Indulgence ©2008

By Jack Llawayllynn


Chapter 26: Freedom?

Sin woke with a start, damp and sticky. "Damn it!" he swore loudly at himself.

"Damn, again boy?" Corban demanded sleepily beside him.

Sin nodded in dismay. This was the third time he had been tortured by wet dreams of Matt in the last ten days.

O'Neil snorted angrily. "You can't even get it up for me. Hell boy, you ain't nothin' but dead dick when you're awake. That Matt must be something really special. Damn him! You let me get in your hole sometimes, or suck me off, but I can't do shit for you. Why don't you just forget him? You said you left him, so why are you still so hung up on him? Are you sure he didn't leave you?"

Sin sighed as he climbed from the bed and headed for the bathroom to clean up. "I left him for his own good. I've told you that before. I was just ruining his life."

"Well if he feels half about you what you obviously feel for him then it seems to me all you have succeeded in doing is ruining both of your lives."

Sin didn't respond, just closed the bathroom door but his thoughts were tormented. Was Corban right? Had he just simply made everything a hundred times worse for both himself and Matt? What if this drove Matt over the edge and he decided to kill himself? Sin snorted at himself. God, Matt was right about him, he was too vain by far. Of course Matt wouldn't take his own life over someone as worthless as Sin. Would he? Sin broke out in another sweat and stepped quickly into the shower, pushing all thoughts from his mind, trying to concentrate only on the pink tiles in the shower as he soaped up.

O'Neil was up and had turned on the lights in the room. He was picking through the enormous amount of clothing in his closet when Sin returned.

"Figured I may as well go ahead and get up. It's already 5:30 and getting up thirty minutes early won't kill me. I have a lot of business to take care of today. You still gonna be around when I get in tonight?" O'Neil didn't turn to look at Sin but Sin hadn't missed that worried tone that always entered Corban's voice when he asked of Sin leaving.

"I'll be around," Sin assured him as he pulled on a clean pair of briefs and a pair of soft flannel red and black pajama bottoms. He had slept in the nude most of his adult life until he had left Matt. When O'Neil had taken him shopping Sin had insisted on getting several pairs of pajama pants. He just wasn't comfortable sleeping in the nude anymore. Sin climbed back into the bed but sat with his back propped against the headboard while O'Neil gathered up his clothes and carried them toward the bathroom.

"I should be in around six or seven o'clock tonight. Are you going to go see the band today?" Corban asked, turning in the doorway.

"Not today. We practiced last night and seem to have everything down pat. No, I think I'll just cruise around on the bike today. Maybe look around in some of the shops in town."

"Want one of my credit cards?" O'Neil asked, starting to turn back toward the bedroom where his wallet was.

"No need old man. You know I have my own cash."

"I wish you would let me spoil you more than you do, pet."

"You spoil me plenty. Don't worry about me. I'll find something to do today."

Corban finally nodded, looking a bit unhappy and went to shower. Sin slid down and pulled the covers up over his head to block out the light. By the time O'Neil came back out of the bathroom Sin was snoring steadily. Corban sighed wistfully, wishing like hell he could figure out a way to erase Sin's ex lover from his mind, knowing that he would never be able to. Sin wouldn't hang around much longer. He'd either go searching for that damned man Matt or Matt would show up looking for him. If they were both suffering like Sin was there was nothing in the world besides death that would keep them apart in the end. With a last longing glance at the lump under the blankets O'Neil flipped off the light and headed out the door, careful to lock it behind himself.

* * * * *

Sin was seated outside of a small-town hamburger joint woofing down a burger and fries. He crammed the last bite in his mouth and sipped at his iced tea, resting in the shade, his cowboy hat tilted low over his eyes. He ate here nearly every day for lunch when O'Neil was away on business. It was a quiet place, just off the main road but surrounded on one side with large trees and on the other with a small strip mall. The traffic crawled by, more pickup trucks and SUVs than cars. Sin thought Matt would probably like this place too. Damn, why did his thoughts always have to turn to Matt when he just wanted to forget him entirely? Sin shook his head because he could have sworn that the thought of Matt had been brought on by the mention of Matt's name and his own spoken at a nearby table. He turned his head slightly to peer from under his hat brim at a pair of giggling teenage girls, one blonde and one brunette who had a newspaper spread between them, both of them slurping on a milk shake each.

"Did you get to go to the last Chains concert before you flew out here Laurie?" Asked the blonde.

By God! He HAD heard their names mentioned! He was states away from Matt and yet there sat two teenage girls talking about Chains.

"Yep. It was awesome too! Not like when Sin sings but that new guy Matt isn't bad at all. He's real cute too. This picture here doesn't really do him justice."

The first girl gave Laurie a blank stare. "Girl, I was WITH you when Sin introduced Matt Darvins on stage. Remember? I only just missed the last two concerts."

"Duh! I forgot. The last concert was a literal riot though. Did you hear about it?"

"Yeah, just a little bit of news from Tracy on the phone. You're right though, that isn't a very good picture of Matt. He looks so different there!"

"I guess it's because he was trying to hold that guy back. This picture of Sin from last month is gorgeous though isn't it? And you won't believe this but look right here Steph, see that dark shape in the corner of the picture? That's me!"

"No shit! No way! You were THAT CLOSE when Hugh Bigsly tried to kill that dude?"

"Yeah, right there!" the brunette said stabbing her finger at the newspaper. "I'm telling you the truth! That's me! Look closer. See the pattern on my shirt?"

"Oh my god! I gave you that shirt! That is you!"

"Told you so. I was so close that the guitarist nearly knocked me over when he came rushing through the crowd."

"Damn it! I wish I had been there with you. I hate having to spend a month out here in this hell-hole town with Dad. I want to go back to the city!"

"Well, at least he was nice enough to pay for me to come join you. We'll have a lot of fun. I can't wait to ride the horses!"

"I'm so glad you could come. I thought I was going to die of boredom before you got here!"

Sin eased himself out his chair and sauntered over to the girls. Both of them looked up warily. Sin kept his face tilted so that his eyes remained shadowed behind his hat brim.

"I'll give you ten bucks for that newspaper," Sin said quietly.

The girls exchanged a surprised look but then Laurie shook her head. "No way dude. What are you anyway? Some kind of weirdo? Was that supposed be a pick-up line of some sort?"

Sin chuckled and shook his head before lifting a hand to tilt his hat back. Their faces changed from wary to puzzled, as if they knew they should know him but couldn't quite place him. Grinning wider Sin pulled the hat from his head, letting it hang from his fingers by his side. "If you've really seen me on stage then you know that yes, I am a weirdo, but no, that was not a pickup line. You ladies are a bit young for my tastes."

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!" both girls squealed in unison. People turned to stare, some of them with worried looks.

"Hey now, don't freak out on me. People are starting to think I'm out to kidnap the two of you," Sin chuckled lightly. The girl called Laurie bounced up and threw herself at him, giving him a hard and totally unexpected hug, nearly knocking Sin back a step. He awkwardly patted her back.

"Oh my god!" Steph breathed again, this time more quietly. "You''re..." she stammered to silence.

"Michael Synn, at your service ladies," Sin said and swept a gracious bow when Laurie finally released him. "May I join you?"

"Hell yes!" Laurie said and actually pulled out a metal mesh chair for him to sit in. He lowered himself into the chair, careful not to let his long legs brush against the legs of the other girl seated at the table. Laurie though, when she sat, seemed to be intentionally pressing one of her knees against his. Sin casually moved his leg away.

"What are you doing way out here in this nothing town?" Steph asked, her eyes huge in her face as she stared at him, still in disbelief.

"Came for family matters," Sin said dismissively. "My mother passed away recently," he added without thinking.

"Oh no! I'm so sorry!" Both girls once again echoed each other. Sin glanced from one to the other. They must spend an awful lot of time together to be so in sync with each other's speech patterns.

"Thanks," Sin muttered wishing he had never let the words slip out. "So, well, since I've been so busy with family matters I haven't had time to keep in touch with the band members like I should. I'd really like to read that article, see what the press is saying about it all."

Laurie glanced down at the paper sadly. "But I collect all the articles I can find about Chains. I was going to add it to my scrap book."

"Tell you what, if you will just loan me the paper for tonight then I will return it to you tomorrow, autographed. Would that work?" Sin offered.

"Heck yeah!" Laurie cried happily and slid the paper to Sin. He wasn't about to let these girls see the pain in his eyes when he looked at the picture of Matt so instead of looking down he simply folded the paper and slid the thick wad of it into his jeans at the small of his back, the paper being too big to fit into his pocket.

"Thanks a lot Laurie. Will you girls be back here tomorrow? Do I need to meet you somewhere else?" Sin asked, leaning back casually.

"We can't come here tomorrow. It's Shephie's bir..." Laurie trailed off when she was interrupted by a stern voice.

"Ahem," said a woman harshly at his shoulder. The two girls jerked and blushed like they had been caught doing something wrong but Sin simply twisted to look up at the thunderous face of the woman who had come up behind him, standing there looking like a thunderhead with a sleeping toddler draped over one shoulder. "Girls, I think you should go get in the van now," she said, her voice dark. "You both know better than to talk to strangers!"

"Aw Mrs. Weaver, he's not a stranger! This is Michael Synn!" She beamed up at the woman but her grin faded when no recognition lit the woman's eyes and she continued to glare down at Sin.

"Why are you trying to set up a meeting with these girls tomorrow?" Mrs. Weaver demanded of Sin.

"So I can return the newspaper that Laurie is loaning me for tonight."

"Go buy your own paper," the woman snapped angrily.

"He can't Denise, it's from the city. He's here for his mother's funeral."

The woman's eyes finally shifted from Sin's face to Steph's. "You two really know him from home?"

Both girls nodded but Steph's eyes clouded a little. "Well, we sorta know him."

Once again the woman's eyes sharpened and slashed toward Sin. "Did you follow the girls out here?"

Sin shook his head and stood. "No Ma'am, I did not. My mother passed away. I heard them mention my name though and came over to see why."

"You two were talking about him?" Mrs. Weaver asked the girls, puzzled.

"Ye-uh!" Laurie drawled out like it should have been obvious why. "He's like our favorite singer ever!"

Steph nodded vigorously in agreement.

The woman shifted the toddler to her other shoulder and purused Sin head to toe, taking in the cowboy boots, the western style shirt tucked neatly into new, pressed black jeans and the hat dangling from his fingers.

"Alright girls, don't lie to me now. I know that neither one of you likes to listen to country music."

"He doesn't sing country music Denise! He sings heavy metal!"

Denise sniffed in disgust. "Yes, I know that is what you prefer to listen too but he hardly looks like a hard rocker."

"Ma'am, I am in town on family business. Do you think I would dress disrespectfully at a time like this?" Sin demanded, getting hot around the collar at her attitude. What gave this bitch the right to look down her nose at him like that? She knew nothing about him! Just as the thought came though her face softened and she glanced away.

"You have a good point there and I'm glad to know you have some respect for your family and are dressing appropriately for the area and the occasion. Still, maybe you should just give Laurie her newspaper back now. These girls can't meet you anywhere tomorrow. Tomorrow is Stephanie's birthday and we will be very busy."

"Happy Birthday," Sin said and started to pull the newspaper back out regretfully.

"But, but...can't he come to my party? Pleasssse?" Steph begged.

"No," Denise said quickly then seemed embarrassed that she had spoken so roughly. "I mean, I don't think your father would approve and besides, Mr. Synn is probably a very busy man."

"Actually I'm free tomorrow and could stop by for her party and return the paper at the same time," Sin said, easing the paper back behind him again.

"No, thank you. I don't think that is a good idea," Denise Weaver said grimly.

"Well it's my birthday and I should get to invite my own friends if I want to!" Steph said hotly and pulled a cell phone from her purse. "I'm going to ask Dad! He said that a girl should have anything she wants on her sweet sixteen and I want Michael Synn at my party!"

Denise shook her head, defeated. She knew Steph's father spoiled her and wouldn't say `no'. "Okay, okay. He can come."

Laurie and Steph both squealed in delight and the phone was slipped back into the purse, her weapon no longer needed against her stepmother.

"Not that you will enjoy yourself," Denise grumbled. "It will only be a bunch of teenage kids."

"That's alright. I'll bring my guitar and provide some music. Not..." he added quickly when her eyes widened in alarm, "anything heavy. I can play some country music, some soft rock. Will that do?"

"Country music!" the girls spat in disgust.

"It's a compromise girls. You get the lead singer from Chains at the birthday party and your parents get to hear the kind of music they like. It's only fair now isn't it?" Sin asked reasonably.

The girls nodded together thoughtfully.

"That was very kind of you," Denise said, looking at him differently now. She handed him a business card for a flower delivery service. "That's my home number and cell phone number. Give me a call in a few hours and I'll give you directions to the house. It's a little complicated so it's best to wait until you can write it down."

Sin nodded and tucked the card into his pocket. "Thank you. I'll speak to you later then." He turned away but as he left he heard the girls talking excitedly.

"Just think Denise, for me to have Michael Synn at my party would be like you having Garth Brooks at yours!"

"Really?" Mrs. Weaver asked, her voice totally changed now, sparking with respect. "He's THAT good?"

"Definitely!" both girls answered.

Sin made a mental note to himself to be sure to play plenty of Garth Brooks' songs at the birthday party tomorrow.

* * * * *

Sin had thought he would hurry back to the hotel room to read the paper he had borrowed from Laurie but instead he had found himself lagging, keeping the motorcycle at nearly a crawl, actually dreading seeing Matt's name, his face in print. Finally though he pushed into the room, his feet feeling heavy. He flicked on the lights and took the paper to a small table in the corner and turned on a small lamp there as well. He pulled the paper out and laid it on the table but did not open it. He just sat and stared at the folded pages, not seeing anything. He got up, paced around the room a few times then forced himself to sit back down at the table. With a sick roiling in his stomach he flipped it open to the article about Chains. His eyes fell on the page and he leapt away from the table, knocking the chair over and feeling as if he were going to vomit. It hadn't been Matt that caught his eye immediately, it was a separate article, an article about McKenna. The man was still alive!

Sin was on his knees, shaking, sobbing. How could this be? Was Matt in legal trouble? Had they put him in jail? What about Estaban and Drift? Oh god, how could the man have lived through that bullet wound?

Sin took several deep steadying breaths. Of course Matt wasn't in jail! He had fronted for Chains just the other night hadn't he? If McKenna had told the truth to the cops Matt would not be on a stage singing in Sin's place. But oh hell, McKenna lived still. His father. His father was still alive even if his mother wasn't. Did Matt know? Of course he did! Matt couldn't have been living in the dark like he had been. Sin had refused to watch television or read the papers just to avoid the McKenna story, but Matt, well Matt had probably known since the day after the shooting that McKenna hadn't died.

Matt...he was free. Free of the police and free of the Collar Club. That could only mean one thing...Matt had given his collar to Stan. Sin felt sick again. His hands curled into claws. He felt like raking them down his own face. Why had he done it? Damn it! Why had he made the kid give up his collar that way? Why had he done it all? To protect Matt. Yes, yes, to protect Matt. He'd had to. Hadn't he? Or had he really been trying to protect himself, scared to death by the intense love he felt for Matt? Sin head was whirling, the thoughts spinning, leaving him dizzy. Sin felt a fool. He WAS a fool. He knew he was. What threat had there really been left to Matt? They had already survived the flood waters. No real dangers had lurked ahead of them. Sin had fled, that's what he had done. He had tucked tail and ran. Ran because he was a coward. Commitment terrified him. Commitment acompanied by love, real love, was more than Sin had ever faced before. And he hadn't faced it this time. He had darted away like a startled rabbit.

Several minutes passed before Sin could force himself off his knees. He wanted to punch the wall. Wanted to punch it until his hand shattered into a million pieces, broken into a million shards like the heart he had left behind for Matt. The kid must be devastated. Oh god, what had he done?

Sin stumbled back over to the table and sat once more, this time seeking for the picture of Matt. Sin was surprised the article was so large, several pictures included. The main one clearly showed Hugh Bigsly swung suspended between Matt and Andy, each had him by an elbow, while Hugh attempted to drive a knife into Charles Debroy's chest. Debroy was cowering back, his arm thrown up to protect himself and Sin's sharp eyes didn't miss the dark stain in Debroy's expensive pants. Matt and Andy both looked fierce, their faces twisted in snarls even worse than the snarl on Bigsly's face. Andy was closest to the photographer and was clearer than the others. Sin's breath hitched as he narrowed his eyes on Andy's neck. A collar! Three letters were burned into the leather. This time Sin darted to the bathroom, only barely in time to vomit into the toilet, his entire lunch coming up in heave after heave.

Matt had given Andy Sin's collar! How could he? Yes, he had finally taken it off but he hadn't given it to Stan for keeping. Oh no, he had placed it upon the throat of his own new lover. Matt must be very amused with himself, Sin thought as he weakly flushed the toilet and leaned against the wall, waiting for the room and his stomach to quit jerking around.

"Fuck him!" Sin snarled when his vision cleared. He pulled himself to his feet and wet a washcloth, bathing his face and neck with cold water without daring to glance in the mirror. He knew he would smash it if he had to look at his own face right now. Finally he dragged his feet back to the bedroom and sat at the desk again, forcing himself to look down at the picture. He wanted to shred the damn thing but he wouldn't do that to the little girl Laurie, he had promised to return it to her and he would. With clenched teeth he looked back down at the picture...and nearly fell out of his chair. Matt was wearing a collar too! Sin's collar! What the hell? Sin shook his head, blinked and looked again, carefully this time. Yes, the initials in the collar around Matt's neck were MDS, Michael Drake Synn. But Andy's was different, with only one ring, the initials differing only by order. MSD, not MDS. Sin slumped back in his chair. MSD...Mathew Scott Darvins! Good god, Matt had gone rogue! Or had he? He must have to have put a collar on Andy but why was he still wearing Sin's collar? If he had gone rogue on Stan they would have held him down at the club and taken the collar even if they had to knock him out cold to take it off. Something was screwy here. Sin couldn't figure it out. Maybe Stan simply couldn't make Matt take the collar off and had let him go and maybe Matt had gone out had that collar made somewhere else for Andy. Maybe he was no longer a member of the Club anymore at all. That was the only thing that made sense to Sin. They must have kicked Matt out of the club. If they had Sin wanted his damn money back from Trev, that backstabbing little shit. How the hell had Stan failed so miserably? Ah hell, Stan was a big man but his heart was even bigger. Why had he ever thought a teddy bear could take away Matt's collar? Sin dropped his head back and laughed bitterly at himself. God he was such a fool! Everything he had done from the moment he had left Aunt Sylvia's in the night had been a total failure.

Sin finally brought himself together enough to read the article. He wasn't really surprised that Hugh had tried to kill Debroy and he wasn't really surprised that Matt and Andy were the ones to save Charles' sorry ass. The article also included a paragraph about Sin, saying only that he was away on family business when the incident happened and would be returning within the month. Two other photos were included in the article below the one of Matt, Andy, Debroy and Hugh. One of Sin singing on stage and one of Matt, comparing the two men against each other as if they were rivals. Sin fished around in a drawer, found a pen and scrawled his name across a corner of the photo of himself for Laurie, as promised.

Sin took a break from trying to absorb news long enough to fix himself a scotch on the rocks. He returned with it to read over the article on McKenna. Sin's brows climbed higher as he read McKenna's statement to the police, most of it total bullshit. Not once had he mentioned Sin, Matt, Estaban or Drift. Sin was immensensely relieved but he was also torn. When he thought that McKenna was dead Sin had seen no reason to ever tell his brother who their father was. Now though, Sin knew he would have to face his twin again...eventually. He had a right to know that his father was still alive and McKenna, Sin was sure, would be shocked as hell to find out about Nathaniel. And Fawn. Yes, he knew McKenna would certainly want to know he had a grandchild. Sin folded the paper and took it to the closet, he folded the paper again, into fours, lengthwise so that he could tuck it into the pocket of his leather jacket this time. His mind was too full to continue to function normally. He stripped down to his underwear and climbed into the bed, pulling the covers up to his chin and staring at nothing for a very long time.

* * * * * *

Three hours later Sin rose and dressed again. He had decided to put it all out of his mind. None of it really concerned him today, did it? Why worry over it? He should just let it all go. Let Nathaniel find McKenna on his own. Let Matt have Andy. Fuck it all. He had a gig to get ready for. He had decided that showing up at Stephanie's birthday party with a mere guitar wasn't good enough. He was calling in the whole band. Oh not Chains, certainly not. The new guys, Country Range. He knew they weren't prepared for a gig tomorrow but he would bet just about anything that for five hundred bucks a piece they could take a few hours out of their schedules. He didn't intend to tell them that he was paying them himself, he would just say they were being paid in advance.

Sin placed the calls from the motel and sat waiting for one of them whom he had not been able to reach to return his call from the message he had left him. The other three had grumbled until they had learned it was an easy gig, totally safe from bar fights or thrown bottles and paying more than twice what they would normally be paid for just two hours. They agreed to meet over at the drummer's house to knock together a play list and practice. The phone rang and Sin answered it immediately. The last guy was more than happy to go along as well. No problems there then. Sin hung up and called Denise Weaver, getting directions to the Weaver house and the time that they should show up then asked to speak to Mr. Weaver. After a surprised pause Stephanie's father was put on the phone. Sin spoke to him quietly, telling him he would like to bring a band as a surprise and the father was delighted, saying they had a perfect setup in the barn where they had planned on letting the kids play cds on the stereo system to dance to. Sin also drilled the man about his musical preferances, those of Stephanie's stepmother Denise and any songs he knew that Stephanie and her friends liked that would be appropriate to be played at the party. Twenty minutes later Sin had a good list of songs for the band to look over, hoping they knew at least half of them.

O'Neil came in looking grumpy and tired. Sin explained to him about the girl's birthday party that he would be playing at with the band and Corban grumbled about Sin not checking with him first before making the plans but approved it in the end, saying he had more business the next day that would keep him busy all day anyway. Corban was so tired that he didn't even grumble about Sin leaving for the evening to go practice.

Sin was pleased to find the members of Country Range to be versatile enough to play enough of the songs from the list to fill the promised two hours. Sin, unfamiliar with several of the songs, had the drummer find the lyrics on the internet and print them out. It took less than four hours for the band to have their set down pat. Sin went ahead and paid them their money, saying they had all been paid in advance to avoid any uncomfortable questions at the Weaver home.

Sin went back to the motel to find O'Neil already asleep but he had left a note for Sin saying that he had called for take-out Chinese food and that it was in the small refriderator if Sin was hungry. He was in fact, starving. Sin devoured every last bit and hoped Corban wasn't planning on saving any for breakfast. Sin put on his flannel pajama bottoms and climbed into bed with O'Neil, keeping his mind solely on tomorrow's gig until he fell asleep.

* * * * *

Corban awoke to a chillingly vicious roar, like a beast prowling up the side of his bed to feast upon his flesh and his soul. O'Neil tried to throw himself to the floor to avoid an impending doom. He was tangled in the sheets and struggled wildly before finally flopping out of bed onto the floor to roll quickly to his feet, his hand reaching for his gun on the bedside table. The roar came again as Corban steadied himself in a crouching position, the gun held tightly in both hands, trigger cocked, but no attack came. There was a terrible thrashing sound in the bed and Corban shakily reached over and flicked on the lamp. Sin was growling now, the muscles in his neck straining and standing taunt as if he were caught in some sort of seizure but his hands were clutched around a wad of blanket, strangling the hell out of it, as though it were someone's throat. O'Neil backed away. Sin was mumbling between the growls. Very few words were understandable. Corban easily picked out the name Matt though and heard the name Andy as well. O'Neil knew that Sin was caught in a horrible nightmare but was too smart to attempt to wake him by touching him. He was also alarmed enough not to put his weapon down.

"Sin! Wake up!" Corban called loudly.

Sin's hands released the blanket but one fist swung around with a powerful punch and his hand embedded itself into the wall, right through the plaster. Sin jerked it back, ready to punch again but O'Neil picked up the glass of water from his bedside table and doused it over Sin's fighting body. Sin gasped and sat bolt upright, his eyes still glazed with sleep, confused fury burning in their depths. Water dripped off his brow, off the tip of his nose and off his chin. Sin shook his head, sending the water droplets flying like a wet dog shaking mud out of its fur. Finally he focused on O'Neil.

"What the fuck?" Sin asked, still angry but more confused as he stared at he gun in Corban's hand.

"You were having a nightmare. You put a damn hole in my wall!" Corban's hands were starting to shake and he laid the gun gently down on the table. "Are...are you hurt badly?"

Sin peered over at the wall then down to his bruised and scraped hand. "No. I don't think so. It doesn't hurt at all."

O'Neil climbed up onto the bed and took Sin's hand, examining it. "I don't think you broke anything but the wall," Corban said at last. "I'd beat your butt if you had put a hole in my wall while you were awake but a while ago, well, you were either fighting for your life or trying to kill someone. Maybe someone named Andy?"

"I'm not mad at Andy," Sin said, looking away.

"Matt then?"

Sin shrugged. "I don't want to kill him. I don't remember what the dream was about."

O'Neil could tell he was lying. Sin's eyes were too hard, flat and cold when he had said both names.

"So who is Andy?" Corban asked, still holding Sin's hand, smoothing the bruised fingers gently.

"The guitarist from my old band."

"Uh-huh. What else is he to you?"

"Absolutely nothing," Sin growled, turning to stare into O'Neil's eyes. Corban held his gaze a long time but a smile was starting to spread across his mouth. "What?" Sin demanded. "What's amuzing about this?"

"You have a hard-on," Corban said, eyes dancing. "You gonna do anything about that?"

Sin looked down then laughed sarcastically. "You damn sure don't want me to anything about that, old man. I would hurt you, badly. I don't think you are in to that sort of thing."

O'Neil's eyes widened and he dropped Sin's hand, sighing. "No, I don't let anyone abuse me. You are right. I don't like that at all. Will you at least let me suck it?"

Sin sneered and shook his head. "That could still be dangerous, unless you were to handcuff me first."

"Okay!" Corban said brightly, taking Sin off guard. "I have some real handy, right here under the bed!"

Sin couldn't help but laugh with real mirth this time but when O'Neil reached for his hand Sin shook his head regretfully.

"You said I could!"

"And you can, but you can't expect to cuff my hands in the front to keep you safe, you have to cuff them behind my back," Sin said, turning.

"Ohhhh," O'Neil said, his voice holding sudden understanding. When he snapped each cuff shut he cinched it tight, knowing now to do otherwise could mean Sin slipping a hand loose and hurting him, against his own will. Corban reached over and switched off the light as Sin propped himself against the headboard. It took a long time but Sin finally did cum, groaning and arching...and muttering Matt's name. O'Neil urged him to flip over and Sin complied, taking the old man's cock up his ass with his hands still cuffed behind him but his mind never strayed from thoughts of Matt through it all.

* * * * *

Sin was thankful for Stephanie's birthday party. Preparing for it helped keep his mind off of Matt and kept him busy. He was glad now that he had decided to bring in the rest of the band. His right hand had started to swell during the night and was too stiff to allow him to play the guitar for long. He found he could strum a song or two before his hand started cramping. Corban had left early and Sin had spent the morning throwing together a surprise song, written just for Stephanie's sixteenth birthday. He figured that would please her immensely. He didn't bother telling the band about it. He would do it solo, with just his aucustic guitar. He also revised a couple of the songs he had written for Chains, toning them way down and changing the lyrics to make them acceptable for the party. Those too he would play solo and at least the girl's would get to hear a couple of familiar songs from him, even if he did have to change some of the lyrics.

By lunch he was finished revising his music and didn't want to risk his mind wandering so he tried to think of other gifts he could offer. He didn't know a thing about teenage girls nowadays but there were a few things that were just universal. Everyone loved pictures so Sin called around, found a professional photographer in a neighboring town and hired him to come out to take photos. He was sure that the Weavers' would have either a video camera or photographer there but another one wouldn't hurt. He planned to have his photographer make double copies off all the pictures, one for each girl and would personally sign the back on all photos that had him in it.

His next step was to seek out a jewelry store. Again the best he could find was twenty minutes away but he still had time to burn so he took the bike out there. He stared at the display cases puzzled for a long time before a nervous sales lady approached him. He could tell she was frightened by his appearance. He supposed it wasn't every day that a halfbreed in a leather jacket browsed the store. He was vastly relieved to see her though. When she asked, "Can I help you, sir?" he sighed in relief. Surely she would know just the thing.

"God, I hope so. I'm going to a birthday party today. A sweet sixteen as they call it."

Finally a small smile crept onto her face. "Is it a relative? A niece maybe?"

Sin started to say it was a fan but didn't want to explain that. "Yes, my niece. Her best friend has flown out here to share her birthday with her. I think both girls should get a gift but I have no idea what is appropriate."

Now the lady laughed. "I can see your delima. Not many men would know what to do in your shoes either. Could you tell me what price range you are looking for so I can show you what we have available?"

Sin pondered it a moment. He had three thousand dollars in his pockets and about another five thousand back at the hotel. He wished now that he hadn't left so much of his money with Stan to hold, that he had brought it all. "Well, I guess really should spend more on the birthday girl, shouldn't I?"

The sales lady shook her head. "Not necessarily. She'll be getting a lot of gifts but you may be the only one who thinks about her friend too. Matching bracelets, rings or necklaces would be a great gift. In fact we just got these `friends forever' pendants in the other day. You can choose from gold at about a hundred dollars apiece or the silver for seventy dollars apiece."

Sin shook his head. "Those are too common. I see them everywhere. No, I want to get them something nice, something in a higher price range, say, about six hundred apiece, something really flashy."

The sales lady suddenly looked very friendly indeed. "Ah, a favorite uncle are you? Come look at these lovely gem stone rings."

"No, not rings. I have no clue what size either of them wear," Sin said shaking his head.

"Oh, dear, yes, that would be bad if you bought them rings they had to bring back in for sizing. Ah! I know, we have some beautiful diamond pendants that run about five hundred each, then you can also purchase a gold chain for each."

Sin nodded and went to look at them. They seemed plain to him. True, the diamonds were flashy enough but they just hung there on the satin stand, looking like something someone could buy on television. She saw him frowning and pushed them aside and laid a tray on the table containing a variety of pendants, some of them with different colored gems set in pretty clusters. Still, Sin thought they looked so...average.

"Do you have anything unusual? I mean, really unusual?"

"Oh my," the lady said, sounding dismayed. "Is your niece one of those gothic types?"

The girls hadn't been dressed gothic yesterday but Sin suspected they must do it at times if they were finding their way into Chains concerts. He wondered suddenly just how they did manage to get into his concerts. They always played in bars or clubs that required the patrons to be twenty one or older. He pushed the thought away and nodded to the lady. "She does like the gothic look."

The woman tutted under her breath but carefully cleared the counter and put the gems away. She used a key to open a cabinet and brought out a cardboard box. It was sealed with tape and had a shipping label on it. "We were going to send these back to the distributor. They sent us these by mistake. We had ordered something totally different but they got the order numbers mixed up and sent us their gothic variety." She found a letter opener in a drawer and slit the tape open. The contents were mounted on small pieces of plain cardboard and packaged in little plastic baggies. She dumped the lot of them onto the counter then began flipping through them so that they all faced upward. There were small jeweled dagger pendants, dragons, gothic style crosses, skulls with jeweled eyes and other gothic type things. Sin examined each style, pushing them aside as he dismissed them.

Sin shook his head in disappointment. "Thanks very much for going through the trouble of opening the box but none of that will do. I know that unlike the stuff you can buy in gothic shops for around twenty bucks that what you have just shown me is real gold and gems but unless the person looking at them has a trained eye no one would really notice the difference."

The sales lady nodded and swept it all back into the box. "I agree, it looks cheap and tawdry doesn't it? Just awful."

"Is there nothing else you might be able to suggest?" Sin pressed.

"Well, there was another box sent by mistake that came at the same time as these. They are one of a kind pieces made by an artist in England. They are rather expensive though, despite the fact that they only contain a small amount of gold and the gems, though real, are little more than chips. It's the artmanship that you are paying for with them. They each came with a certificate of authenticity from the artist. Rather rare from what I understand. The company that shipped them here by mistake was rather upset about the mix-up themselves. It seems another store had specifically ordered four pieces to display in their window and are furious not to have gotten them. If you are really interested in them I can always say that I didn't get their email reply about the mix-up until after I had already sold two. It's little fairies and the work would be very beautiful if they weren't in such horrible positions. The owner here is thinking of writing the artist and asking if he does the fairies in a more serene type of setting and if so he may order a few to display in our own window. Here, let me show you."

The contents of the second box were packaged much more carefully and she did not dump them onto the counter like before but took each pendant out carefully and laid them upon a black satin display board. Sin peered at them in awe. Each of the fairies were tiny and looked so real! They were made of some sort of raised enamel set in an oval ebony disk, the ebony then set into a gold frame that also formed the hanger for the pendant to be strung onto a chain or satin cord. The fairies had wings of the finest silver wire mesh imaginable, set back against the ebony to protect them. In the enamel of their hair was gem stones to match the color of the hair itself, green with emerald chips, red with rubies, light blue with safires and white with diamonds. Tiny chips of amythyst were scattered among the mesh of the wings to give them purple shimmer. Their shoes were made from jewels to match those in their hair. Their skimpy clothing left little to the imagination and glinted with gold dust. On each piece the fairy depicted was in bondage, shackled at wrists and ankles or wrists alone with tiny golden chains that hung loose to dangle in loops across the pendant.

"Good god! The artist must have had to work under a microscope to do that!" Sin exclaimed, gently pushing one around with his finger.

"He does. There is a picture of the artist and some information about each piece on the certificates of authenticity. Each certificate is signed by him personally."

"Who is he?"

"His name is Printice Allen. Very well known in Europe apparently. These were meant to go to a high class store in Hollywood. The company that sells to American buyers for him are mortified that they ended up here, in a little hick town in the middle of nowhere." She laughed cheerfully and looked up at Sin with hope returning to her eyes. "So you like them then?"

"Oh yes. But I doubt I'm going to like the price."

"They're twenty three hundred dollars apiece," she said, her eyes glancing back down to the table.

"Fine. I want all of them," Sin said compulsively. "Just give me a few minutes to make a call, alright? While I am doing that you can pick out four gold chains for me, something sturdy but high quality, just not more than three hundred a piece for the chains. Sound good?"

"Sounds excellent!" she breathed, not believing her luck. She would make a hunk of commission today!

Sin nodded and reached into his pocket for the prepaid cellphone that Corban had bought for him and insisted that he carry. Sin stepped outside to make the call. "O'Neil," Sin said when Corban answered, "you know how you are always complaining about how I won't let you spoil me?"

"Yeaaaah," Corban said, drawing the word out in doubtful surprise.

"Well, today I'm begging you to! Is there any way you can take a break and stop by J. J.'s Jewelry Store?"

"Hell babe, what are you doing there? Nevermind, it doesn't matter. You were damn good to me last night and today you can have whatever you want. It seems you called at just the right time too. I was just walking out the door from Smalltown Bank and I have plenty of time until my next meeting. In fact, I'm just a few blocks from you right now. I can be there in five minutes."

"Uh, Corban?"


"Do you have your credit cards on you?"

O'Neil's laughter down the line was a warm chuckle in Sin's ear. "Yep, all of them. Hope I won't need to use all of them though. Just how much are we talking here pet? More than ten thousand?"

"No, not quite that high and I intend to pay half of it back to you because half of it is to be gifts for the birthday party tonight."

"Well, we'll talk later about weither you will or won't be owing me anything tonight, in bed, okay?"

"Sounds fine with me," Sin said smiling and hung up after saying goodbye, tucking the phone back into his pocket. He reentered the store to find the woman stringing the last gold chain through the final pendant.

"Whoa, whoa, I want you to take two of the chains off there. The one on the emerald fairy and the one on the safire fairy. The chains for those are to be packaged separately. Gift wrapped rather. I'll give the girls the chains first, at the party, and the pendants later, when my uh, sister, isn't around to disapprove."

"Yes, that might be a good idea," the woman agreed and gently pulled two of the chains free from the pendants. "We have a variety of gift boxes available. Would you like to see them now?"

Corban arrived as Sin made his final choices on the boxes. In the end he chose six different ones. Corban came to stand beside him, peering down at the jewelry laid out across the glass cabinet top.

"Oh my, those are absolutely stunning!" Corban breathed. "No wonder you want all of them. Sorry pet, it's not to be though. I'll pay for them but that one there is mine," Corban informed him, choosing the ruby spangled fairy.

"Fair enough," Sin said, though he regretted the loss of it for some reason. He wasn't even sure what exactly he intended to do with the extra ones anyway. He certainly wouldn't wear one, much too feminine for his tastes but he had no doubt that Corban would proudly wear his own.

"Fabulous choice in chains too," Corban murmered, running one through his fingers.

"The lady's suggestion," Sin said, nodding his chin in her direction.

"Excellent madame," Corban cooed as he handed over a credit card. "Add a fifty dollar tip for yourself my dear."

The woman's grin was dazzling. Sin could see her doing the math in her head, her commission plus the tip. She was definitely having a good day at work this day.

Corban picked up his pendant and handed it to Sin, handling it gently by the chain. "Do the honors for me pet?" he asked as he turned around. Sin looped the chain over Corban's head and began to fasten it about his neck but his hands were suddenly trembling and it took him several tries before he succeeded in working the catch. He'd had a vivid flashblack the moment he passed the chain over Corban of Katherine McKenna slowly dying, the feel of her pulse through the cord, the rabid look in Matt's eyes that he knew must have mirrored his own as they had slowly killed the woman. Sin shuddered, gooseflesh rising along his arms and shivering down his back. A cold damp sweat broke out all over his body and he took a long breath to steady himself. Corban had only a second to see the beast shining through Sin's eyes when he turned around but in a blink the look was gone, Sin's eyes calm and collected as though nothing had happened.

"You just had a bad memory," Corban said quietly, laying his hand on Sin's arm. "You can tell me about it tonight."

"I...doubt it," Sin turned away and instructed the woman on which fairy to place in each box. The saleswoman handed over the certificate of authenticity from the artist and Corban pocketed it along with one of the boxes to store his pendant in when he wasn't wearing it.

"Try not to stay out too late love," Corban said quietly, oblivious to the reddening face of the woman standing nearby, listening even as she tried to appear entirely absorbed in sorting the remaining certificates to each fairy into the appropriate boxes.

"I doubt I'll be all that late but don't wait up too long. I'll wake you when I come in if you've fallen asleep," Sin assured him.

"You do that," Corban said, his tone full of suggestions. Before Sin realized what he was about Corban kissed him quickly on the mouth. The lady stopped and gawked openly, her hands still over a box then very quickly looked away, hurrying through the rest of the packaging. She tossed all of the boxes into a store bag and placed them on the counter.

"Enjoy," she said, her face flaming red as though afraid the men would take a double meaning from her words.

"Oh we will," Corban laughed, doing just that. He patted Sin on the cheek and left.

"Sorry about that," Sin muttered as he gathered the parcel.

"Well, just amazed me really. You can't tell by looking at you." Her face was flaming again.

"I'll take that as a compliment. Good day to you Ma'am." Sin sauntered out, but inside he was pissed as hell. He didn't appreciate Corban outing him so blantantly in this small town, especially when he was front man for a country music band. That damn sure wouldn't last much longer now. As soon as word started to spread, and spread it would, he was sure, he would be booed off stage, or worse, forced off stage, by a barfull of drunk, hopped up redneck homophobes. Grumbling Sin spun on his heel and went back into the store, not at all surprised that the woman had a telephone in her hand and was dialing a number.

"Please don't do that," Sin said quietly, his eyes hard but his tone soft. She slowly lowered the phone back onto its cradle.

"What do you mean?" she asked, wide-eyed.

"Please don't go telling your friends about that scene. Not just yet anyway. I won't be staying in this town too much longer, but please, don't out me just yet. I have more business I need to finish here before the homophobes attack me." Sin frowned deeply when she burst out laughing.

"I wasn't going to tell anyone. I was going to brag to my manager about my commission and tip. Besides, surely you know that everyone around here knows Mr.Corban is gay. Just being with him made me suspicious but you seemed so...well, I guess you are just so handsome I was hoping you weren't gay too. Even considered asking you on a date myself. No, you don't need anyone to out you here. You are already outed. If you were going to run into problems you would have already."

Sin nodded at her thoughtfully. "Thanks," he said, bemused and left.

* * * * *

Country Range arrived at the Weaver's home early so they could get set up before the guests began to arrive. The girls, Stephanie and Laurie, screamed in sheer delight, both of them staggering Sin as they rushed to hug him. His hired photographer had also arrived early and caught it all on film. The photographer suggested that Sin sit for several photos of him with the girls. He even allowed them each to pose kissing him on his cheeks, sandwhiched between the two teens, and one each alone, kissing his cheek. Mrs. Weaver thoughtfully handed him a warm washcloth to wipe away the lipstick. Pictures were also taken of the girls with him and the band, the two girls together and then one each alone with the band. Finally Sin and Country Range were released to go set up in the privacy of the empty barn. The party itself would start in the house and not move into the barn for dancing until after the gifts had been opened. They took the opportunity to test their equipment and warm up quietly. An hour or so later a boy of about ten or eleven was sent out to announce that Stephanie was about to open her gifts and asked that Sin come in to watch (and be photographed with her some more no doubt). Sin left the band members with a flask of good liquor to pass around and joined the chaotic crowd of teenage girls in the house. Several of them stared at him boldly, hotly, while others blushed and looked away. Sin had the boxes in his jacket pockets, along with a couple of greeting cards he had picked up and signed. He set his gifts among the pile, Laurie's included, knowing the name tag on each card was plain to see. The girls wanted to open them first but Mrs. Weaver gently suggested she open the gifts from all her classmates first. Sin didn't miss the questioning gaze that the parents shot his way, worried glances, and then their heads went together, whispering. He knew they must be worried about the gifts, if they would be appropriate, if they were expensive, maybe even more so than the gift box set alone with a card that had "Love Dad" written boldly at the bottom. That was to be the special gift and he knew they were worried that daddy had been done one better. Sin waited until Mr. Weaver cast a glance his way again and gave him a smile that he hoped the other man would know meant not to worry. He did seem to relax a little.

Sin sat patiently through the unwrapping hysterics, the squeals of delight over each gift, the abundant hugs at every new surprise. Both Steph and Laurie opened their gift boxes at the same time and again Sin was sandwhiched between them, their shouted thanks nearly deafening him. He smiled and glanced over at the Weavers who nodded with approval. They found nothing at all wrong with the gifts of simple, matching gold chains for the girls. Finally though it was time for Stephanie to open Daddy's gift and her scream of delight was the most piercing yet. She proudly held up the box to display a set of small diamond earings and a tiny sweetheart diamond ring.

"Diamonds for my own little diamond," Mr. Weaver murmered to his daughter as she nearly strangled him in her exuberant hug.

Sin suddenly felt very tired. Totally exhausted. He looked around at all the gaity, the family unity, the happy home. He had never known a truly happy home himself. Not in his youth, nor since becoming an adult. He hadn't had a real family, never had a birthday party, never had a father bestowing him with gifts. The only real happiness he had ever known had been with two people, and only for short periods in his life, too short. Daniel had been the first. He had loved him and no matter how heart sore he felt, how downtrodden or worthless, Daniel had always been able to say or do just the right thing to make him feel the world was worth living in. Then Daniel had died. Been murdered by that wretched bitch Katherine. Matt was the next that came to his mind, so vividly that Sin could actually smell the scent of Matt's skin in his nostrils. He closed his eyes and could see every single inch of Matt's body, every nook and cranny, every scar and mole. He knew Matt's flesh like a beloved map, closely studied and dreamed over night after night, knowing it was the key to marvelous adventures and discoveries. He had walked away from that. He had left Matt behind. Why? Sin asked himself. Why had he given Matt up?

To protect him! Sin screamed inwardly, savagely, but there was another voice, softly spoken and insistant...protect him from WHAT? You damn coward, you were only protecting yourself.

Sin shook himself, forced his eyes open to the view of happiness and merriment all around him. As unobtrusively as he could he stood and made his way to the door, heading for the barn. He found his way barred on the porch though by a boy standing alone, staring off into the fading gloom of dusk.

"Excuse me," Sin said, sidling around him.

"Can you shoot a bow?" the boy asked as Sin stepped down to the ground and he turned to see that it was the boy who had been sent to fetch him earlier.

"Yes," Sin said. "I used to take archery back when I was teenager." The memory was painful to Sin. It was something he and Daniel had done together, joining the same archery class.

"Did you learn it on the reservation with the other Indians?" the boy asked curiously.

Sin stared up at him, higher than him now that Sin stood on the ground, the boy still at the porch railing. "No."

"You are an Indian though, right?"

Sin just nodded. He didn't feel like explaining the circumstances of his birth to this child.

"Will you come back and help me learn to shoot my bow?" the boy asked wisfully. He nudged something with his foot. Sin's eyes were drawn down, just now noticing the cheap bow and set of arrows leaned against one of the porch posts.

"Won't your father help you?"

The kid shrugged. "Dad bought this for me so I wouldn't feel left out, what with Stephie turning sixteen and all but Dad said I had to learn how to use it on my own. He doesn't know how. All I seem to do is hurt myself when I try to shoot it." He held out a red, raw arm for Sin's inspection.

"You need an arm guard. Didn't the set come with one?"

"Is that what this thing is?" the kid asked, his voice picking up with a little excitement.

"Yes, come here, I will show you how to put it on. Then you can go and practice again without the string hitting your arm." Sin helped the kid strap the guard on then took an extra few moments to show him the proper way to hold the arrow against the string and how to sight for long or short shots. When teens began to exit the door though he explained to the kid that he had to go get ready to sing with band for the kids to dance to. "Tell you what," Sin said kindly when the kid looked crestfallen over his loss of attention. "Ask your Dad if I can come back to help you learn more. He has my number and can call me." The kid brightened up again. "Okay!" was all he said before dashing away, avoiding the stampede of teens. Sin shook his head, wondering why he had offered to come back and went to the barn to get ready to sing.

* * * * *

Sin wasn't sure how he'd made it through the evening but he immensely glad to be back at the hotel. He tucked his helmet under his arm and used the key card Corban had given him to let himself in. He found Corban sitting up in bed with a laptop computer on his lap, frowning at it intensely.

"Something wrong?" Sin asked as he went to put his helmet in the closet on the floor and to hang his leather jacket.

"Maybe. Its alright though if it is. If it's her mistake I'll go ahead and cover it I guess," Corban didn't sound at all happy about this statement. "But if it was a glitch on the paperwork then the company itself will have to fix their own fuck up."

"What are you talking about?" Sin asked and went to sit on the edge of the bed to tug off his boots. He leaned back to peer at the screen in Corban's lap. The webpage showed several examples of artwork by Printice Allen. "The pendant maker," Sin said absently, glancing from the screen to the pendant hanging on Corban's bare chest then back to the screen. Everything he could see displayed there was beautiful, the subject matter though always the same, fairies in bondage. "So what's wrong?" Sin prompted again.

"The price. She undercharged us. Majorly undercharged us," Corban answered absently. "I thought I might like to order a few more pieces from this guy until I saw the real prices on his artwork."

"What do you mean the real prices?" Sin asked, pausing with one boot still in his hand.

"They go for twenty thousand a piece, pet, not two thousand. I'm sure either the paperwork that came with them said twenty thousand and she misread it or it said two thousand by mistake. The extra three hundred each would have been the markups by the company handling the pieces and the jewelry store."

"She'll lose her job if she's at fault," Sin said worriedly.

Corban nodded. "Well, of course, but I'll see to it that she doesn't. You didn't by chance fail to give the other two away did you?"

"Oh no, I didn't fail. I found a moment to slip them to the girls when they came to thank me for coming."

Corban sighed. "Well, alright then. Of course I wouldn't dream of asking for them back. I just hope the mistake was the company's. That's a lot of money to shell out, especially for two teenage girls I don't even know."

Sin nodded. "I'm sorry Corban, I had no idea."

"Well of course not! How could you pet?" Corban said, smiling at last and looking over at Sin. Corban's eyes narrowed into catlike mischief. "I know of a great way you can help to set my mind to rest for the night though." He raised and lowered a brow several times in a playful leer.

Sin stifled a sigh and forced a small smile. "I can do that for you," he agreed amiably even though all he really wanted was a quick shower and some sleep. Sleep, he hoped, would provide a relief from the thoughts that had been churning in his head all night. He wasn't used to being exposed to such domestic environments as a teenage girl's birthday party and it had disturbed him deeply. At every turn, every facet, something about it made him think of Nathaniel, his wife and Fawn, his own little niece. He'd been trying so hard to forget all about them. What had little Fawn been like, how had she been dressed, what gifts had she gotten on her birthdays? Sin had no idea but he wished he knew, wished at least that he had taken more time with that picture album spread on his knee, seen pictures of birthday parties, Christmases, Halloweens past where Nathaniel and his family had been together. Nathaniel's family and Sin's as well. He could still go back and reclaim what was lost. He could swallow his pride and plead his brother to forgive him. If only he had the balls to do it.

And Matt, Matt had definitely become a part of Sin himself, his world, his own little piece of family, strange as it was. Matt held his heart dammit and he wanted it back! How had he let it slip through his fingers into Matt's hands? But he couldn't think of Matt now, no not now. He had driven Matt away for good. And when he thought of Matt Andy's image was lurking somewhere in the shadows, wearing a collar with Matt's initials burned into it. It was too easy to picture what went on in Andy's dingy little bed. Matt and Andy, Andy and Matt, entwined, unholy. Sin felt his teeth clench and loosened his jaw before he actually began to grind his molars together. Matt and Andy. Andy and Matt. God dammit!

"You're having bad memories again, pet." O'Neil was watching him and had been the whole time. Sin looked away, feeling oddly guilty and angry that he felt anything at all.

"Want to talk about it?" Corban pressed.

Sin shook his head even as he stood and began to undress. Corban's gaze changed from concerned father to lustful old bugger. Sin swallowed down bile. He didn't want Corban touching him, not tonight. But he'd already said he would. Sin tossed aside the last of his clothing, climbed into bed and turned the bedside lamp off. Corban had set the laptop computer aside and had stripped out of his pajama bottoms. Sin was aware of O'Neil lubricating himself and with a mind forced blank Sin turned over and stuck his ass up for easy access. He'd take it like a man. Sin laughed inwardly at his own thought, self-hating, sarcastic and bitter laughter that tasted the same in his mind as the rising gorge in the back of his throat. He swallowed it down and let Corban pound into him until he finally grunted, stiffened and flopped over Sin's back. Corban's flesh was slick with a thin film of sweat and felt disgusting to Sin. He waited a moment longer until Corban moved away from him then headed quickly for the bathroom. He turned on the water in both the shower and the sink and hoped to hell that O'Neil couldn't hear him puking his guts up.

* * * * *

Sin was angry, damn angry. He hadn't realized just how furious he was with Matt until he had his hands on the fucking kid. How dare he put a collar on Andy? And while still wearing Sin's own collar at that! It was intolerable, inexcusable, and Matt must be punished severely. His palms itched to hold a decent whip but in its absence he would make do with using his own bare hands. He had them wrapped around Matt's throat, from behind, pushing him forward hard as he leaned over his back, fucking him hard. Damn if the boy hadn't gone loose on him! Must have been letting the whole fucking city get up his hole! Sin growled and drove into him harder, his hands tightening, frustrated with the lack of friction from Matt's usually tight little ass. Sin cussed him in disgust, calling him every kind of cunt whore. It was the frustration itself of not being able to cum that finally woke Sin, horrified to find that the man under him was not Matt, but O'Neil. He had the old man's face shoved down hard into the pillows, his dick buried to the root in his ass, his hands bruising his the man's neck as he attempted to strangle him to death. With a loud and violent oath Sin pulled out and stepped away from the bed.

"Are you alright?" Sin asked as Corban slowly turned over in the bed, his hands going to his damaged throat. Sin flipped on the light and asked him again when he got no response. "O'Neil! Are you okay?"

Corban's face was purple with tinges of green, a sickly palor that made him look dead but he was animated enough as he finally nodded and swung his legs off the bed to sit up.

"You're a fucking...animal!" O'Neil gasped out at last. "I feel...sorry...for this...Matt fellow!"

"I'm sorry Corban. I was dreaming. I would never have hurt you on purpose." Sin began to pace the room, his dick starting to wilt, sweat shining in a sheen all over him.

"If I had thought for a moment that you were doing that intentionally to me I would call the cops and have you locked up for assault and every other trumped up charge I could wrangle out of them with cash but..." Corban drew a shaky breath and eased himself back down into the softness of the pillows, "seeing as I know you weren't trying to hurt me personally I will let you slide this time. This once only. Just to make sure though that this doesn't happen again you can sleep on a cot. Call room service and have them bring one over."

Sin shook his head, "Not tonight, there's no need. I'm going out. I won't stay here tonight but I'll be back tomorrow."

"You better the hell be back, pet. I'm not finished playing with you. I'm leaving in a few days myself anyway and you are welcome to stay here, in this room, as long as you like. The manager already knows you are to be given all liberties here and are to be treated the same way they treat me. I'll be back in a couple of weeks though. I'll have a few matters to finish off before I leave for England."

"You're going to England?" Sin said, stopping his pacing suddenly and staring at Corban with his hands clamped tightly in front of himself.

"Yes, why? You aren't interested in going with me are you? I really thought you'd be off chasing down your Matt or Andy or whichever before then."

"No, I'm not going back. At least..." Sin began to pace once more, "...well, I don't think I will be. I don't know. Maybe. No, the kid doesn't need me around, really he doesn't. I just hurt him. I should go with you..."

"...but", Corban prompted, sensing Sin hadn't finished his thought.

"I really don't know what I will do Corban. I'm confused right now. Mixed up. No, fucked up. I'm a fucking wreck."

"I won't argue that point," O'Neil said, touching his throat once more. "If you're going out tonight then go. I'm tired. I need my rest." Corban turned away from him and pulled the blanket up around his ears.

Sin threw his clothes on, grabbed up his jacket, keys and helmet then headed out into the night to roam the roads aimlessly, letting the motorcycle lull his thoughts into numbness until the sun began to rise and the flat landscape was bathed in sickly orange. A rude and ugly color that matched his mood as he finally turned back toward the motel.


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