Neon Red – Chapter 35

(DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. It’s important to remember this is all totally fabricated, embellished, and exaggerated for entertainment purposes.)



My eyes, want you more than a melody

Let me inside

Wish I could get to know you

Harry Styles – Sunflower Vol 6

Another photo had apparently leaked while I was on the plane, and I didn’t notice until I glanced at my phone now to see T had texted it to me. She had gone through the same process again, begging people to delete it. I was so outdone I couldn’t even get upset anymore. A numbness had overtaken my mind. When I opened the link she sent over from an update account on Twitter, it was a grainy still of me gazing up into the ceiling mirror at the motel. Haz was copped out of this one as well, but if he weren’t, they would’ve gotten a full helping of his gorgeously tattooed torso and massive cock.

Now everything caught up to me and reaffirmed I should’ve taken that dive when I first found out. At least news of demise might’ve discouraged the extortionists from seeking more money, and Haz might’ve been spared. But no. I’d selfishly decided to stick around and wrecked more havoc on him and G than I could fathom.

I lifted my head as he walked back into the office, whisky in hand. He passed me a glass and sipped from his own. I drank without question, uncaring that it was on an empty stomach. I watched him collect the photos and return them to his safe in the bottom desk drawer. Then we made our way back into the family room and took our respective seats on the couch once more. We sat facing forward, watching nothing but the walls.

“Something dark told me I should’ve left that day when I had the chance,” he began, gazing ahead unseeingly. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into changing my flight.”

“Can’t argue with that. I fucked us pretty bad.”

“Gee, you think? You even chose the motel too, asshole.”

“Don’t remind me.”

“You deserve to suffer.”

“Again, can’t really argue with that….” I conceded, setting my empty glass on the table and laying across his lap uninvited. I was gutted, and didn’t give a fuck how much he hated me right now. I needed to held and there was no one else around to do it but him. I settled onto his lap while he killed the last of his drink, reaching across me to set it on the table. Then he gazed down into my eyes, his hooded and unreadable.

“M’sorry…” I shrugged, tears leaping into my eyes. It’s like my brain was having trouble keeping up. Firing off the wrong emotions at the worst intervals, and some of them delayed. I was weighed down with apprehension again. Absent was the mellow high whiskey typically conferred. There was nothing but a blackness creeping into my soul now, filling me with a bona fide despair of bleaker things to come.

“Say sumthin…” I whipered. He looked away from me, shutting his eyes. “Anythin’ babe…please…” I begged. “I’m soh fuckin’ scared right now.” When he didn’t answer, I poured myself another glass and downed it so quickly my nose stung and my throat burned. I lay back across his lap but faced forward, no longer able to cope with him.

“I should’ve just jumped….” I whispered, mostly to myself, before letting this whiskey blues overtake me. At some point he grabbed ahold of me, pulling me backwards into his arms and whispering nonsensical and soothing things. He told me he didn’t know all that I’d gone through since I found out, but he understood I had been protecting him, He said he was willing to move past it for my sake. He said he was worried about me. That was all I made out before I fell asleep.

When I woke, only half and hour had passed. I sat up beside him and wiped my face with my sleeves. He looked far more approachable than before my nap. Now he managed an exhausted smile and cupped the back of my neck in an offhanded and habitual display of affection.

“You alright?” he asked.

“I guess soh…” I rest my head against my fist, propping my arm along the back of the couch. My knee was pressed into his hip and I let my other leg rest across his lap.

“Y’know, I was thinking, Z–”

“That’s a rarity…” For that, he squeezed my calve until I winced through a laugh.

“But really, I was thinking…maybe it’s not so bad?”

“Are youh out of your mind?”

“Wait, wait…hear me out,” he grinned. “We look amazing in those photos, right?”

“Uh…yeah, I suppose…”

“What if we just own it? Huh?” he looked at me so earnestly I couldn’t stand it. “Maybe this is just the universe’s way of forcing us to come out? To stop running and hiding and misleading everyone around us. Mate…aren’t you tired? Wouldn’t you like to keep your money?”

Fuckkk, Haz…” I tossed my head back in defeat. “Youh fuckin’ know I do, babe. Youh know I’d love for all this shit to be o’va. In a fuckin’ heartbeat. But it’s not just about me, babe.” The ceiling was spinning. That whiskey had a bigger effect than I realized.

“How do you mean? Who else is it about except you and me?”

“What about G’s? What about my family? What about her family?”

“What the fuck d—” he stopped himself, clinching his jaw shut.

“I can’t make that sort of selfish decision with only my life in mind. Can youh even begin to imagine the mayhem that would cause? Like really think about it, babe?”

“No, I don’t want to. I won’t.” He pushed my leg off of him and cross his arms. “It’s not about them…it’s about us. Point, blank, period. All I care about is what you want, not anyone else.”

“Well…I want to pay it. I need to pay it. Whatever they ask for, however often. I just need this to goh away, babe. I’m hopin’ that if I pay a few Ms, they’ll goh away for gud knowin the IRS’ll get involved sooner of later. Even they don’t want that sort of heat.”

“Mate, that’s insane. Listen to what you’re saying…they’ll never go away. They might shut down that particular operation for a while to avoid the heat, but people like this don’t go away. They’re an elite operation. High level shit. They’ll disappear for a while, maybe even years, but they’ll always come back. They’ll have that leverage over you for the rest of your life, particularly if they see we’re gullible enough to keep playing their game and doling out millions. The only way out of this is through it. We need to come clean ourselves.”

He made many irrefutable points, but I couldn’t concede to any of them just yet. Perhaps it was naivety, perhaps I was just spineless, but either way, I wanted to pay and would hope and pray they’d get bored of us one day.

“Hey, I get it,” he said, shifting in his seat to face me. Now we were face to face, arms resting along the top of the sofa beside each other’s. “I’d give up everything for you, just say the world. I’m down with whatever you want to do. But believe it or not, I genuinely fancy the idea of people seeing us make love. I’m, uh… proud of the love we make. I’d be incredibly proud for people to, uh, see how beautiful we look together. How deep our bond is.” He leaned over and kissed me. The touch of his lips was tender but laced with dread. A kiss of death.

“Hey, Z?”


“I wanna try something with you that, uh, my therapist does with me. It’s a mental exercise, alright?”

“Should I be scared?”

“I’ll never intentionally hurt you. We’re just gonna get down to your core beliefs. Try to root out certain apprehensions you seem to harbor, and, uh, confront them head on…as opposed to running from them perpetually. You’d be surprised how many, like, intense misconceptions govern our lives and our points of view. All the hidden and implicit things we never stand up to or examine, yet they control the framework of our thoughts. How wild is that? It’s like mind control we subconsciously inflict on ourselves. Or by the people who programmed us early on.”

“Uh, I dunno, babe…”

“Just trust me, alright? It works.”

“Okay…” I hesitated.

“Why are you so afraid of the pictures being leaked?”

“Is that even a question?”

“Haven’t you ever heard, there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers. So, make it count.”

“I don’t want youh to like…therapize me. That’s not very fair, now is it? Cuttin’ me brain open and poking around.”

“I’m not. We’re just having an open conversation like we do about anything. Aliens, death, music. What’s so different about this?”

I shrugged.

“You know how much I love you?”

I nodded.

“So what’s the problem? Talk to me. That’s alright, innit?”

“What was the question again?”

“Why are you so afraid of the pictures being leaked?”

“Easy…it’s an extreme extreme violation of our privacy. I don’t want others in that space with us…seeing the things we do. That’s between you and I. Always has been, always will be. Your body is for my eyes only…and the passion you bring out of me, it’s for your eyes only. Make sense?”

“Is that the only reason?”

“Yeah…” At that, he squinted, setting a hand on my shoulder.

“You’re not being very honest…are you, mate?”

“I think you’re taking this therapist role a little too seriously…”

“Just answer.”

“What makes you think I’m not being honest in my answer?”

“Because…something tells me that if the pics were of you and let’s say…her…you wouldn’t mind the idea of them leaking that much.”

Fuck, he was exactly right, but I could never admit it out loud. “Fuck off…that’s not true.”


“Drop it, Haz…”


“Maybe…maybe it would bother me a bit more…for people to see me with a dude. Sure, I’ll give you that.” I was proud of admitting that. Even small concessions mattered in this game.

“Why would you care more if it was me?” I hadn’t expected him to press me on that concession. Now my heart sped. I could only shrug. “It’s ok to be honest with me, baby,” he murmured, kissing my arm where it lay beside his atop the couch.

“I guess I’m not ready for people to necessarily see me as that yet…”

“And what would ‘that’ be?”

“Y’know…a dude who’s…into other dudes I suppose. Like…big time.”

“So, let me get this, gay—I mean, straight. You don’t want people to know you have feelings for a guy? Or is it that you don’t want people to know you sleep with men?”

“I don’t sleep with men…I sleep with youh.”

“For now.”

“For always, youh bastard. M’not fuckin’ anybody else. At least not anyone else with a dick.”

“You say that now, but…”

“But what?” I yanked his head back by a handful of hair. He grinned. “Huh? But what?”

But…you’ll get bored of me eventually…and when you do, I seriously doubt you’ll suddenly lose the urge to fuck other dudes—”

“You’re fuckin’ daft, youh know that? I don’t know why I bother with youh.” I sat facing forward and crossed my arms.

“Aw, look who’s having a full-on strop about it. You’re just a sulky little fuckboi.”

“What you’ve got to understand is…I’m not gonna fuck anybody else, broh. Do youh even know me?”

“Too well…”

“Whateva…I don’t fuck with dudes.”

“Then what the fuck am I??”

Harry Styles

“What does that even mean? Am I my own species or something? Seriously, mate…I’m supposed to believe you made some sort of exception for me?”

“Obviously, bitch.”

“Z…you’re in denial.”

“Fuck off.”

“You seriously mean to sit here and tell me you don’t find other guys attractive?”

“That’s not what I said…not at all…”

“Look at me. Then what are you saying? I’m genuinely confused at this point—”

“Oh my god, broh. Look, I find plenty of other dudes attractive, okay? But that doesn’t mean that I’d act on it, yeah? I also find tons of other females attractive, too, but I don’t act on any of them, do I?”

“That’s up for debate…”


“Ok, but think of it this way. There’s still an absolute certainty you will eventually sleep with another female if Gigi leaves you, right?”

“Whatever Haz…”

“What are you so afraid of? Why does it need to be some, uh, great sacrifice for you to have slept with me? What if I’m not, uh, some ‘grand exception,’ huh? What does it mean if I’m not the exception in your life, but the rule? What would it mean that you liked men as much as you like women?”

“I don’t wanna do this…”

“You’re missing the entire point of the exercise, mate. Stop running.”

“I’m not runnin’. I’m right fuckin’ here, ain’t I?”

“And stonewalling me every step of the way. You might as well be out the door and down the road by now, based on the way you’re evading the question. Classic case of Zayning.”

“Repeat the fuckin’ question,” I exhaled, lividly.

“What does it mean to you if I’m not the exception in your life, but the rule? What would it mean that, uh, you liked men as much as you like women?”

“It’s just not true, Haz.”

“So, you’re saying you like her more than me? As a general rule?”


“Do you like me more than her?”


“Well…what do you like about me?” He shifted in his seat, following my wandering eyes.

“Um…your smile…your voice…your eyes.”

“If that’s all you like about me, mate, then why are you always trying to make love to me? Why couldn’t we just be friends then?” His voice had grown tender. Low and unconsciously seductive. Actively trying to tear down my walls. I didn’t envy him the task, because I could be an obstinate motherfucker when I chose to be. But my nerves were unraveling. He was so gentle with me that I didn’t know how to accept it. When I took too long to answer, he took my hand and redirected my attention back to him.

“Why do you like making love to me?” he whispered, brushing the back of my hand against his cheek.

“Because you’re beautiful,” I said, lids lowering deliriously. “…and irresistible. I dream about youh all the time. Can’t stop thinkin’ about youh when you’re not around. Your body was made for me.”

“What do you like about my body?”


“Describe it for me…”

“Your arms…your legs…perfectly sculpted. Your thighs…spreadin’ for me…the heat along the insides of them. Your ass…soh gorgeous. Your pecs…your nipples… always hard for me. Your belly…soh soh smooth and warm…” I hesitated, staring at his mouth.

“What else?”

“Your lips and tongue.” I reached over and pulled at his bottom lip, releasing it slowly, watching it spring back into place. They were blood-red.

“Keep going…”

I knew what he wanted me to say, but for some reason, it felt incredibly awkward to voice it. I was a bumbling pubescent teen all over again, too embarrassed to talk about genitals. I wasn’t used to saying those types of things in a context as grave as this, so I felt overly scrutinized.

“And your….” I swallowed thickly, shutting my eyes. “…dick.”

“What do you like about it?”


“Be specific.”

“It’s soh big, babe…” I exhaled, eyes still shut. “I like it in my hand, my mouth…my ass…”

“Only mine?”

“Of course…only yours…”

“Can you say with absolute certainty, there is no other dick on the planet that can turn you on like mine?” God damn that stung. I couldn’t lie, but also couldn’t tell the truth.

“I dunno…”

“What if you were turned on by another man?”

He was trapping me. This shit was working far better than probably even he anticipated. The only way out was to lie or stop speaking altogether, and I refused to lie to his face. I owed him more than that. So I chose silence.

“It’s okay…” he said after some time, forfeiting. He had found his answer anyway. By my refusing to answer, he already had all the confirmation he sought. Words were futile. To alleviate some of the awkwardness weighing me down, I switched the question back onto him.

“Are you attracted to other men?”

“Of course.”

“Would you ever sleep with another man?”

“If you left me or died…probably,” he was so frank that I couldn’t help but respect him.

“Aren’t you afraid to say that out loud?”

“No…why would I be?”

“Because of what it means…”

“What does it mean exactly?”

Now I stared into his eyes slightly stunned. He was too bloody good at this. I suppose all his time in therapy had really paid off. By getting me to answer the question on his behalf, I would essentially be offering the response he sought earlier that I was too afraid to verbalize. Fuck! We were mid-game and my king had just been checked. Upon realizing this, I nearly panicked. Full kamikaze, I just went for it.

“I don’t like what it means…the idea of me liking men.” His lids fluttered in a way that illustrated relief. He came short of sighing finally.

“Good. I’m proud of you…” he pulled me over onto his lap. I sat sideways and got comfortable.

“Now tell me why.” Shit, I wasn’t getting off that easy.

“I guess there’s a stigma, right? Around male-on-male love…”

“Is there? Why? Tell me about it.”

“There’s like…a lot of, um…” I rubbed my eyes. “Stereotypes that I don’t particularly like…or…necessarily want to be seen as, y’know? I guess it would feel like the end of the world for me…for others to see me as weak, or soft…y’know?”

“Does sleeping with men make you feel weak or soft?”

“Noh, of course not,” I laughed nervously. “But my opinions don’t usually match the general opinions of the world.”

“Why do the opinions of the world matter?”

“I…I dunno really. I don’t know whether it’s actually fear of the opinions of my community…or my dad…or my cousins…but there’s sumthin’ settin’ me back, right? I’m not an idiot. I can see that. Clearly I have a problem.”

“You’re definitely not an idiot.”

“Maybe I’m just sort of projectin’ my own apprehensions and fears onto other people to make them the bad guys?? That way I don’t have to face the fact that I’m the one who’s scared? Scared of how people will view me if they knew? Or maybe it could be both. Maybe people have said some pretty fucked up shit to me in the past, makin’ me feel ashamed of bein’ a certain way, and maybe that’s what drives those fears nowadays. I don’t fuckin’ know, to be honest with youh. I don’t think I have too firm an understandin’ of how any of this shit works.”

“I think you’re doing pretty well explaining things. You wanna tell me what someone said to you in the past to make you feel ashamed?” I just looked down and shook my head no. He continued, “It’s ok. We can move past it. You can always tell me later,” he affectionately knocked his head against mine. “Anything else you wanna say for now?”

“Soh…maybe sumtimes I overcompensate a little…to make up for how youh and I…do what we do in the dark. I goh the extra mile to be seen as…hard…or masculine…or fulfillin’ my role as a man on this godforsaken earth. And to be seen as, I dunno, straight? I guess? I think at some point I realized that’s the best image for me. For my career.”

“What do you mean by ‘be seen as straight’? Holy shit, are you not straight?!” he pretended to be shocked. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

“Shuddup…” I chuckled. “I don’t really know what to call myself. What if I don’t really fit into a box like that? What if I don’t like labelin’ myself? Is that soh bad?”

“Hey, me neither,” he grinned, giving me a high five. “We’re freaks.”

“Totally. Complete freaks of nature.”

“You know…I don’t know if you’ll ever hear this anywhere else, but…sleeping with men doesn’t make you weak or any less masculine. You’re plenty masculine to me…and you’re the strongest man I know.”

“You’re just sayin’ that…”

“Noh, m’serious, mate. I never feel safer than when I’m with you. You take care of me like no one else. You’ve set the bar so high I don’t think I stand a chance with you out of my life. I never feel smarter, braver, more beautiful, more inspired, or, uh, more complete than when you’re around. Now tell me, which part of that makes you weak or unmasculine or, uh, negligent of your duties as a man?” All I could do was shut my eyes, setting my forehead to his temple.

Finally, we made our way upstairs for the night, and I stripped down to my t-shirt and briefs and climbed under the covers on top of him. He rubbed my back languidly, lulling me to sleep, occasionally wrapping his arms around me in a crushing hug. God we were untouchable here. All our secrets laid bare. Finally no more lying, no more running, no more hiding. He promised we would face this thing together and attack it head on come morning. I was stoked to see what we could come up with once we put our heads together.

Rather abruptly, he turned me over onto my back and kissed my neck in the dark. His hands found the bottom of my t-shirt and shoved it up my torso, then over my head. I untangled it from my arms and tossed it aside. Now his lips returned to my neck in no time flat. The whiskey must’ve finally gotten to him. There was no stopping him no matter how hungry and exhausted I was. My stomach growled, gnawing on itself in the quiet of the room. Meanwhile he feasted at his leisure, popping my nipple into his mouth, raking it with his teeth until I convulsed. I couldn’t see anything, but from the feel of his boner pressing into my thigh, I knew there was no chance of us sleeping anytime soon. 

(Thanks for reading!❤️)

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