Neon Red – Chapter 6

(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

There was still the trouble of the luggage whenever I headed somewhere for an extended stay. They seemed to lose mine specifically. One time my big Vuitton duffel ended up in Maryland while I was stuck Vegas for an entire weekend, and that’s when I learned it was better to buy most things wherever I was staying, as opposed to trying to travel with them. That would also explain why I thrifted clothes from my friends or wore the same grungy things several days in a row when I was away from home. It’s how I got by.

Now I reached across the bed to grab my phone and check the time again. In doing so, I eyed the lock-screen of G and I sitting cheek-to-cheek in front of the crumbling fireplace in PA. Thankfully I remembered to switch it back before I headed home. Home…that was debatable. It was already 7am in LA, and the rest of the day needed to count for a week’s worth of preparation that should have been done a month ago. My passport had been lost until a couple of days ago and I had to bow out of the trip altogether. G tore me to shreds when I found the nerve to tell her. She was apparently hoping to flaunt me among her fashion friends at multiple dinners and shows in the ensuing weeks. Thankfully, the maid found the passport wedged between a couple of shoe boxes in the back of the closet where it had fallen from a jacket pocket. When it surfaced again, I decided to the news to myself and surprise G by popping up in Paris unexpected. But first, I needed to make it back to NYC to see her off and put on a convincing performance that I’d be staying home.

I looked down at the bed with a growly exhale, rubbing a hand down my face and pulling at my beard. He had curled on his side facing away from the room, looking as pitiful as possible. It wasn’t going to work. Not this time, Haz. “I ain’t dealin’ with this right now—” I mumbled to myself. It was becoming increasingly more difficult to keep all parties happy. One was aware of the other, though the other was ignorant that the one was back in the picture. It was a big mind-fucking mess most days that left me sleepless. What complicated things further was that I still hadn’t had The Talk with her yet, to inform her of what was going on between he and I. I just couldn’t handle the stress at the minute. Plus, it was easier to just keep quiet right now since she and I were super busy for the next 2 months and forced to stay in our own lanes.

He always picked a fight before I left to deal with her—whether he was on the phone or in person, like clockwork. Same old talking points. Never coming to any clear resolution. While I’d been spending time with him in the earlier part of February, she’d blown into LA unexpectedly after the Buddha racism scandal, sobbing and thinking her career was done. I dared to defend her on Twitter with a stupidly worded quip and was eaten alive for it (rightfully so; which is something I’d never admit to anyone.)  

But I drew the line at people accusing me of being racist when it went against the very fabric of my being. That accusation, of all the others lobbed at me and celebrity-kind, was nonsensical and unfair. I hadn’t been the one to put the cookie to my face and squint. Even I knew that was monstrously disrespectful, and I imagine it had been done in the spur of the moment when she was a bit tipsy. Unfortunately for her, in this mindless day and age where we felt the need to record our every waking moment to upload onto the internet to convince he world how fun, luxurious, and enviable our lives are, that few damning seconds was caught on Bella’s IG story and published to millions in the blink of an eye. Hard lesson learned, indeed. 

G stayed much longer than what was reasonable, and Haz got pissed he was losing time with me because she was there commanding all of it. After reassuring her she’d be forgiven by the public in time, I moved on to attend a swanky Billboard event in West Hollywood, and she made consecutive appearances on Ellen and Fallon which helped to shine up the damaged edges of her image again. At least to the satisfaction of her team who’d taken a few hits lately from other members of their clientele. 

The public was bought and sold so easily it was comical. Absolute sheep. Nothing but herd animals desperate to be led, desperate to be told what to think, how to think, when to think. All they needed was a strategically dropped tidbit here or there—like a planted picture or a staged video diversion, and they were back to their mindless frivolity and pointing the finger at someone else.

No news lasted online these days. Everything was vital so nothing was really vital. All media was overly accessible and unabashedly partisan and extremely PC, so it bred pseudo-intellectuals and posturing morons; and also platformed hypocrites. It gifted us cancel culture and cat videos and IG models and homemade porn. It’s difficult to imagine how the world would’ve progressed without companies like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and Google. The internet had reshaped all manner of life, from top to bottom. 

Sure, in it’s infancy, the web proved instrumental to the betterment of society and communication at large. Sort of like the dark web became integral to the transference of critical information and unregulated commerce. As a result of all this, social media was invented and meaningful conversations took place across the globe. Vast movements were formed to oust societal ills, philanthropic efforts thrived, and social justice got a new megaphone.  All good things. These days, however, too much of that was abused and much of it had become meaningless. It had completely lost it’s novelty and become a glorified swamp in desperate need of a draining. An unenviable job fit for none other than Allah Himself, but even He wouldn’t touch this situation with a galactically sized pole. 

I tried to tell G some of this to make her feel better, but she put so much stock into social media and public opinion that my sermons just came off as cynical and futile.  She couldn’t see what I saw. That everyone braindead, wanting to be scandalized by a celeb’s slightest mistake because it gave them something to pontificate about. Humans needed to feel virtuous in order to feel that they mattered, so they chatted shit online day in and day out until they were self-satisfied. But the impact of these mini scandals could always be minimalized depending on how quickly one could get another story front and center to draw the attention of the fickle away.

We had friends in the press for that; colleagues who liked to be paid upfront and on the hush tip. I’d seen many a greasy palm proffered for payment of an online favor or two. Friends in high places to combat our enemies at major outlets. G’s parents had most of these publications sold up from the day she was born, especially the tabloids who corroborated their output to saturate the top results on any search engine with nearly identical wording. Same with the police departments across most of Hollywood and executives at major fashion houses. The Hadids were rubbing elbows with everybody. 

Haz was still sulking. I jumped onto him with my full weight and he laughed reluctantly.

Stoppppp…” he groaned.

“Noh, youh stop.” I blew a sloppy raspberry against his cheek——baby soft.

Ewww…” He dragged me back onto him and looked in my eyes. His smile unwound and faded as he watched my lips. His gaze was sleepy but fixed. Now he pulled at my lips with idle fingers.

“Hey…” I whispered, watching his shiny lids droop lower by the second. “Youh sleepy…hm?” He shook his head. “Yeah, youh are. Haha…youh can’t hang.” He shook his head again, still staring at my lips. I licked them to make sure they weren’t dry. He parted his mouth lazily, letting the fat tip of his tongue slip past his teeth. There were no words exchanged. No words needed. I knew what he wanted, which he expected me to provide without hesitation. In an unhurried caress, he ran the tip of his tongue along the top of his bottom teeth. I could feel their jagged edges as if I’d done it myself.

It didn’t take long before we were kissing—much deeper than I intended to. I lay half atop him, tongue in his mouth, snaking a hand up the towel to pull at his warm cock. He was halfway where I needed him to be already. Big and floppy. When I crushed him in my palm, he gasped down my throat in shock. Now he tugged at my hair, squeezing the back of my neck as hard as he could without breaking it.

Baby…” he rasped when I broke. “You’re gonna be late—”

“I don’t give a fuck—” I couldn’t half finish speaking before our lips met again, his tongue touching mine so tentatively it made me quiver. I was already rescheduling my flight in my head; making up excuses to tell everyone waiting on me back on the East Coast.

Haz…” I exhaled. His tongue felt ungodly fucking good. I couldn’t stop flicking it against mine because the sensation shot straight to my groin, igniting my guts along the way. The odd thrill of it was addicting. Right now, his mouth tasted like OJ, but sometimes it tasted like toothpaste, or coffee, or like the lemon in his dumb citrus-infused water. His hair didn’t help either. It was still damp and heady, reeking with the cologne in his shampoo. Dove For Men. I always bought that specific brand so I could recreate his smell whenever I wanted.

Moaning like he was, squirming like he was, smelling like he was—he was fit to be devoured. His eyes were always asking for it, too, and I was proper up for the job. There was never a time when I wasn’t ready to fuck him stupid. Fuck him till he lay winded; unable to use his limbs. This dude made me savage. I was prepared to do criminal things to him. We made love continually when we were together; in a way I could never fuck a girl without damaging her for life. In a way that toed the line of human decency. That’s why he was problematic. He was too down for it. Too fit for it.

This man was in my head nonstop, in all sorts of sordid ways. Ways too unseemly for a high priest to absolve. I was without hope, and he was all there was for me. The only inevitability I could be sure of. The only thing I would return to without fail, even if it took me numerous lifetimes to hunt him down again. I’d hooked up with many people in some of the remotest corners of the world, but none inhabited my thoughts the way he did. Being with him was like being in bed with my dealer; indulging far too often on too much of a good thing. Sometimes I felt like I was floating outside my body, watching myself OD in his arms, choking to death on my obscenities. No matter how derelict he made me, or how used up and emotionally battered—he was all I was drawn to. All I had ever been drawn to really. That made me a fiend. His freakshow. His jester. Now there was only hiding and waiting to be done when we were apart. No living.

I broke the kiss and bore down into the green pooling about his eyes. It was an inconsistent shade of green. Sometimes I wondered if it was only a figment of my fevered imagination. The color was situational, not grounded in any mode of reality—as changeful as a mood ring. Sometimes it cut right through me like jagged bits of emerald. Then at times it was cool and opaque, like jade mined from sacred faults beyond the terrestrial.

Right now, they were more hazel than green because he was warm inside. Gooey and indolent, just the way I liked him. His love oozed from his insides like molten metals, heat trickling from his pores—gaze luminous. All ablaze for me. I ran a fingertip along the tops of his bottom teeth, slogging the terrain his tongue had explored earlier. He pulled it into his mouth and sucked on it softly. His hips were rocking to create friction for his cock against my clothes. If he came on my ripped Ralph Laurens, I wouldn’t give a single solitary fuck. I love when he came on me. I love when he came in me. But it meant I’d have to change again, and by now I was completely out of clothes. And I didn’t want to risk being seen wearing anything he’d been photographed in previously, so I needed to keep my last jeans nut-free if I could help it.

Woahhh…” I chuckled, taking his rigid cock back into my hand and pumping a few times; leaving him wincing for more. I wanted to blow him till he forgot his name. When he released my finger, I bit down on his lip and kissed him again, refusing to let up until he shook for air.

**********

The flight was supposed to be six hours long but felt more like a day. Three hours in and half-way across the US, my legs were twitching. I flexed as best I could, at one point kicking off my boots to let the dogs breathe. Settling back in the chair, I opted for Pac instead of classical. Me Against The World, the album. Shutting my eyes, I tossed my head back with an exaggerated sigh, heedless to the folks around me. 

The 90s felt ideal right now. After a while I went from mouthing lyrics and nodding my head to coming short of a headbang and rapping aloud. The chorus of the title track was such a fucking mood. I hummed it and tried to forget about everything around me. The dead-eyed people like human crows. Forget I was 30,000 feet in the sky, miles above earth, returning to monotony. Away from my sweet, addictive escape; hurled back onto the unforgiving planes of realism. 

Away from the source of my starved daydreams and nighttime fantasies; back to her. Just her. Away from my opiate, my fountainhead, my bloodline. Merely thinking of him made my breath hitch. ‘Always on my mind…always on my mind….’ —was a consoling refrain I muttered to myself in moments like this. I just hoped he knew he was present. Never an afterthought. 

“Shed So Many Tears” was too hard-hitting. I considered skipping it, but hit play and meditated on it instead. Things were looking ok for me now, unlike the cold, winding chasms of 2014 and early 2015. Times where it felt like I was walking a demonic conveyor belt that routed me back to the same position every 24hrs without end. I was constantly moving and calculating my every step, but at the same time getting nowhere. It bore the artificial momentum of a gym equipment. All the futility of a mounted hamster wheel. Everyday for a year had felt like a continuous daymare; one in which I couldn’t stop thinking about thinking

Back then I felt indescribably shitty. Waking up each morning simply wishing I hadn’t. Vacant-minded, like an empty picture frame hung on a principal wall. Mocked by dinner guests. All the world watching me lose sight of myself. Trapped in a dissociative, thought-numbing stupor. I’d rather be drooling mad (howling mad) than just empty. An outsider amongst close family and friends. A trespasser in my own home. It was an unnatural level of detachment that I thought I’d never return from. 

Actual depression. A way down feeling, like I was trapped in quicksand and pocketed someplace beneath the earth’s surface. Breath-feeble, barely transferring oxygen to my vital organs. Brain in atrophy. Depression lied. It was an untiring frame of mind, a constant companion. And if for a split second I ever felt unburdened, I was punished for feeling alright. It got to the point where I didn’t feel decent unless I was unwell. Only then did I trust how the rest would play out. That’s the thing about mental illness: your outlook was the first to go. The first thing to get fucked. Despair was the only order you could be certain of. That it was all bad all the time grew comforting, because at least then I knew what to expect. 

Now that my head was above the surface again and I could take full, unimpeded breaths, I rarely allowed myself to reflect on my sicknesses in detail. It triggered too many thought patterns that threatened to drag me back to that awful place kicking and screaming. Yet, a wise man knows even the darkness boasts value. It lends one perspective on how to move forward unaddled, and warns all to remain close to the light. 

I forgot I used to do this! What to expect next:

-Zayn returning to Gigi in NYC

-Zayn surprising Gigi in Paris (February 2017)

-Flashback to 2013, picks up after the engagement

-More Zarry in all time periods!!

Can’t wait to share the next few chapters with you! Thanks loves 🙂

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
AAJ
AAJ
2 months ago

Beautiful writing! I don’t know Zayn but I feel like you’ve captured his mind perfectly. This is exactly who and how I’ve perceived him to be in my mind lol. Why do I feel like you both might have similar perspectives when it comes to life these days; social media, sheep-like people, conformity and mediocrity. I relate so much to some of the his ideals.
Also I love how you show how similar they are in their love and adoration for each other even though each of them manifest it so differently. Looking forward to how this develops. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this novel. I can’t even imagine the amount of research, time and energy you’ve put into it.