About: Kevin, Scotty, Jason, Chad and Alex
Rate: PG-13 for language?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Brothers and Sisters, but Alex Grodin is a figment of MY own sick mind.
Summary: The boys realize that they need to talk. Resistance is futile.
Warning: mention of non-consensual sex, but nothing graphic
Writer's note: It helps if you know my series: Happy now? and Last Christmas
“You did what?!” Kevin asks, giving Chad a stunned look.
“I got my uncle to give me permission to see Alex in the hospital, where’s he recuperating from his injuries.” Chad explains once again.
“Have you completely lost your mind?”
“No, Jason, I just felt that I needed answers, I needed to understand. And what Kevin told us, didn’t give me the answers I was looking for. .. so I talked to Alex…. I’m not sure if I completely understand, but … I have it all on tape and I’ve been thinking that maybe you guys need to hear it too.”
“No way.” Scotty immediately replies. “I never want to hear his voice again.”
“I do…. I want to listen to what he has to say.” Kevin says quietly.
“I’m sorry, Scotty. I can’t explain it to you.... Maybe I need some answers as well.”
Jason looks from Kevin to Scotty, searching for a reply of his own. He can understand both men. He, too, is torn between his curiosity and his fear of hearing that voice again, the voice that haunts him still.
“Jason?” Scotty looks at him, hoping Jason will take his side.
Jason wraps his arms around himself, rubbing his upper-arms as if he’s cold. Scotty frowns when he notices this movement, it is as if Jason is trying to protect and warm himself at the same time.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what will be the wisest thing to do..” Jason sighs.
“I asked him some questions and …. I do believe that Alex was honest in answering them… I know this might freak all of you out, but I also think you should listen.”
“I don’t know, Chad. I’m tempted to agree with Scotty. I don’t really want to hear him either. Can’t you just simply tell us what he told you?”
“No. I’m sorry, Jason, I know this is hard. It was hard for me too. But I just can’t tell you what he told me and get it across the way he did. I would give it my own interpretation and I think you really need to hear it in his words and with his conviction… Look I’m not playing down what effect his story will have on you or on the others, just…” he stops mid-sentence.
Chad looks at Kevin and Scotty, hoping for some help in getting his point across.
“I want to hear it.” Kevin says once again and when he sees Scotty shake his head, he explains nervously: “I need to understand it too, Scotty. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how I could be so taken in.
Have I really been such a fool? Is everything a lie? Am I a bad judge of character? Why me? What did I do? ... Or didn’t I do? .. I can’t unite the Alex I used to know, with the Alex of these last two years. It’s like there’s two of them in one body. Where did I make a mistake? I need to know what I did wrong, so I don’t repeat it and get you hurt again.”
Scotty sees the tears in Kevin’s eyes and becomes less determined and then Kevin softly says:
“I need you… I would love nothing more than to have you here right by my side and have us go through this together. But I’m no fool, so I can understand it, if you can’t handle it. Just, please, don’t resent me for trying to find my own answers.
You have a different past, different experiences with Alex than I have. That is no excuse, no reproach, no condemnation. It just is what it is. He tried to kill you. And Jason. And Chad. All of you have only seen his violent side, but I remember the other side of him as well.” Kevin nearly begs to be understood and Chad carefully chimes in:
“You guys really should listen to the way Alex talks about Kevin.. It’s … unsettling… Kevin is his drug. He nearly got high just talking about him. It’s one of the reasons why I think you both should listen. But, as Kevin pointed out, neither of us can make you sit down and force you…” There’s a silence after Chad’s words. A silence in which Scotty looks at Jason and Kevin and Chad before making up his mind.
“If you need me, Kev, then I’m right here. Naturally.” He then replies and Kevin lets out a sigh of relief.
“I’ll stay as well, but if I feel I don’t want to listen anymore….”
“No one will hold that against you, Jase.” Kevin says. “Please, don’t feel obliged to stay. This is not some ‘truth or dare’-game, where we dare you to stay.”
“I know… But I’m curious too… Curious... and scared.” Jason admits.
“Listen, just a quick suggestion,” Scotty says. “ Why don’t we all take a deep breath, I’ll make us some hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Something warm to drink. Then I’ll get Alice’s cookies and we make ourselves comfortable?
I need about 10 minutes… That will give all of us time to adjust to the idea and think about if we really want to go through with this ….”
His plan gets greeted with enthusiasm and Scotty wonders if all four of them will show up to listen, or if perhaps someone will not go on with it after all.
But 10 minutes later, all four of them sit down on the floor in front of the fire-place where Scotty placed a low table. The warmth is comfortable, all four of them are ready and once Scotty has provided everyone with the hot drinks and cookies, Chad places the tape-recorder on the table and pushes the ‘play’-button.
Chad tries to relax and closes his eyes as the voices on the tape take him back to earlier that afternoon.
“Thank you, Alex, for allowing me to tape this.”’
“You’re welcome…. Will Kevin hear this as well?...”
“If he’s willing to listen... I will however not make him.”
“I understand. I just want to say to Kevin, but also to Scotty and Jason, that I’m sorry…”
“If you say so…” Jason mumbles, but it gets lost in the cynical noise Scotty makes.
“Where do we start?” Alex asks. “What do you want to know?”
“I’m sure Kevin is wondering why you chose him?”
“I have to say this…” Chad stops the tape. “He only agreed to this to help Kevin. Kevin was all that mattered to him. It is all for Kevin and Kevin only, this is not for or about us.” Chad explains and he switches it back on.
“Why Kevin? You mean what attracted me to Kevin in the first place? …His smile… I was the new kid in class, came in two months after the new school-year had started. I remember standing there in front of the class and seeing nothing but a sea of disinterested, arrogant or distracted kids before me. Except Kevin.
He smiled at me and I thought he had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. Of course, I didn’t do that I’d just fallen in love with him.
I had expected him to be one of the popular guys. You know. Handsome, rich, good grades, athletic enough.
At first, I ignored him, and just looked at him from a far. But, much to my surprise, I noticed that he sort of flew under everyone’s radar. Everybody got along with him, I can’t remember anyone disliking him. He got along with everybody, but had no real friend of his own.
And when I got behind on my math, because my father had left too many visible bruises and I couldn’t go to school … I walked up to Kevin and asked him to help me. And he did. He was kind and smiled at me. No one ever did. Everyone always preferred to see me gone. Not Kevin. He always liked to see me.”
Alex becomes quiet and Chad sees an incredible sadness come over him and his voice is softer when he continues:
“My mom got raped, with me as result. She never forgave me. Left me with my ‘dad’, who knew he wasn’t my biological father and who never gave up reminding me of it.
Always said I should be grateful that he wanted to take care of me. Ha! As if! I used to sneak out of the house at night and earn my own money…”
“By selling the only thing I had, myself.”
“What?!” Kevin gasps. “He never told me any of this…”
“Did Kevin know that?”
“No! And I never would have confessed that to him. If he knew that I was prostituting myself, he would have seen me exactly the way everyone else did. Dirty, filthy, a mistake, irrelevant…
He wouldn’t have wanted to be my friend. He would have been disgusted with me. No. I did everything to make sure that he’d never find out.” “That must have been a very lonely time…. I mean, having to keep a part of who you are a secret, is very hard. Been there, done that.”
“But it wasn’t. The reward was Kevin’s smile, Kevin’s laughter, Kevin making me laugh and Kevin being there for me. Kevin was my drug, my daily fix I needed to move on. As long as I could see Kevin in school or hang out with him in the weekends, nothing else mattered.”
“Were you physically attracted to him? Did you hope for a different kind of relationship with him once he came out?” Chad now asks, curious about the young man opposite of him, although he wouldn’t admit it to himself.
Alex is quiet, thinks about the answer thoroughly before answering.
“I dreamed of it. I longed for something more. At the same time I was scared that Kevin would find out about my darker side, so I had to shut up and hear Kevin talk about Danny McCullough.” He nearly spits out the name. “Danny was the kind of guy he’d fall for, not someone like me.”
“Maybe Kevin didn’t realize you were interested in him?”
“I never told him, until the night he turned 18… I shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. I shouldn’t have confessed to him that I had killed my dad…. I got so upset and when Kevin tried to comfort me, we started to kiss.
That kiss led to the most amazing sex I ever had. But afterwards I knew it was too late. I knew that once he would be sober, he would go to police and tell the truth… Kevin was way too responsible… I had wrecked our friendship, he had seen the worst of me and I had had sex with him. That made me even dirtier in my eyes. Like I had violated him.”
“Why didn’t you kill Kevin? You had killed before.” Chad looks intensely at Alex. There’s a pain and confusion he doesn’t understand, but then Alex swallows it away. His fingers spread in the cuffs, making him seem even more desperate.
“Why not?” Is the first question Chad asks, until he becomes aware of a different meaning to Alex’s words. Shocked, he continues: “Did you try?” Alex nods.
“Yes. I got Kevin to fall asleep by using my pain-killers, then I made a knot, I… I planned to strangle him with it, but….”
He swallows away a lump in his throat. “But… I couldn’t do it. I accidentally touched him and he smiled at me in his sleep. He was so sweet, so tender, so vulnerable and he had been so wonderful and gentle with me, when we made love. I … I could not hurt him… I just couldn’t. Not Kevin…”
Kevin’s hand moves to his neck, he starts to feel nauseous at the idea how close he came to getting killed. Scotty’s fingers entwine with Kevin’s, trying to offer some support. Jason shakes his head, unable to believe all he hears.
“I searched for a piece of paper, something to write on and tell him we were through, that we would never see each other again. And then I found the money his grandmother gave him. A little over 5000 dollar. I took it, feeling it would give me a good start… and I left.”
“Where did you go?”
“To Europe…. South of France, to be exact. Ended up getting close to the jet-set. I looked ‘dangerous’, that made me sexy… and I didn’t mind sleeping around with boys and girls. In fact nothing mattered to me anymore. I was dead inside and moved from from day to day and just continued breathing….
I was eighteen, available, bold, not afraid of anything. I had nothing left to lose. I was already lost, dead and non-existent.”
“Did you start to use drugs?”
“No. I tried a few things, but I’d seen the damage it could do… I was afraid of drugs…”
It remains quiet as Chad searches for a way to formulate his next question, then he gives up and blurts out:
“Why did you start to kill people?” Alex falls back in the pillows and looks away. Almost as if he had expected another question and got disappointed that Chad didn’t ask it of him.
“Hate. Pure, unadulterated hate…. That’s where it started…. You see, for a long time I considered myself a nothing. I had no plan. I just drifted from bed to bed, from lover to lover, from house to house, from day to day. Until I met someone,… Let’s call him Mr X. And I’m not trying to sidestep your question.
It’s just that … there are people in the world who belong to certain circles, a certain environment, where you just don’t mess with people like that and who’s tentacles reach far, deep and merciless. Please, if you think I’m bad… You would not have wanted to meet Mr X.
Not that it would have mattered what you want, because if Mr X wanted you, he’d have you taken from your hotel-room, intimidated by his bullies, before he’d fuck you a few times over and dumped you in the gutter with a knife between your ribs and you would have said ‘thank you’ to him, because people like Mr X live above the law.”
Chad shudders at the words, but most of all by the faraway look in Alex’s eyes and the cold hate he sees on that pale face.
“Did he do that to you?” he asks. Alex looks right at him, the hate immediately taken over by a benevolent smile.
“No, I saw him do that to a good-looking young couple on their honey-moon… after I became a part of his entourage and his little toy.”
“Your choice?” Chad now wonders, unable to understand how Alex would get involved into this.
“No. I wouldn’t have been his toy, if I would have wanted it. The fun for him was cracking those who did NOT want it. And let’s put it like this… He had a lot of fun with me…” Alex sighs. “The problem with X was, that he was arrogant. He thought he could break me, but never understood that I was already broken.
I didn’t care what he did to me, how he humiliated me, because I didn’t exist. I was just a hollow shell, that adjusted itself to circumstances around it. If he wanted me to cry, I cried. If he wanted me to scream, I screamed. He wanted me to fight, I fought… And I knew that if he wanted sex, I should pretend not to want it….”
“But then, …. you did want it?”
“No. I didn’t care one way or the other. If he wanted to have sex with me, I’d pretend not to want to it, because he could ‘force’ me into it and I’d have breakfast the next day.” Alex shrugs.
Chad can hardly control his repulsion. Alex sees it, but rather than get angry, he starts to laugh cynically.
“You can’t imagine this, can you?” he nearly teases. “But you see, sex was meaningless to me.
I lost my virginity when I was 14 and got handsomely paid for it . Sex was a means to an end. The act itself was something you go through and wait for it to be over. And if you’re good at pretending you like it, people will like you. And I’m a good pretender. Besides, life had no meaning to me anymore. I would not have minded it, if he had killed me.”
Chad shakes his head, unable to understand Alex and Alex’s smile becomes gentle.
“You have such a strong will to survive. You clawed your way out of that barn. For Jason, but more importantly, for yourself…. I would not have bothered way back then. Now, yes. Then, no way.”
“Mr X made a mistake. In his arrogance be believed he owned me, but he didn’t. He just borrowed me. I left America with almost nothing as baggage, but there was one thing I took with me. A picture of Kevin and me. And one day X found the picture…
I had hidden it, but he found it and tore it up… With a huge grin on his face, he tore up the only thing I still had of Kevin… and therewith signed his death-warrant.”
“What did you do?”
“I told you he was arrogant. He thought he had me under his thumb and he didn’t.”
Chad raises an eyebrow in question and Alex smiles in amusement as he continues:
“I had to wait a couple of days, before I could get my revenge, but finally one afternoon he was alone in his room with me and he was just done having sex with me and he was lying on his belly. He was so satisfied and smug….
I took one of his ties, made a noose of it, put it around his neck before he realized it and pulled it really hard.”
“You strangled him?”
“No, he passed out. I tied him up to the bed and emptied his safe, took all his valuables.
Then I taped off his mouth, sprinkled his body and bed with gasoline and put it on fire once he came to. I watched it all burn for a while. After that I left the house, took the first plane to America and stayed here for a while, to sell what jewelry I had found in the safe, get myself a few other identities and then I returned to Europe, with a new identity, a new look and new mission. I planned out use people like they used me.
You see, those who treated me badly, died and those who treated me with respect, lived, and it worked for a little while. But with the internet becoming more important, making the world a smaller place, it became harder and harder to not be noticed. So six year ago, I met Ben and I liked him and he liked me and, for the first time I got myself into a relationship…
I wasn’t in love with him. I didn’t feel for him what I felt for Kevin, but I didn’t want to kill him either. And my life was very stable for a while… And then Ben insisted on going to LA and I had this strange desire to meet Kevin again… and the rest is history…”
“That was all there is…” Chad suddenly says and he switches off the tape-recorder, making Kevin blink in surprise.
“That’s it?” Jason asks, equally taken out of the story with a jolt.
“Yes, the rest is private.”
“Private?” Scotty echoes.
“Chad, please, no secrets between us. What could you two possible have to discuss… privately?”
“Kev, he had a few questions of his own and I answered them.”
“Let us hear it.” Jason says.
“No, I’d rather not.” Chad’s fingers take hold of the recorder, but Kevin is quicker.
“PLAY IT, CHAD!!!” He orders.
END OF PART 5