Break me down: the opening scene
The "Look Inside" feature isn't working on Break Me Down's Amazon page yet, so I'm including the first scene below for anyone who's interested. If you like what you see, you can pick up a copy at mybook.to/BreakMe Hope you enjoy!
BREAK ME DOWN Travis Beaudoin
You can call me an asshole if you want to. I won’t argue. I mean, I’m not—I think I’m a pretty decent guy mostly—but I’ve definitely done some asshole things, and this story doesn’t make me look great. Here’s the deal, though: if Chad thought things were more serious than they were, that’s not on me. I’m not the one who got in over my head, and I for sure didn’t lead him on. Not deliberately. So it’s not fair to blame me for his feelings or impressions or whatever, especially when he could have been better about checking in, you know? I knew the moment I met him he’d never be the love of my life. That wasn’t what this was about. It was so simple at first. It started with loneliness. Maybe that’s trite or dumb. I don’t know. But it’s the truth. New York, for all its lights and noise and millions of people and billions of distractions, can be a lonely town. I was learning that the hard way. I’d arrived a week before, fresh from a little South Carolina college town, a BFA in acting in my hand and big dreams in my brain. I knew New York the way most people do—from movies. I guess I hadn’t expected the reality of it to be so loud or busy or expensive. And it stinks. Literally. All summer long, the city smells like garbage. It was a lot to deal with. Overwhelming. So there I was, lying on a bare mattress in my shitty third-floor walk-up in Astoria, fucking around on Tinder. I didn’t expect to do anything about it, you know? Just seeing what was up. But then Chad and I swiped right on each other. He asked if I wanted to get a drink. I said sure. Sitting in a little bistro a few blocks from his apartment, I clocked immediately he wasn’t as handsome as he’d been online—it was a very flattering picture—but he was cute enough, and clean, and well-dressed, and clearly into me. We did a couple of shots, then went to his place. The sex was awkward—a lot of giggling and elbows, the way it gets when you’re tipsy and learning a new person’s body—but we had fun. He asked me to stay. I almost said no. None of this would’ve happened if I’d bailed. But I was tired, and his bed was more comfortable than my mattress. I spent the night being his big spoon, and even though he snored a little, I slept like a baby. He was gone when I woke up the next morning, but he’d left me a note. Dorky, but kind of sweet. He texted me a couple nights later. Once again, I was sitting around horny and homesick, so I brushed my teeth and caught the train into Manhattan. Pretty soon he was texting me every day. Before I knew it, we’d established thrice-weekly dinner-and-a-bang sessions. Our relationship, if you want to call it that, had crept up on me, but I wasn’t itching to change it. It was fine. Nice. And so, a month after our first hookup, here I was, fucking Chad from behind on the couch in his living room. I was going hard, making all the noises he liked, but…you know how it is sometimes. I wasn’t really focusing on him. My mind wandered, tracing my path to this moment, figuring out how a 23-year-old small-town boy like me had ended up on this suede couch in this living room in this condo in Columbus Circle, railing this sweet, kind-of-boring guy. I did that sometimes, remembering each decision that had put him in my path. I’d just look at him or smell him, or he’d say something, and I’d wonder why I was with him, what I wanted from him. Then he’d do something nice or I’d get a good nut or whatever, and I’d stop being so ambitious and remember this wasn’t a forever thing. It was good enough for now. Anyway, it was a Monday. We fucked on Mondays, and I remember this one specifically because I’d just gotten cast in my first New York play. It was dumb. Really dumb. Some rinky-dink thing at a theatre on Christopher Street. One of those “reviews” that old gay guys and drunk straight women go ape over. My role basically consisted of me wearing tighty-whities and go-go boots and strap-on angel wings, doing a box-step while speaking in rhyming couplets. Like, one step up from being a literal stripper. But it was a paying gig. Chad acted like I’d just scored Hamlet or Evan Hanson or whatever. He insisted we have a “special evening” to celebrate my off-off-off-Broadway debut. When he brought it up, I thought it was sweet, even if it was a little over the top. In actuality, though, it felt a lot like every other Monday night with Chad. Maybe it sounds like I’m complaining. I’m not. Not really. We had our routine, and it was fine. I’d swing by after he got off work. He’d order dinner. We’d eat. He’d tell me about his day. We’d move to the living room and put on a movie and cuddle. After about half an hour, I’d slide my fingers under the hem of his shirt. He was ticklish, and he’d squirm and laugh and slap me, maybe jab me with his elbow. We’d goof around for a few minutes, just sort of tussling. All good fun, you know? I was taller, and I worked out, so it was pretty easy to pin him down and wrap my thighs around him. We’d be horny by then, so I’d make him blow me for a little while, then we’d fuck. Doggy-style, on the couch, the TV sending pale blue flickers over our bodies. Every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. Clockwork. Sometimes I’d barely stop paying attention to the movie. I mean, I’d grunt and whisper bad-porn dialogue—Yeah, babe, you feel so good, babe, you like this dick inside you, babe?—and I don’t think he ever noticed I was mostly just going through the motions. We never went out. We never skipped the movie or fucked in his bed. He seemed happy with the routine, and I’m not one to complain. But anyway, I remember this Monday because of what happened later. Like, I remember Liam Hemsworth was in the movie, because I kept looking at the screen to help me get off. And I remember this was after Chad told me I could be a little rougher with him, because I pulled his hair while I rode him and called him a slut instead of just babe. And, as I said, I’m pretty sure I was thinking about how the two of us seemed like we were becoming “a thing,” even though we’d never talked about it. And I remember saying to myself, I should dump him. Not tonight, but soon, maybe. Return his texts a little slower. Cancel a few dates. He’ll get the message. Just then, Chad’s breathing went ragged, and he started bucking his ass against me good and hard, like he really needed it. I tightened my grip on his hair and jerked his head back, and I dug my fingers deep into his hip, holding him in place against my dick. I started railing him, just plowing his hole, and I was close enough to coming that I didn’t say much, but I’m a pretty vocal top so I was probably grunting and growling. I came inside him, then pumped a few more times just to get it all out. (“I like the way you fill me,” he’d told me once, and it was super corny, but he blushed really cute when he said it, so I always tried to make him feel like he was getting a good load.) Once I was drained, panting, chest damp, I collapsed against him and bit his shoulder. He liked me to hold him while he came, so I slid off him and cradled him. He jerked off like he was in a race, pounding his meat with these furious fap-fap-fap sounds, while I stuck a couple fingers up his slippery ass and told him what a good boy he was and could he make a big mess for me. He came hard, shooting all over his chest, cheeks flushed, eyelashes fluttering, soft little gasps melting into whimpers, almost like he was sad. This was Chad at his sexiest—not thinking too hard or trying too hard, just focused on himself. I watched him breathe for a while, then I reached up, mussing his sandy hair, and pulled him in for a kiss. Any other Monday (or Thursday or Saturday), that would’ve signaled the end of our night. A quick peck, maybe a little tongue, and then time to hit the shower. We had a routine, and we’d both memorized it. This night, though, when I pulled out of the kiss, Chad’s mouth followed me, wet and warm and still hungry. He pushed me down into the couch and kissed again, harder, falling on top of me and grinding until we were both sweaty, sticky messes—I didn’t even want to think about what we were doing to the suede. It was sweet, but different. I enjoyed it—he never took charge like this—but part of my brain started spinning, trying to figure out where it had come from. Then I gave up thinking and let him kiss me, and I started kissing back, and it felt so nice I got half-hard again. I was about to pull on his nipple or something, to see if he wanted to fuck again, when he pulled out of the kiss. He sighed and looked at me, and brushed some hair off my forehead, then shifted, lying down half on top of me, half beside me, our legs tangled together. I could have fallen asleep like that—I almost did—with him tracing his sticky fingers down my slippery chest. But then he spoke. “I really like you.” “I like you, too,” I mumbled. A few seconds, then, “Miles wants to meet you.” That woke me up. My eyes popped wide open. I tried to look down, but the way he was lying on me, all I could see was his damp, sandy hair, flickering in the light of the TV. I swallowed and paused, stalling for time, trying to think this through. “You’ve told Miles about me?” Brother Miles, I thought. The man, the myth. Chad’s older sibling, and someone he spoke about frequently, with the same reverence my grandma used when she talked about Ronald Reagan, or my last ex used when talking about Beyoncé. Pure hero worship. I’d never met Miles and never planned on meeting Miles. Truth be told, I’d started tuning out whenever Chad talked about Miles, because I could kind of tell Miles was an asshole. See, Chad was the good kid. He’d graduated a year early from high school, then gone to a bougie private college about an hour away from his family home in Connecticut. He’d run track and majored in Economics. After that, he’d put his whole life on hold, joining the Peace Corps, going all the way to freaking Guatemala to dig wells or teach math or something. When he got back, he’d gotten his MBA and waltzed into a job where he worked about a zillion hours a week doing something with numbers—he’d explained it to me a while back, but it was super-boring and I could never remember the details. All I knew was that he was really into it even though it stressed him out, and that it paid enough for him to have a very nice condo overlooking Central Park. Miles, on the other hand, had barely graduated high school. He’d played baseball, and been pretty good but not good enough to get a scholarship or anything. After school, he’d bummed around—playing in a band, getting busted for weed, that kind of stuff. Eventually, he’d run off to Alaska for a while and made decent money working on a fishing boat, but he’d hated it and gotten himself fired. Still, to hear Chad talk about him, Miles was the coolest thing on two legs. Also, there was this: One night, when Miles was still a senior in high school, Chad’s parents came home early from a party and walked in on Miles fucking one of his teammates—the shortstop, I think—on their kitchen island. Having his brother launch himself out of the closet in such a spectacular fashion made Chad’s late teen years a little more bearable, giving him the courage to come out himself, albeit in his own quiet way. Now, I like a guy with a checkered past, but this Miles character sounded like a mess. More than that, there was something about Chad’s childhood anecdotes, told with glassy-eyed admiration, that put me on edge. I don’t believe in superheroes, you know? But I nodded along and smiled, confident that Miles and his madcap adventures were none of my business. But lucky me, Brother Miles had ended up in NYC as well—he lived in Ridgewood, just a few miles south of me, and tended bar somewhere in the Meatpacking District. And apparently Chad had told him about me, and plans were afoot to bring him into my life. It also didn’t escape me that on top of my general disinclination to meet Miles, my regular-but-casual hookup wanted to introduce me to his family. For sure, an evening with Chad’s derelict brother was a far cry from, say, Thanksgiving with the whole clan at their estate in Fairfield. But it wasn’t nothing. It was a step, and not one I really wanted to take. But I’d just had an orgasm, you know? I felt lazy and comfortable, and Chad’s body was warm next to mine. As much as I didn’t want to meet Brother Miles, I also didn’t want to have a conversation about it. “I’d like that,” I said. “I know how much he means to you.” “You mean…I mean, you know...” Chad’s awkwardness could be charming, but right then, I just wanted him to shut up. “You’re starting to mean a lot to me, too. And I’d really like it if my two favorite people in New York met each other.” “That sounds nice.” Twenty seconds ago, I’d been as comfortable as an angel on a cloud. Now, Chad’s weight bothered me, and his body felt too hot against my skin. The arm of the sofa dug into my shoulder blade. My right leg had fallen asleep. I patted his rump and said, “Why don’t you go clean up, babe? I’ll be there in a minute.” He didn’t move for a few seconds, but eventually he hoisted himself off me. He started gathering our discarded clothing into one big bundle, but I smacked him on the ass again, hard this time, to hurry him along. “Leave ‘em, babe. I’ll bring everything when I come.” He shivered at the slap, dropping the clothes and rubbing the red handprint on his cheek, but at least he was smiling. I nudged him with my foot, and he padded off. After a minute, the shower started. Finally alone, I sat up. My wine glass was empty, but there was a sip of Malbec left in his and a good swig still in the bottle. I polished them off, then used Chad’s underwear to wipe the now-tacky semen off my groin and stomach. I could bail—I’d been considering it right before I shot my load—but Chad wasn’t a bad guy, and if I were going to dip, I wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t hurt him too much. Besides, I really did have it good with him in a lot of ways, and getting myself single would just mean going on a bunch of useless dates until I found something regular. I didn’t have the headspace for that right now. Unless things got too weird too quickly, I’d see how the whole Brother Miles situation unfolded and take it from there. Making that decision helped my mood. I cleared away the wine glasses, put the empty bottle in the recycling bin, and gathered the clothing on the floor. Rather than separating my stuff from Chad’s, I dumped everything next to the hamper and joined him in the shower.