Neon Red – Chapter 31

(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.)


Your love might be my damnation

But I’ll cry to my grave…

Chris Stapleton – Fire Away

Flowerssss!” I cheered, stepping into G’s apartment on her birthday. 

Heyyyy bubba!” 

The place was still decorated by her mom from the party they threw her the night before. It looked like an atomic confetti bomb had gone off. Gift wrap and ribbons were strewn all over the floor. Champagne glasses and pastel colored cake frosting was all over the coffee table. I did a double take thinking I’d spotted a line of blow. From the looks of it they had a ball, but I was happy I’d been spared. I couldn’t make it because I’d been out of the country, but promised I’d make it up to her today.

She stood across the lounge hugging a massive arrangement of roses and grinning sheepishly. I moved towards her, kicking a noisemaker out of my path midway. “Nice! Who from?” I asked, shadow boxing them.

Stoppp! C’mere!” she kissed me with her tacky lip gloss. “Kasim sent them over!”

“Who’s dat?”

“You know, the guy from Paris, remember? I met him at fashion week in Milan before we all headed over for France? Babe, I told y—”

“Oh yeah…the African guy.” Now she smiled uncontrollably down at his card, setting the pink bouquet on the desk in front of her. “Soh, uh, he say anythin’ of interest’?”

“Kind of…” she giggled, turning red. “But not really. He was just reminding me of how we all got, like, sick on the rollercoaster after eating tons and tons of funnel cake at Disney World.”


“Tell me about it,” she tucked the card back into the flowers and strutted across the room, fanning her hair out behind her. “So, what’s up? What we doing later on? I’m all yours for the day. Well, for tonight, anyway. I have to run a few errands right now.”

Cool, cool. I was thinkin’…how about a quiet dinner? Then maybe circle back here for a nightcap? B can join, and your mum if she’s up for it.”

“Sounds good, babe. Can’t wait!”

“I got cake, by the way.”

Sssshhh! Don’t tell mom,” she laughed, cleaning up a few deflated balloons and confetti from the sofa. A massive G and the numbers 22 floated above it against the wall. 

"So, how was Japan?"

“So, how was Japan?”

“Exhaustin’, maan,” I sighed. “I touched down for less than 24hrs before takin’ right off again. Barely slept on the plane. Felt like a coke smuggler or some shit.”

“Well, did you and your team at least meet with the venues like you planned? Seems like a really short turnaround.”

“Yeah, it was…” I uttered, fooling around her gift table and poking at the flowers a bit. Her family sent arrangements for every possible occasion, and her friends were always looking for an excuse to send elaborately wrapped gifts. Nothing was ever simple with these people.

“Turns out, the venues are way too big, y’know? After last year, I definitely know my boundaries now. I’m not gonna force myself to get back into arenas and festivals right away. I want, like, smaller gigs, which is what I told them over the phone before I even got there—”

“Right. They didn’t listen?”

“Nope. They told me they had, like, a few intimate spaces. Sold me on making the trip over, but when I got there, they immediately tried to persuade me on booking the biggest venues in town. It was fucked, babe. Classic bait and switch,” I lied through my teeth; getting far too good at this. “They thought I’d just goh along with it since I’d come all that way, but I put my foot down—”

“And left emptyhanded?”

“Yup. Had noh choice, really.”

“Those assholes. Argh, make sure you never work with them again. That’s, like, super manipulative. Unethical business practices!”

“For sure.”

“Don’t worry, bubba.” She approached me across the room and held my face. “We’ll get you back out there again. You got this. It’s gonna happen. Your voice is too good, and people miss you performing. We’ll get there again.”

I couldn’t take lying to someone who was being this supportive. To tell the truth, I hadn’t met with a single venue while I was in Japan. I’d gone straight to a renowned art dealer to pick up an incredibly rare Jean-Michel Basquiat painting Haz had been eyeing for years but hadn’t had the opportunity to purchase. It left a $120K-sized hole in my wallet, but was well worth the damage; which was a notion I was still trying to convince my accountant to understand. Of course I couldn’t tell him It had been a gift for Haz’s album release. Essentially it was forcing me to lie to everyone, and G was no exception. Now I stared into her stunning bluish-green eyes and fought the urge to blurt the truth and beg for forgiveness.

“I’m so proud of you, Z, no matter what.”

“Thank you…seriously, fanks, babe…” I leaned in and kissed her.

As she left to shower, I ran my hands down my face and huffed in relief. It was becoming far too convoluted to keep up with all my bullshit, while also trying to keep the two of them happy. I knew after a while it would all rear to a head, and by then I’d be undone.

Still, I couldn’t see myself cutting either of them loose yet. G kept me balanced, and H kept me sane. She kept me grounded in reality, in convention; while he was my spiritual fix. She pushed me onto new horizons with people I didn’t particularly care to surround myself with, but he shoved me into the past, trapped in a dysfunctional cycle of emotions that never seemed to improve. Even so, he was the answer to all the questions I was too afraid to ask. My other half. My completion.

I lifted the discarded note from among the pink roses to read Kasim’s message myself. It did mention them getting sick at Disney World, but I noticed she had omitted a critical part of the note. ‘I miss you. Can’t wait to see you in the city that never sleeps, my love.’

Was that like a gay thing? Did all gay guys call their friends “my love”? Should I be concerned, or was I tripping? If it was truly innocuous, why had she omitted it when she read me the card? Why hadn’t she mentioned he would be visiting from Paris soon? Normally she unloaded on me about every miniscule detail of her interactions with her friends throughout the day, so why stop now? I fought the urge to crumple the card and toss it into the bin, choosing instead to return it deep within the vibrant petals and walk away. I had enough on my plate at the moment.

That night after dinner and the promised nightcap, I lay beside her in the bed, sweaty from making love. I could hardly contain the overwhelming impulse to run and shower, sick of how easily I could switch my mind on and off long enough to sleep with her. Even after the soul-satisfying spell I’d had with Haz at my place, I still managed to get it up for her. Something was wrong with me. I was beginning to think I was sick in the head.

I grabbed my phone from the nightstand and text Haz for the third time that day, but still received no answer. He always acted up around their birthdays. He nearly killed me whenever I didn’t anything special for Pez, and after leaving the tour for a day to throw her an extravagant carnival party in 2014, I learned never to make that mistake again. 

Still, despite me keeping things tame with G this year and only posting a picture of a cheek kiss and captioning it “Happy Birthday To My Everything” he seemed pissed at me. Typically I only had to wait 20 min, 30 tops for an answer to my texts, but now he’d gone hours without responding and I feared it might become days. No matter what I did, it seemed I couldn’t stop fucking up. But there was no one else to blame. I had brought this on myself.



Donatella invited me for a one-on-one brunch at a place uptown while she was in New York for the week. The capsule collection was nearly finalized, which meant she was preparing for me to begin the photoshoots for marketing. Some of the mockups were already looking pretty wicked, and I was brimming with ideas to help improve the concepts. We’d decided to use G to do the photography since she had learned her way around a camera, and recruited Bella and Adwoah Aboah to model the chic, grunge-inspired looks with me.

“I want to do something different for the photos. Something rebellious…something young and totally disorganized. Let us freestyle,” Dona almost purred, brushing aside a lock of platinum blonde hair. Her face was even more striking in person, clearly the work of a surgeon’s hand. The eyes were lost behind sooty makeup, heavily applied. The brows so thin as to be non-existent. The lips enormous, almost comically so. She smiled at me knowingly and I could’ve sworn she was flirting.

 "Your vision has finally come to life, my love

“Your vision has finally come to life, my love. Edgy streetwear, customizable looks, sophisticated grunge. All animal-friendly materials. I hope you are more than proud with yourself,” her accent was heavy. I wasn’t too familiar with Italian, but somehow I understood her. It was as though she and I connected on a deeper level, allowing fashion to convey most of what we wanted to express.

“You’ve been a total inspiration,” I grinned. “Couldn’t have done any of this without youh.” I toyed with the silverware in front of me. “Youh know, I actually grew up kinda obsessed with Versace. But I, like, bought the knockoffs back then.”

“Naughty boy!” We shared a laugh. She removed her jacket and revealed tan arms and a sleeveless black dress. I felt overdressed sitting there in my leather jacket and hoodie.

“I wouldn’t dream of buyin’ knockoffs now, though. Your stuff’s too gud. Super dope. I love everythin’ you’ve done latelyh. Redefinin’ the brand. Bringin’ new life to everythin’. Even the talent youh cast for our marketin’ campaign seems top-notch. Keepin’ everythin’ alive for soh long must’ve been a challenge for youh, yeah?”

“As with all things worthy of obtaining, it was not easy.”

“F’sure. I sometimes think of what it might be like to run a fashion label,” I squinted, gazing into her pretty, but dull brown eyes. “And even though it seems super fun and creative, I also know it’s, like, an impossible amount of work everyday, and loads of responsibility and dedication. Always havin’ to stay ahead of the game. Stay really forward-thinkin’.”

“Magnificent. You are an exceptionally intelligent young man, I see. Very thoughtful and expressive.”

“Thank youh…”

“You and G inspired the mood for this campaign so much with your energetic and uninhibited love. Oh, to be young again!”

“Youh look plenty young from where I’m sittin’!”

“Stop now!” she blushed, but it was hardly detectable beneath the heavy layers of foundation and concealer. “This is the start of something beautiful, no doubt. I think we’ll make wonderful partners.”

“Yeah…me too,” I rubbed my eye. “And I hope to further this partnership sometime in the future.”

“Of course,” she uttered, inclining her head in affirmation. “Now tell me, Zayn…what is with the green? I must ask. Green hair, green phone, green swatches when we picked colors for the collection…” Our drinks arrived and I sipped mine nervously. People were bound to ask. Green seemed to be taking over my life. Green hair, green phone, green album, green book, green shoes with Giuseppe, and it was also a favored color among the Versus collection as well. Time to come clean.

“Uh…” I cleared my throat, averting my eyes to the tablecloth. Her lead finger was circling the brim of her water glass. It had been a while since I’d had dinner alone with anyone who wasn’t a close friend. I needed to dust off my socializing skills a bit. Try to relax. Be natural. Let the conversation lead me where it will. She was a super chill lady and had shown herself to be hella approachable and warm, so I didn’t want to take that for granted.

“It’s actually, um, a very special color to me.”

“In what way?” 

I’d never tell. No one could know it was the only way I got to express my possessive adoration for him out in the open, apart from the tattoos that I insisted were meaningless anytime anyone asked. I had to come up with something quick. Her foot were beginning to brush mine with an unsettling frequency beneath the table.

“It’s always been me favorite, I guess? When I was real little, I was just drawn to it. I’d steal all the green crayons from my sisters’ packs and they’d chase me around the house and scream at me. I’d draw all over the walls in me room…all in green. And for a long time I really wished I had green eyes.”

“Nonsense, your eyes are breathtaking.”

“Thank youh…soh are yours,” I muttered. She batted her lashes at me. I couldn’t stop staring at her rubbery lips; the square teeth breaking through whenever she smiled. She set a hand atop mine and stroked it a little. I’m certain she could sense how nervous I was and had decided to exploit it.

“You intrigue me endlessly.”

“Do I?”

“Absolutely, my love. Endless, endless fascination. I’m so glad Gigi took the time to introduce us.”

“Yeah…me too,” I smiled, watching the water tremble in my glass.

“Do I make you nervous?” she whispered, leaning across the table towards me.

“A little…”

“Don’t be. You have nothing to fear with me.” At that, I met her eyes.


“Come with me,” she sighed at last. “I want to show you something.”

“Of course.” I rose and followed her high-heeled gait out of the dining room. She led me down the hall to the restrooms, and after making sure the coast was clear, coaxed me into the ladies’ room.

“Won’t we get in trouble??” I fretted, looking under all the stalls to make certain we were alone. Now she dragged me into the last one and demanded that I kiss her. She said she could tell I’d been desiring it since we first met. That she was ready to give me any and everything I wanted. What the actual fuck was happening? I was actually stood there in the powder room of a high-end restaurant with Donatella Versace, being forced to kiss her.

“Don’t keep me waiting, il mio cuore,” she whispered, stroking my hair out of my face. “Touch me as you please.”

My heart was racing so hard I could hardly hear anything she was saying. I’d broken into a sweat since we crammed our way into the stall and was having trouble catching my breath. Her perfume was overpowering. I drank it in at every inhale, along with her eyes which refused to let mine wander for one second. She pressed closer until we were chest to chest, exchanging breath for breath. Was I really going to do this? She was over sixty fucking years old! And what about G? What about Haz? This was all the way fucked up.

Before I could protest, she grabbed ahold of my crotch, squeezing me through my jeans. I nearly leapt out of my skin.

“If you want to collab ever again, you must be willing to compromise. I thought that you were smarter than you looked, my love. Don’t you know it is expected of you to look after my interests? And I yours?”

“Dona…please! What does any of this have to do with fashion? With all due respect…”

“I want you…” she moaned.

“I can’t—” she grabbed the back of my neck and kissed me. I nearly cringed out of my soul when her lips touched mine.

“Just one more kiss, my love…”

“Noh, Dona!” I panicked, pulling her mouth away; heart beating out of my chest. “You’re an incredibly successful woman. On top of the world! Youh don’t have stoop this low…”

“I do…”

“Noh! We can’t do this, it’s not right. I have a girlfriend. She trusted youh!”

“The heart wants what it wants…”

“That doesn’t make it okay!” I tried prying her hand away from my cock, but she had captured it in a vicelike hold, crushing it harder the longer I struggled.

“Don’t resist…”

“What the actual fuck is happenin’ right now?!”

“I get what I want…” she growled close to my ear, twisting my nuts until I groaned in agony. “Sooner or later…I always do.” With that, she shoved me aside and strode from the bathroom like she owned the place. I smelled leftover traces of her perfume and could still feel her grip on my nuts. After I stopped shaking, I sauntered back to our table in a daze, paying the check, then hailing a cab to get me out of there. No one could find out about this. G would fucking kill her.


By May I hadn’t spoken to Haz in a couple of weeks. He had made a point of sticking it to me since G’s birthday, refusing to relent no matter how many times I called, and no matter how many pouty selfies I sent. I’d also been sending him music to try to break the ice.

Today there was SWV’s “Weak” and The Friends Of Distinction’s “Going In Circles.” The day before it was Peabo Bryson’s “I’m So Into You.” The day before that it was Lauryn Hill’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” Tomorrow I’d switch back to classic rock. Probably “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. It’d be a nice touch since he idolized Stevie Nicks and planned to perform with her soon. It was a dream come true that he’d geeked out over last month, and I wished I could be there to see him melt.

Stevie must’ve done the trick, because immediately after I texted the link to the song, he finally called me back. He apologized right away for being petty for so long, but confessed he couldn’t stomach the idea of me calling G ‘my everything’. He thought it was a low blow and quite an unnecessary lie. It made him feel irrelevant. I assured him my caption had been nothing but empty and generic praise to make her feel special, and that he was all that mattered to me. Ipso facto, my true everything. No questions asked. No birthday messages necessary.

Soon he began to cry, fearful of how his album might be received. He said he felt like a sham, and that he was ill-prepared to go at this alone. I told him he was wrong, but also tried to be a listening ear. It was the first time in a long time he’d been this vulnerable, and I wasn’t equipped to handle it. I forgot how devastating it felt to hear him weep, particularly when he was feeling insecure. He had no clue how phenomenal and earth-shattering he was. How his music was awaited across the globe with bated breath. How he would set fire to the charts the minute it was released. It was like the pretty girl who didn’t realize she was pretty. A true tragedy of self-esteem.

Fortunately, he had landed in NY yesterday for his big gig at the Today Show, for which it had been reported thousands of people were already lining up. We made plans to meet up again tomorrow at his place. When his nerves calmed a bit and I had managed to gas him up for his big show later that morning, he was all laughs. I asked him to facetime me since we were both alone, and he did so reluctantly.

“Hey ugly,” I whispered, the second I saw his gorgeous face fill the screen.

“Hey,” he laughed, rubbing his reddened eye.

The next day I made my way to his place in the back of a cab that smelled like dirty feet and onions, instructing the driver to let me out two blocks away. I paid him then rushed across the street into the shadows of a nearby tree, boots slapping the old-timey pavement. From there I tossed my hood up over my head and hoped my dark aviators would deter people from identifying me.

Rounding a corner, I ran into an old lady and had to help her pick up the fruit that fell from the bag she dropped. It was a paper bag so it burst open and sent tangerines and pears everywhere. Once we gathered them, I dusted off as many as I could and helped shove them into her purse.

I was sprinting now, reasoning that the less time I spent on the street, the less of a chance there was for me to be recognized. Tribeca was an old industrial neighborhood turned residential, located not too far from where I stayed. I still wasn’t quite familiar with the crowd this way, so I kept my eyes peeled for paps in tinted cars. When I got to his building, a massive seven-story juggernaut of red brick situated on Greenwich street, I slipped down into he underground parking structure to take the private elevator like he instructed me to. Pristine white brick filled this space, and the car stalls were filled with vintage foreign jobs representative of nearly every decade.

I had to wait for his elevator to arrive while a woman in a bougie trench-coat waited for her own. She was probably convinced I was plotting to rob her. I smiled to take the edge off the situation, but she clutched her Chanel satchel close and kept her distance. She must’ve realized I’d slipped in on foot after hopping the security gate. She might’ve even had plans to phone security the second she was alone.

I breathed a sigh of relief when his key fob finally let me onto the private lift. Slumping back against the wall rail, I headed to his floor with a pit in my stomach. This place was far nicer than I imagined, and fiercely dedicated to the confidentiality of its clients. He owned one of the many penthouse suites, so I was headed straight to the top of the building and thankfully wouldn’t have to encounter anyone else along the way.

Now the doors parted and cleared a path into his luxurious flat, no knocking necessary. Exposed brick and gleaming hardwood floors greeted me in the hall, as well as a series of of his favorite paintings shipped over from his place in The Hills. I couldn’t wait to surprise him with mine in a few hours, which I’d arranged for Taryn to drop off once I touched bases with her.

The melodious charm of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You” filled the lounge as I entered, peering through the gorgeously furnished floorplan into the kitchen. Still no sign of him. Only loads of stainless steel appliances and a few fragranced candles here and there. I recognized the lavender and vanilla scent as one he recommended I try a while ago.

I was surrounded by elegance and an architectural marvel that made me want to call my broker the second I got home and upgrade. Massive wood beams accented space and added a rustic feel despite it being housed in the middle of the city. The fireplace along the wall was enormous but electric, offering far less hassle with all the same aesthetic. I stepped around the carpeted lounge, locating the record player that serenated the place with Blue, one of his favorite records of all time. Thanks to him, I knew every song by heart. The player was surrounded by tall glass bookshelves and enclosed by the ledge of the second story balcony. I gazed up slowly, taking it all in, and finally there he stood. Dressed in a black t-shirt and briefs, looking half awake.

“Baby…” I whispered, breath stolen. I had no idea he’d been there the whole time.

“Thought you’d never get here,” he drawled, headed barefoot towards the steps. I hurried to the staircase and leapt up two at a time, meeting him halfway. There, we collided and sat, laughing and kissing relentlessly.

“Gimme those!” he snatched my aviators off and set them aside, taking care not to set them onto the lenses. “Look at you. Ugh, look at you!” He kissed me again and again. “Hi, gorgeous.” Now he ran his fingers through my hair like he’d found a stray puppy. 

“This place is unbelievable, maan. You’ve really done well for yourself, huh, Haz?”

“Thanks, mate. It’s alright, I guess. I think I like it.”

“It’ll do, right?” I laughed. “I like this neighborhood. It’s pretty sick.”

“It’s quite coveted, apparently. Or so I’m told.” He leaned back on the step above me and I had a bird’s eye view of his bulge. My mouth began to water. 

“Were youh sleep?” I asked, trying to take my mind off it.

“Mm-hm. M’so tired…”

“Aw, sorry babe…I didn’t mean to wake ya…” 

Later we headed down to the lounge and I flung my coat into a heap on the sofa. He took care to hang it for me and then warned me he had no food. He’d forgotten to go shopping.

“Soh, we have Joni, but nothin’ to eat?” I deduced. “Sounds about right.”

“We always have Joni.” He moved to loop the record around again and the wistful, homesick strains of “All I Want” filled the flat. I’d heard it a thousand times thanks to him, and it never got old.

As the day wore on and became night, we lay on the floor in front of the bright blue electric fireplace, all the lights in the house shut out. Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” was the soundtrack to our endless and sporadic discussion. We were hungry as fuck but too lazy to get up and order takeout. Too scared to move from the perfection of now. Too sated on each other’s presence to notice we were starving.

Taryn had brought over the new JMB painting I’d flown to Japan to snag for him, which was a companion piece to the one he’d purchased in 2014. He lost his mind, tearing up and kissing me until I couldn’t stand it anymore. He said he’d have it mounted in the gallery before the week was out. Then he blew me on the couch and swallowed.

Now he lay on his back on the floor gazing at the ceiling. I lay on my stomach, half atop him. The wine he’d scavenged from the kitchen cellar was beginning to hit the spot. I’d finished my glass but he was on his second, laughing whenever I traced an idle finger down the center of his face.

“It’s hypnotic,” I sighed, staring into the slowly curling faux flames above us. Apparently the setup had come already installed with the place. “Gotta get me one of dem. I could stare at it all day.”

“Same…” he picked up his drink from beside his head. I kept fretting that if he spilled it onto the carpet, it’d be a nightmare to get rid of.

“Babe…” I ventured. “Soh, uh…I’ve been meanin’ to tell youh sumthin. You’re like the only person on the planet I can realistically tell, by the way.”


“Uh…I don’t really know how to say this, but Donatella kinda like…y’know…made a move on me…”

He almost did a spit take. “Thee Donatella?! As in Versace?!”


“What the fuck did she even do?!” he laughed, laying back and grinning to himself.

“Don’t laugh, babe, it’s serious. I swear I’m not lyin—”

“M’sorry, I know you aren’t. It’s just so fucking random though, mate. Like think about it??”

“I know, right? To be fair, I’m still not even sure if it actually happened or if it was just another fucked up dream. Been havin’ a lot of those latelyh.”

“What even happened??”

“Soh basically we were like…havin brunch and—”

Brunch?” he snickered. I set a hand over his mouth.

“—then she like went for it. Like, really grabbed my cock and everythin’—” At that he pulled my hand away and sat up to stare at me. I followed suit, sitting across from him and running a hand through my hair. Fuck this was a weird conversation. Worse yet, I felt like a bitch for telling on her.

“Z…what the fuck?” I guess he didn’t realize how serious I’d been before. He looked proper spooked out now. Shit, I didn’t realize myself how much it’d been bothering me. Weeks had passed but I was still kind of weirded out and horrified by the idea of seeing her again.

“Hey…you ok?” he murmured, leaning across my knees and kissing my forehead.

“Yeah, I’m gud. It just sort of shook me up—”

“Of fucking course. Mate, that’s so bloody weird…” he set his forehead to mine with a huff. All I smelled was toasty red wine. “I can’t fooking believe she did it. Isn’t she like 70??”

“Yeah…damn near,” I chuckled, slipping down to rest on his shoulder. Kissing his neck. “Spry as ever. She was strong too.”

“She kiss you?”

“Uh…yeah, unfortunately. And it was quite gross, if m’honest. Her lips were like, rubbery and cold. Like a dead person’s.”

“Ughhh,” he gagged. “You poor, poor thing. C’mere.”

I lay down across his lap and held me, rocking me a little. When I leaned up for a kiss, he accommodated. I could fall asleep right there in his arms if he let me. It’s all I needed. To be alone in the dark with him. Our rightful place. We’d made a home here together, and now no time in the light with anyone else could compare.

“Hey, Haz?”

“Yeah, baby?”

“Who’s Carolina?” I forgot to mention the new song he performed on the Today Show. It was a sick tune, but the storyline had perplexed me.

“A girl I met once. No big deal.”

“A big enough deal to write a song about her?”

Touché,” he laughed.

“Is she really all youh think about?” I shut my eyes, afraid of his answer.

“Of course not. Seriously, Z, it was just a useful storyline. When we, uh, wrapped everything up last year, a lot of it felt pretty heavy, y’know? Sort of, like, dark. We needed a bright spot to conclude the album, and essentially uplift all our spirits as we headed into marketing. I for one was pretty emotionally gutted. She was just a convenient memory. I never saw her again after the one time.”

“When’s that?”

“2013, I think.”

“Yeah, okay…”

“Her name’s not Carolina, by the way. That’s where she’s from.”

“What’s her name? I know her?”

“I don’t think so. She’s not very relevant anyway. She’s not you.” At that he bent and kissed me deeply. When we parted he gazed seductively into my eyes. I was weak as shit. So utterly thrown off course the minute he got close. My previous train of thought was long forgotten.

“How do youh still give me butterflies every time we kiss?”

“I dunno,” he said softly, tonguing me again.

When we broke I fell back on the floor, weak-kneed and spent. He leaned over me, planting his hands on either side of my head, staring down into my eyes in the low light. I brushed his hair away from his forehead and held his face. God he was something beautiful. Monumental, even. And he was here between my hands. I was in possession of him. So soundly. Nothing could take this from me. Time was irrelevant. There was nothing more to say. Only to be. I inhabited him and he inhabited me. We were cognizant of one another on a spiritual level. He bent and we kissed, again and again.

Later he would confess he’d been petrified to perform on both SNL and the Today Show. Both were huge gigs that he’d underestimated and it left him vomiting before took to the stage. The reception of the fans eventually calmed his nerves. It killed me that I couldn’t be there to encourage him anymore. He was just so frightened of getting it wrong. That’s all he ever said. All he ever obsessed about. It had been that way since the Red and Black show in 2011. He’d never really gotten over it.

I wanted to tell he him he had to let all that go and just do it anyway. That his fans were depending on him, but spewing such things to anyone else would only serve to make me the biggest hypocrite alive. I was too afraid to take my own advice. I’d let my fans down for nearly a full year now, and the scariest part was I still couldn’t see myself performing live any time soon. Not even to save my life. Ask anything else of me to please my fans, and I’d do it without hesitation. I hoped they knew that.

Part of me felt a sense of consolation when he said he’d watched my solo performances from early 2016, and that my attitude and aesthetic had been an inspiration to him when crafting the particulars of his own. Naturally that conversation took a turn for the worse, and he began asking me why I hadn’t given live shows another shot. I told him to drop it and he begged me not to shut him out. Begged me to let him inside. Then he smothered me to put an end to my stonewalling.

“You wanna shower?” he asked gruffly when our lips parted.

Upstairs he pulled his shirt off and shoved his briefs down his hips, kicking them aside. Now he undressed me as I stood tiredly and barefoot on the bathroom tiles. My shirt was dragged over my head before he started on my pants. He yanked me over to him abruptly by my beltloops, then shoved my jeans and briefs down my hips as one, freeing my half-erect cock. It flopped about, warm and chubby, awaiting his attention.

He bent to pull the clothes from around my feet. Now he kissed my treasure trail on the way back up, brushing his lips along my ribs and sternum as I exhaled sleepily. Finally he grabbed me up and carried me into the shower, setting me on my feet to get the water adjusted. Once it’s warmth was spraying all over the place, he spun me around and splattered me against the stonewall. Then he parted my ass and ate me alive. 

(Thanks for reading! ❤️)

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