Neon Red – Chapter 60

(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.)

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I have become, I have become yours

Crazily, crazily

Kailash Kher | Teri Deewani

That night in the tub after fucking ourselves stupid, we sat knees intertwined and muttering over candlelight and Bob Marley’s greatest hits. “Stir It Up” bled from the speakers now. A cloud of weed smoke enshrouded us. I couldn’t believe how fast the day had flown. We’d had too much fun exploring the town and later playing with the paint guns in the fields outside the house. We were pretty bruised where the balls had hit. God I needed to buy more time. It can’t be over yet. He’d be leaving in the morning and it would be over a week before I met up again with him in New York. Best make the most of whatever was left

I took the glass of wine from his hand, balancing the joint between two fingers. As I took a long sip, emptying the glass, his dripping fingers traced the sunflowers on my neck, then pretended to choke me.

“I like these…very much.”

“The flowers? Yeah…I thought they’d be pretty sick. They match the theme of the album in a way.”

“You ever gonna tell me more about this album, mate, or are you just gonna keep teasing me with passing details?”

“Nope, not tellin’. Youh didn’t tell me either, remember?”

“Well…that’s because the entire thing was about you…”

“And what makes youh think mine isn’t about youh?”

“These, for instance,” he pointed to the eyes on my chest.

“Babe…it’s not like that. I promise. Youh have noh ideah. Trust me…”

Yeah, yeah. Whatever…I’m over it. I like the sunflowers though. Sunflowerssss…” he grinned to himself. “I can’t wait to change your name in my phone.”

“Careful now…don’t make it too obvious…”

“And what about the ones on your head?”

“What about ’em?”

“I can’t see them now, but I remember the pictures. How long did they take?”

“Trust me, youh don’t wanna know. I was sat there all day for the bigger one, yeah?” I hit the jay and sprouted a few smoke rings and he tried to eat them. “Fuck, babe, it hurt baddd too. Worst pain of me goddamned life. Couldn’t stop cryin’ either. And youh know I normally don’t complain about tattoo pain.”

“Well, I think you get a pass this time. A needle repeatedly stabbing your skull and sending vibrations through to your brain would bring anyone to tears. It’s basically brain surgery.”

“True,” I laughed. “Fanks for the sympathy.”

“Gimme that…” he took the joint and hit it a couple of times, blowing the smoke gently over my face. “So why’d you do it?’ he asked.

“What’s that?”

“The head tattoos…?”

“Oh…uh…” I shrugged a little, rubbing my hands up and down his thighs and kissing his upraised knees. “Because…I just felt like I owed it to ya, is all. After gettin’ her eyes the way I did…I didn’t realize how much it would bother youh. Then I got to thinkin’ how fucked it was of me to do since youh and I are together sumtimes. Soh, I just needed to make it up to youh somehow, babe. Let youh know where we stand. That’s why I chose the head…it’s the most important part of my body, but also…I think I wanted to punish myself with the pain.”

“You don’t have to hurt yourself for me…”

“I know…but I just needed to do it for us. As a reminder to myself of how much we mean to me.”

“Well, I’d get some too, but I don’t think I’ll look too good bald.” We laughed.

“It’s okay. Youh makin’ time for me is enough. Youh don’t have to be here wastin’ your off day on me, but youh are.”

“Mate, believe me, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I actually wish you could come with me for the rest of the shows.”

“Yeah…me too.”

“I mean it. I’m not just paying you lip service here. I actually want you with me. Can I get you to come to at least one?”

“Uh…huh?”

“Seriously, mate, I can’t do MSG without you there. Not with all the history we have in that place. Not when you’ll be in the same exact town, on the same night, only minutes away. Why not come? Even just as a friend? And we’ll be meeting up afterwards anyway. Why not make it earlier and have you come by the show?”

“Shit, babe…”

The idea of me attending one of his shows hadn’t realistically crossed my mind because I had preemptively disregarded it as an impossibility. But here he was persuading me it’d be as easy as pie. Like it was the most natural move in the world. I suppose he wasn’t wrong, that is, with the right security clearance and if I got there early enough and was allotted my own private box. Maybe we could pull it off?

“But like…what would we tell everyone? Like the backstage crew?”

“Nothing. No one has to know, except my most immediate team, of course. I’m talking like Jeff and my assistant, that’s it. I’ll get you inside, you wear a hat to cover this crazy bright hair,” he scratched my head. “A hoodie, and sunglasses, and we’ll just slip you in with us and no one around will even have to know who you are. Only me. I’ll get you up to one of the private rooms overlooking the whole gig, and I’ll personally get you out of there as well. No one will know it was you. I’ll guarantee it.”

“Shit, babe…” My heart fluttered. “Okay, um…that’s it then, innit? Let’s fuckin’ do it! I’m down!”

“Mate…if we pull that shit off, we can do anything. You could probably even come to a few more, since we’ll have all the details worked out in advance. We have to make the most of this experiment.”

“Seriously…it would be a dream come true to see youh live.”

“And it’s my wet-dream to have you there,” he leered, pretending to be a creep. I took the jay from him. He’d had enough. “I appreciate you even being open to it.”

“Anytime, babe.” Then suddenly I remembered: “Hey, uh…I forgot to tell youh last month…Donatella wants to work with me again.”

“Really?!” he choked.

“Mm-hm.”

“Will you?”

“I already declined.”

“Good. Fuck her. She’s sick, mate.”

“It’s sad there won’t be a follow-up for the line though. It was a huge hit with the fans. G was lookin’ to do a follow-up as well—”

“Well, she can get over it. Your comfort should come first.”

“I wanted the bag, though, that’s forh sure,” I laughed, then hit the jay, refusing to pass it back to him. “But I just couldn’t stop thinkin about her grabbin’ my dick—”

My dick.”

“That’s right,” I grinned. “I figured noh amount of money in the world is worth lettin’ that happen again, yeah?”

“I’m proud of you.”

“Would youh let her hit though?”

Fuckkk no!” he said, then slowly smirked. “I mean…maybe. If the price was right.”

“What a sick fuck, youh are—”

“Unlike you, I can totally be bought. I’ve already got my prices set too.”

“And what’s that?” I couldn’t stop laughing.

“Uh…something like…maybe 50K for a quick fuck?”

Yeesh…you’re expensive. Any head?”

“Only receiving, no giving. And they’d still have to pay me for that, too.”

“Soh, basically, there’s a price to suck your dick is what you’re sayin’?”

“Yup.”

“Honestly, though, you’re probably the one person in the world who that business model would work forh. There are millions and millions of people out there who’d gladly pay to put your dick in their mouth.”

Bahahahaha!”

“What about me, tough?”

“You’re not special, mate. You have to pay too. Starting today!”

“Okay, I got youh. Let me hit up the account real quick—” I splashed a handful of water square onto his face and he lay back giggling; becoming super stoned.

After we dried off I lent him a pair of shorts and a tee, then we headed down to the barn into the art studio. Large canvases were everywhere, some finished, some left unfinished after I’d grown bored with the idea. Others painted in a fury or a rush or a high. Some contained violent imagery and ideas far too fucked up and abstract to place a name too. It was the work of a loon. He sifted through dozens of them now, some of the boards taller than he was, complimenting me to no end. I knew he was just being nice, though, as some of them were absolute shite. I showed him an abstract painting of a seaside landscape I’d been working on, which was currently sitting on a large easel, and he said he wanted to have it. While he chilled on the futon behind me, I smoked a Marlboro and tried to finish the piece so he could take it with him in the morning. A light rain started and became an incessant hiss that surrounded the building. It pelted the roof, drowning out my thoughts. I meditated on it as I dipped the brush and liberally applied blue to the canvas, flinching when he came to sit behind me on the bench, his legs falling to either side of mine.

“What’s it called?” he wondered, popping his chin on the back of my shoulder.

“It’s called: Give me some space, would you?” For that I earned a pinch to the skin around my ribs. I winced and took the brush and swiped a line across his face.

Asshole!” he gasped, dipping several fingers into the pallet and leaving a colorful swatch across my forehead. I opened a mini can of red paint and chased after him as he disappeared into the darker section of the building. When I found him hunkering beside an ATV, laughing hysterically, I snaked a hand up his shirt and applied the cold paint to his back. He yelped, standing and pulling off his shirt to wipe it away, but I only applied more to his chest and arms.

Heyyyyyy…” he pouted quietly, frowning at me. Now he ripped my shirt off and hugged me, smearing the wet paint all over my back and arms as I tried to escape.

Nohhhh!”

Grrr….” he squeezed me unmercifully, then slipped a finger in my ass, making me dissolve in laughter. I nearly pissed myself. “You’re not going anywhere!” He carried me in nothing but my briefs into the rainy night, tossing me onto the trampoline. He then joined me, and we jumped and scream sang and gave our best war cries, emboldened by the body paint, until we grew tired and drenched.

Later as I came out of the shower from rinsing myself off, he went in. I stood outside the open bathroom door, resting my head back against the wall and listening to him croon “Ain’t No Sunshine,” but he repetitively only sang the lyrics that he knew. It had been his shower song for as long as I knew him, and took me straight back to the X-factor days whenever I heard him sing it. He exited a little later, drying himself off, and found me still standing against the wall completely nude.

“You okay?”

“Mm-hm. Just waitin’ on youh.”

“Okay…sunflowers.” At that I rolled my eyes, but was unable to suppress a grin. 

We headed downstairs to camp out on the living room floor under the skylight in the ceiling, at his request. It was too bad we couldn’t see the stairs since it was raining out, but we made the most of it with a few candles and my new playlist which consisted of mostly jazz. We lay atop a mattress we’d dragged from the closest guest room, and he wrapped our nude bodies in a blanket together. As he breathed into my hair and began drifting asleep, I shook him a little.

“Baby…?”

“Mm?”

“Can I ask youh somethin’?”

“Mm-hm.”

“I was thinkin’…before the album comes out later this year…y’know, about gettin’ back onstage.”

“Really?” He perked up.

“Yeah…I was thinkin’ about it anyweh.”

“Where were you thinking of playing?”

“I dunno yet.”

“You need some venues? I’ve got loads of information I can send you. Best locations. Which ones had the best service. Best staff…”

“I’d appreciate it. Only small ones forh now.”

“You got it. I’m proud of you, y’know…for getting back out there. It’s not easy.”

“Yeah…which is what I wanted to talk to youh about…”

“I’m listening…”

“Haz…how did youh like, get over everythin’? Like…how do youh push past everythin’ and just keep gettin’ out there night after night? I did it for a few shows in the beginnin’, but for some reason, I just couldn’t keep up with it. It all got away from me. It all got to a point where I had to just stop and hide. The vomitin’ had gotten pretty bad too. The panic attacks were insane. The worst ones I’ve ever had in my life. It just felt like everythin’ was hinged on that one moment, and if I failed, eveythin’ I’d ever worked forh would be all over in an instance. It’s unreasonable to think that way, I know…but it’s how I felt every time. And noh one seemed to understand how bad it all was forh me. They just brushed it off and called it nerves, but it was soh, soh much more, babe. I could barely see straight. Couldn’t breathe to save me life. And tryin’ to remember lyrics or music cues at that point was just a joke. I didn’t want to keep takin’ their money and not givin’ them the best of me, or keep cancelin’ shows at the last minute…soh I just walked away and never really came back. I can’t imagine how disappointed the fans must be. It’s been two whole years, Haz, and nothin’s changed.” He kissed my forehead a few times, sighing against my face. 

“I know…it really fucking sucks. I don’t know what it’s called either, but it can really fuck you up before a show. I would get these abdominal pains too and migraines, and sometimes my knees would just give out and I’d have to sit there for so long and collect myself. It totally throws off your vibe and your confidence. There’s no faking it after that…”

“True. Your voice just trembles for the rest of the night, and the fans can sense when sumthin’s off.”

“Yeah. But I dunno, Z…you just gotta do it, mate. I know that’s way, way easier said than done, but I guess it just depends on your willpower at the end of the day? I dunno. And from what I can see, the more I did it, the easier it became to get over that initial rush of, like, crippling anxiety. That devastating feeling that makes you think you’re crumbling. It does get better, it really does. But there’ll always be nerves, that’s for sure. I still get nervous at every single show. Every one. My SNL gig was the most obvious, right? But I pushed through it. It’s the fans, mate. They, uh, make me feel so welcome and at home, no matter what the critics say. They show me love no matter what I do. Not matter how awkward or off key I am. They’re just always out there having the time of their life, and, uh, they just want you to party with them. They’re so happy to see you.” He cleared his throat. I basked in his drunken-sounding drawl, knowing I’d miss it in the days to come. He continued.

“So when I look at it that way, it’s easier. Not easy, just easier. Just, like, go out there and party with a bunch of people who only want to have a good time. Sometimes they spend their entire paychecks just hoping to see you, and hoping you’ll take their minds off whatever shit is happening in their lives for a couple of hours. Plus, uh, having a band that I’ve become good friends with makes it so much better, mate.”

“Oh yeah?”

Tremendously. I don’t feel so alone. They’re literally out there with you every step of the way and their asses are on the line too. They’re nervous about fucking up too…so you all can relate to one another, essentially. So maybe, uh, you just need to start with a crew you can really really trust? People you can actually bond with and be friends with off stage? Don’t just play with them and then dip. It won’t work if the chemistry’s off or if the chemistry is just faked onstage. It has to be real. Adam had been with me all along, so we already clicked, and then Mitch quickly became a good friend. And Sarah’s just a sweetheart so it was easy to bring her into the fold.”

“I guess you’re right. I’ve been meetin’ with a few musicians. We played together a few times, but I wasn’t really feelin’ the whole set up. I couldn’t really click with them on a personal level at all. I just wanted to get in and out.”

“See, that’s the problem. You don’t like trusting people. You don’t like making friends.”

“In a way, it’s true. But I’m tryin’ Haz. I swear I am. I’m just not gettin’ it babe. It’s like…it’s the one fuckin’ thing that completely escapes me with this job.”

“You’re too self-conscious about everything I think. Just like me. You just don’t want to get it wrong, so you find it easier not to try.”

Holy shit that was painfully true. Ouch. Why had I decided to talk to him about this stuff again? I guess I forgot how insightful he could be. People always gave him shit for speaking slow, but if you actually took the time to listen to everything that he said, he was super sensitive and intelligent. I propped my chin onto my chest and saw that he was gazing up at the ceiling; gently stroking my back.

“I think you’re gonna get over it too. Just like me. Someday down the line, you’re gonna look up and be playing massive gigs all by yourself, Z, and killing it every time. Your voice is too brilliant not to perform life. You’ve got a gift, alright? And most other musicians, myself included, would kill to have your range and versatility. You gotta use it, mate. You’ve got to.”

“Fanks babe,” I muttered, nuzzling his boob. “I just wish there was a pill or sumthin’ I could take, to just make me forget about all my nerves…”

“There literally is. Ever heard of Valium?” He cocked a brow and I snickered. “Might not be too good for performing afterwards though.”

“I just need to take control of it before it controls me. Already I can’t even find it in me to sit with journalists anymore. All my interviews lately have been done over email or the phone. I’m not a fuckin’ popstar, I guess. I can’t even speak openly about my music anymore.”

“Hey, you ever think…nah, nevermind.”

“What, babe? Do I ever think what?”

“I was just gonna say…you ever think that some of our anxiety comes from…y’know…what we’re hiding?”

“Uh…I guess I have” Of fucking course I had. I thought about it constantly, but would never admit it to him though. “And maybe in a way that contributes to it. Maybe with the interviews and stuff. Sumtimes I fear I’ll get caught on a question and say sumthin’ too revealin’ or sumthin’ that links me to youh. I think about youh soh bloody much I get nervous I might just blurt sumthin’ out one day.”

“You won’t. Your brain is more powerful than you give it credit for.”

“But the nerves, I find it hard to find the right words sumtimes when I’m face to face with a stranger. Over the phone interviews are much easier, but I want to do more this year…”

“We’re gonna fix that.” He jumped up, booty jiggling to my amusement. I sat up in the center of the mattress and watched him grab a pen and notebook, then sit on the foot of our bed.

“Let’s do a little experiment, shall we?”

“Oh God, not another one of your therapy experiments…”

“Hey, the last one worked out pretty well.”

“I’m your little lab rat, I guess.

“Think of this as cognitive behavior therapy.”

“You’re not licensed…”

“Fuck off.”

“Babe, your cock is soh fuckin’ gorgeous,” I bit my lip and he covered his crotch with a pillow.

“So, Zayn Malik—”

“It’s Zayn.

“—how’s the album making process going?” he asked, speaking quickly like a reporter.

“Uh…uh…”

“Today, Malik!”

“Um, it’s great!”

“Gotta give me more than that. This is breaking news, sir!”

“I’m finished thank God. Everythin’s forh the most part recorded now. Unless of course some inspiration hits me later—”

“Are there any particular themes for this album?”

“Sure there ar—”

“Like what, sir? I’m gonna need some examples.”

“You’re a pretty demandin’ reporter!”

“That’s why I’m the best in my field. Now, themes, sir, hurry! I have other interviews to get to with more important people!” He snapped his fingers and I stammered over a few of the concepts I’d been toying with, like flight, liberty, hubris, complacency, tragedy, love, hate, fear, lies.

“Intriguing, no doubt. But how will you seek to tie all of these elements together, Mr. Malik, and why?”

“Uh…Greek Mythology.

“It has an answer for everything, doesn’t it?”

“It sure doe—.”

“What Greek myth or myths in particular?”

“Uh…can’t say.”

“Why not?”

“I…I dunno…it just feels like I shouldn’t—”

“Well tell me why you’ve chosen it at least.”

“Because…it’s a super cool story—”

“A super cool story? Is that really how you’d describe it—” 

“Fuck, mate. Listen, okay?! I learned of from a few producer friends last year…and it’s been on my mind ever since.”

“And why is that?”

“I dunno, babe.”

“I’m not your, babe, Mr. Malik. Don’t make me sue you for sexual harassment.” I burst out laughing at that, but he stayed in character. Clearing my throat, I put on a serious face and said,

“Oh, shit, sorry.”

“Don’t let it happen again.” I snickered behind the blanket before asking,

“What was the question again?”

“Why did you choose this particular Greek myth to represent your work, your ideas?”

“Uh…I suppose it must’ve struck a chord in me at the time. I related to it a lot. The whole story really. I think I’ve maybe made some mistakes in my life, and that some of those mistakes have cost me quite dearly, shall we say?”

“What sort of mistakes.”

“Oh I wouldn’t be comfortable sayin’…”

“What is it you hope people will learn about you through this album and it’s concepts?”

“Uh…maybe that I’m still here. I’m tryin’ to redeem myself in some ways…and that I’m still growin’. As a man and as an artist.”

“Well said,” he grinned, finally breaking character and tackling me.

“C’mon, c’mon! We’re not done. Stand up!” he insisted. I did so, wrapping a sheet around my naked bum, my goofy laugher filling the air. He ripped out nearly a dozen sheets of notebook paper and drew crazy faces on each. Then he set them up one by one on the sofas and chairs surrounding our little campsite, then flicked on the main light. He was going to force me to do a mock performance. Great. I think this guy had quite overstayed his welcome.

“Wait, why is this bloke soh pissed? I snickered, pointing at the paper-face sitting directly across from the fake stage.

“Oh him? He hates you. He hates your music. He’s your worst critic and will pen a really scathing review of your first show in the paper tomorrow. But I’ve got good news—”

“Really?” I puzzled. “What could possibly be good about any of the things youh just said??”

“Well, if you can get past him, you can get past anything, trust me. I’ve had one or two of these guys lambasting my shows. Just, uh, focus on the fans, mate. They’re all around you. They’ll love you no matter what, even if you go out there and fuck up every song and forget most of the lyrics. Just keep performing, alright? You remember how to keep going after a fuck-up from the band days, but, uh, it’s important you get a feel for it on your own, with none of the other boys around to laugh it off with. That’s the most awkward part.”

“But you’re here.”

“No, I’m not. I’m a heckler.” He wrapped one of G’s scars around his throat and sat on the couch butt ass naked, crossing his legs and checking a fake watch. “Any day now, sir,” he sneered, falling seamlessly back into character. I guess this whole actor career was really going to pay off for him after all.

We’re drinkin’ the finest label…” I began singing the second verse of “Let Me” and he perked up. “Dirty dancin’ on top of the tables… long walks on the beach in April….yeah, I promise darlin’ that I’ll be fa—”

“Boo, you suck! What kind of shit show is this?! I want my money back!” he screamed out of nowhere, and I cracked up, doubling over onto the mattress.

“Z, keep going!” he hissed, breaking character momentarily to get me back on track. Now I stood and grabbed the pen he’d been using to write earlier, then dropped the sheet from around my waist. My confidence was rising. This was good.

Baby let me be your mannnnn….so I can love youuuuu…and if you let me be your mahannnnn, then I’ll take care of you, youuuuu….for the rest of my lifeeee, for rest of yoursssss, for the rest of my li—” Just when I had gotten into the song and started moving around, he began throwing things onstage and saying how much the song sucked. One shoe hit me square in the crotch, but I grunted and kept going anyway.

For the rest of my lifeeeee, for the rest of yoursssss…for the rest of my lifeeeee, for the rest of yoursssss…” I dodged a few crisps thrown from a bag I’d left open on the coffee table. “For the rest of ourssss—” 

An empty water bottle hit me directly in the eyeball and the concert simulation came to an abrupt halt. I fell onto the mattress in pain. Haz gasped and ran to me, apologizing profusely.

“I’m so sorry, Z. Oh my god, I didn’t mean it. I was in character!”

I’m blind! Fuck your character!” I snapped. He lifted me up and carried me unceremoniously into the kitchen, plopping me onto the counter. Then he grabbed a bag of peas out of the freezer and approached.

“You ok? Let me see…” he pulled my hand away, gazing into my watery eye. “Oh my God, mate, it really got you!”

“Y’think?!”

“I’m so sorry, Z.” He pressed the frozen peas to my eye and it turned out to be pretty soothing. 

“Get off,” I snatched the bag from him to hold it there myself, but he pet my hair and kissed my forehead.

“You were doing so amazing though, despite what the heckler said. You should be proud of yourself…”

“Babe…” I laughed. “I don’t think your little therapy experiment worked too well. Like…at all.”

“M’sorry…”

*********

In the morning, we made love one last time before we had to part, refusing to let go of one another as we lay on the mattress in the center of the living room in broad daylight. I couldn’t believe it all had to come to such a rapid end. Despite the injuries we’d both sustained between paintball fighting and him pinging me in the eye with an empty water bottle, I’d had the time of my life. To imagine him leaving made me sick to the stomach. The end credits for City Of Angels were playing on the big screen in front of us, and Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” filled the room. He was still sniffling from the ending. It had torn us both up.

“I’d give up God to be with you…” he muttered sometime later, referencing the plot of the movie.

“Youh can’t say that.”

“Why not? M’serious.”

“Well…I honestly don’t think He’d ever force youh into that sort of ultimatum. Not if He’s actually lovin’ and all.”

“Hope so…” Then he sighed: “I can’t believe I have to leave in a little bit.”

“Don’t goh…” I buried my face into his pec. I remembered saying the same thing to him last year after he’d surprised me and flew to Paris. It was unreal how much we’d been through together, yet we still found a way to make this whole thing work.

“Can I ask you something?” he ventured. I shook my head, saying no. “C’mon, mate…” I could hear his grin.

“Okay…” I relented, resting my cheek against his rising and falling chest.

“Why are you, like…so afraid to be with me? To just give it a go? The two of us alone…with no one else in between. No diversions or bullshit or complications. Just me and you, Z…everyday. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.”

Shit, I could relate to that entirely. I hadn’t had that much fun in a long long time. Not since Prague, anyway. I took a breath and held it for a while, envisioning the word-picture he had painted like a home movie. Envisioning what out future would look like if we really made this thing work. Afraid to exhale and resume reality.

“I guess there’s a lot to it, y’know?” I refused to tell him about G’s threats. “M’nervous about what my fam might think. Nervous about even the tiniest bit of news leakin’ to the public and changin’ the way the world views us forever. There’s noh goin back from that. And I’m super nervous about bein’ mislabeled or some shit. That’s the thing that concerns me the most. That noh one will understand what this is…”

“Since when does the public get anything right anyway? They’re always wrong, mate. It’s just a part of the gig. We’ve been dealing with that shit forever. Since we were kids.”

“Yeah but…it’s different, innit? This sort of misconception, shall we say, can be super fuckin’ like, detrimental to…to everythin. Even my confidence as an artist would be obliterated. Whatever’s left of it anyweh. Just always thinkin’ about what everyone thinks of me once they see me in that light. It can also ruin the way my family and friends see me too, even though they’ve known me my whole life. It could just be…really bad, Haz. Way too many connotations to deal with. I’m not…that way…but’s that’s all they’ll ever see if they find out. And I refuse to give anyone a reason to believe I’m that way.

“What way??”

Gay, broh! I’m not that, alright?? I’m just somethin’…undefinable…I guess. Sort of like this weird thing between youh and I. It’s just different, innit? And I just can’t stand the ideah of the public gettin’ their hands on what we have and rippin’ it apart by the seams.”

“Then they don’t have to know about us. Z, listen…” he sat up but I kept laying in his place, hiding my face with the sheet.

“I would never subject you to something that would make you uncomfortable or that, uh, compromised your mental health. That’s not my intention at all. That’s not what I meant when I asked you to be with me with no one else involved. What I mean is: come away with me. Just me and you, alright? Someplace secluded and amazing, just, uh, making music and making love off grid somewhere. I’m tired of the games…the publicity, the lies…the public “dating” versus what we get up to in private. I’m just…asking you to be with me, Z. The public doesn’t have to know anything. All you’ll have to do is make it clear you’re no longer with her. Get rid of her, please. I’m begging you.”

My heart sank. There was just no way for me to make him understand how much was on the line, and how making one false move would trigger her to ruin my life. He sat and waited on my response. I lay there thinking before voicing the most reasonable excuse that I could.

“I just don’t want youh to break my heart,” I whispered, keeping my face hidden so he wouldn’t know I was lying about my motivations for staying with her. “It’s as simple as that, Haz. I can take anyone else in the world breakin’ me, leavin’ me…all except youh. You’ve loved me soh much for soh long, that the thought of youh dippin’ or no longer lovin’ me is scary as fuck. I don’t ever want it to come to that, okay? And I don’t want to be alone, soh I keep her around. She takes care of me, in her own crazy way.” He shifted away from me, making sure no parts of us were touching. 

“But what about me?” he whispered, tearing up. 

“I try to keep youh both happy. I try to keep youh at a distance, though. I try not to use youh all up, because I want youh to be there forh as long as possible. I’ve seen how youh goh through people, mate…friends and lovers. Youh get bored easily—”

“That’s not fair—” he snatched the cover off my face and I averted my eyes.

“But I can’t let that be me. If youh goh through me or fall out of love me with me…I’ll die.”

“I only fucking go through people because they’re not you, you idiot. I get bored because no one else makes me feel the way you do, not even my fucking friends! I can’t talk to anyone about the things we talk about, Zayn. I have nothing in common with these people. I’m fucked, mate. So screwed in the head! No one even really knows who I am. They just know the happy-go-lucky popstar bullshit version of me. The fake fucking charmer! Not the real stuff. Not my nightmares. Not the fucked up shit I think about all day every day. Not the things that consume me and drive me to drink until I can finally sleep. Not my darkest obsessions. Not my most pathetic hopes. My insecurities, my addictions, my mistakes. They don’t know anything about me…not like you. And you…you’ve gotta know…your eyes are the only ones that have ever really seen me. The only ones I’ll allow to see me.”

At that I sat up, brow furrowed, heart vaporized. He was so out of sorts his face had turned red and he was pulling at his hair in a trancelike state. I stopped his hands from yanking his hair. He cleared his throat and concluded:

“You’re out of your mind if you think I’ll ever stop loving you…”

“I know youh’ll always love me…but I promise youh, Haz, youh will not always be in love with me. That is a fact—”

“You’re crazy…”

“You say that now—”

“And I’d say it in 40 years too. Just look at us for one goddamned second, would you?! Look at all we’ve been through. Look at all you’ve put me through…and I’m still right here. You’re still right here. I’ve known you for nearly a decade. A decade, Z! I’ve lived with you in the tiniest, smelliest, most overcrowded and uncomfortable quarters on the planet. I’ve seen you mad, sad, glad, mean, petty, jealous, horny, tired, high. I’ve seen it all, mate, every part of you! I’ve been overexposed to you in some of the best and worst ways, and I still don’t regret a second of it. You’ve left me and you’ve repeatedly put other people first, but I’ve still taken you back every time. Zayn…you are literally the love of my life. My best friend…and the only one who has ever understood me. I will never stop loving you or being in love with you. It is a total impossibility.”

(Thanks for reading!❤️)

Published by AD

AD (formerly Zarry Documentaries) from YouTube and Wattpad

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