Scarred Beauty

By: Sam Crescent


“No hair colour change this week?”

“No. I rather like the deep red colour. I might keep it this way for some time.”

“You’ve got to get out some more,” he said.

“Brad, don’t start. I’m fine. I’m going to go and paint. I’ll see you later.” She got up from her seat, walked to her studio and closed the door. In one action she closed everything out and was alone once more. She pulled the painting she’d been working on off the easel. Pulling up another canvas, she set her studio up and began to paint the reflection of herself she’d seen in the window.

****

Brad knew he shouldn’t interfere. He set his laptop up and made all the preparations for the contact information. He’d warned Isaac ahead of time what he planned to do. The contact information was for Isaac’s personal phone. She would be able to find all the contact details.

He glanced behind him at the studio door. For the past two weeks she’d become withdrawn, rarely speaking or spending any time with him when he did make it home. He could only imagine what she was going through.

Closing his eyes he debated doing what he was about to do. He should just talk to her about what she wanted, but he knew she would never be truly open with him about this subject. Isaac had promised him he would be the utmost of gentlemen.

Opening his eyes, Brad set the laptop up and made the account visible. Seconds later, he left the apartment.

He took his phone out of his pocket and made the call.

“Hello,” Isaac said as he answered the phone.

“Everything is set up. She may call today.”

“Okay. I’ll let you know what happens.”

They ended the call, and Brad made his way to Ben. He owned a club in the centre of city. It was the only place Brad could be near him without being thrown out. Ben was ten years older than he.

The club he owned catered during the day and night. He took a seat at the back of the bar and waited for the waitress to serve him some coffee. Brad couldn’t see Ben but he sat back and waited for him to show.

He saw Ben the moment he entered the bar. Ben was larger than most men and he looked like a bouncer rather than the owner. Brad felt his palms grow sweaty as the bartender pointed in his direction and Ben turned his blue eyes on him.

Brad sipped at his drink as Ben made his way over to him. His heart pounded inside his chest.

“What are you doing here?” Ben asked.

“I’m having a drink.” He felt so clumsy in front of this man. The memories he held of him were so few but he knew he’d fucked up any chance at a relationship.

The addictions had begun in his teen years. He’d find the alcohol in his dad’s stash. The drinking helped ease the pain of his situation. The drugs were easy to come by. The school his parents sent him to could get anything. Then at the weekends he would use a fake identity to get into casinos. The lifestyle his mother wanted had brought him nothing but problems. They never took the time with him as they did with the other children they had together. In fact, they treated him as if he brought shame to the family, an outsider forever looking in on what he couldn’t have.

“You’re not supposed to be here. The drink is too much of a risk for you.”

“I’m drinking coffee. I’ve not touched a drop of alcohol in three years.”

“And the drugs?”

“Two years. I’m on the straight and narrow. I swear.”

Ben stared at him for several moments. He felt the stain of embarrassment blush his cheeks. The years of being on substances had made him forget what he’d done to this man. Ben wanted nothing to do with him. He couldn’t live life without knowing what he’d done and if there was some way for him to make amends.

“What did I do? Why do you hate me so much?” Brad asked.

“I haven’t got time for this, Brad. Finish your coffee and then leave. I’ve got a business to run.”

Brad watched him disappear through some double doors. His hands were shaking and he left his coffee unfinished. He took a couple of notes out of his wallet to pay for the coffee and to tip the waitress before he left.

Out on the street, Brad began to walk without looking where he was going. He needed to clear his head from the riot of thoughts running through his head.

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