Indulgence ©2007

By Jack Llawayllynn


Chapter 24: Found and Lost

Sin eased the motorcycle to the curb two doors down from the address of his motherís house. Finding her had been easier than expected. Heíd shown the picture around the town he had isolated as being the most likely one that McKenna had spoken of. At first all he had gotten was strangely shocked, puzzled looks and shaken heads. Then a street bum, of all people, had recognized the name and the face, said he hadnít seen her in months but was able to give Sin her address. From here the yard looked neat and tidy but lacked landscaping. Childrenís toys and a tricycle were cluttered near the small porch. Strange thatÖmaybe his mother did babysitting to earn money? The house itself was small and square. Unimpressive. The paint was just beginning to peel a little around the edges. The roof would need to be re-shingled in the next year or so. One small car sat in the drive, an older model Nissan with fading paint but it too was kept clean, washed free of the dust that seemed to cling to most everything in the area. Over all it appeared unassuming, clean, and homey. Just another American nobody not quite making it to the full American dream. Steeling himself with a deep breath he dismounted and removed his helmet, strapping it to the side of the bike and tightening his pony tail behind his neck before walking the short distance to the house. He limped very little. He had been diligent in changing his bandages and applying new salve every six hours. The shit worked wonders. He hardly had any pain left at all and the wound was closing neatly. At the door he had a moment of anxiety and nearly turned away but finally raised a fist and knocked. After only a moment he heard the patter of little feet running and the door was flung open by a tiny munchkin, hardly taller than his knees. He had the impression of jet black hair and bright black eyes before the child literally launched herself at him squealing, "Daddy!"

Sin had no choice but to bend and catch her or let her crash headlong into him. He hoisted her nervously into his arms and propped her on his hip, the one opposite of his injured leg, unsure what to do now. Never in his life had he held a child. Her little rosebud mouth formed a perfect "O" as she gazed in amazement at him.

"You arenít my Daddy!" she said in a sweet angelic voice. "But you pretty too." She began patting his face with her slim little hands and Sin stood in shock, staring at the tiny being that found him as fascinating as he found her. His gaze swiveled back to the doorway as an amazingly beautiful young woman approached the door from the airy hallway revealed within. Her jet black hair hung straight and glimmering, the tips brushing the top of her jeans. Her violet eyes went from the sight of the child clasped in a strangerís arms to Sinís face. The eyes widened and her expression mimicked that of her daughterís only moments ago, her delicate lips forming a perfect "O" of surprise.

"MiÖMichael?" she stuttered at last.

Sin felt like he had been punched in the stomach and nearly dropped the child. Very carefully he bent and placed the girl onto her feet then straightened. "You know my name," he said flatly, the hurt and anger too strong to mask. Apparently this woman knew who he was. Perhaps she was a relative, a sister even, and yet no one had ever tried to contact him.

"Oh my god! Oh my god!" The woman gasped. "You are Michael! Of course you are! Oh my god! Fawn, run get the cordless phone for Mommy! Run now!" The little girl scampered away, casting a curious but unafraid glance back over her shoulder at Sin.

"Come in, come in," the woman was babbling, grabbing Sin by the hand and hauling him over the threshold. She led him into a small, neat, living room well lit by a front facing, open window and indicated a sofa. "Please, sit. Iíll only be a moment. Oh my god!" The little girl had returned with the phone and her mother snatched it away and dialed frantically. "Honey? Where are you?" she said as someone answered the on the other end. "Oh thank god! Come home! Yes right now! Come home now! No, no, weíre fine. Just come home for Christís sake!" She disconnected before the person on the other end could argue. She smiled down at Sin nervously. "Heís on Broad Street, very near. Heíll be here any moment. I better meet him outside so he doesnít freak out. JustÖjust stay right there. Fawn, sweetie, go wash your face."

"But it isnít dirty!" the little girl protested. She was right. Sin could see not a single smudge marring the perfect dimpled flesh of her cheeks.

"Mind Mommy right this minute young lady!" The woman said sternly but not unkindly and the child went but her mouth was set in a pout. Something to keep the child busy for the moment? Sin wondered and cast his eyes back up at the woman. The scream of an approaching siren cut through the open window across the room and the woman turned and hurried away, tossing an apologetic, "Iíll be right back!" at him over her shoulder. Sin heard the front door open and close again and went to the window to see her hurrying down the drive to stand waiting for an approaching police car that took the corner way too fast. So, the husband is a cop, Sin thought bemused. He still had no idea who the woman and child were or what relation they might be to him but so far he saw no signs of the presence of an older woman, no clue as to where his mother might be. The police car pulled in and stopped with a bark of tires. The driver had pulled up far enough that Sin could not see him as he stepped from the car but he could hear him clearly enough through the open window.

"What is it? Whatís wrong? Where is Fawn?" asked a manís frantic voice. Sin frowned, thinking the voice sounded extremely familiar. But how could that be? He didnít know these people.

"Fawnís fine. Iím fine. Itís Michael. Heís here." The womanís voice was soft, an attempt at a soothing tone.

"Michael? You mean Michael Bean? You called me out here like that and scared me shitless just because that bum is back in town?" He sounded more exasperated with her than angry.

"No honey," her voice now held a soft sort of pity. "I mean Michael. YOUR Michael."

The silence that followed was long and heavy. Suddenly the front door flung open hard enough to shake the house. Sin turned from the window to face the man who strode frantically into the room. The man stopped in the doorway and they faced each other, both feeling the world fall and spin beneath their feet. Sin felt his heart rise to his throat then drop into a fiery pit. The man before him could be nothing other than a twin. HIS twin. They stood in silence and blinked at one another.

The woman squeezed past the man in the doorway and went to stand before Sin. "Can IÖget you something to drink Michael? Tea, milk, a beer?"

Sin tore his gaze away from his brother and let it drop to the petite woman before him. He couldnít really make sense of her words and his eyes rose again.

"Tea alright?" she asked kindly.

"Yes." His tone was utterly flat and detached. His eyes were once more on his brother but he did notice that the woman gave a pat to the manís shoulder as she squeezed passed him, silent support. Suddenly the little girl dashed back into the room and ran straight to her father. Sin was slightly bemused to see her launch herself at the man the same way she had done to him earlier. He had either to bend and catch her or let her crash. He caught her up in a smooth, practiced motion.

"Look Daddy, that man looks just like you," Fawn said, pointing innocently.

The man gently took her hand and lowered it. "It isnít polite to point Fawn, remember? And his name is Michael, not Ďthat maní. Heís your uncle sweetheart."

Sin felt another stab of rage. "Well," he said, his eyes flashing. "It seems everyone here now knows MY name but who the hell are all of you people?"

Fawnís eyes went wide. "Daddy, he said a bad word."

Sin swallowed an apology. He didnít feel they deserved one. They had known about him all these years yet he knew nothing whatsoever about any of them. The man wearing Sinís reflection for a face blanched slightly and put the little girl down. "Go help your mother. Now." He gave her bottom a gentle pat to send her on her way. Sinís eyes followed her impish form as she skipped away calling out "Mommy, Daddy says that man is my uncle!" in a sing song voice.

"Iím sorry," the man said, extending a hand almost timidly to Sin. "My name is Nathaniel Silent MoonÖjust Nathan to most. All I know of you is that your first name is Michael and that we are twins."

Sin stared at the hand a moment. An exact duplicate of his own. Finally he took it and shook it. "Michael Synn."

"SynnÖMichael Synn. Now I know." Nathan said. They stood there a moment, hands clasped, forgotten, studying each otherís faces. Some differences were loud and obvious. Nathan had short hair, cut above the collar and swept back from his face and he wore a neatly pressed policemanís uniform, so at odds with Sinís leather jacket and dusty black jeans. Looking past that Sin saw the subtle differences. A small vivid scar near Nathanís left ear, another less noticeable scar on his chin. But they were small and Sin knew if he squinted slightly it would be like looking into a mirror.

The woman came in carrying a tray with several glasses of iced tea. Both men jumped as if they had been caught doing something wrong and their hands dropped, the connection broken like a severed band. Keeping her eyes politely averted to give them each time to recover from shock she went and placed the tray on the coffee table and took a seat in a small rocking chair in the corner. She motioned for the little girl to follow and the child crawled up in her lap and stared up at the two men in wonderment.

Nathan finally cleared his throat and turned away. Sin caught a glint in the manís eye. A tear? Good god he hoped not!

"Please, sit down," Nathan said, waving at the couch. Sin picked up a glass from the tray and took it with him as he went to sit.

"My wife, Mary, and my daughter FawnÖyour niece." Nathan cleared his throat after his words as if he were fighting emotion. "God itís good to see you Michael! How did you find us, find out about us I mean? Iíve been trying to locate you for years but your adoption records are sealed. Very sealed. Even with my contacts I couldnít get into them."

Sin took a moment to take a drink from the glass, assessing this news. So, they had looked for him after all. He didnít know how he felt about that. Less angry yes, but still, they had known he existed and he hadnít had a clue about having a twin.

"Itís a long story," Sin said at last as he pulled a coaster closer to him and sat his glass on it. "What I want to know is how and how much you know about me."

Nathan barked a laugh. "I know only two things about you. You are my twin. Your first name is Michael. Not a lot to go on for a search, let me tell you! Iíve tried though. I never stopped looking from the day Mom told me I had a twin. That is why I became a cop. I thought it would give me an edge in finding you."

"So youíve known about me for a long time?" Sin asked quietly.

Nathan nodded. "Yes, for about 16 years now."

"HmmmÖyou said Mom, where is she?" Sin asked, trying to sound unconcerned and only mildly interested. "That is who I thought lived here, who I came to see."

"Daddyís Mommy is in heaven," the little girl piped up, eager to be included in the conversation. "She went to be an angel."

The glass slipped from Sinís hand but he managed to catch it before it tipped enough to spill more than a small splash onto the leg of his dusty jeans.

"Dead then," he said numbly.

"Yes, Iím sorryÖIÖ" Nathan paused and took a deep breath. "Mary, why donít you take Fawn over to your parentsí house for a while?"

"Good idea," Mary said, rising with the child in her arms. "Letís go pumpkin. It was nice to meet you Michael. Weíre very glad you found us."

Sin nodded as politely as he could but didnít dare to speak. He wasnít sure how his voice would come out. He watched as Mary hastily gathered a small brown purse and a set of keys before leaving the room. The little girl eyed Sin over her motherís shoulders and waved bye-bye as they left the room. There was total silence in the room for several moments after the sound of the car had died away.

"She lived here, our mother?" Sin asked at last.

"Yes. She died two months ago. She had lung cancer." Nathan rose from the chair and went to a book shelf, pulling forth a large picture album. He flipped through the pages then carried it to Sin and settled himself next to him, an elegant finger pointing to a color photograph. "This is her three years ago," he said. Sin gazed down at the picture. She was a small woman, slim even in her later years. Her face was deeply lined with creases, her eyes looked dry and brittle. A bitter woman, Sin thought, studying the set of her mouth. A stranger. Nothing but a picture of a stranger. Nathan set the album across Sinís knees and flipped the pages back. "Here she is, before we were born." This picture was in black and white. Professionally taken it showed a lithe young woman in tasseled buckskin shirt and skirt. A beautiful raven haired vision. So different from the woman she would become.

"She spoke of you often in the last few years Michael. God, itís weird to call you Michael."

"Weird? Why?"

"Mother called you her Ďlost wolf cubí. Near the end she only referred to you as ĎWolf", though Michael is the name she chose for you at birth. Michael Wolf Silent Moon was the name she chose for you."

"That isnít my name. Itís Michael Drake Synn."

"Drake? I wonder where that came from?"

"Itís a long story."

Sin looked up to find Nathan staring at his face, studying him minutely. "God, we are so much alike!"

"I doubt that," Sin said almost nastily and snapped the picture album closed. He leaned forward and slid it onto the coffee table. Inside he was seething with a mass of ugly emotions, jealousy for never having the chance to meet his mother, resentment for not being the twin who remained, confusion about having a brother, no less a twin!

"I bet we are more alike than you think," Nathan said, smiling a little smugly.

"Oh? You certainly donít look gay to me." Sinís eyes flashed angrily.

Nathan laughed. "Good one bro! I see you have a sarcastic sense of humor as well."

Sin said nothing, just stared at him in grim silence. Nathanís laughter died.

"No you arenít. You canít be gay! Iím not gay!"

Sin continued to stare at him. His eyes were hard and mean.

"You are not gay!" Nathan insisted. "Arenít you a Christian? Donít you know that being gay is a sin, a terrible sin!"

Sinís eyes finally blinked. When they opened his mouth curved into a cruel smile. "Do I look like a Christian to you Öbro?" he added the endearment to the end with such a tone of sarcastic venom that Nathan leaned back, away from him.

"There is no way my twin brother is homosexual! No way!" Nathan declared in a voice that held more pleading than conviction.

"Tell me something," Sin said, changing the subject. "How is it that you werenít taken away from Mom when I was?"

Nathan stared at him a moment, still trying to digest the possibility of having a gay twin. "YouÖyou donít know anything at all about what happened to her, do you?"

"No," Sin said flatly.

Nathan got up and began to pace. "Mom got pregnant by a white man. She admitted that she had been seeing him, dating him, whatever, that she had been drawn to him by his money and by the fact that he was older than her but in the end she fell in love with him. When she told him she was pregnant he accused her of trying to trap him, and of plotting a blackmail scheme. She denied it of courseÖ"

"Of course," Sin said dryly.

"Öbut he didnít believe her," Nathan continued as if Sin hadnít spoken. The badge on Nathanís left breast winked in the light from the window every time he made another lap around the room. "It seems her sister was playing with the manís best friend. She HAD lied in an attempt to trap him. I guess I canít blame our father too badly for being skeptical at first. No matter what proof Mom tried to offer though he wouldnít believe her. He told her he would only believe her if and when he laid eyes on the child. He warned her not to try to find him either, that things would go very badly for her and her sister, threatened to have them jailed on trumped up charges if she ever tried to contact him before she went into labor, if she ever did. I donít know what kind of pull he had but apparently he had enough to really scare her and scare her badly. The law has never been easy on the people here, Michael. That was another reason I went into law enforcement. I thought I could help tip the scale in our favor, and I do, a little, I just didnít expect to become an outsider because of it."

"So the natives rejected your half blood ass when you became a cop." Sin sipped his tea and leaned back, placing his feet on the coffee table. Nathan shot him an angry look but turned to pace the length of the room again.

"Some of them still trust me, others donít. Anyway, Mom was terrified of this man so she agreed to let him have the baby, if he swore he would take good care of their child."

"Just like that," Sin said bitterly.

"Look, not only was she scared but she had convinced herself that he could provide a better home, more money, more education, more white, whatever. So yeah, just like that she agreed to call him when she went into labor. He knew she was planning to have the baby at home with a local midwife. Hospitals are expensive and he wasnít willing to pay a dime. As promised she called him when she went into labor. He arrived with an escort of bodyguards. He didnít even wait for them to clean you up properly before he took you and he never glanced over at Mom. He just snatched you away and left. Within twenty minutes of his departure I was born. As far as I know he never knew about me at all. Later, when Mom found out that he hadnít kept you, that he had immediately put you in foster care, she had a total nervous breakdown."

"How did she find out about that?"

"I donít know. She never would say, never would tell me his name either. She claimed she might endanger you if she opened her mouth about him at all."

"So nice of her to worry about a kid she threw away," Sin said nastily.

"Shut up!" Nathan snapped as he whirled to face Sin. "How dare you be so arrogant? You know nothing at all about what kind of woman she was! You have no right to throw around your sarcasm as if you knew her!"

Sin gave a small nod. "You are right. I have some anger issues. I should be more understanding about some woman who whores around with older white guys then lets him take her child even though she already fears him herself but would rather throw the baby at him to get him off her back than to stand up and protect her son as a mother should."

Nathanís face drained of color. A muscle ticked along one jaw and his steel blue eyes narrowed dangerously. Sin tilted his head and studied him curiously, like a dog hearing a strange sound. He wondered just how often Matt had faced that very same expression.

"Get out," Nathan said at last, his tone emotionless and flat. "Get out now."

Sin stood and placed his glass on the coffee table beside the photo album. As he passed Nathan on his way to the door he said, "Better look out bro, one morning you may wake up craving the taste of dick." Laughing Sin slapped his brother on the ass as he walked on by. Nathan struck quickly and Sin found himself flying, sent airborne by some martial arts move that had been far too quickly executed for Sin to figure out the how or when of it. All he knew was that one moment he was passing his brother, the next moment he was crashing into the coffee table. A piece of broken glass flew up and sliced across his chin. Sin shook his head in an effort to clear it but Nathan had already jerked him up and planted a solid fisted jab to Sinís mouth. Sin didnít fight him as Nathan twisted a fist in the collar of his jacket and used it to lead Sin to the front door and push him through it.

"Donít bother coming back," Nathan said as Sin stumbled down the front steps.

Sin caught his balance on the walkway and turned to face his twin. Blood seeped down his chin and painted his lips and teeth. "No worries mate," Sin said, affecting an authentic sounding Australian accent. "Well, g-day." Sin waved cheerfully and walked away, not once looking back. Behind him Nathan stared after him until he disappeared around the corner on his motorcycle.

* * * *

Sin had absolutely no idea where he was. He wasnít even sure if he was in the same state anymore. After leaving his brotherís house he had driven to the closest bar he could find, spent two hours drinking there then had moved on, stopping again at another bar, then another. He honestly couldnít remember how much time he had spent driving between stops. Now he sat woozily on a stool in a country and western themed bar with Garth Brooks pounding over the throbbing in his head. He wanted to analyze why he had been so nasty to his brother, figure out what was cracked in his own soul, what it was that made him drive everyone away. But his head hurt too much to think and the ground kept tilting away in his line of vision, lines of dancing feet tilting with it. Sin wished Matt were here. God he missed that kid. Matt would take care of him, drag him out of this god forsaken bar, take him home andÖ

Sin snapped his thoughts away. He had left Matt behind. Left it all behind and he wasnít going back. McKenna was dead, along with his crazy bitch of a wife. There was nothing left to run from, and now, knowing his mother was dead, nothing left to run to. He was utterly free and twice as miserable.

A man sat down at the stool next to Sinís and stared at him. Sin stared back until he saw only one head and could focus on the manís face. Another damn Indian. Hell, so he was still in Indian territory was he? Every bar he had stopped in seemed to have had them by the scores. Sin turned away from the man and waved to the bar-tender for another drink. The man came over but was shaking his head. "Sorry Tonto, no more for you," he said, grinning through his beard. "Go home and sleep it off."

"I ainít got a home," Sin slurred but even as he said it he slid off the barstool and turned toward the door. A tall silver haired white man stood in his path, grinning at him. His eyes boldly raked Sinís body, head to boots.

"Come on pet, Iíll take you home," the man said and took Sin by the elbow. Sin looked at him woozily but allowed himself to be led.

"My nameís Corban, OíNeil Corban. I own half this county but Iíve never seen you here before. New in town?" The man steered Sin skillfully passed the dancers and out the door. The air outside had turned crisp and cool, so at odds with the stale hot smoky air of the bar that it hit Sin in the face like a glass of water. Sin drew himself up and looked the man over. He was in sixties at least and wore finely made western clothes, his boots looked to be genuine rattlesnake hide and his hat a genuine Stetson. He had merry sparkling baby blue eyes and very white teeth that didnít look the least bit like dentures.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Sin asked, his words only a little less slurred than they had been inside. "You got money, why come to this dump?"

"I own this dump son," the man answered laughing. "I like to drop in on my various establishments from time to time. Besides, sometimes I find a fresh fine thing like you hanging around."

Sin snorted loudly. "I know that wasnít a gay bar we just walked out of gramps."

Corban threw back his head and laughed, pounding Sin on the shoulder as he did so and nearly knocking him into the dirt. "Nope, it wasnít, but I can spot my own kind, just as easily as you younger fellers can. Wasnít hard, you were looking at every male ass in the joint and several of those fellers werenít taking too kindly to it. Lucky for you I was there. Folks around here all know Iím queer as a three dollar bill and are careful about gay bashing when Iím around. Now come on, Iíve got a room in the hotel up the road, own that place too. Iíll be in town for another two weeks or so, checking up on my properties, buying up more, that sort of thing. You can stay with me if you turn out to be as good in bed as you look standing there."

Sin growled something under his breath, nonsense that even he couldnít understand himself. He had never been picked up by another man. He had always been the one to do the hunting and catching. Hell, everything was down the drain anyway. Maybe it was time for a change. Find out how the bitches with a sugar daddy lived. Sinís shoulders slumped unconsciously. He was depressed, worn out and giving up. Without protest Sin followed the older man to a new model sedan and climbed in when the door was unlocked and opened for him. He was too drunk to even protest having the older man treat him like a lady. Inside the car smelled of new, well oiled leather and expensive cigars.

"Whatís your name pet?" OíNeil asked him even as his hand dropped to Sinís knee and squeezed.

"Sin," he answered absently, considering weather or not to grab the manís hand and break the fingers.

OíNeal laughed. "Lovely name, just lovely. My little pet Sin."

"Hmph," Sin snorted, deciding that violence was just too much effort.

The rest of the short journey was made in silence. The car rode smoothly and Sinís head dropped lower and lower onto his chest even as OíNeilís hand slid further and further up Sinís thigh, unnoticed. By the time they reached the parking lot of the hotel Sin was sagging in his seat belt. Corban got out and went around to open Sinís door, helping him up out of the car with a strength unexpected in a man of his age.

"Come on now, sweet thing, itís just a little walk," Corban encouraged him. Sin stumbled along obediently and leaned limply against the brick wall while OíNeil selected a key card from his wallet and slid it in the slot by the door. There was a small click and OíNeil pushed the door open, waving Sin inside. Sin stumbled in and was surprised to find the room lushly decorated in hues of mauve and vermilion, every surface covered in satin or velvet. The air nearly reeked of the manís cologne but the air conditioning was on high and felt heavenly. Sin eyed the large bed with deep appreciation, despite the ridiculous mauve color of the satin comforter. His knees felt like jelly and his neck felt like rubber.

"What do you think?" his host asked as he pushed in passed Sin. "Gorgeous isnít it? I decorated it myself."

Sin just nodded mutely though in truth he thought the colors were hideous. Mainly though he could not have cared less. All he really wanted to do was collapse across that fabulous bed and sleep for eternity.

"Sit, sit," Corban was saying as he gestured to a pair of mauve arm chairs. "Weíll get to know each other a little better first."

Sin plopped into a chair and waited while a sudden rush of nausea assailed him. When it finally passed he tried to focus on what the other man was doing. Unwrapping a cigar. Great. Talk time. Sin fumbled in his shirt pocket for his cigarettes and lit one. Corban had gotten the cigar unwrapped and snipped and sat waiting, staring at Sin in expectation. Belatedly Sin realized he was waiting for Sin to light the cigar. On the first try he fell slightly forward, nearly searing the manís ear. The second try was higher but still off the mark. Finally on the third try he was able to hold his hand steady by clutching it in his other fist.

"Damn boy," Corban said, laughing in his jolly way, "you sure are tore up."

"Yep," Sin agreed. His eyes were drawn to a warm yellow glow above the older manís ear. He stared at it in puzzlement for a moment then grinned stupidly. "The roofÖ" he said, then began to laugh.

"What? What did you say?"

"I said the roofÖthe roofÖ" Sin laughed harder and had to gasp out the last words. "The roof is on fire!" He finished with a bellow of mirth but his body finally gave up the fight and slid to the floor. He was out cold before his head came to rest on the lush red carpet. OíNeil, suddenly aware of the stench of burning synthetic hair and the heat on his head, jerked his burning toupee from his bald scalp and threw it on the floor to stomp out the flames. Sin had accidentally set him on fire while trying to light his cigar.

* * * *

Sin woke feeling very odd. When he cracked his eyes open all he could see was a field of mauve satin. His stomach was churning horribly. He could feel the cold air of the air conditioning touching the naked flesh of his back and legs. His ass ached too. He blinked several times forcing memory to the front of his mind. Never once, in all of his life, had he ever blacked out so completely from drinking that he couldnít remember what he had done or what had been done to him while drunk and today was no exception. He vividly remembered accidentally setting olí OíNeilís toupee on fire and chuckled. The movement made him feel sick again. He swallowed hard. He also remembered, much more vaguely, the old guy removing his clothes and getting him hoisted up onto the bed, face down, and having a jolly fuck up Sinís ass. Sin couldnít be mad at him. Hell, the old guy had deserved a bit of hole after having his favorite hair piece destroyed.

Slowly Sin pushed himself up, his arms rubbery. His hair felt weird and hung down in odd ridiculous slabs on either side of his face. He didnít even try to push it away, just staggered finally to his feet and made it to the pisser on wobbly legs. There was no sign of OíNeil. Apparently the old guy had business and no time to wait for a drunken half breed to come to his senses before leaving. Sin took a piss, his hair still acting most out of character and beginning to piss him off. He stumbled to the mirror and stared at himself in horror. The old dude had put makeup on him. His eyelids were painted a horrible shade of merry blue, there were large, child-like circles of rouge on his checks and his lips were geisha red. His hair, which had been behaving so strangely, was tied up over his ears, a pigtail on each side, tied with large gaudy blue ribbons. So, the old guy had gotten his revenge all the way around. Sin watched the red of fury fade from his own face and began to laugh, huge noisy guffaws as he sank naked onto the cold tiled floor of the bathroom. So loud was he laughing that he hadnít heard the old man return.

"Good to see you have a sense of humor about it," OíNeil said, propping himself in the doorway. "Itís what you deserve after setting me on fire. I thought about sheering that beautiful hair off but changed my mind. That would have been such a waste and far too petty on my part. But the pig-tails are cute as a button on you."

Sin wiped an eye, some of the blue eyeshadow coming off onto his knuckle. "Youíre a cruel old bastard," he gasped, still laughing. "I see though that you have replaced your hair piece."

OíNeil nodded. "Had to drive all the way to Gartierís to get a new one, you little asshole. Speaking of little assholes, I enjoyed yours thoroughly last night."

"Iím aware of that. Now. I wasnít when you did it. Do you prefer your lovers to be dead drunk?" Sin asked as he began to unknot one of the bows in his hair.

"Not at all but I couldnít resist. So, are you going to hang around or take off now?" OíNeil was still lounging in the door but his eyes were longing, obviously hoping Sin would choose to stay.

"I have nowhere to go," Sin said quietly as he got the other pony-tail loose and shook his hair out flat. "So I guess Iíll hang with you a bit."

Corban grinned happily then the grin faded. "What about Matt? How long until he shows up?"

"What do you know about Matt?" Sin demanded angrily. Even with the childish, loud makeup he still managed to look fierce and dangerous.

"Only what you mumbled in your sleep, my friend. You love him, obviously. And just as obviously you left him. And you feel guilty about it. I was just wondering how long before he would show up looking for you."

The anger seeped out of Sin so suddenly that he felt deflated and he leaned against the bathroom sink, feeling sick. "He wonít. No worries there." Sin didnít bother to rise, he just crawled to the tub and flopped inside of it before turning the water on, reaching for a washcloth to wipe away the ridiculous makeup. "He hates me. I made sure of that before I left."

"So, you drove him away did you? Well, his loss is my gain." OíNeil smiled as he crossed into the room, now beginning to hold some steam in the close confines and took the cloth from Sinís hand to wash away the makeup himself. "For now you can be my little pet. Iíve always loved half-breeds but have yet to lasso myself one. You can be my first. Whatís it to be for your breakfast love? Eggs? Bacon? Booze?"

"All of the above," Sin muttered, turning his head so OíNeil could reach his other cheek more easily. He had never before allowed himself to be pampered and petted. It was worth a try. What did he have to lose or gain from anything anymore? A pet, him a pet, what a novel idea.

"Will you let me fuck you again first?" OíNeil asked, running the soapy cloth down over Sinís chest.

"Iíll let you do whatever you like with me. I donít care. I must warn you though you are playing with a dead man. A mannequin. Whatever. There is nothing left inside of me so donít go looking for a heart."

"Humph," OíNeil grunted. "I donít give a damn about your heart my dear. Iím just interested in your dick and your ass, and that very lovely mouth. Come on now, why not give Daddy a blow job?"

Sin shrugged and obliged. What did it matter? Matt would still be under the watchful eye of Stan and by the time he managed to escape he would have given up on Sin entirely.

After Sin completed what was requested of him he finally stood and showered properly. The old man was waiting for him when he stepped out of the steaming bathroom, smiling with satiation and shifting from foot to foot.

"I took the liberty of having your motorcycle brought here," he informed Sin. "But, if what you said is true and youíll be staying here with me for a while, you wonít be needing it for a while. Today we go shopping. I went through your saddle bags and though you have an unreasonable amount of money in there, which of course I will not question you about, we will be using my money. I want to dress you properly. You could be such a beautiful man, truly you could. Maybe something in purple paisley. I think I could just adore you in purple paisley."

Sin sighed inwardly but he had no fight left in his soul. Purple paisley for Christís sake! He wanted to roll his eyes but contained himself. "Whatever you say Pops," Sin said wearily as he pulled on his jeans. They had been washed and pressed while he slept. He wasnít even curious as to when or how the old guy had managed to pull off getting his clothes cleaned in such a short span of time.

Much to Sinís relief OíNeil actually hated the purple paisley shirt that he had Sin to try on.

"Good God no!" Corban had exclaimed when Sin exited the dressing room. "Take it off darling! Immediately! It doesnít suite at all!"

Instead OíNeil chose an entire wardrobe worth of Western style shirts, sturdy lean jeans, genuine alligator cowboy boots and a fancy Stetson hat that Sin hated but wore anyway. He would much have preferred to have his old floppy black leather hat back but he hadnít thought to stuff it into his saddle bags. After a day of shopping OíNeil drug him from bar to bar, buying him drinks at an ungodly pace. Corban himself drank only the best but allowed Sin to order whatever suited him. They did not dance, or hold hands, or act as anything more than two businessmen assessing the condition of each bar. The booze were usually watered down, the bands mostly pathetic and the crowds desperate to escape reality at any cost.

OíNeil proved to be a virile old fuck. He took Sin behind a bar then in the backseat of his large car the third time bent over an old hitching post hidden from sight near a crumby falling abandoned farmhouse. Sin enjoyed none of it but didnít care. What else did he have to occupy his time? He worked very hard at wiping out all thoughts of Matt, and of his newly discovered family members. He wanted nothing at all to do with any of them. He knew that all he could do was destroy them. He made a damn good job of it already. McKenna, his father, was dead, Matt was enslaved to false thoughts and emotions, planted there during Sinís bout of greed while Matt was under the influence of Sylviaís tea, his own brother, his twin, hated him. Even MissÖno Aunt Sylvia had nearly had a heart attack the last time she had seen him. Poor Estaban and Drift were on the run, leaving the country because of him. No, Sin couldnít let himself think of any of them.

So, out of despair and despondency, he latched onto OíNeil, became his puppet and his puppy. He fought with vigor to bury himself, the real Sin, beneath layers of fake humility. He was, he knew, nothing more than an actor playing a pitiful part in a horrible play of reality. But why should he care? He had nothing to look forward to.

Sin had been with OíNeil nearly a week when, on a busy and noisy Friday night Corban took him to one of the many bars he owned in the area. They went early, quietly taking a table in a back corner and making themselves comfortably inconspicuous. Sin was bored out of his mind, nursing his beer and listening to OíNeil rattle on about a stretch of land he intended to buy out from under some poor fuck that was losing his farm. Finally a band took the stage, rough, rugged men in blue jeans and western shirts. Sin realized half way through the first song that they didnít belong here, in this backwoods dirty bar. They actually had talent. Sin himself cared little for country music but these guys were pouring it out with heart and soul. Too bad, he thought as the singer took the mike, that the front guy could easily have been replaced by a bloodhound and it would hardly be noticed. If they had a decent singer the band might actually be able to go somewhere. Around them though the rest of the audience didnít seem to notice or care. They were too busy getting drunk and trying to hook up with a lay. The band did have some small successes though. Some songs seemed to be enormously popular with the crowd who would joyfully join in the singing with drunken voices. No wonder they didnít give a shit what the singer sounded like, the crowd drowned him out whenever a favorite was played. Sin endured the night like he had all the others, by letting his mind go blank and getting puking drunk. OíNeil didnít care what Sin did, as long as heíd get to fuck him once they returned to the putrid motel room.

The next night they returned to the same crappy bar. Corban was meeting someone to discuss further details on his hopeful land purchase, planning in the end to bulldoze the farmhouse and put up a cheap and tawdry casino. Sin only paid scant attention to the conversation and less to the music being played by the same band. Halfway through a popular song though pandemonium broke out in the crowd. What started the fight Sin never knew but when someone threw a bottle and took out the lead singer the fight spread to every corner, including theirs and Sin at last had an outlet for his suppressed rage. He thoroughly enjoyed beating the shit out of any man, or woman for that matter, who dared to come even close to OíNeil and his guest.

"Get the band started back up!" OíNeil yelled to him from where he cowered under the small table with his greasy busy associate. "That should settle this down!"

How the fuck Sin was supposed to do that he didnít know. The singer was laid out cold on the stage and the band members were desperately trying to shield their instruments from flying debris. Sin pushed and elbowed his way to the stage and grabbed the mike.

"Shut the fuck up you sorry dog fuckers!" he bellowed into the microphone. That caught some attention and he had to dodge a few bottles himself. Turning from the mike he ordered the band to begin playing, something popular he screamed at them, and now! Unable to leave the stage for the chaos on the floor they finally complied. Sin, with his innate ability to memorize and mimic almost any song started to sing it. It was a jaunty country song about cheating on oneís wife but Sin didnít give a shit about the lyrics, he just belted them out. Slowly at first then with sudden silence the room turned to watch him. Before long they had joined in. The original singer was dragged from the stage by the bar manager and neatly tucked under the bar. Sin finished out the set easily. By now heíd heard enough songs in enough ragged country bars to get the words and tunes out correctly. Tonight the bar stayed open an hour later than usual and the band, including the groggy singer when he woke up under the bar were paid double. The singer though was told not to bother to return, just the band were to be kept on. Sin found himself once more the front man of a music band. He hated the music, he hated the crowd and he hated the atmosphere but what else did he have to do with his time? When OíNeil told him he was hired Sin just shrugged and complied.


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