When I woke up I had a moment of disorientation for two reasons, one, because I slept so hard at Ziggy’s (and therefore forgot I was at Ziggy’s) and two because somehow we ended up sleeping across the bed instead of the normal direction.
Once I got past my moment of where-the-fuck-am-I, though, I felt good about lying there with him, like there was something healthy about feeling as comfortable with his skin as with my own.
Then again I was new to feeling good in my own skin, so maybe this was just a new level of it. My arm lying across his chest, or his leg on top of mine, or whatever. Highly comfortable and comforting. I don’t think I’d ever felt that good about touching another human being. Maybe most people feel that way when their mother hugs them?
The only other person I’d felt that comfortable with physically was Colin. Maybe there was a brief period of it with Jonathan—in Mexico—but touching each other had so quickly become such a touchy subject that I didn’t association Jonathan and sex with the word comfortable. And let’s face it. I was never really glued to Jonathan. There was always a thin layer of Ziggy between us, even when Ziggy was halfway around the world.
“Everyone’s coming tonight,” Ziggy said.
“Yeah?” I think I was trying to ask who he meant by everyone but obviously I wasn’t clear with my not-yet-totally-awake monosyllable.
“Your record company is throwing a party.”
Unf. “They’re not my record company and I don’t want to go to a party.” I put more of me on top of more of him and kissed him on the neck.
“You know what I mean.”
“Mmmff.” I weirdly liked the taste of the short hairs on the base of his skull where it was currently buzzed short (long on top).
“Are you saying you want me to kidnap you from this party?”
“Kidnapping is not the crime I have on my mind at this moment,” I said before ravishing him. Ziggy for his part enjoyed the ravishment. Deep contented groans vibrated his chest during said ravishment and his fingers curled elegantly when they weren’t sunk into my hair.
He revisted the subject when we were in the shower afterward, and I was trying to figure out what the soap smelled like. A really familiar scent that I knew I should be able to name, yet my brain wouldn’t cough it up.
“So. This party.”
“What party?” I ducked my head under the water.
“You know, Carynne’s shopping a record of yours, so being seen at this thing would probably be good for you.”
I squeegeed water from my eyes with my fingers. “If a bunch of execs are there, seeing me on the stage is probably a lot more important than seeing me picking at the crudite platter.”
“But WTA probably doesn’t see it that way.”
I swapped places with him and ran my fingers through his wet hair as the water flowed through it. “Did they put you up to asking me about it?”
“Just trying to make plans, that’s all.” He closed his eyes and ducked his head back into the spray.
After lunch, Carynne picked me up as promised and so I asked her. “Is there anyone I should be schmoozing with tonight?”
“Hm. Not as such.” Her eyes were on the road as she passed a truck on the left. “More like try not to puke on anyone.”
“I try not to as a general rule.”
“I might introduce you to a guy or two, but let’s put it this way, I don’t think any of them is going to corner me with a seven figure pre-emptive offer because your handshake was the right kind of firm or something, if that’s what you’re worrying about.”
“I love you, have I told you that lately?” I said.
“Every time you flutter your eyes in my direction, honeybunch,” she said with a snort. “So how are things with you and Reem?”
“Why, did he say something?”
“Are you guys having issues or something?”
She answered a question that was answering a question and I couldn’t bring myself to add a fourth question to the chain. “We’re fine.”
She snorted again, hanging on the steering wheel. “You wouldn’t say that if things were really fine. If things were really fine you’d have some pet peeve to gripe about but which meant nothing.”
“Thank you, Ms. Pop Psychology.”
“Oh, you know, the usual. Any kind of paternalistic bullshit drives me up a wall. That’s normal.”
“I wonder if our godchild will be there today. I heard Melissa stayed away yesterday because of the plague but that by today it should be safe.”
“If there were no new cases, yeah.” I watched the craggy mix of industrial sites and swampland go by. “I have to say that still sounds so so so weird.”
“‘Our godchild?’ Yeah.” She smirked. “It’ll be hilarious if he turns out tone deaf and becomes a dentist or something.”
“Hilarious isn’t the word I’d use but at least then there’d be a dentist I trust.”
“Speaking of which, I think there are some shots you need to get when you’re in Boston later this week.”
“Different shots from the ones I got before I went to Asia?”
“Oh, those might cover it. I’ll check. Making sure the whole entourage gets their vaccinations. International touring is a whole new level of complexity over North America.” She shook her head. “So you’re not going to tell me what’s going on with you and Remo?”
“That would require me to know what’s going on with me and Remo beyond just me being me and Remo being Remo.”
I rattled some memories around in my head. The tour hadn’t been that long but do you know the concept of compressed time? It’s the idea that in certain settings it’s like more stuff happens than you’d think could compared to the amount of time that actually passes. So a working group goes off for a weekend retreat and even though they’re only really in retreat for 48 hours it feels to them like a whole week goes by. Or a kid goes to a weeklong summer camp and so many things happen it feels like an entire summer takes place.
The whole tour for me had been compressed time. Come to think of it, every tour I was on was like that. And going in the studio, too. I live a lot of my life in compressed time. That meant, though, that trying to explain what had happened over since the second leg of the tour had started was like trying to explain two years’ worth of stuff instead of two weeks.
I decided to stick to the stuff that was most relevant to career, and therefore most relevant to Carynne in an official capacity. “He wants us to make a record together. Or at least he says he wants to.”
“What kind of record?”
“The fantasy record of what would happen in a perfect world where Remo and Daron went into a studio with complete artistic freedom.”
“Ah. I see. Well, technically right now from his perspective there’s no reason not to. He doesn’t need the money and he doesn’t have to deliver a new Nomad album for a while. From your perspective…” She squinted at the truck in front of us but I think maybe she was just thinking hard. “Assuming lawsuits and Star*Gaze and Ziggy’s touring obligations shake out favorably, there might not be anything stopping you from doing it either.”
“Unless the problem is that you don’t want to make a record with Remo.”
“I don’t think it’s the idea of making a record that’s bothering me. I mean, sure, why wouldn’t we? He and I have been making music together for more than half my life already.” I tapped my fingers against my thighs. Dexterity exercise. “But I kind of bit his head off when he suggested it.”
“I don’t know. It’s stupid when I think about it. I’m not mad at him. It would be fun and probably good for both of us. There’s no downside. Why am I such a jerk?”
“Do you have to prove you can make it without him?”
“I don’t think it’s that. It used to be that but I’m over it.”
“Then is it like some general kind of dick-sizing thing between you and him?”
“I guess? I think we’ve gotten past it now, actually, but I dunno. Various points of friction crop up when I least expect it. He got on my case last week because I was irreponsible about my drinking but actually I was mostly responsible about my alcohol intake, I just wasn’t responsible about my water intake. But maybe that was he actually wanted to yell at Alan and he yelled at me instead, I don’t know. He eventually went off on Alan about his drinking, too, and then it turned out Alan had the stomach bug, and Remo had to eat crow.”
She was silent in that way that I knew she had something to say. She was squeezing the steering wheel like a stress ball—squeeze squeeze squeeze.
I tried to cut her off at the pass. “If you’re preparing a lecture about how I drink too much–”
She cut me off instead. “You know I stayed with you that time in San Francisco because I was afraid you were going to drink yourself into oblivion if you were left alone.”
Deja vu. “I thought you stayed because some thing with Sugargum or one of your other bands got cancelled.”
“Well, it did, but the reason I rearranged my flights was to keep an eye on you.”
“But you didn’t say anything at the time.”
“Because you would’ve denied there was a problem.”
True. “This whole group are hard drinkers.”
“They make it work for the most part. When they’re on the road at least.” She shrugged.
“Which is what I’m doing, I guess. I’ve stopped drinking before shows and I’m playing better.”
That was pretty much the whole conversation because I kept my mouth shut on all the denials I wanted to give. You know: I’m an adult, I can take care of myself, it wasn’t that bad, I’m not as bad as so and so, etc. They felt like denials which is what convinced me to shut the hell up.
(One of the great American guitarists of all time, Bonnie Raitt. She and Remo have a lot in common in their song writing and in how they run their careers. -d)
[News from ctanland: If you’re a fan of The Prince’s Boy, my infamous gay high fantasy erotica romance serial, it’s being re-launched. The whole serial will be free to read, just like DGC! It used to all be posted but a site crash wiped it out, so we’ll be restoring it one chapter a week every Wednesday. Read chapter one on Circlet’s site http://www.circlet.com/the-prnces-boy-chapter-1/ or on Wattpad!)