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Red Nicotine

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The streetlights are of a filthy yellow. Nicotine stains in Berlin’s night. Kylo has been here for a year now, planned to only stay a couple of months, but money ran out and he decided to stay. He’s crashing at Poe’s, when he isn’t out. He still can’t speak German for shit, but enough people understand English for him to get around.

It’s Thursday night, Wittenbergplatz. Where during the day hectic people fill the streets it is quiet now. More or less. Cars drive by slowly. The big Shopping Centre of the West is nothing but a monolith of grey now, but the selling doesn’t stop there. The first time Kylo had done it was when he’d been wasted on G and a guy in his forties asked him to come home with him. Kylo had blown him for a fifty in his car and then had gone back into the club. The second time he’d offered it to a man in a bar who’d stared at him all evening. After that it’d become somewhat of a habit. He’d set up an account on an escort side as well, but after he’d broken one guy’s jaw, things had gone downward. Doesn’t matter. A night here might pay for more than a nose of coke and perhaps a new pair of shoes.

Kylo leans back against an empty, parked car, torn shirt riding up, he’s wearing a fur jacket and some low-hung, tight black jeans, and boots. It’s March but in the nights the temperatures drop beneath zero.

He’s on his second pack of cigarettes when a slim black Mercedes pulls up. Kylo walks to the car and braces his elbows on the rolled-down window.

The man inside has pale eyes. A square jaw. Delicate but stern features. Ginger hair, neatly combed back.

“Seventy for a blowjob, two hundred for fucking,” Kylo drawls.

The man sizes him up. Something cold lies in his gaze. A moment of cessation.

“Get in.”

Kylo opens the door and slides onto the seat. The car is minutely clean, the scent of leather and a hint of cigarette smoke hangs in the air.

“Put on the seat belt,” the man says.

Kylo cocks an eyebrow, but concedes.

“So what d’you want?”

The man turns his head towards Kylo and regards him for a moment. There’s something unkind in the curve of his mouth. A shiver runs down Kylo’s back. He bites his lip. Kylo knows these glances. The assessing.

“Fucking,” the man says. His voice is like glass shattering on steel. Sharp. Cutting. Then the man turns back to the road. Berlin rushes by. Graffiti-smeared walls, trash littering the sidewalks under a sky that is never quite black, but ever grey, heavy, and unchanged. Drunken people tumbling from bars, homeless people wrapped in dirty jackets with famished dogs curled beside them.

They drive until they turn into Kurfürstendamm and then, a few minutes later, take left into a smaller street. They enter the man’s flat through an underground parking lot. Their steps echo. The man is only a few inches smaller than Kylo, but he is of slighter build. Fragile bones. He doesn’t seem fragile, though. Something in the way he moves, holds himself straight, radiates authority. Kylo feels the need to obey. He snorts to himself and lights a cigarette as they enter the lift. The man turns a key in a slot next to the buttons of the lift. As he faces Kylo once more, he calmly plucks the cigarette from Kylo’s lips. He stomps it out on the floor with one twist of the tip of his pointy leather shoes. Kylo wants to protest, but the man shoots him a glance that shuts him up. The lift doors open into the man’s flat. Straight lines. Minimalistic. Futuristic furniture, big canvases on the walls with splashes of grey and smeared crimson.

“This way,” the man says. Kylo follows him into a bedroom that is bare of any personal items. A big bed, black sheets, a bedside cabinet. Everything perfectly clean. For a moment Kylo doubts that anyone really lives in this place. Then again, he doesn’t give a shit.

The man hands him two one-hundred euro notes. Kylo takes them and stuffs them into his pocket.

“On the bed,” the man says.

Kylo sits down, kicks his boots of. No show. Just getting rid of his clothes. The man stays dressed. Stands with his hands clasped behind his back, watching with hooded eyes, gaze cold.

When Kylo is naked, the man says:

“On your stomach.”

Kylo obeys, presses his face into the pillow. It smells clinical.

“Not without a condom,” Kylo says.

“Of course not,” the man says. It’s an insult. Whatever. Kylo flexes the muscles in his thighs. He can feel himself getting hard. Often, he doesn’t. Then again, he’s gotten off to weirder shit than this.

The mattress shifts slightly as the man moves onto the bed.

“Fingers first,” Kylo says.

The man bends down to the bedside cabinet, retrieves a bottle of lube from one of the drawers. Pops the bottle open. A moment later one lube-coated finger enters Kylo. He hisses at the sudden stretch, then relaxes his muscles. Just takes it in. Another. The man crooks his fingers inside Kylo. Slowly, he opens him up. Takes his time. It’s methodical, efficient. He brushes against Kylo’s prostate once, Kylo moans and shivers, and the man avoids doing it again. The distinct sound of ripping a condom wrapper open. Undoing a zipper. A hand on his shoulder, pushing him into the mattress.

“Want me to moan?” Kylo asks.

“Don’t speak.”

Without warning, the man pushes inside. Kylo gasps for breath. Gnashes his teeth. In a precise movement, the man pulls out and pushes back in. He sets a slow, but deep rhythm. No moan escapes him, but Kylo hears his breathing quicken ever so slightly.

It’s clinical, the way he fucks Kylo. Utterly controlled. A hand twists into Kylo’s hair, keeps his head down, cheek and nose against the mattress, mouth open, eyes hooded. He lets the man use him. Sweat starts to slick his skin. Without thought he slides a hand down between his legs where his own cock lies heavy against the sheets.

“No,” the man says. An edge to his voice.

Something is wrong. It’s a sudden, but visceral feeling.

Kylo sucks in a harsh breath. Pulls his hand away. The man’s thrusts become harsher. Then he stops.

“Stay.”

Kylo does. Goosebumps crawl over his back. He does not dare turn his head.

He can hear the man’s calming breathing. Hears him open the drawer of the bedside cabinet. Retrieve something.

A blade at Kylo’s throat.

The man slides back inside him. Kylo moans. Cold steel against his neck.

Instead of panic, Kylo gets harder. He wants to laugh. Because this is exactly what he’s always been told. That he’ll end up in a ditch somewhere, either OD’d or disposed by some psychopath killer.

“You are not afraid,” the man says. No surprise in his voice, just a plain statement.

Kylo doesn’t answer. He ruts against the mattress instead.

“Revolting.”

The man pushes deeper into him, knife steady at Kylo’s throat. Kylo moans quietly and cannot but move back and meet the man’s thrusts, feel his slender hips snap against Kylo’s ass, his cock spreading Kylo open. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s good enough.

“Touch my dick,” Kylo says.

A sharp thrust. Then an arm snakes around his waist, and fingers curl around his cock. Finally friction. Now, the man’s breath becomes erratic. It’s nearly soft against Kylo’s ear. The knife stays steady. Suddenly, Kylo is coming. His orgasm shudders through him, it’s a good high, albeit a short one. He groans, wants to press his face into the pillow, as the man continues to drive into him, but the knife prevents Kylo from doing it. For a moment he’d forgotten the fucking knife. Now, it cuts a fine red line into his skin, a trickle of blood drips over his neck to his collar bone.

Behind him, the man stills. Kylo can feel the man’s dick throbbing inside him. For a moment, Kylo wishes they’d fucked without a condom. He’d have the man’s come sliding down his thighs. Then the blade is gone. With a clunk, the man disposes of the knife, on the bedside cabinet. Kylo turns onto his back, smearing his own come onto the sheets as he does. The man looks at him with his pale eyes. A single drop of sweat glides over his temples. Finally, the laughter breaks out of Kylo.

It echoes distortedly in the room. The man’s eyebrows draw together. His lips curl and his fingers twitch.

Kylo stops laughing, and instead moves closer. In one fell swoop Kylo grabs a fistful of the man’s shirt and pulls him closer. The man’s hand comes to lie at Kylo’s throat. Lightly.

“Let go,” the man says.

Kylo does. He moves back a little, looks into the man’s eyes.

“Kiss me,” Kylo says.

“No.”

“Call me.”

Revulsion washes over the man’s face.

“I’ll call you a taxi,” the man says.

“I know where you live.”

“You do not want to do this,” the man says.

“Or what?” Kylo asks, dipping two fingers into the blood trickling down his neck. He smears them over the man’s lips. The man grips his wrist. They look into each other’s eyes. Kylo sees his pupils dilating. Kylo’s breath catches. The man lets go of his wrist and instead wraps both his hand around Kylo’s throat, thumbs pressing against Kylo’s Adam’s apple. The next moment, the man is using all his weight to keep him down. Air cut off, Kylo tries to pull away the man’s wrists. To no avail. Kylo throws himself against the man, but his grip only tightens. The man bends down to him. Looks into his eyes. Then lets go.

Kylo’s fingers tremble. Excitement rushes through his veins. He feels fucking high.

“Fuck,” he says.

“Leave,” the man says.

He slides off Kylo, and stands. Straightens his collar, wipes away the blood from his mouth.

Kylo gets up slowly.

“I need to...use the bathroom,” he says. The man just gives him a disgusted look.

“This door,” the man says and nods towards the left.

Kylo picks up his clothes from the floor and goes in, doesn’t bother to lock the door behind him. Everything is perfectly organised, but there are bottles of shampoo and gel in the shower. So the man does live here. Kylo rummages through the pockets of his jacket and trousers until he finds the cheap red lipstick he sometimes wears.

He uses the lipstick to write his number on the mirror over the washbasin.

Then he cleans off the come on his stomach and takes a piss. Puts on his clothes again, and applies some of the lipstick. When he exits the room, the man is waiting. He is wearing a fresh shirt and clean trousers. Not one wrinkle. The man says nothing but for a heartbeat his gaze lowers to Kylo’s mouth. Kylo licks his lips.

“Leave,” the man says once more, and Kylo follows him back through the living room to the door of the lift. The man presses the button for the lift. A second of negligence. Kylo pushes the man back against the wall and presses his lips to his mouth. The next moment a sharp slap echoes through the room. The imprint of knuckles on Kylo’s cheek. Blood in his mouth. Kylo looks at the man, who now wipes his lips. The lift doors open. Kylo grins and spits the blood to the floor, before stepping into the lift.

“See you,” he says.

Whatever curse the man hisses is cut off by the doors sliding shut.

Only when he is alone, he notices how hard his heart is beating. Without thought he grazes his fingertips against the cut on his neck. The blood clotting, but still leaves a crimson stain. This knife was not for play. Kylo feels high. He counts the floors as he goes down. Five.

Outside, he opens the third pack of cigarettes. A grey dawn over Berlin.

Then he turns around to the door bell nameplate. Counts the floors up to five.

A single word: Hux.

Kylo bends down, presses his lips against it and then puts out his cigarette over it.