Fake Halo - Piper Lennox


One Year Ago

“Don’t rush me.”

Grains of moon tumbled on the water. The thin, glowing curtains swept into the cabana with the breeze, and I reached my hands overhead to let my fingertips dance underneath them.

Between my legs, the boy in the mask smiled when I moaned.

“Too loud,” he reminded me, his voice toneless: he spoke in low growls, drawn from his chest with the same lunar gravity as the ocean.

“Softer,” he coached. “Don’t want to get caught.”

His fingers filled me.

He bent his knuckles, thrashing his fingertips against my walls until he’d bent me to his will. I was melted sugar in his storm, shaken windows in his thunder.

Liquor filled every groove of my brain until I forgot, briefly, how I’d gotten here.

A loud party. Music, bodies…drinks placed in my hands from every direction.

My new Parker Black gown, now trapping the beach in its folds as he pushed it higher on my stomach, had gotten caught underneath his shoe on the deck. That’s why I’d turned.

That’s how I’d met him.

In the shadows and buzz of the alcohol, I decided I liked his mouth. It was all I could see besides his hands; he wore a crisp black tux and satin-lined mask.

But how did we get here, so far from the crowds and hotel, in this curtained cabana on the shore?

When I orgasmed, he lifted his head and kissed my navel.

My fingers fumbled around his lapels and dragged him up to my face so I could kiss him again. He tasted like me, and the blue punch in the coconut cups, and that heady flavor of being a stranger, with skin and lips that mine didn’t have memorized.

“I must be crazy,” he said.


“Because I think I’m already crazy about you.” He laughed and shook his head.

Time skipped. I took his erection into my throat and he stumbled, leaning back and grabbing the wooden post to steady himself. “Damn, baby, that’s it.”

Glitter from my mask rained across him. He laughed again.

I took him completely, deeper than I’d ever been able to do. The noises he made sent my heart spinning.

His orgasm hit him hard. I could tell from the way he flattened his spine against the post, tilting his covered face to the moonlight while his knees weakened.

I swallowed it easily. Another first. My body didn’t resist. I was hungry for him, in every way I could be.

Time shuddered past again, and I was back on the chaise. Back under those roaming hands and sweet breath, and a kiss getting me drunker by the minute.

“Stop,” he whispered, when I tried to lift his mask.

He enclosed my hand in his and slid it down to his mouth, kissing my fingertips.

“Trust me.” His smile, slick and white as shells, hit me like another familiar note. “You don’t want to know.”



My head’s saturated when I finally sit back in my seat. I don’t know what it is about a long confession that makes you lean all the way forward, tense to your bones.

Maybe it’s so the words can vomit out of you.

That’s what I feel like: I’ve just been digitally sick all over my phone screen, typing out every last thing my new therapist could possibly need to know about me.

This valuable lesson comes from hopping to four therapists in three years. Without that expository dump of an introduction, I’d waste at least two sessions filling them in on the mess they’re about to put their hands on.

With my word vomit now zooming to Dr. Willow Dune’s inbox, I relax and take a sip of the warm Vitamin Water from my bag.

I let myself think, Maybe this one can help.

The subway train stops, opens, and dumps its contents into the station. A refill shuffles inside. Men with umbrellas scatter rain at my feet. A girl with safety pins where earrings would go compliments my Totoro messenger bag, and I thank her with a weightless smile.

Switching therapists is never fun, but I do like how I feel right after I send those “here’s all my problems; just try and fix me” emails—airy and cleansed. Updated, if not repaired.

It’s like opening all your bills you’ve let pile up on top of the microwave. Nothing’s fixed, but at least you know the actual damage.

Georgia texts me to pick up eggs. “Thought you were going vegan again,” I type, hitting Send just as she texts, “And don’t give me shit 4 the vegan thing. Next week.”

Smiling, I put my phone away and dig my sketchbook from my bag. The young boy