KINGS IN EXILE
Carl’s feet were on the ground even before he had tossed his sheets off him. His mind had quickly switched into survival mode. The knocking on the door was still fresh in his senses as he grabbed the only thing he had at had to dress himself. He wrapped the towel about his middle and knotted it quickly.
If this is Ballaz coming for my ass, thought Carl, then it's do or die. I ain’t running no more.
Carl pushed aside the blanket that served as the door from the bedroom, and searched quickly for a weapon. He cursed himself for not getting a pistol off Cesar, or even going into the Ammunation that Angel Pine was supposed to have. Here he was, alone in what was meant to be Cesar’s safe house, niggas banging on the door, and him with no weapon.
By the time the knocking started again, Carl just grabbed the first thing he could see off the counter. Pale light from outside was all that lit the main room of the prefab. Carl moved surprisingly light for a man his size, but the threadbare carpet afforded little more silence to his footfalls. He prepared to burst from the front door and lay bloody murder on whoever was outside.
“CJ! Open the door, homes! I’m getting wet out here!”
Carl scowled in disbelief, tossing the large pot he had grabbed from the stovetop onto the nearest seat. He started unlocking the door, feeling the frustration tensing up his muscles. He had been ready to fight for his life and it was just Cesar at his door? Carl looked a picture of anger by the time he opened the door on the Hispanic.
“You fool!” Carl muttered, almost ready to throttle his close friend. “Your ass could have been dead right now.”
Cesar was standing there, sodden by the rain that still fell lightly. The night outside was pitch black, but the tall, muscular form of the Hispanic was unmistakable. Strong shoulders and arms, accentuated by his white wifebeater. Cesar had fallen silent now the door was open, and Carl missed the looks that he was giving him. The cold burst of night air coming through the door was starting to bite, his towel affording little protection from the elements.
“Get your ass in here, Ceese. Standing out on the doorstep ...”
Carl slapped Cesar on the shoulder as he passed, giving a quick glance out into the night to make sure no one else was there. Even if they were, he wouldn’t have noticed them. He wasn’t used to the darkness out of the city. Somewhere beyond the prefab complex a lone street lamp stuttered against the night. Carl closed the door heavily, and locked it again several ways.
“Ay, thought I told you not to answer the door for anyone, homes.”
Carl gave him a hard look, but he could tell that Cesar considered it a poor joke as soon as he had said it. The Hispanic was carrying a heavy bag of Cluckin’ Bell. Carl didn’t catch more than a hint of the smell of chicken. It was most likely cold.
“What you doing back here, Ceese?” Carl asked, turning on the lights. “I thought you was gone for the night?”
The old wall lights of the prefab cast a slight glow across them. It made the moisture on Cesar’s brown skin glisten, as it ran down over his features and hard muscle. Carl could see how damp his clothes were. Cesar had to have been outside for a while to have got that wet. The Hispanic was quiet again, staring at him. And this time Carl noticed it. He could see Cesar’s eyes looking him over. The expression on his face was unashamedly admiring. Still, there was something guarded about it.
“Ceese!” Carl wasn’t in the mood for much more than sleep. Cesar was once again standing in his way of it.
“Sorry, dude. I bought you some food. I didn’t want you to go hungry.”
“I don’t need no food,” Carl bit back. “I just need me some sleep. I'm serious, Ceese. I was all about ready to kill you.”
Cesar caught sight of the pot lying on the seat next to the door, “With this, homes? I use that to boil water.”
“Ay, I'm sorry, ese, I am. I just figured you could use some food, and I left you up in here with none.”
Carl sat down on one of the seats. It's cushions were harder than they looked, not in the least bit comfortable. He muttered in a more subdued tone, “It's cool.”
Carl noticed the silence that had fallen between them again, eventually glancing back up at Cesar. The Hispanic was staring at him again, or more accurately, he was staring at the towel he had wrapped about his waist. Carl looked down at it, realizing the thick globs of cum scattered down the front of it. Even on the clean white of the towel, the shear amount of it made it bluntly obvious.
“I guess you was asleep already,” Cesar murmured, rather quietly. He put the sack of Cluckin’ Bell down on the counter.
“Yeah, something like that.” Carl didn’t really give a fuck what Cesar saw, he was too tired to care. “How long you been out there anyway? How come I didn’t hear your car pulling up?”
“I left it parked over near the Bell. I didn’t want anyone knowing we were staying over here, dude.”
"We? I thought you was leaving me up in here alone?”
Cesar fell quiet again, rubbing at the back of his neck, “Yeah I was, homes.” He seemed uncomfortable, and the words certainly weren’t coming as quickly as they always seemed to with Cesar.
“Look, I really am sorry I came back and woke you up, dude,” Cesar remarked after a moment. He picked the pot off the seat and put it back on the stove. “It's just that some other shits gone done. Stuff I didn’t tell you about.”
Cesar sat down on the seats opposite. “That shit that went down between Grove Street and the Ballaz …” Carl’s heart dropped, and he prepared for more bad news. Cesar was the one who had warned him just soon enough to save his brother, right before the Ballaz had all but wiped out his own crew.
“Well whoever it was that organized that shit turned my crew against me,” Cesar said quietly. “I don’t have a place to go back to, homes. I can't go back to Los Santos any time soon. I got a few other places I can go …”
“Damn, Ceese. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Ay, homes. I didn’t want you dealing with this shit on top of what you already dealing with.”
“I figured we was brothers.”
Cesar replied firmly, “Ese. We are. But you got a lot on your mind right now.”
“We in the same boat, homie. Both of us can't go back to Los Santos. You should have just stayed here when we rolled up on this place.”
“I don’t know,” remarked Cesar, distant and hesitant. “I just wanted to give you some space, homes. That and … well …”
“Damn. Who the fuck organized all this shit?”
“I don’t know, homes,” Cesar replied, obviously distracted.
“You know my guts tell me it's Tenpenny, but I ain’t giving that motherfucker the credit of being able to pull off something that big. Damn …”
“It don’t matter who did it, dude.”
“Naw, fuck that, it does, Ceese,” Carl replied, staring back.
“Ay, ese. No, I mean it doesn’t matter who did it right now.
If there’s one thing we got it's time. We can work that shit out in the morning, homes. I mean … look at you …” Carl raised an eyebrow as Cesar gestured towards him, and the pause was again rather long, “You should be getting some sleep. We both should. It's been a fucked up day.”
“Sure damn right there.”
Cesar got up from the seat, rubbing at the back of his neck again. Carl sensed there was something different about Cesar. When the two of them had driven out here, he had seemed so collected, with everything planned. Now the Hispanic seemed the total opposite.
Carl got up and looked over at the sack of Cluckin’ Bell. He had noticed the yellow shine of the fast food joints lights just before they pulled in, about a block away. It wouldn’t have been that long a walk for Cesar. Certainly not long enough for the food to have gone cold.
“I'll just get some blankets, homes. I'll sleep on the couch.”
Carl put a hand on Cesar’s shoulder and could feel how damp his wifebeater still was, despite the warmth of the prefab, “Naw, perfectly good king size up in that bedroom, homie. As long you keep to your side, it's all good.”
Carl was a little surprised by Cesar’s nervous look. It was still there as the Hispanic put a hand on his big shoulder. Carl felt the way his hand lingered there, rubbing at the hard muscle. Cesar’s fingers worked lightly along the still tense, tight muscle of his shoulder, towards his neck, before drifting away. Carl could see conflict in his friend’s eyes.
“Now I know things as fucked up for you as they are for me,” Carl said, still looking his Cesar in the eyes. He was breathing deep in a way that made his chest and shoulders shift heavily. “I'm sorry you lost your crew, I know how bad that shit hurts.”
Cesar pulled back a bit, just nodding lightly in reply. His tone was a lot more firm and gathered when he spoke, “Yeah, homes. Yeah.”
Carl slapped him on the shoulder a few times before letting him go. “If you want to go have a shower, the water won’t keep me awake.”
Carl lingered a moment, wondering about the sudden change that had come over Cesar. He dismissed it as the bad news the Hispanic had given him. Carl felt an anger in him. It was bad enough what happened to him today, but the fact that it had happened to Cesar as well made Carl mad.
“You go on, homes. I just need to get a drink. I'll make sure I don’t wake you.”
"Aiight. Night Ceese.”
Carl headed back into the bedroom, wondering about his clothes now that he had to worry about Cesar being in bed with him. He went through to the bathroom quickly, and checked his boxers. They were a little damp, but he figured he would risk wearing them so that he wasn’t naked under the sheets with Cesar.
He pulled them on and tossed the cum damp towel into the washing machine. When he came back out, Cesar was already making his way around the bed. Carl let him squeeze passed to get to the bathroom. He could felt the hardness of Cesar’s body against him, the wetness of his clothes. A few moments later and he heard the sound of the shower running.
Carl’s head was still wild with what Cesar had told him as he lay down. He did his best to pull the sheets straight again, thinking about the fact they were both in exile from Los Santos now. He lay staring at the ceiling, letting his fingers drift idly across his big chest. He was too busy trying to work out what to do next, fitting all the variables in his mind.
Cesar had shown him something that had changed his world. Right on the edge of a major push against the Ballaz, to finally put the Grove Street Families back where they belonged, Cesar had shown him Big Smoke and Ryder plotting with their sworn enemies. They were two of his closest friends who had founded Grove Street along with him and his brother Sweet. He’d run to save his brother from an attack that was never going to succeed. Both Sweet and him were meant to have died.
Tenpenny, the crooked cop who had dogged him ever since he had returned to Los Santos was the one reason he wasn’t in prison with his brother. No doubt so he could keep doing the cops dirty work. With Sweet in prison, Big Smoke and Ryder no longer the close friends he thought they were, all Carl had was Cesar.
Cesar had turned off the lights before he came into the bedroom, and when he left the bathroom he did the same there. Carl could make out the Hispanics form in what little light remained. He was in just his boxers, white contrasting against the smooth brown of his skin, and the darker tones of his tattoos. Carl could see that his friend didn’t have the deep definition to his muscle that he did, but what he did have was still hard, well formed. Cesar was hesitating at the side of the bed, lingering there.
“What’s the matter, Ceese? I ain’t gonna bite.”
Carl missed the nervousness in Cesar’s chuckle, “Aye, homes, it's cool. You think I ain’t slept with another guy before? I had five brothers …”
“It's a big bed. As long as you keep to your side.”
“I'm used to that,” Cesar remarked quietly.
Not that Carl was looking but he couldn’t help notice how Cesar’s boxers were bulging a bit in the front. He quickly dismissed it, noticing it only because of how he was lying on the bed. Carl turned his head and stared back up at the ceiling. He had no problem sleeping with Cesar, but he also couldn’t remember the last time he was this close to a man in bed.
It took a while for Cesar to get settled on his side of the bed, as Carl lay there in silence. How long ago was it that Carl had laid right there, masturbating away furiously? He frowned as he remembered that he had even been thinking about Cesar as well. They were more thoughts that were quickly dismissed. Carl felt the hard edge of tiredness kicking in again. Surely this time he would get to sleep. Cesar’s weight beside him in the bed was strange, especially knowing it was him.
“Ay, homes …”
“It's just that … well … gracias, ese.”
“What’chu mean, homie?” Carl really wanted to sleep.
“I don’t know, just thanks for being here, dude.”
“Forget it,” replied Carl. The comments seemed strange, and if anything he felt like it should have been him thanking Cesar. He rolled, turning his back to Cesar. Another subtle hint, then one not so subtle, “Night, Ceese.”
Cesar’s reply was slow to come and hesitant. Carl almost missed it, “Cool, ese … night.”
Carl didn’t have as much trouble getting to sleep as he had thought. Between the softness of the bed, and the warmth, he forgot Cesar lying right next to him. He forgot how quiet it was compared to Los Santo, and that he had lost his crew and his close friends. Slept claimed him swiftly, taking him into a deep and dreamless sleep.
When Carl woke up, it was because of the weight shifting beside him. It was still dark, and pale light still filtered through the small window of the bedroom, shining off the television. Carl was awake enough to realize Cesar was getting back into bed. He rolled back onto his side, fixing his pillow and attempted to drift back to sleep. The quiet of night still surrounded the prefab, although it sounded as if the rain had finally stopped.
Carl lay half awake a while before he noticed the sounds beside him. At first they were subtle, Cesar’s breathing was more heavy, but not in a way that sounded like he was going back to sleep. Then soft, quiet moans. Carl felt a hot flush of embarrassment wash over him as he realized what was going on behind him. He felt the slight, yet rhythmic movements in the bed, the more pronounced moans that Cesar was trying his hardest to contain. Horny motherfucker,
Carl thought. He knew from Cesar’s stockpile of porn that the Hispanic probably caught those feelings as often as he did. He still felt uncomfortable enough that he stayed motionless, and tried to get back to sleep.
From even the tiniest signs behind him, Carl could paint in his mind a full image of what was going on. Part of him wanted Cesar to be done with it, while the rest of him didn’t give a fuck. Embarrassment still kept his big body hot. Carl found his mind drifting back to his discovery in the back of Cesar’s video cupboards. And here he was, lying right next to him, jacking his dick off. Carl frowned, reminding himself that Cesar had gone through as much as he had today. But unlike Cesar, he had been lucky enough to have a half hour or so alone to sate his lusts.
The soft chorus of moans and hot, tight breaths continued to come easily to Carl’s ears. He felt the quickening in the movements, feeling a strange sensation pass through him as he anticipated his friends approaching climax. Carl wanted to take himself in hand and jack off as well. Cesar’s self passion left him hungry. He felt those excited sensations within his groin, in the pit of his stomach.
The release came a little less quietly than Cesar had probably hoped. An intense moan was choked of life as quickly as it burst forth. Carl could almost feel the pleasure of Cesar’s climax, which he could picture swelling out of him. He felt lewd and hot by the time he felt movement again. This time it was more pronounced, and he heard and guessed what felt like Cesar drying himself off. A moment later and the bed moved again, as Cesar got up and went back into the bathroom.
Carl’s heart thumped in his chest. His family had never been as big as Cesar’s, and he had never had to share a bed with anyone else. Maybe it was no big deal to the Hispanic. Carl couldn’t imagine what that would be like; for jacking off next to his sleeping brothers to be considered normal. He had never lived close enough to someone to see this side of them.
By the time Cesar came back out of the bathroom and lay back in bed, Carl was already making a new effort to get back to sleep. It came slower the second time. He heard Cesar’s snores a while before he finally fell asleep himself.
When Carl woke up, it was morning. The rich light of day was shining off the top of the television. Cesar wasn’t next to him. He could hear the sound of music coming quietly from behind the blanket into the living room; Donna Summer, bright and up-tempo. Carl didn’t pick Cesar for the sort to listen to Bounce FM.
Swinging his feet out of bed, Carl felt the hard, barely carpeted surface of the floor. He would have rather turned over and went back to sleep, but he could smell what smelt like eggs, and bacon. It drew him out of bed, despite everything else. What was usually a solid morning hard-on hung only half hard, filling out the front of his boxers rather than torpedoing up through the gap. Carl lingered long enough in bed for it to let up before leaving.
“Hey, homes, how you sleep?”
Cesar was dressed, in the same clothes he was last night, standing over a pan full of food. His warm smile and countenance appeared twice more confident than it had last night, more like his usual self. Carl gave a brief nod, rubbing at his face. Cesar poured what smelt like strong coffee and set it down on the bar.
“Check that bag I bought you last night, ese,” remarked Cesar, nodding over towards where he had left it on the seats. “I laid out your clothes in the bathroom last night, but I guess they were wetter than mine. They didn’t dry. I'll put them in the drier if you want … didn’t want to wake you up.”
Carl sniffed at the coffee before taking a quick gulp. It hit his taste buds hard. “Damn, Ceese, you shoulda told me you was like this. I would have moved in with you when I first met you. I ain’t even met a bitch that runs around after me like this.”
Cesar smiled by half, and shrugged the comment off quickly, “It's cool, ese. It ain’t you. Just another thing you learn quick with five brothers. Well, it was more my parents. Me es normal.” He started serving up the bacon and eggs onto a plate, before pushing it across the counter to Carl.
“I could get used to this shit. I thought you said there was no food up in here?”
“I went out.”
“Damn, how long you been awake?” Carl sat down at the counter, and looked over the plate of food. Better than he could have cooked himself, Carl noted.
“Not that long, ese. Figured you could use the sleep.” Cesar gave him a strange look. “I didn’t wake you up, did I, homes? I kept getting up in the night. Had trouble sleeping.”
“Naw,” he lied, dismissive. “Slept right through.”
“Cool.” Naw, I didn’t wake up while you was jackin’ your dick off,
Carl thought as he dug in. Had food ever tasted this good?
“I don’t know if you want to just chill today, dude. Or if you want to do anything.”
Carl replied between mouthfuls of food. The question was a jarring reminder of their situation, “Don’t think we got anyplace else to be right now, homie.” In reality, Carl knew he just needed time alone to work out what his next move should be. Or maybe he should have been thinking more about Cesar as well.
“Well if you want to make some quick cash, I know someone who holds street races out this way. The cars ain’t pretty, but they fast. I can fix that up pretty easy.”
Business and breakfast never mixed all that well. Carl ignored it as he piled in more food. Cesar certainly seemed his usual self now. Not at all like last night. He tried to keep his mind off his brother Sweet as well. And Smoke and Ryder. Any plan he made from here on in would involve both of them and a few bullets.
Cesar seemed to take the hint this time, “Or we can just chill, homes. Been a while since we just hung out.”
“I don’t think we ever hung out, Ceese. Not like this.”
“So it will be cool, ese,” remarked Cesar, with a smile.
Carl frowned as something occurred to him, “If you out here, then where’s Kendl? If you can't go back to Los Santos, then why ain’t you hiding out with her?”
“Chill, dude, Kendl’s fine.”
“Where’s she at?”
Cesar could see his disapproval, “Ese, chill. She’s staying with one my brothers out the back of Vinewood. None my crew know about the place. She’s safe. I wouldn’t leave her anywhere – ”
“She’s staying with one your brothers?
“He’s married, homes,” Cesar said, quickly on the defensive. “They both stay with my aunt. I trust them like I trust you, ese. No se preocupe de él.”
Carl couldn’t shake the worry, or the way it knotted up his guts. He picked at his food halfheartedly now, far from convinced. “You should be with her, homie. That shit ain’t worth the risk.”
“Ese. I love your sister. I wouldn’t do anything that I thought would put her in danger.”
Carl didn’t answer, instead he just chased his food about the plate with a fork. He wanted to cuss Cesar out, but he had to tell himself that his friend was right. He had never met anyone who had treated his sister as well as Cesar did. But still, with Sweet locked up, he didn’t have any other family. Overprotective was probably one of the most commonly used words people used when talking about Carl’s relationship with his sister. He’d lost his appetite for breakfast quickly.
“You cool, right, homes?”
“Yeah. Sure,” Carl said, as he pushed himself off from the counter. He downed some more coffee to cover his annoyance. “You got a pistol?”
“Si, ‘course I have, ese.”
“Get it for me.”
Carl heard the sound of drawers being opened as he started in on the bag Cesar had bought in last night. He pushed through clothes of various sizes and descriptions, discovering a couple of pairs of shoes down near the bottom. Either Cesar was good at guessing, or he knew what size his feet were. Carl dismissed it, and started pulling on an oversized pair of grey sweatpants he pulled free. They fitted him well. He saw Cesar put down a black pistol on the counter next to his food, before he started hunting for a shirt.
“What you thinking about, homes?”
“Nothing,” lied Carl, shrugging a hint. He pulled out a white t-shirt and pulled it on over his big upper body. It fitted as well as if he bought it himself. Carl dragged out a pair of black skate shoes that looked a lot like the sort he always saw Cesar wearing. “I'm just gonna go out for a while.”
“Ok …” Cesar didn’t appear too convinced.
Carl checked his clothes over once with approval, before grabbing the pistol off the counter and checking it. Then he shoved it in the back of sweats, feeling it fit snug into the small of his back. He couldn’t help but notice the look on Cesar’s face. Carl didn’t let himself frown at it. He just prepared to head outside, hiding things again by finishing the last of his coffee.
“Uuh … hey, homes …”
“I just want to tell you something, ese.”
Carl looked back at Cesar, and saw that same expression that he had seen last night. His friend was again hesitant and lacking his usual confidence. There was pain again in his eyes as he just stared back at Carl. Carl waited, patiently he thought, given how he was feeling right now about everything.
“Forget it, homes. I'll talk with you when you get back, ok?”
Carl didn’t waste any more time, stalking outside, and banging the door closed behind him. Cesar seemed to know him fairly well on an emotional level, and it was unnerving. He certainly knew something was up right now. Carl felt the cool country air, and heard the crunch of gravel under his shoes. He half pondered stealing a car and heading back into Vinewood and hunting out his sister. Fuck Cesar for leaving her somewhere. He should have been there with her. Why wasn’t he?
It occurred to Carl by the time he reached the gate leaving the prefab complex that his surrounds were so vastly different from Los Santos. The air had an almost refreshing chill about it, and amongst the smells of pine that filled the air, he thought he could almost smell the sea. Carl wondered how close they were to the coast. All about him was a township that had grown aged, untouched by the outside world.
Across the road was a boarded up and broken down place that looked like it was once a fast food joint. Beyond it, the massive yellow chicken of Cluckin’ Bell peeked above the rooftops, perhaps proof that it had fallen victim to a more powerful competitor. Cluckin’ Bell shined like the only bastion of the new world, where all around it buildings and businesses decayed.
Carl walked idly down the street. He couldn’t help but notice the strange looks he was getting. Not only were none of the people he saw black, but they had a certain rural look about them. Hard working, and gnarled by a lifetime of living off the land. An elderly couple sat on the veranda of an equally aged house, American flags hanging proudly near the door. Their eyes followed Carl as he passed.
“You been hoisting bails, Mister?”
Carl stopped short of barreling straight into the man, who looked back at him in a good natured way. He realized by the look in the man’s eyes that he meant it as a compliment. The man looked as if he was no stranger to farm work, in a pair of well worn denim overalls. Carl regarded him a second, cautiously.
“Yeah, thanks. I have been working out a bit.”
Carl watched as the man touched the brim of his cap and continued on his way. He frowned as he continued down the street himself. He’d never get used to this place. Carl wondered briefly if there was even a remote chance that he could find a sex shop around here. Did this place even have hookers? Anger towards Cesar over his sister was quickly forgotten as he started thinking again about sex.
Carl crossed the street over towards a hardware store, when something strange caught his eye, strange only because it stuck out about as much as he did. The slow moving, low slung car looked as if it had seen far better days. Carl froze in place as his eyes took it in, stared at the driver. He had thin, well kept braids, and a green flannel shirt that made him almost a beacon in the country surrounds. It spoke loudly of what he was.
Carl thought. How the fuck they find me?
Carl’s first instinct was to fall back, quickly retreating to the alley beside the store. The car continued to move slowly up the street, as people came and went about their daily business. Carl’s heart began thumping hard in his big chest, his hand wandering back towards his pistol. However they had tracked him down, Carl knew that he wasn’t totally free of his past problems yet.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/san-andreas-stories-chapter-two.aspx">San Andreas Stories: Chapter two</a>