I’ll always remember the first time I laid eyes on him; the bane of my entire existence. I’d been eight years old, he was eleven, tall, blond, with deep brown eyes, and when he smiled…dimples.
Most importantly, he’d been sweet to me. He paid attention to me when no one else did.
“Hey,” he said, bending down beside me, smiling. I smiled back. He was the first kid I’d seen since my mom had started bringing me to the club. He looked older than me, but only a few years or so, and he was so cute. “What’s your name?”
“Tegen Louise Matthews.” I offered him the teacup I’d just snatched from the lap of my stuffed teddy bear. “You can join us,” I told him, gesturing to my circle of stuffed animals.
“A tea party with Tegen Louise Matthews.” His smile grew even wider. “I’d love to.” He settled down beside me and crossed his legs into a pretzel. “You got a nickname, Tegen?” he asked. “Or are you just plain Tegen?”
“Just plain Tegen.” I lifted up my teapot and poured him a generous amount of invisible tea. When I finished pouring my own cup, I lifted it to my lips.
“Wait,” he said. “You forgot to cheers.”
I wrinkled up my nose. “Cheers?”
“Yeah, with your teacup…like this. My little sister always makes me ‘cheers’ before tea.” Lightly, he clicked his plastic cup with mine. “Cheers…” He glanced down at his cup then looked back to me. “Teacup,” he finished, grinning.
“Teacup,” he repeated. “That’s what I’ll call you. I mean, what other nickname can you give a girl named Tegen who likes to have tea parties with teacups?” He frowned. “Unless you don’t like it?”
My eyes went wide. “No!” I cried excitedly. “I’ve never had a nickname before and I love it!”
“Then it’s settled,” he said, holding out his free hand. “Nice to meet you, Teacup. My name is Cage.”
Despite his young age he was the lone male figure that actively participated in my life on a regular basis.
But eight-year-old feelings eventually turned into twelve-year-old feelings and twelve-year-old feelings turned into fourteen-year-old feelings.
The older I grew, the more I grew to love him until I no longer looked to him as the one stable figurehead in my life, but instead loved him with an intensity that at times bordered on madness.
Love, they say, has the potential to kill a person if they aren’t careful.
I wasn’t careful. I let that love blossom uncontrollably until it was in full bloom, exploding from within me with nowhere to go.
It wasn’t the same for him. The older he grew, the more he changed.
Gone was the sweet, caring boy he’d been and his place…
He became the cockiest, most self-centered, self-serving, egotistical, narcissistic, and depraved motherfucker I’d ever met in my entire life.
Which, when I think back on it, is probably why I fell even more in love with him.
Girls are stupid like that. Falling in love with what they can never have; the untouchable, the seemingly larger than life, the unattainable.
However, I wasn’t alone in my stupidity.
Nearly every female that crossed Cage’s path fell immediately into a big bucket of fucking stupid. Young, old, and everything in between, it didn’t matter. The minute they saw his smile, heard his smooth-as-whiskey drawl, watched the fluid way he moved…they went instantly stupid.
As more time passed, my feelings, unreciprocated, with nowhere to go, began to fester and rot until I couldn’t take it anymore and took matters into my own hands…
…and did something really, really stupid.
I bit down on my lip as my body burned, trying to adjust to his harsh entrance.
“Fuck, you’re tight,” Cage mumbled drunkenly, pulling nearly all the way out of me. As hard as I fought it, his movements hurt and a whimper escaped me.
My body, despite the horror I was feeling, was slowly adjusting. Wet warmth flowed through me, and when he slid back inside, this time there was no pain, only a slight discomfort.
“Fuuuuuuck,” he groaned, grinding his hips, a movement that made my stomach flip with a brand new feeling. A good one. One that had me forgetting what was really happening between Cage and me; fooling me into thinking this was going to go the way I’d planned. That I was going to give Cage my virginity, something that was going to make him realize that I was the girl for him. That no one would ever love him more than I would.
His hand slid into my hair, tightly gripping a handful, while his other hand clamped down on my hip. His face dropped into the crook of my neck and I turned my head, seeking him, needing to see him, needing to confirm that my feelings were reciprocated, but his hold on my hair tightened, holding me in place.
His hips pulled back.
I gasped as he slammed back inside of me. Our bodies slapped together, my breath returned and…
He pulled back.
And slammed back into me.
“Shit, Teacup,” he muttered, increasing his pace. “I can feel everything. Your pussy is a motherfuckin’ vice.”
Which, judging from his tone, was obviously a good thing.
And stupidly led me into further believing Cage would want me past tonight.
“So good, babe,” he breathed against my skin, his body repeatedly meeting mine, his movements growing faster and faster. I held my breath against the onslaught of what was happening inside me, both physically and emotionally.
Cage was everywhere now. He was inside of me, inside my body and my heart. It was awkward and uncomfortable, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing but it didn’t matter really, because it was Cage and it was me and I’d wanted this for so long. I’d wanted him for as long as I could remember and so feeling awkward and uncomfortable was a small price to pay for finally having what I’d always wanted.
And then almost as soon as it had begun, it was over. Cage was groaning, having pulled out of me and I felt him finishing, felt the moisture on my belly as his body jerked above me.
It took all of a minute for him to roll off me, to turn on his side, to breathe in deeply and breathe out heavily…
And then he was snoring.
“Cage?” I whispered.
I lay there unmoving for several heart-pounding minutes, not knowing what to do. Finally, what he’d left on my stomach had begun drying, making the tiny hairs on my body feel stiff and pulled.
Rolling out of bed, wincing as I did, sore, feeling my pulse pounding between my legs, I walked stiffly to the bathroom and shut the door behind me. Swallowing hard, I glanced down at myself.
Not only was I covered from breast to pelvis in half-dried semen, but my own blood was smeared across my inner thighs.
It was then I realized he’d never kissed me.
Which in the end killed the girl I’d once been. It left me broken, stuck, unable to move forward no matter how many years had passed. I was unable to let go.
When it came to Cage West, my mistakes were plenty and my regrets were numerous. If my past were a person, I’d grab the throat of that motherfucker, drag her ass down to Re-do Street, and once I’d beaten the ever-loving shit out of her, I’d stand over her beaten down, broken body and I’d say:
“You stupid bitch. You ignorant, stupid bitch. Love isn’t a fucking answer. It hurts more than it doesn’t, it’s harder than it is easy. It takes work, guts, and perseverance.”
But most importantly, what I would stress the very most, was that love doesn’t solve a goddamn thing. Love doesn’t erase a broken heart, and love sure as fuck doesn’t change people.
But no matter how old, how flimsy, how frayed the rope of love is, it does keep you tethered to the ones you love.
And I was forever tied to Cage.
Would I change it if I could?
Hell fucking yes, I would.
But we don’t get to pick our families or choose who we fall in love with, and we all have our crosses to bear—our stories, our loves, and our losses.