She was dressed modestly for such a beautiful girl. Wearing baggy jeans and a white turtleneck, her long dark hair pulled back in a simple ponytail. She was a masterpiece against the backdrop of that derelict den and I’d never seen anything so stunning. As soon as she put her books down after skipping in from school, she grabbed a broom and began cleaning up the trash all around her. She moved like poetry, gliding effortlessly, almost floating. I couldn’t stop looking at her. She had me, in that moment, under her spell, bewitching me when no other had before. Then the loud crash of a dropped glass brought me out of my hypnotic trance and I focused on the broken glass surrounding her feet. I moved toward her wanting to make sure none of the glass could hurt her. Nothing should ever touch such an angel, nothing. I forgot myself, my place, the fact that my appearance might scare her.
“It happens all the time. I’ve got it, don’t worry,” she said as I approached.
I was beside her in an instant, lifting her into my arms, cradling her delicate body. To this day, I’m not sure why I grabbed her like I did. It was instinct to care for her, to protect her. I didn’t want her to get hurt; the idea, for some reason, seemed unbearable. I felt my hands, which were normally steady, begin to shake. Fear of frightening her rattled my body. Her head was down so she wasn’t looking at my face. She didn’t need to know a monster had her, it would only heighten her fear. I shifted myself to ensure she couldn’t feel my rigid cock reacting just from the pressure of her slight body in my arms. The scent of her skin, so fragrant in that old dusty bar. From the first touch, I never wanted to let go.
“It’s okay, really, I’m fine. It happens all the time. I’ll just go grab the dust bin. You’re Silas, right? Thanks for helping my dad.”
That was it for me—there was no turning back.
Perhaps I was overreacting, but I placed her on the stool and proceeded to sweep the broken shards away, careful to angle my head in a way that ensured she wouldn’t have a good view of my face. My scars elicited fear and disgust in most people. It was the main reason I wore my hair shaggy, letting it grow to the length of my chin. It helped me conceal who I really was—a beast. She hopped off the stool, intent on helping with the mess. Instinctively, my right hand shot out and held her in place and took the dust pan from her.
“Glass can cut you,” I said matter-of-factly. Inwardly, I wanted to whip myself for being so stupid. I was never a man of many words. Words didn’t help anything and most people who speak too much dig their own graves. There was strength in silence.
I took the broom from her and meticulously cleaned up any remains of shattered glass on the floor. I wanted to make sure even the smallest sliver was removed to ensure that nothing could harm her. That was our very first interaction and looking back on it now, I can see why such a beautiful, young girl, surrounded by jagged glass and broken chairs, graffiti carved tables, mildewed sinks and greasy windows, gave me the impression she was even more fragile than she looked. I cringed when I thought of her working that joint when it was filled with bottom of the barrel, high on drink and power—the kind of assholes who treated women without an ounce of respect. I felt responsible for her right away; I wanted to take care of her.
“Thank you. This is very kind, but not necessary.”
Her voice was lovely, she sounded like a heavenly creature to my ears. I wanted to listen to her talk for all of eternity, but I knew that wasn’t possible. Once I was done, I handed her the broom and walked away as quickly as I could. I couldn’t stand being around her any longer, her light was too strong and I was pure darkness that could eventually contaminate her. Once I’d placed a safe distance between us and was shrouded in shadows, I dared to look up and saw her gazing at me, smiling softly.
I grew roses at home and tended to them meticulously. I used them to compensate for a life lived without beauty. My rose garden was full of every color and species. Tenacious flowers they were, built to withstand the harsh demands of nature. Olivia reminded me of a perfect rose, strong and delicate, gorgeous, fragrant silk petals armed with barbs underneath. Just like with my flowers, I watched her grow from afar, admired her strength and beauty, but held my feelings inside.