Guilty Pleasure Ch. 02byVinsmouse©
Disclaimer: I don't own the Dukes of Hazzard, not making any money, just cheap thrills.
Warnings: Slash, Angst
Italics and/or* indicate thoughts.
------ change in point of view
The look of shock on his face would have been comical, if the situation hadn't been so serious. "How do you know about the club?" He asked, then suddenly his face drained of color and he collapsed to the ground, bending forward he began to violently retch. I was by his side in an instant, wrapping one arm around him, I supported him as best I could. After several minutes he finally stopped vomiting, but he didn't straighten right away. He remained curled forward, shoulders shaking with sobs, or so I thought. It was my turn to be shocked when I realized he wasn't crying, he was laughing, though I had no idea why. When he regained control of himself, he must've noticed the look on my face because he hurried to explain.
"Don't you see cousin? All of this time and the one night you decide to follow me, is the night that bastard...." He trailed off, this time breaking down in sobs and pulling away from me. "Why did you follow me anyway?" He asked, when he finally calmed down.
"I was worried about ya. You think I haven't noticed the way you've been disappearing every couple of weeks for the past few months. Or the way you'd come home and look like...you'd just lost your best friend. So, after the last time you took off, I talked to Cooter and told him to let me know if you asked him for a loaner. I just wanted to help you, and I got to tell ya, I'm glad I followed you."
"I can't believe you! I'm a grown man, what gives you the right to follow me around like some wet behind the ears kid?" He screamed at me angrily, though I don't think it was really me he was yelling at.
I tried to stay calm, I knew he had to be hurting after what had happened. Then I started thinking about what I'd seen, remembered the way he had let that man treat him like a piece of meat. Listening to him yelling at me for following him, I became angrier and angrier. And when he asked again what gave me the right, I exploded.
"How dare you ask me that! You jerk!" I screamed, standing in front of him and looking him in the eye. "You want to know what gave me the right? Okay cousin I'll tell you! The fact that we're cousins, the fact that I was afraid for you and I wasn't the only one. You think Uncle Jesse and Daisy haven't noticed something was wrong? We all love you cuz, and we were worried that whatever you were involved in was more than you could handle alone. But we knew that you've got as much Duke pride as the rest of us, so there wasn't much chance you'd ask for help. I had the right to follow you because we're family, it's the only right I need to claim when it comes to protecting those I love. I'll tell ya something else, I'm damned glad I followed you. Not because of what I saw in that club, and we will be talking about that. No, I'm glad, because if I hadn't; the next time I saw you would've been in the morgue, and that I could never survive." Running out of steam, I turned my back on him and stalked several feet away.
"I'm sorry," the soft whisper came from behind me, as a hand was laid on my back. "I never meant to worry any of you, I swear it. I just had some things to deal with, and I was doing that the best way I knew how."
"I don't understand," I told him as I turned back to face him, still as confused as ever. "How does letting strangers use you and treat you like a piece of property help you deal with anything? You're not making any sense cousin."
"I know I'm not," I told him. Realizing now that I couldn't take the easy way out, I knew that I would have to find the courage to explain. "Uncle Jesse doesn't expect either of us home until tommorrow, does he?"
"I thought maybe we could go somewhere. I usually get a room afterwards, and...well tonight I could really use a shower. Never mind, I guess after what you saw you don't want to be alone with me," I told him, trying to hide the heartbreak I felt at his look of disgust.
"That's not it at all...sorry. I just, when I think about what he did to you...I want to hurt him, as badly as he hurt you. Are you sure though that a shower's all you need? Maybe you should see a doctor," he suggested kindly, his concern easy to hear.
"Oh, I thought.... It doesn't matter now what I thought. I don't need a doctor, but I do need a shower, I want to get his stench off. So what do ya say cuz? We can get a room for the night, maybe while I clean up," nearly choking on those words, knowing I'd never be clean again. "Um, maybe you could get us something to eat, after that we can talk. Or at least I can start to explain, okay?" I asked, not knowing which answer I was more afraid of hearing, yes or no.
"Okay, so which car do we take?"
Looking at each other, we reached the same conclusion, "The loaner."
"I'll drive," he said, grabbing the keys out of my hand and heading for the car. I thought about arguing with him, but decided against it. After the night I'd had, I probably shouldn't be driving anyway. After telling him the name of the motel I usually stayed in, I sat back and let him drive, trying to keep my mind a comfortable blank. Thirty minutes later, we were pulling into the parking lot of the small motel. "Why don't you wait here and I'll get the room? I'll be back in a minute with the key," I couldn't help the sigh of relief when he didn't argue with me. At least something was going right tonight. Five minutes later, I was back with the key. I tried not to think beyond the shower as I led the way to our room, but with him just a few steps behind me, it was nearly impossible. Opening the door, I headed straight for the shower, trusting him to know what to get for my meal.
Standing under the hot spray, I tried not to think about the club, and...what they'd done. *How do I live with this? Can't get clean, please God help me. I can't do this, I'm not strong enough. I'm sorry cousin, I don't think I can do this after all.* I stayed in the shower, scrubbing my skin until it was nearly raw and the water from the faucet was like ice. It didn't matter though, when I stepped out of the shower, I wasn't any cleaner than when I went in. Looking in the mirror, I wanted nothing more than to smash the face I saw staring back at me, wanted to end my miserable life. I couldn't though, even if I decided to end it, I wouldn't do that with my cousin in the next room, knowing he would be the one to find me. I knew that the guilt would destroy him, never mind that there was nothing for him to feel guilty about, he still would. I might have lowered myself to this point, but I wasn't so far gone that I was ready to take the man I loved with me. Looking at the bathroom door, I couldn't help wondering how I was going to tell him that, or if I'd live through the experience. Taking a deep breath, I slowly turned the handle and walked into the next room.
I wasn't surprised to see my cousin sitting on one of the beds, sorting out our sandwiches and waiting for me. Reaching down I grabbed one of the burgers and sat down on the other bed. For several minutes we ate in silence, the only noise, the rattle of the ice in our cokes and the rustle of paper wrappers. He finished first, but remained silent until I was done too. I slowly sipped the rest of my coke, knowing I would have to begin my story soon. Finally I could delay it no longer and I tossed my trash into the small can between the beds. Leaning back against the headboard, I looked down at my fingers, "I know you want answers cousin, but I don't know where to start."
"Well, Uncle Jesse would say the beginning's usually a good place. How long have you known you were gay?"
I had to smile at the way he asked. That's my cousin for you, straight to the point, as always. "I think I've known since I was a teenager, but I tried to deny it. Worked too, for a while anyway, last year it stopped working."
"Is that when you started going to that place?"
"No, I've only been going there for about four months. I couldn't keep pretending anymore because...I fell in love with somebody. Somebody I have no right to love, not like that anyway. Even when I realized what was happening, I still tried to fight it. After a few months though I knew it wasn't working and I couldn't go on like that for much longer. That was when I heard about these bars in Atlanta...."
"Wait a minute, I thought you said you've only been going to that place for a few months? Were you lying to me?"
"No I wasn't lying, those first bars weren't like the club you followed me to. They were just bars, well bars for men like me, but not like that club. The first few times I went to one, I was barely able to speak to anybody in the place. I'll tell ya, it made ordering a beer a real challenge," I smiled when he chuckled at that remark. "But even bars like that have back rooms, the difference is; in a regular bar the rooms are just for sex. They don't have any type of equipment other than a bed and lube, in fact they don't want people playing out scenarios there. You saw that club tonight, with all that happens there, they need a lot of security and that cost money. The bars I went to in the beginning didn't want to spend that kind of money or deal with the risk involved in a S&M club. I couldn't go to the bars every week like some of the men did, I was lucky to be able to sneak off every couple of weeks and maybe that's a good thing." I paused for a minute, and went to get a drink of water from the bathroom.
Inside the bathroom, I took the time to splash cold water on my face. Trying to regain the control I could feel slipping away with each word. Taking another long drink of water, I filled the small cup again and headed back to the other room.
"Sorry about that," I apologized as I sat back down on the bed. "Like I said, I couldn't go often, which was good cause it gave me a chance to ease into the lifestyle. After a couple of months I finally got up the nerve to go into one of the back rooms. Don't worry cousin, I won't go into details," I assured him when I saw the look on his face. "Everything was good for a while, I found this one bar I was comfortable in and I went there every couple of weeks. Sometimes I would just dance and drink beer, sometimes I'd go in one of the back rooms with somebody. Then six months ago something happened and I got slapped in the face with a truth I didn't want to face. I told you that I had fallen in love with the wrong person?"
"Yeah, did he find out how you feel? He didn't hurt you did he?" I couldn't help the warm glow I felt at his concern. Unfortunately, it disappeared quick enough when I thought about what I would have to tell him soon.
"No, he doesn't know yet. Please just let me finish before I lose my nerve." I asked him, practically begging. I knew if I didn't keep talking I'd never tell him the one thing I was most afraid to say.
" Well after I started experimenting, I convinced myself that I didn't really love the man I'd thought I did. I told myself that it was only because he was familiar to me, but now that I had an outlet for my needs I could quit playing it safe. That truth I said that slapped me in the face? It was six months ago that I realized I had only been fooling myself. I was sitting at the bar and this man started to come over, one of the regulars stopped him, told him not to bother. He told this guy that it was a waste of time cause he wasn't my type and then he described my type. That was when I realized he was right, I might've been experimenting but every man I was with looked like him. I had to face it, I was in love with the wrong person and that's when it all started to fall apart. I kept tying to move on, but nothing worked. If I tried to be with somebody who didn't look like him, I couldn't respond. But when I was with my type, I felt so guilty afterwards that I wanted to die. A little over four months ago, a man told me about the S&M club. He said that it might help me to go there, let me purge myself of the guilt. After he told me what it was, I didn't know if I could, but I kept thinking about it." I stopped talking at that point, knowing that before I could continue there was one thing my cousin had to be told.
"Cousin, there's more to my story, but before I go on there is something I have to tell you. Once I tell you this, I think you should take some time to think about what I've said. Then tommorrow or in a few days, whenever you're ready, I'll tell you the rest, if you still want to hear it. I told you that I fell in love with somebody I shouldn't have. I tried to fight it, I swear to you I did, but I couldn't deny the truth any longer. The person I fell in love with is...you," I finished in a soft voice. After several minutes of silence, I dared to look up, pleased to see he was still sitting on the other bed. At least he hadn't ran screaming from the room, maybe we could still be friends at least. "I know you're probably shocked and I know you don't feel the same way. I just hope you'll still want to be friends after all of this. Guess we should sleep, if we can," I said , when he didn't say anything. I didn't want to say it, but I owed him the chance to leave without any guilt. "Cousin? I won't blame you if you hate me and don't want me around you anymore. So if you need to leave before I get up, don't worry about it. Take the loaner to the cemetary, I'll find my own way there later to pick it up, okay?" I didn't wait for an answer, but only climbed under the covers and rolled onto my side. As I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, I couldn't help wondering what I would find when I woke up.
Please feed the muse, review. To those who were expecting an answer as to who was who, I'm sorry. I did plan to reveal that in this chapter, but the boys just wouldn't cooperate. Apparently they like the mystery. ;)