You share a flat with two guys and two girls, a big loft with not enough beds and too many windows. There are Jalil and Christopher, who are sometimes together when Chris isn't fucking April behind Jalil's back, and Jalil isn't running numbers with Gany. April half-lives in the neighborhood theater, bouncing between black and glitter, and Senna takes turns sinking her claws into all of their backs. You like to think you wouldn't keep her around if her modeling gigs didn't pay for the rent on the months the rest were short.
It's a Tuesday, just after midnight, and you're walking home when the car pulls up next to you. Something sleek, and black, with tinted windows. The one on the passenger side rolls down just a crack, and you stop to peer in, although you know you probably shouldn't. You look like a club kid, not a hooker or a dealer, but you never know.
The first thing he does is ask your name. You're startled enough to give it to him.
"David," he rumbles, and the vibration of it hits you in your stomach, in your chest. Sharp. "David."
It means 'beloved,' you want to tell him, because you feel he should know. Beloved, in Hebrew. You remember when you thought that was true. Before your family ripped in half and you drifted here with your father, before his new family and your new stepsisters, before they picked at every little part of you and you fled, because you'd rather have the lions sink their claws into you than give those scavengers the satisfaction of your corpse.
He tells you to get in. You can't see him, not a bit of him, not even his eyes. He's ugly, for all you know. A monster.
You curl your fingers around the door handle, feeling the hum of it when he clicks unlock. You wave off Jalil's frown, April's open mouth. Chris is impassive, or maybe just pissed because Senna's puked all over his shoes again. Anyway. You get in the car.
You curl into the seat, humming softly to yourself. You can't quite focus on anything, even though you try. Jalil's fault. He came up to you with a shiny pill between his teeth. Something purple, tonight, or lavender, or lilac. Shockingly colored against Jalil's white teeth. When you kissed him you slipped him tongue, and you know Chris noticed. But you always take what Jalil gives you, because Jalil always knows where to get the good drugs, the safe ones. The ones that make everything slippery and shimmering and velvet, still leave you with a feel-good buzz for work in a few hours.
You head onto an overpass, through a tunnel of inky darkness, an underground parking garage. He hands you a key and puts you in the elevator while he talks to the doorman.
You ride all the way to the top, numb, and when you get there you can't find the light switch, and you're still busy fumbling for it when he comes up behind you. You're not even scared. He's strong, but just in the way you like, and he worships you. You can feel it in every touch, from the whisper-light ones like velvet on your mouth to the bruises on your thighs. He's a god to you, and you worship him – the body you know only by touch, the deep voice belonging to no face.
You wake up too late, and there's a key on the bedstand, with a note that says "yours" in scrawling, scratched hand writing. You call in sick to work, because you don't have any clothes with you, and you're not even sure where the hell you are. You find the nearest subway entrance and spend a half an hour trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
But you go back, of course. You're mother always said you were too stupid and curious for your own good, and, oh, you're so curious. You want to know.
The lights are off when you open the door, but he grabs you when you turn to leave. Later that night he grabs you again, differently, when reach for the light switch. He tells you, commands you, to never turn on the lights, that it's the one thing you cannot do. You agree, because it's the only moment he's ever scared you.
You ask him what he does. He tells you he's a corporate headhunter, with a flash of sharp teeth you feel rather then see. You ask him for things and he says yes without a thought. He leaves things all over the apartment for you to find. You're petulant, and you disappear for a few days, and the only thing he does is fuck you for an extra hour or two when you get back. You love him and he must know it. He must.
By fall you accept things. You pick up your stuff from the apartment and leave. Senna is crying, with April's arm tight around her waist. Another trip to the clinic, you think, shaking your head. There are modeling jobs and there are modeling jobs, and Senna's never given a damn which were which until the aftermath. Next door, Christopher sprawled all over Jalil's bed, and Jalil is sitting up next to him, staring out the window. You watch Chris press his face into Jalil's thigh, sleepily. You watch the curl of his spine underneath the sheet, and the way Jalil runs his fingers through Christopher's hair, too rough for so early in the morning. Christopher just laughs.
You never did understand them.
But you wave to Jalil and he nods, like he saw this all coming, and hell, maybe he did. He's the smartest person you'll ever meet, no matter how stupid he gets when it comes to Christopher.
You pass months in blissful darkness. You still work at the coffeeshop. You like hanging out with Ganymede there, and Galahad. So you work the mornings and sleep during the days, just waking up when he slides into bed behind you. It's not normal, but you're of the "don't fix it if it ain't broke" camp, and whatever this is, it ain't broke.
One day you run into your stepmother in the lobby, of all places, of all times. You were just going out to get coffee, but now its lunch at the café down the street, a lunch date with your stepmother and stepsisters. You pay for it with the platinum credit card he gave you, and you can feel your stepmother's gaze, the way her eyes have narrowed. She picks you apart with questions, those damned questions you've always been helpless against.
They ask you what he's like, and you make it up. You give him Christopher's looks and Jalil's personality, with a little Senna to taste, just because you think it'll be easy to remember. They ask to meet him, and you hem and haw and make excuses. You barely see him, you protest, and at least you know that's true. They say it's weird, the way he's only around at night. Working late, always gone before dawn.
You think that yourself, sometimes. Where does he go during the day? Work? Really? Does he have another family? Does he keep someone else across town in another apartment? A girl for the day, a boy for the night. Maybe he's a serial killer, or mobster. You don't even know what he looks like, for God's sake. You could pass him on the sidewalk, or on the subway, and you'd never know.
Three nights later you turn the light on.
You're honestly not sure if you forget, or you made the mistake of letting your stepmother's bullshit get to you for once in your life, but you turn the light on.
He's gone before you even get a good look, before you realize anything more than blonde hair and how tall he is, how big, and you never would have guessed. You want to stop him, you know you do, but you can't. You don't know why, but you can't. Maybe because you feel like you deserve this, that he deserves to be mad at you.
You go back to the apartment for a few days, intent on surviving until you can scrape up the courage to go back. April is a whirlwind in the throes of pre-opening night. Senna crawls into your bed that first night and you get great satisfaction over kicking her out. Jalil and Christopher are oddly touchy-cozy, and you end up crawling into their bed, not quite crying. Christopher surprises you by hugging you first, wrapping himself tightly around you while Jalil pets your head, your shoulder.
You work your way out from between their bodies the next morning.
The key to the penthouse still works. You sleep in your old apartment most nights, but you keep coming back here. You don't like it because it's empty now, empty in a way it wasn't before. You realize. It took you this long to realize. The same furniture, the same rooms, but now there are no sheets with his shape on them, no steam on the bathroom mirror, no cold cup of coffee sitting on the table, no newspaper with the missing business section. No life. A thousand little pieces of him and you never appreciated one. Because you wanted to see his face.
You deserve this.