Neon Red – Chapter 46

(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 spoke to you in cautious tones

You answered me with no pretense

And still I feel I said too much

My silence is my self defense

Billy Joel – And So It Goes

That night, there was a missed call from Haz. I’d just hopped out of the shower, tying a towel around my waist, and was preparing to jot down a few lyrics that had popped into my mind mid-scrub, but opted to call him back instead. We hadn’t talked in a while, so a confused whirling sensation overcame me, and I willed myself to try to say all the right things. I turned down Kanye’s “I Am A God” and dialed him up.

“Hey,” was his deep-chested utterance upon answering.

“Hey, all gud?”

“Yeah…just chilling around the hotel. What’re you up to?”

“Same, bruv. Just doin’ a little writin’, y’know?”

“You alone? Uh…can I join you?” That was weird. It was super late and we hadn’t hung out alone in months. Why now? We also hadn’t spoken much since the incident in the Italian restaurant, and had both failed to clear the air after my run in with him and Matt in Columbia. The most I’d gotten out of him in Peru was a single text: ‘You know, if you miss me you could just say it.’ And that had only been in response to me texting him a link to Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go?” and finally Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.”

“You down? I could really use a friend…”

“Eh…sure. Sure, yeah. Come through.”

“Be there in a minute.” He hung up.

I could really use a friend? Huh? What exactly did that mean? And again, why me and not Nialler? Why not Matt? Or Ben who was traveling with us for a few shows to film? Despite just applying some after my shower, I ran back to the toilet and put on another layer of deodorant and a splash of cologne. I’d brushed my teeth earlier, but now panicked and dug through my bag for a stick of gum. After finding one, I chomped it nervously and slid on a of sweats with no briefs. My soft cock flopped around in need attention, but it’d have to wait till later, and I hoped it wouldn’t betray me in front of him. I then shrugged on an oversized tank top I’d made out of cutting the sleeves off an old tee, and made sure my hair was in order. It was still damp, but dry enough to do the trick. It flopped over my forehead like fluffy bangs since I’d let it grow so long.

There was a tentative knock and it put a pit in my stomach. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door and he was stood there in a black tee and ripped skinny jeans. Grey felt hat still in place. Without speaking, he jabbed a half-eaten bag of Haribo gummy bears in my direction, and then pushed into the room uninvited. I chuckled, examining the crumbled bag.

“What’s this, exactlyh?”

“A peace offering. Look inside…” I did so and found only red gummies left. He had actually sacrificed and not eaten the best flavor just to save them for me. In my book, this was huge.

“Holy shit, broh. Forh me? Thank youh soh much!” He could only laugh. He moved to sit on the sofa and I joined him. We stared ahead at an infomercial on the telly, unsure of what to do next.

“Wait…soh uh…this mean you’re sweet on me or sumthin? You tryna fuck?” I joked. He cracked up at that, cackling behind his hand. I missed the sound of his unguarded laughter. It was unmelodic, chaotic, and gorgeous. Finally when he sobered he said,

“Sorry, mate, I don’t swing that way. You’ve got the wrong message here.”

“Alright, broh. No homo, then. I’m still gonna fuck these up later though,” I said, putting the bag in my pocket. There was a bit of silence, during which I glanced at him a few times and we’d just break into knowing grins. He kept rubbing his eye, which let me know he was feeling as giddy and nervous as I was. I looked up at his fedora and chuckled to myself.

“Take the hat off, mate, stay a while.” He did so, shaking out his hair and adjusting it.

“Gettin’ long,” I remarked.

“Yeah, kind of.”

“How long youh gonna grown it?”

“Dunno yet. I was thinking just let it all hang out and see how I looked by the end of the year.”

“I like that philosophy.”

“Keeps things interesting.”

“Hey, uh, I was sittin’ with Payno earlier, just before I got back to the room. Man’s gone daft since Sophia left him—”

“Yeah, I heard,” he chuckled, dimple peeking from his rosy cheek. “I feel awful…”

“We left this crazy fuckin’ voicemail on her line. Poor girl. She won’t know what hit her when she hears that!”

“Mate, what’re you even saying?? You should’ve been the level-headed one here!”

“I was, I swear!” I laughed, gooey all over from watching him smile at me so defenselessly. “He’s takin’ his breakup way harder than I ever did.”

“Oh, so has he stalked her yet?”

Ha-ha, very funny, youh lil’ shit. But it’s hard bein’ dumped…that much I can attest to.”

“You weren’t dumped.”

“Wasn’t I?”

“I like to think of it as more of a conscious uncoupling of sorts.”

“Youh takin’ dating advice from Gwyneth Paltrow now?”

“Hey, if it works, it works.

I cleared my throat and sat back onto the couch, bracing myself for impact. “Can I ask youh sumthin’?”

“Of course. Anything.” He sat back, too, but shifted to face me, arm running along the back of the sofa.

“Was I gud to youh?”

Sometimes. When you wanted to be.”

“Is that why youh called it quits, then? I wasn’t gud often enough?”

“Among other things…yeah. But, uh, it wasn’t all your fault. Don’t get me wrong. I have my own issues that I needed to sort out.” He hadn’t conceded to that before. I looked over at him, quietly exploring his face. The long hair made him look angelic. Like a guy from another time. European or something. Princely, may have been the word I was searching for. 

“I just also wanted to be free for a while, Z. And maybe I didn’t necessarily go about it in the best possible way, but, uh, I didn’t want to be talked out of it…and I know how persuasive you can be. You, uh…manipulate me.. like a lot—”

“That’s not fair—”

“I don’t mean it like that. Not like, in a premeditated or evil way. I don’t even think you’re aware of it. You just confuse me. You make me forget who I am and what I want. I start to only care about making you happy, and making sure you aren’t lacking anything. And that’s where things got dangerous. I stopped caring about myself. Gave all the power to you—”

“Then why is it you make me feel soh powerless? Even at just the mere mention of your name…?” I said, brow knitted.

“Maybe no one really has the power then?”


“I hadn’t remembered what it felt like to be light and loose and free in so long. I was always under you. Becoming, uh…like, way too dependent on the way you made me feel…when things were good. I needed to let myself feel that again.”

“Understood,” I nodded, gazing straight ahead at the wall. Then suddenly I said, “You know we haven’t made love in almost six months? Can you believe it?”

“It’s been that long??” I gazed over at him and could only nod. “Holy shit…I hadn’t realized.

“Most of November, all of DecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, and now May.”

“Wild….” he shifted to sit facing forward, mirroring me entirely. Then he asked, “Hey…do you really think I’m shallow?”


“Like you said the other day. Back at the restaurant.”

“Oh, that. Listen, Haz, don’t even sweat it. I was angry, jealousy, horny—just out of my head. And you hurt me soh I wanted to hurt youh. To tell the truth, I was just chattin’ shit. You’re plenty deep. I should know, I’ve been inside of youh.” We laughed.

“I know you’re not sabotaging us either. I was just confused and angry at you. And, uh, I know how difficult it is for you to show up sometimes. To stick with doing something that doesn’t, uh, necessarily make you happy anymore, just to please other people. Just to uphold what the world expects of you. It’s hard for me to show up sometimes too.”

“Thanks for being honest…”

“Yeah, no problem.”

Another prolonged silence. I broke it by going to the toilet for a minute. The honesty had gotten to me and my hands were starting to shake. Inside, I splashed some water on my face, drying it with the nearest hand towel. Suddenly my phone dinged. It was a text…from Haz. I clicked the link and it took me to Lionel Richie’s “Stuck On You.” I smiled so hard my cheeks ached. 

Before heading back out, I sent him the link to Lenny Kravitz’s “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.” I could hear him laugh through the door before I opened it. Biting my lip, I stared at the lyrics to “Stuck On You” and it was the most wholesome progression we’d made in months. He was going out of his way to give me hope, and I appreciated that more than he’d ever know.

I rejoined him, wringing my hands when I sat, unsure of what to say. Then out of no were, I slithered down onto the floor and he laughed hysterically. He joined me in no time, plopping down beside me and huffing. All I smelled was his cologne. His shampoo. The sweet wine on his breath. That’s all it had taken to break the ice and shake things up a bit. Now we lay in the middle of the floor, shoulder to shoulder, cloud-watching a non-existent sky.

I put on some music to savor the moment, and Sinatra’s greatest hits seemed the most appropriate. “Strangers In The Night” was my first weapon of choice.

“How was Macchu Piccu?” I asked after some time, eyeing his belly as it peeked from beneath the hem of his shirt when he tucked his hands behind his head. I scooted closer, propping my bare feet on the sofa, face turned in his direction.

“Amazing actually. Uh, like, one of the most marvelous things I ever saw. I swear, Z…. it’s like you could feel this weird energy there. Like an ancient graveyard or something. Kind of spooky, when you think of it. All those ruins date back before Columbus even landed. It’s eerie, y’know…to think of being around the work of people that ancient. But also, like, super peaceful. It didn’t make you want to run away, either.”

“Wicked. It always looks like CGI effects to me. Like in the movies.”

“True,” he chuckled. “It actually does.”

“Was it a long walk?”

Suppper long. I was bloody exhausted when we got to the top. First thing we did was, uh, sit down and rest…and I drank like two entire liters of water. Problem was, that meant I had to piss really bad before we could make it all the way back down.”

“Hah! I bet. And I would’ve been restin’ along the way. No shame whatsoever.”

“Lazy bones…” he grinned  at me.

“Youh know it’s one of the seven wonders of the world, right?”

“That’s pretty much what the tourism board sells you on, so yeah. And I guess I have to see them all now. Six more to go.”

Christ The Redeemer next, in Rio.”

“Yeah, can’t wait.”

“I’d like to see ’em all, too. Seems like a shame not to, with all this money.”

“No time though…”


“So how was Jamaica?” he asked, with Sinatra’s “Young At Heart” casting a spell over the room.

“Youh mean our double secret day trip? Haha, soh dope, maan. We didn’t even have time to do much, but just landin’ over there and sayin’ we made it has been quite cool. Me mum was worried I was flyin’ around soh much, but it was totally worth it. Lou and I ate loads, walked around a bit—not nearly as much as youh and Payno though,” I grinned. “Checked out a Rasta museum. Took a bus tour like an old married couple, where they let us check out a few of Bob Marley’s old haunts—”

“No way?? How cool was that?”

“Super cool, maan. And kind of sad at the same time. I wish he were still around. There’s soh much I wanna ask him about.”

“But you had fun though?”

“Oh forh sure. Just a taste of what’s to come.”

“That leaves a lot to do for when you go back.”

“Maybe next time with youh? It’s odd how we both went this year, just not at the same time.”

“Weird right…?”

Another silence filled the empty space, intruding on the strange openness we were experiencing. I didn’t want the conversation to stop. I could speak to him all night, just like this. Fuck I missed this so much.

“So….” he began, as if reading my mind’s silent plea. “I’ve been getting into aerobic exercise videos lately…”

My brows were drawn together in bafflement. “Er, um…soh, youh into aerobics now, then?”

“Not really. Just like watching the videos.”

“Mate, that’s daft…youh know that right? That’s not sumthin youh just get into….”

“Hey, don’t knock it till you try it, alright. It’s pretty sick.”

“Prove it…weirdo.”

He pulled out his phone and brought up the latest video. I scooted over and propped myself on his chest to watch it. We laughed hysterically at how absurd the choreography was.

“How is this even a real thing??” I marveled.

“They’re so passionate…”

“And peppy! I’m gettin’ tired just lookin’ at ’em.” The gummies were out in no time and while I ate, he gazed up at his phone. In the middle of his scrolling, I began lining his face with the tiny bears.

“Don’t smile! They’ll fall!” He tried but failed, and started snickering uncontrollably. I quickly ate as many as I could off his forehead and cheeks before he broke into a grin and the rest fell onto the carpet.

“Woah…new shampoo?” I asked, briefly burying my nose into his hair.

“Yeah,” he laughed, pulling away.

“What’s it called?”

“Some French junk.”

“Lou recommend it? She usually sticks with the same ol’ stuff.”

“No, actually. Kendall did.” That struck a nerve. Who the fuck was she to walk in and start rearranging the furniture when she was only supposed to be window dressing?

“What? The ol’ Bumble wasn’t gud enough for her?”

“It’s not like that. She just, uh, had a good experience with this new product and, uh, recommended I use the men’s brand. I tried it and liked it. Nothing more to it really. She even recommended me some acne treatment too—”

“What is she, your mother?”

“Chill, mate.”

“Well, that’s it then…?” I didn’t mean to sound as defeated as I did, but it was the little things I mourned about him. He was growing up before my very eyes, becoming a huge star with mass solo appeal, and I feared I’d lose sight of him before long. I needed those old things like I needed air. What would be left for me if he got rid of everything that made him him?

“Well, I still like Bumble and Bumble,” I muttered. “But this new one’s okay too I guess…”

“You like it?”

“Yeah, it’s alright. Get’s the job done I suppose. I’m not complainin’.” He was like a chameleon. That’s what made him so dangerous. He was too willing to become what you wanted him to be in order to earn your love. The lengths he would go to sometimes concerned me.

When our backs started to hurt, we helped each other up like two broken old men and migrated over to the bed. There, I moved my laptop and headphones so we could get comfortable. When we lay across the center of the mattress, shoulder to shoulder, I realized we were falling back into our old way. Slowly getting back to normal. Soon there’d be touching, and loads of slow, punch-drunk kisses. Proper morning sex. The good kind. And snoring on the floor in front of the TV after lunch.

Funny how it took for us to hike it all the way to South America to rediscover ourselves. An entirely strange continent, so far away from everything we’d known, but he was home away from home. The quiet at the eye of storm. With his half-finished sentences and droopy eyelids. I wanted to get lost with him again. Stranded in postcard towns with vague names and falling skies. Nighttime driving. Starry windows that teased us with our reflections. We looked exhausted but we kept driving anyway, into the long, roadless places ahead. Paper kingdoms where we ruled side-by-side and were contested by none. A long way from anything. Between here and there. He wanted to be somewhere, and I wanted to be wherever he was. 

“Hey gorgeous…” I whispered, gazing idly over at him. He hid his face a little with the back of his hand. He was getting sleepy. I didn’t want him to go anywhere, and I was beginning to think he didn’t want to leave either. He looked at me and furrowed his brow a little. I sensed the beginnings of an indecisive pout. He was waiting for me to invite him to stay the night, but I refused to give in first. The distance was his to close, not mine, since he had been the one to create it. When I took too long, he just turned and lay with his back to me. Later when he quietly kicked his shoes off hoping I wouldn’t notice, I smiled.

Man, I was getting lucky lately. We mumbled at each other a while longer before I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled him over and crawled to lay atop him, resting my face on his chest. It felt so good I began to dissolve. He wrapped his arms around me and I snuggled deeper into his hold, face-first. When I thought it was safe, I leaned up and kissed his neck. His sigh encouraged me. I kissed it a few times and he allowed me. Now I craned up, took ahold of his jaw, and slowly pressed my lips to his. He kissed me back vaguely at first, then more deeply. More purposefully. Remembering the way I tasted. Searching for more. Shedding his inhibitions. My tongue found his and savored it unhurriedly, causing my insides to thaw into my bowels.

When I grinded down into him, he took ahold of my ass and squeezed it through the sweats. It was just what I needed. To feel loved on again by the man of my dreams, not some starstruck groupie. Not some cheap alleyway thrill with smoke in her hair. Not some unsatisfying foreign porn that seriously failed to hit the spot. Not Pez, who couldn’t figure out how to handle my body if her life depended on it. Just me and my Haz. Harry. All I’d ever fucking need.

I slowed my overeager schoolboy thrusts so that they became more rhythmic. Time to act like I knew what I was doing, not bust on his leg like some pathetic pubescent dweeb. My hips rocked more in line with his pace. When I pushed the waistband of my sweats below my hips to expose my bare ass, he caressed by skin worshipfully, grunting against my mouth. Now I took his hand and slid it down the front of my sweats, convulsing when he touched my cock for the first time in forever. I made an ugly grunting sound, shivering so hard that my teeth chattered. I needed him so badly. I couldn’t take another breath without him.

“Baby….” I whimpered, biting his lip as he tugged at my hardening length. Now with his free hand he slipped a finger down the crack of my ass in search of my hole, but suddenly snapped out of it.

“No, Z…wait. I can’t. I’m not ready…”

“Babe…” I pleaded, kissing his mouth again. Rather reluctantly, he pulled away.

“M’sorry…I can’t. I really can’t. I’m so sorry I even let you start…”

“It’s okay…” I uttered defeatedly, rolling off him and pulling my sweats back into place.

“You want me to go?”

“No…no of course not. It’s not like that. Youh okay?”

“Yeah…just a little, like…freaked out I think. I don’t know what’s wrong….” He was pale and trembling all over. Like he’d suddenly caught hypothermia or was on the brink of a panic attack. I couldn’t let him spiral that far. Now wasn’t the time to punish him for blue-balling me.

“Youh can chill, babe. Don’t worry, I won’t try anythin else…” He looked at me apologetically, contemplating what to do next. “Sleep, Haz,” I whispered, rubbing his chest. He took my hand in his and gripped it for dear life. I could sense so much fear emitting off his touch, that it petrified me as well. 

“Hey…it’s okay, baby. I got youh.” I leaned over and kissed his cheek a few times, then his parted lips. “I’m right here if youh need anythin’, okay?” 

He nodded before laying down and facing away from me again. I had no clue what had just happened, but knew he needed me far more than I had needed him, and that was pretty fucking intensely. I wasn’t mad about my neglected boner either. How could I be? Being with him for one night was worth a king’s ransom, regardless of whether we touched or not. So for the first time in forever, we slept together. Both uncovered, lying horizontally across the mattress. It wasn’t long before I wrapped myself around him from behind and buried my face in the back of his neck. 

(Thanks for reading!❤️)

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