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Hear Me Now

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I was frustrated, hot and bothered, whatever you wanna call it. And I don't mind admitting that. I'd just got off stage and, as ever, Gerard had been a tangle of hands and lips all down me. With the stage lights, and the resulting sweat from their heat, blinding my eyes, I could have imagined the audience weren't there; that it was just me and him and that we were doing it all for more than the spectacle of it.

But even when he strolled up to me chanting hauntingly into his mic, his eyes gleaming with mischief, and even when he planted his mouth, open-lipped, on my neck and licked off, deliberately, coolly, the sweat that beaded along it; somewhere deep in the rational part of my mind it told me I was just another prop in this man's show. But the cold hard facts couldn't stop the primal aching of my blood. Blood... The thing that creates the passion. Blood is what turned me on to the point of distraction, on stage, even when my head told me it was all a lie... That I had to stop believing in these wonderful, ethereal, dreams.

"Damn it," I muttered angrily, kicking a discarded, empty, Coke can uselessly across the long stretch of hall that led to the rooms backstage.

"Want a cigarette?" I heard behind me in a seductively Southern twang.

Shit... I hadn't seen anyone walking down these dark corridors only seconds before, but then I hadn't really been focused on looking.

I heard footsteps hastily approaching but couldn't stop myself from shoving my hands deep into my pockets shyly, my head hanging so that my fringe fell across my face and obscured my vision. So that all I could focus on was the sickeningly grimy floor below my feet.

I was never any good at dealing with embarrassment, at people seeing me lose my cool; revealing any more of me to a stranger than was absolutely necessary day to day. As stupid as I know that sounds after standing on stage literally minutes before trying with my every part to make something that was so intensely personal to me look like nothing, like business.

"Sure," I replied, my curiosity to know who was there was like a glimmer of a thought compared to my mountainous need to hide my shame at being discovered raging impotently here in the dark.

I felt a light tap on my shoulder and spun around awkwardly to find myself face to face with a set of pale slender fingers offering me over a cigarette.

"Thanks," I offered uncertainly to the blur of his T-shirt, the writing across it that I was not giving myself a chance to make out.

I pulled my lighter from out my jeans all the time thinking of ways I could get this guy to leave me the hell alone.

"You seem pretty pent up... Something go wrong with the set?" He said, interrupting my thoughts, sounding strangely genuine about the question.

I guessed it was probably one of our crew and here I was acting like a total asshole to the guy...

I looked up apologetically, already conjuring apologies and excuses into my mind, until the thoughts were stopped dead in their tracks by the person I saw in front of me. It wasn't one of our alarmingly life beaten and overweight roadies, it was a young guy, an attractive guy, and in my mixed up state of sexual frustration, god was that a welcome site.

He had a shock of brown hair, mostly hidden under a large woollen hat, just his fringe emerged out the edges, a silver lip ring contrasted with his soft pale pink lower lip beneath. He was wearing glasses but I could see that below them his hazel eyes shone down at me with an alarming intensity.

So maybe I was staring, for far too long, and in the wrong kind of way; but my love life right now felt like I was on a hunger strike, only having people coming by day to day and waving heaping plates of food under my nose.

"You're with our support act right?" I asserted, fighting violently against the stutter in my throat.

I was trying not to think about soft pale skin and hot lips and the ghosts of passionate groans thrown out into the evening air.

Goddamn Gerard. I cursed him a thousand times over in my mind.

"Guilty as charged," he replied with a playful touch to his voice, throwing his hands up in a show of mock surrender; before bringing them down and thrusting out a confident hand for me to shake.

"Kenneth... Kenneth Nixon," he smiled confidently. "But people call me Nixon... You can kinda see why." He laughed. "You know... I prefer it."

"People huh?" I returned, staring absentmindedly at the tattoos revealed on his wrist as his shirt hitched up his arm. "Well then I guess I'll do the same," I said with a dry smile.

***

So that's how me and Kenneth, or should I say Nixon, met... We ended up spending the rest of the night together. Nixon said I looked like I needed to lighten up, and the guy wasn't wrong, said he knew just the place to put a smile on my face, and I didn't for a single second doubt him.

***

Standing at the entrance to the fairground I just stared dumbfounded at the metal turnstiles, the crowds of people with pink candyfloss and corndogs clutched in their hands. I looked from the Nixon to the fair and back again.

"We're really stopping here? A fairground...? What are you fifteen?" Slipped from my lips before I even thought about what I was saying, and how it mind sound.

"Yeah I'm fifteen and I'm going to the fairground," He smiled sarcastically. "And you're like... What? Twenty-five? And you're definitely coming with me... What does that say about you?"

For a moment I just stood dumbfounded staring at my new friend, before we both broke into laughter; Nixon slapping me on the back playfully as I shook my head at myself smiling.

So we paid a guy that looked far too miserable to be working anywhere where people were supposed to be having fun and enjoying themselves; and walked through the turnstiles into the crowds swarming loudly around the entirety of the fair.

A few minutes later Nixon pulled a bottle of whiskey, mischievously, from the bag he had slung over his shoulder; and I smiled broadly in response. Thought to myself that maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all...

***

Leaving the fair I know I'm drunk. I'm drunk and we're walking back to a motel. Except I don't know who's motel it is that we're walking back to. But I know our bands weren't checked into the same ones.

The memories of the gaudy fairground lights still burned in my mind, the garish sights and sounds, they made things even now after feel like an acid trip. The total contrast of dark empty blackened streets felt just as unreal as the bright lights and brash colours that still swam faintly in front of my eyes.

And in an unfamiliar town there was nothing around me to fix me there, bring me back to reality.

When Nixon pulled a room key clumsily from his jeans pocket I realised this was definitely not where I was supposed to be; and as wasted as I was the realisation made me feel desperately awkward. I was entering a social minefield, jumping into it drunk and headfirst.

"Well you know... It's late... I better get going," I, ever so slightly, slurred.

Nixon just laughed, looked me over sceptically before pointing out. "You really gonna make your way back to your motel like this? You even know where it is? Where you're at right now?"

He grinned at me turning his key in the lock.

"Errr...." I muttered looking around me dimly; eventually throwing my hands up in a kind of mock exasperation. It was a little surrender to intoxication that made me laugh despite myself.

***

It was like 4am I kind of guessed by the sky breaking into the room with a uneasy light, and I couldn't sleep. Every time I closed my eyes they just found themselves open again, before I really realised what they were doing. Fully clothed and lying on my back above the sheets, I felt ridiculous here. Nixon on the other hand lying on his side beside me looked bathed in sleep, silent, still, his lips parted a fraction, his whole body relaxed. It occurred to me that really Nixon was just that kind of guy. I didn't know if anything would faze him really, knock him off his game. And I admired that, I really did.

Finally giving up on any hope of sleep, I grabbed an empty beer bottle from the nightstand beside me and turned on my side. I rummaged in my pockets, first pulling out a crumpled carton of cigarettes and tossing them on the bed between us before going back for my lighter with fingers that still felt a little clumsy from drink.

I lit up, slightly guiltily, I had no idea if I was allowed to smoke in there; if my new friend would mind. Smiling at the memory of the moment we met, those few hours back, I lifted up my head to let my free hand settle under it, propping it up.

Was it creepy to watch someone sleep?

As I inhaled smoke I watched as he exhaled dream soaked air into the room.

I really wanted to get up and leave; felt dangerously out of my comfort zone in this room. But could I even get a cab that time of night; even be able to tell the guy where to go?

I flicked my ash lazily into the empty bottle balanced by my side, smiling at the way the man in front of me had really rescued me from myself that day. I honestly had to hold myself forcefully back from him, from reaching over and brushing away the hairs that obscured my view of those perfect features below.

There was something ridiculous about this whole situation and I knew it. I felt like a lost cause he'd picked up and decided, out of pity, to take home. It injured my pride to know all this, feel it so clearly, and have made the choice to let this happen all the same. I tried to figure out why he'd taken the time to talk me down from my bad mood. Why my childish outburst, that I'd thought I'd made only to me and the shadows alone, hadn't made him write me off before we'd even had the chance to speak.

And in the hazy early hours of a summer night, the air thick, just on the edge of unpleasant, I could remember exactly how I'd felt, sliding my guitar strap off my shoulder, and storming off stage, a smouldering mix of anger and intensity, a monument to frustrated lust.

I looked down absentmindedly at my mostly burnt out cigarette, smiling at myself through the languid arcing streak of smoke that snaked up into the air. Finally I slipped it dejectedly into the mouth of the bottle I'd been using; listened with melancholy to the hiss as the traces of beer in the bottle extinguished the last of its fire.

And for a second in that moment, still swimming in thoughts of the evening before, I swear I could feel Gerard again ghosting lips across my skin, slinking his hand up my thigh, the sound of the crowds reaction roaring in my ears. And I was there... I was back there... And it felt then a little like Hell...

"D'ya always stare at people when they're sleeping?" Crashed into my consciousness; felt like a gunshot tearing across the air.

I'd been lost in my dreams, with my eyes locked on the man sleeping across from me, and it had never even been a concern, because I hadn't really taken in what I was doing, I'd been lost in my memories of Gerard and his taunting games.

My breath caught angrily in my throat, my stomach lurched sickeningly. And as my heart thumped in my chest, my mind froze with the intensity and totality of a rabbit caught in the bright ferocity of a cars headlights.

Nixon reached across lazily and picked up the bottle sitting between us.

"And smoking in my room too?" he smirked reaching over me gracefully and placing it back on the nightstand by my head. And for dazzling moments his perfect lips hovered irresistibly over mine, his lip ring winking at me in the dull light, his hair stroking my cheek.

I found myself wanting to reach out, reach up to him and pull him down on top of me, tangle my fingers into his deep brown hair, crash my lips desperately into his.

Nixon settled his hand, that had held the bottle moments before, flat on my pillow inches from my head, with glinting eyes and teasing lips.

"You wanna do more than just look?" He goaded playfully in his sweet Tennessee drawl.

And as unnerved as I felt I couldn't help a smile from crawling across my lips as I searched his deep dark eyes, just wanting a clue to his sincerity, I wanted to know if this was more than a joke, if this was real.

He traced a finger slowly down my face, starting from my brow, moving painfully slowly, until he reached my quivering lips and lingered there. Trailed two fingertips across my bottom lip, across my lip ring, before lifting them off and returning his hand to the bed, supporting himself over me.

I felt so lost for words, like there just weren't any, there weren't any good enough to use. I just smiled, shyly, hoping that it was enough for him.

And I guess it was...

Mercifully he leant into me, his hair falling all around my face, stroking my cheeks, his breath spilling out over my face in beautiful little hot waves. He stared into my eyes, as if trying to coax something out, smiling through one side of his lips; before he caught mine with them in a confident kiss.

And God was I grateful, it was like lavishing upon a starving man a feast. And without trying to sound dramatic, that man's mouth was a banquet. Sweet and warm and effortlessly inviting. I finally let my hands loose in that hair, that I had yearned to touch for hours, ran my tongue over Nixon's lower lip, running across his lip ring as I did. He ground his hips down into me and I couldn't help but smile against that deep kiss when I felt he was hard against me.

For an awful moment he pulled his lips away and I had to make myself not pull his face back down to me. He looked serious, and I raised a confused eyebrow up to him. He smiled gently.

"Gerard?" He said slowly, still smiling, but reaching out into my eyes, as if he was trying to ask me a thousand more things with his own.

Hell, I wish he hadn't said that...

I hoped then that my face didn't tell him the thoughts that flashed up and flared into the forefront of my mind. The awful longing, the anger, the desire, the need I had in me to kill it all. I just prayed it didn't show.

"Gerard who?" I said, trying to conjure a sense of indifference in the words.

But then even as I said them... It was like saying them aloud somehow made them true, made all the wrong from before right. I meant it. I knew I meant it and I could feel myself grinning at the realisation, at this new sensation. It felt like being set free.

Nixon smiled too, apparently satisfied with my answer, and it was stunning. His smile lit up his whole face and shone down on me like the midday sun's glow on a summer's day.

"Okay then..." He beamed at me seductively before he captured my lips again, in a kiss that surpassed any that he'd blessed me with before. It was so strong and wilful that it's sweet intensity took me completely by surprise.

So much about this guy was surprising. He seemed so carefree and confident; fun and full of life. Yet he'd seen it hadn't he? He was more than I had thought... I wondered how many people had underestimated him before...

Freedom pumping through my veins I brought my hands up to his fly, slowly unbuttoning and unzipping, all the time rejoicing at the feeling of Nixon's lips pressed tightly to my own, his tongue caressing me into ecstasy...

***

I stirred from sleep, my head throbbing and my tongue thick and dry in my mouth. The sun high in the sky invaded the room, pouring in through the slight gap in the drapes, washing over my skin and warming it pleasantly.

I looked around and for a few seconds saw nothing to help me guess where I was.

But realisation and memories soon hit. I remembered those captivating eyes eating me whole, those hands that could drive me wild working their way down my chest, mapping every inch to my hip. I could almost feel that hot mouth locked over my own and smell him filling my lungs as he pressed down on me alluringly with all his weight.

I smiled at the way my body responded to the images stalking across my mind; the way a slight thrill seemed to shoot right through me.

I looked across to my right but saw only an empty space in the bed, a pillow strewn at an angle and sheets disturbed up into a messy swirl.

I had that swelling sense of peace that you can barely pin down but infects you so completely nonetheless. I knew I was smiling, could feel how my face was relaxed into it and for a minute I thought of myself stood raging in the corridor behind last night's stage... And it seemed like another me.

I rolled over and let my hand clutch the pillow laying discarded by my own, and felt the cool crisp sensation of paper under my fingertips.

Intrigued I smiled, thinking of it's writer, thinking of his own grin beaming down at me with kiss bruised lips.

Forcing my sleep blurred eyes to focus I read the scrawling inky words that seemed to have been splashed across the page in big confident arcs.

'Had to go to practice...' My eyes finally let me read. 'Don't go anywhere. I got a whole list of people I want to try and make you forget...'

I couldn't help but laugh out loud, to the room, at that. I couldn't help but smile and imagine all the wonderful ways he might attempt to do that.