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Blue Skies and Love Lies

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You know he wants it.

You know he's hungering for the money like an addict hankers for the rush of freedom that comes with drugs entering their central nervous system or the gambler gets before the gate is open or the balls are in motion; that one blissful orgasmic high, the highlight of the day.

You know he thinks it's so great because he thinks he's getting something out of you, that you're a rich dumb fag and that he's got you wrapped around his nail-bitten little finger.

He looks at the notes in your hand before you turn around slightly; unable to look him in the eyes as you betray him-- you could be shy, that's all, maybe he thinks you're in love with him, that he's got that over you, too.

He doesn't see you smile to the audience lurking in the shadows behind the alleyway. For someone as hardened and cynical as him, it's amazing how easily you've won him over, how effortless it all was. Maybe he wants to believe that someone loves him and that someone could be you, with the vague and distant promise of a life out of the hellhole that's Blue Skies.

He takes the money gingerly, and offers a shy, genuine smile. That's what you've always said you liked about poor people; they're gritty, they're real, they're unabashed about their emotional responses, simian, uncomplicated and they react in ways you'd expect them to. There's no second-guessing, no stiff upper lip, no reading between the lines and under the surface, no devious tactics to watch out for.

And that's when you pull him closer. He's uncomfortable about being touched, you know that, and sometimes you don't because you like to keep him guessing. Will this be my lucky day? Today's not it.

You can hear shuffling behind the sun-bleached, rain-affected slats of the falling-apart fence, and you don't want them to draw attention to the two of you. Not just yet. You can feel him tremble, disturbed, bothered beneath your fingertips, but this is how it is and always has to be. 

You don't love him, but you draw him closer still, and one set of winterblown lips meets another, and you're kissing him and he tastes of stale nicotine and soda. He's no longer cautious and tentative, he's never like that when you kiss him, as though your touch and your tongue suddenly undoes the fact that you're in public, you're on his turf, people could be watching, and there he is and there you are, locked together for a moment and it's all faded away from him and suddenly he's real and aggressive and passionately fighting for dominance with that kiss.

You relish that moment. You know he doesn't realise how much he's just a toy. That it's all just an amusement; that you're here not because you care enough to visit to bring him money and gifts, but that you're here because you would be mortified if anyone back at Bullworth saw you like this. It's not about the fact that you're a fag; you can flounce it up and flaunt it; it doesn't matter-- you're in a social set that will forgive damn near anything if you have enough money. You can afford to be eccentric, to have your proclivities. 

He can't. And he's the one thing in your miserable, shitty little life you have any control over. 

Derby gets you to run his social errands. Derby gets you to ferry messages to Bif like you're his godamned secretary. Derby uses you to make Tad feel inferior, so he can pull him up out of the doldrums every now and then and make the poor fool feel like he's moving upwards-- right before he drops him again. 

Tad uses you as his shoulder to cry on. You've heard more about his fucked up homelife than you care to care about.

Chad uses you as his personal stylist. If you have to help him choose one more article of clothing for one more insignificant thing, you're going to... do nothing. Smile sweetly. Keep your enemies closer.

Bryce borrows money from you and you taunt him about the probability of borrowing sexual favours from him. It's sort of like this except that you can't demand or push for payment. Bryce is part of your reality, and you don't shit where you eat.

The whole fucking school uses you as their personal entertainment, you're the gay stereotype who has impeccable taste and exaggerated body language.

None of them realise how much you hate them. None of them realise that you're just as fucked up as them, that all you long for is a pulse and a life in your hands, something that's yours. Everyone hates something and everyone has a way of dealing with that hate. The jocks hate the nerds and they beat them up. The nerds hate everyone and they design weapons and have fantasies of annihilation. The greasers hate the preps and they try to shit on the name of a good school and the scholarships afforded to them by the philanthropic prep forefathers. The random nobodies probably hate in their own individual ways. The teachers and the administration hate kids which is precisely why they went into teaching in the first place. Him-- his ilk-- they hate the only people who are lower on the social pecking order than them, so they harrass the homeless.

And you hate him. Because he's poor, because he's stupid, because one day your tax dollars will be paying for his fifteen illegitimate children and his drug habit. You hate him because his life is simple, his emotions are simple, because he is who he is and he can still do this. He can take risks like this in public on his home turf. You hate him because it doesn't matter to him that you're heir to a relative fortune and that your best friend owns a major shipping company and you all went skiing up in the Alps last break.

You break the kiss, and open your eyes, and you realise only then that at some point they closed, and that it's snowing. A yell from across the street somewhere "My pills... I need mah pillllsssss..." disrupts what would otherwise look like a pretty little picturesque teenage romance. 

"I have to go," you tell him with a jackal smile. "I have other things to do." Leave him guessing. Leave an unspoken double entendre there, maybe you have other people to do, too. Leave his heart in your hands, still pulsing, both of you knowing you could crush it and stop that movement whenever you damn well feel like it.

He looks affected for a moment, big brown puppydog eyes saddened. You wonder what the audience thinks.

"Okay," he says. He's trying not to sound hurt and disappointed. "Merry Christmas."

"You too," you tell him as you walk away.

The snow is still falling and you feel smug, looking forward to a brandy when you're back in Harrington House, laughing with your friends at the poor people and the town's riff-raff, inwardly smirking to yourself at your own little secret. You whistle merrily as you walk to the bus stop.

You laugh the moment the fucken idiot is around the corner. You pocket the money-- dumb bastard was feeling a bit generous around the silly season-- and while the whole mess makes you feel like shit, and completely confused and so totally fucked up, you smile in the snow for that moment.

Guess Daddy's boy won't get to buy himself a new pair of underpants this holiday season. And Aquaberry released a new line especially for the occasion.

You hear the palings on the tattered fence creak and Clint sticks his head out, in one giant leap with his hands on top the wood, he clears it, and runs up to you followed by Gurney and Jerry.

"You fucken whore," Clint yells, punching you affectionately in the back.

"Get me a piece of that action," Jerry says with a lecherous smirk.

"You into rich boys, precious?" Clint's being a snarky cunt. Jerry punches him in the shoulder, enough to make his face tense for a moment as he contemplates revenge in that second and then discards the idea.

"Fuck you, I meant girls."

"No rich bitch is gonnna spread her legs for you."

"Yeah, right? I've fucked half their moms up in the Vale. They're bored outta their minds and doped to the eyeballs on Valium and gin. Rich girls like a bad boy."

There's laughter and then the attention turns back on you.

"I'm not fucking him," you say smugly.

"That's coz he's fucking you." Clint makes a vulgar hand gesture and you slap his hand away. "Is not," you say.

"He wants to," Jerry offers. "Rich boy's in loooove."

You roll your eyes and shrug. "He is? I don't care. I'm the one seventy five richer today because of him." You smirk, having your moment.

Maybe he loves you. It would be kinda funny if he did, and every now and then his face betrays him; a softness creeps into it and for mere seconds you imagine him actually giving a fuck about you, about him inviting you back to the Vale, about him being conflicted and confused and damaged because of you. It's certainly leaving a bigger mark than leaving your tag on a building that's just gonna get scrubbed clean at the end of the day.

You smile to your friends-- what the fuck do they know?-- you're rich for a day?-- and leave with them. The world seems a lot brighter when you have some green in your pocket and a gullible sap throwing cash at you. 

You hope it takes years of therapy to scrub you clean off his soul.