Leave it to Bart to actually try to make sense of it all. And by “it all” I mean Ziggy, but you know, Ziggy contains multitudes and also it’s never just about him, it’s about everything else, too. Because of course my relationship with him was tangled up with, well, everything that was wrong about the music industry.
Not that Carynne wasn’t helpful. Carynne was great. But Carynne’s goal in picking apart my problems with Ziggy wasn’t really about figuring it out, but about making me feel better. Which are not necessarily the same thing. Carynne gives better support than a bridge pylon. But I actually wanted to understand.
Bart was all too happy to analyze and theorize, while I sat at a stool at the brand new stonelike countertop in his kitchen and he made an omelet. We had been going to go out to dinner but we ended up staying in.
“Okay, so describe to me the conversation again? Because I kind of wonder if you missed something,” he said while he dug in the fridge for the eggs.
“He and Sarah got on famously, by the way,” I said, working up to the conversation. “The two of them hit it off right away. I was kind of surprised.”
“They’re both very driven. Go on.”
“I had spent the night with him that night. His idea. I went with him to meet this new vocal coach. He pretty much insisted I go with him, in fact.”
“Hm.” Bart started to grate cheese into a bowl.
“I didn’t think it was weird at the time but now I don’t know.”
“Why do you think he wanted you there?”
“I figured he wants as much advice as he can get when it comes to anything relating to his career?”
“Possible. Or maybe he’s making the assumption–or acting on the hope–that you’re going to still be involved in that career.”
I toyed with the new salt and pepper shakers and grinders in front of me, like they were a giant wooden chess set. “I guess. Anyway, after the meeting with the vocal coach—did I tell you the whole thing about—?”
“You did. Tenor leggero. You should have had her do you, too, you know.”
“That is so not necessary.”
He put a cutting board onto the counter and began to slice mushrooms. “Why would it hurt to know more about your vocal range and voice quality?”
“Don’t change the subject.”
“You’re the one who—whatever. So what did he say after that?”
“We were being really blunt, which I know doesn’t sound like either of us, but I thought that meant we were getting somewhere, you know? And I basically said I’m in love with you and I want to find a way to make this relationship work, and he said, what, you’ve decided now that we’re not in a band together it’s okay to fuck me?”
I gripped a pepper grinder in each fist. “Hang on. That came out kind of backwards.” I played the conversation over in my mind. “I didn’t actually get to saying the bit about making the relationship work, but it was implied.”
“But you said ‘I love you.'”
You’d think I would be past blushing about this kind of thing now. “I said ‘I love you and I’m in love with you,’ which I think was pretty clear.” My eyes stung a little and I hid my face behind the salt and pepper phalanx, two short and two tall.
Bart wasn’t looking at me anyway. He was cracking the eggs into a bowl and trying not to get bits of shell in it. “And the ‘not in a band together’ bit?”
“I invited him to spend Christmas with the gang in the city. ‘Family Christmas.’ As–you know–my person.”
Bart tried not to snigger. “Person.”
“Significant other, whatever you want to call it. And he was basically like, do they all know about us? And I said ‘yes, they know.’ Hell, Remo knew before you did.” Meaning Bart.
Bart cleared his throat and gave me a look that I think was supposed to mean he had known about me and Ziggy a lot longer than I thought he did, but he didn’t press the issue.
“He asked, ‘they don’t think it’s taboo to do a bandmate?’ And I said, ‘you remember we’re not bandmates anymore, right?'”
“Harsh!” He even stopped beating the eggs for emphasis.
“Well, we’re not! He’s the one who made sure of that! If he can’t accept that, I don’t know what to tell him.”
“Oh, I agree with you there: if he didn’t think you’d take it that way I don’t know what planet he was on. And if he didn’t know how you’d take it, he should have talked to you first. But it’s still got to hurt him to hear, if he wants to be in a band with you still, that you’re not, that’s all.”
“If reality is so painful I don’t know that there’s much I can do or say.”
“Yeah. So you said you’re not bandmates and his reaction was oh great, no wonder you’ll have sex with me?”
“That wasn’t…” I stopped, realizing that I hadn’t really tried to interpret his words before. “His words were: ‘now that were not in a band together anymore, you’ve decided it’s okay that we fuck.'”
Bart threw a large amount of butter into a pan and then looked me in the eye. “I could see how maybe for him sex–or a relationship maybe–might not seem like much of a consolation prize compared to losing… what he really wanted.”
“What he really wanted was me under his thumb.”
“Maybe. If I give him the benefit of the doubt–which you know I’m not really all that inclined to do, but think about it–maybe what he wanted, and thought he had, was a collaborative partner.”
“We don’t have to be in a band to collaborate.”
“Does he realize that?”
“I think so? We wrote a song at Remo’s. He didn’t have to drag me kicking and screaming into doing it.”
“Are you sure?” He added minced onions and the mushrooms to the melted butter. “Okay, maybe not kicking and screaming but you know how his mind works. Did you feel like you owed him a favor? Or–?”
“Oh shit,” I said, and pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes. “Please no.”
“It makes logical sense but no. That can’t be it.”
“What can’t be it?”
“That every time we have sex he expects me to do something for him.”
Bart stirred the mushrooms with a rubber spatula, looking at the pan and not at me. “That does sound like Ziggy’s m.o.”
No. “It really hasn’t been like that.”
“Bart. I’m not the starry-eyed hormone-soaked closet case I used to be.”
He was trying not to laugh at me, but I could see he agreed with that, anyway. “Okay. So maybe it’s not as simple as you want sex and he wants…songs or whatever. There’s still this clash of what you want versus what he wants. What do you want, exactly?”
“To figure out how to make a relationship work. Or to figure out that it doesn’t work and move on, I guess. But for fuck’s sake, if we take all the contracts and band shit out of it, shouldn’t it be easier to work out the relationship?”
Bart poured the eggs into the pan and watched them sizzle for a couple of seconds before he answered. “What if outside of all the creative and collaborative stuff there is no relationship?”
I ground my teeth and regretted it.
“I’m not saying there isn’t or that there couldn’t be, but somehow I don’t picture you and Ziggy settling down together behind a white picket fence. Or in a condo in West Hollywood. Or wherever. Do you? Because if you can’t picture it either–”
“I get what you’re saying.” Maybe. “I mean, not the boyfriend thing I tried to do with Jonathan, anyway.” I’d even said so to Ziggy: neither of us was particular domestic. I could only imagine Ziggy would be bored of that even faster than I would. Besides the fact it didn’t look like his career was going in a direction that would let him do anything of the kind. “It’s not like I asked him to move in with me.”
“But you did ask him to Christmas.”
“And then you said the L-word.”
“It wasn’t even the first time!” I insisted in my defense. “I told him I loved him, like, not even ten blocks from that same spot the previous time!”
Bart nodded slowly, poking at the edges of the omelet with the spatula. “Okay, but that first time maybe it didn’t sink in. That was the time you snuck away from Mills and Digger?”
“Here’s another theory, then. This time you really meant it. This time he really believed you. And he’s having the typical oh-shit reaction guys have when someone says ‘I love you.'”
Bart shrugged, picked up the pan by the handle and tried to flip the omelet in the air. “Dammit.” It almost worked, flipping halfway over, one corner lapping out of the pan, which he quickly put down and then shook gently until the folded-over eggs were back in the pan. “Good enough, I guess.”
While he busied himself with getting out plates and forks I thought about Ziggy. Was this really just a freakout over me declaring my feelings? “He seemed surprised I had thought about stuff. Like he asked when I had processed it and decided it was okay to have a relationship with him. And he asked if my therapist had told me to tell him I loved him.”
“Whoa.” Bart slid the eggs onto a plate, cut it into two sections and then slid half of it over to the other plate. He handed it to me with a fork. “I think Ziggy thinks more is going on in your head than there is. Like it couldn’t possibly be as simple as you’re just in love.”
“Why couldn’t it?”
“Because nothing’s that simple for him? So he assumes it isn’t for you, either?”
“So what do I do about that?”
“Eat.” He gestured with his fork toward my plate, and took a forkful himself while leaning on the counter with his other elbow. “You two are like two planets totally gravitationally attracted to each other.”
“Um?” I said around a mouthful of omelet.
“So, you know, you can’t escape from each other. I guess the question is whether one of you or both are going to be destroyed in the eventual collision.”
“That’s a theory on how the Moon got formed, you know? That a planet the size of Mars smashed into the Earth and basically liquefied the surface and the Moon broke off like a bloop off a Lava Lamp.”
“That’s not very reassuring.”
“Well, and you’re not bound by the laws of physics. You’re human beings who can make some decisions about where you go and what you do. At least, I hope you are.” He chopped at his egg with his fork, picking up the pieces one by one. “When are you talking to him next?”
“I have no idea. He made a dramatic exit. Does that mean the ball is in my court? I don’t know how these things are supposed to work.”
“All the rules are out the window with him anyway,” Bart said. “I’d say give him one more call about Christmas to see if he’s regretting acting like that. If he is… how much you want to bet he’s coincidentally in New York next week?”
“Hm. I guess paging him couldn’t make it worse.” I wondered what kind of cheese we were eating. “This is great, by the way. But it could use some more salt.”
Bart, who you know was generally a cool cucumber, surprised me then by making the most exasperated noise I’d ever heard him make and pointed, somewhat apoplectically, at the two salt grinders sitting right in front of me.
First off, guess what’s in the mail? That’s right. Kickstarter rewards! About 40 packages went out on Monday, and the rest on Tuesday. They would have all gone out together except I missed picking up the T-shirts on Friday and had to wait until Monday to get them!
Fan memes! Chris & Lena & I have been making DGC memes! Want to get in on the fun? I posted the logos at the end of last chapter for those who want to add them to the images. Please share these on social media if you like them! And please make your own! [Be sure to use creative commons works or stock art you hold rights to, eh?] I’ll post them on Tumblr and I also started a Daron’s Guitar Chronicles Pinterest board.
I figured I should clear up one thing: if $50 comes via the Tip Jar in a given week I’ll still make a third post just like before. But what I’m encouraging people to do is set up to give $1 per week through Patreon. if I start getting $75 per week via there, I’ll make DGC three-times-a-week all the time! And here’s the thing: Patreon donors will automatically get ALL BONUS SCENES. So Patreons won’t need to give extra when a hot scene comes up. I’ll send it automatically via the Patreon system. Cool, eh?
The Patreon total is now up to $15.50 per week. So we’re 20% of the way to the $75 goal! Everyone who pledged so far should have just gotten charged for the month of November. Even though the pledges are per week, Patreon only runs the charges at the end of each month.
Meanwhile, for those asking, if we get to $75 in Patreon *and* there are weeks that *also* have $50 in Tip Jar donations, YES I’ll post FOUR times! Join here: http://www.patreon.com/ceciliatan
Reminder, a way to support DGC that costs no money is to upvote us every week on Top Web Fiction (just click) and each day to click the star to like us on the daily Wattpad repost (new chapter every day, but here’s the main page for: DGC on Wattpad).
Thank you everyone no matter how you support DGC, even just by reading! 🙂