Chapter 52: No Compromise
Adam squirms and thrash horribly as every cell of his body screams in pain. His muscles flex involuntarily as they feel a surge of invasive energy race throughout his body, and spike in the deepest reaches of each limb.
His eyes clench as his jaws dig into the rubber block in his mouth, while his body thrashes in his tight constraints.
Merrick's ravaged tailfin curls as thin lines of blood seeped from within the white tissue. The merman looks with desperate, begging eyes at the nearby white-masked faces and glasses, reflecting his terrified expression, before closing shut as a rush of water pours over him.
He squirms and whines harshly through his gag as the imported seawater stings his many cuts and rips along his blue tail, freshly harvested of many of his own fins and scales.
Adam's chest jumps up and down as every cell of his body screams in pain. His muscles flex involuntarily as they feel a surge of invasive energy race throughout his body, and spike in the deepest reaches of each limb.
His eyes clench as his jaws dig into the rubber block in his mouth, while his body thrashes in his tight constraints.
A pair of glasses over a half bandaged face leers down as Adam endures the lingering twinge and pulses of lightning inside his body. As Adam's body thrashes against the binds that hold him in place, he glares with hatred up at the old, frail man.
Dead eyes and a hidden sadistic grin peers upon Merrick as his blue eyes looks to the side of his head as a pair of scalpels lower down. Merrick's throat screeches as the small blades start to carve into his gills!
"What do you think you're trying to prove?" The man said as he walks to Adam's side on the table. "All you're doing is wasting my time and energy trying to protect a species that you're not even associated with. You're only punishing yourself, young man. Not me."
Adam breathes loudly through his nose as he trembled from head to foot, fear and pain dancing in his body.
"I really don't like having to do this," The man spoke, "Truly, I don't." Those glasses gleam with the man's cruelty, "But I don't have much time left. So... What do you say?"
Adam glares at him with his red and brown eyes giving indignant breaths as he tightened his fists. The old man sighed as he turned, and waved his hand up.
Adam can feel a pair of cold gel pads press onto his temples. He whimpers and moans vocally as he heard a distinct sound wiring from several feet away. He starts to voice his fear as he can feel the electricity coming. He clenches his eyes shut as the initial preemptive wave of energy signaled his brain.
"GHHAAAHHHHH!!!" Adam screamed as he shot up in an upright position. He pants loudly as he looks quickly around in the endless darkness of the cabin. He finds himself drenched in sweat, his heart racing against his ribs, shaking terribly as he feels an imitation of the electric tingle still twinkle inside him.
Adam gulps and pants as he turns on the light, and shakily got out of bed, and staggered to the wall. "Uuuggh..." He puts a hand over his forehead and covering his eyes, taking a few minutes and a few deep breaths, "Jus a dream... Jus a dream..." He whimpers before he walks to his bed, and sits down. With trembling fingers, he picks up the phone, and dials a number.
"... H-Hello, roo-roomservice? U-Uh, hi, um..." Adam tries to steady his voice, "C-Can I get some... Sh-Shaved ice, please? A-And a small sundae, please..." Try as he might, he can barely contain the emotion in his voice, "... Y-Yeah, I'm fine..." He whimpered, "I-I'm ok, I'm fine, please just..." He sniffled as he wiped the moisture from around his eyes, "... Ok, Room 134... Thank you..." He hangs up, and bows his head as he puts his fingers into his wet hair.
"Easy there," Came a calm, cold voice, "We're almost done here..."
Merrick cries as pain bites all around his body, while nearby rubber hands hold many vials to collect streams of blood and tears alike. He screams more as he can feel the sharp metal drive into his right arm!
He tries to thrash his head, but another pair of hands hold him down so other vials can collect the free-falling tears from his eyes.
"Now now, lets not make a fuss," Said the soulless voice, "I hate messes. The more you hold still, the sooner you can go back to your room."
Merrick tensed and clenched his bloody, gashed fingers as he tries to break himself from his restrains. Finally, the cuff on his left wrist broke right off!
"Quick! Hold him down!" Just like that, several hands seize Merrick's arm, and pin him back down, "My, but aren't all fish such a hard thing to reel in?" Merrick rumbles and growls pitifully as he is helpless to escape, "Douse him. He is starting to dry again." The merman whines as he can see the bucket again to turn over above him.
"HHHH!" Merrick gasps awake. He does not sit up, but merely shiver terribly as he lies there on the same roof he's been sleeping on. The cold wind wisps over his mostly exposed body, which does very little to ease his anxiety and solitude.
Carefully, he moves up and slides himself down along the roof, and lands with a soft grunt on the uppermost deck. He clears his throat, and calms his emotions as he walks by the occasional passerby.
His anger hasn't been as severe as it was a couple of nights ago, but he still hasn't forgiven Adam. And to be perfectly honest, he doesn't even know if and when he can forgive him.
Several hours later, Nick leans on the barstool, wearing only a gold jockstrap, sitting next to Merrick as the merman holds an Appletini drink.
"Look, man, I git that he was probably a jerk," Nick said, "But you gotta let that stuff go. He was drunk, people get drunk alla time."
"It's not that easy, Nick," Merrick said as he took a sip, "... You don't know what I feel..."
"Yeah, I do. Back when you and Adam were gone, me and Jamal split for a while."
"So I've heard..."
"But he and I got back together, and we're good as ever."
"Yeah," Merrick leered to the side, "Good for you."
"Tch," Nick rolled his head a little, "C'mon, man, he's sorry. Jamal says he's freakin miserable without you."
"I don't care." Merrick replied with a resentful tone as he sips his cocktail.
"You ain't even gonna give him a chance, man?"
"I told you what he said, Nick." Merrick turned his barstool around, "You just... You don't understand. You don't know how much it cuts inside me."
"Naw, I git it," Nick nodded as he got up, "You just holdin a grudge, and you don't wanna stop being angry. I was the same way, but I gave Jamal just one shot." Nick held up a finger, "Just one! That's all it took!"
"You're a human, Nick." Merrick growled, "You don't understand why I'm so angry... You just don't comprehend the gravity of what he said..."
"Aight, then tell me." Nick said, putting his hands on his hips, "Tell me what all of this is about."
"Why? So you can report to Adam?" Merrick slapped a $10 on the counter, and got up from his stool, and leered at Nick, "Forget it. If he doesn't know why I'm so hurt on his own, then he doesn't deserve my chance." With that, Merrick walked off.
"Hey! Where you goin??"
"Somewhere else. Just stay out of it already! Go and tell Adam you failed!"
"Fuck, you look like shit, man" Jamal said as he rubs a hand on Adam's back.
"I couldn't sleep..." Adam rubbed his eyelids, "I had another nightmare... Of the Agency..."
"Ah shyit." Jamal said, "It's been a month since the last one, right?"
"More like 3 weeks..." Adam moaned, "This time, Merrick wasn't around to make it easier..." Jamal tugged him to the side before he could run into a pole, and walked around it, "The bellhop for room service wanted to stay with me because I sounded upset on the phone, but I couldn't."
"Why not? He coulda made you feel better."
"Yeah," Adam rolled his tired eyes, "That's all I need, to fuck around while my boyfriend isn't speaking to me."
"I'm not talkin about fuckin around with anyone, Adam," Jamal said, "Just let off some steam and spend some time with company, make you feel better."
"Yeah, all the while, Merrick is wandering in God knows where, hating my guts while I grope and hang out in the baths or whatever."
"I had Nick hang out with him since it started," Jamal said, "He says Merrick's doin ok mostly, but he's stubborn about talkin about you."
"No," Adam shook his head, "If I know Merrick, he's not expressing what he's thinking because he doesn't think Nick will understand, if he hasn't already pushed him away. Merrick was raised on an honor-bound lifestyle," He explained, "So he thinks everyone should know what's right or wrong, and if they don't, they don't deserve to guess."
"Yeah. Nick keeps sayin stuff like, 'He don't git it' or, 'You a human, you wouldn't know', or some shit. I think he bein too hard on you."
"Yeah... That doesn't do me any good though..." Adam sighed as he rubbed his forehead, "Fuck, why did I say all of those things? Now he won't even talk to me..."
"He'll forgive ya eventually though, right? Like you said, you and he are bonded, he can't hate ya forever."
"Yes, but in the meantime, I have to live with this... Always wondering what can I do, and he can't talk to me..." He groans as they walk into the dance lobby, "I need a drink."
"Hold up, man," Jamal tugged his arm.
"God, I am NOT going to get drunk, Jamal." Adam had him let go, "I'm just really stressed ok??"
He and Jamal went to the bar, and ordered a Cosmopolitan and a Tough Puppy. Adam sighs as he drinks his sweet cocktail down in one gulp, and ordered another one.
"Take it easy, man," Jamal said as Adam tips the delicate glass down his throat.
"I know, ok??" Adam spat out. He looks as his third drink, and leans down. He takes a few deep breaths, and moaned, "... What am I gonna do..."
Jamal frowns as he looked at his friend as he plants his forehead, to the counter, and holds his hands behind his head, "He hates me, Jamal..." His voice is muffled, "He may love me, but he hates me now..."
"... You try goin after him?"
"Yes. I can't find him anywhere though..." Adam answered before moving his head, and putting his chin on his arms, "I keep trying to catch him, but I can't find him anywhere."
"Hah man..." Jamal turned on his barstool, and his eyes widened, "Oh shit!"
"Lets go, man," Jamal got up, and yanked on Adam.
"Wh- Hey!" Adam staggered and pulled his arm away from him, "What's the matter with you??"
"C'mon, lets go swimming!" Jamal suddenly said.
"You go on," Adam dismissively said, "I'm gonna stay here."
"No man, I don't want you to drink yoself to death, man!"
"I'm not, alright??" Adam pushed him back, "Just leave me here."
"Adam, get yo ass up, man!"
"Jamal!" Adam got up, and shoved him back a little, "Why are you suddenly trying to drag me outta he-" His eyes glanced, before he turned his head.
"Fuck..." Jamal said as Adam starred dumbfounded.
On stage, there's a line of hot gogo-boys dancing sensually to the song, Bubble by Sebastian Castro. One man in the middle sings the song and leads the other boys into the synchronized dance.
"~I like your bubble~ Even the stubble~" Most of the guys are holding their fists down to their crotches, with their other arm behind them, with their knees bent at an angle as they marched strange and slowly, "~Happy trailin down the crack of those two muscles~ The tighter the better~ And yours is never~ Felt the pain that gives~"
The second dancer on the right, wearing uniform shiny bowties and blue brief underwear that left little to the imagination, bright blonde hair, his light, skin shiny with moisture over his subtle, flawless muscles. Each dancer has on a different shade of blue, with a white bubble image printed on the bulge.
"What. The. Fuck??" Adam stares as Merrick started to dance with his arms up and his hands behind his neck and pump and twirl his hips, with the other dancers.
"~Me suc-suc-suc-so~ Me suc-suc-suc-so~ Me suc-suc-suc-so-o-o-o-o-o~" The other males danced provocatively, "~So much pleasure~"
"Ah shit," Jamal said as Adam started to push through the crowd.
"~Pop, that pop~ Pop~! Stick your stick into it~" Along with the other dancers, Merrick danced and enticed the crowd with his tightly packed equipment, circling his fairly defined behind as he turned with the rest of the guys.
"~Can your bu-bble pop~ Pop~!" The men turned and rocked their rumps for a moment before turning back around, "~Grab both cheeks and it~ This is it boy, Christian grab my boy toy~"
"Merrick!" Adam called out in a vain attempt to get his boyfriend's attention, "What the fuck are you doing?!" The cheers of the randy audience drown his voice out as the go-go boys danced.
"~Pop, that pop~ Pop~! This is how we do it~ Bubble pop~"
"MERRICK PISCIEN!" Adam yelled as he attempted to get Merrick's attention, "GET DOWN HERE NOW!" His voice could BARELY be heard from all the other yells and cheers.
"Sir, I'm gonna need you to step back," Said a guard.
"No, see, he's my boyfriend!" Adam said, "The blonde one on the right! He's no supposed to be up there!"
"I'm sorry, sir, but I still need you to keep back. Now." The guard forced Adam back away from the stage. Adam huffed and glared up at his blonde beauty, strutting and dancing for a lot of men and women in the audience. He walked away, and back to the bar, where Jamal was sitting. There, he downed his 4th Cosmopolitan, before giving a very sharp glare at Jamal.
"Hey!" Jamal held his hands up, "I swear to God, Adam, I had NO idea!" Adam grimaced as he turned back to his the bar.
In the changing room, Merrick puts on his shirt. "Nice out there, man," Said one of the dancers as he playfully slapped Merrick's behind, which he ignored. He adjusted his necklace in the mirror, before sitting on the bench, and pressed a cool, moist rag on his head.
"Merrick Piscien?" Came a voice. Merrick looked up to see a woman there with a clipboard and a pouch.
"Yes, that's me." He answered. The lady dug into her pouch, and drew out a couple of $50s.
"Thank you for your participation, you did great out there."
"Thanks." Merrick said as he took the money, and stowed it into a simple wallet he purchased yesterday.
"Hey there~" Merrick looked up again, and saw a buff looking stranger - a hot Italian stallion with only a small towel wrapped around his waist to barely keep himself decent.
"You weren't one of the dancers, where you?" Merrick asked.
"Naw, I'm up next" The man said, "I was watching you. You're hot."
"You don't say." Merrick said, unphased as he slipped on his sandals.
"You make me wanna fuck," The man said as he flexed his pecs, and put a hand on the locker, "All, night, long~"
"No thanks." Merrick said. Without waiting for the man to respond, he got up to leave the changing room. He strolled out of there for a few minutes, before he felt his arm yanked back, "Ah!"
"Merrick!" Adam said, holding onto his arms, "What the hell are you playing at?" Merrick scowled and pulled away for a few steps, "Merrick!" Adam followed him.
"What?!" Merrick turned angrily to Adam, "What do you want, Adam?!"
"What the fuck were you doing up there??" He said.
"Dancing. What in the name of Atargatis did it look like I was doing?"
"You won't talk to me, now you shake your ass just to shove it in my face?"
"I REFUSE to talk to you," Merrick responded, "And I'm working to make money for myself."
"What, so you're a stripper now? When were you planning on telling me, huh?!"
"I'm telling you know, aren't I?" Merrick said as he stepped back, "You'd think that would be more than generous for our present situation." With that, he walked off.
"What's next, Merrick?!" Adam called up as he followed him, "You're gonna fuck some guy while I watch??"
"SURE!" Merrick turned around, "Why the fuck not?" He turned back around and continued. Adam stood there, half dumbfounded, and half angry. He ran up, and forced Merrick back around.
"What the fuck, Merrick?? Why won't you talk to me already?! You'd give a crowd a show, but you won't even give me 5 minutes to tell me why you hate me so much??"
Merrick grabbed a handful of Adam's shirt, "If you can't even understand me," He muttered as his eyes rimmed with emotion again, "Why should I pretend to think that you'll get it? A human wouldn't understand."
"Merrick," Adam pulled Merrick's wrist away from him, "Why won't you at least tell me? That's what couples do! If we're mad at each other, we owe it to each other to tell us why, that's how they stay together." Merrick frowned as he slowly shook his head, "Why, Merrick?"
"You humans..." Merrick yanked his hand out of Adam's, "All of you..." He took a step back, "You humans take everything for granted..." Merrick turned around and began to walk away again.
"... What? That's it?!" Adam said, "You're being a stuck-up prick, Merrick!" Merrick just ignored him. "MERRICK!"
As soon as Merrick turned the corner, he sniffled as he wiped his eyes off, hearing his mate call him, yet refusing to turn back.
"Why can't he get it..." He mumbled, "Why won't he understand? Do I REALLY have to spell it out for him?"
"~I can move mountains, I can work a miracle! Work a miracle!~" A woman sings on stage as she swerves in tight black leather, "~Oh-Oh, Keep you like an oath~ Ain't nothing like death, do, us, part~"
Daniel walked to the bar, "One Mojito, please!" He ordered.
"Yessir~!" Answered the bartender.
The Dance Lobby is as rowdy as ever. A new act every couple of hours or so - whether professional or paid guest - everyone on the floor and grooving to the beat. Half the time, the stage is used for gogo dancing, but the other half is for rocking out to party music.
"I'll have a Fizzy Pixie, please?" Said Syrinx as she sat at the bar.
"In a minute, Miss!" Said the barkeep.
Daniel looked, and recognized her as the young woman who yelled at Merrick "Oh, hey!"
"Hi!" She answered, "You're the guy from the Shopping Center!"
"Yeah!" He held his hand for her, "Name's Daniel!"
"Syrinx!" She shook his head.
"So, Fizzy Pixie, huh? I've heard about those around here."
"Yeah! They're exclusive to the cruise, I don't think I've seen them in any other bar!"
"What are they like, I'm kinda curious?" Daniel asked as his Mojito was given to him.
"They're awesome!" She answered, "They have a bit of a bite in it because of all the fizz, but it's still a fun drink! I can't get enough of them - almost as much as I love coffee!"
"Haha, I'm gonna need to try one after this," Daniel said before taking some of his drink.
"Mm!" Syrinx looked in awe as her Pixie was delivered, "Plus they're so cute and pretty!" She said as she pointed at the delicate wings on the martini glass, "Look at this, look at this - they have wings!" She laughed, "It's made out of caramel or something, but they're edible!"
"Hahaha, damn, now I wish I ordered one."
After a moment, Syrinx padded him, "Hey, so are you ok?" Daniel rose his brows after swallowing some of his cocktail. They both sort of had to talk loudly over the booming music.
"Yeah, I'm fine! Why do you ask?"
"I saw you take a blow the other day!" She said, "You couldn't breath, could you?"
"I've had worse, trust me," Daniel said. He thought for a moment, and turned his barstool to better face her, "You know the guy who hit me, right? The blonde guy?"
"I don't know him, no! You have any idea why that jerk attacked you?" She said.
"I uh..." Daniel hesitated, "We've had some history with him, me and my boyfriend, I mean."
"Still, I don't think that gives him the right to outright knock you out like that!"
"Didn't he say he needed to talk to you?"
"I'm not interested in anything that psycho has to say!" Syrinx said with a frown, "Not when he's liable to just go nuts like that."
"I don't think he's a psycho!" Daniel said.
"After what he tried to do??" Syrinx said, "He doesn't need to talk to me! He needs some SERIOUS help, pronto!"
Daniel looked at her with estranged eyes. She seems so judgmental about Merrick, and she doesn't even know what he's been through, "I wouldn't judge him so harshly! He has a few problems, yeah, but he's working through them!"
"Well, let me know when he's not so attack-prone, THEN we'll talk!"
"Why not just give him a shot? Hear him out or something! What if he needs your help?"
"I can't risk it," Syrinx said, "I used to know somebody who was EXACTLY like him, and she went berserk! ..." She sighed as she shook her head, "I'm sorry, but I can't chance going through that again!"
The music eased down, so that they can talk at a more reasonable volume.
"What does he have against you, anyway?" Syrinx asked, "Why did he attack you guys like that?"
Daniel hesitated, "I... Can't really say, but... Me and my boyfriend was apart of a very private matter, and..."
"... And what?"
"... I REALLY shouldn't say, but... My old boss did a lot of terrible things did to him... And he jumped at me and my boyfriend because he and I were involved..."
"What did you do him?" Syrinx asked.
"..." Daniel sighed and shook his head, "I'm sorry, that's classified. I'm legally not supposed to tell anyone."
"Alright, I get it..." Syrinx took a careful sip of her drink, "If you ever see him again, tell him I'll consider hearing him out if he's had at least one session with a therapist."
"What?? I-I can't do that!" Daniel said, "He even looks at me, then he'll just lose it again!"
"Look, I'm sorry, but I won't see him unless he's had some professional help. He wants to talk to me, that's the condition."
Daniel groaned as he looked at her from the side. His eyes widened as they locked unto her arm. The heart-shaped tattoo looks excruciatingly familiar... The music started to turn back up.
"Hey, uh..." He tapped on her symbol, "Where'd you get that tattoo?" She looked on her arm, then back at him.
"I got it years ago, after I moved out of my parent's house!"
"I think I might've seen it before, I... I kinda like it..."
"Hah, as if!" Syrinx said, "This tattoo is a one-of-a-kind design!"
'I swear, I've seen that design before... But where??' He thought to himself.
"OoH!" Syrinx set aside her half empty glass, "I LOVE this song! Later!" She said as ran off to dance in the crowd.
"See ya..." Daniel said as she ran off.