DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My first BoP-fiction take it as it is. Lyrics are from Cue Crazy; Barry White You're my first, my last, my everything; Roberta Flack First time I ever saw your face.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
My Kind of Wonderful
Part Four Hurt
"Awesome!" Dinah says, standing at the edge of the dance floor with the rest of the crowd, watching as Barbara and Mike dance away. This is the second time they claim the floor and the crowd gives way to them. It's no wonder they're truly amazing to watch. "I never knew Barbara could dance like this," the girl adds, full of excitement.
"I didn't know Mike could dance at all," Julie agrees.
I don't really care what Julie knows or not. I stand with Scarlet beside me seeing the woman I love dance with another. I want to rush in and grab her to make a scene just to prevent her from being in his arms. Let her hate me, let her be mad at me as long as she doesn't laugh at him that way. As long as his arms won't hold her so tightly.
They dance to the song Sway, by Rosemary Clooney. I hear the words and see the effect the melody has on Barbara. I've never seen her move quite like this before. It's like watching a professional dancer, swirling past; a dream of your greatest wish close, but always out of reach. I can watch her, but not touch her. I see her smile at Mike; I see her move close to him and I clench my fists.
I thought I could fight for her. I thought maybe I had a chance if I only
"She's beautiful," Scarlet says in a low voice at my side, interrupting my thoughts. "Look at the way she moves. Like some otherworldly creature. Like a thing of shadows and waves, flowing grass God I wish she wasn't so straight! It's a perfect waste."
Dinah looks at Scarlet as if the woman is some strange creature and then blushes beet-red. It almost makes me laugh, but the memory of Barbara in my arms prevents me from giving in to such frivolous behavior. I ought to fight for her, I think, but seeing her in Mike's arms I wonder if it's worth it. He'll obviously make her happier than I ever could even hope for. Why spoil something like that? Besides, she doesn't want me that way. Sure, she looks at me as if she does, but then Look at her now. She's perfect in his arms everyone seeing them dance thinks so. What could I ever offer that'd compete with what he can give her?
When the next song comes on Scarlet moves close to me, wrap her arms around me and kiss me as our bodies sway to the music. I let her, not seeing any reasons not to anymore. It's not at all like kissing Barbara, but it's the thought of Barbara making me move my hands along Scarlet's body. The memory of her soft skin torments me, as does the memory of her kisses. Scarlet lack the tender touch of Barbara, the softness of her lips and the firm need Barbara showed me. Barbara was gentle as only she can be, but beneath the gentleness there was strength and determination. She didn't give anything she didn't want to give and she gave everything. Did she make love to Wade the way she made love to me? I wonder, feeling Scarlet's hands caressing my body. Thoughts of Barbara's naked body arouse me and my eyes turn to vertical slits in the dark, expressing my meta-human side. I feel myself slipping away into some darker place of need and desire I can't control.
"Shall we move out of here?" Scarlet asks me. It's too dark at the dance floor for her to see my eyes properly.
Don't speak, I think. Making love I want to hear Barbara's voice whispering my name, or her deep breathing in my ear nothing else. I nod.
"What about that pretty friend of yours? You wanna say good-night to her?"
"She's too cold," I say, not knowing why. Likely I'm frustrated and hurt feeling angry at myself and Barbara. Hating Mike. "She can't warm me the way you do."
I'm not myself in this moment, feeling the darkness of my soul call to me. This is the place I fear within myself. This is the place that would beat someone to death if I'm not careful. I always do and say things I regret when visiting this place. This time is no different.
"Um," Scarlet says, looking at something behind my back.
I turn around. The lights from outside the dance floor fall almost right behind me and in that moment they move slightly, lighting my face. A few steps away I see the stricken look on Barbara's face. Dinah stands beside her and I've never seen the girl so angry.
"I'm sorry," Barbara says, making a slight gesture with her beautiful hands. "I I have to leave now."
I see her move away from me, towards our table. I can't see Mike anywhere, but Julie looks at me with disgust.
"That was insensitive even for you," Dinah says reproachfully, glaring at me. She gives Scarlet a cold look and then moves to follow Barbara.
"Well," Scarlet says with a noncommittal voice. "Maybe not so cold after all." She looks at me and notices my eyes. "You "
"What?" I snap.
"Nothing," she says carefully, backing away from me. She raises her hands and shakes her head. "Nothing at all. I'll see you around."
"Sure," I say bitingly. I feel like kicking someone. Myself, mostly.
Scarlet disappears in the crowd, but I don't notice. I see Barbara grabbing her jacket and her bag before fleeing from the restaurant. Mike is suddenly there again and I see him following her. Dinah and Julie stand by the table, both looking like lost teenagers. I feel like one myself. I move to the exit, needing to see what will happen.
Outside the restaurant I hide in the shadows and watch the exchange between Barbara and Mike. I can't hear them, they're too far away even for me, but I watch them closely. Barbara gestures with her hands, shaking her head. Mike grabs her shoulders, calming her. Finally he takes her hand and she nods, leaning her head on his shoulder. He places an arm around her waist and they walk off together. Away from the direction of the Clocktower.
"At least someone takes care of her," Dinah says by my side. I don't look at her. I see Julie running up towards Mike and Barbara and I see the three of them walking away. Dinah and I stand in the shadows of a nearby alley. We're hiding like creatures of the night. That's what we are. That's what I am. I can't be any different.
I turn away from the hurtful sight, knowing I don't have anyone to blame but me. It's the worst blame of all.
"Are you happy now?" Dinah calls after me. She's so angry the bins in the alley rattle.
"Happy?" I turn around to face her, tears streaking my cheeks. "Do I look happy?"
Her anger dies in an instant. "God Helena, why do you do this?"
I shake my head in anger and hurt, in disbelief.
"She heard you, Huntress. Why would you say a thing like that?"
I don't answer. I don't have an answer to give.
"It's fine if you want to go around screw anyone you lay your eyes on, but to involve Barbara " Dinah hesitates while I stare out into darkness; the sky is black no faraway lights light this night. "Who was that woman, anyway? Was she the one that gave you that bruise?"
"Fuck!" Something snaps within me, hearing Dinah reproach me like this. She's young and she doesn't know what's going on, but I blame myself enough already. "Barbara gave me this!" I exclaim, throwing out my arms in a swirl of my coat. "She fucked me the other night. It was the god-damn best fuck of my life!" I look at Dinah and see the shock on her face, the stricken look in her eyes, but I can't stop. "Barbara did this to me." I touch the bruise on my neck, trembling at the memory of Barbara's mouth on my skin, the softness of her lips and the moist warmth of her tongue, tasting me; her lips sucking gently at my skin, kissing me desiring me. She wanted all of me and she took it all. I opened myself completely to her, letting her see everything I am. Thank you, Helena. Her last words to me, before she fell asleep in my arms.
"Barbara did this to me! She fucked me, Dinah. That's what I did the other night let her fuck me. And I screwed it all up! I'm such a fucking idiot! I'm such a fool, Dinah "
I close my eyes, breathing deeply to collect my thoughts and emotions.
"You're hurting," Dinah says softly. "I feel it now I'm sorry. I I should've known before "
"You're not to blame, Dinah." I dry my cheeks, turning away from her.
"I wonder when the two of you ever will learn to talk," Dinah says. "You're both as bad "
"I left. She asked me to stay and I left. And now she's gone with this this man. She was supposed to marry him, Dinah. But she never did. Because of me. I won't stand in her way again. I'll just screw up her life another time."
"You haven't screwed up her life," Dinah says softly. "If you think that Barbara has been foolish not to let you know how much you mean to her."
I shake my head, moving away from the alley. "Don't follow me, Dinah. I need to be alone tonight."
"Don't," she says, but I'm already gone.
Darkness swallows me. There's a fight calling from somewhere in the night. Maybe more than one. Fights call to me sometimes, when I need to run from myself and from the woman I'm always leaving behind.
There's always a fight someplace in this town. You just need to know where to find it.
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