Neon Red – Chapter 10

(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.)


I debated whether or not I should answer, since a call might kill the battery before I made it back to the hotel. It kicked over to voicemail, but he called back again. Increasing my pace, I pounded the pavement until I was damn near jogging, bumping shoulders with strangers as I kept my eyes planted on the phone. Something suddenly washed over me, and I wanted to answer to tell him: go fuck yourself. He left me hanging all day with no explanation after ditching me post-nut. That wasn’t how we normally did things, but he was acting weird lately. I paused at another intersection to see the text he sent. It said he was here.

“What the fuck do youh mean?” I asked as soon as he picked up.

“I mean exactly what I said. I’m here. In Paris. Like actually.”

“Bullshit, Haz.”

“I got here literally an hour ago. No bullshit.” I put him on speaker and kept following the map, getting turned around a time or two as I panicked. It was getting late and the sun was fading rapidly. The hand that held the cigarette shook as I touched the screen to keep it from timing out.

“Youh really put me on fuckin’ edge, youh know that?

“M’sorry…” he muttered. “But I’m here, mate. I seriously am.”

“Soh what do youh want me to do with that information?”

“The fuck d’you mean, Z? Come see me…now.”

“How is that even possible? I’m not an idiot, Haz. Youh would’ve needed to be travelin’ from the moment youh hung up last night—”

“Something like that.”

“Why did youh hang up, anyweh?”

“Because I was finished.”

“Like seriously, d’youh even hear yourself?”

“Of course I can.”

“I can’t fuckin’ believe it. There’s noh way youh did this. I won’t believe it until I see it.”

“Then come see it.” I debated taking him up on the challenge. It’d be dark within an hour and I couldn’t afford getting lost on a wild goose chase, running all over Paris to find him. Strangers kept watching me, cursing me under their breath because I had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to talk to him.

“Haz,” I began, quietly. “This isn’t a gud time, babe. Don’t do this to me, please. I almost got caught last night. M’havin’ nightmares and shit…” There was a pregnant pause in which I could hear him breathing. The sound was a tonic for my fatigued and quivering nerves. Finally he murmured,

“Aren’t I worth it?”

I answered without thought: “Send the address.”

He hung up and texted it in the next few seconds. I plugged it into my phone and saw it was about eight miles from where I was staying, but of course he didn’t know that. There was no way in hell I could walk from here, and my phone would die long before I made it to him. But I didn’t want to waste time running back to the hotel to charge it if he really was there. I needed to get to him right away. My entire body commanded it.

I stared at the address and my stomach flipped with the most intense butterflies I’d ever had in my life. Violently knotting with the thrill of seeing him again, and also with a promise of adventure as I travelled to him at sunset in a foreign town. How was it possible he could make me feel this way at a moment’s notice? Even when I was so pissed at him? I was so eager to drop everything and run to him, stopping traffic if I must. There was literally no mountain high enough, no river wide enough to deter me. Not with how invigorated I felt just now.

My fingers shook as I tossed the cigarette out and searched Google for a private car service. I called and let them know it was an emergency, but they had nothing available and the office was about to close. They gave me the number to a cab company that ran 24 hours and I memorized it. My phone kept beeping as it dropped lower and lower in battery life, but it didn’t matter. With each percentage lost, I gained adrenaline from knowing he was just across town, waiting. So utterly within reach, whereas only last night he had felt worlds away. My flesh itched to be with his. My blood warmed with the thought.

The cab got to me in about 20 minutes, and I spent that time pacing the block, smoking another cigarette and watching daylight drop out of sight. Dusk settled around me like an uncomfortable hug. For the City of Lights, things were looking a bit dark where I was standing. I looked up as the cabbie skirted to the curb and honked his horn. Climbing into the backseat, I rattled off the address and he took off before I had even finished speaking. I texted Haz that I was on the way, and my screen went black as the phone forcibly shut down. I wasn’t sure if he had even gotten it.

Fuckkkk….” I growled, knocking the heel of my hand against my forehead. Knowing I was completely fucked if he got one thing wrong in the address he sent me. I didn’t know G’s number by heart, but I suppose if worse came to worst, I could at least pay the guy to take me back to George V.

About halfway there, he asked: “American?”

“Noh, British, actually.”

“Ah, I see. New here?” His accent contained a dialect that was difficult to understand, but I managed.

“Uh, yeah, I guess. I’ve been here a few times, but I don’t really know my way around.”

“I see…” His regard unnerved me. Made me feel I was being scammed or that he knew something that I didn’t.

“You wear jewelry? Watch, necklace?”

“Noh, how come?”

“Not so good where you’re going, monsieur. Good that you don’t wear here…where we are headed. No good. No good.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Put the phone away…” he suggested. “To be safer…eh, they snatch here.” My stomach dropped. I almost told him to turn around, but realized Haz must’ve chosen the area for discretion, not knowing how dangerous it was. Especially at night. I’d heard horror stories about some Paris streets after dark. I wouldn’t dream of leaving him there alone now that I knew where he was. We’d take a cab out of there together if we had to. I’d make sure of it.

By the time we reached that side of town, it was dark, with many street lights broken or just plain reluctant to come on. Some flickered and others were non-existent; there being long stretches where they had been knocked over and dragged away. All I saw were deserted roads, stray dogs, and a few night walkers. Buildings covered in graffiti. Abandoned cars with the windows shattered to bits.

We passed women strutting in wobbly heels and short skirts, and dodgy men who sat in cars overseeing their every move. When we got to the designated motel, a small two-story building with red doors and private entries, there were a couple of guys arguing in the ill-lit parking lot, and another one holding a massive Rottweiler on a leash. I had zero interest in getting out, but when I looked at the shabby building and thought of Haz being inside, I knew I must.

I handed over my Visa, but the driver firmly stated he couldn’t accept. Meaning he had driven me all this way and I had no way of paying him.

“Cash only, monsieur.”

“I have noh cash, maan. I wish youh told me when I first got in.”

“Cash only…”

“Youh can keep saying that, but it won’t fix the situation!” I nearly shouted. “What about an autograph? Youh know me? Famous…uh, One Direction?” He laughed bitterly. Letting me know he gave zero fucks who by I was. There was also no way of proving my identity since he didn’t recognize me, and my phone was completely dead.

“Fuckkkk, broh…”

“Cash only,” barked the heavily mustachioed man, watching me in the rearview mirror like an exasperated father. “Or I must call the police! You would not like to be jailed here…”

Fuck!” I shouted, dropping my head into my hands. Haz had really fucked me this time, no pun intended. I couldn’t get out without paying, and there was no way he was taking me back to the hotel since he knew I already didn’t have cash for the first trip. And now there was no way to reach G or Haz since I couldn’t remember anyone’s fucking number.

“Youh got a charger? A phone charger?”

“Charger?” he puzzled. Then he said, “Oui, of course!”

“Thank fuck!” I breathed, tossing my head back on the seat in relief. It smelled musty and damp, like mildew. He handed the charger over and I uncurled it only to realize it was prehistoric.

“Dude? What the hell?”

“No good?”

“No!” I couldn’t begin to imagine what type of phone it might’ve charged. Probably one of those giant flip phones from the ’90s with the fat battery. I was ready to scream at the top of my lungs, that is, until he said three magical letters.


“Yes! Fuck yes, where, maan?!”

“There, there. Across the street!” I craned my neck and found it sitting beneath a weak yellow light on a darkened corner. I searched the perimeter, knowing I needed to hurry because the meter had actually started ticking the moment he headed for me, long before I ever got in the car. I looked at the motel again and it was all the reassurance I needed. I hopped out of the car and dashed across the street into the unflinching shadow, hearing rats squeak and skitter away as I approached. I prayed that it wasn’t out of order and felt a wave of relief wash through me when the screen said Welcome.

I worked as fast as possible, checking my surroundings the entire time. It was an ancient machine, taking an eternity to do the simplest functions. When I saw a figure emerge at the opposite end of the street, my heart sped and I could hear it thumping between my ears. I slapped the top of the machine a few times as if it would do anything to make it hurry. Finally, the money spat out. I grabbed it and ran, but the machine let off a little alarm to let me know I’d left my card. I ran back and grabbed it, tossed the money at the cab driver, and ran up the stairs on the side of the motel to the second floor. I needed to find room 253. I dashed past rooms with the tellys blaring or people laughing and talking excitedly, jogging along the second story balcony to the rear of the building.

When I found the door, I pounded as hard as I could. Dead silence answered. Fretting that the cabbie might have brought me to the wrong place, I pounded harder, longing to see any other human at this point. It felt like I had travelled a thousand miles across an abject wasteland to get here. I just needed to charge my phone and find my way back to safety.

A third knock earned me no answer. Just as I started to turn away, the door flung open and a groggy Haz stood there in nothing but his briefs, rubbing his eyes. I rushed into the room and crashed into his arms. He barely had time to recover and close the door before we toppled onto the floor.

“Youh stupid bastard!” I cursed him, kissing all over his face. “What the fuck are youh tryin’ to do to me? I almost got fuckin’ killed getting’ here!”

“I’m so sorry, baby. M’so sorry,” he breathed, squeezing me.

“I almost had to blow the guy to get out of the car without paying. I had no cash!”

“I wanted to see you so badly. Don’t be mad at me. I needed you. I just need you so bad.” I was unbelievably annoyed and could’ve choked him out right then and there. But he looked sleepy and gorgeous, forcing me to forgive him in seconds.

“I waited and waited for you, but then I fell asleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I thought you changed your mind.”

“Noh, babe. I had to wait for a cab,” I said, out of breath. I lay there on his chest until my heart calmed down.

“Why are you wearing sunglasses?” he laughed, and I could hear the hollow sound deep within his breast. Flesh warm beneath my cheek. His strong arms crushing me, letting me know I was safe. Safe at last. And it was all worth it. Every frustration, every scare, every fuck-up was worth this moment right here as I disappeared into him.

Later I stood up and helped him to his feet. I kissed him without speaking, gently exploring his sleepy mouth, heavy against mine. He breathed hard through his nose, lazily eating up whateverI served him. Jetlag made him more languid than normal. I liked him this way. Bone-tired and dependent. Waiting for me to lead. Weak-willed, clingy, and handsy. He unbuttoned my coat without breaking the kiss and snaked his hands inside, grabbing my ass and slipping his fingers beneath my waistband to massage my flesh; sighing against my mouth like he’d found the honey jar and had no intentions of relinquishing it. Not for anyone.

“I can’t believe you’re here…” his words were muffled against my lips because I wouldn’t let him get a breath in. Only short shallow ones between pecks. Between explorations. Only when my tongue grew physically tired of enticing his. My knees were weak as he toyed with my hole. He shoved the coat off my shoulders, breaking the kiss to remove my hat. The sunglasses were long gone; having been tossed onto the bed a while ago.

“Hey gorgeous…” he whispered, running his fingers through my bangs, brushing them back out of my face. “I feel indescribably happy…”

“Me too,” I murmured, brow furrowed and gazing unguardedly into his eyes. He was everything. Simply everything. My infinite. I could not believe he was here. Flesh animated beneath my fingertips, something I couldn’t imagine while sitting in that frigid cab, fearing for my life.

“I would goh anywhere for youh. Youh hear me? Anywhere, any time. Just say the word, babe,” I said drowsily, already drunk on his musk. I kicked my boots off and he unzipped the hoodie, tossing it and the coat onto the back of the chair beside the tv stand. I surveyed the room as he took my phone and put it on his charger on the nightstand. It was dingy single room accommodation, apart from the bathroom. The walls were colored by cigarette smoke. A consumptive yellow that seemed to drip before my very eyes. A double bed divided the space,which was crumpled from his nap. The carpet was puke green, probably used to be beige.

Haz laid my Marlboros and lighter on the nightstand, tapping the packs.

“This isn’t—”

“…my brand? Yeah, I know. It’s all they had.”

“Three packs?” He grinned. “You planning on a binger later?”

“I know, crazy right? I had to buy them to avoid the fee.”

“You could’ve just paid the fee, mate. It would’ve been cheaper than two additional packs of cigarettes you didn’t really want.”

“I guess you’re right…” I conceded, scratching my brow with the back of my knuckle. “Y’know, now that youh mention it, I think maybe he was tryin’ to gyp me or something.” I headed into the crumbling bathroom to wash my face and hands. He had showered already, and I could smell his bodywash lingering aloft.

When I came back in, he approached immediately and pecked my lips. Then he slid my shirt up my body and over my head. I watched myself being undressed, bangs falling into my eyes. Next were the pants. He unbuckled them and I kicked them away, along with the socks. When I was just down to my briefs, he grabbed two handfuls of my ass and lifted me off my feet. I held onto him, knowing what was coming next. In a flash he tossed me onto the bed and I curled in a ball to avoid flying off the sides.

Our laughter filled the room as he crawled atop me, growling as he bit my belly and pecs. He blew a ridiculously loud raspberry on my stomach, yanking down my underwear to reveal my pubes. The second I saw my dick, something occurred to me. We honestly had no time at all. It had taken me so long to get here, G was bound to have come home by now, and she’d be worried sick. All she had was my missed call from earlier and an empty hotel room. No note, no voicemail, and I hadn’t told her I’d be going out.

“Wus wrong?” he asked, kissing down my treasure trail, then the base of my dick. I felt the blood rush to my groin 10x harder than it had when I first laid eyes on him tonight. I snatched my underwear back into place, crawling to get away from him. He yanked it down again, exposing my bare ass as I reached to the nightstand for my phone.

“Gotta call G,”


“I didn’t tell her. She’s probably worried sick by now. I need to think of something.”

“You’re staying right?” He was starting to get annoyed.

“I dunno babe…what can I even say?”

“Tell her you’re working.”

“On what? She knows I ain’t meeting anyone over here.”

“Tell her you met up with an old friend or something. Get creative…” I pulled my underwear back up my ass while crawling to sit on the edge of the bed. Finally, a thought occurred to me. I had the perfect alibi. As I got all the angles of my story straight, Haz scooted to sit behind me, straddling my back. His long, powerful legs fell over the edge of the bed on either side of mine, and I could feel his boner pressing into the top of my ass and back. His hands snaked around under my arms as I fidgeted with my phone, massaging my belly and pecs. His mouth was like fire to my ear, saying reckless shit and kissing the back of my neck.

“Youh gotta be quiet, babe…seriously…” I said, powering up the phone. He moaned, squeezing my nipples and nuzzling the back of my ear. I was about ready to explode, straining against my briefs the more he persisted. As I dialed her up, he waited until he heard her answer before reaching around and taking ahold of my erection. I muted the phone and let out a shuddering sigh, elbowing him to cut it out.

“G, babe, youh won’t believe this shit. Guess who I ran into today at the smokeshop? My producer! The one for the new song? Isn’t that fucking crazy? And it was perfect too because we needed to re-record a few bits. I’m gonna hang out here for a while, at the studio. That ok? Cool, babe, thanks. Youh ok? How’d your day goh? I missed youh.” He viciously scratched my stomach, making me wince and grunt through the pain. I doubled over until the sting ebbed, elbowing him in the ribs.

“Noh, it’s ok babe.” I laughed when she asked what was wrong. “Just smashed my finger on the fuckin’ thing…” When I hung up, I stood and stared down at him. He lay back across the center of the bed with an almost maleficent glint in his eye. One of triumph. One that said: ‘I own you and I’m better than her. I took you away from her so easily, even when she had you halfway across the world. I’m unstoppable.’

“You’re getting a rise out of this, aren’t youh?”

“No…” he shut his eyes and grinned, looking more devious than ever before. I crawled atop the mattress beside him and flattened a hand against his chest.

“Your heart’s not racin’…” I noticed.

“It was when you first got here…”

“I know, I felt it when I lay on your chest. But I’m talking about now. With her on the phone, youh aren’t stressed in the least.”

“Why should I be?”

“Fucking sicko,” I despaired, laying back across the mattress beside him. “Youh know, earlier today there when I was just chilling, this sudden calm sort of washed over me, and I felt really at peace. Just mellow as hell. M’thinkin’ maybe that’s when youh landed and I could probably somehow feel it. Youh know?” He looked over at me quizzically.

“Mate, that’s nonsense.”

“Yeah,” I chuckled weakly, secretly wounded. “You’re probably right.”

“Hah! Z, M’just fucking with you…” I punched his thigh and listened to him snicker. “I totally get how you feel. Sometimes I can, uh, feel you like really strongly on my mind and then suddenly you’ll just text me out of nowhere—”

“Yes, exactlyh!”

“They say that when your ears burn or when your nose itches, it means someone’s talking about you. So maybe it’s a similar thing y’know?”

“Right, right.” I lay back and flung an arm over his chest, staring at the ceiling.

“I can’t stay…” I sighed.

“I’ll kill you if you leave.”

“Shit…then I guess m’stayin’…”

“Is it weird that I’m here?”

Very. I still can’t believe it.”

“No, I mean, is it weird. Like…does it make me like a weirdo? Like a creep?” I turned my face to look over at him. He was staring at the ceiling.

“Uh…I dunno, babe. Kind of. But I dig it. I really fuckin’ dig it.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Fuck yeah. If you’re a sicko, I’m a sicko. Youh can’t imagine how many times I think of you in a day.”

“And same, by the way.” We both nodded off like old men, too tired to do anything about our boners. I was so stoned on him I couldn’t stop telling him how I felt. I must’ve told him I wanted to fuck him a hundred different times and in a hundred different ways, but never made a move to make it happen.

“Youh drive me so fuckin crazy, youh know that?” I murmured, half-asleep. “Huh? How the fuck am I supposed to live with that? I can’t stop fuckin’ youh. It’s keeping me alive. Youh hear me?” I squeezed his hip and he whimpered wearily.

“I wanna make love to youh. Is that okay? Youh tired?” He just nodded. I didn’t understand which question he was responding to. I tried to hold off but couldn’t. “I can’t wait till the morning. I need to get inside. Need to feel youh around me…” His snores were the only thing that deterred me.

I curled on my side and watched his chest rise and fall in rhythm with his breathing. Synced with his heartbeat. All I saw was he and I, he and I, he and I forever and ever. Situated on eternity. Chained to one another for all time. And as I had debated for years, I still couldn’t determine whether it would amount to heaven or hell in the long run. Blessing or curse.

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