better than anyone else’s before, so when she flushes and smiles at him, he can’t help but grin back, all dimples and innocent teenage boy. “You can touch, if you want,” he says, referring, of course, to his scars rather than his actual musculature or what’s left of it from his days of being a track star. The warm brush of her fingertips sends shivers down his spine, something he isn’t prepared for. He’s not ready to let her affect him like she affects him. And when he thinks his heart can’t beat even faster and his cheeks turn even pinker, she presses her hand to his heart and he feels it speed up in response, his heart stutter-thumping just for her. “Don’t,” he manages, placing his hand on hers but not moving it away. He likes the way it feels far too much. “You shouldn’t feel sorry for me. I brought it all on myself.” A rare moment of honesty from dishonest boy as he holds her hand to his heart and looks her in the eye.
His grip is tightening on her wrist and though Violet should feel fear, or the instinct of flight or fight, she simply remains still in the face of Tate’s sudden bizarre behaviour. It’s intriguing. Enticing. It’s dark and it’s drawing her with all the force of a black hole, just like his stare. Violet wants to give a dismissive laugh, to roll her eyes at his claims but for some reason she knows he’s being genuine and she’s almost afraid - almost. “Who says I’m going to fall..?” she replies, but even as she speaks the words she knows they’re fallacies Violet knew, deep down, that she was a train speeding off its rails and the only question was when would it come undone, not if. And, perhaps, what it would crash into. She can feel her heart pounding so loud it nearly drowns out his words but his tongue is running against the length of her flesh and her lungs are squeezing tight, her skin erupting in goosebumps. “Yes.” The word is quick and blunt and she gives up on trying to free her wrist from his intrusive, almost violating, grasp - his deeply curious questions. “After history class…” Violet swallows. “Show me yours - your scars - ” she says, almost demands, as her body lets loose another shudder at the cool, soothing feeling of Tate’s lips against her flesh torn asunder.
He smiles against her skin when she doesn’t pull away from him. His girl’s strong, the type who won’t show her discomfort even though he knows her on the edge of something, even though she doesn’t know quite what it is. He thinks she likes it, though. He’s a reprieve from the bullshit of Los Angeles, a too real truth of what really happens to children who are left alone for far too long. “You’re just too good to be real,” he replies and it isn’t his usual bullshit. It’s the truth. It’s how he really feels about her and he hopes she understands that from the tone of his voice and the way he looks at her, trying to draw her into his world with his black hole eyes. It’s working. She doesn’t try to free herself from his grasp and he rewards her with a kiss, pressed at the only unmarred part of her wrist. “Why after history class?” he asks, beginning to trail kisses up her arm with such an innocent look in his eyes that he almost fools himself into thinking that this is normal, that he’s just a boy with a crush on a beautiful, pure thing, something that he doesn’t want to destroy. But her next words change everything. Smirking, he drops her arm and quickly reaches to take off his shirt, so she’s exposed to every inch of marred skin. “Well, where should I start? The ones my mother inflicted upon me, the ones I inflicted upon myself, or the ones that have been inflicted upon me by my drug dealers and spurned ex-girlfriends?” he asks, with a completely inappropriate flirtatious tilt to his words.
i should try but something is keeping me from moving
It seemed as if an eternity stretched in the silence between them - as if him staring at her wrist was taking up all the time in the world. But as soon as he started speaking it felt as if no time at all had passed. “I know,” she replied softly, all cool apathy now stripped from her bones as she watched the way his fingers moved nimbly over her tattered flesh. She can’t help feel the corners of her lips twitch into a smirk as he quips sarcasms at her. Her skin tingles beneath his touch and a shiver rolls down her spine as his fingers move over each line, a gradient of self harm, that damask her ivory flesh. “Why..?” Violet repeats, the feeling of his lips on hers already enveloping her in a warm nostalgia of care. She breathes in slowly, letting her cigarette smolder between her slender fingers. “It’s just…,” she pauses for thought, unable to look away from his gaze. “It’s the only thing that makes sense - you know? There’s…, so much pain sometimes and…,” another pause, another breath. “It’s like finding the balance between physical and emotional… life and death. I don’t know. I guess it is kind of bullshit,” she utters quickly, finally tearing her gaze from him and trying to slip her wrist out of his firm, but tender grasp. And for the first time, Violet feels embarrassed.
Oh, he knows the words she’s speaking so well, from a time when he was a high schooler and the world was pulling him down. He remembers the way he felt when he drew his own blood and he remembers how he’d justify it, with pretty little poems of explanations of how the world’s just feel of so much pain and so much sorrow and he’s trying to rid himself of it, one drop of blood at a time. He smiles at her but it isn’t mocking, rather, it’s a smile of understanding. “I used to be like you,” Tate says, eyes remaining trained on her as he waits for her reaction to that comment. He can’t imagine it would be good, given the place where he is now. “Honor roll, straight A’s, making myself bleed in between classes, the whole nine yards,” he begins, flippantly. She may think he’s lying, looking at him now, a homeless drug addict without a penny to his name but he used to be good. At least for a little while. Before the darkness swallowed him whole and the only reprieve was heroin, the only drug that no psychiatrist had ever thought of prescribing him, despite the fact that it solved all his problems.”It’s a slippery slope you’re on, flower child. Don’t know quite where you’re going to fall,” he adds, with a smirk as she tries to pull her wrist away from him. He merely tightens his grip and pulls her wrist to his mouth, like he’s going to kiss it, but instead he runs his tongue over each scar, as if he’s trying to taste her exact flavor of pain, savor it as best he can. “You just did one of these,” he says, with a raised eyebrow as he runs his tongue over it again. “There’s still blood. Did you do it during school?” Now he’s just curious, all raised eyebrows and innocent curiosity, as if he didn’t just lick at her marred skin.
Violet gave a half shrug. Tate was quite the observant one — Violet didn’t say much. It wasn’t for lack of thoughts. Her pretty blonde skull was full of them, but Violet seemed incapable of finding the words to express them; it drove her crazy. It wasn’t until Tate reached out and wrapped his rough fingers around her jagged wrist that Violet was pulled out of her reverie and snapped her gaze back to him - a sudden fire behind her honey hues. Her first instinct was to retreat - to tear her wrist away from him and wrap herself in the shell of detached apathy she was so fond of. However, Violet found herself unable to do so — his plain and forward question was somewhat comforting. “What does it look like?” she replied easily, though her voice trembled as the words fell from her lips, laced in smoke which she blew out into the air. Violet swallowed, betraying herself. “You’re not going to learn anything from staring at them, Tate,” Violet spoke again, disengaged and abrasively about her own flesh - her own skin which she mutilated and marred on an almost daily basis.
His observance isn’t born out of curiosity or frivolous intrigue. It’s born out of survival, a need to know how everyone is thinking or feeling for fear of them lashing out at him. It comes from years of living in an abusive home, with a woman so unpredictable she would be coddling him one second and slapping him across the face the next. With Violet, it’s because he wants to know her and because she isn’t giving him much in words, he has to make up for it by watching her with a trained eye. Tate already knows that she’s broken. He knew it from the moment he laid eyes on her. But now he’s seeing proof of it, touching proof of it, as his fingers move over raised skin. “You’re mutilating yourself,” is all he can say at first, everything else feeling so hypocritical because it’s not the self-harm he objects to; it’s the tool that she’s using to do it. He’d much rather her rip open her skin with his love, his affection, the temptation of being dragged down so low that there’s no way out. He can’t say that though so he merely traces each cut with a tentative fingertip, his eyes watching hers for a reaction. “I’m not going to tell you you should stop because I don’t think you’d take advice on how to be a functioning human being from a drug addict,” he starts, smirking at the last part of his sentence. “But you should make sure that you don’t go too far. It’s a pretty fucking lame way to go and I think you’re better than that.” The last part is delivered with a smile and he leans in to press a chaste kiss to her lips, unable to help himself. “May I ask why, though? You seem kind of above all that teen angst bullshit.”