The Starlight Trilogy-by Thea – Part 1, “Echoes of Starlight” – Episode 12 of 12 + Coda
This is a fictional story. The character of “the Rock Star” is only based on Adam Lambert and is in no way intended to be an accurate depiction of his life.
Yesterday in Episode 11: Starlight’s and Lover’s Gift
CHAPTER 28 – FAR AWAY
They named it “The Recent Future Tour.” Again calls came in from all over the country and around the world. Everyone wanted to see and hear this talented, caring, courageous man. Angel was busy and happy and excited and sometimes exhausted. Often Starlight could hear him humming and happily babbling once again. She loved him like this.
He wanted her to come with him but by now Starlight was entering her late 60’s and beginning to adjust her pace. Angel regularly made her visit her doctor for physicals and tests. She still felt pretty healthy other than some headaches. She told him that everything was fine, that it was just part of aging.
What she didn’t tell him was that the doctor had discovered a weakened blood vessel in her brain. He wanted to closely monitor it. Starlight asked him what the prognosis was. He told her it was hard to say, that it depended on how strong the vessel stayed and gave her a prescription to encourage that. But he also said that even with medication the vessel would eventually break. The Doctor knew of Starlight’s relationship with the Rock Star and encouraged her to tell him. She said she would choose her own time to do that.
It was an astounding echo of her Angel’s reluctance to tell her about the sexual assault, her turn to keep a secret. The irony was not lost on her.
Angel and Lover were making plans for the tour, as was his staff. They were excited about the prospect of the foreign locations their P.R. Director would be scouting during the tour and that they would probably head. He had his staff’s loyalty and in exchange took great care of them. This was a good sign, thought Starlight; he would take care of her Angel, too.
She suggested that Lover accompany Angel for the entire tour but he said he’d rather just join him in the cities he was scouting. Lover, who was very good at “noticing details,” noticed Starlight’s diminishing energy and wanted to stay in L.A. to monitor her. She had given him strict instructions not to let Angel know about her health. Then Starlight said she’d join them for the last few concerts. Angel had forgotten just how stubborn she could be and blamed it on that Taurus moon again.
Eventually he gave in. He’d give her anything she wanted and she knew it. It did mean they’d be separated on her birthday. He wanted to schedule around it but she lovingly told him not to be such an ass.
The tour sold out early and was an amazing hit. As they circled the globe, the crowds that greeted him at every airport humbled the Rock Star. He was sure to send videos and tweets to his fans back in the U. S., letting them know where he was and that he was OK. He missed them and made sure they knew it. Whenever he left the country his fans missed him, sending whatever Deity they believed in their sacred and sincere prayers for his safe journey.
One of his fans came up with the crazy idea of leasing a fleet of 777 jumbo jets and flying all of his American fans to his next stop on the tour, allowing him to perform there and then bringing him home where he belonged. He videoed back that he really appreciated the thought but would have to decline. He gently reminded them that he was living his life-long dream, and encouraged them to pursue theirs. And he promised he’d be home as soon as possible.
CHAPTER 29 – THIS SHIP IS TAKING ME
After all of those physicals, those medical exams and tests, with Lover at her side, Starlight was told she was at high risk for a stroke. It ran in her family. Several of her family members, including her Mom and older sister, had died of strokes. The Doctor said that weakening blood vessels in her brain were showing up more clearly on screen. He had no way of telling her how long she might have, only that when she passed it would probably be sudden and painless. At her last exam, he’d said it might be within the year. They would continue to monitor the growing weakness of the vessels. He told her some signs to watch for and to call 911 immediately if even one of them occurred.
She decided to completely keep it from Angel. The tour was a bona fide hit. His music was played all around the world. His fans would have been so disappointed. She couldn’t let him not finish it, especially because of her.
Lover did tell BFF, who tried to talk her into telling Angel. She refused, showing the same stubbornness he had shown when the Guitarist had tried to convince him to tell Starlight about the assault. BFF reminded her how that had turned out, both of them miserable and almost destroying what they had. Starlight said that, when she passed, he’d have to learn to live without her anyway, so what was the point?
It sounded cold but it was true. By not telling him, she assured that he would be happy as long as possible. Outside of her own, his happiness had always been her priority and, occasionally, his had come first. She could not imagine that he would be happy at home caring for her. Nor did she let herself think about how much Angel worried about her when he was away.
The months went by. The tour was going so well. She was moving more slowly, taking more naps. It got to the point where Lover told BFF and her husband it was time to come to L.A. because he’d be leaving to meet Angel a few days before Starlight arrived. He didn’t want her staying in the mansion without friends or family around her. They cleared their calendars and arrived in California two days later, the day before Lover was leaving. Starlight told Angel they were just there for a visit on their way home from a Hawaii vacation. He told her he was glad they were able to stop over for a while, apparently not suspecting a thing and, if he did, not letting on. Lover, who didn’t say anything, had a feeling. Starlight was still adamant he not say a word to her Angel. It was hers to tell–if she chose.
BFF did convince her to meet the tour if she felt strong enough. How could she not see Angel one last time? How could she take that from him? So he sent the jet and she flew to meet him. He looked so good. Happy, healthy (thanks to Lover having people monitoring food and sleep–and lots of juicing), so amazed at all the people who stood for hours to just see him, who wanted his autograph, who let him entertain them, who adored him. The humility that had always been a part of him was still intact. It was one of the many reasons why all those people loved him so.
Starlight arrived for three concerts at the end of the tour. Lover was the first to notice that she already seemed frailer than she’d been when he’d left a few days before.
She lasted through two of the concerts before telling Angel that, regretfully, she needed to get back home. The night before she was leaving, Lover told Angel the truth about Starlight’s condition. He’d nearly destroyed their hotel suite, so angry that she and Lover had kept it from him. Angel considered leaving with her. She would not allow it.
When they took her to the airport the next morning, she kissed and hugged him tightly, whispering “Angel” over and over again, telling him how much she loved him, how proud she was of him, what a wonderful man he was, how much she loved being his Starlight. She reminded him of how their friendship had begun and how it had grown. There were such happy memories and all because of him. She was so grateful.
Angel could barely speak but he held it together for her. He told her how she’d always had his love, his complete devotion. He told her how grateful he was that she’d let him find her, always accepted him, understood him and, when necessary, forgiven him. He talked about how much she’d taught him and how good it would feel to be home with her again. He was hers and she was his.
Neither could say the word.
At the jet’s door she turned, waved and blew him a kiss. He waved back. When she was settled in her seat, she put her hand on the window. He could see it as the jet taxied down the runway and held his hand out toward hers. He’d been holding his tears, but they came as he watched the plane lift into the blue sky until it disappeared. He knew, they both knew. It was why she had come.
As the jet left the ground, Starlight knew that was the last time she would ever see her Angel. The trip had taken it out of her, despite how comfortable they’d made sure she was. She’d made it through two of the three concerts but could feel the darkness coming. She just couldn’t say “Goodbye.” It made it too real. And Angel, who now knew what was happening, couldn’t bear to make it any harder on her by saying it, either.
By the time the jet took off, he and Lover were both in tears and each other’s arms. He told the Band he would do the one remaining concert but then he was immediately flying home. If he hadn’t had the work ethic he did he would have found it impossible to do even this last one, singing songs that hid his inner sorrow to a crowd that just wanted to party, who didn’t know what was going on in his heart.
Everything after the tour was cancelled: the interviews, the acoustic sessions, the appearances, everything could wait. He just prayed that Starlight could hold on until he got home.
CHAPTER 30 – TRANSITION
At home in California, Starlight was getting weaker. She never left the house now. BFF begged her to call the Doctor for hospice care, but Starlight wanted to be at home, where she could still see Angel’s things, smell his clothes, sense his presence and his love. Lover convinced her to let him hire a hospice nurse to move in with them, just in case. She reluctantly agreed.
One night, when the house was quiet and she couldn’t sleep, she crept downstairs to Angel’s office. She opened the laptop and began to write.
My Dearest Angel,
Tonight I’ve been remembering the times and places we’ve shared. And you know what? More than the actual ones, what I remember most is you during those times, in those places. I remember the first time I watched that video of you singing “Starlight” in Central Park. I remember you singing it to me in Chicago. I almost didn’t hear the song because I was so fully sensing you.
I love you so much, and not only because of the strong, caring man you are but because of everything you taught me. You taught me to never be afraid of the new, so don’t worry. I’m not afraid now. You taught me to risk and to trust myself and to be open to possibilities. You helped me learn compassion and understanding. You taught me what it is to be loved.
My Angel, please don’t be mad at me, or Lover, for not telling you everything. I just couldn’t let you stay and watch this happen. I wanted you happy, doing what you love. That’s what I’ve always wanted.
You know that my love and our memories will always be with you. And if there’s any way for me to still be with you, too, I’ll find it. I promise.
You must promise me that you will take care. You are such a gift to this world, my Angel. You must survive this celebrity circus, with its wild, untamed animals and horrors and temptations hiding behind their masks. You have so much to offer, to give. Promise me you will.
Let people love you. Share your love. I know how wonderful it is to be loved by you. Don’t let people miss out on that.
Let people help you. Don’t run away, no matter how much you’re tempted to. Let them be with you. Stay connected to those who love you. Invite them into your heart. Don’t worry—it’s big enough. Let people see you. The real you. Inside you are just as beautiful as you are on the outside. That’s why I always loved your angelface.
You have always been my Angel. I will always be yours.
Starlight typed in “I love you,” and hit the return key. She tabbed over and was able to type in the “S” before the darkness came. It was instantaneous. Gently, slowly, she slipped from the chair. She was gone.
BFF called the Guitarist and broke the news. They had just finished the “Starlight” encore for the last concert on the tour. Everyone cried.
The trip home was horrible. The Rock Star mostly stayed to himself, unable to stand much of anyone’s care or concern. Still, he was glad the Band was flying with him. He couldn’t make it without them and they would have done anything for him. Lover took care to make sure he was as OK as could be expected. Everyone cried.
BFF and her husband were there when the jet landed. He tried to hold it together but in the limo he collapsed into her arms. The three of them sat there, her husband holding her while she held Starlight’s Angel. Lover sat up front and made sure the bags and everything else was taken care of. Everyone cried.
They had to help him into the mansion. He seemed almost afraid to go in, as if every room was waiting to blame him, haunt him for not being there. Nothing had been moved, nothing of hers discarded. The staff knew he’d need to see her things, smell her clothes, sense her presence and her love. Everyone cried.
The memorial service was packed. Yellow roses filled the room. Starlight had become known throughout the industry and the media as the smart, kind, gracious and loving woman that she was. They all attended the service. BFF spoke, her family spoke, friends spoke. The Band members all tried to speak at once, finally letting the Guitarist have the lead. They played a beautiful, instrumental, acoustic version of “Starlight” to close the service. The Rock Star barely made it through and immediately disappeared. No one was surprised. Everyone cried.
The next day, family and close friends gathered for a private memorial service at Starlight’s favorite crag above the ocean. There were three readings, read by BFF, Lover and the Guitarist, before her ashes were released into the air. Above the ocean, Angel released Starlight’s friendship band into the air to follow her.
Eventually he sent BFF and her husband home to Chicago. Lover notified his staff that he was taking an extended leave and assigned them new responsibilities. They knew what had happened and took on their new duties as their way of honoring their Director and his partner. He moved in with Angel to make all the arrangements that needed to be made. Starlight had been right. He took good care of him.
It was Lover who was able to get the letter retrieved from the laptop. It had been shut down without the usual process and set aside. When he found it he took it to the Computer Wiz at the label’s office, the one who had helped find Starlight all those years before. The Wiz recovered all of her files, where he found her last letter to her Angel. He was only too happy to do this for the Rock Star. The whole staff had known Starlight and knew how wounded he was. Everyone had cried.
The Rock Star’s grief was poignant and profound. Sometimes he was angry, sometimes in shock, sometimes bitter. Sometimes he just walked around the walled garden crying, silently screaming at the sky for hours while the Demons wailed. “How could she leave you? Didn’t she love you enough to wait for you, to fight to stay? Didn’t she want you enough to stay? You should have taken better care of her. You should have been here. She depended on you and you let her down. It’s your fault she’d died. It was all your fault.”
Lover gave the laptop to the Rock Star, leaving him alone to read the letter. Again, in the face of Starlight’s love for her Angel, the Demons had no choice but to flee.
Lover had known that giving him the letter was the best thing he could do for him. Even in death, Starlight would join her energy to his, beat the Demons and save her Angel. Lover hoped that, when it was time, he would be allowed to do the same.
The Rock Star tried to stay in the mansion where they’d lived, but he couldn’t do it. He told Lover he was closing the mansion and moving to the mountain house by himself. He notified the staff of his plans and found them all new positions with people he knew, people he could trust to treat them well. He sold much of the furniture and put the rest in storage, keeping only those things he wanted with him, mostly things of Starlight’s. On the day he left the mansion for good, Lover made one more futile attempt to keep him with the people who loved him, as Starlight had wished. But feeling loved was more than the Rock Star could stand. As Lover watched him drive off, he wondered if he’d ever see him again. He loved this man. He didn’t care how long it took. He would wait.
Tomorrow in “Echoes” [Coda]: Lessons Learned