(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.)
Balmain Womenswear Show. I sat in the front row, surrounded by hundreds of susurrant strangers. The gentleman beside me kept coughing into a callused palm before shaking hands with a number of other guests. The unwitting, is what I called them, many of whom went on to shake other clueless hands. It was no longer a mystery how contagions were spread.
Photographers from different publications dropped every so often to snag a few pics. I mustered a cheeky grin or two, but mostly sat looking as awkward as I felt. Sometimes the flashes caught me off guard and resulted in great sensory disturbance. Shimmering blotches filling my line of vision whenever I looked ahead. I grew tired of smiling. The effort was mechanical and I had become a dead-eyed marionette. I stopped grinning to avoid looking like a creep, but probably just gave everyone the impression I was pissed all of a sudden. The photographers filtered away and stopped coming after a while, which was a win for me.
It was dark here. The models passed beneath a mirrored archway like something out of a futuristic funhouse. As they advanced, each body multiplied into a legion of marching clones in the crystal surfaces, then vanished in a split second. Eerie ambient music accompanied them, stirring the room like an omen; as though our souls were in jeopardy of being siphoned off by Ammit.
A dim runway divided the room; its reflective surfaces creating the illusion of black ice. Theatric lights were everywhere, shooting towards the ceiling in great blinking towers. As the models passed, I gaped. The looks were ferocious. The designer had leapt far beyond sexy and well past female empowerment to foster a primitive nightmare. Full of cold, leathery blacks and earthy tones like amber and muddy greens. Indigenous prints. Animal faces. Exquisite beadwork and tassels. Fearsome makeup fit for Amazonian goddesses. No, warriors.
The interstellar tunes grew on me. G passed first, hardly a trace of the girl I knew. She didn’t bother to look my way either, not that I wanted her to with all that man-eating makeup. There were racoon-esque smears around her eyes, and a fat metallic strip down her lips as though she had kissed a brick of gold.
She was more focused than I’d ever seen her. I didn’t envy her job of strutting down a glossy vinyl strip in a room full of caviling spectators. Wannabe royals. Arbiters of different fashion houses who looked about with downturned lips, caught in a perpetual state of ennui. Cameras glared from all ends ready to catch her slightest misstep, ensuring it would go viral. When I weighed everything, marching in stilettos that high seemed far more difficult than performing a few tunes live. I’d choose the latter over the former any day, as opposed to taking my chances on those merciless stilts.
Now the score was full-on heavy metal. Someone was shredding on an electric guitar. Some of the models’ clothes featured wolfs like those corny graphic tees from the early 2000s. Unsurprisingly, I grew bored of watching humans in gaudy costumes walk in a straight line, and started hoping someone would fall to shake things up a bit. Just completely eat shit. That would be scenes. I’d even record it. I wasn’t advocating for any broken bones or anything, just a good trip and fall, and then a chorus of gasps, and maybe even a bit of laughter. Maybe a few beads spilling across the runway, tripping her gangly friends.
I checked the time and it was only six minutes in. Fuck, it felt more like ten. I kept looking to see G circle around again but couldn’t spot her. To be honest, it was hard to recognize anyone. I thought maybe I saw Kendall, but that was until someone else walked by behind her who also looked like Kendall.
Some of the crystal and metalwork was painfully iridescent, drawing me in like an attention-deficient child. When it caught the light, speckles of rainbow were cast across the room and the effect was overawing. Apart from that, I didn’t see how anyone could wear this stuff in a practical sense, or even in a formal setting, But it was pretty cool to look at for what it was worth. And maybe that was just it. It was simply another form of art, and for some people it was impactful.
Now we looped back to the eerie space voyage soundtrack. I don’t think this designer knew exactly what he wanted to aim for. Seemed like a sci-fi dork and a rock groupie landed a gig together and were trying to make the show feel as radical and counterculture as possible, with supernatural undertones tossed in for added shock value.
About halfway through, I was convinced I’d made the wrong choice by flying to Paris and surprising her after all. The universe had gifted me the perfect out with the supposed lost passport excuse, but as ever, I let the guilt get the best of me and flew to France anyway. Fucking simp.
I just didn’t want her to be disappointed in me. It was rare that she openly expressed disappointment, but this time had been the exception. She told me she’d been counting on me to be there, and that she was a little embarrassed to have made a big deal out of me coming, only for me to bail at the last minute. After that, I knew I had to show up, rain, shit, or shine. She deserved that much at least. And she had always shown up for me.
Still, this show felt so endless. And to think, I had many more in store in the coming days with fashion labels I’d never even heard of before. Just the same rotation of females marching by in slightly different outfits than the ones who preceded them. How was that entertaining? Was it even necessary? What ever happened to good old-fashioned catalogs? It would save the designer a shit ton of much money, as opposed to this freakshow, which was mostly just an excuse for fashion elitists to gather and congratulate themselves on designing awful, impractical clothes.
I kept wanting to hit fast-forward until I got to the end of the lineup, but there was no hope. Time check: 12 minutes in. I had no idea how long this would go on for, but I could’ve sworn I’d been sitting here 30 minutes by now.
One girl walked by in a feathered number with heavily padded shoulders, and she looked like a giant bird-woman; reminiscent of the ending scene of Black Swan. 15 minutes in and it was official. I had never experienced something so painfully unexhilarating before in my life, and I had literally watched paint dry one time as a kid. My uncle paid me a few pounds to make sure no one interfered with the fresh coat he’d slathered on in the dining room; and that was one shitty paint job.
My phone buzzed. It was a text from him. Struggling to suppress a grin, I bit my lower lip. He said: ‘I don’t miss you.’ I snickered and replied: ‘Yeah, okay. Well, I miss you.’
“Gosh this stuff won’t come off. I’ve washed it like five times since the show”
“Just leave it alone then, yeah?” I said from the hotel bed, sitting against a mountain of pillows and watching YouTube videos on her Macbook. “Y’know you’re starting to make your eyelids all raw and puffy, babe. People’ll think you’ve been, like, crying since I got here.” She laughed.
“Right, they’ll think you’re, like, horribly abusive or something. Hah!”
“It kinda is though…” We laughed. “I don’t know about dinner tonight, Z. I’m super exhausted—”
“I know youh are.”
“—how does room service sound?”
“Always sounds gud to me.”
“Thought you’d say that,” she snickered, peeping out of the bathroom for a second, where she was putting on a slimy face mask. I could hear her fingers dipping into that putrescent mush from here. It was some plant-based concoction from the Netherlands that her mom swore by.
“So, how’d it go?”
“The show?” I asked.
“Oh, well shit…” I chuckled. “It was wicked, babe. Youh looked super badass. Like you’d kick anyone’s ass—”
“I know right?! Ugh, baby, I loveeeed those looks so much! Olivier did not disappoint. I didn’t want to take the last one off. I felt, like, someone out of the Matrix. Like I suddenly knew taekwondo or something…”
“How sick would that be?”
“I’ll get there. I’m still into boxing right now. Working on my uppercut.”
“I noticed. Youh’ve been doing a lot of shadow boxin’ latelyh. Just don’t practice it on me, yeah?”
“I’ll think about it…” she giggled.
My phone buzzed. It was Haz. He was acting weird. I could tell there was something he wanted to say, but was reluctant to. This time all he sent was: ‘You don’t miss me.’
“My trainer said I’m sooo naturally gifted at it—”
“—Z, he couldn’t believe how far I’ve come with even just the fundamentals.”
“Once youh have those down, youh can really do damage…”
“He’s thinking about letting me spar. I’m down. I’m just sort of, like, naturally athletic, thank God. So I guess a lot of this stuff comes easy to me. Like fighting, or running, or climbing. You know?”
“Uh-huh.” I replied, while also replying to him. ‘You know I do. Don’t say that.’
She started singing. I needed that to stop immediately. She may have been naturally gifted at a lot of things, but singing wasn’t one.
“Hey, G, youh know what I heard was gud cardio?”
“Canoeing…” At that, she burst out laughing, then looked around the doorframe at me.
“What on earth do you know about canoeing?”
“Don’t worry about it. Just listen up,” I grinned. He still hadn’t texted back yet. I sent a few question marks.
“I was thinking about bouldering, though, babe.”
“Shit, I meant kayaking, G, not canoeing…”
“Whateverrrr,” she laughed. “I’m thinking of bouldering, I said. You listening?”
“I’ve never been like, actual rock climbing. Bell, has, but not me. But this one time, I went bouldering with Rob…it’s like when…y’know, babe. When you see the wall in the gym with all the stones sticking out?”
“So yeah, that’s bouldering. Unbelievable core building, and honing upper body strength. That’s essentially what I’m thinking of doing next, right? Just, like, a different sort of movement, y’know? Like, workout the muscles that haven’t been used in a while.”
“Sounds sick babe.” It was a while before he texted back: ‘Prove it.’
G came stomping across the room to ruffle through her luggage for something. She was only in her bra and panties, a lacy flesh-toned set. She squatted to get a closer look into the suitcase, presenting the outline of her spine, bumpy along her smooth back. She hunched deeper and deeper into the case, and I thought she’d fall in. Her hair was in a massive topknot that flopped around at the crown of her head like a girthy boner. I nearly dropped my phone when she glanced my way.
“What’re youuu lookin’ at, bubba?” she teased with a squinch of her nose, before heading back into the bathroom.
It was a while before I could respond to him: ‘Whose baby are you?’ I could sense the hesitancy in his response. After a reluctant while, he texted: ‘Yours…’ A moment later he asked: ‘Are you mine?’ My stomach flipped. I couldn’t reply soon enough; boney fingers fumbling: ‘Always.’ At that, he said, ‘I love you so much.’
Before I could return the sentiment, G shut out the bathroom light and climbed into bed beside me, having rinsed off her face mask and unpinned her hair. It fell down her shoulders in long, tawny waves. She looked sun-kissed and smelled freshly showered. Her arms were warm. Her cheeks, rosy. Her eyes, sleepy and makeup free. A bit red around the lids. She was wearing my black t-shirt from yesterday and soft, cotton panties. When she lay across my lap and gazed up at me expectantly, I couldn’t pretend I didn’t know what she wanted.
Later as she lay asleep beside me, I searched for my phone in the darkness, finding it on the edge of the nightstand. I hurriedly responded to his last text, knowing my delayed response would upset him. ‘Love you more, baby. So, so much.’
He must’ve been up, because he responded and was in the mood for talking. ‘Can you talk now?’ he wondered. ‘Of course,’ I insisted, climbing out of bed stark naked and moving into the sitting room. I gathered my briefs along the way and put them on before calling him.
“Heyyy, Z,” he sighed, and it was evident how pleased he was that I’d called. “How’s everything over there?”
“Cool, babe, cool. Busy day, is all.”
“Busier than expected?”
“Yeah,” I laughed. “Always…”
“Fashion week is a hassle—”
“Soh I’ve learned.”
“Good, mate…I was worried about you getting overwhelmed.”
“Don’t worry ’bout it, babe. I’m doin’ amazin’, seriously. What’re youh up to anyweh?”
“Shit, just getting more media out of the way. I met with Rob today.”
“No…” he laughed. “No, he doesn’t want to see me again. He thinks I slept with his daughter—”
“No, like…2013 or something.”
“Well…uh, did youh?” There was a pause, before he guiltily wheezed,
“Uhhhhhh…maybe…?” We laughed.
“Right, right…I think I remember dat, yeah?”
“M’talking about Sheffield, though. Rob Sheffield. Remember I told you—”
“Oh yeah! The Rolling Stone, right?”
“Sick, babe! That’s actually incredibly cool, Haz. On your first album? That’s unheard of.”
“Thanks, mate…I thought so too. I mean, it’s alright, y’know?”
I tiptoed back into the bedroom and made sure G was asleep before grabbing my smokes from my jacket pocket. I fumbled for my lighter while he described most of what the interview had entailed.
“It’ll be a gud story, sounds like.” I deduced, heading back into the sitting room and out onto the balcony. The view from the Four Seasons George V was quintessentially Parisian. Comically so. I had an unobstructed vantage of the Eiffel Tower and the Cathédrale Américaine de Paris, both towering darkly into the night.He’d be pissed if he knew we’d be having breakfast overlooking this particular sight every morning.
“Youh guys didn’t miss a beat.”
“I tried to cover everything. He asked me a lot about dating—”
“He ask about me any?”
“—of course. Everyone does.”
“What’d youh say? Nothing terrible I hope.”
“No, never…” he laughed. “Not in any public outlet anyway.” We laughed again. “I just told him you were alright, y’know? Told ’em we hadn’t spoke much since you left, but, uh, that I respected why you left. I understood it. And I did, Z. I really did respect it. And, uh, I told him I wished you luck.”
“What? Something wrong?”
“Nothin’…nothin’…” I rubbed a hand down my face. “I were just thinkin’…that’s soh, like, sad, innit?”
“Me wishing you luck?”
“Noh, noh…the us not speaking part. If it were really that cold between us, maan, I dunno how I’d handle it. After everythin’?”
“I know…” He sighed into the speaker. I wished I could feel the warmth against my cheek. He cleared his throat and continued, “I was sort of sad saying it, Z. I just…I just felt sort of down. Rob changed the subject after that, and I was grateful.”
“I don’t like thinkin’ of us like that. All separate and unconcerned with each other.”
“For a while we were.”
“And it killed me…”
“Me too, y’know…”
“Soh the album?” I decided to switch the subject to something less depressing.
“Yeah, it’s finished. Just time to market my ass off. Any tips?”
“Youh’ll do gud, babe.”
“Noh, I know soh. Trust me, maan. It’ll be far better than anyone expects. Even yourself. You’re too close to it right. Youh need a bit of distance to see it from an outsider’s perspective. You’re gonna feel soh proud when youh see everyone else reactin’ to it, yeah?”
“I know right?” he chuckled softly. His voice was low and husky. Just shy of a whisper. It sounded like he was in bed, although it was mid-day over there. “Like, I’m nervous and shit. But mostly excited. I just want you to hear it, Z. It’s for you, to be honest. All of it’s for you,” he laughed with embarrassment. ” Ever second I stood in that studio, you were on my brain. I try so hard not to make every song about you…” My heart lurched. I couldn’t respond. Then he whispered, “Z…baby…you hear me? I need you to be proud of it.”
I stared out at the moon over the buildings across the street, half-hidden with cloud cover. I exhaled and let the cigarette smoke color the air around me, before it drifted away to join other Parisian pollutions.
“Noh, babe, it’s all youh. It’s all for youh. Youh gotta give yourself credit.”
“I love you…”
“I’m soh proud of you…” I murmured.
“Where is she?”
“Where are you?”
“You know where.”
“What’re you wearing?”
“Good…” I could hear his breathing slow, spilling out of him after being thrust from deep within his lungs. I needed to feel it on my face, in my mouth. In my hair.
“Get in the shower…” he demanded, and I obeyed, butting the cigarette on the glass breakfast table. I couldn’t get there fast enough. I was already trembling, feeling my way through the darkness to the bedroom toilet. All I could hear was my breath, labored from the cigarette and giddy with excitement.
Once inside the shower, I let him know. He wanted me to wash her away. I kept the water low to control the spray, taking the body wash into one hand and rubbing myself clean. My cock flopped against my fingers, brushing my thigh. There was no way I would get out of this alive. I was more turned on than I’d ever been earlier that night. Something about this felt so wrong, and my entire body was responding. Knowing she was in the other room both made me want to shit myself with fear, but also shout his name loud enough for her to hear. My stomach was in knots. My legs felt spindly and wobbly. My dick was so slippery I could barely hold on. By the time I’d rinsed myself clean, listening to him murmur crazy things into my ear the entire time, I was rock hard.
“Yes…” I rasped, nodding as though he could see.
“Good…” He was sucking his fingers. I knew he was. I could hear it through the phone and had a visceral reaction to the noise.
“Fuck, Haz!” I shouted, inexplicably upset. Becoming delirious and sleep deprived. “Why the fuck d’youh have to do this to me?!” He sucked them louder. I swallowed thickly. “I can feel that, baby…how can I feel that?”
He made me rub it out again; slowly this time. He told me to taste my pre-cum. He needed me to taste it for him. Afterwards he asked me what it tasted like and I whimpered “I don’t really know…” Like his, maybe?
He told me to put the phone near my dick so he could hear my hand working. He sighed and said he wished he could put it in his mouth. He told me it was his. Told me he wanted to suck the tip. Dig his tongue into my peehole until I convulsed. Lick his way down to my balls. Spin me around and eat my ass until I couldn’t stand.
Only Harry fucking Styles could make me stand in a shower in the dead of night, risking the health of my phone, fucking my hand like a lunatic, and eating my own pre-cum. I could hear him tugging himself through the phone, breath shallow. I could hear his greasy palm. Warm lube dripping along his meat. Big pink cock, quivering to be sucked.
He could barely speak for moaning so unreservedly. Moaning from his soul. Rasping my name. It was an accusatory, desperate sound. He sounded so unlike himself when he got like this. It only made me harder and sore to the touch. He forever took advantage of my oppressive sex drive, making me his fool. Whether he was aware of it or not, a part of him knew how fucked up I was and used that to his advantage. It was a sickness I dealt with in total alienation, day after day. He was my only real fix, but he was only available part-time, and that left me to make do with what was right in front of me. I braced my back against the shower wall as my knees weakened; geriatric as fuck. My shoulder blades knocked achily against the stone.
I held off as long as I could, slowing my vigor to more languid, meandering pumps, waiting on him to finish. I could go any minute now. It all depended on him. “Don’t cum, baby…not yet,” he pleaded. “I need you. Z, I need you…” he panted. “Please…I don’t want it to be over yet. I don’t want you to go back to her…”
“I know, I fucking know…” I growled, pulsating, ready to unload down the drain. I shut my eyes, lost in the pitiless storm of water, steam, and mortification, listening to him exhale, imagining it was his cock in my hand and vice versa. I saw us laying side by side in the center of his bed, writhing in sync. Drenching the sheets in sweet. Limbs entangled. Stoned out of our minds; only on each other’s pheromones. Mutually assured destruction.
He came in a prolonged sigh that bordered on sobbing. I followed, hoping the water would muffle my stunted whimpers. When it was over, I didn’t want to let go. I squeezed myself until it hurt and I felt dangerously touched-out.
When it was all said and done, I shut the water off exhaustedly, hearing it stave off someplace behind the wall. Now I remained where I was, back against the stone, staring out at the shadows of the room. He inhaled sharply, trying to recover. My screen was dotted with water. Neither of us spoke. In heartbeat, he hung up and I was left feeling diminutive and used.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT!
-HUGE drama in Paris
-Flashback to 2013, picks up after the engagement
-Flashbacks to 2014-2015
-More Zarry in all time periods!!
Can’t wait to share the next few chapters with you! Thanks loves 🙂