CHAPTER 14: PULLING THE DEVIL’S TAIL
By Sadie Rose Bermingham © 2006
Rayne woke up alone, which of late was so unusual that he took his time to assimilate and appreciate the space in which he found himself. He felt groggy and in need of a good long shower but he was not as sore as he dreaded he might have been. The bed was large and clean and very comfortable. It also showed signs of not having been slept in by more than one person. Under the circumstances that was a relief. Slowly now his memories of the last time he had been properly conscious were coming back.
He curled up again and buried his face in his arms.
“Jesus fucking Christ on a bike!” he muttered with a shake of his head. “I’ve been such a fucking muppet!”
It was earlier than he had first guessed and he took advantage of the fact that his fellow boat-mates were still asleep in various tangled configurations to quietly recover consciousness under the cool drizzle of the shower. His upper left arm was sore and he vaguely remembered that Mahmoudi had been there and had poked a needle into the crook of his elbow before he could even point out that he was left handed. He knew without asking that the shot was Diamorphine. It had knocked him straight out. Maybe it would have killed him if it had been a bigger shot but he guessed that even Mahmoudi would be pressed to explain his demise under such circumstances. And Paddy would not want something like that happening on his boat.
“Could have been worse,” he muttered to himself, tilting his head back to let the cool water flow into his mouth and run down his chin. He spat it out and shook his head. “Leland would have dumped you over the side and reported you missing three days later!”
Even Mikkal was not up and about yet and Rayne wrapped himself in a towel, feeling cold to his bones in spite of the mild, summer morning. The galley kitchen was in a semi-mystical state of emptiness and the morning half-light pushed through the gaps in the vertical blinds, reaching vague silvery fingers into the oddest corners. The quiet splashing of water against the side of the boat and the clink of mooring ropes outside broke the stillness but other than this it was bizarrely quiet. When he pulled the blinds, it was just getting light outside and somehow he managed to make himself a pot of coffee in semi-twilight without dropping or spilling anything. He was just about to take it up onto the roof and have a cigarette when someone spoke his name and he jumped so violently that he almost threw the whole shooting match onto the floor.
“Christ!” he exhaled nervously when Aldo pushed himself up off the sofa, where he had plainly spent the night. Rayne had not even spotted him when he first stumbled through into the kitchen. The Italian pushed a hand through his rumpled black hair now and knuckled the sleep from his eyes.
“Sorry… did I freak you out?”
Rayne’s knuckles tightened around the handle of the coffee pot and the huge mug in his other hand. He felt his heart quicken but at least this morning it was just natural adrenaline.
“Leave me alone!” he warned, bristling defensively when Aldo tried to get closer. “I’m warning you, this stuff is hot!”
“I’m not gonna try anything. I… I didn’t sleep too good last night if that’s any consolation,” Aldo said a little blearily.
“Good! I slept fine,” Rayne glared at him. “I’m gonna go up and have a fag. I don’t want company!”
He got it in any case. Admittedly, Aldo left him to his own devices for at least two cigarettes, by which time he was ready for the top up of coffee which the Italian brought up for him, together with a large plate of hot buttered brioches and a pot of strawberry jam.
“There’s nothing bad in it, I promise,” he said in a contrite tone as he set the tray down on the roof deck next to the younger man. “I thought you might be hungry by now.”
Rayne was and he scowled at Aldo for just a little while, then attacked the sweet rolls before they began to cool. His companion poured them both some more coffee.
“We’ve got today off,” he said quietly. “PJ’s pretty pissed off at me. I guess I’m probably not gonna work with him again for a while.”
“Serves you right,” Rayne muttered with his mouth full. He chewed vigorously for a moment then washed the mouthful down with more coffee. It made him feel sick but he needed to feel occupied and the food kept his hands and mouth busy so that he could keep conversation to a minimum. “‘ave we got any Cheerios?”
For a little while Aldo just looked at him in bewilderment, then he pushed himself to his feet and went back down into the galley with a little sigh.
Rayne dipped a finger into the jam and sucked it clean. It was sharp and sweet, just the right mix of sugar and fruit. He scooped a slightly more loaded finger of preserve into his mouth and licked his lips, relishing the sugar rush. It balanced the coffee out quite nicely.
When Aldo came back up on deck with a large bowl of cereal swimming in milk, he did not have the heart to point out that they were better dry. Instead he concentrated bahis firmaları on picking the little cereal loops out of the milk and flipping them into the air, catching them in his mouth.
“It is little wonder that you are thin,” Aldo said at last, having observed this human sea-lion routine for a few minutes.
“I’m not gonna put much weight on with ‘you’ around, am I?” Rayne said venomously, flicking another Cheerio so high into the air that it vanished over the other side of the yacht.
“I did not give you the pills to hurt you,” Aldo countered with a shake of his head. “I am sorry, Rayne. What more can I say?”
“You think I care if you’re sorry or not?” the younger man snapped at him. “Aldo… I thought you were my fuckin’ friend!”
“I ‘am’ your friend,” Aldo protested, looking genuinely hurt by this. He shook his head at once, staring mournfully at Rayne with those dark, Latin-Spaniel eyes.
“You are a bastard!” Rayne told him, completely unmoved by this display of contrition. “You spiked my fucking drink, not once but twice! You nearly fuckin’ killed me! You’re Paddy’s fuckin’ lapdog. When he snaps his fingers, you jump to attention like you’re on a fuckin’ lead! I’ll tell you what…” he wagged a knowing finger at the Italian; “…you lot deserve each other!”
“Paddy did not tell me to give you the pills,” Aldo protested. “He said to get you ready for him, that was all. You were nervous. Clay suggested that they might… make you more relaxed. He knew someone who could get him a few of these pills. I said that I would try and give you some to make you chill out. P J did not know that we had given them to you. When you were hot for us yesterday we thought; ‘that worked!’ So we gave you some more in the morning, to help with the filming during the day. I didn’t know that you still had some drug in your system. Clay reckoned that they wear off pretty quickly.”
Rayne was just staring at him. He put the cereal bowl down slowly although he was tempted to throw it at Aldo’s head.
“Clay’s built like a brick shit-house! How much of that stuff did you give me, Aldo? I’ve taken Speed and I know how much tolerance I’ve got for ‘that’!”
The older man looked down awkwardly.
“We only gave you one the first day but it worked okay, so we thought if we trebled it yesterday…” he stopped because Rayne was looking at him like thunder. Aldo held his hands up and leaned back defensively. “Okay… I know. I’m sorry! I’m really, totally sorry Rayne!”
Pale green eyes glared at him without blinking.
“Yeah… you’re fuckin’ sorry, all right!” the boy muttered at last, returning to his Cheerios, although he had lost his appetite again.
“Paddy asked me to try and cheer you up today,” Aldo said with a hopeful little smile. “No pills, no sex… Just the chance to relax, yes?”
“Fuck. Off.” Rayne replied, completely deadpan. He did not even look up.
“He suggested that I ought to take you shopping this morning to try and get you chilled before we film,” Aldo persisted as if he had not spoken. “Artie’s given me the car keys, so I thought we might take the Alfa and go into Agde. Would you like that?”
Rayne closed his eyes tightly for a little while, feeling breathless from the scatter-gun effect of Aldo’s amiable chatter. It was beyond him how the Italian could prattle away to him as if nothing had happened. The boy could not believe that Aldo could have done something so unbelievably stupid and reckless, then come up here this morning chatting to him as if it was all a game. His own nerves were still vibrating like a struck tuning fork.
“Leave me alone,” he said through gritted teeth.
“You don’t want to go shopping?” Aldo asked, putting his head on one side like a puppy. “He’s given us a lot of money.”
Rayne looked sidelong at him, finally. He was still feeling quite woozy and his stomach hurt but the idea of getting out of this goldfish bowl, even just for a few hours, ‘was’ very tempting. Even if he had to put up with Aldo. Besides, if they had pocket money…
“How much?” he asked at last.
The Italian flashed a feral smile.
“About two thousand francs each.”
Rayne managed a vague, mental calculation. He did it again just to be on the safe side.
“That’s about two hundred quid?”
“I suppose,” said Aldo as if it was of no real consequence.
Rayne wanted to bang his head on the deck. At home he would have had to work non-stop for three nights to make that sort of money. PJ had to be absolutely loaded if he could afford to throw cash about like this. Or maybe he just had a guilty conscience. Rayne mulled it over silently.
“Yeah,” he said at last. “That would be good.”
“Did you fuck him?” Aldo wanted to know, subtle as ever.
“Don’t you know?” Rayne’s green eyes slid back up to survey his face. “Doesn’t everyone know by now? What you did to me, the four of you? I thought there were cameras everywhere on this fuckin’ boat.”
“It wasn’t like that,” Aldo said without flinching from his stare. “Paddy took you straight to his room when he got back to the boat. kaçak iddaa You were completely out of it after…” Aldo looked away, unable to articulate his meaning.
“…after you and Clay fucked the arse out of me while I was strung out on some fuckin’ pep pills you’d bunged me?” Rayne supplied for him acerbically. “Yeah! Right!”
“The room is soundproofed and the door was locked,” Aldo told him defensively. “I know that he spent all night with you, that’s all. And Mikka never even touched you. He’s pissed off with me too, so don’t round him up with the rest of us. ‘And’ you weren’t helpless, Rayne. You ‘knew’ what we were doing to you the other day. You wanted it and you ‘liked’ it!”
Rayne bit his tongue on the verge of a sharp, clever answer. That was too close to the damned truth and Aldo knew it. He could not deny it with a clear conscience. The echoes of their vigorous sex still resonated through his body, two days later. He was sore and his back and thigh muscles were complaining but the memory of their hands and their bodies, their mouths and cocks interacting with his own… that was very clear and almost too stimulating. Aldo had fucked him hard in Beziers and he had loved it. Back in Ambonne, the Italian and his US co-star had shown him how to enjoy being the centre of rock-hard male attention. He wrapped himself more securely in his towel because the recollection gave him a hard on that was nothing to do with artificial stimulants.
But it still did not get close to the pleasure he had known in Paddy McNamara’s arms later that same night. Aldo and Clay excited him and brought him to orgasm, but Paddy blew his mind. It was not just that he was big; it was not that at all.
Rayne pushed the thoughts away. He would not think about Paddy this morning. He had not forgiven them. He still did not trust Aldo, and Paddy was in league with Aldo, therefore he was not to be trusted either. It made no difference that he could make Rayne cum without even being in the same room.
“You still doped me,” he pointed out sullenly.
“And you let go of your inhibitions,” Aldo retorted, holding his stare.
“I’m not gay,” Rayne said in a quiet, insistent monotone. “I only fuck men for money.”
“Are you saying that I ‘raped’ you?” The Italian was looking incredulously at him now.
Rayne bristled again. He wanted to say ‘yes’ just to see Aldo flinch but he looked away at last and shook his head.
Aldo’s hand cupped his chin, lifting his face instantly.
“Should I ‘pay’ you? Is that what you want?”
Rayne felt sick. He shook his head a little more adamantly, wishing that Aldo would just go away and leave him be. He was confused enough about Paddy right now without this additional complication.
“What ‘do’ you want?” his companion asked with a grimace.
“I don’t know,” Rayne answered him quietly.
“Do you want this?” Aldo reached down with his free hand and stroked his ten-inch cock, which was also quite rigid. A little jewel of semen rose to the eye immediately.
Rayne shook his head, not trusting words. He was not sure that he had the strength for a fucking right now, although the idea of Aldo’s long, hard rod inside him ‘was’ exciting. The realisation of that perplexed him too.
“Aren’t you supposed to be taking me shopping?” he asked, changing the subject deftly.
Aldo looked a tad disappointed with this response but he let go of Rayne’s chin and turned away, curling around himself, knees drawn up to his chest, arms wrapped around them, watching the sunlight on the water meditatively. Rayne Wilde popped another small, round cereal snack into his mouth and pulled a face. Cheerios just weren’t the same once they got soggy.
Rayne sat thinking for a little while after the handsome Italian had gone in search of his clothes. It was more than two weeks now since Ant had come back to look for him and pulled him out of the snow; hard to believe, really. It felt like another world; another lifetime. A fortnight ago he had been on the verge of an eagerly anticipated gig; just an ordinary kid scraping a living in London, trying to be a rock star. He found himself wondering what would happen to him if he went back to England now. Would he wind up back on the streets? Was London even the right place to go? He knew too many dealers in the capital and they knew him by sight as well. The temptation was going to be too much to resist there.
He could get clean. He knew that he could, it was just a question of willpower. That would show Daniel-fucking-Leland a thing or two! Maybe if he could stay out here…
Rayne shook his head quickly. Not wise, that! He already knew where the drugs were here at the Cap, although he would probably give Giovanni a pretty wide berth after the events of this past weekend. There was still Mahmoudi right on his doorstep, though. Maybe there was just as much temptation out here as there was back home.
Sighing, he finished his cereal and wandered through to the bathroom where he scrubbed his teeth, shaved himself all over and took a shower. Feeling better for the kiss kaçak bahis of blisteringly hot water on his skin, he hunted through the closet in the room where he had woken up but there was nothing clean that fitted his slender frame. Biting the bullet, he wandered back through the lounge and hopped down onto the jetty, making his careful way back along the swaying, wooden gangways to Daniel’s boat. It felt strange to come back here after the last couple of hectic days. To his relief everyone was still sleeping when he opened the screen door from the rear deck and let himself in. No one locked anything down here. That was another thing he had noticed that was peculiar about the Cap. Either everyone was honest or no one really cared if they had their lives stolen from under them. Either way it was odd.
In the first room off the corridor, it was still dark and he navigated his way to the cabinet by touch, not wanting to disturb Ant if he was still asleep. His hands found the door to the closet and lingered over the suit he had bought with Ant’s credit card on the day of Adolescent Sex’s Camden gig. Finally he decided that it was too warm for a jacket and retrieved his black jeans and a simple black shirt and teeshirt.
It felt extremely peculiar to wriggle into his well-worn, comfortable clothing. He was almost reluctant to cover his newly tanned body. The sunburn of the previous week was mellowing now so that his skin was more of an all over honey colour. There were still a few darker welts on his shoulders and buttocks where Christophe and his friends had whipped him but already they were fading into his new, sun kissed skin tones.
He stroked a wistful hand over the battered guitar case, thinking longingly of his bass and wishing that he could just slope off somewhere and find an amplifier. It would be good to just lose himself in the familiar, rhythmic patterns of the songs he had learned since his childhood. The guitar had belonged to his cousin Joe who was a couple of years older than Rayne and had played in punk bands around the pubs of East Kent for many years. Joe had sold it to him about three years ago when he was about to settle down and marry his long time girlfriend, Elle. She was expecting their first child and they needed every penny they could lay their hands on. Joe wanted the Fender to go to someone who would appreciate it, and while Rayne acknowledged that he would probably never be the greatest bass player in the world, he certainly loved his instrument. It felt as warm and familiar as a lover in his hands. When he snaked his long fingers around the slender neck and gently thumbed the strings he felt a shiver that was just like the anticipation of fabulous sex.
Jeli used to tease him about getting an erection just before they went on stage but he could not help himself. The buzz that surrounded them before a show was more intense than anything he had experienced using speed or cocaine. It was like being on another planet and communicating with aliens for the very first time. And they were beautiful, lust hungry aliens… and they wanted him and he wanted them in return.
That had not helped his relationship with Angelica in the long term; he knew it now. He had been such a flirt, and he had not cared whether the ones he flirted with were boys or girls. There were some very pretty boys down in the front row of many of Adolescent Sex’s early shows. He knew that they were primarily interested in Jeli, and quite rightly so. Who would not have been? Rayne certainly had not passed at the chance. The groupies made their love life interesting though. More than once they had come home with a boy or a girl from the show, who was willing to make out with both of them. The difference between Jeli and himself, Rayne knew now, was that she was just dipping her toes. It was a giggle for her, a little bit of freedom and exuberance before she settled down. At the end of the day she would follow the life map laid out for her by her money and her breeding. Get a qualification, a career, a good husband and as soon as decently possible, pop out a few well-bred babies to carry on the Parker line.
Maybe that would be enough for her, maybe not. Rayne doubted it somehow, but for the time being at least she seemed determined to try. She had cried when she told him about Kurt, as if she felt some sense of the betrayal she had perpetrated. He wanted desperately to believe that her tears were genuine, that she was seriously being forced into something that she had no control over. The only thing was, he did not fall for it for one moment.
Rayne knelt down and put his arms around the guitar case, holding its familiar shape against his body for a little while as he forced back the tears. For a couple of weeks he had played her game, pretending with all his heart that she was playing too and that soon she would see the error of her ways and come back to him. They were still the best of friends, that was the worst of it. Jeli could not let go of him and he had refused to let her walk away. They still talked all night, twined around one another, telling stupid jokes and confessing heartfelt secrets, like children. They fucked like rabid animals from time to time, unable to keep their hands off one another, especially just before or after a gig. Then the energy was at its peak between them. The electricity was undeniable.