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Credit to the movie "Hard Core Logo" for two lines of lifted dialogue that ended up inspiring this entire piece.
"Watch out, Cupid stuck me with a sickness//
Pull your little arrows out and let me live my life."
-Metric, Sick Muse
"Loving you is more trouble than it's fucking worth."
"Then why do you stay?"
Chris ignores the huff in Toby's voice. "I've got nothing but time in this place. Might as well make it interesting."
"What a romantic." Toby narrows his eyes. "I could walk away," he says and the lie flips Chris' stomach as much in lust as in irritation at the lack of absolute follow through they are both aware of. Words have never just been words between them. No need to make them worthless now.
"You could try," Chris replies coolly. "But it wouldn't change a goddamn thing."
"You know me so well," sarcasm attacks first and after a brief pause Toby continues. "So what do you want to do about this?" His annoyance is clear as day, uninterested in playing nice, and Chris appreciates the lack of kid gloves.
"I have no fucking idea."
Chris has had this conversation many times in his head. In reality, he just can't find the words.
There are very slight differences in approach when working over men versus women. For the most part, however, there are more similarities in the sexes than self-help books would make one think.
Chris loves to bend people to his will. He gets hard at the thought and the subsequently careful execution of the chase, the trap set with precision and patience, only to be topped by the rush of release once he's gotten what he came for. There is power in controlling the lives of others like a god amongst men. Yes, on occasion he has enjoyed the company sought along the way, basked in the heady pleasure of mutual affection, but it's fleeting, never long for this life.
After a childhood with little sense of self-determination, forced to roll with the punches just to stay on his feet, Chris learned the hard way what survival entailed. Rare trips down memory lane were found at the bottom of a bottle, but those also meant giving up control, a priceless commodity not to be traded recklessly. He accesses those remembrances with little frequency and verve. The cost of them is too high to risk.
It's all about staying focused on the chessboard and seeing all the pieces in their place, anticipating the directions they may go in and the set of events that could follow. It's about knowing the present so well he can read the future. For this he needs a clear head.
Toby is the riddle he can't quite figure out, try as he might. And attempting to put perimeters on what binds them, trying to contain it within something pliable--something which can be molded--only seems to twist the unexpected dagger deeper.
When it comes to Toby, Chris feels everything but control.
From a personal standpoint, Chris does not automatically tie in sex with a profound emotional connection. That doesn't stop him from giving the other person as much pleasure as possible before the axe is dropped. After all, if one is going to go out they might as well do it with a bang. Chris likens it to having a caring side--or the closest thing to it.
There are a few people in Oz he thinks about fucking. He's imagined Sister Pete (many times) splayed out on her desk, her legs up in the air, over his shoulders, as he fingers her nipples (eliciting the moan he knows waits restlessly on her tongue) and thrusts into her. He's contemplated blowing Mukada, if only to see the Father come completely undone and finally let go of all the strident pent up sexual tension surely coursing through his veins. Cloutier is a passing thought, one that makes Chris think he suffers some diagnostic association with sex and God (it's the notion of an all powerful--desirable--force).
Sometimes Schillinger flashes through his mind and the memory is enough to make him hard and angry all at once. He doesn't like the lingering reaction his body still has for the sonuvabitch, but he can't totally exorcise it. It's coupled with something primal and cruel, cold and judgmental; something the universe visits upon him in retribution and shrugs its shoulders as if to say, `but of course, did you really expect anything else?'
He would fuck Robson up the ass as much for the taunting tightness accompanying each resisted pounding movement as for the message to Schillinger that Robson was no more than a hack replacement for someone like Chris--like he said, inexplicable lingering ghosts which won't go away, but make him cringe and recoil, make him want to stare long and hard at a bottle of moonshine.
He thinks about O'Reily often, wants to taste and feel along the lines of his body and the heat of his skin. For all Ryan's incessant talking, Chris loves the thought of putting his mouth to better use. He can't help but laugh that if O'Reily knew how his professed reputation for straightness only makes Chris want to prove the opposite true, O'Reily would stay mute on the point.
Chris gives pleasure to take it away; own it. Nothing exists beyond the moment. He is driven by impulse and likes it that way. The incision he makes is clean and easy, a steady cut to the bone, limiting infection and other long term ailments waiting in the wings to take root.
Touch and go, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, I'll call you--
Didn't your parents teach you never to talk to strangers?
But who can say no to the enticing glint of a wolf's smile?
Chris doesn't like surprises unless he's the one behind them. Being caught off guard is an unforgivable weakness, but sometimes the taste of sin is worth the fall. Sex is power; sex with want and need so deep it burns is the delirium of enlightenment. It is the freedom from this mortal coil.
If he could have forever with Toby, he would take it without blinking. He has considered what he would bargain away for it, determining much of his world to be expendable. The realization weighs heavy and whispers the light breath of liberation away from restraints which tether his past to him and threaten that no good will ever last.
Oz is a backwards world in which the perfect mark--a self-loathing, yuppie lawyer--found his way into a con man's heart and awakened the (once thought to be dead, if it ever existed in the first place) soul within. The implications make Chris nervous. Pushing Toby over the brink isn't the surprise. Toby doing the same thing to him, however, is. Talk about a game changer.
Chris plays denial with unbelievable odds, fighting against the unexpected when he notices how much is out of his hands. He accepts the battle, the flash of anger in Toby's eyes, the growing space between them stretched thin. He rolls his tongue over sarcastic retorts, stares down his nose in challenging condescension, touches Toby with bruising fingers, wills himself to turn the other cheek and render Toby obsolete. Yet he is never free of Toby's presence. Chris feels him like a sixth sense, breathes him in like oxygen. The further apart they are, the harder the collision when they crash back together, the more undeniable their fate.
Still, Chris tries to call the shots, acts cool and dismissive part of the time, gives in to feelings of sated happiness the other half. He can't ignore the fact Toby is the only person he has ever wanted--needed--to feel the same way in return. Making Toby drown in a sensory explosion, reducing him to the most brilliant state of bliss is as much for Chris as for Toby. And when Toby flips the tables, seizes upon Chris in a metaphorical display of predator-and-prey, taking over the upper hand, Chris feels matched and no longer like the singular lone entity prowling the periphery. The frightening aberration is the romantic imprint, the mistake made right.
It would be easier in black and white, the way it used to be; to go back to the life he once led. Believing himself to be the aggressor, the role he was born to play, use to work. But Toby gives as good as he gets, somehow able to push Chris back on his heels, rendering him unsure and intoxicated at being fixed in someone else's (someone worthy's) gaze. Subverted expectations make the world go round.
Chris used to think Toby had blurred his vision and muddied the truth. Turns out he had simply uncovered it. Reality is not always a welcoming state of mind. It reveals kinks and weaknesses, and poses troubling contentions.
The world is a minefield.
He gets lost in Toby.
Grasping for solid ground, Chris stumbles to stand and gets caught in the whirlwind. The heat of Toby's body pressed to his sears and Chris battles the doubting voices telling him he is undeserving of such adoration, warning him his past is the scarlet letter which will one day burn so bright as to blind Toby and punish them both.
Toby's lips brand his body and alter his genetic makeup in the transformation from two-bit con to wanted man. Chris chokes back the instinct to fold himself into Toby's body and burrow deep into his space until he can longer breathe or run away and accept an existence that makes allowances for no one else.
"Chris," Toby whispers against his skin, trailing his tongue along the curve of Chris' hip.
Chris arches up, rubbing his hardening cock against Toby's chest and shifts his lower body in a bid for more friction. He runs his hands through Toby's hair and murmurs affectionate words he feels he has no right saying yet can't contain. He knows they are an anomaly, knows this never existed before in any shape and form, and will never happen again. This is what Toby does to him--removing every single protective layer and stripping him bare, then reveling in what's left, paying homage to it as if it means something.
Chris tries to pull him up. In his mind he flips their bodies and stretches out over Toby who mewls beneath him. He runs his hands along the familiar lines of Toby's torso and thighs, the jutting angle of his hip and palms Toby's cock, listening for the sweet sound of surrender tripping from swollen lips. Chris sees Toby reaching for him, hands on Chris' biceps, legs around Chris' waist, eyes hooded but focused. Chris sees it all.
But Toby doesn't let him take control and Chris snaps back to reality quickly, realizes he's still lying on his back with Toby between his legs exerting enough pressure to keep him in place. Chris tenses and feels Toby hesitate. A pause button is pressed and for a few seconds time freezes. A question has been posed and the answer hangs in the balance.
With his eyes closed, Chris slowly exhales and lets go. His limbs melt beneath the smile Toby presses to his chest.
No control...no control...
And in the end it's love.
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