Things get a bit racy...
And so Desolé stayed in the hospital for the next week while her ribs and ankle heeled up. She was not happy about having to leave the tour, but lived with it. I actually think she was enjoying herself at the hospital, despite the fact that she complained whenever she got the chance. She even made friends with some of the elderly patients that were there.
And speaking of friends, Desolé and I had become inseparable. We were best friends. I came to see her with Milo every day. We joked around, hung out, had a ton of laughs. But there was a problem with just being friends; I was in love with her. I was in love, hopelessly, pathetically and fatally in love. And I was in the friend zone for sure this time. I didn’t know what was worse, having her hate me or being “just friends”. I mean, I was happy. We were close, thick as thieves and I was happy about that. But I was also miserable because I knew that she was way out of my league.
But I would just have to deal because today Desolé was coming back home to the tour. Milo and I drove over to the hospital where we met her in the waiting room where she was saying goodbye to her special friend, Matilda, an eighty-nine year old breast cancer patient.
“Desolé!” I called, waving to her. She was kneeling beside Matilda, talking to her. That made me smile. She was so genuinely kind and had such a good heart. Too bad she didn’t know how to use it.
“Gee!” she squealed, waving me over. I dashed to her side and she pulled me into a tight hug. I instantly felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Her hugs had that affect on me. Fuck, just being in the same some room as her had that affect on me.
“Gee, you remember Matilda?” Desolé said, pulling away to gesture to the bald and very elderly women in the wheel chair. I smiled and shook Matilda’s hand gently and she smiled back at me.
“Frank’s putting your stuff in the car. Milo is signing you out.” I said to her. She nodded and I took the moment to stare at her.
It was the first time seeing her without a hospital gown on in a week. She was wearing a faded Iron Maiden shirt that didn’t quite cover her midriff and the most torn up pair of jeans I had ever seen. They were so full of holes that I was wondering what was holding them together. Her long yellow hair was let down, free flowing and her make up was simple. I was so used to seeing her in these ridiculous stage clothes that looked more like bondage costumes than real clothes. Seeing her in an old tee-shirt and jeans was nice, refreshing in a weird way.
“I like your shirt.” I said absently. “As long as your not just wearing it because it’s ‘cool’.” I added jokingly. Desolé laughed her pretty little laugh and smacked me playfully on the arm.
“You know me better than that.” she scolded. Then she turned her attention back to Matilda. “Okay, you still have the number I gave you?” she asked, kneeling once more and taking the woman’s hand in hers.
“Uh-huh.” Matilda smiled in her shaky, frail voice.
“Des, Gerard! Let’s go!” Frank and Milo called, waving at us.
“One minute!” Desolé shouted. “Okay then, you can call me whenever you like. I would say you could write, but I don’t really have an address right now. So just call me okay. I’ll come back and visit you as soon as I can.” she said, hugging Matilda gently around the neck. Then before she stood up, she leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
“You do good out there.” Matilda said, giving Desolé’s hand one final pat before she stood up. Desolé nodded and waved as we walked out the door. When we reached the parking lot she dabbed her damp eyes dry.
“You okay?” I asked, fearing that she would break down crying.
“Yeah, I’ll be alright. I just hate long goodbyes and that might be the last time I see her.” Desolé said with a sniff as we walked up to the car. Frank threw her bag in the trunk while Milo started the engine and we piled in the back.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get the chance.” I assured her. She smiled at me as she buckled her seat belt.
“I love old people. They have the best stories.” Desolé perked up. I grinned as she put her arms around my neck and snuggled against me. I loved it when she did stuff like this. She always smelled good, like cinnamon rolls or chocolate icing. I don’t know how she managed to stay clean with the crazy touring schedule, but I wasn’t complaining.
“Speaking of stories, I’ve been thinking.” Frank said absently from the front seat.
“Thinking about what Frankie baby?” Desolé said cutely, still curled up on my chest. I loved the way she got along with my friends. Another plus to add with all the other’s about her.
“Y’know, from what I learned when I kid, I was raised a strict Catholic, we’re going to hell. I mean, we drink, smoke, engage in devious sexual activity. But I think the worst is that we write songs about it and play music about it. We reflect all the bad we’ve done and are doing through our music. We are all gonna go to hell.” Frank explained. I shrugged and nodded. It made sense.
“Am I going to hell Frank?” Desolé piped up, giving me a little squeeze.
“Naw, Des, you’re beautiful.” Frank assured her. She giggled and thanked him. The rest of the way to the hotel we just chilled out and listened to an eighty’s rock station Milo had tuned into.
“Wanna hang out and get fucked up?” I asked Desolé as we pulled up to the front of the hotel. She laughed and slapped my arm.
“Nah, I just wanna go for a dip in the pool. Wanna come?” she offered. I shook my head. Last thing I wanted was for her to see me that exposed.
“Swimming isn’t really my thing.” I told her. She shrugged and hugged me goodbye.
“Well, if you need me you know where to find me.” she said before prancing off into the hotel. Milo grabbed her bag and followed her. I lingered behind with Frank.
“I do not like this whole friend zone situation.” I grumbled, lighting a cigarette and taking a big drag. Frank nodded understandingly. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so torn up about a chick before…”
“You just gotta for it, I’m telling you. Take a chance. Maybe she likes you too.” Frank said. He’d been trying to get me to ask her out for ever now but I honestly didn’t have the courage.
“Yeah and what if she doesn’t?” I retorted, flicking the ashes off the end of my cigarette impatiently. Frank only rolled his eyes.
“The worst she can say is no, Gerard. And besides, did you see the way she was lovin’ up on you in the car? She likes you, I know it.” Frank said sternly.
“She ‘loves up’ on everybody. Its impossible to tell who she likes and who she’s just trying to manipulate. And I have Milo warning me to watch my ass and telling me she’s a nut case. God, I feel like I’m in high school again! Maybe she likes you, maybe you should ask her out! What the fuck kind of date am I supposed to take her on?” I said angrily. This was way too much like high school. All the uncertainty, all the worry and doubt. I thought as adults we were supposed to move past this kind of thing.
“I dunno man! Just take her out somewhere that isn’t a bar or a club! But before you take her out, you have to ask her out. And tonight might be your chance to do that.” Frank hinted.
“What do you mean?” I asked. He sighed and rolled his eyes again.
“She’s all lovey-dovey and happy to see you! And she’s at the pool all by her lonesome. I say go for it. You may not get time alone with her like this again.” Frank insisted. He was right.
“Fine, I’ll talk to her.” I said, putting out the remainder of my cigarette and making my way to the front door of the hotel.
“That’s my boy!” Frank called after me jokingly. I shook my head and rolled my eyes.
“God help me.”
ABOUT TEN MINUTES LATER
I walked out into the back patio of the hotel where the massive pool was. Unlike the hotels we usually stayed at, this was actually really nice. There weren’t cock roaches in the bathroom, the showers had hot water and there was a free breakfast buffet. I glanced around the pool cautiously, not wanting Desolé to sneak up on me. I spotted her over by the deep end of the pool just swimming around. And then she spotted me.
“Hey Gee, you decided to come after all!” she called to me, smiling and waving. I smiled nervously. I felt like I was about to throw up all the beer I’d drank for breakfast. The Xanax I’d to calm myself down hadn’t kicked in yet.
“Actually, I didn’t come to swim. I wanted to talk to you about something.” I said honestly.
“Oh, is something wrong?” Desolé asked, gracefully swimming over to the shallow end of the pool. She rested her elbows on the concrete and put her chin in her hand.
“No, I just wanted to talk.” I said, trying to hide my shaking hands. Desolé nodded and stood up.
The water was at her waist and her long, blonde hair was soaked down her back. I saw that she was wearing a red leopard print bikini and I knew right then and there that I wouldn’t be able to do this, not while she was dressed like that and soaking wet. She smiled patiently as she waited for me to continue but I was speechless. I had run out of words.
“Look what came out today.” she said happily, pointing at a beach chair. “Go to page thirty six.” she smiled. I picked it up to discover it was a Playboy magazine and I frowned.
“They printed it?” I asked, not even opening the magazine.
“Yep, it looks great too. See for yourself.” she encouraged. I shook my head and set it back down.
“I’ll take your word for it.” I said bitterly. Desolé sighed.
“I made Playmate of the Month.” she chimed. I frowned a little more.
“Why would you want to exploit yourself like that? Its so degrading…” my voice trailed off.
“Gerard, what some people think is degrading and bad may make other people feel beautiful and empowered. Never had I once thought I’d be good looking enough to get into a magazine like that, now I’m on all the covers of every magazine on the shelf.” Desolé said sharply. As much as I hated to admit it, she had a good point. Everybody was entitled to an opinion and feminism is about choice. I shouldn’t have gotten so worked up about it that day…
“You never thought you were attractive?” I asked. That once sentence caught my attention. How come somebody as beautiful as her not realize it?
“I used to be really insecure. My mom hated me, never complimented me or told me I was pretty. First real nice thing somebody said to me after my dad died was that I had a killer rack, and that was when I worked as a stripper.” she explained. I felt a pang of pity.
“That’s some shit. You’re one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.” I said. Her fair cheeks flushed rose. There was another silence.
“I know, why don’t you come in the water and tell me what you have to say? It’s nice and warm.” she said, breaking the terribly awkward silence and changing the subject. I bit my lip.
“Uh, that would involve me taking my shirt and pants off so…no. I don’t really think you wanna see that.” I warned her jokingly.
“Psh! Gerard, you are gorgeous. You’re body is absolutely fine the way it is.” she said kindly. Its funny how she was trying to comfort my insecurities when she had a perfect body. I bet she’d feel differently if she were in mine.
“Nooo.” I said with a nervous laugh. Desolé furrowed her eye brows as she thought for a moment.
“How’s about we make a deal?” she said slyly. I raised one eyebrow.
“What kind of deal?” I asked carefully. I could tell I was treading on thin ice.
“What if you take off your top and get in the water and I’ll take off my top in return?” she suggested with a wicked smirk. The idea caught me off guard.
“But if I get in the water, then I’ll have to take off my pants too.” I bargained.
“Deal or no deal.” she said smoothly. I sighed bent down to take off my shoes. I saw a smile spread across her face. I kicked off my shoes and started working on my belt. I could not believe I was actually going through with this.
“Hey, no staring!” I protested when I saw that she was watching. She giggled madly and swam about half way to the deep end.
“Okay, okay! Don’t get your boxers in a bunch!” she laughed. Good thing I decided to wear boxers today. I took a breath and jumped into the shallow end, feel the cool water rush all over me, shocking me awake.
“Hey, you didn’t take off your shirt!” Desolé whined.
“I’m working on it!” I grumbled. She snickered and swam in circles. “How about you take your’s off first?” I suggested.
“Uh-uh. I’m not that type of girl Gerard.” she smirked playfully. I sighed heavily and started working on pulling my shirt over my head. Once it was off, I gingerly tossed it to the side of the pool next to my pants. Desolé clapped and laughed.
“Okay, okay. Your turn.” I said bluntly. I was trying not to let my excitement or my fear show. I was so nervous I was shaking. Was this her way of saying she liked me? Or was she just being her flirtatious self?
Desolé turned her back to me and swam all the way out to the deep end. She glanced behind and smiled at me before looking away. I saw her hands come up and undo the red strap at the top of her neck. I felt like somebody had just punched me in the chest. Then I saw her hands come up again and undo the strap that ran across her back. I stared, transfixed as I watched her shoulder blades move under her porcelain skin. Before I could even register what was going on, one of her arms was being used to cover her bare chest and the other was stretched all the way up, the dangling bikini top in her hand. She tossed it over to the side of the pool where her towel was laying. My eyes followed it as it went through the air and hit the ground. When I turned my attention back to Desolé, she was bout three feet away from me, her arms crossed over her chest.
“Hey…” I said, my voice cracking. I cursed myself. Desolé’s smirk widened and she swam closer.
“Hey.” she said back, her voice slow and smooth. She was about a foot away from me now and I felt like my heart was about to give out. I could feel my blood racing through my veins and feel my heart throbbing in my throat.
“So what is it you wanted to tell me?” she asked in a hushed voice.
She inched a tiny bit closer and lifted her hand away from her chest and brushed my cheek. And then-
“Woah! Am I interrupting something?” asked Frank’s shocked voice. I looked over with wide, terrified eyes to see him standing there with my pants in his hand, holding back laughter.
“No, we were just talking…” Desolé said brightly. I looked back over at her and saw that she was already climbing out of the pool. She wrapped her towel around her and picked her bikini top up off the ground as if nothing bizarre or intimate had just happened.
“See you later Frank. Nighty night, Gerard.” she purred, flashing me a sexy little smile before dashing back inside. As soon as she was gone Frank busted out laughing.
“You sly dog!” he said as I climbed out of the pool. I was dripping wet and I didn’t have a towel. And I couldn’t put my pants back on because they were my only clean ones and I didn’t want to get them wet. And this was even more of a problem because I had a raging hard on.
“Shut up Frank.” I snapped, snatching my pants out of his hands and doing my best to cover myself with them. He just kept on laughing and followed me inside.
“So did you ask her out?” he pried. I sighed angrily and pounded the elevator button, hoping to god I wasn‘t approached by a fan.
“No, I didn’t.” I said grouchily.
“Oh so you just got her to take her top off.” Frank teased. The elevator door opened and I stepped inside.
“It wasn’t like that.” I insisted. What would’ve happened if Frank hadn’t ruined it? Would we have gone farther? Would we have at least kissed or agreed on a date?
“Oh really? Then what was it like because I’m dying to know.” he said sarcastically. I wanted to smack him in the back of the head but I refrained. I myself did not know what it was like. What was she trying to get at? What did she want from me?
“Just shut the fuck up, ‘kay?”