Chapter 1: [Discomfort]
Dis·com·fort: a state of mental unease; worry or embarrassment.
Russell busies himself with finding some non-existent object in his locker in hopes of blocking out his friends worried, questioning stare.
“C'mon Russell, you can’t expect me to believe that you tripped down the stairs again do you?” No, in fact, Russell is pretty sure Chris already has some idea of what's been going on at home but Russell can’t bring himself to have that conversation with his best friend.
“Believe what you want, I guess.” Slamming his locker closed, Russell glanced once at his friend before taking off the hallway. He doesn't make it very far before footsteps fall in place beside him. Chris doesn't say anymore except for an exasperated sigh.
The two teens reach their classroom without disturbance, Russell heading to his seat and Chris following him to make the most use of his time before class starts. Russell half-heartedly listens to the other boy ramble on about how cute their one classmate, Gardenia is today. Something about a hair accessory or maybe her bright charming smile.
Their teacher walks through the door, making eye contact and then eying the bruises on Russell’s arm. The teen had left the marks visible but he knew it wouldn’t change anything. Adults didn't actually care. They might pretend and give pitiful looks but they’ll never do something about it. Russell’s situation won’t change and he’s stopped trying to fight it.
Once the school day ends, Russell leaves the building and leaves Chris to walk in the direction of his own house. Despite the destination, Russell enjoys the walk home the most out of this day. People on the streets never say anything and don’t bother him. On the days that his mom leaves lunch money for him, Russell will stop at the convenience store and grab a snack instead of heading home. Sometimes the girl that works as the cashier gives him something for free when he comes in unable to buy anything. Russell could do without her scrutinizing looks though.
Today Russell takes a detour to the local pet shop. The small store is only a block away from his house so it’s easy to stay there until he needs to get home before his dad gets back from whatever the hell he was for the day. The shop is runned by a another boy, a senior from Russell’s school. The other teen was laid back and let Russell stay as long as he wanted and even let him play with the rabbits.
Russell listened to the loud ‘ding’ the door made when he entered. He heard the shopkeeper call out a a lazy, “Hold on, I’ll be there in a minute.”
The older teen walked out from behind an employee's only door, hair ornament shaking with the turn of his body. He smiled once he saw the younger boy.
“Oh hey, it’s you Russell.”
“Mind if I stay here for a bit, Tabasa?”Russell said as he moved around the front desk to sit on the chair behind the cash register. Tabasa lifted an eyebrow but said nothing, watching the younger make himself comfortable. Once Russell look settled, Tabasa leaned against the counter scanning the marks on Russell’s skin.
“You know you’re always welcomed here. That being said…” He trailed off. “I wish you wouldn’t worry me so much. You’re too young to be looking that banged up, ya’ know?” His voice was joking but his face was laced with concerned that filled Russell with unease.
“I can take care of myself just fine.” Tabasa looked skeptical but leaned over to ruffle the younger boys hair.
“Okay kid, but just know you can come to big bro alright?” Russell froze at the contact. The touch was warm and loving. He felt flushed from the feeling of it but Tabasa either ignored the boys discomfort or didn’t notice it but his smile widened at seeing emotion on the younger’s face. “That look suites you. I’m sure you’d be real popular at school with cute expressions like that.”
Russell was taken aback by Tabasa’s compliments. Uncomfortable, Russell mumbles something about not wanting to have that kind of attention on him. Tabasa props himself on the counter, a lazy smile on his face, “Guess you’ll just be stuck with me then.”
Russell stays about a half hour longer at the pet shop until he leaves to make his way back. His dad is probably on his way home so Russell makes haste with getting home. When his dad isn’t home, Russell gets the chance to actually get to his room and stay hidden for the rest of the night.
Unfortunately, tonight is a night that his drunk father is home first. Russell opens the front door slowly but the stench of alcohol is already present. He scrunches his nose and steps inside only to just barely avoid a can that flies across the room in his direction.
“Where have you been you degenerate? You been not have skipped school. If I find out you--”
“I didn’t skip. You can call the school if you want. I was with Chris.”
“ Is that suppose to make me feel better? He’s not much better than you. Just another bad influence!”
Ahh. I probably shouldn’t push him any farther.
Stepping forward Russell lets his anger do the talking for him. “A better influence then you.”
His face is really red. He looks so stupid like this. Gross. He’s so loud.
His father’s face contorted in rage. He stumbled off the couch staggering towards Russell, but the boy didn’t move.
His breath stinks. Disgusting. I think he’s yelling so hard he spit on me.
My arms are hurting. His grip is really strong.
Russell wasn’t paying attention to the things his father was saying. It wasn’t anything new.
He already knew he wasn’t worth anything--
He already knew his family didn’t love him--
He already knew he wouldn’t last long --
He already knew he shouldn’t have been born--
His train of thought was cut off along with the ability to breathe. He felt his body being pushed against the wall but it was getting harder and harder to concentrate. The hands on his neck felt so confinding. He wasn’t scared but he tried to fight against his father’s hands. Before Russell could lose conconctiouness, the front door opened, his mother standing with the keys in her hand. A man accompanied her, a hand around her waist.
“Honey, you really need to stop doing this right in the living room. The curtains are open, people can see inside.” His father’s hands lossed around his neck. Unable to control himself, Russell coughed a few times hands coming back up to his neck to protect it from the previous threat. His mother spared him a glance before looking back at his dad. “We have company today, so just let it go, okay?”
His dad grumbled out a complaint but left Russell to scramble to his bedroom.
Russell rubbed his neck while looking in the mirror. The marks on his neck where obviously hand shaped. He’s not sure how he’s gonna to convince Chris he’s fine.
He’s sore. He really doesn't want to go school tomorrow. The teen decides he’ll skip. He’s not sure where he’ll go but he doesn't want to see anyone he knows
Russell would feel guilty if he made himself a burden on his friends.
That night Russell is unable to fall asleep until the late hours of the morning once his mothers loud cries of another mans name finally stop.
Chapter 2: [Trust]
Russell meets the strange Doctor that is Kantera
I got a bit carried away with this chapter ehehe. When I wrote the first chapter I didn't think much of it but I'm actually really excited for this story now!
Also! I've added a few more tags.
Thank you guys for the kudos! I was surprised this got any attention at all and it really made my day!
Trust: a feeling that somebody or something can be relied upon, or will turn out to be good. It is the feeling of being sure about something, even if it cannot be proved
Skipping school has always been an easy task. Russell’s parents have never been home in the morning seeing as his mom has clients to attend too, and his dad has a job of his own. In fact he gets more complaints from Chris then he does his parents for not showing up to class. Still it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to leaving his house. He has to cover up and avoid being seen by the police. Most of the time they’re not too hard to avoid but recently the chief has been on his tail when he’s not being a responsible student.
Russell leaves the house with a dark red hoodie, hood up, to hide his face for anyone that could recognize him. He wore a pair of shorts that exposed a good portion of his legs, an attempt to be somewhat more comfortable in the end the spring heat.
On any given day Russell would normally hang out at Tabasa’s but decides against it for today. Much like an older brother, Tabasa pries too much. Sometimes it gets on the youngers nerves to the point that he thinks he might to something he might regret later. Russell has imagined multiple ways to tell people to shut up but he’s sure it would feel bad to hurt Tabasa.
Russell rounds a corner to continue his path on the much darker part of the town. The crime isn’t all that bad though, Russell thinks. People aren’t murdered neary at a rate other places have. Drug deals probably occur somewhere around here, the streets are less taken care of, and the apartments are kind of run down. The only thing that might be high here is the prostitution rate no thanks to his mom.
It’s a thought that leaves a sickening feeling in his throat. Pulling his hoodie closer to his body, he makes a stop at the park that Chris and him played at when he was younger. The equipment is mostly rusted, the grass hasn’t been cut in awhile, and the small pond in the corner looks like it's drying out.
Making his way through the grass, Russell sits down by the pond, pulling his knees up to rest his chin on them. He remembers Chris calling this body of water a Puddle. Said something about it being “pretty pathetic for a pond, doesn't deserve to be called that!”
He wasn’t sure how long he was there, staring into the dingy reflection in the Puddle, but he flinched when he heard the gates that lead to the park, open. There’s not that many kids around these parts so Russell bets on it being the police chief, Yumi. Figures he’d be caught now.
A shadow appeared at his side that was distinctly male. The older teen furrowed his eyebrows about to call out to the man but was beaten to in by a very melodic voice.
“Now what’s a boy like you doing here and not in school?” Despite the question, the older man had a smile on his face. The kind of smile that makes you relaxed in a person's presence.
The person can’t be that old, probably in his twenties. Hair on the longer side, a shade Russell can’t quite pinpoint. Perhaps the most surprising though was that he was wearing a kimono. Russell had seen them in textbooks but had never seen one in person. It made the man look delicate.
With the lack of the answer, the elder took a seat next to Russell who bristled a bit. “Won’t that get dirty?” Russell eyed the man’s clothing.
“Oh, that’s no problem at all. It wouldn’t do me harm to do laundry tonight,” a chuckle left the strangers throat, glancing at the boy next to him. “I suppose you’re not going to answer my question are you?’ he questioned with a tilt of the head.
“Does it matter? You plan on turning me in?”
“No, I suppose it doesn't. I simply wanted to make conversation. No need to be hostile boy. I don't plan on doing anything to you.” the man looked Russell up and down as he mumbled his last sentence. Russell didn’t sense any danger from the man, willing himself to untense.
“I thought as much. Care to share why?”
“Do you need a reason to skip?” The man raised an eyebrow, the same smile still played on his lips.
“I sense a story behind that but I won’t push you. Now I do believe we should make proper introductions. Calling you Child in my head really isn’t working for me. My name is Kantera.” Russell turned to face the man fully to glare at him.
“I’m not a child. I’m in highschool, I’m practically in adult.”
“Is that so? I’m sure an adult would know to to great a person properly now wouldn’t he?”
Russell could feel his cheeks heat up at that. Why is this man embarrassing him?
“It’s Russell.” he managed to mumble. Kantera's face lit up.
“And what a cute boy you are Russell.” Russell’s eyes widened in shock and a tinge of fear. His legs sprang up, hoodie falling off of his head in the process. The last time he was called cute by another man he was almost dragged off somewhere. If Yumi hadn't been there at the time Russell isn’t sure what would have happened to him.
Before he could make a break for it, Kantera’s hand reached out to grab Russell’s wrist.
“My dear Russell please do not be startled. I promised you no harm and I assure you that still stands.” The elder’s hand clenched harder on Russell’s when his gaze dropped to the boy's neck. “Please, I wish to talk to you more.”
Russell could still feel his heart beat. The fluttering feeling in his chest slowly leaving. Still hesitant he slowly sits back down next to Kantera. The man’s hand never leaving his wrist.
“You’re doing great Russell, good boy, just sit down just like that--” The man cooed at Russell, rubbing his fingers in small circles on his wrist. Despite the man making him nervous only minutes ago, the feeling has now been replaced with trust. The pressure on this wrist felt anchoring and the praises made the teen feel dizzy. “Better?” The younger nodded, untrusting of anything he might say now.
“Good. Now may I ask what triggered such a response from you?” Russell shook his head. It was stupid. The man would probably laugh at him or something. “No? Hmm--would I be correct to assume you won’t say a word about the handprints on your neck and wrists?” Before Russell could protest, the man beat him to it again. “Before you clamp up, I can tell that someone has clearly strangled you. These types of marks are very distinct. I’m also a doctor so I do know a thing or two.”
Russell was shocked to say the least. It’s unnerving to have someone know things about him before even saying them. “It doesn't matter, it’s not like they hurt any more or anything.” His free hand unconsciously went up to his throat. He glanced up to see Kantera frowning slightly.
“They look fresh so I have some concerns about that. I do have medicine that can help though. If fact I insist you let me take care of you!”
On any normal day Russell would protest. He doesn't need any help. He’s been doing just fine without it right? But--Kantera is looking at him with such intensity it’s too difficult to say no.
“I--guess I wouldn’t mind that, but could you please let go of my wrist (it’s embarrassing) I can walk just fine.”
“Oh! Of course. My apologies.” The man lets go of his wrist, and stood back up on his feet waiting for Russell to do the same. Once the younger was ready to go, hood back in place, the two left the park in search of Kantera’s place. The elder mentioned that he didn’t work at Clover hospital but at his own home that doubles as a shop. He doesn't get many customers but has a handful of regulars. Russell wondered if the man made enough money if his clientele wasn’t large. As if sensing the silent question, Kantera offhandedly comments that he inherited most of his money so he works with medicine as something he enjoys and not as a job.
Russell thinks Kantera's home is lovely. He’s never seen it before on any of his walks as they have pasted the grungy part of the town which he normally stops at, and into a more secluded area. The inside is just as beautiful as the outside although Russell is surprised to see the place a bit messy.
The other male laughed at Russell’s confused expression.“Please excuse the mess, you see I’m not a fan of house work. Now please have a seat on one of those cushions over there while I prepare you some medicine for those bruises.
Once Kantera left, Russell sat down and figited in his seat. It was strange being in a home that wasn’t his or Chris’s. The feeling here was extremely different. At home, Russell was constantly on edge. He was scared. Scared of what his father would do, scared of what his mother wouldn’t do. At Chris’s he always felt like a burden. His friend did the best he could but Russell could see the looks Chris’s parents gave him. He knew they hated to waste resources on him. He was sure Kantera would feel the same. He’d waste precious medicine on him. What if someone needed that? Russell would be fine without it surly. His pain didn’t need to end--
“Russell?” Light pressure on his face altered him. Kantera looked worried. His eyebrows were furrowed, lips pulled in a frown. “Where are you, Russell?” His lips struggled to open. When did mouth feel so dry?
“And who is what?”
“Kantera.” Even though barely any words were exchanged, Russell felt exhausted. It took all of his strength to stay upright and not fall into the man’s arms.
“That’s right, you’re here, okay? You’re with me and not with anyone else. You’re safe.” Kantera took one of the hands that was cupping Russell’s cheek and ran it through the boy’s hair, whispering something that Russell wasn’t able to catch, “Beautiful…”
Once Russell had fully calmed down, the doctor applied the medicine to Russell’s abuse marks. The cream smelled pretty good and didn’t irritate Russell in any way. Kantera even made extra to put in a small container for Russell to use at home. The man made the younger some tea before sending Russell off with a smile and the invitation of coming back again.
An invitation Russell fully intended on taking advantage of while the man wasn’t tired of him yet.
Chapter 3: [Affection]
A proposal is made
oof this is later then I wanted it to be but hey I quit my job so I'll have more time to work on this.
Thank you guys for the Kudos! They are much appreciated and I adore everyone one of you who thought reading this was a good use of your time.
Af·fec·tion: a gentle feeling of fondness or liking.
Russell could feel Chris’s stare without looking at him. His father’s marks were still present on his neck but after a few days of putting on the medicine that Kantera had gave him, the bruises have faded a great deal. Chris had finally stopped asking questions but it was clear he still had more. Russell wonders why he hasn’t told Chris yet when just a few days ago he talked more than ever with a complete stranger. Chris was his best friend and he was sure that Chris wouldn’t think badly of him but to have a serious conversation with him didn’t feel right.
The annoyed voice of his teacher momentary brought him back out of his daydream.
“Russell has any of today’s lesson been going through your head at all?” The teacher had their arms crossed but they sounded more resigned with him at this point. Russell felt that he didn’t really need to answer a question the teacher already knew. “I think it would be best if you go sit in with principal Saxon for the time being okay?”
The rest of the class bursted into murmurs across the room as Russell got up to leave. The teen was naturally used to the hushed voices and glances so they no longer bothered him. He hears Chris yelling at the other students to shut up. It makes Russell smile even if his friend can’t be there to see it.
If there was one thing that stood out from this school it would be the Principal. Saxon was a man in his forties with slowly graying hair. His features were sharp, giving him an intimidating look, but his actual personality was quite kind. His office assistant, Mireille, was just as nice. She just graduated from the school a few years ago and took up the position right after.
Mireille gave a polite smile when Russell walked through the doors. “Good afternoon Russell. Are you here to see Saxon again?” He nodded and watched as Mireille typed something on her computer. “This is your fifth time here within the past month--maybe we should get you a punch card?” her quite giggles fill the otherwise quiet room. Russell thinks it's nice that she doesn't get annoyed whenever he’s here so he doesn't mind her attempts at jokes. “Go right on in Russell, Saxon should just be doing paperwork so he isn’t too busy right now.”
Like Mireille said, Saxon was writing something down when Russell peaked through the door. Saxon waved him in before even looking up from his paperwork. The moment the blonde teen sat down, the principal finished the document he was on and looked up at Russell.
“Good to see you again boy. I take it classes are difficult today?”
“I wasn’t paying attention so I was sent down here.” Saxon perfred straight forward answers and it usually got Russell out of the office faster. Saxon’s face contorted some.
“Russell this has been happening more often than not hasn’t it? Your grades have already been suffering and with the school year coming to a end I want to make sure you can move on to the next grade.” Russell winced at that. He knew he was failing classes but it was only because he wasn’t turning in the homework. “I’m not sure how you’ll feel about this idea but I want one of our seniors to tutor you for the rest of the year.”
“Principal Saxon--I really don’t need a tutor. I know the material just fine. It would be a waste of time to have someone teach me what I already know.” It wasn’t the only reason Russell didn’t want a tutor. Tutors were generally a afterschool thing which Russell can’t afford when he has to get home on time.
“I’m sorry Russell but this wasn’t a suggestion. That being said I don’t want to take time out of you and your tutors time so you’ll be tutored by someone that has the same study hall block as you.” Russell could feel his aggravation rising. “Come back here at the end of the day. I’ll have a list of people you can choose from so that you have some freedom with this.” The principal’s expression finally softend. “Russell I’m worried about you. I can’t improve all the things that trouble you but I can help you where your education is concerned. You’re a bright child and I would hate to see that go to waste here in this town. Now go ahead and go back to class--or just head to lunch, it’s about to start soon.” With no room to argue Russell leaves the office barely acknowledging Mireille’s goodbye.
Russell has no intentions of going to lunch or going back to see Saxon again later, so he waits until he sees Mireille go into the older man’s office. Once she’s gone Russell leaves the school through the front doors.
Russell can’t go back home in the middle of the day. Tabasa and Chris are in class so he has no one to distract him from his anger and nerves right now.
He doesn’t realise that he passed the run-downed apartments until he was near the doctor’s residence. Pausing, Russell wasn’t sure if he wanted to be here or not. The doctor made him have strange feelings, ones that he shouldn’t feel. He shouldn’t feel happy or content. He wasn’t able to understand them.
Even with telling himself that, he still ends up at Kantera’s door. Hesitating, Russell only knocks when he convinces himself that the doctor probably won’t be home, which is why he startles when the door does open.
“Who--oh, Russell, it’s you.” Kantera looks just as surprised by Russell’s visit but looks happy about it. “Why don’t you come on in and take a seat, I’ll make us some tea.” The older ushered the younger inside, a hand firmly placed on Russell’s upper back.
Once inside the boy ignores the seats and follows the doctor to the small kitchen. Kantera says nothing at this but smiles to himself privately.
Once the tea is finished, Kantera brings it over to the kitchen table instead of the living room. Russell make his way to sit on the other side of the table but gets stopped by Kantera’s hand wrapped around his wrist.
“I want to try something, mind humoring me?” The younger is surprised by the question but let’s the older man pull him closer. “If you want me to let you go, just tell me alright?”
After receiving a small nod from Russell, Kantera lets go of the youngers wrist and replaces it on his waist and pulls Russell to sit in his lap.
Russell lets out a startled yelp and places his hands on Kantera’s chest to keep himself steady. The elder’s hands are firmly resting on the curve of the small of Russell’s back, a small smile on his face. “Are you okay Russell,” Kantera speaks softly, hands rubbing comforting circles on the boys back.
Russell felt something. He had never been is this position before but he’s seen it. Seen his mother in a similar position on the bed with another guy. This seemed different though. The guys his mother would be with would leave bruises in places of their hands but Kantera’s hands felt gentle on his body. He didn’t hate it. He wanted too, but it felt nice to be touched in a caring way. Touched by someone that hasn’t rejected him.
Russell refused the whine his throat wanted to let out and choose to bury his head in the older’s neck. He mainly smelt like medicinal herbs but also like something else. Kind of like smoke. He wondered if Kantera smokes.
Kantera was beyond impressed by Russell’s response. He knew the boy would likely enjoy the treatment based on the observation of the shudders, and flushed cheeks of the younger from Kanter’s others touches, but this reaction was even better. He suspects that Russell hasn’t ever been treated right and lacked this kind of attention from his family.
Kantera brought up a single hand to run through Russell’s hair and didn’t miss the hitch in Russell’s body at the action.
“Russell, I need you to look at me.”
It took a moment for Russell to comply and even so he refused to meet the doctor in the eyes.
“I want to ask you something. You are free to say no and nothing has to change otherwise.” Again, Kantera waited until Russell showed signs of agreeing. “Russell, do you know what a sugar baby is?”
The younger scratched his nose at it. “Some older guy gets with a younger person and they give a bunch of money to them and they get sex in return.” The elder laughed at the youngers expression.
“That can certainly be a case but it doesn't have to be like that. In fact the age difference doesn't have to be all that great. Sex doesn't have to happen and money isn’t always what the sugar babies get.”
“Why do know so much about it?”Kantera let a wide grim stretch across his face.
“You can say I’ve been interested in having one for myself.” Russell wasn’t dumb. He can see what the doctor was getting it but--why Russell? “I can see the brain of yours turning up there my dear. I do want you as my own but I won’t ask you without you knowing what I wanted out of it myself.”
“I don’t need money.”
“I don’t have to give you money. In fact I would much rather give you what you want.” Russell made sure to lock his eyes with Kantera when he spoke next.
“And what do I want doctor?” The look in the elder’s eyes shifted to something much darker. The hand that was still on Russell’s waist, gripped tighter but not enough to make Russell scared.
“You want attention. You want touch. And I can willingly give it to you Russell. I’m not asking you to be something you wouldn't want. I’d take care of you. I want to be here for you when you can’t go to anyone else. And I want you to experience something you haven't felt before.”
Russell couldn’t find a fault in that plan. It all sounded too good really. The doctor was right. It’s been more noticable recently but Russell really did like the touches he would receive. The hair ruffles from Tabasa or even when Chris would swing an arm around Russell’s shoulders. Those were far and few in between and to have access to that whenever he wanted sounded pleasant. His parents wouldn't even know and the doctor could take the pain away if something did happen to him.
“I don’t expect you to give your answer now. I know I put a lot on you so maybe it might be best if you head hom-- “ Before the elder could place Russell back on the ground, the boys amrs linked around the doctor's neck pulling them closer.
“No, I--I can answer right now. I’ll do it. I’ll be your sugar baby, I guess.” It was embarrassing being this close to Kantera while still looking at him, but he wanted to let the other know he was serious.
Kantera’s eyes widened. “Believe me when I say I’m quite overjoyed but are you sure Russell?”
Russell knew there was multiple ways to let the other know he was sure but he decided on quickly pressing his lips against the man’s cheek. Russell instantly regretted it especially when the elders hands left his body.
The boy tried to contain the shock when the doctors hands cupped Russell own cheeks.
“Oh Russell, your innocence is very appealing but if you keep that up I might lose control of myself faster than I anticipated.” Russell closed his eyes when Kantera's face started closing in. He expected a real kiss but felt warm at the lips that rested on his forehead. “I would love to explore more with you but I think I got more than enough from you tonight.”
The look on Kantera’s face did wonders for Russell. Russell would trust Kantera. He would let this situation play out and maybe something good would come out of it. Russell decided to let himself feel happy, even if only for the time he was Kantera’s arms.