Elizabeth lightly raised one of her eyebrows when Booker devulged the reason why he was at her door step in the middle of the night.Yeah, of course he could have his meat. It was his afterall. She pulled the door back and the man all but ran into her kitchen. The young woman closed the door but didn’t put the chain lock on figuring her neighbor would just grab what he needed and go. She went over to one of her paintings and lightly tapped it with her finger tips to see if the layer of paint she put on had dried yet, and a chill ran raced down her spine when she heard the soft but audible sound of tin foil being ripped away.
She quietly padded over to the kitchen and peered around the doorway. Her blue eyes widened at what she saw. Booker DeWitt, her neighbor, the man that had seemed perfectly normal a few hours ago was hunched over her kitchen counter like a feral dog ravenously stuffing his face full of raw meat. Elizabeth swallowed harshly as the man’s teeth ripped into the bloody flesh with a enthusiam she’d seen carnivous animals display at feeding time whenever she visited the zoo. The man ate like he had been starved for days and there was uneerie glow to his green eyes.
Fuck. Elizabeth had no idea what was going on, or why her neighboor suddenly decided that eating raw meat at her kitchen counter was a good idea. But, her body was rushed with a eletricfying jolt of adrenaline. The fight or flight instinct kicking in. The young woman wisely backed out of the door way. She knew the consequences of coming between an animal and its food. And at that moment the agressive and euphoric expression on Booker DeWitt’s face resembled more of an animal than a human being. So, she would treat him as such. She wouldn’t make a big fuss about what he was doing. Her small hand closed around the cold doorknob and she turned it silently. The young woman left the door to her apartment open a bit so her neighbor could make a quick retreat out. She then went back to the living room and stood hear her dining table, eyeballing the fork on her plate before forcing herself to look at a painting instead as she constatantly side eyed the doorway her ears straining to hear the man’s footsteps. Elizabeth just wanted him the hell out of her apartment.
DeWitt ate and ate, no brake on his consumption of the raw meat. Gormandizing the food like never before, stuffing as much in his mouth as he could without ending up choking himself. Goddamn… Why had he never tried raw meat like this before? It was surprisingly delicious. It didn’t need to be fried or whatever, it was fine just like this. Maybe even better. No no, it was definitely better like this. So heavenly and…and…It was hard to describe, but he was baffled at having lived without eating raw meat like this. Screw salmonella; this was better than anything he’d ever tasted. The only downside was that it was cold, not giving off as much of flavor as it could’ve. It was a shame.
It didn’t take long for him to devour all the meat, being empty handed once again. Fuck, but he was still so hungry. His stomach felt like a bottomless pit and it frustrated him. He should be full now, right? Technically? But he didn’t feel full! He needed more… His gaze fell upon the fridge. She must have some meat, right? Yeah… He could just take that. He’d pay her back later. As if his life depended on it he searched through the fridge. Shoving aside whatever items didn’t strike him as delicious. He just wanted meat. A carton of milk fell onto the ground, the contents spilling out, and the same counted for a jar of jam.
He let out a pitiful whimper upon finding there was nothing for him to eat. Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Half of the items from the fridge lay on the floor, but Booker did not notice in his disappointment. He just needed food! He was gonna starve! Despairing he let his hands run through his hair. He wasn’t aware of his nails growing in girth and length, nor his ears and teeth becoming pointier. All he had eye for was food.
Food, and Elizabeth. He had gotten up, making his way back to the living room, seeing her stand there, admiring some painting. His breathing was heavy, and he was sweating like he’d just ran a marathon. God, that scent of hers… He swallowed harshly, his mouth watering. Fuck, he wanted her… His breathing could only be described as panting at this point, his hungry green eyes fixed upon her, pupils dilated. A creature of greed and lust, torn between fucking or eating her.
DeWitt suppressed the urge to jump at her, even though every fiber in his body told him to. He was trembling, trying to keep himself in check. His thoughts were downright violent and even though they surprised him, he accepted them as part of him. “I want—” His own voice threw him off; it was almost an octave lower than his normal voice, which was already damn low. He cleared his throat. It didn’t matter. “I want you—” He stepped closer, his body strained. “I-I need more meat…”
Elizabeth gently shut the door behind her neighbor as he finally left. She ran her fingers through her hair and sighed. Well, that was a interesting little diversion. But, hey if she could help the man out of a tight spot the reclusive young woman was happy to. She was a empathetic person and in her opinion life was hard enought without being an asshole.
A few hours later she decided to take a little break from working on her paintings. Elizabeth made some blueberry waffles with a little maple syrup and sat down at her little table to check her email. She cut the waffles into neat pieces with her fork and rather quickly devoured them as she checked off several emails that she didn’t even bother to open and read. Fucking junk mail. Elizabeth clicked delete, yawned, and stretched. Time to get back to work. The sound of knocking on her door startled the young woman. What was it now? Somehow Elizabeth already knew who was going to be on the other side of her door. She rose from her chair and walked over to her door and pulled back the chain that locked it. When Elizabeth opened the door she looked very much the same as she did a few hours ago except there were a few more splotches of paint on her clothes and she was just slightly sweaty from moving some of her larger, more heavy paintings around. But, you’d never know it too look at her. She swung the door open and leaned against the frame, “Howdy, neighbor. Somethin’ I can help you with?” Elizabeth asked casually, her pleasant voice just as rich and thick as the honey she gave him.
DeWitt swallowed when he heard the lock slide away, standing there like a runner waiting for the sign to go. The scent of paint was overwhelming when Elizabeth opened up the door. Infiltrating his nostrils almost violently. He exhaled lightly in a futile attempt to get the scent out of his nose. And hell, she was sweating like an otter judging by the smell that emitted from her body… Had she been working out or what? He tried to focus, her soothing voice reminding him why he was here exactly. “Actually, yes. Glad you’re still up.” He replied with a light smile, sounding very relieved. “Can I have some of my meat back?” His mouth started watering at the very thought of the food, resulting in him swallowing harshly. She gave him a look, probably thinking it was a bit peculiar that he needed some meat at this time in the evening. Still, she allowed him to enter.
Booker’s heart raced, and he rudely walked past her as if he was in a rush. Only barely holding himself back from running to the fridge. Like someone was about to steal his meat if it was left unattended. It was a completely irrational feeling, he knew that, but that didn’t make the feeling any less. Long legs carried him over to the kitchen. He was surprised to see his hands trembling in anticipation as he opened the fridge. Goddamn, he really was hungry, wasn’t he? Booker took out one of his packages of meat. That should be enough, right? He would be overeating himself if he ate more. Or would he? Maybe he should take another pack, just in case.
He ended up taking all of his precious meat out of the fridge. Man, he didn’t feel so good… He was famished. The raw meat started to look more appetizing by the second, and that thought worried him. Fancy getting salmonella in your system, huh? No, he didn’t think so. …And yet— He looked at the red ground up meat, absent-mindedly running his tongue over one of his fangs. Hm…What if it had gotten bad? Before it had gotten into the fridge? Spoiled? Maybe he should check to see if it was still good and—
The moment of doubt had broken down whatever mental dam he had in his mind. He put the packages of meat on Elizabeth’s kitchen counter, shoving some empty mugs aside. His long fingers ripped away the thin foil, and before he realized it he was stuffing the cold substance in his mouth, his back turned towards the doorway. It tasted surprisingly good… He wanted just a little more. He made another grab, bringing the food to his mouth almost feverishly, hunched over the counter like an animal, completely disregarding the fact that he was not alone, his hunger greater than his shame.
"Well, it honestly doesn’t look infected to me per se. Just very, very irritated. In a way its so red it almost looks like a burn,” Elizabeth observed. “And for someone with sensitve skin myself, you have my sympathies. I’ve had some bad reactions to different types of products ranging from soaps to deterregents, and your shoulder doesn’t look any worse than some of the stuff I’ve gone through.” She informed him, going over to her refrigorator. Elizabeth reached in and pulled out a jar of raw honey and set it on the counter. “If you are willing to get a little messy raw honey is amazing for treating and soothing issues with your skin. You can actually put this stuff on burns and it will help. The key thing is that it has to be raw and unprocessed. This stuff is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and has all kinds of good things for you. And a little goes a long way. Take a teaspoon of this and mix it with a quarter teaspoon of water and apply it to your wound and leave it on for three hours, and do it routinely every other day for about a month and you should be significantly better within the first week or so. The raw honey with the water works as a very slow acting hydrogen peroxide so it will do its job without wrecking your body’s natural chemistry or further irritating your skin.” Elizabeth informed him, her blue eyes bright with interest. “It helped me and it should help you. It’s a bit messy and inconvient as I said, but it works. And besides at least it’s delicious right?” The young woman joked, shrugging her shoulders and offering Booker a kind smile.
DeWitt quietly listened to her. His own skin was anything but sensitive, which is why this irritated skin surprised him. Maybe it was an allergic reaction of some sort. Soap, fabric…Strange, he had had this shirt for years now, and he hadn’t changed his soap whatsoever. Well, who knew, the body was a strange thing. The woman took some raw honey out of the refrigerator, explaining to him that the stuff worked really well for treating skin irritations such as his own. He intently listened to her, remembering what to do exactly with the stuff, add a little bit of water and spread it over the wound, leaving it there for a few hours. Huh, well, honestly it didn’t sound bad. He was willing to give it a shot.
The man gave a somewhat wolfish grin as she joked, giving him a gentle smile. Yeah, she was alright in his book. But, he had imposed on her long enough now. He’d let her get back to whatever it was she was doing. “Alright, well— It’s Elizabeth, right?” She nodded. “Well, Elizabeth, I’ll let you get back to it.” He took the jar of raw honey in his monstrously large hand. He glanced at her, giving her a small nod, a hint of a smile on his haggard face. “Thank you for the coffee and the like.” She let him out.
But a few hours later he stood in front of her door again. Surprisingly, he had eaten most of his food for dinner, apart from some vegetables. He’d been really hungry, which was nothing new, but tonight it seemed worse than usual. He had shoveled the food into his mouth, barely chewing before swallowing. At first he complied with the thought of not having a filled stomach once his plate was empty, knowing he should save food for tomorrow. Spending even more money on food in the oncoming days was not part of his financial plan. And yet…Here he was, standing in front of Elizabeth’s door. Ready to go and knock and ask for some of his meat back. He’d go back and prepare it, finally still his hunger, and get some rest. He hoped she was still up at this hour, since it was already dark. And with that thought in mind he knocked at the door.
Booker caught the bag of ice with practiced ease just like Elizabeth knew he would. The man put his coffee mug down in order to devote his attention to his itching shoulder. His cursing caught her attention and she slightly frowned at his exclamation. He had his shirt partially pulled to the side to inspect his injury and the man looked utterly confused by what he saw. Booker tugged his shirt and tilted his shoulder towards her to show her his wound. Hmmm…the young woman’s eyebrows furrowed together. Elizabeth estingished her cigarette on the side of the sink and walked over to the tall man.
Her blue eyes narrowed and she stepped a little closer than what she was comfortable with just to get a good look at what was going on with his wound. She crossed her arms at her chest and stared at the red angry skin with a few dark hairs growing from it. Elizabeth heard the subtle inhale of Booker breathing but didn’t think much of it. ”Wow…your skin is definitely angry with you,” she remarked. Elizabeth was just as mystified by what was going on with Booker’s shoulder as he was. Technically it looked like it was healed up, but if that was the case then why would it be so irritated? The woman leaned in a little closer, adjusting the angle of her head to get a better look at the growth pattern of hair erupting from the irritated flesh. Elizabeth couldn’t make heads or tails of it, the growth was so random. All of a sudden the young woman felt really uncomfortable with how close she was standing to Booker. Operating on pure instinct Elizabeth slowly backed away from him feeling just the faintest brush of contact stirr the hair at the top of her head. Was he…smelling her? Couldn’t be. Still…she felt a lot better when there was more space put between them. “Are you sure it was a knife that did that to you?”
His neighbor stepped closer to him, inspecting the peculiar wound. The lingering scent of smoke was overwhelming. Sure smelled strong… Huh, he supposed he really must crave a smoke too, but he wasn’t gonna ask. Booker wasn’t keen on sharing his smokes, and he presumed she was no different. Cigarettes were expensive nowadays. But smoke wasn’t all he could smell, not at all. The faint scent of coffee hung in his nose, along with some other scent…Lavender. And something else that he couldn’t quite distinguish. Green eyes gazed at Elizabeth as she inspected his wound, subtly inhaling through his nose. Was it from her hair? DeWitt leaned in ever so lightly as she changed her position a bit, closer to him. His body almost automatically hung over hers, longing to smell more of that lovely scent…That scent that was /her/. Sweet, tad of salt from her skin, a bit fruity, a scent that he couldn’t place… He leaned in a little closer, nose brushing against her hair ever so lightly. Pheromones…
Booker stiffened, realizing that he had blatantly been /smelling/ her as she stepped back from him. Get a grip! What the hell do you think you’re doing? He was grateful for the question that distracted his confused mind. “Well, yeah, it certainly felt like one.” He said with misplaced nonchalance. “I mean, I don’t know exactly what it was.” Booker admitted. “I didn’t go to the doctor since I don’t have health insurance, so they couldn’t tell me what had caused the wound exactly.” He told her, shrugging lightly, picking up the ice and pressing it against the irritated skin. That felt a little better. “I just did the usual, y’know. Disinfect, patch it up…” He continued, leaning against the frame of the door, holding the bag in place. The usual. He said it as if everyone suffered physical trauma like this on a daily basis. “But I guess it still got infected somehow.” He mumbled, pressing the ice compress firmer against himself as his stomach grumbled.
Old wound, huh. Elizabeth’s eyebrows rose in curiosity, but she didn’t press the man for more information. So, she was surprised when Booker chose to elaborate on why his shoulder was bothering him. The young woman listened to him interestedly, her blue eyes slightly widening as he told her the story of how he obtained his injury. Elizabeth shook her head and rolled her eyes, “Damn that sucks. You’re lucky you didn’t end up even worse off,” she stated as she slid down from the table, picking up on his subtle hint for ice. “The world is full of crazy people,” the young woman mused, planting her cigarette in between her lips making a slight gesture with her head in the direction of the kitchen, beckoning him to follow her. She felt the tall man’s presence at her back, but once they reached the door way between the living room and the kitchen he chose to stop there being considerate of her personal space, which Elizabeth appreciated.
She opened up a drawer and pulled out a decent sized plastic zip lock bag and set it down on the counter. Elizabeth then opened up her freezer and reached for the tray of ice that she kept way in the back with her slender arm, her blue tank top lifting up in the process briefly exposing her firm stomach. She shut the freezer door quickly, turning off to the side to gaze at Booker who’s broad frame took up almost the entire width of her narrow doorway as he sipped his sugary coffee. “Well, the itching could be a sign that it’s finally healing,” Elizabeth stated in a comforting manner as her long finger nails plucked the cubes of ice from the tray transferring them over into the plastic bag. She took a drag from her cigarette tapping the ash off in the sink, looking thoughtful. “Unless it feels hot to touch…then the wound might be infected,” Elizabeth informed him as she sealed the plastic bag with her dexterous fingers. “Here, catch.” She tossed Booker the bag of ice underhanded and despite the fact that he had a mug of coffee in his hands. Somehow she knew he’d still catch it. Call it a premonition.
She was right; he definitely could’ve been worse off. Especially considering he’d been drunk enough to justify sleeping in the gutter. It was a small miracle he had made it out alive. But maybe the goal of the madman hadn’t been to kill him. Maybe just to get his revenge, and that he had definitely gotten if you asked Booker. DeWitt followed her into the kitchen, gazing at the tattoo on her back. He wondered if it’d spread over her back entirely, who knew. He stopped at the doorway between the livingroom and kitchen, respecting her personal space. This wasn’t his home, he was a guest, and he would obey the unspoken rules. Keeping his distance he observed her as she took out a plastic bag and reached up, a part of her taut belly exposed as she did so. He took a silent sip of his coffee, momentarily forgetting his itching.
According to her, the itching could be a sign that it was healing. Normally she would be correct, but in these circumstances the itching should’ve set in way earlier. At this point the wound was already healed, and sure, when it had been healing it had itched, but never as bad as it did now. The itching from then did not compare to the itching of now. Still, he appreciated her attempt to comfort him as she put the ice in the zip bag.
Hot to the touch, huh… He wasn’t sure if that was the case. He hadn’t checked it yet, dismissing it as some phantom itch. She tossed him the bag, and in a reflex Booker caught it easily, long fingers wrapping around the cold plastic like a vice. Somehow he hadn’t expected otherwise. “Appreciated.” He told her, finishing off his coffee, adam’s apple bobbing up and down. He put down the coffee mug on an empty surface close to him. Longing to get rid of the itch and faint throbbing pain he shoved part of his shirt aside, ready to press the cool compress against it.
His green eyes widened as he shoved the fabric aside. “Fuck…” Did he see that right? Damn, no wonder he’d been itching like hell. He frowned, looking at the irritated red skin. The skin seemed sensitive to the touch, and Booker partially attributed that to his scratching. But that wasn’t what threw him off. What made him frown in confusion was the fact that there were short thick dark hairs growing from the wound. Like grass growing between tiles. What the hell… He put the ice aside for a moment, reaching up with his hand to touch the little hairs. They were prickly. Prickly and real.
"Well, fuck me." He scoffed, not sure what to make of the situation. What was this all about? Was it some weird hormonal thing? Deformity? He had no clue. He felt the woman’s eyes upon him. "Check this shit out." He said, baffled, showing her his trapezium in disbelief. She probably had no clue what it was either.
Elizabeth handed Booker a full cup of coffee with a decent amount of sugar in it. To which he gratefully took from her small hands. A modest smile played across her lips at his kind compliment. It had been a long time since she had the chance to talk to anyone about her art work. Normally she just made things and invited her gallery director over once she was all done and he’d pick the ones he wanted to buy and that was it. No real in depth discussion. Elizabeth had no idea what sort of people bought her work or where her paintings ended it up. Honestly, she didn’t really care. The only thing she wanted was to get an image out of her head and be done with it.
Booker DeWitt sipped his coffee and Elizabeth walked over to the table and adjusted the volume of the music coming out of her laptop. “Thanks,” she replied, tapping off the ash of her cigarette on an unused plastic palette. She picked up her own mug of coffee and took a large swallow gazing at the painting that he seemed the most interested in. Elizabeth carefully set her coffee away from her rather expensive machine and lightly boosted herself up on the table, perching herself on the edge. Even though she didn’t have any support for her back Elizabeth sat up straight. Good posture was important when you were a small person. No need to hunch over and appear even more miniscule. Elizabeth crossed her slender legs in front of her at the ankle absent mindedly looking at the holes in her jeans for a moment before she took a long calming drag off her cigarette. “And I had no idea, you were an admirer of art,” Elizabeth murmured softly.
She stared at the painting of the obscured creature Booker seemed to favor and felt herself bristle just a bit. Why anyone likes a particular piece of art in her opinion depended on the person’s empathy. They had to form a connection with it. Good art caused you to find a piece of yourself you didn’t realize was missing or it was also a form of recognition. The viewer seeing part of themselves in it. Elizabeth’s head tilted back as she exhaled smoke. She had been very angry when she started that painting, irrationally angry and inexplicably frustrated. It was one of her best pieces and the young woman refused to sell it. She had a love/hate relationship with it, and while she normally couldn’t wait to get rid of her paintings this one was different. “I’ve had a lot people offer to buy that one,” Elizabeth commented. “But… for whatever reason I’m just not ready to part with it yet,” the woman elaborated as she watched Booker take a swallow of his coffee leaning his face closer to the image seeing if he could pick up more finer details. Elizabeth smirked when she saw his green eyes narrow then rapidly widen as he finally noticed that the creature in the painting had a prominent erection. She always loved surprising people with that. So, what kind of person are you Booker DeWitt? Are you a monster? Elizabeth thought to herself cynically. As if right on queue the music that she was listening to transitioned into one of Massive Attack’s heavier songs. It was rich, dark, and had a lot of bass. Angel. She loved that song. Booker’s fingers dug into his shoulder scratching at the area. That was what? The second or third time she had seen him make that gesture? Elizabeth brought the cigarette to her lips and inhaled, leaning forward on her exhale. “You alright?” the young woman inquired with curious blue yes, her head slightly tilted. “You keep scratching at your shoulder. Something wrong?” Elizabeth asked pointing at the area that Booker couldn’t keep his hands off of, pawing at it like a dog with a bad case of fleas with her cigarette still planted in between her index and middle finger.
And in turn, she had not expected him to be an art admirer. Yeah, he supposed that is what you could call him. He didn’t visit musea (even if he did have the money) or anything similar, but when he got the chance he enjoyed art. A casual admirer, but an admirer nonetheless. She told him that many people had wished to purchase the piece, and somehow that did not surprise Booker. What did surprise him was that she hadn’t sold it with the piece getting so much attention. Maybe she had some personal connection to the piece? Evidently she wasn’t quite sure herself why she wasn’t ready to part with it just yet. The unknown emotional value outweighed the fat stack of dollars. If he had been her, he probably would’ve sold it, money outweighing emotional value for him.
Taking another sip of his sugary instant-coffee he took a closer look at the painting. Bright green eyes fixated upon the piece, longing to make out some more details, trying to form a full picture in his mind of the monstrous creature. It was then that he noticed the blood-engorged shaft of the creature. Ready to mate, little bright eyes widened in frustration and despair. A creature of insatiable lust and greed. Huh…
"Hm?" He averted his gaze from the fascinating painting, glancing at his hostess instead. Yeah, he was alright, he thought as he looked at her with her head curiously tilted. Why wouldn’t he be? It wasn’t until she pointed out that he kept scratching his shoulder that he noticed his fingers rubbing and digging into his flesh this very moment. It started to grow into a subconscious habit it seemed. He withdrew his hand, even though it still itched like hell. "Oh yeah, it’s…" What was it exactly? "…an old wound." Inflicted by some madman when I was piss-drunk. Cutting me up with a knife of some sorts. Leaving me with bruised flesh and bloody shoulder. He felt her curious gaze. She didn’t pry, polite, but he felt she’d like to know how he’d received the wound. "Few weeks ago some fucker jumped at me with a knife. Completely out of nowhere." He elaborated, taking another sip of his coffee, turning to her. He was scratching his shoulder again. "Managed to get him to get off me but he pierced into my shoulder." He paused for a bit, enjoying his coffee. "It hurts a bit at times, but today it’s been itching like crazy. I was planning to put some ice on it." He looked her in the eyes. It was rather obvious he was indirectly asking her for some ice for his shoulder, leaving the option to say ‘no’ open for her this way. To ignore his request.
Elizabeth was about to shut the door when the man started asking about her paintings. Without thinking she let Booker DeWitt into her apartment, watching his lean figure walk up to one of the paintings she was currently working on. Elizabeth, honey…this is a bad idea, a still small voice whispered inside her head. The young woman gulped and was about to politely ask the man to leave when he asked if she was the artist who made all the paintings around the apartment. “Yeah,” Elizabeth replied with a small nod. She turned her back on him as she went to put the package of meat away in the refrigerator giving him a better glimpse of the impressive set of bird wings that was tattooed on her back as she did so. While she was in the kitchen Elizabeth opened a drawer and hunted for a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. The woman was generally not a smoker, it wasn’t a additction for her like it was for some people. But, it was a little emotional crutch she had whenever she felt nervous. Smoking seemed like a better idea than idly twiriling her hair or biting her nails. One habit was too flirtatious and the other too associated with fear in her mind. So, instead Elizabeth smoked. Full red lips sealed around the cigarette as she lit up with one of those cheap lighters you could find almost anywhere. She casually tossed the lighter back in the drawer and her gaze wondered over to the pot of coffee on the counter. “Hey, would you like a cup of coffee?” Elizabeth asked him, finding herself being more hospitable than was normal for her.
So, she was the artist. Impressive. His gaze strayed to her petite form, noticing the revealed tattoo, or rather, a large part of it. Wings, if he wasn’t mistaken. Black wings on her back. As Booker walked over to another painting to admire it he heard her rummaging around in the kitchen. The particular piece he was looking at was very dark in color. Only some parts of a large creature were lit as if tiny spotlights shone upon it. He could distinguish a lion’s tail, long claws, some tufts of fur and some weird…long beak, drooling. Mouth watering. It gave Booker a rather ominous feeling, and yet he couldn’t stop looking at it. There was something about it that fascinated him. Drew him in.
He glanced back over his shoulder in the general direction of the kitchen as she asked him if he wanted some coffee. “Yeah, thanks.” He told her, fingers running over his itchy trapezium again. Well, that was a kind gesture of her. He’d felt she had wanted to shove him out the door as soon as he’d seen the painting, but evidently she was more hospitable than he’d given her credit for. She asked him how he wanted his coffee. “With sugar.” Tons of sugar, really. Even coffee wasn’t safe from his sweet-tooth. He didn’t say how much sugar he would want, not wanting to impose on her too much by significantly decreasing the amount of sugar she had in her home.
"Much obliged." He told her as he took the mug from her, taking a sip and subtly burning his lips. Better wait for it to cool down a bit. "Great paintings, I especially like this one." Booker told her, giving a nod to the painting of the obscured creature. "I had no idea you were an artist." He attempted another sip as he looked at the cigarette between her lips. He had no idea she was a smoker too. Honestly, he didn’t know anything about her. Hell; he wasn’t even sure of her name.
The tall man stood at her doorway sheepishly explaining to her that he had the unfortunate luck of his refigorator breaking down and no where to store his food. Elizabeth glanced at the package he held in his large hands for a minute. There were a few moments of akward silence, but in the end she relented, feeling sorry for the guy. His clear embarrassment the deciding factor in whether she would help him or not. The young woman opened the door just a little wider and shrugged her narrow shoulders, the intricate detailing of black feathers tattooed on her smooth skin shifting with the motion. “Yeah, sure.” Elizabeth replied. While her words were mostly indifferent her voice a kind note in it as she agreed to help the man out. She stretched out her hands for the package of meat offering to take it from him.
DeWitt felt relieved when the young woman honored his request with a nonchalant but kind undertone. The black on her shoulder drew his attention. Tattoo, huh… Never noticed it before. He wondered what it was off, he didn’t see enough details to be able to imagine the rest. Didn’t matter. “Thanks.” He glanced at the room another time, gaze falling upon one of the paintings. She seemed to be ready to close the door on him, but Booker didn’t notice. He gestured to a painting on the wall. Huh… “Can I have a closer look at that?” He asked with genuine interest while he stepped forward. She let him in. DeWitt made his way over to the painting while absentmindedly rubbing his trapezium. He stood still in front of it. It was of a deer with a humanoid body, with its antlers resembling plants the longer they were. Slender and slim wrists and ankles, the front-hooves bound behind its back. He didn’t know why, but it seemed familiar to him. Like he’d seen it somewhere before. And at the same time, he knew he’d never laid eyes on this depiction before. Peculiar. He glanced around the room, recognizing they were made by the same hand. Well, she either was the greatest fan of one artist, or… “Did you make these?”
Elizabeth was turning the worn brass key into the lock of her apartment when she felt a shiver run down her spine. A tall shadow fell upon her door frame and she turned her head to see the familiar face of her next door neighbor walking past her with a bag of groceries underneath each arm. He nodded in her general direction acknowledging her and Elizabeth’s deep blue eyes lingered upon his broad back before opening her door and going inside her apartment. Booker DeWitt. He was a alright neighbor but there was something about the guy that bothered her. Sometimes they had nice talks, but there were other moments were the man just made her skin crawl.
But, the young woman entered her apartment and bolted the door shut and spent no more energy on thinking about Booker DeWitt. Elizabeth took a deep breath and sighed looking over her neat but spartan aparment. She had a fold out couch that she slept on and a table with two chairs and that was all she had for furniture. But, it’s not like she had guests over anyway. Elizabeth was fairly isolated, but that’s exactly what a artist needed in her opinion. No distractions. Just her and her paintings. Which were hanging on every spare wall in her place all in various stages of completion. Elizabeth reached into her plastic bag and brought out several tubes of paint and tossed them onto the tarp she had on the floor so she wouldn’t mess up the carpet.
Elizabeth set her keys down on the table and walked into what was supposed to be her bed room, but instead she converted into a drawing studio. She opened her closet and reached for her painting clothes. A pair of faded blue jeans that had several holes in them and a light blue tank top that had random splashes of paint on it. She slipped out of her shoes and stripped off her clothes for the day, took off her bra with a sigh of relief and got comfortable. Once the woman pulled the ratty but fitted shirt over her head she unplugged her lap top and went back into the main room of her apartment. Elizabeth set her machine up on her table and powered it on then went to the kitchen to fix herself a pot of coffee. Then she put on some trance music to help her work, got down on her hands and knees gathering up tubes of paint in her small hands. Hmmm, by the smell of it the coffee was probably done. She bounded back into the kitched and poured herself a generous cup, and set out to have a quiet and productive night of work.
But, no sooner had she mixed some paint on her palette she heard a knock on her door. Elizabeth frowned, and stared at the door. Go away, she thought. But, there was another knock and then another. God fucking
dammit. She took a sip of coffee and tucked her shoulder length wavy brown hair behind her ears, revealing the hoop earrings she was wearing that her hair occasionally hid. The petite woman reluctantly went to her door and rose up on her tip toes to peer out of the peep hole to see who it was. Her blue eyes narrowed when she saw the attractive but disheveled face of her neighbor, Booker DeWitt. Now, what the fuck did he
want? Her gut told her to keep the door shut and ignore him, but against her better judgment Elizabeth’s slender fingers were sliding back the chain lock on her door. Her hand gripped the cool metal of the doorknob, turning it slowly. Elizabeth pulled the door part way open and stared up into the feral green eyes of the man that was a foot taller than her.
Booker put the groceries away, tucking the food in cabinets and cupboards. It was then that he found out his refrigerator wasn’t working anymore. Damn, that piece of shit had broken down, huh… Just great. He tried to check if it was something he could perhaps fix, but it didn’t seem like it. He let out an annoyed sigh, scratching the side of his temple. He couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Not now, at least. Maybe he could if he’d be accepted for the job. Who knew.
He stood there for a while, looking at the contents of his fridge. Pretty empty. Mostly beer. A few milk cartons. Some old cheese that he’d been planning to throw away a long time ago. He supposed that was a bright side of not having much money; if your fridge stopped working not much would go to waste. However, he had just purchased some packages of minced meat and the like. They’d been expensive, and Booker did not plan on letting those go to waste. He had paid too much for that, and he couldn’t simply eat everything at once for dinner tonight. He was a big eater, but even that was a little too much for him.
The man thought it over. Hm. Wouldn’t it be an idea to ask if he could temporarily store his food in his neighbor’s fridge? He supposed it was an option. Were they on friendly enough terms for that? He wasn’t sure. Probably not. They were barely acquaintances, but he supposed it was worth a shot. He lightly rubbed his trapezium, and picked up the meat in plastic.
Here goes nothing, Booker thought as he knocked at Elizabeth’s —or was it Ellie’s?— door. No answer. Maybe she hadn’t heard him. He knew she was home, after all. Another knock. And another, until eventually he heard the metallic sound of the chain lock sliding. The door opened partially, wary but beautiful blue eyes fixed upon him. She seemed ready to slam the door in his face if he made wrong move. For a split second he observed her room, natural curiosity. Huh, lots of paintings. Art lover, he supposed. “Hi.” Good opening, Booker, keep going. He came to the point immediately. “I was wondering if I can perhaps store this in your fridge?” He showed her the meat. “My fridge broke down, so…” There was a tense silence, and with every second of silence that passed Booker grew more convinced this was a stupid idea. He had even considered asking her for some ice since his trapezium had been itching and hurting all day, but at this point that was an even worse idea.
It had been a few weeks since the brawl. Booker hadn’t thought much of it, really. Just another drunken fight in the bar. Nothing out of the ordinary for the violent man. Just another way to spend time. He spent more time roaming bars than sitting in his lousy apartment at this point. Picking fights. Unleashing the frustration of being fired by picking on strangers. Another source of income down the drain. Whatever money Booker did have was spent on booze and cigarettes, and that night it hadn’t been any different. He’d gotten drunk. Angry at some customer. He didn’t remember why.
That night he’d been kicked out of the bar. He’d been stumbling down the streets on wobbly long legs, sauntering back to his shitty apartment. Little did he know he soon was to be the victim of assault, stumbling about. But when it did happen, Booker’s breath hitched. Someone clamped around him, forcing him to his knees with the sudden pounce. Damn, the guy was heavy! It was only thanks to Booker’s keen reflexes that he managed to counter, his muscle memory stronger than his dazed mind. He vaguely remembered punching. Driving his elbow into his assaulter. Clawing and stomping. He remembered the pain that went through him. Clenching. Tight. Warm.
DeWitt had no idea how he made it out with nothing more than a few bruises and some bloody deep but short cuts. In hindsight he figured the mad culprit must be the man he had picked a fight with, wanting to get some revenge on his drunk ass. Put him back into place. Give him a beating. Teach him a lesson. It had helped, because Booker hadn’t picked a fight in weeks.
Without any luck Booker had tried to find a new job. Right now he had a request pending to help with a moving company, relocating furniture and the like, but he doubted that would work out. Still, he had a sliver of hope that he might get the job.
And now, having done grocery shopping and ready to get back to his disheveled room, Booker ascended the long staircase of the building complex. He walked past his neighbor, giving her a nod as a form of greeting. He didn’t know much about her, but if he wasn’t mistaken her name was Elizabeth. They had a small chat now and then if Booker felt talkative. She was never a burden to him, so in his eyes she was a good neighbor.