Doors, carpet, desk.
"Hi, you." You'd missed that face. "Hi Liz," you greeted the woman behind the counter. "It's been a while, hasn't it?" She tapped her acrylic nails on the wood of the desk. "I believe that the room you're looking for is already occupied - try knocking. She's been extra moody lately." You didn't know how to react to that. "Thanks" was all you could muster up to say. "Good luck."
It didn't take particularly long to get upstairs. You knocked on the door a few times, and she instantaneously swung the door open. A smile appeared on her face, but Liz's words echoed through your mind. What did she mean anyway? You'd been with Sally through waves of unstable moods - you two had spent many nights together and you'd grown used to it. You got the initial vibe that tonight seemed a little out of the ordinary. She looked like her usual self - disheveled and chaotic. You watched the smoke trail from the cigarette in her ashtray. "How are you feeling?" you asked, closing the door behind both of you. You watched Sally as she turned, you watched the way her tight dress hugged her body in all the right places. You watched her hand and the way she picked up her cigarette again - the way her lips moved around it. The way her eyes settled on you. It didn't take very long for you to begin undressing. You'd performed that dance with Sally dozens of times. "Jesus, you couldn't even wait for my answer before getting ready to fuck me." You didn't mean to - you didn't know how to explain yourself. "Sally - I didn't mean it like that. I just - it's always like this," you tried to say. "What do you mean - it's always like this? Like what?" You could feel the tension in the room. "I -" she shook her head and put out her cigarette. "Un-fucking-believable," she muttered.
"Is there someone else?" The question caused you to look up from the blanket you'd wrapped yourself up in. "What are you talking about?" you asked cautiously. Anger burned in Sally's eyes. "Is this some kind of joke to you - am I some joke to you?" she demanded. "I honest to God have no idea what you're talking about." You were tired. It'd been so long since you'd visited the Cortez and having Sally react in such a way only made you question if you should've visited in the first place. "Him. Him! Were you with him?" You had no idea what she meant. "Who are you talking about?" Sally stood for a second, breaking away to light a new cigarette. "Don't play me, I'm the very last person you want to play," she growled in warning. "Is there anything you want to tell me? Because I know why you haven't been coming to see me, do you think I'm stupid?" she asked, her voice a bit distorted by the cigarette in her mouth. "Why would I think you're stupid? You're being crazy!" you reacted. "Crazy? For wondering where you've been? For knowing you've been fucking that - prick. How did you expect me to react? We have a good thing going here!" she nearly exploded. "Why are you acting like you own me? So, even if I did -" you started to say, being cut off again. Sally removed the cigarette from her mouth, filling the room with her smoke. "You belong to me -" she interrupted. "I don't belong to anyone," you strongly interjected. You could feel the anger, apparent on Sally's face as you spoke - and you could feel your own anger; maybe even irrational anger building in your chest. Sally shouldn't have spoken to you in that way - but somewhere deep down you knew it came from a place of fear and hurt, and even you were too fearful to admit that she'd been right all along. "Why are you so jealous?" you finally spat, breaking to pull a cigarette from the pack. "I'm not jealous! The thought of you with that - disgusting son of a bitch, it just makes me sick," Sally muttered, sinking down in her chair. "Maybe that isn't your decision." Sally's accusatory tone had pissed you off more than you were willing to admit. "Sometimes, you make me sick," you mumbled out of anger. "What did you just say? I make you sick because I can't stop picturing you with that - with that piece of shit," the blonde swore, pausing to take another drag. Your demeanor changed a bit, noticing that Sally had backed down a little.
A few moments had passed and when you got up to put out your cigarette, Sally finally broke the silence. "Tell me I don't have a reason to be worried. Tell me, you aren't going to end up like all the rest. Tell me you aren't going to leave me," she urged a tint of emotion in her tone. You didn't answer - surprisingly for the first time in the duration of your relationship. You averted your eyes, not wanting to catch the spirit's gaze especially when you felt so guilty. You two had never settled on a rock solid plan - never had a relationship set in stone. Sally had certainly been with you at your lowest, the night your ex-boyfriend finally left you. Everything in life felt new and painful, re-learning all over again. You'd glanced at Sally one time while visiting the Cortez's bar and somehow she'd never looked back. You didn't even know you could experience such attraction until Sally. All of that raced through your mind like a car on a track, the silence in the room deafening.
"I did," you finally answered, breaking the silence. You couldn't face looking at her. "Did what?" she asked, an intensity to her voice. A part of you felt pain within for an entirely different reason. "I had sex with him. Happy?" you snapped. "Why would that make me happy? Haven't you been listening to what I've been saying?" she fired one question after the next. "Maybe this is why people leave you. Maybe - maybe you're just too much."
"You know exactly how I feel," she said, a soft laugh leaving her lips. You lazily held your hand up, watching as Sally pressed her cold palm against yours. "I'm sorry about all the shit you've gone through," you said. The woman beside you shrugged and shifted slightly to reach for a cigarette.
She straddled you on the bed, fits of laughter shaking both of your bodies. "Promise me, you'll always come back," she mumbled, tracing the veins she could see on your arm - both of you pausing to breathe. "Always," you sleepily promised. "Promise me, you'll never let what he did burn your light out forever. Promise me, you won't end up like me." The words echoed in your mind. Many nights had been spent recounting the events of your previous relationship - truly talking about the pain you'd gone through. Somehow, trusting Sally had seemed safer than trusting any family member or friend - and living in the temporary world of the Cortez did something for your soul, but you didn't know if you could live that fantasy forever. Getting to know Iris and Liz had been easy, everyone knew well enough that you were hands-off - they knew you were only coming back for Sally.
"Am I supposed to believe that you haven't done anything with anyone over social media?" you asked. The previous words you'd said stung - the energy in the room felt tainted. Sally's obvious anger had melted away, and the crying had begun. The words "not you too" seemed to echo in the room and nothing you could say would matter. "If you have to know - it was a one-time thing. I - I made a stupid decision and it was my decision to make. I don't know how you think you can get away with dictating -" you started to say, before stopping. You were lying and for such an outlandishly stupid reason. "So, you're telling me that I'm not enough? You can fuck Rick or Dan or whatever the fuck his name is - but you couldn't come here to see me? You go missing for months and think I'm not going to think you chose him? Look how he treated you!" she exclaimed. You averted your eyes again. You heard Sally swallow hard. "What happened to you? What changed? You aren't acting the same way and have the audacity to get pissed at me for caring! Maybe that's the problem - my expectations were too high and I allow people like you to get in my head and make me believe that I matter when I don't," the woman spat, tears streaming down her cheeks. A very dramatic sob caused Sally's body to shake, although you knew everything she'd been saying came from a place of pain. You willed yourself to show no real emotion. "Nothing?" she asked, the makeup smeared around her eyes and down her cheeks. "We can't - we can't have this fantasy like you think we can have here. We can't have this honeymoon phase, or dream life or whatever it is. I'm not like you," you said carefully. "And you certainly aren't anything like me," Sally coldly retorted. You wrapped your arms around yourself and rubbed your head. "Oh, he fucked another girl! He used me! He beat me!" Sally exclaimed in a mocking tone. "I fell for it all!" she finished. Anger filled you at hearing the one person you trusted say those things as if they hadn't actually happened. "Those things did happen, what if you took a second to think about what I've been through!?" you yelled, anger overflowing. "What if you didn't break your promises, wouldn't that be a great idea!?" Sally screamed back. "Not everything is about you or your issues!" you fired back. "My issues? Is that really all you think of me?" You stood, beginning to re-dress. "It isn't that easy. I should go."
When you picked up your bag, you saw a fearful look in Sally's eyes that you'd never experienced for yourself before."No, no, no," she started to say. "You aren't leaving. You can't leave me. I love you - you know that I love you," the dead woman started to plead. She grabbed for your hand, growing even more desperate when you pulled away. "Tell me you love me, I know deep down that you love me," Sally begged, the waterworks returning. "We can never have what you want! This is gone!" you shouted. "Why? Tell me - it doesn't have to be gone," she responded desperately. "You don't know everything." Sally watched you expectantly, moving away for a second to put out her cigarette. "What don't I know?" When you didn't answer, she reached forward to cup your jaw. She pulled you to the side and forced you to look at her. "I said - what don't I know about?" she repeated, this time with a firmer tone of voice. This time you were the one to swallow hard. "I -" you began to say, stopping yourself. "What?" she asked, forcing you to look at her again. "I need a cigarette," you muttered. That she could understand. "After. What don't I understand?" Sally asked a fourth time. You shut your eyes, really not wanting to remember the look on her face when you revealed what you'd been keeping. "I'm pregnant." You didn't know if you'd even said the words out loud. You moved instinctively and took a few steps back, the tears starting to fall quickly. The news stunned the ghost in the room. You slumped back into a chair, curling up. The reality of your predicament overwhelmed you.
Sally silently stood in place for what felt like an eternity and you didn't know she'd moved until she appeared in front of you. She took a couple drags from the cigarette before donating the rest to you. Your shaky hands took the cigarette and you filled your lungs with a much-needed drag. She sat on the arm of the chair, one hand slipping down to rub your back and the other steadying your free hand. "I'm sorry - I know Dan or Rick really hurt you. I shouldn't have been such a bitch," she apologized. You breathed in another silent drag and exhaled. "You know I'd never leave you if I didn't have to - I hope you know that I never - I," you tried to say. Sally breathed unnecessarily. "I never planned on getting into heroin, it just kind of happened. Life makes our decisions sometimes." You knew what she meant, but you still blamed yourself. "You chose to shoot drugs into your veins and I chose to believe him when he said pulling out wouldn't get me pregnant," you pointed out with teary eyes. "Stupid decisions." Sally sighed softly. "Well, how does he feel about it?" she finally asked."He doesn't want it. He doesn't give a shit about me," you answered bitterly. "I care about you," she reminded you, beginning to run a hand through your hair. "A dumb living person, a dead person and a baby," you muttered. "What are you going to do?" Sally asked. "I don't know," you admitted. "You know we've had kids at the Cortez, still do," she pointed out with a shrug. "I don't see why you couldn't stay here forever." Sally had a point. "Where would that leave us?" you asked cautiously. "Looks like we have a lot of time to figure that out, right?" You did have time and somehow, you had a feeling that together you would figure it out. You got up to put out your cigarette and finally followed Sally back to bed. The night had been stressful, but the panic you felt inside started to disperse. Maybe, it would all work out; only time would tell.