Invisible Lines (Part 11)

Invisible Lines

(11)                  {start with Part 1}

Sima woke from a dreamless sleep in a strange bed. No, Paul’s bed. She’d been drowsy, even sort of stoned on the aftermath of the tattoo and what followed, but that wasn’t the same thing as inebriated or drugged. She remembered everything; Paul’s kiss, his hands, his cock, his presence.  She remembered him picking her up and carrying her up the stairs, and tucking her in. It had been… very nice. Every bit of it.

She sat up in the bed, carefully avoiding touching or moving her raw leg. A clock by the bedside told her in red LED that it wasn’t even midnight yet. The bedroom was dark, but light spilled in from a door open to an adjacent room where muted sounds of scratchy, ancient blues music played. The room itself was spare, and seemed well kept in the dim light. Dark furniture, and a handful of framed pictures she couldn’t make out; nothing remarkable or odd. Another door, on the opposite wall , led to a bathroom. Which was good, because she really needed to pee.

Her bottoms were still absent under her skirt, which made it easier, and she was rather messy and a bit achey, which made it less easy. She found she really didn’t mind. She hadn’t gotten laid in longer than she cared to think about, but it hadn’t been just ‘getting laid’. Paul knew something about her none of her lovers ever had, and it was the strangest thing to feel acceptance for it – and more than that –  when she’d been so certain the opposite was the only possible thing.

Paul was sprawled on a very comfortable looking scuffed-leather couch, reading in the living/dining room/ He’d changed clothes, wearing a faded concert T-shirt of a band Sima didn’t know, and black skater shorts. They revealed his legs were tattooed as well, but she couldn’t make out what the designs were from her angle.

He looked up as she emerged, and smiled a small smile.

“Hi Sima. How do you feel?”

“Hi Paul. I feel…” Her thigh throbbed with familiar pain, ”Good. Really good.”

“You should drink some water, but do you want tea also? Something to eat?”

“No, thank you. Wait,” Suddenly she was starving. “Yes!”

Paul nodded, put his reader down on a scarred-wood coffee table, next to an empty tumbler and sketchbook. He got up and turned to the kitchen alcove at the far corner of the room. The place was immaculately clean, though every piece of furniture was old and spoke of a past functional life before arriving in Paul’s apartment. The coffee table had wheels – it used to be a factory loading pallet. The couch itself looked like it could have once adorned in the office of a 1980’s fat-cat CEO. And so on through an eclectic mix of styles. Nothing antique, but everything weathered and well used, and yet well cared for.

“How do you feel about turkey sandwiches?” He asked, peering into his open fridge door.

“I’m in favor of them,” she said, smiling.

Paul nodded, reaching for ingredients. Sima stepped to the kitchen area and took a seat on one of the rickety-looking, solid-feeling stools fronting the counter/table. As he extracted food and implements, and poured water, Sima tried to read him, and couldn’t. She watched his creature-covered arms as he worked.

“Thank you,” she said, wondering if she could actually name the things she was thanking him for.

Paul smiled thinly, opening a deli package, and then putting it down and looking up at her.

“Tell me about the lotus.”

Her breath caught for a moment, the chain of thoughts flashing from how did he see? to of course he saw, to what does he think? to nothing good, he thinks I’m a hypocrite or game player. But if Paul did think that, it wasn’t apparent on his face, which was almost maddeningly neutral. She let out a breath and dove in, words rushing.

“I hate it. It’s how I discovered I don’t want – can’t have real tattoos. The others, I know they’re all there, but …they’re mine. I own them. I just can’t stand something so visibly permanent talking to other people. I don’t even have pierced ears. I usually cover it with makeup if I’m going to be barefooted…”

“Then why did you get it?” He asked.

“Because of the needle. You probably saw, you would be able to, the bottom of it covers a scar. That I gave it to myself. Because I was playing with needles. No, not playing. You know what I was doing.”

“No. Tell me.”

Paul’s attention was on her; still neutral, but hyper-focused. Now the words came harder.

“I was trying to find that feeling. To make it. I’d been doing it for years, one little stick at a time. Well, it started with one at a time…”

“How. How did it start?”

She felt a flash of rage at him for pushing, for digging at her like this, for needling. But as soon as she thought of the metaphor, the anger dissipated. He wanted to see what was under her skin. Of course he did. She took a deep breath.

“My parents took me to India when I was eleven, to visit extended family. We went for two months and traveled all over. My father loved the old, crowded market places, and took us to more than I can remember, though he never let my sister or me out of his sight. There was one, I think in Surat. Almost in the middle of the street there was this really old, really skinny, almost naked yogi, lying on a bed of nails. I didn’t believe it, because at eleven, I knew everything and was certain that had just been a story for children – and tourists. But there he was, and he got up as I watched him while my father was haggling for something. His back and legs… they were smooth. No pinpricks, no intents from the nails, no nothing. I was sure then it was fake, and just for show, and to prove it to myself, walked over to the board with all the nails and poked it with my finger.

“I was wrong. The nails weren’t just sharp, they were very sharp. I’d just stuck two fingers in four places and they bled. And they hurt! The shock of it…I kind of shrieked, which alerted my dad that I had snuck from his side, and then there was a huge to do. My father angry and scared, the yogi annoyed and bemused, the people crowding around… It all kind of focused the pricks in my fingers. The feeling went right down my spine. I didn’t realize it was basically indistinguishable from… arousal until a little later. But once I made the connection, I stole some of my mother’s sewing needles.”

“The ankle was stupid. About four years ago, I neglected to clean everything properly, got an infection, and was left with a visible scar. It felt a lot bigger than it was, but I thought it was like a spotlight. I convinced myself that covering it up was better than having it there… and well, I was living on my own for the first time. I could make my own decisions. Even bad ones.”

“So, the tattoo was bad, but getting that tattoo…”

“Yeah. It felt like that day. Like what I’d been looking for, but more. And so… I’m a… I don’t know. Freak. Addict. Per-“

“Names don’t matter, Sima. You are what you are.”

{Continued in Part 12}

Latest Comments

  1. paul1510 says:

    for the first time I actually swore when I read the words to be continued.

  2. paul1510 says:

    It’s adictive, I want to know the end, yet I’ll be sorry when it does. This story really grabs me.

    • Monocle says:

      Well, we’re getting there. This is one of the hardest stories I’ve written. I think I’m out of my comfort zone, as they say.

  3. Wordwytch says:

    A very nice segue and I’m looking forward to more of the story.

  4. April says:

    I’ve been intrigued with this all along, but this last part has made me even more curious where the story and charecters are going.

  5. Mystique says:

    I initially read chapter 10 which caught my interest, prickled my curiosity until I could feel the low hum of my own arousal.

    Then I went back to chapter 1 and read everything in turn like a good girl, lol.
    I do love the sexual tension that has built between them two leading to chapter 10.
    This seems to be ‘downtime’ and now we get to know more about the characters themselves.

    Makes me curious as to what Paul’s story will be then.
    Keep them coming ^^

  6. Deliza Rafferty says:

    Unlike Paul, I’ve cursed every time I’ve read “to be continued”!

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