The story below is a work of fiction. It is a love story and will involve sex between young gay males. All the usual rules apply. If it's illegal for you to read this or if you're under 18, don't! You might have read the story before as it used to be in the adult friends section. But after editing it, I thought it was more a youth-oriented story. The story here is exactly the same as the original, but it was a little improved and the characters are a couple of years older to make it more real and believable. I think they were a bit too young in the original. Feedback is welcome and appreciated. This is my first story, so I'd love to know what you think, please, send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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"YOU GUYS ARE READY TO GO," Dylan screamed from downstairs as Rob and I were getting dressed, and I worried that he would wake Lucas and Rachel up. The guys had the keys to our apartment now and we had the keys to theirs because we didn't want to have to open the door to them every time they wanted to come over, which was like, all the time.
It was the 10th of March and the album had been released four days before. We had shot the video for the single and started the promotion in England a couple of weeks before but we were not promoting the album much though, apart from a few radios and interviews because, well, we already had fans, and we had to spend much more time getting ready for the tour. The plan was to promote the album and tour at the same time.
The first gig was scheduled in London for the 29th of April in Earls Court in front of 18,000 people, and we had very little time. (And in case you're wondering, yes, it was sold out, crazy, isn't it? The label was actually thinking about adding a second date... yeah right!). We had already decided on the set list, and professionals had been working on this tour for a while now already, always discussing their ideas with us.
But we had to practice the new songs, as well as the old ones. Plus, we were the kind of band that always makes things more complicated than it has to be, because we wanted each gig to be different. So we had to decide on the songs we wanted to cover, on the things we wanted to change on the set list from one gig to the other. But there were a lot of things to take into consideration. We already had plenty of ideas but it was time to put them into practice.
Apart from a couple of tunes we had never played live before, we already knew most of the songs really well, but we had to make sure that the chemistry was right between us on every song. We knew how rapidly a song could go wrong when we were not prepared enough and as soon as this happened, it would become really hard for all of us to find our place and know where we're supposed to be. We needed to be completely ready for the first gig.
There was no way we were gonna set foot on stage unprepared, especially since we had not played live for a while. With this tour, we were taking it to a whole other level. We were going to play much bigger venues. There was a lot more money involved and the gigs were going to be much more elaborated with lighting effects, huge screens, the whole bit! We played with the big boys here now. It had to be professionally done.
This morning, we had an appointment at the hairdresser's because for some reason, the label wanted us to have the same haircut for the promotion and the beginning of the tour as the one we had on the booklet of the album. The pictures had been taken a couple of months before. We thought that was plain stupid but we were not gonna start arguing with them on little details like this. It was not worth it.
Apparently, we had to use our image to sell ourselves just as much as our music since we were not exactly repulsive. I mean, with the right outfits, the right looks and attitude, and the right photographer, we could have sold the worst possible song with just a picture. There were a few extremely hot pictures of us out there. (fully dressed ones!)
We left home around 7.30, and headed to the hairdressing salon to start a day of promotion.
I was sitting down on a chair, in front of a large mirror, my hair wet, reading a magazine and waiting for someone to cut my hair when a woman motioned Jordan to sit down next to me.
"Mark I'm turning gay," he told me.
"What?" I asked raising my head to look at him. Jordan! gay? Yeah sure, and I think Rob was about to turn straight any moment now too.
"A guy just gave me a hard-on," he laughed.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, stupidly not getting it at all.
"Who shampooed your hair?" he asked.
"The blond," I said glancing at the woman who had washed my hair.
"Oh man, you missed out."
"Rob," he called, but Rob didn't hear him.
"Dylan, Dylan," he called a little louder.
They were both patiently waiting on a sofa for someone to take care of them and they both looked at Jordan when they heard him. He motioned them to come closer with his hand and they came over to us.
"Get the guy over there to shampoo your hair, you're not gonna believe it!" Jordan told them, lowering his voice and glancing at the guy, "I bet Damon is having a good time right now," he joked, because the hairdresser was washing his hair.
"Why? What is it about him?" Rob said, looking at the guy as if he didn't find him particularly attractive.
"We get it Rob, he's not cute enough for you! But man, he's good with his hands. He gives the best skull massage ever. Jeez, I think I need to jerk off!" He said moving around, trying to find a better position for his cock.
I laughed and looked down at his crotch. Yeah, the thing was noticeably bulging.
A woman walked past us and he quickly stopped her ,"excuse me, where are the restrooms?"
"Oh, second door on your left," she indicated with her hand.
"Thanks," he said getting up and hurrying toward the restrooms.
"Is he actually going to do this?" Rob laughed.
"Well, it's Jordan," I laughed, looking at him walk away, "I think he is."
Dylan laughed too, "I can't believe him. Does the thing ever go down?"
We had a good laugh and Damon soon sat down on a chair next to the one on which Jordan had been sitting.
"Oh my God guys," he sighed, completely relaxed, sinking into the chair a little.
"Yeah we know," I complained before he could say anything else. "This is so unfair. Am I the only one who's not gonna get to enjoy this?"
Damon sighed again, "I want to come back here every morning, do you think we can?" he chuckled.
A couple of minutes later, I saw Jordan get out of the restrooms, looking around a little as though he was worried that someone would know what he had done in there. He was probably feeling a bit naughty. He looked at us, smiled and quickly walked back over to us. He put his hand on Damon shoulder and leaned over, whispering in his ear, "you can go too if you want!"
Damon looked up at him, grinning, but a bit surprised. Jordan sat back down on the chair between Damon and me and I definitely wasn't gonna miss an opportunity to tease him a little.
"Feeling better?" I asked him, grinning.
"Oh man, I shot buckets," he said sighing.
"You did this here?" Damon said under his breath. Jordan nodded and they both laughed.
Rob looked at me happily, "oh my God, he's turning gay. This guy did it!" he told me grinning broadly, "we just have to finish the job now."
Jordan laughed a bit uncomfortably, looking up at Rob and shaking his head.
"Sorry, but I pictured Alyssa Milano, I think I'm still straight!"
"Eh, don't be so sure, gay guys like her," Rob laughed.
Yeah, and you got all turned on by a guy," I laughed, teasing him.
"No, not the guy, just his hands," he said as if he was trying to convince himself.
"That's how it starts. Right Mark?" Rob smiled.
"Oh yeah," I smiled too, knowing how bad his hands and his touch turned me on.
"I'm proud of you Jordy," I grinned, patting his thigh. He laughed, shaking his head again, a bit embarrassed. "Don't call me that!" he said with a laugh. (He hated that nickname. It was how his mother always called him, and we used to make fun of him all the time when we were kids because of it.)
Rob grinned at him. Jordan didn't know that Rob knew what he had told Rachel, but I think he was starting to wonder if maybe Rob knew something, because it seemed like Rob was always making little allusions to see how Jordan would react. And I gotta say, it was pretty fun to watch.
Like the other day for instance. We had all decided to eat out in a Chinese restaurant. We were all having a drink, waiting for someone to take our orders, when Jordan got up to use the restrooms, I think. When he came back a few minutes later, he was smiling to himself, looking all cheerful and happy, so Rob laughed and went, "why are you so happy?" and at the exact same time, a cute guy walked past us, looking all cheerful too, so Rob looked at him walk away and went, "well, he looks happy too!" eyeing Jordan suspiciously, "maybe I don't have anything left to teach you after all," and we all cracked up before Jordan put his face in his hands, shaking his head, unable to answer back. Rob just kept seizing every possible opportunity to do that kind of comment and yeah, it was fun to watch.
"Alright, I gotta try this," Rob said walking over to this miracle-working masseur.
"Hey you'd better think about me," I told him as he walked away and he turned around quickly, grinning at me.
"Damn," I said. "Dylan, you're not allowed to try this if I don't," I laughed
Two women came up behind us and started cutting my hair and Jordan's so we couldn't turn around to look at Rob, but Dylan and Damon were watching him and laughing a little. When the guy was done with Rob, a woman motioned him to sit down on a chair next to mine and wait for someone to cut his hair.
"Oh my God," he said with contentment.
"did you pop a bone?" Jordan asked mischievously, not caring about the women cutting our hair and I laughed.
Rob looked at him and smiled, "that was un-believable!"
"You like our hairdresser?" the woman cutting my hair asked with a smile.
"Oh, that's embarrassing," Jordan said, scrunching down in his chair.
Rob smiled and looked up at her, "my God, he must be good in bed!"
I quickly turned my head and stared at him, my eyes wide open. What was he trying to do here, out himself!
"Oh he certainly is," she smiled. "He's very popular. He's got a lot of fans in this salon," she laughed.
"Well Mark, I'm sorry but it looks like it's my turn," Dylan said walking away.
"Oh come on!" I complained.
Rob leaned over a little and whispered in my ear, "don't worry, I picked up his technique," and I looked at him smiling coyly.
Well, we sure were in a good mood to start the day, too bad it didn't last!
Around noon, Tom (who was still managing us) told us that Rob and I were scheduled for an interview with `the Sun', one of the worst but most popular tabloid type paper in the UK, there was no escaping them. They just wanted to interview Rob and I about the album. It seemed like we were always the ones to work the most, not fair!
Since it was lunch time, Tom suggested that he and the guys go have lunch nearby while Rob and I gave the interview.
We entered the room where we were going to be interviewed and sat down on two chairs in front of a black desk.
The room was small and cozy and there were a lot of old articles plastered on the walls and I stood up to have a look at them while we waited for the journalist to show up.
Rob didn't get up and we chatted about everything and anything until the journalist walked into the room. He was a tall, quite handsome man with a very English attitude and he seemed to be in his thirties.
A big black guy, who looked like a bodyguard, all serious and emotionless, immediately followed him. He stood by the window, looking through it.
The journalist introduced himself and sat down behind the desk and I slowly sat back down on the chair. Before we even exchanged a single word, a woman came into the room with three glasses of orange juice and placed them in front of us.
Rob and I took a sip of the orange juice and calmly waited for the journalist to start the interview.
He looked at us with a slight smile on his face and took a folder in his hands that he had placed on the desk just a few seconds before. He opened it, not saying a single word and retrieved a large white paper.
He looked at us somberly and turned it around, placing it in front of us on the desk. Rob and I had one look at it and instantly understood that we were out to the world.
It was a picture and we were kissing.
We stared at the picture dumbly and stunned for a few seconds, then looked at each other, completely bewildered and then looked at the journalist inquiringly.
He looked at us and clapped his hands together.
"I bet you weren't expecting this today, were you?" he said, extremely proud of himself, which made me hate him on the spot. I knew this interview was going to be pretty shallow and I definitely didn't expect a very spiritual interview about the meaning of our lyrics but I certainly didn't expect this indeed.
I looked at the picture again. Shit! I had no idea when or where it had been taken. We had been careful. We always made sure we were alone or at least around people we could trust before we kissed or touched each other.
It could be pretty frustrating sometimes but I guess it was the price we had to pay to protect ourselves from these people, who despite our discretion, had still managed to corner us.
We didn't say anything, just looked at him apprehensively, looked at the picture again and looked at each other, stunned, bewildered, confused, taken aback, and very worried... We were totally cornered and we had no idea how to react. We weren't really prepared for this. We had decided that we would probably come out soon, yes, but to discuss it and to actually take the plunge were two different things.
We knew we had to start thinking about it more seriously. But we really thought it was something we would not have to deal with for another few more months. We didn't know exactly when we'd come out but we certainly didn't want to do it a few days after the release of the album and a few weeks before the beginning of a world tour. Plus, we thought that we would get to decide in which paper or magazine we would do it, and The Sun was definitely not on the list.
We knew there was some risk that something like this might happen, or that someone might sell a story but, so far, we hadn't really thought about it that much. We were probably still too innocent to think this would happen. Somehow, we hoped we would just slip through the net.
"Well boys, there are three different ways of dealing with this," he told us with self-assurance.
Still, we didn't say anything, but our eyes were saying everything.
"Whether you don't want anybody to see this tomorrow in the morning paper and in that case, you're gonna need to make a big gesture...."
Well, that made Rob react.
"Are you blackmailing us?" He screamed at the guy, "You want money?"
"Get used to it boys, the world is not a perfect place. Money is all that can save you right now. It depends on how bad you want to stay in the closet. But I'll consider a number with 5 zeros if I were you."
"Pounds?" Rob yelled. "Are you fucking kidding me?" Wow, he was mad. He stood up roughly and so did the guy. He stopped him immediately. "I wouldn't do that if I were you," he warned Rob as the huge black guy by the window took a few steps toward us. Oh, that's why he was here.
Rob glared at them, stood still for a few seconds as he shot them a poisonous look, and trust me, with his eyes, he could give a pretty good and intimidating one, and I could tell that the journalist lost his self-assurance for a few seconds when he met Rob's gaze and saw the look in his eyes. I saw him hesitate and he looked at Rob uneasily, worried about what he might do.
He immediately broke eye contact and looked at me but saw the same furious expression in my eyes. He seemed to pull himself together very quickly though, the hesitation in his behavior lasting only a few short seconds and he looked at us with confidence again, standing up to Rob, waiting for him to sit back down. He was so fucking satisfied, proud and sure of himself, he knew he had us. I was feeling nothing but hatred for this guy and I started wondering how someone could take this much pleasure in destroying other people's lives just to make money. Not that he was going to completely destroy our lives but I'm sure we were not the first ones to be blackmailed by 'the Sun'.
Rob continued staring at him angrily as he slowly sat back down against his will.
"Well, you don't seem to be very keen on the idea but I'm afraid you're not gonna like what I'm about to say now either," he told us, almost snickering.
"If you or your label refuse to pay, tomorrow, you're out! We make up a story, print the picture on the front page, everybody knows you're gay tomorrow morning!"
"You can't do that,” Rob yelled at him, “we'll sue you."
"You can try," he said with confidence. MY GOD! If there was any innocence left in our eyes, it disappeared at that instant. I suppose it would cost a lot of money to sue a paper like the Sun, especially since they wouldn't exactly be lying, printing that we were gay. Plus suing them wouldn't really make a big difference apart from taking our revenge, because they would have outed us anyway, the damage would be done.
Rob chuckled and stood up, placing both his hands on the desk and looking at the guy straight in the eye as he said with contempt, "you're such a bastard. Look at you! Don't you have any self-respect? How can you do this and still look at yourself in a mirror?"
The journalist quickly turned his head toward the bodyguard, who immediately went over to us. He forced Rob to step back by firmly pressing his hand on Rob's torso and he pushed him forcefully down onto the chair. Rob resisted a little and shook his head, looking at the guy disdainfully. The bodyguard took a few steps back and sat on the edge of the large desk, keeping an eye on Rob.
I was still calmly sitting down but inside I was just as pissed off as he was. I think I was just too stunned to even move.
"So what is the third option?" I asked with an angry tone, even though it was pretty obvious what it was.
The journalist looked at me and the bastard actually smiled haughtily, "you give us an exclusive interview and come out in the next month."
We looked at him in surprise, "in the next month?" I said, sickened.
"That's right," he simply said. "You get to name your own terms. We'll publish an article that will be the truth and nothing but the truth."
We stared at him, and shook our heads slightly, completely unable to take a decision. We were just completely bewildered. This was not good.
"So there you go, boys! I'll give you a few minutes to think about it," he said proudly, and we watched him walk out of the room, followed by the huge black bodyguard.
As soon as the door was closed, Rob roughly stood up, pushing the chair down.
"FUCK," he screamed as he made a fist and hit the wall in a fit of anger.
"Calm down." I told him.
"This guy is the biggest asshole I have ever met. Can you believe that guy?"
He asked in disbelief, his voice getting louder.
I put my face in my hands and sank into the chair, sighing.
"Tom," I heard Rob say into the phone after a few seconds, "we have a big problem ... the Sun, it was not an interview. They have a picture of Mark and I kissing and they're threatening to out us," he told him. I looked at him anxiously as he explained the situation to Tom.
"Dammit," he said before picking up the chair and sitting back down just after hanging up the phone, but he stood up again almost right away. He started pacing back and forth in the room.
"Tom is gonna be here soon, he said we shouldn't talk to them as long as he's not here."
"I cannot believe this is happening," I said calmly, still sitting down.
"Mark, what are we gonna do?" he asked worriedly. I didn't answer, because I just didn't have the answer. I took the picture in my hands and looked at it.
"When did they take this?" I said, quite clueless.
"I have no idea!"
"We've been careful. Maybe it's a fake. Paparazzi do that all the time, don't they?" I said.
"You think?" He asked with hope in his voice, walking over to me to look at the picture. His hope soon vanished and he sighed as he sat down again.
"But even if it's a fake, we didn't deny it, it's too late now!"
"Damn, you're right. We should have denied it," I said, closely examining the picture, "maybe it was just a ruse to make us spill the beans."
Rob sighed dejectedly. "What's done is done!" He got up again. "Oh man, I hate these people, I don't want to come out in 'the Sun', that's the worst paper to come out in."
"Shouldn't we just give them the money?" I asked, unsure.
"WHAT?" he exclaimed, staring at me and sitting back down. I looked at him like I couldn't quite understand why he was so appalled by this.
"No, we shouldn't! I'm not giving them any money. No way! It'd be like we're just so ashamed that we have to pay to keep our dirty little secret, no, we are so not going to do this."
"But Rob, they're robbing us of our choices here anyway! if we don't pay, we have to come out in the Sun in the next month, and no matter what we decide to do, they win! Even if we decide not to pay and not to come out, they'll out us and they'll still win. Whatever we decide to do, they're gonna make money out of it ... so shouldn't we just forget we have principles right now and do what's best for us and our career?"
He just looked at me, perplexed, "I cannot believe you just said that. No, we shouldn't! We should stick to our principles. What kind of people are we if we let them manipulate us like that? I'm not letting them win, it will betray everything we are"
"But they'll win anyway."
"No they won't! If we come out and be honest, we'll win, they won't have the power to manipulate us anymore."
"But they'll get exactly what they want. Don't you see? They want an exclusive interview to make as much money as possible out of our coming out."
"But either way, they're gonna make money out of it, it's just business. Because even if we come out in another paper, they'll write an article, even if they don't have an exclusive interview, and they'll still make money."
I sighed and looked at him, confused and anxious. We didn't say anything for a few seconds. Our minds were racing as we tried to find a way out.
"Look," he told me, "the point is that we can't let them out us or God knows what kind of twisted version of the truth they're going to write, and that's all people will remember. Most people always believe the first thing they read. And God, there's so many people reading this bloody paper every morning, we just can't let them out us. And I am not paying to stay in the closet, so there's only one possibility left."
"OR," I said thinking of something, "we tell them we'll come out, but give an exclusive interview to another paper as soon as we get out of here, before they even have time to do anything."
He looked at me like it was a brilliant idea, but I realized almost right away that it wasn't.
"Oh but no, wait ... they won't let us get out of here without making us sign a exclusivity arrangement first," I sighed, and his hope vanished too.
"We are so screwed," I said shaking my head and almost laughing. Jeez, Why did it have to be so complicated to be gay? Why did people have to make such a big deal out of it? No one is going to be on the first page of the Sun to say that they're straight now are they? Why does somebody's sexuality have to be so damn important to some people? It was really pissing me off that we had to justify ourselves like this. Because this shouldn't even be an issue!
Rob sighed, "Mark, we don't really have a choice! With the release of the album, people are gonna start asking more and more questions and we're probably gonna have to come out soon anyway. I didn't think we would be forced to do it so soon but now, I just don't see what else we can do."
"But man, in the Sun! and now? Rob, it's too soon. The album has just been released and we said we would at least wait until the end of the tour."
"Oh this really sucks," he sighed dejectedly again, putting his face in his hands and leaning forward. We really didn't know what to do here.
We continued talking as we waited for Tom and the guys to get here. It was a decision we had to take all together anyway. When they arrived, they all looked pretty worried.
"Guys," Tom told us, "we're gonna need to make some serious damage control here, how much money are they asking for?"
"A lot," Rob replied, "but it doesn't matter because we are not given them any money."
Dylan put his hand on my shoulder and kind of massaged it gently as to tell me it was gonna be ok, even though we had no idea what was going to happen.
"I'm afraid we don't really have a choice Rob," Tom said authoritatively.
"Well, we can just come out," Rob said decisively.
"Are you out of your mind?" Tom screamed at him.
"No, I'm not, I'm thinking very clearly," he responded decisively.
"You cannot come out now, it's the worst possible time to come out."
The guys had been pretty quiet, looking at us anxiously but Jordan said, "Why? maybe not, maybe it's the perfect time."
Tom threw his arms in the air.
"Jordan, please think before you speak. This is ridiculous, you gonna ruin your career!" he loudly said.
"No we won't," Rob told him, "everybody already thinks I'm gay."
"No, Rob they don't! A few people hope that you are, but most people hope that you're straight. Playing with all the gay innuendoes in the media and in your lyrics is one thing Rob, but you're not sitting here confirming it! So, you've never said you're straight! But so far, you've never said you're gay either! And people can still think whatever they want, and believe it or not, most of them want to think that you're straight! It might be a game to you right now, but once you say it loud and clear, it won't be that much fun anymore! You're about to become huge! HUGE! And you've all worked very hard to get to this point. Do you really want to throw all this out of the window!"
Rob sighed, "Tom, we have plenty of gay fans."
"And you have plenty of straight fans as well."
"So!" I said. "Almost all the gigs in Europe are already sold out, people are not gonna tear up their tickets!"
"Some might, some will!" Tom told me firmly.
"Well if people are stupid enough to do that, then fuck them!" Rob exclaimed.
"Rob!" I exclaimed, not wanting him to talk like this, even if he was mad.
"You're about to go on a world tour," Tom said in a decisive tone, "and yeah, the gigs are sold out in Europe, great! What about the rest of the world? What about the States? Do you think they're gonna buy a ticket to see a band with a gay singer? That's the kind of news they're not gonna like over there. They don't know you well enough, if you come out now, to them, you will just be the band with the gay singer."
"Well then, so be it! if they don't like that, it's just too bad," Rob said firmly.
"Rob, it will completely change the image people have of the band. Your fans might be okay with it, but you still have a long way to go, and most people will stop at the gay thing without even giving you a chance."
Rob passed his hand over his face and turned around, walking toward a corner of the room, knowing that what Tom was saying made sense. He pressed his forehead against the wall and I just stood still next to Tom and Dylan, wondering what the hell we were going to do.
We all grew silent, thinking. There was a definite tension in the air and the atmosphere in the room was heavy and electric.
Jordan walked over to Rob. He placed his hands on each side of Rob's face and whispered something to him before hugging him against him and talking in his ear to calm him down. Rob buried his face in the crook of Jordan's neck and hugged him too as Jordan comforted him and rubbed his hand up and down his back. After a few seconds, Damon joined them and rubbed the back of Rob's neck, talking to him soothingly too. I don't think Rob really knew what to do with himself, he was about to lose it. I was glad they were there for him because I was pretty much in the same state as he was and I really couldn't help him. He needed his friends, I was just as scared and confused as he was.
I think we were really starting to realize what it all meant, especially for Rob. Because the thing was that, even though he and I were in the same boat, we both knew that he would be the one who would have to deal with this the most. Journalists would once again focus their attention on him and he would be the one to be really labeled as gay, he'd be the one to carry this on his shoulders. I'd just be the boyfriend. At first, that's probably what most people who didn't know us really well would think because so far, when people heard UNI, they thought 'Robbie'! Apart from our fans, people would probably just think of me as 'this guy from the band that Robbie dates'.
I think Rob was afraid to lose people's respect. He needed to know that people liked him, respected him for who he was and he was taking the risk of losing that respect.
The journalist opened the door and walked into the room.
"So have you made a decision?" he asked with the same confidence and arrogance as before. God I hated him.
"No," Tom said nastily, "and it's gonna take a little more time, so leave us alone, will you?"
The guy didn't say anything, he stood there for a few seconds, watching us about to retort something I think, but he decided against it and walked out of the room.
"Look," Tom told us, "let me go talk to them. Maybe I can convince them to at least give you a little more time. Maybe they'll let you come out after the tour. Just stay here alright, I'll talk to them and call EMI. We can't take such a decision without discussing it with the label first anyway."
"Tom, we should probably do it now," Rob told him, letting go of Jordan, his eyes a bit wet.
"Rob, you really don't want this tour to be a success, do you?" Tom said a bit annoyed.
"We should just get it over with before they just decide to out us."
"AFTER THE TOUR ROB, AFTER THE TOUR!" he told him loudly and firmly before storming out of the room.
We all looked at each other, realizing the seriousness of the situation, knowing this could have a tremendous impact on our future and that it would probably change a lot of things as long as the band was concerned. I walked over to Rob. Jordan and Damon kind of left me alone with him and went over to where Dylan was standing, near the desk. I took Rob's hand in mine and kissed his cheek. He rested his head on my shoulder and I put my other hand in his hair.
"God guys," Damon started saying, "maybe Tom is right, the album has just been released, the tour is about to start, it's a pretty big risk to take, I mean, we still have a lot to prove and maybe we should prove it before you come out."
We walked over to them and sat down on the chairs. I think this had completely drained us of our strength for some reason. I knew I just really needed to sit down.
"God, I just don't know," I said, "but it is probably a pretty bad time to do it."
"But then again, maybe it's not," Dylan said, and I was a bit surprised that he would think that. He was usually the one who was the most worried about the consequences our coming out would have on the band.
"Most people suspect anyway," he said, talking to Rob, "and I know you'd love to be able to sing the songs, knowing people know what some of the lyrics mean to you. Maybe it could be the best tour ever because the fans will feel like they really know you."
"But what if Tom is right," Damon said, "What if they decide that they don't want to listen to a band with a gay singer and that they won't buy our album or won't come to our gigs."
"Some probably will," Jordan said, "but we've talked about this before, if they decide to turn their back on us, then they're not worth it. But come on, guys, our fans are pretty open-minded, I'm pretty sure everything will work out okay."
"We'll be doing a tremendous service to the gay community here," Rob said, "I'm sure it could help a lot of gay guys to feel better about themselves and who they are. I think it's worth it."
"We are going to lose fans anyway," I said, "and some people will probably decide not to buy the album just because we're gay, but at the same time, we're probably going to gain a lot of fans too, cool and open-minded ones" I smiled.
"You know," Rob started telling me, "we've already taken the decision a while ago. Sure, it was easy to say that we'd come out someday when we didn't actually have to do it but right now we're just scared, but the decision, we've already taken it. Maybe it's not the best time but maybe we should just get it over with and it could be kind of cool to go on tour, knowing that our fans know."
"God, this is probably completely stupid to worry about this," Damon said, "but seriously, what if they just don't come. What if it just fucks the whole tour up?"
"You're right, it's completely stupid to worry about this!" Jordan said, and we laughed a little. "Mark's right, people are not gonna tear up their tickets. Come on, it's not the 18th century anymore. And you know what? I bet people won't even be that surprised."
"But what about the States?" Damon said.
"What about the States?" Jordan repeated as if the question was not even worth asking. "They're just gonna have to get used to it. Look, he actually sings about being gay, it's just part of our identity," he told Damon and then looked at Rob and me, "and I think it's about time you tell people the truth. And it's not like you need to stay in the closet, you were going to come out anyway. I know you want to make sure we're famous enough for this not be an issue but right now, people listen to the lyrics, giving them whatever meaning they want to give them, but don't you want them to know what they really mean?"
"Sure," Rob said in a low voice, "I want to be honest about this, and I know I have to be honest about this but... it's hard."
"Guys," Jordan continued, "they have you with your backs to the wall here, and I'm afraid that if you back out and decide to wait, you might take an even bigger risk. Now that they know, they could just out you whenever they want. Even if we pay, these people, they are unscrupulous. And if it's not 'The Sun', it might be another paper. Too many people are asking questions. If you do it now, you won't have to worry about this anymore."
"I know," I said, "I guess I'm just scared of what's gonna happen."
"You know, I'm scared too," Rob told me, "but I'm tired of feeling like this. Maybe we should just get it over with, no matter what happens. We'll finally have the freedom to be ourselves. We won't have to hide anymore."
"Yeah," Jordan said, "maybe you just need a little push. Maybe this is actually a good thing."
"Yeah maybe," Damon said, "you might never have the balls to actually do it if no one ever gives you a good kick you in the ass," he said with a laugh.
"So, are you going to do this?" Dylan asked after a few seconds of silence.
"I guess," Rob said, almost in a whisper staring into space, "let's just wait for Tom to come back."
We all grew silent, lost in our own thoughts.
"Oh my God Mark, "Dylan suddenly exclaimed, "your mother's gonna freak, your whole family's gonna know."
"I know," I sighed, looking up at him, "you think I haven't thought about this already?"
"Does it really matter?" Damon said "you haven't talked to any of them for so long anyway."
"I don't really want to think about this right now but I'm actually kind of happy that they're finally gonna know my version of the story."
I had grandparents, a lot of aunts and uncles on my mother's side and of course cousins who were about the same age as me and for now, they probably thought that I was so uncaring, arrogant and big-headed that I had completely forgotten that they existed. Because that's what my mother had told them.
My sister was calling me once in a while. She was a nice girl and we tried to talk regularly. She came to London with a friend of hers and Rob's family for the party we had organized for my birthday and Rob's (which had been one hell of a party by the way)
Of course, she didn't tell my parents that she was coming to see me. She never told them that she was still talking to me. Talking about me had become taboo in the house. I think it was like I was never born.
From what she had told me, my mum had said to the rest of my family that I was not fit to be part of the family, or something like that, because I, apparently, wasn't making any effort to stay in touch with her. I never called, never told her how I was doing. I was the bad guy. She had told them that I didn't care about her, that I had no respect for my family because I had just left without looking back, without telling anyone what was going on in my life, which was pretty much the truth, expect that they didn't know why I had done it. Of course, she had also told them that I was with Rachel and that I had taken her grandson away from her, never letting her see him. What a load of crap!
I asked my sister if she had told anyone about me being gay, since she still saw everyone regularly, but she told me she was a bit worried about how they would react. Plus if she told one of them, they would probably all find out, and my mum would just die of shame. This kind of secrets don't stay secrets very long when one or two persons know. I would have told them, but I didn't want to cause trouble and we spent so little time in Ireland that I didn't really feel like it was something I had to do since I was not allowed to see them or talk to them anyway.
They didn't really understand why I had completely disappeared all of a sudden. I mean, I was never there for birthdays or family dinners, for Christmas or all those important family events, when I had never been allowed to miss one before. So yeah, they just thought I didn't care. The thing was that I had absolutely no idea how they would react so I was not really looking forward to them finding out. I hoped some of them would be open-minded enough and understand. But what was I going to do? Tell them I'm gay and go back to my life? It would have been different if I were still in Ireland, if I could see them regularly, if I actually had to deal with this every day, but now, I just didn't feel like I even knew them anymore. I hadn't seen them for so long. It was sad to say, but I was not part of the family anymore.
We all continued talking for quite a long time, sort of coming to a decision but still a bit bewildered by what was happening and by the way these journalists were acting. Rob wanted to ask his parents' opinion so he called them.
We knew we were probably taking a big risk here by coming out. We ran the risk of losing everything, even though I really didn't think we would. We knew it was not the best time, we knew it was not the best paper, but we also knew that even if we came out in another paper or magazine, all the tabloids would pick up the story, so at the end of the day, it would not make a big difference.
Plus, it would really take a huge weight off of our shoulders. We would finally have the freedom to be ourselves, to say what we really wanted to say, in the lyrics, on stage, in the media, and we wouldn't have to be scared that someone might out us anymore, especially now that journalists knew about us.
And come to think of it, we had managed to keep it a secret for 5 years. Well 3 years since we had moved to England. It wasn't so bad. It could have been worse!
Tom finally came back and as he entered the room, he told us,
"Well, I wasn't expecting this, but people at EMI think you should come out. They are aware that you will have to do it eventually anyway because of the new album and they think that your fans will find out sooner or later, so might as well be sooner. So basically, they agreed to pay the Sun if you're not ready to do it yet, but if you are, well, nothing is stopping you!" he told us a bit defeated, "but in my opinion, if you care about it at all, I think it's completely mad to do this now!"
Rob and I looked at each other hesitantly, "can you give us a few minutes alone?" I asked them.
"Sure," Dylan said. Rob and I stood up, and they all headed out the door, Rob closing it behind them. He then came over to me and I hugged him tight against me to comfort him.
He buried his face in the crook of my neck and I closed my eyes and smelled his hair, inhaling the clean, fresh, soothing scent of him.
"Rob," I told him, "what they think is important, but in the end it's our decision. Are we really sure we want to do this?"
"I think I am," he said raising his head and I peered into his eyes. I saw determination. I knew he was serious about this. And if he was ready to take this step, then so was I.
"I think I am too," I said and took a deep breath.
"Man, this is scary," he sighed pressing his forehead against mine and looking down.
"Baby, it's gonna be okay," I told him putting my hand under his chin to make him look at me, "we'll get through this, we have each other, it's all that matters."
He looked into my eyes and smiled slightly, "I love you," he told me with this amazing sincerity in his voice "and people are finally going to know that!"
I smiled and pressed my lips lightly against his, "you're amazing!"
We talked for a few minutes, just to make sure we were taking the right decision, I mean, if we agreed to come out, there was no turning back.
We asked the guys to come back in and we told them that we had decided to do it. We talked about it a little more and Tom discussed the terms of the agreement with the paper. The same journalist re-entered the room with another man who seemed to be older and working above him. The man sat behind the desk and pulled out an agreement as well as a piece of paper with a few questions to think about before the interview, which was scheduled for the following week.
We sat down, read the agreement and he handed us a pen. Rob and I looked at them with contempt as we signed, and then we stood up and all stormed out.
That's the very last interview we would give to the Sun, believe me!
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