“I’m sorry Duff for all I’ve done to you. And I’m sorry for what I’m going to do.”Izzy began to ease himself from Duff's grip
His mind was blank but the surge of emotions coursing through his veins did little to ease his high-strung body. They tore at him, sinking deep into his flesh like rabid fangs, refusing to let go as they burrowed under his skin. His senses dulled, throwing him into an endless vortex of passionate despair, anger and pain.
His hands trailed after him, scrapping against the brittle plaster that had crumbled slightly under his nails. He paused several times, only to start walking again. His stomach churned violently. Grimacing, he clutched his sides, trying to calm his ravaged insides. Nothing could help. Nothing could stop his evil nomadic mind from replaying every moment of his life since he met Izzy. Nothing could…
“Holy shit, dude!” Duff yelled, almost colliding with Steven who seemed to have bounced out of nowhere.
“Hey Duff, been looking for you. You don’t look too good, man,” Steven said with a smile, then cocked his head. “You drunk?”
“No. I’m sober,” Duff said looking down guiltily at the vodka bottle in his hand then at the hand on the wall as he added, “Well, somewhat.”
“Thinking about Izzy?” Steven asked. Duff glared at him. The blonde quickly put his hands up in surrender. “Hey, man. Don’t shoot the one trying to help you get over the thing that’s bothering you.”
“The thing,” Duff hissed. Steven shrugged.
“Want to go jam backstage until the show?” Steven asked. Duff nodded bleakly. They walked in silence. Steven stole glances when he thought Duff wasn’t looking.
“What do you want, Steven?” Duff met his stare.
“What makes you think I want something?” Steven said scratching his neck. He smiled innocently.
“Just spill it, man. You don’t stare at a chick unless you want her to fuck you and I know you don’t want that from me so what is it?”
“I, um.” He scratched his neck again, twirling his blonde hair. “I wanted to know if you knew anything about Axl’s freak out on the bus.”
“You mean did Slash tell me about it?” Duff asked. Steven nodded curiously with a wide smile. Duff couldn’t help but return it with a mild grin. It was a contagious smile.
“Slash said Axl was trying to break up Izzy and Nikki. He’s apparently been talking and worrying about Izzy constantly lately and spending little time with Slash.”
“Slash isn’t too happy about that, is he?”
“He tolerates it, but it’s slowly wearing on him. I don’t think he’s ever going to leave Axl, but he sure wants to kill him more and more these past few days.”
“Just be glad Axl doesn’t know about what really happened at their break up.”
“Slash was an idiot,” Duff growled softly. “But it’s true, Slash was always after Axl. He just wanted Izzy, because he was experienced and Slash wanted to learn what to do so he could have one up on Axl. It amazes me how those two who are both talented in their own right are somehow trapped in a brutal, never-ending competition to outdo the other.”
“Axl doesn’t know that Slash loved Izzy, does he?” Steven asked. Duff stopped cold in the middle of the dimly lit hall. His mouth gaped slowly but no coherent words came out.
“Slash loved Izzy?”
“Oh shit,” Steven mumbled.
“Ha, that’s a laugh. You can’t dump a guy like he did if you honestly loved him.” Duff shook his head, but he walked faster, causing Steven to sprint after him. “He probably just fell in love with the sex. Izzy’s damn good at it.”
“Nothing,” Duff growled as he increased his pace. Steven started skipping to keep pace with the taller man’s long stride.
“Maybe Izzy just wants someone… you know, more assertive? You should go up to him, grab him by the dick and tell him to get on his knees.”
“That’s crude.” Duff’s forehead wrinkled.
“Seems to be what Sixx is doing,” Steven responded. “And I’d rather see you with Izzy, than him with Crue boy.”
“Sixx won’t last. Izzy’ll get rid of him,” Duff said, reassuring himself more than Steven.
“You really think so?”
“They don’t have anything in common.”
“Music, hair color, pants size…” Steven started, counting off on his fingers. Duff shoved the small blonde into a wall. The drummer smirked as he followed the bassist.
They walked into the practice room backstage. A lone guitarist stood picking out notes building a vibrating rhythm. He bobbed his head and thigh in time to the music, causing the transparent grey mist from a cigarette to swirl around his black hat. The notes reverberated through the airwaves as he let his arm fly outward in a long powerful motion. His other hand continued to caress the strings along the guitar’s neck.
Duff smiled at how happy Izzy looked. It made him remember the moment he first saw and fell in love with the guitarist. Sliding into the drummer’s seat, he began a steady beat elevating the driving force in Izzy’s music. The guitarist’s lips pulled away from his teeth into a happy smile. Lifting his head, it disappeared. The cymbals resounded into the dead air as Duff froze from the look of shock on Izzy’s face.
“Man, you’re a good drummer,” Izzy said behind his cigarette. He pulled it from his lips as he picked up Duff’s bass. “But you’re my bass player.”
“Always will be, dude,” Duff said slipping the strap over his shoulder. The fluffy blonde haired drummer retook his rightful spot and followed Izzy’s lead.
Steven immediately picked up the tempo making the notes jump and twist as the guitarist’s played off each other. Each watched the other for a cue. Seizing it, they pushed the other to match their pace or pitch, challenging the other to elaborate on their own creation. The music grew into a fierce monster building with every note, setting the air on fire.
“That sounds fucking awesome,” Slash announced from the other side of the room once the three musicians took a breather from their jam session.
“It did sound really hot,” Steven said with a bubbly smile.
“It’s show time, fuckheads!” Axl screamed from the door, interrupting the happiness of the room. He threw Slash’s hand off his shoulder as he turned away. Slash followed puzzled.
“Duff, hold on a sec,” Izzy said as the rest filed out. The tall blonde turned to the guitarist with a genuinely bright smile. “You’ll always be my bassist. You know that right?”
“Of course I do.” Duff beamed. Inside he crumbled.
“No one can build a rhythm like that, not like you and I can. We play off each other, because we know each other so well.” Izzy slowly raised his hand, clutching Duff’s bicep gently. It wasn’t until he began to rub his thumb over it that Duff realized it was there. “I’m sorry Duff. I never should have done this to you.”
“Done what? Izzy I’m not mad at you,” Duff said despite his lack of comprehension of what the other man was getting at. Izzy set his guitar aside, lacing his other arm up around the blonde’s lean back.
“I’m sorry, Duff,” Izzy said peering up into innocent hazel eyes. His eyes pricking with tears, he buried his face in Duff’s chest. “I never should have done that to you. You were my friend. You were just trying to help me and I... I did it. I took your virginity.”
“Izz,” Duff sighed, letting his long arms fasten around the guitarist. “You didn’t take anything from me. Yeah it was my first time with a guy, but…”
“You’re better than that. Better than me.”
“I’m no better than you, than you are of me. We’re band mates, we’re equals.” Duff said, beaming as Izzy’s smile faded back into view. “I loved you since I first saw you play.”
Izzy’s body hollowed. He became light and stiff like the corpse he had been in the bed that night Duff found him. The guitarist pulled himself back to gaze into Duff’s large concerned eyes.
“I’m sorry, Duff, for all I’ve done to you,” Izzy said, his voice distant. “And I’m sorry for what I’m going to do.” Izzy began to ease himself from Duff’s grip, but a large strong hand grabbed his wrist yanking him back into the grey t-shirt.
“Then don’t do it. Make your decision, because it’s what you want. Not because you think you can escape something,” Duff said, his voice stern. “Izzy, I’m your friend and I always will be, no matter what. I want to be there for you. Just give me a chance to prove it.” He looked down at the guitarist clutching his chest. “I just want you to be happy.”
Izzy sighed, letting his head fall into the crook of Duff’s shoulder. His sinewy arms locked around Duff’s back, tugging at his loose grey t-shirt. Duff placed a long finger under Izzy’s chin, tilting his head upward. His eyes warm and full of understanding that no one else seemed to comprehend.
“Don’t ever be.” Duff pressed a hard chaste kiss against Izzy’s closed lips. They didn’t yield to him, but didn’t pull away either. “I’m not sorry for that.” Izzy hugged him tighter pulling Duff closer so he could burry, his face into his neck. He kissed Duff’s neck as he enjoyed the blonde hair falling around his face. Duff held him. Izzy’s soul relaxed.
I’m watching the Gunner’s opening act…they suck. I don’t mean they aren’t the Crue so naturally they aren’t as good as us. They flat out suck tonight. Axl is avoiding Slash. My guitarist is even avoiding everyone except for Duff. Actually he’s being much too friendly with that bass player. Not too happy about that. But god they need to tune their guitars and what is Axl doing to his vocal chords…
“They’re really off tonight,” Mick observed coming silently up to Nikki’s side.
“Jesus man, don’t do that!” Nikki hissed shoving the small diary away.
“I would have thought Izzy would be in a good mood.” Mick shrugged as Nikki eyed him suspiciously. “Heard you got a hot, spur of the moment blow job in the dressing room.”
“Tommy told you?”
“Tommy’s money told me.” Mick joked with a thin smile. He held out a candy bar. “Here, give this to him tonight.”
“Chocolate, roses, wine. Try it and see how good the sex will be out of him.” Mick gave a sly smile that was borderline Vince Neil sexy.
“He’s not a girl. He doesn’t want romance. He wants a guy who knows how to take care of him,” Nikki said toying with the wrapper.
“But isn’t that the real challenge here? To get his love?” Mick said.
“What are you talking about? I have that guy crawling to me every chance he gets ‘cuz he can’t get enough of me.”
“For sex, sure, but see how comfortable he is around that blonde?” Mick pointed to Duff and Izzy as they leaned against each other stroking their guitars, singing together. “He loves him, not you. You’re just a distraction from whatever pain he’s going through with his band.”
“So you’re saying I should confess my undying love for him so he’ll finally dump the blonde and I won’t have to kill him?”
“What I’m saying is you already have his body. Now you need to go for his heart. I honestly think this is the way to go,” Mick reasoned.
“You’re sounding just like Blackie, you know that?”
“Blackie?” Mick asked arching a worried eyebrow. “Nikki, you have been keeping up on your medication?”
“Don’t get maternal on me, Mick!” Nikki roared back at the guitarist. Mick only nodded as he walked away toward his guitar.
Nikki’s eyes wandered to the stage, watching as the group finished up. Izzy was right next to Duff. The two were playing with their heart and soul as if they were one entity. Did he stay around Duff to purposefully get him jealous? It worked. Was Duff protection? From what? Nikki couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he knew Izzy felt something for the tall blonde bassist. Nikki knew he had to eradicate all of those feelings Izzy had for him tonight.
Nikki watched the Gunners join Axl, who had surrounded himself with interviewers and press the second they were done onstage. Slash shyly kept his distance. He looked nervous and almost miserable. Izzy and Duff were practically holding hands as they came off the stage, arms slung over each other’s shoulders. Steven was his usual happy go lucky self.
“Okay Tommy, release the girls,” Nikki whispered as he slid along the wall. The drummer opened the backstage doors letting in a flood of wild screaming groupies. They locked onto their targets sinking their manicured talons into their skin or leather, trying to pull them in their direction.
The crafty bassist kept his back to wall as he crouched lower, hoping to avoid being noticed. Luckily, the girls saw Vince first and an instant flood attacked him. Duff was trying painfully to navigate his and Izzy’s escape. Nikki smiled at the other bassist’s frustration and signaled to Tommy. The drummer nodded, pointing the blonde bassist out to three new girls who just entered. They took off for him.
It was then Nikki who made his move. Slinking up behind the guitarist, he grabbed him around the neck pulling him out the door, into the hall. He kicked Izzy as gently as possible into the adjacent wall before quickly dead bolting the door.
The besought bassist slid his arms up around Izzy’s front, inhaling his intoxicating scent now mixed with raw sweat as he molested the guitarist’s flushed body, pulling him back into his chest.