Summer Girl, Winter Boy(2)

By: Barbara Elsborg

Although Jai was her puppet, he refused to respond to every string she pulled, at least not without a minor protest for the sake of his self-esteem.

Being careful not to look in the mirror, because he couldn’t stand the sight of himself, he opened his wash bag, pulled a blister pack from a zipped compartment and pressed out two tablets. He thought about what awaited him downstairs and pressed out another two from a different pack, swallowing them with a few gulps from a water bottle he’d filled with vodka. Mixing drugs and alcohol should help him not much care what anyone did to him.

The first doctor he’d seen had told him it wasn’t his fault he was depressed. How right he was. Obliterate two wankers from the face of the planet and Jai’s smile would be permanent. But he hadn’t opened up to the doctor about why he was so miserable. His pride made him lie and say it was pressure at work.

The truth was that the depression was his fault in a way because he’d let himself get trapped in this mess in the first place. No matter how often he told himself that he’d had no choice, would he have done the same if he could turn back time? Yes, I would. As for that crap about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—well, it was a fucking lie, it makes you weaker. He was a pathetic, disgusting mess. The world would be a better place without me. The thought that kept driving him to the brink.

Before he left the room, he grabbed his sunglasses and slipped them on. A few more hours. His plane to Philadelphia left after lunch, giving him plenty of time to make the subsequent transatlantic flight, and he’d be back in London tomorrow morning, four thousand miles away from that cunt Marta and her bastard of a husband.

Though not for long, sang the voice in his head.

Shut the fuck up.

Make me.

A wave of impotent fury washed over him, cementing the scowl on his face. As he walked down the rear steps of the villa and out into the sun shining in a cloudless sky, he felt the gazes of those lounging around the pool settle on him and strip him of the little he wore.

“Ah, here he is. The face and body of Fixx.” Marta tucked her arm through his and pulled him forward. “Isn’t he the most gorgeous guy you’ve ever seen?”

She’d taken off the filmy dress to reveal a pink bikini that hardly covered anything. Her enhanced breasts strained to burst free of tiny cups. She was forty-two, he’d seen her passport, but claimed to be a decade younger. She walked him around the pool and introduced him to a couple who’d arrived at the villa late last night after he’d crashed. He made no attempt to remember their names. Apart from Marta and her husband Saul, there were two women and five men lounging around the pool. All but Marta were American.

Jai knew he’d be expected to fuck or be fucked by each of them. Fucking twats.

“Told you he was even better in the flesh.” Marta laid her hand over the outline of his cock and stroked it. His butt cheeks clenched. He couldn’t help it and he knew she’d noticed.

“Isn’t he the most handsome guy you’ve ever seen?” she asked. “Much more attractive than those prepubescent catwalk models. Jai’s grown better-looking every year I’ve known him.” She squeezed his cock.

“Marta, stop fondling Jai,” her husband called across the pool.

“I can’t help it.” The bitch giggled.

“Going for a swim,” Jai mumbled.

He tossed his sunglasses onto a lounger and dived into the water, heading straight for the bottom. Not a forceful enough dive to crack his head on the concrete and drown, though the idea had occurred to him and was on his bucket-list-with-a-difference. Not things to do before he died, rather ways to die. But some fucker would jump in and save him. He was worth too much to Saul for the guy to let him die. In any case, Jai wasn’t sure he could drown himself even if there was no one around. The instinct to swim was too strong. He’d already tried.

Jai stayed under as long as he could, propelling himself in slow, lazy strokes to the far end before he surfaced.

I hate her.

I hate him.

I hate this.

I hate myself.

The words repeated like a reassuring mantra. He’d tried pretending he loved it, and fooled no one. He wasn’t sure if that was because he was a terrible actor or guests had been promised a guy who really didn’t want them. He’d settled for sullen acceptance only to find his moody sulks turned the wankers on as easily as a smile. More, in some cases. He couldn’t win. He never would.