Eyes Like Winona Ch. 07

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“Hey…. Neil. I’m really sorry, but you have to wake up now. Just for a sec.”

I opened my eyes, struggling because my eyelashes were gummed together with sleep. He was sitting on the bed next to me, holding his small red cell phone. He was naked from the waist up, and I could see his shoulder blades under his pale white skin. There was something beautiful about the structure of his bones. Like a marble statue.


“What’s your manager’s number?”

I blurted it out without really thinking. I stretched under the covers, and winced with a small moan because of how badly it hurt.

“Why? What do you need it for?”

He punched it into his phone, muttering the numbers under his breath. “You’re calling in sick, that’s what.”

I could hear the ringing tone. I felt sick. I closed my eyes and buried my face in the pillow. Drake’s voice was soft and professional and soothing.

“Hey, this is Neil’s older brother, Ben. I’m just calling, and I’m sorry, we should have called sooner. There was an emergency last night.”

I could hear my manager talking vaguely, like how the adults talked in the old Peanuts cartoon. Drake told him that I had been mugged on the way back from work the night before. That I was okay, but that I had gotten pretty beat up, too much to work for a day or so.

For a moment, he held the phone to my ear. “So. Sick yesterday, and now you got mugged.”

“It’s the truth.” I whispered.

Maybe he heard something in my voice, but he didn’t say anything else about it. He told me to come in as soon as I was able, and he hung up.”

I turned over on the bed and closed my eyes again. I was so fucking tired.

He nudged me awake. “The gas station, too. You have to call your manager there.”

“Mr. Browning?” I mumbled.

He rubbed my shoulder. “C’mon. Last one, and then you can sleep.” He leaned down and kissed me on the side of my head. “I promise.”

I gave him the number. A second later, the phone was to my ear. He was giving me this one.

“Hello?” That soft whispery voice that had gotten me into this in the first place.

“Hey… Mr. Browning, I don’t think I can come into work today.” My voice was hoarse. He was asking me if I was okay.

“I got mugged on the way home last night. Sorry, I should have called you sooner.” The words felt monotone and false on my tongue. He would know. He had to know.

“Oh… Well, I guess I can handle it alone for one day. I hope you feel better.”

He sounded so lonely. I resented him sometimes, but I also realized how much I owed him.

“Kay… I’ll see you tomorrow.” I murmured. My eyes were closing. I felt so tired. I didn’t hear Mr. Browning’s response, because Drake flipped the phone shut and put it on the counter.

“We have some time now. You should get some rest.”

I curled up on the bed, and patted the fabric next to me. He smiled a little, but his eyes were sad. He lay down next to me and I rested my head on his chest, on the slight muscular pillow.

I closed my eyes. The whole day was free, at least until eight. That was when I had to face my family, feed them a lie about the bruises on my face. When my brother Toby was released. I would have to lie to him too.

I felt hot tears squeezing out under my gritty lids. I could hear Drake’s heartbeat, feel his chest rising and falling with his breath. He rested his hand on my head.

“It’s okay.” He whispered. “Shh. Just rest.”

I took a deep shuddering breath and relaxed. He gently tussled my hair.

“It will be better when you wake up.”

I exhaled, and I closed my eyes.

The first knock on the door made me flinch, the next two tore me into consciousness. It was quiet for a moment as Drake moaned and got up. Then the knocking came again, louder and more insistent. There was something frightening about it. Something that made me shrink, and pull the covers over me. I wanted Drake to stay in the bed, not answer the door.

But he was already up, peeking through the hole in the door. Clad only in baggy sweatpants.

I remembered that first night, pulling up his shirt to show me the scar under his nipple.

Drake opened the door, and Ferdinand was there, rubbing the bridge of his nose. His face seemed more droopy than normal, probably because of the sleepless bags under his bloodshot eyes.

He glanced at me, and I cringed, holding the sheets tight around my shoulders.

“Get up.” He said softly. “I need to see what those cunts did to you.”

I didn’t want to. I was afraid to. I looked at Drake, and he nodded slightly. His body language was tense and defensive. That made me panic.

I got up, feeling the air against my bruised and scraped skin, feeling all of my muscles ache. Feeling my torn asshole throb. My genitals felt like they were trying to shrink inside of me.

He walked around me quickly, for a man of his bulk. I flinched when he touched my lower back with one cold thumb. He was touching the bruises above my kidneys.

He casino oyna touched the gauze pads on my elbows. “When did these happen?”

“I…” It was hard to talk. My voice was shaking. “I tried to get out of the van. I fell and… And I scraped myself on the sidewalk.”

He finished walking around me. My legs collapsed and I fell bonelessly onto the bed. I wrapped the sheets around me just as quick as I could. I could see bright sunlight filtering in through the shuttered window, and the alarm clock said it was one in the afternoon.

Ferdinand looked down at me and dug in his pocket. He pulled out a polaroid. One of the old snap-photos. He tossed it to me.

I picked it up from the bedspread. I nearly gagged when I saw what was in the photo.

Stanley/Chris and Benji/Tio, next to each other. Their faces were swollen. I could see teeth missing in Tio’s mouth. They were discolored, bruised and beaten out of recognition.

“Are… Are they…” I gagged again.

He picked up the polaroid and went over to the toilet. He started burning it with a cigarette lighter. “Nope. They aren’t dead. I just taught them a lesson. They wont buy any boys from me ever, and they better not show their faces around here again. I just wanted to let you know that.

“Also, you’re going to come with me and Drake here to see my doctor. I want you working again tomorrow, until our agreed time. No excuses.”

“Yes sir.” I whispered, cringing on the bed.


Drake was standing up. He looked resolute. I felt sick for him. I didn’t want him to try and quit, not now, not when Ferdinand was like this.

“Drake…” I whispered.

He glanced at me, but didn’t stop. “I want to leave, Ferd.”

Ferdinand looked at him long and hard. His eyes were cold. He glanced back at me and shook his head. “You gotta be fucking kidding me.”

He sighed. He dropped the tiny burning edge of the polaroid into the toilet and flushed before digging a small notebook out of his jacket. “You’re done on the twenty fourth of October. A Thursday.

He eyed us both. “You two are working full time starting tomorrow. Get here at eight, don’t leave till three. I’m gonna put out the word to some of the loyals that you two are leaving, so you better take on as many customers as you can. No breaks.”

He lit up a thin black cigarette, and the tang of cloves filled the air. “Drake? Get him some duds. We’re going to the doctor now.”

Drake nodded smartly, and started digging around in his drawers.

Drake grabbed me a granola bar and a banana on the way out of the apartment. They were gone, but I was still hungry. The back of Ferdinand’s car smelled like a million different flavors of smoke, and I felt a little queasy, but the hunger was still there. I had never felt sick and hungry at the same time before. It was strange.

The seats were upholstered, soft and cushy and maroon. I closed my eyes. Cracking the back window open a little so I could have a stream of fresh air against my nose and mouth as Ferdinand smoked his clove cigarettes. The sunlight felt uneasy and warm on my skin.

Drake’s clothes were loose, creased. They had been folded in a drawer, not grabbed from a fresh laundry pile. The folds in the jeans felt strange. The shirt felt too crisp. Almost starched. I was barefoot. I could feel ashes and piles of what felt like magazines by my feet. I looked down, I saw notebooks. Ledgers. Books. I recognized none of the titles. I lifted my feet, wincing at the twinge from my muscles.

Drake was sitting in the back with me. I felt him put his hand on top of mine. It helped me feel the rough soft fabric of the seats, and the wires underneath.

The clothes I was wearing smelled like him. A little. They were clean, so the smells were smells from his room. Air freshener, detergent. A ghost of his body spray.

I looked up, and I jerked my hand away. Ferdinand was looking at me through the rearview mirror. His eyes were so cold. I cringed.

He was looking back at the road. Drake put his hand on my knee through the fabric. I winced because of the scrape.

“You don’t have to be afraid.” He said softly.

I knew that I was being jumpy. But I just couldn’t help it. Ferdinand scared me so much.

It was a clinic like any other. Nestled in a suburb between an eye clinic and a pharmacy.

But I was stripped naked in one of the clinic rooms, with a heavy doctor carefully probing my asshole with one lubricated finger.

I whimpered.

I had pissed in a cup. He had checked me all over for bruises and lacerations. Now this.

He finished the probing, and gently cupped my genitals in one cold gloved hand. He was checking them for bruises, but his touch was repellent. He was stroking and squeezing. I was stiff and resisting his touch until he let go.

Ferdinand was sitting in one of the chairs, chewing on the end of an unlit strawberry cigarette.

I flinched away, sliding out of his grip as the doctor grabbed my hip.

He pouted. slot oyna “Come here. Get down on your knees… I don’t do this for free…”

Ferdinand grunted. “No, not that one Perez… Dean is gonna take care of you.”

“Oh.” He mumbled. “Well, send him in.”

Ferdinand sent a text on his phone and made a slight flicking motion at me with his outthrust chin. I gratefully grabbed the clothes that Drake had leant me and put them on as fast as I could, moaning when I accidentally strained my hurt muscles or touched a bruise. The doctor wrote me a prescription for a kind of lotion for my bruises, painkillers, and something I was supposed to apply to my rectum every day.

Drake walked in, eyeing the doctor coolly. “Should I take a piss test now, or after?”

I walked out with Ferdinand, but I still caught the line.

“Why not during?”

I waited out in the car with Ferdinand. Silent. Leaning close to the window to get as much fresh air as I could. He was smoking a coffee flavored cigarette now.

“Why you, I wonder?” Ferdinand didn’t sound like he expected me to answer. So I just stayed quiet. “You’re cute, I guess. But he was rubbing on you right away. Now I’m losing a good boy and a great one.”

He glanced over at me. “Are you just good in the sack? Is that it?”

This time he was expecting me to answer. And instead of lying, I told the truth.

“We haven’t had sex yet.”

He seemed so shocked by that that he had nothing left to say.

We both jumped a little when the car door opened and Drake slid in. His hair was wet, and Ferdinand started to complain, but Drake cut him off.

“I took a shower. My clothes are clean.”

He saw my grossed out expression and he grinned slightly. “Sick old fuck. But he works cheap and discreet. You guys get the medicine? Lets get out of here.”

Three in the afternoon, and I was back in Drake’s room. I was wearing his clothes, and he was carefully applying makeup to a my swollen right ear. We had to stand in front of his mirror. The scrapes on my chin and elbows I would just have to explain. Everything else I could hide.

“There. All done.”

I looked in the mirror and my ear looked just fine. I kept looking in the mirror as Drake put his arms around my neck and peered over my shoulder. I saw him smile and gently kiss me under my tender ear.

It felt good. I shivered a little. The place under my ear was sensitive. It was like I felt warm prickles of life go straight to my cock.

“Drake.” I whispered. I clasped his left hand in my left hand. And with a tiny moan, I led his hand around to the front of my pants, and pressed it against my crotch. I felt him moan softly in my ear, and squeeze through the front of his pants that I had borrowed.

He was breathing hard in my ear. I could feel his cock against me from behind.

And then he wasn’t touching me anymore. Just like that.

I turned around. Confused and unfulfilled. “Drake?”

He was sitting on the bed. His hands crossed and cupped over his crotch. His face flushed.

“I let him piss on me, Neil.” He whispered. “And then he told me to piss on him. And he was licking it up. Like it was lemonade.”

I took a step back. I said his name softly. I didn’t like seeing him like this. He was normally the strong one. And I just felt so helpless when I couldn’t help him.

“I… I’m saying it badly. Neil? I’m going to have to do a lot of stuff like that. I’ve had to do gross stuff for a long time now. I like you a lot, and you make me feel good.” He laughed softly. “You make me feel, horny. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve felt horny?”

I sat on the bed next to him and I brought the blanket around our shoulders. He snuggled into me.

“One of my fears… A big one. Is that we’ll have sex and I wont feel anything.”

I gave a theatrical shudder, and he giggled a little.

“I… I just want to wait until we’re done for good. I don’t want to associate this…” He gestured around the room in a vague but angry gesture.

“With this.” He kissed me gently on the lips.

I wrapped the blanket tighter around us and I pressed my forehead against his. We stayed like that for a second. I sighed. “I know what you mean. But I don’t have to like it.”

I could feel his lips smiling. That’s how close we were.

“It’s just three weeks.”

“Yeah. I guess.”

He checked the clock. “We’d better get you home.”

I blew air from my lips. I really was scared of that, but I tried to be nonchalant about that. I would get to see Toby tonight.

“Yeah, I guess.”

He walked me back, and he let me go about a block from my apartment. I would’t have to go to the brick building tonight. Tonight was my day off.

Tonight, Toby was getting out.

I climbed the ten flights of stairs. I had to take two breaks, once on the fifth floor, and once on the eighth. I felt so weak, and it hurt to breathe too fast. It hurt my raw throat, where Chris/Stanley had choked me.

I thought canlı casino siteleri about the bruises in that polaroid. The thought brought me savage pleasure.

Out of breath and tired, I slid my apartment key into the slot and opened the door.

It was four. The kids were still in the local after-school program. Ben was at his Economics class. Lisse was over in Rosa’s room. The apartment was blessedly quiet. It seemed so large when no one was here.

I sat down with a soft sigh on the couch. I would sleep here tonight. Toby would get the big bed. That way I wouldn’t disturb anyone by coming in at three in the morning. I had fifteen days left, starting tomorrow. Starting tomorrow, Drake had twenty.

So starting tomorrow, I had twenty-one days left until I could be with my boyfriend.

It still felt strange to think of him like that in my mind. It was like a mouth-sore. I couldn’t leave it alone. I kept touching it. Kept going back to it. Coming back to the idea and rubbing it raw.

I went to the room and folded up Drake’s clothes. I hid them at the bottom of my drawer and changed into some of my clothes. I went back to the couch and curled up hugging a cushion. The cushion had a dull brown spot on it where Celia had gotten a nosebleed. The cushion was soft, and it smelled familiar.

I closed my eyes.

“Shh… careful… one sec.”


Before I had a chance to stir, or even get my bearings, somebody jumped on me, shaking me and whooping at the top of their lungs.

I yelped with real pain. My bruises burned and throbbed. I flinched and flailed at my attacker.

Suddenly my attacker had me in a bear hug. I was squashed against his hard chest. I finally woke up all the way.

“Toby!” I yelled. He had already lifted me off of the couch and I hugged him with my arms, propping my knees on the couch. I felt tears, hot and stinging at the corner of my eyes, falling even though my lids were closed. I made a sound that was half sob and half laugh.

He squeezed me extra hard and let go. Ben was still at the door and Celia was bouncing around the living room. Lisse was back in her playpen, laughing and trying to get out. Calvin was nowhere to be seen.

Ben was frowning slightly. “When I got home you were so tired that you wouldn’t wake up. So we went to county without you.”

I could tell that Ben was about to ask, but Toby asked first, frowning and touching the gauze pad on my chin. “What happened?”

I shook my head. “Nothing, it was an accident. Why are we here when we could be celebrating!” I felt so happy that my worries had been brushed away, at least for now. Toby was back!

Toby shook his head. He scratched his chin, and I noticed that he had about a week’s worth of stubble. Nah, being home is all the celebrating I need. Besides, look what we picked up on the way back.

Calvin walked in the door carrying buckets of chicken from KFC, Toby’s favorite restaurant. He was tired, but smiling. I glanced at him, trying to make sense of the image in my head. Calvin hated Toby. Calvin always acted like he hated Toby. But he had a huge grin on his face. It wasn’t just from the chicken.

Celia cleared the table, setting out paper plates and forks. The sink was filled with dirty dishes. I numbly set up the food, the smile on my face was so big that it hurt. I couldn’t stop. Ben was filling in Toby about his classes and I was happy just to listen. To hear my big brother’s voice again. Toby was back. Nothing else seemed to matter.

The KFC had been reduced to traces of gravy, crumbs of cornbread, and greasy blackened chicken bones. I went to the sink to wash my hands, keeping my ears open. Toby was telling a funny story about an obsessively clean inmate. Everyone was laughing. They all sounded so happy, so normal.

I opened the cupboards to see if we had any desserts of any kind. We had three Twinkies left. I brought them out.

Ben grabbed one. Toby smacked his hand and teased. “Can’t you do the math?”

He opened each container. I noticed that his knuckles were pink and scarred. How did that happen? He took an untouched plastic knife and sliced each one in half. Everybody got half of one. He was just cutting junk food in half. But it felt sacred somehow. Like a communion. No one complained about getting half. Nobody argued over getting a bigger piece. They just accepted it. And nobody (except Lisse, who started gnawing on it immediately) took a bite until Toby was done and he took a bite out of his.

Best Twinkie of my life.

We finished, and we all stayed to clean up the mess. Nobody ditched, nobody tried to shrug out of it. I almost felt like crying. Things were going to be good now.

Toby was getting ready to make an announcement. We all shut up. I could hear Lisse playing with her toys in the playpen.

“Listen, that meal out was the last expenditure that we’re going to make unnecessarily. I know that we’re in trouble as far as funds. I’m going to make sure that we can fix that. I’m going to get a job, and we’re going to pay off mom’s bills. Once everything is paid off, we’re gonna buy better food. Fruit and veggies and meat and things. Things are going to get better.”

The cold feeling was back in my stomach.

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