Eli wet his lips, staring at her for a moment in sheer horror following the scream he quickly cut off with his hold on her. He almost immediately loosened his grip on her throat and moved his hand to cover her mouth with his palm and muffle her voice, terrified that she was going to let out another high-pitched scream and wake up their whole damn block. “What’re you trying to do?” He spoke lowly, keeping their faces close with his grip on her hair so that she couldn’t effectively slap him. “Get yourself killed? Let go of my fuckin’ hair.”
Becky took a few seconds of adjusting to the overwhelming sense of panic she felt as he overpowered her. This wasn’t what she was used to. She was used to having the upperhand. She had always been taller than him for the past decade, but over the last year or so he had seemed to level out to her height, and apparently had become stronger than she remembered. She tried to scream as his hand covered her mouth to no avail. She released him, hoping he would follow suit and let her go.
A huge gust of air escaped him as he felt his head being yanked back, a mixture of shock and disbelief clouding his features in place of his previously enraged expression. His automatic response was to reach out and grab ahold of her throat with his right hand, raking the fingers of his left back through her hair and entangling them in it in order to get the same grip on her that she had on him. He tightened his hold on her throat while pulling her hair back the same way she did to him, letting out a strange cross between a cough to clear his throat and a laugh. “You’re fucking nuts.” He breathed, a more obvious bout of laughter ringing through, his fingers winding even tighter around her neck. “I didn’t expect that one. I just thought you were an entitled, self-righteous bigot, I didn’t expect you to be fucking crazy too.”
Becky realized she didn’t have much of a plan of what to do after her words. And much to her displeasure, she didn’t have to know because he was quick to react. She screamed as he found his grip around her neck and then in the back of her hair. She kept her one hand in place, but used the other to attempt to swat his arms away as well as carelessly hitting him in anyway to try to gain some type of upper hand overall. “You’re psychotic!” she choked out. “Let go of me!”
Eli’s eyes zeroed in on her finger before he raised his chin, locking them with hers. “Don’t, fuckin..” Impulsively, he stepped toward her, grabbing ahold of her wrist and lowering her hand, bringing his face close to hers. “Don’t fuckin’ talk to me like you’re better than me, you stupid, bible humping bitch.” He only momentarily tightened his grip on her arm before shoving her away from him altogether, taking a few steps back from her, almost completely out of the streetlight in order to refrain from fulfilling the urge- present, and nagging, to truly hurt her. “And don’t point your fuckin’ finger at me like you’re somebody.” He started to step in the direction of his house but kept his body turned toward her, torn between standing there until he was so enraged he didn’t want to do anything but destroy her and retreating in order to avoid reaching that point. “I don’t care who your daddy is, and I don’t care who you think you are. I’ve taken more than my share of shit today, I’m not about to take any from you.”
Becky yelped as he took a hold of her wrist. She knew they were provoking each other from the second they had started talking, but she didn’t expect any physical barrier to be broken, and now that it was, she froze, uncertain of what to do other than running away. It would have certainly been easier, but she wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye ever again if she were to do that. She didn’t even bother trying to say anything right away, knowing that if she did, it would probably end up being stuttered out. She stood in the same place as he released her and stepped away, still a semi shocked state, all she could do was stare. There was something terrifying about him that made her feel like a person she had never met. Never had she felt so genuinely angry at another person. Never had someone spoken to her the way he was. The second he mentioned the daddy line once more, she felt something more or less snap within her. She shook her head a few brief times before storming over to him, grabbing a handful of hair from the back of his head and pulling his head back. “Don’t you ever think you have any sort of right to lay a finger on me,” she said slowly and articulately as she looked down into his eyes.
Eli actually had to pause for a moment to gather himself- something that rarely happened to him when he was talking to somebody convinced that he was inferior to them. Finally, he released another laugh, humorless, this time, taking another puff from his joint before bending down to put it out. “Should have just gone to my fuckin’ bed to smoke this.” He shook his head as he straightened back upright, opening the top of his cigarette pack and putting the remaining half of his joint inside. “Opted to stay out here to get some fresh air, check out the moon, assess the damage, but no, you own the whole damn sidewalk. Can’t even lean against a fuckin street light because you own those too, huh, princess?” Even he was surprised by the sudden edge his voice had taken on. All but gone was his amusement, no sign of his smile left on his face. “You want to be out of my presence so bad, get the fuck out of here, then. You’re the one who stopped to stare.” He narrowed his eyes slightly, muttering to himself as he started to brew in his anger, feeling the heat rise. “I’m not moving. I shouldn’t have to.”
She took a small amount of satisfaction in the fact that he also seemed to lose his cool. At the very least she refused to the be only person affected in this interaction. Her eyebrows narrowed as he started talking to what she assumed to be himself. It wasn’t until he used the word “you” that she truly started to pay attention to what he was saying. She gave a look of indignation at him calling her a princess. “Loitering isn’t good for any neighborhood,” she said as if to give a reason as to why his presence was actually doing harm to the quiet suburban block. “Watch your mouth, you baseless moron.” She pointed a finger at him as if it held some sort of authority. Despite the fact that it was late and few people were out, the last thing she needed was to be seen near him when he was running his mouth. “Well I assure you, I’m going nowhere.”
Eli took a fat rip off of his joint as she did her best to shame him, the amusement never fading from his face. He held the center of it between his thumb and forefinger and pulled it from his lips, smoke billowing out of his mouth as he spoke, “Why? Are you a gnark, or just a square?” He smiled smugly, his eyes trailing down from her expression to roll over her shoulders, the length of her torso and all the way down, up, and back down her legs before they flickered back to her face. “And for the record, I can be as crude as you want me to be.” He chuckled, bringing the joint back to his lips in order to take another generous hit off of it.
The fact that he had decidedly cornered her question into making her one of two negative things made her instantly enraged. She lost all sight of trying to maintain any sort of cool facade and let her reaction get the best of her. “No! I’m just trying to not be around you if you’re going to get caught doing illegal activities. Your record might already be ruined, but mine is clean, thanks.” Their shared gazes weren’t at all harmless before, but the one he gave her in that moment made her shiver and be very thankful of the distance that was between them, even though she was pretty sure not even several thousand miles would be enough distance between her and her odd neighbor.”Why would I ever want you to be crude? The only thing I want you to do is leave.”
"If you’re going to insult me and then check me out at least be kinda subtle about one of them." He licked at the cut on his lower lip before wiping at it with the side of his thumb, mostly just smearing the blood. "Why’re you always such a little bitch to me, anyway?" With his other hand, he’d located his lighter in his breast pocket, but abandoned the idea of the joint in his cigarette pack for the moment and took a step toward Becky, moving into the street light. "Did your daddy tell you that I get off with the devil and if you talk to me I’ll try to recruit you to be a member of my cult?" He laughed, his eyes wandering to her house, noting that all of the windows were dark before traveling to his own house next door, surprised that it was just as dead calm. He hadn’t realized how late it was, or how late he was coming home until now. "What are you doing out here anyway? It’s kind of late, isn’t it?" This time it was him who gave her a once over, stepping away from her to lean against the lamp post and open the top of his pack in his pocket and retrieve his joint. Twice over, putting it between his lips and bringing his Bic to the end of it.
Her eyes widened for a brief second before a laugh escaped at his comment. Shaking her head, she responded in a gleeful tone, “Because I’d really lower my standards down to the Mariana’s Trench to find you remotely attractive enough to check out.” She let a slight scowl take over her facial expression as he smeared the blood. In reality, there wasn’t that much she knew about her neighbor, but what she had seen only confirmed that he wasn’t the type of person she had any interest in being around. “Why? Why not? I don’t see a reason to try to find civil ground with you because I know it doesn’t exist.” The grin she had during her retort fell as he continued with his onslaught of foul words. “My daddy knows I’d never been seen around the likes of you or any one like you. So, no. Be a little more crude, huh?” Becky fancied going on walks during the night time during the summer, so when he asked her if it was late for her to be out, she simply rolled her eyes. She caught him looking her over, and normally she was the type to merely laugh and act as if she were embarrassed if someone publicly made that sort of eye contact, but instead she felt it necessary to returned the stares without a hint of bashfulness. When she saw him light the joint, her jaw slackened. She knew her brother smoked often, but she knew he’d never do it as publicly as Eli was doing it right now. “Is that even legal?”
"How do you know I’m not some kind of vampire or some shit, prepared to bleed you dry?" He resisted the urge to sneer, reaching into his shirt pocket. "Not that there’s enough to you for that kind of thing."
"You know, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least." She made no effort to hide the condescending nature of her tone or glances as she briefly gave him a once over. "I’m surprised you’re not surrounded by the cult you belong to right this second. And was that supposed to be an insult? How weak."
"Just what are you looking at?”
"A seemingly sad excuse for a person. Have you been blood letting for one of your Satanic sacrifices or did you just trip and fall on your face?"