Aggressive Addiction Ch. 02

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Welcome back and thanks for reading! Before you go on, there’s a few things I’d like to clarify:

This story does NOT glorify abuse; rather it shows the realities of it, and how it can affect the mind, trust, and relationships. I do NOT encourage abusive behaviors in healthy relationships. Also, consensual sex can contain behaviors that seem risqué, but as long as both (or more) parties involved do not object to said behavior, then the sex is still consensual.

I encourage my readers to interpret the story the way you want, but I am just sharing my reasoning.

Thanks. On to ‘Aggressive Addiction Chapter 2.’

*****

Sunday morning, I head to the convenience store by foot. After Thursday’s revelation, I can’t properly sit on my bike. On my ride home, I had to hop off every five minutes to give my poor ass a break.

I, hoodie on, make my way over to the makeup section. Nobody seems to be over there, or even near there, so if I work quickly, I should be out of here in five minutes. One of the sales associates glances at me, and I know I look suspicious, so I try to relax my posture and act natural. My ominous hoodie doesn’t help, nor does my skin color, so I give up on that and slide my hood off while the woman approaches me. She’s probably around her mid-forties. “May I help you?”

“Yeah… uh… I’m looking for something my skin color,” I say quietly. At first, the woman’s eyes narrow, but I chuckle at how ridiculous the situation is, and she lets up a bit. “I need that cover-up stuff for your skin. So things like acne don’t show.”

“Oh, honey,” she says sympathetically, clasping her hands. “You’re a beautiful soul. You don’t have to slip into the madness of the world.”

“What? No…” I pull my hoodie down and tilt my head so she sees the array of bruises on my neck, and she gasps. “I have a job to go to tomorrow. It’s my first day,” I explain.

“Did someone try to kill you? You need to go to a doctor!” she gasps. I shake my head. “My goodness, what on earth—”

“I just need that makeup for your whole face,” I say with a sigh.

“Foundation,” she says. I shrug. “Well, sweetie… um…” She takes a look through the section and picks out three bottles. She holds each one up to my face. “Any of these could work. Come to the counter and we’ll try them out. I can give you a discount.”

I lied to myself. This is absolutely awful. I can’t show up to my first day of work looking like this. I have so many regrets from Thursday. By ten this morning, the bruises barely had faded, and I started to sob. I never should’ve let Matt touch me. It was like I was suffering from withdrawals the whole weekend. I took burning hot showers to try and ease my craving for the pain. It didn’t work. I paced around my apartment for hours, trying to find a way to push myself out. I can’t go back to that again.

Nobody else is in the store, and I sit in a chair behind the counter while ‘Dana’ uses a sponge to gently coat my neck in the makeup. “What mess are you caught up in?” she asks sadly.

“With all due respect, Ma’am, we do live in Brooklyn,” I reply, trying to keep still. Dana shakes her head and clicks her tongue. “Is it working?”

“It actually is, but I can’t get it too close or it’s going to rub against your clothes,” Dana says. “How old are you, honey?”

“Twenty-two,” I respond.

“Gosh, so young. Okay. Look at that and tell me if that’s alright,” she says, holding up a mirror. I inspect my neck from different angles.

“Magic,” I say with a chuckle. “Thank you so much.”

“On me, sweetheart,” Dana says. I don’t want her to feel badly for me, but I won’t protest it. Dana tilts my chin up. “I’m here Sunday through Wednesday from 10am to 6pm if you ever need anything. Anything, sweetheart.”

“Thank you,” I say, almost choking up at her generosity. “I… I’m Wesley.”

—–

I bought some lightbulbs while I was there, because using the lamps in my apartment is less expensive than turning on the overhead lights. I live on the seventh floor at the very top of the building. I have the best view of the streets, but I also get the leaks when it rains. I learned how to take care of that, though. It’s only $500 a month, and it’s shitty living, but I don’t need luxury. I have a bed, I have a TV, the doors have locks, and I can afford food. That’s all that matters. After a few months at this new job, I can start thinking of a car, but my bike is just fine for now. I keep it chained, so nobody can steal it. Coincidentally, I stole the chain from some kid’s backpack, but at the time, I literally couldn’t afford a $40 chain lock.

Things are complicated. I technically could go two more years without working and still pay for this apartment. More about that later.

I flip on the TV and munch on some popcorn. This reality TV show is on, and I feel fine watching it, until a contestant steps in front of the camera. He reminds me of Matt. The contestant is covered in tattoos and his eyes are the same color as Matt’s. I quickly turn bedava bahis the TV off. He’s bad for me. He’s bad for everyone.

Nobody cared that Matt spat in my face and punched me in the stomach every chance he got. Not even the teachers, and I know they noticed. Matt even pushed me down stairs one day. Luckily, none of my limbs were broken, but I sprained my wrist pretty badly.

I probably wouldn’t have survived it if the same thing weren’t happening in my own house.

I’m pacing again, eating popcorn and envisioning those bright blue eyes in my head. Controlling and angry blue eyes. Eyes that under their gaze, I felt absolutely powerless. Eyes that made me feel like the smallest, most worthless piece of shit. Blue eyes that rooted me as the base of everything wrong with the world.

Not Matt’s eyes. My stepfather’s.

My biological father was my hero. Mom always said I looked like him, but that’s just because she wanted to remind me of how handsome both of us were. My father had skin as dark as night yet eyes as bright as stars when he looked at my mother and me. Mom was the opposite, with skin light and sensitive with freckles all over. I wished for the longest time that I had her freckles. I got her hazel eyes, though. Her light brown hair was so long; she let me braid it for years. It still touched her lower back even in braids. We were the model family for the new generation.

My father played baseball professionally (he wasn’t a star player, but he was good to me) and then retired to become a firefighter. Mom ran a daycare. We didn’t have much, but we had a lot in spirit.

I’ll never forget the news as I sat there at 9 years old, coloring in a superhero book. Mom got the call in the afternoon, right after lunch.

My father had tried to save two children from a burning building. It collapsed. One of the children survived. They found my dad’s body curled around the body of the child who didn’t make it.

That was the first time I went numb. I tried to cry at his funeral, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t think about it.

Then Mom had a hard time looking at me, so she put me into after-school programs. Crafts. Clubs. Boxing. She didn’t want to see the smile that looked like my father’s. For two years, she did everything she could to cope with it.

Then she met Arthur.

He was two years younger than my mother, with dark blonde hair and blue eyes that never once showed anything but disdain for me, even if he tried masking it with a smile. Then he started slipping. Soon, he wasn’t even trying to cover his hatred for me up. Mom was out working as a nurse until late hours in the night, and he was at home, drinking, calling me racial slurs and cursing my existence. I cleaned up the house because my mom was too tired and did my best to ignore him. Mom seemed to like him, and I wanted her to be happy.

Arthur hit me for the first time when I was fifteen. Nothing else, just hits.

I’d stopped eating at the time, so I was weak. Matt had been picking on me for a year at that point.

Two weeks after I turned eighteen, Arthur choked me until I passed out, and dumped half a bottle of beer in my face before he pulled me to the couch by my hair. I’d been a virgin at that point, but in one moment, he took it away from me. He took it all away while I sobbed with my face shoved in a pillow and my arms pinned behind my back. He couldn’t care less if I bled, if I couldn’t breathe, if I hurt. Soon enough, I didn’t care either.

I wished I could escape home, but I either risked being raped in my own house or shot outside of it. A few times, I considered that being shot might be better, but I at least had it in me to want to keep living for at least a little while.

Arthur stopped being careful after a few months, leaving the bedroom he shared with my mother at night and making his way over to mine, which didn’t have a lock. He would cover my mouth to stifle my sobs, threatening to kill both my mother and I if I gave us away. So I absorbed it all and kept quiet for a year until I went to college.

I finally started living for myself again. That only lasted for a little while. More shit hit the fan. I just recently got out of that funk.

And I don’t want Matt to make me go back to that vulnerable feeling. I’ve seen Matt in Arthur and Arthur in Matt, and I know how hard it was to get away from it all. I don’t want to go back to that. I’m not saying that I won’t; I just don’t want to.

—-

“Wesley, or Wes?”

“Either is fine,” I respond. Even with all of Dana’s help, I didn’t want to put on all the makeup. I was too tired this morning. I sport a red turtleneck today. It’s chilly outside, so I’m not the only one bundled up. If the bruises aren’t gone tomorrow, I’ll probably have to use the makeup.

“This is your desk. Your specific line extension is taped to the computer. You’ll be with Jackie and Nicolas. They can tell you everything you need to know. And you’re familiar with this equipment?” the man bedava bonus asks. I nod. “Okay. There’s a guidebook with tabs. If you need to transfer calls most of the time, that’s alright. Welcome to the team, Wes.”

For an hour, I haven’t had to answer any calls. My deskmates are really quiet until Jackie turns toward me. “Do you have any preferences where you sit?”

“No,” I reply softly.

“Any allergies?” she asks. I shake my head. “Okay. I’m just asking because I’m allergic to fish, so Nicolas doesn’t eat fish near me.” I shake my head again. “Are you always shy?”

“…I suppose.” I adjust my shirt and turn toward my phone. I see Jackie and Nicolas give each other a look, but I don’t care. I haven’t had friends in over three years, and starting now wouldn’t be practical.

—-

On Tuesday, I answer five phone calls total, which is nothing, but I’m not worried about that. In two hours, Matt will be expecting me to be at the gym. I can’t see him again. He’s sucking me back into this horrible cycle of living for other people. No matter how much I crave that, I won’t do it. I won’t do this to myself again.

On Thursday, I pace around my house, my boxing gloves by the door. I know Matt is probably suspicious or at least thinking about all the possibilities by now. He probably thinks I’m avoiding him, which I am. He probably thinks I’m never coming back. That, I don’t know the answer to.

My deskmates have learned my last name by the next Tuesday, and by Thursday, I think I’m able to muster up the courage to find another late-night gym. Of course, I find two, and both require money. I don’t trust myself to go back and see Matt. I don’t trust myself to look my kryptonite in the face and not cave in.

By that next Tuesday, I haven’t visited the gym five times I usually would by then. Matt has no way of contacting me, and he probably couldn’t care less anyway. But I haven’t eaten in two days. I hate myself for this. One time of giving into the madness, and it’s like I’m suffering from withdrawals and slipping into that dark place again.

Thursday night, I find myself pedaling hard and fast and not looking back. I had my most productive day at work so far, but only because I woke up angry. I woke up in a fury. Angry at Matt, angry at Arthur, myself, my mom for leaving me behind, my dad for dying—I took it all, absorbing the rage and doing something productive with it. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I had dessert. I took two showers. I fucking did it all and it still felt wrong, and I still felt unworthy. Fuck that.

So by the time I arrive at the gym to find the door unlocked and Matt blasting music inside while practicing his own footwork in the ring, my mind is lost. I hear the surprised “Wes?” but I don’t respond.

I punch him in the gut. Weak, but it still catches him off guard and he stumbles backward. While he tries to process what’s going on, I aim for his face. He gets the upper hand, catching my arm and whipping me around so he can restrain me, immobilize me. He’s so fucking strong. He could probably snap me in half. I throw my head back, but miss hitting his face. “Stop!” he yells with his arms wrapped around me as I kick and writhe.

“Let me go,” I growl.

“Fuck that,” Matt grunts, squeezing me tighter. “Calm down first.”

I step on his foot with the heel of mine, causing him to let go, and I turn around to swing at him wildly. I hit the side of his head, but my contact is all off, and it ends up hurting my hand. Matt shoves me backwards and I fall down because of my slippery shoes. He’s on top of me in seconds, pinning me down by each limb. Before I think about it, I spit in his face. Then he loses it.

The first hard slap to my face makes me gasp and try to shove him off of me. The second slap makes me tear up instantly. My face is on fire, and I’m whimpering and begging him to stop by the third slap to my other cheek. That anger and rage I entered with has transferred over to him, and it burns a blue fire in his eyes. His hand is raised to hit me again, but he stops mid-swing while I plead and cover my face. His teeth are clenched, but he relaxes, closing his eyes and dropping his arm. “Get the FUCK out of here,” he seethes before shoving hard at my chest and storming to the office. The door closes so loudly, I flinch and whimper. This was a mistake.

I’ve poured out so much useless energy, I can’t even move. My chest hurts where Matt shoved me, and my face is on fire. I just curl into a ball and sob. I wipe sweat and tears and snot from my face for what seems like forever until I hear the office door swing open. “I told you to go the fuck home,” I hear from behind me. I wipe my face again and sit up. “You know, I didn’t know if something happened to you.”

“Who cares,” I grumble.

“I fucking do. You need to let me know if you’re gonna be here or not. I can’t be wasting my time here if you’re not gonna show up.” I don’t say anything, but my leg hurts like a bitch. I try to stand up too fast, deneme bonusu and the combination of the sore pain to my leg and my lightheadedness from crying causes me to fall instantly. I hear the footsteps behind me and in no time, Matt’s hands are on me, holding my head up and making sure I’m okay.

“God… stop…” I groan.

“I’ll give you a ride home,” he says. I try to protest, but he cuts me off. “Yeah, your bike. I have a truck. Let’s go.” There’s no point being an ass right now. I want to go home and lay down. What a waste. I don’t know what I expected to happen by coming at Matt. He helps me stand up and holds me against the ropes until I look him in the eye. For a second, I think he might kiss me, but he doesn’t. He just looks into my eyes intensely until I start to squirm, and then he backs away, grabbing his jacket on his way to the door. “No concussion. Let’s go.”

“But I—”

“Let’s. Go.”

The radio plays soft jazz music as we ride along. I tell him the building that I live in, and he takes the long way around. I don’t know if he does it on purpose, or if he thinks it’s the most convenient route, but I don’t question it. The radio hits a fuzzy area, so Matt turns it off. Even with all the people walking around outside, everything is eerily quiet.

When we’re caught in a little construction, I can’t help myself.

“I’m sorry.”

Matt says nothing.

“I am.”

He turns to me, then turns the radio on again. I quickly turn it off and he smacks my hand away. “Knock it off.” I sit still. “What the fuck is your problem?”

“I never should’ve—” I begin. Then I stop. “Never again. I’m not going back so don’t waste your time.”

“Thank you for making a decision,” Matt says through his teeth before turning the corner onto my apartment building. “Do you need help with your bike?”

“No.”

—-

On Wednesday by 5:45 pm, I’ve taken off my work clothes and step into the convenience store. It’s practically empty, which I expect. It’s not really near a gas station or anything prominent. I spot Dana behind the counter while she watches the news. At the sight of me, I can see she’s running through her thoughts on why I look so familiar, and then she brightens up. “Wesley!”

“Hi, ma’am,” I say with a smile. With all the beatings I’ve taken in the past, I thought my skin would be used to getting hit, but the trace of a hand-shaped bruise lingers on my cheek, and Dana spots it instantly. “How are you?” I ask.

“Well, normally I’d say it could be worse, but you have the worst. Come here, sweetheart. What are you getting yourself into?” She touches both my cheeks gently and frowns. I had to use the makeup today because of my idiotic scuffle with Matt last night, but nobody seemed to notice, and there’s only the slight remnants of our fight left.

“Just shit,” I sigh. “I’m actually here for some painkillers. Ibuprofen or whatever.”

Dana shoots up. “Okay, sweetie. And I’ll buy you a bag of ice.”

“That’s not necessary—”

“If you’re not going to tell me why the two times I’ve ever seen you have involved bruises, then I can buy you a bag of ice, honey. And that is that.” Dana punches some numbers into her computer and I walk around to find some painkillers. The bell on the door rings as I approach the counter, and in walks Matt in a t-shirt and jeans. I can’t help the way I draw into myself at the sight of him, and I can’t help the way he looks at me, either. Dana isn’t finished at her computer yet, so I go to grab a gallon of milk and a bag of fruit while Matt pays for his few items at the counter. I hope Dana didn’t notice our weirdness.

“Gosh. Breaks my heart sometimes, but it’s the only thing some people know,” she says, her voice choked up.

“What is it?”

“All those tattoos. God! It’s so heartbreaking,” Dana shakes her head and bags up my things. “Used to be the sweetest thing, too.”

She knows Matt? “What? Who is that?”

“Matthew Morrison King. His mother was the most amazing woman in the world. My best friend, too. Woman was single, but treated that boy like a prince. Then she passed on—smoking does that to you—and he turned sour oh, so fast. So fast. Busted for graffiti when he was eleven, arrested when he was thirteen for selling knives at school—got worse and worse. He used to help me bring in the groceries. He even cat-sat for me for years. I hate when they turn out so… terrible. He pretends like he doesn’t know me now,” Dana explains. “A child genius, and now he’s carrying guns and ruining his skin—I wish we could all have it easy. He could’ve been great.”

“So you saw him grow up?” I ask, my mouth dry.

“I was supposed to take care of him after Sherri passed on. She never got it in writing, and he went to live with his uncle. A man with no ambition, no character. Didn’t pay a blink of attention to Matthew. Didn’t even bail him out of jail when Matthew was 17. Poor baby spent his senior year in juvie.”

I don’t want to pry, so I don’t ask any more questions. “That sucks.” Dana touches my face.

“But then I see young men like you, going out and getting jobs and taking responsibility—those are the kinds of things that give me real hope, Wesley. Real hope. So whatever junk you might be in… just know you’re a good one.”

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