When they finally came to take Michael and Jack downstairs, they were both pretty high, the whole situation felt like an odd dream.
Michael remembered flashes from here and there, he remembered laughing somewhat hysterically when he stepped into the room and saw the men, such average looking family men who could have been fathers of his class mates. All of them well-dressed and smiling.
There was a wide mattress spread on the floor and the couches were covered with old sheets, obviously they did not want to mess the family furniture. It was all so absurd, Michael remembered Jack kissing him, they had been ordered onto the mattress and the excited voices had ordered them to undress each other. The room had been spinning, the men’s faces became blurry, Jack had laughed, he had laughed, and nothing had really felt real.
The men had taken their clothes off; more than one had been kissing and touching Michael while he lay on the mattress on his back, marveling at the numerous bright colors that he saw way up on the ceiling. Someone had held his legs apart, while other licked his nipples and Michael had looked at the blond head with a frown on his face at the same time when someone had crawled closer and turned his head to the stiff organ, pushing it against his lips.
There had been laughter, the men talked to one another. And to him.
”Open up…” Stubborn poking, finally he had given in and opened his mouth. More flashes here and there, moaning, slapping sounds. Jack had been crying out somewhere close and Michael had thought to see two men at the same time inside the other boy, but such thing didn’t seem possible for his young mind to completely understand.
”Be little more careful with the younger one…” Michael thought he heard Ricky saying. ”He isn’t so experienced…”
From the rest Michael didn’t really remember anything and next morning he had woken up alone in the same room where they had been with Jack. His body was aching and he could count numerous bruises over his body. He cried thinking of what had happened and at the same time he felt grateful that he remembered so little. As he looked at the empty spot next to him, he couldn’t help but to wonder where Jack was and felt worry for his new friend.
Finally he heard steps approaching, the door opened and Michael pretended to sleep in fear that someone was coming to get more amusement from him.
”Get in,” a man’s voice ordered.
Heavy footsteps and then the door closed and was locked. Michael heard a pained moan and dragging steps, opened his eyes and turned to look. Jack was awkwardly making his way to the bed; naked and looking completely battered.
”Jack?” Michael gasped with shock. The older boy tried to smile as he clumsily climbed on the bed to lie down.
”I’m not feeling very well…” Jack whispered and closed his eyes exhaustively.
”You were there this long?” Michael asked with concern, ignoring his own pain and crawling closer to stroke Jack’s head soothingly.
”You blacked out…” Jack whispered. ”Ricky brought you here. I was glad.” Again he tried to smile, cracking his eyes open slightly.
”Can I do something for you?” Michael asked and felt tears in his eyes at being so helpless. Jack was clearly suffering more than he was.
”Don’t you worry,” Jack whispered. ”I’ll just rest a bit, and then I’m as good as new…”
Michael bit his lip and gently tucked Jack underneath the blankets, planting a kiss on his forehead.
”There sure were lots of them… They just kept going… gods…” Jack spoke with his eyes closed and reached to take Michael’s hand in his own for comfort. ”Ricky forbid them to fuck you after you passed out, which was good because otherwise they would have. It’s sick.”
Michael kissed Jack’s hand hoping he could do something more.
”Ricky didn’t do it out of kindness,” Michael whispered.
”Sleep now, I am here.” Jack smiled slightly with his eyes still closed.
”Don’t worry little one, I’ll be alright,” Jack assured. Michael smiled at the words; little one, it had been such a long time since he’d been called that so affectionately.
”You’d better,” Michael whispered, sighed and looked at the other for a long time until he had finally fallen asleep.
Jack slept almost the entire day. Michael observed him worriedly and couldn’t really bring himself to eat.
Later that afternoon, Ricky walked into the room. Michael sat in front of the table and Jack was still sleeping on the bed. The man grinned looking towards the bed and then at Michael who held a half- eaten apple in his hands.
”You were pretty out of it yesterday,” Ricky took a note and Michael lowered his gaze. ”I think you smoked pot?” The voice was amused.
”Yes,” Michael replied quietly.
”Well, you seem to be okay now; we will expect your company in the evening. This time there’s only three of us.” Ricky sneered stepping by his side and running his hand through Michael’s hair.
”Jack’s not okay,” Michael said looking up to the monster’s face. ”He can’t be expected to come downstairs.”
”No?” Ricky grinned. ”Then you just have to take care of all three of us alone, and I don’t want you smoking today. I’ll come and collect you in a couple of hours.”
Michael sighed, nodding his head miserably. When the man left the room, Michael got up and approached the bed.
”I can do it,” Jack whispered, cracking his eyes open and looking exhausted. Michael smiled softly and climbed next to him.
”No, you can’t,” Michael denied.
”I don’t want you to go alone,” Jack breathed looking up at him. Michael shrugged his shoulders.
”There are only three of them,” he tried to sound as careless as possible. ”I’ll be alright.”
”I don’t like this.” The older boy sighed.
”You don’t have to, but you’re not coming downstairs,” Michael said firmly and smiled. ”One has to play with the cards given, isn’t that so?” He chuckled trying to cover up the anxiety that he felt. Jack looked at him thoughtfully, sad.
”I can prepare you with the lube,” he said. Michael looked down sadly, thinking how odd his life had become where such things were a casual part of it.
”No, you just rest now. I’ll do it myself.” Michael leaned closer to kiss the other’s forehead. ”You should eat, let me prepare something for you,” he said and got up from the bed.
Jack looked at the younger boy gratefully. He couldn’t even remember the last time that someone would have cared for him like this, and it felt nice.
Michael and Jack were allowed to spend Christmas together in Joe’s apartment, as both men left to spend Christmas with their families who lived farther away. Michael felt grateful, these were short and precious moments of happiness in his otherwise cruel life, moments that would help him keep his sanity.
On Christmas Eve morning Ricky drove him to his friend’s apartment and Michael tried to control himself from showing too much excitement. They walked in and Joe was there to welcome them. Michael looked around with anxiety and smiled upon seeing Jack. It was almost two weeks from the Boston incident and the older boy looked like he was doing better since his ordeal. Ricky talked with Joe for a moment and then observed Michael with a stern look on his face.
”I hope that you remember our rules, I’ll come and pick you up in three days,” he said and Michael nodded.
”I’ll remember. Merry Christmas, Ricky,” he said, forcing a smile over his face.
Ricky grinned with satisfaction and Michael couldn’t help to think with amusement how the man probably thought to have wrapped him in his web completely and perhaps even woken some strange kind of affection in him, but he was wrong about that.
”Merry Christmas, my dear,” Ricky said, kissing him for a long time and squeezing his buttocks before leaving.
Joe was still packing his things and Jack and Michael tried to keep up a careful conversation while the man was still at the apartment. They both knew that the front door would be locked so that they couldn’t sneak out without them noticing, if they tried the alarm would go off and Joe would know. Joe would then call Ricky.
”Alright, I’m going, there’s some food supplies that you can use. And Jack, you know the wine that you can drink, be good.”
”Of course Joe and thanks! Merry Christmas!” Jack smiled. Joe muttered something, dressed in his outdoor clothes and left.
”Ah, finally…” Jack sighed with relief, grinned and hugged Michael tightly. ”I missed you already,” he confessed, looking at him for a moment as though hesitating before kissing his cheek and letting go. ”Are you hungry?” Jack already walked towards the kitchen and Michael followed.
”I missed you too, Jack, how are you?”
”I’m fine. I told you not to worry, I won’t break that easily!” The fair-skinned boy assured and started to open the cupboards in the kitchen. ”What would you like?” he asked and turned to look at Michael. ”We have tons of stuff here. Sausages, cheese, turkey, bread, chocolates, chips!” Jack listed in excited tone.
”I already had breakfast with Ricky,” Michael said. ”But you go ahead.”
He smiled and watched as Jack started to prepare himself sandwiches. Michael sat in front of the table. ”I can cook for us later. I enjoy it.”
”Oh you do?” Jack asked sitting in front of the table with his sandwiches. ”Good! Because I honestly don’t know what to do with that turkey! Or anything else for that matter. I suck at kitchen, you see, no one ever cooked at my home when I was a child,” he said taking a healthy bite of his bread. ”I have no table manners, either,” he mumbled with his mouth full of food and Michael couldn’t help but to chuckle softly.
”You’re endearing,” Michael said and Jack swallowed looking at him with wide eyes.
”No, I’m not! You are! You’re this… little one, cute.” The other boy nodded determinately and took another bite.
”I’m not that little! I’m not even short!” Michael chuckled.
”Yeah, but you’re thin and… cute, young!”
Michael shook his head bemusedly. ”Yes and you are such an old man,” he teased, kicking Jack’s leg playfully under the table. Jack smiled, looking happy and suddenly the whole situation felt weird to Michael, so he sighed and got up. ”So where is the turkey? I think I better start preparing it if we’re going to eat later.”
”In the fridge,” Jack muttered with his mouth full and Michael went to check the insides of the fridge. He placed the bird on the counter– room temperature– and searched for the ingredients from which he could prepare the stuffing.
”What happened to your parents, if I may ask?” Michael inquired with a careful tone and glanced at the other from over his shoulder.
”Well, my father I don’t know, I doubt my mother knew him very well either,” Jack chuckled gulping down his milk. ”Mom was… She drank a lot and always brought home different men, she was okay too at times, when she was sober. Promised to take me to places, like Disney World for example and I was dumb enough to believe her every time. I packed my backpack and sat down on the porch of my neighbor waiting for mom to pick me up. I never got to Disney World. Mrs. Baker always tried different things to cheer me up, like for instance she once took me to a fair, you know the ones that move around from town to town, but it wasn’t quite like Disney World… ” Jack shrugged. ”Mrs. Baker was the old lady from next door with whom mom always left me when she was off on some new trip, to drink and find me a new dad.”
To this the other boy grinned and Michael listened quietly trying to smile though he felt sorry for Jack.
”Well! She never found me a new dad and she finally drank herself to death. After that I was passed around from one foster family to the next and finally I ended up in a youth home. Nasty place. I would have wanted to stay with Mrs. Barker, she was nice, her husband had died in the war and she had never remarried or even dated after, can you imagine? ” Jack emptied his glass. ”Have you ever been to Disney World?”
”Once, when I was ten, in Paris.” Michael answered and felt even more foolish as he thought about his life before and problems that now seemed so meaningless.
”Paris, wow! We were going to go to the one in Florida…” Jack spoke dreamily. ”I’ve never been to Europe, or anywhere much, kinda lame.”
”Perhaps one day?” Michael suggested carefully.
”Yeah, if I were to meet some rich European for example! And then he would say; Oh, I’ve been looking for you all my life, come! Let’s move to the Riviera together! And then we would run away happily to the sunset or Disney World… Do you think that one could live there? If one could get a job, playing Donald Duck, for example? Now there’s a job, think about it, walk in that heat with a duck suit on!”
Michael laughed, for the first time since being captive, he laughed freely, so that he had to wipe tears from his eyes. He tried to calm down, but when he looked back towards Jack, he burst back into laughing. ”What is amusing, my face?” Jack grinned, wriggling his brows.
”You!” Michael sighed. ”You and your duck and your rich European!” He grinned. ”How would you combine those two?”
”Well, he could dress up as Mickey Mouse for instance?” Jack suggested. ”Or I could be Mickey and he could be Goofy. There’s always been something gay about them, hasn’t there?”
”Mickey and Goofy?” Michael burst out with amusement.
”Yeah.” Jack grinned widely. ”Always snooping something together, searching for the mysterious, long Phantom Blot!”
”Oh God!” Michael chuckled. ”You are so weird! I can never read Donald Duck now, not with the same innocent eyes!”
”I can’t help it that it reminds me of a big black dildo,” Jack joked, pleased to have made Michael laugh. ”On the other hand I think I’d rather be Goofy, because Mickey is the smarter one. I like Goofy better; he’s so silly and carefree.”
Michael was quiet for a moment trying to calm down. ”How is Joe to you? In general I mean?” he asked, still preparing the stuffing for the bird.
”It depends on the day.” Jack shrugged. ”He’s stressed pretty often and takes it out on me, but other than that… Well, I’ve never lived in such a grant apartment before, and that is something! And I’ve never had plenty to eat before.”
Michael glanced at him; Jack moved his empty glass on the table and smiled when meeting his gaze.
”How did you end up here?” Michael asked.
”I sold myself on the streets,” Jack answered bluntly. ”Then I just aimed to get money for food and drugs, until one night Joe picked me up and suggested this and… Well, it did sound tempting. I remember thinking that it could be like a gay Pretty Woman!” The older boy chuckled. ”Rich man picks you up from the streets and suggests that if you move in with him and have sex with him, then you get all the food and drugs you like… Well, it never is like in the movies then, is it? And I knew that… A whore is a whore, whether they work on the streets or luxury apartments in Manhattan. And Joe definitely is no Richard Gere, no more than I would be Julia Roberts.” Jack grinned.
Michael tried to smile though he felt sad for Jack. The other boy probably hadn’t anticipated everything that he would put himself into, like what had happened in Boston.
Jack sighed, keeping his gaze on Michael before continuing. ”I can move pretty freely, eat when I like as long as I follow certain rules that we agreed on. Like for instance, I shouldn’t be with you intimately without permission… You don’t have to obey all the rules though, just fool them into believing that you are.”
Michael looked at him nervously and Jack got up, approaching slowly. He touched the younger boy’s shoulder. ”Michael, can’t you see… They are so self-assured by now, that they believe we wouldn’t dare or that we’d even want after everything. We wouldn’t stay together for three days alone, if they would believe that we’d test those boundaries.”
”This could be a test,” Michael whispered looking around nervously. ”There could be cameras hidden.”
”See; now you are being paranoid.” Jack smiled softly touching the tip of his nose. ”There aren’t any cameras, trust me.”
”Are you sure? Ricky always has cameras, he follows me… In that room, where I was at, they were always on and when he had sex with me, the camera was there and…” Michael explained almost hysterically. Jack frowned and lowered his hand on his shoulder.
”Calm down,” he said to the dark-haired boy. ”What room are you talking about?”
”Mexico…” Michael whispered. ”From London we traveled to Paris and… then… we were in a motel and… We came to Mexico, for a holiday he said, but they locked me in that room. It was horrible Jack; I thought I’d die there. I knew nothing of time and they came and…” Michael shuddered shaking his head. ”I wouldn’t want to think about it… I was there for a month; I thought it would have been longer.”
”That does sound like a kidnap to me…”
”I’m so confused,” Michael said, trying to concentrate on cooking. ”The whole situation is insane. He… comes into my room often. I don’t want it, it hurts and he wants me to hurt, that I cry and scream and then… That Boston thing… And now, here we are together spending Christmas and this morning I sat with Ricky having breakfast, watching him reading the paper and… I’m pretending to be his nephew…” Michael suddenly burst out laughing. ”It makes no sense Jack! Why the hell would they give us something this normal?!” He glanced at the other from over his shoulder. ”When will there be a new trip to Boston? How many men will there be then? When will this end? Will it ever or will I just wake up one morning thinking that this is how life is supposed to be?”
Suddenly Jack kissed his neck tenderly, carefully lowering his hands on his hips and slowly moving them to his stomach, swaying them both gently. Michael was surprised, the older boy pressed his soft cheek against his, humming quietly. ”What are you doing?” Michael whispered.
”I’m dancing with you while you prepare dinner. Life doesn’t always make sense… You know what I would like?” Jack asked.
”What?” Michael smiled slightly, feeling himself calming down. Jack’s tenderness and warmth soothed him.
”If you could be my boyfriend. Could you?” Jack whispered and kissed his ear gently.
”Your boyfriend?” Michael blinked confusedly and turned his head to look in the other’s eyes. Jack smiled and kissed the tip of his nose.
”Yes, everything is insane already; let’s make it a bit more insane. You live with your evil uncle and me with my own and then we would have this insanely wonderful, but secret romance together. I would like that… There would be these moments alone, you would cook and I would just hold you like this and watch you and at times I would kiss you and… stuff. Do things that boyfriends do together.”
Michael couldn’t help but to smile. ”Alright,” he replied. ”I would like that as well,” he admitted, during everything, it would bring him comfort. It might have been dangerous, but Michael didn’t believe that he had much to lose anymore.
”Yay!” Jack grinned. ”I’m so happy, sweet Michael.” He breathed and smelled Michael’s hair, making him snigger.
Later that evening they sat in front of the table having dinner.
”Mmh! This is heavenly!” Jack breathed, rubbing his stomach happily. Michael grinned, feeling pleased. ”How come you can cook this well, especially turkey?”
”I often helped my mom and grandmother in the kitchen,” Michael answered and brought his wine glass up to his lips.
”Really yummy.” Jack nodded. ”What kind of family do you have, do you want to talk about them?”
”Well,” Michael swallowed looking down at his wine glass. ”I don’t have any siblings, my father is Irish and I have lots of family in Ireland… My mother…” Michael’s voice quailed slightly; he felt tears in his eyes. ”I’m sorry; I just miss them so much…”
Jack nodded and brought his chair closer. ”I understand, you don’t have to talk about them…” he said and lowered his hand on Michael’s thigh, stroking gently.
”If you don’t mind that I might start crying like a small baby, then I can tell…” Michael tried to chuckle; it came out weak.
”Of course I don’t.” Jack smiled. ”Come, let’s go and sit in the living room.”
Jack got up and took his glass offering his other hand to Michael. They snuggled together on the couch. Michael rested his head on Jack’s shoulder and talked about his family, his grandmother and Tony. Jack stroked his hair slowly and listened.
”I think your friend was just afraid,” Jack whispered. ”He wouldn’t have kissed you if he hadn’t wanted you. It’s just not so easy to admit to some people,” he whispered and Michael felt a small stab in his chest.
”You must think that I’m a complete fool, I threw so much away… I was childish; I’m ashamed now how sorry I felt for myself then. What did I really know of misery?”
”There’s always someone who has it worse, you can’t think of it like that, though you sort of know it. You don’t have to feel ashamed. All of that happened to you in such a sort period that of course it felt bad… I am sure that there will be a day for you, when all of this will be just a bad memory, a day when life is better again.”
”For you as well?” Michael brought his gaze up and Jack smiled softly.
”Maybe,” he replied, though he didn’t really believe in it. Jack had thought for a long time that he would die young. He was addicted to drugs, he felt like he needed them to endure the pain that he felt inside of himself daily, to endure the numerous men that treated him like an object, like a whore who didn’t have any feelings or value. He did have dreams once; they had just broken down to pieces little by little, after each day of enduring abuse and neglect.
Michael was the warmest thing, a person that he had held in a long time, the goodness that radiated from the other made him believe for a short moment that he could feel true happiness too, not just the pretend kind. Their lives however, were like night and day, in normal circumstances they would have never been together. Michael was a stranger in his world, a guest brought there by force. Jack hoped that he could find a way to bring Michael back to his family, but when he couldn’t even help himself, how could he help Michael?
At that moment though Jack only wanted to enjoy the promise that they had made for each other. He had a boyfriend, someone who really cared.
Published June 28th.2012
My Secret Shore© KOLGRIM