Disclaimer: Not my universe.
Warnings: contains non-graphic references to child abuse.
Notes: After much begging by Lemon Yellow Jelly Bean, I am posting this.
Five More Secrets Juice Keeps from the Club
(And One that's Kept from Him)
He's younger than his brothers guess…
Clay watched as Tig's dirty, grease stained fingers rifled through the printed pages that the kid had put together. The man's lip was curled in distain. Since day one he hadn't rated Juan Carlos Ortiz as anything above a pile of dog shit and it was obvious nothing he could read was about to change his mind.
"Careful, they're not-" The kid began.
Tig's sharp glare shut off prospective Prospect's warning and he returned to flipping roughly through the pages. Within seconds, the paperclip had worked its way free and popped off into the distance. The papers slipped and about half thumped down in a fat wad on the floor. Juan Carlos's eyes followed them down.
"Shit." Tig muttered and stared hard at Juan. It was almost painful of watch the reason for that look dawn on kid and once the mental penny dropped with a damn near audible clink, Juan hurried to collect the pages.
From several seats down the table, Bobby snorted with amusement.
Juan held out the crumpled pages, trying his hardest not to look nervous.
Chibs reached out and plucked one of sheets. "Class of 2002." He said and held up the kid's high school Regents Diploma. "We got us an educated man here."
Oaksie swallowed the last of his beer. "We can't all be drop outs." He pointed out.
Juan swallowed, "I dropped outta community college." He said and then bent his head at the looks of disgust thrown his way. "Sorry."
"Look, take a walk, all right?" Jax told him.
Clay watched the kid leave then turned to Oaksie. "Well, Sponsor?"
The VP sat back. "Kid knows his shit." Oaksie told him. "We could use him."
"He's an idiot." Tig pointed out.
"Prospects are idiots," Jax said. "He can learn. We all learned."
"He's a Puerto Rican idiot."
"Man's got a point." Clay said
"Brown ain't black." Oaksie pointed out.
"Well it sure isn't white. Kid's Mayan bait."
Jax leaned forward, "bottom line is: Ortiz has skills we need and I want them working for us, not against us." He looked at Oaksie. "Seconded."
Juan took the Prospect leather. It felt heavy in his hands. He grinned openly at the Sons around the table.
"Now get out." Clay snapped.
He hurried to comply, sweat fingers slipping on the door.
He stopped at Tig's voice, turned back.
"02…" Tig muttered, "that makes you what? 22, 23?"
Juan swallowed nervously. A summer baby, always one of the youngest in his year, he'd skipped a grade in elementary and even though he'd been in and out of trouble in the last few years of school, he hadn't slipped back. The file clearly stated the year of his birth. He hadn't hidden it. Is it his fault they can't count? "Yeah, pretty much."
Tig made a noise of disgust. "Infant." He spat. "Get!"
He hates the smell of motor oil…
Opie had knocked over the barrel of used oil several hours ago. He had cursed loudly and thrown a bucket load of sand over it, then yelled at Half-Sack to clean it up. The Prospect had done a decent enough job to satisfy Opie, but the floor was still gritty underfoot and the smell of oil, usually just a background scent in TM, covered up by the more pungent smells of tobacco and sweat, was pervasive.
Juice had moved closer to the open doors to work but it did little good. Strong odours had always been one of his worst triggers and already the light was becoming flashy bright when he moved his head. And he had left the Zolmig his doctor had prescribed at home.
After an hour, the fierce throbbing pain behind his right eye was intense and his vision shot to pieces. He needed dark and quiet and horizontal and some very good weed.
Bobby flared up the welding torch and Juice winced at the harsh noise. He forced himself to his feet and was hit by a wave of nausea. He added another need to his list: a bucket to throw up in.
He began to walk out of TM, intending to go crash in the club house and hope he wasn't missed, but someone blocked his path.
"You should lay off the weed." Chibs said, breathing whiskey scenting breath right into Juice's face. "Yer lookin' whiter than my arse."
The stench turned his stomach and he made a choking noise and doubled over.
"Fuck!" Chibs swore and thrust a hand under Juice's armpit and pushed him backwards roughly. He got him out the door just in time.
Juice vomited on the concrete outside the garage just as Gemma walked passed, heading towards the office.
"What the-!" She took a step back.
Chibs yelled over his shoulder, "tell the Prospect he missed a spot!" before dragging Juice off into the direction of the clubhouse.
His favourite TiVo collection isn't porn…
Juice walked naked back into his lounge, body still damp from the shower he taken. Despite using over half a bottle of gel, he still felt grimy, as if the dust from the road and the blood of the Mexican woman that one of the Niners had slaughtered right in front of him had become so deeply embedded in his skin that it would never wash off. In the silence of his lounge he could still hear the dull-slick-wet shhuup sound of the bullet as it tore a hole through her neck, severing her jugular vein. It wasn't the first time he'd heard that and it wouldn't be the last, but he had never been so close to it before. Close enough to catch the gurgle of air in the woman's throat as she gasped her last breaths, close enough to be splattered by the warm, sticky greasiness of her blood, and close enough that the only thoughts that thundered through his head, even as he gasped in lung fulls of coopery scented air, was So close and That could have been me.
Juice went over to the open curtains and pulled them closed.
He was oddly devoid of feeling. There was no shock at her death, no real anger. It was all selfish self-preservation.
He had already downed a couple of beers before hitting the shower and they lay heavy on his stomach. Time to move to the good stuff, the better stuff…
Juice sat down on his sofa, picking up a red cushion and unzipping it. He took out the small bag of weed it concealed in the ancient and probably dust mite laden filling. He quickly rolled a joint and lit it, drawing deep on the drug, pulling the heat of the smoke into his lungs and holding it there as long as possible.
The world began to lose the jagged sharpness that threatened to cut him to shreds at any moment. In its place was a softness that pressed his bones into the sofa. It was only the tension of his muscles holding him upright and that too was rapidly fading.
When his thoughts drifted back to the woman, it was only brief and made him suck impatiently on the joint because really, the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan had been more horrific.
Tom and Jerry cartoons were more violent…
The thought made him chuckle and he gripped the joint between his teeth and used both hands to search the cushions. His left hand found the TV remote jammed down the back. He pulled it out and began pressing the buttons.
About a minute later, the jaunty theme tune of Looney Tunes filled the room.
And then there was only the drug, and the music and the world were no-one ever came to any harm no matter what was done to them…
He isn't really clumsy…
"Jeezus Christ, Boy, what you done ta yerself?"
Chibbs made a grab for Juice's wrist. The kid winced in pain, hissing as Chibbs pulled his arm out straight to better examine the huge swollen bruise that covered his left forearm.
"Jack gave out when I had my arm in that Dodge yesterday."
Some of the skin had obviously broken and little scabs had formed but most of the bleeding had gone on under the surface. Chibbs felt along the bone, ignoring the sounds of discomfort that Juice made, checking for fractures. There was an unusual amount of heat coming off the bruise. Maybe Tara should take a look. "Jack's dinae just give out."
He offered an embarrassed grin. "I might have knocked it."
"Clumsy bastard!" Chibs let go of the arm. "Get some ice on that," he said, "I oughta take away yer gun 'fore yer shoot yer foot off."
Juice watched him go. He looked across at the tyre iron propped against the wall. The curve, if anyone was careful enough to observe, neatly matched the marks on his arm. But people weren't observant, not like that, and that's what made it so easy.
Juice never cut himself. Cuts leave scars, tell-tale evidence, it's just wasn't wise. But he had learned other ways to access the emotional release and endorphin rush of self-inflicted pain. Striking his own flesh with heavy objects satisfied the frustration inside him in a way nothing else could. And he'd tried pretty much everything going.
And it left…
Juice looked down at the swollen mess of his left arm.
They healed slowly and prettily, reminding him that no one could hurt him better than he could hurt himself.
"Taking one for the Club" would've been a trip down memory lane…
Juan watched his mother apply her lipstick in the mirror that hung on the wall beside the front door. She'd been doing that these last few nights. He wondered when Kane would notice too.
It was Kane who had encouraged her to go to night school to get a GED. She'd always made a big thing of how she'd only dropped out of school at 14 to have Juan, like it was some sacrifice she should be praised for, when the truth was she was lazy, always looking for the easy way out, and Juan knew it.
And that was why the lipstick had appeared. She might have been sincere in the beginning, she might even have gone to class, but it had quickly become show. She came back stinking of liquor. How long Kane would continue to believe the "just a couple of drinks with the girls after class" excuses?
He would miss Kane when he clued up and checked out. The guy actually treated Juan like he was a person and not some cock-block that stood between them and Maritza's pussy. He took an interest in Juan that no one else had ever done, bought him a computer and a whole stack of games, taken him to the movies and to the park to play sports with his friends, let him ride on his bike. Hell, Kane even helped him with his homework and he was getting the best marks he'd ever got.
He loved the 3 nights a week his mother went out to class because it was just him and Kane and pizza and whatever video Kane had picked up on the way home from work. Kane would even let him have a beer or two.
And his mother was going to ruin it.
He looked round and saw Kane watching his mother leave. There was something in his eyes that Juan would never, in all the years that followed, understand.
It began the week after the lipstick. On the first night, the movie that Kane had picked out because, he said, it had car crashes and James Spader in it and he knew Juan was fan, was an NC-17 and full of sex scenes. Watching it with his step-father was weird, he was caught between adolescent horniness at the images and embarrassment. He couldn't hide the very obvious lump in his jeans nor fail to notice the one in Kane's.
When he jacked off in bed that night, he came harder than he ever had before.
The following night's video was a PG-13 but Kane sprawled out over the sofa to watch it so that his feet rested on the arm and his shoulders pressed against Juan's. The comedy was good – and so was being allowed an extra beer – and all the weirdness of the night before melted away.
When Juan went to bed that night, he felt stupid for thinking anything had been wrong.
A week later, Kane brought home an R rated movie, this one about horny teenagers warring with the boss of a bar. Kane was lying across the sofa again, so close to him that he was bound to see Juan's erection.
Kane shifted, elbow coming up to rest in Juan's lap. "Fucking jean's're killing me." He muttered and popped the button fly. He sighed in relief. "Make yourself comfortable, kid." He told him. "It's that kind of movie."
Juan looked down at his own swollen and aching groin with Kane's arm lying so close. If he realised his fly, they'd touch so he shook his head. "No, I'm good."
Kane shifted to look at him and a full second passed, and Juan had the terrible sensation that he'd done something wrong, but then Kane simply smirked and reached up to ruffle the thick thatch of black hair on the boy's head. "Sure you are, son."
His mother didn't come home that night. When she finally stumbled in the door, just as Juan was leaving for school, she claimed she'd fallen asleep at a friend's house but the grass stains on her skirt gave lie to her words. Kane listened to her explanation but Juan could see he didn't believe it. He had to leave her and Kane staring at each other or miss the school bus. He spent the whole day torn between the grief at not having the chance to say goodbye to Kane and desperately planning how to help his mother keep their tiny apartment without Kane paying the rent.
But Kane was there in the kitchen, beer bottle in hand, when he got home. He was so relieved that everything was OK that he flung his arms around Kane, burying his face into the man's neck. He felt Kane's smile as he pressed a kiss into Juan's hair.
"Couldn't leave my boy, now could I?" He murmured.
It was always porn after that.
And when, a week later, Kane snaked his hand into Juan's jeans, and murmured that it was OK to do this because he loved Juan, it was a relief, both from the pressure in his groin and because he now knew how to make Kane stay.
"Don't I always take care of you?" Kane asked when the rush of pleasure that had engulfed Juan had faded away to an aching, terrible wrongness.
"I love you, son." Kane murmured, pulling the boy into his arms. "It's OK…everything's going to be OK."
The wrongness didn't fade away and it scared him.
"Do you love me?"
Juan bent his head and after a moment, nodded.
Kane reached up and ran the backs of his knuckles down the hollow of Juan's throat. "Show me."
He doesn't know why Chibs failed to keep his last 7 Child Support payments…
Chibs swallowed back a mouthful of whiskey from his hip flask and watched the crow eaters swarm around the newly released Sons. There would be no one warming his bed tonight. The girls were focused on giving his brothers the kind of welcome back gifts a man might just think it was worth being locked up for.
His eyes settled on Juice and he took another swig of whiskey. He'd missed the little SOB more than he cared to admit. Juice's hair had grown out and the Latin in his veins stood out starkly. The kid had lost weight in prison, but it looked good on him. Too bloody good to have been where he was.
Chibs had lost count of the night's he'd lain awake, fearing that Juice would be called on as collateral for the club. Had offered up his own cash when it was needed for Intel after Jax was shivved, but he knew it might not have been enough. Shit happened in prison. And if the club asked, you didn't say no. But if Juice had been used to run up a line of store credit then none of it showed in his face right now.
Chibs would keep an eye all the same. Shite like that could seriously mess with your head and carve great, ugly scars across your soul.
One of the crow-eaters – Amber – had manoeuvred him over to the pool table so that she could sit and spread her legs and trap him between them. Her skinny hand slid down the back of his jeans, slipping past the belt to grab his backside and press him into her.
Chibs watched the lads face. There was none of the tension at being touched there that Chibs had feared to see and some of the tension coiling inside him eased.
Money well spent then, even though it meant Fi and Marianne had gone short.
He drew down the last few drops from his hipflask and got to his feet.
Juice looked up, his eyes meeting Chibs over Amber's bony shoulder.
Chibs dipped his head in acknowledgement.
You're welcome, brother…