Always the Sun

The next day we wrote a song. Because I woke up with the words all buzzing in my brain like a bunch of bees chasing each other around. I went and tried to write them down quietly in the windowsill, after eating half a cold Pop Tart to settle my stomach, but the sound of my pencil scratching against the paper of my notebook was enough to wake him. Or maybe he sensed it. I don’t know. Whatever.

I titled it “In Love With Being in Love.” And it had the kind of verses that sound like nonsense until you really listen and realize they make sense. Like:

I’m not in love
for the the first time
but it’s the first time
I’m in love with being in love

I didn’t fall
for the first time
but it’s the first time
I fell for falling in love

Ziggy had a cassette dubbing deck in his stereo, I improvised his headphones into a microphone, and we sat on the rug in front of the stereo cabinet and stuck down a raucous little demo of the song, with us singing harmony in the verses and him rapping over me playing the riff. “Ha,” he said. “Easiest bridge in the world.”

“Still needs a chorus,” I pointed out.

“Tch. Whatever.” Then he took the guitar out of my hands, laid it carefully down on the rug next to us, and climbed into my lap. “But did you mean it?”

“Mean what?”

“Are you in love with being in love?”

“Right now? Yes. That’s why I thought of it.”

“I always love being in love. That’s why I fall so easily.” He touched his forehead to mine, his arms over my shoulders. “It’s really your first time enjoying it?”

“Do I really have to tell you this? You’re really the only person I’ve fallen in love with. I love Carynne but it’s not a romantic love, and you could say there was love between me and J but it was…different. It’s easier to say now that I loved him than it was to say at the time. That tells you something.”

“Mm-hm.” He crawled out of my lap then, unplugged the headphones and stared at them. “How did you know headphones could be used like a microphone?”

“You never plugged them in backwards as a kid to see what would happen? Or by accident?”

“No?” He appeared to be holding in a laugh. “You mean you just discovered it by accident?”

“Basically. I was like, hm, these two plugs are the same kind, what happens? Turns out if you put the output in the input it just goes the other way.” I shrugged like that made perfect sense even though it was another thing that could sound like nonsense.

Ziggy grinned. “Well, it worked, anyway. And now I am starved.”

“Mm-hm.” Although the way we were looking at each other right then made me think food wasn’t foremost in either of out minds.

But that made it a luxury not to tackle him right back into bed. We could indulge in waiting, in not being desperate. Desperate had been my state of being for so much of my life, it was weird not to be.

We got dressed and went out for brunch to a non-touristy hole in the wall Ziggy had frequented enough that they knew how to prep his coffee without asking.

“Do you think we could walk around St. Mark’s Place without you causing a mob scene?” I asked, when we were mostly done eating.

“Oh yeah. Nobody gives a fuck who I am in the Village and we’ll blend right in. Especially over there. But if you want to be on the safe side, we could bring Tony.”

“I’d rather just spend time, you know, the two of us, for a little longer,” I said, trying not to sound pathetic about it.

“It’s kind of nice, isn’t it,” he replied. “You want to do some shopping?”

“At least some window shopping. And I want to get a pager. Although shouldn’t I wait until I’m back in Boston for that?”

He made a dismissive noise. “If people are going to gripe about long distance charges on a thirty-second voice mail, you don’t want to talk to them anyway. C’mon. I’ll take you to the guy who set up mine.”

Pager Guy turned out to be a cousin of Tony’s and that was how I ended up with a New York City pager number. I left messages for Carynne, Sarah, and Jonathan with the number, feeling proud of myself, and then I turned the pager off–Ziggy’s were still off–and we had so much afternoon sex that I felt chafed when we went out dancing again that night.

The next day I turned the pager back on and discovered I had messages, and Ziggy showed me how to retrieve them by setting his kitchen phone on speaker and then talking me through it

The first message was from Jonathan: “Heyyy!! Are you still in town? Kicking myself I wasn’t there at the Cat Club. Sarah Rogue has been gloating to me non-stop about it. I fly in to JFK tonight. If you’re free for lunch tomorrow or later in the week, let me know.”

Ziggy clapped his hands. “Let’s kidnap him from the airport.”

“What?”

“Let’s go with Tony in the limo and pick him up from the airport. Come on, you know JFK sucks.”

“Okay, but why?”

“Come on, Daron. It’ll be fun. Jonathan’s a respected literary novelist now. He’s coming home from a successful book tour. We should take him out to celebrate.”

“Hang on, hang on.” I took the phone off speaker before the system could get impatient with us and disconnected. “First of all, A) how do you know he’s on a book tour? And B) since when are you interested in Jonathan celebrating?”

“Tsk. A) You could pick up a newspaper once in a while.” He pressed closer to me. “And B) You’re nuts if you think I don’t want to rub it in his face that you’re one hundred percent mine now.

Yeah, when Ziggy decided to go for the full honesty thing it could be kind of terrifying, couldn’t it? But I liked the way his lips felt against mine while he tried to lay his claim and then–chafed or not–I nearly fucked him clear through the mattress.

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Comments 5

  1. chris wrote:

    Daron why is it when there are a few amazing, happy, sexy, loving chapters in a row I get really nervous and feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop? Please just keep having fun and being in love, no drama or chaos, please?

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Probably for the same reason that I sometimes envision ctan sitting at her computer, an evil look on her face backlit by the computer screen, her finger about to depress a big red button like the one at the end of the Genesis “Land of Confusion” video as she uploads a chapter that she KNOWS will devastate us all. LOL

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    What’s funny is that sometimes you guys freak out over things I didn’t think were that bad, actually… but yeah, when I write one that I know is going to cause hair-tearing and teeth gnashing, I’m usually right. ;-)

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    So, if you remember, which ones did we freak about that you didn’t think we would? I know my personal freak-outs were when 1) Carynne slept with Ziggy, 2) Ziggy…fell, 3) Daron hung up on Janessa, and 4) Janessa’s bombshell. I don’t remember truly freaking about any others…not that I haven’t had a wide range of emotions over many, many, many scenes…

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    This is why I asked for a week before I tell Ziggy. Because I just need a… a… vacation from everything that rips us apart, you know? The merry go round will start again soon enough, no matter what I do, but a little break I just really needed it.

    I guess you guys did, too.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    Amazing, happy, sex, loving are all parts of Daron’s growth and evolution. Which is the story, remember? It’s not just angst and drama. It’s not just pain and heartbreak. All of those lead to new growth, new evolution, and so do amazing etc.

    Trust ctan to get this right. Despite the fact that the first chapters were published before the whole book was even outlined (I sure hope it’s a very long ouline), during this second read-through I can find nothing – absolutely nothing – that doesn’t contribute eventually to Daron’s growth and evolution. When I grow up I want to be ctan.

    [Reply]

    Posted 08 Dec 2015 at 9:41 am
  2. s wrote:

    “And B) You’re nuts if you think I don’t want to rub it in his face that you’re one hundred percent mine now.” I found this ENORMOUSLY satisfying (my employees are looking at me like I’m crazy ’cause I can’t wipe the stupid grin off my face)! J (with help from Daron, of course) fucked up everything you’d worked so hard to build, Zig, and I’m so looking forward to this. Please, please, please take him somewhere you can hang all over Daron. (oops, my vindictive side is showing)

    Switching gears for a moment, I’m a little surprised and maybe disappointed, Daron, that you never mentioned Scott Weiland’s death…not even a retweet from Nikki Sixx or Dave Navarro or any of the others that said something. Regardless of what anyone thought about the man or his problems, he was one hell of a frontman.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    So with you on the first part. I don’t care if it’s vindictive. We had to endure Jonathan for so. fucking. long. Ziggy totally gloating is fine with me. It’s not like Jonathan wasn’t pushing his relationship with Daron in Ziggy’s face. Remember that kiss in front of God and everyone after the accident? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

    I’m in denial about the second part of your comment. It just seems unbelievable after he survived the 90s and into this century. I figured he’d be a Keith Richards.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I knew you’d understand! And not just the kiss. How about he just shows up and ruins everything every chance he gets. Ziggy was trying so fucking hard to do what he thought Daron wanted him to do, to give him space and not push him. He sooooo deserves this! Also, I love Daron, but I swear to god if I hear him say TO ZIGGY that he loved J one more time, I might just lose it.

    I haven’t listened to anything but STP or Velvet Revolver since Friday. My FB newsfeed was flooded with their videos all day, you know, ’cause my friends have good taste in music. It’s such a freaking shame. Of course, I may be overly sensitive since I lost a girl that was like a sister to me in high school earlier in the week. I feel like my childhood is disappearing, one soul at a time.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    P.S. It’s also John Lennon deathday today. Daron and I meant to put something about that in the post and forgot…

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Scott Weiland, wow. sanders I can’t help but feel chills looking back on our extended email conversation about the “Fall to Pieces” video and the ficlet you wrote after that… especially after reading that letter in Rolling Stone from his wife and kids.

    [Reply]

    Alan Katz Reply:

    Good moment to think about that. I’m afraid that we all do that, including reporters, novelists and other rock stars – romanticize the fact that so many famous people are drunks and junkies, and too many of the talented ones end up dead, too young.

    I commend you, Ctan, for limiting the amount of out-of-control partying that goes on in Daron’s world. Weiland’s ex got it exactly right – you can be creative, exciting, innovative and passionate without having to be a smack addict. And that’s the message we have to send out to our young people, especially those who want to go into music or the arts. Smack and Jack do not make you a better artist, just a prematurely aging, dried up husk of a former human being.

    It makes me think of that wonderful chapter you published a week-or-so-ago in which you defined talent. What I like about both Ziggy and Daron is that they are not driven by fun-times and screwing everything that walks, but by the music. What makes you a great musician is the music that’s in you, not the Vodka or Cocaine. In fact they mask and destroy the music.

    Which is why I love, also, that you sent Ziggy to rehab. Nothing romantic about trying to kill yourself on a stage.

    When I read about Mr. Weiland, all I can think is; what a waste, what a terrible waste of a supremely talented human being.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    LOL. I think there’s been a fair amount of out-of-control partying in Daron’s world but Daron’s more often an observer (i.e. everyone snorting up in a Beverly Hills mansion’s bathroom except him) than a participant. And you’ll notice while he’s used drugs (weed, LSD, ecstasy, alcohol) he’s avoided the two he sees destroying the most people: cocaine and heroin. Those are the two he’s genuinely scared of and figures it’s a healthy kind of scared.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Yeah, John Lennon…</3

    This was one of the videos a friend posted on FB. Somehow I don't think he had to do much 'acting' for it. It's heartbreaking.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I am completely in love with this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64_qnMmpqdg
    (Velvet Revolver covering Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”)

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Hey, sanders, I don’t know if you’re lurking around reading these, but you do realize that Scott was at Gobblestock this year. It was completely different from when I’ve gone in the past, happening a week or so BEFORE Thanksgiving instead of ON Thanksgiving, and I’m not sure what club/bar because it was always at Phoenix Hill which is now closed. I seriously thought about going, but I’d just spent all my money on Tool tickets and decided not to…will kick myself FOREVER over that…

    [Reply]

    chris Reply:

    I agree with everything! Ziggy took the words from my heart and spoke them! “you’re one hundred percent mine now” – GO ZIGGY… Daron needs to admit he was COMFORTABLE with J, but he LOVES Ziggy….

    [Reply]

    chris Reply:

    And… love the lyrics to the song in this chapter…

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Lol I forgot to congratulate Daron on finally writing a happy song about Ziggy.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    heyyy!

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Daron needs to admit he was COMFORTABLE with J, but he LOVES Ziggy

    Pretty sure Daron’s long since admitted that, including to both J. and Z.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I’ve been offline for the past week. What happened to Scott Weiland??

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I haven’t seen anything conclusive but given his history of heroin addiction, everyone has made assumptions. He was found dead on his tour bus Thursday night.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    They found cocaine in his room and a bandmate’s, and it was a heart attack. Haven’t seen proof that the heart attack was caused by the coke but it’s known to cause problems and/or weaken the heart so… wow. RIP.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I didn’t do any investigating. He’s gone. I’m bummed. STP and AIC were my two favorite bands from that era and now Scott and Layne are both gone and it sucks. Stupid drugs.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Yeah. Apparently a bandmate had coke too and has been arrested. You know Scott got clean a couple of times but somehow he kept surrounding himself with enablers, I guess. Such a fucking waste.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Yeah I know. He made a lot of bad choices…and a lot of great music. I choose not to pass judgment on it because I don’t know what his life was like, especially not the inside of his head. No one does but him. It’s just fucking sad, and just keeps happening over and over again.

    [Reply]

    Alan Katz Reply:

    I think the assumption is valid. One of my dearest friends died at age 42, not of an overdose, but of a heart destroyed by cocaine. The doctors told his wife that he had the heart muscle of a 90 year old man, and essentially died of old age, internally.

    There are two major damages common from cocaine – destroyed septums and fatally damaged heart muscle.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Oh jeezus fuck I just googled and the first thing that came up was this:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/scott-weiland-s-family-dont-glorify-this-tragedy-20151207

    You know Scott Weiland and I were born only four months apart. Motherfuck.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I know. They formed STP in ’86 though they didn’t produce an album til ’92.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Fortunately, as weird as this sounds, YOU seem to have your shit together a bit more than he did.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    The one thing I’ve done right is stay away from heroin and cocaine. And speed. First because I was scared shitless of them, later because of Christian and Ziggy. I got weirdly lucky in a way to have people close to me get bit first instead of me.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    You also have a great support system, friends like Carynne who would kick your ass, and Jordan who’s seen a lot and warned you away from the really bad shit.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Exactly, yeah.

    [Reply]

    Posted 08 Dec 2015 at 9:58 am
  3. B. Cynic wrote:

    I’m keep of surprised by all the J hating. I do miss some installments here and there but I read most of the books and I don’t recall him ever doing anything mean to Daron except inthe realm of misunderstandings and incompatibility. Not as exciting as Z to be sure, but a good guy, could’ve been way madder about the breakup. I wouldn’t even think Z would bother being jealous of him.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I’m with you, I always liked that J gave D a taste of a different kind of love. They didn’t work out because they weren’t right, but he didn’t put D through half the shit Z has. At this point I’m almost a non-shipper, because I feel like the other shoe will drop and Z will rip D apart, no matter how much I might like them when they’re good together.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I look at it as J. was right about a lot of things, he just wasn’t right for me.

    And it’s not like I didn’t clutch at the chance to be loved by somebody. I did. I don’t regret it. (But I’m glad it’s over. And I’m glad we’re still friends.)

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Ok, I’ve talked EXTENSIVELY with sanders about this. I won’t speak for anyone else, but this is how it was for me. First, it was love at first sight for me with Ziggy. That boy shot to the top of my very short list of favorite characters very rapidly. I don’t know if I had blinders on or just didn’t get what Daron was saying or what, but I never saw Ziggy as the evil bastard so many others seemed to have. In my eye, yes he did some manipulative things, but Daron did some pretty shitty things to him, too. Neither one of them was equipped to handle their feelings, the band dynamics, or their success. They couldn’t figure out how to communicate their feelings, and sometimes that included the music. Daron and Bart questioned what Ziggy meant by “I won’t live your way of life.” Really? That screamed, “Hey, asshole, I’m not gonna be your dirty little secret,” to me. But whatever. They were both idiots and just fucked everything up.

    Oddly, the more Daron pushed Ziggy away, the more protective I became of Ziggy. It seemed obvious to me that he just wanted Daron to love him. You could feel how much Daron was hurting him, and the story isn’t even in his POV. (That’s some damn good writing, btw, ctan.)

    Fast forward to the second tour. J shows up, loses his shit and kisses Daron in front of everyone. Ok, whatever. Then he goes away and Ziggy finally, FINALLY starts making headway with Daron. They are getting closer every day. He’s doing all the right things, or at least trying so fucking hard to, and it’s working. Daron’s falling for him again.

    Then, J shows up, again. Now, I didn’t really care if Daron was messing around with him before that, but once the goodnight kisses with Ziggy started, and it was so painfully obvious Daron was in love with him, even if he wouldn’t admit it to himself, J showing up was an interference. He came between D and Z, and for me that was unacceptable. I don’t know if he knew he was doing that, or if he didn’t really understand what was happening there, and it didn’t matter. He was in the way. Period. I wanted Daron to tell him it wasn’t going to happen anymore. But no, Daron pushes Ziggy away, again, for J.

    If you remember, Ziggy seemed very fragile at that time, and I was worried he was going to break, which ultimately he did. He had to feel jealous or slighted or…idk, insignificant to Daron. How could he not? What must have been going through his mind when he and Daron stayed up all night talking on the bus, only to be pushed away like he didn’t matter later? Add that to his depression and pain killer addiction, and he was a ticking time-bomb. Naturally, my protective nature flared up again, along with fear and half a dozen other emotions.

    I targeted J. I’ll admit it. I know that’s unfair, but hey sometimes I react emotionally instead of intellectually. But seriously, what if he hadn’t shown up when he did? How differently might things have gone? Maybe it would have been worse. Maybe they would have found Ziggy dead in his apartment. But maybe Daron would have seen the signs more clearly had he not been focusing on J at the time. Maybe he would’ve gotten help before it got so bad. Who knows?

    Anyway, as if all that wasn’t enough, we had to endure a very long, painful relationship between D and J, one where Daron became this guy I didn’t even recognize. I wanted to go to LA, find him, and drag his ass home, kicking and scream if I had to. And all the while we didn’t know where Ziggy was or if he was ok. Z and D were going through some really painful internal struggles that there was no way to resolve at the time. It was torture.

    The rational side of me doesn’t actually HATE Jonathan. If I had a brother and he wanted to date him, I’d be ok with that (as long as he didn’t act like he did when he lived with Daron). But I can not stand the guy with Daron. I can’t even reread the chapters where their relationship was just beginning and they just started fooling around. And I sure as hell can’t reread when they lived together in LA. I haven’t even read J’s bonus scenes. It’s just…ugh. Can’t do it. Sorry.

    Basically, J is my scapegoat. Maybe I should be more upset with Daron over pushing Ziggy away and such, but I don’t think I can. Daron’s like family. J means nothing to me.

    FWIW, I dislike Janessa with the same vehemence. I think I just can’t deal with either of them being in a relationship with some else. They belong together. They just have to figure out how to make it happen without killing each other.

    How’s that for a look inside my crazy mind? ;)

    [Reply]

    Amber Reply:

    I think I’ve said this before but I never trusted Jonathan. I was frustrated by him messing up Daron and Ziggy getting together but I finally realized that what bothered me the most about him was his passive aggressive manipulation. I had an ex that would do that and it just got under my skin to watch Jonathan do it to Daron.

    [Reply]

    Posted 08 Dec 2015 at 11:56 pm
  4. Isa wrote:

    The Jonathan era was absolutely my least favourite part of this series, and I’m not even that much of a Daron+Ziggy shipper. I do like Ziggy the best out of all of Daron’s love interests, but only because he is Daron’s own favourite, if that makes sense.

    I don’t even dislike Jonathan that much as a character, but that relationship just came off so chemistry-less and colourless to me. I wouldn’t even characterise it as comfortable, because it seemed as though Daron was walking on eggshells much of the time, trying to be the model boyfriend and that doesn’t seem at all comfortable to me.

    IMO, both of them brought out the worst in each other. Jonathan, who had previously seemed like a reasonable, emotionally stable sort of a guy, became this needy, emo, insecure drama queen. Daron seemed to become an automation, he was suppressing his emotions and his words so much. I’m probably projecting but it almost seemed like Daron was suffering through that relationship.

    So yeah, I couldn’t wait for those interminable chapters to be over, but just when I thought they were, Daron gave Jonathan an extension on this relationship that needed to be put out of its misery already! I’m glad that I discovered this series late and there were already a lot more that was written because I don’t know that I would have kept on coming back every 2-4 days when I knew I was going to get more of that.

    That said, I do think that relationship did serve a purpose, and Daron did grow as a result of it. Sometimes working out what we don’t want/need is part of figuring out what we do want/need. I just wish it didn’t go on for quite so long.

    All that aside, I just want to say that I’m actually really enjoying this series! It almost doesn’t seem like fiction at all, the characters are so real and even the drama is grounded in reality. :-)

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Ctan, can we get a ‘like’ button?!?!

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Maybe? If there’s a WordPress plugin for that? (How about just comment with *like* until then? :-)

    [Reply]

    Posted 09 Dec 2015 at 4:09 pm
  5. Lenalena wrote:

    My take on the previous comments: I don’t care for J at all, but book 6 was one of the best books in the series. Sweet, sweet agony.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I guess I just prefer the sweet agony of Daron and Ziggy being oh-so-close to making it happen, of Ziggy trying to restrain his emotions so he doesn’t push Daron too far, of Daron not quite being able to give in even though he so wants to. I love that kind of emotional turmoil. That time between J’s two appearances on the tour is still my favorite…although I’m really, really liking what’s going on right now! And I secretly hope the baby is Ziggy’s because who wouldn’t want a baby Ziggy??? lol

    [Reply]

    Lenalena Reply:

    Oh, I love that brand of will they won’t they agony too, don’t get me wrong. It’s probably just that I have never read such a good break up book. It really hit home, especially when reading it in one go, as opposed to reading it two chapters a week. That was not so sweet agony, tbh.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Ok I should clarify. It was a GREAT book. I’ve never read a book where the author was willing to drag out the inevitable so freaking long! But that’s what made it realistic. WE could see it wasn’t going to work long before the characters in the relationship were able to admit it, which is usually how doomed relationships work in real life. I gained so much respect for ctan during that part, just because she was willing to put the characters (and the readers) through that, and didn’t give in to the temptation of instant gratification. It was utter brilliant, and I’m glad Daron had that learning experience, but I don’t wish to read it again.

    [Reply]

    Posted 10 Dec 2015 at 11:39 am

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