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!

Feedback is welcome and appreciated. This is my first story, so I'd really love to know what you think,

Join my yahoo group to see pictures of the characters, read the band's message board and listen to songs that I used in the story. The live song which will appear in the following chapter can be listened to on my group. It's a song by Jason Mraz.


Chapter 16

“So, are you ready to see the final version?” Tom asked Rob and me.

“Yes, as ready as we'll ever be!” I replied, as we sat down in front of a TV screen at EMI. “Oh no, wait, maybe I should grab a tissue in case I start crying,” I joked.

Rob rolled his eyes and chuckled.

“Okay, let's watch this. I think you're really gonna like it,” Tom told us, as he turned the TV and DVD player on.

Rob moved his arm around me, and I buried my face into his neck.

“Hey, come on, would you look at the screen...”

“Do I really have to?” I mumbled. I would have preferred staying in this position as I enjoyed inhaling his delicious scent and feeling the warmth of his soft skin against mine. But he placed his hand under my chin and made me raise my head.

“Yes, you have to. We didn't come here so you can sleep on my shoulder. Come on, face your fears,” he joked.

“And we don't have much time,” Tom added. “You need to leave for the photo shoot in 15 minutes and we really have to get to Earl’s Court for rehearsals as soon as we can. There's still so much to do.”

It was 11:30 am, about 10 hours away from setting foot on stage, and we were starting to feel the pressure. I mean, we had played big festivals before, but Earl’s Court was different. It was not outside to start with, and it was a whole 2 hour long concert, in front of our fans. We had rehearsed there only once and playing such a huge venue was definitely taking some getting used to, because of the acoustics, the size of the stage, the size of the audience, and the noise they were going to make, which would probably make it harder for us to hear ourselves play..... and so many more details like these.

“All right, then, let's get it over with,” I said, as I took a deep breath. I felt a bit nervous. We were about to watch our latest video. A video we would have never shot, for a song we would have never released, if we hadn't come out, and I wanted the final version to be as good and as powerful as I had imagined it would be. We had released our first single from the album over 8 weeks before (the one Bono had helped us write and produce). It had been a huge, huge hit, and even though the song was still in the top 10, EMI wanted the album to have maximum exposure, so we were about to release a new single.

There had been a big debate about the video. We weren't sure it was the right thing to do, on a strictly commercial basis. We felt like it was maybe too much, too soon. But after coming out, it seemed like if we were going to be honest and spill our hearts out, it was the best time to do it. So we got ourselves the best producer we could find and told him exactly what we wanted.

The song sounded very rock... more rock than what we usually wrote. It was one of the loudest songs of the album. The music made the song very powerful. It was not a ballad. It was a loud and powerful song with a lot of guitar. It conveyed a lot of force and energy.

Tom pressed play and we watched.

The video starts with Rob singing the first few lines of the song. He is outside, alone, in a park, in a typical Dublin neighbourhood. The sky is blue, the grass is green, there is a wide empty space around him, he is free to do whatever and go wherever, but he sits still on the ground and looks sad and confused.

I did not choose this life

I walk on the silent path

The day breaks against the sky

I just can’t help but laugh

Wondering who am I?

Then, the camera moves to me, playing electric guitar in my bedroom (a fake one obviously). Suddenly, my father (an actor) barges into the room and screams at me because I'm playing too loud and making too much noise. He looks extremely angry as he yells at me. It's easy to imagine, just by looking at his attitude and gestures, the things that he is saying. So, I just shut up and let him yell, with a submissive attitude. He screams at me to come have dinner and slams the bedroom door so hard that the dart board hanging on it falls to the floor, and bounces back up a little. I cringe, looking mad, but scared.

Every day I walk this earth

Not yet knowing my worth

The minutes slowly turn to years

The memories fly by swift

The laughter slowly turn to tears

But the inquiry never lift

Then the camera moves to Rob in the park again for a few seconds.

Acceptance to the crowd

Or just to be my own man

Confident but never proud

I never know where to stand

Then, we see me again, in my room after my father slammed the door shut, and I just throw the guitar against the wall, out of anger and frustration. The chorus starts,

And I'm hurt,

and the camera moves to Rob singing the beginning of chorus in the park,

I'm so hurt I could die

The gray area is where I lie

While the black is too lonely

And the white is where my soul dies

We're back inside my house. After my father yelled at me for being a nuisance, totally useless, annoying and stupid, I walk into the kitchen where my mother is serving dinner. My sister is there too, looking as uneasy as me. I sit down quietly and carefully. I look at my sister as if she's a stranger and stare at my father in fear, trying to avoid doing anything that would piss him off, although the look on my face shows how angry I am.

That gray place where my soul stays still

While I wait here until, just until

One day, just one day

No obstacles will stand in my way

As the song goes on, we see Jordan, Damon and Dylan and other young people playing in the street, hanging out, chatting, having fun together. Rob is still in the park, as if somehow, despite being free to go wherever he wants, he feels just as stuck as I do, and waits for something, or someone to set him free.

Self-doubt is the zeitgeist of my generation

Popularity is the thought of the days

Self-esteem is the declaration

Living the life you wanna live never pays

Here, we see me in a different place. I'm in the street now, sitting on the pavement. Everyone around me is having fun, but I have my head buried between my knees and I look hurt, scared and confused, as if I have no idea how to deal with the problems in my life.

I can feel a threat coming my way

I'm almost scared to live.

The chorus starts again. We see Rob singing the first few lines,

And I'm hurt,

I'm so hurt I could cry

The gray area is where I lie

While the black is too lonely

And the white is where my soul dies

And we're back inside my house, in the dark kitchen. We can see that my father is wearing a cross necklace and there's also a cross hanging on the wall. My father energetically picks up a beer from the fridge and goes on yelling and complaining about me. He sits down roughly at the table and slams his beer bottle hard on it. My sister puts her hands over her ears so as not to hear him. He just goes on and on, never shutting up.

That gray place where my soul stays still

While I wait here until, just until

One day, just one day

No obstacles will stand in my way

Rob repeats the chorus again, and this time, we see Rachel in her bedroom (actually Rachel, she had agreed to be in the video). She is sitting on her bed as she looks at pictures of friends and family hanging on her wall. She's pregnant and she's crying. We had gathered a bunch of pictures of all of us together for the video. So, she is looking at a picture of me and her, we look close and happy. I am standing behind her and have my arms wrapped around her as we smile at the camera... but right next to it is a picture of me and Rob, smiling at each other, love in our eyes. She grabs the latter and crumples it in her hand as she cries, looking hurt and distressed.

The chorus starts again and we're back inside my house. My father is getting angrier and angrier and I just can't stand it anymore. I start screaming at him too. He stands up roughly and I do too, but I take a few steps backwards, fearing what he might do to me as he starts to verbally threaten me. My mother tries to stop him, but he pushes her away and he rushes over to me. He grabs my shirt and backs me up against to kitchen wall as he starts hitting me in the stomach. The scene is short and we don't see much of this, just enough to feel the hate and the pain. Shooting the video had brought back bad memories to the surface. The actor playing my dad really got into character, he looked even more threatening than my father ever did.

When the end of the song is near, we see me in the street, sitting on the pavement again. I have tears in my eyes. I stand up and start walking with a decisive look on my face.

Then, I'm inside the park where Rob is, and I slowly walk up to him. He's sitting down on the ground. He looks lost and scared, but seems glad and relieved to see me. I stand still in front of him. He looks up at me and we gaze at each other, our eyes conveying a lot of emotion. He stands up, and slowly walks over to me. He puts his hands on each side of my face, and kisses me lightly, just one single kiss on the lips. We look into each other eyes and a faint smile appear on our faces. We hug each other tight.

The video ends on that.


We were silent for a moment.

“What do you think?” Tom asked.

“It's ... good.” Rob replied, emphasizing the word. “Right?” he asked, gazing at me. He knew how I had had mixed feelings about it from the first time we had started talking about it.

“Yeah,” I simply said with a sigh. I had no idea what else to say. It was very personal... but it was definitely good. As good as I had expected. There were so much anger and pain that you could just feel it in your body. It was very powerful. I didn't think that I felt that way because I had actually experienced it and because it was my life, I just genuinely thought it would have a strong effect on the people who would watch it. I had only been joking around before, but I really kind of felt like crying! I knew it would bring out emotion in people.

“Mark,” Tom said, “there is still time to back down. We don't have to release it if you're not sure that you want to.”

“No, come on, we went this far already, we cannot not release it.”

Yeah, I definitely wanted this video to be released. It was a big finger to my parents and to anyone who did not approve of our relationship, or did not understand. Globally, people had reacted very positively to our coming out. The record company had received hundreds of letter of support, of all types, from all kind of people. Some of them very touching and moving and we had loved reading them. People were writing to say that we had done the right thing, that they were proud of us, that they thought we had been very brave to come out, that they supported our relationship and thought we made a lovely couple, that us being gay didn't change anything, that they loved us, loved our music, and would support us no matter what!

A lot of gay guys had written to thank us because it had helped them a lot to accept who they were and even some had come out to their friends and family as a result of