You’ve always hated mirrors. Always. It’s not so much what they show, but what they don’t show that bothers you. You find it creepy that you can catch someone’s eye in a mirror, and yet not see them physically reflected in the glass. And it bothers you that people can use mirrors to keep their eyes on you, even when you don’t know they’re watching.
JC’s house is full of mirrors. You teased him one afternoon, calling it the “funhouse,” which he liked until he figured out that you were implying a negative connotation, and then he sulked a bit...but it’s true. His home reminds you of a funhouse. Everywhere you look, there are mirrors; different sizes and shapes, different tints in the glass and different locations so that you can almost see your entire body from every angle.
It freaks you out.
At first, you thought it was some sort of strange sexual fetish; after all, aren’t guys into watching? Didn’t you read that somewhere? But then, as he walked around his living room, you could see him watching himself, and then you thought it was a vanity issue.
“What?” He said softly, as he noticed your stare.
“N…Nothing…” You muttered, and he came up to you, smile on his face, head cocked to one side, and took your hands.
“You know I’m not gonna buy that,” He chided. “What is it?”
You looked away, running your fingers through your hair self-consciously, and saw your own face staring back at you from the panes of glass.
“You can’t hide here,” He whispered softly. “Isn’t it brilliant?”
When you looked back at him, you were alarmed to see a touch of mania hidden beyond his tranquil blue pools. Is that what he thought? That by putting mirrors every which way it would prevent him from hiding?
“Wh…what are you hiding from?” You asked meekly, and those eyes darkened, shades of royal flickering to the surface.
“I’m not hiding,” He said defensively, and suddenly you noticed he too was looking for a place to rest his eyes, only to see his own reflection from a hundred different angles.
“JC…” You began carefully, walking up behind him, running your hands up his back in a gesture of comfort, flinching when he recoiled, stepping forward. You walked in front of him, bending down to meet his eyes. “Hey…”
He said nothing, biting his lip, his index finger picking at the skin around his thumbnail, drawing the smallest drop of blood from the already ragged flesh.
“It’s up here…” You said softly, tapping your fingers against his temple, drawing in a breath as he leaned into your touch, his eyes closing. The look that had so frightened you a moment earlier was replaced with one of contentment, of tranquility. You were baffled, and hurriedly you glanced to the many panes of glass around you, to see if the image in front of you was reflected in their collective eye.
“You can’t hide from what’s up here…” You whispered, and you were shushed a moment later by his fingers against your lips.
“No talk…” He murmured, and his strong arm wrapped around your waist, drawing your face against the sharp line of his collarbone. “Just…shhhh…”
You closed your eyes to shut out the picture of tragedy, and the two of you rocked back and forth, back and forth, a parody of a mournful waltz with music only he could hear.
“I hate mirrors,” He whispered, and for a moment you couldn’t be sure he had actually spoken. You lifted your head to meet his gaze and saw that his eyes were glittering, clear and smooth and full. Like panes of glass. Like mirrors.
“Then why?...” You trailed off, and he shook his head, sheltering your body with his, hiding your form from the gaze of the mirror.
“I need them,” He breathed, and you could feel him shudder. His head bowed and his breathing hitched, and you could feel warm, moist heat on your shoulder. Those arms holding you so tightly tensed even more before slackening. His body slid to the ground, taking you with him, and together you sat, a tangled mass of arms and limbs, on the cold oak hardwood floor.
“Make them go away,” He begged, the plea vague, empty, open all at once. You murmured childish, senseless nothing-words as you held him in your arms, until your legs started to cramp and your feet went numb.
“Come on, Jace…” You said quietly, pulling on his arms, staggering to a standing position and drawing him to his feet. “Let’s go lay down…”
He offered no protest, just followed you so closely, wrapping his arms around your waist and pressing his body to your back. You tripped a few times as you tried to walk in tandem but didn’t dare push him away. At least the two of you climbed the stairs successfully and retreated to his bedroom.
Slowly, methodically, you pulled his clothes from his body, heart breaking at the defeated, tired look in his eyes. With weary hands you pulled back the sheets, and together you tumbled onto the soft mattress, where he wrapped you in his arms and pulled you as close to him as you dared to allow. Through the thin fabric of the faded t-shirt you still wore, you could feel his shaky breathing and the slow thud of his heart. You felt gooseflesh ripple along the surface your neck, a bi-product of the warm moist air he exhaled onto your skin.
“Sleep…shhh…” You heard him whisper, and it sounded as though he was comforting you, soothing you to sleep with tender caresses and soft words. You thought, half-heartedly, that maybe he was trying to convince himself to do the same.
“Love this…” He murmured, his voice already seduced by the minstrels of sleep, his limbs relaxing slowly.
“Huh?” You asked stupidly, but he had finally succumbed to slumber’s song, and did not reply.
You laid there, the mid-afternoon sun warming your bodies, and pondered his words.
It was only when you gazed around the room that you realized his implication:
In this room, in HIS room, there were no mirrors.
You smiled, understanding, and followed him to sleep.