Lovers of Starlight, part 2 episode 23 of “The Starlight Trilogy” by Thea Washington
The characters in this story are fictional and not intended to depict the present or future of any individual.
The character “the Rock Star” is based on Adam Lambert.
Most of the videos in Part 2 reflect Lover’s favorite music (R&B, soul).
They were selected to enhance the story but are not required for your entertainment.
Chapter 41 – CONFRONTATION
Now who was this knocking on his door? The Rock Star was not in the mood for company. When he opened the door he thought, “This is just what I don’t need right now.”
The Exec stood there, looking at him as if he were a disease.
“What do you want?”
“I’m on my way to the airport. But I wanted to tell you something before I left.”
“Oh, yeah? What’s that?”
The Exec walked into the cottage, shouldering his way past the Rock Star. “Hope I’m not interrupting anything,” he said, looking around. “I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your love life.”
“Ha,” said the Rock Star. “Not much chance of that.” The Exec thought he heard an edge in the man’s voice but he couldn’t be bothered with it right then.
“I wanted you to know you are the biggest motherfucking asshole on this planet.”
The two men faced each other. This was going to be just as ugly as the scene in the kitchen.
“And you say this because?” asked the Rock Star, already knowing the answer.
“Because you have thrown away the best and purest love a man could ask for.”
“And what makes you such an expert?”
“Look,” managed the Exec, wanting to beat the crap out of the Rock Star. ”I’ve wanted him since we met in grad school. Wanted him bad. But he never saw me that way. So I watched and waited and watched some more. I saw guys fuck him over, I saw guys take advantage, I saw a lot. But you know what? I finally saw him happy. With you,” he spit out.
“What business is that of yours?”
“I know what you did. I saw what you did to his kitchen, I saw the broken chair. But fuck the furniture. You know what else I saw? I saw the bruises. You never saw ‘em, did you? On his shoulder, down his chest. You didn’t hear him wheezing, trying to breathe. You didn’t call the doctor to make sure his lungs were OK. You didn’t help him get from the floor, where you left him, to his bed. He had to use that chair, your fucking weapon, to help himself just get to the bathroom. He couldn’t even put your goddamn violence behind him because he needed that chair in front of him.” The Exec stopped for the moment. But he was just getting started.
“You didn’t hear him refusing to call the police because he remembered the last time you were on a tabloid cover and he couldn’t do that to you. And for damn sure you didn’t hold him all night while he moaned from the pain AND cried his heart out. THAT’S what makes this my fucking business.”
“I bet you just loved it, too, didn’t you? This was your chance, your shot?” said the Rock Star, trying and failing to show some bravado.
“Look, bitch, this was my friend who had given the man he loved everything he’d ever wanted. This was my friend, bruised and in pain and with a broken heart, all because of you. Does it even make sense I would love seeing him like that?”
“He lied to me.”
“He lied to you? Don’t you get it? He never lied, not to you or anybody else. All he said was what he knew was true. That you were coming home and that, when you did, your music would be better than ever. That’s all he ever said.”
“He should have told me.”
The Exec was almost too angry to comment on the stupid statement. “If he had, you wouldn’t have believed all those people around the world really wanted you back. What is wrong with you? Do you honestly think he’d go to every single one of them and what, pay them to say they cared about you, wanted you back, bribe them to lie about it? You really don’t get it, do you?”
“I guess you’re gonna tell me.”
“Goddamn right I’m gonna tell you, ‘cause somebody needs to. That man not only saved your physical and your mental life, he saved your ‘life’ for you. He made sure it would be here waiting for you whenever you decided to come down off that goddamn mountain. He put everything you love, the music, your family, your friends, your fans, the world, his love, everything, in a big-ass pretty box and wrapped it up in fancy paper and tied this huge sparkly bow on top and handed it back to you. And what did you do? Did you say, ‘Thank you for saving me my wonderful life as a world famous rock star’? No. You threw a chair at him. You trashed his home. And while there you were, standing there with EVERYTHING you wanted, you took away from him the one thing, the ONLY thing, he wanted. YOU. For you to be happy and to love him.” The Exec paused to catch his breath. ”How could you do it?” he asked quietly. ”How could you punish him like that for simply giving you what you wanted?”
“He should have told me.”
“Oh yeah, right,” said the Exec, winding up again. “When somebody throws you this wonderful surprise party, you get in their face, screaming, ‘You should have told me’, right? Huh? I bet that’s what you would do. What the hell makes you think you had the right to ask him to keep YOUR secret just because you wanted to hide from the world, but he does this incredible, loving surprise for you and you have the nerve to be angry–and violent–because he didn’t tell you about the surprise? Is your ego that warped?”
The Rock Star was beginning to get it, the embarrassment beginning to show. “OK, what if I did fuck up? You were there just waiting, weren’t you?”
“You are weak and you are pathetic. Yeah, I was there. And yeah, I was happy he was away from you. And yeah, I made a move. Or tried, anyway. I told him he’s a treasure. A treasure. And you treated him like he was garbage. You threw him in the gutter and let the rats and the roaches have him. That beautiful, generous, loving man.” The Exec waited while his head cleared, not knowing which part of the truth he wanted to say next. “And if that wasn’t bad enough, your worthless ass took away his belief that he can ever love or be loved again. He doesn’t think he can. He’s scared now. He’s too scared to risk it. He thinks he’s going to be alone and lonely and unhappy for the rest of his life. And just because you don’t love him. Yeah, that’s right, you son of a bitch. You have destroyed his heart.”
The Exec stopped, shaking his head, breathing deep, getting ready for what was coming next.
“You know what he told me? And I don’t know if you even deserve to know this. He told me, he actually said, that he still loves you but that you don’t want him. You said so. And even if you did want him, now he’s too afraid of you to be with you. Do you see the position you’ve put him in? He can’t have you and he doesn’t want anybody else. I hope that alone makes you feel like the piece of shit you are.”
The Exec continued his tirade, circling around the Rock Star. “You know what? I told him you don’t deserve him. You do not deserve him. I told him he deserves the best and you know what he said? He said he had the best. That the only problem was, he can see the best in you but you can’t. And no, he doesn’t expect you to be perfect. You’ve run from him not once but twice. So from the very start he’s never expected ‘perfect’.”
The Rock Star put out a hand and leaned toward the wall.
“Yeah, you go ahead and collapse, you bastard. Go ahead. But you think about this. Whenever you ran, did he cheat on you? No. He was faithful. And this time, for two fucking YEARS he was faithful. Did he ever, in any way, even look at another man? Or badmouth you for leaving? Uh uh. He got people to remember how ‘great’ you are and then he told ’em that you were gonna be even better. He should have left your worthless ass, but did he? Nope. He was right here waiting for you to come home and be safe and happy.”
By now the Rock Star couldn’t even stand up. He knew the Exec was right. About everything. But he’d be damned if he’d admit it. He sat down at the table, half-turned toward the window, unable to face the man or the truth in front of him.
But the Exec wasn’t done yet. He began to pace back and forth, his head and his body shaking with disgust, his fists clenched with barely-controlled rage.
“You asked him to keep your fucking secret and he did. And believe me, everybody tried to get it out of him. You don’t know how much he was offered if only he would tell. Money, clients, press. But he kept your secret until he was so afraid for you that he asked me, ME, who has loved him and wanted him for years, to help him get your pitiful ass home so you would be safe and you could have your ‘rock-star life’ back and he could love you. And stupid me, I must really love him ‘cause I agreed to help him.” The Exec chuckled, self-deprecating. ”Know why I did it, why I helped him? Because all I want is for him to have what he wants. Not what I want. What he wants. That’s why I know we’d be good together, him and me, because we love the same way. But you don’t. It’s always all about you.”
The Rock Star tried one more time to justify it, knowing that he couldn’t. “You don’t understand. This wasn’t the first time he’s done this.”
The Exec was ready for him.
“Oh, you mean just like this wasn’t the first time you ran away and he forgave you? Like that?”
There was nothing the Rock Star could say.
“Hey, I know he didn’t tell you about Starlight. I know why. And so do you. He broke his promise to her because he thought you should know while she was still alive. He’d given her his word and you know what that means to him. You asshole. You are such a fucking ASShole.
By this time the Exec was pacing back and forth between the Rock Star and the door.
“I know about that night, too,” he said. “When he did tell you? How you terrorized him? He actually thought you were going to HIT him. And when you fell apart, did he run, try to get away? No. He comforted you, the man he thought was going to hurt him. Who comforted him, huh? When you run away, when you terrorize him? Who comforts him? Not you, you arrogant son of a bitch. Not you. You can’t be bothered, you selfish, greedy, miserable excuse for a man.”
The Exec was spent. He looked at his watch.
“I’ve got a plane to catch. You, you need some serious help. And I’ll be praying to God that you do lose him just so you’ll know what it feels like.”
He was halfway to the door when he turned, walking back to the Rock Star, who was still seated at the table. He leaned down to his ear and emphatically whispered his last message.
Chapter 42 – ONE TO GO
The airport was crowded. Flights were delayed because of the weather in their cities of origin and/or their destinations. The Exec’s flight to New York was one of them. He bought a couple of magazines, grabbed a drink and some snacks in one of the restaurants and waited for the arrival of his plane and its crew.
Finishing his snacks, he decided to head over to the concourse where he’d be boarding. He walked instead of using the people-mover, for exercise and to look around. Something in one of the bars caught his eye. Two attractive young men were talking, their heads close together. He recognized one right away. It was Lover’s Intern. It took a minute to recognize the other one. It was the Reporter from “Rolling Stone.”
“Now that’s a really interesting pair,” he thought. “Wonder what that’s about?” He ducked around a rack of sunglasses and watched the two young men.
The Reporter looked nervous, whatever they were talking about. He had a carry-on bag with him. He was being emphatic about something, repeatedly hitting the table with a finger as if to underscore certain points. He also kept scanning the room, evidently looking to see if anyone was paying them undo attention. The Intern was listening carefully, nodding his head as if taking instructions. He looked nervous, too.
What happened next was very interesting. The Reporter reached into an inside pocket and took out a thick envelope. He passed it to the Intern. The Exec couldn’t see what was in it but he didn’t have to. Under the table the Intern was making the classic moves of counting money.
The Exec wasn’t stupid. Something not good was going on here. Those two didn’t fit. He continued pretending to be fascinated by the display of sunglasses. What he was fascinated by, however, was what was going on at that table.
The meeting was over. The Exec turned away and walked further into the souvenir store. The Reporter headed away from him, towards the gates. The Intern walked right by him but didn’t see him. The Exec followed him. He seemed to be going to the parking garage, fast, not looking back.
The Exec remembered the Rock Star’s cryptic comment about his love life. And now the Reporter was nervously headed out of town but not before he’d done business with the Intern. He also remembered seeing the Rock Star and the young man at the club on comedy night. Could all this be connected?
He could see the Intern’s car parked further down the row. He cut through the cars so he could beat the Intern to his. He was opening the car door when the Exec came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. The Intern spun around as if expecting the police.
“Well, fancy meeting you here,” said the Exec, affably. “What brings you to the airport? We could have ridden together.”
“Oh, uh, I was just seeing a friend off.”
“Yeah, I saw. I didn’t know you were friends with the Reporter.”
“Oh, yeah. We go out together all the time. You know. We go the same clubs a lot.”
“Oh. I thought he was seeing the Rock Star. So, you in the closet or something?”
The Intern should have stopped to think but he didn’t.
“Oh, no, I’m straight.” As soon as it was out of his mouth he knew he’d messed up. The Exec slowly nodded.
“Then there’s something I don’t understand. You’re going to explain it to me. And what it has to do with that envelope full of money he just gave you. Oh, and son, if I were you and I ever wanted to work again, I wouldn’t lie to me.”
The Intern spilled everything. How the Reporter had approached him after hearing that he used to deliver for a caterer and that the Rock Star was one of their best customers. He’d even remembered seeing Lover there one night. The Reporter had told him he was gathering information for his new article about the real Rock Star and was interested in any tidbits he could get. Like wasn’t it funny that the Rock Star couldn’t cook? It sounded innocent enough.
The Reporter was also interested in the fact that the Intern worked for Lover. He’d said the Intern could make a few extra bucks if he fed him anything he could use in the article. The Intern jumped at the chance. He sure wouldn’t turn down an offer like that. Besides, the Reporter told him, the “honorarium” would increase if the Intern got some specific information.
Hence the coincidental crossings of paths. He and Lover didn’t need to hide their history; nothing had ever happened so there wasn’t anything to hide. His obvious affection for Lover, however, had interested the Reporter a lot. The Exec hadn’t known about the dinner but he certainly remembered Intern’s willingness to make the reservations. And the gift of the passes to the club. Shortly after both of those, the coincidences occurred.
The Intern provided another tidbit about the Reporter, that he wanted to oust the Editor of “Rolling Stone” and grab his job. The way he was planning to do it was by becoming known as the Rock Star’s new lover, privy to lots of insider information. By doling out bits and pieces to others in the industry, he planned to get enough support to get rid of the current Editor. He’d been playing the Rock Star all along. And earlier that day the Rock Star found out.
Unlike what Lover had done to save the Rock Star, this had all been a set-up to take advantage and then to destroy him.
The Exec didn’t know what to say. It did explain a couple of things. That cryptic remark the Rock Star had made about his love life, for instance. And why the Reporter was so nervous and getting’ the hell outta Dodge. The jig was up.
Relieving the Intern of his envelope, the Exec sent him on his unhappy way but not before thanking him for his generous contribution to a charitable organization of Lover’s choice. He also suggested he immediately go back to the office and submit his resignation so Lover would see it first thing in the morning. Oh, and he should hand over his office keys to the Exec right then and there. He called the office while standing there with the now-soon-to-be-former Intern to be sure someone would be there to accept the resignation and help him collect and remove his belongings. How fortunate that one of the staff on hand was the V.P. of Human Resources. She’d be sure to have the necessary paperwork ready for him when he got there.
After watching the Intern drive away, the Exec hated what he had to do next. Back in the terminal he called Lover.
“Hey, aren’t you supposed to be on a plane?”
“I got delayed, sort of.”
“Well, I had to cuss out your boyfriend and fire your Intern. It took a little longer than I thought.”
Silence on the other end of the phone. Then a quiet, “You what?”
He sketched out what he’d learned about the Reporter and the Intern and how he’d handled it. And he told him the bare essentials of his visit with the Rock Star, leaving those details out, too. He could hear Lover’s confusion and bewilderment. He offered to stay over another day and, to his surprise, Lover said yes, he’d appreciate that. Some things are just too much and too hard to try to handle by yourself.
Tomorrow in “Lovers” – The Rock Star realizes …