August 31, 2009Mature

August 31, 2009

Head, neck, back, shoulders, wrists, shins, hips, feet. These were all of the things that ached on Jensen as he sat on the bus at seven o’clock that morning. Not to mention that he was having trouble sitting in general. Last night had been a bitch, especially after all that had happened before it. Lars probably wasn’t mad at him anymore, which was good, but seeing him smile this morning hadn’t actually done much. He could still feel the pain pulsing viciously at his back and hear James’s voice ring “it’s not your fault.” Something about that thought made Lars’ happiness turn slightly void. It didn’t make Jensen feel better, so in turn, Jensen felt horrible.

            He stepped off of the bus at the stop right in front of his work and started to cross the lot. As he circled around the back to see if Kripke’s car was even there this early, it occurred to him that he was meeting James here. This morning, when Lars asked why he was going to work early, what Kripke had said the day before when Jen was talking to “Sam,” he had lied. He’d said that there had been a truck that needed attention the other day and Eric was mad that Jensen wasn’t there. Really: he was going to indulge in the sight of his brand new crush.

            The thought should have made him sick, usually would have. As far as he was concerned, boyfriend meant something important. He belonged to Lars, tried to with every fiber of his being no matter how much he suffered from flirtation. If he wanted to go with other men, he should just break it off with Lars first. That idea hit him like a lead pipe to the face just when he was close enough to the garage that he could lean against the wall. Looking at his broken finger, he remembered why he couldn’t do that.

            His head swam with gravity of that memory in his head. He thought back on the bloodstain in the doorway that he’d scrubbed for about two hours just to get it off. Leaving Lars? That wasn’t something that he ever needed to worry about because it wasn’t going to happen. After he’d swayed on his feet a bit from the freshness of that horrible recollection, he peeked through squinted eyelids and searched around for Kripke’s car. It was there in its spot at the end of the building. Thank god for having something to distract him.

            Halfway down the long stretch of blank, brick wall on the back of the garage, there was a door. Opening that lead to the staff’s “kick back” room where the fridge, the couch and the microwave are. This was where Jensen entered. He crossed the small, cozy room to the opposite door and pushed that ajar to go into the main part of the place, the place that actually resembled a “garage.”

            At the far end, in the bright illumination from the fluorescent lights above, there stood a blue 1995 Geo Tracker with a black soft top. It was a pretty nice car, and probably just needed an oil change or something to that extent, judging by the pair of legs sticking out from under the car. The black sneakers on the feet—the ones that look like they have been through hell and back fives times, fell apart, were sewn back together and did it again—proved that it was none other than Jensen’s boss.

            “Hey, Eric,” Jen began awkwardly.

            There was a clang and the feet twitched slightly before the man beneath the car wheeled himself forward on the creeper until all five feet and ten inches of him was out. “Jesus Christ, you scared me,” he snapped grumpily.

            Jensen dug his toe into the ground bashfully, completely mocking the way a kid looked as it is being scolded. “Sorry, sir.”

            With a slightly disgruntled sigh, Kripke pushed himself up and adjusted his greasy, grubby jeans on his thin hips before taking a moment to examine his mechanic. Idly, he yanked the towel out of his back pocket and wiped the outermost layer of grease and oil off of his hands. No matter how hard he tried, though, he would always and forever be blessed with a mechanic’s black hands. “What the hell are you doing here so early?”

            “It’s…” Jensen wondered if maybe he shouldn’t have come in early without actually talking to the man. He hadn’t even thought about it before. “It’s a long story.”

            A hint of a smile crossed Eric’s dirty face. Only seven-twenty and he was already filthy. There’s a man who loves his work. “Another long story that you can’t tell in the span of a nine-hour workday?” He shrugged as though he expected as much and turned back to the car he’d been working on. “You look like shit, by the way.”

            Smirking, Jen crossed over to the workbench and picked up the first thing he could reach just to occupy himself. “Thanks,” he muttered.

            “Yeah, it’s what I’m here for,” Eric stated with a quirky hint to his voice.

            “So what’s with the Tracker? Oil change?”

            Looking back at the blue thing behind him, Kripke made a face. It took him a few moments, but eventually he reached the same level of amusement with the damn thing as he’d had the previous day. “Actually, no. A chick brought it in yesterday saying that the oil light came on when she turned corners. She though maybe it needed and oil change… I put more oil in and now I’m just keeping it a little longer so that she doesn’t feel like an idiot.”

            After a slight hesitation, Jensen gave a sympathetic laugh. It wasn’t quite enough to distract him from the nagging aches in various places on his body, and he hoped that Eric didn’t notice anything. In a strange sort of Freudian defense mechanism, he focused on something unimportant. This time, it was a smell that always hung around the garage, grease and skidded tires. That smell that happens when the vacuum stays on so long the belt starts to cook. The familiarity of it made him smile.

            “Yeah, well, since you’re here,” Eric began, oblivious to Jen’s split focus, “You wanna sit?” He motioned to a dirty lawn chair near the gate. “You don’t have to work till nine.”

            NO! He could barely keep himself from shouting that out loud. Last night had brought out a few pains in areas he wasn’t sure he was supposed to hurt in.

 

I could feel my heart fall an inch lower with each step down that hall. In front of me, the tension in Lars’ shoulders lingered easily for me to see. The other day after the bus stop was nothing in comparison with this. Now I could see every twitch of anger boiling under Lars’ skin. I noted every single ounce of the fury that more than likely awaited me as soon as that door closed behind us. My skin crawled with the sensation of the beating I expected.

            The bell tolled at the back of my mind in some dramatic sweep of finality. I was in for it, I was certain. Maybe he wouldn’t hit me, maybe he was holding back at the moment, but I had less than five more steps before the pain would come. Slowing down just slightly, I tried to make it last as much as I could.

            Then, the door shut. I stayed exactly where I was, waiting for Lars to make the first move; I didn’t want to make things worse. The sound of the door locking made my breath catch in my throat and I just closed my eyes. It would come before I wanted it to, so I didn’t need to rush into things. He was going to hurt me, I couldn’t stop him so I just willed it come soon and end quickly.

            The hand that touched the side of my face was a surprise. Gentle fingers dragged two inches along my cheek. Lines of tingles followed in a hesitant march after him, mixing with the fear, confusing me to no end. What was he doing? No, no, no! He was supposed to hit me, yell at me, beat the sense out of me until I couldn’t think straight and passed out from the ordeal. Why was he…? My curiosity coaxed my eyes open, wanting to see his face.

            As soon as I saw his calm expression, he grabbed me by my shoulders and shoved me back against the door. “Lars, what—?”

            I was cut off, his lips pressed forcefully against mine. What was he doing? No, no, no, this wasn’t right at all! His hands were soft, gentle and if anything, it made me shiver worse. Reaching up, I held him around the waist, grasping on for dear life as I felt myself melt into him once again. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t help it; his tongue dragged a trail over my bottom lip and I let him in without a hesitation.

            If I gave in, if I let him, there was way too good of a chance that he’d catch me off-guard when he got around to the violent part. I felt the strain in him when he gripped my wrists and pressed them against the wall. He was holding back, I just knew it, but it didn’t help that he was once again hurting my now “must be dislocated” joint like nothing else. I winced and tried to pull away, a quiet whimper tumbling out of my throat like a stream of tasteless vomit lacking form or volume. I couldn’t hold it back and I didn’t want it to come out.

            “Shush,” Lars demanded sharply.                        

            He held me harder and pressed the length of his body against me. “Lars, please…” I mumbled quietly against his mouth. Every quake of his body, every hard pulse of his flesh against me made me wince before I could stop myself. When he kissed me again, I realized what he wanted of me; his tongue fucking into my mouth was evidence enough of that.

            “Shut up, Jenny,” he said. The command in his voice wasn’t filtered at all by the gentle tone.

            As he rutted his hips hard against mine, the wave of heat that flared up my neck dragged with it a nauseating urge to scream rape. Don’t be silly. He is my boyfriend, of course we have sex and sex with Lars is usually good. However, I’m not a “hard fuck” kind of guy, and when Lars got like this…It didn’t matter. If I fought, it would just piss him off. Hell, just the other day, wasn’t I the one wishing that we had sex more often? Trying not to give away evidence of my thoughts in my hesitation, I kissed him back, a submissive whine escaping too easily from my throat.

            I’d like to thank the academy…I wasn’t exactly pulling the hooker move of completely faking it-Lars saw through that too easily. Right now, I was suppressing and refusing to acknowledge the existence of my true feelings so that the primal, lustful part of this came that much more naturally. The technique even covered up my frightened whimpers when the groping started to get rougher and he practically ripped off my shirt. I should get back into acting…if I survive this.

                                        

Snapping his fingers in front of Jensen’s face, Eric tried to get the younger man to come back to the land of the living. “Yo, Jensen!” he called loudly, right in the man’s ear. “Hey, Jensen wants to bang Angelina Jolie.”

            Immediately, the man snapped back to attention, a disgusted expression on his face. “Ew, really? You really went there? What the hell are you on, Eric?”

            Eric just smirked snidely and pulled on a pair of latex gloves. “Hey, I thought even a faggot could recognize a beautiful lady when he saw one.” Jensen made no response besides a wry sneer. “Anyway, now that I know that you’re still alive, maybe you could pull up the gates, huh?”

            “Yeah, yeah,” Jen muttered.

            At the front of the garage, there were two gates, separated by a slim, brick pillar. They were both silver and creased in the many places it had met a less-controlled vehicle. Kripke had long since stopped allowing the customers to drive past the lot. Jensen strolled up to the far wall and gripped the faded, used-to-be-shiny chain.

            As he held it tightly, a pain arose again embedded in the bones of his wrist, like his carpals were trying to switch places despite the ligaments. The brace on his pinky glared at him in a wry sort of amusement. With a solid yank and a screech of metal grinding metal, the door started to roll up. Abruptly, he let out an alarmed squeak—half in pain—and the chain slipped from his hands sending the door crashing back down. A wave of damp, outside air chilled the knees of his Levis’ with a minty, warm cold.

            From several feet away, Eric snapped at him not to kill himself with the damn thing because he couldn’t afford that kind of shit. “Your ass isn’t worth the lawsuit that Lars would pull on me.”

            But Jensen barely heard him, patting his chest to control his heart. He’d just seen something outside that he hadn’t been expecting—in fact, it was one of the last things he wanted right now. Still, part of him was convinced that that was lie, so he almost eagerly grabbed the chain again and pulled, as quickly as the heavy thing would allow.

            The six-foot-tall, lanky figure that stood among the damp brown of the lot between the garage and the street was almost a dark spot on the ground. Jensen almost missed him before his mishap with the door. For a long few moments, James stayed still, a hand over his mouth. Well, more like, clutching his jaw than covering up a laughing fit.

            “Hey, Jensen,” he called, a little less enthusiastic than usual. That is, assuming that Jen could claim knowing him well enough to make that call.

            With a nod, Jensen beckoned him over and went to open the other gate. “You look like you got mugged on the way over,” he stated. Oh, that was smooth, Jenny. Nice way to spark a conversation with a virtual stranger. You ponce, I hope he takes the hint and ditches your ass. He didn’t really mean that, there was just this little voice in his head that liked to yell at him for being an idiot. In truth, Jensen was desperately praying that he didn’t fuck this meeting up.

            Much to his relief, James just smiled and laughed quietly. “Yeah, thanks. You don’t look much better.” As he entered, he shot a glance around, no doubt a little astounded by the vast un-orderliness of the garage. He thought about that morning and barely hid his wince.

 

“Come on, Jay, or we’re going to be late.” Sadie came out of the bathroom still in the process of shoving her makeup bag into her backpack. After an hour, her hair was perfectly in place and her mask was on. She couldn’t go anywhere without covering up what she really looked like in the morning.

            Looking up at her, James shrugged. He was for some reason having a hard time getting his shoes tied. “Go ahead without me,” he told her. His eyes trailed down to his hands again and he continued to bite back the hole in his stomach. “I’m not going to Fossum’s class today.” Carefully, he braces himself against her wide-eyed stared.

            Three, two, one… “What!?” Her voice managed a high-pitched squead that made him wince and glare at her. Not in the mood for a morality play put on by Sadie, he pushed himself off of the bed and left the room. “James Tristan Gardener! What the hell do you mean, you’re not going to class?”

            “Just what I said: ‘I’m not going to Fossum’s class today.’ ”

            As he crossed the hall to collect his jacket, he could feel her gaze on his back. Of course she’d see it as ditching; she didn’t know the whole deal. If she knew what was going on, she’d probably understand, but this had to do with Jensen and Lars, not Sadie and James. It wasn’t his place to go blabbing about something he wasn’t even sure of himself. Jensen had tried to keep it from James in the first place, so who was he to spout off his suspicions without knowing the full situation?

            “Where are you going, then? Not to school.”

            Where wasn’t the issue. He could easily tell her where, but then she’d ask why and that wasn’t any of her business. James ignored that it wasn’t really his either. The fact that she was asking, that she didn’t think she could trust him to make his own decisions, irked him to no end. “I’m running off to Europe,” he grumbled sarcastically, “I’m eloping with Kate Winslet.”

            Sadie didn’t think that that was very funny. “James, I’m not joking around here. What’s going on with you?”

            “Sadie, please. It’s not like I’m skipping to go buy drugs or get strung out in the back of Tom’s pick up. Relax.”

            “If this is about that guy from the mall—” She interrupted herself about two seconds before the front door slammed shut behind James. That was all the answer that she needed. Frustration was quickly boiling to fury while she was fruitlessly trying to convince herself to let him go. The part of her that wanted to claw his face open won at the moment. “James!” she shrieked, storming after him.

            He was already halfway down the hall to the stairs. “Damn it, Jay, I’m talking to you!”

            “I can hear that, you’re voice is hard to miss,” he called without turning. “Can I continue to ignore you?”

            Sadie practically had to sprint to catch up with his log stride and brisk pace. “Come on, you jerk. Do you have any idea what this looks like to me?”

            “No, and I don’t really care,” he replied through gritted teeth.

            Unfazed, she went on anyway. “You’ve found another beat up, little puppy and you want to take him in and save him. Jay, you can’t do it. Remember what happened last time. Danny—”

            “Shut up!” James threw open the door to the staircase, but didn’t go down. “Shut the fuck up, Sadie, you don’t know a god damned thing about it.” His fists balled up so tight that his knuckles were white, almost as if he wanted to hit something, of he was containing word full of rage. It took a lot to get Jay this angry, and Sadie knew from experience when to back off. “What do you think I’m doing, huh? And who the hell do you think you are to tell me what I can and can’t do?”

            Sadie stood her ground firmly, looking up at him with sad eyes. “I’m worried about you,” she explained, suddenly calm, trying to calm him down. “You can’t go through that again. I won’t let you.”

            Scoffing, James looked away. “Oh you won’t…” A shiver ran through him, visibly racking through his body. “Stop acting like you understand, like you even sympathize. When Danny—when that happened, you didn’t even…It’s not the same.” James put his hands up on the top of the doorframe, leaning heavily in front of the stairs. “I can’t do this now, Sadie, I’ve gotta go.” Gotta get out, gotta escape now. Don’t stop me, don’t talk to me. Please just leave me alone.

            Just as he was about to head down the three floors to the street, Sadie grabbed his arm and pulled him back. He turned, she smacked him clear across the face. He stopped and stared at her, wide-eyed. When he didn’t move again, she reached up and smacked him again.

            “Gardener,” she snapped, “Don’t you talk to me like I don’t know you well enough to see it. Damn it, I was the one who held you weeping and sobbing at the funeral, so don’t you dare think I don’t know.”

            He kept his head down, eyes averted so that he could fight the desperate urge he suddenly had. Scream or cry or something! “I…” Tingles arose behind his nose, burning his eyes. “I have to go,” he mumbled, throat tight.

            With a wince, Sadie reached after him as he took off. “James…”

 

With all of that in mind, James figured that he didn’t need to go into detail. “I had a fight with my girlfriend,” he explained sheepishly. “She tends to get fed up with me on occasion. I assume that it happens.” He averted his eyes and walked in numbly, fiddling with the edge of his jacket. He didn’t want to think about what Sadie had brought up; he didn’t want to think about Danny. Silently, he willed Jensen to say something, anything to take his mind from bad things.

            “Yeah, it happens,” Jensen agreed, though his basis of comparison was a bit warped. Motioning for James to follow, he stepped relatively quickly back into the big room, unconsciously seeking out Eric. He needed someone familiar right now, someone that he knew so that this meeting wouldn’t feel so intimidating. All he knew about James was that he wanted to make out with him. No you don’t, you whore, he snapped at himself. The other voice in his head just laughed, nice going, lie to yourself. “You said you wanted to talk to me?”

            “I did, I mean I do want to talk to you.” Feeling a bit like an idiot, James felt a light blush on his cheeks. What was he doing here? Maybe Sadie was right…

            Jensen turned and smiled at him for a moment, eyes lighting up with amusement and maximum interest. When James had first showed up, Jensen had felt deep embarrassment. He thought that James would act strange around him now that he knew—or Jen assumed that he knew—where the bruises were from, but this wasn’t the strange that he’d expected. Maybe a slight disgust, or a bit of pity direct his way, but not the honestly flustered. He felt his nerves start to loosen a bit, so much that he could laugh a little. “Never thought I’d see you so bashful,” he commented lightheartedly.

            “Hey, I’m not bashful,” James shot back, indignantly. He was blushing, though.

            Jensen just shrugged with a cheeky grin and turned to lean against his work bench. A light flutter arose in his stomach as it finally sunk in that he was talking to the same guy he was crushing on like a third grader. Despite that, he felt bolder, a little less nervous that Lars could wander in any minute. “Is that so?” he asked, a slight tease apparent in his voice.

            Blinking a few times, James adopted his trademark goofy smile and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Wait a minute,” he began with a small, playful smile on his face. “You can’t knock me for acting differently. You’re the one giving me so many names that I’m having an identity crisis.” Jensen rolled his eyes as if to say don’t be such a baby. “Oh, be quiet.”

            It shouldn’t have been so easy, so laid back between them. Jensen wanted to be uneasy about that, somehow perturbed that he wasn’t scared of the consequences. However, this was nice too. Then James had to go ruin it.

            “Why is that, again?” Referring to the aliases and, ultimately, Lars.

            Jensen abruptly turned away, a frown trickling down over his mouth. “I thought you already had it all figured out.” The mechanic glanced around, once more searching out Eric. Where the hell did the guy go to in that past five minutes? This wasn’t something he talked about, wanted to talk about. In his world, Lars had pounded into him the rule of thumb that if he told someone, if he let it slip, the consequence would be worse than a belt or a broken finger. As his defiance to the subject, he walked away, to the back of the garage.

            “No,” James persisted, “I didn’t.” He followed like a little gnat. Jensen didn’t quite think him so amusing anymore. “I still don’t get what about this situation centers around me.”

            “Not much.” Through a crumbling, used-to-be white door, there was a small room with a couch, a microwave and a refrigerator. “In fact, it really doesn’t have anything at all to do with you, so don’t dwell on it, okay? I told you not to worry, and it’s not really your concern anyway.”

            As only a way to distract himself so that maybe he wouldn’t have to do this, Jensen stalked gloomily to the closet beside the fridge and pulled out a ragged guitar case. It was his refuge, the only thing he could do to distract himself from life—Lars. Just go away, his mind said, trying to get through his mouth to James’s ears. Go away, James. Leave me alone, don’t ask, don’t ask, don’t ask. If I never have to see you again I’ll be glad. But it was a lie—despite the part of him that was sensible and knew that the best thing to do would be to send him away and forget he came. That would make it easier for him to deal with the urge he has.

            However, his body wasn’t obeying him. He couldn’t get his mouth to say “go the fuck away and never come back.” Seeing James again was kind of like torture to a guy with Stockholm Syndrome. It made him feel good, just the way he usually gets when Lars is happy, and that made him nervous. He could understand and go with James being his friend under other circumstances, but not when he had a crush on him like this. Then, thinking about how Lars would react made him guilty.

            Still, no matter what, he wanted James there. He stubbornly wanted to suffer through the turmoil for the sake of being in contact with this nerdy, theater-buff, straight (but oh, so sexy) college boy. Three days and he felt himself falling again. He plopped down the couch, opened the case and cradled his guitar in his lap.

            “Yeah, well. It is my concern when I’m worrying like this. It’s in my nature.” James stepped forward and looked down at the figure hunched over on the couch. “And, dude, you really suck at lying. You do this blinking thing; you did it yesterday at the mall when I had to lie to Lars to cover for you.”

            “I know, okay?” Gripping the neck of the instrument mercilessly, Jensen felt the steel strings bite into his fingers that weren’t hindered by a bulky metal brace. He grunted unhappily and started to take the nuisance off. “I know I suck at lying. I suck at a lot of things. Believe me, Lars reminds me of that often enough, so I don’t need some guy I just met at a bus stop to tell me how incompetent I am, thanks.”

            “That’s…” James faltered for a moment. Oh crap, I hit a nerve. He could see it in the way Jensen bowed his head, the timid set to his shoulders: as if he could disappear if he made himself small enough. “That’s not what I meant.”

            “What did you mean?”

            With a wince, James stepped back and sat down on the couch. It was both blatantly and horrifyingly apparent in Jensen’s voice that the man was more scared than annoyed. “Look, I’m sorry about—if I seem nosey or something. Thing is…I need to know, Jensen.” The last thing that James wanted to do was snoop into someone else’s life and poke around like it was a book in the public library. However, this wasn’t something to be left alone. “Where are the bruises coming from?”

            “Why do you want to know? Why ask about that?” Not looking up, the mechanic winced as he tried to position his broken finger on a G major chord. “Ask me anything else. Any other questions you could possibly ask, I’d answer. My favorite color, green, my middle name, Ross. My first kiss was a creepy chick with braces under the bleachers in high school and I ran away. The only pet I ever had was a goldfish and I killed it. My mom had me do ballet until I was thirteen. Jeez, ask me how many times a week I jerk off. But Lars, I can’t…He won’t…what makes this so personal for you?”

            With an abrupt stop, he clamped his mouth shut and pressed his thumb against the strings over the hole. Absent fingers stroking the edge of the soft wood with a despairing, yet loving caress. He caught himself before he could register that he wanted to just reach out and touch James like that, stroke his face, make him realize. He kept his lips pressed together in a sour grimace.

            James took a chance and pressed a little bit harder. “How did you hurt your wrist?” Motioning, he pointed out the odd way Jensen was holding his arm. Now, no answer. Though, at the same time, Jen also looked like he was fighting a violent, two-sided argument. On one side, there was probably the idea that if he said a word about any of this then he wouldn’t wake up in the morning. “Jensen…” James started again, quietly, “What happened to your finger?”

            There’s a fire in his mind and Jensen thinks that there must be smoke coming out of his ears. Lars was there, sitting on top of his frontal lobe to influence at of his reasoning, smirking menacingly. Say the wrong thing Jenny, he taunted mutely. Just go ahead and tell him everything. It was getting hard to breathe and all that Jensen could see was the can in his grip, the dents that his fingers were forming against the pressure of the carbonated liquid inside. The tension hurt, ached in his joints.

            “Why are you limping?” James asked, his voice suddenly right next to Jen’s ear.

 

Afterwards, I took a shower. My body ached, every inch of me so sore that the warm water actually burned a little as I stood below the stream from the showerhead. My breath came back to me, inflating the sore flesh on my chest. All the soap in the world wasn’t enough to make the filth go away, wash the slick feeling of Lars from my back and ass. A shiver racked through him even in the steam all around me. The bathroom door swung open easily.

            Lars walked in.

            I held my breath as his shadow hesitated behind the shower door. I could still feel his hands on me, digging his blunt fingernails into my skin until they left crescent-shaped marks on my hips. My pulse sped up, I could hear him breathing. He was right next to the shower, but what was he waiting for? There was one reason he was here: he reconsidered letting me off with just some painful sex and wanted to hurt me more.

            “Hey Jenny,” he called softly. I didn’t trust that tone. “How long you gonna be in there?”

            I swallowed deeply to get a better handle on my nerves. I could do this. I could survive. “You want me to get out now?” I asked, trying to sound as genuine as I could.

            “Nah.”

            The shower door started to open and I felt a chill. With every fiber of my being, I kept myself from shivering again. He didn’t need to see my weakness, my fear. I think he feeds off of shit like that at times like this. I glanced over my shoulder for a moment to see him completely naked as he stepped in behind me. My heart made another attempt to relocate itself in my throat.

            His hands slicked up my back. I couldn’t hide the flinch.

            “Aw,” he started, arms creeping around my waist. “Are you scared of me, baby?”

            I wanted to say something. No way, or maybe, Of course not, why would I be… but I was. I was so scared, my throat tightened so that I couldn’t speak. Fingers started up my chest, nails scraping at my nipples—my stomach quivered and I bit my lip against a groan.

            It all started moving faster after that. He urged me forward, brought my arms up and pressed my hands against the tile. His back moved up against me and he mouthed slimy kisses into my shoulder. I went with it; what else could I do? Hell, maybe I’m a sex addict, maybe I’m a freak. I didn’t tell him to stop, didn’t even try to break free when he held me hard, my palms crushed against the smooth white tiles.

            Then his hand was between my legs and the other one on the faucet knob, turning the water hot. As the temperature rose, he pushed my feet apart and cupped my dick. I could feel him on my ass, erect and pulsing. You freak, you love it, and there was that voice in my head. Little slut, Jenny. All you need is a dick in your ass and you’re an obedient little bitch.

            “Lars,” I started to say, but it cut off abruptly. My entrance was still sore, and when he pressed against it, I almost cried out. I would have if it weren’t for him. “Lars!” it came out more of a whine this time.

            A silent scream clogged my windpipe, snuffed out every breath in my lungs, and shot the tears into my eyes. The water hitting my face was almost scalding, so I squeezed my eyes shut and scrambled awkwardly to look away and reach for the faucet. When he thrust into my body—my sore, thoroughly-fucked body—I choked on a whimper.

            “No, Jensen,” he told me, gripping my hair and holding my face directly in the spray. He was moving inside me, too fast.

            I struggled for air, mouth hanging open for a moment too long. Pain shot up my spine and spread out through every inch of me. It took too much to stay standing, I’m not sure how I managed it beside Lars holding me. I was burning, must have been bleeding. Lars rammed my prostate ruthlessly and sucked a painful mark into my neck. The heat was enough to make me want to vomit.

            My hands flew out when I lost balance and slammed against the wall. His hand—still locked in my wet hair—pushed my head so that it all but slammed into the tile, bent me over to make it easier for him. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I screamed a ragged, quiet sound that echoed off the ceramic room around me.

 

Jensen blinked awkwardly and looked up, straight into beautiful blue eyes of the nerdy college boy. Those earnest, concerned eyes. They made him uncomfortable. “If you do it right,” he mumbled wryly, “sex doesn’t hurt so bad that I limp.”

            James raised an eyebrow, eyes a little wider, a little more understanding. His fears were confirmed in Jensen’s own way. “I see…” It alarmed him a little, the thought of whatever sexual act that could make him hurt there. He didn’t have to think about it long to figure it out, of course. He wasn’t stupid. Swallowing a lump in his throat, he nodded awkwardly. “All those bruises and stuff…Lars did that to you?”

            For a moment, Jensen wanted to strum his guitar, but his hands were stiff. He didn’t really want it anyway. “Yeah,” he muttered, head hung guiltily.

            “Why?” James demanded, snapping his fingers in front of the other man’s face to collect his severed attention. “Why do you take that shit? Why stay with him?”

            And then, Jensen sighed something haggard and the tiniest evidence to tears welled up in his eyes. What a sight you are, Jenny-boy, that stupid, little douche-bag in his head sniggered. Cry-baby, Jenny. After a while, he decided that he didn’t care what he thought anymore. That sob he’d been holding back since last night snuck up and slithered out as he was biting his lip. “Because…” Was it too cliché to say “I love him”? Yeah, it probably was, and that wasn’t all too true anymore. “because he…he wants me.” He looked away, cradled his guitar, twisted his sore wrist gently and squeezed his eyes shut. “That’s more than you can say about most people.”

            Jay nodded absently. There he was, sitting next to a man he’d just met feeling so obligated to make him feel better. Sadie was so right. He bowed his head and sighed. “Blue.”

            “What?” Jensen asked, tightness still constricting his throat and his sinuses.

            “My favorite color. It’s blue. My middle name is Tristan. I was five years old when I kissed Marleigh Michaels in the basement of my grandma’s house. My two dogs are Harley and Sadie, still alive. And I collected Disney princess stickers until I got into theater in high school.” There was a slight quirk to James’s mouth and he thought he saw something similar on Jensen’s when he stole a glance at the other man. “And honestly? I don’t wanna know about your love affair with your hand…”

            An awkward laugh floated up, bouncing off of the worn body of Jensen’s guitar. Something was a little lighter between them now; it wasn’t much, but James noticed it like a weight off of his shoulders.

             “Hey,” he offered quietly, “wanna go get a cup of coffee with me?”

            When Jensen looked up, wiping his eyes and nose on the back of his sleeve, he smiled lightly and agreed. “I don’t have any money, though.”

            “Don’t worry about that, I’ll take care of it.”

            To Jen, that sounded a bit like a promise of so much more than just the price of coffee. He stared at the other man, wondering if this wasn’t some dream. James looked like a dream prince, a beautiful savior with bright eyes, a brighter smile and too much love and care to know what to do with. This whole situation was dangerous enough to threaten a few limbs and Jensen’s well-being if not James’s. Yet, Jen had no choice but to believe that dimpled grin between the walls of floppy, brown hair. “Yeah… I know you will.”

 

The roasted smell mixed with that of warm mocha and French vanilla as the two sat at the back of the room. Joe’s was one of the smallest, coziest coffee shops in the east coast and one wouldn’t deny that it had the most cliché name ever. No one quite knew if a guy named Joe owned the place at one point or if the title referred to the slang word for coffee—or if it just came about as being “Joe’s.” Many people used to sit and puzzle through it in the relaxed carefree air around them, but these two had a different agenda.

            With a short ceramic cup of hot, black coffee pressed between his hands, Jensen smiled softly, listening to James rattle off a story about his dogs on the Fourth of July. They were getting to know each other very well very quickly, and by the time eight o’clock rolled around, Jensen had a mental list of all of James’s former paramours, hated teachers and boyhood idols.

            “…and then Harley came bounding down the hall, barking and yelping like the world was coming to an end,” James concluded with grin and his lovely, lighthearted laugh.

            Jensen found it so easy to laugh, despite the butterflies in his stomach. Finally, he was talking with this cute guys, not fearing whatever consequences may come. There was time for that later, when reality came crushing through the protective barrier that was James’s goofy smile and large, strong, expressive hands. Pain might rear its ugly head when all of this was over and Lars might be spying on him right now for sweet eye candy that didn’t mind the ogling or flirtatious subtext. Right now, things were all right.

            “So, Jensen,” James clapped his hands together and beamed back on the stool he was sitting on, “What about you? Where’s your family?”

            “Oh, I don’t really know,” Jen explained, willing to add something to the conversation. “My mom’s been on the road for a few years, so we kind of lost contact, and my dad’s probably still in prison.”

            Making a wry face, James sipped his espresso like he was drinking turpentine. He spoke immediately after he swallowed. “No one else? No siblings?”

            “Nah. Had an older brother, but he got himself killed in Iraq.”

            Jay noticed that Jensen barely faltered while saying these things. It was hard for him to imagine not being around his family—or at least in contact with them—but this man didn’t seem to mind it. This was the attitude of a man without a past, without something good to look back on. “You…uh, had a ‘falling out’ with them or something?”

            Then, Jensen rolled his eyes and scoffed. “That’s a nice way to put it,” he commented darkly. “My entire childhood was a ‘falling out.’ I never got along with those people, and they all knew it. When I came out as gay—that was just a fucking excuse to kick me out. Mom was the only one relatively okay with it.” For a moment, he laughed and stared at the table. “They say girls dig queers…”

            “Anyway, we went our separate ways after I graduated high school. The last thing my father gave me was a bus ticket and the advice ‘wear a condom.’ I guess I’m lucky I got that much…Then I met Lars.”

            Abruptly, the mood changed. Both men fell silent, their gazes on the respective cup of joe. Jensen should have known that it was only a matter of time before the guilt set in again. Strangely, it wasn’t so hard to breathe anymore and he didn’t have an imaginary Lars punching holes in the reasoning center of his brain.

            To break the awkward stillness, he took a drink, the bitter liquid burned all the way down. It didn’t help because now James was looking up at him. There was a pity on his face. Jensen wanted to tell him to save it, but he didn’t speak quick enough.

            “You need to document what he does to you,” James stated, rather unexpectedly.

            “What—?”

            “Take pictures of the injuries and such. Keep a journal, one you can hide from him.” James could tell that it wasn’t an attractive venture by the look on Jensen’s face.  “Just trust me, you may not think it’s possible right now, but you’re going to have to get away from him eventually. When the time comes, you may need evidence.”

            “Genius ideas,” Jensen muttered. There was a slightly terrified lift to his eyebrows. “What a great way to get my ass beat. I can’t hide shit from Lars! You saw how hard it is for me to lie to him.”

            The man looked like he was about to get up and run out; James wondered if he hadn’t hit a wrong nerve again. Carefully, but firmly, he put a hand on Jensen’s arm to keep him there. “I know it’s gotta scare the life out of you, but listen to me.” He paused to make sure that he had Jensen’s full attention. “Believe me, I know that it’s going to be hard, but I’ll help. I’ll keep the journal for you, and I’ll take the pictures. All I’m asking is for a little faith."

            Oh god, those eyes… There was no way that Jensen could not look straight into those eyes and believe every word James said. He was transfixed and bewitched and head over heels—or rather, ass over tea kettle is more fitting—starry-eyed about this guy. “Dude,” he began, slightly annoyed yet slightly happy. “You could sell a mirror to a blind man.”

The End

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