A/N: Hello, readers!
Thank you for venturing into my book. This is my first book that I have written on here. These are my own characters that I took the time to conjure up. Some of you may notice as you read that one character has a very similar name to Finneas O’Connell. This wasn’t really intentional, I just needed an Irish name and I liked the way Fionn O’Connell sounded.
One more thing I would like to address is this book does contain some graphic topics. There is a description of a mangled body in one of the chapters and multiple chapters do contain descriptions of rape. If you would like to know which chapters contain those descriptions, you can message me and I will be happy to let you know!
With all of that being said, if you continue to give this book a read, thank you! I hope you enjoy the book!
“You did good today, Cairo,” was what Cairo Jones murmured to himself as he walked along the sidewalk. The young man’s head was downward as he concentrated on making sure he didn’t step on any of the cracks that lay within the pavement beneath his feet.
“You fed all of the animals and you made sure to give those who needed it, their medicine. Who cares if you may have accidentally left the gate open on the play area and all the dogs got loose?”
With his head down, Cairo didn’t see the many glares that were sent his way by the people who had to sidestep him to make sure they didn’t collide with his tall frame. There wasn’t any daylight left due to it being just about eleven at night and the people who were out and about were in no mood to deal with a five foot ten man who couldn’t even bother to lift his head and watch where he was going.
Walking a few more blocks, Cairo finally looked up and huffed when he saw the long line to get into one of the local clubs that inhabited his city. Club Fahrenheit had been around for as long as Cairo had been alive, which meant it was twenty-two years old. The club had been through a lot. It had seen many different owners and had been through countless remodels, some good and some bad.
As Cairo stood in line and shifted his weight from foot to foot, he eyed the rainbow flag that was attached to the front of the building. The flag waved proudly within the wind and acted as a beacon for anyone within the LGBTQ plus community who was looking for a good night out. Club Fahrenheit wasn’t a gay bar, the owner simply wanted to provide a safe place for anyone who wanted to have a good time. Cairo had never given the rainbow flag a second thought, but as he stood and stared, he realized that it was a bit reassuring to see.
Cairo didn’t know what he was, the only thing he knew for certain was that he wasn’t straight. It had never been just girls for him. For as long as he could remember, Cairo never had just gravitated towards girls. He liked who liked, and sometimes that person was a boy. It was something he had never confessed to during his school years. His friends wouldn’t have understood how Cairo could look at a guy and feel the same things they felt when they looked at a girl. To them, it wasn’t feasible for a guy to have a crush on another guy, especially a Black one at that.
Cairo had never quite gotten that either, why couldn’t he like boys? Why was it such a head turner when a Black man confessed to being anything other than straight? Why did he have to be considered an oddity when there were other men confessing to the same thing, yet they weren’t getting the same treatment? What was so diff-
“Are you going in or not?”
With a start, Cairo turned his head and became aware of the people behind him. The woman closest to him looked at him curiously, her thick eyebrows furrowed.
“I am, yeah... Sorry”.
“What was the hold up?” The bouncer asked as he eyed Cairo suspiciously.
“Nothing, I got distracted by the flag”.
The bouncer glanced at the rainbow flag before focusing on the younger man in front of him. “ID, please”.
Even though he was of age, Cairo still always got nervous whenever he needed to pass over his ID. He worried that he would be told to step out of line and kick rocks, or have his ID taken away because apparently it was fake even though he went through the process with the DMV to get it.
“Have a good night,” the bouncer muttered as he passed Cairo’s ID back to him.
The inside of Club Fahrenheit was dimly lit by the lights that lined the ceiling. It was like any other average nightclub. There was a dance floor that held people squished together like sardines and a bar that sometimes served low par alcoholic drinks. No one really minded though, because after the third or forth drink, they all began to taste the same anyway.
Cairo felt like he could feel the bass of the music in his bones as he walked along the outskirts of the dance floor. He made sure not to step within the cluster of dancing people because he was too tall and lanky to be bumped into.
A smile graced the young man’s face as he found a barstool to sit at. He waved a hand at the bartender who had greeted him with a warm grin.
“Wassit? Can’t hear you!” Fionn shouted as he vigorously shook a cocktail shaker by his ear. “Give me a mo!”
After finishing off the cocktail for the woman who’d ordered one, Fionn came and stood in front of Cairo.
“What’re you doing here?”
Fionn O’Connell had to be one of the nicest people Cairo had ever met. Cairo lucked out when he was caught staring from afar one day in the common area of their university dorm building. Instead of being creeped out by Cairo’s ogling eyes, Fionn had simply crossed the room and asked Cairo if he’d never seen a true red head before. Cairo had simply shook his head, too transfixed on the accent the other man had. Fionn was an exchange student who was fresh out of Ireland looking for a change of scenery in the states. After he finished up his classes, he’d grown a soft spot for the states and decided to stick around for a while.
“I got fired,” Cairo explained with a shrug of his shoulders, “thought it’d be a nice night to come and visit you at work, I’ve missed you”.
With a snort Fionn began to make Cairo a drink. “No need to lie to me, mate. We live together and see each other every single day. If you wanted to get some alcohol in ya, you could’ve just said so”. He passed a drink filled glass Cairo’s way and gave him a worried glance. “Why’d you get fired?”
“I forgot to close the lock on the play area and all of the dogs got out, but I got them all back inside!” Cairo rushed on, “so I don’t know why I got fired! I really liked that job”.
“Have you been slipping up a lot lately?”
“Erm... Yeah, I guess... I kind of lost one cat, but I found her like an hour later. I also forgot to give one hamster his medicine...”
Fionn’s greens eyes looked at Cairo with sympathy. “Oh, mate”.
“I know, I know,” Cairo shook his head and downed the drink he had been given. “I just forgot, but now I’ll have to start job hunting again. Hopefully I’ll have something by the end of the month? I don’t want you to have to cover my half of the rent...”
“You know I don’t mind, Cairo, come on. I’ve got more money than what I can do with it. You not being able to pay rent for a couple months won’t hurt me”.
Fionn O’Connell was what most people would call a trust fund baby. His grandparents had been very fond of their only grandchild and wanted to ensure his success from the second he was born. This meant building a trust fund for him and providing him with enough money for him to have a more than comfortable life. Fionn didn’t know what to do with it all, and he made sure not to let it affect his work ethic. Fionn still went to school to get an education and he still worked everyday even though he really had enough money for him to never have to work a day in his life.
“I know, but I’d still feel wrong if you did, mate,” Cairo replied, trying his best to mimic his friend’s accent.
“Oi!” Fionn laughed, eyes going wide, “I don’t sound nothing like that”. He pointed out to the dance floor, “bugger off, why don’t ya?”
Flashing a smile, Cairo stood to his feet and pulled out his wallet. He placed a ten dollar bill on the countertop, “keep the change”.
“’Keep the change,” Fionn mocked, “it’s not like I need it”.
Cairo didn’t respond as he was turning away to make his way to the dance floor. The man didn’t get out much despite only being the ripe age of twenty-two. It was common for people to go out and have the time of their lives in their early twenties, but not Cairo. He only had one friend, and that was Fionn. The Irish man was a bit stereotypical in the sense that he could absolutely hold his liquor and drink anyone under the table, but drinking with Cairo wasn’t something that was done often. More often than not, their Fridays were spent inside their small two bedroom apartment with the lights off as they sat on their thrift store couch and watched movies on Netflix.
Fionn didn’t take many college classes, so most of his days were spent working nights at the nightclub as the bartender or exploring the city. Even though it’d been a good three years since he moved to the states, there was still so much that his Irish mind wanted to discover. Cairo didn’t attend college anymore, he’d dropped out when he realized that scholarships, grants, and even financial aid weren’t enough to cover all four years. He didn’t want to take out loans because the man knew that he’d never be able to pay them back. Cairo’s main focus was work and making sure he had enough money to pay his half of the rent. The man was a homebody, not by choice but more so by force. It wasn’t very often where Cairo went out and decided to embrace being twenty-two and drink until he couldn’t hold himself up on own his own two feet anymore.
Cairo never really allowed for himself to get sloppy drunk in order to forget about the grievances of his days, but today was different due to the fact that Cairo really did like his job. Getting fired was the perfect excuse for Cairo to loosen up his limbs on the dance floor and to throw back shots at the bar. Unlike Fionn, Cairo couldn’t hold his liquor as well so it didn’t take long for him to really lose himself to the alcohol.
From where he stood behind the bar, Fionn kept a watchful eye on his friend. He continued to make drinks as they were ordered, but every so often he’d search the crowd to see where Cairo had gone off to. His shift at the bar was coming to an end very shortly as he’d been there since Club Fahrenheit had opened. It was nearing two in the morning and as much as Fionn enjoyed his job, he was ready to go home. He also had the job of making sure a clumsy Cairo didn’t manage to injure himself as he stumbled about the club. Cairo was making friends with people who weren’t going to remember his name, let alone his face, in the morning.
It wasn’t until Fionn witnessed Cairo being led off in the general direction of the bathrooms by a man that he’d never seen before that Fionn decided to officially call it a night.
“Okay, I’m off, Jess, bye!” Fionn called as he hastily threw down the bar towel in his hand.
He came from behind the counter and proceeded to weave his way through the cluster of drunken bodies.
“Sorry, mate, but he’s mine for the night!” Fionn shouted, making sure his voice was heard over the loud music blasting from various speakers.
Cairo and the man who was leading him off turned to look at him. Cairo, being the happy drunk that he was, smiled brightly and flung himself at his friend.
“Fionn! Hi, Fionn!” Cairo laughed, “what’re you doing here? Oh!” Cairo motioned to the man behind him, “this is Sean”.
“That’s great, but it’s time to go, yeah? You’re going to have the worst hangover in the morning”.
Cairo peered at him with squinted eyes, “you’ve got these dots all over your face, Fionn”.
“They’re freckles, Cairo,” Fionn sighed. “Let’s go, sorry mate, you’re gonna have to find someone else to give you a blowie”.
Before Sean could offer a response, Fionn was leading Cairo to the door. The two men didn’t live very far from Club Fahrenheit, so they began their walk home. Despite it being two in the morning, there were still many people out and about on the streets. It was a Friday night, so this was typical for the city. As the two passed by another nightclub, Cairo caught wind of a song he recognized and he decided to let it be known to everyone around him.
“Cairo, stop singing!” Fionn laughed, “no one wants to hear your tone deaf arse, alright?”
“Don’t British people say that? You’re not British”.
“I know, thank you for reminding me. I spent some time in Britain for a long bit, you know this, picked up a few words here and there”.
“Say it again”.
“I will not”.
Cairo nudged Fionn playfully and focused his attention on his friend. “Please”.
“No,” Fionn shook his head and sighed dramatically as he helped Cairo stumble along. “See this is why I don’t drink with you, you Americans can’t hold your liquor for shit”.
“That’s rude!” Cairo exclaimed, he pried Fionn’s arms from around him and took a few steps on his own. “I can walk just fine, see? Look”.
Fionn placed his hands on his hips and watched with an unamused look as Cairo stumbled along the sidewalk like a newborn giraffe. With the man’s tall and lanky stature, he very well could’ve been mistaken for one. Fionn bit his lip to keep from laughing as Cairo promptly bumped into someone who was walking towards him on the sidewalk. The drunken man would’ve surely fallen and landed flat on his ass if it hadn’t have been for the strong hands that gripped his forearms.
“Easy there,” the police officer instructed as he held onto the man who’d bumped into him.
“Sorry, officer,” Cairo laughed, he smiled sheepishly and allowed for his eyes to wander to a name tag. “Officer Alexander”.
“Sorry about him,” Fionn rushed to Cairo’s side and pointedly pulled Cairo closer to him. “He’s fallen a bit off the wagon, erm... He gets like this after having like tree drinks”.
Cairo giggled, “say three again, when you say it you say tree”.
Ignoring Cairo, the officer raised an eyebrow and spoke to Fionn, “I can see that, where are you two coming from?”
“Club Fahrenheit, it’s just down the road there. I work there, I’m a bartender. We’re just on our way home, we’ve only got two more blocks to go”.
Looking up the road, the officer nodded his head, “alright, that’s not too far. Watch out for your friend here, he doesn’t seem too confident on his feet”.
At hearing this, Cairo gasped, “my name is Cairo Jones and I can walk just fine, thank you very much”.
The officer tilted his head to the side and smiled a bit, “sure you can”.
“What’s your name then? I gave you mine so it’s only right that you give me yours”.
“You’re quite bold and mouthy when you’re drunk, aren’t you?” The officer asked, laughing a bit.
He wasn’t taken aback by the way Cairo spoke to him. He was patrolling the streets around the nightclub, as it was his job for the night, and he was used to meeting people who were oftentimes very drunk. He didn’t take offense to Cairo’s words because he honestly wasn’t being rude, more so amusing than anything else.
“I’m Dimitri Alexander,” Dimitri greeted himself, “it’s nice to meet you”.
“Nice meeting you too”.
“Alright, well it was nice talking to ya officer” Fionn spoke, “but I’ve really got to get this one home. He hasn’t started vomiting yet and I’d really like to have direct access to a toilet when he does”.
“I can understand that, have a good rest of your night”.
Dimitri Alexander watched as Fionn hauled Cairo up the sidewalk. Once he could no longer see the two men very well, he shook his head and chuckled.
“I can tell this is going to be a good night”.