Sunday, February 14, 2016

(11) Redemption – A time of peace, I swear it's not too late



Fabien turned away from Raoul and his words, staring off into space, barely aware of the people passing by the park bench where they sat. Finally, he shifted to look at Raoul, asking, "Why do I always end up with controlling men?"

If Raoul was surprised by the question he didn't show it. "Perhaps for the same reason that I seem to gravitate towards men I can control. Something in how we grew up, what we experienced as kids, I suppose."

Fabien nodded slowly. "Perhaps."

"Is Mr. Paquet controlling?"

"How do you know about him?" Fabien asked in surprise.

"You're mother gave me your phone number. When you didn't answer after several tries, I got smart and decided to find out if it really belonged to you."

"My mother gave it to you? You went to see her? Well I guess that was a foolish question."

"A bit," Raoul replied with a chuckle. "But that didn't answer my question."

Fabien sighed. "Yes, he's a bit like you in that way. Just not quite as terrifying. That's why I'm in the position I'm in with Janvier."

"That's the man who was threatening you?"

"No. That was one of his goons. Janvier runs a club here in the city. It caters to a variety of tastes; gambling, unconventional sexual practices, and what have you. All under the cover of being a first class dance bar."

Raoul cocked an eyebrow. "That doesn't seem to be the sort of place you'd frequent."

"Normally it wouldn't be but—" Fabien sighed. "I wanted to get free of √Čtienne, Mr. Paquet to you. That required money I don't have. My shop does well enough, but not to the point that I can support myself yet on what I make from it, unfortunately."

"I see. So you went to Janvier's club planning on making what you needed by gambling. That was more than stupid."

"Yes it was, but desperate times call for desperate measures as they say. The problem was, I'm a lousy gambler so I kept going, trying to recoup my losses and get on a winning streak. Instead I got in way over my head, and I now owe him more than I'll ever be able to repay him unless…" Fabien's mouth tightened.

"Unless?" Raoul prodded when Fabien went silent.

"Unless I borrow the money from my father or √Čtienne, and with either choice I loose everything I've worked for and become…theirs, I suppose you could say."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

(10) Redemption – A time of peace, I swear it's not too late



"I was looking for you actually. I owe you an apology." Fabien seemed to take that in stride since he didn't get up and leave, which impressed Raoul. "I know it's been a long time since—everything, but I'm quite serious, I want to apologize for being an ass, and worse."

It was obvious that Fabien was trying very hard accept what Raoul had said. "So, after eight years, you come half way around the world to make amends? Why?"

"Let's just say it's something I need to do, and from the look of it I arrived at exactly the right time. Who was that man, and what was the threat about?"

Fabien held up a hand to stop Raoul's questions. "I don't believe you."

Raoul nodded slowly. "I'm not surprised. We ended things on rather a bad note, you and I."

"Bad note? That's a bit of an understatement," Fabien said angrily. "You beat the shit out of a friend of mine, because you thought he was too interested in me, and then you tried to convince me that he deserved it. After that, if you remember, you locked me in our bedroom to keep me from leaving, while you took off to God knows where on business."

"Oh I remember, and it didn't work," Raoul growled before biting back on the anger the memory brought with it. "At least I left you with food. I wasn't a total bastard."

"Debatable."

"Okay, I was a total bastard. When I got back to find you'd managed to escape." Raoul's hands fisted.

Fabien smiled slightly despite being afraid and angry. "Did the bedroom survive your anger?"

"Well…" Raoul shrugged. He reached out a hand towards Fabien, dropping it when the young man skittered to the end of the bench in alarm. "Sorry," he muttered.

"It's—all right. I just… I don't trust you. Not after your last visit here."

"Hey now, I never once hit you in all our time together."

Fabien shook his head. "Not physically, no. But mentally, emotionally, you did a damned good job of trying to destroy me."

"I wasn't trying to—"

"Oh really?" Fabien broke in staring hard at him. "What do you call what you did? It wasn't love."

"It was my form of love; I told you that before our last fight. It's the only way I knew how to show that I cared."

"So now you're back to try again?"

"No," Raoul said quietly. "I meant what I said. I'm here to apologize for my actions. I owe you that much."