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For The Fans: Chapter 9


little_ginger_sub7: I want to be an Oreo now. The best kind? Double-stuffed 

diponchipzpls: Backwardz_Cap I have a leash, pls walk me like a dog

My first memory of being in a church was when my uncle Luke passed away.

He’d been sick for a while… Testicular cancer. Of course, I didn’t know much about it at the time, since I was only seven. But when he died, I expected information. Information I didn’t get.

I think my parents considered sharing the details of his illness with us kids to be improper. Children aren’t supposed to know the grim details of how fucked up life can be. Apparently, all we needed to know was that he’d been sick, and now he was gone.

His funeral was a spectacle. In the Catholic Church, especially in South Boston, funerals are an opportunity to warn the still breathing. To make sure we know that God has no problem smiting down whoever He wants, so while you’re still here, you better give your confession, and take your penance with an almost masochistic glee.

It’s God’s gift to us, after all… His forgiveness.

I remember being inside that large church on Washington Street for hours, which, to a child my age, felt like days. All of the standing and sitting and kneeling and praying… The Eucharist, the sanctification and purification… All that smoke everywhere, the hymns. The rituals of it all I got my fair share of in the years that followed. But this one moment in particular, at my uncle’s funeral, I vividly remember the fear.

It was the first time that I actually feared God.

Not only the scary priests with their serious, solemn faces, or my father with his stern, judging eyes. I remember fearing that if I didn’t do exactly what God wanted me to do, He would take my life, and I would end up lying in a wooden box while people cried and knelt and prayed for absolution.

The whole thing seemed much less about my uncle and more about making sure we understood the black and white of it. The good versus the evil. Anything that didn’t serve to please God would bring punishment, unless you confessed it. And I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of that type of judgement.

I became terrified of making a mistake. Of accidentally slipping up, doing something wrong and sinning in the eyes of the Father.

That fear is what led me through years of blind compliance. Attempting to overcome it was the first actual mistake I made.

Sitting on a wooden bench in the locker room reminds me of sitting on those hard, purposefully uncomfortable pews inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. When I open my hands, I see the lines of my palms covered by the rosary my father handed to me that day…

“Plead for salvation, Kyran… Loud enough that He can hear you.”

Closing my eyes, I squeeze them shut, clenching my hands into even tighter fists. I grip so hard my fingertips dig into my palms… And then I release them.

Releasing my fists slowly, I remember it slipping away…

“Hey…” A voice startles me, and my eyes shoot open, face springing in the direction of the doorway.

It’s Avi, wandering slowly into the locker room, still half-dressed in his mascot costume with only his head exposed. Even rolling my eyes at his presence feels exhausting right now.

He takes a seat next to me on the bench, and I just shake my head. “What do you want?”

He’s quiet for a moment, and I can feel his gaze on the side of my face, but I’m not in the mood to look.

“I just figured I’d check on you…” he says.

I let out a tired breath. “Leave me alone, Avi.”

“It’s just one game, man,” he mumbles. “Five-and-one is still a great record.”

“You don’t know shit about shit,” I grunt, raking my fingers through my hair.

I really don’t want to hear it right now. From anyone, but especially not from him. He doesn’t understand how important football is to me, because nothing is important to him. He doesn’t care hard enough about anything to be devastated over a loss like this.

Tonight was the first game I played since finding out about my dad’s business going under. And I just couldn’t get it out of my head…

For two weeks, I’ve been stressing the fuck out over being suddenly broke. And I know, it makes me sound like such a whiny, privileged brat, but I can’t help the way I was raised. We’ve never not had money. It’s like going from a massive head-start in the race to being dropped smack-dab in the middle with everyone else.

The insecurities I try so desperately to swallow down on a regular basis were all suddenly climbing up my throat faster than projectile vomit.

Maybe I’m not special… Maybe I’m not good enough to lead this team to the playoffs and get us a championship. Maybe everything I’ve ever had was given to me out of circumstance. Being a rich white kid was the cushy insulation, and after losing the rich part, I’m just another boring white boy in Boston, struggling to show the world an image that doesn’t even exist.

Having an existential crisis is never convenient, but having one in the middle of an important game against Georgia Tech was like the perfect storm for a disastrous failure. No matter how loudly Coach screamed at me, or how many looks Guty and the rest of the team gave me on the field, I just couldn’t push past it…

The idea that I’m nothing but a fuck-up who’s been posing as an all-star this whole time.

GT kicked our asses twenty-one to three, and even though no one said it outright, I just know they’re all pissed at me. Our defense held out strong. Really, everyone played great.

Everyone but me.

“I know that the Yellow Jackets are a great team,” Avi goes on, and my teeth grind together. “I know there were a few bullshit calls, and I know you guys did your absolute best. It’s one loss at the beginning of a stellar season, Ky. Stop wallowing in it. That’s not your style.”

Tilting my face in his direction, I narrow my gaze. “What’s with the pep-talk? We’re not friends…”

“Yea, no shit,” he sighs. “I just figured you could use it. This whole no money thing definitely just smacked us both upside the head.”

I sit in silence for a second, contemplating if I even want to keep talking to him about anything. But again, I’m too tired to fight.

“There’s just so much riding on this now,” I mutter. “The scholarship relies on me winning, and I was denied financial aid for housing because of the assets my dad still has in his name. And to top it all off, the backwards-ass rules state that if I’m not living on campus, I don’t qualify for the scholarship at all. It’s completely ridiculous.”

Avi lets out a breath. “That is pretty fucking asinine…”

“So forgive me for not being in the mood to shoot the shit with you, bro. But I kind of just want to be alone…” Standing up, I aggressively untuck my jersey and pull it over my head, whipping it across the room.

For the first time since he sat down, I glance at Avi, our eyes locking as he stares up at me. He’s not smiling, or smirking, which, for some reason, makes me feel both better and worse at the same time. I can’t tell if he’s pitying me, or if this situation is just so glum that he’s finally lost the will to chuckle at the rest of the world like it’s all a big joke.

Breaking our eye contact before it starts to piss me off even more, I remove my shoulder pads, dropping them onto the floor. Avi stands up while I keep my gaze on my feet, kicking off my unlaced cleats.

“You should come to Frankie’s party tomorrow,” he says, causing my eyes to spring back to his. “I’m not sure if you heard, but she’s having a huge Halloween party at her new place in Brookline…” I shake my head, because why would I care? “It’ll be a ton of fun, and I think we deserve to have some fun, what with all this bullshit going on.”

“I’m sure you haven’t delayed your nonchalant, fun-loving stoner lifestyle just because of all this…” I mutter.

“Good point.” He smirks, and I roll my eyes. “No, but seriously… I know you don’t want to hang out with me or anything. But you should come by. Take your mind off everything.”

I squint at him. It’s more than odd for him to be inviting me to his friend’s party. But then Avi is a strange person, so who knows what he’s ever going to do…

All the other Halloween parties will be on campus, which automatically means they run the risk of being shut down by campus security if things get too rowdy. Going to Brookline would guarantee a wilder night.

But then I’d have to spend it around my annoying stepbrother and his oddball friends.

I’m not really even in the headspace to think about a costume party right now, so I simply shrug. “I probably won’t.”

“Well, I think you should.” He stands firm, placing his hands on his hips.

“In case you haven’t picked up on this in the years we’ve known each other…” I lift my brows at him, “I don’t care what you think.”

“Pleasant as always, superstar.” He grins, turning to leave. But he pauses and says, “Don’t forget to dress up!”

He struts away from me, and I call after him, “Take that stupid thing off. You look like an idiot.”

“Can’t!” he shouts over his shoulder. “I’m not wearing anything underneath.”

Shooting a wink at me, he swings out of the locker room, leaving me with the lingering frustration of being near him.

Puffing a solemn breath, I shake my head. There’s absolutely no way I can go to that party tomorrow. Unless someone wants to see a Michael Myers-style murder happen IRL.

I’ve spent hours debating this decision. Enough that even as I’m shuffling off the Green Line and up the block toward Frankie’s house, I’m still considering turning around and going back.

There’s a Halloween party currently taking up our entire floor in the dorms. Everyone pretty much just parties in the halls, wandering in and out of rooms that are all fully stocked with booze and party favors, students dressed in all kinds of costumes and celebrating what is by far the most fun holiday when you’re our age.

When I left, Guty was dressed as Negan from The Walking Dead, and insisting that I stay and get weird with him and our friends. And as much as I do love hanging out with them, I just had to get away from my teammates for the night. After the loss yesterday, I’m still not really in the mood to deal with it. Not that I think they’d be giving me shit—not directly, anyway. But I figured a change of scenery might be what I need right now.

Also, it’d be nice to avoid Lexi after I’ve spent all week dodging texts from her about us dressing up in couple’s costumes.

So that’s it. Avoidance and denial—my bread and butter—are drawing me to Avi’s friend’s house in Brookline for this Halloween party. And I have just enough lackluster energy to walk up the steps and deliberately ignore all of the bizarrely dressed partygoers I pass along the way.

You just have to numb yourself with alcohol until the party at the dorms inevitably gets shut down. Then you can go home, crawl into bed, and feel sorry for yourself alone.

The moment I step inside Frankie’s apartment, I’m regretting coming here. The place is packed with people, all decked out in all manners of crazy costumes, leaving me to feel even more insecure about mine. I didn’t have the time, energy, or money to spend on a cool one, so I just grabbed the cheapest thing I could find last minute—a black and yellow karate outfit from Cobra Kai.

Not to mention that none of my friends are here, so there’s none of the usual hype when I show up at parties where people actually care about football to rely on. Still, I recognize a few faces, who shout “what’s up” at me while I make a beeline to the nearest visible alcohol.

In the kitchen, I find a cooler stocked with cans of beer. Grabbing one, I crack it open and chug the entire thing before even sparing a glance at anyone. Dropping the empty on the counter, my eyes shift to someone I recognize as one of Avi’s friends standing right next to me. Micah Torres. He’s dressed in a black suit with fake blood and viscera splattered all over the front, and on his face.

“Sup…” I grumble, cracking open another beer.

“Hey…” He looks around, like he’s expecting the rest of the football team to come barging into the room to crash their party.

Taking a few large gulps from my second beer in less than one-minute, I swallow and tilt my head. “Who are you supposed to be?”

He grins. “I’m the Secret Service agent who shot JFK by accident.”

Jesus Christ… I blink at him in silence for a few seconds before finishing my beer.

“Hey! Look who showed up!”

The familiar voice grates on my nerves as it always does, and I close my eyes for a moment. This was clearly a bad idea.

Avi stomps over to me, plucking the material of my shirt between his fingers. I jerk away from him.

“Billy Zabka?” He cocks a brow, grinning while looking me over. “Ahh, Cobra Ky! That’s clever.”

“Yea, and who are you?” I take in his hair tied back, and the slightly oversized suit with blood on the shirt, then nod in Micah’s direction. “The guy sitting next to him who couldn’t find a tailor?”

Micah snorts while Avi purses his lips. “Uh, no. I’m Vincent Vega.” My eyebrow cocks, and he gives me a look like I’m an idiot. “John Travolta from Pulp Fiction.”

“I know who Vincent Vega is,” I mutter, choosing not to encourage him by mentioning that Pulp Fiction just so happens to be one of my favorite movies ever.

“Best fictional Vega.” He grins with pride.

“I guess… if you consider a heroin junkie who blows people’s brains out by accident the best,” Micah scoffs, and I can’t help but chuckle.

“It was the nineties.” Avi shrugs, his head swinging left and right. “Plus, my Mia Wallace is around here somewhere…” He spots someone across the room and points. “Ah, there she is.”

I follow his eye line to where his friend Zeb is wearing a black bob wig and a large white dress shirt with makeup running down his face and a needle sticking out of his chest.

“Hey, Mia! That’s not coke, ya know!” Avi shouts, and Zeb turns around, drawing a square in the air with his fingers.

Avi bursts out laughing. God, what a dork.

“I’m surprised to see you here, superstar,” Avi says to me, grabbing a couple of solo cups and pouring liquor into them. “I definitely didn’t think you’d show.”

“I’m just here for the booze.” I reach into the cooler for another beer.

“Well, in that spirit…” He hands me one of the cups, then lifts the other. “Happy fucking Halloween.”

“Mhm.” I whip back the shot of whatever he just poured, not giving a single fuck what it is. Could be arsenic for all I care.

As soon as I slap the cup down on the counter, he’s refilling it. My brows zip together, wondering why he’s plying me with alcohol, but I don’t bother to ask. I just want to get drunk enough to forget that I’m at a party with him on purpose.

I take the second shot, chasing it with a third beer while people shout and laugh, music thumping around us. There are people grinding together, making out, doing drugs; girls and guys wearing some of the skimpiest costumes I’ve ever seen, prancing around the place without a care in the world.

It’s while I’m observing all of these surroundings that the host of the party herself saunters over to us. And I have to do a double-take.

Frankie’s costume is insane. She’s half-devil, half-angel, with one side of her body in white, gold, and light sparkles, and the other side in red and black. She has an angel wing sprouting from her back on the right, and a dark, ghoulish-looking one of the left. I can’t believe how elaborate the costume is. The makeup is one thing, but she even has half of a halo above her head on the right side, half of a golden bra-type thing, while her left breast is covered only by a pasty in the shape of a pentagram.

“Hello, monsters.” She smirks, sliding her arm around Avi’s waist as she peers up at me.

Avi gives her an affectionate look, and for a moment, I wonder to myself if they’re hooking up. He’s been friends with her for years, and they’ve always been very close. But I dispel the thought, because I don’t care who he hooks up with, picking up my cup and tossing it back again with a wince.

“So lovely of you to join us, Kyran,” Frankie says, seductively. Or maybe I’m just getting a buzz on already, who knows. “We don’t see enough of you, ya know?”

Avi clears his throat, and my increasingly fuzzy gaze flits between the two of them.

“You’d probably see more of me if you didn’t hang out with him so much.” I lean in closer to her, nodding my head in Avi’s direction.

“He’s such a darling, isn’t he?” Avi rolls his eyes, reaching into his pocket and stuffing a joint between his lips.

He lights it and takes a long drag, puffing out a cloud of pungent smoke into the air before handing it to Frankie. She does the same, vibrant eyes stuck on mine.

“You like the digs?” she asks me.

“You mean the place, or your costume?” I take another sip from something. “’Cause they’re both pretty dope.”

Frankie is eyeing me in a way that feels sort of flirtatious, but I can’t be sure if she’s actually flirting or if it’s just her personality. Avi leans in and whispers something in her ear, seeming a bit tense with his smirk having vanished. But Frankie shushes him, then holds out the joint for me.

I shake my head. “Drug tests.”

“That sucks,” Avi grumbles, snatching the joint and smoking it himself.

“How about we give you the tour?” Frankie’s eyes sparkle, and she shoots another look at Avi, who’s practically scowling.

I have no idea what’s going on between them, but with the warmth of my rapid alcohol intake buzzing through my veins, I’m starting to think that maybe she is flirting with me, and it’s making Avi jealous.

And so, for that reason only, I give her a charming grin and nod, allowing her to take me by the arm. If pissing Avi off is a side-effect of me being here, then maybe this party won’t be so bad.

Frankie shows me around her place, which is very nice. I’m surprised by it, because I’ve never known her to be very wealthy, and there’s no conceivable way this place isn’t costing at least a few thousand a month. Brookline is absolutely not cheap, and I find myself wondering how she could afford an apartment like this as a full-time student with no job—at least not one that I’m aware of.

Maybe she came into an inheritance or something…

Either way, it’s none of my business. I’m just sipping from my cup while she drags me all around, and the booze is working to dull my hyperawareness because it takes me far too long to notice that she has Avi on her other arm. Before I can break away to go mingle with someone who isn’t so attached to my stepbrother, she yanks us both into her bedroom.

Avi meanders over to her bed and plops down like he owns the place, stubbing his roach out in an ashtray on her nightstand. My bemused glare is on him as he sprawls out, gazing up at the ceiling.

Okay… they’re definitely boning. Not that I care, but he seems to be pretty comfortable in her bed.

“This is where the magic happens,” Frankie sighs, finally releasing my arm and wandering through the open space of her bedroom.

Magic.” Avi chuckles sarcastically, shaking his head.

“Alright, well… thanks for the tour.” I back up slowly. “But I’m gonna go… anywhere but here.”

Before I can reach for the doorknob, Frankie steps up to me again and takes my hand. “Kyran… There’s something I want to ask you. And before I do, I just need to make sure you know to keep an open mind…”

Avi laughs, then mutters, “This is an epically bad idea…” He aims an accusatory look at Frankie. “One of your worst.”

“Shut up, please, Aviel,” she sings, then glances back at me.

“Why do I feel like I’m about to be kidnapped and sold into sex slavery…” My eyes are wide as they move in between the two of them, tension working into my buzz.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Avi scoffs, and Frankie holds her hand up to him.

“Okay, so here’s the deal,” she starts; the angel-demon standing before me. “I have a nice little hustle going on via a website you may have heard of called OnlyFans…”

Oh God, here we go…

“My standard content is just me alone, but recently my fans have been asking for me to collab. More specifically, they want to see me with two guys. And I figured, since you’re, ya know… beautiful and all… maybe you might be interested—”

“I’m gonna stop you right there.” I snatch my hand away from her. “If what you’re suggesting has anything at all to do with the three of us in this room, I’m afraid I’ll have to politely decline.”

“Told you,” Avi mutters while throwing a hacky sack up into the air and catching it over and over.

Wait… what?? I step forward, glaring at him. “You knew she was going to ask this?? What kind of freak are you?!”

“Alright, let’s just chill out.” Frankie rests her palm on my chest while Avi makes a motion in the air with his hand as if to say, See? Do you see how unreasonable he is?

“No, wait. You invited me to this party because you wanted me to have a threesome with you and your girlfriend??” I cackle at him incredulously.

Avi freezes, his eyes flinging in my direction as he sits up fast. “Excuse me… Girlfriend??”

Frankie snorts. “No, no. No girlfriend.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” he repeats with conviction, and I roll my eyes.

“Okay, sorry. Hook-up friend… Whatever. Same thing.”

“No. Also false.” Avi scoots off the bed. “We’ve never hooked up before. This is just one of Frankie’s elaborate schemes she’s concocted to make money. And while I have to give it to her…” He peeks at Frankie and faux claps. “Brava. You tried. And I hate to say I told you so, but… Oh, wait. No… I love saying it. I freaking told you so! There’s absolutely no way this asshole would ever even entertain the idea of a threesome where I’m one-third, just like I really have no desire to witness whatever his idea of hooking up is.”

I’m utterly stunned right now. There’s so much to unpack in this situation, my head is wobbling.

Fine, Avi…” Frankie rasps petulantly. “You made your point. I just figured if there’s anyone we know who needs fast cash…”

“What do you mean, fast cash?” I ask with bewilderment taking over my tone. “What kind of money would be involved in having a threesome with you and my idiot stepbrother??”

“Um, fuck you very much,” Avi grunts.

“Well, I’d be recording the video for my OnlyFans,” Frankie explains calmly. “Selling it to viewers at a price… So naturally, I’d split the profits with my collaborators.” She slopes her head.

My eyes shift to Avi once more. “Is that why you were going along with this? For the money?”

He nods, losing a bit of the animosity as his chin drops and he stares at the floor. “I need to come up with like ten grand to stay in school.”

The mood quickly shifts to one much more serious, the weight of Avi’s and my situation clearly sitting heavily on both of our shoulders.

But still, I have to scoff. I have to. “There is no way in hell I would—”

“Yea.” Avi cuts me off, squinting at my face. “We heard you the first time.”

“Hey.” Frankie grabs Avi’s hand and squeezes it. Then she shoots me a sympathetic smile. “Don’t worry about it. It was just a stupid idea. Forget I said anything.”

Shaking my head, I turn toward the door, ready to leave the dumb-as-fuck proposal in this room and never look back. But something stops me.

I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m cruising down the pretty-drunk expressway, or the insecurities from my loss yesterday, or if I’m really just that fucking terrified of losing everything I’ve been working towards and being forced to move back home…

But as I stand, paused in front of the door, my mouth can’t stop from asking quietly, “How much do you think we would make…?” Peeking at Frankie over my shoulder, I add, “Hypothetically, of course.”

Her lips twitch. “Hypothetically…? Probably at least two grand each, maybe more.”

My lashes flutter in a rapid blinking that must not be disguising the dollar signs in my eyes, because she steps over to me and places her hand on my shoulder. “And that’s just the beginning.”

I turn around slowly, my hesitations being slowly swallowed up as I visualize that glorious much-needed money.

“What does that mean?” I ask Frankie, forcing myself not to look at Avi. I refuse to see whatever way he’s reacting to the fact that a teeny, weeny sliver of me is actually considering this.

“The more I promote it, the more people pay for it.” Frankie shrugs.

I shake my head in protest. “I really don’t even see how I could…”

My eyes find Avi, even though I don’t want to. He’s just standing there, looking particularly shocked at how this conversation is progressing.

“I’m not into dudes,” I growl at him, and he huffs.

“Yea, asshole, neither am I.” He folds his arms over his chest. “Especially not ones like you.”

I step closer to him. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean??”

“Alright, alright, Jesus!” Frankie steps between us again. “Seriously, I’m loving the tension here, but you two know you can have a threesome without actually hooking up with each other, right?”

“This is too fucking weird.” I shake my head, backing off while I fist my hair. “He’s my fucking stepbrother. I just don’t see how it could work…”

“Well, no one’s forcing you, superstar,” Avi hums. “It’s fine. Just go back to your boring old sex life with cookie cutter cheerleaders, and we’ll find someone who’s adventurous enough to help us make bank.”

My jaw ticks, anger and frustration burning in my gut like the liquor I’ve been downing since I got here. “You have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t know shit about my sex life.”

Avi simply smirks at me, like he does, and whispers, “Then what are you so afraid of?” He inches in closer. “Worried you might see my dick and feel compelled to—”

Fuck off, Avi,” I snarl. “Or I’ll record my own video of me beating you into the ground and sell it to World Star.”

As usual, he doesn’t back down, and it has me raging like a goddamn hurricane inside.

“Just think about all that money you’re giving up because you’re too scared to throw down with me in the room…” His grin widens.

“I’m not scared of shit,” I hiss. “I just don’t want you trying to touch me like the creepy little pervert you are.”

“This is already so hot,” Frankie whispers. “Do you mind if I record the build-up for bonus content?”

I shoot a seething glare in her direction. My mind is telling me to run out of this room as fast as possible. Get the fuck away from this situation and find some other way to make the money I need.

But when I take a breath and actually think about it… I know that shy of selling drugs or theft, there’s no immediate way to get this kind of cash this fast that doesn’t require doing something sexual you might not want to do.

So with my mind on the money and the money on my mind, I grit my teeth and sigh, “I’m gonna go get shit-faced. We’ll meet back here when I’m so drunk I can barely process what the fuck I’m doing.”

And then I storm out of the room, on a mission to locate enough booze to get me through this nightmare.

Anyone know where I can find an Olympic-size pool filled with SoCo?


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