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Bishop

Warning: Scenes of Domestic Violence and Other Traumatic Events


October 15th, 1969 - Paris, France

How long had he been sitting there staring at the same imperfection on the marble top dining room table? Julian's rantings had become a hum in the background while blue hues stayed focus on the same spot that seemed to be the only visible imperfection within the household.

Well, aside from the aching, purple mass that had started to form on Augustine's cheekbone. Why would someone who was so obsessed with everything looking perfect tarnish the cheekbones he swore he adored on the man he claimed to love above all else?

No tears this time. The tears only made him more upset. For now August would just remain quiet and still as to not antagonize him further.

Loud footsteps began to close in causing the smaller man to instinctively look up from his favorite imperfection. His jaw clenched with anticipation to see what it was he did this time. As of late, it seemed breathing had become an offense to his significant other. Back in the day he would playfully tease at him, asking what it was this time.

That would only help him acquire another crack to the cheek.

"You cut your f-cking hair?! And you didn't ask me?! You didn't think about how that would affect me?!"

Trivial, as always. A blank gaze followed the larger male as he paced in a childish rage. August knew what this was about; a hidden clause in the relationship he never had expected.

Control.

Julian held all the cards and he knew it. When they had met Augustine was living in an old friend's restaurant while working as a dishwasher and all-around errand boy. The wealthy bachelor had seen Augustine from a booth cleaning off tables and avoiding any and all attention. For weeks he came to the establishment attempting to gain the attention of a particular busboy.

The man was persistent. And handsome. Despite the twenty-year gap he didn't seem a day over thirty; a fit body and finely sculpted facial hair. Everything about him attracted August, and the money was a bonus. One night and a hundred-dollar tip laid the groundwork for the catastrophe of a relationship he found himself in now.

Julian had provided expensive clothing, fancy food, a luxurious shelter, everything August never really got to experience. Of course, it was clothing the man wanted to see August in, food so he may keep his body how Julian liked it, and a home in which he could be caged in and showed off like pet.

Julian didn’t care about love or a symbiotic relationship. All he wanted was something beautiful to flaunt about and do as he pleased with. Augustine’s body was at his owner’s disposal.

A hand gripped tight at his hair. Reaching up he attempted to release the man’s grip that pulled him from his chair, dragging him across the kitchen floor. Julian had routinely made sure to remind Augustine of just how strong he was; those muscles weren’t simply for show. Claw as he might the grip was solid. Next thing he knew he was tossed across the kitchen into a set of cupboards causing glasses half filled with glass and liquor falling around him.

”Look what you make me do! I give you everything you could ever want and yet you continue to defy me! Why do you do this to me, amour?!”

Another crash, this time across the room; probably the bottle of whiskey he had almost finished. Augustine’s eyes glanced down to find shards of glass had found their way into his hand. The adrenaline had begun to numb his senses, but not enough. The sting of alcohol in his wound brought a hiss through his grit teeth. As if summoned Julian knelt next to him, a look of pure disgust on his face.

”Oh, baby, I’m so sorry,” he slurred. ”Just, you make me so angry sometimes. I don’t mean to hurt you, you know that, right?”

The hands that had caused him pain had begun to pull the shards from his hand in a surprisingly gentle manner. Augustine couldn’t look at him, he wouldn’t look at him. It was the same song and dance as usual. His lover would have tears in his warm, chocolate hued eyes and all evidence of the monster that terrorized him would wash away.

A towel was wrapped around his bleeding hand before a soft kiss was placed on his temple. The façade was beginning to break; Augustine was beginning to break. A stray tear fell down his cheek and his lips began to quiver.

”Amour, none of that, none of that.” Softly, Julian removed the tear from his bruised cheek. ”I’m sorry, baby. Let’s go clean you up.” August felt his body begin to lift from the ground into a bridal position in the large man’s arms. It was truly humiliating to feel so weak, so insignificant in the man’s presence. He dared not look in his lover’s face. So many times in recent memory had he flashed back to his dark days in foster care. The manipulation, the evil forced upon him by his foster father. The touch that made his skin crawl and stomach churn.

As of late he had begun to pinpoint the similarities in the two which only deepened his disdain for the man he once believed was his true love. How naďve he had been.

What was he to do? There was nowhere he could go. He had no money to his name, and he be damned if he went back to living on the streets. This had to work out. There was no other option.

”Okay, Augustine whimpered weakly, ”I’m sorry.”

Always sorry. And a promise would be made that it would never happen again; but it would.

And Augustine was always in the wrong.

Always sorry.
August 06, 2019 12:05 am

Bishop

October 21st, 1969 - Paris, France

THUMP!

Augustine stood with his hand reached forward after releasing a dart in the direction of a bullseye board across the room. Just off center was where it lodged itself. Slowly he took his right hand into his left, rubbing the scars that had been gaping wounds almost a week ago. Luckily his stitching was rather impeccable leaving few reminders of the night's transgressions. Those that did remain were minor and hard to see.

Another dart was retrieved from the nearby table. Taking a moment to line up the shot the inhaled, then released.

THUMP!

This time it was dead center. A tired smile teased at his weary features. Being out of the apartment was a godsend. When he returned Julian would surely have a coronary over his little pet being out and about. Even worse, in a bar. In a sense, he was thankful his lover worried so much but in another, he was fearful of the punishment. With another toss of a dart he let his worries fade. Right now, it was just him and the darts.

And the odd man staring at him from across the bar. Now and then from the corner of his eye he'd check to see if his audience remained. Was his hand-eye coordination so impressive?

Once all the darts had been tossed, he turned to where he had rested his empty only to find a familiar man leaning on the table, holding a newly refilled glass. Augustine flinched at the man's sudden appearance. "The f-ck!"

A soft chuckle left the pale man's lips. "Dry martini, right?" Pushing the beverage in Augustine's direction he continued."Forgive me if I made you uncomfortable. I just find your dexterity," his hand motioned to the dart board, "most impressive. Tell me, how did you gain such marksmanship?"

Already put off by the man's desire for conversation Augustine found himself at a loss for words. Socialization had become an alien concept to him on account of the fact he rarely allowed to leave his glass case. A hand took the martini glass tentatively as he tried to summon words that were neither 'Uh' or 'Um.'

"Back in foster care, all I had was a dart board. It's the only entertainment I had. I began to learn tricks, make obstacles. It's almost therapeutic."

Stopping, he cleared his throat. Had it really been so long since he spoke to someone aside from Julian that he couldn't help but spill his guts? Another chuckle left his partner. "No need to be embarrassed," he assured Augustine, "is this not why we go to bars? Free therapy to anyone who will listen?"

A smile began to spread across Augustine's features. Such kind gestures were foreign to him, and from a stranger nonetheless. The man pushed back a mane of dark black hair that perfectly framed his sharp features. Truly, he was a sight. A jawline for days, eyes green as an open field, and clothing of only the highest quality. Slowly his smile faded, realizing just what was happening.

Just as Julian had reeled him in, so was this man. Attempting to depart, he moved away from the table.

"Look, monsieur, I appreciate the drink, but I am spoken for."

Upon revealing his status, the peculiar man let out a fit of laughter confusing Augustine further. A pale hand gestured he return in which he obliged if for nothing but his own curiosity.

"No, no, it's not like that. Yes, you are an attractive man, but I assure you I only want to talk. No funny business." A pinky was extended towards Augustine. "Promise."

A finely plucked brow arched at the man's childish display of trust. However, Augustine found it comforting; inviting even. Their pinkies locked and the pact was made. For the rest of the night the man exchanged tales of his exploits for those of Augustine's days of survival. One thing that stood out about the stranger was how he did not pity the fact his conversation partner's struggle with abandonment and homelessness. In fact, he admired the fact someone could survive it all.

"Not many could survive life on the street," he said before taking a drink of his own dark beverage. "And the foster system is flawed. Your case proves that." Their conversation had gone on for so long Augustine lost track of how many martinis he had consumed, but his mind was beginning to swim. Glassy eyes watched the man as he spoke. "Now, what of this man? This Julian? Tell me about him."

In his compromised state the eyeroll could not be held back. As if to make a point he downed his whole martini in one go. "Julian then, or Julian now?" A humorless chuckle left him. "Back in the day he was as perfect as they got. Handsome, in shape, rich, and kind. Now..." His voice trailed.

A cold hand rest on top of his own, snapping his attention back to the male across the table. His evergreen gaze gave Augustine a sense of peace. With a sigh, he continued. "I do not love him. In fact, I despise him. However, I have no choice." Lips pursed into a cynical pout. "Nowhere to go. No money to my name. Hell, the tab here is under his name! I can't even drink without having his thumb pressing on me."

There was a moment of silence. The stranger lowered his voice so only Augustine could hear. "You are a lion, and he fears that. You are a lion whose mane and scars bring him envy. You roar louder than he ever could, so he cages you." Unbeknownst to Augustine his eyes began to well up at this revelation. It was as if the man had somehow taken a hold of his mind and steered it in the correct direction. Without any rhyme or reason, he was believing the man. "I think it's time you showed this sheep just how loud you roar, mon lion."

No longer in control of his actions he stood from his seat. It almost felt as if adrenaline had taken the reigns while his right mind took a back seat to the action. Do as he may to try and stop himself, he continued out the door of the bar. The stranger’s words rang deep in his mind on repeat. Whispers of his calming voice bounced around; directing him.

Suddenly, he was back home standing just inches from the front door. Already, the air was tense. On the other side of the door a scene much like the one from a week ago would surely unfold; possibly worse. His hands began to shake with pure fear as he reached for the knob. Just as he took hold, the words returned. They whispered to him in their soothing, yet empowering tone.

Roar, lion. Never cower again.

Something changed in him. What had been sleeping dormant within him for almost three years had begun to rouse from its slumber. Turning the knob, he opened the door to his metamorphosis. No longer would he tremble in another man's presence or smile for the sake of appearances. Fire burned in his crystal blue hues as he stepped inward. Sitting across the way with his face in his hands, surrounded by his own destruction, was a sheep.

A sheep who had outlived his usefulness.
August 06, 2019 10:29 pm
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