Addiction - Chapter Three: Mr. Death's Head

Story by Rufus01 on SoFurry

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#3 of Addiction

Thank you all for reading the first two chapters of Addiction. I'd like to introduce this week's installment of Alex and Dustin's story.

Chapter 4 will appear on 8/19/15.

This is a work of fiction that will contain graphic incest between consenting adult characters. All characters are 100% fictional. Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

This week Alex is settling into her senior year and quickly discovers she may have bitten off more than she can chew. We also get to meet her social group, which I like to call the teen girl squad. Several of these people will become more important characters. Alex is also introduced to a boy from school. He is clean cut on the outside, but what kind of secrets does he have? Will Alex swallow her pride and ask for a second date? Will her relationship with Dustin fizzle and go back to the bad old days? Will all this incest I've been promising ever happen? Stay tuned for the next installment of Addiction.


Chapter Three

Mr. Death's Head


Rufus Quentin

September 10-12, 1998

It was sad but true. A week after school started it felt as if the summer never happened. I walked through the halls of my high school as if I hadn't left them for two and a half months. I fell into my routine of classes, homework, and chores, forgetting that anything could possibly exist outside of this small and insular world of general education. My brother was right in warning me about taking five AP classes. By the following Monday I had drained every ounce of energy I spent the last ten weeks collecting. As such the slog began. I'd drudge from class to class, performing the same repetitive task of listening, note-taking, and cross-referencing with my text book, the same set of study skills that had taken me this far. I saved a page on the back of my notebook where I would make hatches for every day that passed. That list looked depressingly short.

High school was indeed a lonelier place my senior year. Of the few people in my circle who still remained local I considered Bryn my closest friend among them. She was in my class since first grade, but it wasn't until freshmen or sophomore year where we really connected. She was a greyhound, tall and lanky with a figure as close to a Barbie doll as you could expect to find in real life. I thought she was beautiful, though she lacked the confidence to see that about herself. I never could convince her that her long muzzle and rose ears were anything other than self-deprecating, poor thing. She possessed the brains, the familial background, and the fashion sense to be part of any group she wanted. Had she only been a little more extroverted she would have been a fine candidate for the inner circle of the popular crowd. She stuck with me though and became my most loyal friend. For that I felt grateful.

"Hey Alex!" Bryn called to me one morning a few weeks into the semester. Her accent was worse than mine or my brother's and she never made an attempt to repress it.

"Hey Bryn!" I called to her, stepping quickly from the auditorium door a moment after parting ways with my brother. Given the small size of our school, 250 people total during a good year, we had free reign of the lockers. Bryn and I set up ours right next to each other in the so called senior corridor. Normally it was a big honor to finally move into that hall, but I couldn't care less. I was too ready to be done.

Bryn looked like she was just about done packing for the first two periods. She slammed her locker shut and zipped up her backpack just as I got started. "Ugh," she uttered, "I can't stand Calc in the mornings. Why do they always stick us into the hard classes during first period?"

"Assholes," I said. "They are incompetent here. I bet they get paid to screw us over."

"Darn right," she said. It actually never bothered me to have difficult classes early. It meant they were over right away, but I noticed it was always best to agree with Bryn and the others, since there seemed to be a culture of commiseration developing since our upper-classmen friends graduated.

"Do you have everything?" I asked as I traded books in my backpack with those in my locker.

"Not all of it. Left the last five questions on last night's homework blank. Can always do it during the lecture."

I nodded and slammed my own locker shut. In a moment we were walking down the hall. If routine held up, we would meet Amanda by the stairwell. Amanda ranked a close second in my order of friends. She was the most recent addition to our clique. The lynx indeed waited for us in her usual spot. She wore a floral dress made of cotton. It was typically something someone would wear in July or August, but since September managed to support a heatwave, it didn't seem out of the ordinary to spot something like that. "Hey you guys," she said as we approached.

"Hey Amanda," said Bryn, "love your dress."

"Thanks!" she said. "I picked up three this summer. They were on sale at the outlet mall over outside Charleston. Remember Justin? He took me there. Paid for all three."

"Lucky," Bryn said.

Amanda had a way with men. This guy named Justin, as far as I could recall, had been her recent, or one of her most recent boyfriends. Typically she went through them faster than fashions, but the latest may have come from a family of means, which in those parts meant longevity in the world of relationships. I always wondered why Amanda chose to belong to us. She had free reign I guess as long as she had money and an eye for fashion.

I stood idly by as Bryn and Amanda chatted it up about upcoming trends. Their language was about as cryptic as ancient Sumerian to me. I'd gotten pretty used to going underutilized in most group conversations with my classmates. I spent my fair share of time standing around, waiting for the bell to ring, which it did within the minute. First we had Calc, then Chemistry in the second period. Those were the two hardest classes and the ones I was glad to have out of the way. Then came English, American History, and French after our short little fifteen minute break. Lunch came after that. Lunch was useless. I hated it. The idea of having breaks ceased to be of any interest to me since seventh grade. It just robbed me of the chance to be home an hour earlier and meant that I would somehow have to put up with embarrassing conversation for an hour.

Bryn and I had pretty much the same schedule. Amanda parted from us for English through French, only to meet up at our table three hours later. Heather joined us too. She was a regular. The mare joined us from the athletic tables a year before and I had nothing against her. We used to play on the school's women softball team, though we never really talked much during those days. Bryn, Amanda, and Heather had helped themselves to their home-packed lunches. I resorted to a cold government lunch of some mystery salad and its pre-packaged accouterments. Jennifer joined us later, also with the same sketchy lunch I had. Jennifer was always there. The black bear was a raging pile of negativity, but like the rest of us refuges, we gave her a good home. The last person to join us was the doe Melissa. She must have had some sort of a falling out with her clique, since she didn't always join us, but had more and more since the year began. We all ended up sitting around the same cafeteria table. I did my best to keep up and participate. It won you points to say something funny or astute every now and then.

"He's a total prick, but at least he's cute," Heather said, more or less poking at her government issue salad in the same way I did mine.

"I know!" Melissa chimed in, "He has like zero social skills. Like, he's trying to put us off. Like really. Like that one time, remember? You and me, Amanda, he was hitting Charlene up right in front of us. Only after like five minutes did he even say hi to us, and that's all."

"He's got money," Jennifer said. "Bought Charlene that prom dress last year."

"Lucky bitch," Melissa said. "How many sophomores go to prom?"

"Speaking of which, Homecoming is coming up," Amanda said.

"Oh my god. I can't wait." Melissa said "I found this amazing dress at Herberger's in Huntington. Just need another fifty bucks."

"Do you have a date?" Amanda asked.

"Shit yes. I'm going with Joshua of course. Hoping he fronts me the rest of the money I need," said Melissa.

"Of course," said Amanda, "Michael hasn't asked me yet, but I'm sure he will."

"Lucky," Jennifer chimed in. "I doubt I'll find anyone by Homecoming."

"Have you asked Brian?" asked Jennifer.

"He's a complete jerk. I've hung out with him a couple of times. All he wants to do is bone and play Nintendo," Jennifer said.

"His younger brother is kinda nice," Heather said.

"He's like fifteen!" Jennifer replied.

"How do you know his little brother?" Amanda asked.

"He and my little bro hang out. Mom makes me drive them around all the time," said Heather.

"Oh," said Melissa.

"What about you? Alex you going?"

I looked up, a little startled. I usually zoned out when the girls talked about boys or fashion, which is all they ever talked about when you got them into a group. If it were possible to feel completely isolated even among a lot of people, that's how I felt around lunchtime. Safety in numbers I thought, or at least anonymity. I put down my fork and stammered. "Uh. Well. I don't know. Haven't found anyone yet."

"Figures," Melissa said, which made me glare at her.

"Now wait," Byrn said, "it hasn't been easy on any of us. Once you've been sitting next to the same lot of boys for four plus years, there's not much else left."

"Exactly," I said.

"There are not that many collies at school either," Heather said, "if that's what you're looking for."

"I'll settle for anyone that isn't a tool," I continued.

"Might as well stop looking," said Jennifer.

"Looks like she already has," said Melissa. "You dress like Heather's little brother."

A fantasy of me ripping out Melissa's throat passed through my thoughts, but being sweet old me, I didn't act on it. "I haven't given up," I reminded Melissa, "and if I did it wouldn't affect my wardrobe."

"I like the way she dresses," said Bryn. "It's daring. Gets her noticed."

"You can make your own dresses right?" asked Amanda.

I nodded.

"That one you made way back when was gorgeous. Back when you were with that one guy."

"Riley," I reminded her.

"Yea! You looked so beautiful in that. I can't believe you made that all by yourself. Do you still sew?"

I nodded again.

"If you're not too busy, I might have you make me one. Or at least alter one of mine from last year. I don't have all that much money to buy a new one and I really want to be a stunner!" Amanda said with enthusiasm.

"Sure," I said, glad to have moved on to a more positive subject. Getting backed up in an awkward situation would have made me say yes to anything.

"Have you asked Gareth?" Jennifer inquired.

"Gareth, of course." Said Bryn. "You'd be a perfect match for him."

The name rang a bell, but a faint one. If memory served me correct, Gareth caused a stir a year ago for having brought in some sort of Revolutionary War era musket to class. He faced a very well publicized, albeit short, suspension which even made it to the Charleston Gazette. It took me a while to trace back my mental picture of the guy who that name belonged to. I pictured some sort of canine, maybe a dalmatian or someone with spots, but I could have been wrong.

"Yea," said Melissa, "you're perfect for him. I think he's single too."

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Well. He's a collie," Bryn said, "border, and really cute. I think he gets pretty good grades, like you do. That and his parents have money. I think his dad does something in Huntington."

"Joshua is friends with him, I think," said Melissa. "I think we might be able to hook you up with him."

"A date?" I asked.

"Sure," said Bryn. "Do it, if he wants to. How long's it been since you broke up with that last guy?"

"Year and a half."

"Fuck," said Melissa.

"Damn," said Heather.

"I'd go crazy if I were single so long!" Exclaimed Amanda.

"How do you do it?" Jennifer asked.

"Is a year and a half really that long?"

"I go nuts if I'm single for like three months," Melissa said.

"No. I've been single for a really long time too," said Bryn. "It's really not that bad."

"But there's so many other canines at school," said Jennifer.

"Well, most of them are dicks," said Amanda.

"Exactly," I chimed in, "I'm open to non canines too. It's more about the personality for me."

"Don't worry," said Bryn. "We'll help find someone for you. I didn't think it'd gotten this bad or else I'd have jumped in sooner."

"Is it really?" I asked.

"Well," said Bryn, afraid to continue.

"It ain't good," said Amanda. "Definitely figured you'd had a beau by now. Or at least had one in between."

"And if it doesn't pan out with Gareth, I have a cousin over in Louisa. Whole 'nother crowd over there. We can see about going to a game over there or maybe there's a party."

"Louisa? Really?" Jennifer chimed in. "Didn't your cousin just get busted for selling drugs?"

"He didn't, his dad did," Bryn snapped. "Nevermind then."

"Same difference," Jennifer said, rolling her eyes.

"Anyway," continued Amanda, "slim pickin's here. I completely understand why you've been unlucky. I know Huntington's a ways away, but there are boys there too. We can drive over, especially if we make that dress together. Hit the fabric store and spend some time there looking pretty."

"Huntington? No thanks, if I wanted a boyfriend I could never see, I already have that," I said with disapproval. "We can still work the place over though. When do you want to go?"

"I'll call you tomorrow to let you know when I can get the car again."

I did meet up with Gareth the next day. Apparently my clique managed to set the wheels of the high school romance apparatus into motion with some urgency. He was waiting at my locker just after seventh period. I'd seen him before. He introduced himself and then things clicked. He was a border collie, around my height, perhaps an inch or two shorter. He had an unusual red coat of fur taking the place of the black patches one normally expected to see on a member of his breed. He wore a dark red unbuttoned Lacoste shirt, an obvious product of the outlet mall near Charleston. An ornate crucifix hung on a heavy silver chain around his neck, one too big to get concealed under his chest ruff.

"Hey," the collie said, after I'd unlocked my locker and traded out all the books I'd need for the evening. I noticed Bryn standing down the hall, but she vanished around a corner as soon as she noticed us together, as if trying to give us space. I could have used some backup, but I guess I had to work up the courage eventually.

"Hi," I said to the canine, shyly stepping in his direction.

"You're Dustin's sister right? I think I'm in a few classes with your brother."

"Oh," I said. "That's me."

"Look, I'll be honest," he said after a moment of pause. "I got some friends who said I should talk to you."

"Sorry to waste your time," I said.

"Not a waste. Been seeing ya around and wanted to talk to you anyway. Can I give you a ride?"

I contemplated the request for a second. I wasn't impressed by this guy's approach, but if it put me home sooner, it would be worth the awkwardness. I sized him up. I could cut him if I needed to. "Sure," I said, "just give me a second."

I finished packing up the things I needed and soon I walked side by side next to him out of the building and toward the parking lot. I relished the idea of being home in a mere half hour instead of the hour plus from busing it. He drove a new model jeep, a lovely car. The collie probably came from money. I hate to sound shallow, but from my teenage perspective, I felt impressed by the fact.

He brushed a few items from his passenger side seat and invited me in. The car even smelled new. It was perhaps one of the newest I've ever ridden in. We were out of the lot and on the highway in no time. On the downside Gareth happened to be one of the laconic types, or perhaps he was just giving me his mysterious cowboy type impression. Sadly it had me captivated. I sat there beside him, thinking of the best way to start a smart conversation, a question that would make me sound cool enough to be worthy of the attention he gave me. Everything I could think of seemed trivial. I just looked over, watching him steer with one arm and stare unblinking down the winding road. Music blared, a Christian rock station, one of three you could pick up with some regularity in our area. The DJ came on and reminded us who to praise and what local businesses we should frequent.

"Your brother is kind of a dork," he said eventually.

"Yea, he is," I sadly had to agree, despite or maybe, because of recent events.

"We're in Comp together, and Chemistry. Had him in a lot of classes over the years, come to think of it."

"I'm sorry," I said, looking out the window. I felt guilty talking about my brother, but it felt better than silence and it broke the ice.

"He knows his guns, which is pretty alright I guess, but that's all he ever talks about. The rest of the time he's either asleep or clowning around."

"Didn't you bring in that gun that one time?"

"Oh yea, fuck, complete overreaction. How dangerous is a two hundred year old flintlock? Takes like two god-damn minutes for me to reload."

I chuckled. "Didn't you get suspended?"

"Just three fucking days. I just brought it for a history class. It wasn't even loaded. Think I'd be stupid enough to bring black powder? Fucking Mrs. Cathcart confiscated it after my presentation. Had to call my dad in to pick it up. They only really gave me a suspension because I tried to take it home myself. Good thing the principal is a reenactor and my dad's hunting buddy. Otherwise it would have been a week."

"Jesus," I said.

"I know," he said. "So what do you like?" He asked, finally learning a bit of courtesy.

"Well," I said, quickly blurting out the number one priority of my life. "I just want to get the fuck out of here."

Gareth chuckled. "Don't we all. But what do you do, I mean, for fun?"

"Jack shit since we lost our sponsor for softball this year."

"We had a women's softball team?"

"Yea, no one really noticed apparently. Donatello went out of business an no one else picked us up. A lot of sponsors died off so not much left."

"So you into sports and shit like that?"

"Yea, but just the stick and ball stuff. Was hoping to get a softball scholarship for college, but I guess that's out the window now."

"You the college type?"

"Yea. All my brothers went, except for Brandon, who's still sitting around the house."

"Where do you want to go?"

"Brown," I said, "but a lot depends on money, ya know? Wherever I can get a scholarship really. Emory is kind of nice. Duke. Chapel Hill. Whoever will get me the fuck outta West Virginia, or at least outta this area."

"My dad works for WVU. He's some sort of lawyer for them. Works a lot from home. That's where I'm gonna go," he said, speaking as if he'd already recieved his acceptance letter.

"Nice," I said, finding the assertiveness of his intent to go to college the right kind of arrogant.

"Yea. He gets some sort of staff discount, alumni shit. Probably get a free ride if I keep my grades up."

I was impressed. WVU wasn't the best school on earth, but a decent backup. Perhaps he had a connection I could milk. "Cool," I said, playing it as such.

"What else ya like? Music? Movies? Getting high?"

"What? No. I like the classics and a bit of Sci-fi. Indiana Jones. Robocop. Then stuff like The Princess Bride and The Breakfast Club. I hate to say it, but I'm a bit of a Star Wars nerd too. As far as music goes I'm listening to REM and CCR a lot. I sure as hell don't get high. That's my brother's thing. I don't have the time or money to waste on that shit."

"Cool." Gareth said, "I liked Robocop. Can't say I've seen the others. Don't really watch Sci-Fi since I think they're either really weird or hard to follow. I'm more the old school war movie type. I like the James Bond series too."

"Music?" I asked.

"Eh. Your usual. Five Iron Frenzy, MxPx."

"Christian stuff?"

"I guess. Usually just listen to what's on the radio."

"I see," I said and then things got quiet. "I like your car," I said after the silence grew awkward.

"Thanks," Gareth said. "Early graduation present. Uncle owns the dealership over in Ashland. Don't you have a car?"

"I do," I said, pausing for a second. "Sorta." The issue was a sore subject.


"Got an old truck, but I have to share it with my brother. Plus it broke down on us a few weeks ago."

"How do you get to school?"

I sighed. "Bus."

"Do you want me to pick you up tomorrow?"

"Isn't that out of your way?"

"Just a few minutes, I'm always there early anyway."

"I'd like that," I said, giving a smile.

Gareth dropped me off a little while later. We exchanged pleasantries but not much more beyond that, except for the time he'd pick me up tomorrow morning. I couldn't say I felt a spark; no love at first sight, but I didn't believe in that anyway. I was already at my desk doing my homework when my brother got home. I heard the door open and shut downstairs, as well as the creaking of floorboards that could only be him. He came to my room circa fifteen minutes later, giving the faint coded knock that was his trademark.

"Hey Alex," Dustin said, pushing the door open.

"Hi," I said, looking up from my textbooks.

"Missed you on the bus today."

"Got a ride."

"From whom?"

"You know Gareth?"

"That tool? What's he want with you?"

"Some of the girls must have talked him into it. He was actually kinda nice to me."

"He's a prick," Dustin said.

"Yea, either that or he's got manners. Can't all have been raised by wolves like you," I said, mainly to contradict my brother.

"Those wolves raised you too," he said. "None of them taught you to be a bigot."

"What do you know about him?"

"He's a reenactor."

"Like civil war shit?"

"More. Takes his confederate memorabilia way too seriously. Likes his Nazi shit too."

"Doesn't make him a bigot."

"Um, Nazis? Trust me. You planning on like 'eh, you know." Dustin made an in-out gesture sliding his index finger on one paw through a ring of thumb and forefinger on the other.

"Sick," I said. "God dammit, all he did was bring me home."

"It's what he's thinking."


"Gotta be honest. Virile young buck. He'll lay it down soon enough."

I turned away and pretended to get back to my work.

"So when ya going out with him again," Dustin asked.

"Haven't decided," I spoke, talking as much to my books as to Dustin. "He did ask me to go with him to Huntington sometime. Maybe this weekend."

Dustin reached into his back pocket and whipped out his wallet. A moment later he tossed a small plastic wrapped square on my bed. My ears perked to the sound. I looked over and noticed a packet on my sheets and recognized it immediately. "Play it safe," my brother said and backed out of the door. I seethed. I picked up the square and noticed that the latex inside had already degraded to dust.

"Fucker!" I shouted loud enough for everyone in the house to hear and tossed the expired condom into my wastebasket, touching it as if it had been recently used. I could hear my brother chuckling down the hall. I couldn't concentrate on my homework after that.

On the car ride to school the next morning I managed to steer the conversation to the prospect of hanging out on the weekend. Due to some slyness on my part or some primitive male drive on Gareth's we agreed to go to Huntington together on Saturday, the typical friendly first date spot for all of us at school. I'd decided I wanted this date mainly to tee off my brother. As soon as I mentioned Gareth and our plans to him he'd show me how easy it was for him to go back into his old ways. It was a protest date, though it represented my last best chance of finding love, or at least a relationship in high school, which would have been a nice narrative to take with me when I went into college. Homecoming was coming up, Sadie Hawkins, prom was a ways off but already on the conversation radar around school. Though I hadn't put much value on those sorts of things my junior year, as a senior I felt compelled to make the most of it. High school level peer pressure also had its way of making a dateless senior feel like an old maid, even though I was just barely a legal teenager in the standing of federal law.

Dustin displayed an expected reaction when he saw me come into the kitchen that Saturday morning dressed more feminine than I usually preferred. I was showered, trimmed, combed, and perfumed elegantly enough not to make myself nauseous of my own fragrance. I wore a dress I'd tailored myself for just such an occasion, a floral one in fall colors. Despite the fact that I'd made it according to my own measurements it felt awkward on me. It felt like a Halloween costume, or rather some infinitely more embarrassing mascot outfit than the stinky falcon thing we had at school. One of the downsides to having a boyfriend, I thought as I stumbled through the living room feeling oddly naked in the thin fabric, was that I probably had to dress like this more frequently.

"Look who's all gussied up," my brother said, sipping his coffee in nothing more than his boxers. He flipped on the radio and ran a paw through his head fur, his long tufts looking particularly unkempt.

"God, what happened to you?" I asked. "Come off a bender or what?"

"When was the last time I've seen you in a dress? God, you must really have a crush on this guy."

"Shut up," I said.

"Crush," He sung in a hushed voice.

"At least I have a date, one I spent the last two and a half hours getting ready for. You have fun hanging out here all day with Brandon."

"I'll have you know I've had a very productive morning."

"Doing what?"

"Chopping wood."

"Wait what? When did you... oh gross!" I threw the nearest possible object at him, an empty can of Tab bounced off his elbow.

Dustin chuckled as he deflected the projectile.

I shook my head at my brother. "Why would you tell me that? You are one sick puppy," I said, noticing I felt a little bit less nervous than I had a moment earlier. Spending the morning preening had put me on edge.

"Besides," he said, trying to stifle his continued chuckling "while you are out there swapping spit with your honey up in Huntington, I'll be working on my truck."

"Your truck? The hell! You can fix 'our' truck."

"And what do I get for fixing 'our' truck while you are making out with your new boyfriend?"

"Just get her fixed," I said. "I have to..."

The doorbell rang an interruption. Dustin got up and followed me to the door. I felt like barking at him to stay out of view, but if he wanted to embarrass himself by being seen with bed-fur, wearing nothing but boxers at the crack of noon, so be it. Gareth stood there, looking like he did every day at school, wearing one of his name brand outfits that didn't seem to fit him despite their European cut. This time he was wearing a pair of sunglasses, a big reflective pair I'd usually only seen on cops.

"Hi!" I said in a quick vent, shyly greeting him.

"Hey," he said, and lifted a paw. "Hey Dustin," he said again, swaying to the side and taking note of my brother who moved in behind me in all of his indecency.

My brother lifted a paw, but otherwise remained silent.

"You get started on Mrs. Strombotne's project yet?" Gareth asked, making small talk.

My brother shook his head.

"Fair enough," Gareth said. "You ready Alex?"

I nodded and said my goodbyes to my brother. I closed the door on him and tried to forget him as I followed Gareth out to his jeep. It was a warm day and the sun was shining. A thin white haze made everything seem as if it happened in a film. We were on the road a few minutes later, driving the familiar stretch to the highway. I sat there with paws folded on my lap, clutching the thin fabric and wishing I dressed more like myself.

"Your brother always like that?" Gareth asked, breaking the ever more awkward silence.

"Well," I said, trying to think of something to defend him, but coming up short.

"I'd kinda expect that from the rednecks by the mine, but shit, he's supposed to be an adult? Running naked through the house?"

"I know," I said, "it's embarrassing."

"I already felt sorry for him for being such a dork at school. How do you put up with that?"

"Sometimes I don't know. Other times he's really not that bad. I think he might be a little misunderstood."

"That's a good way of putting it. He gets to be anti-social and its our fault for not understanding him."

"Hey," I said, "he's really not that bad. Lay off him a bit. You guys have a lot in common."

"Don't say that," he said perturbed.

I figured I'd gone too far and dialed it back. "Well, since you're both into history and all."

"He just has a different interpretation of world events," Gareth said. "Aren't you also related to Brandon Finlay?"

"Yea, he's my older brother. He's still hanging out with us. Don't see much of him though. Somehow he's always around."

"Gotcha, I think my brother was friends with him."

"I'll ask if he knows him."

"You got any others?"

"Two more. Nathan who's a doctor in residency over in Charlotte and Daniel who just got a job with a law firm in Atlanta."

"Good for them. See you're from good stock then. Dustin is just the exception. What do your parents do?"

"My dad's got all sorts of jobs. He was a foreman for the mine before it closed. Now he helps manage that building supply lot down south of Kenova. He oversees construction on the side and does contracting work here and there. Hardly ever see him."

"What about your mom?"

"Oh, well, I don't really have one."

"I'm sorry," Gareth said.

"Oh, not that. My parents split when I was like a year old. Hardly remember her."

"Still sucks."

"What do you want to do?"

"I want to study law. Like my dad."


"It's cake work. Pay is amazing. I want to do something that pays well, ya know?"

"I hear ya. I want to help people too, but have to pay the bills first," I said.

"Law. Easy shit. They say math is important and all that and they're right. Everybody knows the future of money is in the World Wide Web. People can buy shit on there now. Play video games. But if you can't really deal with programing, you know, the stuff the Asians got the market cornered on anyway, law is the way to go. It's the last thing out there we might be good at."

There was a lot that made me uncomfortable with that statement, even though in all his politically incorrect jargon I felt he was trying to make a valid point. I wanted to ask 'Just who is we,' but I bit my tongue. "It's true," I said, combating my inner voice.

"Y2K is coming up. Things are gonna change. It's gonna be up to us to defend liberty and all that. Fuck, look at Russia, China, the Europeans are useless, whatever happened to them?"

"Got tired of a half century of poverty, inflation, and war?"

"Fucking Europe. Regulations. Turned them into softies. The Germans in particular. Brits too. Had those two teamed up like Hitler wanted, damn."

Again, I really wanted to shake my head and slap this kid. This time I audibly sighed. Gareth's opinions were not odd for the area. Lord knows I'd heard worse, but his rhetoric nonetheless demonstrated an acute case of historical nearsightedness, and that was the best I could call it. "You don't actually buy into the Nazi stuff?"

"Oh fuck no," he said. "I'm a Christian. I believe in liberty. I'm also cool with the Jews too. Fucked up what happened to them. Thank God Israel is our friend right now. Only bastion of liberty in the Middle East. I just think the past is interesting, particularly what happened around WWII."

"I guess so," I said, biting my tongue and trying to be non-confrontational.

"I dig that period. Watched all the documentaries. Love the History Channel. I started collecting artifacts."


"Yea, like, I'm into the German stuff from WWII. Got some nice rifles, some medals, a couple of knives and what not. Even a flag from a Leipzig class cruiser. Fuckin' huge. Takes up a whole wall of my room and then some."

"Like a swastika?"

"Friggin' bigger than my car, yea."

I kind of grew quiet at that point.

"Yea," Gareth continued, "my dad has a really big collection. Even got me started collecting. He has a whole room full of stuff. I'll inherit half of it. Rare stuff in there. He basically has everything that came from the SS barracks at Sobibor. He even has a Luger with an engraving that says it was given by Himmler. Bunch of rings too. Check this one out."

He extended his right fist in my direction. I noticed some rather sinister skull and crossbones insignia on a silver ring on his paw.

"Is that what I think it is?"

"You bet. It's an honor ring; one of the upper echelon SS ranks. Original. I happen to have the matching uniform," Gareth said, as if that were a statement worthy of being proud of.

"Did your dad fight in the war?" I asked, looking away from the ring.

"My grandpa did. Brought a lot of stuff back with him. My dad has been adding to the collection a lot." Gareth said.

"Damn," I said, trying to be polite, but already starting to experience that sinking feeling that this date might be a dead end.

"It's not that I agree with the politics, ya know? I just think it's interesting that this country that got shat on by all the allied nations after the first war managed to get their act together so quickly and take control of Europe, ya know? Plus it's not all bad. Without Hitler the country probably wouldn't be what it is today. So in the long run, it's a good thing. They really know how to make uniforms too."

I really didn't have anything else to add.

"They had the best uniforms, the best weapons, the best technology and the best generals. They would've won if it weren't for a few bad decisions. Ya know?"

I shook my head in disappointment.

"If it weren't for the Nazis the U.S. wouldn't have landed a guy on the moon and hell, the Russians would'a probably turned us into a glass-floored self-illuminating parking-lot by now. Da zvdanya."

Silence ensued for the next 10 minutes, the outskirts of Huntington came upon us and the next conversation returned to a point before the awkward revelations of interests we didn't share. I pretty much made my decision about him by the time we made it to city limits. I think Gareth realized he'd stepped too far and did his best job with damage control. He ended up making the trip nice enough for me. He bought me lunch, we spent some time on Main Street and he took me on a walk through Ritter Park. He was quite knowledgeable about his history, despite his patriotic twists. Huntington isn't the most exciting place on earth, but compared to the hamlet we grew up in, it felt like a metropolis. It felt good to be among different people, shop at places that actually had stuff, and go to a restaurant that didn't just serve pizza and hot wings. It could have been his opinions he shared with me on the drive, it could have been the superficial level of conversation that came afterward, or it could have been the disappointing lack of chemistry between he and I, but by the time the sun set and we were back on the road I really wasn't feeling it with him, even with my lowered expectations.

It was too bad, I thought, he was a handsome young man with money and connections. I could fake it, I suppose, and play the affectionate girlfriend for the next year or so and enjoy the status boost that came as a fringe benefit. When I looked down at my dress, the lie it represented, would I? I asked myself if I could go through nine-ten more months or so of deception. Then there was another thing. How much gas money and allowance would he spend on me before awaiting something in exchange? A month, according to my brother, was when they started wanting to cash in.

I looked over at him, how he starred down the road with one arm on the wheel. I sniffed the new car smell. Was this, the status, the fringe benefits, a sound exchange for my virginity or for at least a few degrading sexual maneuvers? Could I postpone the big loss? I couldn't help but picture Gareth over me, drooling and desperately trying to stuff his knot into me. I sighed audibly, briefly attracting the collie's attention. This was not the guy I wanted to take my virginity. Fuck, I couldn't live it down even if I only gave him head.

It was dark by the time he pulled into the driveway. He was gentlemanly enough as if experienced by this sort of thing. He got out and helped me out of the passenger side, a gesture I neither needed nor expected. We walked to the door together and before we parted ways we looked at each other.

"I had a fun day," I said, which was true enough.

"Me too," he said. "It was nice hanging out with you. You're really interesting."

"You too," I said, which was honest, but calling someone interesting was a polite way of saying there was no chemistry.

"Pick you up Monday?"

"Thanks, but I got a ride."

"Truck working again?"

"My brother thinks he can get it going again by then," I lied.

"You'll call me if he can't, right?"

"I certainly will," I said.

Gareth gave me a hug, a short one, that I'm sure he wanted to make last longer. He slipped his paws from me and waited for me to enter into the light of my house. Only after I closed the door on him did I hear his engine start up again and the wheels of his car crush gravel down my driveway. The first thing I did was pad up to my room and get out of that damn dress. It felt like the best thing in the world to have boxers hugging my hips again and to slip one leg at a time into my broken in jeans. I sat down, fully dressed, on my bed and mentally debriefed the day. At least I'd been on a date. That was something; a nice confidence booster. I chuckled to myself. I felt loathe to admit that actually I considered swallowing my pride and calling Gareth for a second date. All I'd have to do is throw myself down the slippery slope of self-esteem loss that would surely result. Fuck it. I can put up with a skewed perception of history. I'd heard others say dumber things. I couldn't love him, despite how cute he looked, that was a fact. Perhaps I just had to learn to love him, isn't that how everyone else did it?

Fuck no, what was I thinking? All signs pointed to the fact that I'd just have to continue being on my own. I'd survived this long. One hundred and seventy more school days to go, plus weekends, plus breaks, plus summer, then I'd get my fresh start. Was there really something so wrong with riding my senior year out alone? Could I deal with the rumors and ridicule? Could I deal with being alone, another social outcast at Wayne County High School? Fuck, that seemed like an eternity.

Addiction - Chapter Three © Rufus Quentin

Addiction - Chapter Two: One hundred seventy-nine

Addiction Chapter Two One hundred seventy-nine By: Rufus Quentin September 1, 1998 It was far worse than we thought. As soon as the diagnosis came in, I knew things would be bad, but this exceeded my expectations. Nothing could have prepared us...

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Addiction - Chapter One: Breakdown

Addiction Chapter One Breakdown By: Rufus Quentin August 15, 1998 It was bound to happen. The both of us knew that it was just a matter of time until our luck would run out and we'd find ourselves stranded without options in the closest place to...

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prioritization and its Merits

Prioritization and its Merits By: Rufus Quentin For: SilverRat For the first time in what Rex felt ashamed to calculate how long, he had his arm around a naked girl in his bed. Of course he had given it to her appropriately, going three rounds in...

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,