A/N: Warning; this chapter is difficult to read! it contains violence and rape. Reader discretion is advised.
-From bad to worse-
Despite Joni’s hope, Chris’ jealousy never took a turn back to an easier level, instead, it just kept growing. After being released from the army that autumn, and thus spending more time at home with Chris, it was easier to see.
Chris was frustratingly suspicious of every man he met, any man who approached him. Suspicious towards the modeling gigs he had, the attention they brought. It was rather unpleasant to suddenly become more aware of the controlling side of his boyfriend, to become aware of qualities that made him feel uneasy.
The truth was that Joni would have wanted more time alone with his friends than what Chris was willing to give him. Chris was already starting to intervene in what kind of modeling gigs were acceptable to his standards and too often they fought about it.
Joni started to feel like he was being suffocated, he really didn’t want to take Chris everywhere he went! He didn’t need someone constantly checking on him. Chris hadn’t made friends of his own as fast as Joni would have expected.
The thought of breaking up had crossed his mind several times. So far it had been just a passing thought to silently consider, pushed aside when Chris behaved like the man he had fallen in love with.
Joni had stubbornly held up the hope that the jealousy would ease, and things would work out between them, he wouldn’t have wanted to give up so easily.
But that winter, after two years of being together, yet only months of that time lived together daily, it turned from bad to worse.
They had argued earlier that evening, and many times during that week and Joni was feeling more exhausted with the way things were now between them. He had already turned down several modeling opportunities for Chris, several offers to go abroad and he was starting to question himself was it worth it, was Chris worth it.
And so despite Chris’ dislike, he had decided to attend a rather large fashion show that was held in Helsinki; which had been the cause of their earlier fight. After the show, Joni found himself to be further persuaded into joining an after-party event by his agent; a chance to meet new contacts and getting bigger contracts.
Annoyed with Chris, annoyed by their earlier fight he agreed. He had decided it was enough and that Chris needed to understand that it was about what he wanted to do with his life and not about what Chris thought was best for him, best for them both. Joni didn’t need another parent.
He did end up having fun; champagne, interesting people, and new contacts who were interested in booking him. In the end, he had lost track of time, his phone’s battery was dead and he forgot to worry about letting Chris know he’d be home late.
Chris sat in the kitchen sipping his beer slowly, his fingers tapping the surface of the kitchen table while waiting for Joni to come home, it was two am and he was feeling quite pissed off; Joni didn’t care, he was flirting with people, coming and going how he pleased; no consideration for him and it had to end… Too many changes had been given, this had to be the last.
Finally, he heard the key turning in the lock, the door slowly opening and closing and Chris got up, walking quietly to the hall, narrowing his eyes when looking at him.
Joni glanced at him, taking his jacket off.
”Sorry, thought you’d be asleep by now,” he said, kicking his shoes off and placing his jacket on the hanger. ”There was this party which I was advised to join and…”
”Advised you?” Chris hissed, ”And did they advise you not to mention it to me?”
”Chris, please,” Joni sighed, ”my battery ran out, I lost track of time.” Feeling tired and slightly drunk Joni wasn’t up to continue fighting.
”Don’t give me that shit,” Chris grasped his arm. ”Don’t tell me you were the only one with a cell phone within a kilometer’s radius and couldn’t fucking borrow a phone!”
”So I forgot!” Joni snapped, ”I’m sorry, but these parties are a part of modeling, you have to get used to it.” He tried to pull his arm free.
”So you’re going to do this more often huh?” Chris pushed him against the wall, ”what else is a part of it? Spreading your legs? Giving head? Whoring? Tell me, because I’ve heard it is!” he gripped Joni’s clothes.
”Stop it, Chris! I’m not whoring for God’s sake! Let me go!” Joni tried to push him away.
”No! Fuck no!” Chris slammed him against the wall a few times, ”Why should I fucking believe you, huh? Tell me why? I was fucking worried something happened while you come back home drunk, telling me you couldn’t call me?! Why the fuck should I believe you now?!”
Chris was beginning to scare him.
”I wasn’t thinking! I forgot, you need to trust me Chris for fuck’s sake!” Joni screamed.
”Yeah, I fucking trust you! When you went to that damn army I trusted you! I trusted you even after meeting this fucker behind my back, but what should I think now?! Why should I trust you now?!”
”Because I didn’t do anything! Because I’m telling the truth! Why are you like this?!”
”Because I own your fucking ass and I don’t share!” Chris shouted, pushing him further into the living room.
Joni breathed tensely, backing away.
”No Chris,” he shook his head. ”You don’t own me, no one does, I am your boyfriend, not some god-damn object!”
Chris narrowed his eyes.
”Yes, MY boyfriend and yes it means I own your ass,” he hissed.
Joni didn’t like that, he tried to back away, suddenly more nervous. There was a strange look in Chris’ eyes, one that he had seen a glimpse of before but never this intense.
”You need to calm down Chris, you’re acting crazy,” he stated.
”Oh, you want me to calm down?! Do you want me to fucking calm down?! Oh, I will, but first, you need a lesson to fucking to remember who you belong to!” Chris gripped his shirt with one hand and hit him straight in the stomach.
The blow knocked the air from his lungs and Joni would have fallen on his knees had Chris not kept a hold on him. He gasped, struggled to breathe, his eyes watery, blinking in disbelief and he had no time to reach out when another blow already came, ”you’re going to fucking remember! No cheating you whore!” and again on his chest, on his side…
”S-stop…God…s-stop!” Joni gasped weakly trying to pull away.
”You will remember? Will you?” Chris kept asking between blows to his chest and stomach, giving no time for him to react. It was his face that the man slapped next a couple of times, with open hand and not with his fist. Still hard enough that it would surely leave a bruise.
Joni instantly brought his arm to protect his face from getting more hits, trying to free himself, the pain was making him dizzy, he was beginning to get hysterical; something like this was never supposed to happen, not to him, not by Chris… What was this? Who was this?
”C-Chris… s-stop…” his voice was weak and trembling, head aching, everything aching, a taste of blood and iron in his mouth.
”You fucking whore, you better respect me!” Chris pushed him onto the sofa with a final blow to his belly.
Joni gasped, almost choking with his tears, he held his arms; one still protecting his face in fear and the other his aching stomach, just praying it was over.
Chris glared at him for a moment, his eyes narrowed.
”Whore,” he hissed before turning and walking to the kitchen to get another beer.
There was no plan, there was nothing that could have prepared him, even in his wildest dreams he had never been the victim of this… and yet, here, now… he was.
Chris, the man who supposedly loved him, had just…. hurt him like no other, calling him with such nasty names, leaving him in this state of paralyzing fear.
It had been so easy, so easy to shake one’s head and say; fuck, just hit me once and I will walk out with one snap of my fingers! And now, here he was… afraid to move, afraid to think… Listening; Chris moving in the kitchen, opening the fridge door, the hiss of a beer can being opened and…
He was there, still, trembling like a leaf, the pain….the hurt, disbelief, and shock. What had happened? He was afraid to move. This man in his and Chris’ kitchen; he didn’t know him, he might as well have been a stranger.
If he moved, it would start again… the beating. It chilled him to the bones thinking that he might be just collecting energy for another go.
He was crying, the tears turned cold, fear like anything he had ever felt before. This couldn’t be real, It couldn’t be! He wasn’t the victim of this! And Chris, he had never supposed to be his… abuser?
And then the steps drew near once more, he didn’t dare to look up, wanting to curl up and turn invisible. He could feel him, standing there, just a few steps away, staring down at him.
”Stop behaving like a fucking sissy,” Chris hissed, ”anyway, I’m going to sleep.”
Joni didn’t look up, didn’t answer, just hoping Chris would go away, not wanting him anywhere near him again, ever.
”Fuck!” Chris shook his head, ”you hear me, Joni?” he asked tilting his head, sipping his beer. ”Stop screwing around!”
”Go away,” Joni whispered.
”Oh stop it, you’re behaving like a chick,” Chris said and walked closer, ”Or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised you do, after all, you’re the one who takes it up the ass.” He smirked.
Joni forced himself to move, gasping, anger and fear mixing, when he glanced up at Chris he knew that his feelings for the man had died, with every blow that he had inflicted on him only minutes ago he had broken his illusions, killed the love and left only disgust and disbelieving hate; this wasn’t the man he had fallen in love with.
”And you… you’ll never…have… my ass …again!… I swear… to God!” he hissed, wanting his voice to have more strength but it still came out weak, every move felt painful, and he still struggled to breathe normally.
And to this Chris only laughed.
”We will see pussy,” he spat, grasping Joni’s chin, making him look up, before slapping him again, not hard but still hard enough to make him fall back. ”Pathetic,” Chris muttered then before he disappeared into the bedroom.
Joni curled on the couch, crying behind his hand, too shocked and scared to move, it made no sense, it simply made no sense… Chris had stepped over the line; there couldn’t be any excuses left.
It was early in the morning when he finally found the strength to move, he felt nauseous, his body ached all over and his head… He dragged himself to the bathroom, hissing at every step. He was frightened to see what he would look like, but finally forced himself to face the mirror; his eyes were red, eyelids swelled, his cheek… He reached his hand to touch it carefully to feel the swelling, his upper lip was slightly torn, and there was a bruise on the left corner of his eye. His hands began to tremble, it could not be his image; he could not be the victim of this! And yet, no matter how much he wished it to be untrue, there was no denying it, nothing would unmake what was done.
It would heal, he assured himself, the bruises on his face would heal, they would not leave permanent damage, and it was bad but not as bad as it could have been. That only gave him mild comfort, his hand lowered on his stomach carefully lifting his shirt; the skin beneath red and blue, sore to the touch, Joni closed his eyes, his lip was trembling, he was trembling.
It would be embarrassing. How could he explain this to his family? Or to anyone? He didn’t want to, it was too painful, and his heart was broken. It was never supposed to be him, to be hurt like this by the one who was supposed to…
But now it was over, he would leave and never return, and then the fear set in.
He quickly washed his face, he didn’t want to face Chris, didn’t want to think. Had to leave… Had to pack; a toothbrush, deodorant, his personal items, and his mind felt foggy.
He left the bathroom, his movements were awkward and slow and he desperately tried to find some bag to put his items into, it was taking too long. He should go.
Finally, he found a bag, hurriedly put his items in, trying to clear his thoughts and think, his portfolio was at home, he had to take it with him so Chris couldn’t take it; and his passport, his thoughts were foggy, he couldn’t think straight, all the silly things that seemed important were stalling him.
Chris woke to the noises and growled when getting up, heading towards him.
”What the fuck are you doing?” He asked frowning as he looked at Joni, rubbing his slightly sore head.
”What does it look like? I’m packing, it’s over Chris. I’m leaving you,” Joni answered as calmly as he could manage now that Chris was there. He didn’t want to show his fear, needed to keep moving and doing things, his mind was foggy.
He walked into the bedroom to get some of his clothes. Opening the closet he started stuffing his bag with some random pieces of clothes that came in his way; underwear, shirts, jeans.
”You think you can leave me just like that, Joni?” Chris asked calmly, blocking Joni’s way out of the bedroom. It was only then that Joni realized his mistake; he was trapped and in the state, he was in no position to fight Chris, the amateur boxer.
”I-I won’t stay here to be beaten, you crossed the line,” his voice betrayed his fear and he glanced at Chris. His jaw tightening, trying to compose himself and assure that he would get away without further harm.
Chris sighed and walked closer, his arm gently wrapping around his shoulders.
”I’m sorry Joni, I just got carried away yesterday, I was so worried about you…”
Joni shuddered under his touch, and backed away, looking at him as though Chris had lost it.
”Worried?” He hissed, ”you were worried for me and did this?” he pointed at his face. ”Oh no, do not think I can forgive you this! I forgave you so much shit already, but this; never. And I don’t want you touching me!” Joni’s eyes were narrowed, his breathing fast, anger momentarily taking over the fear.
Chris frowned, ”you don’t want me to touch you? That’s something new, usually, it’s you who spreads their legs first, why the change Joni?” Chris approached him and with every step, he took forward Joni took one back. ”What? You have someone else to fuck you, that’s it, isn’t it?”
”Fuck you, Chris!” Joni snapped. ”Do you honestly think I would let you near me, let alone fuck me after yesterday? No, you went a step too far and we are so thorough!”
”Don’t talk to me like this…” Chris narrowed his eyes, ”and you can forget about going anywhere, you are mine and you are staying here.” He smiled slightly, and Joni shook his head; who was this crazy man?
”You don’t own me, Chris… I belong to no one and you sure as hell can’t stop me from leaving!” Joni took his bag and tried to walk past him only to have Chris take a hold of his wrist.
”Oh you are wrong, dear,” he hissed and dragged him to his computer, still holding Joni’s wrist tightly, bruising him almost, he logged on. ”I can show you why leaving me won’t be the best idea for your modeling career,” Chris sneered looking for the right file and opening it. He smirked when the pictures came to view, ”Not unless you want to do it in the porn business, let’s face it, you would have it in you, just look…”
Joni felt dizzy, he stared at the pictures of himself; naked and posing on his bed, in his old room, posing like some… slut… and you could see…. everything… He felt nauseous again, he couldn’t remember this.
”That’s not important,” Chris whispered into his ear. ”So, if you’re still up to leave, I’ll call your agent… then I think I’ll send these to your friends, family, I wonder what your grandparents would think? Or your dad? Your stepmom?” Chris smirked.
Joni closed his eyes not wanting to see, he felt frozen, tears gathered in his eyes, those pictures could destroy everything, he wouldn’t be able to handle the humiliation.
Who was this man?
”Why are you so cruel?” he asked bitterly, opening his eyes and looking back at Chris.
”Who’s cruel here?” Chris tilted his head. ”You’re the one who’s cruel, playing around, playing with my feelings, thinking that you’re the best, but let me be the one to tell you dear; you’re not… But I still care for you.”
Joni shook his head, feeling exhausted, desperate. ”You have no right to those pictures!” he screamed, ”no right!”
”But you agreed quite eagerly,” Chris smirked.
”I hate you; right now I really hate you,” Joni whispered brokenly and looked at him in disgust, he felt lost with what to do, but he didn’t want to be there with Chris.
He managed to pull his wrist free, turning his back, feeling defeated while making his way across the room; he needed time to think, sit down and think.
Chris growled, pissed off when Joni was about to leave the room, he grasped his shoulder and spun him around, holding tightly; the younger man was helpless in his grip. ”So? You want me to send them everywhere? Put them online on some porn site? Or maybe I need to remind you who you belong to?”
”Don’t send them!” Joni cried out, ”and just leave me be!” he begged, trying to pull free, scared of another beating.
”Shut the fuck up, you!” Chris shouted and slapped him to bring him to his senses.
Tears rolled down his pale cheeks, why was this happening to him? His life was slowly turning into a joke he had no control over.
”Why are you doing this to me?”
”I thought you knew?” Chris touched his face, ”I care for you and I want you by my side; always… No one could care for you as I do…”
Always had never sounded as dooming as it did then and his touch, even now when it was tender, left him shivering and feeling cold. Joni looked away, silent, what could he say?
”Look at me now!” Chris requested gripping his jaw and turning him to face him, ”look at me when I’m talking to you,” he whispered. Joni stared at him silently for a moment,
”I want to rest,” he whispered finally, and to this Chris smiled.
”Okay, let’s take you to bed,” he said, holding his wrist, leading him towards the bed, laying him down, and pinning him beneath him. ”That’s better.”
Joni felt uncomfortable, not this, not now.
”Please Chris, don’t…”
”Don’t?” Chris gave him a confused look, his knee spreading his thighs, ”what don’t?”
”This… don’t…I’m tired,” Joni tried to move, unable to get free; Chris was holding his wrists above his head with one hand.
”No you’re not,” Chris said fumbling with the zip of his pants with his free hand, ”you’re never tired of this, always willing to spread your legs, so don’t lie to me.”
Joni was beginning to panic, all he knew was that he definitely didn’t want this.
”No, Chris!” He tried to sound forceful, ”not now!” And he tried to free himself but every move was painful and his struggling weak because of it.
”I told you; shut up!” Chris hissed and slapped him again and before Joni could protect himself Chris managed to slide his pants and underwear down to his knees.
Joni gasped crying out in fear, just as he had thought it couldn’t get any worse he was about to hit rock bottom, he tried to kick Chris off of him but he was just too weak if he hadn’t been beaten he might have had a bigger chance.
”Sissy whore,” Chris whispered, his hot breath caressing Joni’s ear. ”You will like it, you always do.”
”No!” Joni shook his head, ”please! Let me rest!” he begged, turning his face away from him.
”Oh, you will rest,” Chris smirked turning him around harshly, ”after I fuck you.”
Joni knew he could not stop Chris, he knew no one would come and stop him. He was too tired to fight, too weak, even if he hadn’t been beaten, Chris was still bigger and stronger than him. Joni cried beneath him, the horrible awareness consuming him; his life was slowly turning into hell.
Chris was already hard when he undid his pants, anger and adrenaline pumping in his veins; Joni had screwed this up, Joni had hurt him, cheating on him and he needed this lesson. ”Now, we’ll see if you’re still tight or if someone fucked you last night…” He hissed, reaching for the lube.
”No Chris don’t!” Joni struggled, his mind screaming against what was going on, it felt so wrong! ”I wasn’t cheating! I didn’t! T-there’s no one…!” He cried out desperately and the saddest part was that he was telling the truth. There had been no one after Chris, he had flirted but never crossed the line.
”You fucking think I will trust your word?” Chris asked, kicking his legs apart, quickly spreading some lube on his member and Joni’s opening.
”I was true! God… don’t… you can’t… don’t hurt me, please!” The tears almost choked him, ”don’t, please…” he kept begging in vain.
Chris was getting annoyed with Joni’s screaming and covered his mouth. ”Shut the fuck up!” he warned while positioning his cock against his hole.
Joni’s eyes grew wild and disbelieving when he felt him when he realized that Chris would do this without preparation and that it was real, not just a threat and he panicked, ignoring the pain he tried to free himself desperately, muttering behind his hand.
Joni’s struggle only turned him on, still feeling such anger towards him for even thinking of leaving him, after all he had done for him.
”That’s it whore, keep fighting,” he hissed while his left hand steadied his hips and thrust in.
The pain was almost making him pass out and he let out a muffled scream, such an odd sound that filled the room and didn’t really sound like coming from him, and yet he knew it did, the tears fell harder, still desperately trying to crawl away from the assault.
Chris gasped, ”Fuck, still tight…! I guess you gave head then.” It was difficult to get in all the way and he needed to back off slightly before pushing in again, back off and again, forcing his way in inch by inch. Joni was trying to bite his hand, he was tensing up, only hurting himself more, but it was difficult to think. Chris was pushing in, relentlessly and of all the things he could have done Joni knew this was the worst.
”All in,” Chris finally whispered against his ear. ”You feel fucking good.”
Who was this man?
Joni wanted to believe it wasn’t real and yet the pain…he could hardly breathe, his hand reached for Chris’ wrist; the one before his mouth, trying to make him loosen his grip. His other hand twisted back trying to slap and scratch him; anything to make him stop.
Chris growled, let go of his hip, and instead grasped his hair, shaking his head and finally hitting it against the pillow; not intending serious harm but to force him to calm down.
”Fuck you, whore!”
Joni felt dizzy, and exhausted, when Chris started hitting his head against the pillow he vaguely realized how easy it was for Chris to take it one step too far in his rage, that sort of thing happened and now he was scared for his life, he gave in.
It will be over soon, you’ll be fine, it will be over soon… his mind kept repeating in desperate attempt to find some comfort.
”Don’t fucking dare to scream,” Chris warned kneeling, pulling Joni up, and forcing him on all fours.
Joni felt nauseous, on the verge of throwing up, his body was trembling heavily, his vision was blurry and it just seemed too horrible to be happening.
”H-hurts… stop… please stop…” He begged praying that somewhere within Chris’ rage had to be the man he had thought to know and love, who wouldn’t do this to him.
”I told you to fucking shut up,” Chris growled, wrapping his arm around Joni’s throat, the other pulling his hair as he kept thrusting in and out, harder and faster.
It will be over soon.
Joni shut his eyes tightly, he had never been so scared, the slight pressure against his throat, the tight grip pulling at his scalp and the stabbing pain moving through him, the sickening slaps and grunts that would plague his mind forever.
It will be over soon.
And finally with a disgusting groan, from the very opposite feeling that Joni was experiencing, Chris’s movement stilled. The man stayed like that, buried deep inside him, steadying his breath. Slowly he let go of Joni’s hair, took his arm away from his throat, holding his hips for a moment.
”You should fucking respect and appreciate… what you have,” Chris whispered before finally pulling out, leaving the throbbing pain behind.
Chris got up from the bed and without a second glance behind he headed out of the room.
Joni fell on the bed, crying and exhausted, trembling from the pain, he felt like he couldn’t move, it stung and he felt utterly disgusted upon feeling Chris’ warm seed leaking down his thighs.
He had been raped…
His boyfriend had just raped him… Chris…It made no sense….he stared blankly at the red numbers on the alarm clock; 8.32 am. What the hell had happened? He blinked, not wanting to think, not wanting to believe.
He heard the water running in the bathroom while Chris was having his shower.
This couldn’t be his life.
He closed his eyes, and reopened them, at 8.43 am, where had the minutes gone? The shower was still running, he hadn’t moved an inch, he distantly heard Chris’ phone ring… It had to be his dad, he recognized the ringtone… It was Saturday…His dad always woke-up early… they were supposed to go over there for dinner, stay the night….what would he say?
This couldn’t be his life… he could not be the victim.
For some reason he found himself thinking back to Misha, how he had accused him of taking advantage; what a joke, silly child… What had he known? How he now wished he could rewind his life, back there, back to that morning and… He drew a shaky breath, he did not want to be here, in this moment. He did not want to be this victim…
He was in so much pain it wasn’t funny. Just laying there, unsure where to go from here, Chris had lost it, and … he was stuck with someone who abused him. If he left… those pictures… it was humiliating… They could destroy him, surely and this…
This was only the first time. The thought scared him, Chris would do it again, the line had been crossed, and once it was crossed…
On Monday he had a photoshoot, obviously, he couldn’t go.
What would he tell everyone?
9.12 am, Chris was making breakfast, preparing coffee, moving in the kitchen and Joni felt sick. Chris’ phone rang again, it was somewhere near and then the dreaded steps drew closer to the room.
Joni tried to move, didn’t want to see him.
He felt him in there, heard him answer, eyes on him, burning on his skin.
”Oh hi!… Yes, he’s home, still sleeping though… I’m afraid he’s sick… yeah, nothing serious, some fever, flu… I’m sorry we can’t make it tonight…. yeah, yeah… for the best… I’ll ask him to call when he wakes.”
Such lies, come so easily from Chris’ mouth; of course, he couldn’t tell his dad how he just beat the shit out of him and then raped him…flu… He heard the click of the phone, heard Chris sigh, the bed shifted under his weight, and Chris’ hand reached to stroke his hair, Joni wanted to move away, but was in too much pain.
”I hope we both learned something,” his voice was gentle now. ”I had to give you a lesson Joni, you understand that, don’t you?”
Cold shivers ran down his spine, he almost wanted to laugh bitterly and hysterically, a lesson? He forced himself to stay quiet and just lay there, feeling cold.
”Just… I don’t have to be so harsh on you if you learn your place, I just had to teach you to make you remember. You’ll remember now, won’t you?”
Joni still didn’t answer.
”Anyway, I can take you to the shower; I made some breakfast. Later, after you’ve rested you can call your dad, just tell him that you’re sick. I can work from home for a couple of days and stay with you.”
Joni closed his eyes, and shivered, he didn’t know how he could stand this, Chris’ voice, his touch, and the tone of his voice made him nauseous and he was trapped.
There had to be a way out. He just didn’t know what it was.
He forced himself to move whimpering in pain, he didn’t speak, he stood up with an effort, trembling. His shaky hands reached to lift his jeans from his ankles holding them as he slowly started limping towards the bathroom. He needed to go on, needed to pick up the pieces and go on.
Chris stopped him before he could walk out of the bedroom, his hands holding his shoulders, this time gently, Joni couldn’t stand to look at him, he stopped, but his face was turned, staring at the door frame as tears kept falling one after another, unable to stop.
”I’m sorry I had to hurt you…” Chris whispered, his hand reaching to cup his face, raising his chin towards him, and gritting his teeth Joni forced himself to meet his eyes; his own filled with hurt and pain, and Chris… he just couldn’t see him, didn’t recognize him anymore, who was this person?
Joni didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what he could afford to say, Chris had the upper hand, he was under his mercy and he was far too weak, there was just fear and confusion, Chris would be able to break him so easily.
”I-I’ll go and take a shower,” he was finally able to whisper not able to look at Chris any longer and Chris let him go. As Joni walked awkwardly and in pain, he could still feel his gaze burning in the back of his head, his heart was broken, his mind felt numb, the door closed behind him and he took a deep breath.
For a while, he stood there, his back against the door, his hand over his mouth to keep himself from screaming out loud. Tears kept rolling down; this could not be his life.
He looked up, and faced the mirror, almost not recognizing himself; weak, pathetic, stop crying, fuck, stop crying! he looked away, hands still trembling, unbuttoning the torn shirt, casting it aside, letting his jeans drop to the floor, then underwear, it stung… it hurt so badly he thought he could faint.
He gritted his teeth, forced himself to move, turn the water on, check the temperature, and step under the warm spray. He didn’t want to think, erase everything from his mind and go on like before, and yet… he knew it was impossible.
How could he stay with Chris, how could he go on and pretend? There was no love, only fear, only possession, it would not stop, it would not only be this time and yet… How could he go? There was no way out, not without there being pain and humiliation of everyone knowing what kind of slut Chris had made out of him.
He didn’t want to be this person! He didn’t want to be the victim that Chris had made of him! But there was no way out, none that came to his mind, and the worst part was that he had helped to create his own prison.
Joni had canceled their meeting, on the phone he had sounded weird, not like himself and Dima hadn’t seen him online on messenger either for some days, It left him… worried.
It was Thursday when Dima got home early from work, Joni and Chris lived on his way, he had already passed their building when a nagging feeling suddenly made him turn around; something bothered him and he just felt like he needed to see Joni.
Of course, he might have been sick, but he had seen him on Friday afternoon and… there had been no hints of illness and Linda who had been at the same fashion show with him hadn’t seen ones either.
On Sunday morning he had only gotten a message from Joni that he was sick and had to cancel their plan to meet, later Dima had called him, but … the conversation had been short.
He made his way to their storey, stopped by their door, sighed, and rang the doorbell; it wasn’t like him to pay unexpected visits, but this time…
Chris frowned when the doorbell rang, it was four pm, he looked at Joni who lay on the couch under a blanket, staring blankly at the tv screen.
”You fucking invited someone and didn’t tell me?” he hissed, not liking this surprise; Joni’s bruises were still visible.
Joni slowly sat up, nervous. ”No, I didn’t,” he assured quickly. ”I’ll go see who it is, okay?” He was jumpy and nervous around Chris not wanting to make any wrong move that would make him blow up at him.
To make sure Joni wouldn’t do anything stupid Chris followed him into the hall and waited.
Dima wondered if they were home, it seemed to take a long … But finally, he heard the approaching footsteps and the door slowly opened.
”Oh, Dima? Hi…” Joni peeked at him before opening the door more, glancing over his shoulder.
Dima frowned; Joni’s face was bruised… ”Um hi, can I come in?” Joni nodded, his hand unconsciously touching and almost trying to cover his bruised cheek.
”Sure…” His voice was quiet, he smiled but… Dima started to take his jacket off and saw Chris.
”Hi Chris,” he greeted; the man seemed slightly tense, but nodded and greeted him back. Joni on the other hand looked nervous and just odd; he was pale, wearing a college sweater that seemed too big for him and … sweatpants… Dima had never seen him wear such an outfit before. Joni was very fashion sensed and this was just… so not like him. But on the other hand, in this bruised state… the outfit made sense. But why was Joni like this?
”What happened to you?” Dima asked worriedly. He didn’t want to believe the first thought that crossed his mind, yet that thought refused to leave him.
”Um, I got robbed…” Joni replied; it was the first thing that got into his mind and perhaps would be believable enough.
”Perhaps you would like some coffee, Dima? And do come further in,” Chris invited, his hand lowering on Joni’s shoulder, ”you should sit down and rest, love,” he whispered and kissed his forehead gently.
Dima undressed his jacket watching the two, Joni almost looked a little bewildered, confused.
”Coffee, yes please,” Dima answered, still looking worriedly at his friend. ”Robbed, when?”
”Perhaps you two should talk about this in the living room, Joni’s still a little tired,” Chris intervened.
”Of course,” Dima nodded and followed the two.
”Remember Joni, I can still hear everything you say while in the kitchen,” Chris leaned to whisper in his ear when Joni sat down on the couch, so quietly that Dima couldn’t hear him. ”So I’d consider those words wisely…” And then smiling gently again he brushed his cheek gently. ”I’ll be right with you,” he added in a normal voice.
Dima sat down on the armchair opposite Joni and watched how Chris walked past them to the kitchen. Joni was playing nervously with his long sleeves, hardly looking at him and it made Dima uncomfortable; he had never seen Joni like this and he didn’t like it.
”So…What happened?” Dima asked carefully.
”I was coming home from the store on Saturday evening,” Joni started, glancing at him before pulling his knees close to his chest, ”I guess he had followed me from the shop.”
”He got your wallet?” Dima observed him, Joni took a moment to answer before he finally shook his head.
”No, I fought him, and…he ran,” he answered just as Chris appeared in the doorway.
”Unfortunately Joni’s not that good at fighting,” Chris said and Dima could see Joni gritting his teeth. He knew his friend well enough to recognize the annoyance he felt and he could understand it, Chris’s comment was a little peculiar.
”Well, he didn’t get my wallet, did he?” Joni asked a bit tightly and Chris looked back at him with a frown that melted away quickly. Dima felt uncomfortable, Chris cleared his throat.
”Milk and sugar, right Dima?” Chris asked then, smiling. Ignoring Joni’s statement.
”Yes, thank you,” Dima nodded looking at the man and then at his friend. He sensed the tight atmosphere in the room which made him feel uncomfortable and worried.
”So what did he look like?” he asked when Chris walked back to the kitchen. ”What shop was it?”
Joni sighed and looked down, wriggling his hands slightly.
”The one close, you know…Siwa…He was tall… dark hair… thirty maybe? … I think he was drunk.”
Chris returned to the room, carrying a tray with three cups of coffee. He handed each their cup and then sat next to Joni, wrapping his free arm around his shoulders. ”The important thing is that Joni is safe now,” he said and Dima thought he saw Joni tense up slightly.
”Did you let the cops know? Are they searching for that guy?” Dima couldn’t help but get suspicious, something here just wasn’t right.
”Yeah, but you know how slowly they work in these kinds of cases,” Chris shrugged.
Dima glanced at him and then back at his friend.
”How are you feeling?” he asked.
”Don’t worry Dima, just give me a few more days and I’ll be as good as new,” Joni assured trying to smile.
”He’s tough,” Chris smiled somewhat proudly.
Dima nodded, wondering if he was just imagining things, he wasn’t sure why he couldn’t shake the feeling away. Chris seemed like himself…
”I’m glad you’re okay Joni,” Dima smiled at his friend, who smiled back, but like before his smile faded soon and there was a certain hollow look in his eyes that Dima had never seen before. The story could be true, of course, Joni would be tired and shocked, scared even, but… why did he seem so tense under Chris’ touch?
”So, on lighter topics, how’s it going?” Dima asked awkwardly.
”Nothing special, we’re bored since Joni has no work because of his bruises, but he’ll be fine soon,” Chris answered glancing at Joni.
”How are you, Dima? And I’m sorry I’m not myself today.”
”Don’t worry about it Joni, I understand…Linda must have told you we found a place together?” Dima asked and for a moment Joni looked confused before he remembered.
”Oh, yes, she did… On Friday. I was supposed to call you, but I….”
”Don’t worry,” Dima smiled softly. ”Well it’s all happening fast, we can move in two weeks so lots of packing up to do.”
”I’m glad it’s working for you… she’s very sweet,” again Joni gave him a faded smile, Chris moved his hand in his hair, looking at him worriedly.
”You look exhausted, love, maybe you should try to get some sleep,” he wondered out loud. ”Joni’s not slept so well lately,” he explained to Dima.
”Oh, well I should go anyway… and sorry for dropping in like this, just thought I’d try my luck,” Dima smiled, finishing his coffee, getting up.
”Of course, you’re always welcome here,” Chris assured, ”send our best to Linda.”
Joni led Dima to the door, promising to call him later, and when he had left he sighed heavily; alone with Chris again.
”That one went well enough,” Chris said leaning against the doorframe. ”I’m proud of you.”
Joni merely glanced at him, unsure what to say, so he only nodded, ”I’ll get some rest…” he whispered, before walking back to the living room, sitting down in front of the tv.
Chris followed and sat down next to him.
”You see Joni, I care for you and it hurts me as well when you’re hurt like that,” he sighed. Joni looked at him with disbelieving eyes.
”Are you hungry?” Chris asked casually.
Joni felt frustrated, every instinct in his body was screaming, not wanting to stay there, not wanting to be near him… and now Chris was confusing him with his fake concern; while he was the one who had caused it!
”You hurt me,” he stated with a whisper looking at him warily, almost expecting to be slapped again.
”I know, I’m sorry,” Chris leaned to kiss the top of his head tenderly, ”Let’s go to the kitchen and talk, while I’ll make something to eat for us, okay?” He smiled and got up, waiting for Joni to follow, and reluctantly he did. He wrapped his arms around himself, gritting his teeth not to say anything he would end up regretting.
Chris glanced at Joni when he took a seat at the table and started preparing dinner himself.
”What would you like?” he asked.
”I don’t care…” Joni muttered, reaching for the magazine closest to him.
Chris sighed and nodded, checking the fridge; he should manage to cook some of Joni’s favorite food.
”You see,” he started cutting vegetables, ”I told you I care for you, didn’t I? I really do.”
”Well, you have a really fucked up way of showing it,” Joni couldn’t help himself, he felt too upset. ”For God’s sake you-” he stopped in mid-sentence closing his eyes.
Chris looked at him.
”I?” Then he sighed again, ”you can take a beer from the fridge,” he said then, ”anyway, I care for you and I don’t want you disappearing all night, I was scared for you.”
”I didn’t cheat on you,” Joni whispered, ”It was just a party related to my work… don’t you remember what you did to me?” The pain and bitterness were clear in his voice, ”what you called me?”
For a moment Chris just stared at him blankly almost like not really seeing him, his pain.
”I lost control because I was worried… I was going crazy with worry, I couldn’t stand losing you.”
”Crazy with worry that something bad happened to me?” Joni asked, tears were glimmering in his eyes again, ”and when I come home unharmed you decided to change that? Chris…what you did…” he shook his head. ”Can’t you…” he was trembling, feeling nauseous again, he couldn’t look at him anymore.
”I told you I’m sorry, sorry I lost control like that,” Chris answered, taking a deep breath.
”You’ll lose it again, Chris… I’m afraid of the day when you’ll lose it again.”
”I won’t, dear,” Chris stated calmly, continuing cooking. ”Not if we follow a few rules.”
”Rules?” Joni asked carefully, almost fearfully, it could be anything at this point.
”No big deal, just please tell me whenever you want to see someone or someone wants to see you, that’s all,” He said turning to face him, ”and every time you’re leaving and when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back; I want to know where you are. So that’s all.”
Joni almost laughed bitterly, but managed to control himself; Chris was crazy and this couldn’t be his life.
”I can see whoever I want if I tell you first?” He asked, forcing himself to stay calm.
Chris smiled at him, ”I’m glad we agree on that matter.”
Agree? We Agree?! Joni’s mind was screaming.
”I can’t always know the exact time when I’ll be at home… I can’t always know who I’m going to meet,” he tried to reason, though he already knew it was a lost cause.
Chris walked closer, leaned against the table, closer to Joni.
”Can’t? Oh trust me, dear, you can,” he hissed and only a moment later smiled and backed off. ”Of course, you can.”
”You’ll do the same?” Joni asked a bit tightly, upset, he didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want to be with Chris but he didn’t know how to get out anymore.
”Of course, I’m already telling you, don’t I? Who I’m going to see where and when I’ll be back,” he said putting the plate before him.
”Then I want rules too,” Joni whispered, staring at his plate, knowing he was taking a risk. Chris stared at him.
”It’s…” he started to feel more and more nervous, ”You have to respect my wishes… no means no. ”
Chris narrowed his eyes, ”I’ll respect your wishes if you respect me, now eat.”
”I’ll need time, I want to sleep on the couch,” Joni added, slowly starting to eat, nervous.
”No you won’t, you’ll sleep on the bed… I have a huge project, I’ll spend the next two days working on it, nights too, and after that, I’ll return to sleeping next to you.”
Joni didn’t like the bed, not anymore, he couldn’t just forget and sleep in it peacefully but he thought it best to stay silent, not push his luck. He got up, not finding any appetite, about to return to the living room.
”Where are you going?” Chris’ voice stopped him, Joni stopped, turning his head only slightly.
”I’m not hungry… I’m going to watch some tv now, then I might play some video games, then I’ll shower and at about eleven pm I will try to get some sleep which I will most likely fail at like every night after Saturday,” he answered not being able to hide the sarcasm in his voice.
Chris only smiled, ”okay, I’ll wash the dishes for you and then work later.” He took Joni’s almost full plate, ”but I think I’ll leave this in the fridge for you to eat later… and Joni, no need to be that strict when I’m around but I appreciate that.”
Joni felt like screaming, he didn’t know how he could do this, didn’t know how long he’d be able to stand this without losing his mind. Quietly he returned to the living room and sat down; he didn’t want to be there, but he didn’t know how to get out.
Web published: February 18th, 2009.
My Secret Shore