Cuntingham's car slumped inside its stall, shiny and dead like a bloated insect carcass.
They'd done a number on it, they truly had. Vandenberg and Trelawney were yipping and hollering as they stumbled out of Darnell's happy shithole, motor oil streaking down their faces dark as blood. Moochie followed, an adoring, giddy lapdog. As always, Buddy let him; not just because he was in such a generous mood, but hell, he'd shown them where Cunningham kept his miserable rust bucket in the first place. He'd more than earned his keep for the night.
Adrenaline licked his veins. He wanted to fight. He wanted to fuck.
Libertyville Tavern would have been a good enough dive to celebrate their victory in, but sweat sheened his brow and every other inch of him and that sweet rush of excitement soon gave way to heady, sleepy satisfaction, so he'd convinced them to rally at Clinton's Liquor on Third and get their party to go, instead. Not two hours later, he found himself staring at orange shag carpeting in Vandenberg's basement as he drained the last from a bottle of Texas Driver.
The others had passed out long before. Vandenberg and Trelawney were string beans, snoring on the pull-out couch, and while Moochie had more than enough gut to go around, his alchohol tolerance wasn't exactly at its fighting weight, either. Buddy's own eyelids flickered shut. Zeppelin wailed from the hi-fi on WDVE, Robert Plant warning his babe that he was gonna leave her and wasn't fucking joking this time, either.
Do it, Bobby ol' pal, Buddy thought, delirious on booze and lack of sleep. Fuck. You've earned it. We all have.
The last place he wanted to crash was a recliner with bent springs that reeked of stale vomit, but he wasn't exactly in shape to drive home, either. Twisting to find a more comfortable spot, he stopped fighting the rush of sleep, let it slowly claim him.
The voice slithered into his consciousness, gently prodding.
It didn't belong to one of his buddies. But, oh, he knew that voice.
Jerking awake, he thrashed upright like a marionette; spat out in his own sleep-roughened baritone, "The fuck."
Standing at the foot of the recliner, moonlight raking down his pale narrow face, looking cool as you please, was Cunningham.
Except he wasn't. Couldn't be. No fucking way that little creep could possibly get in here; hell, he didn't even know where any of them lived.
Phone book. Sure, the cocksucker scoured the phone book for your addresses and came rushing down the instant he--
Except... that couldn't be true. The little prick was out tonight. On a date. (Guilder had certainly been crowing about it loud enough all afternoon; ensured that half the student fucking body knew it, too. Trelawney had only been too gleeful to pass on the information.)
Fury tightened in his throat at the reminder; lingered there. The new girl, too stupid to know she'd found a noose that happened to look like a boy and strung it like a bleeding albatross around her pretty throat. Social suicide, not to mention what must be a string of unsatisfying nights in the backseat of that ugly old car.
(no more backseat for them now, not unless they like broken glass and teenage boy feces, ha fucking HA--)
It was him and it wasn't. Something crawled behind his black eyes; cold and predatory and calculating. It gave Buddy the impression of someone wearing a Halloween mask, like someone else was wearing Cunningham's pasty face.
(only that was a crazy fucking thought, now wasn't it)
"You hurt my car," Cunningham said. "That wasn't very nice."
Hurt. Not crushed. Not destroyed. Hurt. Like it was an injury that would have to be nursed.
"How the fuck did you get in here, Cuntface?" Buddy demanded. His voice had gone a little high, a little reedy. He blamed it on the booze, on being pulled so carelessly from sleep. He reared up, trying to stand, only to fall back down as the recliner rocked and robbed his body of its momentum.
Cunningham laughed. It was a low, lazy chuckle.
(and something else)
coiled tightly in the pit of Buddy's stomach; settled there waiting, hot and impatient.
Zeppelin was long gone from the radio; instead, something else rattled through the static, crooners from days gone by, one of those happy crappy doo-wop groups from before real rock 'n roll busted in at the end of the decade:
"Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle... just remember, darling, all the while... you belong to me..."
Although a love song, it sounded like a threat.
Cunningham drifted closer. Buddy's hands found the armrests, curled around them. Vandenberg's whistling snores drifted from across the room.
"I'm gonna pull your guts out through your asshole if you don't get outta here in five seconds, Cuntface."
(why in the hell haven't the others woken up, for the love of fucking Christ-)
"They can't hear us," Cunningham said, that crocodile smile sharpening.
And somehow, Buddy knew it was true - not only could they not hear him, but they wouldn't wake up.
He'd been victim to a string of nightmares, lately; ones where something chased him down cold pavement at night, let him stumble in the dark before blinding him with light so searing it almost burned. Always left him waking in a fevered sweat he blamed on his newly school-free sleep schedule.
It never caught him. But that, he always felt (the thought icy with dread), was only because it had decided not to.
That it was toying with him.
He could scream himself hoarse and throw fists and hurtle the ashtray at his feet clear across the room and not a single one of them would stir. Whatever nightmare this was, he was stuck in it alone, for God knew how long.
He hid a shiver, forcing himself to find his voice. "The fuck do you want."
"Well," said Cunningham, lip curling in that unfamiliar smile (and again, there was the uncomfortable idea that he was being puppeted along by someone, something, else), "you messed with something of mine. I guess it's only fair I mess with something of yours."
"You guess," said Buddy. Cool amusement laced his words, despite the terror steeped low in him. Like the scrap of spine he'd always suspected was hiding in Cunningham's skinny backside all along had just begun to surface and he'd found some twisted sense of pride in the fact.
Buddy exhaled slowly; let that tautness holding his guts hostage loosen, slightly, a fist uncurling. Cunningham strolled to the side of the chair. In the dim light of the basement, he looked like a technicolor mannequin - sharp sinister angles, black and white and red all over, hair and face and jacket all painted in stark relief by the shadows and moonlight. He still hunched when he moved, like something was pushing down his shoulders, but it was no longer his signature victim's scuttle; there was the indifferent arrogance of another man in that stride.
And suddenly he was pinning Buddy to the back of the chair, crawling on top of him, one slender pale hand hovering at his throat, the other languid at his waist. He swallowed; felt the muted heat of Cunningham's wiry arms through his thin cotton jacket. It was only when that hand settled drowsily over the heat threatening to burst through the fly of his jeans that he found his bearings, managed a snarl.
"Get off me, you little faggot!"
"O-ho," said Cunningham sarcastically. "King Shitter himself is a macho fucking man, I must've forgot." Those dark dark eyes widened innocently, a parody of his former self. "I'm the faggot, huh?" he asked, softly. Calling Buddy's bluff, he stroked his erection roughly through the denim-- then curled his fingers in a firm but gentle squeeze. Buddy hissed, humiliated, trying to quiet the groan building but only managing to replace it with a pathetic stuttering gasp, instead.
Around him, his friends slept.
Raising his eyebrows, a let's not kid ourselves smirk stretching those thin lips (and Jesus, Buddy hated how the sight of it only made him even harder), Cunningham slid his hand away. It rested heavy on Buddy's thigh.
"Feel free to push me off, if that's what you really want."
(And of course Cunningham only smirked wider at that, the bastard; like he'd known all along, like he was the one doing Buddy a favor when really, it was the other fucking way around.)
"Always knew you wanted me, you little queer," Buddy said, as Cunningham unzipped his jeans. The look that Cunningham shot him turned his blood to ice.
"That's right," said Cunningham. "If it makes you feel better."
Before Buddy could shatter his jaw to twenty pieces for that, Cunningham's hand, slender and callus-roughened, slid into his underwear, halting any intended violence in its tracks.
Christ, but it felt good
(that uppity little rich bitch must have him on speed dial if he's as good with cunts as he is with pricks)
and it didn't take long for Buddy to relax into it, let the miserable twerp make himself useful for once in his eighteen years of wretched existence.
Cunningham's touch was cold as death, like he'd been standing outside in the winter chill for hours. He could manipulate bodies as well as he did any bit of scrap he came across in auto shop; knew how to encourage the most vulgar, guttural sounds from Buddy's throat.
He skated one hand teasingly down the seam of his balls, fingernails sharp enough to tickle; the other curled tighter around his throat.
"Better?" Cunningham asked, voice tight with condescension.
For the first time tonight, dread seized Buddy's chest. He'd never--
"This is a dream, isn't it?" Cunningham asked pleasantly. "So, really, isn't this just you knowing yourself?"
Before Buddy could say anything else, the hand crushed down on his windpipe, stealing every bit of air left.
It didn't take long after that.
It was the best kind of rush, a thousand times sweeter than whenever he'd locked himself in his room and tied one of his old rawhide belts around his throat, yanking it taut as his other hand worked furiously below his belt. Cunningham's fingers were thin and tapered and bruising, both on his throat and his cock, coaxing a violent, shuddering orgasm out of his tired body.
The doo-wop number suddenly switched over to jangling guitars. Chuck Berry's aw-shucks voice followed, loud and clear.
Cunningham snickered meanly. "Y'know, that other song was barely three minutes long. Should I take that as a compliment?"
Too winded to manage an insult of his own, Buddy only glared. His heart was hammering in his throat and he wanted nothing more than to shut Cunningham up by shoving his cock down his skinny throat, the way he'd imagined too many times to count.
Cold seeped back into his body as Cunningham stood. He stared at the mess on his hand, those fine features contorted into a look of faint disgust. Without warning, he leaned down and streaked it down Buddy's cheek, a mockery of a lover's caress; punctuated it by digging his fingernails in, hard, slicing the contours of his cheekbone, the pressure just shy of drawing blood.
"Hey! Hey, Buddy! You up?"
Groaning, Buddy twisted awake. Weak sunlight filtered through the basement blinds. Moochie watched him with equal parts bemusement and glee.
"Couldn't make it to the bathroom in time, huh?" he asked, chortling and pointing to Buddy's lap. Annoyed, he looked down to see just what exactly was so fucking hysterical - his fly was down. Christ. He zipped up, scowling.
"Take a fucking picture, you little pervert," he snapped. Moochie dummied up, immediately contrite.
Buddy rolled his eyes. "Where are the others?"
"Trelawney left for work. Vandenberg's tooling around upstairs, finding food, I think. Hell - we really partied, huh?"
Barely. Fucking lightweights.
Still; his head throbbed like a sonuvabitch.
"Hair of the dog?" Moochie offered. He floated a can of Duquesne Pilsener in front of him; an apology. Buddy accepted it.
"Why don't you go see if Vandenberg's folks have anything other than Wonder Bread and canned beans for a fucking change. I'm fucking starving."
Eager to have a task, Moochie nodded, scampering upstairs.
Buddy scraped the heel of his hand against his forehead, wincing. Jesus. Hopefully the Vandenbergs had some aspirin squirreled away somewhere, too.
His back protested as he stood, stretching, admiring the play of his own muscles in the reflection of the TV in the corner. Something sticky-stiff coated his cheek; he felt it shift as he yawned. He'd probably drooled in his sleep, Jesus-please-us. Still yawning, he headed to the john.