The Swallow Sorrow Doll

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Chapter 4: Pestilence



            "You got the wrong guy," I said.

            Perhaps trying to change my voice and distort my face would help.  No...not with him.  The way he stared at me.  He was star struck.  He knew who I was.

            "Oh really? You know those guys are high off coke which is why they didn't notice you.  If I was to go in there right now...they'd look at you and trip.  You are THEE Tatum St. Clair. You are every gay boy's wet dream."

            He was threatening me.  Fuck! I should have known.

            They were rich, which meant they worshipped high fashion.

            They were young, which meant they kept up with pop culture.

            They were gay...which meant they paid extra close attention to me.

            Can you imagine a heart beating so fast that it feels like its jumping out your chest?  Can you imagine your life being over because of one little mistake?  All of those emotions were streaming throughout my body.  My legs struggled to keep their strength. Why would I come to this crowd? I was an idiot. I grabbed him by his arm and stopped him. A part of me wanted to threaten him. Tell him, if he said anything I'd snap his neck like I did the old lady.  There was only one problem with that.  I didn't kill the old lady.  I was innocent.  I wasn't even close the murdering type.

            I did the only thing I thought I could do.

            I begged.

            "Please," I plead, "I didn't do it. I swear. Please don't go in there.  I'll do anything.  I'll do anything."

            "Come to my car. If one of the guys sees you in the light...the jig is up."

            I followed behind him looking back at the ship.  I wasn't thinking about myself.  I was thinking about Caprio.  Two lives would be ruined.  If I had just listened to his ass and stayed home, I wouldn't be in this mess right now.  He would fucking hate me. 

            All the trouble Caprio had gone through to secure me, how the hell could I still manage to fuck things up?

            I had to make this right.  He couldn't even find out about this.

            I followed this strange teenager to his car.  It was a limousine.  It was a black limousine and we entered the car.

            He looked me in my eyes, "You know I collected all the magazines that you were in.  I feel like I'm your number one fan.  This has to be fate..."

            He leaned into me.

            I could feel his breath up against my face.  I backed away and kept backing away until I was against the door.  This wasn't worth it.  It really wasn't worth it.  I'd just tell Caprio. He'd figure a way out of this mess. He always did.

            But...he'd hate me.  He'd more then hate me.  He'd despise me.

            "I have a boyfriend," I told him.

            "You still date that guy Mauricio.  I hated when I saw you two on the news.  He was at everything...asshole. He's such an asshole. Wednesday should have gotten rid of him..."  

            The boy...he had this look in his eyes.  He seemed so drawn to me.  I was attractive to people...especially males.  Guys were attracted to me everywhere.  Even straight guys seemed to have a thing for me.  It was so rare to find a guy who wasn't attracted to me.

            HOWEVER, this attraction was different.  The tone in his voice, the eagerness of his reach and the look in his eyes...were...obsessive.

            "You know about Wednesday."

            Wednesday. The name sent shivers down my spine.

            "Who doesn't know about Wednesday Montague? Oh...I forget, you weren't always rich and famous..."

            "God, you don't even know about them you?"


            "The Dollhouse..."

            "No...who are they?"
            "They are infamous...worldwide.  Of course it's a secret society.  I know you're innocent.  A lot of us know your innocent."

"Whose us?"

"The elite of course...the rich.  The lucky ones. No one is going to doubt the dollhouse though. Wednesday and her friends...they are the future. She's going to be president one day.  I assure you."

"She framed me. That's all I know...all I care about."

"You aren't the only one.  The Dollhouse has been using people for years and when they are no longer good. They destroy them.  Wednesday...she isn't the first to play this game of power.  Her mother, the woman you pushed down the stairs.  In her youth, she was a doll too.  It's a lineage of power and deceit."

"And you all accept it."
            "Whose going to stop them? I am a small fry compared to them. Even the media is scared to go up against them. Wednesday and her people own New York.'re just a bump in the road for them."

A bump in the road.  The way he was talking was so serious.  I knew it though.  Wednesday had used me.  She wanted me to be her model. She wanted me to make her money.  When I refused...she set me up.  She destroyed me.  She had gained from it and was looked at by everyone as the great victim.

"They destroyed my life."
"There were many more.  It's not personal. Not to her at least.  Look."

He looked in a suitcase and grabbed a cd.  He put it in the television that was in

the back of the limousine.  I was grounded when I saw what he was showing me.  It was a video by Wednesday.

            Her face pissed me off.

            It was so innocent.  It was such a beautiful, innocent face.  She looked like she couldn't hurt a soul.

            "These are to all the high families who have supported my mother and I for years," Wednesday stated, "I need to find the one responsible...responsible for killing my mother.  A reward will be given to whoever finds Tatum St. Clair..."

            I shut off the video.  I couldn't stand it.  I was crying all over again.

            How could she do this?  We were friends.  I thought we were friends.  I thought she could never hurt me.  She had pushed her own mother down the stairs. She killed her OWN blood.  She had ruined my life.

            "How much is she offering on me?"

            "You don't want to know..." he said coolly, "Just be very...careful.  As long as you do for'll be safe.  You WILL do for me right."

            "Do what?"
            He licked his lips. 

            "You know what..."

            A shiver ran up my spine. Just then I could see Caprio.  He had gotten off the ship.  He had sweat pants on.  He was looking for me.  He had a frantic look on his face.  It wasn't the same stern look that he always had.  I could tell he was worried. He was running down the dock now.  His eyes were piercing everywhere.

            "I have to go," I told him.


            I turned around.  His face was serious.  He had saw Caprio as well.  I could see how he stared at Caprio. The hatred in his eyes. This boy was fucking psycho.

            "Listen...I have to go...I'll contact you."

            "NO! You get out of that car and I'll call Wednesday," he said and he actually picked up his cellphone, "I wonder if she'll have the cops deal with you.  Yeah, most likely. Then she'll have her dogs in jail rape you over and over."


            I was crying. 

            "You can do better then that. Get on your knees..."
            What was he saying? Fuck it...I could see Caprio's eyes.  He was having a panic attack.  His hands were on his head.  He looked confused as shit.  I had to let him know I was ok.  This shit didn't matter.

All that mattered was Caprio.

I fell to my knees on the floor of the limousine.  


"You can call me Little Daddy. Yeah...that's what my name is going to be to you.  Little Daddy.  I can't believe Tatum St. Clair is begging...ME! Wow. This is great.  Ok...ok get up. You are looking pathetic."

I got up and he just stared at me.  It was that...obsessive stare.

"Can I go now? Please."

"Take this cellphone. Keep it on you at all times.  You will pick it up whenever I call it.  If you don't...I'll call again in 20 minutes.  If you don't pick up then...I'm going calling Wednesday, the cops and everyone I know who wants a bit of that Wanted money.  You hear me?"

I took the phone and nodded.  Little Daddy just smiled at me and I jumped out of the car.  He pulled off immediately as I left.

I couldn't believe it.

            I was being blackmailed.  I never thought it would come to this.  It seemed like everyone was out to get me. Everyone hated me.  Everyone wanted to do me harm.

            The only one that really cared was Caprio.

            I ran to him as fast as I could.

            He saw me from a distance running toward him and he turned around faster then I'd ever seen him move.  He turned to me and started to speed toward me to the point that I could have sworn he was an Olympic sprinter.

            He grabbed me at that moment, hugging me. He picked me up in the air actually and swung me around.  He hadn't hugged me so hard in so long.

            Then he started to kiss me.

            His tongue ran through my mouth.  Caprio pulled me in close to him and continued to lick and kiss. 

            "I'm sorry..." he said, "I'm so sorry."

            I didn't get what he meant by being sorry, but I didn't ask immediately.  I just wanted to cherish this moment.  I wanted to cherish him holding me and kissing me as though I was the greatest thing that ever happened to him.  The truth was I was probably the worst thing that happened to him.  However this moment...I felt like I was really a blessing.


            I hadn't found out what he meant when he apologized until we got back to Maya's apartment.  Maya and Doki were asleep of course.  I didn't expect Efren to be around if I weren't.  The house was unusually quiet. 

            Caprio still had me in my hands as he led me into our bedroom.  He locked the door behind us.

            "I hate it..."

            I didn't know what he was talking about.  He wasn't facing me.  He was facing the door.  I didn't understand what he meant by hating it.

            I realized he might have been crying.  I wondered if it would be better to pat him on the back and comfort him or just let him cry.  I chose the latter.  Sometimes it was better to just allow the person to get it out of their system. 

            After he stopped whimpering I asked him, "What do you hate?"

            "Dancing for these men," he told me, "I need to though.  I keep telling you it's the only way.  I thought I could handle it because I've done nude modeling, but it's not the same.  Tatum, I love you...I hate you watching me do this."

            I was quiet.

            "I didn't know you felt that way," I stated.

            He turned to me.  His eyes were red.

            Caprio sat on the bed with me and put his hands on my hands, "I'm only doing this because this is the easiest way.  I have to fight these guys off everyday.  I hated that you saw that.  Truth is, I only am comfortable with you touching me.  That's it..."

            I wanted to ask him about Manhattan.  He was damn sure comfortable with Manhattan touching him. 

            I didn't ask point in making Caprio upset by bringing it up.  I had to just ignore it.  I knew what Efren may have been best for me...but I was only thinking about Caprio.  I only wanted to make things easy on him.

            "I'm glad to hear that."

            "You haven't complained, but I need to know if you are ok with this.  Like seriously.  If you aren't ok with it...I'll stop. I swear.  If you have even the slightest discontent, I'll stop and I'll ... I don't know what I'll do.  I'll just find another way to make some money."

            I did have a problem with it.

            It made me sick to see those men staring at him.  It made me almost murderous to see them trying to touch him.


            "Baby are you sure.  I feel like...I don't know.  I feel like you are changing," he started, "I feel like I did when I first met you...when we argued all the time. Remember that?"


            How could I forget?  We hated one another. He had the biggest problem with me and I had the biggest problem with him. Everything he did seemed like an insult to me.

            "I loved you even then," he told me, "But you didn't love yourself.  I hated that about you.  I did everything I could do to change it. I don't know what's happening now.  I feel like the Tatum from back then is coming back. I'm scared."

            He grabbed me and pulled me onto the bed.  He placed me on his hard, chiseled chest.  His face looking down on me was angelic.  I could have sworn it was God looking down on me. How could someone be so damn handsome?

"I'm fine," I told him.

He sighed, "I don't believe you. Tatum, I want you to be completely honest with me.  I want you to be honest about everything."

I stopped and thought. I could tell him about this Little Daddy person.  I didn't want to though.  Truth was I was still hoping it was some teenager's excuse of a prank.  I was hoping it would just go away, but even then I knew it wouldn't.  I knew Little Daddy wasn't a nightmare.  He was very real.  The whole fucked up situation I had just gotten myself into.  I felt the cellphone in my pocket. 

How could I tell him?  How could I have looked into his eyes and told him that.  He would think I was such a dumb ass. 

            "I'm fine," I lied.  It was too late to turn back now, "I do need you to tell me something though."

            "I want you to promise you won't leave me. Not physically. I mean emotionally."

            He grabbed my hand and put it on his heart, "This is yours more then its mine. You know you have more control of it then even I do.  Trust me. Remember Milan, baby?"
            "How could I forget Love In Milan?"
            "It's me and you.  Bonnie and Clyde.  It'll always be me and you against the world."

            The words dug into my ears and then reached my soul.

            I felt a burning feeling all over.

            Caprio still loved me.



            Caprio slept in as usual.  I watched him sleep for a while.  He was so damn handsome it was ridiculous.  He was like some angel or something. He was close to me last night.  I didn't want to move because he had wrapped himself around my body completely.  His legs, his arms and his face were all over me.  I had to struggle through growls to get away.  He seemed nocturnal or something now.

 I looked at the cellular that Little Daddy gave me as I got of the shower in the morning. I was scared.  I knew that he had nothing to lose.  He would probably get the money that Wednesday was offering if he turned me in. 

            I was surprised that he hadn't yet.

            I was in big shit.  I was in real big shit and I definitely didn't know how to get out of this one. 

            "I just want to see Cap," I heard a voice say as I walked into the living room.

            Maya was at the door.  She had Doki behind her and he was struggling to see who was at the door.  I didn't get what was going on.

            I grabbed Doki and went to the door. 

            Manhattan was standing there.  He was sucking on a lollipop in a very gay way.  He just had gay written all over him actually.  I guess when he was out of character for his strip gigs, he was actually kind of feminine.

            "I just want to see Cap...oh...Tatum, I have to talk to Cap," he switched to me as soon as I came into view.

            "You know this boy?" Maya asked.

            I could tell she was somehow bothered his little twist.

            "Yeah," I told Maya and then turned to Manhattan.

             Maya turned to Manhattan, "I'll get him. C'mon Doki.  Let's go wake up Uncle Caprio.  I'm going to need all the help I can get to wake him up."

            Doki seemed excited by it.  They walked away leaving me alone with Manhattan. It pissed me off that Manhattan was always around.  He spent more time with my boyfriend lately then I did.  I should have said something to him then, when Caprio wasn't around...but Maya was around and it would have been just as bad if not worse. 

            Manhattan let himself into the house.  He crossed his arms as he walked in and we just stared at each other.

            "What do you have to talk to Cap about?" I asked.

            He gave me this weird look, "It's personal."

            "Nothings kept private between Cap and I," I replied.

            He raised his eyebrow as though he didn't believe me, "Oh is that right?"

            That was when he snickered. I couldn't believe this boy.  He snickered at me as though what I said was the most ridiculous thing in the world.

            "Manhattan, look. I don't know you. You've known Cap for a month.  You don't know anything about us."
            "I don't?"
            "No you don't."

            "Me and Cap have a connection.  He told me everything."

            "You heard me.  He told me everything. He trusts me. I know about you guys on the run because some rich bitch set you up so she could collect on her mother."

            My mouth dropped.

            I couldn't believe Caprio would tell Manhattan that! He was making sure I hid everything from everyone and yet he was going around telling Manhattan that.

            "He told you that..."
            "No, I guessed it," Manhattan explained, "Oh god...please tell me you aren't  going to cry again?"

            He looked annoyed.  Was he mocking me? 

"No dammit.  We agreed not to let anyone know."

"It's not that serious.  We trust each other. We have this deep...connection. You wouldn't understand."

            Just then Caprio walked into the room.  If I had woken him up Caprio would have been pissed off.  Instead Caprio wasn't pissed at all.  He seemed kind of excited to see Manhattan.

            "Ey boy!" he said, hugging Manhattan.

            I couldn't believe it.  He hugged him as though he hadn't seen him for a long time.  He'd seen him just yesterday.  Caprio wasn't the physical type.  I felt the obvious burn of jealousy begin to crackle in me.

            I grabbed Caprio, "Where you going?"

            I didn't want to be too grabby.  Maya had walked back out with him.  Doki was there too.  I didn't want to expose our relationship.

            "I just had to do something with Manhattan."


            That was when I saw it.  I saw him looking away thinking of a way to avoid the question.  I hated it.  It was that fucking secrecy that I thought didn't exist between Caprio and I?

            What happened to it was him and I against the world?

            "It's not important. Don't worry about it."

            I wasn't going to let him get away with that so easy.

            "I'm not worried. I just wanted to know."

            That was when he said something I thought I wouldn't ever hear him say, "It's kind of personal."

            Personal? Personal!

            It should have came out of my mouth but it didn't. I just remained silent.  I couldn't even manage to put a sad face on.  He just walked away with Manhattan. 


            "He just walked away?  You just let him walk away?" Efren badgered me as we sat on the stoop playing chess with me.

            "Just drop it Efren."

            I shouldn't have told him.  Efren had this whole respect thing.  The neighborhood he grew up in, it was all about respect.  He didn't really understand me.  I guess I just didn't have the same value of respect.

            I just wanted to see Caprio happy.  No drama.  I just wanted him to be completely happy.

            "5 0, ugh I hate them," Efren stated.

            Just at that time, I jumped up out the chair as the cops came driving down the street.  I turned towards the wall, looking away from the street, blocking my face completely. 

            It always happened.  I had to hide from the cops.  I was wanted.  Efren tapped me on my shoulder.

            "Now what the hell is that about?"

            I shook my head and returned to my seat.  The cops were gone.  Everything was normal. 

            "Nothing...Doki! Doki come away from the street!"

            I looked over to see Doki.  I was supposed to be watching him. Maya had gone to get some groceries for the house with the money that Caprio had given her.  Maya had been living off unemployment for a while now.  I could tell the money Caprio had given her was really helping her.

            Doki ran closer and came jumping into my lap. The little kid definitely liked me for whatever reason.  He reached over and started to play with the chess pieces.

            "You are so weird.  You hide from cops.  You keep a hell of secrets.  Caprio is your boyfriend and yet you are scared to let him know that you are upset with things he does."

            "Shh..." I hushed Efren and looked down at Doki.

            Efren grabbed Doki's chin and lifted it up, "Doki did you understand that?"

            Doki looked up at Efren and smiled, "What?"

            Efren looked back at me, " don't understand stuff like that. You have to open up to somebody one of these days. Trust me. I'm not the most innocent person, but I'm not dodging the po-po either.  You can trust me..."

            I shook my head.

            No...I didn't want to get anyone involved in this.

            I could see Efren about to continue to talk, but at that moment Maya had came back. We could hear her loud walk from a mile away.  She had a few bags full of groceries. 

            Efren immediately ran up to her to help her, "Let me help you with those."
            "No," she said with a snotty attitude and then turned to me, "Tatum can help me.  Hey Tatum, can you help me with these."
            I laughed.  It was kind of expected.  It seemed Efren was attracted to Maya's stubbornness though.  He actually licked his lips and was staring at her as though he was somewhat seduced by the idea of her turning him down.

            I walked over and grabbed some of her bags out of her hand, almost tripping over Doki who seemed more then excited to go greet his mother.

            "Hey baby," she said.

            "Hey mama."
            "Damn...Caprio still isn't back yet? I don't get what he's always doing with that guy though. Did that guy rub you off as a fag?"

Efren lip vibrated a little.  I could tell how awkward it was, but it was fine. I wasn't too insulted by it. 
            I shrugged my shoulders, "At times Manhattan does.  I think he just works with Caprio though."
            "What exactly does Caprio do?"

            "Uh...he's a bouncer at a club."

            "Oh.  He's being all secretive about being a bouncer? Why? But if he works with that guy, you mean to tell me they have a fag as a bouncer though?"

            "Mommy...what's a fag?" Doki asked, "What's that?"

            Great. She was teaching her son to talk like that.  I hated the word with a passion. To hear someone so young and innocent as Doki use it made me pissed off.  I knew it was just ignorance and it really wasn't personal, but still...I felt a bit of anger rise up, especially when Maya wasn't upset with her son for using it.

            Maya bent down a little bit to her son, "Well Doki baby. A fag is a boy who has a boyfriend. Doki what are boy's supposed to have?"


"Yeah Doki. It's wrong for a girl to have a girlfriend.  It's even worse for a boy to have a boyfreind.  They don't go to heaven."

            I couldn't believe she was teaching this to her son! 

            "Mama, Caprio and Tatum won't go to heaven?" Doki asked, "Aw, Mama! Humph! I'm sad now. Aw!"

            Doki did look sad.  He looked like he was on the verge of crying.  Efren's mouth dropped and so did mine. We both knew what Doki was talking about.  I kind of wanted to hit Efren for letting it slip around the kid.

            "What are you talking about baby?" Maya asked.

            "Caprio is Tatum's boyfriend mama..."