This piece was written a few days before we left Maine. I whipped it up in the middle of the night after being struck with inspiration. As mentioned in the title, this is the prologue to Break Even, as it takes place the evening before the events in Break Even.
So if you haven’t read that piece, I encourage you to do so. You really can’t read this one first, the impact intended isn’t quite the same.
I’ve hesitated to post this and one other piece I’ll hold off on posting for now. I never write anything explicit, and really work hard to keep my pieces clean. However, if more than one person has a problem with the content, I’ll consider taking it down; though it’d pain me to do so, as I’d like to see my work get a bit more exposure.
For fair warning, I’ve rated this piece K+ for some innuendo.
The song of inspiration for this was Grenade by Bruno Mars. The title actually comes from the line where he says “you said you loved me, you’re a liar” - I figured it fit well.
Alfredo’s heart always skipped a beat when he looked into her eyes. She noticed him staring at her and gave a gentle giggle, turning her eyes away in slight embarrassment.
He smiled to himself a little. How in the world did he get so lucky?
“Y-you… I mean, be careful driving home tonight,” he softly called after her. Colette was nearly out the door of the restaurant when he spoke, and she stopped for a moment to turn around and face him.
“I will, mon amour, don’t worry,” she replied with a sweet smile on her face. Her eyes glittered and danced and Alfredo felt himself blushing at her gaze. She gave a soft laugh and held out her arms. “Come here, lily-liver.”
Alfredo stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, placing a hand on the back of her head and slipping his fingers through her silky hair. He pressed his cheek to her head and closed his eyes. He could feel her breath melting into his skin. She eased out of his grasp for a moment, then lifted her hands up and pressed them to his cheeks, pulling him down for a kiss.
His nerves spiked, his skin tingled, every hair on his body stood on end. The feeling quickly dissolved into intense warmth coursing through his veins, and his nerves suddenly felt like they were melting and going numb. Colette held him firmly, pulling him so close that they could feel each other’s hearts each beating violently. Alfredo gripped her head and waist, and she his face, and it seemed as though they’d never let go.
When they finally separated and locked gazes, Alfredo felt himself slightly choking on his beating heart. She only smiled at him, moving her hand to the back of his neck, knowing it made his hormones go haywire.
“Alfredo,” she whispered.
Alfredo’s eyes widened vaguely. “What?”
“Can I tell you something?”
There was a slight pause. Alfredo wasn’t sure whether to be nervous about that question or not. “S-sure, yeah. I mean, of course, Colette.” He smiled a bit. “You can tell me anything.”
She stared seriously up at him. “If the only thing in the world I had was you, I’d still have everything I’ve ever wanted.” She pressed her cheek to his chest. “You know that?”
Alfredo’s heart swelled. “Yeah, I knew that, I guess.” He gave her a squeeze and let out a chuckle. “That kinda sounded like one of those sappy love quotes you find on the internet.”
Colette laughed in return and pulled away. “That’s because it was!” Alfredo was blushing despite the fact that he knew it was a bit of a joke. It didn’t matter how cheesy it sounded – whenever Colette spoke that way of him, he was overwhelmed with the love he had for her and it never failed to make him blush. He placed a hand on her shoulder and tenderly led her out the door to her bike.
“I mean it, though,” he continued, “you stay safe on the road. There’s some… weird people out this time of night.”
“I know,” she easily replied, securely strapping on her helmet.
“Drunk people, a lot of times,” Alfredo carried on, gesturing with his arms to emphasize. “They shouldn’t be out on the road, but they are.” Colette was playfully rolling her eyes at Alfredo’s over-protectiveness. “I’m serious, I just want to make sure you’re–”
“I’ll be fine, Alfredo Mitchell Austin,” she assured him once more. She pinched his cheek and started up her bike. “You drive safe, too.” She smiled once again before pulling her visor down. “Je t’aime, mon amour. Bon nuit.”
He watched and waved as she took off down the street, waiting until she rounded the corner out of sight before turning around to walk back and lock up the restaurant.
It was unusually quiet on this side of the city tonight. Colette noticed the lack of drunk Parisians partying in the alleys, or groups of commonly-spotted crack heads rolling joints and smoking pot outside of abandoned storefronts. For once in a very long time, her ride through this end of Paris wasn’t as scary as it normally was.
She pulled up to an apartment home that had been built back in the late 1800s and was originally a textile factory. The name of the company who owned the factory had been painted on the front of the brick building, and was still faintly visible to this day. Some of the apartment lights were still on and cast an eerie glow down onto the ground below. Colette parked her bike on the side of the building and chained it there, then proceeded up the rickety metal steps that led to the upper levels of the apartment house.
She fingered the apartment keys in her pocket and opened the door leading inside the building, which brought her to a hallway where the doors to several of the apartments were neatly lined up along the walls. She scanned the doors for Apartment 54, and she happened upon it almost immediately.
Gently, she eased the key into the lock and turned the handle to let herself inside. The air in the apartment felt heavy and thick the moment she walked in. She sniffed. Cigarette smoke.
“Colette, I had no idea you were coming tonight,” a scratchy male voice called. She saw a hand drop over the side of the recliner in front of the TV, and in it was a cigarette still smoking.
She placed her purse and bike keys on the bar and peeled off her jacket. “I figured I owed you a visit. It’s been a couple weeks.”
The man chuckled. His laugh was rough and dry. “Yeah, couple weeks seems like forever when you want something bad.”
Colette walked over to the recliner, stood in front of it, and folded her arms. “That’s why I’m here, Sam.”
The young man slouched in the chair had a few days’ growth of beard, and his blonde hair was wild and tangled. He grinned at Colette, showing off the nearly perfect set of straight teeth that he had.
“How in the world did I get so lucky?” Sam mischievously sniggered. Colette rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. “The boyfriend don’t mind?” he then asked, slipping his hands behind his head. The smoldering cigarette dropped onto the floor.
Colette smirked and inched closer to the chair. “The boyfriend don’t know.” Sam raised his eyebrows.
“Ahh,” he replied with a snicker. “You’re a sneaky little kitten, you are.” Colette seated herself on his lap and pressed her nose to his. He instantly responded by placing his hands around her waist. She gave a slight shrug as she closed her eyes and rested her lips near his mouth.
“I never loved him anyway,” she whispered, slipping her mouth into his as the words, thick with poison, dissolved off her lips.