Seduction--Part Thirteen

“Su... sure,” Téa replied, still too shocked at his sudden transformation to realize what he was talking about. She watched him carefully, looking for some clue, some indication of what was really going on, wondering if this was a legitimate change or just another malicious, hateful set up...

“Okay, cool...” He settled comfortably against her, supporting his upper body on his forearms and sliding his hands under her pillow. As his body shifted on hers, a distracted, wistful look crossed his face. “You feel really, really...good,” he said shyly. “You feel a lot better than any of those women my dad ever brought home late at night. You smell better, too...”

“What... I... I'm sorry...?” She stammered, trying to focus in on what he was saying. The changes in his face distracted her, making it difficult to concentrate. His features seemed so different now, completely smooth and relaxed. All the tense scowling lines and hard edges had vanished. His eyes were no longer frightening, but beautiful again--soft, almost luminous, pupils dilated with obvious affection. She wanted to lose herself in the depths of those eyes, in the love that she saw glowing there, but she forced herself to snap out of it and pay attention. “What do you mean?” she asked, her mind slowly beginning to process what he was saying. “How would you know how those women felt? Were you up with them late at night...?”

“I was always up late, I never slept much,” he answered quietly. “Dad liked to...to do a lot of stuff at night, especially on the weekends.” Todd looked away from her, shaking his head slightly. “God, I hated weekends...” he muttered bitterly...

“During the week, dad worked a lot, sometimes until late at night,” he continued softly. “...so he pretty much ignored me. He just wanted me to stay out of his way. But on the weekends it was different. On weekends, he'd drink a lot... He'd get real drunk and then he'd want to do stuff.” His eyes shifted back to Téa's face, his voice dropping even softer. “He had a...a whole set of really stupid games that he liked to play...”

A sudden sense of urgency gripped Téa as she listened to his quiet voice. She was amazed that this personality had suddenly emerged, that he had somehow been strong enough to supplant the other. But, even in the midst of her surprise, she recognized that this unexpected change afforded her a priceless opportunity. It gave her the perfect chance to find out more about Todd...to finally get to the bottom of some of the dark secrets concerning his childhood...

A cold thrill raced through her at the thought of seeing into Todd's inner mind at last...at the thought of really getting to see who he was deep inside. The other personality had given her a small taste... a tiny glimpse of one ugly portion of his past, but she needed more pieces before she could ever hope to understand...before she could put this complex, mystifying puzzle together...

Setting aside her questions about his sudden emergence for the moment, Téa decided to take quick advantage of the situation... I've got to know what I'm dealing with...what it is that's made him so twisted...so sick...she reasoned, searching for further justification... If this really is “Tom” and not a trick, it's crucial to get as much information from him about Todd's past as I can, before something else unexpected happens and I lose my chance...

She slid her hands reassuringly across his back. “I already know about some of those games...” she said quietly. “...the lighter, the kneeling in the rice thing...all the beatings. But you were telling me about the whores...remember? How do they figure into all this? I don't understand...?” She asked gently. “How were you involved with them...?”

His eyes searched hers for a few seconds, as if he were sizing her up one last time...deciding whether it was really safe to trust her. Finally content, he launched into his story. “On Saturday nights, dad liked to be with women...” he explained, shifting his gaze to focus on the lace pillow sham behind her head. He pulled his hand out from under her pillow and began to pick at the lace absently. “Sometimes he'd go out with regular women... I liked that, because he would stay out late and he'd usually leave me alone on those nights... But most of the time he didn't do that...Most of the time he just went out and picked up prostitutes--from nightclubs, off the streets...wherever...and brought them home. Or, if he didn't feel like going out, he'd make phone calls and have women come to the house. They were still hookers, but they were different--really pretty...and a lot more expensive than the others... I think...”

Stung with pity, Téa watched him trying to unfold his story nonchalantly, as if he didn't care, when she could see that he did care...beyond measure. He made eye contact with her again and she could clearly read the wrenching truth. The dark sadness had returned... The lonely, tortured little boy looked back at her from deep within, pleading for comfort and understanding...

“They always woke me up,” he continued, his voice soft and melancholy. “I tried not to listen. But they always made so much noise, I couldn't sleep. In the beginning, when I was younger, I was kind of curious, you know...? I'd sneak to the top of the stairs and watch, listen... I wanted to know what they were doing.” He dropped his eyes self consciously and pretended to study her collarbone, tracing it lightly with his fingertips. “But later, when I was almost eleven, I made a big mistake. I went sneaking all the way downstairs to watch...and Dad caught me...”

He hesitated a second, remembering... “That was a bad...bad night...” he whispered, his eyes glazing slightly... Téa felt his body shiver against hers. “It was never the same after that,” he continued, shoving the memory aside. “Before that, the only kinds of games that Dad liked to play were the punishments--burning, beating me, inventing weird ways to hurt me when I was stupid and disappointed him. But after he caught me spying on him that night, he decided that I needed more...that we needed to add a new kind of game...”

He gave her a quick sideways glance, his eyes veiled, impossible to read. He seemed outwardly composed and calm, but a small, spasmodic jerk of his head told Téa otherwise. His voice softened and trailed away to a low murmur as he went on... “Dad decided that I should learn stuff about being a man. So, from then on, he always made me come down and watch--that was the new game. Later, when I got older, he changed the game again...and he thought up a lot of stupid new things for me to do...”

Téa's stomach lurched as she listened to him. “What exactly did he make you watch?” She asked hesitantly, uncomfortable in her new position as voyeur. She actually dreaded to hear his answer...to have the ugly secrets revealed. She felt that she was betraying Todd, that she was ruthlessly violating him on some basic level, prying into things so private and personal that it was unforgivable for her to go there. She prayed that she wasn't making a mistake...

“You know...” he responded slowly, picking at the lace again. “... watch them together, having sex. I used to wonder what they were doing, that's why I tried to spy on them. After dad caught me, I didn't have to wonder anymore. He made me sit and watch all the time...almost every time he brought someone home. He'd pull me out of bed and make me come down. He said that if I wanted to know so bad, I might as well get a full education. I tried not to pay attention, tried to think about other things while they were doing it... But they were right in front of me,” he said softly. “It was...it was kind of hard not to look...”

“It must have been really tough on you...to have to watch that when you were too young to understand,” Téa soothed, fighting to control the sympathetic outrage that was rising inside her. The picture of Todd growing up, struggling with such a nightmarish existence all alone, broke her heart completely...

“It was okay...it wasn't so bad,” he responded, taking a deep breath and running his hand back through his hair. “...unless he got mad and started hurting them. That was when I wanted to run, to hide... I didn't like that much...” he said in a small voice, licking his lips anxiously. “He did pretty bad things to them sometimes...if he was really drunk or in a bad mood...” Suddenly he looked away from her, across the room. “I don't want to talk about that...” he said firmly, obviously distressed...

“You said that he made you do some other things later, can you tell me what kinds of things?” She questioned gently, knowing that she was running out of time...that he was becoming uncomfortable and edgy. She hated to press, but still felt a desperate need to get more of the story...to gain additional insights into Todd's past...

“Yeah, things changed about a year after Dad caught me spying on him,” he responded, his voice artificially light. “I guess he got tired of just having me watch so he decided to reverse the game... One night, when I was twelve, he didn’t make me come downstairs at all... Instead he brought one of his whores upstairs to bed...my bed.” He stopped abruptly, fingering the lace again, the muscles tightening in his jaw. After a moment, he continued, his voice husky and strained with emotion. “Dad just sat in a chair and watched while she undressed me, kissed me...put her hands and her mouth all over me...I didn’t know what I was supposed to do...I asked him to make her stop. But he just laughed at me and told me to relax...to enjoy it. He just sat there staring at us for a while... Then he unzipped his pants...and started touching himself...”

Todd focused on empty space for a moment, raising an eyebrow sarcastically. “Dad really got into doing that...” he said, a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth. “He made it his favorite game. He liked it so much that he wanted to do it all the time...almost every weekend. He’d sit in that damn chair, messing with himself, watching them...do stuff to me. Then when he couldn’t stand it anymore, he’d jerk them away from me and have sex with them right there, right next to me on the bed. Sometimes...sometimes he’d even reach out and touch me while he was screwing them. It was gross...” he finished angrily, glancing back at her, his eyes dulled with misery...

Téa was horrified for him, but she struggled not to show it. Oh God...she thought, her stomach turning... He wasn’t just attacked once...he was molested all the way through his childhood...in one sick way or another... She closed her eyes, trying to contain her revulsion at the thought of him small and helpless, continually subjected, year after year, to the perverted whims of his father... When you add that to all the torture and physical abuse that he suffered...It’s amazing that he’s survived at all...that he didn’t kill himself a long time ago...

“I’m making you sick... right?” he asked softly...

Téa opened her eyes to find him looking away from her, embarrassed. “No... no, querido...” she whispered, suddenly wanting to hold him close, to kiss away the pain that she saw in his expression. She squeezed him gently, rubbing his back in a slow, comforting massage. “I was only thinking that you’re a miracle...that you must be the strongest person I’ve ever known...”

He smiled, his whole face lighting up. “Yeah?” he asked, relieved and a little surprised. She saw the beautiful amber glow return to his eyes as he looked at her again. “Well, that’s pretty much all of it...all I know about the whores, anyway...” he said. “...except for the birthday present...”

“Birthday present...?” Téa asked weakly, not sure that she wanted to hear about anything else...

“Yeah, that’s what my dad always called it...the birthday present...” Todd laughed mirthlessly, trying to make a joke of it. “Actually it was during Christmas vacation, four days before my fourteenth birthday. It was kind of weird because we never celebrated holidays, or birthdays, or anything--but that year Dad ordered me a present... He got me a special girl. She was just a little older than me and really, really beautiful...but she was still just a hooker...” he said, frowning slightly. “He paid her to have sex with me for the first time. He said he’d been saving her for just the right moment. But I think that he was just bored and wanted to make the game more interesting for himself. He was tired of watching women paw me...so he decided that it was time for me to get laid for real...

Dad got off to her in a major way...alot more than I did,” he continued, laughing bitterly. “I didn’t want to do it at all, but he poured whiskey down me until my mind finally shut down and my body just...took over. He sat right there, as usual, and watched the whole damn thing. I could hear him making these... noises...and saying things... encouraging us... He got so into it that he pulled her off of me the second I was finished, threw her up against the wall, and started banging her right there. I was so drunk that I don’t really remember it too well. The last thing I saw was my dad pushing her down onto the bed, face first, holding her by the hair. I heard her cursing at him, then I heard her scream...then I passed out...

I didn’t really enjoy it that much...I was too far gone,” he laughed softly, a faraway look in his eyes. “I paid for passing out, too. He beat the living shit out of me for not being able to handle the liquor, for not paying attention to the game...for not appreciating his gift. But, I didn’t care...I was just glad it was over with. Anyway...by that time, I was used to getting beaten up. It was no big deal anymore...

“Your father was a monster, Todd... He was sick.” Téa whispered, after a long moment of painful silence passed between them. “He had no right to do those things to you, to use you like that. Only someone who was very ill would behave that way.”

“Maybe... I don’t know... But if he was sick, I think it was because of me. There’s something weird about me, something that’s not right, Téa...” he replied bitterly. “...something that made my dad crazy inside, that made him have to play those games with me...

Way back, even before Mom left, Dad would do strange things around me. Most of the time he just acted like he hated me, but sometimes this change would come over him. I always knew when the change came because he would start staring at me a lot. He’d just sit and watch me... Then, if Mom wasn’t around, he’d come over and start talking to me and touching me. He’d pick me up and set me on his lap...then he’d start reaching inside my clothes, rubbing me. He’d tell me that I was beautiful...that I was his special boy... He told me over and over again that I did something to him...made him feel things...

I think that’s why he started wanting me with him later when he had sex...because there was something bad about me, about the feelings I made him have--something weird, that he liked, and wanted to keep for himself... I think he had to work real hard to keep those feelings under control. That’s why he got so angry when he caught Michelle and me alone in the house on my birthday. He was furious because she was there, because she was kissing me when he came in... It wasn’t the lighter he was mad about... It was...me. It was because of the way I made him feel... He didn’t want anyone messing with me unless he arranged it...unless he had a part in it and could enjoy it... He always had to be in control of that...” He swallowed hard, his face twisting in pain that he could no longer hide from her. “That’s why he had to punish me that night...punish me like one of his whores... Because seeing me with her made him lose control. It made all those bad feelings that I caused come out...and the only way he could...could handle them was to...to...”

His discomfort suddenly unbearable, he abruptly ended the narrative and changed the subject...

* * * *

“Careful, boy...” Peter snarled, inching towards Todd slowly. “I wouldn’t get so damn sanctimonious if I were you. As I recall...” He stopped, casting a malicious gaze over Todd. “...as I recall, you developed quite a taste for all that...attention...as the years went by. Oh, I’ll admit, you were a little shy at first, but you came around quite nicely. As a matter of fact, the little games we played became very satisfying to all concerned after a while...” Peter’s lips twisted into a nasty grin. “...after you learned to loosen up...and enjoy it...”

Searing pain roared through Todd, causing him to gasp suddenly for breath. He struggled against the urgent, overpowering impulse to attack, to go for his father’s throat. As he stood facing the loathsome apparition, trying to focus through his suffering, he heard Peter begin to chuckle softly again. “What’s the matter, Todd? Hmmm? No snappy comeback to that...?

Confess...it wasn’t all that bad... We had some fun. I did some really nice things for you, boy...” he continued softly, watching Todd’s reactions with apparent satisfaction. “What about that little red haired vixen that I hired to relieve you of your virginity? She cost me a bundle, but she was worth every God damn penny. Sixteen years old and so astoundingly professional... Jesus Christ!” He shook his head admiringly. “I almost blew my wad just watching her maneuver... She had you so wound up you didn’t know if you were coming or going...

Of course, being the ungrateful little shit that you were, you resisted like hell,” Peter snickered condescendingly. “As I remember it took...what...five, six shots of bourbon to get you in the right frame of mind? But once you settled down and started cooperating--she just shook you up and popped you like a champagne cork...I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her when she was through with you... Best fuck I ever had!” His steely gaze flicked briefly over Todd’s chest and shoulders, then bored deep into the younger man’s eyes, the hardness melting into naked lust. His lips curled back slowly in an evil, lascivious grin. “...well...almost the best, anyway...”

Before Peter even got the last word out, Todd swung. His fist sliced horizontally through the entity with a whistling pop, his bones cracking audibly, discharging the wasted energy from the unanticipated impact with thin air. “You son of a bitch!” He screamed, quickly compensating for the over rotation from the futile swing. He twisted back to face the apparition, rage and shock distorting his features hideously. “You filthy, cock sucking bastard!” He snarled. “I should have killed you myself when I had the chance...when I had my hands around your damn throat. I should have made you pay right then and there for what you did to me...to Michelle...for what you did to everybody...!”

* * * *

“Téa...?” He searched her face intently. She could see the deep anguish, the yearning desperation in the haunted depths of his eyes. “Téa... could I kiss you...?” He asked softly. “I’ve been watching them...the others...when they do things to you...” he added hurriedly, moving his hand from the pillow to touch her hair. “I’ve seen how you like it done. I think I could do it better now than I did before at the penthouse...

There really isn’t any more to tell about the women,” he continued, seeking to persuade her when she failed to respond. “I got separated from Todd...we all did...after what happened with Michelle. Todd had his guardian after that--someone to handle most of the bad stuff, someone that liked Dad’s games, that wanted to play with all the women.” He touched her face tenderly, his fingers trembling, his eyes gently imploring her to drop the questioning and consent to his request. “The games changed, but they still went on...right up until Todd went to college...” he added in conclusion. “They just got rougher and more sick as he got older... Todd stayed drunk and high as much as he could, to survive being with Dad when his guardian wasn’t around...Ididn’t want to be out back then... Everything was too gross...too crazy...so, I just slept a lot...”

Téa stared at him in shock, temporarily at a loss for words. She was still scrambling mentally, trying to process all the disgusting information that she had just heard. She knew that his mention of Michelle and “being punished” were direct references to the rape, but she had no intention of asking him anything about that at this point. She knew that the window of opportunity had closed...that he had given her all that he would, all that he could bear to reveal...

The knowledge that she had managed to gain over the course of the evening gave her an unnervingly fresh comprehension of him. Her grasp of psychology was only adequate, but the general blueprint of Todd’s psyche wasn’t that hard to decipher. Armed with her new information, she quickly formulated a rudimentary assessment of who she was dealing with...

She was heart sick that Todd blamed himself somehow for Peter’s sickness, for the molestation and rape that took place--that he saw himself as the causative factor, the instigator of his own abuse at the hands of his father. His enormous self destructiveness and paranoia probably came from the helpless sense of “badness” that he had internalized as a child...from his belief that his mother’s abandonment, his father’s abuse--every horrible event that had ever occurred in his childhood--was somehow inherently his fault...

She suspected that his infamous “guardian” was most likely a direct response to those helpless feelings. The “Pete” entity was a rebellious, sexually maladjusted teenager, thoroughly and understandably enraged at life, desperately determined to protect, avenge, and gratify himself by wreaking havoc and violence on the rest of the world. He had managed to create absolute disaster in Todd’s life, but he wasn’t really evil at all--just a tormented, deviant boy, lashing out in unimaginable pain...

And this one...she thought longingly, looking deep into his soft, hazel eyes...this beautiful creature with me now is the guardian’s reflection, his alter ego...the one who suffers all the guilt...the one who possesses all the love and tender sensitivity in Todd’s soul... This is the sweet, compassionate, long suffering part of Todd’s personality...

As she gazed at him, lost in the warmth of his eyes, she realized suddenly that he was silently pleading with her for comfort... That he needed some kind of reassurance from her that she didn’t find him repulsive after hearing about his experiences. Smiling, she slipped her hands down from his back and brought them up to his face. Gently, lovingly, she smoothed his hair back from his eyes and tucked it behind his ears. Then, tugging playfully on the ends of his hair, she forced his face closer to hers in open invitation...

“You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, letting his eyes drink in her features as his lips came close to hers. Téa’s fingertips slid down his jaw to his neck as he placed his mouth against hers tenderly, his lips slightly parted. She felt him inhale deeply, felt his body tense slightly against her at the initial contact. Then he relaxed and pushed into the kiss, deepening it gently, but forcefully. He eased her mouth open a little more, allowing the tip of his tongue to stray inside her, touching her tongue delicately...

As the kiss ended, he hesitated, unwilling to give up the intimate contact. She touched his face tenderly, drawing him back in, finding unexpected comfort in his caress. His soft mouth pressed against hers lightly again, warm and reassuring--then he pulled reluctantly away. “See, that was better... right?” He smiled, licking his lips. “You taste good...” he teased. Then as a afterthought, he laughed softly and added, “...all over.” A knowing, mischievous sparkle lit the amber depths of his beautiful eyes. But the sparkle quickly faded, changing to concern as he studied her face and recognized the sadness there. Seeking to comfort her, he touched his forehead gently to hers, closing his eyes and stroking the side of her face with his fingertips... “I love you, Téa...” he whispered reverently...

To be continued...

Part Fourteen

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Back to Remember Roger Howarth