653. Love My Way

Sunrise on the beach on the West Coast isn’t as much fun as it is on the East Coast. The rising sun is hidden by the cliffs and stuff. But the sky still gets some pretty colors.

We drove back into LA. My tattoo itched but I tried to ignore it. Matt had said not to pick at it, to moisturize it every day and let the skin peel naturally.

We talked a lot that night. Not about us. About…stuff. Life. Art. Things. And we also were quiet sometimes, like we didn’t need to be talking all the time. Like just being on the same beach or in the same car was enough. I’m not explaining it well.

The closer we got to the hotel, though, the more we talked about things that were relevant to our reality like the music we heard on the radio and that sort of thing. Like we both knew without saying so that driving around all night had been a kind of vacation from ourselves–from our rock star selves, anyway. Well except who but a rock star goes out for tacos at 10pm, gets a tattoo at midnight, and then haunts the Pacific Coast Highway until dawn? (Anyone who doesn’t have to be at work at nine in the morning, I guess…)

We slept about three hours, I think, when we got back to the hotel. My sleep schedule was already whacked out: I think I got maybe ten hours over the course of those three days? But I don’t know because I’m not sure how long some of the naps were. It doesn’t really matter.

What maybe does matter is that it felt sort of weird but sort of good to get into bed with him at a moment when neither of us felt like having sex. I had a fleeting moment of anxiety about it, a ghost of the fights with Jonathan about whether we were or we weren’t going to have sex, how much sex was too much sex, all that, but it passed when Ziggy snuggled my hand against his face and promptly passed out. And I was probably only awake for a minute or two after that myself.

The thing I love most about being that tired is that I go out like a light. I love the feeling of closing my eyes and sleep coming on like a curtain coming down. When I’m not tired or when I’m too anxious that doesn’t happen. When it does happen it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

The phone ringing is what woke us up, followed by a jolt of adrenaline as I suddenly wondered what time it was and if we’d overslept. Once my bleary eyes focused on a clock, though, I calmed down. It was still morning and I wasn’t late yet.

Ziggy picked up the phone. “‘lo?”

I could hear a male voice, sounded like Barrett, but not make out the words.

“Let me ask.” Ziggy turned to me. “You want breakfast?”

I was about to say no when my stomach grumbled. “I could eat.”

“Room service?”

“That would be ideal.”

He spoke into the phone again. “Sure. I’ll order it. Come up in like 45 minutes?” He then hung up and pulled the menu out of the drawer.

“Two eggs, sunny side up, with bacon and toast,” I said, which was my default breakfast order because every place could make it and I didn’t have to think about it too much.

“Coming right up.” He ordered something for himself and Barrett, too, while I just lay there listening to his voice and enjoying the sound of it.

Did I fall in love with Ziggy’s voice that first day in the park? Was that what grabbed me so hard? “Love at first sight” made it seem like it was all about appearances and I’m not sure that was true.

His arm snaked across my chest. “Hey.” There was a lot of meaning in that one syllable.

“Hey,” I said back.

“When am I seeing you again?”

“I was going to ask you that.” I put my arm over his. “I’m doing some kind of promo stuff for the solo album next week but I don’t even know what. But presumably I’ll be in LA or New York, or both.”

“You don’t know?”

“Carynne probably knows. I told them to set up whatever and just tell me where to be and what to do.”

I could feel him shaking as he laughed silently. “You’re such a control freak about some things and other things you’re like…yeah, whatever.”

“I can probably get the schedule. What I’m trying to say is, I guess, I can’t promise we’re going to cross paths but I hope we do?” Part of me was almost afraid to see him again so soon. I felt like we’d reached a kind of equilibrium of some kind and I wanted to savor it for a while before we wrecked it, you know?

But I wanted to see him. I went on. “And then I’m off the road until July. Which coast will you be on?”

“I’ll be in the city,” he said. Translation: when a New Yorker says “the city,” there’s only one city they mean. “The” city.

Then we sat there in silence for a minute while I tried to figure out how to get around to the right way to ask him if I should… come visit? Be there? Hang out? Would I be in the way? Should we be seen together? And on and on.

I ended up not-asking a question. “I suppose you’ll be pretty busy, though…”

His voice was very close to my ear. “Daron. Don’t tell me you won’t be able to come up with a couple of excuses to visit the city before July.”

Well. Okay, Here goes. My adrenaline spiked as I said, “I don’t need an excuse to visit you if you want me there.”

He managed to say yes without making it serious. “I want you here, there, and everywhere. Speaking of which, would it be okay if we have a quickie? In case I don’t see you for a couple of weeks. To tide me over.”

That was like the dirtiest dirty talk I’d ever heard and I was suddenly horny as hell. I rolled toward him and brushed my leg against his morning wood. “How do you want it?”

“Could I do you this time?”


So I spent the next fifteen minutes or so pleasantly crushed into a sensual haze under him, face down on a pillow that smelled like him, and when he was done he finished me off in the shower with his hand and conditioner the way I liked it.

Afterward I told him about how I’d had a moment the night before. “The thing J and I never figured out was how to have sex without it always being me asking him for permission to want him. He never figured out how to say no without it turning into an issue and I never figured out how to ask. Last night there was a moment where I was afraid something like that was going to happen with us, but then we both conked out.”

Ziggy was running gel through his hair so it would air-dry into an acceptable shape. (I combed mine out straight and stuck it behind my ears.) “Were you afraid to ask or were you afraid I was going to ask and you were going to have to be the one to say no?”

“I don’t think I got that far in my worrying before we both crashed,” I said. “But I guess I could see it going either way.”

Ziggy looked at me in the mirror while he picked up an eyeliner pencil. “Well, I can think of two possible ways to deal with it. One, we just make a rule we have to have sex every day. Two, if either of us ever wants to say no, we just…say no. And the other one has to accept that without a tantrum.”

J and I had said something very similar to that very early on and it had sounded reasonable at the time, until actual hurt feelings started being involved. But I knew Ziggy much better than I’d ever known Jonathan. “Option two doesn’t sound that hard…?”

“I know. I bring up option one mainly because, well, I’ve had very few relationships where option two actually worked. But maybe the tantrums were symptoms of deeper problems in the relationship unrelated to sex.” He shrugged. “I’ve also had relationships where the sex was great but everything else was pretty much fucked.”

I vaguely wondered what Orlando was up to. “Tell me honestly, which one of us is more prone to tantrums?”

He laughed. “Is that a trick question? You don’t have tantrums, Daron. You just suffer in stone cold silence.”

“Okay, well, but that’s not better, is it?”

“No, but that’s not what I’m saying.” He moved into the bedroom and began digging through his suitcase. I followed. “When you get rejected you keep it all to yourself, as opposed to having a passive-aggressive sulk about it so everyone knows it.”

“Okay, but does that mean if I feel rejected I’m not allowed to sulk?” I pulled on a clean T-shirt and underwear.

“I think the point of option two is that we shouldn’t either sulk or have tantrums: we should try to accept a no without turning it into rejection.”

“Ah.” I was running low on socks. “You make it sound easy. Which I guess it would be if we don’t have issues about it.”

“It sounds easy because right now I can’t imagine ever saying no to you,” he said with a shrug as he pulled on a pair of tight, turquoise jeans. “Which is probably unrealistic, but that’s how I feel right now.”

“Well, that’s kind of how I feel, too,” I admitted as I sat down on the bed to put my socks on. “But, you know, I’ve been feeling…deprived of you.”

He sat next to me, rubbing against my arm. “Did you really?”

“Yes.” I confessed. “And, you know, if I thought I was going to put you out of my mind, that song being on the radio everywhere pretty much prevents that.”

“So–” Whatever he was going to say was cut off by the knock at the door.

It was breakfast on a rolling cart that turned into a table, with Barrett following right behind.

(Update on the Amazon review campaign! Getting closer! We still need this many reviews: Vol 2 needs 3, Vol 3 needs 10, vol 4 needs 11, vol 5 needs 13, vol 6 needs 13, and vol 7 needs 7! I know you guys have read it all so please give a shout out by reviewing one of the ebooks on Amazon. Remember, email me a link to the review and I’ll email you back the Daron/Colin/Ziggy bonus scene, and if we reach 20 reviews on each book, I’ll release it to the whole fandom! -ctan)


  • s says:

    Ahhh, another beautiful chapter with meaningful words. Was that so hard, Daron? Finally telling him how you feel about stuff…finally learning to communicate with each other.

    I swear you two are being so reasonable right now I barely recognize you…

    • daron says:

      It was hard, if you consider that it took four years of work to get us to the point where saying some of these things is even possible…

      • s says:

        Oh, I know you’ve struggled, but sometimes you make things harder than they have to be. I guess I’m just hoping that you no longer think it’s so hard to talk to him.

  • chris says:

    I love these chapters, except that I am tense waiting for whatever comes next… maybe when Barrett opens his mouth? I wanted to just push him back out the door, shut and lock out the real world!

  • Amber says:

    Yay for talking!!! You boys are so cute. Now, if Barrett just didn’t have the worst timing…

  • Bill Heath says:

    ctan, I’m on my second read-through. I finally caught the change of voice you’ve been working on from the beginning. Daron’s internal and external voices both change over time as he evolves.

    I’m sorry to say I suspect that this talent is unconcious competence, and you might not be able to explain to novice and journeyman writers alike how to do this. If ever you give a seminar on the topic, sign me up. And, I think I’m owed a favor by a very successful PR firm, and I’d be glad to cash it in to promote the seminar. If you’re able to give it, based on time and whether this is really unconcious competence.

    Me, I’m at the concious incompetence stage. And that’s OK.

    • ctan says:

      A couple of starting places for answering your question.
      1) The great thing about writing is it begins as an unconscious process because it begins with language acquisition, which we do instinctively from hearing other humans talk when we’re children. That process doesn’t stop as you get older, though it slows down a lot. Writing, because it’s static and not realtime, gives us a chance to analyze what we’re doing, though, and what we’re acquiring from others. So even if a writer’s “style” begins as something unconscious, I think most writers I know eventually pick it apart to see how it works and how they can make it work better. By “work better” that means both removing tics (like overused words or awkward phrases or misused expressions) so that the prose flows more smoothly and also “work better” in terms of creating the desired effect in the reader. I thought getting an MFA in writing & taking all those writing workshops was going to teach me the former (and it did) but the more valuable thing it taught me was how to interpret the reactions of readers. That’s a big part of how you become conscious of what you’re doing–by getting feedback from others. Of course you also learn what criticism to ignore and that not everyone is the right audience for a given story or work.

      2) I do what I can only call “Method Writing” with DGC, a la Method Acting. Because the voice is first person, intensely personal, deeply interior, and a reminiscent voice (i.e. it’s not happening to our character in realtime, though sometimes he goes into a kind of flashback in the telling and gets shaken anew) I create this narration by, essentially, “staying in character.” As with acting, there are multiple levels of performance going on, including things that are obvious to the majority of the audience, some that are only detected by the people listening/watching carefully, some that are only obvious to the other people on stage, and some that only the actor themselves know are part of the performance but that doesn’t matter. Daron is telling the story of his growth but he is also growing and changing AS A RESULT of the telling. I really didn’t expect anyone to necessarily be able to pick up on that. I also really didn’t know when I set out to write this if I could pull it off. (So far I think I’ve succeeded.)

      3) The conscious incompetence stage is good, because it means you can see and analyze what’s going on. This happens in the martial arts. People don’t know how bad they are at the intermediate stages. Then as they get better they ironically start to think they’re worse when it’s actually that because they’ve improved they can now perceive the lapses better. The last step is to close the gap between what you’re doing and what you know is possible to do.

      Those are just some starting places for the thought processes that will let you peel back the layers on DGC and other narrative works.

      (Reposting because this Method Writer was logged in to the wrong account…hah)

  • Sheeri says:

    Nitpick “A had a fleeting moment of anxiety about it” – should be “I had a fleeting moment of anxiety about it” ? (feel free to delete this comment if it’s not a typo, or when the typo is fixed)

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