There are no secret meanings to the cravings, no lack of willpower that explains everything, and no deep and meaningful insights about the emptiness at the center of our fat, imperialist capitalist bastard culture.
Addiction is not the montage of needle, dilated pupil, blood, the sleepy orgasm of the rush hitting you where it counts in a sequence speeded up by music that’s going 167 beats a minute.
This is what addiction is, what it comes down to in the cold morning after where the only thing less romantic than the empty bottles of Wild Turkey lying on the shit-colored carpet is the puke you’ve been sleeping in:
Walk into a room decorated for some sort of Merry Christmas, lots of tinsel and cheap lights and hand-made decorations and at least one silly group picture. Note that there’s a big bowl of what was probably eggnog drained on the counter. Realize that you’re hearing interesting whispery noises from the office and do a quick, discreet reconnoiter toward the office.
Feel grimly pleased that the British pansy is far too busy trying to remove some skinny flat-chested girl’s bra to pay attention to your presence in the lobby. Even if you wanted to explain to him that it’s only a two-hook lace thing and it shouldn’t be so goddamn difficult for a straight man, you didn’t come to gloat or to risk your life or to be smart.
You came because you’re an addict and you’re not smart or dumb, you’re craving. You tried hard to quit, and you managed a good eight months somehow, and now you’re off the wagon, drove a goddamn F-150 from Tulsa that you borrowed from your momma’s fuckin’ inbred Okie cousin to be incognito, and you’re here.
Craving, walking upstairs and craving the thing you left California to get the fuck away from.
Fuck. That would be the point, wouldn’t it?
To fuck. To be fucked. To–
Sweet Christ and his merciful angels, that wasn’t a baby fucking crying, was it?
You take the stairs three at a time, wondering what the fuck is going on in this place. Holiday parties, new skinny flat-chested girls, and now, the cry of a baby. Maybe it’s all a hallucination, but that handjob you gave Little Ty before you knocked him cold and stole his truck wasn’t a dream for goddamn sure. You’re going to assume it’s all real.
He’s standing in the hallway on the second floor, and sure as you know that he’s going to beat hell out of you ’til you get off, he’s holding a motherfucking baby. The real fucking deal. Your heart starts pounding because you’ve never seen him look at anything like he’s looking at that baby and you know, in the pit of your stomach, you know.
The look he gives you hits you in the gut like one of his caresses.
“I should have guessed you’d be back,” he says. “Trying to get revenge on Darla through her child, Lindsey? That’s so very like you, but I’ll kill you and use your corpse to feed the ducks before you lay one finger on him.”
Turn around and go back to Oklahoma. Every rational impulse in your body screams that you have to go. You have to get away from Angel and his son, Darla’s son, get out and go, but instead the smile you know makes his cock twitch finds itself on your lips.
“I don’t care if he’s her baby, your baby, or that skinny little teenage girl your pansy British guy’s fucking’s baby,” says you, letting your tongue dart out to wet your lip. “I didn’t come for the baby.”
“She’s not a teenager. And Wesley’s not fucking her,” he says automatically. Makes you get a rush just hearing him tell you that you’re wrong, even though you’re not sure. “And I don’t believe you.”
“You sure about that?” you say, smiling away at him. “Too much eggnog, too much frustration, and even nice little girls turn desperate. And why would I want your baby? You know what I want from you.”
He looks at you, the angry look getting softer, though he’s got that baby against him close, bouncing him some to keep him from crying. Makes you crazy, the way Angel can never just cut to the chase. He always has to think his way to the obvious ending.
Your veins ache at the way he suddenly licks his lips.
“You were never sane when it came to her,” he says. “And this is her son. My son. And I can’t trust you.”
Eyes closed in frustration, and you try to think of the magic words that will make Angel put the baby up for a few moments and take care of this craving before you whip it out and show him just why he can trust you. The only sounds in the hallway are the baby noises and you breathing in and out.
“Don’t trust me,” you suddenly say, shocked at how your cock takes over when you think too much. “Just fuck me.”
Addiction is not about willpower. If it were, you’d have been gone before you ever showed up to this shithole hotel with its whipped employees and the undead asshole boss who’s going to fuck you and give you back to Wolfram and Hart as a chew-toy.
You open your eyes.
Angel’s not there. You start to shake, not sure how much pride you can give up but pretty sure that it’s going to be a lot even if he comes back soon.
Since you went on the wagon, it’s been good for your health. Your skin’s had a lot fewer unexplained bruises and the veins in your neck have almost recovered from all the trauma. Right now, you’d tear them all out if you could just–
“I found a sitter,” Angel growls into your ear, cold as ice and sweet as fresh-made lemonade on an August day. “You shouldn’t have come back, Lindsey. I’m going to make you pay for it.”
Rational impulses have all been shot to hell. You should get the hell out of here before you’re knocked flat and can’t move for a week thanks to Angel’s friendly little devotions. But addiction is not rational. Addiction is the fact that you need something that makes no sense, that you need help to stop doing things you already know are stupid.
“I don’t care,” you tell him, and you fucking mean it. He grabs you by the scruff of your neck, forces your head around to where his lips are waiting to attack yours. Sometime during the process, the rest of you has moved with your head and you’re up against him hard.
His lips feel harder and colder than ever and you’re being suffocated by them all of a sudden, his cock as hard as his lips, one arm holding you against his mouth, the other around your waist, making sure you feel how much he’s going to exploit your addiction.
Teeth against your earlobe, the only warmth in the air stolen from you and you’re still trembling with need, probably as hard as he is, trying hard not to moan. He bites down on your earlobe and you arch, pushing your hips forward.
He gives his first order.
“Get on your knees right now and suck me off.”
People are crawling all over this hotel and you’re a walking dead man if anyone else sees you. The voice in your head that was screaming to go back to Oklahoma is now begging you to ask him to find a better place than the second story landing of a hotel where any minute, any fucking minute, someone’s going to find you.
You’re on your knees so fast that he hasn’t even undone his belt. You know he’ll make it worse if you try to help so you don’t, hands fastened to your sides, eyes focused firmly on his fingers undoing the front of his pants.
Your daddy’s sister, your Aunt Jolene, was a drunk. She told you once– and this is what you think about as Angel’s cock comes loose from his pants and he guides the back of your head where he wants it to be–she told you once that she didn’t understand people who could be happy with one drink.
“What the fuck’s the point of one drink?”
You’re having a hard time not choking at first because Angel’s fucking your mouth hard. You suspect maybe he wants you to gag–but it only takes two or three thrusts to get into the rhythm, even if he’s got you by the back of the head, making you take every last millimeter of cock.
“I mean, really?” Aunt Jolene, you remember, started off being addicted to real expensive wine. After the divorce, she went to cheaper red, cheaper whites, ’til finally all she could afford were those bottles of Boone’s. Four bottles a night and everything was good with Aunt Jolene ’til her liver went out.
“Everything that’s good about drinking is the part where you’re drunk.”
“You should have never come back,” Angel growls at you, thrusting hard. He isn’t giving you much chance at technique, just shoving it down your throat to prove how much of a bitch you really are. “But you just can’t get enough, can you?”
This is getting to be ridiculous. You break a rule, pull his hand off your head and then you work his cock, changing the pressure, running your tongue down the underside to his base, up and down, up and down and he stops growling at you.
Gonna pay for it later, touching him. But that’s part of what you came back for, the paying, the playing, the pain. The pain maybe most of all and your jaw’s getting sore from sucking that cock but it’s giving your own a reason to get harder.
Up and down. Harder, faster. Angel’s refusing to make this easy, but that’s just more pain for you to suck up like pleasure.
“Oh–fuck–yeah,” he suddenly gasps, coming hard and leaving you with a mouthful to swallow and practically before you do, he pulls you to your feet and slaps you cross the mouth. Feels just like old times.
“Did you like that?” he whispers. “I can feel how hard you are, Lindsey. You want me to make you come, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” you say, wondering what hoop you’ve got to jump through now. “Yeah, I do.”
“Take your pants off, get on your knees, and get yourself off first. Then maybe I’ll think about it,” he says, trying to sound the way you do when you pretend you don’t care. This is your punishment and if you say a word, he’ll kick you the hell out, aching for the big finale, every nerve and vein and cell screaming because the addiction hasn’t been satisfied.
You take your pants off. You take it all off, kneel in front of the object of your addiction, and you fasten your hand around your cock, hating Angel for this. Watching as he does up his pants and sneers at you because he knows what you are. Thinks he knows, anyway.
Bitch. Whore. Willing to take it any way and any time from him.
And maybe that’s true, but he doesn’t understand just how addicted you are, how much you have to have all of this, even the ugly parts that anyone else would run away from. It’s not your choice anymore.
You jerk hard, trying to pull out a quick orgasm so that maybe, just maybe, you can get off this fucking landing before everyone sees your vulnerable naked ass kneeling before him. It’s not working.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, shaking his head as you pump away, eyes narrowed and watching him. “What are you waiting for, Lindsey? You’ve been waiting so long–can’t you get yourself off? Or do you need me to do that, too?”
“Fuck you,” you mutter, trying to find the image that’ll put you over the edge.
“Pretty soon, Lindsey,” he replies and you see it, the future. You, pushed up against the nearest wall, Angel fucking your ass from behind and laughing. The laughing is enough to bring you over the edge and you come in little bursts, feeling like you’re nothing more than a comedrunk, low-down vampire whore who’ll beg him to touch you just once later on.
The screaming in your brain that dragged you to Los Angeles has quieted down a little. You guess that’s something. Not much, but something.
This is addiction. It doesn’t go away. You’re always either recovering or not-recovering. Currently, you’re not recovering, which is why you’re on your knees, covered in your own come, thinking about how hard you’re going to get fucked later. But it’s not a metaphor, not a hallucination, nothing but what it is.
Addiction. Cravings too big to ignore. An illness that drives you to doing the stupid things. Something you don’t exactly understand.
“Get up, Lindsey,” Angel says. The way your body aches when you stand up, you realize that it’s not gonna be over anytime soon.
“Yeah,” you say. Yeah.