Sometimes they get away with it.
Sometimes. Sometimes despite everything they do, the assholes get away, and there is nothing like wrath to put a razor-sharp edge on her contempt.
“Easy,” Joel murmurs as she pushes up against his chest. It comes out like a command, but soft. He knows enough not to stop. Not unless she voices it. And she never does.
Tess shifts restlessly, and his legs tangle with hers, his weight coming down a little harder. She exhales slowly as his mouth comes in, warm and wet against her neck. He licks her skin and sucks, as if he’s siphoning the rage right out of her. She marvels sometimes at how when she steps off the ledge of fury, his constant anger seems to dissipate.
He’s her barrier between sanity and violence, and the irony has never been lost on her.
He scrapes his teeth against her when he gets below her neckline. She arches a bit because, fuck, it makes her jolt, makes her keen and twist against him. His shirt is already hanging open, so she shoves at it until he rears up to tear it off. He tugs her pants off while he’s at it, and that’s all they need, and he comes back and this time he kisses her. Hard.
She curls her fingers into his back and lifts her hips up against him, because she just wants to move, to tire herself out, and his cock is hard against his open fly. Her mouth is wet because he’s trying to swallow her, and her hands get a little eager. She wonders sometimes if Tommy still asks about the cuts her fingernails leave, if Joel even bothers to lie anymore.
“This ain’t about him, Tess,” Joel had told her once. “Him or anybody else. Ain’t nobody’s damn business but our own.”
Occasionally they do it just to feel human again. They might be kidding themselves, but sometimes they don’t care.
“Fuck, Tessa,” he grunts against her lips, and then he’s kneeing her legs apart and tugging between his legs, and she has no time to prepare before he’s pressing down, pressing in, and he’s strong. So goddamn strong and so willing to use that strength, and he slides inside her with a flash of pain.
She grits her teeth, mouthing his name against his shoulder.
Not that she gets off on pain, that’s not it. It’s simply something else to feel other than anger, something so distracting and relieving, and she thinks she probably deserves it anyway. It’s fleeting.
She’s so wet that it takes only one stroke to drive the pain away. Then he’s stretching out over her, sliding his hands up under her pillow to grip the edge of her mattress, his back arching, plunging deep, pressing her down again and again. He moves slow, but not without purpose, and she bites her lip to keep from groaning. It feels like sparks, like fire, like ice-cold water in the depths of the sea.
His body is heavy and familiar, rough skin over iron, and he pants against her neck and breasts as he moves. He draws her tight like a bow and she hangs there, strings almost vibrating with the tension, before he’s buried deep again and she comes. She can’t help the soft cry then, burying her face into his shoulder. She pants hard, and she likes it like this - when she can hide from him and react at the same time.
He stays with her, rocking gently, and she lets it roll through as he starts to falter and break. The gravel in his voice grates her chest when he suddenly crushes her into the mattress, shuddering against her as he spills down her thighs.
Finally she feels unraveled, relaxed, and he’s heavy, but she doesn’t make to move him. He’s up and kissing her a few moments later, hands buried in her hair. She kisses him back, cradling his face close to hers.
Many people have tried to separate them, to kill off one or both. As dependent and compromised as they are, maybe those people suspect. It’s only a matter of time.
Sometimes they win; sometimes they lose.
Sometimes they get away with it.