You can get gangrene, boy.
Ian objected, “Papa Gilles says it’s not.” He tucked his chin into his chest and muttered, “Besides, I can’t keep it up without it.”
Brick crouched in front of the boy and asked, “How long?” Ian shimmied away, not so much physically but emotionally. An imaginary wall closed around the willowy frame. Brick persisted, “Tell me, son. How long has this been going on?”
“Not long.” Brick pinched his elbow, hard. “Shit, man. That hurts.” The chin jutted out in defiance. “Fuck, let go.” He paused, then gasped, “Two, maybe three years, okay? You happy now?”
The question Brick hadn’t thought to ask earlier tumbled out. “Just how old are you, Ian?” The boy shrugged. Brick tightened the grip. “I… I… I don’t know. Nineteen?” How would the kid not know his age? “What’s with you, man?”
Running his thumb down the length of the boy’s forearm, he checked for track marks and was marginally relieved not to find anything. It didn’t mean the boy was clean. If he was injecting Bimix or one of its clones into his penis, he could also be taking the added risk of shooting up with something even more dangerous.
Defiance turned to insolence. “You should be grateful, old man. You’re the first.” Shedding dewy youth, the boy’s face hardened into tight lines, the mouth pinched with a mixture of disgust and superiority.
Transient thoughts of his becoming a white knight vanished under the glare of eyes too old and too experienced for their own good. Ian pointed to a pile of black leather straps and assorted paraphernalia lying on a small chest. “That’s yours. And you better hurry. They’ll be expecting us soon.”
Bricker’s knees creaked as he stood up. Feeling every semblance of normalcy vanish, all he could think to ask was, “What are you wearing?”
Ian clamped a studded collar around his neck, followed by gauntlets on each wrist. He spun and chirped, “Tah dah!” The drug was having the desired effect. Brick flushed and tried not to look. He failed. The boy was so perfectly proportioned, so exquisitely fey, it was impossible not to gaze on the soft contours masking hard edges that oozed sensuality. A gliding sensation of repulsion and intense desire crawled over Brick’s skin as it prickled in warning.
Ian handed him boxer trunks, black satin with a rose pinstripe running up each side. Brick slipped them on. They fit like basketball game shorts, hanging loose to his knees. He realized, with a grimace, they did little to hide his erection. He doubted he’d have to worry about that for long.
Ian giggled, the high-pitched girlish titter grating on Brick’s nerves. He barked, “What’s so damn funny?” Brick wanted it over, whatever it was.
Ian ignored him and wandered about the small room, touching objects randomly, his eyes once more glassy and unfocused. Brick wondered what else the kid had imbibed. His movement was languid, relaxed to the point of bonelessness. If Brick had to pick out a recreational drug from the lineup, X would be high on his list.
Once more Brick reminded himself that Sainvilien said it was a casting call. What the hell did that mean? Casting for what… and for whom? Ian had taunted him, told him he was the first. The first what? Performer in a private porn show for Sainvilien’s solitary pleasure?
A cold wash of fear settled over his flesh. It wouldn’t be the first time Brick had succumbed to pay for play opportunities on the street, back in the bad old days before his current squeeze had yanked him up by the bootstraps and put the fear of Max Turner into his reckless soul. But at least those had been crude, for your eyes only, quickies. Long before videos hit the airwaves with the speed of promiscuity.
Now Brick was older, if not wiser. He’d gotten a taste of consequences. It’d left a sour residue coating his libido. He glanced down at his erection, wary of making any sudden movements that might set him off and ruin whatever Sainvilien had planned for their evening festivities.
Ian sidled up close and pressed another pill in Brick’s hand. He whispered, “You’ll need this.” Doe eyes stared up at him, guileless and fresh, once more so young and innocent Brick quailed at the thought of what was coming. What the hell? How does he do that?
He took the pill and fisted it tight, hissing, “I’m the first what, boy?”
Ignoring him, Ian hissed, “It’s time,” and darted into the murky hallway. Brick followed, then halted, his right palm braced against the door jamb to ward off a wash of profound disorientation. Whatever it was—the residual crap in his system, a panic attack, or outright fear—didn’t much matter. What did matter was him not fulfilling the Haitian’s expectations. There were costs to that kind of disappointment he wasn’t willing to entertain, even if it meant tapping into his bad old ways.
Sainvilien hadn’t been an unknown quantity. Brick knew the man’s reputation, his kink and his hair-trigger temper. Whether or not hearsay had been exaggerated was hardly the point. As outrageous as all the rumors sounded, the fact remained, there were unsubstantiated eye witness accounts and collateral damage floating around. It hardly mattered that no one could pin anything concrete on the well-groomed mob boss.
Bottom line, there were no excuses he could dredge up to explain his bad decision.
He’d gotten in the limo of his own accord. He’d listened attentively to Sainvilien as the thinly veiled offer had been extended. And he’d reacted to Ian in such a way it left no doubt in either his or the Haitian’s mind what he was prepared to do to possess that beautiful creature for as long as the sadist allowed.
Taking a tentative step forward, Brick approached the flickering light, using the palm of his hand against the wall to steady his steps. Vertigo threatened to upend his resolve to get through this. Do it, whatever it was, take a bow and get the hell out of Dodge, even if that meant crawling on his hands and knees all the way back to Max’s condo.
Titters and shuffling greeted his ears, the sound brilliantly crisp and amplified unnaturally in the largely empty space. Following the weak illumination, Brick staggered to his right, following the light’s contours as they beckoned him away from the cozy confines of Sainvilien’s viewing area. Clutched in his left fist, the pill tickled at his resolve.
Red pill. Blue pill. Which one was the color of regret?
Papa Gilles had already stacked the deck, laying out the offering on cold steel cushioned with temptation, the silken fabric draped with a cunning fashion sense. The folds fell in waveforms, apricot to salmon to peach, gentling the senses, and accenting the creamy smooth flesh on rounded globes dimpling at the join with slender thighs.
Ian quivered. The air above his ripe flesh shivered with anticipation. Brick’s skin crawled as he fisted and unfisted the first of his challenges. The pill rolled from fingertip-to-fingertip, allowing him the illusion of control.
First, he was the first… But of what? And why?
The agony of denial wreaked havoc with his breathing, puffs sucked in sharp, held for an eternity, then released into the wild to dissipate on a sough of lust. It was all he heard, felt, desired. This breath, then that, and perhaps another. Keeping the rhythm even as he paced around the table, assessing his prize.
The current of his passing set the satiny waves in motion, a sussuration of flutters pleasantly obscene and suggestive of other movements. Other times. Good times, bad times. Bad times that were better than all the good, when whoring meant survival, and survival came at little cost other than opening himself to the a capella of lust and satiation.
The boy watched him, his lips curled into a come-hither pout, a poseur promising heaven. It was too obvious, too wrong. Brick knew a trap when he saw it. He opened his palm, held it out, the choice cradled amid deeply etched lines and rough calluses. The boy’s eyes grew dark with understanding.
Ian slipped off the table, sending a cascade of silk to waft to the floor and puddle at his heels. Brick’s hand shook as the boy’s tongue peaked from sensuous lips. He drew close… close enough to share sweat and the ripe scent of musk. Ian leaned down, his lips and tongue cupping the offering nestled in moist heat, teasing at the capsule and swallowing softly.
When Ian took a half step back, Brick clutched the boy’s slender throat with both hands, his thumbs stroking a hot channel either side of the Adam’s apple as Ian gagged and stiffened at the threat. Brick hesitated, keeping his thumbs pressed against the hard knot. With a small smile, Ian acknowledged the subterfuge and moved into the circle of Brick’s desire, mouth and tongue in a fierce entreaty for possession.
Brick felt rather than heard rustling as bodies shifted position. Again, a soft snicker belied the presence of others watching from the security of darkness, asking did he or didn’t he?
Overhead bulbs flared and dimmed in a staccato pattern before settling on a spot further from the offending sounds of randy intruders observing behind a wall of obscurity. White noise blurred their presence, the sound so fragile he strained to hear it, pocketing an imaginary melody to fondle later, after the taste of Ian filtered from his consciousness.
He’d noticed the chair when Sainvilien had brought him into the basement, the construction a simple wooden ladderback design. The seat had once been cane, now it was empty, ready to be filled by a pert young ass.
Brick wavered, realizing his mistake. He’d shared spit and the fullness of Ian lips taunting his tongue. He’d swallowed, as had Ian. He murmured, “Fuck me,” and Ian nodded agreement.
Ian whispered, “Don’t let me come,” with come come come come… echoing eerily, a tinnitus of warning and entreaty.
Warily, Brick stepped behind the young man and wrapped his arms around him as if to steady the wavering frail body. Beseeching the kid, he once more whispered, “Tell me what I’m supposed to do, son, otherwise neither of us is getting out of here in one piece.”
“S’easy, man…” Boneless, Ian sagged against Brick’s chest. “First time… always is…”
Hissing, “First what? Dammit… what the hell is going on?” Brick eased the boy away from the obscene chair with the missing seat as soft murmurings swept the dark space opposite their stage. When they were close enough to the stainless steel table, he maneuvered the limp body onto the flat surface and settled Ian face down, arms hanging akimbo toward the floor. The kid was floating, high on whatever cocktail of drugs he’d imbibed.
That thought was a kick in the gut for Brick, who remembered all too well the imposition of reverence and false acceptance when awareness and desire parted ways. He’d done his twelve steps and more, succoring the ache of want and need warring in his body. He saw the look on Ian’s beautiful face, the same one he’d have worn so many years ago… sometimes still did.
Bliss and a total, utter harmony of anticipation of and acquiescence to the slut still lurking alive and well just at the edge of intrusion, butting heads with the buy-ins and a string of empty promises to toe the line.
There was more than one way to edge past denial, sliding sideways into the tight fit of decadence.
Mouthing, “Please, Ian…” Brick twined his fingers in the boy’s tousled curls, twisting until Ian faced him.
Husking, “Not you, old man,” Ian grinned wickedly. “My first.” He braced his elbows, lifting his torso effortlessly, like a dancer. With impossible grace, the young man pivoted with weightless ease, settling sylph-like on narrow, bare feet to face Brick once again.
Brick gulped back a rising tide of bile. It wasn’t possible the kid was a virgin, was it? His expression must have communicated his dismay as Ian preened, nodding and pirouetting in a small circle, chanting, “Me, mine, all for me, just to see…”
Brick grabbed the boy by the shoulders and shook him so violently the kid yelped, whimpering, “Papa won’t hurt me…” Ian’s lips pooched, voicing the lie with practiced ease, though Brick detected a hint of fear in the artifice.
“Jesus fucking…” Brick released the boy and staggered backwards, frustrated at being played over and over again.
Ian followed, his eyes tearing as he rushed to explain, “It’s just a game.”
Not buying it, but still letting curiosity be his guide, Brick snarled, “What kind of game?” though he had a sinking feeling he knew.
Ian confirmed when he said, “They place bets. All kinds. By computer.”
“Bets. You mean arbitrage? He’s fucking running a scalping operation?”
Ian shrugged. Brick let it go. It was unlikely the kid even knew what the term meant, let alone how it played out on such an intimate stage. It was a high risk, low return venture and only worked when mega sums of money were on the line for all possible, mutually exclusive outcomes. In the new digital age, it was all too easy to run and difficult to manage because bookies kept an eye on the market makers and made sure they aligned their odds accordingly.
Arbitrage worked fine for sports events where short term trading—scalping—led to investing in future bets that often yielded exponential growth and rewards. But this, whatever this was, didn’t fit the profile… did it?
Brick didn’t want to think about who was involved. Even worse, the possibilities for what they were betting on was enough to turn his gut inside out. Any manner of perversion, any level of domination or pain or humiliation, nothing was off the table… nothing.
Tilting Ian’s chin up, he thumbed away the streaks of mascara and husked, “What’s going on, Ian. Tell me, otherwise we’re both gonna be in big trouble.”
A haze of panic flitted in a listless, watery blur across the boy’s eyes, the pupils blown to an ebon core, the windows to his soul smeared with the oily filth of entrapment. Brick pinched Ian’s elbow, hard enough the boy grunted with pain.
Jaw tightening, Ian hissed, “Fuuuck,” as the angelic mask soughed away and he stepped into Brick’s space.
Two hands gripped Brick’s jaw, tilting it down… down toward soft, warm breath and an eager tongue… down into temptation and the promise of sweet, virginal surrender. Brick shivered, tried to withdraw, but curiosity and a sensation of having nothing to lose, having no one but himself to answer to, rooted him in place. Brick leaned into the man-child with regret and acceptance, opening to coercion and desire, swallowing the acrid burn of shared sin.
A pill tilted and rolled to the back of his throat as Ian fucked his mouth so sweetly he lost sense of who he was.
The thought, You little fucker, you tricked me, was replaced with Why am I here? What does Sainvilien want with me? With us?
There was only one way to find out.
Brick swallowed the pill and hissed, “Tell me, dammit, before…”
Ian purred, “Don’t you get it, old man? It’s already too late.”