The Swallow Sorrow Doll
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Tears rolled down my eyes and my legs gave out. Damn these legs. They were so damn weak. They always gave out. My entire body was betraying me. I saw Blood reach down and try to get me up.
"Hey Papi, come on, what's wrong?"
That was when I saw Caprio push the hell out of Blood. Blood was about to pounce back but I saw a gang of the other boys hold Blood back.
"Stay the fuck away from him," Caprio said and grabbed me.
He pulled me away from the guys. I could tell that they were all looking. I could see the guy that Caprio had been dancing with. He was glaring with the most intensity. Caprio took me in the corner so no one could hear but I could still see their faces peering at us with such interest. Whispers rose up about us. The two guys know each other? Are they a couple?
"What the hell, Tatum, you don't listen," he told me, "Fuck, I didn't want you to see that. I didn't want you to know. I'm so sorry. I really am. God, I know your bout to be pissed, just let me finish. I was going to tell you..."
I stopped and started drying my eyes, "It's ok..."
I started to breath slowly, "I am overreacting I'm sorry. I just ... I'm so sorry. This is all my fault. Who is he?"
"Tatum what are you talking about?"
"You and that guy..."
"That guy is nothing to me. He is just another stripper. Tatum, I want to be a stripper. I figured it was heavy money. I have a better body that all these guys. No one would actually know my whole name. They all know me as Cap."
"No...I can't believe you think," Caprio started and looked at me, "We got to talk. Not no though. How could you think that?"
"I'm sorry, I'm stupid."
"Stop fucking saying that!"
All the talking that was going on with the other strippers stopped as they turned around. A couple seemed annoyed, including the drag queen Camilla.
"Ok, I'm not sorry. What do you want? I'll do anything you want. I swear..."
"I can't deal with this right now, but listen here. See that guy Blood. He's the bouncer for this place. Stay away from him. He is MS-13. He is in the same gang as those guys. We can't let them know we are still in the city."
I nodded. Caprio walked away from me. He didn't kiss me or even smile or anything like that. He just walked away.
How could I tell him? I wasn't comfortable with him dancing on that other guy. It pissed me off to see him grinding on some other guy. Caprio was mine. How could I say that? I didn't want him mad at me.
"Your friend...does he have a name?" Camille asked Caprio as he returned to the circle.
Caprio shook his head, "No he doesn't have a name."
"Smart ass..." Blood said, "What's your name, Papi?"
I just shook my head. There was no way I was going to piss Caprio off. I loved
him. And I didn't deserve it. I didn't deserve to have someone care about me and do as much for me as Caprio did. Caprio was ruining his life...for me.
The boy...the boy that looked like Caprio...that Caprio was dancing on walked over to me. He looked intently into my face.
look so familiar. Where do I know you from?"
Camilla nodded, "
I disliked him immediately. No...I hated him. I saw the way he looked at Caprio. He had an interest in Caprio. It wasn't the same interest that all these guys had about me. Yeah, they were attracted to me, but he seemed to have some kind of instant connection with Caprio. Why did Caprio decide to dance of him on all of the strippers here? Why was he able to make Caprio smile? It was something that I couldn't do for the longest fucking time!
"He looks like a lot of people," Caprio got real defensive, "Just act like you didn't see him...he didn't come to stay."
He must have sounded suspicious to them. Caprio had even stood in front of me as though blocking view of me. Damn...I really was like a doll to him. Little kids grab hold of their dolls, stay protective of them. Nothing can look at them. They are scared their dolls are going to be stolen away. Was this what Caprio was acting like?
"You ever thought about stripping baby?" Camilla asked, "You would be a god damn headliner. You would be the opening act hunny!"
"He ain't fucking taking off his clothes!" Caprio shouted.
Damn...there was once a time when Caprio wouldn't scream for anything. Blood took a step towards Caprio but Camilla blocked him. Then he met me and now he was this...asshole at times when it came to me. Camilla raised her eyebrows.
"Are you serious?" Blood asked, "Camilla I know you not going to let that boy just walk out of here. You know how much fucking money he would make this club?"
Camilla snapped her finger, "Money is one thing. This here...this is love if ever I seen it. Ok...Cap...your lover won't strip."
Blood looked over, "Camilla, you can't be serious..."
"I am serious," Camilla said, "This my club, Blood. Now...back to rehearsal everyone. This isn't All My Children..."
Things seemed to change. Immediately Caprio pulled me back to the corner. He was holding my hand real tight. I never seen someone so serious in underwear.
Caprio looked deep in my eyes, "You can't keep coming in here ok?"
"But you're here."
"And so is the MS-13 guys."
"What if they try something with you? I want to be here. I want to help you too."
He leaned into me and gave me a kiss. We didn't kiss as much as we did before, but every time we did...it was like the first. His kiss was long. It drew out so much emotion...so much love that I thought really didn't exist. His tongue caressed mine. I grabbed onto his back. If he didn't pull away, I could of has sex with him right there in front of everyone.
"You are helping me by staying out of trouble," Caprio explained, "I told Mauricio I would take care of you. Do you know how it looks? I steal you away from him and I can't even help you like he did? Do you know how I would look?
"What? So that is that reason you act that way? Is that the reason you are protecting me? Because of my ex?"
He looked down. I couldn't believe it. His main concern was what Mauricio would think? Why was Mauricio still being thought of two years later? I didn't get it.
"Tatum, why would you ask me something like that?
"That is how you
are making it seem."
"What the fuck! What the fuck is wrong with you!" Caprio blew up at me, "I ruin
my the relationship with the best friend I ever had because I wanted you! Was I thinking about Mauricio then! I fucking drive all these states over..."
that time I realized someone was approaching us.
It was the guy
"Hey Cap, you want to keep doing rehearsal?"
I saw how the boy watched Caprio. It pissed me off. There was no way that he could say he wasn't attracted to Caprio. He kept staring. Caprio was so pissed. I didn't want to leave him pissed off at me and into the arms of a thirsty ass guy.
"Yeah, um, Tatum, go back home. I'll meet you when you get off and we can continue talking about this."
"Tatum! What the hell!" Caprio started off raising his voice.
"Maybe you should
I held my tongue.
"I got this," Caprio said, "That's my boyfriend alright. I'll talk to him. No
disrespect but I don't need your help with my relationship, bro."
childish part of me wanted to stick my tongue out at this
"Ok bro. Just I know when someone is about to reach their brink and didn't want
to see you spaz out again on him."
"I didn't spaz..." Caprio just grabbed me by the head and stopped me, "Oh damn...maybe I did. Tatum, look I'm sorry for yelling at you. You got to get me though. I just have to work ...for us. I don't want you in this environment. I didn't do everything I did so you can end a victim to some asshole on the streets of LA."
I could still tell he is pissed off at me. I walk away though. I don't want to make it
worse. I could see us growing apart however. I hate the idea.
I looked back once more to see...this Manhattan, holding onto Caprio waste again, taking Caprio's attention and the way Caprio looked back at Manhattan was disgusting. I hated it. I hated everything about it.
A week went by and then two more weeks went by. I stayed in the house most of the time. The less people who saw my face the better it was for me. The less people who were able to recognize me from television or from magazine ads the better. I was lucky this was the poorer side of town. People didn't keep up on high fashion, because I knew that my face had graced the covers and Neiman Marcus, Vogue, etc. for a long time now.
My main company was Efren. I knew he was slightly using me to get back in the good graces of Maya, but I didn't mind. I would have lost my mind if it wasn't for him.
"Checkmate..." he said.
"You let me win, Tatum."
I did. I was great at Chess. I beat Efren all the time. We were playing it on the front porch. It was way too hot inside the house...even at this late hour. This part of town, it seemed like people hardly slept.
"I'm sorry," I state and drink on the malt liquor that he has out. It's a 40.
Efren smiled at me, "Yo, man be cool. I know what you're thinking about. It's your boy right."
Wednesday night. They are having drag
shows at Paradox. He shouldn't be
there. He should be home...with me."
Caprio worked...all the time. He slept during the day time and went to work at night. I hardly saw him at all since he started working. It pissed me off. I couldn't help it. I just wanted to be around him. I just wanted him us to be...happy.
It felt like we were cursed though. Our entire relationship was cursed. We would never be happy.
"Don't get me wrong, Tatum," Efren said, "I don't know much about gay people. But if it's anything like straight...that boy is going to do what he is going to do. Regardless if you sit here and worry about it or not. You just have to trust your love is strong enough to avoid that."
"He's been working all the time for weeks now."
right...but...well just keep hope."
I tried to. Hell it was in the morning. The worst part about that was that the heaviest traffic this time of day was around this time. People came out at night because it was cooler. It got kind of dangerous looking, but Efren was cool with sitting on the porch so I figured it would be ok.
"Would you be fine if your girl was a stripper?" I asked Efren.
He didn't think long about the answer, "Hell motherfucking no. You know what happens in those fucking strip clubs? That is so disgusting. Especially round these parts. Strippers are like prostitutes. You know damn well those dogs be grabbing all over those strippers...oh...shit...I'm an idiot. Your boy is a stripper isn't he?"
I didn't answer.
I had it on my mind. All those men grabbing on Caprio. I didn't get it. I hated the thought of it. I could feel my skin burning up. He was MY boyfriend and now I had to share him with perverts. It was a fucking horrible feeling.
Tears slowly started to fall down my face. I couldn't help it.
on man...don't cry. Tell him how you feel.
Like I know you aren't comfortable with some shit like that.
I know ya'll are in tough position, but it
can't be that serious."
"No...it's not worth it."
Caprio was doing it for me. He was. I just couldn't stand the fact of people looking at his naked body while he was on stage. I knew they were touching him. Caprio had a body that would make anyone want to grab hold and not let go. He had the perfect swimmer's build, penis size, perfect round ass and an 8 pack that would have made professional bodybuilders jealous. They wouldn't be able to let go.
"I know you ain't going to let that boy get away with stripping."
Efren hit me on the shoulder hard enough for me to pay attention to him, "Why am I more pissed off then you? Come on boy. You can't just rollover and not speak up. You have a voice for a reason."
That was the point. I didn't have a voice. I didn't deserve one. All Caprio had done for me had meant so much. I had ruined his life. Who was I to say that he couldn't do something or that it made me uncomfortable.
Suddenly music was in playing as a car pulled up. I turned my head to see a red Buick pull up to the sidewalk. I wasn't surprised when I saw Caprio come out the car.
He had on a gray wifebeater and some ripped jeans. The wifebeater held onto him for dear life, clinging to his muscles so close that he might of well have not had a shirt on at all. I could even see his nipples, the big beautiful nipples through the wife beater. He scratched his head and leaned into the car.
was talking toe the driver. What the
hell were they talking about?
As he pulled his head out, I saw who the driver was. It was
"I know you aren't just going ignore the fact that you are upset," Efren stated.
"Please Efren. Don't say anything."
"Tatum, YOU need to say something. You can't just hide it."
I finally wiped up the last tear before Caprio turned around and walked over to me. He took my hand and shook it. I guess we were still putting up this whole thing about being straight.
He looked over at Efren, "What's up man?"
Efren looked over at him and then looked over at me. He gave Caprio a head nod and that was it. I could tell by Caprio's reaction that he was a little put off by it and he just kind of looked at me with this look as though wanting me to explain.
Instead I changed the subject, "How was work?"
didn't work today. I was out with
were out with another guy?" Efren asked raising his eyebrow and then looked over at me,
"Tatum, you don't care."
Caprio grabbed me up immediately and gave an annoyed look at Efren, "Excuse me..."
Fuck. It was exactly what I didn't want. I wanted to avoid the drama as best as possible. I didn't want Caprio to be upset, but already I could see that I had done something to irritate him.
He pulled me in the house.
"What is that boy talking about?" he asked me.
struggled, "He could tell I was gay and I...I told him we were a couple."
seemed cool. He doesn't mind.
Like he's cool with it."
"What else did you tell him?"
didn't tell him anything, I swear."
Caprio moved away from me. He looked irritated. He looked really irritated. He sat in the chair and just stayed there not speaking.
he said, softly after a minute or two of silence, "Why would you tell this
boy...who you barely know...our business?"
"All the boys at the club know we are a couple, so why does it matter if he does either?"
"Because Maya doesn't do...homosexuality. She is a strict Catholic."
"He won't tell her?"
how do you know, he's your best friend now or something?" Caprio asked, shaking
his head, "Why do you hang out with that guy?
He's just some loser stalking a girl that doesn't even want him
"He's been there...you haven't..."
Fuck. The words just came out of my mouth before I even meant them to. I could see that I had struck a chord with Caprio. I could see that I had pissed him off. It was exactly what the hell I didn't want to do. I slapped my forehead, pissed at myself.
"No, I haven't. I've been out making money for you," he said and threw money at me, "Here! I've been doing all this for you. What you want me to be home all the time and sit around? We don't get paid to take pictures anymore! We aren't models anymore Tatum! We have to do real work now! And this...this doesn't come easy!"
He had dug into the pockets and pulled out a whole handful of money.
He threw the money at me.
don't mean it like that. But I've been around doing nothing. How do you think
it makes me feel that I am just around being taken care of."
"What the hell Tatum! What about I don't want you around those people don't you understand! Your face is on the cover of those high fashion magazines. I didn't make it big like you! You know how easy it will be for them to recognize you."
"Dammit, don't be sorry! Be careful!"
He had threw punched the wall in his anger.
I didn't even think he noticed how hard he punched it as he stood there breathing hard. His knuckle was bleeding and there was a dent in the wall. He had his eyes closed and was trying to calm down.
Efren had ran into the house, trying to see what was going on. Just then Maya and ran outside of her room as well. She wiped the sleep away from her before allowing her eyes to adjust.
"What the hell is going on?" she asked, "Doki is asleep. What the hell is going on?"
Efren was the one who answered, "We all just got a little shook up. We got into an argument."
He was covering up
for us. It had surprised by Caprio and
I. It would have looked extra suspicious
if Maya thought Caprio and I were arguing.
It was already weird that we slept in the same bed together and Caprio
was protective of me. She definitely
would have tied together all the evidence of us being a
couple if she knew were having little private arguments.
Maya turned to Efren, "Get out! Why the hell are you here arguing, Efren? You said if you came over you would stay on the porch. Don't come in my house anymore Efren. Seriously, I"ll call the cops. If you want to talk to Tatum, stay on my porch!"
Efren didn't retort to Maya, he just looked over at me and let out a, "See you."e
He walked out of the house. I slightly wanted to follow him and thank him. He didn't deserve to get screamed at and it was kind of annoying me that Maya wasn't really analyzing the situation. If she did, she would see that Caprio was the one with the blood on his hands...not Efren.
if he comes in here again bothering you guys, just let me know," Maya said and
crossed her arms, "I'll have him arrested on spot next time."
She stomped back to her bedroom. She was very aggressive person and she seemed very demanding of what was "hers". I guess, in a neighborhood like this it was expected for women to behave that way.
I didn't blame her. I just felt bad for Efren as I looked out the window and watched him walking away. He would be back tomorrow and the next day. He loved Maya. He really did. I could tell that there was nothing that he wouldn't do for her.
That night I spent so much time just staring at the walls. I was upset about everything. I couldn't take what happened as I tried to put my arm around Caprio while he slept. He pulled away from me. Depression was setting in fast. I cried. Caprio didn't even notice in his slumber. My tears dried on their own.
Caprio had been laid up in his bed until the next day. Maya and I were sitting over some noodles watching Doki chase his little truck around the kitchen. Maya, of course, found the smallest of things to scream at him for. I guess she was just being a mother, trying to groom him to be the best son he could be. He was a kid though and her words were bouncing right off of him.
Caprio walked into the room. He didn't say much but a random greeting and then gave Maya some money, "Here. Um..."
Maya took the money surprised. I think both of us were just as surprised when Caprio came over to me and handed me money.
"Thanks, but...did you keep any for yourself?" I asked.
"I'll be fine. Go out and get some new clothes and go food shopping. Make sure we have everything that we need, ok?"
"Where are you going?"
Maya smiled, "Yeah, thanks, you're balling aren't you."
"Yep...I'll be back ok."
"Caprio, you just woke up," I complained.
He was already walking to the front door when I ran to catch up to him. I knew who was coming to get him. It was the same person that always came and got him. I saw the red Buick pull up just as Caprio stepped outside.
"Where you going?"
Caprio looked at my facial expression, "Come on you aren't getting jealous are you? Tatum, it's just some rich spoiled fags who have nothing to do with their money but give it away to guys with nice bodies."
"I'm not getting jealous," I said and just dropped my arms a little, "I wanted to come though."
started to walk away to the red Buick. I
saw him climb into the passenger seat.
"I want to come," I said, poking my head into the car, "Please."
"I said no," Caprio argued.
"Aw, the kid wants to come. Let him come Cap," the guy in the backseat said.
"I don't want him around that shit. I told him that."
"You said the club, you guys aren't going to the club are you?"
rolled his eyes. I could see
"I don't know..."
Caprio struggled, "Tatum, I really don't want you around this."
"Why you so protective man?"
"Trump, be quiet,
it's between them two,"
mess up a lot of relationships. I'd be scared too."
Caprio looked over at him, "That's not it man. Me and Tatum are stronger then that. It's just...damn..."
I knew what it was. He wasn't going to say it in front of them. I could tell he wasn't. I guess I was manipulating this situation. I knew he wasn't going to tell them why he was really so protective of me.
"Ok, so why can't he go?" the guy in the back...Trump...said.
ended up at the pier and boarded a yacht.
I tried to speak to Caprio, but I could tell he was pissed that I had
dragged myself along. He left me behind,
He was pissed.
The yacht was beautiful. It seemed like by the time we got on, the party had already started. On board the yacht, I could tell what they meant by rich white guys. They were more like rich teenagers actually. It seemed like it was somebody's 18th birthday and they had just gone wild.
face seemed to be disgusted by the fact that they were so young.
What the hell did he have to tell them?
I knew it Caprio and
Trump smiled, "Hey, Cap wanted me to tell you to sit in the corner over there by the couch and not speak to these rich boys. We are going to get changed. He said to try and cover your face with your hands. I guess he doesn't want those boys to see how sexy you are. Hell, cause if Cap wasn't so cool, I'd be all up on you my damn self..."
He licked his lips. It was crazy that Caprio was so pissed at me that he couldn't come tell me this him self. Trump walked away, still flirting as though I was even noticing. I didn't notice. I was pissed at Caprio.
I looked at these rich kids. There were about a dozen of them. They immediately started to get me to talk, but I just kind of looked at the wall trying to blend into furniture. It did actually help for me to cover my face.
Then I realized what these boys were doing. They were shooting cocaine into their veins like it was the 80s and all types of stuff. What the hell kind of party was this? Why was Caprio at it?
Suddenly music began to play. I recognized the song. It was Santogold's Starstruck. The music blasted through speakers and the boys seemed to know exactly what this meant.
of a sudden
Caprio came out. He didn't look my way.
I think he actually sped right past me.
It wasn't until he stood beside
I could feel myself crying again. What the fuck.
The boys were going crazy.
I saw what Trump was doing. He was grinding up against one of the teenage boys on the couch. His ass was on the boys crotch and the boy started to pretend to hump Trump.
Then I saw Caprio.
"Sexy!" the birthday boy was screaming out.
It seemed like Caprio was performing a solo for him. Caprio was on the table doing a dance. He was pretending to hump the table, and his ass muscles were flexing in and out. Sexy wasn't the right word. Caprio's dance was beyond sexy. I saw the boy reach out to touch Caprio but Caprio shook his hand off.
Caprio just denying the boy because I was there?
Would he be acting like Trump and
"Let me touch!"
He tried to grab on to Caprio's package again. I had gotten up off of my seat. I would kill this boy if he kept grabbing for my man's dick. I could feel the anger rising in me. I really could picture myself stringing his neck.
Caprio's eyes had hit me and I knew he was reading my thoughts.
He started to shake his head, "No. Just watch..."
was when I saw
He started to spray the whip cream all over Caprio's body and then went about rubbing the whip cream.
The worse part was...Caprio was letting him!
I couldn't take it. I walked away, walking to the top of the deck and into the air. I needed some air. The bottom of the boat was beginning to take its toll even though we were still docked. I felt motion sickness.
was Caprio letting
"Oh god...oh god!" I heard a voice say.
One of the boys had just come up the ladder and was going to the party. He had a gift in his hand. He wasn't feminine like the other boys. I could tell he was a rich white boy just because. He had a blond haircut and had this cute surfer boy look to him. He looked over at me with these focused eyes.
party's inside. Sorry...not a stripper."
"No! God...I just saw you on the news. They are still looking for you! Tatum...Tatum St. Clair..."
Fuck...my mouth opened.
Someone knew who I was. Someone knew who the hell I was!