When Lilies Bleed

Chapter 02: apply aloe

Mariah sat up in bed. She felt like shit, just like she always did after she had the dream. Pulling up the sleeve of her nightshirt, she grimaced at the scarred scorch mark on her pale skin and shivered. It was going to be a long night…

The dream had come to her before. Many times before. Mariah hated the dream. In it she relived the lowest point in her life. It was about four months earlier. The beginning of June, when it was just starting to get muggy in the city.

She'd dressed herself up in some clothes she'd borrowed. She felt like a whore. Then again, that was the point.

There'd only been once before that she'd felt so naked. The miniskirt barely covered her bottom, and the black tank top plunged so low, she felt like she was going to pop out any minute. Then again, that was the point.

Her tiny feet were squished into murderous boots, with a heel so high she felt like she was going to fall if she tried to take a step. But she took a few steps around her friend's apartment and eventually got the hang of it. Then sun set and it was time to leave…

She'd left her curls loose and flowing and applied makeup to make herself look older. Even with the gobs of mascara, eyeliner and lipstick, anyone who looked at her could tell that she was just a baby.

Getting down the stairs was difficult, but once she was out on the street, and the cool breeze coming off the wharf hit her face, she felt a bit more confident. Only a bit. On the inside, she was terrified.

There were a few men milling about. They knew that this was the place to pick up a girl. Mariah scanned the men in the immediate area surrounding her. A man caught her eye. He was tall and handsome, with no visible tattoos or piercings. That might be a good sign. He looked nice enough, maybe he'd be gentle.

She sidled up next to him. "Hi there, mister. Are you looking for some fun tonight?"

The man grinned. "Oh, sure am sugar. How much?"

Mariah hesitated. How much should she charge? "Twenty."

"Twenty?" Mariah nodded. "C'mon babe, let's get busy."

He ushered her to his car and held the door open so she could climb in.

After driving for about ten minutes, he parked in a parking garage and before she could get out he asked, "So, what does this twenty dollars get me?"

"What does it get you?" Mariah thought for a moment then smiled wickedly at him. "Anything you want," She purred.



God, she was scared. What did 'anything' mean anyway? She had just figured it would be a good answer.

The man brought her up to his hotel room, a suite on one of the upper floors. As soon as he shut the door, he grabbed her and pulled her into a kiss, slipping his slimy tongue inside her mouth. He had one hand on her butt, the other on her chest. The latter was kneading her painfully. She whimpered and he threw her down on the bed.

"You're nothing but a fucking whore!" He ripped off her shirt and pushed her skirt up roughly. Mariah knew better than to fight him. And then it hurt so much and she cried and screamed, but he wouldn't stop.

She tried to squirm away, but he slapped her face and grabbed her and held her down. He was much stronger than her, so rather than fight him, she just lay there and took it.

When it was all over, Mariah curled up on one corner of the bed, holding the sheets around her. The man was in the other corner, smoking a cigarette. She felt sticky all over, and sore. She wished she'd never have to do this again, but she knew that in order to be able to eat, she needed to. Anything was better than going home…

The man looked over at her, saw her awake and reached over and smashed the cigarette butt into her arm. Mariah screeched in pain. That was going to leave a burn mark…

After she collected her twenty dollars and was back in her friend Betty's apartment, Betty came out of the bathroom, saw the mark on Mariah's forearm and pulled her into a hug. She showed Mariah her own arm. There was an identical mark. Betty wrapped her arms around Mariah and pulled her into her bed, holding her all night while Mariah cried and cried.

Freddie spent his Saturday cleaning up his house and then went out to rent the movie. Best in Show. It was one of his favorites. At seven o' clock, the time he and Mariah had decided on, he left his house to pick her up. She was waiting on her front step when he got there. Initially, they smiled shyly at each other and then began to walk back to Freddie's house side by side.

"So, how was your night?" Freddie asked nonchalantly, trying to get some conversation going.


"How so?"

"I have nightmares."

"About what?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

Freddie bit his lip, concerned about this. "Are you sure? I'm a good listener."

Mariah nodded, but after seeing the concerned look on his face, shrugged. "Well, it's just about something I did when I…was away. Something bad."



"Rock and roll?"

Mariah chuckled softly. "No, silly."

Freddie's eyebrows shot up. "Sex?"

Mariah averted his gaze. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Ok." Freddie shrugged. He glanced over at Mariah. Her eyes were glued to her feet, her eyes sadder than he'd ever seen them. He gentle took her hand and held it. She didn't look back at him, but for a split second, her eyes didn't seem quite so sad.

Freddie turned to Mariah as the credits began to roll. "What did you think?"

"Well," Mariah paused, a smile playing at her lips. "It was…interesting."

"Yeah," Freddie grinned. "Interesting might be the only word to describe it."

"Freddie?" A tiny form appeared in the room, clad in pink pajamas. "I had a nightmare and can't get back to sleep."

The little girl crawled up into Freddie's lap on the sofa and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face in his chest.

"I'm sorry, Sondra. Do you want me to get you a warm glass of milk and tuck you in?" Sondra nodded. "Ok, up you go!" He lifted Sondra up and she giggled. Freddie turned to Mariah. "I'll be right back. Oh, I almost forgot. Mariah, this is my sister, Sondra. Sondra, this is my friend Mariah."

Sondra smiled shyly at Mariah. "Hi."

"Hi." Mariah said back.

"You're really pretty."

Mariah blushed. "Well, thank you. You are too." Sondra's face turned pink and she pressed it back against Freddie's chest.

"I'll be right back. You can get some milk or a glass of water if you need any." Freddie smiled at Mariah before carrying Sondra down the hall.

Mariah pushed herself up from the couch and wandered to the kitchen. She found a cup in one of the cupboards and filled it with tap water. Glancing around the kitchen, she noticed that there were pictures all over the fridge. Some were old, from when Freddie was little. It was unmistakable. He looked the same now as he did then. There was a picture of him and Sondra with a pretty woman and a handsome man who couldn't have been anyone but Freddie's father. She reached out and ran her finger along the edge of the picture.

"Darling, wasn't he?"

Mariah jumped, startled by the feminine voice behind her. She turned around and was greeted with the sight of the pretty woman from the picture, Freddie's mom.

"Oh, yes," Mariah said softly. "He was."

Mrs. O'Leary dropped the grocery bags she'd been carrying on the table and help out her hand. "You must be Mariah. I'm Sylvia, Freddie's mom." Mariah took her hand and shook it,

"It's nice to meet you."

"By the way, where is Freddie?"

Mariah took a sip of her water before answering. "Sondra couldn't sleep. He went to tuck her in."

"Oh, is she having nightmares again?" Said Mrs. O'Leary.

"Yeah," Mariah nodded and turned back to the fridge to look at the pictures. Her eyes kept drifting back to the one of the four O'Leary's. Freddie was on his father's back, grabbing at his hair to hang on, but his father was still smiling. Mrs. O'Leary was laughing, holding a baby Sondra in her arms. They all looked so lovely and happy.

"I think that was the last picture ever taken of him."

Mariah looked up, startled. "Pardon?"

"Freddie's father." Mrs. O'Leary. "A few weeks later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It came too late. Chris always hated doctors. He refused to go in until the very end. But it had cost him his life. But you know the funny thing," Mrs. O'Leary laughed bitterly. "He wasn't a smoker. Cancer doesn't run in the family. It was all second hand smoke."

"I'm sorry," Mariah mumbled. What an awful way to die… To waste away with cancer at such a young age. He looked to be only in his early thirties. "You all looked so happy. My family was never like that."

"You home Mom?" Freddie called as he walked down the hall. "Oh, I see you met Mariah. Isn't she a doll?" He slung an arm around Mariah's shoulders. Normally she would have flinched, but she just melted against him.

Mrs. O'Leary smiled brightly. "Oh, she is."

Freddie grinned. "Mom's picky. Good thing she likes you, though." Mariah blushed and leaned her head against Freddie's shoulder. "Anyway, it's getting dark. Do you want me to walk you home now?"

Mariah nodded. "Yeah, that'd be nice. It was nice meeting you, Mrs. O'Leary."

"Oh, please call me Sylvia. And it was a pleasure meeting you, Mariah. I hope to see more of you soon. It isn't every day my only son brings home a pretty girl for me to meet." She smiled warmly as Freddie led Mariah out the door.

"She does like you, you know," Freddie told Mariah as they walked towards her house. "I could tell by the way she was acting. She's a genuine person, she means what she says, but what she chooses not to say, anyone could totally read in her actions."

"She seems really sweet."

"She is."

"My mum wasn't." Mariah yawned. "Excuse me. Anyway, she was kind of a freak. Her family, my grandparents, kicked her out when she got pregnant with me. She wasn't married, but she did eventually marry my dad. She never forgave herself for her 'sin' and was really self-destructive. She ended up killing herself in this strange self-sacrifice to her god. That's when I stopped believing." Her eyes were wet and when she blinked, a few tears spilled down her cheeks.

Freddie noticed the tears and stopped. He reached up with his thumb and wiped the tears away. This time, Mariah let him.

"I'm sorry about your mom."

Mariah shrugged. "That's OK. I actually didn't like her much anyway. I loved her, but I never liked her. She was a religious nutcase, always pushing it on me and calling me a sinner when I resisted. I didn't like it much but I believed it until I was nine. That's when she died."

"So you live with you father."

Mariah paused. "Yes, although you could hardly call it living."

Freddie's arm slipped down her back to her waist and held her a little tighter. "How old are you, Mariah?"

"I'm turning sixteen on Halloween."

"You're only fifteen? Wow. You seem older, somehow. I'm turning eighteen in May."

"Are you nervous?"

Freddie shrugged. "I guess. I'm applying to a few colleges. A few tougher ones and then ones that I'm sure I'll get in to. But I don't even know if I'll go. I'm starting to apply for scholarships because, obviously, we're poor as dirt and can't afford to pay for anything extra." His voice took a bitter hint.

Mariah leaned against him. "You're practically millionaires compared to some of the people I knew on the streets."

"On the streets?"

"Yeah…" Mariah shrugged. "I ran away last June and lived on the streets for awhile. I had a few friends that I stayed with but it only worked out sometimes."

Freddie hugged her to him even tighter and before they knew it, they were at her front door.

"I guess I'll see you on Monday," Mariah said shyly.

Freddie smiled and tucked a curl behind her ear. "You can count on it."

With one last glance, Mariah slipped in the front door. She kicked a few beer cans out of her way and made her way into her living room cum kitchen.


Mariah cringed. It had been such a good ending to a wonderful night. Don't spoil it…

"Hey slut! Bring me another beer!" Mariah sighed. Her hidden bruises ached in apprehension. It was going to be a long night…

::grin:: I get to keep all the cookies! The movie was Best in Show. If you haven't seen it, rent it. Hilarious.

Liriel87: I'm sorry you don't get a cookie. I'm not a good cook anyway.

Confused Writer: Hehe. Freddie is a saint. There's a reason for that

EmNight87: Do you know how happy it makes me that you didn't find any mistakes? Whew. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your opinions.