Piper stares, the room around her bustling and thriving in chaotic harmony. Noise surrounds her, people crowd round her and yet she had never felt more alone. There were no green eyes that sought her own, no flicker of black hair that stood taller than the rest. No light reflecting off of the glassy surfaces which rested upon her face. Piper can hardly remember her voice, a combination of alcohol and a drug-induced stupor causes her to stumble blindly, reaching, around the room; looking for solid ground. Dark hair catches her attention and she follows willingly and without thought. It's not the dark hair she wanted to see but it would do.
Sadness and grief do funny things to a person. Piper, sane and innocent blonde lady no longer existed. Tonight she was wild, young and foolish. Tonight she was reckless and dangerous. She was searching, endlessly searching.
Her mind reminded her she was the one who left and Piper chooses that moment to crash her lips to ones that belong to the strange dark hair. If she closes her eyes hard enough she realises she can pretend it's her. The feeling is wrong, she knows it right away but can't bring herself to stop because, god, she needs this. This almost effortless release, the satisfaction that for just tonight she won't be alone. She'll be caught in hours of restless activity - she won't need to think, she won't need to survive.
And when she wakes she's preoccupied enough by the strange bed and odd sheets, the bland walls and hard floors that tell her she's not at home that she doesn't think. She doesn't catch sight of the dark hair again as she gathers her clothes, slips on her shoes and walks home. The city is almost silent, the lack of noise is overbearing; suffocating almost. Thoughts drift in and out of her mind, teasing and taunting her. Reminding her what she walked out on. Reminding her what was happening when she walked out. All of a sudden it's too much and Piper stops. She just stops. Holding her breath, eyes closed, fists clenched she stands on the sidewalk and wills it all to go away before the thought, that one dangerous thought fills her entire being that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't too late.
After all, New Jersey isn't that far away, is it?
In a moment that Piper would later call madness, she boards a train. Clothed in the same thing she had been in for two days - make up fixed, rushed in a public toilet. Dark circles under her eyes and pale skin betrayed her act of health and happiness. She sat by the window, watching at the world flashed past. People boarded and got off the train, going about their mundane routines that they dared to call a life. Piper wonders when she became such a hypocrite.
Bali flashes through her mind. Bali, Cambodia, Borneo, Thailand, Indonesia, France, Switzerland, Germany, England. All of those memories came accompanied with that face. That name. Those beds.
She gets off the train with bloodshot eyes and unstable steps. She's there, searching again. She knows where Alex will be, yet all of this feels like new territory; this is Alex's place. Alex's place that she shared with her mom. Piper was daring to step on sacred ground. Alex... The name fills Piper with an odd feeling that starts in the pit of her stomach and shoots upwards like fire. Burning away at her core before intruding to her soul, eating her heart. She stumbles, blind and reaching again, finding refuge in a dark alley. She sinks to the ground at sobs wrack her frail frame. Piper knows who she is, she was selfish and stupid. How could she? She felt the hurt, love and hate and regret fill her and spill from the corners of her eyes, dripping onto the ground and melding into the puddles that she lay in.
Piper used to know who she was.
She realises that she has no right. She has no right to be the one who lies on the ground sobbing, she wasn't the one who had lost the single most important person in their life. She wasn't the one who had been walked out on when her world was crumbling around her. She wants to scream. She wants to scream at herself, at Alex, at Kubra and Fahri and the whole goddamn world. Instead she stands up, brushes the dirt from her clothes and walks back to the train. She buys a ticket, boards and sits. She ignores the sympathetic looks she gets from the people who pass her. Her eyes are dead, devoid of emotion. She's worn out, worn down. Looking for the great escape.
Piper returns to her life, buys an apartment, finds a job, meets a guy and a few girls. None of them feel like her. She gets bitten by a dog, meets a guy. She settles. She allows herself to forget, to survive. She allows herself to believe she's happy.
She doesn't expect to see her again, much less on poetry night at that dive bar. Her group of convenience friends couldn't figure out why Piper was unable to take her eyes off of the stage. They didn't understand that she was seeing that black hair, those green eyes and that voice. Green eyes found blue but blue was unable to read them. They were closed off, guarded. Wary.
The voice did not falter once in the recital.
"Kisses in the dark,
Shared while you pretend to sleep,
Laughter muffled under feathers
And wandering hands stilled
By firm fingers.
It's all done under the pretence of love
But love is marred by lust -
Lust that etches out features
And is laced in our tone.
Yet what is love and lust,
Except human desire?
Two sides of the same coin.
Morals and good intentions,
Are all lost under satin white sheets."
Then she was gone. She did not listen to the clapping of hands, she didn't return hazy, awe filled smiles. She just left. Piper follows, reaching but not blindly. She is filled with purpose, with the desire and the need to explain. To say sorry, sorry for it all. Alex turns and spits words that are laced with venom. At first Piper thinks that the poison will kill her but she looks into the green orbs and she see's all of the pain, all of the accusations and Piper realises the venom is not venom at all. They shout, words filled with truth and denial. They shout, yell and ignore until all that's left is them. Alex and Piper. Two beings who once upon a time tried to be one. So Piper does the only thing she knows how to do, she loves Alex. She kisses her, all need and want but Alex doesn't resist. It's urgent because they've never been able to talk things out, they fuck and they smile and they make stupid sarcastic remarks until they both have that look. The look that says, "I'm sorry for being kind of a dick."
Piper ends up in Alex's apartment, the one that she used to call home. She's drawn back into it, like hugging an old friend. She's barely notices how little it has changed since she was last here - when she took all of her things and dumped them into cardboard boxes that sit, gathering dust, in her closet. Suddenly she's naked and Alex's clothes are falling to the floor and they're back to how they used to be - whispered promises and wordless apologies. Lost in the feel of skin on skin, heartbeat to heartbeat. Piper realises she didn't forget any of this, she just chose not to remember it because that was the easy way, wasn't it? That was the only way she could survive. But this,this is living. So she forgets, she really forgets, about her apartment, about her job and her guy and her friends of convenience that she abandoned to chase after her past.
After all, morals and good intentions are all lost under satin white sheets.