These Scars


2. two


LUCIA HAD gotten her first scar around the same time most people did. A couple days after her thirteenth birthday, she snuck out of the house to go to a friend's and when she came back, her mother stood by the door, her mouth pressed into a thin line. Lucia lied by instinct and immediately regretted it as the sharp pain etched into her forearm. It only lasted a second but the pain took her by shook. Her mother had nodded expectantly and grounded her for a week.

She had gotten worse scars, though. Ones with pain that lasted minutes, ones with sharper and more intense pain. Whenever she stood in front of the mirror, her eyes immediately fell to the scars, a constant reminder of the lies she had fed. Eventually, she had learned to work her way around lies but sometimes, they were inescapable, inevitable. 

Lucia, now, stood in front of Tallis, her arms raised in a defensive position. She threw a punch aiming for his jaw but he ducked at the last minute.

"You're being too obvious," said Tallis, dodging another of her punches. "Try being subtle for once."

She glared at him and she winced as her fist collided with his chest.

Tallis shook his head. "Don't aim there. Try the throat or the stomach or the face." 

After a couple minutes of this, she was tired and her knuckles were bruised. She threw a sloppy punch at his nose and he ducked and then suddenly she felt a hard jab to her knees. She lost her footing and fell to the ground. Tallis stood over her, his shadow blocking out the light. "You really need to work on hand-to-hand combat. You rely to much on your guns." He offered his hand and she let him pull her up.

He tossed her an ice pack. "I need to show you something."

"Okay..." Lucia said, pressing the ice to her knuckles.

"You asked me once," he said, leaning against the table, "how I remained free of scars."

He pulled off his shirt in one motion and Lucia didn't have time to be surprised. Her eyes landed on his stomach, hard panes of muscle, and she quickly averted her gaze. Tallis turned so that his back was facing her. Lucia inhaled sharply. A scar ran down the line of his back but it was the biggest she had ever seen. It was the kind of scars you only hear about in stories, the ones not suited for people living everyday lives. 

"What was your lie?" Lucia asked but not before realising that she didn't want to know what a terrible lie he had told.

Tallis' mouth tightened. "I can't tell you. Not now, anyways."

"Does it still hurt?"

He shrugged. "Occasionally."

"Why are you showing me this now?" she asked tentatively.

He turned around to face her. "Because it kills me that you think I'm someone I'm not."



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