It’s a beautiful morning. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and the sun’s rays are golden and warm. A perfect day.
Unfortunately, the sunlight streaming through the window wakes Summer up, and she turns away from the light, snuggling into the thick, warm blankets.
She’s almost asleep again when she feels a pair of arms slip around her, holding her tightly. They wake her up completely, and she smiles.
Slowly, so she doesn’t wake her beloved girlfriend, she turns around.
The sight that meets her eyes is breathtaking. It’s been years since they met, and yet every time Summer looks at her, she still can’t believe that this amazing, wonderful, beautiful woman even looked twice at her, let alone actually became her girlfriend.
Somehow, she’d swear that Layla gets even more beautiful every time Summer sees her.
Summer snuggles up to her, wraps her arms around Layla’s waist, and buries her face in Layla’s hair.
This is how life should be. This is perfection.
Despite the fact that it’s nearly ten o’clock, Summer closes her eyes.
Getting up can wait.
It’s nearly noon when they finally manage to get out of bed. Layla stumbles into the bathroom for a shower, bleary-eyed and nearly bumping into almost everything in her path, and Summer pulls on her dressing gown and heads into the kitchen.
The apartment isn’t big- their bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, the rec room and the spare room- but Layla and Summer like it just fine. They renovated a year after Summer moved in, completely changing the décor, painting the walls with bright, loud colours and laying down new carpet and tiles, making the small space look bigger, as well as adding in more cabinets and shelves.
Of course, while adding more storage space to keep the rooms clean was a good idea, it was immediately negated by Summer’s messiness.
It’s not that she doesn’t like cleaning, or doesn’t do it well. She just forgets to do it a lot, and while Layla’s a neat freak, she always insists that Summer has to clean up after herself.
At least the kitchen isn’t that bad this time. Summer just has to stack the dishwasher with the dirty cups and plates she’d left out last night, run it, and wipe down the benches before she can start on breakfast.
She’s thinking pancakes, maybe. Something good and sweet, like Layla.
Absently, she finds the ingredients, notes that they’re nearly out of eggs, and starts measuring the flour and sugar, humming as she does.
When Layla walks into the kitchen half an hour later, clean, dressed and fully awake, Summer’s cutting up strawberries and keeping an eye on the pan as the first two pancakes sizzle.
At the sound of footsteps, Summer turns, her face lighting up as she sees the one person she loves more than anything.
Layla stops as she enters the kitchen, inhaling deeply and smiling. “Are those pancakes I smell?”
“Sure are, babe,” Summer replies.
Layla’s smile widens. “Are they for me?”
“These ones? Sure, if you want them,” Summer says. She turns back to the pan, flips the pancakes, and then looks back at her lover.
Layla inhales again, slowly, deliberately. “I think I do.”
Summer smiles back. “Then they are all yours.”
She turns to the pan and flips the pancakes again, pulling the plate closer, and she’s so focused on not making any mistakes that she doesn’t realise that Layla’s come up behind her until Layla’s hands land on her hips.
Summer’s tiny shriek of surprise becomes a moan as Layla starts kissing her neck, slowly trailing down her shoulders and onto her back, pulling the dressing gown aside.
As much as Summer’s loving it, there’s a more pressing issue. “Wait,” she mumbles. “Layla, wait…”
“Fuck waiting,” Layla growls into her ear. Her hands move up Summer’s body, untie the dressing gown and cup Summer’s breasts, stroking her skin through the thin pink chemise that’s all she’s wearing under the gown.
“The pancakes,” Summer protests, pulling Layla’s hands off her chest. “They’ll burn.”
“Fuck the pancakes,” Layla mutters as she stops kissing Summer’s back and starts on the other side of Summer’s neck. “I want you.”
Summer’s stomach growls, and she sighs regretfully. “You can have me after we eat,” she informs Layla decisively. “Besides, your pancakes are just about ready, and if you don’t eat them, then I’ll eat all of them. Every. Single. One.”
Layla puts on a comically shocked expression, pretends to gasp and steps back, pouting. “You so don’t play fair.”
Summer beams at her and pulls her dressing-gown back on. “How else am I supposed to keep up with you?”
The pancakes turn out fine in the end. Summer sifts a little icing sugar onto each one and puts some sliced strawberries on top, and then serves them to Layla with a smile.
She puts the kettle on for coffee, pours more batter into the pan, finds another plate, and reaches for the maple syrup, only to find that it’s not there.
Puzzled, she looks in the pantry, near the sink, on the table, but it’s nowhere to be found, and she knows that there’s no way they’ve used up the whole bottle.
“Layla?” she asks finally.
Layla looks up from the newspaper. “Yeah?”
“Do you know where the maple syrup is?” Summer asks.
Layla gives her a slow, sexy smile, and Summer turns bright red. “I hid it. It’s for later,” she says, and Summer has absolutely no doubts about what she means.
The thought sends electric heat running through her, and she becomes acutely aware of the wetness between her thighs.
She turns around hurriedly and focuses on flipping the pancakes and finding the coffee, anything to distract herself.
Behind her, Layla laughs, and Summer has to pretend that she didn't hear it or she'll get so distracted that the pan will probably catch fire, and she won't even care.
Breakfast proceeds without any more interruptions, thankfully. Summer makes the coffee and eats her pancakes, and after a pointed look from Layla, she starts clearing up while she waits for Layla to finish drinking her coffee and reading the newspaper.
She’s barely finished when Layla says from behind her, “You are such a fucking tease, you know that?”
She turns around. Layla’s perched on the edge of the kitchen counter, legs crossed, leaning forward with her chin in her hand, watching Summer intently.
Summer smirks and raises an eyebrow in a silent question.
“You’re not even wearing anything under that, are you?” Layla asks, and doesn’t wait for an answer. “Giving me those looks, making me wait… are you trying to drive me crazy?”
Summer folds her arms over her chest and gives Layla a confident look. “So what if I am? What are you going to do about it?”
Layla jumps off the counter, walks forward and pushes Summer back against the wall, and slips a hand between her thighs. “I’m gonna get you back. In spades.”
Summer’s legs buckle as Layla slides two fingers inside her, and she moans loudly, her hands gripping the edge of the counter so hard her knuckles turn white.
Layla grins, and she leans forward, pulls the dressing gown aside and licks Summer’s left breast through the thin cloth of her chemise, sucking and mouthing the nipple. “Yeah, you like that, don’t you?”
The only response she gets is more moans.
Layla rolls her eyes, pulls her fingers out and pinches the inside of Summer’s thigh sharply.
Summer lets out a squeal and snaps back to reality.
“I asked you a question,” Layla says drily. “I said, you like that, don’t you?”
Summer nods, and glares. “That fucking hurt.”
Layla purses her lips. “Well, if you will ignore my questions… anyway. If you want more, you’re going to have to ask me nicely.”
“Oh, fuck that-”
Layla drops to her knees in one smooth movement and licks Summer’s clit, sliding her tongue around it again and again until Summer comes with a scream, her legs nearly giving out.
Layla looks up at her serenely. “Do you want more?”
Summer nods weakly.
“Say please,” Layla commands.
“Please,” Summer whispers.
“Pretty please,” Layla adds with a wicked smile.
“With a cherry on top.”
“Pretty please with a cherry on top and ice-cream inside and sprinkles on it and whatever the fuck else you want!” Summer gasps.
Layla chuckles, and gets up. “Take it off.”
“Take off your clothes.”
Summer huffs, but she lets the dressing gown fall to the floor and pulls the chemise over her head, throwing it aside. “Happy now?”
Layla looks her over with a long, lascivious stare, and licks her lips. “Oh, yeah.”
“Good. So now what?”
Layla smiles, and beckons Summer to follow her. “Now we really get started.”
Layla barely waits until Summer’s made herself comfortable on their bed before she finds an old blue scarf she never liked much and ties Summer’s wrists to the bed. Once that’s done, she finds the blindfold and fastens it over Summer’s eyes.
“Is that OK?” she asks.
Summer shifts impatiently, pulling against the scarf experimentally. “Yeah, it’s fine, just do it, will you?”
“Patience,” Layla drawls as she goes to the bookshelf, leans down and retrieves the bottle of maple syrup from where it was cunningly hidden on the lowest shelf. She opens it, pours some into her hand and slowly spreads it over Summer’s skin, starting from her chest and moving down her body, her fingertips barely touching Summer.
Summer lets out a sound that’s somewhere between a moan and a whine. “Layla, please…”
Layla pouts. “God, you’re so impatient.”
“I swear to God, if you don’t do something in the next minute, I’m going to go insane,” Summer snaps back.
“Now you know how I feel,” Layla replies tartly. “But you get off on that, don’t you? Teasing me with all your cute smiles and your flirting looks, and then you fucking tell me to wait… well. I’m not going to wait any more.”
With that, she leans down and licks Summer’s thigh, slowly but gradually moving her way up Summer’s body, taking care to consume every last drop of syrup.
Summer’s moaning and thrashing around, and Layla puts one hand on her shoulder and presses down. “Stop moving, you’re getting in my way,” she says, annoyed.
“I can’t help it,” Summer groans. “Layla, please…”
Layla grins back at her and resumes licking, her tongue darting out to lap up the sweet syrup with tiny, quick flicks that send Summer wild and make her moan even more.
Finally, after what seems like an age for Summer but isn’t long enough for Layla, she laps up the last of the syrup and sits back on her heels, licking her lips thoughtfully.
“Let me come,” Summer begs. “Layla, please, I need it.”
“Oh, you need it, do you?” Layla asks doubtfully, though she’s grinning. “Why don’t I believe you?”
She loves tormenting Summer like this. No matter how many times she makes Summer apologise for teasing her, Summer just keeps on driving Layla wild without even saying a word, and Layla keeps fucking her senseless for it.
Neither of them intends to stop.
“I do,” Summer cries. “I need it, Layla, I need it!”
“Say please,” Layla replies sternly.
“Say please,” Layla snaps. “Beg for it. I know you love it.”
“Please let me come, Layla, I’ll do anything, I swear…”
Layla listens to Summer babble on for half a minute or so before she leans down and kisses Summer’s inner thigh, cutting off the stream of words and getting another moan in return. From there, she moves a little to the right and licks Summer’s clit again, and it isn’t long before Summer comes again, and again, and again, until Layla hears the word she was waiting for.
“Stop,” Summer whispers, her head spinning from the orgasms. “Please.”
Layla stops at once, licking her lips regretfully, and she savours the last taste before she climbs over to the head of the bed so she can untie Summer’s hands and remove the blindfold. Once that’s done, she helps Summer sit up and curls up beside her, hugging her lover closely.
Summer rests her head on Layla’s shoulder and says nothing, exhausted.
They stay like that for a while as Summer recovers, until Layla finally breaks the silence. “Are you OK?”
Summer nods. “Yeah.”
“Did I go too far?”
She dreads the day Summer says yes.
“No. No, it was fine.”
Layla exhales, relieved, and takes Summer’s hand. “So what do you want to do now?”
“I want to tie you up and fuck you senseless,” Summer says.
Layla’s heart skips a beat, and for a second she wants to hold out her wrists and say ‘Take me’.
Instead, she nods. “That sounds good.”
“That’s for next time, though,” Summer continues. “For now…” She gives Layla a wicked grin. “Take off your jeans.”
An hour later, Summer’s in the shower, rinsing conditioner out of her hair when she feels the first twitch at the base of her spine.
Her eyes widen with horror, and she drops the bottle, silvery white fluid spilling out over the tiles, mixing with the water and spiralling down the drain.
No, no, please no, not this, anything but this-
She feels the twitch again, stronger this time, and she bites back a shriek.
Oh fuck, fuck, not this, please no-
She tries to bend down and pick up the bottle, but the twitch comes again, and she drops to her knees with a thud, jarring them painfully, her hand trembling so much that she accidentally knocks the bottle away when she tries to pick it up.
It starts slowly. It always does. It’s a little tickle at the base of her spine, barely noticeable to begin with, and then it grows and spreads all over her body, intensifying until it’s an itch so unbearable that it drives out every other thought in her head, and all she can do is rake her nails over her skin again and again, scratching herself bloody even though it does nothing.
There’s only one thing that can make it stop, but it’s not easy to come by, and Summer hates it, hates what she has to do to get relief.
Addiction is such a bitch.
It’s not that she hasn’t tried other methods. Of course she has. Things like methadone don’t work, just trying to wait it out doesn’t work, sleeping doesn’t work.
Only one thing actually did work, but it wasn’t pretty: it took Layla hours to get a hold of the… substance, and while she was gone, she’d left Summer tied to the bed so she couldn’t scratch herself. By the time she got back, Summer’s wrists and ankles were raw and bloody, her hands and feet swollen, and she’d gone hoarse from screaming through the gag.
Whatever was in the syringe knocked her out for two days straight, and when she woke up, she was throwing up for hours and her temperature had gone through the roof. The itch vanished along with the nausea and the fever, but Summer never wants to go through that again, and Layla agrees with her.
Summer knows that Layla’s got some more of whatever the fuck it is hidden away, but that’s for emergencies, thank God.
It’s both a blessing and her curse: since the addiction started in her late teens, her life took a sharp turn downwards. At first, she was stumbling along blindly, looking for any quick way to get what she needed, trying every other method she could think of. Then her life took a sharp turn downhill until she hit rock bottom, doing things she never talks about, even with Layla. She’s tried to block them out, forget about them, but they constantly resurface in her nightmares, refusing to go away.
As much as Summer hates the fact that she was ever that desperate, she has to admit that there’s one huge upside: it was in that dark time that she met Layla. Layla, who saved her, got her away from the rougher parts of town and back into somewhere that could actually be considered safe. Layla, whose huge inheritance is the reason why neither she nor Summer has to work, and who let Summer move in with her without hesitation. Layla, who worked out how to get Summer what she needs without resorting to the kind of things that got Summer arrested more than a few times.
Layla, who Summer loves more than anything, and who actually loves her back.
Summer would do anything for her.
The itch hits her again, a little stronger, and Summer’s recalled back to the present. She manages to pick up the bottle, closes it and puts it back on the shelf, her fingers trembling.
She hates it. Hates it so much, the way it makes her feel so cheap and dirty and used, the way she becomes so desperate to satisfy her cravings that she’ll do anything to make it stop.
She tries to tell herself that it isn’t her fault, but it never works. Her self-loathing always wins, in the end.
Layla will have the answer, though. Layla knows everything. She’ll know what to do.
Deliberately, Summer pushes the memories out of her head, and focuses on scrubbing herself clean, like she can wash off her past, her addiction, her memories.
She might scrub her back a little too hard, but it’s no big deal, really.
Once she’s dry and dressed, she goes looking for Layla, and finds her in the rec room, curled up on the couch watching The West Wing. She looks up when Summer walks in, only to look alarmed when she sees Summer’s expression.
“Babe? What’s wrong?”
Summer bites her lip, clenches her fists, and then just decides to say it and get it over with. “I’m… getting those feelings again.”
Layla’s expression changes instantly, and she climbs off the couch, walking over to Summer. “Oh, babe. I'm sorry.”
“What do we do?” Summer asks, trying not to sound lost, and failing.
Layla hugs her, and Summer buries her face in Layla’s hair, trying not to think about it, but the itch flares again, and it’s all she can do to keep herself from sobbing.
Layla pulls away, and Summer’s relieved to see that she looks like she’s got a plan. “How bad is it?”
“It’s only at the early stages,” Summer says quietly.
“Good. OK. Think you can hold out until tonight?”
Summer nods tentatively, mentally crossing her fingers and praying that it won’t be too hard.
“Good,” Layla says again. “Let’s go shopping, get some new outfits, and then tonight we’ll get you what you need, OK?”
“OK,” Summer whispers, and the relief makes her a little dizzy, her head spinning.
Layla takes her hand and kisses her way up Summer’s arm, over the two dozen or so tiny round scars. They’re not immediately apparent, but they make Summer’s arm look like a pincushion.
“It’s going to be OK,” Layla tells her.
Summer manages a smile in return.
Layla’s other hand slides around her waist, resting on her back, and Summer winces away, pain erupting where she scrubbed herself bloody.
Layla realises what’s happened instantly, her dark eyes full of concern. “Summer, did you…”
Summer nods and looks away, her cheeks flushing with shame.
“Is it bad?”
“Not really,” Summer mumbles, and the lie is so obvious she instantly regrets trying.
“Hang on,” Layla says, alarmed. She’s gone and back in a minute, holding some bandages and the antiseptic cream. She pushes Summer gently down onto the couch and pulls her shirt up, only to exclaim at the sight of Summer’s back.
“Jesus! Oh God, Summer…”
Summer mutters something that goes unheard as Layla starts spreading antiseptic cream on the wound, the cold feeling dulling the pain until it’s barely there, a murmur rather than a scream. Summer closes her eyes as Layla spreads the cream lightly over her skin and applies the bandages, until she feels Layla pull her shirt back down.
“That should do for now,” she says. “We won’t be out for long, anyway.”
She helps Summer up, and beckons her onwards. “Let’s go.”
Summer follows her obediently, like she always does.
They’re only gone for a few hours, but the trip goes by at a crawl for Summer. She constantly flips between stressed and bored. She wants to go home, wants to score, wants to do anything but shop. Instead, she watches as Layla tries on new outfits, gets Summer to try on dresses she doesn’t care about, and she isn’t even interested when Layla needs her help in the change rooms.
She knows that Layla’s doing it for her, that Layla wants to keep her distracted, but it’s not working and Summer’s more than a tad pissed off by the time they get home.
She distracts herself by flopping on the couch and watching whatever’s on TV, downing a few glasses of champagne to help her ignore the scratching.
Layla, on the other hand, runs around the apartment in a frenzy, packing and repacking her purse to the point that she just empties it out and starts again three times.
She always gets so nervous before they go out to score. It’d almost be cute, if said scoring wasn’t so very illegal.
Summer doesn’t even realise that she’s dozed off until Layla’s hand grips her shoulder, shaking her awake. “Babe?”
She sits up, blinks, looks around. Her back feels like it’s on fire, and Layla grabs her wrist as it moves to scratch without Summer realising. “Huh?”
“We have to get ready,” Layla says quietly, and Summer’s nails bite into her palm, but she gets up and follows Layla obediently.
As always, she follows Layla’s lead, standing still as Layla helps her into a short, tight blue dress that hugs her curves and leaves nothing to the imagination. Summer never liked this one, so it’ll do fine.
She brushes her hair out, applies mascara, blush, and some lipstick, the really red one. She adds some gold eyeshadow, pouts into the mirror, and glares at her reflection.
She looks cheap and trashy, barely recognizable, but attractive… in an easily bought and sold way.
Next to her, Layla finishes pulling her hair into a ponytail and starts applying her own makeup. Summer always ends up appalled when she watches Layla getting ready, as her beautiful girlfriend turns into a skank before her eyes.
Layla’s wearing green, a short, sparkly dress that doesn’t suit her at all, and green heels that look like they’d break if you looked at them too hard. She spins around, blows a kiss to the mirror, and grins at Summer. “What do you think?”
“You look terrible,” Summer replies bluntly.
Layla smirks. “So do you, babe.” She picks up her huge purse and looks at Summer expectantly. “Got your stuff?”
Summer blushes. She’s forgotten all about it. “Um. No. I forgot.”
Layla gives her an exasperated look. “For heaven’s sake, Summer!”
Summer mumbles an apology and starts packing, throwing things into her purse instead of folding them like Layla does.
Layla makes her repack it three times before she’s satisfied, but finally, they leave.
When it comes to scoring, Layla’s the one in charge. She chooses the place, the time, the people, and she’s the one who does the talking and sets the pace.
Summer doesn't mind. In fact, she feels guilty. She hates that she’s dragged Layla into the clusterfuck that is her addiction (even though Layla volunteered without being asked), and so she just goes along with everything Layla says, rarely (if ever) objecting.
The club Layla’s picked this time is one that Summer’s never heard of, in a suburb she’s never heard of either. It’s quite far away from their apartment, and it’s not a good part of town.
They use different ways to get there, depending on the location: they’ve used their car a couple of times, but never too frequently; they sometimes use public transport if the location’s close. This time, they take a cab, and Layla has to nudge Summer a few times to get her to play up their cover of two ordinary women out for a good night, but the cab driver doesn’t seem to suspect anything, thankfully.
They get dropped off a few blocks away, and they walk the rest. Summer’s nervous as all hell and just a little bit tipsy, and she walks with her fists clenched and her eyes on the ground, barely glancing up at anyone heading toward them. She stays that way, focusing on not falling over, ignoring any and all comments thrown her way, until they get to the club.
It’s not the nicest of clubs they’ve been in, but that’s OK. They don’t stand out, which is something of a relief- not that they’ve been over- or underdressed very often. It’s smoky, seedy, and not as loud as she expected, so that’s a plus. But Summer’s tense enough that she finds herself eyeing up everyone around her as a possible enemy, and every long glance is a fight that might happen.
They’ve developed a routine: Summer goes to the bar, sits down at the end, orders a drink and tries to look nervous and fidgety while not attracting attention or starting conversations. Layla heads to the dance floor and dances, acting like there’s nothing on her mind but dancing while she looks around for the perfect person.
Sometimes it can take hours, other times it’s not long before Layla finds the perfect person. Summer kills time by hitting that sweet spot between mildly tipsy and too drunk to function, and acts like an antisocial bitch who got dragged to the bar by her girlfriend and wants nothing to do with anyone.
It’s a very good way of getting rid of anyone who tries to talk to her. She's perfected her technique, and she can do it even when she's drunk. It serves her well.
Maybe half an hour after they first walk in, Layla taps Summer on the shoulder, completely surprising her. She's pretty drunk, and she forgot to keep an eye on Layla.
So when Layla taps her shoulder, she jumps, giggles, and nearly falls off her stool, and Layla barely manages to stop her from falling. “Don’t do that! No sneaking up on me!”
“Come on,” Layla hisses quietly. “I’ve found someone you should meet.”
Summer rolls her eyes. “But I haven’t even finished my- hey!” she protests as Layla grabs her Tequila Sunrise and downs what’s left in one swallow.
Once Layla’s paid the bill, she hoists Summer to her feet and leads her across the club, though she has to catch her whenever Summer stumbles, which is more than a few times.
Alcohol and high heels don’t and never will mix.
The man who’s waiting for them in an isolated, nearly empty part of the club is very nondescript. He’s taller than Summer, white, dark-haired with darker eyes. He’s wearing a grey shirt and black slacks, and he looks at Summer with an expression that makes her feel like she needs a shower.
Layla frowns almost imperceptibly, but she doesn't react. Instead, she plasters on a fake smile.
“No names,” she says to Summer. “He’s got what we need. He’s willing to accept payment in kind.”
The dealer nods, takes Summer’s hand and kisses it. Summer’s skin is crawling, but she giggles, shoots him a flirtatious smile, and represses a sigh of relief when he shoots a quick glance down to her wrist, sees the scars there, and smiles.
They leave the club by the back exit and pile into his unremarkable car. The trip is short, thankfully, and Layla makes the small talk as Summer slumps in the back seat, pretending to be more drunk than she actually is.
His house is small, but it’s clean and the neighbours are quiet, which is more than some of the shitholes Summer and Layla have visited can say.
Summer’s too drunk and too nervous to take in much of the details, especially when he leads her to the bedroom while Layla’s in the bathroom and starts kissing her.
Thankfully, Layla isn’t gone for long, but every moment is one too many.
It’s a mark of how much Layla cares that she hasn’t just thrown herself into supporting Summer in controlling her addiction, she’s also repeatedly volunteered to be the one who handles this side of the proceedings.
Summer always refuses. After everything Layla’s done for her, she feels like this is something she has to do. That, and she never wants to have to watch Layla doing it.
Besides, it only adds to the picture of the desperate, strung-out addict who’ll do anything for a hit.
Layla walks in, leans against the wall and makes eye contact with Summer, who nods. She steps away from the dealer and slowly pulls the straps of her dress down over her shoulders, letting it slide down her body. Carefully, she steps out of it, revealing her thin, lacy black lingerie.
His eyes focus on her tits, stare at them like she’s a robot who exists for his pleasure, and he licks his lips, almost drooling.
Summer slowly unfastens her bra, lets it fall to the floor, and then slides her panties down her thighs until they fall as well. She steps out of them, walks toward him and gives him the sexiest smile she can muster.
Oh yeah, that works. He’s hard at just the sight of her, and he starts pulling his clothes off as quickly as he can.
Summer climbs onto the bed, flips her hair over her shoulders, and as he leans forward to kiss her, she takes a mental step back, going to the secret part of her mind, the place where she hides whenever she can’t handle what’s going on.
As Layla watches, she wraps herself around the dealer and starts to fuck him, but it’s not her. It’s her body on autopilot, going through the motions without any thought, any emotion, any intensity. At least she doesn’t have to feel it, because she hates it, hates every second of it, loathes him and herself and everything about it. Hiding in that secret place in her head, she watches, disgusted, and it’s like she’s floating above the bed, watching someone else fucking him.
It’s a trick she learned to do a long time ago, back in high school when people called her bitch, whore, skank, slut, just for existing. Girls blamed her when their boyfriends stared at her tits, boys hit on her and called her a frigid cunt when she told them to fuck off.
Her body was her curse, but later it became her weapon. She used her body to get what she wanted, learned how to tell what others wanted from her and how to give it to them so they’d do whatever she said.
First she did it because it was easy. Then she did it because it was the only weapon she had.
It’d be easier if she was rich, then she could just use money as her weapon, but Summer’s never been rich. Hell, she’s not even rich now- it’s Layla’s money, not hers. She’s no idiot, but she’s not some amazing genius who can manipulate others or devise plans that other people can use.
Frankly, given what she looks like, she never really had a choice. Even if she was the smartest person alive, her brain would always come second to her looks.
She learned to put up with the taunts, the accusations, the cries of whore, slut, skank, cunt, whatever tired and overused word they wanted to throw at her. But deep in her heart, she always hated them. They left her with only one weapon to use, then they hated her when she used it. Like they wanted her to stay defenceless, stay in the background, stay something to walk over and trample. Like they hated her for refusing to stay down.
Fuck them. Fuck all of them.
She used to cry, used to drink herself unconscious, used to curl up at the bottom of her bed and try to forget. But now she’s powerful. Now she has Layla, who loves her and stands by her.
She’s got more weapons now.
Summer stops musing, goes back to watching as her body fucks the dealer by itself, wrapping around him and kissing his neck as he gropes its tits, hard enough to bruise.
Layla remains unmoving, her face impossible to read, and Summer cringes as the dealer pushes her head down onto his dick.
Layla steps away from the wall, picks up her bag, starts going through it, and the dealer doesn’t notice, but Summer does. That's the signal.
Rather than sucking his dick, her body starts kissing his thigh, one hand wrapping around his dick. It’s a lot easier to bear than sucking it, and reluctantly, Summer snaps back into her body and keeps her head down, focusing on the task at hand.
The dealer relaxes, throwing his head back in ecstasy, his eyes closing-
-and Layla pulls his head back roughly with one hand and cuts his throat with the other, her face stony, her hand steady, the knife slicing cleanly through skin and flesh like it’s butter.
The response is immediate. His eyes widen with shock and pain, and he tries to scream, but the knife has severed his vocal cords, and nothing comes out.
Blood lands in Summer’s hair, hits her back and slides down her skin, and so she doesn’t open her eyes when she sits up. She feels her way up his body, smelling the rusty tang of blood, feeling the wetness under her fingertips, and she winces as he tries to hit her with hands that are rapidly losing their strength.
She wraps herself around him as tightly as she can, holding him upright and ignoring the blood, and she only opens her eyes when her face is an inch away from his.
He has nice eyes, she thinks absently. Deep brown eyes. Of course, they’re full of pain and terror now as he dies, but that’s hardly his fault.
It doesn’t take long. Layla’s good at cutting throats, good at making it deep and clean, good at slicing through the veins and arteries and leaving the victim unable to even scream.
Well, she’s had a lot of practice. She’s practically an expert at cutting throats now. She’s got an entire drawer full of knives, kept for just this purpose, and she takes care to keep them all as sharp as they can be. It’s almost a pity that they have to discard them after each use, but such is life.
Summer stays tightly wrapped around the dealer, her face barely an inch away from his as blood spurts onto her skin, and she’s staring into his eyes, watching the light fade as he dies.
It’s that one last moment that she craves. The moment when she feels the last trickle of life ebb from the body, when she watches the eyes go from thinking and feeling to still and glassy.
When they go from being a person to a corpse, a lifeform to an object, a being to a thing.
She keeps holding onto him after he’s dead, keeps staring in his eyes. It’s not shock, not exactly. More like… a realisation. She did this. She brought his life to an end.
(Well, all right, technically it was Layla who cut his throat so deep that his head’s half off- she must have really hated him- but that’s irrelevant.)
She’s the one who made this happen, and it’s wonderful.
Feeling him die is what wipes the itch away, but this is what makes it all worthwhile: the rush of ecstasy, of power, of strength. It races through her veins faster than any drug could, spreading through every inch of her body. It’s the feeling of knowing that she’s not the weak one anymore, that she’s the one in control, the one with all the power.
She feels more awake, more alive than she’s felt for weeks, and she laughs, a bark of a laugh that turns into a cascade of laughter, and once she’s started she can’t stop until she chokes a little and ends up having a coughing fit.
Layla’s looking concerned, but she doesn’t make a move, and Summer looks up at her, her eyes unnaturally bright.
“Summer?” Layla asks uncertainly. “Are you OK?”
Summer grins back, and while she’s feeling fine, her smile’s a little… off. “I’m fine, babe. Just fine.”
“Maybe you should let go of him,” Layla suggests quietly.
Summer blinks and realises that she’s still wrapped around a dead man, a corpse stinking of blood and shit and gore. “Oh. Yeah.”
She drops him like he’s a live wire, shuddering, and edges back until she nearly falls off the bed. “Shit!”
Layla walks around to the corner where Summer’s perched, helps her up and puts a hand on her shoulder. “Are you sure you’re OK?”
Summer’s baffled. “Yeah. Why?”
It’s only then that she realises that she’s shaking uncontrollably. When she looks down, she realises that she’s covered in his blood, her skin stained rust red.
“Oh,” she whispers as she actually realises what just happened.
Layla embraces her, holding her tightly as Summer starts to shiver, her body turning ice cold. They stay locked together for a while as Summer starts to cry, her face pressed into Layla’s shoulder, blood and tears mixing together and falling to the floor.
Finally, once she’s stopped shaking, Layla pulls away and takes hold of Summer’s shoulders. “Babe. We need to get out of here.”
Summer’s eyes are darting around the room, but she manages to pull herself together. “Can… can you... get… everything…”
“I’ve got it,” Layla says reassuringly. “Go take a shower, OK?”
Summer nods, but in the end, Layla has to get her to the bathroom and help her into the shower. At least Summer’s focused enough to take it from there. Layla’s not too fond of scrubbing blood and gore off of her own skin, let alone Summer’s.
By the time Summer gets out of the shower, Layla’s got everything ready. She’s changed clothes, using the fresh ones she’d brought in her purse, and she’s got Summer’s new outfit ready for her.
Once Summer gets dressed, they check over the house to make sure that nothing’s left, check each other for any left over blood, and then Layla nods. “Time to go.”
Speed is of the essence, now, and there’s no time left to lose.
Layla pulls her lighter out of her pocket. It’s just a cheap one, bought earlier that day- neither of them smokes, and neither of them is going to start any time soon, though Summer did try it once, just one of the first futile attempts to deal with her addiction.
Once the lighter’s burning, Layla drops it onto the pile of kindling she prepared. It’s a simple design, but effective: the kindling’s soaked in a variety of chemicals that will ensure that the fire is very hot, while the trails of gasoline leading into all the other rooms will ensure that the entire house burns.
The flames catch in seconds and spread out rapidly, devouring all they touch and filling the rooms with smoke.
By the time they’re consuming the body, the weapon, their discarded clothes and all other traces of the two women, Summer and Layla are gone.
They walk through the back streets, taking random turns if it looks like anyone else is even nearby, until they finally emerge onto a brightly-lit street that neither of them knows, and Summer has to stop herself from sighing with relief. It's not over yet.
From there, they catch a cab again. Layla stares off into the distance, her face blank, and Summer curls up in the back corner, stroking the scars on her left arm.
They’re not needle scars. They look like them, but in reality, they’re knife scars, just one more failed method of trying to conquer her addiction.
In hindsight, it was a stupid idea- after all, why would hurting herself be anything like feeling another person die? But Summer was desperate, and anything sounded like a good idea. She did her best to make them inconspicuous by just sticking the knife point into her arm instead of making long cuts, but in the end all she got out of it was a lot of pain, a lot of scars, and exactly zero satisfaction.
She’s just lucky that the scars look enough like needle scars that they add to the desperate addict story.
They ask the driver to drop them off a couple of blocks from their apartment, and they walk back in silence, unable to relax.
After all, it’s not over until you’re home and relaxing on the couch with the alcoholic beverage of your choice.
In the end, they make it back just fine. Nobody gets in their way, or even looks at them twice, though both women are tense enough that every glance seems suspicious.
They’re barely inside the apartment when Layla pushes Summer up against the wall and kisses her, and it’s the combination of Layla’s sweet lips and her sated cravings that makes Summer glad to be alive.
It’s late, nearly midnight. Summer’s asleep, curled up under her sheets, scrubbed clean again and dead to the world.
Layla perches on the edge of the bed, watching her lover intently, alert to every time Summer so much as twitches.
Once she’s satisfied with what she’s seen, she goes to their dressing table, finds her key ring and sorts through them as quietly as she can until she finds a small, inconspicuous key.
She walks quietly over to the chest of drawers, takes one last glance over at her sleeping lover, and stops in front of the one drawer that has a lock.
There’s only one key, and it stays in Layla’s possession at all times. As far as she knows, Summer has no idea of what’s in there, nor does she care. If she did, things would get immensely complicated.
Layla hesitates, swallows, and finally unlocks the drawer, pulling it open as silently as she can.
There’s only one object inside. She takes it out, holding it as one might hold a fragile piece of glass, and shudders, as though it could break at any moment.
It won’t, of course. It’s far stronger than that.
Layla shifts her grip on it, walks over to the bed and climbs onto it gingerly, her eyes darting between Summer’s face and the thing in her hands.
Gently, she puts one hand on Summer’s jaw and turns her head, exposing her neck.
Then she grips the hilt of the knife in her hand and positions the point right over the jugular.
The point hovers over Summer’s skin, barely avoiding contact.
It would be so easy. Just one thrust. The blade’s sharp, of course. So sharp. Layla sharpens it at least once a week, whenever Summer’s out or asleep.
She needs to be ready for when the day comes.
One thrust, and Summer would be gone, probably in less than a minute. A knife that sharp wouldn’t hurt her much. She might not even wake up- and of course, Layla could always drug her first, to make sure of it.
She never wants to see Summer in pain, never wants to hear her crying out for help, for mercy, for Layla to stop, or asking why. She never wants to see Summer’s beautiful eyes clouded with pain and confusion, never wants to see them turn glassy and lifeless as she dies. She never wants to hold Summer down, stop her from thrashing around or trying to escape, feel the life ebb from her body like she’s felt it in so many others.
That’s why it’d be better if Layla drugs her, or does it when she’s asleep. Better for her, and for Summer.
Layla loves her so much it hurts, so she’ll make it merciful. One pill in a glass of wine, or water, or tea, and then Summer goes to sleep and never wakes up. And then Layla won’t stop crying over her body for weeks, if not months.
But she has to do it. There’s no other option. Because killing Summer will break her heart, but a broken heart can mend, be glued back together. A broken heart can live again, keep beating eventually.
A stolen heart… not so much.
To all outside observers, Layla seems to be the dominant one in their relationship. She makes the decisions, takes the initiative, orders Summer around, and Summer nods and smiles and follows Layla’s directions and loves every second of it. But it’s less a personality trait or a lifestyle than an instinctive need, a craving in Layla’s mind.
She doesn’t dominate Summer because she wants to, or because Summer loves it, or because she’s just a dominant kind of person. She does it because in her heart, she knows she’s never had any control, never. Maybe it looks that way, but in the end, she’s the one grovelling at Summer’s feet.
Because Summer holds Layla’s heart in her hands, and Layla both loves it and fears it.
Loves it, because she loves Summer more than she loves life, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Every day, she gets out of bed, gets dressed, eats breakfast, everything- all for Summer. Everything she does is for Summer. She’d burn the world down for Summer. She’d kill everyone in the world and then herself if Summer wanted her to.
But she fears it, because her greatest fear is that one day, Summer will leave her, and when she does, she’ll tear Layla’s heart out and take it with her, and Layla will never get it back. She’ll lose everything in that moment, including her life. Oh, maybe her body would keep going, but it wouldn’t be life. Just a half-life, condemned to live without a soul, as nothing more than an empty shell.
So if, when, Summer leaves her, Layla will kill her. She’ll knock her out and cut her throat, or stab her in the heart before she has time to realise what’s happening. The day Summer stops loving her is the day everything ends.
But that’s why she has to kill Summer. Summer dying would break Layla’s heart, but Summer leaving would tear it out of her chest. She can deal with the one, but the other… no. No. No.
Layla’s grip wavers, just for a second, and the point nicks Summer’s throat, leaving a tiny drop of blood in its wake.
Layla gasps and nearly drops the knife, but thankfully, she doesn’t.
She hurt Summer.
She hurt Summer.
Oh God. Oh God.
For a second, she considers throwing the knife out the window and all of her intentions with it, but instead, she scrambles off the bed, nearly throws the knife back in the drawer and slams it shut. She locks it, breaks two fingernails getting the key off the ring and feverishly searches through the clutter on the dressing table until she finds the box she’s looking for: a tiny, delicate affair that locks.
She rarely uses this one. It’s too small, and too fiddly. But it’s perfect for her purposes now, and she nearly pulls the lid off as she wrenches it open, throws the drawer key inside and shuts it. She finds the key to the box, locks it, and then takes the box and hides it at the very back of her wardrobe, where she never looks. She puts the key to the box in another jewellery box full of things she never wears, and then takes a deep breath.
That should be enough for now.
Behind her, Summer stirs, awakens, sits up. “Babe?”
Layla turns around, and closes her eyes in despair. She can see the tiny ruby-red drop of blood on Summer’s neck, and the sight makes her loathe herself so intensely she wants to cut her own throat as an apology.
“What’s wrong?” Summer asks, looking puzzled. She raises a hand to her neck, feels the tiny wound, looks at the blood on her finger. “How did that get there?”
“I’m sorry,” Layla blurts out, and she crumples. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry…”
Summer looks even more confused. “Babe, what are you talking about?”
Layla doesn’t respond, tears blurring her vision, and she looks away, anywhere than at Summer.
Summer gets out of bed, crosses the room, and embraces Layla. “It’s OK. It’s OK, Layla. It’s OK.”
Layla shuts her eyes, buries her face in Summer’s chest, holds her as tightly as she can.
“I’m sorry,” she sobs after a minute. “Don’t leave me, don’t ever leave me, Summer, please…”
“What are you talking about?” Summer says again, completely perplexed. “I’m not leaving, I swear. I love you. Why would I want to leave?”
“Promise me,” Layla whispers. “Promise you won’t leave? Please?”
“I promise,” Summer says firmly. “I swear to God, I’ll never leave you, as long as you never leave me.”
Layla lets out a grim parody of a laugh. “Leave you? As if I ever could.”
“Exactly,” Summer says. “You can’t leave me, and I can’t leave you. I love you too much, I’ll never leave.”
Layla doesn’t respond. Instead, she changes her grip from a tight clench to a soft hug.
Summer hugs her back without speaking, and they remain there for a while, unwilling to move.
Summer finally steps back without breaking the embrace, and raises a hand to touch Layla’s cheek. “Come on,” she says quietly. “Let’s get some sleep. You’ll feel better in the morning.”
She takes Layla’s hand, leads her to the bed, and Layla follows her like a lamb.
They fall asleep together, wrapped around each other tightly, holding onto each other as if letting go would be the end of the world.
The end never comes.