chapter oo1:

a pint of poison for mr. pitiful

Angelic, holier-than-thou Catholic boys go to Mass every Sunday and drop psalms into everyday conversation without batting an eye. Those straight-laced boys, with their hair neatly parted and their shoes shined spotless, aren't supposed to huddle in dark corners of raging parties and drink until their minds go, go, go. But that's how Vice Blake meets the exception to that stereotype.

As he fumbles to kiss the pretty girl he's leading upstairs, he stumbles over splayed legs in the darkness marked by flashing strobe lights. Whoever decided to turn the lights off and set up strobes is a fucking idiot, he decides, as the pretty girl escapes into the crowd. He hears her light-hearted, teasing laughter as she disappears amongst the gyrating bodies: a cruel reminder of what he just lost to the dance floor.

Whoever he tripped over is an even stupider fuck. It's probably just a kid who doesn't know what the hell he's doing. "Hello, little boy," he whispers, a smirk twitching at the corners of his lips as he nudges a leg with his foot. It would be like him to kick a guy when he's down, but he doesn't.

Instead, a sudden, incoherent splatter of speech from parted lips draws Vice to the boy who is half-sprawled on the floor like a corpse with a few breaths left to breathe. Out of reach of his fingertips, a beer bottle drips alcohol onto the carpet. He crouches down to ask him what the fuck he just said.

Eyelids struggle open to reveal stark hostility accentuated by red-inflamed white. "I said," the boy mutters, a slight slur stirring his words. "Fuck off." Such unsuitable fury for such a pathetically situated boy.

Vice watches the lights flash red, violet, green in the bloodshot mirrors of blue that glare at him. A Cheshire Cat smile threatens to stretch off the planes of his cheeks; he knows who this kid is. "I know you," he remarks slyly. Inebriation may have unmasked him, but that doesn't change his identity. For a single beat of music, for a single flash of red light, unadulterated fear flickers in his eyes. Then the light is violet again and it's gone.

"Oh, yes, I know you alright, Verity Whyte. Mister Good Little Church Boy," Vice chuckles villainously.

Verity glowers at him and struggles to stand on wavering legs. Under the influence, he is incapable of defending himself when Vice pounces. He shoves him against the wall and traps him there with his body. "You're so lovely when you're drunk," he croons in his ear, sliding his knee boldly between unsteady legs.

"I hate you," Verity seethes, every syllable laced with venom. But behind the truth of his words, their suggestive position is turning him on. Damn it all, the toxic fumes of the party must be seeping into his head.

As his hot breath ghosts over an elegant neck, Vice feels Verity shiver and malice unfolds across his face in the form of a smile. Those nefariously grinning lips press gentle kisses along his neck. In between every feather-light touch of mouth to skin, he whispers, "How drunk are you?"

Much to his amusement, Verity defies him with unresponsive silence and narrowed eyes. With a devious chuckle, Vice grinds their hips together roughly and without warning. The shock of lust between them in unmistakably electric. "Fuck," Verity hisses, his brain reeling as his nails claw into the wall.

"Answer the question, Verity," Vice hums, nipping at the lobe of his ear.

Daring hands grip the front of his shirt fiercely. "Drunk enough," Verity growls, his words slipping free just as Vice crushes their mouths together. They kiss each other vehemently: a mess of crashing lips, tangled limbs, and colliding hips. As they fumble to get each other's clothes off and ascend the stairs simultaneously, they bump into walls and teenagers who are stoned out of their minds and tipsy girls who lurch about in their high heels.

Verity swears his brain is oozing out of his mouth, inhaled by the Cheshire-smile lips that bruise him violet. Tumbling into the first unoccupied room they find, they lock the door behind them, and they don't look back. Darkness encloses around them as they topple on to the bed.

Vice coaxes him out of his clothes, out of his shell, out of his mind. Girls varnished in glitter and spilled beers are stains sullying the clothes they discard into their pitch-black surroundings. They breathe in the same two centimeters of space only when, in the midst of every heated battle of tongues, they remember they need oxygen to live.

Naked and lusting and drunk out of his mind, Verity sheds his skin for the night. Purity has no place here amongst the bump and grind of the dance floor, the booze ladled out in red plastic cups, the sex stains on the silk sheets of this rich kid's house. Good little Catholic boys with neatly parted hair and shoes shined spotless don't belong, but Catholic boys with tousled hair and alcohol soaked breath fit in just fine.

And to think this all started with tepid beer burning down his throat. Now someone he doesn't know straddles him and grinds their hips together until moans wrench his lips apart. Sprawled out under a stranger, Verity is just begging to be ripped apart at the seams.

As generous as they come, Vice is happy to oblige. Happy to fuck Mister Good Little Church Boy into the mattress until he moans incoherent. The friction of their sweating, sinning bodies and the jarring thrusts of their hips ensnares Verity in the oblivion of ecstasy. And now, as they fall limp upon the white, white bed sheets, they will never again be complete strangers. Vice, with his manic grin, strokes his cheek with his thumb and mumbles into his ear like a lover might. Except instead of sweet little nothings, he chuckles, "You're going to hell for this, you know."

Verity scowls past his shoulder at the ceiling where the fan blades spin idly overhead. He shoves the other boy off of him and untangles himself from the sheets. On wobbling legs, he gathers his dignity an article of clothing at a time, dusts it off, and wears it piece by piece. Vice props himself up on his elbows and stalks him with soul-hunting eyes framed by seductively lowered lashes. That Cheshire Cat smile grins at him through the thick darkness.

Holding his chin high, the Catholic boy teeters towards the door. But as soon as he closes the door behind him, that foolish pride of his unfurls and leaves him naked on the inside. It's time to drown in another bottle of booze.

Someone hands him a cup on his way to the kitchen and Verity drains it without a second thought. Then he pours himself another. Alcohol sloshes against plastic. Behind him, a pair of girls are making out against the counter. They could be girlfriends. But they are most likely strangers who won't want to remember each other in the morning so they can kiss their boyfriends without guilt.

Alcohol floods his brain until the hands and numbers on the clock don't make sense to him anymore. This party is nothing but a mess of self-destruction. He can't even breathe without inhaling at least a dozen poisonous odors. The backyard beckons with a promise of fresh air. Lungs can only take so much of this toxic mess of perfume, booze, and pot smoke, so Verity escapes into the tranquility of night with a bottle of beer for company.

Stitched into the dark sky, scattered stars and a crescent sliver of moon glimmer. The stagnant air opposes the glistening glow of chlorine pool water. Party noise seeps out of the house in earth-shaking vibrations but somehow doesn't detract from the dark beauty around him.

Verity doesn't notice the trickle of people venturing outside until they become a mob and the music pumps into the sky at a raucous volume. Half-naked girls and boys rush into the backyard in a crowd, shouting a pop song that was so yesterday only a week ago. It's midnight and the neighbors must sleep like the dead, otherwise cops cars would be shrieking up the driveway by now.

It's midnight and Vice has a girl to fuck around with. There is no burning fire of lust fueling them to an empty bedroom. He just likes leggy brunettes who commit slow suicide by cigarette. As the nameless girl lays herself out on the bed like a five-star dish in lacy lingerie, Vice parts the curtains so the whole world can peer into the room if they wish.

A glimpse of Mister Good Little Church Boy cradling another beer bottle lures his eyes to the party storm below. No other arrogant prick would wear fucking slacks to a drunken soiree. Vice smirks. Even angels are sinners.

"You like him or something?" the nameless girl appears beside silently. Black lace saves no one from indecent exposure, but she doesn't give a damn. Shameless and disinterested in anyone's opinion, she stands unabashedly in the window.

Husky breath fills her ear as Vice leans in close. "Right now, I like you way more."

"Well, Mister Right Now, you have me to yourself," she remarks in a callously careless way all her own. A haughty smile blooms on her face and, as an afterthought, she adds, "For a moment, at least."

"Such a clever girl. Like a Barbie doll with brains," he mocks, offering her a playful wink.

"But unlike you, I don't get sold on the streets," she bites back with vengeance. Whatever happened to the good old days, when you could fool around without all this witty banter?

He draws her body to him and slowly they turn, turn, and waltz away from the window. They could be a regular Romeo and Juliet. But Vice doesn't star in love stories; he wrecks them. "You're everybody's favorite whore, Vice Blake," she tells him apathetically as the mattress creaks under them.

A chuckle fans hot breath across her neck. She pushes herself up on her elbows to kiss him, and he tastes the cigarette flavor branded on her tongue. His fingers glide across the knobs of her spine to unhook the latches that keep her bra clasped together. Then, without remorse, the nameless girl shoves him onto his back with her legs spread over his hips.

"You never answered the question," she remarks, sitting motionless on top of him. She reaches for the cigarettes she left on the nightstand. "You're fucking with his head, aren't you?"

"I am," Vice agrees. She cups her hand around a flickering flame as she lights up. The ashy musk of future lung cancer settles on the room. He rubs his thumb in lazy circles against her hipbone. "The beauties always die tragic deaths, you know."

"And the whores always commit suicide by overdosing on cocaine," she throws back at him, unperturbed by the topic of their conversation.

"You have endless ways you can commit suicide without 'dying' dying," he tells her. The door shudders as a heavy weight thuds against it. Through the crack between the door and the carpet, he hears obnoxious laughter mingling with muffled panting. The noise fades down the hall.

"Don't fucking quote literature at me," she shoots back sharply. In a past life, she must have been a queen. She must have died wearing her jeweled crown, still perched invisibly on dark waves of hair.

Hinges creak squeakily in the surrounding darkness. Vice tilts his head back and, through his upside down view, the doorway is rectangle of too-bright, fluorescent yellow. It's past midnight and Verity Whyte looks shitwrecked.

Although he ignores them in favor of scouring the floor for a lost item, the nameless girl drops her cigarette in an abandoned cup of alcohol. The mattress groans under her as she steps down from the bed.

Fashionably thin limbs slip gracefully into public decency. Noting the way the gray material of her dress flatters every curve of her body, Vice is almost sorry to see her walk out the door. Almost sorry to hear her walk away.

When he turns back to look, Verity is searching on hands and knees, squinting aching eyes at the floor. "You know. You're not going to find salvation buried in the carpet," Vice points out, his mouth molded into an obnoxious little grin.

Grimacing lips spit out a jumbled mess of disgruntled vulgarity. Between the 'fuck you's' and 'bastard whore's', fumbling fingers close around a sleek cell phone. Bloodshot eyes squint to make the letters on the glowing blue screen stop swimming. Vice can't help but remark, "You look like shit, but it's a good look on you."

The sly words slide in through one ear and evaporate out the other. Verity is stuck elsewhere in the conversation. "Don't wanna find sal-salvation," slurs the leaden tongue in his mouth.

Vice would scoff, but the sound isn't available for his use. Somehow, he can't conjure disbelief. Verity wobbles on unstable legs. "We're all," he slurs. "Going to hell, aren't we?" Discolored hickeys contrast sharply with the pale flesh of his collarbone, where the buttons on his shirt have been left undone. His words trip over each other as he mumbles almost incoherently, "I'll burn in hell."

Verity sways on the spot in silence. He might not remember this in the morning when he must rise and shine to a head-hammering hangover, but Vice will. He will remember listening to Mister Good Little Church Boy cutting himself open and bleeding a bit of the truth.

Drunk words are sober thoughts.

When his eyes peel open to brave the surge of afternoon sunlight, a brain-shattering pain immediately overwhelms him. Verity slithers back under the covers with a groan. Afflicted by this motherfucker of a hangover, he can't bring himself to get out of bed.

One hand slaps at the surface of his nightstand in search of aspirin. He manages to choke down a dosage of white tablets before slumber seals his eyes shut again. Snatches of party scenery blur in filmstrips painted on the inside of his eyelids. Flashes of iniquitous acts haunting his soul, his mind, his body.

Not even all the aspirin, hot coffee, and cold showers in the world can fix the chaos in his head.

Sunday means a new week. Sunday means perfectly pressed clothing and a tie. Sunday means Mass. It's the day families pile into their cars to drive to their steepled buildings of worship. The Whyte family is no exception. Ever. They're one of those families that goes to church on days that don't even require your attendance.

Verity dreads Sundays the most.

He's stuffed into a crisp button-down, trapped in dress slacks, noosed by a black tie. His usual self is reflected in the mirror: blond hair neatly parted, shoes signed spotless, fogless eyes. With a smile slapped onto his lips for the finishing touch, the wholesome Catholic boy look engulfs his face in a lie.

Mother, she thinks her children are heaven-sent perfections. But, to be honest, her daughter has kissed more boys at school than you can count on all your fingers and her son is more than a little fucked up. She drives her kids to church, convinced that she has delivered children without flaws into the world. Mother, her love is literally blind.

In the car, a daub of pink smeared on her smiling lips, Mrs. Whyte is a constant stream of kind words about the Father Thomas and his wife. "She seems like a sad woman to me," Prudence, playing the role of sweet little sister, comments.

Verity stares into a distance far outside the window. "Yeah," he agrees quietly. Conversation plunges into silence for a moment.

"Don't worry," pink lips assure as nervous fingers touch the gold chain dangling at her neck. They say mothers have all the answers. "God will take care of her."

Since her husband's death, all of her answers have been God, God, God. Their mother is married to religion now. Years before marriage then kids strapped a ball and chain to her ankle, perhaps if life had gone a little differently, she would be a nun - a regular Virgin Mary.

The cheerful veneer begins to crack as fists clench in his lap. Verity forgets to smile for a heartbeat, a squall of dark emotions wiping the purity from his face. Prudence squeezes his arm and his expression brightens just as blue eyes flicker to them in the rearview mirror. "You're so sweet to worry about her, though."

If you grit your teeth just right, it can pass for a smile.

Prudence allows him a glimpse of her own pained smile before volunteering conversation topics to fill the settling silence. Verity tunes out to rest his head against the window, an unreadable stare focused on the church steeple drawing closer and closer.

They pull into a parking space chalked out against the concrete and join the other members of the congregation streaming into the church. They stroll down the aisle to the very first pew. Verity tries not to wince when he widens his grin a few molars for everyone to see.

From his podium, backlit by the brilliant colors of the sunshine gleaming through the stained glass, Father Thomas embodies glorious goodness. When he preaches at his podium, it's like watching an actor on a spotlighted stage trying to play God. He's such a star and the audience, oh, how they are awed.

Out of the corner of his eye, however, he spots those who droop in boredom and stare into space instead of paying rapt attention to the sermon like everyone else. If he could, the priest would most likely delight in striking them down on the spot. He can imagine the buzzing thoughts of the congregation, condemning them to hell, and muttering, "good riddance" too. All in the name of God.

For the grand finale, Father Thomas lets a hush fall over the crowd. The snap of his bible shutting echoes in the silent aftermath of his sermon. Everyone follows suit and the thud, thud, thud of many bibles shutting wakes the snoozers, the dozers, the droolers.

Mingling commences in the church. Verity sweeps his gaze over the mass of people. It's always hello, how are you, god bless you with these people, but the appearance of a foreign yet familiar face in his field of vision stops his oxygen intake. Brown eyes glinting in the shadow of a dark mop of messy hair catch his shocked stare. Terror crushes his rampantly beating heart at the sight of that Cheshire Cat smile. He can't breathe. Distantly, he is aware of his sister's voice asking him if he's okay.

What the fuck is Vice Blake doing in a church?

Vice senses the question forming and winks at the frightened boy. When he's not drunk out of his mind, Verity Whyte resembles purity at its best. Doe eyes that could be shards cut out of the sky matched with Rumplestiltskin-spun gold for hair and a friendly countenance to boot: a mother's wet dream in a pretty package.

Frozen to the spot, a deer captured in the glare of oncoming headlights, he can't move. Vice flashes him a cocky smirk and saunters towards him. Two steps of less space between them and that spell of paralysis shatters as red alerts wail loud enough to shut down all other mental thought processes. Verity turns and bolts out of the room.

Judging eyes stalk him until he disappears down a dimly lit corridor. "He's not feeling very well," Prudence defends him hastily, feeding the people a plausible excuse to shield his good boy visage. "Upset stomach and all, you know."

Severe expressions soften and they all nod their heads sympathetically. How could we ever suspect sweet Verity Whyte of improper church etiquette, he's such a nice boy, they all think. Vulture gazes move on in search of some other miscreant to pick on or another slab of gossip to whisper about.

Post-sermon chatter follows Vice as he follows in slow pursuit of the other boy. At the end of the hallway, the stretch of pristine, white linoleum parts in a fork leading to the restrooms. "Why are you hiding?" he inquires, amused voice echoing in the thick silence of the bathroom.

Delaying the inevitable discovery of Mister Good Little Church Boy cowering next to some toilet, Vice drags his knuckles across the stall doors. The seventh blue door rasps as it opens. The smile his lips begin to form is knocked off his face as a smartly dressed mess of catholic boy lunges at him without warning.

A strangled, startled cry erupts from his throat as he makes brain-rattling contact with the cold floor. "What the fuck are you doing?" Verity hisses in his ear. Vice winces as Mister Good Little Church Boy twists his arm harder against his spine.

"Fuck," he groans, helpless beneath the full weight of the boy on top of him. Vice struggles to buck him off, floundering fruitlessly until his breath flows out in heavy pants. He squeezes a chuckle from his lips, muttering, "Holy shit. I didn't know you knew how to kick ass."

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Verity snarls. Violent fury muffles the naked fear lurking under the surface of his fierce words. A leaky faucet drips water against a porcelain sink. He hisses maliciously, "Didn't think I'd fight back?"

Even with his face mashed against the cold bathroom floor, this bastard's self-satisfaction remains thoroughly intact. In a smug drawl, he inquires, "How do you know I'm not exactly where I want to be?"

It takes only a suggestive leer to send Verity scrambling away. Vice, propped up off the floor on his elbows, matches him stare for stare. "I've always wanted to fool around in a church," he mentions, flashing a wicked grin.

"You disgust me," Verity mutters, breaking eye contact. He stares at the fluorescent light reflecting off the sinks and the white tiles instead.

"It would be so easy, so easy to have my way with you in here. In the bathroom in the house of god," Vice continues disgusting him on a sudden whim. If looks could kill, well, only burning, chopped up remains would be left of him. They're creeping out of suggestive territory into the danger zone of inappropriateness.

Sinful desire knots his stomach into a tangled twist of turmoil. Verity erases the plainly written emotion from his face; he doesn't know how to feel anymore. A drought dries the well of words in his brain, effectively muting him. Vice is smirking again, and he almost lunges at him to punch the expression off his face.

Muffled by the heavy bathroom door, a tentative voice calls out to Verity from the hallway. "I want to ruin you, Verity Whyte. I want to ruin you from the inside out," Vice exposes a piece of himself in that dark desire, a hint of a smile on his face.

The invasively scrutinizing eyes constrain him to the spot. Glossy floors receive the brunt of a furious glare storming with wrath, self-loathing, shame. "Verity?" a voice softened by uncertainty seems to thunder loudly in the stiff silence crowding the room.

Prudence can't fully comprehend the scene she stumbles upon. Her lips form a question but the words are only soundless movements of her mouth. Trespassing on a secret like this, she doesn't know what to do. All emotions leak through the gaping hole she punctures into the situation with merely her presence. Again, a whisper that seems so loud, "V-Verity?"

Composure floods into both of them at her stutter. Vice, gentleman enough to leave first, pauses in the doorway to wink lasciviously on his way out. Verity stiffens as dignity snaps his slumped figure to attention and indignation colors his cheeks. Neither the flirtatious gesture nor the bright flush escape Prudence, but she spares her brother from the comments and questions welling up her throat. For now, she will award him the mercy of a blind eye.

As his sister clasps his hands lovingly in hers, Verity blinks rapidly at the rectangles of fluorescent light stapled to the ceiling. "I'm going to hell," he states flatly to apathetic walls. Prudence protests his declaration fervently, but she just doesn't understand. Verity squeezes his sister's hand for comfort as he reflects on his inevitable The End. He will burn for his damnable lust.

A/N: uhhh. well. i don't quite know what to say about this one. its creation was influenced because i've been reading much too much chuck palahniuk. because he's AMAZING, and i HIGHLY recommend his books.

anyway, i guess i'm kind of experimenting with my writing through this WIP. i'm not sure what compelled me to tie this so closely with religion, especially considering that i am an atheist. if anyone wants to give me pointers or background knowledge or suggestions or whatever 'bout the religious aspects of this, please do. and please note that i mean NO OFFENSE to religion(s). i respect all religions and i apologize in advance if anyone finds this offensive. but, er, the views expressed in this are the characters', so, yeah.

THANK YOU TO THE AWESOME, AWESOME PATSYLOOJ for editing and revising this chapter and just for being fantastic. she's amazing. (:

reviews are love! and concrit is supah awesome. oh, also, happy mother's day~! :3