Martinez / The Masquerade

Laugh, laugh while your soul still hovers—enamored by beauty.

So that you may curse the gods when it falls—no longer glistening.

And still, all that glitters is gold.

I could hate her, but it wouldn't make a difference. Because I'd still come back, every time, just like I did this afternoon. And it would get me nowhere, just like this afternoon. Then again, it seemed to be a pattern.

I licked my lips and tasted her. Recent events flooded my mind.

I couldn't breathe—but god, I'd never felt so alive.

Sometimes that's how she made me feel. Other times she was just killing me slowly, her delicate hands the ones clasped around my throat. There were days that it was worth it; so far today wasn't one of them.

But if it wasn't, I'd brought it on myself. I knew how much she hated having hypocrisy thrown in her face. Really, who was I to judge? We all had our delusions. The proverbial battle of pot and kettle, per se.

My delusion was that something had changed.

I was obviously wrong. It wasn't really a first.

Things weren't as easy in some ways, as they'd been but in so many others I was finally alive. It was funny if you thought about it. Or maybe it was morbid.

Being the good son was a bitch.


I wasn't surprised when I got home and the first thing to greet me was my mother's frowning face. I sighed and ran a hand through my hair, letting the door close behind me, trapping myself with her. In retrospect, it wasn't the best idea.

"Where've you been, Jeremy?"

"Work." I didn't feel the need to elaborate.

"You said you'd had today off."

That was the funny thing with my mom, everyone was a liar and somewhere along the line, I'd become the best. Too bad her maternal instincts hadn't kicked in earlier. Maybe being a decent person could have kept her husband from leaving and her favorite son from his obsessions. I seriously doubted it.

"I did, Ryan called out. Anyway, move. I've got to get upstairs."

She crossed her arm and I swore to myself if she started tapping her foot I'd kill myself. But that was an ironic thought, wasn't it?

"That girl called."

I stopped mid-step and twisted to face her on the stairs.

"Ally's mom?"

"Is that her name?"

I snorted at the elitist disgust.

"I don't know, Mom, it might be. Then again, she's dated both of your sons. Shouldn't you know by now?"

I didn't really think about it. These days I didn't have to.

My steps on the stairs echoed in the abandoned house. Nothing lived here anymore. Hadn't for some time.

That was probably my favorite part.


Ally didn't answer her phone when I called her. I didn't expect her to. I waited awhile and tried again, listening to the empty tone on the other side.

I didn't want to follow her.

I knew I would.

And there she was again, gentle hands caressing the skin of my throat. I could still breathe but for how long? Did I care?

That question was answered when I found myself driving toward the center of town. I fought to keep my attention on the road and not close my eyes to block out the view. It was my own Via de la Rosa. The biggest problem some people have with the organized Christian religion is believing the selfless-ness of the Christ. I don't think it's selfless, it's just masochistic and therefore stupid. Take it from someone who's willingly slaughtered themselves in the name of love, it's completely selfish.

Love doesn't exist to make another person happy. It's manipulative enough to look like it though. Which is why so many willingly drown themselves in its flames.

I shook my head and shifted up to fifth, feeling the car growl and lurch forward. Power, speed, grace and just a hint of recklessness. I could see the temptations he'd faced. It didn't make me hate him any less.

And so it was that I pulled into the lot at the Evergreen Cemetery. I put the car in park, turned the engine down, and ran my fingertips over the leather-clad steering wheel and listened to her ticking as she cooled. I muted the cynical litany of Say Anything and reached over, unlocking the door and stepping out.

The sky was burning with color and the leaves whispering as they fell to the earth. The dirt was soft beneath my feet and the crisp scent of rain lingered in the air. Even they weren't enough to distract me from the feeling of trepidation.


She wasn't hard to find, sprawled out on the earth he rested beneath, fingertips brushing the edge of the headstone. Her dark hair splayed around her face and hid it, giving her the impression of innocence. If it hadn't been so regretful, I'd have laughed.

She didn't hear me walk up and I was glad. The ride here I'd thought of what to say, how angry to be, but honestly? What was the point anymore? There wasn't one.

So with that in mind, I called to her.

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Just Jeremiah—and he'd do anything to lose himself in your eyes.