Infected/Holden flash fic- Karma

Holden meets a guy in a motel room. Things do not go as one of them planned.


**

Holden agreed to meet him at the Pinecrest Motel at ten thirty, room 3-C. It was funny how a phone app could somehow make buying sex even more anonymous and impersonal than ever. Of course, you could get it for free with the app, and Romeo thought that’s what he was getting. Which is exactly what Holden wanted him to think.

Much to his chagrin, he realized dressing for the part was his favorite thing about all of this. God, how stereotypical. He disgusted himself at times. Still, he couldn’t let on about his prostitute day job, so he went with jeans and a Seahawks t-shirt he picked up cheap at a grocery store – for fuck’s sake, they sold them at grocery stores! Why?! – as part of his “total masc” look, as that’s what Romeo was looking for. He was one of those self-hating no fats, no blacks, no femmes kind of dudes, that offended Holden on principal. Yeah, everybody had a thing, and he didn’t begrudge them that as long as they steered clear of ids and situations where consent was considered optional if considered at all, but some of the shit they put in their profiles. It stopped being what you liked at a certain point, and became everything you hated. And he really didn’t understand the femme hate, beyond it being a natural extension of misogyny.

Wasn’t that why he often went out of his way to talk in a lower register? Normally, his voice did drift towards the high side, and he still used it when he wanted to catch people off guard. They assumed light, slightly lisp-y voice meant harmless scream queen, completely forgetting he was a broad shouldered man that was mostly toned muscle, and trained to fight. As if his voice emasculated him and made him harmless. He artificially emphasized his lisp, and watched the disgust in some men’s eyes, relishing it later when he dropped the act and the fear came in. When they realized the harmless little bunny was actually a wolverine, here to rip out their throat with his teeth.

He’d have to do the opposite of that now, of course. He had to start butch – masc – and slowly fold in the fey, see at what point Romeo noticed it. Holden wore his macho fuck motorcycle boots, very much like a pair Roan owned, which had enough room inside to hide small weapons. He added a leather jacket with a hidden inner pocket, and a metal ring he picked up for a couple bucks on ebay. Turned inward, it was just a standard metal ring. But it had two blunt but substantial metal points on it, almost like ears, which would hurt like fuck if you turned it outward and punched someone with them. It might draw blood too, and that was always a bonus. Most people freaked out a little at the sight of their own blood, and sometimes stabbing was a little overboard.

One of the local radio stations was having a hard core metal night, and he listened to it on the drive over, mentally psyching himself up for war. Holden knew he couldn’t go in too hot, but Romeo was especially into the whole “straight passing masc hot guy” thing. God, it was pathetic. But a little madness in the eyes wouldn’t hurt. Romeo would probably thin it was masculine.

Holden didn’t park in the motel parking lot, but in the lot of the closed down former Dairy Queen behind it. He didn’t need this asshole ID-ing his car, if he was even capable of that once he was done with him. One of the most important things Roan ever taught him was prepare for failure. Identify how things might go tits up, and have a fully fleshed plan B ready to go. Holden had been prepared for disaster for the second half of his life – after his parents kicked him out – but he was big on improv, on adapting in the moment. He was good at it too, if he didn’t say so himself. But this dangerous stuff … Roan was right. Expect to win; prepare for a last second getaway.

Holden mussed his hair before knocking on the motel room door, hoping he looked just off work casual. Romeo -Romeorepose22 on the app – opened the door after a handful of seconds, so he didn’t seem too eager. Holden knew this game too. From a professional standpoint, he was offended, because no one played the game better than him. He’d had years to perfect it.

Like most of the guys on the site, Romeo’s picture didn’t quite match the reality of him. For one thing, he was eleven years older than he’d said, although he didn’t look completely terrible for his age – Holden simply knew what his real age was. His hair had thinned since the last time he’d seen him, and it was a pale straw color that was too anemic to have come from a salon. Sun exposure perhaps, or simply aging. His face was slightly thinner now, rawer bones, and while he had gym toned arms, he clearly sucked in his gut for his torso pic. He was wearing nothing but his boxers, and his legs were sad. A little gym tone in the calves, but scrawny otherwise, his knees looking knobby enough to belong to the branch of a tree.

As soon as he closed the door, Holden spotted the hunger in his pale eyes, and moved quickly to short circuit it. “Beer for me?” Holden asked, in his best macho voice. He was basically mimicking Grey, who had that natural deep tone that made many a man and woman crazy. Shame about the whole asexual thing.

Romeo took a step back, trying not to seem disappointed. “Sure, help yourself.”

Holden hadn’t waited for the permission. He walked over to the nightstand and liberated a can from the six pack sitting there. He didn’t open it, just held it in his hand, contrasting the cold condensation with the dry air of the room. It wasn’t warm enough for an air conditioner, which was a good thing, because this room didn’t have one.

Holden leaned against the wall, studying Romeo. He already knew how to break this man into tiny pieces, his weak spots almost neon. Holden could have seen them from orbit.
Romeo noticed his scrutinizing glare, and Holden briefly entertained continuing with this charade, but fuck it. He had much better things to do with his night. “You don’t recognize me, do you?” Holden asked. Well, it was basically a question, but Holden already knew the answer.

Romeo squinted at him, like Holden was a heat mirage. “Should I?”

“I was a blond when you last saw me. Does that help?” Considering his blank stare, it didn’t. “Does the name Damien mean anything to you?”

Holden saw a flare of recognition in his eyes, but he saw Romeo squash it immediately. “Wait – are you one of Damien’s whore friends?”

“Now now, Jimmy, you say whore like it’s a dirty word,” Holden replied, dropping his voice to a silky purr, his most favorite hooker voice.

Jimmy’s eyes hardened and narrowed. “Oh, you’re … what the fuck was your name?”

“Fox.”

“Yeah, right. I knew it was some hairy animal.”

“Don’t you wish.”

Jimmy stood there for a moment, looking angry and yet pathetic. Holden gave him a moment to come to grips with the fact that this wasn’t going to be your average pump and dump. “You’re not here to fuck, are you?”

“Oh, hell no.”

Jimmy angrily snatched his pants from the floor and started to pull them on. “So this is your revenge, huh? Leave me with blue balls?”

Holden laughed. “You think I’m only going to give you blue balls? Bitch, you tripping?”

Like he thought, Jimmy didn’t like be referred to in such a crude manner. “I’m not your bitch, asshole.”

He gave him a crooked smile that was half way to a sneer. “But you could be, if you just believed.”

Jimmy huffed a sigh through his nose. “I think I remember you now. You’re the smart mouthed one who always thought he was funny.”

“Honey, I’m hysterical. Except when I’m serious.”

Holden pushed himself off the wall, still casual, and Jimmy was so busy wrestling with his shirt he didn’t notice that Holden was now leaning against the motel room door, until he finally poked his head through his blue polo. “What the hell are you still doing here?” he snapped.

“You don’t even feel any remorse, Jimmy?”

He frowned sourly at him, like Holden was giving him heartburn. “What the hell for?”

Now Holden dropped his shields. He let Jimmy see the fell measure of his contempt and barely suppressed rage. “Beating the shit out of Damien. Killing him.”

“I didn’t kill him,” he snapped. “The stupid junkie killed himself. Or did you miss that somehow?”

“The way you treated him, you might as well have put that needle in his arm yourself. By the way, congrats on finally being out. How’d the wife take it?”

Jimmy glared at him. “Fuck you.”

Holden scoffed. “Not even if you were paying my rate.”

Jimmy stomped towards the door, putting on his coat. “Move. I’m leaving.”

Holden flexed his shoulders, pushing himself off the door, and Jimmy took that as invitation to reach for the doorknob. Which is why he didn’t see it coming when Holden brought around his hand, still holding the beer can, and slammed it into his temple.
Holden held back, so he didn’t hit him as hard as he could, just enough to get his point across. Jimmy yelped in surprise as he fell butt first onto the carpet, instantly grabbing his head. “You fucking psycho. Why the hell did you hit me?”

“If that isn’t the psycho calling the psycho pyscho. Because you’re not leaving until I say you are, asshole.”

Jimmy stared at him, rubbing his head. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“See, Damien told me all about you. He really thought he loved you, for some unfathomable reason. I warned him that a guy that’d hit him has already made the decision that he’s fine with killing you and you should get the fuck out while you can, but he didn’t believe me. Not that that matters anymore.”

“He hit me too,” Jimmy snapped, scooting away on his butt. Only when he hit the bed did he bother to stand.

“I’m sure. But he was ninety eight pounds soaking wet, and had the muscle tone of wilted carrot. A toddler could have beaten him silly. And I never saw you sporting black eyes or bruises in the shape of fingertips on your arm. Or am I wrong?”

“You’re a smug piece of shit, aren’t you?”

“I’m a smug monster, dickwad, and don’t you forget it.”

Jimmy looked equally confused and annoyed, which was exactly what Holden was aiming for. “Are you crazy or are you high?”

“Can’t I be both?” The beer can was intact, but Holden could feel the fizz bubbling inside the can, and knew it was compromised. It probably wouldn’t take much to make it explode, and he didn’t want it go off on him. So he lobbed it towards the bed, and even though it wasn’t close, Jimmy flinched anyway. Wimp.

“What do you want from me?” Jimmy snapped, trying to regain some of his dignity by hiding behind rage. “An apology?”

“Like words from you would mean anything. No, Jim, I’m trying to decide what to do with you. I have so many options. Where did you go, after Damien died? I looked for you, but it was like you vanished off the face of the earth. Interesting timing there.”

“It was coincidence. My job relocated me to Tucson.”

“Well, at least ending up in Arizona was a kind of punishment.”

Jimmy snorted. “You’re not wrong.” He was still rubbing his head, but Holden could tell by his posture he was losing his fear of him. “So what, you were waiting for me to come back?”

“No. You were just a happy accident.” Holden didn’t use apps, because there were too many former clients on them, but E did, and informed him there was a guy who looked just like Damien’s ex. Holden took it from there. As drug addled and spacey as E usually was, even he hadn’t forgotten Damien – also known to them as Puppy – and his piece of shit boyfriend Jimmy. It had been years, but it was such a miscarriage of justice, it was impossible for any of them to forget.

Puppy – as his nickname suggested – was a sweet, waifish runaway who had the worst taste in men. From an abusive home, he really sublimated all those “abuse is love” messages, and his toxic relationship with Jimmy drove him to hit the drugs hard. Yeah, Puppy’s OD probably wasn’t Jimmy’s doing exactly, but it was the driving factor, and as far as Holden was concerned, it counted.

“What did you think you were gonna accomplish here?” Jimmy asked.

“What makes you think I’m done?” Holden replied.

Jimmy frowned at him. “I’ll admit, you put on a good show, but you and I both know you’re not doing anything to me. Go home. Or to some john’s place, whatever you were planning to do.” Jimmy turned away, dismissive, and retrieved his coat.

Holden moved. He twisted his ring around, and when Jimmy pivoted to face him, he met Holden’s fist. He hit him dead on, and Jimmy’s head shot back so hard he collapsed to the bed. “Yeah, no,” Holden said, crossing his arms over his chest. He stood beside the bed and did his best to loom. “As I said before, you’re leaving only when I let you.”

Jimmy sat up on his elbows, and then felt the blood crawling down his face, from a couple of ring tears near his nose. He felt blindly, and looked at his red coated fingertips in horror. “What is wrong with you, you psycho?”

Holden rolled his eyes. Was he on poppers or something? Why was he having such a hard time understanding this? “Okay, I’m going to spell this out for you, because you’re clearly a dumbass. I am here to ruin you, Jimmy. Now is the time to tell me why I shouldn’t beat you until your mother can’t recognize you.” Holden didn’t add that also, now was the time he was going to feel like Puppy felt.

Jimmy’s eyes widened in horror, as it finally sunk in that Holden wasn’t kidding, and wasn’t here simply to make him feel bad.

Holden still hadn’t decided what condition he was going to leave Jimmy in. That was going to be up to him.

Jimmy better have a good story to tell. Or he might not live to regret it.

**
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