This gave me a headache. That was strangely enough gone when I finished.
Many Thanks to stir_of_echoes for the quick beta. I do love you Jules. Even if I made you cry. Damn. Made myself cry.
Beauty in the Breakdown
Another Not For Profit Venture By Snow
Senior Year ~
Another Not For Profit Venture By Snow
Warning! Drug/Slash/Alcohol Abuse/Character Death/Angst
Driving home from football practice, leaves crunching under the weight of car tires, cool air rushing in through his window and drying the sweat on his skin and in his hair. His leather jacket slung carelessly over the seat, a cigarette hanging from his lips, reminded Dave of why he liked this time of year more than any other. The faint hush that seemed to fall over the town as schools started up again, the trees turned rusted oranges, reds and yellows, the blend of color that always reminded him of the bumper of an old rusted out Chevy. Parties at the lake became a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon activity, bonfires and whiskey, Mad Dog 2020 and peppermint schnapps, instead of swimming and beer, fireworks and skinny dipping. ‘Course when Kelly was around there was always something getting blown up. The smell of sulfur followed that boy like cologne.
It was the discipline of daily practices, getting his head back into calling plays and leading the team. Sifting through the promising freshmen and sophomores, hazing, initiations and the riotous, joyous games. Being out on the field in the cool night air, the stands packed, bugs flying in the bright lights, sweat running down his face. Cheers and cowbells, air horns making his heart beat faster. Football was not a religion with Dave, but the season was the only time that he felt sane. The only thing that made any sense.
He spent his days in the small, stuffy classrooms, creating plays and strategies in a worn, faded notebook. Ignoring everything around him as he sat scratching x’s and o’s, arrows and initials. Someone in each class designated to break his concentration at the bell he never heard.
This was his last year. His Senior year. Scouts coming to home games to watch him. Although State was a guarantee, Dave liked dreaming of the idea of one of the big schools. The thought of proving himself, playing with the big boys. Get the fuck out of this town. Forever.
But his Dad kept making noises about wanting to retire in five or six years. And clapping Dave on the back, telling him how proud he was of him, how much his returning to take care of the business, take care of him and his Mom meant to him. Like it was a done deal. And, Dave thought, it probably was. He’d always gone with the flow of things, always done what was expected of him. The big jock, the game hero. Dated all the right girls, brought them corsages, was polite to their parents, and gave their daughters considerate little orgasms after whispering just the appropriate words. Mowed the lawn without being told, took the trash out after dinner, ate with his mouth closed. He drifted through his days in a haze and the only damn time he truly felt alive was when he was being fucked over the hood of his car by the meanest kid in town. Sweat rolling out of his dark hair and down his chest, making the metal against him slippery and cool. Jimmy leaving perfect red fingerprints on his shoulders and neck, bruised lips that tasted of crystal meth and pot, cigarettes and alcohol for hours afterwards.
It hadn’t always been this way.
Chris used to be there for him. Used to catch everything he threw. Used to kiss him like every time was the first. Now he was Deputy Sheriff Kane. But back then, back when Dave was the peach fuzz faced kid just starting out and Chris was just about ready to leave, to move on. Back then, things were different.
In Dave’s first year of high school, Chris was a junior and Dave was the second string quarterback and even then, no one bullied him, he’d been taller than even the oldest Senior by then. Stronger, faster, and everyone knew it but him. Everyone saw the potential but him. He was a natural, the coach said. He has a gift, his Dad said. He’ll put our school on the map, the principal said. And Dave would bend his neck when they said that, keep his eyes on the ground and pray that he never dropped the ball. Never got sacked. Never called the wrong play. Because he didn’t think he was that good. Didn’t think he was that special and he knew he couldn’t take the disappointment when everyone found out the truth.
By his sophomore year he was the starting quarterback. The only quarterback, and Chris was the team Captain. Dave was making record passes and running up the scores, beating teams that their school had never won against until now. And all he wanted, all he lived for, was the time after the game, in the locker room, when everyone had gone but them. Water dripping on the tiles from the shower heads, steam still hanging in the air and Chris kneeling on wet towels at his feet, Dave’s cock deep in his mouth, his hands tangled in Chris’ curling dark hair. His low scratchy voice breathing Dave’s name over and over as Dave fucked him on a bench, the sharp taste of Ivory soap as he bit Chris’ back, Chris’ hands scratching at the damp floor for purchase, for hold. Curses and cries and come spilling out of them and then soft, sloppy kisses that were nothing like kissing the girls, their tongues fighting for dominance, for space. Lips chafed and dry from unshaven jaws, callused hands pulling at clothes and reaching for skin.
Then Chris graduated and went to the Academy. Came back and never spoke to Dave again. Not a nod in his direction, not a wave as they passed, Mustang and cop car. Dave drove the town with abandon, speeding through school zones, blowing off stop signs and signals, all with an open bottle of beer between his legs and was never once pulled over. Never acknowledged.
Dave thought about the various colleges and universities that wanted him, that were constantly wooing him with promises of cars and money, women and drugs, grades and degrees. He wished he had someone he could talk to, someone that would just listen to him without prejudice or motives, and great, grand ideas for his future. But right now all he wanted was to get stoned, drink the Jack Daniel’s in the paper bag that sat in his passenger seat, and let the ache in his legs and arms and lower back fade away.
He drove out to the lake and into the empty campground, not taking the trail out to the kid’s party area. Not wanting to share his stash, not wanting to see anyone at all. Because there wasn’t a single person Dave could think of that understood him, would never understand.
Dave parked the ‘stang, its nose pointed towards the lake, climbed out and eased himself up on to the hood, his broad back rested against the windshield. Long legs stretched out in front him, his jacket rolled up behind him acting as a cushion for his head. The sky turned soft purple as he drank half the Jack and smoked all his weed. Ducks came in for landing, taking a respite from their southerly journey and Dave let the lapping of the water and the drug numb him and the alcohol slow his thoughts until he was sleeping . . .
. . . a game clock ticking in his dream. The opposing team larger than life and where were his defensemen? His linebackers? His friends? He stood alone on the field, huge and angry men rushing at him, getting bigger by the minute. There was no one to throw to, his hands clutching the pigskin, turning it in his fingers, feeling for the perfect fit, trying to find a receiver, someone, anyone . . . until all his mind’s eye could see were red jersey’s filling his view. All he could hear were growls and grunts of exertion and exhalations of pain.
He woke with a start, opened his eyes to stare up at the moonless sky, the distant stars magnified the silence broken only by the crickets singing quietly all around him.
Dave sat up slowly, his muscles stiff and sore. He rubbed a hand through his hair and shook his head, tried to shake loose the last of his nightmare. A hard slap and a low groan, the sounds from his dream came out of the dark. Dave slid off the hood and moved towards it.
“Open for me bitch.”
“Stick that in my mouth and you’ll wish you were dead.”
Dave stepped ‘round the brush, a sick feeling in his gut as he recognized both voices, both knowing what he was about to walk in on and dreading what he was about see.
Deputy Sheriff Kane. Jimmy. Handcuffs and blood.
The soft white starlight leeched the color from their faces as they glared at each other. Jimmy on his knees, a cut above his eyebrow, bruises on his face, wrists restrained behind his back. Chris standing over him, his hand on the butt of his non-police issue gun, blood on his knuckles. Dave watched as he drew it out of the holster. Watched as he put the business end against Jimmy’s close shaven head. Chris’ other hand slowly stroking his cock through the front of his unzipped uniform pants.
“You can take care of this, boy. Or you can die. Your choice.”
Jimmy’s eyes flashed in the dim light.
“Go ahead and an kill me. Shoot me. Do it.” His voice a hiss in the night. “But if you put that pinky in my mouth they’ll be calling you Chrissy, cause I’ll chew the fucker off and decorate your nice shiny boots with what’s left.”
Dave didn’t think, couldn’t breathe, didn’t consider his actions, or weigh up the alternatives. There wasn’t any, not really, he did the only thing he could. Just walked out of the shadows, and strode towards them both. Put his hand firmly over Chris’ and eased the cocked gun back and away from Jimmy’s head.
“Let it go.” Amazed that his words came out strong and low and didn’t reflect the shaking inside. He took the cuff key from Chris’ belt and pulled Jimmy up to his feet, unlocked the metal, freed his hands. Dave could feel the pounding current as he stood between them, their stares locked. Dave put his palm flat on Jimmy’s chest, a gentle push backwards.
Then those hard blue eyes were on him, cutting into his skull. Dave liked to imagine that they softened just a bit, insane rage dampened to livid anger. Then they flicked back to Chris and Jimmy spat once, pink foam landing on one of Chris’ shiny black boots. He wiped the back of his hand at the blood that dripped from his mouth, then turned and disappeared into the trees, brush bending and straightening as he left. Dave looked back to Chris, questions on his lips, but not a single one would come out.
“Fuck.” Chris said and holstered his gun. He ducked his chin, avoided Dave’s face, zipped up his pants and started moving towards his police car.
“Kane.” Dave finally spoke as Chris reached his door and Chris stopped, but he didn’t look back. “Got some JD. Need a drink?”
Dave watched Chris’ shoulders straighten, his dark head lift. Then he heard the soft sigh and saw the slump return. They walked back to Dave’s car, the hard dirt dusting up under their boots. Dave pulled the bottle out of the bag, handed it to Chris. Watched his lips pull back from his teeth as he grimaced with the first swallow. Watched his eyes flit back and forth, noticed how they appeared to twitch, then close, to avoid looking back. They shared the bottle in silence, and Dave thought that words would’ve been nice. But he couldn’t think of anything to say and Chris was not speaking at all.
The night acquired that soft focus again, clarity lost. An owl called from the trees above and they drank and smoked in silence, leaning on Dave’s car. The bottle emptying quickly between them. Chris took the last drink, held it by the long neck and threw it deep into the darkness. They both listened to the splash as it hit the surface of the lake.
Before he could turn away, Dave’s huge hands were on his neck, pulled Chris into his arms, into his chest. Filled his mouth with his tongue. Chris tried to push back, get away, hard fists on solid shoulders. Dave did not budge an inch and finally Chris gave in, melted against him, blunt fingernails scratched on Dave’s skin. Dave’s mouth moved to Chris’ cheeks, his chin, down his neck. Kissing and tasting, his mind flooded with memories. Yes, this was whiskey smoke, older, better, stronger in his mouth, just as intoxicating as it had been before. Dave’s hand moved downward, and he listened to soft moans that were breathed against his cheek as he pressed his palm against Chris’ groin. Covered his erection through khaki’s that couldn’t hide its heat.
“Missed you. So much. So long.” Dave growled in Chris’ ear, pressing him back against the car with his entire body.
“I know. I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Chris gasped as Dave unzipped his pants, pulled his cock out, stroked it with one hand, reached in behind to touch his balls, curl his fingers around them. The other arm still holding Chris, crushing him. Dave felt wet tracks when he moved his mouth back to Chris’ face, licked his lips, tasted salt.
“Why.” He whispered, pulled back an inch to look into Chris’ eyes. Chris shook his head, quick, tight movements.
“Not now.” He slid a hand down from Dave’s shoulders, fingered the hard cock through his jeans. “This is now.”
Dave curled one side of his mouth up and stepped back from Chris, opened the passenger door of his car.
“Throw all that shit in the back.”
Chris held his stare as he released his gun holster and belt, dropped it over the back of the front seat. Unbuckled his pants, let them fall to his ankles and Dave was pushing him down, the black leather cold against his skin. Then Chris’ hands were on Dave’s thighs, pulling him close. He buried his face in Dave’s crotch, his breath burning hot through the denim. Dave’s fingers went white on the roof of his car as Chris unbuttoned his jeans. He felt the moist night air for just a second, then the wet heat of Chris’ mouth eating him alive, tongue and teeth, lips tightening, sucking hard all the way down to the root. The stars reflected in Dave’s eyes, his head thrown back to the sky as Chris worked him up so fast, he couldn’t stop himself from thrusting forward and coming in that mouth to save his life. Dropped his chin to his chest and watched Chris pulling at his own cock, coming into his fist just as Dave finished. Dave rolled over to lean back on the car, tucked his wet cock back into his jeans and buttoned them closed. Chris pulled his pants up, buckling the belt last, looked up at Dave, the only solid, nonmoving thing in his view. Dave kept his eyes closed, but he reached out and pulled Chris against him again, this time softer.
Chris remembered what it was like to be held by those arms, against that chest, concrete encased in silk. He could see bruises that had blossomed against the white on the underside of his wrists and forearms from hard practices and vicious games. Games where Dave was the rabbit to the hounds. The prey. The target. Just as he had been for three years running. Dave was beautiful in Chris’ eyes, always had been. His slow grin and wide smile. Thoughtful brown eyes that, Chris knew, did not ever miss a trick, and a warm, smooth voice that would keep all your secrets.
Dave hid behind the veneer of dumb jock, the label of ‘sport’, but Chris knew that there was so much more to him. He knew it and it scared the shit out of him. Because there was nothing there meant for him. This boy had a future. He was destined for so much more than this town could offer, but he knew that Dave had to get over his dogged sense of loyalty. His desire, his wanting, needing to belong to something, to someone, before he would ever be able to achieve anything. And all Chris had ever needed or wanted was here, in these arms, against this chest, listening to this strong, slow heartbeat in his ears.
It hadn’t mattered to him until he’d gone to the Academy, been away from the town for eight months. Seen what was really out there in the world. Missed Dave like an itch you can’t reach to scratch, a drug that lets you sleep at night. Returned knowing that he could not be the one to hold Dave back. He would not be one of the ties that kept him here. So he cut Dave, refused to see him, let him drive past going eighty in a twenty, smoking weed and drinking beer and bashing mail boxes with a baseball bat. Pretended that he didn’t miss the taste of him, the feel of him inside. The kisses that made his knees weak with passion and instead, let all the pain, all the need he denied himself out on the other kids. The ones he felt nothing for, the ones that would be here, in this town, with Chris, forever.
“Wanna come home with you.” Dave whispered in Chris’ thick, soft hair. “Wanna go to sleep beside you and wake up with you in the morning.”
Chris pulled himself away, out of Dave’s arms. Shook his head, bit his tongue hard.
“No. You don’t belong here … with me.” Chris spoke the words, trying so hard to hold back his own pain that he failed to see the hurt in Dave’s eyes. Didn’t see the tears glisten in the moonlight. “Go home, Dave. Go home. Go to school. Go to college. Get a real life. Get the fuck out of this place and never, ever look back.”
Chris grabbed his gun belt out off the back of the seat and walked away from Dave. Left him standing beside his car, in the dark, alone.
Dave felt winter pass in a blur of days, weeks and months, while he was swept along with it, caught in the fast lane of a world in constant motion. The season was over, new trophies decorated the display case at the high school. Gold and shiny and somehow important to everyone here. They retired his jersey and number at a ceremony in the school gym where his parents cried in front of the gathered town and Dave made a halting, stumbling speech that he didn’t remember the next day.
He had a month left to make his college decision. His father thought he’d already signed with State. Dave did not tell him different. Just kept his mouth shut and went to school, passing through the hours like a corpse that moved, forgetting how to smile, how to laugh. How to feel anything but the emptiness inside of him.
He started searching out Jimmy, instead of letting himself be found. He’d drive out to the trailer park two or three times a week, tires skidding on the dirt roads. Wait outside the preacher’s house, engine idling, drinking straight out of the bottle he’d brought. Sometimes Jimmy would come out. Sometimes he didn’t. When he did, Dave took everything Jimmy gave him and asked for more, liked it best when Jimmy was stretched out on crack or meth, pounded into him for hours and didn’t care if either one of them ever came. The right combination and Dave could hardly walk the next day. Each step reminding him that he was alive.
Once a month Dave would trap Chris some place. Out in the country, coming up behind the police car, Dave’s hands tight on the steering wheel, his bottom lip bitten so hard between his teeth that Chris would taste blood when he kissed him. Fuck him standing up, laying down, on the ground, in the car. Ask every single time if he could come home with him. Taking the pain like a physical blow to the gut each time Chris denied him, pushed him away, told him to leave him alone, to not come back, to not find him again.
The month dwindled to days and Chris had pushed him back hard tonight, anger in his eyes. Cutting words and insults coming out of the mouth that had just blown Dave’s mind. He drove aimlessly, biting the inside of his cheeks. Pulled up behind a stand of trees, his vision blurry, his head a pounding drum beat of pain. His passenger door opened and Jimmy sat down, looking at him. Staring at him with those inscrutable blue eyes, his face expressionless.
“You’re fucking Kane.” His voice was hard and sharp and Dave just looked back at him. “I can smell that cracker on you. On the back of your neck. On your hands. On your dick.”
Dave looked back out at the waning afternoon, the trees starting to bud for spring leaves. He was so tired of the winter browns and grays. Tired of this town. Tired of trying to make decisions that would make everyone happy. Tired of caring.
“I’m gonna kill that mother fucker.”
Dave turned back and Jimmy was gone, his car door left hanging open.
He drove back into the town and went home. He’d made his decision, then he made the call. Dave slept for twelve hours straight, then told his parents. As his mother wept and his father raged, Dave walked out of the house, away from the words of betrayal and hurt. Got in his car and drove to the lake. The weather was warm enough that some campers had started appearing, so he took the trail out to the kid’s area, relieved to find that there was no one here today. He lit a cigarette and walked to the shore. The water was foaming a bit as the spring wind increased the tide. Pop cans and bottles, paper plates, plastic spoons and driftwood clustered in the dirty water.
Dave knew that he wouldn’t ever miss this trash. He tossed his cigarette out into the reeds and started to turn back to his car when he saw the body. Face down, one arm reaching toward the dry shore. His uniform torn, patches of skin exposed beneath the tears pale, stained with lake silt and bruises. Dave walked into the water, didn’t feel it soak through his boots, splash up against his jeans. He reached down and pulled Chris out, up onto the dirt. Knelt down beside him. Chris looked peaceful, his eyes closed. Dave pushed back an errant strand of dark hair that stuck to his cheek, kept his hand there, despite the coldness. He did not notice the tears that poured freely down his face, hot against his skin, breath catching in his throat as he cried.
Then Dave slowly stood on shaking legs, got a blanket out of his trunk and covered Chris’ body. Tucking the ends under his heavy, water soaked arms and legs to keep the wind from blowing it off. He found the hardest part was to cover Chris’ face. Dave kept reaching up, tried to do it. Knowing that this would be the last time he saw those lips, that chin, then finally he put it over Chris’ head, lifting the back of his head gently, putting the dry material between Chris’ sodden hair and the ground.
Dave spent the next few days trying to find Jimmy, not to know where he had disappeared to, but just to get a message to him. The trailer park kids had closed ranks. If there ever had been a question that Dave had belonged with them, accepted into them, he knew now that he never had. Eliza wouldn’t speak to him at all, her old man pulling a rifle out and threatening Dave on his last visit. Nicky and Kelly just stared at him when he’d drive out, their dogs barking and snarling at his feet, then go back into their home, slam the door and ignore his knocks. Viggo quoted scripture, chapter and verse, hellfire and brimstone, and had not stopped drinking since Kane had been killed.
Vince was the only one that just once, talked to Dave. His smile not as carefree and open as it had always been. Dave cornered him behind the Dairy Queen, the weather becoming sultry and humid once again. Dave’s bags were packed and he was just hours from leaving. Vince stood with his small back against the dirty white cinderblocks of the building, his bare feet filthy and scratched on the oil stained asphalt, a vanilla ice cream cone melting down his fingers. Vince wouldn’t tell him that he knew where Jimmy was, but he wouldn’t say that he didn’t know either. Dave took this as a positive and left his message with the feral looking but still beautiful boy.
“I just want him to know that I forgive him. That I understand.”
Vince’s wide hazel eyes stared blankly back at Dave.
“Just tell him I’m gone. I’m going up north to play football and I won’t be back. Ever. Tell him that . . . fuck, just tell him.”
Then Dave let the boy go, not sure that his words would be delivered, not sure if he cared anymore. He was going up north, where the winters were full of snow and ice, where people read books and discussed real issues. Where no one knew him and what the name of this place was, what these people were like, this town that he called home.
Glad that's done. Anyone have any *happy* bunnies?