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He didn’t mean to steal her heart. He never meant to. He’d been accused of that before. Usually women who failed to take seriously his carefully worded disclaimer about being in the moment, and connections or “relationships” not needing to be long term to be valuable. But this time was different. And, more importantly, he had no idea what to do with this particular heart. The one he had apparently, and fucking accidentally, stolen from this woman who talked like a sexy baby but fucked like an Olympic-grade whore.
For one thing, hearts were gross. Bloody and heavy. He stared at the mess in his hands. It was big, bigger than he thought it could be, and it beat with a steady sleepy rhythm. He was naked. In her bed, which was covered in some gauzy crap and fucking twinkle lights. He was in a fairyland hell. Blood was seeping down his forearms now, but somehow seemed to be invisibly pumping life to the girl laying next to him —
Oh God. Fucking hell. There was a hole in her. There was a wide gaping hole in her chest. Her skin was peeled back like fleshy flower petals. He looked away; he couldn’t handle that. Who would expect him to handle this shit? He wasn’t her boyfriend. He didn’t even know her last name, why would he? His stomach clenched, and he retched but forced it down. He was terrified to move, the heart in his hands was leaking. Leaking? Whatever. Soon the blood would get all over the lacey quilt. He raised it over his head and immediately got a drop of blood on his cheek. Ugh. He grunted in disgust, quietly, he didn’t want to wake her. A hysterical giggle erupted at that thought.
God forbid he wake her up! When he was holding her heart, her life, in his hands. Literally. Maybe he was still drunk. But he didn’t feel drunk. Maybe she was dead. But she didn’t seem dead. The heart was still beating. So, whatever that meant.
He was going to have to look at her again.
He rolled his neck weirdly around so he couldn’t see the gaping hole. He aimed his gaze at the top of her head. He could do this. Work his way down. Okay. Hair. Messy blonde hair. Good. Good. Perfectly normal sex mussed hair. Yeah it was. Oh gross, shut up. Focus. Okay. Forehead: normal. Eyes—
The heart thumped in his palms and he almost dropped it. Shit. Shit shit shit. He had to hold it together. He had to look. And think. And get the fuck out of here.
Eyes. Lightly closed. They were…moving! Moving like dreaming. She was sleeping. She was fucking sleeping! Alive and sleeping. A huge wave of relief rushed through him, his entire body loosened. He could have peed with happiness. God he had to pee. Don’t think about that. The point was: not dead. He didn’t know how that was possible and, God, he didn’t fucking care. The point was: he had not killed this tinder bitch. Okay. Moving on.
Okay. Eyes: moving. Nose: kind of turned up in an annoying way but whatever. Mouth, normal. He looked closely at her face to see if she was breathing because he didn’t want to look at her chest. His arms were tired of holding the heart in the air and so he carefully pulled his knees up and rested his elbows on them. The blood seepage dripped on the covers and barely missed his junk. He adjusted a bit. He could only imagine the diseases involved in blood-to-balls contact. That almost made him giggle again. The heart bumped and she stirred. Oh shit. He froze.
He was new to this entire shit show of a situation but he was pretty sure if this girl woke up and saw him holding her bloody heart she was going to freak the fuck out. He had to be quiet until he figured out how to—how to what? Sneak out? Replace the heart? Explain to the girl and the inevitable SWAT team he woke up like this? Naked and hungover and holding a human heart? He should have never let her talk him into drinking tequila.
Tequila always ended badly.
Although this was a new level of badly. This was new level of everything. He had to look at the hole. He had to make some decisions. Get proactive. He was a fucking closer. Okay. This was fine. He could do this.
He looked at her chest, trying to imagine himself in one of those horrible forensic dramas. He hated forensic dramas. Whatever. Okay. Subject is lying on a fucking gaudy ass bed on her back and appears to be sleeping and undisturbed by the fact that it looks like someone shot her with a huge fucking shotgun. But that wasn’t quite right. It was too clean, too precise, to be an accident.
New theory: a crazed surgeon had drugged them both and proceeded to—you know what, it wasn’t actually helpful to imagine why this had happened.
What he needed were facts.
Skin was cut and peeled away into, like, six triangles that were opened onto her pert breasts. Her nipples were undisturbed which was good because that would have been a shame.
The skin flaps were bleeding but not much. Similar to the heart. Okay. Same kind of weird. He inhaled sharply through his nose and looked into the hole. It was dark in there but her ribs were brighter against the squishy bloody dark of the rest of the… cavity. Shit. He swallowed hard.
The ribs did not make sense. They were the wrong shape. Were they broken? To get the heart…out? Somehow? But they weren’t in pieces. He shifted on the bed to get a better look.
They were, like, twisted open. Like the skin. Like they were made of rubber and something peeled them open away from the place the heart was. Why the fuck would anyone do that?
He closed his eyes and focused his breath like his ex-girlfriend the annoying yoga teacher had taught him. The beating of the heart in his hands was oddly comforting when he wasn’t looking at how it was bleeding on him.
Don’t care about causes. Live in the now. Focus on the present. Proactive.
The girl sighed in her sleep and flopped an arm out, causing him to hold the heart up in the air away from her as she smacked him on the leg and then rolled the other way, curling up on her side.
His eyes were open as big as they could be open. As she rolled he carefully stepped off the side of the bed, holding the heart in front of him.
Now she was on her side, dribbling blood from her massive fucking cavernous chest wound, and he was standing over her. Still fucking naked. Holding her still-beating heart. Fuck if this wasn’t the worst morning after anyone had had in the HISTORY of EVER.
He tiptoed around her tiny girly piece-of-shit ikea bed and inspected her again, squatting down to look at the hole in her chest.
It looked kind of okay. Like not spurting blood or anything. It looked like a squishy puzzle with one big piece missing.
Hmmmm. Maybe he could just… put it back? That was crazy. But this whole situation was crazy! Could it possibly get any worse? Of course it could. But that was not positive thinking.
Okay. He should try it. He was going to try it. But now she was in a fetal position and he couldn’t get to the hole. He needed to get her to turn on her back again without waking her up. Shit. Well, here went nothing.
He shifted the heart to one hand. It was too big and slippery to get a good grip on so he held it up gently like he was in a fucking high school Shakespeare play or some shit. With his other super bloody hand, he reached over and, gently, gave her a little push on her shoulder. She grunted and frowned but rolled over, flinging her left arm out and then over her face.
He let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding in a long hiss. Okay. Okay. He put the heart back in both hands and rotated it a couple times, figuring out which way it should go in.
The valves were weird. Like little finger sized fleshy straws. They undulated, pumping some blood out onto his hands and some invisible fucking who knows what kind of life-force to the girl he had been inside of a few hours earlier but now he was about to put his hands inside her in a different way, in her fucking chest cavity and then, God willing, he was going to go home and get so stoned he wouldn’t think straight or make new memories for a week.
He felt bad about the bloody handprint that was now on baby-talk’s naked shoulder but, you know, at least she wasn’t dead. She should really be thanking him. For the best night of her life and also not killing her. Okay. Focus. This way up. He leaned over, it looked like everything would line up if he just gently placed the heart into the hole like —
The heart thumped and he jumped and dropped it on the floor.
“SHIT!” He yelled.
The girl sat up, startled awake. He watched her eyes dart around the bloody mess on the bed and then land on her gaping, open chest. She opened her mouth and started screaming.
He reached out instinctively and covered her mouth with one of his bloody hands. This did nothing to calm her down, which wasn’t surprising, but it was really irritating the way she started slapping him. He was forced to push her down on the bed. Hard.
“Hold the fuck on! Hold still! I can fix this.”
Her eyes widened with fear and anger and she thrashed harder, she was trying to bite his hand. He had to act fast. He used all his strength to push her back onto the pillows and hold her there. She made a whimpering sound, like a dog, kind of, and it almost made him feel bad. But it was for her own good. Everyone’s own good.
He stepped back and right onto the heart. It squished under his foot and gave a little “pooh” noise like an old balloon.
“GODDAMN EVERYFUCKINGTHING!” He yelled. Fuck. Whatever. He held her down as best he could with one arm while she yelled and twisted and bit at him. He scooped up the heart from the floor and turned it around in his hand. It had a crack in it, a big one, like an egg, which made absolutely no fucking sense but what even did anymore. A cracked heart was better than none. He could fix this.
The girl had stopped screaming and was staring at the heart in his hand.
“What did you do?” She whispered.
“I don’t know.” She was crying and now he felt like he wanted to fucking cry too but he just had to try and fix it. “Just hold still.” He choked out.
He pushed her gently back onto the bed and she just stared at him as he tried to dust off the broken heart and get the carpet fuzz off of it. Useless.
He climbed up on the bed and straddled her which reminded him he was naked as his flaccid (probably forever) dick rubbed against one of her thighs. He lined up the heart again and leaned over. One of the skin flaps had fallen over the hole while they had struggled so he peeled it back again which was like the third worst thing his fingers had ever felt.
The girl was still, maybe in shock, watching him with wide, blue, tear-filled eyes.
He lowered the heart into the hole, moving his fingers carefully around as he did so they didn’t get stuck behind there. There was some sort of, like, suction happening as he put the heart. Like a hot wet magnet pulling it back where it belonged. With a slurping sound that would haunt him forever the heart settled back into place and, for a breathless moment, stopped beating.
He was frozen, dripping red hands in the air, hoping something would happen and then, finally, something did. The heart beat again. And again. And the squishy pink shit around it started closing over it and the twisted ribs untwisted and everything started going back together. The girl looked at him once more, her mouth a perfect O, before her eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed while her body inexplicably knitted itself back together.
He watched the whole thing, entranced, and noticed right before it was over that he could still see the crack in the heart.
It’s rhythm beat around the fissure like it was sore. Like it hurt.
He hoped it wouldn’t be permanently damaged. But what could he do? None of this was his fault. The skin sealed itself over her perfect young boob again, leaving thin lines where it had been opened, silver white scars in the shape of a star about the size of his hand.
It was over. She was breathing heavily again. Asleep or unconscious. Should he stay? He definitely should not stay. If he was baby-talk, he’d never want to see him again. And he sure didn’t ever want to see her again. Could he erase the last 24 hours from his mind? What drugs would do that? He could find out. Maybe he had found out before.
But would she remember? Or would she just wake up in a bed that looked like a Stephen King movie and not know why? He justified things as he gathered his clothes.
She was lucky to have her heart back, even if it was damaged. He could check on her later after things calmed down. None of this was his fault. He was just doing the best he could in a fucked up situation. This stream of thought got him through getting dressed and quickly washing his bloody hands, which wasn’t too effective.
He snuck out the front door, carrying his boots, and pulled his phone out of his pocket to call an Uber.
He looked at the Tinder app for a moment then deleted it.