Neon Red – Chapter 4

(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 shut the faucet off with my toes, stewing in the tub. Damn near lulled to sleep by the jets, I inhaled the steam and closed my eyes. It was cold here. If it weren’t for the water, I’d be trembling. The lights were out, apart from the black tea candle flickering on the vanity. It let off an eerie glow that barely penetrated the darkness, its bittersweet perfumes filling the room.

It was 3am and he was asleep, buried beneath the duvet like a wounded animal the last I saw him. I’d been up for a while, watching him frown in his sleep; fighting the urge to smooth his brow with my fingertips. I stopped myself, thinking they’d be too cold. It was hard not to kiss him just then; but I told myself it’d be evil to disturb his sleep considering how jetlagged he was. Overcoming my fixation to read his dreams, I took a walk around the house in nothing but my briefs to make sure it was secured. Once he’d gotten here, it slipped my mind to lock everything up, since I was buzzin’ from the moment he stepped out of the car. Last thing I needed now was for some overzealous fan to hop the gate and find any trace of him here.

At the front door I looked down the walkway, recalling a hundred different times I’d watched him come and go——sometimes glad, too often mad, a time or two enraged. His storming away played before my mind’s eye so vividly, only for him to turn back and shout at me again. White t-shirts with the sleeves rolled to the shoulder. Ripped skinny jeans. Bandanas and headbands. Distressed Chelsea boots. Now wild Gucci florals barely buttoned to his midriff, billowing open to expose the butterfly——just the way he liked it. Big hats covering long, gorgeous curls. Messy topknots. Always with the Chelsea boots. The cross around his neck swinging violently anytime he gesticulated in anger.

It was hard to talk over him when he got like this

It was hard to talk over him when he got like this. It was incredibly rare that he shouted, but when he did, it was with good reason. Apparently, I had that effect on people. Always pushing him to that point; and I was probably the only one on the planet capable of upsetting him this much. It was a weird flex that gave me a front row seat to the worst sides of him, but I liked that I was exceptional——for better or for worse. He could use me for target practice for all I cared, and I wouldn’t complain a lick——long as I stood out from among the rest.

Most days he’d say a heated word or two, then he’d clam up and leave before I saw the tears. When he cried, he got red in the face first, and a vein slowly swelled at the temple. Those were the telltale signs I looked for and I knew to ease up when I spotted them. Don’t make him cry, don’t make him cry—I forever scolded myself. I couldn’t stand to see him tearing up over me. Nothing was ever worth it.

Typically, he got like this when I wouldn’t budge on my position or wouldn’t do what he wanted——‘wouldn’t break’ as he’d say. I regretted not breaking sometimes just to let him know I cared. I always cared about the things he was upset about, even if I didn’t understand how best to express it at the time. With me and emotions, I was pretty much the same; meaning I dipped before he ever pushed me remotely close to tears. I liked to cry alone and as soundlessly as possible because I hated the sound of my own sobs. It was a repulsive sound that spoke of fragility and worst of all, discomposure.

If there was anything my dad taught me well, it was the importance of self-possession. How could you expect to win an argument or be taken seriously if you didn’t have a firm hold on yourself? It wasn’t like that toxic mentality in some households where men weren’t allowed to show any emotion whatsoever. Hell no. In fact, he encouraged me to deal with my feelings and to confront the things that were bothering me in a conscientious way. To not keep things pinned up because they would ultimately affect my health. And he was a fitness freak, insisting that good physical health would help you keep a firm check on the mental.

He was a huge proponent of talking through shit and not letting it eat away at you (which I still fell short of doing despite his careful instruction.) But on the flip side, he wasn’t overly emotional either. He led by example; inspiring me to maintain composure in all things, because only then would you know how best to conquer any given situation. My dad was a mean strategist and a relentless thinker, and a lot of that had rubbed off on me. We were a quiet, dignified kind; an introspective kind, but others would be wrong to mistake our silence for oblivion. We were always involved, even if it didn’t seem we were. We liked to observe and process things before committing to speech, and in most arguments I found that this was the best practice to adhere to.

Harry didn’t like that I didn’t talk much when he was upset. He couldn’t understand I was just observing him to get a hold on what he was saying; and trying not to offend by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time while he was overly sensitive. I tended to say the wrong things when I rushed into speaking, and so whenever I stayed silent, he got the sense that I was ignoring him or being condescending.

He accused me of thinking he was crazy too; but that wasn’t the case in the least. He was one of the most rational people I knew. Super stable and well-adjusted for his age. Despite divorce, he’d come from good stock and had absorbed the best of two successful dads. That’s why I liked to be around him. He made me think beyond the now. Beyond the mundane; down the road to what was possible. And he kept me balanced; merely by possessing all the things I lacked——extroversion, congeniality, naivety, warmth, a sense nobility. My infinite——if we were one person, we’d be immeasurably perfect.

I wanted to be him when I grew up, or so I’d always thought whenever I watched his type on TV as a kid, winning souls with nothing but a smile and a carefully worded phrase or two. He had a lot of them tricks in the stash. The ace up his sleeve, so to speak. It was a legit superpower that left me wondering the last seven years how he and I could be so alike and so drawn to one another, yet so utterly different.

Even if we didn’t see eye-to-eye, he was the sort of person who could respect that we saw things differently——and he genuinely respected it too, not harboring secret contempt that we had disagreed long after we moved on to new subjects like other people I knew. And he made it a point to view things from my perspective before he gave up on any discussion. He needed to understand me just as badly as I needed to understand him, and he put the work in to achieve that at all costs.

How could I dismiss someone like that as crazy? Just because he got a little emotional every now and then? That’s nonsense. But I suppose I was guilty of having called crazy a time or two when we were younger and still figuring things out, but the truth was, his reasoning was to be admired, whether I wanted to hear the lectures or not. That old soul talked more sense than a lot of people twice his age. Gave him a worldly way of viewing things, while I could sometimes be a little narrow in my thinking. My man was a progressive, cosmopolitan, altruist, and that was wildly beautiful.

Remembering him from three years ago as I stood at the front door made my throat constrict with the threat of tears. Summer rain whet my senses as though it were yesterday. I could smell the wind that carried it from afar. Hear his fist and his rings banging on the metal door until I opened it. Felt the humidity greet me, wafting pass my face to suffocate the rest of the house. I can’t remember why he was upset. I can’t remember what day it was. It was some time in 2014, just before sunset. There were already tears streaming down his face. He’d been crying on the drive over, which was dangerous. Driving emotional was just as bad as driving drunk. In my experience, emotions could be equally as impairing.

From then on, he would hide these sorts of reactions from me and I would never see him this way again. The pit in my stomach became unbearable after seeing him like this. I needed to leave this memory before I got lost here again. I let the drape fall back in place over the window adjacent to the front door, shutting out the past indefinitely.

**********

Upstairs, in an attempt to unwind, I lay back in the jacuzzi tub and shut my eyes. There was only the sound of water, like I was in one of them old European bathing houses for invalids. There was the unchanging smell of soap and flesh. My flesh. Warm water, reviving me on a molecular level. The jets massaged the kinks out of my joints, soothing over the bruises I’d acquired in bed earlier tonight. Fortunately, I had a day or two to recover before I needed to be seen by anyone; otherwise there would be questions. My cousins wouldn’t given me a moment’s peace.

Every time we met up, he made certain to impart damage so I’d remember who I belonged to when he wasn’t around. A few hickeys down my neck, fingerprints around my arms, and now I was beginning to suffer the repercussions of the scratches along my ribs and back. They didn’t feel so sexy once they were met with hot water. The pain was searing, like I’d been flayed alive and set on fire afterwards. Wild sex was only theoretically good in the moment—like when his nails were raking every part of me in stupefying ecstasy. Great shouting orgasms; one after another. It’s like he hadn’t came in years. Who could blame him though? When it was good, it was gooood, and I needed to hear him cry out whenever I touched him the way he liked. Yet with total abandonment came total savagery, and he’d bitten me a time or two on my thighs and pecks—and that shit hurt. Marking his territory, I suppose. There was no stopping him when he got like this. But I guess there was no stopping me either.

The morning would of course see us parting again. I wasn’t ready for how he might react this time. Typically, it was absolute scenes and left me stressed for the remainder of the day. He got more angry than sad whenever the time came to part, because he didn’t like for me to see him cry; so, he just got pissed instead. Sometimes the separation hit us like a mule-kick straight to the Solar Plexus, winding us for days.

The moment he left, I knew I would spend the rest of the week sulking, not eating well, smoking too much, not wanting to speak to anyone else. It’s how it always played out. At night I’d lay awake and remember every second we’d spent together until I fell asleep. It was the only way I could sleep really, hypnotizing myself with all the dizzying memories I’d collected of him. Either that or scrolling through my phone’s gallery until I was too tired to hold it in front of my face. When I was feeling extra pathetic, I’d even kiss the screen, imaging the inviting warmth of his lips that never denied me contact.

 When I was feeling extra pathetic, I'd even kiss the screen, imaging the inviting warmth of his lips that never denied me contact

Bare footsteps padded across the tiles towards the tub, just as I began to doze. I never heard the door open. My eyes were still shut, involuntarily. My body grew heavier the closer he got, not allowing me to dislodge from this unsightly slump. I knew it was him. It had to be him. I could smell the muted remnants of his cologne wafting from his body after a bit of perspiring. He stopped to take a leak and I relished the sound of his piss hitting the toilet bowl in a loud, forceful torrent; like he was wielding a firehose.

The running water must’ve woken him up, and he was probably upset I wasn’t in bed. I sensed his movements still, each and every one, like I was stalking prey through a dense forest after dark. He was probably running his fingers through his hair or rubbing his eye. Then he was upon me, but I had yet to shift in the slightest. It was the worst sleep paralysis of my life. I prayed to God he wouldn’t shove my head beneath the surface and keep it there until I checked out. Not that I believed he would, but being incapacitated and left to the mercy of another human was one of my top three worst fears in life.

Proving me to be a paranoid idiot, he pressed his lips to mine; sleepily. It was a heartfelt caress that said: Where were you? Stolen kisses were the best kisses, and this one worked like a proper disenchantment. Soon I was free of the spell, finally able to open my eyes and see him for what he was: entirely nude and half-awake himself.

For a while all I could make out was his shifting form, then slowly his skin glowed with all the luminosity of a northern star. He kissed me all over my face, measured and contemplatively. Hungrily, like my skin was made of sugarcane. Then he asked where I’d gone. He couldn’t sleep without me. These things were whispered between honeyed kisses, and I could smell my dried saliva around his mouth from earlier.

“Grab my smokes, babe,” I breathed, shutting my eyes as his lips landed repeatedly on my temple. When he left, I exhaled shakily, meditating on the overwhelming intimacy of the moment. We were undoubtedly the only two people left on earth. This was the only inhabited place. There was no tomorrow, no yesterday, only now; only us.

He returned with the empty pack, rolling the last cylinder between his pretty fingers. I rested my head on the brim of the tub and he popped the filter between my lips, lighting it with the pack of matches from my nightstand——they were from a dodgy strip club I’d visited with Mike and Ant the last time they stopped by. With the help of the flame I saw his face with an almost supernatural clarity. His eyes were half-lidded and tired. Unfocused when they landed on me, but soon staring diligently at the tip of the cigarette. That was all I could spot before he blew the match out and tossed it into the bin beside the vanity. Now he sat bare-assed on the floor beside the tub, freezing on the tiles; lighting and blowing out the remainder of the matches one by one.

“Wasting good matches, youh are,” I remarked, taking a pull from the Marlboro and exhaling the smoke away from him.

“It’s kinda fun…” he mumbled, chin propped on the brim of the tub with a childlike listlessness.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah…” he chuckled.

“Since when are youh soh obsessed with fire, then?”

“Am I obsessed?”

“I’d say soh…first downstairs with the lighter. Now this…”

“Y’know there’s a word for that, right?”

“What’s that? Arson?”

“Pyro—…pyyyyy—uh, shit what is it?”

“It’s alright, then—”

“P-pyro—…fucks sake—” he got up and ran into the bedroom for something. I enjoyed watching his ass jiggle the entire way. When he came back, he was scrolling through his phone, then shouted, “Pyromania! Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Well, I’ll be damned…”

“Guess I’m a pyromanic now.”

“Nothing to be proud of—”

“You’re right. Probably not—”

“—but isn’t that like,” He set his phone on the sink, half-listening, then sat down. “For people who actually want to start fires all the time, though?”

“Shit,” he laughed. “you’re right again, I guess. Actually, it is. Maybe, uh…maybe I’m not that specifically, but I just like the way it looks, y’know? I could stare at it all day. But I’m not gonna set anything on fire—” 

“I know youh won’t—”

“I almost can’t sleep without a fire in the winter—”

“Or autumn. Trust me, I know better than anyone.”

I felt him staring at me so I turned my face to stare back. Dipping a hand in the water, he made idle circles on the surface in front of my chest before suddenly flicking a handful at my face.

Hazzz!” I snapped, flinging a handful back at him. His laughter echoed throughout the room, reverberating off the water. “Chill, babe!” I flung his hand out of the water and he rested his wet face on the brim of the tub again, subdued. I took another pull of the cigarette and watched the ceiling.

“Look at me.”

“Noh…”

“M’leaving tomorrow. You ought to look at me while you still can.” I looked at him right away, drowning in his eyes. When I looked down at his lips, he kissed his first two fingers and then set them to my mouth, dragging them down my parted lips.

“Is that all I get?” I asked, sitting up and shutting off the nearest jets.

“For now.”  He leaned across the tub to steal my smoke, which lay burning between my fingers on the opposite side of the brim. I slid my free hand (dripping wet) down his spine to his ass; massaging the silky curves of his flesh until I was practically hard again. When he managed to grab the cigarette, he took a big hit and blew the smoke directly into my face by accident. He laughed as I fanned it away, plumes of smoke spouting from his chuckles. Then the entire thing fell into the tub and was snuffed by the water.

Neon Red – Chapter 3

(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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When he got cold, I brought him inside to the theater where we sat unaffected in the dark and kept talking like nothing had interrupted the earlier discussion. The projector was shut off, so we were surrounded by silence, apart from our own voices. There was a funny stench in this place, which I hadn’t sat in for over a year. The seats needed to be aired. The carpet could do with a shampooing. This whole place could use a touch up actually; as it was musty and dusty as fuck.

We had taken our boots off at the door, now he propped his feet up on the back of the seat in front of us, flexing them about. His socks were slightly mismatched, but similar enough where he probably hadn’t noticed when he was pulling them on. I wanted to rub his feet and get him a cup of hot cocoa, and help him unwind, but I figured I needed to ease into things. We’d taken our coats off too, so he was slowly but surely loosening up. Our elbows were touching on the armrest, and it felt right.

Rolling Stone had offered him a cover spot, which he accepted. He would tour sometime later this year, God willing, taking on iconic showrooms he had seen his idols play. Places he had dreamed of playing his entire life—undercutting his worth in my opinion—but I respected his decision to establish an intimate relationship with his audience before he returned to arenas. In them huge places the fans all sort of faded into the background and became a bedlam of screams and flailing hair and red-rimmed eyes. Without doubt, the smaller shows would be a nice warm-up for whatever came next.

This here got me a bit down, I’ll admit,” he flexed the fingers of the injured hand. “Can’t play as much as I’d like. M’thinking about surgery later this year—”

“Oh yeah?”

“—but that might set me back a bit more.” He looked at me, hopeful I’d provide a solution.

“Better to get it o’va with before the shows start, I guess. What would they even do to it? It’s not broken is it?”

“I’ve had it looked at a few times here and there last year. Nothing’s broken really…just, uh, tight tendons or something.”

“How’d youh even hurt it?”

“Jerking off too much—” We burst out laughing.

“To be honest, that wouldn’t be the least bit surprisin’. If anyone injured their hand violently jerking off, it’d be youh, Haz—”

“Oh c’mon, mate, you jerk off way more than I do. I remember that shit—”

“Fuck off broh, youh know that’s a lie! Youh literally can’t goh a day, I’d bet.” At that he laughed and buried his face in his palm because he knew it was true. I wanted to run my fingers through his hair. His grey Carhartt beanie was begging me to snatch it off.

Touche, mate, touche…” he conceded, settling in the chair and tossing his head back over it.

“Takes one to know one, I suppose. Don’t worry, you’re not alone…my wrist is all fucked up.” I assured him. He kept on about the things coming up this year. How it would make or break his life. He wondered if the fans would think he switched up too much and choose not support his new sound; or the new look; or the new crew.

“I’m sohhh jealous, broh…I tried to get a band together a while back. It’s hard to trust people to stick around, yeah?”

“Well, sumtimes. But you, uh, just have to vet them better I find. I was lucky I guess, especially when I found Mitch—”

“Who, the pizza shop guy?”

“Yeah,” he chuckled drily, with barely concealed disdain. He hated when I called him that.

“And it was cool Adam was down, as well. You’ve been knowing him forever—”

“Almost as long as you.”

“Yeah…” I nodded. “Hey, can I be in the band? Not as a vocalist or anythin’…I know that’s all youh.” He had shut his eyes while he rested, but now opened one and looked over at me.

“What’re you bringing to the table then? No one’s paying you to stand around and look pretty.”

“I play a mean triangle, mate. Youh forgot about that?”

“Sorry, mate, Sarah’s got the percussions covered, and she’s a bit of a hard-ass when it comes to that. What else you got?”

“Shit, that’s it then, innit?” I laughed, sitting back and tossing my head over the headrest like him.

I could already see the places his career would go—more remarkable than Nolan movies even. It was only a matter of time, and he was the sort of artist who would excel more and more with age, like Elton John or Prince. Our time in the band was only a taste of the things he’d experience on his own, I was sure of it.

For some artists, boybands were a good way to become rich and famous with little unique effort. Everyone got the same rewards no matter the size of their individual contribution, sort of like taking an equal grade in a group project that one didn’t help to fulfill. That wasn’t the case for him, though. He was like one of those kids who had done all the work and had everything figured out and actually understood the assignment, but still had to split the recognition among five others who didn’t do nearly their fair share.

Not to slag myself or the other boys, because I certainly feel as though I contributed my fair share in the vocals department, but the other boys and I never really understood the assignment. Not just the band shit, but all the peripheral stuff like celebrity, networking, brand diversification and evolution. A lot of that stuff flew clean over our heads and we simply lived in the moment, totally unlike him. Haz was rarely ever a part of 1D. Most days we felt we were just a part of his breakout story.

We kicked it a while longer, remembering incriminating moments from on the road. Drudging up things that maybe needed to be addressed in therapy. We all picked up our vices over time; some of us more than others. I smoked too much—he drank too much sometimes whether he was willing to admit it or not. The sound of his laughter filled the room and made this old cavernous dungeon feel like a home again. I told him I was glad he was here, then finally got up the balls to lean over and kiss him on the cheek. The sound of it echoed throughout the theater and for a moment we paused. He smiled, looking ahead, rubbing his eye after.

I asked him who he kept in touch with, but he hadn’t spoken to any of the other boys in a while. Too much had come between them before he left, diminishing any notion of them coming together again. A reunion was out of the question. Much had come in the way, diverting them onto different paths. The deeper he was driven down this solo route, the more he realized there was no plausible return. It would be condescending for him to do so. The others had taken roads that tentatively led back to each other if all else failed and if ever they should choose to reunite, but Haz’s path would take him very far, very quickly.

Like me, when he cut ties it was tacitly understood it was not a temporary arrangement, no matter how promising the media-trained answers they were instructed to give the fans. He didn’t have the heart to tell them the truth anyway, nor did he need to clarify anything upfront. Let the chips fall where they may, and in time the world would amend its expectations and understand. That’s how most things worked out. His most loyal would unquestionably follow him wherever he went, and the fake ones would be the first to fall by the wayside, as I’d heard someone say one time.

“Sumtimes I just think,” he began, speech lazy, jetlagged off his ass. “…maybe we want too much? But then again, uh…it’s like…is it really even that? Or is it just that the band thing went so crazy, a lot is expected of uz now? And we’re afraid to do less? It will never be okay for uz to do less. Our egos are out of control. Plus, they’ll eat us alive if our albums aren’t number ones, if we don’t sell out aren’ers or our own. Right? Won’t they?”

“Mm-hm. I feel youh. I felt that a little on my own, but then eventually I was just like, fuck it, y’know? I can’t keep up with all that mindset. It’s toxic, maan. When youh think about it, like really think about it, Haz, youh don’t have to worry about impressing a single person in this world, or living up to their irrelevant expectations. I mean really, who says youh have to anyweh? That’s the power youh hold as an artist. Youh make the rules that’ll govern your career from start to finish.”

“True…”

“Make yourself proud first, Haz, honestly. That’s cliché and all, but if I’m honest, that’s where it’s at. If at the end of the day when youh lay your head down to rest, if youh are proud with the things you’ve accomplished, who the fuck can tell youh you’re not successful? Youh just gotta beat them at their own game, that’s it, yeah? Redefine what success means so that it meets your expectations and no one else’s. It’s that simple.”

Later our hands gravitated towards one another. Fingers brushing back and forth, tentatively but on purpose, making my ears burn. Now he was nervous about what lie ahead, just as I had been a year ago. Now was the time to finalize the ideas that’d been stewing in the safety of his mind for so many years. It was a scary thought, because you only had the one shot, and damn if it weren’t the most important first impression you’d ever make on your listeners. I totally get what he was feeling though. History demonstrated that no one who failed on the first album try really has any credibility for a second. In this industry, you had to get it right the first time or it’d chew you up and spit you out and piss on you as you lay in the dust.

Most of us had been planning our first solo album from the time we could hit a decent note (I remembered vividly nailing a few and my older sister telling me to shut up, that I couldn’t sing.) It was all a part of the dream to become a singer, envisioning how you’d be received by the world. What your sound would be. What your stage name would be. What your first album would look like. The title—everything. Simply everything. Now he was thinking up visuals for his concept art and looking to set up a photoshoot soon.

A while later he said he wished I could come to the premiere of his movie, but promised he’d cop me the link to stream it before it was released to theatres. It was like an editors’ copy they sent around for notes, and he had managed to gain access to it. The longer we sat there, fighting the prevailing silence, I got a sense he was pissed at me. We walked to the kitchen so I could get him that cup of hot chocolate I owed him, and he sat atop the counter while he drank it. Like an idiot I left the bag of marshmallows too close, and he started popping them into his mouth and talking with it chock full of them. The bar of Hershey chocolate I liked to shred on top of the finished drinks was nearby too, and he started wolfing the little rectangles down one by one.

“Youh not gonna save me any?”

“Nope. You don’t deserve any.”

“Youh mad at me or something?” He just nodded, setting his cup aside and swinging his socked feet.

“Why youh mad?” I asked, setting my cup on the counter and moving to stand between his legs. There, I gazed up at him, directly into his eyes for the first time since he arrived. He kept looking down, so I held his face with both hands, forcing him to look at me. “Wus wrong, babe?” His eyelids fluttered downward, just short of closing. I could tell he felt embarrassed about something.

“Hazza…?” My voice had softened, since I knew that’d get to him. “What’s up babe? Youh mad at me?”

“M’tired…”

“That all?”

“Well…you hadn’t kissed me yet—” he blurted out, beginning to pout. It was the cutest shit ever. “I been here how long, Z? You think I came all this way not to be kissed?” My eyebrows lifted in bemusement and shock. He was seriously upset with me. His cheeks were still a bit red from the outdoor walk so I couldn’t take his attitude seriously. His eyes were downcast again. I knew I had sensed something off all along, but I would’ve never guessed it was this.

“Well fuck then!” I laughed. “M’sorry, babe…I’m an idiot….don’t be mad at me.” I murmured, stroking his cheeks. “C’mere…” He was right. What the hell had I been thinking? It was our first time kissing in practically a year, so the jolt that ran through me the moment our lips touch was crippling. His tongue was sweet—super chocolatey and playful. He was going to town, tonguing the shit out of me. I could tell he was hungry—had been waiting to do this since he first laid eyes on me in the backyard. When we broke there was a visible spit line, and he was hazy eyed and smiley. Perfectly content.

“I didn’t want to rush it,” I told him, wiping my mouth with my thumb, then wiping his. “I thought it might freak you out if I jumped all over youh as soon as youh stepped foot at the house. Youh know the gate’s not that high.”

“No, you’re right. There’s no rush. We can take it slow,” He nodded, holding my chin and planting a few more rapid pecks to my lips, showing he didn’t want to let go just yet. I counted half a dozen pecks my now. His lips were softer than I remembered; his tongue sweeter. His breath smelled like Hershey and I was growing drunk on it, staring at his mouth relentlessly. He set our noses together and laughed. Now his hands were all over my ass, slipping beneath my waist band and over my briefs. He had trapped me between his legs by locking them around me and crossing his ankles. I hugged him in forfeit, resting my head against his chest as we picked up our conversation where it had left off. We rocked side to side a little and I could see myself falling asleep like this. Gucci cologne overwhelmed my senses, and I burrowed between his pecks to inhale it, full-tilt.

I asked him what he was driving lately; the question was muffled against his distressed Led Zeppelin T-Shirt. I started humming “Stairway to Heaven” just then. When I stopped, he asked me to keep going. He liked when I hummed. Eventually he told me he had bought two new cars since I last saw him, a bright yellow ’72 Ferrari and a vintage Land Rover from the 80s for camping trips. 

I stood up and fished for a jay I rolled just before he arrived, which he then took my lighter and lit for me. Eyes locked on the task at hand, he studied the tip until it caught fire and filtered down to a smolder. Then he kept playing with the lighter’s flame, swiping his fingers in and out of it. Burning a piece of plastic from the marshmallow bag. 

Satisfied with himself, he smirked, looking up into my eyes with a strange sort of detachment. Almost like he expected something. Almost like he wasn’t fully present in the moment. It was like we were strangers, but not. I felt at home with him, but also never really at ease. It was always a battle to find middle ground with this guy. And his eyes were eating me alive. The lights in the kitchen were half out, but I knew every incandescent speck of those irises by heart. Every sinuous discoloration seated deep within the jewel-like membranes. I had spent so many nights getting lost within them. Enough to know how he was feeling at any given moment, and right now he wanted me to take him to bed more than anything. He was salivating for it. I smirked ever-so subtly, letting him know that I knew. I sensed just how desperate he was for me to get inside his guts. His lids drooped in a silent plea for me to quit staring at him. I didn’t care. I wanted to fall into his eyes and make my bed in that lush, fibrous green forever. 

Now I grabbed his jaw after a few hits and exhaled into his mouth between kisses; kisses that were spilling hungrily onto his chin, his mole, his nose. We were getting more stoned on each other than what we were smoking. He started coughing, but then laughed it off. Kind of belatedly, I told him he couldn’t possibly live enough lifetimes to drive all them cars. They’re sitting and collecting dust.

“Yeah, but I like to look at ’em,” he grinned, taking his beanie off and shaking out his hair. Shit, I had forgot how short it was now. There was still a good length though, just enough for me to pull on. He squinted over at me through the smoke. I gave him a lazy wink. Sometimes he just looked a lot like his mum. Normally all I saw was Des, but around the eyes, no one but Anne manifested. I kissed his puffy red lips again and forgot about Anne in a heartbeat. He scooted to the edge of the counter so that his bulge met my belly, becoming forceful and demanding, letting me know where his mind was.

He was wearing a wacky Gucci cardigan with all these clunky embroidered appliqués and “Spaceboy” sprawled across the back. I discovered the letters when I reached around and started massaging the back of his neck and shoulders from where I stood. The design was a tribute to Bowie. I stole it immediately—at least for the duration of his visit—and the cherry on top was that it smelled like him. Well, now it smelled like weed, but I still got a few whiffs of him on occasion.

I tried it on and told him how obsessed I was, but it was oversized and the sleeves fell over my hands

I tried it on and told him how obsessed I was, but it was oversized and the sleeves fell over my hands. I looked like a kid sneaking and trying on my dad’s clothes when he was at work. We snickered as he rolled them back for me. He kept trying to unbuckle my pants, but I wouldn’t let him. It was too soon for all that. When he popped a piece of chocolate between his teeth, I surprised the shit out of him and ate it right out of his mouth. His laughter made me feel soft and summery, and I took advantage of his head being tossed back by sucking and biting his neck; lips mouthing his Adam’s Apple. His skin tasted warm and clean. He shuddered when I nibbled his collarbone, biting my way back up to nip at his earlobes.

Apparently, this particular cardigan was sold out, so there was no hope of getting one in my size anytime soon. “It’s yours,” he said, totally out of breath, but I wouldn’t dream of taking it. I knew he was just as obsessed with it as I was. Moments later we forfeited all pretense and went upstairs so he could shower. We barely made it up the steps for falling over and making out midway. The jay had been left on the counter, burned down to a blackened stub.

When he came out of the shower in a towel, I went in to undress and got freshened up a bit

When he came out of the shower in a towel, I went in to undress and got freshened up a bit. Now he was waiting for me in my bed, wearing absolutely nothing. I was looking at his underwear crumpled on the floor in the corner by the stall. He had to leave the next day—always in and out like a phantom. This was starting to feel like nothing but a super expensive booty call; but I sure as fuck wasn’t complaining. We wouldn’t link up again until his birthday, so I knew I couldn’t let this moment go to waste. It was like our first time all over again, and the thought made me bone-weary and giddy. 

I stood undressed (down to my briefs) having reapplied my deodorant and a dab of cologne. I faced the closed bathroom door; heart was raging against my chest. A weird energy seeped through the threshold and filled the bathroom air.  I could almost feel him on the other side, cock in his hand, lips parted and panting, preparing himself for me. I shut the light out and stood in the frigid darkness like a fiend, shoulders heaving at every inhale. Fuck it—I thought at last. He had come all this way just for me. Now was the time to act. It was do or die.

Neon Red – Chapter 2

(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.)

Probably a thousand times in the past five minutes, I thought about joining him in the shower. In time, my better judgement prevailed, as that would set me back hours. I was already groomed and dressed, and whenever I went there with him everything got dirty. Plus, I liked to take my time. Shower sex never ended quickly—like last night for instance, when I slipped in after him unexpectedly and we didn’t leave for what seemed over an hour. He was limping by the time we toweled off and headed to bed early for a change. He fell asleep ahead of me, nuzzled against my chest; and once he was out, I felt the warmth of his breath against my skin—one of the most gratifying things I’d experienced in recent memory. I pressed my lips to the top of his head, nuzzling his hair as lightly as I could without disturbing him.

Before drifting myself, I thought back to early January and how we collided all over again. A drunken New Year’s Eve text was all it took. He had initiated it. Something like, ‘Miss you’. Or, ‘Doesn’t feel right without you.’ My contact in his phone was ‘cheekbones’ but his contact always varied depending on what I was calling him at the time. So when ‘b’ flickered across my screen as a notification (something I hadn’t seen in months) it put an instant pit in my stomach—sort of like the feeling of free-falling.

I called and we spoke. How could I not? He was alone on a windy rooftop somewhere, teeth chattering, having slipped outside a New Year’s party in Malibu. Right then and there, he must’ve told me he loved me like a hundred times—super compulsively. According to him, it was a mistake for us to split again last February. To his estimation, we deserved to give ourselves a chance. We had been working at this long enough and deserved a proper adult try. That way if things didn’t work out, at least we’d know we once gave it all we got.

Then it was back to the I love you’s, almost as if it was all he could say—like he wasn’t sure he’d be given another opportunity to tell me. He was wasted too, the words occasionally slurring, stammering, and trailing off, but I knew what he meant. It overwhelmed me so badly that I could never keep up with that energy. Even now, weeks later, I couldn’t process what was happening, all of which had been initiated by the New Year’s call. A call I had taken with bated breath in the closet of my bedroom while G was in the next room at our own little party (attended only by her family and friends; never mine.)

The next day (New Year's Day, 2017) before I caught a flight to London for work, I went and got a reminder inked across my dominant hand in big, accusatory letters, so that no matter how much I beat myself up, and no matter how much I wanted to ge...

The next day (New Year’s Day, 2017) before I caught a flight to London for work, I went and got a reminder inked across my dominant hand in big, accusatory letters, so that no matter how much I beat myself up, and no matter how much I wanted to get down on myself, claiming I had no one to turn to except myself, there was now no way of looking past the fact that I was loved. Why had this feeling evaded me before? In all the years we’d spent together, I always thought I felt something akin to love, but never this grown-up shit; this enduring shit. Not in all my time with Pez or G combined did I feel this way. Positively nothing compared to the way I felt after that New Year’s conversation.

I had hung up and exited the closet, levitating. Enshrouded in the utter mystery love. Love, love, love, love love…I was in love with someone in a very adult way, and I suspect it had been this way for a while. And if I’m being honest, it was electrifying. I could feel it fucking with my nerve-endings; my heartbeat; my sight. My stomach couldn’t stop doing flips. It was by far the dopest shit ever. We were in love. He and I. He and I. He and I. He and I. He and I.

What now? Marriage? He’d laugh at that. A more astute question would be: Why now? I kept wondering at it all day before my London flight. We hadn’t slept together in nearly a year; since February 2016. It was now January 2017 and the mere thought of this dude made me giddy to the point of feeling fatigued. Why do I love him more now? Better yet—Why does he love me more now? After everything?

“You’re perfect”—was another thing he repeated on a loop that night. I was uncomfortable with the reverence he showed me. It forced me to respect and view myself in a new light. That was the proper kind of love, right? The bettering kind? The restorative kind? But still I was uncomfortable with worshipful affection. And I was uncomfortable walking around feeling this way without sex. Shouldn’t that be the motivating factor at the center of all this? Shouldn’t it all come back down to mere biology? Bodily chemicals and animal sensations? Otherwise, what was the source of it? To not know meant to not be in control, and that was petrifying.

The remainder of January was going to be a drag if I didn’t figure all this out. I wasn’t cut out for this soulmate shit. I was such an alone type of person, I couldn’t fathom being someone’s everything, and I couldn’t handle the idea of him becoming mine. That would lend him both opportunity and license to leave me or forget me; which I could not survive.

Love was bewildering. How much of me did it require? Last time we collided, it wasn’t proper. We’d hurt someone else badly in the process, seeking our own selfish ends, and scarred each other yet again. None of it had been planned. It had been serendipity at it’s finest, almost as if it were ordained by powers beyond our purview. This time, however, we’d be stepping off that ledge together, hand-in-hand like some sort of sordid communal death wish.

What was I supposed to tell G? No, not yet—apart of me begged. I couldn’t entertain the thought just yet, but I knew I had to let her know at some point. The talk we had last year where she decided she didn’t want to end things had nearly been my undoing. What choice did I have but to obey? Like Haz, she held the power to ruin me The mortification I experienced was downright eviscerating. It took me a while to feel normal around her again. To feel like the man; to feel worthy. Guilt ate away at me morning, noon, and night. She was dry and terse for a while, basically wanting me to grovel. And I did because I didn’t know what else to do. Assuaging her fears became my only concern. Infidelity was no joke, but the added complication of it being with a man (and a famous man at that) there was nothing I could do but capitulate.

What made her believe in us again was the sex. That was like the all-encompassing tonic that resolved everything. She needed to feel desired again. She needed to hear that I preferred her. That I was only drunk when I had been with him. I told her all she needed to hear and then some, and although the lies sickened me, it got us back to civility and my life back to normal.

This was where I could feel her trusting me again, which on some levels made me feel undefeated and illimitable. How did I hold this kind of power? How was she still here? How was she not disgusted by me? Why wouldn’t she just let go? I pressed her on this repeatedly and she only ever said, ‘I want to make this work.’ Never any whys or hows; just that she thought we could be something great; and it helped that her family adored me. So, if that outlook was enough for her, then it was certainly going to be enough for me.

With all these fresh new realizations brought on by reconnecting with him steadily jabbing me in the brain like botched acupuncture, more and more windows seemed to open for him to hurt me, to desert me, to not follow through after I had essentially given up my normalcy to be with him again. But what was my normalcy when compared to my world, which he contained? He was unquestionably my endgame.

Along with this came the realization that I’d have to officially let her down permanently. I couldn’t keep one foot in and one foot out of the door forever. A man can’t be in two places at once, as my Dad always reminded me. Was I really considering this right now? Letting her go conclusively? The notion gave me acid reflux—picturing both our families simply asking, why? She had already worn me down in the department of feeling ever since explosion in 2016—having effectively lobotomized me to the point that I thought I was incapable of love. Incapable of caring. This year, I was done tiptoeing around her feelings. I promised Haz we’d meet soon. There was nothing particular in mind really, no true timeframe mapped out since we had a way of falling into place with little effort. It would happen sooner or later, I told him, but of course he wanted sooner.

Later that week after I wrapped the shoot for the video with Taylor, he was the first person who came to mind. The first one I wanted to explain the concept to, because it was dope and I knew he’d think so too. Now we were in this weird thing where we’d agreed to see each other again, so little things like this mattered. G and I hadn’t talked yet, and in fact, she hardly entered my mind unless I was standing right in front of her. I didn’t call her about the video shoot; didn’t even have the inclination to. The guilt I thought I’d feel over carrying on with him again behind her back was nonexistent. By now, it was probably like one of them bizarre psychological mechanisms that was self-imposed to save you from yourself, like habituation or dissociation. My mind knew that if I thought of her too much, I risked revisiting the overwhelming levels of guilt I experienced last year after she found out.

The self-loathing I faced for months in the aftermath made me want to off myself. Straight up. He probably felt the same; but was left to deal with it alone (she made me change my number, but it was only a matter of time before I reached out to him again.) So maybe my brain didn’t want me reliving that pain again. Yet it also knew that I could no longer deny him or be without him for similar reasons. The thought of him being with someone else had driven me mad since the day we went our separate ways last year, and it was only a matter of time before I disintegrated without him.

Part of me was vulnerable in a way I couldn’t identify. A naked feeling of unmitigated embarrassment. Even this video shoot made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I don’t know if it was because Taylor was involved and I now felt a sense of accountability to him, but for some reason, I needed his approval for the moves I was making. Sort of like when we made love. He needed to tell me I was doing alright, which he had a way of conveying without actually speaking. We had ways of conveying things to one another that no other human could necessarily grasp.

Funny how that works; the second we get back in touch, his is the only opinion I rated. Plus, I wanted to gauge how he might’ve felt about me spending time with her. “Cool.” Was his response to the collab after we’d been talking for a while. He said he fell in love with the vocals right away. Since the video required Taylor and I to spend some time together, we got a bit chummy backstage, and I wanted him to know we were only good friends through G. Regardless, my loyalty always lied with him.

After filming, I had a few days to visit the fam in Bradford before heading back to NY in mid-January, thanks to Taryn. My thoughts played tricks on me for a while, like I was on a bad trip and couldn’t come down from the high. Straight up ill. I called him up, sweating like it wasn’t the middle of winter, and without question, without even the merest inkling of a suggestion on my part, he chartered a jet and booked it to London from LA. Twelve hour flight, at least 100K—at the drop of a hat, all for me. I had never felt more sought after in my life—it was lunacy.

An entire pack of Marlboros came and went as his flight departed and I knew he was on his way to me

An entire pack of Marlboros came and went as his flight departed and I knew he was on his way to me. Fretful of how to act when he got there, I kept replaying bits of our New Year’s conversation in my head. That morning, I sent a private car to pick him up from the airport. I met him at my place in London with a handful of hothouse grocery flowers. They’d gone limp before I got them home, but he appreciated the gesture, toying with the colorful cellophane as we made our way to the back door to get rid of his bags. After an absurd amount of hugging and resisting the urge to maul each other, we walked around the yard so I could smoke and caught up for a while.

“How’s everyone?” I asked, watching him watch his feet as he walked, kicking aside clumps of frozen snow along his path. The rest had melted and made the lawn slushy.

“Really good, actually.” He glanced to me with a sideways grin, one eye squinting against the sun. He kept his hands in the pockets of a navy Belstaff peacoat and shrugged a little. “Gem’s busy, Mum’s busy, Rob’s good. He’s doing alright, y’know? And Mum…she’s, uh, she’s helping my uncle start up the diner—remember I told you about that?”

“Yeah, youh did—”

“Just a little place at the edge of town. Gets a lot of tourists stopping in lately. He’s smashing it already, mate—”

“Oh yeah? Pretty cool…”

“I told ’em he needed to hire a barista, though. It’s a simple addition, and the coffee sales alone would cover their salary in a few months. Easy money,” he chuckled.

“For sure.”

“If I’m honest, he really only needs to pop in one of them fancy expresso makers—you know the ones. Just save the money on a new hire altogether. Learn to work it himself. You know how people are about expresso—”

“And your Mum’s involved then?”

“She’s just trying to help with the accounting and the administrative stuff for a while, till he finds a numbers guy. She’s retired y’know? Always looking to help out.” He shook his head fondly. “How about you? How’s yours?”

“Yeah, same, I suppose. Mom’s gud, Dad’s gud, the girls are gud.”

“How about you?”

“Me?”

“Yeah you,” he laughed, bumping me with an elbow.

“Shit, Haz, I dunno.” I cleared my throat, sidestepping a pile of ancient dogshit that had frozen over. “Just missed youh a lot, maan.”

“Yeah, you too.”

“How was the flight over?”

Longgg….” he retorted with a groan.

“That was wicked though…that you came all this way.”

“Think so?”

“Yeah, I do,” I said contemplatively. “We’ll make it count…somehow.”

“Hope so…”

He seemed vaguely evasive

He seemed vaguely evasive. Not enough to confront him over, but not enough to ignore either. I started fixating over every conversation we’d had since New Year’s (while he complained about the London weather) wondering where I’d taken a misstep. He chatted shit about the state of the landscaping in the yard, saying he remembered when it used to be my dream house, and now I had let it fall to shambles. I told him to quit breaking my balls because I hadn’t been there in a while to keep up with it, and there was no sense wasting the cash if no one was here to get offended by the mess. Then he said he was offended.

The snow had ruined a lot of my bizarre yard attractions; the teepee had collapsed under the pressure of built up snowfall and frost. It’s a shame because it was one of our favorite places to hide whenever we were in town during breaks in the tour. Just huddled together on a mountain of pillows, removed from every stitch of technology. Making out until we fell asleep.

He used his boot to overturn the decapitated head of my target practice dummy, which had been lodged in a hill of frozen snow

He used his boot to overturn the decapitated head of my target practice dummy, which had been lodged in a hill of frozen snow.

“You might wanna give this guy a funeral, mate” he remarked, shaking his head at all the arrow holes riddling the face. “Looks like Swiss cheese. Fuck’s sake, what’s he ever done to deserve this?” he laughed and coughed into his sleeve.

“Youh sick? Wanna go inside?”

“I guess I’m alright. It’s a little cold but it’s what I need after being cooped up on that plane so long—”

“It’s the worst, innit?”

“—yeah, my legs could use the workout.”

Cool, cool,” I replied. “Youh know, maan, he was a real fucker, that guy. I got the order to take him out…without prejudice.”

“Is that so? Mate, be honest. You were waiting to chop the head off that thing the second you bought it.” We laughed, leaving the rubbery mass to roll down into the slush.

“What’s that?” I asked when he coughed into his sleeve again. Apparently he’d hurt his hand last year during filming and now had it in a brace. “Youh never told me about that.” It was all I could do not to unwrap it and kiss it until it felt better. I wasn’t even in a position to offer a massage. We were being weird just now, lots of sidelong glances and nervous smirks. Not much eye contact that endured beyond a second. Loads of beating around the bush in our carefully dealt offerings of conversation.

Neon Red – Chapter 1

(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.)

February 2017

Hollywood Hills

The water had run cool. Two of the overhead lights were out, lending the stone the feel of an underground grotto. The walls still hissed with the steam from when I first stepped in. I liked to keep the temp just shy of boiling; that way it’d break down my sinuses and get a good sweat out of me. Draw away all the venom, like some dreadful detox straight out of the dark ages. I imagined I could watch it trickle out of my pores onto the floor to be washed away with the remainder of my impurities.

I’d been in there so long my hands were pruned. I ran them down my face and chest, and the skin on my fingers felt loose and lumpy—as if I was battling a premature infirmity. Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine” started up on the intercom and cast a spell throughout the house. I stood entranced, unable to shift in the slightest. Feet planted into the black granite on either side of the drain like I weighed a metric ton. Water spilled down my head, blinding me with my own bangs. They lay drenched and flattened against my skull like a satin veil.

Something about her cadence unnerved me, like I was listening to the articulation of a curse; or the anguished cries of an earthbound spirit. If sorrow was a sound, her voice would epitomize it. A sound like dereliction. It spoke of a lifetime of strife—adult strife, but indirectly girlhood strife. Chilling realities incapable of being formulated by a mind like mine. Our paths were not one. Our times were not the same, yet she spoke to me. Called to me in that achy timbre paralleled by nothing of this generation.

My throat twitched with what seemed misdirected emotion. I couldn’t tell if I was feeling things on my behalf or hers. In an instant, I was submerged in the hideousness visited upon a musician of her gender, race, and era. I struggled not to become enraged. I had never felt so dispirited, like nothing I did mattered. That my existence was futile—loathed even. I wanted out. I was glad I could get out. I quailed to imagine what it would be like if I couldn’t leave whenever I wanted.

My mind boarded a passenger train straight back into the 50s. I was sitting at the table closest to the stage in a dilapidated country tavern, lit only by a few sconces and an occasional candle. She was her own pianist; head sometimes bent drunkenly over the keys. Heart droning. This song had been covered a million times, but Nina didn’t just borrow anything. She reinvented; she robbed; she revolutionized. “Lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love. Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love. Listen to me, I cannot see clearly. Isn’t that he, coming to me?”

The water was cold now, almost unbearably so, yet I remained, staring down the week at the persons and places prepared to expend me. So many things looking to monopolize my time. To snatch me away from where I was—perfect peace—indefinitely. Nothing felt more egregious. I needed to be here. I needed to see this thing through—at least for a while—but life never afforded me the opportunity. “Lilac wine, I feel unready for my love. Feel unready for my love…”

Before my eyes flashed all the hours to come. Every agitated step of my way to the airport—the flight itself, wrecked by turbulence. I was deeply annoyed with the process of flying, but it couldn’t be avoided. TSA was a bitch. Boarding was a bitch, too—slow and drawn out. I always regretted not flying private the moment I had any contact with a commercial airline. Now I saw myself seated, headphones in place, zoned out. Probably listening to classical—an eighteenth-century orchestral piece—my most damning guilty pleasure.

Suddenly, I thought of the plane crashing and never being able to see him again. What if in an instant, it was all over? If tomorrow wasn’t promised, then neither was the night, or the afternoon—or even the next few hours. All I saw was his face, half hidden by the sheets, smiling up at me. Sleepy eyes and tousled hair. Dimpled cheeks. It was like watching a silent movie. It had the soundless haze of memory; one ill-defined and getting blurrier by the moment. The deeper I recollected, the more evasive his face was.Lots of these little scenes whizzed by, more than I remember ever taking in, and they moved far too quickly for me to delve into a single one. All I saw was him, again and again and again, as if I were flipping through an endless photo album brimming with stills on every page. Covering every possible space like an creepy mosaic.

Was that it then? Was that everything? Had my card been pulled? Had I done enough? Had I let him know enough? Our time together was always so brief, so stolen—so strained. Eaten away with the paranoia of being discovered or exposed. Had I taken care of him while I was here? Had I made enough room for him in my thoughts? In my contemplations of the future? Why was it so hard to picture us together 20 years from now?

As much as I’d like to assert I had done my best for him, truth was, if I died today, he would be of the least consequential aspect of my world. The very last to have a say in what became of my remains or where I was laid to rest. Cruel, yes, but I had designed it that way—kept him marginalized to the extreme in my list of friends, colleagues, and romantic partners. Cold-hearted, but necessary. It was the first time I understood the phrase: necessary evil. Sometimes I was the coldest MF he knew. Sometimes he hated me. But whether he admitted it or not, I know he also depended on me to manage the parts of us that were hard—all the ugliness he couldn’t stomach. Like leaving him in 2015 to create a window to liberate us both. I knew my exit would set a fire under him, big enough to make him call it quits as well; an idea we had toyed with occasionally (perhaps even plotted.)

There were other hard parts I had to deal with, things he couldn’t bring himself to contemplate. In death, our separation would be more abysmal than anyone else I knew, because it was necessary for it to be that way. He would be forced to attend my funeral under the guise of a distant friend. Not brother, not lover—not even a close comrade. He would be shoved to the sidelines while G and her family were prioritized; allowed to sit beside my parents and let the depth of their grief be known.

He would not be allowed to manifest such symptoms. He could not reveal his devastation like G could. Everyone would pat her and sympathize with the anguish visited upon a significant other in times as these, knowing it was an altogether different degree of loss than anyone else would experience. None would pat or commiserate with him. He’d stomach every bit of desolation until he returned home, forced to sob alone without consolation.

Icy water pounded down my face, but I was so locked in these miserable reflections, I hardly noticed. I was beginning to panic on the inside. If I died, where had I left him in all this? Adrift? Bereft of me? No place at the table. I set a shaky hand to the shower wall to brace myself. I was beginning to inhale the water. But how could it be any other way? I couldn’t even confer anything to him in my will either, least of which being my love or my regard, because if I did, they’d all know. Anyone who suspected in the slightest would then receive all the confirmation they ever sought.

Sometimes he just felt like a pariah. A thing I couldn’t come within ten feet of without destroying all I had built for myself and for my family; everything I had worked so tirelessly to acquire these past two years. Though I’m convinced this notion pained me more than it ever did him. He was so understanding—so unconfrontational. So undesirous of hurting me. He never pushed back; always conceded, always caved. However, that was nothing to gloat over, because it meant he left me to war with myself whenever I became difficult. I was the one stuck there alone—sick with my own reasoning. Sick that he never put me in the position where I ever needed to defend myself.

For me, he underpinned all things, bookending my days and entering my thoughts almost hourly for the past six years. But to them, he ought to have been nothing to me. He couldn’t even request a lousy keepsake from among my personal effects without drawing their suspicions down on him. They’d say: Weren’t you the guy he hadn’t spoken to in over a year? The guy he hadn’t mentioned in forever? He must’ve despised you? Surely you two must’ve been at odds for there to have been no reconciliation?

They would accuse him of showing up only to ease the guilt of his conscience for having not been a meaningful part of my life while I was here—utterly unaware that at times he was the only meaning in my life and had been the only reason I made it this far—

Fuck, I needed a smoke. I needed my plane not to crash. When I hopped out of the shower and toweled off, Sia’s “Reaper” revitalized me. I used his hairdryer and a few of the near-empty products he had lying around to keep my hair from frizzing. One of them smelled like petrol, so I vetoed it immediately. By the time I was dressed, The Cranberries “Linger” meandered about the bedroom as I stepped outside the toilet to check up on him.

 By the time I was dressed, The Cranberries "Linger" meandered about the bedroom as I stepped outside the toilet to check up on him

He must’ve been downstairs, since all I saw was a crumpled imprint in the center of the bed where we’d lain. I stepped onto the wooden dais along the windows—which he and I had used as a makeshift stage to pretend we were in a band whenever we were drunk—and watched as birds whizzed by out of sight. Aimless, I was. Too many converging, early morning thoughts. I was more aimless than the birdbrained sparrows who often flew directly into the glass and fell to their deaths.

“But I’m in so deep…you know I’m such a fool for you. You got me wrapped around your finger. Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to, do you have to let it linger?”

He approached quietly from behind, holding me without a word. He was quiet in the mornings, quite unlike himself. He was nude, too. I could feel everything and wasn’t complaining. His breath was in my hair. I held onto the arms that encircled me, leaned back into the body that surrounded me, and shut my eyes. This was the last of it for a while. Time to relish every mili-second of contact before he was gone again. The sinews in his arms rolled around every time he moved, and I searched for them beneath my fingertips. His strength was so intoxicating, so fortifying, so warm—my pupils slipped back into their sockets and I was sightless.

The mere thought of his size was deeply arousing—it was all I thought about. His hands, his feet, his chest—the breadth of his shoulders. The way he could throw me around. Up against the shower wall, stabilizing me, destabilizing me, bending me to his will. There was something fucked up about it. I liked the idea that he could rip all my clothes off. Or that he could choke me out whenever I pissed him off, yet would never dream of doing so. He was mostly gentle with me, and I had to beg him to so much as shove me up against a wall.

That I felt protected with him was something I took for granted for too long. I never realized the danger inherent in dating a man, and now understood how so many women could have a hard time of it. I was lucky in that he was a protector type, not a fighter. He would rather walk away from me than shout me down.

Aside from feeling safe with him, I was also invincible. Who else could protect me like this? Who else could hide me? Who could dwell in this alienation with me, discarding their outer self to accommodate my need for secrecy? He saw my greatest vulnerabilities, but never used them against me. He knew that I liked men. He knew I was obsessed with his cock. Truly, I have given him all the power. I have exposed myself in irredeemable ways. Given him all the tools necessary to ruin me, but he would sooner ruin himself. He would absolutely kill for me—kill for us, and there was something outrageously sexy about that.

We must’ve been thinking the thing, because all of a sudden, a tired whisper broke the silence. “Kill me if I ever leave you,” he said. I deserve nothing if I ever take you for granted again.” I turned my head to hear him more clearly and he kissed my ear; whispering obscene things that got me weak-kneed. He squeezed me hard around the ribs and my breath hitched. Few people saw this side of him. All my blood flooded my groin, I was half hard already. He flattened his palms against my abdomen, toying with lifting my shirt. Then his hands slipped beneath and I followed, playing with his fingers, unsure if I wanted him to do this.

“There ain’t much time,” I said, haltingly. He ignored me, slipping a hand beneath my waistband to massage my bulge over my briefs. I needed to stop this. He was lifting me through the material, working me up and down—but I doubled over and twisted away the second his hand slipped beneath my briefs. Too far. He knew I was running out of time.

“What’re you afraid of?” he chuckled lazily.

“Youh already know…” I shut my eyes, disappointed with myself for backing down. When I opened them, he was biting his lip, sniffing the hand that had touched me; rubbing his own cock with the heel of his other hand.

“You’re a sick fuck, youh know that?” I told him, agitated that he intended to take care of himself; with or without me. After a while, he left to shower and the desperation I felt watching him walk away (bare-assed, cock in his hand) and being unable to participate was profound. My guts twisted up and I got jittery with withdrawal.

I found coffee and a muffin set aside for me on the nightstand. He opted for orange juice. I drank a little of his to compensate for the morning kiss he forgot to give me. Coffee in hand and pulling on a cigarette every now and then, I stood barefoot at the glass wall that had surveilled our hedonism my entire stay, obsessing over the panoramic view of the Hills at sunrise. This view was the saving grace of this place, adding more property value than any other amenity he could list.

As for the rest, it felt too much like a clinic—and this is coming from a minimalist myself. All the surfaces were cold and sharp. Really soulless and sterile. It would be a nightmare to raise kids here, which is how my mom assessed the serious value of any house she entered. Even the parapets surrounding the open stairwell and second floor gallery were made entirely of glass. Sure, it looked sick, but it was the least bit practical. One false move and it would come shattering down.

This place also bothered me because it had the quality of being unlived in—like one of them film stages. Or like an open house model that despite being furnished simply lacked warmth. Nothing about it was distinctly him, unlike his London place which was full of relics of his remotest travels and strangest memories. Full of the mad art he was fixated with and had collected since 2013. I much preferred his London place to this one, because in a lot of ways it felt like our place.

Neon Red – Prologue

(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.)

February 2017

Hollywood Hills

Last night was a movie. The party was full of huge names and familiar faces, all smiles and incessant laughter; all imbibing. But mostly it felt like I was on the outside looking in, watching everyone teem inside a snow globe like agitated insects, unaware of me entirely. I walked the block a few times before it began (trying to catch a bit of air) observing them as they arrived. All were herded into the outdoor café of the restaurant that had been reserved for the exclusive guestlist. I studied them like a zoologist who’d newly discovered a frightfully humanoid species of apes, but ultimately remained unimpressed with my findings. 

The private after party at the house the following afternoon had been even wilder. I drank too much and could barely see straight even as I lay here over 14 hours later. Brain fog was real, and it had only begun to disseminate after a short nap. As I awakened and gauged my surroundings, much of the haze remained. Tonight was quieter and more uneventful, which suited my present frame of mind. I was doing a lot of vacillating lately, unsure of everything. And I was troubled to find that I was alone when I awoke—top five worst feelings in the human condition. There was nothing like a warm body beside you to jumpstart the day. Someone to animate a room. Breathe life into the stillness. I was too still. I needed to shake things up. The room was uncomfortably dark and uncomfortably silent. Mute and colorless, like I was experiencing the very nadir of a bad dream. Still buzzing, I was in no condition to argue if this was reality or not. As I lay sleepless and gathered myself, I figured there was no real chance of slipping under again anytime soon.

The New Year had disturbed my sleeping habits, and as I was trying my hardest to abstain from medications to get me sorted again, I couldn’t help wishing for a few drops of melatonin to ease the illness of consciousness every now and then. Some nights I petitioned whatever God there may be to tranquilize me (if only for a few hours) but he never really heeded my prayers. I think I was hungry too, which always made it difficult to stay asleep after I’d fallen.It was well after midnight, as the massive view from the master suite illustrated for me, and I felt the sudden urge to write, but couldn’t gather my thoughts long enough to put pen to paper. 

I kept remembering the party, since it was the inaugural public outing in a long list of them to come for the new year. Lots of carpets. Lots of obligations. Lots of countries. I shuddered, slipping a hand under my shirt to rest on the warmth of my stomach beneath the sheet. It was the most self-comforting thing I could think to do. My other arm was flung over my face in a half-hearted resignation.Flashes of leering faces played across my mind like vintage home movies. The footage was grainy, despite being recorded mere days ago. Insects flickered around the lights in these faint recollections. The weather had been ok. Nice for a nighttime get-together. A bit chilly for LA, but it was winter after all. As I perused the best images of the night in this disturbing little mind movie, I couldn’t help but conclude I didn’t miss the company or their small talk or the ceaseless voices seeping from within the reel after I’d shut it off and my thoughts had gone black.

I looked over at my phone on the nightstand and it was all of 3AM. Why the fuck was I awake? I was parched from the alcohol, which refused to leave my system, so I convinced my body (completely leaden) to carry me downstairs for a bottle of water. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be, so there was no coercing him to get up and grab it for me.

As I rounded the last step on the open stairwell, feet hitting the chill concrete (a familiar sensation) the yard greeted me in all its glory since the shade hadn’t been drawn over the floor-to-ceiling windows of the principal wall. Typically it gave the space a breathable indoor-outdoor vibe, but at the minute it was an unlit void; just plain eerie.

He was planted on the sofa, doing precisely what I’d considered doing only a moment ago; writing. Except, his head was cocked back over the couch and he had dozed off mid-sentence—mouth parted. His snores seemed to be the only sound around for miles. I went to him through the alien domain of early morning where everything was cloaked in shadow, and removed the pen from his hand. He came to slowly, eyeing me like he couldn’t tell if I was real or not.

“Hey…” he whispered, squinting to see me more clearly. All the lights were out behind me because I’d forgotten to turn them on. He’d been using the light from the open window to write, but the night had gone cloudy and the darkness surrounding us was intolerably black.

 He'd been using the light from the open window to write, but the night had gone cloudy and the darkness surrounding us was intolerably black

“Z?” he rasped.

“Mm-hm,” I nodded, straddling his lap.

“Y’sure?”

“Yeah, it’s me…”

“Hey baby…” he sighed, wrapping his arms around my waist; crushing me so tight I thought my ribs would crack.

“Ready to goh to bed, then?”

Mmm…” he groaned, burying his head in my chest. I dug my fingers into his hair, still coming to terms with how short it was. He looked like a different person.

Hazza, Hazza…” I breathed dreamily, half asleep myself (unsure of how I had made it down the stairs without tripping and falling face-first.) I felt so heavy and lazy just now. “Let’s goh upstairs, babe.”

“M’not done,” he muttered.

“Finish tomorrow.”

“No.”

Yes.” I pulled his head back with two fistfuls of hair so that his eyes met mine. “Youh still drunk?”

“Think so…”

“It’s been like a day, though…”

“Mm…” his eyelids drooped and he looked completely wasted. Vivid green irises peered out from beneath, seeming to house their own light, like they’d stored it up from the sun throughout the day. They watched me flatly and insensibly, like two cold emeralds. I wished they were alive and registering all that they saw, but I knew I wouldn’t get that again until he was sober.

“Haz? Youh hear me, babe? Sober up, okay?”

“I am…”

“Noh,” I planted a quick and noisy kiss to his mouth. “…you’re not, babe. Gotta be sharp today, remember? You’re finalizing everythin’.”

“What day is today? Saturday right?”

“Noh, Friday. It’s after midnight, so technically tomorrow is Saturday.”

“Fuck’s sake…I’m so confused.”

“Yeah youh are…” I laughed.

“I wanted it to be Saturday.”

“Youh already lookin’ past today? Why youh worried about Saturday, huh? Big plans?”

“No, just a few meetings…lunch with the label. I like Saturdays,” he cleared his throat. “They’re my lucky day.” He was talking nonsense. “You?”

“Yeah, noh, same. Few things to get sorted, but I guess it’ll be an alright day. But I wanna see youh again before I goh, yeah?” At that, he squeezed me.

“You’re not going back to New York. It’s not happening.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“M’sorry. Gotta goh, babe. At least for a while. Youh’ll be there soon, yeah?”

“Eventually. Not soon enough.”

I kissed him again, toying lazily with his tongue. He tasted like Listerine. He grabbed my ass with both hands, squishing it absently before slinking them up the back of my shirt in search of my heat. When he found it, he sighed against my mouth, pressing his fingertips along my spine. Then his palms ran up and down the length of my back, scratching it until I shivered and broke the kiss with a laugh.

All I could think was how much I would miss him in the coming days, despite the fact that he was still right there in front of me, digging his nails into my flesh like he was scared I’d run away. So much would keep us apart for a while. Both of our plates were pretty full at the moment. My only offering was the video I’d filmed and edited for him yesterday, hoping the acoustic version of my latest single would tide him over until we met again.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’d be busy attending the Clive Davis gala (without him there to unearth all the memories of our reunion last year) then the Grammys themselves, and eventually a Billboard event before I returned to NYC to link up with G. He, however, had the album drop approaching, as well as the Dunkirk premiere, on top of lots of minor obligations riddling his schedule in between. We would be strangers for a while, unless one of us surprised the other and canceled a few things to make time. There was just no room to breathe, except for right here right now. But during the day, his place in the Hills became a madhouse, and if I didn’t want to get exposed, I needed to take my leave before the afternoon arrived.

This year was about to eat him alive (if 2016 had been any indication for me) but it would ultimately be a rewarding whirlwind that I wanted him to experience every second of. This was the year he took the world by the balls and reminded them of who he was, and he needed to be sober for it to progress as planned. He needed to be mindful and present, the importance of which I always tried to impress upon him.

“Don’t want youh to miss anythin’…” I whispered, mostly to myself. I was glad he couldn’t hear. It was a half-baked sentiment that would’ve seemed out of context if he’d picked up on it. I just liked to speak my thoughts sometimes, in hopes they’d come true. I’d given him a little break from sober living this week because it was his birthday, and he didn’t want to be a killjoy at his own party where he had been forced to take a dozen toasts, but now we were back to business and I needed him to sober up.

Even though I couldn’t join him openly at the cafe the other night, I’d gone with him to Malibu and stalked the neighborhood until he had made the rounds, rubbing elbows with his endless roster of celeb friends and industry darlings. Then I took him home for a private nightcap which spilled into the afternoon of the following day. Meaning, we were drunk off our asses and making love in the living room in plain view of anyone who approached the house. We’d gotten messy with his favorite tequila and later a smorgasbord of greasy Mexican takeout. It was our ideal kind of morning and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

“Hi, baby,” I breathed, gazing down at him as he struggled to stay awake. The only response was a flutter of his eyelids. Then he grinned up at me like he was trying to weasel out of a parking ticket. The eyes did all the talking. Sick eyes, I always thought. Cat eyes—as wicked as his smile. Arresting to the extreme like the rest of him. He captivated me anew every day. There was never a lack of things to observe and understand about him, like a kaleidoscope that continuously magnified his being into infinity.

He knew how dangerous that smile was and used it against me whenever I was upset with him. Dimples and all—he was way too self-adoring and well aware that those cheeks were the most irresistible part of him. But the eyes had me. As far as I was concerned, they could administer healing to the sick, facilitate long-standing peace in the remotest and most war-torn corners of the world, and exonerate him of murder in spite of the most damning indictments. The eyes were key, and I could never forget them no matter how long I’d been away.

They housed in them all the things he could never seem to convey. Sometimes he got too in his head when it came to saying how he felt, so every now and then he’d quit mid-sentence. Usually when he was speaking with someone unwilling to let him take his time to articulate. He still got really nervous when he spoke to me sometimes, even though we’d been at this thing a while now. Whenever that happened, he usually resorted to texting me lyrics or sending emails in hopes they could speak for him. I had to learn the hard way to listen to him through his music. It’s where he was the most open.

Leaning in to kiss his pretty, puffy lips, I exhaled into his mouth. It all felt too good to be true. We were us again. After everything, we were still us. 2017 had ushered in a new realm of understanding. I was beginning to grasp that no matter what stood in our way, we would always be who we were when we were alone, and not an ounce of that could be diminished by external forces.

He welcomed my tongue with renewed vigor; becoming vocal. He always hummed when we kissed, savoring every ounce of any contact we made. Touching was his drug and he needed that fix often, even when we were doing something as innocuous as having dinner or watching a movie. Some part of him always needed to be in contact with some part of me. Elbows bumping. Arms pressed together. Head to shoulder. Hand on my thigh. Fingers interlocked. Feet intertwined underneath the table or beneath the sheets. He couldn’t go without some version of it, and I was happy to oblige.

Kissing was his thing too. Long, slow, and sensual (like in the movies.) I never kissed anyone the way I kissed him. With others, kissing was a chore. A cold peck here and there throughout the day. An emotionless, ancillary part of sex. But with him, it was a necessity; and it became my favorite thing to do.

I was just worried about keeping him happy. The more vocal he became, the more I was sure I’d done my job. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t love it when he whimpered. It reminded me he was mine. That he needed me, despite how big he got, despite how sought after he was; despite how many Hollywood circles he navigated without me. At the end of the day I was still the only one who could make him weak. He was small for me and needed me to protect him, to hold him, to always be around. Only me.

Now he rose with me in his arms, locking my legs more firmly around his waist, and carried me up the stairs to the bedroom despite my protests. I laughed when our noses bumped, lifting my brows and gazing at him with all the love I could stomach. He was only half-coherent, and this is when he talked his craziest. He told me all the things he was getting ready to do to me, and had I been standing, my knees might’ve gave.

“Promise?” I whispered with a drowsy half-grin.

He went on, becoming more graphic as I egged him on; and I shivered with an eagerness to be undressed and spread apart. There was nothing better than when he got like this. Raw, forward, and unforgiving in his pursuit of me. I pressed my lips to his temple, mumbling how much I loved him, how much I needed him; breathing in his nighttime musk.

There was nothing left to say, there was only left to be. He and I. He and I. The night always felt unending. I was the least bit concerned about the sun coming up when we were together. The morning usually meant separation, and though he’d snuck out of bed after I fell asleep earlier, the last thing I was willing to do was let him go again.

Harry, Harry, Harry, I thought. His name answered every unvoiced question. He was all things familiar. All things good. He was my old and my new. My beginning and my endgame. With him, I didn’t have to talk all the time, and he didn’t bother to make me speak because he knew what we had transcended any and all convention. It lay beyond words, beyond conception; until there was nothing left to convey or be understood.

Upstairs we got in the shower and made out until we were out of breath. Water got in my eyes, so I shut them and let him take over. I hummed Tony Bennett’s “The Way You Look Tonight” while he washed my hair. He tried to join me, but didn’t know the lyrics well, so he laughed his way through them. After we dried off, I wrapped a towel around my waist and smoked a Marlboro on the terrace, watching the way the night sky seemed to surrender to the day.

I saw my time with him slipping away before my very eyes, measured by the return of the light. The wake-up calls would commence soon, from his team and mine. I crushed the filter in the tiny hotel ashtray he’d stolen for some reason months ago, and blew the last remnants of smoke from my nostrils like an angry despot.

Later he walked up behind me and presented two glasses of whiskey (mine on ice.) It wasn’t his typical choice, but it had been a birthday gift from a new friend and he wasn’t particularly wasteful.

“Bottoms up.”

“Again, babe?” I asked. “What happened to sober, remember?”

“Mate, c’mon, what do you want from me? It’s our last night.”

“And?”

Annnd, don’t give me shit, alright?” He was already so wasted. His eyes were only half-open. “It’s just to help me sleep.” He grabbed my face and squished my cheeks together, kissing me all over until I relented.

“You’re soh annoyin’…”

“Yeah, but you love it. I won’t sleep with you here otherwise. I miss you too much when I’m sleep.” We toasted and drank and he finished his one gulp. I sipped mine for a while before he took it from me and swallowed the last drop.

“I was drinkin’ that?!” I slapped him on his bare belly with the back of my hand (he was stark naked as usual.) He growled and lifted me again, carrying me back inside and shutting the sliding door with bang. He lay me across the mattress and climbed atop, burying his face into the crook of my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed his jaw. Biting his neck, his earlobe. His skin tasted sweet and salty from a faint post-shower perspiration.

His voice drawled on about what he’d been writing and I thought I could listen to him drone forever. I took pleasure in the way his heavy voice vibrated the bed, and the way I could feel it in the pit of my chest.

“It’ll be alright,” I said quietly. He was nervous about the album drop and kept switching around the title and tracklist every few hours; running loads of random titles by me. I vetoed everyone except his name. I thought it was perfect for his debut. He could lead with his name because it had always been an entity unto itself, well established in Hollywood before the band ever parted ways. Beyond that, he wouldn’t let me in on the thing. I was too close to the subject matter. He wouldn’t let me hear a single tune or melody no matter how much I begged. He wanted it to all be a surprise when the time came, because so much of it dealt with the time we were apart.

Jamaica helped a lot, which he told me a while back, thanking me for the recommendation. When filming had wrapped in France and he returned to LA, I was right in the beginning stages of making the move to NYC. At that point we still hadn’t seen each other since the second split in February earlier that year. From there in September 2016, he took off for Port Antonio. The exact place I had visited a few months before in June, creating a vibe in the studio with my cousins and a few producer friends. We’d gotten high every day; sometimes twice a day. Pigging out on the local cuisine, listening to local artists and attending parties with perfect strangers. Dark, sweaty rooms. Smoky dancefloors full of unintelligible shouting. Jamaica was a lit.

He’d gotten there a few months after me and stayed in my villa with a tight knit team of industry specialists. He said he had gotten out everything he’d put off since February because of filming, which had interrupted his writing at the beginning of the year. Beyond that, I got no inside information as to what took place or what he had gained out of his experiences there. Everything remained a mystery to be unveiled in May, and he was filming a documentary to make sure there’d be exclusive insight into the Jamaican getaway.

From the sound of it, I had cause to worry. I think the footage would prove to be a form of punishment for me, detailing what he had gone through both in 2015 and again in late 2016 when we were apart. Already I had left him twice now, and I was hella nervous to get a glimpse into what was like without me.

To my dismay, we hadn’t been in touch a lot after Dunkirk. We’d kept our distance after the big blow-up with G earlier that year. Rightfully, she’d taken a long time to be alright with me again. I’d given her major trust issues and now she felt a little insecure about what she could offer me. I guess she didn’t understand how separate those things were in my mind. That one had nothing to do with the other, and that there was no need to compare. But her heart was fragile and her worries wouldn’t abate on my word alone.

I, however, was just confused. Depleted, torn—pulled in two polar opposite directions. There was no room for myself in my own head, since I constantly concerned for other people. Lately it was like my heart was in a never-ending battle of tug-of-war, and my arteries threatened to explode at any moment.

Theoretically, my life would be so uncomplicated if I just stayed away from him for good. But I missed him all the fucking time. Sickeningly so. Having had him for that brief spell in 2016, only for him to be ripped away again felt like I’d broken the same bone twice, and any chances of it healing were out of the question. The broken ends had fused together improperly and rendered the whole thing of little use. What good was my love to anyone? I was no good at it. I’d fucked it up so many times in the past. Who wanted it anymore? It was ugly and twisted and had depreciated beyond any modicum of value. So had my word and my credibility.

I wanted to call off our second break-up in 2016 and get a one-way jet to France to make love to him on set (just the way he had begged me to.) But each time I looked at G, I couldn’t help but feel I at least owed it to her to try. That was the decent thing to do. Avoid self-indulgence at all costs and make penance for what I’d done to her. Try and honor my previous commitment, whatever the hell that may have been.

Harry had erased everything to do with her the instant he reappeared at that gala. Even so, I knew I still needed to try, even if it came down to pretending. And I owed it to myself not to make the same mistakes over and over again. They said that’s a sure sign of insanity. To keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. But hell if he and I weren’t the epitome of insane.

After about an hour of him venting his fears for the coming weeks, we made out some more and lay facing each other across the center of the mattress. Pillow-talk was still our go-to, even after all these years. Always in the dead of night when we should’ve been asleep. I could imagine us doing this exact same thing in 20 years’ time. A little older, a little more grim. Our faces aged and our voices a bit more distinguished. Every time we were ripped apart, coming back together felt like we got to relive our first time again and again. I wondered how many ‘first times’ we’d have in the future.

He was asleep now, sprawled out beside me spread-eagle. All talk and no play. He hadn’t touched me after we got in bed. Too drunk and exhausted, I presume. I pulled a sheet over him and stepped back on the balcony for another smoke. Twilight kept me company, assuaging me with its tranquil tints. I flicked through my phone and Googled my name, along with March 2015. I did it from time to time to revisit the headlines and see how far I’d come.

After I left, I’d read the news obsessively, keeping up with every tiny thing involving the band because it meant keeping up with him. At his urging, the hiatus was approved mere months after my exit, then he left to follow me (still unsure whether I would accept him or not.) He sacrificed for me, yes, but most of all he waited. I was confident he would wait for the rest of his life while I figured my shit out. And when I finally returned to him, I’m convinced his love for me wouldn’t have waned in the least.

In the traditional sense, we were the slightest bit complementary. Not on paper like G and I, and no more ideally in practice itself. I know this got to him more than it should have. I tried to tell him he and I were attuned on a cosmic scale, one incapable of being understood from a finite perspective. We couldn’t understand the thing that brought us together, because it was not of this world. We only knew that whatever lie between us was meant to be, in all it’s appalling incompatibility.

I liked to think he and I were diverging opposites that depended on each other to keep the world afloat. Our separations mattered just as much as our togetherness. It was all about balance. Yin and yang. Fire and ice. Oftentimes like oil and water, repelling each other for the common good of the people in our vicinity.

G may have garnished my world and made me look presentable public-facing; understanding my keenest anxieties despite being powerless to alleviate them. But he was my serotonin. The center of my gravity. He was more me than the carbon and oxygen that comprised my flesh. Our love was changeful, yes, but it was real. As mercurial as the brimstone that filled the livid bowels of the Earth, but it was eternal.

We were that which burned deep and unseen. Unfelt by the common or the mindless or the mediocre. We were that which could not be confined, even by each other. He was not my soulmate—he was my soul. He and I were each other.

Please don’t forget to VOTE for the story! ❤ Thank you for reading!

Does Alessandro Michele Know?

Harry and Gucci (one of the world’s predominant Italian fashion houses) are apparently a match made in Heaven. Like many other celebs, Harry has done wonders for their marketing campaigns (arguably the most impactful celeb partnership they’ve had based on social media numbers alone) such as bringing them a more youthful consumer base, getting them millions of likes on Instagram, and making their clothes look wearable.

However, I can’t confidently say they’ve done much for him in return, apart from fattening his bank account! I don’t necessarily feel they’ve elevated his fashion game a whole lot. Evolved may be a better word, by virtue of customizing some interesting pieces for his special events, which he has showcased alongside the eccentric (often outlandish) stylings of Harris Reed.

Lol Harry got this look from Harris and was probably like: “Uh….I don’t think you understood the assignment…I’m not in the opera, mate.”
I actually despise this look so much, wow. What is he gonna wear next? A parachute?

I’ve been vocal about them pressuring Harry to become increasingly more eccentric in his dress as the years go on, which has often gotten Harry insulted publicly (I remember Harris Reed admitting Harry told him to tone it down when he wanted him to wear a cape one time) and sometimes I just feel his experimentation with these more elaborate costumes isn’t always extending from his personal taste (SOMETIMES.) But I do support his dressing how he likes (wear a parachute all you want, love) and I love that he is supporting his designer friends and making their dreams come true at the same time. He’s such a sweetheart.

Good lord. Yah, he’s not compensating for anything at all. Yikes. If I see Harry in this next I swear to God…

Imo, some of Harry’s most questionable looks have been custom Gucci. That’s not to say that he doesn’t look stunning 99% of the time, or that Gucci haven’t given him some immaculate looks, like this one from the Lights Up video:

But there are a few times they fell short of the mark and did Harry no favors in my book. Although Harry Lambert may also be a fault for this. Literally going so over the top that it takes away from his natural, effortless beauty and physical form.

I feel like this would’ve looked better if it was a bit more fitted, but what the hell do I know? I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention. I’m so broke I can’t even spell Gucchy.

However, Harry can make most things look phenomenal. I believe he elevates a lot of boring retro pieces to another level and makes them passable. Such as his Gucci Brit Awards looks!

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 11: Harry Styles wins the Mastercard British Single award for Watermelon Sugar during The BRIT Awards 2021 at The O2 Arena on May 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by JMEnternational/JMEnternational for BRIT Awards/Getty Images)

In any case, this is not a Gucci critique post. Let’s move on. And let me be clear, I respect Harry’s fashion choices and applaud his risk-taking. I just hope he’s not being pressured by his designer friends or the public to constantly push the boundaries with his style. I hope it comes from an authentic place within himself and not because he’s trying to please others.


Harry’s love affair with Gucci began sooner than some may think. Most notably he began wearing some of the collection’s riskier looks in 2015. (I love these, btw!!) Unfortunately he got a lot of flack about the white floral suit, but he still stands by his decision to wear it, and I stand with him on that.

Right away people realized he seemed to be captivated by the style of Alessandro Michele, the mastermind and new openly gay creative director of Gucci (since January 2015, although he had reportedly been with them since 2002.)

This is where people begin to see the connection loud and clear. Then they began to espy that some of Harry’s quirky tattoos may have inspired the images in Alessandro’s early “Blind For Love” campaign. Alessandro was credited with ushering in a new era of rebirth and revolution for Gucci, transforming the sophisticated, minimalist aesthetic of the brand into one that was highly embellished (maximalist) and fit for younger generations.


Before everyone accuses Harry of sleeping with this guy (**eyeroll**) just because he is openly gay and they are close friends, let me remind you Alessandro is in a long-term relationship with his partner, Giovanni Attili.

Ok, wait, why do they look alike?

Also, Harry is not the first celeb to become Alessandro’s pet. There are many others, especially Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto.

Met Gala 2018
Oh no, not Jared Leto looking like them too! What if harry grows his beard and hair out like this? Please no, wait.
We’re doomed. This will be Harry too in 3 years. Mark my words.

Jared Leto is probably dying inside like: “You young, handsome, charismatic bitch, how dare you replace me with your flawless skin and flourishing music career!” I’m getting HEAVY Winona Ryder (Beth) vs Natalie Portman (Nina) in the Black Swan vibes 🤣🤣 bahahahaha

I digress. I apologize.


PAGE TWO: CONFIRMED CREATIVE CONNECTIONS

Golden (By Harry Styles)

Zayn’s “Golden” is about departure, reassurance, and enduring love. Harry’s “Golden” is about reconciliation, need, and hope. With centerpiece songs like “Intermission: Flower” and lyrics in Zayn’s “Golden” about his love for Harry only growing, it’s clear they had unfinished business to attend to, and Harry was encouraged to pursue their relationship after the band.




Yellow-Metal = Gold. It’s simple really. There is only one plausible reason Zayn chose to refer to himself (not just his rap title but also himself) as Yellow Metal. He was 1000% adopting his role in the Green & Gold unit, but also more specifically, he was adopting Harry’s latest term of endearment for him: Golden.

In Zayn’s “Golden” from 2016, he refers to their love (in vague terms) as being golden. However, in Harry’s “Golden” (his 2019 response to Zayn’s) he tells his lover that THEY are golden. Hence his excessive use of the color yellow (gold) during the promo of Fine Line:

Hence Harry saying “yellow” twice in his Beauty Paper Magazines interview:

Zayn = Gold This is something we’ve always known and have always called him. LITERALLY Green & Gold. Now all of a sudden we have Zayn calling himself Yellow Metal, straight up. You know, everyone (including some Larries and other non-Zarries) conceded that From The Dining Table could be about Zayn because the lyrics were so spot-on and obvious. So this time, Harry made it beyond clear for us all, yet people are choosing to ignore it.

Once we understand that Harry’s “Golden” is by far the most direct and undeniable Zarry proof there is, gifted to us straight from the horse’s mouth in 2019, only then can we truly appreciate what this song means, and how courageous an offering it was on Harry’s part.


Vulnerability reigns here, first and foremost, as Harry admitted in his Beats 1 interview with Zayn Lowe. (22:30)

He said as soon as he wrote it, he instinctively knew it was Track One. He even said it’s the perfect PCH song (Pacific Coast Highway is a highly scenic stretch of road in California) and that when he cruises down the PCH, he listens to this song.

She actually made an appearance in Chapter 37 of This Thing Upon Me when he was writing “Sweet Creature” in the car! 🙂

Harry is so sentimental. Him doing this is such a heartfelt sentiment when you think of how inextricably this song is tied to Zayn. It’s almost like he’s imaging them together in this beautiful tranquility. He wanted and needed “Golden” to be first up on the tracklist, and this is a far greater indication of who the album is about than an admittedly unrelated voice-note admittedly tagged onto the end of a finished song in post-production.

For me, the placement of this track informs the listener precisely who and what this album will address. It’s about Harry’s quest to find himself, and in the process hopefully regain Paradise Lost. Paradise = the man he loves without limit. His world. His absolute muse.

“Flanked by fields of sunflowers, hand in hand we walk. As the gentle sound of nature surrounds us while we talk. The sunflowers give the scenery a warm and golden hue….a garden winds around the house and daisies poke through grass… Imagine someone loving you that much. You can’t. You simply can’t.

Side Note: Gigi likes to call Zayn her “muze” and I find that laughable. In what way is he her muse? From what we’ve seen, she doesn’t truly understand that notion, nor does she execute it in any convincing way, which Harry has done since he was at least 18. For her it’s just another wannabe-cutesy thing to comment on social media to have people fawn over their relationship. There is no meaningful substance to that claim.

She is a poser when it comes to pretending to be obsessed with Zayn (trying to mimic Harry’s passion) and nothing bears that out more than the way Harry has truly sacrificed and capitulated for this man for nearly 10 years (including watching him be with other people in public, and resorting to his art to express how he feels about him. That is bona fide unconditional love. A notion Gigi clearly struggles with, since her support of Zayn is selective at best, and her relationship with him is a glorified transaction—an exchange of questionable currencies.)


PAGE TWO: MORE “ZAYN” EASTER EGGS

“You” – Zayn Leaked Song

Whelp, looks we have another leaked Zayn song. You know, I could get used to this lol. I love new music, especially from Zayn! I can’t get enough of his voice (and I suppose it goes without saying that I prefer his version to Troye’s, although I adore Troye so much!)

Apparently down below we have a demo Zayn made with Ellie Goulding for the song “You” recently released by Troye Sivan. Once more we are faced with the same questions: Did Zayn write this song? Why did he pass on releasing it? Who is leaking this stuff? Should we thank them?

Sure it’s a leak so it should be frowned upon, but also, it’s not necessarily taking money out of Zayn’s pocket since he doesn’t plan on releasing it. It’s basically just a nice bonus track for his fans to have between his albums. On some levels I think Zayn may even be releasing some of this stuff himself. And ultimately it’s interesting to see how much material passes through other artists hands before being released by your favorite musicians.

I would love to hear some of Harry’s old demos too! I can imagine he must receive tons of stuff every month, and leaves it piling up somewhere since he’s so selective and doesn’t worth with other teams. Producers are probably dying to work with him or have his voice for their songs.

C’mon Harold. Be a good person and leak some of your old demos! Stop being so selfish all the time!

As always, thank you to the people who brought this information over and dropped it in the Discussion Post! You all rock! 🙂


Troye’s Official Release:

Zayn’s Demo: (Listen On 2x Speed)

Zayn’s Demo Sample On Regular Speed:


Lyrics:

All I see is, is you, is you
Oh, you

How could you ever leave me without a chance to try?
How can I be sorry if I don’t know the crime?
I should be mad, ’cause you never told me why
Still, I can’t seem to say goodbye

Ooh, yeah
When I try to fall back, I fall back to you (yeah)

When I talk to my friends, I talk about you (yeah)
When the Hennessy’s strong, all I see is you, is you, is you, oh you (ooh)
Yeah, ooh (yeah)
No, I haven’t moved on, but trust me, I’ve tried (yeah)
If I give you a call, don’t hang up the line (yeah)
When the Hennessy’s strong, all I see is you, is you, is you, oh you

I’m good at overthinking
But I haven’t even got this far
All I know is that my mind is
In the back seat of your Corvette car
You got me at my baddest (baddest)
And you got me ’round your fingertip
Should be fed up with your bullshit
But everything about you, no, I can’t resist

How could you ever leave me without a chance to try?
How can I be sorry if I don’t know the crime?
I should be mad that you never told me why
Still, I can’t seem to say goodbye

When I try to fall back, I fall back to you (yeah)
When I talk to my friends, I talk about you (yeah)
When the jealousy’s strong, all I see is you, is you, is you, oh you (ooh)
Yeah, ooh (yeah)
No, I haven’t moved on, but trust me, I’ve tried (yeah)
If I give you a call, don’t hang up the line (yeah)
When the jealousy’s strong, all I see is you, is you, is you, oh you

Is you, oh, you
Is you, is you, oh, you

I see your face in every stranger, everywhere I go (everywhere I go)
I hear your voice in conversations, every word you spoke (every word you spoke)
Nearly blocked you on my phone about a thousand times
Yeah, I know I should say goodbye

Yeah, I know I should say goodbye

Ooh, yeah
When I try to fall back, I fall back to you (yeah)
When I talk to my friends, I talk about you (yeah)
When the Hennessy’s strong, all I see is you, is you, is you, oh you (ooh)
Yeah, ooh (yeah)
No, I haven’t moved on, but trust me, I’ve tried (yeah)
If I give you a call, don’t hang up the line (yeah)
When the Hennessy’s strong, all I see is you, is you, is you, oh you


Harry & David Holding Hands

Oddly, I was under the impression that My Policeman had wrapped filming a while ago. But it looks like they haven’t wrapped just yet! Good for us!


Harry was spotted arriving in Venice, Italy on June 14, 2021, and boy, he didn’t disappoint. He looked stunning as always, providing us with a bunch of effortless thirst-traps (which were basically just candid stills of him merely existing.)


Then today (June 15, 2021) came the real juicy stuff. Harry is filming with David again, but alone this time and in a romantic setting. Venice, Italy. (*heart sputters*) I don’t think any of us were prepared for this!

Harry looks positively delectable! Gosh he is impossibly gorgeous…

David looks so elegant and regal. What a King fit for Prince Harry!

They were even holding hands on the boat!!

**swoons**

You’re not prepared for this part!


Ugh, I can’t take it. If we get a kiss between them today on the streets I will screammmmm!!

He’s being such a gentleman and an angel with David. I bet they fall in love. (**sighs softly** RIP Zarry and Holivia)



Would love to know what you’re thinking about all this. Especially the handhold and the video of them walking arm-in-arm. I’m so soft right now, I can’t deal with this.


No, not like this…I’m not ready yet.

Bella Hadid’s Friend Attacked Zayn

I know we’ve delved into this at length over on YouTube, and discovered that the guy who attacked Zayn in the early morning hours of 6/4/2021 was none other than Daniel Chetrit, Bella Hadid’s DJ bestie.

Something reeks about this situation, but I can’t quite put my finger on it yet (not that I particularly want to.)


I’m bringing all this up again because there are a lot of conflicting theories revolving around this incident, from people saying it was a setup by the Hadids, to them saying this guy has blackmail on Zayn and was trying to get money out of him in the video, to them saying this guy caught Zayn with another man at the bar and that’s why he acted the way he did. Some people even believe Bella is currently mocking Zayn and the situation on IG with some of her recent posts. Pretty wild stuff, right? I just want to know what you all think at this point.

I don’t personally lean towards any theory in particular at this time. All I know is this POS DJ is Bella’s friend and he attacked Zayn very publicly. Where was the discretion? Where was the maturity or resolving things behind closed doors like adults? How did it get to the point where they were about to brawl on the streets, and Zayn took his shirt off? This dude seemed enraged, and he disrespected Zayn in front of his peers; even threatening him physically. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??? I simply cannot fathom what would’ve driven him to do this, other than him being drunk or there being some sort of trouble between Zayn and the Hadids behind the scenes. This guy did not do this out of the blue, there had to be a reason.

Lately I noticed everyone kept talking about this night and the theories surrounding it on the Discussion Post, so as usual I thought I would make a separate post for it so that all the latest theories and ongoing dialogue can be contained in one place. Sorry it took me so long to make a post about this, but I’ve had some things going on behind the scenes that required my attention the past few days, including this morning.

There’s no denying that this is the same him. He’s been caught red-handed, and he even set his social media accounts to private once his identity was discovered.

I’m still so shocked that it turned out to be Bella’s friend. I thought it was just a drunken stranger (which would have somewhat made sense) but this new information makes the alteration seem incredibly suspicious, and not something to be dismissed or looked past at all. .

More undeniable evidence of it being Daniel Chetrit.

Please, feel free to sound off on what you think took place this night, and what you think it means for Zayn and the Hadids going forward. We saw his damage control appearance with Gigi in the car days later, but that doesn’t mean things are magically all good again. And we know Bella is still hanging with Daniel after the altercation, so in my book that shows where her loyalties lie.



The only slight theory I have about the situation (which is still a reach) is that Bella may have been speaking ill on Zayn’s name to her friends like “oh he’s a piece of shit, he doesn’t treat her right”, and so when this guy encountered Zayn, he had preconceived notions about who Zayn was and thought it was justifiable to disrespect him or hit him the second they got into a verbal altercation (about God knows what.)

In a lot of ways, this situation reminds me (very vaguely) of the elevator video of Solange, Jay-Z, and Beyonce fighting basically around the time they found out Jay-Z had been cheating on Beyonce and Solange attacked him in defense of her sister. Idk I feel similar vibes with this situation, because Bella is involved no matter how much people try to absolve her of her role in this. She even chose to be photographed with Daniel afterwards, exhibiting no remorse.

Obviously Bella didn’t attack Zayn herself, but her good friend (who she was seen with 2 days later) did attack Zayn very violently. And it could be regarding Zarry, or it could be regarding something else. But for him to attack Zayn while being Bella’s friend, it just strikes me that he thought he was justified in doing so, almost like he felt Zayn had done something wrong to the Hadids and deserved to be beat-up. That’s just my personal feelings right now.

The DJ guy didn’t even have the notion to refrain from fighting Zayn because of who Zayn was as a celebrity, or even on behalf of the fact that Bella is essentially his sister-in-law. In a way, that illustrates for me that Zayn means nothing to Bella if her friends feel it’s ok to do this and then casually hang with her afterwards. There is a reason for that, and we must keep our eyes open for more info.

Does Gigi Hadid Know?

SIDE NOTE: Just a quick reminder that the first chapter of Neon Red (the sequel to This Thing Upon Me) will be out here on Wattpad in a few days!


DISCLAIMER: If you’re a Zigi stan or a Gigi sympathizer, you definitely shouldn’t read this. it might deeply annoy you.


Over on the Random Discussion Post a few other Zarries and I brainstormed ideas about a post depicting all the ways it seemed like Gigi has been “reacting” to Harry’s mere existence, so to speak. And boy is there some undeniable material! However, something struck me this morning (as I sat picking my nose) essentially that: a post titled “Gigi Copying Harry” kind of sounds silly and would be undercutting the broader issue here. That issue being: Does Gigi know? How much does she know? And if she knows, how does that affect her relationship with Zayn? How does it affect the way she views herself vs Harry?

‘Does Gigi know?‘ is a question I’ve been asked multiple times, and a question which I myself have issued to my friends in private on occasion. The general consensus is: “Yah, it’s clear this bish knows, because she reacts to too many things concerning Zarry and especially Harry.”

As a general skeptic myself (believe it or not) and one who will argue up and down that Zayn’s family does not know about Harry, and that Perrie didn’t know about them either, I PROMISE you Gigi is not only aware of Zarry’s relationship, but she is also aware of US on some level. That’s right Zarries, Gigi and her team are watching you, and they feel intimidated by the information you propagate so endearingly on a hourly basis across all major and minor social media platforms!

But I’m not here just to assume things. Let’s take a look at the hard facts that support this premise. In doing so, I’ll take an idea (Gigi Copying Harry) that some may have criticized as juvenile, ludicrous, or the product of a deluded conspiracy-theory-riddled shipper mind, and make it a broader more intellectual pursuit of the answer to one question: Does Gigi Hadid know about Zarry?

I posit that she absolutely does.


PAGE ONE: The Battle For Publicity (Harry & Zayn vs Gigi)

PAGE TWO: How Gigi’s “Knowing” Affects Her Confidence


Whether or not Zayn knows that Gigi knows is an entirely different matter altogether. I’m not too sure about that one. I’m still struggling with the idea of Zayn sitting ANYONE down and explaining to them what took place between he and Harry, and I’d wager she would be last on that list of people. Meaning, the probability of him informing her of his relationship with Harry seems slim to non-existent. For the same reasons I believe he wouldn’t tell his family, I imagine he wouldn’t tell her either. Mostly out of pride, but also because he is so dependent on her and her family to create a media smoke screen to shield him that he would never jeopardize that.

Now I could be wrong about him not knowing that she knows, of course, but I just feel like their relationship is rather superficial and has always (inarguably) been publicity-driven. So conversations of a ruinous nature would not take place between them, imo. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe they are a PR couple and I do believe she is a beard, but I don’t believe she is a contractual beard. And I believe for a while she was an unwitting beard (like Perrie.) Meaning she was with Zayn while unaware he was still struggling with feelings over another man (which he most likely acted upon at sometime during his relationship with her from 2017-2018??)

I think she was down for the clout in 2016, so they were paired up by their teams for publicity purposes (probably because she pursued him like she admittedly said she did. She was a genuine social climber and desperate clout chaser in 2016, and went through 3 different musicians in 1 year.) After doing the music video for “Pillowtalk” together and seeing how successful it was, I think they developed a relationship where they were co-dependent in satisfying each other’s needs on many different levels, mainly clout for her and a cover-up for him.

When I think of Gigi knowing about Zarry, I think of her knowing in the sense of a woman who discovered her husband has a dark, humiliating secret—like some really phucked up kinks or proclivities—but she is so prideful, so desperate for validation, so desperate for domestic achievement, and so devoid of self-confidence that she chooses never to confront him about it or address the situation head-on. What she does instead is makes a concerted effort to conceal and suppress it. I personally believe (and have observed) that Gigi is on a warpath to manipulate and gain mastery over how both she and Zayn are perceived by the general public on quite a disturbing level.

Gigi watching Zarries spread theories about her “manz.”

My first thought of her trying to control Zayn’s image was when Zayn got into it with Jake Paul (two grown ass men) and she jumped in to do damage control like his mommy and handled it for him. Emasculation much? She also handled it with extreme overkill and such a cringey, transparent attempt to let the world know she and Zayn were a couple again. “Cause he has me.” Stfu, no one cares.


Another example is how she jumped in to do damage control after “Ziam Is Real” trended on Twitter back on November 30, 2020. The next day she posted that awkward photo of Zayn on her stomach and of course successfully got “Zigi” trending as vengeance for the Ziams’ antics, which had almost exposed her manz.

Ew 🤢

The worst thing about this picture (apart from the obvious) is that people think this shit is cute. It’s not. It’s completely staged for public consumption. It was staged with social media in mind. Playing to social media this desperately is one of the most degrading and superficial things a couple could do. Just like this kiss picture:

It is also staged, and equally as pathetic. Worryingly, they don’t have real moments. They have photo ops (photo opportunities.) They literally sit down and plot like “Ok, let’s take this kind of picture right now.” That is undeniable. No one (absolutely no one) in their right mind or in an authentic, deep, sincere moment will pull out a camera and say: let’s take a picture of us kissing, instead oh of you know, actually just enjoying the freaking kiss!

And the fans never think of the logistics behind pictures like this, they just eat it up and beg for more fakery. That’s how empty Zigi’s relationship is. What are they without public validation? Gigi’s Instagram feed betrays they are nothing sincere. Cameras don’t just magically manifest in your hand when you’re kissing, so this picture alone is proof positive of how calculated their relationship is.

Even with someone as innocent as a baby, she too is being used as a pawn in this twisted game. For Zayn she is a coverup for the aspects of his life he doesn’t want the public to know about. She is also an achievement for his family to feel satisfied he is on the right path and following the dictates of convention. For Gigi, she is perpetual leverage used on IG to gain media attention and praise. We have seen her utilize that leverage nonstop since before the baby was born.

Imagine holding your super fragile few-weeks-old baby like this and not supporting her neck, just so you can take a fucking mirror selfie. But hey, priorities!

And to ensure that the hype surrounding the baby lasts as long as possible, she refuses to show her face, pretending to be some noble-minded super mommy who will protect her child from the evils of social media and the paparazzi, while also taking a million pictures of her for social media and parading her about on the crowded streets of NYC in full view of the paparazzi!

If she actually cared a modicum about protecting her child from the media, she would not post her at all. But gasp, that would require the sacrifice of not being praised continually in the comments and in articles for what an amazing supermom she is! So she dangles Khai in front of everyone as bait. As a tease to keep them guessing and keep them engaged, because they’re braindead and can’t see through her sickening ploy.

No one is saying she can’t take as many pictures of her child as she wants, but she needs to drop the bullshit act of hiding her face to “protect her” when she is still willfully exposing her nonstop (without her consent) to the very people she claims to be protecting her from, all for the sake of attention and likes. Someone needs to call out the bullshit.

“We’re so pRiVaTe we’re not gonna show her face to protect her from the fans and the media and help her live a nOrMaL liFe. But I’m still just gonna post her like 5000 times to the media and fans in the first few months of her life.”

Anyway, I digress. So, she posted this cringe photo to get the media talking about her and Zayn again after that Ziam debacle.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. She bought out the big guns—Zayn interacting with her while she was visibly pregnant, something the fans had never seen before—to undo the damage the Ziams had done. Lmfao, she knew people were clicking that Ziam tag and seeing shocking images of Zayn with another man, and she was terrified it would result in them stumbling into the deep waters of Zarry as well. Which would be very, very bad, because Harry said:

And then he said:

“I am Yellow-Metal”

As far as her knowing about Zarry and doing nothing about it, I believe she doesn’t’ have the stonessss (**in my Italian accent**) to confront Zayn about what she has discovered, or to accept the truth of it herself. So she tosses up all these smoke screens on her social media, trying to delude herself and everyone around her that everything is fine, which will inspire the media (and her Zigi cheerleaders) to fawn about her and Zayn’s relationship incessantly. She believes if she overwhelms the public with enough photos of her and Zayn together (despite him looking wooden) that it’ll be enough to smother the truth of Zarry into nonexistence.

But here’s where she’s wrong. Harry Styles exists, and this man has ENORMOUS balls. (Wait, I meant that figuratively, not literally. I mean…I guess they could also be literally and physically enormous too—that’s a thing that could be true. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen them. I’d like to…I—) And Harry is not here to play games. He spoke directly to us with Fine Line, and I am convinced he did that in part to immortalize the truth of his and Zayn’s relationship in his art (a massive record-breaking, Grammy winning, chart-topping career milestone btw) but also because he wanted those who already KNOW to have a certain level of confirmation and therefore conviction. And in that he may feel some sort of solidarity with us.

He knows he can rely on us to just get it, unlike the general public. Our celebrating his love across the internet catches appallingly little publicity, but it’s still impactful enough for him to not feel alone in his knowledge of his relationship with Zayn, because being subjected to that degree of secrecy and alienation for so long can be harmful. So he knows he can change certain lyrics to express certain things, and wear certain jewelry, and excessively use the color yellow (Yellow-Metal) and we will get it and celebrate his love with him. It’s his safe way of screaming about his love from a mountaintop that few know the location of, while also working to avoid overtly exposing Zayn. (“We’ll be a fine line…we’ll be alright…”)

We also can’t ignore that Zayn has done his fair share of speaking to us too, it’s just that he so often lets Gigi’s antics overshadow the things he does, and there also seems to be no definitive end to his living a double life with her. Even so, he drops clues of his ongoing affection every now and then, and sometimes they are major: Yellow-Metal.

Of course they are done for Harry’s benefit, but he can also rest assured that the people who already KNOW about them will pick up on these homages too. Zayn tends to play it safe with his “clues” sometimes, so that he can always maintain some level of plausible deniability (a safety net where he can fall back and just call us crazy and deluded if ever directly questioned about this stuff, unlike Harry) and that annoys me so much, but it’s still clear that he does occasionally make references to Harry in his art.

I will say, I do miss when Zayn wasn’t so deep in the sunken place with the Hadids and wrote songs like “Dusk Till Dawn” and went to Madison Square Garden and got the Lotus and The Rose tattooed to his skull, but lately it feels like things have changed. He acts so frightened and makes so many references to being watched and acts so much like a hostage that people are truly beginning to wonder if he is actually being extorted by someone? Basically being forced to stay exactly where he is with the Hadids, possibly under the threat of being exposed if he leaves?? And if that’s the case…well Zayn, looks like the only way to free yourself from this conundrum is to come clean! Take the power back from your blackmailers by exposing the truth yourself. We are here to support you!

Zayn making sure we got all the clues we need to uncover the truth of Zarry and set him free.

PAGE TWO: How Gigi Knowing Affects Her Confidence