This story is totally fictional. Like in life, there is unhappiness as well as love here, there is treachery, there is death, and there is sex. Eventually.
However, love is the key word in this story.
The author apologizes for possible lapses in idioms and grammar, but English is not his native tongue. His origin will become apparent in the story.
No living creature was harmed and no tree was cut down to produce this story.
Constructive feedback will be gratefully received at . Flamers will be ignored.
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MY BLOOD SINGS IN BENDIK
We came into the world like brother and brother;
And now let's go hand in hand, not one before the other.
(Where chapter 3 left off:)
I ease my arm around his shoulders and cautiously rock him, waiting for him to go on. But he's done, there is nothing more to come. So we just sit here. Together. Swaying slightly from side to side. And it's peaceful. It's unlocking. It's being brothers.
Suddenly he leaps up, almost runs to the opposite side of the room, faces me, and his good eye stares at me for a long time.
- I was so in love with you, he blurts out. You have no idea!
The job my father thought he had secured for me fell through. I moped around the house for a few days, restless and edgy. I texted my friends several times a day: Had they heard from Drama College? What if we didn't hear anything, what would be our back-up plans? Could we get together some time? On and on with the same shit. They got tired of me eventually. The only one left who still responded to my texts was my best friend, the girl Gunn.
Bendik and I walked around each other like caged animals: Wide circles, wary looks, not sitting down at the same time, and if so, always far apart. I would often sense, more than actually see him watching me; whenever I looked up, he would avert his eyes. And I found myself watching him, surreptitiously, on the sly, amazed at his transformation, struck by his hidden beauty that so suddenly had grown out of its shell to become so gloriously obvious.
He didn't avoid me the way he did before I went away, didn't flee the room when I was in it, didn't lock his door. But his silence was grating on my nerves. I took pains to talk to him, told him anecdotes from school, sketched the outlines of my plans and hopes, waiting for him to prompt me with questions. They never came. I tried to pry into what his life was like now, and I soon discovered I had to restrain myself to yes-or-no questions if I was to expect answers. Well, I may be a little harsh, he actually came up with whole sentences if the questions weren't too personal. But neither of us was ever at ease with each other, so most of the time we'd be out of each other's sight.
I did eventually get a job for the season at the local diner. The second week of July our father loaded Bendik into his car and took off for a vagabond journey through Europe. So there I was, anxious and tense, with the whole house to myself. No one to challenge my choice of food, music, or movies. No one to disturb my late night hours, when I would surf the net for hot stuff and play with my cock, bring myself to the top, ease off and start over again until my third or fourth orgasm left me powerless and drained.
* * *
I'm in the open kitchen, preparing soup for lunch, still a bit dazed by his sudden confession. His voice flows through to me, after all these years it still sings vaguely with the melody of the west coast.
- It sort of dawned on me that they didn't just want me for my ... well, my skills, you know. What I can do isn't really that revolutionary. They wanted me because I look younger than I am and kind of innocent, see? That is their angle. Young, you know. Virginal.
He is remarkably talkative. Maybe it's the confinement of the small flat, maybe it's the wait, the suspense. Or maybe he has finally realized that I'm really here, I'm really going to stay here, I'm really not going to let him down again. Maybe some place in his shattered mind there is a seed of trust starting to sprout. Maybe he'll find a way through the burnt-down forest of his soul, a way to let his soul rise like that famous bird. A way to let our hearts connect again.
I pull myself together, these thoughts will take me nowhere. If I was in his situation, would I not also grab at any chance of an audience? I should stop trying to read into it things I wish for, things that aren't there.
- Come, he says. Sit with me. I want to tell you something.
* * *
The text from Gunn read: Want 2 C U. Tmrw. Address?
That was something to throw at me in the middle of testy and quarrelsome customers and the omnipresent stink of hot grease. First reaction was one of pure joy, second one of annoyance that I still had to work, and then a sting of regret that I would have to abstain from my delicious nightly hours of masturbation. But then again, wasn't this extended self-indulgence getting a bit old?
And my first reaction stuck: It was definitely joy to see her again. We sat in my house at night reminiscing, joking, and then harshly condemning the fuckers who prevented us from fulfilling our dreams by denying us access to Drama College. One of our friends had actually got a callback and was ready for screening, but neither Gunn nor I had heard a pip from them.
Then we got stoned from some really good weed she brought, got a severe case of the munchies and ended up emptying the larder for canned peaches and pears. In the middle of our reveling she looks me over and nods several times.
- Let's do something. I just don't want to hang around and wait for rejection. Let's go to London or something.
I'm sure I just sat there with a silly grin, going along with the fantasy. But it turned out she was serious. This was more than just a stoned whim, she had obviously thought a good bit about this.
- Listen, there are like five times as many auditions we could go to. There are five times as many classes we could attend. There are ten times as many agents. I mean, come on, nothing is going to happen unless we do something.
And suddenly this made a lot of sense to me.
* * *
He doesn't want me to look at him, he has turned away from me and is pulling at his flesh colored eye patch. Letting air in, easing the pressure from the elastic band.
I think I know what he needs, so I close my eyes and lean back on the sofa. – Yes, I tell him, - now you're out of my sight. I laugh.
- Don't! he begs. – This is hard enough as it is.
I tell him I wasn't laughing at him. I tell him I'll never laugh at him. I tell him Please.
He lets go of his eye patch, turns and leans back next to me. I close my eyes again.
- The worst part, he begins, then pauses.
- The worst part of the whole thing ... you know, when they did what they did to me, was that I felt so robbed. That they'd stolen everything in me that belonged ... that belonged to you. That they'd destroyed me and defiled me and made me into a smelly little turd that never could be wanted by anyone again. Never could be wanted by you.
His voice sounds like he's crying. I dare not open my eyes, dare not move.
- I didn't have the words for it then. My therapist was the one who helped me verbalize this. Everything back then was just like this incredibly dark and impenetrable cloud that was enveloping and eating me.
He sniffles loudly. I want so much to hold him. I wish he was back in hospital, in a coma, so I could stroke his skin, kiss him.
- I was so scared that if you touched me, you would be contaminated by me. Or if I talked to you, dirty worms and ugly insects would crawl out of my mouth and destroy everything ... everyone ... And well, you know ... I was already kind of convinced that you didn't like me, that you despised me ... and all my tiny, tiny hopes of being with you, feel close to you, be loved by you ... they were crushed and pulverized, and left me with something bad and evil I had no clue how to handle or to understand.
He suddenly pricks my shoulder with his finger.
- You can look at me now. If you want to, that is.
I do. I tell him so. I tell him he's beautiful. I tell him I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
We sit for a while in silence. Close enough to imagine warmth from one to the other, far enough apart to ensure no movement will compromise us.
- All those years you were away, he says slowly, - in high school and in London ... Can you imagine, even though I had given up on you ... every day I secretly longed for you, I fantasized about you coming back to pick me up and take me with you ...
He gets up off the couch, takes a couple of steps away from me and ignores my arm that reaches out for him.
- And it stopped there, he says. - I never could figure what would happen after you'd taken me away.
He scratches the scar on his cheek; his head is bowed down, a shiver passes through his body.
- God, I've said too much. I feel terribly naked. I'm going to lie down for a minute.
* * *
My feet were nowhere near the ground those first months in London. Everything exhilarated me: The size of the city, the buildings steeped in history and myth, the two bedroom apartment that Gunn's filthy rich father bought for her, the people in the streets, the pubs, the clothes, the dreams, the vague promises of great things. I was 19, I was free floating in mid-air, I was burning.
I dove head foremost into it all. My initial awkwardness and fear of coming across as provincial and ignorant ceased to be important, much thanks to Gunn, who knew the city and its ways. She let me set up camp in the smallest bedroom in her flat, several times pinpointing that it was just an ad hoc arrangement, and I should look for something for myself once I'd got my bearings.
Our hunt for a break-through started right after arrival: We replied to ads, visited agencies, went to auditions, sought out people whom Gunn thought would be of use. I was at a disadvantage, my experience was nil, my résumé was tabula rasa. I tagged along in Gunn's shadow, happy to be her side-kick, still working on my fear of being unveiled as the totally untalented imposter I sometimes felt I was.
My money ran out faster than a fart in a fan factory, so I had to temporarily leave our unsuccessful climb to the stars and look for a source of income. I ended up with a cleaning company that got me on the office-cleaning night shift, which meant commuting at ungodly hours, a disturbed sleeping pattern, no contract, and less than minimum wages, for I suspect almost everything about this firm was dodgy and black-market. I stuck it for a couple of months, knowing I could quit on the spot if something better should turn up, that's the benefit of a no contract job. The only one, actually.
And something did turn up. I had decided to hang out with Gunn as she was auditioning for a TV commercial, not even thinking it would have anything to do with me, I just craved her company. Someone's company. I was just so sick and tired of my fucked up reversal of day and night.
You read about these things, but they never happen to you, right? Well, it did happen to me. I just sat there with Gunn among some twenty other young people, easing her nervousness, talking her out of her prophecies of failure, while more people kept coming and very few left.
A fat man with a pony-tail came out of a door and scanned the assembled wannabes. His narrow eyes swept over us, then slid back to rest on me. He pointed. – You! he commanded. I looked at Gunn, perplexed, now what? I wasn't there to audition. She grinned and elbowed me. – Do it! she whispered. The man shouted again: -You there! With me!
* * *
I steal quietly into his bedroom. Bendik is lying on his side in a fetal position. He's not sleeping, I can tell from his breathing. I tell him there's soup.
He slowly crawls up against the headboard and sits. He sighs.
- Did you really detest me that much? he asks. – It's hard to believe it was all in my head.
I have no idea how to respond to this. Why does he have to bring this up now, when we seemed to have gotten a bit past the stigma of those years? Did I detest him? No, no, no. That's not the word. I just couldn't bear the ache his misery caused my heart. I couldn't abide the constraint my responsibility for him had pushed onto me.
- I know. I was a selfish coward. But I just couldn't live up to everyone's expectations, and I made a lot of bad decisions. Do I have to defend myself? I know I was an asshole. Do you want to eat or not?
He nods, but doesn't move an inch. I turn to leave his room when he says:
- Magnus? Touch my scar!
* * *
I fell out with Gunn. Over a lot of things, but the real tripwire was that I got parts and she didn't. When I say parts, that sounds a bit more important than it really was. At first it was just a few commercials and a bit part in a TV crime, as a corps to be honest. But I got in with people, and that's the only way into any closed circuit, and a closed circuit is what the theater and film industry is, when it comes down to it.
It would be arrogant of me to say, even think, that I got by solely because of my talent. But I had a few aces on my hand that Gunn couldn't compete with: I was male, I was reasonably good looking, I was gay, and the rumor spread fast among the queens of the circuit, and believe me, they are legion, that I also possessed a certain appendix worth admiring. Yes, it's a fact: A big cock can open doors.
And I was lucky. The first man to bed me was one of the nicest guys I met throughout all of my three years in London. He was the prop master in the crime show where I was the dead body, and he wooed me in the most pleasant and old-fashioned way: All smiles and compliments, never a lewd gesture or an ambiguous word. And he was fun to be with, intelligently bitchy, as opposed to the bitter and malicious hate-slingers that seemed to pop up like toadstools on the set.
20 years older than me, but well turned out, and I found myself exceedingly attracted to him. He could almost certainly have had me from the word go, but he took his time. He brought me out on dates, he introduced me at parties, he romanced me until I felt like a debutant at the start of the season in the 30s. So when he finally took me to his bed, I was more than ready. I was in fact overripe.
The minute we were inside his door, I went for his zipper. He grabbed my hand and smilingly told me to halt, there was no hurry. I felt my lack of sophistication swoop down like a hawk on me; apart from my one fuck back home, my sexual experience was limited to brief encounters in toilet stalls, where hurried actions were of the essence.
He held my hand as he showed me around his apartment, a warehouse conversion in Hackney, top floor open space, brick walls and a giant window with a view of the canal. Coming from Gunn's cramped flat, the sheer space of the place was amazing, also the minimalistic furnishings. The bare expanse of walls was broken only by a Duncan Grant male nude. A reproduction, I thought. Turned out later to be the original.
I suppose I stared like a dumb animal at the surroundings; I noticed he had a rather indulgent smile lurking on his lips. I blushed, feeling gauche and uncultured, and I mumbled apologies for my lack of poise.
His hand lifted my chin. His eyes told me he didn't mind. His words told me my air of unspoiled freshness was half of my attraction. Then he kissed me. The taste of his mouth felt strange and a little pungent at first, then I felt my inhibitions softly break down, and I opened up to his tongue.
We kissed for a long time, me up against the wall, our tongues battling and our hips pushing and gyrating. He unbuttoned my shirt, took both of my wrists in one hand and lifted my arms over my head, then his lips and his tongue explored my neck, my naked chest, my navel. He let go of my wrists and pushed my arms to the side and against the wall. He opened my pants and swiftly slid them down. He kneeled down in front of me, and his teeth bit into the elastic band of my boxer briefs, trying to pull them off, but he couldn't get them past my raging hard-on. His hands tore my underwear down and my cock sprang out and slapped his chin. I heard him breathe: - Oh, yes.
My hands itched, I wanted to touch him, feel him, undress him. But he stopped me. His lips closed around my cock, his tongue teased and stirred, and then he sucked me all the way in, deep into his throat. The warmth of his mouth, the suction, and the small moves his tongue made, were almost unbearable. The pleasure was so intense it bordered on pain. I couldn't for the life of me keep my hips still. I pushed even deeper into him, jolts upon jolts of ecstasy shook my body as my sperm shot through my cock like bullets.
- Lovely, he said between swallows. – Great ... Now we can get down to the real thing.
* * *
Here we go again with our bizarre life. Bendik needs to go to the hospital for a check-up. That means an unmarked police car backed into the narrow yard, and it means Bendik, in a hoodie and huge sunglasses, being escorted down the back stairs by two officers in civilian clothes. And it means my anxiety building because of the unwelcome reminder of how surreal our lives are right now.
The good side of this is that I now have a few uninterrupted hours to think through everything that's happened since yesterday morning. Get the shock out of my system. Make sense of his revelations.
In love with me. Bullied. Raped. Doing porn shows. Getting stabbed. Is there a logical sequence here? Is there order to be found somewhere in this confused assemblage of events? I try to pick out pieces from the chaos in my brain, recognize them for what they are, see where they could fit in this jigsaw puzzle.
But I only have a fraction of all the pieces I need. I get tired from the unproductivity of my frantic search for meaning. I look into my mind to try and find what it is I want from all this; I let my thoughts float as they will: I want to empty my head. I want to sink into oblivion. I want to go away. I want to run myself tired. I want to take off my clothes. I want to swim in warm water. I want to feel someone's skin. I want to feel Bendik's skin. I want to feel the heat of his body. I want to make love to him.
The thought jerks me back into full consciousness. Oh! Is that why everything went wrong? Is that why things are still so fucked up? Honestly, is that really what I want?
No, it can't be. It's the whole screwed up situation. I'm fusing my love for him into the weirdness of the wank movie; I'm blending my destructive memories of failing to look after him with my need for forgiveness, my need to repair the damage. It's just that, for a minute, I lost the direction to the corner of my heart where my brother belongs. Ought to belong. Must belong. Oh fuck. Oh hell. I want to cry.
(To be continued)