He's just too much. I don't know why I even bother…
I cut someone's finger off tonight. Not really in accordance with the hypocritical oath, I know… And you know I had nothing to do with this, shouldn't have had anything to do with this, stupid charade, in the first place. I mean really, let's be brutally honest about this, what do I care if Avery's sis got kidnapped, I mean really. Yeah, it's too bad, a fucking tragedy really, truly, I feel bad for the guy, but is it my problem? Do I even like this girl? Better yet, did anyone even ask me if I wanted to partake in this sociopathic little rescue mission from Hell and in doing so put my own life and career and everything I care about on the line? I don't think so. As always, they just assume I'll go along with it. After all, I always do.
I didn't cut just anyone's finger off tonight. I cut off the finger of one Charlie Bartolucci, the mob king himself, oh yeah, nothing like a nine-fingered mobster to rain on your parade. We're all fucked. That's the only fucking thing that is true and makes sense since this whole thing started. Each and every one of us, we're all royally fucked, and not in the fun way either. Especially me, and I'm not being melodramatic, because if the mob doesn't kill me off, I know my dad will, sooner rather than later if he should find out about tonight, and if he doesn't there's still the fact that I'm a good-for-nothing, queer, junkie who'll never be the star surgeon he wants me to be. Disappointments all around, in other words.
Honestly, when was the last time I thought for myself? Fuck I'm pathetic. The shit he gets me to do… This is not healthy. I mean, fuck, I cut someone's fucking finger off. Obviously not my idea. But, like with everything else in my sad excuse for a life, if he asks me, I'll do it. And do I get even a "thanks" in return? Oh, no. No, no, not in a million years. So why do I keep doing what he asks me?
Rhetorical question. But thank you for playing. Fuck.
Of course, I know why. Deep down, in the untouched, dark corners of my twisted sub-conscious, lies the answer to why I keep tailing him like a love-sick puppy and jumping to the chance of pleasing him. Right there. Just littering the ground and taunting me whenever I should catch an accidental glimpse of it. Mostly though I just ignore it, because I don't like what it's telling me, but I know it. I think it's safe to say that Max hit the nail on the head when he called me "whipped", although "pussy" obviously has nothing to do with it…
Brett. That's what it all boils down to, doesn't it. This person. This so called friend. And my unhealthy affection towards him, now bordering on obsession, or addiction. Well, go figure. Junkie in every sense of the word, T.K. congratulations… It'd be nice though if just once he showed some sort of appreciation for everything I do for him. He doesn't have to shower me with affection and gratitude, but some kind of sign that he knows to what lengths I go to please him and that he is remotely thankful, would be nice. Especially tonight of all nights. I mean, I think I exceeded myself with this one. But no… he's just as smug and annoying and condescending as usual. More so, even. Teasing me in front of the others. Staring at me in that unnerving way of his that he knows gets under my skin. And then that thing with the beeper, making me agree to it being an accessory to this kidnapping by using my own lies against me, throwing these empty threats around about this made-up girlfriend knowing full well I won't blow the smoke screen, because it isn't put in place for me, but for him, because he's the one who doesn't want to this, whatever this is, between us to come out!
And then, to top it all, instead of backing me up when the others were so eager to soak Mr. Coleone in booze, never mind the fact that he's in no position to be drinking and no matter if he fucking bleeds to death, he completely undermined me, so not only did I become Mr. Bad Guy, but also Mother Hen of the group Who thinks he's a Doctor like his Daddy. Obviously I'm the only one who gives a shit if this mobster lives or dies. We're so fucking screwed… Fuck.
I just need some release. I just need this fix, just so I can think straight. I need to hold myself together, it's just one night, I just need to get through this one night and then I can forget all about Avery and his stupid sister, the mob and Ira and his parents antiques and liquor, and Brett, I can forget about Brett, he can go and fuck himself, I'm not going to talk to him or any of the others ever again, that is, if we even survive this… okay… okay, calm down, that's it… just one night, I'll be fine, just have to keep it together for one night…
Shit. Why won't he ever just leave me alone? Haven't you done enough damage for one night, you bastard, just leave me be… of course this whole charade would be his idea, it's always his idea, and I always go along with it. I'm so pathetic. Really.
"Hey… T.K… let me in, will you?"
Oh, I get it. Soft voice. Soothing, pleading, and oh so manipulative, all at once. I wonder if he knows I can see through it? No, he can't. No way he could ever respect me if he knew I could see through his bullshit and still let him boss me around… but then again, it's not like he really does respect me.
"What is it, Brett?"
"Open up… please."
When could I ever say No to you, Brett, darling. Pathetic. I reach for the lock and turn it. He opens the door. Stays on the other side of the threshold. A sign of respect of my boundaries and personal space. All an illusion, of course. But that's so him. He's leaning against the doorframe. All self-restraint and control. Calculating eyes.
And here I am. All a mess. As usual. He knows what I've been doing in here of course, I don't even try to hide it anymore.
"I'm fine, Brett. What do you want?"
Grasping for the frilly edges of my torn up dignity. Also an illusion, of course.
"Liar", he whispers, because that's what he does, unlike the others who turn a blind eye or make a joke, he calls me on it.
"What do you want", I repeat, I don't want to play his games, not right now, I'm still pissed off at him for not standing up for me earlier, for not being grateful that I'm helping, that I'm here, for not fucking loving me, essentially.
He doesn't really step through the door. It's more like the doorframe makes way for him and glides back and then he's there, inside, and in front of me, crouching down, all doe eyes full of concern and calculation. He's crouched down in front of me, to make himself eye level with me. This is how you speak to children. I hate him right now. Almost as much as I hate myself.
"Hey…" he says. Just that.
I speak to the doorway behind him, or rather, I croak. My voice is all sand papery and brittle. It doesn't break per se, it just splinters a bit.
That's when he touches me.
A feathery brush of fingers against the side of my face. His skin is rough, almost leathery, but I'm so numb right now I barely feel it, I see the movement, I know it, and there's a slight sensation, a slight change in temperature maybe, or maybe I'm projecting, maybe my brain is making the connection with an old memory and telling me what I should be feeling right now if I weren't so doped up. Sense memory, that's it.
He's still swimming in and out of focus. But I know his jaw is set and his gaze is hard, focused, there. Like the doorway, my eyes make way for his, my lashes do this fluttery thing, out of my control, it just happens and then he's there, inside of me and not at the same time, just watching my thoughts. Hey, he says, or maybe that's a memory. I think he's still touching me, I know he is, I just don't feel it, so maybe it shouldn't count.
And then his arms are around me. As though holding me up even though I wasn't falling.
My brain tells me he's speaking. Soft, whispery words, they worm into the mess that is my hair, just above my ear and are lost. I don't exactly hear his voice. But I know he's talking, whispering. Sense memory, yeah. I wish I knew which words he chooses at times like this, what sentences he decides to build to hold me up and reassure me. His arms are strong. His voice isn't. I know this even though I can't hear it. I just know.
I drift off somewhere and then I come back, it hasn't been long at all, a moment, maybe two, the shadows fly off of us again like waves rushes from the shore and back out to sea. Things regain their outlines. I regain my hearing, I feel his breath on my skin, my neck, the pressure of his grip, the shaking in his body, slight tremours, barely there, but I feel them. The hitch in his voice. The words, "I can't do this…" and "Gotta stop… to me… yourself, for fuck's sake!"
"Hey", I say.
He tenses up briefly. And then I feel him compose himself again. He squeezes me one last time then lets go of me. Sits back and turns away from me. He's hiding his face. I wonder if he's been crying. Sometimes I wish I could be here for these moments, these raw, honest moments when he opens up like this. I seem to miss it every time. He wipes his face quickly then turns back. All control and cool eyes again. Lips a thin line.
"You back?" he says.
"Never been better…"
He nods. Brushes imaginary dust from his legs as he stands. I've missed something. I feel cold inside. Wait.
He tenses up immediately. I find myself holding onto his wrist. He gazes at me. Eyes hard, and cold, and calculating. He's trying to work out my next move. Like a frightened animal. I relax my lips, let my mouth fall half open, as though I have an explanation except I don't. I don't do this. We, don't do this. This is not a part of our game at all. But then I never really liked to play.
"What are you doing?" he says, I wonder if he's genuinely afraid of me or just wary.
"Wait… Don't go yet."
"Come on, sit… please."
He sighs and sits back down. He's not looking at me anymore. He's bothered. He wrenches his arms free of my grasp. I don't hold on. I don't look away. He squirms.
This is us. Only we've never been like this before. This close without fucking or one of us, that would be me, away in lala-land as the drugs take effect. I can't remember a time when we were just friends and could just sit in a room just the two of us and share our thoughts and feelings and secrets. Logically I know that time existed and it wasn't that long ago, but I can't remember what it was like. What did we talk about, how close did we sit, did we lock eyes, or touch sometimes, did we laugh together, did we look at each other and smile that kind of secret smile between best friends, between lovers-to-be? I know we must have, all friends do, but I don't remember anymore. I don't remember what his touch felt like before it became deliberate and had a purpose. I don't remember what his eyes looked like before they were laden with hidden intent.
"We should get back to the others."
"Relax. Max has it under control."
"I seriously doubt that. Let's go…"
"What?" he exclaims, a bit too loudly. He looks me straight in the eye then, but only for a second, then he repeats it, softer, more controlled. "What…"
"Please. I don't know. Just, sit here with me, just for a while, before we go back, just for a while… please…"
"I thought you said you were okay…" he mutters.
"I'm never okay, you know that."
"Yeah. But relatively."
"I'm here, aren't I?"
He doesn't flinch exactly when I reach for his wrist again. But he doesn't exactly intertwine our fingers together either. He more so lets his entire arm go limp in my grasp. Compliant. Like a kitten grabbed in the neck.
I hold his hand in both of mine. I feel his pulse against my palm. Insistent little taps. And I feel his eyes on me. Feel him watching my face, trying to work out my next move as I study his hand. When he can't, he says, "What are you doing, T.K?"
I shake my head, because I really don't know. I don't know what I'm doing. I cut a guy's finger off tonight. And I did it for him. Why did I do that? I don't know. I really don't.
He doesn't flinch exactly when I look up and our eyes meet. But he doesn't exactly flutter his lashes and smile at me either. He squints and stares me down, like a puzzle. I swallow past the lump in my throat and shake my head again.
"T.K. are you breaking up with me?" he says, whispers almost.
"I didn't know we were together", I say.
"Whatever. Are you?"
"No… I don't know… are we together?"
"Do you want us to be?"
"What kind of a dumb question is that. Of course I do. Probably shouldn't, but I do, more than anything… Brett… I think I'm addicted to you."
He pulls his hand away from me then and chuckles. I feel cold inside. My hands are cold as well. I stare at them. He moves into my peripheral again. His leg brushes mine. He's touching me. I can feel his fingers on my this time, if barely, and he pushes them into my hair, massages my scalp, tilts my head. His lips are on mine. Dry. Pressed together. Sort of tingly.
I pull away and lick my own lips. And then he's there. Inside of me. And it's electric for a moment. And then he's laughing again, right into my mouth, and it tickles and I wonder if I should be affronted but I can't bring myself to be and I find myself smiling.
"My little junkie…" he whispers against the side of my mouth. "All mine…"
He laughs again. I kiss him. I swallow the sound. It's like a vibration that travels down my throat. And he's clutching at my shoulders, like he's holding me up even though I'm not falling.
We pull apart for air. His eyes are slightly hooded and there's a seriousness in his eyes that wasn't there before. And a fog. He bites his lower lip and lets go of me. Sits back. Far enough back so we're not touching anymore. And he watches me.
"Fuck it, man. Would you stop trying to solve me?" I say.
"I don't think I can…"
"There's no mystery, man. I'm just a regular fuck-up. And I'm crazy about you. And I don't want you analyzing me until you can't stand the sight of me anymore."
"That's not going to happen", he says immediately, like he's sure, like he's already considered that possibility before.
He doesn't comment on me calling myself a fuck-up or declaring my feelings for him. So obviously I don't say anything else. Not that there's much more I could say to make this any more embarrassing for myself.
"Want to go back to the others now?" he says after a while.
I nod and get to my feet. He lingers in the doorway so I brush past him. That's when he grabs my wrist and pulls me in, close, right up against him, and burrows his nose into the hair next to my ear and whispers right into me, "Whatever happens, you're mine… always were…"
What do you say to that? I swallowed twice but couldn't think of anything. So I just nodded. Then he smiled against the side of my face, I couldn't see it, but I felt it, and he nodded too, his nose bobbing up and down in my hair, brushing my scalp, and he squeezed my wrist, brushed his thumb over the soft skin on the inside of my arm, up and down, once, twice, then he let me go.
I stepped away, looked back. He stared at me. In that unnerving way of his that always gets under my skin. I wanted to smile, but he wasn't anymore so I didn't. There was a seriousness in his face now. Like he was waiting for something…
"Seriously… stop it. I'm not a puzzle."
"You are to me."
"And what happens when you solve it?"
"I don't think I will cause it keeps changing…"
"No. There's nothing to me. I have no thoughts of my own. No dreams, no interests other than you, I'm blank…"
I didn't realize I was crying until he's in my face again, wiping tears off my cheeks with his thumbs. He doesn't say anything else. He doesn't contradict me. He just stares into my eyes with concern and maybe love and determination. And he kisses me one last time. And that's enough for me. Fuck, I cut someone's finger off for less. If he asks me to kill for him tonight, I know I won't think twice.