865. Love Is Like Oxygen

What a difference some oxygen makes. I woke up on our second day in Chile feeling like I’d fallen down a flight of small flight of stairs, which was an improvement to waking up feeling like I’d been run over in the middle of the night by a cement truck. I was hungry, which was a good sign.

I was also horny. And, apparently, alone. I put my head under my pillow and my hand into my shorts to make quick work of it. A sense of relief washed through me that my dick was working right. You might remember it didn’t a couple of nights before, and I really had not wanted to contemplate what that might’ve meant for my quality of life if it were permanent.

The relief was short-lived, though, as my sleepy brain had forgotten my right hand still wasn’t at its best, and I got a hand cramp so severe I had to stop before I came. I’ve never been more glad I’m ambidextrous. I forced myself into a hot shower on the theory that would be good for the cramp as well as make things easier to clean up, and went at it with my left.

When I came I got dizzy and had to sit down in the tub. Fuck, I was a mess. I crawled back into bed still wet and decided maybe staying there all day was the best plan. I was contemplating trying to call Carynne’s room when Flip came in carrying coffee. I could smell it even from under the covers and that got me to emerge like a baby bird sticking its head up out of a nest.

“Breakfast?” he asked brightly. His hair was as wet as mine, but combed back, and he was carrying a pot of coffee and two mugs by the handles in one hand and a paper bag in the other.

“What is it?”

“Some kind of rolls.” He set the bag down on the side table and then the mugs. One of them was half full of coffee already and the other one already had cream in it. He topped up them both, handed me the one that had the cream in it, and we clinked our mugs together like champagne glasses.

I held the mug against my cramping hand and the heat helped a little. Then I drank most of it before taking the roll Flip was handing me.

Eating the roll meant my stomach could absorb more coffee, even though there wasn’t more cream. (There were sugar packets, though.) Flip patiently watched me tank up and then when we were out of both coffee and rolls I sullenly waved my hurt paw at him.

He sat on the bed and began working his thumb into the cramps. “Damn, I thought you were doing better. You got through yesterday with no cramps and no Vitamin F.”

“Yeah, well, I got ahead of myself and tried to use my hand for something I shouldn’t’ve.” Why was I blushing so hard? This was Flip. He’d probably have jerked me off himself if I’d asked.

Which may be why I was blushing, because I didn’t want to do that or to have to do that or to have even thought about that.

Flip seemed to think there was a pecking order, though, that put Colin first in line for that sort of duty, which only made me blush harder when he said, “I thought you were supposed to page Colin for that.”

“Eh,” I said, trying to brush it off. “I played matchmaker for Colin last night. Hopefully he’s busy.”

“Oh, is that what was going on there? I wondered.” Flip chuckled. “Haven’t seen either of them yet this morning, but all I’ve seen so far today is the pool and the cafe.”

I flexed my hand. It still hurt but at least I could move my fingers. “I want to try to stay off Flexeril today.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.” Weirdly, it felt like the cramp had moved from my palm into my elbow. That was fine, I told myself. I didn’t need my elbow for anything right now. “Most of what I’ll do at drum rehearsal is supervise.”

“Sounds good. Want another round of coffee? They’ll bring it to the room if we call.”


He called for more coffee while I got dressed and combed my hair with my left hand. Weirdly, that was the thing that was most difficult to do with my left. I had gotten used to brushing my teeth pretty well, but somehow the comb was tricky.

Here’s the thing. You’d think having traveled halfway around the world, to a country where they’d recently overthrown a brutal dictator in favor of democracy, I would’ve wanted to go out and see the place and find out more about it. I did want that. But when things like just combing your hair are difficult, your ambitions for the day get somewhat diminished.

When I came out of the bathroom again, Flip said, “I’ll come with you to drum rehearsal.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Oh, but I do. It’s the best place to find out how things went with your matchmaking.” He slipped his sunglasses on and put his feet up on the desk.

I didn’t actually find out how things went until after drum rehearsal was over, though, when we were in the vans on the way back from the soccer stadium, and Bradley caught me looking at him and Colin sitting next to him and gave me a sheepish smile and a thumbs up.

I opted out of group dinner. Colin volunteered to bring me some grilled meats, which was the speciality of the hotel restaurant, and I gratefully accepted.

He also brought Flip and a bucket of beers.

Flip waited until we were each two beers in to ask, “So, how was a night with our band mascot?”

I had to interrupt. “Since when is Brad our mascot?”

“D, be serious,” Flip said. “A tour rookie who’s only five feet tall and cute as a button?”

“Hey, when I was a tour rookie–”

“You were totally Nomad’s mascot. C’mon. I mean, right up until the day you took over the band, that is.”

I thought for a second. “You didn’t even come on that tour!”

“I didn’t have to. The guys talked about you all the time after that. ‘Remember that time Daron got lost and ended up in jail?'”

“For the record, I was not in jail! I was just at the police station!”

Colin was trying hard not to laugh.

Flip went on. “‘Remember that time–‘”

“Okay, okay, point taken. I guess you’re right.” I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, but okay. “Does Brad object to being our mascot?”

“Why would Brad object to being our mascot?” Flip asked.

“Never mind.” I was just feeling very protective of Bradley, I guess.

“So how was it?” Flip reiterated.

“Mostly, we talked,” Colin said, looking very nonchalant about it.


“Yeah.” He examined one black-chipped fingernail. “Well, and then a blowjob.”


Colin looked Flip in the eye and shrugged. It felt like a kind of challenge, like Colin was challenging Flip to either ask a more direct question or drop the subject.

Flip closed the subject, anyway. “You seeing him again tonight? One of us ought to be on hand to help Daron with wank duty.”

“Hey!” I didn’t like being talked about in the third person when I was sitting right there.

“Don’t be prissy, D. It’s show day tomorrow and your hand needs to be in working order,” Flip said.

“I’m not being prissy!” I stood up. “I’m being normal! Normal human beings don’t have a… a…”

“Wank sherpa?” Flip provided the term helpfully. “Normal human beings don’t fly halfway around the planet to be worshipped by thousands of screaming fans, either. Normal human beings don’t put a carving knife through their hand and try to pretend it didn’t happen. Normal human beings–”

“Okay, whatever. Both of you. Keep your hands to yourselves right now, all right?” I had my hands up like I was stopping traffic and I could see the dark red part of the scar on the back. “If I really want help I’ll ask for it, but right now, everybody. Just. Hands. Off.”

Colin said “Of course,” and Flip said “All right,” and we moved on like it was no big deal. Because I guess it both was and was not a big deal. I mean, it was important that I put my foot down, but the fact that they accepted it without question and didn’t make a fuss about it was really a good thing. In other words, it was a big deal to me that they didn’t make a big deal out of it. You know?

(Sorry about today’s posting delay, folks! Looks like all is working now? And don’t forget to look for a new chapter on Saturday! -ctan)


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