The following story is entirely a work of fiction. The characters are not based on any particular celebrity but the story is about fictional characters, who are celebrities in the story. The music used in this story will be music by the band Coldplay.

Chapter 15 continues. Hope you like it. Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think, that's encouraging. unilive@yahoo.com

you can join the tumblr I created where I post the story with pictures and music at https://www.tumblr.com/blog/u-n-i-live


Damien was gone when Jimmy and I left the studio. I had almost finished editing the songs we had recorded and some of them actually sounded a lot better. I decided that there was no point in working on new demos anymore so my stay in New York was drawing to a close. It was after six and since we had been inside the studio for the past four hours, we went to grab something to eat.

"So, whatcha doing tonight?" he asked as we were waiting for our order.

"Dunno, I think I'm just gonna head back. What about you?"

"Yeah, so am I. I'm fried. Although, there's this going away party slash baby shower Lauren wants me to go to with her but I don't give a damn! They're her old college friends. Do you mind if I use you as an excuse to bail on this one," he smirked.

I smiled. "Sure. I'll cover you if she asks," Lauren was his girlfriend but they weren't living together so it was unlikely that she would be asking me any questions.

"Thanks. How much longer are you staying? D'you think you might still be here on the 23rd?"

"Uh, when is that?"

"Next Saturday."

"I dunno. I kinda have to go back to Dublin, but I'm in no hurry," I snickered.

"If you can stay until next weekend, I'm planning this huge party at my place for my 30th. It's gonna be the party of the year. You don't wanna miss it," he said with a broad smile, overplaying it a little.

"I guess I'll have to stick around for that then," I answered enthusiastically.

"Why don't you ask Rob and Jordan to be there?" he asked. I hadn't got into details as to why I had come to New York by myself. We had often worked with him but we weren't close enough friends to talk about our personal lives.

I smiled. "Yeah, sure, I will. But I don't think they'll be able to make it."

-----

When we got back to his apartment, we hung out for a couple of hours and then I changed into something comfortable and decided to have a relaxing evening just watching TV in bed. I didn't want to think about anything or anyone other than what was on the screen in front of me. I flipped through the channels. After a good five minutes of this, I began watching a random movie that really wasn't good and ended up falling asleep during a commercial break.

I awoke the next morning, feeling confused and lonely. I didn't know what I wanted to do anymore. Seeing Damien had just reminded me of how much I was missing Rob and I kind of wanted to fly back home or do what Jimmy had suggested and ask him to join me here. I didn't want to but it seemed like I was going to be the first one to cave after all.

My morning erection was semi hard and I began thinking about Damien and how it had made me feel to see him again. I was slightly worried that he would find some way to run into me again. I didn't trust myself around him. Rob hated him so much that he had succeeded in making me have negative feelings toward him as well …but seeing him… I knew there was still something about him that I liked more than I was willing to admit.

I lay on my stomach and buried my face into the pillow. I screamed as quietly as possible into it, and concentrated on not rubbing my crotch into the mattress. I felt so conflicted. My cock was fully hard now and I could have easily made myself cum, but I dared not touch it. To do so would be like cheating. I didn't want to get off while thinking about Damien. Although no matter how hard I tried not to, I couldn't stop myself from imagining what it'd be like to be with him.

I let my mind wander and imagined taking his cock inside my mouth. I wondered how he would taste like, I wondered how big his dick was. Was he cut or uncut? Would he leak a lot of precum from finally feeling my lips and tongue around his shaft, from finally getting to do this with me. How turned on would he be to watch me suck him off?

Then I imagined his back pressed up against my chest. I wondered what his skin would feel like, I wondered what he would sound like as my cock entered his tight opening. Would he moan quietly or loudly? Would he want it slow or fast? I imagined my hands gripping his thighs, and I wondered if they would feel smooth to the touch, or be dusted with tiny hairs.

My cock was leaking beneath me. I closed my eyes tightly. I didn't know what was going on with me.

I began thinking that maybe he'd want to fuck me? Would I let him? …

Of course not, I wouldn't. This would be the ultimate betrayal. Rob was the only one who had ever fucked me and I intended to keep it that way. I was mad at him for not making an effort but my feelings for him hadn't faded at all. I didn't want him or love him any less, and I wasn't even remotely less attracted to him. It was more like my feelings for him had become encapsulated, completely apart from the feelings I had because he just wouldn't fucking listen.

I forced Damien out of my head and began thinking of Rob. I wanted to feel his lips against mine, I wanted to kiss him and look into his piercing green eyes while I held him tight against me, rubbed my dick against his balls and slide it between the cheeks of his muscular ass. I wanted to make out with him and caress his body and feel him caress mine and hear him groan with pleasure as he'd feel the tip of my cock pop inside him… I missed the closeness we had, I missed making love with him.

I reached for my cock and began stroking myself. I quickly felt my cum building up. I gasped as my body began convulsing and I shot my load onto the sheets. Then I lay on the bed, my heart pounding a little.

After a moment, I yanked my phone out of my charger on the nightstand and opened the Youtube app. I searched for our own songs and began listening to "Sparks", which was a song from our first album. It was probably one of the saddest and most relaxing songs we had written back when we were confused and lovesick teenagers and it seemed to be the perfect song to listen to. The lyrics we had written all together so long ago sounded particularly relevant once again. I closed my eyes and listened to the melody, the lyrics and his voice, the combination of which brought a lump to my throat. I took a deep breath and swallowed.

Did I drive you away

I know what you'll say

You say, oh, sing one we know

But I promise you this

I'll always look out for you

That's what I'll do

My heart is yours

It's you that I hold on to

That's what I do

And I know I was wrong

But I won't let you down …

I listened to it a second time and when the song ended, I choked down another dry lump in my throat and thought it was probably better to stop racking my brain over Rob so I decided to leave the apartment and go out.

I showered, shaved and had breakfast. Unfortunately, as I looked out the window, it was raining. I checked the weather app and it predicted that the rain would be continuing through most of the day. I tried to think of how I could be spending my free time in a constructive way, since I had nothing planned. I thought about cleaning out my things in case I left soon to go to Dublin, but being a borderline obsessive-compulsive, I knew that they were already in perfect order and it wouldn't take me long to pack.

Then, I thought about calling Rachel, but I knew she would just talk to me about Rob, which would probably just depress me for the day.

I decided to go to the gym. Since I was in New York, I had fallen off of my regiment and so it was time to kick it back into high gear. Jimmy had told me about a nice private gym he sometimes went to and I knew I wouldn't be hassled if I went there.

However, I was there for about a half-hour when a guy that had been staring at me from the other side of the room walked over to me.

"I'm sorry," he said. "But I just wanted to say that I saw you in concert last year and I thought you were amazing."

I released the dumbbells I was holding and stood up. "Thanks a lot. I'm glad you liked the show." The guy was over six-feet tall, blond, and had a killer smile. I could see his body was extremely well developed, as he was only wearing a tight tank top and gym shorts.

He extended his hand to me and I shook it. "Oh, it wasn't just the show I liked."

I felt myself blushing somewhat and turning my head to the side. I said "oh," and feigned a little laughter.

"I'm Jake," he said. He hadn't yet let go of my hand. I eased myself out of his grip and told him that he probably knew my name. He was very good-looking and he never broke eye contact.

"Listen," he started, staring at me intently. "I live just a few blocks from here. Would you like to come over for some coffee?" He paused. "Maybe talk about your music?" He smiled, completely self-assured.

I smiled back, thinking that I might have to start drinking coffee if I wanted to get laid in New York.

I already thought Damien was straightforward but this guy was the kind of guy Rob had to deal with all the time. They'd always hit on him first so I didn't have to do it often.

I had met plenty of aggressive guys, but I began thinking that this one was definitely nearing the top of my list. It wasn't that I was thinking about going as much as I was thinking that I was probably totally free to do so.

I mean, Rob and I were sort of on a break and the guy was totally hot and obviously wanted me, but I already knew that despite being probably free to do whatever I wanted, I wasn't going to have "coffee" with him.

"I'm sorry," I said. "But as you know, I'm kind of in a relationship." It felt like the right thing to say. I certainly didn't want some guy to start a rumor that Rob and I might not be together anymore.

"It's a shame he's not here."

"Yeah, he can't exactly be seen in public places without attracting a crowd."

"Apparently, neither can you," he said, still staring at me.

"I don't think there's gonna be a crowd of fans waiting for me outside. I sure hope not."

He smiled, not missing a beat. "I'm in a relationship too." He stood there, waiting for my response. I looked at him for a moment, thinking about both how arrogant he was, and how much I would have liked to have seen him with his clothes off.

"It was nice meeting you," I said, sitting back down and picking up my dumbbells again.

"Yeah, you too." He walked back to where he had been working out and I was somewhat shocked at how unfazed he was by being rejected. He probably knew that he would find some other hot guy in the next hour that would be more than willing to have "coffee" with him.

After my workout, I showered and left the gym. Stepping out, I checked my phone and noticed I had a text from Rob that said: " U know there's a picture of you and Damien going around Twitter. Fuck, are you really that mad at me?"

"Oh, come on!" I said out loud as I walked down the stairs and a guy looked at me with wild curiosity as he was walking up, possibly thinking that I looked familiar but finding it difficult to place me.

"What the fuck, bloody paparazzi," I immediately thought. I couldn't believe they had snapped pictures.

I texted him back immediately. "Nothing happened. He showed up out of the blue because someone he knew told him I was working with Jimmy. We just talked for a few minutes. Don't start imagining things."

I walked a few blocks and stopped into a small coffee shop that seemed to be deserted enough. I ordered a Latte as I waited for his response but it didn't come. I sat in a booth in the back of the café. It seemed to be the perfect location for privacy. I didn't want any employees or customers listening to me in case Rob would call.

After a few minutes, my cell phone rang. I was slightly disappointed when I saw it was Rachel, and not Rob, because I wanted to make sure he believed me. Although I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk to him, knowing he was probably upset and we might start arguing.

"Hey, how you doing today?" she asked.

"Not great," I moaned quietly, worried about what Rob might be thinking.

"Why? Are you about to cave?"

"Maybe. It's getting hard," I said with a sigh.

She laughed, obviously thinking about getting sexually frustrated.

"Oh, come on, Rach!" I complained, not in a joking mood.

"Sorry," she said with a laugh, then added, "he was out again last night. I can't believe he's gonna make you cave. Don't cave. Come on, be strong. He's starting to get bored here. I think he's about to go to L.A. Don't cave now," she insisted.

"I'm almost done working with Jimmy," I explained. "I miss him… and something happened yesterday…," I said.

"What happened?" she asked with curiosity.

For some reason, since she seemed to be in a better mood than I was and since I probably needed to lighten up, I decided to lie to her and have a little fun. I wanted to see how she'd react if I told her something had happened with Damien, so I thought of what I could say for a few seconds.

"Mark? What happened?"

"Are you kidding? Like…haven't you seen a picture of me on Twitter?" I said.

"No…why? What's there to see?"

"I did something really stupid," I mumbled.

"Already? … What'd you do?" she asked intrigued.

"Damien showed up at the studio!"

"Noooo!" she exclaimed.

"Yes! Like, he was literally sitting on the stairs waiting for me."

"Oh my god! How did he know you were there?" she almost yelled.

"Beats me," I said and then proceeded to tell her the excuse Damien had given me.

"Jeez! I can't believe he still hasn't given up on you," she said.

"I know, right. I was like, gobsmacked. He started asking me questions 'cause we're supposed to be recording in London and stuff."

"What'd you tell him?"

"Just that we were taking a break from the band for a while, because we all needed some time off. So obviously, he asked me if I was taking a break from Rob too."

"Gosh, he must've been psyched!"

"Yeah, well, he was smirking!"

She let out a slight laugh and asked unsurely, "Mark, please, tell me you didn't have sex with him?"

I let out a loud sigh.

"Did you?" she yelled, perplexed.

"Well… there was … a blowjob…," I stuttered and waited for her reaction.

I could literally see her mouth drop open as I heard her gasp.

"Is this like a handshake to you guys?" she exclaimed in shock.

I couldn't help but laugh. "I'm kidding. Nothing happened."

"I… I don't understand. Like, how… did something happen or not?" she asked again, taking in what I had just said.

"No, no, I was just messing with you. I turned him down. Nothing happened."

"Oh come on, that's not even funny. Why would you joke about that?" she complained.

"I don't know. I just wanted to see how you'd react."

"Jeez. Not cool. You scared me. I hope you rejected him loud and clear."

"I did. But at first, I almost didn't want to. I don't know why. Every time I see him, I can never really directly reject him. For some reason, I always find myself enticing him and letting him think I might be tempted."

"Are you … tempted?" she asked cautiously.

"No. Maybe. But that just pisses me off. I don't know why I'm doing it! But I did better this time," I laughed. "He might've understood."

"Jeez, admit it. You're into him!" she exclaimed with a laugh.

"I am not!"

"Oh , come on, be honest!"

"Well, he's attractive. I don't know, there's just something about him…."

"Yeah, you like the guy. But come on, Rob's a lot more attractive. Seriously, why do you think Rob's so jealous of him, he can see it! Now if you really don't want anything to happen with him… and I sincerely hope that you don't, then reject loud and clear once and for all! And don't have sex with him if you run into him again, please. You know, I don't know what you see in that guy, everyone hates him but you!"

"Of course you all hate him. He's trying to make me break up with Rob!"

"Don't let him! See, you said Rob was crazy to think something might happen with Damien! Well there you go, he's back again… at the worst possible time!"

"I'm not gonna cheat on Rob with him. I don't even wanna be with anyone else, really," I sighed.

"I hope not. You know, I don't care how open your relationship is, I'd rather not know. But Damien is off limit. That would just destroy him. What are you trying to do, kick him when he's down?"

"I didn't do anything!" I exclaimed loudly. "He showed up. I didn't go to him."

"Fine," she answered, sensing I was getting slightly upset. "You know, you can probably pick up some random guy and Rob might not be too upset about it, but Damien is not some random guy!"

"Don't you think I know that!"

"Seriously, just pick up some guy at the gym or something."

"Funny that you would say that," I said with a chuckle.

"Why? Did you?" she wondered.

"No, but I was just at the gym this morning and a really hot guy would've loved to take me back to his place."

She laughed. "Gosh, it must suck being you."

"Yeah, you have no idea," I joked.

"I hope Rob won't find out that Damien's trying to get into your pants again!"

"Too late, he already knows."

"What? You've told him?" she asked in surprise.

"No. I didn't have to. The fucking paparazzi did it for me. He's sent me a text half an hour ago."

"Wha…What'd he text you?"

"His exact words…," I said and told her word for word what Rob had texted me.

"They posted pictures?" she asked dumbfounded.

"Apparently. Or maybe it was from fans following me, I dunno. We just talked outside of the studio for a few minutes. I didn't think there were any reporters or anyone following me. I'm in New York, not London. And they're always after Rob, not me. So I figured… if he's not with me, then they're not gonna care about what I do."

"Well, apparently you were wrong. They do care. You know why? Because that sells paper if Robbie Myers' boyfriend is seen with another guy who appears to be gay. That's a rumor the public would be interested in! They know you're postponing the album, they wanna know what's going on."

"Shit! I can't believe this," I mumbled.

"Jeez. What's happening to you guys?"

"I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't have left. It was a bad idea."

"Oh don't do that again. I'm tired of having to convince you every day that it was the right thing to do. You know he needs this. Nothing would've changed if you hadn't left and given him that ultimatum… But you hooking up with Damien, that's a bad idea!"

"I know… and I won't. Look, can you talk to him, please?"

"Oh, I don't know Mark. I've tried, but … Jordan I can handle, he listens to me. Damon too, we've been talking every day…but Rob," she sighed. "First… he gets really defensive when we try to talk to him …and second, I don't feel like I'm close to him enough, you know, to tell him what he has to do. I know it's my fault, but we've never really been able to reconnect. I haven't let him, and in a way, he hasn't let me either, 'cause he's always felt bad for sorta stealing you away. But Damon's hung out with him yesterday and Rob said something about maybe going to L.A, so…."

"Yeah? Well, can you just tell him that nothing's gonna happen with Damien? I think I should just call him. But I don't think I can. I can't hear his voice right now. And I don't wanna get into an argument with him. He hasn't even tried calling me, so I suppose that means he feels the same."

"Alright. I'm gonna go see him. I suppose I have to be your intermediary since you guys don't seem able to communicate lately," she said jokingly.

"Thanks." I breathed.

She grew silent. As we were talking, I kept glancing over at four girls. They had walked into the café shortly after I had and were sitting a few tables away. They had obviously recognized me and kept looking discreetly over at me, whispering and giggling with each other. One of them tried to take a picture with her phone while I wasn't looking but I did notice it. I could tell that she had posted it on social media. I began thinking that it was probably time for me to get out of there.

"Anyway," I told Rachel. I was done talking about Damien. "Have you called Jordan again? How's he doing? I haven't talked to him since last week."

"No, I might call him today actually. He's still in Dublin. I don't think he wants to admit it, but he's enjoying being back home with his folks after all," she said with a laugh.

"I hope his old man is making him suffer."

"He must be grounded. That must be why he's staying there," she joked. "Damon's back though. He came back yesterday. He was kinda missing…," she paused and added, "… uh, never mind," she said with a giggle.

"What? What were you gonna say?" I asked, suddenly very intrigued.

"Nothing, it's not important," she quickly answered.

Noticing her silence, I continued. "Were you gonna say, he was kind of missing … you?" I asked coyly because she had always been very close to Damon and I was kinda suspecting something. He was her confidant. She told him everything and she had started doing so after we had broken up. I had often wondered if they might become more than friends but up until now, they didn't seem to have moved beyond the friendzone.

She didn't say anything for a few seconds. "No, I wasn't gonna say that," she shyly said.

"You sound very convincing," I joked.

"It's not about Damon right now," she complained.

I let out a small laugh. "What's going on?"

"Nothing's going on," she insisted.

"You can tell me."

"No, really Mark, nothing's going on."

"Well, would you like…," I slowly began asking.

"Nooo," she interrupted me and we both laughed louder.

There was a small silence and then, she confided in me.

"You see... the thing is… I've always thought I needed to be with someone like him…" she said and paused.

"But not with him!" I exclaimed, finishing her sentence.

"But not with him!" she repeated.

"And now, you're not so sure…," I said seductively. "You know he didn't get to spend much time with Haylee," I said, mentioning his last girlfriend he had broken up with. "He's tired of being in empty, meaningless relationships with girls who are only using him for his money…"

She let out a giggle and didn't know what to say.

"Ahah, you're speechless. For the first time in your life."

She laughed. "Look. This is just too confusing. He's been sending me mixed signals… And don't change the subject, this conversation isn't about me," she exclaimed, sounding a little self-conscious.

"Alright, alright, I'm done teasing you… for now," I said and didn't insist. If nothing had happened between them yet, I didn't want to jinx it by making her feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. Her reluctance to talk to me about him spoke volumes about her ambivalence. I was in a good position to understand that. I knew what it was like to start dating someone you've been friends with your whole life and how confused it could make you feel in the beginning. I hoped she'd talk to me when she'd feel ready but I liked the idea of the two of them together. I'd much rather see her with Damon than with anyone else.

"Mark..."

"What?"

"You know what you should do, right? You should just leave New York. Book a flight to Dublin today. Jordan's still there, you won't go alone."

I remained silent.

"Mark…" she repeated.

"Yeah."

"You have to go. I'm telling you. It will lift a weight off your shoulders you don't even know is there."

"I don't even know what to say to her. Like… it's been so long," I answered as I stood up. I put my Ipod, that I had placed on the table, back in my pocket and started heading out. Of course, so did the girls.

"Amy will come with you. She'll make sure you don't run into him. You'll just be talking to your mother, if that's what you're worried about… Don't stay in New York if you're gonna do stupid things there."

"Maybe I should go to France first," I said.

"Yeah, sure, why not. Just don't stay in New York. You know, I'd love to come with you. I'm gonna practice my French."

"Yeah. I thought I needed to meet him alone, but the more I think about it, the less I want to go by myself."

"Just tell me when and I'll be there!"

I thanked her and told her I'd let her know if I decided to go to France first. Indeed, with the pictures my mother had given me, Jordan had made it his business to try and find my biological father and he had actually managed to track him down. I couldn't believe he had found him. I had talked to him over the phone once, which had been particularly unsettling. He had obviously been utterly shocked to find out he had a son he knew nothing about but had expressed the desire to meet me. It still had to happen though. Going to France to meet him was undoubtedly a lot more appealing than seeing my unloving mother again to confront her with the truth.

"Jimmy asked me if I could stay for his 30th birthday though," I said to Rachel as I began walking down the street, glad to see that the downpour of rain had turned into a small drizzle.

"When is that?"

"Next weekend."

"A lot can happen in a week. What if Damien tries to see you again?"

"Then I'll turn him down again," I answered.

"Yeah, right. And what if you don't!" she said. I glanced behind me and noticed the girls were trying their best to follow me without being too obvious, and for some reason, they were now seven.

"I like it here. I don't wanna leave yet…. Look, I'm gonna have to let you go, I'm being followed by a few girls," I laughed.

She laughed back. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah, I was in a coffee shop. They spotted me. They must've seen me walk in. I think they took a picture and posted it online."

She snickered. "You're gonna have to stop thinking you can walk around New York without being recognized. You can't."

"Shit," I said with a laugh. "It's ok, there are only seven of them."

"Good luck," she joked.

"Talk to you later."

I walked one more block and stopped to hail a cab. The girls were now starting to work up the courage to approach me so since there were no cabs in sight yet, I just walked over to them.

"Well, you've obviously recognized me," I told them.

"Sorry to bother you. Can we have an autograph?" one of them asked admiratively as she handed me a pen and paper, which I signed.

"Can we take a picture with you," two other girls said, but they were already on each side of me with their phones ready to snap a selfie.

"Sure…," I said, fighting back a laugh.

"Are you in New York with the whole band. Is Robbie with you?"

"No. Sorry. Me is all you're gonna get."

"Oh my god," one of them gasped, shaking her head. "We love your music. We've been fans for five years. I can't believe it's really you, we thought it was just someone who looked like you at first. I can't believe it! We love you!"

They began to pepper me with questions about the tour, the album, the fact that it seemed to be postponed. I answered all of their questions as thoroughly as I could without disclosing too much about what was really going on. They seemed to be pretty dedicated fans. Soon, about five more people recognized me and asked for selfies. A few minutes later, I had over fifteen people around me and decided it was time to get into a cab.

I told them that I had to leave and hailed a cab again. Thankfully, one pulled up immediately. I said goodbye and I was on my way.

As I got into the cab, I thought that I could have never done that, had I been with Rob. We would have attracted a lot more people and would have needed security guards. But then again, we would have never been out wandering the streets of Manhattan alone together.

When I got back to Jimmy's apartment, I searched for a flight to Dublin, which deep down, I already knew I was not going to book yet. I forced myself to think about what would happen if I did book this flight. It meant packing, taking a cab to the airport, spending eight hours in a plane, none of which I wanted to do. And then, as I imagined myself standing in front of my mother's house, talking with her… the only feelings I had were feelings of anxiety, apprehension and uneasiness. I just didn't want to go yet. Staying in New York until Jimmy's 30th birthday was a lot more tempting. I knew that I was getting cold feet and that staying one more week was certainly a bad idea, but I just couldn't do it yet.

I was browsing the internet when my phone rang. It was Jordan.

"Hey mate," he said, somewhat surprised that I had taken his call.

"Hey. How you doing?"

"Good… soooo… I just got a call from Rach. She convinced Rob to go to L.A."

"Did she?" I asked, happily surprised.

"Yep. And now I'm supposed to convince you to come to Dublin."

I laughed. "Jeez, what would we do without you?"

"Come on, I could use some company."

I sighed and thought about it for a few seconds. "What about you come here for the week? And then we fly back together, uh, how does that sound?"

"What d'you want me to come to New York for?" he asked, finding my request a bit strange.

"Well… I guess Jimmy and I could use your help…and he's having a party for his 30th. He'd like it if you could come."

"Why didn't you start with that? I'm there," he exclaimed cheerfully.

I laughed. "Yeah, I'm a bit worried though. I'm not sure this is what you need."

"Are you kidding? Like, it's nice being home but…, my mum treats me like a child," he complained.

"That's because you are one, you twat. You'll be fifteen your whole life."

"I swear, she takes me everywhere with her," he laughed. "Because she needs a new couch, or a new coffee table that'd fit so well in her living room…," he joked. "I've been redecorating the whole place!"

I laughed. All of their parents had moved out from our old neighbourhood. Not that the houses we had grown up in weren't nice, but sorting your family out is obviously the first thing you want to do when you start making a lot of money, so they had begun by buying a much larger house to their parents. They were all still living in Ireland though. Only my family hadn't moved out.

"She cracks me up, she finds something new to buy every day," he said and then grew quiet for a moment.

'Hey, do you remember Declan from high school," he asked.

I thought about it. "Doesn't ring a bell, no."

"Yeah, remember, we used to go clubbing with him 'cause he had an older brother who could let us in."

"Oh, yeah maybe. I don't know, I'm not sure I remember him."

"You don't? There was this one time… we were barely sixteen. We went to this party in Dublin cuz we'd heard his brother talk about it with his friends and people had Amyl Nitrate there."

"Ohhh," I said, snapping my fingers. "You know what? I think Rob might've told me about that. But I wasn't with you."

"Yes, you were. I'm pretty sure you were there."

"I'm pretty sure I wasn't," I insisted.

"I gotta call Rob and ask him if he remembers."

"What's Amyl Nitrate again?" I asked.

"You know, it's this substance that you sniff and it makes your head explode for a good five seconds. So, we got some and then stood in O'Connell Street for an hour, sniffing Amyl, pointing at people and laughing. And we were like, 'fuck, fuck! Can you feel that? When's it gonna stop," he said with a laugh.

"And that's how it all started," I joked, shaking my head with a small laugh.

"Maybe it was Damon."

"Yeah, 'cause it wasn't me," I confirmed.

"Yeah, must've been Damon. You were probably grounded… for breathing too loudly."

I laughed, but it wasn't that far from the truth. My 'father' would have got mad at me for such an insignificant reason. Any excuse to slag me off, hurt me and make me feel worthless and insecure.

"Anyway…I've seen him the other day. The guy's a junkie now."

"oh well, that's a surprise!" I said with a chuckle.

"He was so envious of us. And he had, like, nothing interesting to talk about. He's twenty five and he's already fucked up his life."

"That's sad."

"Yeah. And he was like … "hey dude, d'you wanna smoke that joint with me?" he said in a fake stoned voice. "uh, no thanks… I'm ... gonna …go…"

I laughed.

"Fuck! Sooo pathetic. He still lives with his folks. He hasn't done anything with his life other than get high. Made me think a little."

"Just a little?" I asked.

He sighed. "I'm sorry we neglected the band. We should have been more focused," he admitted, apologetically.

"Glad to hear that. Look, I love partying, I love it as much as you do, but you know you guys took it too far."

"I know."

"I wouldn't want Rob to join the 27 club!" I said, thinking of all those popular artists who had died at 27 often as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, the most recent being Amy Winehouse.

"Oh shit, no!" he exclaimed. "But it kinda had to happen. I mean, we've been working so hard from the beginning. We needed to blow off some steam. We just didn't handle the pressure very well."

"Hey. Look, I told you. I'm not worried about you. I know you were just doing it for fun… for the experience … not because you were unhappy or anything. But you knew Rob wasn't doing it for the same reasons."

"Yeah. But that's the whole thing, he just needed to unwind. That's why we started going out so much in the first place… 'cause otherwise, it was just about working all the time."

I let out a sigh. "We didn't use to think of it as work."

He was silent for a moment. "Yeah. That's true… I guess it all got a bit too much," he sighed. "So, how long are you gonna give him the cold shoulder."

"Dunno. I was about to cave this morning…"

"Don't!" he told me. "You're right, he needs to focus on himself. People need to leave him the fuck alone for a while."

"Yeah? So you agree now?"I asked, slightly taken aback.

"Yeah. But it's not easy for him to admit that he finds it difficult when everyone around him thinks what a great life he must be having. You know, going clubbing with him and stuff, I got to see just how much he's being harrassed. It just never stops and it's getting worse and worse. I don't get half as much attention as he gets when I'm out by myself. It's really annoying. And the more successful we get, the more pressure he's under."

"Yeah, I know. I'm always with him. But what we can we do about it? That's never gonna change. He's always gonna be the center of attention. He has to learn how to handle it better. He can't let it get the best of him…. I don't think we should go back on tour if he's not in the same state of mind as he was two years ago. We can't do it if he's not ready to give his all."

"But you know, I do think we've been working way too much. I mean, we've never really stopped since we were sixteen. And honestly, after the tour, I think we should've taken some time for ourselves instead of rushing back into the studio and the promotion. We've barely had any time to miss it, you know what I mean?"

"Yeah. I know. I've been thinking about this a lot."

"Yeah, me too."

"We need a break. Like a real one. Even Rob and I need a break."

"You think so? You guys aren't broken up, are you?"

I let out a sigh. "I don't know what we are at the moment…"

After a pause, he said, "you've been together for eight years. Not easy to maintain a healthy relationship when ..." he didn't finish his sentence but said, "I guess you're on a break."

"Yeah. I guess we are."

"Hey, Rachel told me…Nothing going on with that Damien dude, right?"

"No, nothing." I reassured him. "But come to New York for the week. You can keep an eye on me!" I joked. "I think he might be back!"

He laughed. "Hey! Don't do what Ross did to Rachel! Not with that guy anyway!"

I snorted, remembering the TV show. "Yeah yeah, I get it. I should just fuck some random guy at the gym!"

"Exactly… or a girl… maybe it's time to explore your bisexual side again…," he said jokingly.

I laughed. "Not going back."

"You don't know what you're missing," he joked.

"Yes, I do. You're the one who doesn't know what he's missing."

He chuckled. "Alright, I'm gonna put an end to this conversation right now."

"Coward!"

He laughed. "Anyway…so here's what I've been thinking…"

"Go on, tell me."

"I think we should wait until we actually miss touring and recording. I wanna feel like… really eager to go back into the studio … because our minds are bubbling with ideas, and not because we feel pressured to deliver a new record."

"Yeah," I agreed. "And go back on tour when we really can't fucking wait to go back."

"Yeaaah! Because it's been so fucking long and we fucking miss it!" he said decisively.

I smiled. "I think, maybe, we should just play a few festivals next summer instead of touring again … play a few dates here and there and try out the new songs live. And then in 2019, we go back on tour and do what we've always wanted to do. A tour that is gonna blow people's minds. Something really special. I don't know what it's gonna be yet but we'll have time to figure it out. What d'you think?"

"I think that's a good plan," he said enthusiastically.

"So, how soon can you be here?"

"I can leave tomorrow. I can't wait to get outta here!" he said, with boyish eagerness.

"Alright. I'll text you Jimmy's address. Call me when you land," I told him.

We talked some more and I rang Rachel again as soon as I got off the phone with him to know more about her conversation with Rob. As it turned out, he hadn't required much convincing since everyone around him kept pressuring him to go - his parents, Tom, Dylan, me and even Jordan and Damon now. She had reassured him about Damien but he was indeed upset and worried I might impulsively want to have sex with him or even worse, start a relationship with him.

"He doesn't have to worry," I said.

"Well, he does. He's worried he might've gone too far. That you might not look at him in the same way…do you think there's some truth to that?"

I thought about it for a moment and answered, "no. I am mad at him, but I don't love him any less. I know he wasn't trying to hurt me. He was just hurting inside, and eventually it had to boil over because he didn't want to admit it to anyone, … but there's nothing unfixable here."

After a pause, she spoke. "Anyway, it was nice. We had a late lunch together and we had a good chat," she told me. "I felt a lot closer to him. Like, he wasn't worried about hurting my feelings by talking to me about you."

"What's he told you?" I asked with curiosity.

"I don't think he wants me to tell you… but he talked to me about Damien."

"Oh yeah? Come on, tell me," I insisted. "What'd he say?"

She hesitated before speaking. "That he'd always been worried that something would happen with him if you guys ever… split up."

"Oh, come on."

"Yeah… Just because you like Damien. He can see there's a connection. Obviously it's not as strong as yours but you do get on well with him… like you've got plenty of things in common."

"Yeah, that made him a friend."

"A friend you fancy…," she added and waited for me to respond but I just let out a chuckle. I couldn't lie to her about this. It was pretty obvious that I was attracted to him.

She continued. "What he's told me was so sweet. Wait, let me remember… How can I put this?"

I gave her time to gather her thoughts.

"Like… he said he knew Damien would fall for you. Just because of how attractive you are. Even if you don't realize it yourself. You don't even try to be, but it's like… you have a good aura. You attract people to you. But not in a shallow way like him. In a much deeper way. Like, you make people fall in love with you. And he knew that if Damien got to know you better and actually spend time with you, he'd fall in love. And sure enough, he did."

I shook my head and it took me a moment to process what he had told her.

"And now, he thinks that he might have to fight for you."

"Fight for me," I repeated, as if it was crazy for him to think that he'd ever have to fight for me.

"Yeah. Because Damien can easily mess with your head right now and convince you that now might be a good time to give him a chance. If you want something to happen, then it will happen, and there's not much he can do about it… just like, back when you guys got together, there was not much I could've done. When you told me about being with him, I'd already lost you."

"Well, when it comes to me and you. I came to the realization that I was gay… and in love with him… so yeah, there was nothing you could've done… But I'm not in love with Damien."

"But Damien's in love with you."

"So?"

"So, I dunno. Look, you love Rob, even if it might be difficult right now, so… just try to remember that if you see Damien again."

"Fine, you've made your points. I won't let him mess with my head."

We talked some more. She refused to tell me everything that he had told her but I was glad she'd been able to make him confide in her.

----

As I lay in bed that night, Rob was the only thing on my mind. I was a lot less confused about Damien. I knew that even if he tried to see me again, I wouldn't let him have me. I couldn't let him hope that we could have some sort of romantic relationship together. I wasn't interested in that. I couldn't deny I felt a sexual attraction for him but if I wanted to have sex, there were plenty of other attractive guys I could easily do that with. Unlike me, I knew lust was not the only emotion he felt, it was something deeper. Even though two years had passed since he had told me he loved me, it was still obvious in the way he had looked at me that he wasn't over me. There was no way I was going to have sex with him and then leave him feeling even more hurt and confused, just because I was a little horny and needed to get off. It must have been my age because I was a lot more mature about this.

I knew being with Damien just wouldn't make me feel the way I did with Rob and I could not do that to Rob. I was already hurting him by refusing to come home, I wasn't going to fuck Damien on top of that. Just the thought of hurting him… it made me ache. I couldn't wait to be with him again, the way we used to be before this whole mess started happening.

I wanted to call him, to let him know that I was thinking of him, that I was missing him, that he didn't need to be jealous, but I knew that talking to each other would have just made things harder at that moment. I grabbed my phone and started typing, not yet sure if I would press 'send'.

" Rach told me you're going to L.A… I listened to 'Sparks' this morning. Something about those lyrics, it seems like we've only just written them. Don't let me down. I love you."

I hesitated for a few seconds and finally sent the text. Then I browsed Twitter for a moment to find that damn picture of me. I did and read some of the tweets our fans had written, which rapidly got on my nerves, so I picked up the book I was reading and waited apprehensively for his response. It came over half an hour later.

"Can't do me any harm. I'm gonna go if it means that much to you, and to everyone else…"

I could see that he was still typing so I waited before responding.

"Babe I realize we're on a break and I'm not even asking you to stay completely faithful to me. I can understand if you wanna have a one night stand or something… but when it comes to him, I hope you won't let me down either. I hope it won't come to this but if I have to fight for you, I will, I've got no problem doing it"

I felt my heart swell at his words. I hated the fact that he thought I was going to cheat on him and I began thinking that, no matter how much he loved me, he might have sex with someone else and that it would serve me right. But I was willing to take the risk. I already knew I probably wouldn't hold it against him.

"You won't have to. I don't wanna be with him, or with anyone else. You don't have to feel threatened by him. I'm not THAT mad at you. I'm not letting go of you. I just want you to get the help you need. I promise you we'll come out of this stronger…. But the same goes for you. I won't take it personal if you hook up with some guy as long as you're careful, but I'd seriously rather not know about it. Let's try not to hurt each other,okay?"

"I can't believe we're talking about this. You know I just wanna be with you."

"I know, so do I. But there's a reason why we're having these problems and the sooner you get the help you need, the sooner we can be together again, like we used to be"

"Fine, I will. But we wouldn't be talking about this if you hadn't decided to leave. Come on, you know I'm sorry, I've never wanted to hurt you, I was just messed up"

"Yes, you were, and it won't resolve itself. Babe, don't think I don't miss you every second of every day, but I also miss what we were, before you started not giving a fuck about anything anymore. Tell me when you get there. I love you"

He didn't answer. I knew he wouldn’t. He didn't try to call me either. I guess he knew just as well as I did that talking to each other would be too painful, because despite both being mad at each other, we badly wanted to be together.

Lying in bed alone, I could only imagine the kind of angry sex we'd be having if we were in the same room.

We'd argue vehemently but he'd rapidly have enough of it so he'd probably grab my arm and pin me back against a wall and kiss me roughly as a default action.

Then he'd look intensely into my eyes. That'd be enough to set me off and the passion between us would be back a hundredfold. I knew I'd kiss him back harder and our tongues would play hungrily with each other. I'd run my fingers through his hair and draw him closer to me. I might nibble at his neck to breathe in the smell of his skin and then kiss his cheek and his lips again.

I'm pretty sure he'd be the first one to rip off my clothes. He'd lower his head and start biting at the muscles on my chest or lightly bite my nipples. Then I'd pull off his shirt to feel his chest against mine and we'd kiss passionately again. And then, he'd spin me around and let his tongue travel from the top of my spine, down to my waistband.

There'd be no foreplay, no cock sucking. He'd want to fuck me, to feel like I was his. I was only wearing pajama bottoms tied by a string with no underwear so he'd pull the string and let them drop to the floor and then he'd immediately caress and kiss my ass cheeks until I'd feel his tongue swiping over my hole, swirling everywhere and probing me. I'd be hard as a rock by then so I'd reach for my cock and jerk myself off to increase the pleasure of feeling his tongue darting in and out of me and I'd moan softly to encourage him to continue.

Then he'd stand up and we'd kiss again, with less urgency this time, but still both breathing hard. I think I'd want him to fuck me right there on the bedroom floor. We'd make out some more and caress each other's bodies before dropping to our knees and I'd lie down on the floor and raise my arms above my head. He'd kiss my neck and my chest, which would drive me crazy. He'd tell me how gorgeous he thought I was as he'd stroke his cock and lube me up.

Then I'd take the lead by lifting my legs into the air and putting them over his shoulders or around his waist. I wouldn't want him to open me up with his fingers, I wouldn't want to be teased. I'd only want to enjoy the feeling of being fully filled so I'd urge him to push himself into me and fuck me good and hard.

Then I'd feel the tip of his cock press against my hole and he'd do exactly as I ask. He would begin to pump slowly into me and he'd kiss my skin at the same time but he'd soon pound my ass because I'd keep telling him to go harder. He'd tell me how good I was and I'd tell him how good it felt being fucked and having him inside me again.

I'd enjoy watching him as he'd stare at my cock or my chest, knowing how much I was turning him on. He'd kiss me, he'd nip at my neck and my chest, or he would occasionally tease my hard-on. I'd want more so my own hand would pump away at my cock, and my other hand would be between my legs to feel his cock sliding in and out of me.

We'd both be so turned on that we'd soon be ready to burst and he'd urge me to cum as his balls would slap against me and his cock would rub that spot inside of me so that I'd feel my cock swell and ropes of cum would soon start flying out and land all over my chest and I'd keep moaning and groaning and squeeze his cock with my ass while he'd plow into me and finally cum inside me. I'd continue pulling on my cock as he'd have his orgasm, and I'd watch him shake and whimper. Then he'd collapse on top of me and ease himself out of me and I'd feel this sudden feeling of emptiness which would make me wish he could put it right back in.

I smiled to myself as I got off the bed to wash the cum off my chest. I quickly crawled back into bed and grabbed a pillow, wishing it was him hugging himself to me, and let sleep overtake me, hoping he wouldn't haunt my dreams too.

He texted me a couple of days later to tell me that he was in L.A and Jordan joined me in New York.

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