Cover Story: Style

The darkness kept flickering on and off in the clouds, paralleling the outside lights of the Motel 6 we were staying at. The air was getting colder and colder, but the pool’s heating was still running, so neither Isaac nor I moved. I longed for the warmth of my sister and of the motel room, but his hand kept moving under the water, and I felt obligated to let him or I wouldn’t get my stuff tomorrow. I was downing the last of my margarita, even though it made me colder. I put the plastic glass on the edge of the pool. “She was amazing tonight, don’t you think?”

“Claz.”

“No, but really. I know you don’t like the way her voice is with all the electric-y instruments, but I think tonight they really complimented each other. It reminded me of this Swan Lake performance I saw in New York last year. You know, with the black swan and white swan or whatever.”

“Claz,” he murmured, almost in a whine. My eyes were still trained on the motel, imagining my sister in the bed we shared, trying not to picture Isaac and I, still in the heated pool during a lightning storm. “Claz, come on. You can’t avoid looking at me forever.” I turned to him. He was somewhat attractive, but his red hair dye had left a bloody path through the water. He moved closer, and I fumbled under the water for something, imagining a vein of lightning filling the pool and his skin with electricity.

“Clara,” he sighed. He had put his hand on one of my thighs. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I let him, again. It used to be so simple.

“All right, all right.” I dismissed him, fumbling under the water still. The dye was dripping along the inside of his eye, and I imagined that all of his blood would leak out of his eyes as he finished. It didn’t.

When it was done, we walked to our adjoining rooms, his arm wrapped around my bare shoulders to keep me warm. I let him kiss my cheek before I swiped my key and left him marvelling at my disappearing form. Sarah held out a towel wordlessly, and I fumbled through it into my sweatpants and under the paper-like duvet. I gestured for her to come in, since everyone else was already piled into the next bed like clowns, but she pretended not to see me, still staring out at the highway skyline before her. She fogged the glass with her breath, then drew out a game of hangman to play with herself, resting her hand on the radiator below. My eyelids beared down with the weight of Isaac in the next hotel room over. Now, he was probably smiling his ass off with the covers pulled up to his chin. It used to be so simple.

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