"How is that I'm always finished before you?"
I leaned against the door frame of the master bathroom as I studied Matty carefully combing through his demonically black jaw-length hair. From the neck down, he was wearing the same type of clothes he always wore, tight and just as black as his hair. Just to his left on the counter was a blow dryer on top of a towel that was probably a few nudges away from being ripped off the counter and meeting the not-so-gentle tile. Which wouldn't have been the first time Matty let something fall and break because he was too busy trying to make himself look pretty.
If he was doing it for me, which he wasn't, I might've been just a little more forgiving towards him and the beyond ridiculous time it took for him to get ready. In the time it took me to take a shower, dry my hair, and get clothes on, he was still drying his hair. His pretty boy antics went from being sort of cute to outright annoying, until it reached a point where I began to question if he was just trying to irritate me on purpose. Lo and behold, he was just trying to make himself look pretty for himself and himself only.
"Duh, that's obvious." Matty rotated his upper body so that his left eye was gazing right at me out of its peripheral, revealing that arrogant smirk he only seemed to ever tease me with.
Nudging myself off the frame of the door, I crawled toward Matty until I was met with a back that always felt as lean as his waist and let my arms tie themselves around his skeletal rib cage. Going all the way back to middle school, Matty intrepidly beat people twice his size to a pulp, yet he never weighed all that much more than me. But how Matty looked, and to a smaller degree, acted wasn't why I fell in love with him. Honestly, I still can't put what exactly it was that I fell in love with into words. Maybe it was the passion he showed for music that I fell for, or maybe I was just hoodwinking myself and I really did have a thing for inked up, uncouth musicians.
"Please, tell." the grasp I had on him tightened, my nostrils buried in his cologne-laden t-shirt. "Sorry, but I'm not as intelligent as the great Matty Cullen, so please explain it to this feeble mind."
The sound of Matty's comb crashed through the bathroom as he carefully spun within the cradle of my arms. Now looking right down at me, Matty guided his right hand up to my ear where his fingers began to weave their way through my hair, coursing each digit through a new strand of my dark hair. He ripped his hand away from the length of my hair and ushered his fingertips to my bangs, brushing them all away from my eyes and sticking them behind my ear. Left with exposed eyes and a bare forehead, Matty drifted his index finger along the contour of my cheek and around my eye until its tip met the center of my forehead.
His short fingernail pushed forward into my own rooted skin and forehead. "It's because you're simple." Matty extended his tongue as his free hand fell to my waist. "You don't chase perfection like moi, but I don't blame you. If you looked up "perfection" in the dictionary, my picture would be printed right next to it. Sorry, babe, but you'll never look better than me."
I tore my woven fingers apart from behind his back before I gave his hand a languid, playful smack away from my waist as I pulled away from him and backed my way into the bedroom, eyeing him down every step of the way. Seeming to forget about his hair entirely, Matty almost mimicked what I had just done as he took a step underneath the frame of the bathroom door and leaned against it while his hidden eyes watched me stride backwards through thick, black bangs. That was, until the back of my legs collided with the bed and forced me to fall on it.
"So, wait, if I don't slut myself up, that means I'm simple?" I peeled my gaze away from the roof and to Matty, questioning his outlandish logic. Though, in his defense, that was probably something I should've stopped doing a long time ago. "Well, I'm sorry for not feeling comfortable dressing like one of your whore groupies."
Matty took a wide stride forward. "Isn't calling them that a little extreme? You act like you didn't used dress that way."
Matty wasn't exactly wrong in his description of himself, at least within my line of sight. There was always something about his lean frame and bang-covered eyes that I found attractive, add all that to his tattoos and black clothes and I was in an aesthetic heaven when it came to him. I swear, something in my weak little head broke way back in 2008. After falling in love with the heavier side of music, the look of the scene wasn't much further off. Where I fell in love with the sound of Whitechapel's This Is Exile, the eye-candy that was Kenneth Nixon made my heart flutter just ever so lightly - if I want to keep that latter sentiment PG, that is.
The sight of tattoos on guys in dark clothes was something I just never got over, and fortunately for me, the boy I sort of grew up with never did either. Everything from the tattooed backsides of his hands and knuckles to the black clothes that fit his frame so tightly were so few of the many things that appealed to me, but those were the small things I loved about him. What I fell in love with was, much of the time, something that transcended word or action. The things he made me feel were things that had to be seen to be understood. So many days passed with Matty where I couldn't control my emotions, yet it always like the most liberating experience on the planet. He was. in that sense, a walking oxymoron. Well, sometimes he was just that period.
He was a violent barbarian that prospered in the blood of the people he beat down, but the Matty I knew was just a small puppy that perpetually felt like he had to out-bite his bark. Those barks and leaden glares that always seemed to lead into another fight were nothing but a facade, the false image that Matty was forced to be. The bark of his blood-stained knuckles matched their bite, but underneath the barrier of violence Matty veiled himself in was a nice, little emo teddy bear. My little emo teddy bear.
"Exactly. That's why I don't trust girls like them, or you with them." I gazed back into the popcorn ceiling. "If that was a part you found attractive about me, then you're going to see it in one of them eventually. How hard will they have to try before you give in and fuck their pretty little brains out?"
A careful silence passed until the caps of Matty's knees collided with mine as they hung off the edge of the bed. He slipped his right leg in between my shut pair and gave his best effort to pry them apart, an effort that quite easily out-muscled me as he spread my limbs apart with another short stride inwards. As Matty leaned forward, he planted his palms into the bed and hovered over me, the weight of his arms causing my head to dip even further into the mattress beneath us.
"Yeah, then what? Throw this away?" his hair waved to and fro, revealing a pair of narrowed eyes underneath its draped length. "No groupie or other woman on this planet is worth losing any of this."
"This?" my eyes traveled downwards, teasing him ever so lightly. "So, you're saying that I'm keeping you here? Are you sure it's just not me taking care of the runt while you're on tour?"
Matty dragged his hands downward until they looped around my wrists and pulled the both of us up, standing mere inches away from each other. Even after spending what was really a relatively small amount time with him, it was these small, fleeting moments that always made me feel like it was day one of being in love with him all over again. One moment I could be on a new level of angry at him, and then he'd always do something small like this that would always rip me off of my feet and steal my heart back from me.
"Definitely." Matty dropped his mouth to my collarbone. "You're way more freaky than any of those other girls are."
"Oh? And how do you know that, exactly?"
Matty's hands traced the bends my stomach, all the down to my waist. "C'mon, put two and two together. When you combine groupies, Erin, and a small bus, it's kind of hard not to hear what they're getting into. You know exactly what I'm talking about, because you're just a cuter, semi-straight version of Erin when it comes to sex." his eyes fell to my cleavage, where his crooked smile began to spread out just a little further. "That, and you've literally had sex with her, of course."
He raised his hands once again, but instead of following the same bends he traced downwards. In the palm of his right hand, Matty held my stomach as his moist lips parted ways with my collarbone and affixed themselves to my neck, carefully gliding up until they met my jaw. This was the Matty I and a select few other people knew, the Matty that didn't try to bash people's skulls in because they talked to him the wrong way. This was the Matty that I grew up and fell in love with, the Matty that always seemed to give my life some level of meaning in those dark moments life doled out.
I pulled away from Matty, sauntering to the door. "Erin was nice enough to take the runt for the day, so let's try not to being late to something for once, yeah?"
Matty followed my exact path to door as he purposely shortened his strides, slowing himself down just enough to annoy me, and that lone raised cheekbone screamed as much. "Yeah, hold on. I gotta throw on the snow chains real quick."
Ely was in an odd part of Oregon where it almost exclusively snowed more than everywhere else in Oregon. Where it snowed two or three times a year in the winter in Portland, it snowed quite heavily six or seven times a year in Ely, and that day had been one of them.
"It's not that bad right now, just leave it." I gave a twirl as I met the midway point of the thin hallway. "Besides, we have them in the trunk if we need them."
I spun again, taking my first left into the living room and guided myself to the coat rack just to the left side of the matte white accent belonging to the door frame. Ripping my oversized hoodie from the hook, I turned around as I poked my arm through the first hole it felt to find Matty picking up his own jacket that he'd tossed onto the arm of the couch the night before. Come to think of it, the hoodie I was wearing was his at one point, just like every other jacket I owned. Hell, half of the shirts I wore when I went full potato were his.
Matty, who had already put on his jacket and was now slipping on a pair of gloves, kept his eyes glued on me as I zipped up the jacket. After being kicked out of Hollower, Matty finally found his place. In me and in Playing With Fire. All those years ago, when my life started to spiral once again, Matty formed into something of a flare for me. When I came so close to becoming a flame fizzling out with the wind, he was the one who attempted to hold me in place, to stop my light from going out. Matty was the one who kept me from being blown away into oblivion.
"Your wish is my command." Matty teased, forcing a tongue out as he unlatched his keys from the belt loops of his black jeans, all before turning the knob and opening the exit to the cold outside air. "Maybe we can get some lunch afterwards, I'll call Erin and see if they want to join after were done. Anyways, get that ass movin', 'Lessa."
Stepping by Matty and through the door, it was a short walk before we were in our completely average Nissan and backing out of the also completely average driveway. Matty took the first right out of the neighborhood and turned on the radio just as we crawled up to the first main street. As the radio fought through the cold weather, it finally turned itself on and allowed the station to play the song, a song that we both immediately recognized. The song that was being playing at the moment he turned on the radio was his, or rather, their own. It was Playing with Fire's "The Air I Breathe".
I peeked to Matty, watching for a reaction as he stared intently at the road in front of him while waiting to turn. When it became clear that I wasn't going to get a reaction from him, I brought my elbow to the console that divided our seats and wove my fingers together with his, smirking the whole way through. "I wonder who these guys are, definitely not bad."
"Really. Would it kill-"