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Six years ago… Elliot’s world changed forever....
He couldn’t walk away from the girl who was at death’s door, the girl who was being stalked mercilessly by the men who’d failed to finish the job. The Gypsy Brothers.
He stole away with her, into the night, throwing away a promising career in the LAPD in the process. He never once regretted the things he did to protect her, to give her a second chance at life. He loved her even as she consumed his universe.
But in the end, she became his poison, his darkness, and so he left…
He drove away, and went back to where it all started. Venice Beach. The place where dreams are broken, the place where power is measured in drops of blood.
He swore he’d avenge her past, but life had other plans.
Because nothing lasts forever … not even ink.
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I’d like to tell you that I’m ok.
That the meaningless sex with countless women has somehow numbed the pain. That it’s deciphered the constant confusion in my head. Eased the self-hatred that sinks into my gut every time I look in the mirror.
I’d like to tell you that time heals all wounds.
That we evolve and grow into well-adjusted, stable adults, set on a path to right the world’s wrongs. That we are not our past…we are not our pain.
I want to tell you all those things. Hell, I want to believe all those things. But I’d be lying. I’m good at that. Living a lie is the only way I truly know how to survive.
But the day I saw her, I stopped surviving. I stopped existing. And for the first time in 24 years, I started living.
She brought me back to life. Set me free and sent my soul soaring. Made this useless shell of a man feel like…something. Something whole and real and good.
She saved me.
Although she believes I wasn’t even worth saving.
I was already loosening my tie as I stalked toward her and said, “Clothes off, boots on and get on your knees.”
Velvet didn’t waste a second. She slipped out of her one-piece in a swift movement and sank to the floor. The moment I felt her take me into her warm mouth, it was like a thousand pounds had been lifted from my shoulders.
A long time ago, long before I should have, I learned to separate the physical from the emotional and mental. I told myself that just because my young body had been stolen from me and manipulated in ways that would make even the toughest man cry out in agony, I didn’t have to feel it. Not deep down inside. I didn’t have to accept what was being done to me. So I pretended to be somewhere else. I pretended to be someone else. I let my mind drift to thoughts of my parents, imagining what they may have looked like, dreaming about happy smiles and warm hugs and kisses on my cherub-like cheeks. I painted pictures of family vacations at Disney World and barbeques in the backyard. I told myself that we would have a dog named Buddy. Mama would tie bandanas around his neck, and Papa and I would take him for walks and play Frisbee with him at the park.
I had built an imaginary fortress, and in it, nothing could touch me. I was safe. I was happy. And I was loved. That was what I told myself, and that was what I held onto everyday since to survive.
As I grew older, and was no longer held captive by the physical pain, I was left to face the emotional hurt that no one could see. I was like a pariah to the family that had taken me in. We were related but they didn’t know me, and what they did know about me was deviant and disgusting. Too awful to talk about. So I suffered silently in my mind until it became necessary to tell myself lies.
Lies like the ones I was telling myself right now.
I want this. I need this.
I’m totally normal.
There’s nothing wrong with me.
Being a man means having sex with as many women as possible.
These women desire me because they need me. They love me.
They love me.
She loves me.
It was the only way I could keep doing this. The only way the shame and disgust and self-hatred didn’t keep chip-chip-chipping away at the fragments of that broken boy. The boy that had grown up to be a shattered man. The man that couldn’t be mended.