Enjoy the Sand
Warning: this chapter contains an explicit sex scene. If you prefer to read the chapter without it, follow this link.
A month passed way too quickly for Wyatt’s liking. Even though Zack had advertised the island to him a whole lot, Wyatt knew that it was just going to be the next Jaws movie for him out there. He was walking down the stairs of his building, like he was headed for an execution. It was six in the morning, and the weather outside was awful, since late summer managed to already become early autumn. But they were flying to the Caribbean, where according to Hector it was perfectly warm and sunny this time of the year. The man had even called him the previous day to remind Wyatt to pack sunscreen and other essential equipment like swimming trunks and a book to read during the four hour long flight on a private jet.
Wyatt wished that with his liking for all things private, Hector would get more of a hint that others also appreciated privacy. He was only somewhat cheered up by the fact that they were not going alone. Zack and his best friend Rose were already in the limo that was waiting in the street right in front of the door. Wyatt hoped all his neighbours were asleep this early on a Saturday. Though what they thought, didn’t really matter much to him anymore. He had more serious worries on his mind.
The driver got out of the limousine and took Wyatt’s backpack, putting it in the trunk, then he opened the door for him.
“Good morning, darling.” Hector rumbled affectionately when he saw him.
The only empty space was on the double seat beside the Man, and so Wyatt’s fate was sealed.
“Wyatt, this is Rose, my son’s best friend and an important member of this family. Rose, this is Wyatt, my geologist boyfriend, not only breaking the Bible laws, but also debunking Hell.”
Wyatt wasn’t too overjoyed with this sort of introduction, especially since there was a little silver cross on Rose’s neck. The girl, though, gave Hector a brief skeptical smile, which indicated she was used to such jokes.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Brooks,” she said, demonstrating her knowledge of his surname. Wyatt briefly wondered what more she knew. She was supposedly Zack’s best friend. Did the boy tell her anything? Wyatt just resigned himself to discarding those thoughts.
“Hi, Rose, my pleasure. I’ve heard good things about you. And… just Wyatt’s enough.”
She nodded. Both her and Zack looked somewhat sleepy. One could not blame them. Hector’s Rolex pointed to barely five past six and the windows were lined with racing droplets of rain, making for an overall perfect sleepy mood. Wyatt however quite to the contrary, was so wide awake and filled with apprehension that he seemed to notice every single detail. The cornrows on Zack’s and Rose’s hair had the same rather complicated spiralling pattern. There were traces of eyeliner in the corners of Zack’s eyes, but Rose had no makeup on. Both of them had cat fur on their clothes.
The car started moving. Hector wrapped an arm around Wyatt’s shoulders and pulled him closer. “Sleepy?”
Wyatt smiled, feeling a shiver running down his spine, “No… not at all.”
He’d barely slept tonight, but the fear kept him completely alert. He didn’t even feel tired. If he had to compare this to something, the closest would be going to an exam. But the consequences of failing this test were far more severe.
“But you look tired, darling. Not sleeping well, hm? The ocean air should fix that.” Hector rubbed Wyatt’s shoulder. He reached into his breast pocket with his other hand.
“No, Dad! No, no cigars!” Zack suddenly woke from his drowsy state.
Hector gave his son a wounded look.
“Yes, uncle, please. Those are horrible.”
Wyatt looked at those kids with appreciation, but at the same time at a slight loss of what to think about it. If they both stood up to Hector on this one, maybe he could chime in and also voice his disapproval? Hector’s cigar smoking was far not the worst of his crimes, but one of those many little things that bothered Wyatt. He hated the smell, and he actually had to kiss that mouth. But should he speak up? The kids didn’t have to be scared for their lives, it was different. On the other hand, he couldn’t cower in a corner forever.
Hector seemed to notice his inner debate. “Et tu, Brute?”
Wyatt looked at him guiltily and after the longest time, gave the slightest nod.
Hector sighed dramatically and slid the cigar back into his pocket. “Well, we do live in a democracy.”
* * *
They arrived at a private airport, where the sleeping teenagers needed to be woken and guided several meters from the limo and up the stairs into the jet. Wyatt felt so out of place. Never, not in his wildest childhood dreams, had he imagined that he would be travelling by something like that.
“Oh, Challenger six-o-one, dibs on the couch!” Zack proclaimed sleepily.
“Dibs on the second couch,” Rose echoed.
Wyatt wondered just how many of those could fit inside a jet.
They climbed the stairs. Hector stopped to exchange a few words with the crew. Rose and Zack hurried in and crashed onto the two couches. The interior of the jet was eerily reminiscent of the limo they just rode on. Only it did not smell like cigars.
“Here, darling.” Hector touched Wyatt on the back lightly, gently pushing him towards one of the four remaining seats. “The sooner we’re on our way, the better. It’s a long flight.”
Wyatt slumped into one of the armchairs, picking the side where he would be able to make eye contact with Zack if need be. Only after taking that strategic position, he let himself properly look around. The leather seats and couches were a shade of cream, like the walls and ceiling. Hector seemed to have a fondness for such light colors. Although, from what Wyatt understood, the jet didn’t belong to him, it fit the rest of Hector’s property stylistically.
In the moments he spent looking around wide-eyed, the teenagers managed to get out of their jackets and shoes and were fastening their seat belts. Hector took the seat beside Wyatt’s. Luckily there was a passage between them.
“I thought everyone would be sleeping, so I took some work with me. I hope you have a book to keep you entertained,” Hector said, giving Wyatt an apologetic look. There was a briefcase on his knees.
“Yes, I brought it… and sure. I know you’re a busy man.” Wyatt smiled and unpacked his book. For once it was not a textbook. If all hope was lost, he could at least take a book that he would enjoy. Not that he didn’t enjoy geology, but the subject brought memories of failure that he didn’t need right now.
Minutes later the jet took off. As soon as the crew gave good, the teenagers undid their seat belts and lay down properly. Hector meanwhile unlocked his briefcase and produced a whole lot of papers, which he laid out on a folding table in front of himself. He pulled out a pen, a notebook and a stack of post-it notes, and began reading through what appeared to be some kind of contract. He wasn’t just a crime boss after all. Hector Viteri owned quite a number of legitimate businesses, even if he used some of them to launder dirty money and dispose of cremated bodies in the construction sites as he had proudly let Wyatt know, incriminating him even further.
Wyatt calmed down a little. He glanced at the stacks of papers around Hector. Those could, of course, be reports from assassinations. But they most likely weren’t. Either way, they made for a decent barrier between him and Hector. Zack and Rose seemed to be already back asleep on their couches. Whatever horror had been planned for this weekend, was probably not going to materialize for the next sixteen hours or so. Right now the worst that could possibly happen was a plane crash.
Wyatt slowly relaxed, nestling more into his armchair. For some time he watched the sky behind the window, then opened his book.
Half an hour into the flight, Wyatt experienced a sudden feeling of terrible anxiety. When he slowly looked up from the page he was reading, he saw Hector looking at him lovingly. The feeling repeated several more times throughout the flight, but he just learnt not to look back.
Time flew by, and when he dared a glance at Hector, the man was sitting with an unlit cigar in his mouth. When Wyatt gave a slight scowl, the man noticed his reaction and shrugged apologetically. “We’re almost there.”
* * *
From a private jet to a helicopter. The trip was getting more and more surreal. But what made it completely otherworldly, was how casual everyone else was being about it. As they flew over groves of palm trees and the sky blue ocean, the teenagers were busy chatting about kiting and Hector was preoccupied with his cigar. He sat next to the open door, politely puffing the smoke outside. And Wyatt found himself left to his own devices for a while longer.
He spent that time thinking about how crazy it must be to be a rich person.
After the helicopter landed, the lot of them were greeted by the island staff and driven to the villa in a golf cart. Wyatt couldn’t help but gape at everything around him. The plants they passed on their way were huge, and he didn’t know the names of almost any of them. And the palm trees? There were like six different kinds of them at least. Coconuts were lying in piles along the road…
“It’s lovely here, isn’t it?” Hector rumbled.
The familiar unsettling feeling from the plane repeated. It appeared that while he was busy observing the wildlife, Hector was watching him.
“Yeah… it’s quite shocking to be here, really.” Wyatt wondered how many times in these two fateful days he would turn his head and see Hector looking at him like this. “I’ve only seen these kinds of places on TV. Back when I still had a TV.” He busied himself looking for more palm tree types.
Hector arched an eyebrow at him. He said nothing for a moment, choosing to look at nature as well. “So, what would you like to start with? The kids will go kiting. We could go with them, if you’re feeling up for it. Or if you’re tired, we could just lie on the beach, or go for a massage. Or even yoga. The staff here is quite versatile.”
Wyatt quickly narrowed the choices down in his mind. For as long as he could avoid it, he didn’t want to be left alone with Hector. Not even with Hector and the island’s versatile staff, whatever that meant. But he also didn’t quite get what the kids were going to be doing. “I have an impression that ‘kiting’ is not what I think it is… could you explain?” He actually tried to listen to Zack and Rose when they were discussing it earlier, but could hardly pick their words through the noise of the helicopter’s rotor blades.
“It’s something the kids have been playing around with this year. Kind of like water skiing, but instead of being pulled by a boat you’re being pulled by a large kite. The wind is just right today. But if it sounds too extreme for you, there’s normal water skiing too… scuba-diving, practically anything you can come up with, it can be arranged. Last time I was here the kids had a trampoline floating in the ocean. And I have a feeling, it’s going to be there again.” Hector turned to smile at the two excited teenagers.
For a moment Wyatt experienced a new kind of fear. He wasn’t exactly a couch potato, he wouldn’t be able to climb buildings and scale fences in his sleep if that was the case. But he wasn’t too sporty either, and some of those sports sounded like they could actually kill people. But damn it, he couldn’t spend this whole weekend in constant fear of everything. At least if he drowned while water-skiing on a tropical island, his parents would believe some of the tall tales he’d told them about his current social and financial standing. “So… if I wanted to try this kite thing, would the kids teach me how to do it?”
“No, no, there are professional instructors. They’ll take much better care of you. Those two would drown you in under two minutes.” Hector laughed and clapped him on the back softly. “I can hardly trust them with themselves out there, and both of them are born swimmers. Not to worry though, there are also lifeguards. And they are hot.”
It was strange to hear Hector say the latter. Wyatt nodded. “Alright… hm… I’ll need to think for a moment.” Then another thought struck him. “What are you going to be doing?”
“I think I’ll join you. I’ve done some water skiing, but never with a kite. It might be fun.”
Wyatt sighed inwardly. Just like he thought, there was no running away from Hector. He actually wasn’t sure what was worse. Hector accompanying him or watching him miserably fail from the shore. Plus there were going to be instructors. “Nice. Alright… we could do that then.” He smiled at the other man.
Hector leaned in to kiss him.
* * *
The king size bed loomed menacingly in the sunlit room. Their luggage was already there, delivered before they got to the villa. The view from the windows was worthy of being put on a postcard or into a tourist leaflet, but Wyatt hardly noticed it. All he could see was the bed. It was like a slab of white rock with an imaginary pendulum swinging back and forth, counting moments till his brutal and inevitable execution.
“Isn’t the view splendid?” Hector looked out the window. He turned to Wyatt and receiving another one of those automatic faggy grins, smiled back at him. “Time to change and hit the beach.” Hector led by example and began undressing.
Wyatt gulped inaudibly. He knew that he was not in danger of any kind just yet. The things he dreaded were usually performed in the evenings, he supposed, and anyway Zack and Rose were waiting for them at the beach, but he still felt uneasy to take off his clothes in front of Hector. It was generally a horrifying notion that this here was their room. Their room.
“Oh, right.” He began unbuttoning his shirt meekly, busy looking at the buttons.
Hector put his suit and slacks away into a wardrobe and Wyatt briefly glimpsed more than he could bear. He swung around, continuing to undress with his back on Hector. When he was finally in his trunks he turned to discover Hector sitting on the bed in light grey speedos, watching him. “Good, let’s go.”
There were flip flops by the door. And in the corridor, much to Wyatt’s relief, Zack and Rose were waiting for them.
“Say, Dad, I wanna have one of those big bonfire suppers in the evening, you know? Like old times? But like… maybe with alcohol?”
“What kind of alcohol do you have in mind?” Hector asked calmly.
“Well, like piña coladas maybe? Or other cocktails… maybe a bit of wine.” Zack glanced at Wyatt meaningfully. “I promise not to order anything behind your back, and it’s not like they would get me anything I’m not supposed to have without running it by you first.”
“Fine, but I’ll be watching and counting. No more than two drinks for either of you,” Hector said, giving Zack and Rose a stern look. “By the way, Rosie, great shape, looking good. And that’s a new swimsuit, isn’t it? You sure like them strict and sporty these days.” Hector shook his head.
The girl smiled a bit surprised, “Oh… thanks, uncle. Well, you know, I think I just grew out of those old ones with flowers… Finally…” she whispered the latter to Zack, and they both giggled, while Hector just arched his eyebrows at them. “Looking quite fit yourself too, by the way.”
“Thank you. I try to stay in shape.”
“Fine, great, if we are all done dispensing compliments, maybe let’s head for the beach, ok?” Zack gestured towards the exit impatiently.
Rose turned to Zack faking a frown. “This is common politeness, Zack. Check it out, it’s nice. Like. Oh, Zack, those flip-flops, how chic, how slimming, they really bring out your toes!”
They laughed. Wyatt smiled to blend in. They headed for the beach like Zack suggested. It was nice and sunny, a gentle breeze came from the ocean, and as he looked around squinting, he didn’t see anything that wasn’t there to like. He decided to relax and let his shoulders sag a bit.
Hector chose that moment to touch his back and then hug the once more tense and anxious smaller man by the waist. He gave Wyatt a humorous look. “Don’t worry, there’s lots of safety gear and the instructors will walk you through it from the very basics.”
“Oh that’s… that’s great. I’m sure it’s going to be loads of fun.”
* * *
It really wasn’t all that bad. Except he had to swap kiting for regular water-skiing, after he landed face-first in the water the first three times someone handed him a kite. Apparently he was as unable to fly a kite on the water, as he was on land. He should have remembered. But this failure had a silver lining to it — Hector picked up kiting so naturally that he decided to focus on that exclusively, while Wyatt was escorted to a private training in simpler water-skiing. In the end he glimpsed Hector only now and then as the man swooshed somewhere in the corner of his vision, racing there and back with Zack and Rose.
Wyatt’s legs and arms hurt, and he had to take a few long breaks during the day. He would probably generally stay on dry land if not for Hector, who kept noticing him on the beach and coming ashore especially to sit with him for a while during each such break. That, much to the Man’s amusement, did wonders in motivating Wyatt to instantly find great enthusiasm for another round of water skiing and flee right back to the instructors and lifeguards.
The sun was slowly heading towards the horizon, and Wyatt found himself in a deckchair, eating the fanciest banana split he had ever seen. The kids, or rather teens, were there too with their own ice cream. Wyatt had actually copied their order. Zack was already half-way through his second dessert. Out there on the water, Hector was still gliding over the waves with his kite, completely absorbed by the activity for the last few hours. Wyatt turned to look at him every now and then, silently hoping the man would be so exhausted by the time he came back that he would apologize to everyone, eat something and go right to sleep.
Wyatt stuck another spoonful of ice cream into his mouth. He imagined Hector excusing himself and wishing them all a good night, while he stayed behind with the kids. To complete that fantasy, he pictured someone from the island’s personnel coming over to inform him that there was a separate room prepared for him. Of course, Mr. Viteri needed his rest, and Wyatt wouldn’t want to wake him up.
“…liking it here so far?” Wyatt looked to the side, suddenly shaken out of his banana split induced reverie. It was Rose. She had dragged her deckchair closer towards him over the sand. It was nice of her, he guessed.
“Oh, yes, it’s really nice. I mean, it’s pretty exotic here. Palm trees, ocean, all that stuff. It’s not something you see everyday…” he looked at her, realizing just how that sounded. They probably came here all the time. “Unless you live in Florida or something.” He added.
Rose chuckled, “Yeah, man. I get you. Sorry if I’m assuming things, but the way you look around at everything… I’m actually not from a rich family myself. My mom used to babysit that big child over there,” she pointed at Zack. “Dad’s working at the post office. So when uncle invites me over to holidays like that, I’m trying to make the most of it. You should too.”
Wyatt managed a half-smile. “Sure. I am really enjoying myself.”
She smiled back. “Good! You were doing quite fine today. That was your first time water-skiing, right?”
“That’s great! Zack told me everything about you…”
Heartbeat thudded in Wyatt’s ears, drowning out all sounds. Behind Rose’s back he saw Zack waving his hands, shaking his head and mouthing something to him.
“… a nice guy. He likes you a lot. I know about your help with the bikers. No worries, I won’t tell uncle. Err, Wyatt? Your spoon is sinking in your banana split?”
“Oh. Right. Thanks.” Wyatt tried to pick it out of the melted ice cream, but his hands were kind of shaky. It wasn’t because of the kids. He understood Zack’s signaling pretty well. And well, he wasn’t sure he was happy the girl knew about the bikers, but if neither of them told Hector then he supposed it was okay. He guessed it was the darkening sky around them. The sun had almost set. The evening was drawing closer and closer, and with it…
Hector was coming towards them. He had left his kiting gear with one of the instructors at the edge of the water and now approached them in his speedos only. Wyatt’s eyes involuntarily drifted downwards, and for a moment he just stared in horror. All day he had tried to make it a point not to look at the murder weapon, but there it was. That was how he was going to die tonight. Wyatt looked at the approaching wet, tightly fitted speedos in morbid fascination.
Hector stopped behind his deck chair, rested his hands on Wyatt’s shoulders and bowed down. “Not in front of the kids,” he rumbled humorously, next to Wyatt’s ear.
The smaller man nodded meekly.
“Hey, Dad, you didn’t forget about the bonfire, did you?” Zack came to the rescue.
“Hm? No, of course not.”
“And we want the floating trampoline.”
“Well, the staff’s at your disposal. But wouldn’t you like to just dive off of my shoulders? Like good old times?”
Zack made a face. “We’re way too old and heavy for that, Dad.”
“Nonsense. This was in our agreement.”
“I’ll go arrange the trampoline.” Zack darted off towards a staff member who was putting away their kiting equipment.
Hector shook his head, looking somewhat disappointed. He took a deck chair and sat down next to Wyatt. When a waiter came to ask him if he wanted something, Hector only asked for a glass of water.
Rose moved her chair a bit to the side again, but she stayed with them. “We thought you’re spending the night in the ocean, uncle Hector. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’ve been kiting for at least three seasons. How come you’re always so good with everything, hm?”
“Confidence, my dear. Believe in yourself and half of the job is done.” Hector smiled at the girl.
“You make it sound so easy.”
Hector shrugged. “Positive thinking, it’s all in your head.”
“Oh, please, no more psychological mumbo jumbo!” Zack returned and gave his father a skeptical look. “Dad is just magic. There is no rational explanation. You give him a kite, he’s good at kiting, you make him dive, he swims like a fish. I asked the locals, you know, and whenever we visit, the weather is always perfect. Coincidence? I think not.”
Wyatt thought with some dose of humour that the weather was probably scared of Hector. He knew very well what Rose was talking about though. There were some people who were just successful at life. People meant for great things. They set a course and just sailed ahead to their bright tomorrows. He often wished to be one of those people. It would have made everything so much easier. Instead, he always got himself in some sort of trouble, and was always unlucky in some way.
Wyatt resigned himself to searching for his spoon. He fished it out from the almost liquid ice cream and started to lick it off. Of course, Hector had to choose that moment to look at him. The man limited himself to arching his eyebrows again, but that was exactly what Wyatt had been thinking about. Unlucky.
“Alright! Ocean trampoline is go!”
The teenagers left their places, heading towards the water, Wyatt followed them with his eyes and lo and behold, there was a trampoline floating on the water, and the staff were attaching an extra float to the first one for easier access and greater stability.
Hector was also watching the kids. He smiled as his son climbed onto the trampoline, jumped up and down several times and then made a salto on his way to the water. Now Rose was climbing on the trampoline, while Zack egged her on.
“They may have their driver’s licenses, but they are still preschoolers at heart,” Hector said. “So carefree and energetic. It makes all the hard work worth it, to see them like this.”
Wyatt smiled. It was nice that at least the kids were fully enjoying themselves on this holiday. He turned to the man beside him. “Rose seems really nice. You said she’s Zack’s friend, though I can’t help but notice that she calls you ‘uncle’? Are you actually related?”
“No, not through blood. Emotionally, perhaps. She’s almost like a daughter to me. Definitely like a niece.” Hector paused. “Remember when I told you I spared one person except for you?” Hector asked quietly. “That was her.”
Wyatt’s eyes went wide as the almost forgotten kind of fear clutched at his entrails. The Hector he actually saw day to day was a family guy, a man of success. Always smiling, always helpful, friendly, mindful and sometimes quite funny. He knew that he was dating the Man. But he didn’t see the Man. Activities of the Citizens were never brought up in his presence anymore. Not since the basement incident. If he didn’t go reminding himself about it, it would be almost easy to forget who Hector was. And even reminding himself, Wyatt found that he was way more concerned by the dating aspect than ‘the Man’ aspect. But these few words made him remember exactly who was sitting in the deck chair next to him. Wyatt felt his skin crawl.
“She doesn’t know of course, and she was too young to remember. Zack doesn’t know either. Let’s keep it that way.” Hector informed him casually.
“Sure,” Wyatt agreed unconditionally. He didn’t know what else to say.
“And of course she doesn’t know about my… less advertised businesses. It’s a shame she is so religious. She always seemed like the more suitable heir out of the two of them. Stronger, tougher, more goal-oriented.” Hector watched the teenagers jumping into the water for a while. “But things being as they are, neither of them could take up my mantle, and neither can you. You bunch of softies.” He leaned over and pinched Wyatt’s cheek. “Oh, but we are on vacation, and here I am talking about work instead. So, did you like the kiting?”
Wyatt nodded. He liked the kiting. But he didn’t find his voice reliable right now. Hector by now believed they were mostly over the phase of his little fanboy stuttering for no reason, and he didn’t want to prove the Man wrong.
* * *
When the kids got weary of the trampoline, there was a bonfire. Zack and Rose welcomed it with much enthusiasm. They joked, told stories and sang songs. They ate supper. Then they roasted marshmallows, pieces of pineapples, coconuts and even leftover sushi. Hector laughed and told Wyatt that they used to have him try those when they were smaller. He sounded sentimental, while the teens looked mildly embarrassed.
The evening went on. Wyatt stared at the flames. When Hector finally left his side and went away for a while, he let his face draw a blank. Blank. That’s how he felt, sitting there. All the accumulated apprehension and also some good time he had, despite being unable to appreciate it, blended together into a state of apathy. The inevitable was coming, the kids couldn’t save him from it despite Zack’s best intentions, and Wyatt felt this mood was quite the fitting mental response.
At the end of his bonfire fork, a marshmallow had already turned completely black. Wyatt didn’t notice. He mechanically brought a glass to his lips. He couldn’t say he lost count of how many drinks he’d had, because he never started counting. He made sure not to eat too much, so the alcohol could take its toll. He hoped it would. That would help him deal with things that were drawing closer by the minute.
* * *
Wyatt stood in a stream of lukewarm water, hearing his thudding heart drown out the sound of the shower. He had hoped to be way more drunk at this point. Drunk enough not to feel anything, and not to remember anything in the morning.
But as always in his life, nothing had worked out the way he wanted. If anything his senses seemed sharper than ever. It was the fight or flight response kicking in, he knew it. Now, however, was not the time to try resistance or wallow in self-pity. Hector was waiting for him in the bedroom. He wanted to see if they were ‘compatible’ and there was no telling what it would mean to fail that test. As the water poured on him, Wyatt wished he could just somehow fast-forward to Monday, or better yet, to that perfect day in the future where he and the Man would have long parted ways, without him or anyone he knew getting brutally murdered along the way. It was a useless fantasy, so instead he grit his teeth and readied his imagination.
Zack had told him to look at gay magazines, and Wyatt had reluctantly tried to follow that advice… but he just couldn’t do it. Naked male bodies did nothing for him. Except to perhaps scare him half-to-death by extrapolation. Trying to insistently think of boobs and certain other parts of ladies, while looking at naked men should have ideally begun to create some positive associations, but Wyatt didn’t practice it at home nearly enough. He guessed he’d been too embarrassed to do it.
For fuck’s sake, it could have saved lives. Why did he have to be so stupid about it?
In the end, it was still his go-to option now. He had to be appropriately excited, or there would be questions. What happened, darling? I thought you were attracted to me? You climbed into my bedroom window, darling, isn’t this what you’ve always dreamed of? Or were you just trying to save your skin?
The man he ‘dated’ might have been witty, well-read and extremely interesting to talk to. He might have been a loving father and the world’s best uncle. But he was still the man who ordered people tortured and executed on a daily basis, and who took pleasure in doing so himself when he had a chance, because it helped him wind down, and because he enjoyed the thrill. He was the man who ‘spared’ Rose, after most likely killing her birth parents. He was the man who fed the people he disposed of to his dogs. And no matter how lovely a holiday this was, Wyatt couldn’t bring himself to forget about it all, after he got so successfully reminded.
He was sure Hector genuinely cared about him at this point, but he was just as convinced that this affection would prove short-lived if the Man discovered his greatest fan had been faking his interest all along.
Closing his eyes, Wyatt tried to think of lovely naked women, as his shaking fingers worked on saving his life.
* * *
The first thing he saw after he pushed the bathroom door open was Hector sprawled on the king size bed. The Man was wearing briefs, but that was it. The bedside lamp bathed his muscular body in soft orange light. He was watching Wyatt with a smirk.
The thief froze like a deer caught in headlights. Then grinned an apologetic faggy grin to make up for the delay. It came off a bit faint. Wyatt didn’t want to come any closer. He really didn’t. He had dreaded this moment for months, and yet he still couldn’t believe his nightmare was really coming true. Think of tits, he told himself, taking a brave step forward. Soft, round, squishy boobies. But it wasn’t so easy. Nobody said it was going to be easy, he prodded himself mentally onwards. You just need to survive this.
He couldn’t keep Hector waiting, or make him wonder.
Slowly, he came up to the bed. He hardly made it onto it, when Hector pulled him into his arms. The scrupulously tied towel somehow still slipped off, and Wyatt landed in the Man’s lap completely naked. Hector’s eyebrows rose. “Hm, excited, are we? Good.” He pulled him closer, kissing his neck. His hands ran down Wyatt’s naked sides, one gripped his buttock and slid lower, down his thigh, while the other stayed on his waist, fingers digging into his skin.
Wyatt’s eyes remained wide open as he stared at Hector’s well-muscled chest. All the courage he’d managed to muster in the shower, was already gone. For the first three seconds he’d been pretty upset about that towel. It was supposed to stay on for a longer while, and then make for a realistic, well-timed big reveal — which all in all, was probably rather small compared to the reveal he dreaded most — but around second four he became way more concerned about everything else. It was all so much more terrifying and real when it came to skin on skin contact. Hector’s hands felt him up and down, the black prickly hair on the other man’s thighs tickled the underside of his legs.
The thief’s heartbeat went wild again and suddenly he found himself unable to pretend he wasn’t scared out of his mind. He pressed close to Hector, so that the Man wouldn’t see the fear in his face, and hoped it would be read as an embarrassed hug. Maybe it was for the better that the towel had fallen off, since he was suddenly so afraid he wasn’t sure the erection was even going to stay on for another minute. But what if? What if it actually went away? How would he ever explain that? He would say he’s nervous, but that excuse was going to get old quickly. He couldn’t let it happen.
Hector’s stubble scratched his neck with every unwelcome kiss on his throat. Hands way too strong for his comfort kneaded Wyatt’s body, exploring his form. One of them dug into his hair gently, pawing at it, just as it had done with his back a moment ago.
“How do you want it, darling?” Hector asked.
Over already, Wyatt thought, panicked. Alternatively he wanted it quick and painless. But since neither was possible, he opted for the closest alternative. “Slow and gentle?” He hoped it didn’t equal signing up for a prolonged torture session.
“That I can promise. But I was thinking you could have a preferred position.” Hector pulled back and gave him an amused look.
Wyatt had barely managed to get his expression back in check and force a small smile on. He didn’t want to come off as a rape victim prematurely. Suddenly he understood Hector was giving him a chance he shouldn’t waste. “Oh… I…” he looked away from those attentive brown eyes “… I always kind of imagined you behind me… like, you know…” he pretended to be shy and sexy by executing a series of awkward winces Hector had by now classified as equivalents of those things.
“Doggy style?” Hector snorted. “Sure, why not.”
Before Wyatt managed to be somewhat relieved at the easy victory — doggy style meant Hector being mostly unable to see his expression — the Man cupped his face and pulled him into a deep slow kiss. His hand caressed the thief’s cheek and then sunk into his hair again. Hector’s other arm pulled him close, and he made them roll over, pressing Wyatt into the sheets, as he kissed him again. Wyatt shut his eyes and tried to think of women, dozens of them… piled on top of each other… in a mass grave… fuck, it wasn’t working. Not when Hector’s beard scratched his face, and the mattress sank under their combined weight the way it did.
Even though nothing horrible was happening yet, not really, his thoughts were a complete mess. There was just no way to pretend that Hector wasn’t Hector.
After a while the other man finally withdrew and sat up. He pulled his briefs off.
It should have been a relief to no longer be the only one stark naked, but it wasn’t.
Wyatt gaped in horror, eyes wide. So that was it. This was how he died. This was how Zack’s mother died before him. That’s how it happened, Wyatt was certain at this point. There was a nagging voice in his head, asking him how the woman gave birth to Zack if that was how she’d died, but he was scared and tipsy, and this was his nightmares literally made flesh. In his current mental state things didn’t have to make sense to be true.
He clearly didn’t manage to hide the distress this time, because Hector gave him an apologetic smile.
“I know what you must be thinking, darling. But I’ve had lovers before you, and although some shared your doubts, there have never been any complaints.”
There. That only confirmed it. Of course there haven’t been any complaints. Because all those people were dead.
* * *
When Hector began taking him, all the comforting black comedy was knocked right out of Wyatt’s mind. It was the single most uncomfortable feeling he’d ever experienced. Foreign, intense, wrong, and downright terrifying. Despite the generous amount of lubricant it still hurt. He tried not to focus on it, tried to think about anything else, to intensely study the fabric of the pillow, but somehow his thoughts became anchored right to that one sensation. Wyatt bit hard on his lip, seeking any kind of distraction, but all there was, was Hector’s touch.
Hector’s hands were resting on his hips, thumbs stroking his back to the slow rhythm of the thrusts. Wyatt felt each of those strokes, and wished he could just black out and wake up when it was all over. Instead, he was registering every single movement. After a while he felt Hector’s hands move from their place. One of them ran down his spine, while the other rested on the bed. Wyatt felt a sudden wave of horror as Hector shifted his weight behind him. It was something primal. An almost animal-like fear. This shouldn’t be happening, screamed everything in Wyatt’s mind. It shouldn’t, but it was. And he wasn’t even sure anymore if doggy style had really been the way to go. The fact Hector couldn’t see his face was a relief, but he felt extremely vulnerable down on his hands and knees. It seemed to him like there was some kind of monster and not a man behind his back.
It was a completely irrational feeling. He knew the Man wasn’t even trying to be terrifying right now. Quite to the contrary, Hector had kept true to his promise and handled him very carefully. He had even asked Wyatt if it wasn’t painful when they started, but remained silent ever since the thief reassured him it was fine. He moved to kiss the base of Wyatt’s neck now. It would probably be arousing for someone who could appreciate it.
The Man’s free hand slid all the way down his back and then without any warning, it slipped over his hip and between his legs. His fingers wrapped around Wyatt’s dick. Hector stopped moving.
“Is everything alright, Wyatt? I’m not hurting you, am I?”
It took a moment before Wyatt even realized that he was being addressed. When Hector’s serious voice made it through into his consciousness, he felt cold sweat pearling on his back. Hector understood something was off, and he was going to figure out that he’d played pretend all this time.
I trusted you, you traitor, Wyatt scolded his dick in desperation. I counted on you. “No… no, I’m just n-nervous, I-I didn’t even notice, what the heck…?” He did his best to sound genuinely upset instead of scared, as he looked at Hector over his shoulder. “I-I’ve waited for this from the day we met. Please, please, go on…” He wished he could just ask Hector to stop instead, but that would mean he couldn’t handle it, that he wasn’t suited for this relationship and that entailed horrible things. He’d already learned way too much about Hector to just walk away.
The Man kissed him. “I see. Well, if it hurts, or feels too uncomfortable, speak up, we can try something else,” he offered gallantly.
The thief nodded. “Sure. I will.” He couldn’t use this offer to back out. Not after he’d just asked Hector so nicely to continue.
He just had to survive this. Or die trying.
* * *
He didn’t die, the world did not end. It was over and life simply continued. Thanks to Hector’s skill and patience he had even managed not to disappoint the Man in bed, but Wyatt didn’t feel particularly joyful or successful about it. He lay with his back on Hector and stared blankly at the opposite wall, feeling rather traumatized all in all.
He knew he was going to have war flashbacks from this, both the physical intimacy, and how inevitable it had been and still was. He tried to cheer himself up somehow, though it didn’t come easy. He’d survived this, and he was probably going to live. Gay men didn’t usually die from the sex itself, or did they? Surely, nothing would happen to him in the disease department. Hector used protection. He was generally rather considerate in bed. Wyatt didn’t manage to escape his fate, but at least, somewhere in the middle of it he got the Man to start calling him solely by his thief nickname again and the man complied with his wish to the very end, purring ‘Ocher’ into his ear time and time again, as if he really believed he was indulging some sort of kink of his. It lightened the mental burden, even if just a little bit. Hearing his real name pronounced while a crime boss pounded him, was just a bit too much for him.
He felt Hector move closer behind him and forced himself to shift his back into the other man’s chest, something he knew Hector would read as a sign of affection. The gesture was appreciated, just as he’d expected.
“I like it when you press so close against me, darling,” Hector whispered into his ear.
Wyatt suppressed a shudder. That wouldn’t make the two of us, he thought, muttering, “Mhm… feels nice.”
Hector pulled him even closer, and Wyatt regretted dispensing fake reassurances of comfort. His momentary tensing only made the Man snort. “Ah, my sweet Ocher, an embrace still makes you shy, and yet your choice of sexual position was hardly modest. Any reason behind this?”
The thief bit his lip, and quickly came up with some bullshit. “I… eh… I make really stupid sex faces.”
Hector chuckled. “Ah, you are too cute.” He leaned over and kissed Wyatt’s temple. “I want to see them all next time.”
So there was going to be a next time. This was as horrifying as it was relieving.
* * *
Wyatt tried his best to sleep that night. He knew the worst had already happened, and there was just no reason for him not to get some rest. So he closed his eyes and wished himself asleep. But Hector’s arm was still hugging him like a safety belt.
He tried to coerce himself to at least snooze. It would be a wise thing to do.
Instead, he stared at the wall of the suite, hardly even blinking. Some time passed this way. Then the sun rose. Hector shifted, re-applied his gentle vice grip, and slept some more. Ocher continued counting specks of dust in the air. He could hear colors.
About what must have been six in the morning, Hector woke up and finally let go of him. In that very moment, Ocher’s eyelids closed, and he let himself doze off. The Man got up, washed, dressed and tried to wake him up, saying something about early morning, long flight back home and making the most of the day, but the thief just mumbled something incoherent, and Hector chuckled, letting him be.
* * *
“Wyatt, wake up. It’s almost ten.”
* * *
“Wyatt, will you at least join us for lunch?”
* * *
“Wyatt, are you okay?”
The last time his eyelids felt so heavy had been after the exam from geophysics. He’d failed that exam. One time too many. He looked at Hector’s slightly worried face and immediately realized where he was. “Oh, yes, mhm, just… sleepy. Yes. Must have… drunk much… also air…?”
Hector smiled and shook his head. “I’ll order you a coffee.”
* * *
They ate in a fancy gazebo in front of the villa, and the fresh ocean breeze could do nothing to wake Wyatt up as he chewed on his sandwich in extra slow-motion. Everyone present was looking at him with concern.
“Oh yeah. Yeah.” Wyatt said, even though nobody asked anything. Then he realized it and looked around with a slightly more sober expression, smiling indiscriminately. “Sorry guys, don’t mind me, just need more coffee.”
Two more coffees and a brisk walk later, he fell asleep on the beach, face in the sand. He woke up in a hammock, when Zack tucked a drink with a little umbrella into his hands.
“That’s non-alcoholic. You should probably drink it. You okay there? Dad’s a bit worried.” Judging by Zack’s expression, he was even more so. Rose was standing close by, with a conspiratory look on her face.
“Yeah, yeah. Hanging in here. The night was… unforgettable.”
“Geez, I’m so sorry man,” Zack whispered with a wince.
“I’ll be fine, tell your dad I’m gonna join you in a moment. Do some nice sports and things…” Upon voicing that thought, Wyatt fell asleep with a drink in his hand. He snored so loudly, he woke up again a second later. “Five minutes, is all…”
Zack took the glass away and let him be.
* * *
When he finally climbed out of the hammock, there was no one around. He had no idea what time it was. Squinting, Wyatt saw small silhouettes on the water. He still felt rather hung-over both physically and mentally, but it was high time to start drinking again. Because what if Hector wanted to do that again?
Getting more drinks was easy. As soon as they saw Wyatt back on his feet, the island’s staff swarmed him as if they’d been waiting all day to ask him how they could help him. He didn’t suppose he should take it literally and ask for their assistance with contacting the police and enrolling him in a witness protection program, so he just asked for a glass of Blue Monday with a lot of vodka, then for another one. Around the third drink it finally got to him that this probably wasn’t the best idea. Hector was going to see all this on the bill and wonder. Unless this was all-inclusive — a foreign idea the existence of which Wyatt just recalled — or Hector owned the island. In which case there was a chance their expenses weren’t even being recorded or that his accountants wouldn’t bring a few extra Blue Mondays to the Man’s attention.
Even though he concluded that from the financially suspicious standpoint, he could go on drinking, soon after, Wyatt gave up on alcoholism anyway. If he got too trashed, Hector would probably insist on him staying the night at their place. Besides, as he found out from one of the waiters, it was already pretty late, 4 PM. That was a relief because a quick shag before boarding the jet back home didn’t seem to be Mr Viteri’s style.
After reaching that conclusion, Ocher felt himself finally relax. His scattered, paranoid thoughts calmed and the stiffness in his shoulders dissolved. He sat on the beach, looking at the ocean in a half-dreamy state, as he burrowed his palms in warm, golden sand. The feeling of its grains running between his fingers was somehow comforting. Yesterday he’d felt like he’d lost. Like he’d failed his parents, his friends, and everyone else in the universe. But now he reconciled with everything. He was fully awake, and yet he wasn’t scared. Even as he watched the Man approaching him, he didn’t feel his guts twisting into a knot.
Hector was still wet from the ocean, droplets running down his muscular legs.
“Finally caught up on sleep, I hope?” Hector smiled. “You look relaxed for once.” He reached down and stroked Ocher’s cheek. The thief closed his eyes, acquiescing to the caress.
“We don’t have much time left before the flight back, but you might want to at least dip your toes, the water’s just right.” Hector looked towards the ocean. “Though, I suppose it always is around here. Might be worth savoring before we return to dreary autumn Coalport.”
Wyatt strolled towards the water with him, and they just shuffled around the beach as the waves flooded over their feet for a while. It was nice, and the feeling of looming horror was gone. Horrible things were going to be looming again later, but for now Wyatt felt that this was it for the time being. He could just enjoy the sand.
“I had a nice time.” He lied, as they went to the villa to eat before their flight back.
On the plane he fell asleep on Hector’s shoulder as they sat on the couch together. Hector pulled him close and let him rest.
* * *
“Wyatt? What are you doing here? Are you okay? Gee, you sure don’t look okay.” Hamsi all but pulled him into the apartment.
Her friend was a mess. Dark crescents around his wild, wide-open eyes, and a paper bag in his hand somehow completed that look. Hamsi took it from him as she ushered him in. When she glanced inside, it turned out to be an assortment of beer bottles. By the way Wyatt half-reeled through the hallway and into their living room, there was no doubt that he’d already done some drinking.
Abhilasha stuck her head out from the kitchen and gave them a quizzical look.
Hamsi waved for her to follow and escorted Wyatt to the living room. “Alright, sit down, now, what’s the matter? You haven’t been picking my phone calls for three weeks again, and now you show up here minutes to midnight. And it’s not like I really mind, because I meant it when I said you’re always welcome here. But could I, please, get some briefing on what’s been going on with you lately?”
“I’m living a lie, Hamsi!” Wyatt wailed.
Hamsi and Abhilasha looked at him questioningly.
“Yeah, well, we know that already. You can’t keep lying to your parents forever, but that’s old news. What happened now?”
“I… I don’t think I can tell you.”
The sisters exchanged looks. Wyatt took out a beer opener from the pocket of his jacket and looked around for the bag that he brought only to find it had been confiscated.
“I think you’ve had enough of that.” Hamsi passed the bag to Abhilasha, who swiftly carried it away. “Forgive us if we keep it safe from you for now.”
Wyatt made a miserable expression. Then another haunted look came over him. He got up from the sofa, drew the curtains in the window slightly open and quickly let go of them.
He turned back to Hamsi looking pale. “Oh no, they’re here. I shouldn’t have come here, I’m s-so sorry!”
“Two scary ladies.”
Hamsi frowned and looked out of the window.
“There’s nobody there.”
“Of course there’s no one now. They’ve noticed me notice them. Oh my god, what did I do? I should have stayed at home instead of bringing them here-”
“Alright, enough of this. Calm down, Wyatt.” Hamsi put her hands on Wyatt’s shoulders and then gently but forcefully led him to the couch. “You’re drunk, and you don’t know what you’re saying. There’s no one outside, and even if some women are stalking you, don’t worry, we know how to handle it. You need to pull yourself together. How about I make you some food and tea, and you try to relax?”
Hamsi sat Wyatt down and put an hourglass in front of him. She had hoped to give this one to him for his birthday next year, but he was so trashed, she guessed he would forget all about it the next morning.
“Look at how nicely the sand flows, m? Would you like to try and count the grains for me while I whip something up?”
“It’s not even real sand…” he whispered dramatically.
“Well, then can you name the material?” she cooed at him.
“Uh… powdered marble… maybe… tin and lead oxides and… and…” With his face plastered to the hourglass, he was thinking real hard about it.
“Great, you keep thinking, and I’ll be right back!” Making sure the falling grains got the entirety of his attention, Hamsi hurried to the kitchen where Abhilasha was back to cooking.
Hamsi joined her, taking over the stove.
Abhilasha put her hands on her hips and looked at her challengingly. “You know you can’t babysit him forever, do you? It’s going nowhere. Always was. If he’s supposed to come around, he has to figure it out on his own.”
“No, he needs pointers.” Hamsi firmly disagreed. “He needs our help. He’s sinking deeper and deeper right now, and there’s literally nobody except us doing anything to help him out of it.”
“Well don’t you think that’s for a reason?”
“No, I’m telling you, leave this alone. It was cute when he was still a student. But this? This is no fun and games anymore, we don’t want to get tangled up in this mess even further, trust me. Do you have a death wish?”
Hamsi hung her head. She filled a bowl with rice and spicy sauce, grabbed a spoon and napkins, and carried it all back to Wyatt. She put a smile on as she came back into the living room. He was still staring at the hourglass. She put it aside and placed the bowl and cutlery in front of him.
“Now, Wyatt, what is the matter?”
* * *
“Is he spending the night there or what?” Wilma tapped her fingers on the steering wheel and gave the apartment building a skeptical look. “What is taking so long?”
“I guess, if he didn’t intend to share. But why rush here, now, in the first place?” Wilma stared at the cluster of lit up windows on the fourth floor. She smirked. “Is he trying to reaffirm his heterosexuality? And needs alcohol to speak to girls?”
Betty shrugged. “Lights would be out.”
“Well, sure, if they were actually shagging. I think you’re giving him too much credit.” Wilma laughed. “I don’t know what the boss sees in him, but he sure is a cornucopia of stumbling amusement. Who knew being a bumbling failure could count as charming.”
“So maybe they are shagging.” Betty smirked.
Wilma cackled. “Can’t wait till the boss hears about this one.”
* * *
After patiently listening to him bawl and subsequently trying to comfort him, the sisters made him a bed on the couch and went to sleep, leaving Ocher alone.
He was vaguely aware that he was having an existential crisis. What inner peace he thought he’d achieved in the afternoon on the island had been just a brittle illusion. He’d realized that fully as soon as Hector’s chauffeur dropped him off at his apartment building.
He was not okay with any of this. Lying to the Man and surviving until this moment was no life achievement. His entire existence was falling apart. He had been convinced that he’d already failed as much as he possibly could, but it turned out he’d been wrong. By actually sleeping with Hector, he somehow managed to fail an additional bit, the bit that actually mattered, and now the failure was so utter and complete, that there was just nowhere to move past this point. Because there was no point. It ceased to exist. He broke it on that island, and now everything was wrong. Not even Zack’s good intentions could help him. These girls couldn’t help him either, and he was such a fool showing up here and bringing Wilma’s and Betty’s attention to them.
He came here because he needed a shoulder to cry on. But even in his drunken haze, he couldn’t tell the sisters everything. So instead he’d cried about being a loser, and then vaguely admitted to having accidentally slept with a man. Not the Man, just a man. He still remembered the horrified, puzzled looks they exchanged when they heard that. He didn’t blame them, they had no context, no idea where this could even be coming from. It must have been shocking.
Ocher stayed awake most of the night, just staring at the TV. He turned the sound down, and watched people silently gesturing and their mouths moving. They had so much to say, and yet they weren’t allowed to make a sound, and they were just randomly flailing around. It was exactly how he felt.