I knock on Onyx’s door later that night.
It’s the night after Onyx had his meeting with Syn. It’s not sitting well with me. I can’t sleep that night. Do I keep wondering what the hell Syn could possibly have been talking to Onyx about? What was there possibly left to say? When I walk in I see that Onyx is in nothing but his underwear. His sexy abs looked like they were created with a goddam drill hammer. I look down and see that his dick has some weight to it. When he sees me though I see how nervous he gets all of a sudden. He quickly runs to his drawer and puts on his shorts and then even puts on a fucking shirt.
I’d expect this from Topaz and Copper, but Onyx was far from the bashful Monroe brother. This boy was always half naked. Seeing him put on his clothes so fast right now was just a little weird.
“Sorry, I thought it was Topaz,” he realizes.
It’s a slap in the face honestly. He was OK with Topaz seeing him in his underwear but there was clearly a problem with me.
“No…I’m sorry to disappoint you,” I respond, “I know you’re closer to your brother but didn’t have to throw your clothes on so quick. Damn…”
I put on the saddened face at that moment. It’s this face that says that he hurt my feelings but I’m trying to look brave. I expect him to say something sweet at that moment. I expect him to say that he isn’t disappointing me. Hell, I expect him to maybe take his clothes back off in order to make me comfortable.
That was the kind of person that Onyx was.
But he doesn’t do any of that. He looks me dead in my eyes and just says, “I’m more comfortable with Topaz and his intentions.”
I want to feel Onyx’s forehead at that moment for some sort of fever. Was he OK?
“Did I come in at a bad time—or something?”
“Well, actually I did want to talk to you.”
“Awesome,” I state.
I go ahead and sit on Onyx’s bed. Onyx stares at me when I sit on the bed. It makes me feel so uncomfortable that I stand right back up. What was the hell up with him tonight?
“Actually I wanted to talk to you about setting some boundaries.”
“I’ve been…having…feelings for you. Feelings like I can’t live without you. Literally, when you were working out with Topaz, I think I almost lost it. I know it sounds crazy but you make me jealous. I know this all probably sounds sick to you.”
I shake my head, “You’re not sick.”
“You don’t get it. We have this connection. It’s almost like from the moment I met you, I felt something that I never felt with anyone else. When you look at me it was almost as though no one else in the world mattered. It felt almost like everything in the world was right. I’ve never had someone look at me the way you did. It felt like that was the way someone looked at you when they were in love with you? Does that make sense.”
A tear starts falling down my eye. It was the most beautiful thing ever. I get close to Onyx. I’m looking at him right now. I’m looking into those beautiful eyes of his and with every stare, he takes my breath away, over and over and over again.
“I feel that way too.”
“Do you, do you really?”
“I was about to give up fighting. I was about to tell you…well, to be honest, I was going to tell you that I was falling in love with you. And that I wanted to be with you and I didn’t care if we were half-brothers. I didn’t care about conventional rules. I was going to throw all that conventional bullshit out of the window because there was someone who actually made me feel special. There was someone in this world who made me feel like I meant something. And I wanted to spend the rest of my life letting you know that you mean everything to me.”
Yes, oh yes.
I reach Onyx’s hands. I feel his hands inside of mine. Our palms hold each other. I look at those pink lips of his. I wanted to kiss those lips of his. This was what I always wanted. Everything that I ever cared about right here and right now.
“That’s beautiful,” I state.
That’s when surprisingly he shakes his head.
“No. You’re not listening. I was going to say all of those things,” he corrects himself, “But I’m not.”
“See. Some individuals, especially those with low self-esteem or those who perceive themselves to be less attractive, have low “comparison levels”. Your comparison level can be thought of as your “standards,” or what you expect to receive from a relationship If you have a low comparison level, you may maintain a relationship you shouldn’t because your low expectations are being met.”
Was this a joke?
“What the fuck are you talking about, Onyx?”
This didn’t even sound like Onyx. This sounded like some college professor. I mean, Onyx wasn’t a straight up idiot but the most I’ve heard the guy get deep was whether his K-cups were biodegradable or which juicing diet he should go on next. This was not a psychological scholar by any fucking means, but here he was right now and I can literally feel my heart beating through my chest.
“You sound angry…”
“I just want to know what the fuck you’re talking about Onyx.”
I pause. I take a deep breath, “Onyx please…I’m calm. Just tell me what you’re talking about.”
“I need to do some work on me and find out why I have low self-esteem. I compare myself to my brothers so much that I overcompensate in order to try to prove that I’m more than just the youngest Monroe brother. I slept with Ainsley just to prove that I was better than Topaz and now I’m falling in love with you because of the same reason. I am living in my brothers’ shadow mentally and I need to free myself from this mental prison.”
What the fuck was all this talk? He releases my hands. It’s more than just releasing his hands though. He feels cold. From the first day, I met Onyx he’d always been so warm with me. It wasn’t like Copper. He wanted to care about me. He wanted to know me. Right now it was almost like someone had turned off a fire hydrant completely.
He was completely blocked off.
“What does this mean for us?”
“Boundaries. I don’t feel comfortable with you…here…”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying either I leave…or you do…”
I can’t sleep that night. Onyx’s ultimatum the night before hits me like a ton of fucking bricks. Was he joking? He had to be. This has to be a fucking joke. I wake up the next morning and I’m in Topaz’s bed. He walks out of the bathroom completely rinsing his mouth of Listerine.
“Can you believe he said that?” I ask, “Can you believe he told me that either I leave or he does…”
“AR GAH GAH GA-GA!”
“I don’t understand you.”
Topaz runs back to the bathroom and spits the mouthwash out before returning and telling me, “I don’t think he means it like that.”
“How else could he mean it?”
Topaz shrugs, “I mean did Onyx give a reason that he wanted you to leave?”
I think about going into all the reasons that Onyx gave but then I’d have to share a whole bunch of other shit with Topaz that I didn’t want to share. It was easier not to.
“He just said he doesn’t think I’m good for him.”
Topaz laughs, “Wow.”
“This isn’t funny.”
“It kind of is,” Topaz laughs, “Onyx is all about vibes and his spirit. Tomorrow his spirit will be telling him to do something else and he’ll be doing that. Ignore his ass. Come on, turn over…”
I turn over.
“But what if it isn’t his spirit?” I ask.
“I’m eating your ass right now…can we talk about this later?” he asks.
Sure enough right now Topaz has his tongue down my ass. I’m so worried that I don’t realize how good it feels. His tongue goes deep inside of me. I moan out desperately grabbing onto the bed sheets. I look back to see the man of my dreams bent over feasting on my ass cheeks like it’s some sort of meal. His tongue getting deeper into my ass cheeks. He’s flicking up getting really good in there. That’s when he leans back satisfied with how much I’m moaning and slowly inserts his middle finger into my ass. Because it is lubed up, his finger goes deep inside of my ass. It stays in there for a few minutes and I’m feeling this emotional connection to it.
It’s similar to an emotional connection I had with Onyx.
“I’m sorry this is getting to me,” I interrupt.
“Jesus,” Topaz grunts, “To be honest, I think the kid has a fuckin crush on you.”
“Onyx? What no…he’s not gay.”
“This is California and Onyx is the biggest Metrosexual I know. He flirts with his female fans and his male fans alike. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was bi—”
I pause. If only Topaz knew what Onyx really had talked about he’d realize it had passed just a sexual thing. Onyx had said he was in love with me. Right now this thing Topaz and I had been getting physical, a lot and it was amazing but not even Topaz had said what Onyx was ready to say yesterday to me. It was life-changing. It sucks that I have to pretend like it’s nothing.
“No. That’s not it.”
“I just feel it is. What else would it be?”
“He’s been seeing that Doctor…”
Topaz nods all of a sudden agreeing with me, “Baby your asshole got tight just now when you mentioned the doctor.”
I’d almost forgot his finger was in there. When I remember I feel a tinge of pain that is followed by pleasure when I feel his finger going in and out of my ass slowly finger fucking me as though trying to ease all of the doubts and concerns I was having. I moan deeply. For a moment I almost forget everything. God forgive me for the things I was about to do with Topaz. God forgive me like he would forgive sins. Sins. Like Syn.
Just like that, my mind was back on it.
“We don’t know that doctor from a can of paint. Where did he find him? Craigslist?”
“Good question. Think they just met at an event and the guy shared a business card with him.”
“Exactly. Now all of a sudden it’s an issue. And all of a sudden he wants me out of the house.”
“That’s not going to happen,” Topaz tells me.
I look back at Topaz.
That’s when Topaz leans over on top of me. He mounts me. Him sticking his dick inside of me raw at that moment is the only answer that I need.
“Hell no. You’re here to stay.”
It’s later that day and my talk is Topaz is enough for him to send a rather strict text to Onyx letting him know that there is no way that I’m leaving the household. Topaz and I have been having sex all day and luckily I stop him enough from our workout to get downstairs. Just like that—crisis averted. Not only that but I’ve cooked a meal for everyone.
“What’s that?” Topaz asks walking into the kitchen.
“Family? Copper is still acting weird. Locked himself in his room.”
I shake my head. Fuck. He was still being a pussy about Jericho. I figured if I would give him time he’d be over it by now. What the fuck was taking so long? This guy was literally going through it about what happened with Jericho and I needed to keep an eye on him. I didn’t like him just being dark all the time.
“Did he mention what was wrong with him?” I ask.
I needed to know if Copper was going to keep the story straight and not be weird about Jericho.
“Nah,” Topaz shrugs.
Topaz and I have been losing ourselves in each other for a while now. It’s good for him because he’s not asking questions about Jericho or wondering too much about why Copper is hidden away, but at the same time, it takes away from me needing to solve these issues as well. I couldn’t distract Topaz without myself getting distracted. I needed to deal with Copper sooner or later. He had his time for shock. Time was up. It was time to move on.
“What about Onyx?”
“What about him?” he asks.
“Is he going to join us?”
“Man forget Onyx. Let’s just me and you have a dinner. I can eat it off you,” he whispers.
That’s when Topaz leans over and does this thing that I’ve noticed he does with his tongue. He flicks it quickly up against my neck and it drives me completely fucking crazy. He does it over and over and my mind is in the gutter. It takes every part of me to focus on the meal and not rip his clothes off right here in this kitchen and navigate my throat around that long curved dick of his.
“C`mon focus. Did he text you back about me staying?”
“I make the rules.”
“Did he text you back?”
He shakes his head, “No. He didn’t.”
I didn’t know what that meant. Topaz, of course, had the final say about what happened in the house but the idea that Onyx was having second thoughts about having me around drove me fucking nuts. I couldn’t get my mind off of it. I wanted this meal so that I can get all the brothers back on the same page. I needed time to get them focused.
“Topaz,” I shake my head, “This is serious.”
“You’re cute when you’re worried man,” he states but then smiles dismissing me completely, “Don’t though. You’re not going anywhere. Plus, Onyx is coming in any minute now. We’ll sit down. We’ll clear the air and make sure that everything is back to normal.”
“And the doctor.”
“I’ll tell him that he needs to fire the doctor.”
I smile, “Good boy.”
“Good boy?” he asks raising an eyebrow.
He doesn’t like how I say that. It doesn’t matter though. I lean over and grab his dick through his pants and he forgets all about the demeaning phrase. It’s not like I meant it. It just slipped out. I had nothing but respect for Topaz. I was falling for Topaz. I was falling for Onyx too. That was the problem, I guess.
It takes five more minutes before we hear the door open and footsteps letting me know that Onyx is home. He walks in and I can tell that he seems confused at the dining room table set up. We haven’t had a family dinner in quite some time.
“What’s all this?” Onyx asks.
“I cooked. Don’t worry, it’s a vegan meal,” I tell him, “Was hoping we can all sit down and have a talk.”
I elbow Topaz a little.
“Yeah, we wanted to make sure you were on the same page,” Topaz states.
“He means WE,” I correct Topaz.
Topaz shrugs, “Whatever. You going to sit or what bro? Let’s get this shit over with?”
Onyx looks reluctant, “He said you guys would try this…”
I pause. It’s a strange thing to say. It’s a very strange fucking thing to say.
“Excuse me?” I ask.
“Listen, I can’t stay for dinner,” Onyx lets me know, “My therapist is here.”
“You just saw him yesterday,” Topaz responds rolling his eyes, “What the fuck is so important to talk about in back to back sessions about? Gem just made you a meal here…”
“That’s between me and my therapist,” Onyx states, “I apologize. I hope the two of you enjoy your meal.”
With that Onyx just walks away. He doesn’t say anything else. I listen from the doorway and see him let someone else in. I hear the voice. The voice of Syn. This wasn’t going down. This wasn’t going to fucking keep happening.
You were supposed to cut the grass so you can see the snakes. It’s clear when I hear Syn’s voice that I’d let a snake in my house.
But what happened when you ran the lawnmower with the snake still in said grass?
The meal is romantic, even though I didn’t mean it to be. Topaz tries to take my mind off of everything happening with Onyx but not even he can really do that. After the meal, he goes to bed.
And I go to the pool area…
To lie in wait.
A few hours pass.
The door closes when Onyx walks Syn out. He closes the door at that moment. Onyx doesn’t see me in the darkness. I’m standing in the pool area. It’s the same pool area that Rachel Monroe had her little accident. Onyx closes the door. He has no idea who he’s talking to. He really thinks that Syn Clinton is anyone’s doctor. It’s not even the slightest bit convincing either. Syn looks like he watched a bad episode of a movie or something but Onyx clearly has swallowed it all up. Of course, he would go to Onyx, the youngest and clearly the most gullible Monroe brother.
I’m a tiger right now in the darkness and I stalk Syn all the way to the fucking obvious rental car that he has. I am watching Syn walk while I’m in the darkness and I swear I could just pounce on him right now.
“He’s a cute one. Now I get your little obsession…” he says without turning around.
Maybe he expects me. Maybe he feels my tension at that moment. There is so much of the tension too. It’s damn near something tangible.
Syn turns around and our eyes connect. For a moment, I forget how it feels like to look in his eyes. He has this smirk on his face. The sort of smirk you just want to wipe off. He looks at me as though he has the whole world figured out and no one else does. I had thought I would never have to see that condescending look again, but here it was, right on my doorstep.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
“I’m shattered. Is that the kind of greeting I get?” he asks me, “I thought I was your friend. I guess reality hit you hard with that, huh?”
“You don’t belong here. Why are you here?” I ask before realizing the questions I asked were too far complicated. I jump back a few steps, “How are you here?”
We’re in the car right now. One of the brothers could come out at any moment and see me having a conversation with “Dr. Grady” here. I knew I was risking it but at the same time, I couldn’t just let him walk away without finding out why he was posing and having this meeting with Onyx.
“So I’m at home and the man I love is gone. You ever had that happen to you. Of course, you have. You seem like the tragic type. Well, he leaves. You know. And I’m left with nothing. And I’m eating ice cream. Gained 10 goddam pounds.”
“Listen I’m sorry to hear that—-”
“I’m not here for your fuckin’ sympathies weirdo. Don’t interrupt me again.”
He’d come on my doorstep and he was throwing around his weight. How funny. I’m staring at him and he’s staring at me and things get thick. We both get quiet. A part of me wants to just push him into the pool and drown him right then and there. No one would miss someone like Syn. No one would worry about the fact that he was gone. I’d be doing the world a favor. He wasn’t a good person.
I look at the edge of the water.
Syn wasn’t much of a fighter. I could do it if I really wanted to. I remember one time he kept messing with this fat boy and the boy literally dragged Syn like a rag doll across the ward like a rag doll. He was all talk but there was a shady side to him.
How long would it take for him to drown? How long would I have to hold him under the water? I take a few steps to the side of him. He’s facing the pool now. All I had to do is tackle him.
Would he be able to get a scream out before I held him under the water?
“Go on,” I tell him, “Sorry for interrupting.”
I look at his muscles. He’s put on weight. That’s for sure. The old Syn would have been easy to drown. This one would put up a fight. Were the brothers asleep by now? Probably all of them except Onyx. He liked to get his facial routine blogged before he went to bed. His room was on the other side of the house though. I could get away with drowning him probably…hopefully.
“I’m scrolling through Instagram finding some way to drown out my fucking bitterness and I come across you. I saw your little workout video. Why is Coy in a workout video—I asked. With the Monroe brothers at that. And look; they are calling him Gem Monroe. And then I put two and two together. That kid who volunteered at the ward. Was his name Gem? Wasn’t it?”
“Listen I can explain…”
I take a few steps toward him. It was now or never. I could kill him right here and now. Syn would be trouble for me. He was the last thing standing between me and happiness.
“Take two steps back.”
“Take two steps back in the other direction,” he states and I see him dig in his briefcase and pull out a taser, “Just in case you get any clever ideas.”
Syn was never a fighter, but he was fucking smart. I’ll give him that. That guy that dragged him back at the ward ended up having a mental breakdown a day after he attacked Syn. No one knew what happened, but I did. Syn had found another way in. He found another way to attack him.
“Are you joking? A taser? Is it that serious?” I ask him, “Do you think I’m going to hurt you? We’ve known each other forever.”
Syn’s smirk hasn’t left his face. He’s way too comfortable. He’s way too prepared. The gun makes a weird zapping sound. It unsettles me.
“It’s a stun gun. The label said it was the Vipertek VTS-989 stun gun is consistently rated as one of the best stun guns. It has Snatch Prevention, which means if an attacker tries to grab the stun gun from you, the shock plates on the side will deliver a high voltage shock. It delivers 53 million volts of electricity. You know how much that is, Coy?”
I shake my head and frown up my face, “Really? You really come here and bring a stun gun as if I’m the aggressor?”
“You take another step towards me and I bury this in your fucking Adam’s apple. Then I’ll proceed to stomp on your balls. Where’s Gem?”
Why did it matter to him? He never gave two fucks about the staff at the ward. Hell, he treated half of them like shit and didn’t know the other half existed. They all hated his fucking guts. He was never likable. Not like me. I heard what they said about him. They all thought he was fucking crazy. I heard one doctor contemplating bringing shock therapy back for Syn. I don’t know if it was a joke that I just overheard, but the fact that the people he said it to didn’t laugh made me think that they all wished it was possible.
Syn Clinton was the devil and somehow the devil had shown up on my doorstep.
“I can explain,” I state.
“I didn’t come here for an explanation,” Syn tells me before, “I came here for cash.”
“So this is blackmail?”
“I’ll get you it.”
I’d have to find a way to talk to the brothers about giving me cash. Maybe I could play up Topaz’s need to take care of everyone. Or maybe I could cater to Onyx’s ego for the money. Hell, I could find a way to use Jericho’s death against Copper somehow.
I look at Syn after making the promise, but I see him squint at me. He’s sizing me up. I can tell he is. I hate how he does that. He did it back at the ward too.
“That’s way too easy,” he states, “I need 3 times that.”
“Your video got a million likes. You live the life here huh?”
Did Grady help him? Was he here on his own? I look at him looking at me. I put on a smile but inside of me, I want to open my mouth and chew out his fucking esophagus.
“And if I don’t give it to you?” I ask, “What are you going to do? Call the police.”
They’d lock us both back up.
“Oh fuck the police,” he tells me, “The whole system is corrupt. But I’ll find a way to make your life a living hell. You understand? I want that money. Do we have a deal?”
“Why would you do this to one of your best friends? I’ve always been nice to you…”
“Drop the act—Coy—”
Hmph. I shake my head and turn towards the water. Maybe it was best not to show the nice guy to someone like Syn. Syn didn’t deserve ‘the nice guy’. He didn’t deserve the smile or the sweetness. He didn’t deserve someone who cared. No. He deserved the other guy. The other guy was buried deep in there and he was going to get all of that.
I look at the water.
“You know who I am, huh?” I ask, “If you knew half…if you knew a tenth of what I was…you would have never have come here.”
“There it is. The monster’s come out to play,” Syn states.
He’s smiling. Syn thought this was a game. Everything was a game to him even back then. I look over at him. I need to warn him. I need to. We were friends at one point after all. I cared about him. At that moment as I am looking at him tears are coming down my eyes. They are legit tears. They start streaming down my cheeks and my heart is beating fast.
“I’m scared Syn…I’m scared…”
“Scared of what?”
“I’m scared for you,” I tell him, “I don’t want anything to happen to you. I really don’t. This path you’re going down though. It won’t end well. Trust me.” I wipe my eyes. No more tears. I add in a solemn, cold, blank tone, “It never does.”
Syn turns and starts walking to his car. He isn’t heeding my warning.
“Get me my money, Coy.”
I follow him to his car. I watch as he gets in. I’m at the window.
“Please, Syn. For your own well-being. Don’t make me desperate. You won’t like me desperate. I get very, very desperate when I need to be. Please. I’m begging you.”
He looks at me for a minute. For a second I hoped he was taking my warning. He definitely is listening. He even rolls down the window. His eyes press on me and for a moment he seems as though it is all sinking in.
But then he just shakes his head, “You call that begging? That’s all? You don’t even get on your knees? Don’t worry. I’ll teach you how to beg.”
It’s a shame.
That’s all I can think of when he was driving off.
I tried. I really did. But I couldn’t save everybody.