two.

Nestle had always been a “too” since she was a baby.

She was always too much

or too little.

She was either too small or too big

She was too strong, too rough, too passionate, she had too many edges, she asked too many questions.

Tetley had always been a “to”

He was always in the background.

He was never the subject or the object but simply took his position between them.

In his last year of high school, his 4th girlfriend (he’d had one for every year)  had had a conversation with him he had tried to forget, she was trying to break up with him and he was trying to understand why.

“This isn’t about me is it?” he asked, referring to the breakup

“That’s the problem T, this isn’t about you, it’s NEVER about you! It’s always about me, it’s always “how’s YOUR day” or “what do YOU want to do” or “okay if YOU want” It’s like your life does not exist without me, it’s like YOU don’t exist without me, without someone, like you can never be alone because then there is nothing about you. Tell me, have you ever said or done anything that wasn’t completely influenced by someone else?”

And that’s exactly what had brought him to the dodgiest centre he had ever had the displeasure of seeing. 1/2 of the neon letters in its sign had stopped working so instead of being “Bobby’s pleasure centre”, it  looked  like “Bby’s ere entr”, it looked a bit ominous if T was being honest and the thought of going home had crossed his mind but he swatted it away.

His ex girlfriend’s words had stayed with him even though he was in his third year of University now, he had seen the advertisement for this free ballroom dancing class on gumtree and the conversation he  had with her came flooding back to him because he  once told her it was something he’d like to do, but she said it was too cringey so he didn’t. He signed up without much thought, that would show her, also the girl he was currently talking to said she really liked boys who did “out of character” things, joining the rugby team at his University was most certainly not an option as his somewhat skinny frame would break if any of the athletic rugby lads so much as looked at him and atleast if he embarrassed himself here, no one would know about it.

She had noticed him first.

He wasn’t exceptionally good looking but Nestle liked that, she didn’t like boys that were goodlooking, she always found them somewhat inauthentic, he had a boyish features and ginger hair, features that she wouldn’t normally find attractive but he worked with them well.

Nestle was certain she had found the love of her life or maybe it’s the dim lighting and the adrenaline from the fact that there is atleast one cute guy here, she smiled at the thought.

Well I hope he doesn’t wear that shirt at our wedding, Nestle laughed silently and rolled her eyes at the thought. I’m so annoying. 

T scanned the room, there was a comfortable amount of people, comfortable in that it wasn’t cramped enough to feel claustrophobic but not too few to feel self conscious. There was a good mix of guys and women but it seemed as though most were either couples or  friends, everyone seemed to know each other. His eyes stopped at a girl who seemed to be a bit farther away from the crowd, she was a black girl with cool dark blue braids in, T had had enough black friends to know that that probably wasn’t her real hair and to know that commenting on it was probably not the best conversation starter, except maybe if it was a compliment but then she’d probably have heard that a lot. He still thought it was cool though.

She was smiling and maybe it was the lighting but she had a beautiful smile.

The instructor called for everyone to gather in a circle, possibly introduce himself and give some instructions, T wasn’t  paying attention.

His eyes looked for hers again.

She was standing right underneath the light this time, directly opposite him. Her eyes were gleaming and she tilted her neck slightly, she stared at the instructor in deep concentration, she was quite cute. His eyes moved downwards, she was wearing a black turtle neck and mid length tartan skirt. He looked down at his own choice of attire, a purple and white plaid shirt and jeans, his favourite.

T was never one to shy away from conversation or from people, he liked talking, he liked making jokes, he liked being around people, it made him feel cool, for lack of better word and  under normal circumstances, he would just stroll to her and ask her if she’d be his partner but she made him nervous, like she might look at him and see his whole life and not be interested.

The instructor was now calling for everyone to find partners and everyone was looking to each other, she had moved away from the light.

Waiting.

Waiting to be chosen, she sighed and looked around, she couldn’t understand why people never chose her, why she was always left on the sidelines. She looked at the cute guy who was currently staring at another girl, this always happened to her, she was never going to be chosen.

He wasn’t sure what to do but he knew he didn’t really have much time to think, it was either now or never. His legs started first and before he knew he was right in front of her,  he had walked up to her and she couldn’t believe it, she was smiling again, this time with teeth and she was beautiful.

And she was still beautiful when he placed his arm, in the most cutest awkward way she had ever seen, around her waist.

And gosh, was she beautiful when he spun her, because her skirt spun too and she laughed and if this was a ball, she would definitely be the belle.

“So what’s your name?” she asked in the break, her eyes soft but like fire at the same time, piercing, daring almost.

“Well people call me T,” he responded hoping she wouldn’t ask him his full name “What’s yours?”

“Surely, it must come from something,” she laughed “What’s your full name?” she sounded like she actually cared about what he had to say, she looked like she wanted to know everything about him.

“Promise you won’t laugh, I hate my name, like I feel like my parents were having a laugh when they named me.” He said smiling, she laughed, he had such a lovely smile and his voice was nothing like anything she thought she would be attracted to but she loved it, she would have never thought that an Irish accent could  be remotely sexy, especially after how many times she had heard it.

“Let’s hear it then.”

“My full name is Tetley,” she couldn’t help laughing at the coincidence, it was just too humorous.

“I told you not to laugh!” he said like a child, which only made her laugh harder. he had an amused expression on his face which made her crush for him intensify and his eyes, his eyes were so piercing, they made her feel like a girl and a woman at the same time.

“No! No!” she said in between giggles “It’s not that, it’s just..” she said

“Just what?” he asked, crossing his arms again like a defensive child.

“My name is Nestle.” He couldn’t contain it himself either and laughed

“Are you serious?” He said through chuckles

“I guess our parents really enjoyed breakfast beverages.”

The conversation rolled on for the rest of the night. She called him Tea and he in return called her Mocha, because that was her favourite coffee. He went to the University of Edinburgh and she went to Heriot Watt, she gave him the facts about why Heriot Watt was superior, he didn’t agree. They both agreed One Direction was the best thing that happened to them  however he was very “After Zayn” and she was “Before Zayn”.

She was different, she had responses.

He listened.

She was fast with her remarks.

He asked questions.

She understood all his references.

He knew his memes.

She even had ones he did not recognise.

There were so many things she could tag him in.

She was funny.

He laughed at her jokes.

She was energetic.

He was grounded.

She was eager.

He was calm.

She asked questions.

He didn’t make her feel like a nuisance.

She was passionate.

He understood.

She was strong.

He was strong.

Even though she was little, her personality was big and she wasn’t afraid.

Even though he was big, he didn’t make her feel little.

She was honest.

He was kind.

She made him feel like he was the most interesting person in the world, he actually started believing he might be.

He made her feel just enough.

 

The class ended too quickly.

She wasn’t ready to go home yet, he had to make her stay.

He had to.

“Anywhere I can take you to?” He asked, grinning.

“Well, I guess I’m not too tired.” She responded.

And so they left together, to find a place for two.

 

Pretty on pink.

TRIGGER WARNING: R*PE!

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…..
Joseph parked his company car on the curb that day slightly annoyed, first of all he was still tired from last night, (although that was something his boss was not to know), secondly, he didn’t know why he had to be the one to drive all the way to this neighbourhood when Nathan could have gone, it was his turn away, the neighbourhood was far away and just full of snotty “upper town folk”. He composed himself before picking up his tool set, this job better be quick, maybe he could get a quick nap before heading back.
Number 11. 
 
The house was a cute house, whoever cared for it really seemed to have a thing for flowers and all things sweet smelling because the front of the house had all sorts of beautiful flowers growing on the front, Lilies, lavender, carnations, roses of all shapes and sizes, a bees heaven.
The sight made Joseph smile, he was quite the gardener himself and could always take the time to appreciate a perfectly perfect gardening job and this job, he must admit was perfectly perfect.
He pressed the doorbell and waited, the windows were wide open and Joseph could see the entire parlour.
It was very..
well..
pink.
Not Joseph’s taste but who was Joseph to judge, people were allowed to like what they like. The sofa although white was covered in all sorts of pink throw pillows, feathery ones, shiny ones, soft ones. The couch itself was something one would find in perharps an antique shop, it was one of those that ladies back in the day laid on to complain about all the suitors they had turn down that day or something silly like that, a fainting couch. Before he could judge the rest of the decor, the door opened and before him stood a young-ish woman, he would say perhaps 23 at most, wearing a pink gingham dress and pink gardening gloves.
She must really like pink. 
 
She had a very warm smile
“Hello there,” she said, and an even warmer voice.
“Hello,” he responded smiling back “you called for plumbing.” She look puzzled at first but it cleared away and was replaced with the same warm smile she greeted him with.
“Yes, yes, come in, I did do that didn’t I?” She said ushering him in, her house was as clean as anything and smelt delicious, like she had just been baking.
“You have a lovely home madam, do you garden?” she laughed and Joseph found himself smiling too
“Thank you so much! And yes, I love plants! Can I offer you something to drink? It’s quite warm today don’t you think? Water? Coke? I also have lemonade somewhere, homemade.”
“Homemade lemonade? I haven’t heard that about in a long time, it’s all commercial now, everything is now.”
“Yes, I make it myself, would you like some?” He couldn’t help himself, and that was Joseph’s biggest problem.
“Yes please.”
“Would you like to wait in the living room? the plumbing work is actually out in the…” her voice trailing off, as she went into the kitchen. Joseph took off his shoes and stepped into the living room, feeling out of place immediately. Everything seemed so pretty and cute, he wondered if she lived alone.
He found pictures of people everywhere he turned, there were pictures of her with people of different shapes and sizes. As he gazed around the room, a picture caught his eyes, it was a picture of two women, this woman he assumed, and someone familiar, he moved closer to inspect the picture.
Yes, he was right.
Cherry from High school, Cherry and him went to high school together but how is it possible? Could the woman be older than him? No, she couldn’t be, there is no way.
He must be a lot more tired than he thought, he reckoned.
“Here we are,” he turned around swiftly almost knocking the picture from its place on her shelf.
“Thank you,” he said picking up the drink. “You seem to know a lot of people.” he laughed referring to the many pictures before taking a gulp
“Yes,” she smiled “Family is very important to me.”
He felt uneasy but laughed it away, he must be tired, this job and he would take the rest of the day off.
He finished the drink in a few gulps, it was very sweet but very refreshing.
“Thank you, it tasted very good ma’am.”
“No problem, yes now, if you would like to follow me, the leak is actually down here.”
She directed him to a set of stairs, the walls were filled with pictures and antique things, cat clocks and interesting frames, everything pink of course.
His stomach ached.
“Right down here.”
“Did you know Cherry, Joseph?” she asked,  he didn’t remember telling her his name.
he was starting to feel dizzy.
“Yes, we went to high school together.” He couldn’t remember much of high school, it was never a good time for him, he was unhappy with his life and he took it out on others, which he should not have but high school was a deadly game and you had to play to live.
“That’s nice.”
Joseph felt his heart race go up, he felt  like he had been sprinting many miles.
“Are you a gardener Mr. Joseph?”
“Yes.” He stopped trying to catch his breathe
“What are your favourite flowers?”
“Hydrangeas ma’am” he gasped “blue ones, they remind me of my mum.”
“How lovely, do you want to know mine?”
Something wasn’t right. Something was very not right.
“They’re called Cobra Lilies.”
He tried to turn around , he was trying to go back the way he came but he couldn’t remember how he started.
“Their scientific name is darlingtonia Californica, how cute.”
“What did you do to me?” he screamed, he felt as though he had gone blind and was trying to claw his way through the house.
“It lures insects into its pitcher with its sweet smell.” her voice was drifting off now. Everything was beginning to feel hazy like on a hot summers day when the air felt slow and heavy.
“Let me out! Let me out!” he cried, a bright light seemed to come from a certain direction but every time he ran towards it, it divided itself into two.
“And it’s interesting,” her voice continued, still maintaining its warm nature but very far away now “because its closed pitchers have numerous, see through, false exits that exhausts its desperate victims as they try to escape.”
“Please,” he begged, panting “Let me out.” his heart was beating so hard in his chest, he thought it might explode.
“Family is very important to me.”
“What did you do to Cherry?” he could see her now, she was there, in the same pink outfit, looking as sweet as ever.
“Nothing, we went to high school together.”
“What did you do to Cherry?” she asked again, all of a sudden, he was there, he was in that room.
The smell got to him first.
“No” he whispered.
He could see himself, his younger self.
He could hear her.
He could hear him.
“Stop! Stop! Stop!”
“What did you do to Cherry?”
“Nothing, Nothing, I didn’t do anything.” the screams got louder. He tried to close his eyes but they wouldn’t close, he tried to move his hands to cover his ears but they wouldn’t budge.
The smell, the ghastly smell.
“Stop! stop!”
“What did you do?”
“I raped her, I raped her, I raped her” he cried, “I took advantage of her, she was looking for help and I took advantage of her.” His legs gave way, landing on his hands and knees, the tears continue to stream heavily.
 He was crying heavily and he couldn’t stop, he cried and he cried and he cried.
 It was him, it was him, it had always been him.
He wasn’t sure how long he had been crying for or even how long he had been there for, it could have been a minute, it could have been an hour, it could have been years however all of a sudden, everything stopped.
He was at the bottom of the staircase now, the woman facing him, smiling that same warm smile.
He could feel a dampness in his trousers and his eyes were painful but it no longer felt like there was an eagle flapping about in his chest.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” he begged  “I’m sorry. Please let me go, I’m sorry, I’m a good man now, I would never, please let me go, I never drank alcohol again ever since, I donate to charities, I make sure women never go out alone, last night at the work party, I made sure I left last so everyone could get home safely, I always do, please, I’m sorry.”
He turned around and ran, he was close.
He was so close.
There was the door handle, all he needed to do was turn it and he would be free.
He reached out to grasp it but he couldn’t, he tried again and again.
“I really would Joseph..” he sank to the floor, crying.
“But Family is very important to me.”
..
The lady picked out blue hydrangeas seeds from her selection of flowers seeds.
“You’ll fit perfectly in my garden,” she smiled and set to work immediately.