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Never Been Loved

By:C.M. Kars

PART ONE

Chapter 1


The kid's crying and it's the dramatic kind, too. Christ, he's four years old and he knows how to play me. Fucking shit.

I keep my eyes on the road, almost missing a stop sign when I catch a  glimpse of him in the rear-view mirror wiping a wad of snot on the  sleeve of a shirt I just fucking washed.

I turn the radio on, play with the buttons until something good comes  on. Kiss' ‘Detroit Rock City' starts and it's like Paul Stanley has  gotten into my car and wiped the tears off of Matty's face. Thank you,  Jesus. I start driving a little faster, easing my foot onto the gas  pedal, barely tapping the brake when I hit a stop.

Twenty seconds from my mom's place, and the kid starts wailing again  like I've gone and maimed him for life instead of bringing him to his  grandma's. The howls he's letting out are the kinda screams you hear in  Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I pull up to the brick palace and go to the back seat to get Matty  unbuckled, my movements on routine and my brain on standby. I'm not  thinking about the kid, or the shit I'm going to deal with my mom right  now, or even Eddie. Or the memories the house is going to bring back for  me.

Nah, my dick is twitching with the image of Aly's mouth around it, and  the way she just sent me a video of her touching herself and begging me  to finish her off. So like the dog I am, I'm going to have a little fun,  a little break from the shit my life's become. And Matty isn't going to  ruin it, even if those blue eyes are the perfect shade of his mom's and  not mine.

"Why can't I stay with you, Daddy? I promise I'll be good! Please,  please?" His little arms have wound themselves around my neck while he  sobs in my shoulder. I donkey-kick the car door closed and beep the car  locked. Man, my life is summed up in that gently-used Honda.

Dependable, only on good days. Good for the winter, all right. Used,  just like me. Car seat in the back killing my game, and constantly  reminding me that my life isn't mine anymore, that I'm responsible for  someone other than myself.

It blows.

"You're going to be fine." My voice sounds dead, even to me. "I'll come  pick you up later and we can watch whatever movie you want when we get  home, all right?" I don't know why I say all right at the end. Nothing's  all right.

"You promise?" Matty sniffs, and pulls back to look at me. I get sucker-punched in the gut every single time I look at him.

It's been three years since her death; you'd think I'd be used to it by  now. But the kid loses a piece of her every time his face changes, every  day he gets a little older, looking more and more like the boy he's  meant to be, and less like his mother even if the blueprints are there.

"Sure, kid, whatever you want. But you have to be good for Grandma and Eddie. And don't eat any sweets, all right?"

"Okay, Daddy."

I grunt like I've been stabbed. "Okay, good. I'll see you later, alligator."

Matty rubs his eyes, and leans forward to ring the doorbell. He turns to  look at me, blue eyes so much like hers, my dumb throat closes up. "In a  while, crocodile.

Eddie opens the door as usual, looking like he's got a livewire up his  ass, arms outstretched. Matty knows the drill. He lets go of me and  twists to get into Eddie's arms, giving him a kiss on the cheek. The kid  sure knows how to win people over.

I give him a wave, and move my ass as quick as possible down the stone  steps, scuffing the bottom of my sneakers down the very step where I  almost cracked my skull and knocked out two teeth all those years ago.  God, I hate this place. Someone should raze it to the ground, and the  memories it holds, too.

My phone buzzes in my pocket, and my cock is ready to go. I get into the  car, look around to see a deserted street. No parents that live here  ever let their kids play outside on the street. West End kids play  outside in their respective tennis courts, and pools, never some street  hockey with a net that has to be moved every time a car drives by.

So I'm alone in the car, like I'm about to do something criminal.

Fishing my spare pack from the glove compartment, I get an alcohol swab  ready along my left index finger. The sting is fleeting at this point,  and the bead of blood that swells on the pad of my finger makes me  slightly nauseous. I stick a test strip into the glucometer that I've  defaced with a crude drawing of a skull, and wait for the screen to  light up. When the thing is ready, I watch the strip suck up a little  bit of my blood, like some electronic mosquito without the decency to do  the biting for you. I wait the five seconds, hoping for a good number.         

     



 

Seventeen. High. Not great, but not too awful, either. And the way I'm  twitching with a flash of memory of what Aly was doing to herself, I'm  going to bring it down another few points, so I should be good. Exercise  is good for the body, after all.

When I get back to my building, the elevator doors are open and I end up  sprinting to get inside. The doors take their time closing as I lean  forward and jab the already lit-up number six just to make sure I get to  my destination.

There's a babe in the corner opposite me. And not a babe as in overdone  makeup, orange tan, tits plumped up by fake bras. No. She's an  understated babe that's most likely a lady on the street but a freak in  the sheets. The kind of refinement that's hidden under jeans, clad in  Chuck Taylors and wearing a t-shirt that says ‘My heart belongs to  Ponyboy Curtis'.

Who the fuck is Ponyboy Curtis? Some little boy belting out pop songs?

Christ, she has glasses, she has glasses. Not those awful ones that  cover half the face and make chicks look like they're stuck in the  eighties. No, just sleek brown ones that fit her face nicely and make me  want to see her in a skirt and some heels. To top it all off, she's  reading a book.

Her index finger is halfway to her mouth (great fucking mouth), and her  eyebrows are popped up high over the rim of her glasses. With a quick  move, the top knuckle of her pointer finger is in her mouth, a flash of  teeth biting down on the flesh.

I'm in agony, and I really need to fuck.

And this babe doesn't even know I exist right now. I've taken a backseat  to a book  –  must be some book. It's thick and looks like she's  two-thirds in. Serious reading, then, not this Fifty Shades shit Aly is  always going on about. Although, it is fun when she starts reading  scenes out to me and makes me do whatever the guy in the book does. I  don't know much about literature, but I do know people, and that fucker  is beyond help.

I clear my throat without thinking better of it. Catching a quick glance  at the numbers going up, up, up, I grin when I belatedly realize we  live on the same floor. She still hasn't looked at me, and I frown.

What kind of book is she reading?

We both get off the elevator, me walking ahead so I don't have to look  at her and know what I'm missing. A girl like that, smarter than her own  good, well, she deserves someone who's at a hundred percent. I'm never  at a hundred percent.

Diabetes has a tendency of chipping away at you until you're the ghost  of the person you used to be. Ten years after being diagnosed and I feel  every single day in those years. Not today, no wallowing in my own  stink of what could have been.

First order of business, I'm getting laid  –  once I shower.

I make my way to the door, fishing my keys from my pocket, only to catch  a glimpse of the babe's backside view on her to way to her door  –  right  next to mine.

Jack. Pot.

I watch, as she doesn't have her keys out, and see her continue to read.  Jesus, this chick has a death wish. What if some asshole decided to  force his way into her apartment? He wouldn't even have to be quiet  about stepping closer to her, or saying anything  –  her mind is somewhere  else, completely captured by a few hundred words on a page.

My stomach twists when I think of someone hurting her while her nose is  stuck in a book. I've spent fucking two whole minutes with her and I'm  passing judgements. But shit, she needs to be paying more attention.  Fine, the building we live in, not a total shit-hole, but people don't  walk up to you and explain their bad intentions.

I wait for her to fish her keys out of her pocket, never taking her eyes  of what she's reading. I'm going to have to ask her about it sometime,  maybe in the elevator. I only step into my apartment when I hear the  turning of her key in the lock. Man, the way the sound carries in the  hall, I feel like goddamn Superman, enhanced hearing and all.

Erasing the babe from the elevator outta my mind, I head to the shower  and fire off a quick text that I'll be seeing Aly in a few. Towel around  my waist, rubbing at my short hair to get the water out, I move about  the apartment, picking up shit Matty left all over the fucking floor.

No matter how many times I tell that kid, he just doesn't wanna listen  to me. It's like his mother's spirit is haunting me in a four-year-old  form. Three years after her death and I'm still pissed off. Rabid with  it, saliva-frothing crazy with it.

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