As the answering machine hit the opposite wall and splintered into shards of plastic and tangled wires, my head was spinning again, only it was worse than when I got knocked out and almost murdered. This time, all the pain was inside me. I felt like I was going to be sick and rushed to the kitchen sink, where I choked and gagged, but nothing actually came up.
My mind was racing.
“You fucking son of a bitch!”
“You sweet, kind, beautiful man!”
“I love you!”
“I hate you!”
“I never want to see you again!”
“Please, David, please come home to me!”
Finally, all I could do was cry. I flung myself on my bed and wailed for what seemed like forever. Then I sat up, wiped my red, raw eyes, and tried to put my thoughts into order.
We had never made any kind of commitment to each other, and I was probably an idiot for assuming that he felt the same way about me as I did about him. And wasn’t what I was experiencing just puppy love all over again—just like with Craig? Whether David ever really loved me or not was something I couldn’t answer—not now, perhaps not ever.
The best I could come up with was that David was gone. That he had broken up with me over the phone—shit, not even really over the phone—over the goddamn fucking answering machine, was more than I could process.
Shakily, I got out of the bed and wandered blindly through my apartment. Looking over at the balcony, I could visualize myself opening the sliding glass door, taking three running steps toward the railing, and throwing myself into the air, hitting the cement below in less than ten seconds—the last ten seconds of my goddamn miserable, lonely, fucked-up life.
“Bruce, you deserve better,” I told myself. “You’ve been fucked over by the very man you wanted to fuck you every day for the rest of your life. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. David is an ungrateful, unfaithful shit, and you’re better off without him. If all it took was for him to run into an old lover (for that was what he was alluding to in his message), plus the offer of even more money, when he had so much already that he barely lifted a finger to earn it, then fuck him!”
At the same moment that I thought this, I remembered that I had done pretty much the same thing to Craig, only in person and after the last time he fucked me. Was that all so different from what I David had done to me? I started to cry again—over my own grief and the grief that I had caused to Craig.
I opened the refrigerator and automatically reached for the Chardonnay. As soon as the bottle was in my hand, I recoiled, dropping it on the floor, where it actually bounced! Those French sure know how to make durable glassware! I picked it up and heaved it across the room, following the path of the answering machine.
Trembling and beginning to cry again, I leaned into the fridge and saw one can of Coors Light. I popped the top and chugged about half of it. Then I really did throw up, right in the kitchen sink.
Putting both arms on the kitchen counter, I lowered my head between my shoulders and took several deep breaths.
Then there was a soft knock on the door. I nearly jumped out of my skin! I took a couple of steps back from the kitchen, frantically looking for someplace to hide from Carl, or whatever other monster was coming after me.
The quiet knocks repeated themselves. “Get a hold of yourself, for fuck’s sake, Bruce!” I said in my head. “Carl is in jail. Go see who’s at your fucking door.”
Hesitantly, I crossed the room and looked through the peep hole. A familiar dark suit and a worried face greeted me.
“Bruce? It’s Detective Winston Buchanan. Are you OK in there? I thought I heard something breaking.”
I fiddled with the deadbolt for a moment, and then opened the door just a crack. “I’m fine. Please go away.”
“Bruce?” he said sternly, sounding a little more like a cop. “I need to come in and just confirm that you’re safe and everything’s all right.”
Choking on the words, I replied, “I’m so goddamn fucking safe it hurts. . . but nothing’s all right, OK? Just leave me the fuck alone, please!”
Without another word, the detective put gentle pressure on the door, which I had no power left in me to resist. As the door opened, it pushed me backward, and I suddenly felt dizzy and almost fell down. Strong arms surrounded me, holding me up and guiding me to the couch, then helping me lie down and stretch out.
“Just take it easy, buddy. Breathe slowly and deeply. Do you feel like you’re gonna be sick again?”
I looked up at Buchanan, meekly imploring him to go away with my eyes. “I’m really OK. I just need to be alone for a while.”
He surveyed the room, taking in the smashed answering machine and shattered wine bottle. He quickly realized that I had done all this myself and was not in any immediate danger, except perhaps to my own safety.
The detective sat down on edge of the coffee table in front of me. He reached out and took my hand. His grip was firm and reassuring. I began to come out of my stupor. And I began to be heartily embarrassed.
Giving my hand a reassuring squeeze, he said, “Bruce, it’s OK. You’ve been through a lot. It’s no surprise that your emotions are raw. . .”
I laughed bitterly. “My emotions are raw? Bullshit! I have no emotions. They’re gone forever. My life is completely fucked up.”
Buchanan added his other hand to the first, enfolding mine in a kind of warm cocoon. “Bruce, I don’t understand. You are a survivor—you survived, you made it through the worst. You’re going to be OK.”
“No shit, you don’t understand!” I took a deep breath. “You remember that fucker, David Liu, that I told you about? The man I loved? The man I spent almost every day and night with for three years?”
Buchanan nodded, although he was clearly confused.
“Well, that goddamn fucking son of a bitch motherfucker bastard prick asshole piece of shit left me A FUCKING VOICEMAIL!” I had to pause and take a breath after that lengthy diatribe. “He called from fucking Hawaii. He’s going to stay there. He met up with an old boyfriend, and they’re probably fucking their way through every pineapple grove on that whole goddamn fucking island!”
Taking it all in, Buchanan nodded sagely. “I’m really sorry, Bruce. I get it now.” He was respectfully silent for a while.
“Would you like some water, and maybe an aspirin?” he inquired gently.
I nodded gratefully. My eyes filled with tears. I opened my arms and reached for him. Without hesitating, he took me into a hug and held me as my body heaved with sobbing. He kept saying, over and over, “I’m sorry, Bruce. I’m so sorry.”
After minutes that seemed like hours, I was all cried out. Both our shirts were soaked with my salty tears. Feeling me regaining control, Buchanan gently let me go and sat back. Looking at me with compassion, he said, “I think I’ll get you that water now.” He rose, and I heard him busying himself in the kitchen area.
He returned with a glass and helped me sit up. He held the glass to my lips and let me take a few sips. “Easy does it, champ. Take your time.”
I took a few deep breaths, swallowed a few times, wiped my eyes, and looked at Buchanan.
“Your fuckin shirt is soaking wet, detective. Doesn’t that mean you’re out of uniform?”
He grinned at me, “Why, yes, young man, it certainly does. I guess I’ll get written up for this.” He put a hand on my shoulder, and I reached up and rested my hand on top of his.
“You didn’t really have to do this,” I told him.
“Our motto is ‘protect and serve’,” he said. “I kinda fucked up the ‘protect’ part, seeing as how you ended up in the goddamn hospital, so I’m going to give the ‘serve’ part a try now.”
He smiled kindly at me, and I did my best to compose myself and smile back. Reaching out for the glass of water, I took it from his hand and sipped several times. My body was drained from the searing emotions, and my voice was scratchy from hours of crying.
He spoke quietly and with compassion, “I don’t know, Bruce, but it sure seems like life gives you the shitty end of the stick, over and over.”
“You’ve got that right. . . Winston,” I said, looking at him tentatively. “I sometimes feel like I must’ve been a real asshole in a previous life, to deserve all the fuckin bad karma I’m getting in this one!”
With that, we both relaxed. Winston moved to the easy chair, and I sat up straighter on the couch. He steered the conversation away from Carl and David and all the shit that had happened to me over the past week or so. Instead, he asked me about my family, our home in Denver, my studies, and my plans for grad school.
In return, I asked him where he grew up, how he became a cop, what it’s like to shoot somebody, and other childish questions that showed I knew nothing about the harsh, ugly, dangerous world he lived in.
After a while, I asked if he were hungry. We decided to order Chinese, and when it came we sat at my small dining table and continued talking like two ordinary semi-friends, rather than people who had been through hell and back for the past seven days.
“I had a bottle of wine and a beer, but they’re both sort of gone now,” I said at one point.
“That’s OK. I don’t need anything, and you have been on some pretty strong shit in the hospital, so you probably ought to abstain for a day or two anyway.”
“Well, then, how about some coffee?” He accepted, and we took two steaming mugs out to the chairs on my balcony and watched the sun set.
“This is a really nice apartment complex,” Winston said after a long silence.
“It has its ups and downs, I guess.”
“Tell me about it!” Then, not wanting to remind me of all the bad shit, Winston started regaling me with stories about some of the weird people he had arrested and the characters he worked with in the police department. It worked. I really relaxed and actually thought about other things than my love life and nearly getting knifed to death.
After it grew dark, Winston looked at his watch. “Shit!” he said, “I’m keeping you up, and if anybody needs their rest, you do.”
We rose, and I took the coffee cups to the sink. He stood at the door, waiting for me, a friendly smile on his face. He held out his hand and said, “Well, Bruce. I hope this isn’t the only way we’ll ever know each other. You’re a nice guy, and I hate like hell what has happened to you—all of it, I mean.”
I started to say something, but instead I found myself reaching out to him for a hug. He opened his arms and encircled me. I felt safe—safer than I had felt in a long time. I rested my head on his shoulder and he put a hand on the top of my back.
I looked up at him, our faces only inches apart. “Winston, I. . .” I started to speak, but he pulled me closer and our lips met. I reached up and put both arms around his neck, pressing my body tight against his. Our mouths opened and our tongues met. I realized that I wasn’t breathing, so I pulled back a tiny bit, took a deep breath, and smiled at him.
I tried again. “I. . . that is, I. . . oh, what the fuck! Kiss me again!”
He eagerly complied, embracing me with real desire replacing the comforting politeness that he had managed to use all day. I struggled to get him out of his coat and tie and led him to the couch. We fell onto it side by side, furiously kissing and hugging now.
He stopped just long enough to say, “Bruce, I’ve wanted this since the day I met you, but I just couldn’t get up the nerve to do anything about it.”
In response, I reached down and fumbled with his belt.
“Here, let me do that. I’m carrying a loaded gun, you know!” he said with a wide grin.
We undressed each other quickly and then he lay back on the couch and I crept up on top of him. Our cocks were already hard, and they met like a couple of old friends. I had tried to imagine what Winston looked like naked since he came into my hospital room to interrogate me about Carl’s drugs.
His arm and chest muscles were so well-developed that I was pretty sure he spent a lot of time in a gym. I wondered how he had time to do that.
His skin was a chocolate brown, and his eyes and hair were jet black. His armpits also had thick black hair, and I knew that I was going to taste them very soon. He had a light patch of curls above nipples that were already sticking up like little Hershey’s Kisses. The curls continued over his abs and down to his navel, where they joined a thick procession of black fur that soon merged into a dense bush of pubic hair.
I stared astounded at his uncut cock that must have been five inches soft and was now easily eight or nine, with balls that hung down three or four inches below it. His legs were hairy, too, and he even had little tufts on his toes.
“This is a real man,” I told myself. “David was too pretty and too in love with himself. This dude is all business. He takes care of the parts that he needs to and doesn’t primp and fuss about the rest.”
I kissed Winston lightly on the lips and then began kissing my way down his body: his chin, his throat, his collarbones, his shoulders. I lifted one of his arms and tasted his armpit. It smelled fresh and clean, with just a hint of a manly scent. The hairs were slightly damp, but I quickly soaked them with my saliva.
While I lavished my tongue on his pit, I used my other hand to playfully tease the hair on his upper chest and then to pinch and tickle his nipples. That got a reaction from him.
“Whoa! They’re super-sensitive. I don’t usually like anybody touching them.”
“What about this?” I asked, as I carefully sucked one of them between my lips, avoiding any contact with my teeth. He responded by arching his back and moaning softly with pleasure.
I continued my kissing advance, down over his well-defined abs. I stuck my tongue into his belly-button, which made him giggle. Then I kissed my way through the growing forest of hair, down to the jungle of pubes.
I ignored his hard cock, pointing up above his belly-button, and instead buried my face in his bush, using my nose to nudge his erection to one side. I licked downward through the hairy jungle until I reached one of his large, dangling balls. Kissing it, then licking, then sucking it into my mouth, I tasted virile sweat. The pit of my stomach burned with desire as I inhaled his primal scent, like that found on the inside of a well-used jockstrap.
As I sucked his testicle, Winston writhed with pleasure, making soft sounds and occasionally exclaiming, “Fuck! That’s good!”
Moving to his other nut, I gave it the same loving attention, and then I placed my nose squarely between his two balls. Slowly tracing the path upward, I placed my tongue at the base of his throbbing prick and wet it as I moved up along its considerable length. Finally reaching the head, I opened my lips and kissed it, tasting a delicious drop of sticky precum. I move my lips around and around the tip of his manhood, and then began to pull it into my mouth, toward the back of my throat, sliding his thick foreskin downward as I did so.
Winston couldn’t take any more. “Hold it!” he almost shouted, writhing with pleasure. “If you don’t fuckin stop, I’m gonna cum right now!”
I lifted my head, smiling, and he drew my face to his, opening his mouth and sucking his own precum off my tongue. Then Winston stood up and lifted me off the couch and onto my feet. As my heart pounded with desire and delight, he gently but firmly directed me toward the short hallway that led to my bedroom.