You have been thoroughly warned.
If you are squeamish about colorful language, don't like sex scenes, and honest dialogue makes your hair curl, walk away now. Do not read this.
I'll be posting installments every day until the end. I don't know how many days that will be because I am still writing this story. You can read it or not, share it or not, like it or not. It's up to you. Unlike me, you have a choice. I can't not write it.
As You Were
Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Lummis
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the above author of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Erik turned to me, sitting cross-legged on the bed. He took my hands in his, his clear dark-blue eyes riveted on me. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been all about seeking pleasure. Even as a kid. What’s in it for me? What do I want? Who’s going to give it to me? You know what I’m saying?”
I did. Erik came first in his world. “But that’s kind of how it is for everyone." I ran my thumb over the back of his hand.
He shook his head, looking down. “No, Anne. Not this way. Not my way. And I never gave it much thought until my mom left.”
I squeezed his hands. Shirley hadn’t said goodbye to fifteen-year-old Erik. One day he came home from school and she wasn’t there. No letter, nothing. He’d come home to an empty house, thinking she’d run out for something when her car wasn’t in the garage. He’d waited in their four-bedroom suburban McMansion like he was supposed to when his mother wasn’t home after school. But the sun sank into the trees, leaving him alone in the dark until his father came home.
Erik murmured, “She was and still is a selfish bitch.” He lifted his face, met my gaze. I squirmed.
“And I’m just like her.”
“No, Erik, you’re not—“
“Oh, come on, Anne.” His voice was gruff. “Everything was all about her. Nothing mattered more than her happiness, not her husband, and certainly not her son. It was all about what we could give her. I wasn’t her son, I was an accessory. And when I didn’t measure up, didn’t perform the right tricks for her friends, she either ignored me or belittled me.”
Erik tightened his grip on my hands. I swallowed back the ache rising in my chest. We’d talked about his mother here and there, but he’d never said this much before. I couldn’t imagine what life had been like in the Ladd household with a narcissistic mother and strict, ultra-conservative workaholic father.
“And I turned out just like her. Everyone and everything was for my enjoyment. Women, booze, drugs,” his eyes flickered away and then back, “Friends. I used everyone and everything I could get my hands on. To make myself feel important.”
I wanted to comfort him, reach out and stroke his face, but he wasn’t all wrong. I’d witnessed it first hand.
Erik swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing, making him seem vulnerable in a way I couldn’t explain. I can’t say I’d ever seen him like this before.
“Gena.” He shook his head in disgust. At himself.
I glanced down at our hands, an embarrassed heat creeping up my neck at the sound of her name.
“Gena deserved better. Gena was another stage prop. I used her like I’ve used everyone in my life. Like my mother used me.” Erik’s voice rose in self-loathing anger. “I’m poison. I’ve always been poison to everyone and I’m suddenly scared shitless, Anne.”
My heart was juddering around in my chest. My mouth tasted sour. I needed to help him but there was a lot of truth to what he was saying. Except the poison part.
“You’re not poison, Erik. Not to me. I wouldn’t have stayed your friend all these years if you were, okay? Trust me. There’s a good side to you, too.”
Erik’s face softened, his eyes widened. “And that’s why I stopped just now." He dropped my hands, rubbed his face like men do. "See, what I did last summer…I finally shat all over the one pure thing in my life. The one person who saw me for who I was and didn't toss me like the garbage I am.”
My head snapped up. “What?”
"You. Your friendship."