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“You wouldn’t be here if I’d never let your useless father get me drunk the night I met him.” ~Linda Wilkinson to ten year old son Shane~
February 5, 2011
Against the singer’s privacy inclined nature to personally arrange accommodations absolutely unknown by the media, Rory had talked Taz into staying the night at The Huntington along with his band mates, Angel’s two girlfriends and Shane. Taz had agreed because he knew Rory wanted to be near Shane.
And also because he’d warned the hotel’s manager he would hold her personally accountable if he awoke in the morning to discover his floor invaded by the paparazzi and/or any fans. After Shane heard the repercussions laid out if Taz were to discover just one person outside his room who wasn’t supposed to be there, none of which included the manager losing her job, Shane was positive he never wanted to find himself on Taz’s bad side.
Convincing Taz had been the easy part for Rory. That left only Shane to be convinced. Problem was, Shane still didn’t want to talk about the incidents. Not to Rory, he didn’t. And the one person Shane did want to talk to didn’t want to talk to him.
So Rory had allowed Shane to escape to his room after extracting a promise that they would have their conversation first thing the next day.
Shane had spent most of the night awake, tormented. Fully clothed, he lay crossways on the bed, on top of the sheets, and stared into the absolute blackness of his room as he tried and tried to think of all the positives of not having to go through with his apology to Revelin. For example, it had been bad enough being present in the flesh to experience and reap the immediate repercussions of the mistake he’d made. He really hadn’t wanted to suffer the embarrassment of reliving that mistake out loud while at the same time trying to make his nonsensical actions sound logical. Also, he was being faced with the anger and disgust he preferred.
Why, then, had it hurt so goddamn bad when Revelin expressed that anger and disgust by referring to Shane as a little bastard? The two words fit Shane. Perfectly. He wasn’t a big guy and he was, indeed, a bastard. He’d been aware of his inadequacies and his fatherless state since before he could talk good.
For his mother had spared no opportunity to inform him he was an illegitimate piece of shit who was as useless as his absentee father.
It hurt because Shane was bullshitting himself.
He didn’t want Revelin to be angry at him. He wanted Revelin to love him.
Wasn’t he worthy of being loved? Sure, what he had did to Revelin on New Year’s Day was horrid and shitty, but wasn’t he still worthy of someone’s love?
The way his life had gone, it sure didn’t feel like it.
Fuck, the way his life had gone was the whole reason why he’d done what he had to begin with and ended up in this mess.
After retrieving Rory’s message from the hotel’s voicemail system advising he’d be over in fifteen, Shane rolled off the bed, brushed his teeth and washed his face. He debated whether or not to apply his makeup before deciding he didn’t have enough time. He’d just have to do without. It would be difficult, but not impossible.
Right after the second incident, in a desperate effort to better himself, Shane had started weaning himself off his need to hide behind a mask. Some days had been better than others. On his good days, he’d managed to triumph over his dependency for a span of several hours at a time. On his bad days, two minutes after his eyes popped open, he found himself in the bathroom using his eyeliner to draw matching lines starting above his eyebrows down over his eyelids to branch out onto his cheeks. His managers at Walmart were not amused by him on those days.
Especially not when he defensively pointed out that he still looked less freaky than half the customers featured on People of Walmart.
And as he had made his visits to a few of the tattoo and piercing salons located in Orlando, Shane had absolutely refused to allow himself to analyze the hypocrisy of overcoming one dependency while falling victim to another.
Reneging on his word to Rory much as Rory had done to him, Shane vacated his room before his best friend made his promised appearance and headed down to the third floor to Quartz, one of the hotel’s two restaurants. He’d silenced his cell the night before when it wouldn’t stop its incessant chirping, but still felt it best to conveniently “forget” it on his bed just to be sure Rory had no way of tracking him down.
Holding a glass of what the way too bubbly for seven in the morning waiter claimed to be freshly squeezed OJ in hand, Shane sat at a table at the back of the room. He stared at the ground, consumed by his thoughts.
The expression on Revelin’s face the night before as he’d started playing that second time haunted Shane. It had been emotionless. Completely and absolutely emotionless.
Revelin didn’t care about büyükesat escort him anymore.
But that wasn’t exactly accurate. Revelin’s music held the truth. He did care. Just not in any way that Shane wanted him to.
Shane had known from the beginning that agreeing to The Visit wasn’t a good idea. Had known enacting his plan was a worse idea. Now, after witnessing firm proof that New York held no reprieve for him, he was leaning towards having the hotel arrange a taxi to take him to JFK so he could hop on the first flight back to Orlando.
Because he couldn’t do this. He wasn’t strong enough.
To be near Revelin knowing Revelin despised him—
“You’re like a totally different person when wearing all that face paint and with all those facial piercings. I honestly didn’t recognize you yesterday.”
Startled, Shane jumped, causing juice to slosh over the sides of the glass. His eyes shot to the person who’d spoken. “What are you doing here?”
“Stalking.” A refreshed, well-rested Eric dropped into the chair opposite Shane. He unwrapped the napkin from around the eating utensils of the place setting in front of him and handed the cloth across the table.
Setting his glass down, Shane accepted the napkin. He dropped his gaze to his hand as he wiped away the moisture. “Stalking? Stalking who?”
“You, them…does it really matter? Although I think it’s safe to say that stalking you is stalking them.”
“Well, that’s…” Strange. Creepy. Demented. Unlawful. Shane thought of a few more adjectives that could be used to describe Eric’s activity, but none were tactful, so he settled on asking, “Do you always make it a habit of stalking celebrities, Eric?”
“Only the ones I really like. Now, Shane, a question for you.” In Shane’s peripheral, he saw Eric fold his arms on top of the table and lean forward onto them. “Do you always make it a habit of fucking them?”
And Shane suddenly understood what it was about Eric that bothered him. When they’d first met, Eric’s demeanor had been just as spirited as it was now and sprinkled with an even more liberal dose of snarkiness. But his attitude hadn’t run Shane off because Shane had needed to make Eric’s friendship just to prove to himself that he could and because Eric’s attitude had also been playful…and all directed towards Eric’s friend, Jessie.
Now that Shane found himself on the receiving end of a similar attitude, he discovered he really didn’t like the slight trace of malicious “playfulness” he could hear in Eric’s voice. It really made him regret his decision to not stay firmly ensconced in his comfort zone the day before.
Shane tossed the cloth onto the table, eyes locking with Eric’s one artfully exposed honey orb. “Who said I fucked one?”
“You know as well as I do that you didn’t have to say it. All those silly ass, goofy expressions on your face in all those photos taken on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of you and a certain mouthwatering guitar player said it all for you. By the way, did you know that you and your friend are icons for gay boys worldwide now? Well, not so much you really as your little feminine friend. Rory Banks has made it widely known in a very big way that even little ol’ faggy boys like me can make a love connection with a high profile celebrity, while you—you, nobody has heard anything more about. You just kind of fell off into obscurity, story untold, just another grou—ah, well, you get my point.” Eric grinned his crooked grin. “So, how is Mr. Revelin St. James doing nowadays? Are you even privileged enough to know?”
Shane knew all right. Revelin would be doing a whole lot better if the little bastard was hundreds of miles away instead of in the same hotel as him, but that was one truth Shane refused to share with Eric. “Again, I ask what are you doing here as only paying guests are being allowed access to the hotel right now. And at more than five ninety-nine a night, I’m positive The Huntington is a bit out of your price range.”
Eric shrugged. “I have my reason for being here.”
“And your ways, apparently, of gaining access to a place where you’re not supposed to be. Would those ways happen to include a certain security guard?”
Rolling his eye, Eric said, “That guard did nothing more than what I would’ve expected of my friend had he answered any of my texts or calls last night or this morning.”
A sense of foreboding cloaked Shane. “Eric, what the hell is your reason for being here?”
“Like I said yesterday, it seems we have a lot to talk about. Maybe that’s why I’m here.”
“Great. Let’s do this. Let’s have our talk. Me first. I don’t know you, I don’t owe you anything and I was busy last night as well as this morning. There. Everything’s out in the open now. And I have nothing more to say to you besides asking you to please leave.”
“You were busy? Last night and this morning?” Eric reclined back cebeci escort in his chair, smile fading fast. “So you did reacquaint yourself with the joys of being a groupie.”
“Oops, I lied. I did forget something.” Shane pasted a false smile onto his face. “I forgot to mention that I also don’t particularly like you.”
“The feeling is definitely mutual, friend.”
Their staring match went on for several long minutes, neither speaking again, neither backing down. It was only broken when a fist thumped the center of their table, causing them both to jump in surprise.
A fist, which belonged to Revelin. Whose red shot eyes, wild black and blue hair and recycled, rumpled clothes from the day before made him appear every bit as bad as Shane knew he himself looked and, worse yet, felt.
“It is far too early in the fucking morning for me to be putting up with your fucking bullshit, Shane, especially after I vowed I would never put up with it ever again,” he barked. “Why the fuck didn’t you tell Rory where the fuck you were going so he wouldn’t be worried about your simple fucking ass? When he discovered you weren’t in your room, like you were supposed to fucking be, he woke every-fucking-body up to start a manhunt for you. And why the fuck haven’t you been answering your phone? I called you at least ten goddamn times in the past five fucking minutes.”
Shane’s earliest memory, from when he was no more than three or so, was of eating a chicken wing. His mother had given it to him…after she’d doused it with hot sauce. Her and her boyfriend at the time had then laughed hysterically as Shane spit out the piece of meat and clawed at his tongue, crying out, “Hot! Hot! Mommy, hot!”
Revelin’s rage made the intense burn Shane remembered enflaming his mouth that day seem as cool as the frigid winds that had welcomed him to New York City the night before.
“I-I-I, um, I f-forgot it,” Shane stammered. “Upstairs. On m-my bed. I didn’t mean to—”
“That is the second time I’ve heard that bullshit ass I didn’t mean to excuse from you. Just shut the fuck up.” Revelin pulled his vibrating cell out the pocket of his jeans and shoved it up to his ear. “Found him. Down on the third floor at Quartz with—” he eyed Eric “—some new friend he’s made. He’s good at making friends. Ask him what the fuck that’s supposed to mean. He’s fine. Why did you guys think he wouldn’t be? Good one, Taz. Don’t really care, but I will. I’ll be that, lover boy. Uh-huh. Fuck you, too. Yeah, might as well. Don’t worry, I’ll bring them both.” Icy blues fixated on Shane, Revelin stuffed the phone back into his pocket. “So, Shane, it appears it’s on you to explain to me why Taz and Rory would be worried about you harming yourself.”
“I don’t know why,” Shane whispered.
Revelin stared at Shane, long and hard, his gaze intense. “You are such a fucking liar.”
“Honest, loving, faithful or trustworthy. Those are just a few of the things you have proven that you are not, Shane, but a liar is most definitely something that you are.” Revelin spun on his heel. “Let’s go,” he threw over his shoulder as he made his way towards the exit. “Thanks to you, everybody’s awake now so we’ve moved practice up by a few hours. And it’s my unfortunate responsibility to make sure you and your new boyfriend here show up at the club, safe and sound.”
“I’m not his boyfriend,” Eric was quick to announce. Then, lower, for Shane’s ears alone, “Well, I think it safe to say you two haven’t been rekindling any love affairs with each other recently. And that untold story is finally coming out, Shane, and, tsk, tsk, tsk, I can’t believe what I’m learning about you.”
“Eric, leave, please,” Shane pleaded, feeling the vice grip on his heart contract.
“So sorry to have to have to disappoint you, but I’m really not about to go anywhere now.” Eric stood and placed his hands flat on the table’s top. He leaned across the surface, until his face was inches from Shane’s, then giggled, the sound acidic to Shane’s raw, exposed nerves. “Oh, and in answer to your question, he’s the reason I’m here. And you heard the man. I’m to show up at practice, too. Don’t want to make him mad at me so I better do as he says. Especially since angering him is your thing, groupie boy, not mine. I’m angling for more of a long-term love affair myself. One full of me, him, my fidelity and his fame and fortune.” He straightened, then pranced along behind Revelin, snorting, “Self-harming, cheating, attention seeking, dramatic, stupid little fool.”
Eric wasn’t bad. Bad was too decent a term.
Eric was a bitch, just like his friend from the airport. And a slut, just like that friend had called him.
With the way his hips swayed sensually as he moved to catch up to Revelin, the worshipful expression on his face and his ambition, the perky blond was also a very real threat to Shane’s already nonexistent kolej escort opportunity at happiness.
Shane shot to his feet. “Hey, friend, you should probably go to the bathroom and wash your face off. There’s some nut on your chin. Must be leftover from your breakfast.”
Eric responded by increasing the twitch of his hips.
“Bitch,” Shane muttered, suppressing the desire to run and shove Eric into the frame of the restaurant’s door. He did force himself to trail Revelin and Eric, though. All the way to Doux Rêves’s entrance, lagging a respectable distance behind the entire way there so he wasn’t subjected to too much of Eric’s inane chattering and Revelin’s progressively less curt responses. He hung back as they entered the club, Revelin’s bark of laughter an intangible barrier which prevented him from following.
Eyes squeezed shut, Shane leaned against a wall of the lobby. He envisioned himself standing on the ledge of a cliff. It was a place he’d been before, one he intimately knew and recognized.
One he’d hoped to never see again in his lifetime.
The precipice of depression.
Shane’s emotions were roiling, in turmoil, threatening to suck him under a wave of despair of tsunami like proportions. They were strong. Too strong for him to deal with via any means the regular person would utilize.
Shane knew if he was drug under he had better have an outlet at the ready to use for immediate release. Or he’d be eaten alive. From the inside out. Which meant he’d probably be forced to rely on tried and true methods he knew from past experience worked for him.
Even if his therapist insisted they weren’t healthy.
Time passed. But Shane was immune to everything and everyone around him. He heard nothing. He saw nothing. All that mattered was the coaxing, tempting thoughts fluttering through his mind.
Just one cut, they cajoled. Just a single cut and you’ll feel better. You’ll be able to cope until it’s time to leave tomorrow.
Just one cut.
And he’d be able to cope.
With the images of the blond prince and the dark knight happy together. With the image of Revelin bent over Eric’s back, thrusting in and out of the blond boy’s ass.
With the image of Revelin’s head thrown back, face lined with ecstasy, as Eric buried his face in Revelin’s crotch.
With the knowledge that Shane would never be forgiven but forever forgotten.
Just one cut and peace would be his. For a little while.
It was the feel of a hand slipping into one of his that tugged Shane back from the dangerous edge he toed.
“Go on to practice, Taz,” Shane heard Rory say. “I’m staying out here with Shane.”
“Fucking Revelin,” Taz snarled softly.
“Sorry, lovely, that’s one promise I refuse to make. Rev—”
“May not be completely at fault.”
“Shane’s nineteen, Rory, while Rev will be twenty-nine in a couple weeks. Rev has way more experience than Shane with life, with love, with everything. And given how he’s choosing to handle this situation, no matter what happened between them on New Year’s Day, right now Rev’s the one most at fault.”
“Fine. I’ll be cordial to the asshole. For the moment.” The sound of retreating foot stomps signaled Taz’s departure.
“No, Ror, I’m not,” Shane answered before Rory could ask. He opened his eyes and met Rory’s gaze. “I’m not okay.”
“Will you be?”
“Did you know Eric’s here?” Shane asked in blatant avoidance of Rory’s question. “He’s already inside the club.”
“Taz said that Revelin mentioned something about your new friend being with you.” Bouncing from one foot to the other, Rory’s eyes darted all around. “Look, Shane, I know you don’t make friends easily, know that better than anyone, and I know I don’t really know the guy, and I certainly don’t want to discourage you from forming new friendships, especially with me traveling right now on top of planning a wedding and maybe soon going off to college—”
“Spit it out, Rory.”
Rory put a halt to his twitchy behavior. “Your new friend really comes across as a tart.”
Shane’s peals of wild laughter rang throughout the lobby, drawing the curious stares of guests who were passing through. “Oh, yes, that boy is undeniably tarty. Skanky, too.”
And, for the third time since his arrival, Shane could see Rory’s jealousness was about to make an appearance and cause him to live up to the nickname the tabloids had been quick to bless him with. Eyes narrowed, The Deviant Diva stared at the club’s entrance. He let go of Shane’s hand and took a step forward. “I’m going to go in there and rip—”
“Everything okay?” a male voice questioned, drawing both Rory and Shane’s attention.
“Oh, yeah, everything’s just awesome, Angel,” Rory answered, voice increasing in volume with each word he spoke. “Taz and Revelin are waiting for you, ready to practice. And they have a skank to keep them company while they wait. Things could not be better right now.”
The Hispanic drummer rubbed the thumb and forefinger of his right hand down the lines of dark hair on either side of his mouth. The thin strips connected his recently grown moustache to his recently grown goatee. “Is that your way of telling me to get my ass in there so practice can start?”
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