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Jun. 9th, 2008

Title: Whispers in the Dark
Author: Deborah
Rating: PG13 for drug usage and Roger
Pairing: Roger + Collins friendship
Summary: Collins plays a game that Roger hates to love.
Disclaimer: Rent is Jonathan Larson’s.


1980

We said things to one another in the darkness. Sometimes we played a game…

I had two best friends growing up, I had Tom Collins and I had Mark Cohen. You know what game I played with Mark. The game I played with Collins was different. Afterwards I always hated myself and felt stupid, but I always wanted to play again. But it was a game. It wasn’t like those nights at Mark’s. Mark and I would just start kissing and let things go from there. There wasn’t even a name for Collins’ game. I’m not sure it was a game at all, not to him.

“Everyone’s a little bit bisexual.”

We lay in his bed, pressed up against each other and freezing. I had a cut on my wrist, the kind that forms a pucker as it heals. I kept scratching. The sound of rain against the window made me need to pee. I needed to pee even worse when he said that. This little piece of lightning went through my body.

Part of playing the game is Collins saying something like that. Part of it is my natural response.

“I’m not,” I said.

Collins laughed. Laughter is a lot of exhalation and I felt his breath on me, warm, then colder than before. “Yeah you are, Roger,” he said. “You’re one of the gayest straight boys I know.”

I thought about the game I played with Mark and how much I liked doing things for him. To him. But I’m not gay.

“You know how you look in the mirror sometimes, and you’re really happy with what you see?”

When I looked in the mirror, I saw the way my bangs fell over my eyes, that half-obscured look, and how my arms had smooth bulges where they burned after I worked out. I saw the way if I twitched my lips and held that look just so, I had a killer smirk. Usually, when I looked in the mirror, I was happy with what I saw. I told myself I was used to it. I thought I was nice to look at because it’s what I was used to seeing. I thought when I saw myself with a black eye, I thought it worked because I was used to it.

“Well, yeah…”

Collins continued, “And sometimes you think about what girls see when they see you?”

My face got hot. “I guess,” I said, like I had never thought anything like that in my life.

“So you can look at yourself and think you’re attractive.” The way he summarized everything, I didn’t need to answer. He said it like he had known all along. “You can appreciate male beauty, but you’re mostly into girls. You’re a little bit bisexual.”

Later, I would think of a comeback. I would think to ask him, are you a little bit into girls? But by the time it occurred to me, asking would make me seem like an idiot. Why hadn’t I let it go? Why didn’t I think to ask in bed that night, while we were listening to the rain hit the walls?

Somewhere during the game, I stopped needing to pee because I was excited and needed to pee because I was humiliated and scared. Sometimes there were more and more steps in his logic. If the game went on more than a minute I’d get a semi.

1988

It’s dark when I come home. It’s raining outside. I stop outside the door and shake myself like a dog. Inside, I untie my boots and set my feet against the floor, wincing at the cold. Heel to toe I pad into the bedroom, listening to myself snuffle like a little girl against the cold. It didn’t matter. In a few minutes I would be warm again.

I knelt on the floor of my room and felt around for the smooth wax of the candle, then the cold plastic of my Bic. Twice it sparked, then a little flame grew. I touched it to my candle and tossed the lighter aside. Finally. I rubbed my wet hands together, held them up to the candle flame, then rifled through my jacket pocket. I was going to feel good.

“Hi, Roger.”

I groaned as Collins settled on the floor opposite me, the candle flickering between us. Now when he talked to me I got that painful stone in the pit of my stomach. “Collins…” I moaned. He inhaled and I interrupted him, “We’ve talked about this.”

“Right,” he said. “You can’t handle the pain. It’s okay, Roger. I wouldn’t want to go through it, either,” he said, like he really understood, and the strange thing was that I felt so much better. Collins was talking that warm feeling into my body again. “But you don’t want to hurt your friends, either.”

“I don’t,” I replied. I didn’t. When I came home with my pockets heavy with that promise of a warm happy feeling, or scratched my elbow where the puckers itched, Mark got this look like he was about to cry, and sometimes Maureen did.

Collins licked his thumb and ran it through the flame while the rain against the roof made me need to pee. “Remember when Mark broke his arm and you cried?”

“Yeah, but Mark did that on purpose.”

“You do this on purpose.”

I hated Collins sometimes, more than anything. That was when I knew he had won the debate we weren’t having. I knew because I started to blush and my dick moved. “Come on, Collins. Not today.” I tried to sound exasperated so he wouldn’t know I was begging.

“Doing this hurts your friends. What else are you going to do, Roger? You don’t want to keep hurting your friends and we don’t want you to get hurt any more than you already have.”

I didn’t reply. Didn’t want to shoot up anymore, though. I felt sick all over, sick and horny. “Come on, Collins.”

Then he did something he had never done in the middle of an argument, in the middle of a discussion, in the middle of trying to stage an intervention. He stood up and turned away. “Okay, Roger.” He headed for the door and I felt sick all over.

“Collins, wait—!”

I stopped because my arm itched.

“What, Roger?”

That night Collins played his game again and made me think things I did not believe. He made me say, “I want to go to rehab. I will, I… here… take this.” And he made me reach into my jacket and give him a handful of drugs and say, “Please, take this.” He made me do this by turning away.

“Do you know what today is?” Collins asked.

I didn’t want to answer, because the answer couldn’t be good. “Please, Collins…” He couldn't just stop there, could he? Like he didn't know he'd won.

“’s Christmas, Roger. Merry Christmas.”

Comments

(Anonymous)
Jun. 11th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
Wow.

That was fabulously well-written. Although, I admit I was bummed when it didn't say Mark/Roger, but it still managed to sneak in!! =)

This community is my smack! I really hope it doesn't go away again.
lexaprose
Jun. 11th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
There will *always* be Mark/Roger ;)

I'd like to community to stay around, too. Wish we could get more participants, though!

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