“Why are you hanging around me?” Stanley huffed, exasperated and a touch annoyed.
“Because I like you.”
“What?” he stepped back, genuinely confused, “What are you playing at?”
I had come to work at Stanley's Crematorium because my mother insisted I get an after school job. I stopped in the cremation place mostly because I love the macabre and thought I could see some dead bodies, but I stayed because of Stan. I'm not going to lie and say I'm all that pretty, but a curvy 18 year old goth girl tends to draw a lot of stares, positive, or negative. So when I walked in and Stan didn't even look up from his crossword puzzle, I knew there was something I liked about him. It became clear in the few days since I'd convinced him to give me a job that he had no patience for bullshit. He saw the world for the awful place it was, and made no pretense of being polite to the denizens of that world.
He was cold, and snide, and authoritative, and never treated anyone differently because of how they looked. He made me feel safe.
That's why when I got cornered by and roughed up by David Valentine, who thought I somehow knew why his psycho-girlfriend Lindsey was missing, the first place I ran was Stanley's. As the night drew later, the fluttering of my heart as I clung to his side like a lost puppy revealed that “safe” wasn't the only way he made me feel.
“I'm not playing at anything. I really like you. That's why I came here tonight. It's why I wanted this job in the first place.”
“You… you must be mistaken.” he cringed, “Women don't…. well, look at me. I'm not exactly prom date material.” he scoffed sarcastically.
He referenced his scab-spotted face, and age which was more then double my own. His personality and career choice probably also figured into why he could't grasp the idea that I could be serious about liking him. I imagine young girls weren't lining up outside the crematorium to come on to him. Even ones who sharpie their fingernails black. How long had it been since he'd been with a woman, I wondered? A shudder of lust came over me as I imagined how desperate he would be, how eager--
“I… guess it might seem odd, but, look, I just sort of have a different kind of taste in men. And I really, really like you.”
Honestly, I did find him absolutely beautiful. I could list off his flaws, but they were inconsequential. His strengths, on the other hand, drove me wild. His eyes were a pale blue, full of intelligence, well paired with his frequent sarcastic smile. The features of his face were sharp and handsome, despite being blemished somewhat by eczema lesions. It just added character to his image.
What I liked most about him wasn't his looks, anyway. He carried a deep sadness around with him, all the time, which he disguised as anger or cynical indifference. I had this problem with picking bristly lovers like that. I always want to pet the belly of the porcupine. So far this had really only gotten me in trouble for kissing David's girlfriend Lindsey, whom I mistook for a tormented closet case trapped behind her callous “popular girl” mask. Turned out she was just playing me so her friends could laugh at the “lesbian.” Stan, though, seemed genuine in his pain. I craved that sad, sensitive part underneath his sharp exterior. If I could draw it out, and soothe the festering wounds he held there, then he would be mine.
“Is there anything you'd like to do to me?” I asked candidly, when he remained in disbelieving silence. “You could do… anything you wanted to me, right now.” I attempted my best confident seductress face, though it was belied by my uncontrolled blushing and lip-biting.
“I don't want to do anything to you!” he cried, throwing his hands in the air in a gesture of frustration. The rejection cut me, but I didn't fully expect him to give in right away. He would still be reeling over the suddenness of my flirtation. I've only known him for a few days.
“Then… would you let me do what I want to you?” I tried again.
He looked up, swallowing hard, studying my intentions with narrowed eyes. “What would you want to do, exactly?”
“Well...” I began, reaching out. He flinched and pulled back a little, like a dog whose old master beat him, but let my fingertips find their mark, “First, I'd want to tuck this hair behind your ear. Just so, like that.” I smiled at the soft texture of his graying hair as it moved through my fingers, the rubbery feel of his ear as I slipped his hair behind it. “Then, if you'd let me, I'd move in close, so our bodies were touching...” I took a step forward, until the cotton of my black t-shirt pressed against the tweed of his jacket. “Oh,” I gasped, “I guess, there goes my arm...” I commented retroactively on how naturally my hand had slipped behind the small of his back. “Then I'd just… take you in.” I narrated, reveling in the closeness of our bodies, the smell of his cologne with a hint of formaldehyde and fire.
My conquest stared back at me, frozen, like stray dog-- still uncertain if I meant to feed him a scrap, or kick him. My heart swelled for this wonderful, sad, broken man. I leaned in, pressing my face into his neck. Awkwardly, half breathlessly, I continued to narrate. “Then… I'd start...” my lips lightly parted against the smooth skin below his ear, tenderly tracing the path of his jaw, feeling the texture change from soft, to rough and stubbly, to dry and crusted scabbing. I paused here. “I'd want you to know… that these don't bother me.” I said softly, pressing a kiss to each disfiguring scar. His muscles tensed at this. These must have been a source of insecurity his whole life. In fact, considering how attractive he was otherwise, these blemishes might be the sole reason he'd doubt that a girl could want him. I made it to his lips, and parted mine against them.
The kiss began lightly, two lips barely brushing each other, exploring tentatively. He was still that scared, beaten stray, unwilling to believe a stranger capable of kindness, yet desperate for the touch he had been denied so long. His mouth began to press more confidently into mine, our eager lips finding each other, parting, and coming together again, as if we each expected the other to pull away and end it, but neither wanting to stop. This was so much better than kissing Lindsey. I hope that bitch is dead.
Finally, his half-open mouth hovered before mine, but seemed to wait for some confirmation, some further explanation. I swallowed. “And then… I don't really have a plan, after I get to that point. I was hoping you might have some suggestions.”
He smiled wryly, with a spark in his eyes I hadn't seen before. “Alright. That sounds alright. I think I'll let you do that to me. Go ahead, if you want.” My cheeks turned a hot red at his joke, and I had to hide my face against his shoulder, laughing. Then, grinning, brought my lips back up to his neck to re-trace the path of kisses.