There’s this pair of siblings we’ve run into, Roxie and Kent. She’s bossy, he’s a goody-two-shoes, and the two of them are such a pile of mommy and daddy issues, it’s hilarious. But no matter how annoying they are, the fact remains that they know how to cast Bazoniuth out of Karen’s body. That’s the whole reason we’ve been on the road for so long—eight months at this point.
Eight months of fucking Karen and Bazoniuth behind Jesse’s back.
Eight months of that secret eating away at me like acid reflux.
With Bazoniuth gone, I won’t have any excuse for messing with Karen, not when it’ll be just her and me making dumb human choices. Jesse deserves a quiet life with her. She deserves to have someone who can actually support her and care for her—he can get his shit together long enough to provide. I haven’t had a girlfriend in ten years now. Karen needs someone who can actually handle his emotions, not my ass throwing pity parties 24/7.
I’m too much of a coward to come clean to Jesse. All I can do is end whatever I have with Bazoniuth and Karen and, I don’t know, sage myself to Hell and cleanse myself of my sins, I guess. How do you even get over doing this kind of thing? God, Jesse’s my best friend. My only friend, if we’re gonna be real. I don’t know how I’d live without him.
I don’t know how I’ll get by on my own.
I manage to get some time alone with Karen around 11 am on the morning of the exorcism. Jesse’s gone into town to get some supplies, and the siblings haven’t come back yet from making their preparations. We’re squatting in a one-bedroom apartment in Eugene, Oregon, a.k.a. one of the whitest places I’ve been in my entire life. I let Jesse and Karen have the bedroom. Sleeping on the couch fucks my back up sometimes, but I can take it.
She’s in the kitchen reaching for a box of cereal, her ass hanging out from a pair of booty shorts that she’s wearing under one of Jesse’s oversized T-shirts. When she turns to look back at me, her eyes are pitch black.
“Wrong,” she says.
“Bazoniuth,” I say, sighing. “May I speak with Karen?”
“Depends,” she replies, setting the cereal on the counter next to a bowl and spoon. She’s already poured milk in and is about to pour the cereal on top. I hate that I’m thinking about whether it’s Bazoniuth, Karen, or both who’d fucking do that. “What’ll you do for me?”
“Nothing. Just let me talk to her.”
She tsks and waves a finger at me.
I cross my arms. I don’t have time to play this game. But then that smirk starts to unfurl across her face, and my fingers grip my skin less tightly… I close my eyes for a moment too long, if only to block her out for a blessed second, before I resign.
“I don’t know, eat you out, is that enough?”
“You know I hate that term.”
I pinch the bridge of my nose. Goddammit. The worst part of this conversation is that I’m enjoying it. Bantering with a demon, knowing this is most likely the last time I’ll ever be able to talk to her. I don’t know how to tell her all my fucked-up feelings for her, because I don’t know how to tell them to myself, and I don’t know if she’ll even care.
“What do you want?”
“I could’ve guessed,” I say, lowering my arms in defeat. But my heart’s already started beating faster, and my dick is betraying my brain once again. The last time I’ll ever be able to fuck either of them. Somehow, the desperation of it makes my dick even harder.
She takes me into the bedroom and locks the door behind her. I go through the ritual: I let all the air out of my lungs like an offering. I stop averting my gaze and make direct eye contact, no matter how uncanny it feels.
My heart skips a beat. It’s the first time I’ve realized what it is about her eyes that’s so different. After all, Karen has those gorgeous, soulful, dark-brown eyes that are almost black. But the thing about when Bazoniuth takes over is that Karen’s pupils are dilated impossibly large, engulfing even her irises. It’s then that I remember the pupil is nothing but a hole, and the black I’m staring at is the inside of her fucking eyeball. Worse than that, though, is the fact that I can’t even focus on the black, because the darkness reflects my own face back at me so brilliantly. Every time I look at her, I’m looking at myself.
And I hate looking at myself.
I close the distance between us for a hungry kiss. I can shut my eyes now and let myself feel only sensation, forget that I have a body even while I feel only what my body tells me. Goddamn, she’s got dick-sucking lips, and they feel so fucking good against mine. She’s rough, gnawing at me like a dog feasting on a bone. My heart feels ready to burst. I grab her, squeeze her, catch whatever I can, just to make sure she’s there.
My hand slides under her waistband and reaches her pussy, already wet, hot and warm like a sigh. I stumble over with her to the bed and manhandle her down to the sheets. I pause to appreciate her camel toe for a moment before tugging her booty shorts down and pushing her legs open. She’s flushed pink, shining in the slanted sunlight. I pull back the hood over her clit and spread her lips apart. She sucks in a breath as she gets up onto her elbows and looks down at me, eyes half-lidded with lust, lips drawn into a smirk.
Overwhelmed, I tear my eyes away and let my gaze linger on her pussy. I take in the sight of the veins that run on either side of her clit, like the veins under my tongue. I press a kiss to her clit, light as a prayer. Then, I drag my tongue along her pussy lips. She tastes like the sea, salty, abyssal; she tastes like there are parts of her that no one will ever know. Guess that makes me the diver. Every time I surface, my blood bubbles with want.
“Get on with it,” she says. But when I stroke her again and dip into her hole, she moans and brings one hand up to play with her tits. She tugs at her nipples, her eyes squeezed shut. I can’t tell if she’s Karen now or Bazoniuth, but I want to do enough to please both of them. I go in with more enthusiasm, coaxing out more moans; pride surges through my chest as she thrusts her hips down and presses against the bridge of my nose. The solidity of her pubic bone against me—somehow, it’s that sensation that feels the most intimate. Like she’s trusting me to take her weight.
She pulls me up suddenly by my hair. My face is slick with her wetness, heavy with her scent. She kisses me anyway and bites my lip so hard that I whine in pain. Fuck, I sound so pathetic. Like a crying kitten. But at the same time, goosebumps break out over my skin. She notices, her touch feather-light, until she grabs hold of my forearm and squeezes, her nails digging in to my flesh.
She shoves me back and sneers.
“I said, ‘Get on with it,’” she says. Bazoniuth, for sure. I don’t need to see her eyes to know her tone.
I climb onto the bed and tug her off-balance. I get behind her and pin her wrists together against her chest as I nudge her legs apart with my knee. Karen’s more the type to draw out foreplay, but Bazoniuth just wants it hard and fast, now. I tease her for a moment, dragging the head of my cock against her clit, if only to hear her huff. Then, I plunge into her and tug her hair, arching her back as I pull her close to me. The thought of staring at myself in missionary makes my skin crawl, and Bazoniuth is too fucking proud to get on her knees for me. So I spoon up against her, fuck her from behind, see nothing but her bare shoulder, the line of her neck, the graceful flow of her long, dyed hair.
It’s over sooner than I want, but that’s how it is with her. My cum pools in the small of her back. I wipe it off with my discarded boxers. When she rolls onto her back, it’s Karen who’s looking up at me.
“Yes?” she says sweetly. She knows perfectly well what just happened. She just likes to play innocent and get that Catholic guilt going in me.
“Don’t be a brat,” I say, too leaden with orgasm to be polite. “We can’t do this anymore.”
“Aw.” She pouts. “You sure?”
“Stop it,” I say, no longer able to contain my irritation. “You’re gonna have a normal life again. No more demon in you. Nothing holding you back. You deserve—”
I’m about to say better, but I catch my tongue.
“—to have something good,” I finish. “And you have that. With Jesse.”
She cocks her head at me. Eerie how convincingly she plays a ditz, even though she’s the smartest person I’ve ever met. She graduated college in three years and majored in math. We ripped on her for that—“Wow, an Asian who’s good at math!”—but she put a stop to that when she refused to do our laundry in protest and we were left begging for her forgiveness.
“You don’t think I have that with you, too?”
I throw my hands up in exasperation. I have no idea what she’s playing at anymore. Everything I keep bottled up overflows in that instant, like I’m uncorking champagne to celebrate the Olympic champion of mind games.
“I don’t know what the fuck I have with you. At least I know that Bazoniuth wants me for nothing more than my dick. But you? It’s like you like to fuck with me. Like you’re always testing me, just to see how much I’ll take. And I’ll take a lot, Karen. Especially for you, and for Jesse.”
I shut up then. It’s as close as I’ll get to saying I love them. My heartbeat pounds against my eardrums in the ensuing silence.
“I’m sorry,” she says finally. “I’ve been unfair. I like you, Ronnie. And I’m not the only one.”
She smirks. That fucking face she makes when she’s only telling me part of the truth. I rest my forehead against the heel of my hand. Fuck, man. Who else could she mean but Jesse? I want to just ask whether he swings that way at all. Whether he feels anything toward me other than friendship.
But I can’t. I don’t want to pry the lid off that box. I want this to be a happy memory, a clean break. Closure.
“Okay. Well. That’s all,” I finish weakly. I guess I’ve never had to break up with someone who I’d still see every goddamn day. My feet have already started taking me away from her—without even realizing, I’ve gotten off the bed and started putting my clothes back on. I go in commando and am about to toss my boxers into the laundry pile before I remember that I probably shouldn’t ask the girl I just broke up with to wash the cum out of my clothes. I close the bathroom door behind me and hand wash them, letting the sound of the faucet drown out my thoughts.
I don’t understand much of the exorcism, even after Roxie and Kent explain it to me. Something about energy and charging things and consecrating water. It ends up not being Emily Rose-type shit. They’ve got some kind of alchemy circle drawn on the floor and lined with salt. Karen’s sitting in the middle of it. The room is dim, lit only by candlelight and moonlight. The siblings chant something and draw a lot of complicated squiggles on a long piece of paper. It looks like bullshit until the lines light up Naruto-style and wind blasts through the room. The weight of something evil lifts. Bazoniuth, I guess; I murmur a goodbye, inaudible under the siblings’ chatter. The slip of paper flutters up and flashes whiter than a firework. The lines spool out, then dig into Karen’s skin, impressing her back with the same squiggles.
“It’s done,” Roxie says. “The demon is out, and the sigil will protect her from being possessed again.”
We get high as fuck after that to celebrate. Weed industry boomed after the apocalypse; in retrospect, shoulda been obvious that it would. I feel genuinely happy. For Jesse, for Karen. We pass a blunt around. Even Kent joins in—turns out he’s a weekend stoner. Jesse takes a massive hit—“Save some for the rest of us, pendejo,” I say to Karen’s nods of agreement—and the way he mouths the smoke, the way the light outlines his jaw, the way he purses his lips as he exhales…
I look away.
Things wind down around midnight. Roxie and Kent go back to the motel they’re staying at. I’m stretched out on the couch, about ready to pass out; Jesse and Karen go into the bedroom. The door creaks behind them.
Even with the bud pulling me into the couch, I can’t fall asleep. The darkness only amplifies my emotions even more. Fuck. Weed doesn’t help when I’m already feeling emotional, and now there isn’t conversation to distract me from my thoughts. I try to breathe, to shut out the whispers in my head, but they keep coming on, wave after wave.
A while later, I hear the sheets rustling and Jesse’s low murmur. My skin prickles. I turn over, careful to keep quiet—1:12 am. The mattress squeaks; Karen lets out a soft oh.
I need to use the restroom. That’s what I tell myself as I creep over. The door doesn’t shut unless you push it hard. It’s still ajar, just barely enough for me to lean against the wall and crane my head to see inside. Fuck, I’ve always had a thing for tattoos, even if I don’t have any myself. Jesse’s got tons of them ranging from shitty to incredible, and now Karen’s got a sigil running right down her spine. The stark contrast of the lines is the most I can really make out in the darkness, but just knowing that they’re about to fuck is enough fuel for my imagination.
I shouldn’t be doing this. Not right after I told Karen that we were over. But it’s like my body’s not listening. I thrust my hand down my boxers and take hold of my hard-on. Fuck. Even thumbing over the ridge of my cock makes me break out in a shiver. I chance a look back into the room—Jesse’s lying down still, but Karen’s draped over his thigh and sucking his cock. He threads his hands through her hair, tugs her down further. A drop of pre-cum leaks out when I remember how I’d grabbed her hair like that just hours earlier.
God, I think to myself. Pervert.
Jesse tells Karen to get on the bed. I can only really make out her silhouette, but I know her body even in the dark—the stretch marks on her inner thighs, the dimples on the small of her back, the soft fat hanging from her arms… My hand pumps faster over my cock. She’s on her hands and knees, that gorgeous ass in the air. He fucks her hard, with enthusiasm, murmuring dirty talk that I can’t hear, but I don’t need to when I hear Karen’s cries of pleasure.
Fuck. I clap a hand over my mouth and bite down on my palm, muffling myself. As Karen gets louder, I get more desperate, chasing down an orgasm as quickly as I can. My legs go weak.
“Oh shit,” I hiss, right as I thump into the wall. The bedroom suddenly falls silent.
Jesse’s a stocky guy; his weight’s all muscle. Still, I forget how quietly and quickly he can move. He throws the door open before I can even get my hand off my dick.
“What the fuck, man?”
Oh fuck. Shit. Shit, shit. I was going to get caught eventually. I just didn’t think it would be today of all days.
“You jacking off watching us?” Jesse says. His eyes are dark. What terrifies me the most is that I don’t know what’s behind that gaze—anger? hurt? surprise? It’s the first time I can ever recall not being able to read him like an open book.
He pulls me up by my collar. I’m about to get my ass beat, but all I can focus on right now is how his forearm’s flexing, how the moonlight makes the dips and shadows of his muscles more profound, and, most importantly, how he has a fucking comedy and tragedy mask tattoo there, like a goddamn stereotype.
“Come here,” he growls. Terror and desire pound through in me as he hauls me over to the bed and throws me down. He nods at Karen, who comes over without a word.
“Get on up there,” he says to her, patting her butt as she straddles me. God, I want to hide my face in my hands, but Karen settles in and pins my arms to my sides. Her ass is pressed into my chest, her pussy right over my face. Fuck, I should not be as hard as I am. But now Jesse’s got one thigh on either side of my head too, his thick cock nudging up against Karen’s wet cunt, and I’m helpless.
“This what you wanna see?” Jesse says, slipping just the tip into Karen, who whines as he pulls it out again. “Me fucking my girl?”
He plunges his cock into Karen, his balls muffling my words as she gasps. Oh, God. I can’t help but inhale, smell the masculine scent of him, pheremones and musk, distinctly his. Fucking cochino, Ronaldo, I think. He pounds her hard, jostling me with his thighs; Karen’s cunt glistens above me, her clit fat and red. Her moans vibrate through her back and into my stomach. God, how badly I want to touch, to taste, to choke on either of them.
Jesse pulls back out. I gasp for air. Karen’s juices trickle from her hole, clinging for a moment to her perineum before dripping into my open mouth. It’s just her taste, but the very thought of Jesse’s cock changing her chemistry makes my blood pump faster.
“You want this pussy?” Jesse murmurs, his eyes deadly serious, dark and dominant. As he eases his cock back into Karen, a chill runs through me. My skin breaks out in goosebumps. My nipples are hard, pebbly, my chest hitching with my breaths.
How the fuck am I supposed to answer?
“This sweet, juicy pussy?” he continues, punctuating each word with a thrust.
Maybe my heart’s already raw from lashing out at Karen earlier. Broken open, nothing holding me back. Maybe that’s why I say what I say next.
“I’ve already had it.”
I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know whether Jesse’s going to finally punch me, whether Karen’s gonna fuck me over by denying it.
“Yeah?” Jesse says. His dark eyes take on a wicked glint. “You like it?”
“Fuck yeah, man.”
“Like how it tastes?”
He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t give me a word of warning before he pulls out to drive his cock past my lips and into my throat. I gag, fight-or-flight response kicking in at the surprise before I rein my responses in and will myself to stop panicking. It’s not like I haven’t sucked dick before; I just keep that to myself. My face runs over with spit and sweat and salt, his and Karen’s. My scalp, fingers, and toes tingle as I savor the feeling of him in me, the taste of both of them together. Trance-like in my worship, feeling the most bliss I’ve ever felt, even at a time like this. As I gag, tears spring to my eyes, warm and welcome.
When Jesse finally stops facefucking me, I know my expression has gone dazed, my mind into some other space—my body feels aflame, like an open nerve about to be pinched.
“Fuck,” I gasp. Karen’s pressing down on my lungs, pushing out all my breath; I’m already lightheaded from choking on dick. I’m babbling, unfiltered, desperate, the seal over my tears and words broken. “I—fuck, I love you, Jesse. I love you. Don’t fucking leave me, please. Please…”
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier, man?” Jesse says. His dominant energy melts away as a gentle, fond smile breaks over his face. “Save yourself a lot of heartache.”
It takes me a long time to put two and two together. My heart pounds against my ribs as I look up at him.
“Did you… set me up?”
He laughs. Motherfucker. I’d punch him in the face now if I could. He used to prank people a lot more when we were younger. I thought he’d cooled off by now. My face flushes with indignation, or maybe embarrassment, but probably both.
“You can’t keep bottling everything up, cabrón. You think I’m so stupid I never noticed anything?” He exchanges a glance with Karen, who sits up so that her still-wet cunt slides against my belly. She flashes a smile down at me.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while,” she admits.
“Talking about what?” I say, trying to look between both of them, but my neck threatens to seize up with whiplash.
“God, you’re such a dumbass sometimes,” Jesse says with a sigh. “We like you. Me and Karen both. And we want to open things up. For you.”
I flash back to Karen’s words from earlier, then to every close call I thought I’d avoided. The utter humiliation of being punked pales in comparison to the hope threatening to fill my every cell. I shut my eyes tight.
“Please tell me I’m not dreaming,” I whisper.
“Ronnie,” Karen says. “Open your eyes.”
I do. She rolls off of me to lie beside me. Jesse climbs onto the bed too, mattress sinking under his weight as he lies on my other side.
“Listen,” he says, right by my ear, his breath brushing against me as he pulls me close. “I love you. For real.”
“So do I,” Karen says into my other ear, her hand on my chest, right over my heart.
They lean in to kiss me together. I can’t contain the smile, real and true, that breaks out over my face. For the first time in my life, I cry tears of joy.