When it happens, it’s a night just like all the nights before and all the ones that will come after: quiet, dark, grey, the wallpaper peeling around them and the hallways narrowing in like traps. Nene has spent the half the night watching Argibay struggle to be recognized in Alias Gardelito, screen choppy and blue, most of the dialogue lost with the need for the sound to be turned low.
He finishes his cigarette and puts it out by pushing the butt against the arm of the couch, singeing its matted fibers, and leaves his glass half-empty on the ground near the bottle of whiskey.
When Nene checks in on Angel, it’s to find him turned away towards the wall. More and more Angel is curled into the corners of their room. And Nene is beginning to forget everything but the longing that eclipses him when he stares at the silhouette of that back. It’s taken up permanent residence in the back of his throat, that smell of damp and sweat and dirt that he breathes in from where it’s embedded in Angel’s once white undershirt.
He shuts the door.
Nene leans against the wall outside. He has to swallow back the ache in his throat; an ache not caused by a scream so much as a desperate silence predicated on not tipping the scales of the fragile balance they’ve built amongst the four of them, the two of them. They have no time for him to shatter now, no chance to demand answers from Angel’s voices. If he cries here, there is nowhere to hide it.
Even a puto cannot cry without consequences, he reminds himself, and puts a fist to his eye to hold the heat back.
When his eyes finally obey him, he can hear the rhythmic slapping from behind Cuervo’s door, as familiar to him these days as the smell of the urinals, the feel of hands in his hair, the slippery muck on his knees.
When he puts his eye to the edges of the door, he can see nothing but the sound clears. But as he pushes the door open a crack, he can see Cuervo laid out on his bed.
Cuervo is beautiful like this, mouth soft and open, a hand down his white boxers that glow in the diffused light of the room. Nene can’t help that he leans closer; it’s almost like something else takes a hold of him – perhaps one of Angel’s voices, his ghosts, finally deciding to be useful – and uses his hand to push the door open more fully.
The door doesn’t creak but Cuervo’s eyes fly open and fix on his immediately. Nene sees the scowl bloom on his face, watches it deepen into disgust. He watches as Cuervo flings out a leg to catch the edges of the door, and waits for it to be kicked shut. Then, Nene thinks, he could find the courage to go sleep curled like a question against Angel’s back.
Cuervo’s hand is still inside his boxers. A minute passes, then another. Nene can’t move. He’s frozen in the hope that he can stay here, can watch this just like he watched Argibay earlier – could maybe relax back and witness Cuervo’s hand move and his fingers flick, the sound muffled through his lips and the material of his shorts, the static of Cuervo’s disgust flickering in and out through his lust. There’s nothing else to watch anyway. Nene would settle for this, if given the chance.
Cuervo’s leg is still spread wide, toes hooked around the edge of the door. Nene can see the sprinkle of dark hair on his leg, the muscles under it.
He wants to put his face in the dip at the back of that knee, follow it up to where the muscles of this thigh become soft and plump after they indent into an ass. He wants to kiss there, at the vulnerable curve of where he’s not supposed to be.
He wants to suck cock so badly that he can feel the saliva pooling in his mouth. He can’t stop his eyes from tracing a path up that leg to the bulge of hand and cock hidden under those luminescent boxers.
When the leg moves, it startles him, and he braces to have the door slammed shut. But Cuervo only moves his leg back to the bed, turns his head and away and starts to jerk himself again with quick movements half hidden under the cotton.
Nene finds himself drawn closer again.
He moves to stand over Cuervo, to better his vantage point until he can see how Cuervo’s hair curves against the muscles of his neck, how his shoulders tighten to move his arm quick, quick, quick.
“Will you suck?” he hears Cuervo ask hoarsely, and he nods, automatic. He can already feel the muck pooled around his knees, can feel his nostrils fill with the smell of piss and come, even though the room continues to be dark and smell like dust and sweat.
He kneels on the bed, reaches over and pulls Cuervo’s boxers down, though Cuervo stops him before he manages to pull them any farther than just under his balls.
“Only suck,” he snaps, one hand holding the material in place while the other digs into the hair at the base of Nene’s scalp. He pulls Nene up so they’re eye to eye. “I’m no queer like you to put a cock in my ass.”
Nene nods and keeps his face blank. He wants this. There isn’t any more to it. He’ll have this and then he can face the other room and the silhouette of that back.
He grasps Cuervo’s cock, slightly smaller than his own, though thicker and curved slightly to the left, and hefts its weight. Imagines what he would do if this were with a lover, with –
He silences the thought and bends his head, wraps his fingers around the girth of it, and swallows it down 'til his lips touch his fingers. Then he sucks and pulls and works his tongue like he’s learned. He holds his breath and moves his hand, relaxes his throat and pushes until his nose butts up in the curls around Cuervo’s crotch.
He pauses to lave his hand so it’s wet and smooth, slides easier along the curve of Cuervo’s cock. Then he puts his head back down and nuzzles into the sweaty curls there, presses a chaste kiss against Cuervo’s balls, before Cuervo tightens his grip in Nene’s hair and he takes the cock in his mouth again.
Nene’s breathing hard through his nose, small grunts escaping him as he works his throat and moves his head. He works his tongue as much as he can and hears Cuervo mutter, “like that. Take it, Vivi, you slut.”
Abruptly reminded of the way Vivi’s cat-like smile had curved her lips, Nene can perfectly picture her carefully tended nails and the sparkle in her eye; the way her tongue was a point that she would dance out at Cuervo whenever she wanted to entice him away from their meetings. He remembers how she’d looked right at him while Cuervo had pounded himself into her cunt with short, sharp strokes. How she’d let him watch.
He does his best to emulate her rhythm from back then with quick movements of his head. He loosens the seal of his lips so he can move faster, and a small pool of spit begins to drip down from around Cuervo’s cock to collect in the curve of his hip.
Cuervo’s hands are like a vice pulling at the ends of Nene’s hair, groaning out, “you love it. Suck it, puto. Yeah, Vivi.” And Nene can ignore this, does so with the skill that comes from a lifetime of overlooking slurs and other names called out while he has a cock in his mouth.
When Cuervo comes, Nene lets it collect in his mouth and savours the difference in taste from sweat and skin. He carefully pulls off, lips a tight ring and then meets Cuervo’s eyes, gestures silently for something to spit in.
Cuervo laughs, and it sounds amused and mean. “You don’t even swallow? No wonder only the retard lets you suck his cock.”
Nene ignores this barb too. It hurts him far less than it would Angel, who feels these voices keenly as echoes of the world around them. In this case Cuervo is a voice Nene would rather keep for himself.
He spits into his hand and walks to the bathroom to dump the mess of spit and come into the sink.
He ignores his erection and stays to rinse out his mouth twice. He avoids looking his reflection in the eye in the dingy, cracked mirror. He tells himself that this is what it is until they can get away. Until New York. Until Angel won’t turn his back on him anymore, will turn back to him and touch him. Kiss him, love him. Fuck him.
His throat is tight again, but this time he doesn’t have to call it the weight of his silence. He can pretend it was the girth of Cuervo’s cock and the way it slammed into the back of his throat. If his eyes are red, then it’s from taking that cock down 'til he gagged, and not from crying.
If his hands shake, it’s only because he wants to put them down his own pants.