Quit Playing Games

Chapter 53

Something ugly this way comes
Through my fingers sliding inside

A quick check told him that no one was looking. That was a rarity. There always seemed to be someone around. A bodyguard, one of the Boys, a fan, someone. Never a moment’s peace or solitude. Hell, the only time he was alone was when he was on the can!

He slipped the tablet in his mouth quickly and then took a big gulp of water. He closed his eyes and let the water roll down his throat. Glancing around, he took another sip, making sure that there were still no eyes on him. There were only a few people in the gym and those that were seemed mesmerized by the television in the corner. Thank god for CNN, he thought.

He was about halfway through his warm-up when he started to feel it take hold. He smiled at the rush of warmth that surged through his body, sighing happily. Miriam had been such a cow about it: insisting that he take the pill as a suppository and not as a tablet, but he was much happier with it this way. First off, no one was sticking anything up his butt, thank you very much. Not even himself. He didn’t like to admit his homophobia, knowing that in his kind of business it wouldn’t go over well. Besides, it had only gotten bad because of the endless crap that people said about him being gay. Shit, can’t you be a nice guy without being accused of being gay?

Second, he liked the way it slowly started to work just as he was getting ready to need it. It took longer to dissolve this way; longer to get into his blood stream. That way he could always be sure that his warm up was what had gotten his heart rate up to optimal level not the drug.

“You’d think the bitch had figured out that by now,” he muttered under his breath. Miriam was clearly not as smart as she thought she was. Still, she had other talents.

He moved over to the weight machines and started his intense workout. He was getting better: the weights were set just that little bit higher and he could almost feel his muscle mass building.

Damn he was good.

I’m on fire
I’m rotting to the core

“Hey D, how’s it going?” Brian asked as he sat down on the machine beside him.

Howie was startled by Brian’s sudden presence, making him realize that he’d been working for over an hour. “Excellent,” he replied, wiping the sweat from his face. “Never better.”

“Good. You really seem to be bulking up. Looks good.”

Howie preened a little as he looked down at his tight abs. “Yeah, it’s getting there,” he smiled. flexing an arm.

“Don’t overdo it, eh. Don’t want you to pull anything,” Brian said as he finished adjusting the weights and lay back on machine.

Howie saw red. Where the fuck does that little pipsqueak get off telling him what to do? If the dumb shit had taken better care of himself he wouldn’t have those damn heart problems he keeps whining about. ‘Oh poor me! I had to have open heart surgery.’ What a little fuckhead!

Swallowing several times to calm himself down, he plastered a weak smile on his face. “I know what I am doing, Rok. Have my own personal trainer to keep an eye on these things too.”

“She sure is doing a good job,” Brian replied, totally unaware how close he’d come to having his throat wrung. “Maybe I’ll see if she can give me some pointers. Where is she, by the way?”

“Upstairs. I’m on my way there now. I’ll pass on your message,” Howie mumbled, springing from the bench and grabbing his gym bag.

Yeah, she was upstairs. Alone. Alone with all those talents of hers just waiting to be used. She thought it was a lot to handle last night, just wait until she saw him now. His workout had been great but it had done nothing to take the edge off. He needed the kind of exercise only she could give him.

And if she couldn’t handle it, well he’d always be able to find someone else.

As I begin to lose my grip
On these realities you’re sending
Taste your mind and taste your sex
I’m naked underneath your cover
Covers lie and we will bend and borrow
With the coming sign
The tide will take
The sea will rise
And time will rape

Black, black heart


“What a wild concert!” Nick crowed as he slung an arm around Jay. “Was I ‘on’ or was I ‘on’ tonight? Man, I rocked the joint!”

Jay chuckled, pulling Nick’s arm off his neck. “You ever heard of deodorant, kid? Or maybe taking a shower after the show?”

Nick snorted. “Spoilsport. What, you don’t like my sweat?” he wiped his hand over his perspiring face and wiped it on Jay’s arm. “That’s 100% Eau de Nick there. Chicks dig that.”

“Yeah well, do I look like a chick?” he retorted, then broke out into chuckles again as Nick took a step back and looked at him appraisingly. “Don’t even say it, Nick.”

“You are so ruining my good mood, bro.”

“All part of the service. So are you taking a shower now or back at the hotel?”

“Here. I am just waiting for AJ to get out. You know him: always trying to take a peek and compare hardware. You’d think he’d just get over it.”

Jay shook his head. “When are you all going to grow up and realize I’m the one who’s packing the most? I’d prove it but it’d just intimidate you all.”

“Yeah right,” Nick laughed.

“Hey! Who is the Boy and who is the man here?” Jay grinned widely, his white teeth shining against his black skin.

A shout from down the hall interrupted Nick before he could reply. “Yo! Kaos! You’re up.”

“Thank god. Go get rid of all that Eau de stinky Nick, would you.” Jay turned away but Nick’s hand restrained him.

“Ah, Jay? I wanted to ask you about something,” he said quietly.

Jay was surprised by his sudden change in tone. “What’s up?”

“Um… I needed to ask…” Nick broke off, checking the hallway to make sure no one was around. “About Jeanne…” he said.

“Something the matter there? Should I arrange for her to go?” Jay had thought things were going well. Okay, so not well, but at least all right. Sure Howie hadn’t done anything but he was focused on his girlfriend right now. Nick and ‘Jeanne’ still seemed to be getting along, though she did seem a little sadder since her return from their break. Probably hoping for a more urgent resolution to all this. He knew he was.

“No, nothing like that. It’s just…” Nick wasn’t sure how to put it. “She isn’t really herself.”

Jay bit back a bark of laughter. “Well, she isn’t herself, Nick,” he said patiently.

“That’s not what I mean. I mean she’s been acting weird. Having trouble sleeping...”

“Nightmares? Again?”

Nick blinked at him. “She had nightmares? Before?”

Jay nodded. “Howie and AJ mentioned them. Real doozies. Wouldn’t say much about them and they did stop, but it’s not what you need right now, hunh?”

Nick shook his head. “Probably why she wanted me to get her some sleeping pills.”

Jay frowned. “Only problem with those is they may not do the trick. I mean they may just make it harder to wake her up if she has another one. I’ll look into it. See if I can find something that’ll work. Maybe I’ll just shift you a little further away from the others. Until it calms down.”

“Thanks, man,” Nick gave a sigh of relief. “There’s nothing major yet – just tossing and turning, you know? But if it gets worse… We didn’t come this far to have it blown by a nightmare, you know?”



“And you are sure these will work?” Kat asked, biting her lip nervously.

“Jay said so. He asked the hotel doctor and these should be great. Help you sleep, though you shouldn’t use them too much ‘cause they, what was it he said? ‘Interrupts REM sleep.’ Fucks around with your dreams basically. Anyway, I wish you wouldn’t use them, but you asked.”

Kat gave him a kiss on the cheek. “They are only ‘just in case.’ I don’t know what it is: just too much going on I guess. Mind’s too active and I can’t rest. I figure I’ll go work out for a while. That’ll take me down physically.” She smiled. “Then I’ll watch the tube for a while. That should kill any left over brain cells I have.”

He chuckled. “Well, that puts a damper on what I was going to do.”

Kat laughed and pulled the sweatshirt over her head before grabbing her Walkman and a water bottle. “You sure you don’t want to come?”

“Nope,” he replied as he snuggled back into the pillows, picking up the remote. “Me and my fried brain cells are gonna watch television. Have fun.”

She waved goodbye and left the room. Nick waited for a few moments – making sure that she wouldn’t return and then reached under the pillow and pulled out a brown envelope. Jay had given it to him when he had dropped off the sleeping pills, saying that it should take care of any of his nightmares too. He’d tried to refuse it but thrust it under the pillows quickly when Kat had come in from the other room.

He stared at for a moment, trying to figure out his confused feelings. He shouldn’t be doing this. He should be trusting her. But with the restless nights and the things he’d heard her mutter in her sleep… He was just being cautious, is all. Making sure that nothing would impact on their plan.

Oh, who was he kidding? He was worried as all hell. He took a deep breath and opened the envelope, pulling the file out. The tab at the top said “Katherine Morgan” in Jay’s bold handwriting.

He hesitated and then with a nervous glance at the door opened the file and began to read.


Black, Black Heart
By David Usher

Chapter 54

(c) Kat Morgan