“Awesome. Now, who the hell do I remind you of?” “What?” “You’re staring at me like I’m a piece of meat. An old boyfriend?” Izzy’s eyes narrowed at Chris, who waved dismissively. ...
“I don’t feel compelled to show off my tits like you do, slut.” Izzy’s lips curled up in a smirk around his cigarette. Tracii sneered back, arms slipping around Izzy’s waist. Cold fingers tickled Izzy’s hips, dancing up his sides.
“Then why don’t you be fucking nice for once, and warm up your cold friend?” Guitar calloused hands cupped Izzy’s face, gently sweeping over his prominent cheekbones. Izzy leaned into the touch, enjoying the sensual pressure on his wind-chapped cheeks. His lips twitched into a playful devil may care smile.
“Is that all you are?” Izzy purred deep in his throat, easing himself against the wiry man. He inhaled Tracii’s scent, paint from his day job, cigarettes and their pre-going out sex. Wiggling against Izzy’s denim jacket Tracii relished in the deep hard breaths rising and falling against his own.
“Are you asking me out on a date, Stradlin?” Tracii laughed against Izzy’s neck. A tongue slipped from between his pursed pink lips to lick up Izzy’s neck, ending with a pointed kiss on his chin. Tracii drew away, only to be yanked back into Izzy’s chest, arms encasing him in a forceful embrace.
“No.” Tracii’s mouth twitched into a confused lopsided smirk as Izzy continued to whisper huskily, “I’m demanding you to suck me off, right now.”
“Ah,” Tracii sighed. “Unfortunately darling, I have a friend you need to meet, but maybe after.” He winked.
“Then, I don’t want anything to do with you,” Izzy said, pushing the guitarist away, but letting his arms languidly drag along Tracii’s taught tummy.
“Hey, come on. I just got you back, and you’re dumping me, because I won’t drop to my knees, and blow you in the middle of the Rainbow’s parking lot!”
“Yes, exactly,” Izzy replied off handily. Tracii’s jaw dropped, staring blankly. Izzy turned. Primal heat rose in his eyes, as he looked at the pouty lips set in a hard line, glaring at him with desperation. He smiled playfully. “Not cold anymore are you?”
Blinking Tracii realized it was all a joke, the chill in his body long gone. Izzy laughed hysterically.
“You’re an asshole,” Tracii muttered. Izzy grinned, flicking away his cigarette, before drawing the smaller man into his body. He nipped Tracii’s cheek, causing the other to wrinkle his nose in mock disgust.
“And you’re adorable, when you’re mad.”
“That’s the closest you’ve ever gotten to saying I love you, darling,” Tracii cooed lovingly. He wiggled out of the snickering guitarist’s warm arms. “But don’t go getting all mushy on me now, Stradlin. You just have some damn kink for angry bottoms.”
“Hey, Trace.” A strong voice yelled from across the parking lot. Tracii planted a kiss on Izzy’s cheek before taking off across the pavement, nearly losing his vest.
“Hey, Chris.” Tracii clasped hands with his friend. Izzy’s eyes roamed the blonde’s body. His torso was a broad chiseled shape, flowing up into a firm defined chest beneath his white t-shirt and pink leather jacket. Blazing white hair, teased high, accented with large gold bangle earrings. A glittery purple scarf draped over his neck led Izzy’s eyes down black leather pants and high heeled boots.
Izzy cocked his head. There was something captivating about the way he looked, but he wasn’t going to trust him right off the bat. What did intrigue Izzy most was the guitar strapped to the guy’s back. He wanted it. He wanted to steal it.
“Chris, this is my…hmm, what do you call him? Person I know? Yeah, person I know, because he has a hang up over labels. Izzy Stradlin. Izzy, Chris Weber,” Tracii introduced the pair.
“What’s up, dude?” Chris extended a hand. Izzy’s mouth hardened into a firm line, shifting back slightly from the outstretched hand.
“Izz, man, come on. Chris is cool. Don’t get all closed off, like you always do, when I introduce you to my friends,” Tracii whined at Izzy’s typical surly demeanor when meeting new people. Izzy’s glare locked onto Tracii, who just sighed. “So, I thought you two ought to meet, because you’re the best musicians, song writers I know. Thought some sparks would fly. You guys would start a band. Write a number one song, make lots of money, and give me a cut of the profits. What the fuck ever, I’m going to get laid.”
“So, what do you play, or do you sing?” Chris asked as they watched Tracii walk over to a group of leather-clad girls.
“I don’t…” Izzy snapped, but softened when he saw the slight shock in Chris’s eyes. “…sing.”
Chris nodded, drawing the guitar from his back. Izzy’s attention snapped immediately to the instrument, wanting it. The blonde’s leather cuffed fingers glided over the strings playing a fast, hard, and heavy riff. Izzy swayed forward slightly, watching the shaggy blonde hair bob bang in the dark. A tiny red tongue absently flicked to the corner of Chris’s mouth in concentration.
His passion, it’s so much like him, Izzy thought. The dedication to music, the energy, and the sheer reckless sound all poured from Chris’s guitar. Only one other person he had ever met, could excite Izzy in that way. He had left that person behind to another realm of the world. Forever lost in the wilderness; of grain and mountains, of machinery, with only a cross to guide him.
“We’re going to write together.” Izzy decided, once he realized Chris had long since finished. The blonde smiled at him from atop the hood of his Chevy.
“Cool, man. Izzy, is it?”
“Yeah, or Jeff.”
“You look more like a Jeff. Want to get out of here?”
“Should we bother looking for Tracii?” Chris asked glancing in the direction Tracii had headed off to. The group of women had disappeared, along with the guitarist.
“Naw.” Izzy shook his head. “He has an uncanny habit of finding me, whenever he needs something.”
“Sounds like trouble follows you a lot,” Chris said, sliding off the hood, and crawling over into the driver’s seat.
“Not the kind of trouble I want,” Izzy mumbled, shaking his head, as thoughts of Indiana flickered through his mind.
Chris drove fast and reckless. Izzy liked it. Reminded him of when he first met Tracii. He was a young, hot piece of ass. Izzy was drunk enough not to care who saw. Then Tracii started coming around more. Izzy liked him like a drug. He wanted him more, because the guitarist coaxed him out of the remaining shackles, and into his true identity. The excitement, the rush, and then the long silver needle threading into his vein, it hit him like a train out of hell. Good and heavy, and sadly too temporary.
“So where you live?” Izzy yelled. The neon lit breeze blew through their dirty tangled hair as Chris rounded a corner, heading for his apartment.
“In a house on the outskirts of the city.”
Izzy nodded, leaning to crank up the radio as AC/DC’s Highway to Hell came on. Chris smirked, taking off at the stoplight, narrowly missing a larger car. Izzy sat unmoved in the passenger’s seat.
“You don’t scare easy.” Chris observed.
“You think death is the scariest thing?”
“Only when you love something enough to risk losing it.” Izzy froze. Chris shrugged. “Not the night for deep shit, sorry. Hell, if I keep you alive, we might actually make it big.”
Izzy pointed to a one-story ranch style house. Chris gave a short laugh.
“You’ve already moved in with Tracii?” Chris asked, jumping out of the car over Izzy’s lap.
“He said anytime I needed a place. Besides, we’re rarely here.”
“That’s so sweet,” Chris mused, pulling his guitar from the back seat. “You actually go somewhere else to fuck, so his Mom won’t have to hear it.”
“More like he’s never quiet during sex,” Izzy shot back, then glared. “Man, I’m not sweet. Shit, you make me sound like a chick.”
“You’d look good with blue in your hair, though.” Chris walked up the moonlit grey sidewalk. Bright green weeds crawled up onto the pavement, through the tiny cracks that choked the concrete of its intended completion.
“I’ll be sure to start growing blue hair tomorrow.”
“No need. We can do it ourselves.” Chris chucked a bottle of blue hair dye at him. Izzy’s jaw dropped. Chris laughed. “Dude, you didn’t think my hair is naturally Barbie white, did you?”
Izzy just smiled, fingering the beads on his necklace until he found the one that jutted out just the tiniest bit. Jiggling it in the lock until he heard a muffled rattle. Quickly tapping the knob, the lock snapped, and the door fell open. The rockers moved into the quaint cave-like living room. Though small, the place was warm and sheltered the wind burned musicians. The house became a fortress, barren of the drugs and liquor strung out across the Strip’s nightscape. Tracii’s room was another story, but Izzy tried to sleep on the couch.
“Lost your key?” Chris asked bemused. The familiar soft musky smell flooded his nostrils as he walked further into the room. Pictures of Tracii when he was younger lined the walls. An unlit tarnishing silver menorah perched atop a laced place setting over the piano. Beside it a photo album of black and white photographs laid open to a page where a young boy wearing a Yamaka stood in a black tux holding a girl’s hand. She was wearing a white chiffon dress. Chris smiled, continuing along to the oversized furniture in the center of the living room.
“Usually Tracii just leaves the window open, but he forgot tonight.” Izzy smirked, reading the directions on the bottle. Chris smiled, sliding down into an armchair, gently tuning his guitar. Izzy grabbed his own beat up guitar, joining Chris. He had “window-shopped” his ax sometime ago when he was out with Steven. The blonde had perfectly distracted the female employees at the music store.
Izzy stroked out gritty notes, to accompany Chris’s salacious slides. Chris glanced at Izzy, smiling knowingly under his hair. His fingers sped up stroking every whine and thrust out of his guitar. Izzy matched Chris’s pace with his own pulsating tempo, but with slower shifts of his wrist.
Izzy’s head thrashed from side to side. Falling to his back, he thumped his boot hard against the floor in time with the beat. Chris rose to his knees, hovering over Izzy, as their musical bond grew with each chord that wailed and thrashed in the air.
“Rocker, roller!” Chris yelled.
“You know who we are,” Izzy sang back. They continued to sing random bits of lyrics while dueling, and pushing the other into harder grinds and power slides. Both musicians drifted away from the hell around them, only to be born again in music.
“Rocker, roller, yeah!” Chris ended the jam session collapsing against the wall. Beads of sweat dripped down their faces. A dull thud pounded against the door. Izzy laughed between gasps, jaw opening in a wide smile. He hadn’t had a rush like that since…
“Rocker, roller…” Chris panted, sinking into an armchair. Laughing hysterically as a neighbor pounded at the door, yelling for them to keep it down. “We’ll need more lyrics, but it’s a slick start man. And you know, you sing like a hard rock version of Bob?”
“You’d better be talking Dylan, man.”
“You know of another Bob, who rocks?” Chris teased.
Izzy stared at him. The way the music flew from his fingers, as if he were born to do it. Izzy never thought he’d find someone that connected to the music again. It was exactly the same in the garage back home. He remembered watching William’s bruised lips sing powerfully, with a heavenly pitch and a beautiful range to match. It was so hot, watching his lips sensually slide over the mock microphone.
“So you want to start a band?”
“Awesome. Now, who the hell do I remind you of?”
“You’re staring at me like I’m a piece of meat. An old boyfriend?” Izzy’s eyes narrowed at Chris, who waved dismissively. “Tracii said you’re still getting used to saying you’re gay.”
“Bi,” Izzy shot back defensively. Chris gazed simply at him. Izzy sighed, “I’m from Indiana. That kind of shit didn’t fly too well back there.”
“Then fuck the label. You know who you are and whoever the right person is go get ‘em. But I’m straight, so don’t pick me.”
Izzy cocked his head at Chris’s smile. There wasn’t a trace of mockery in his face. “You’re not normal.”
“Fuck, man, this is California. We have a whole neighborhood dedicated to that shit.” Chris laughed. “What the fuck ever, man. I just want to rock.”
“You do remind me a lot of him though.”
“Who was he?”
“He was a friend back in Lafayette, but I wanted him to be more than that. I just never really told him, or he didn’t want me the same way. I don’t really know. He had this passion for music, and a voice like an angel. It’s the same fire I saw in you…it was all fucked up. I left. We parted on bad terms.”
“That’s the way that love shit always is,” Chris said thoughtfully after a long pause. “Is that what attracted you to Tracii?”
“We hooked up in the Troubadour, one of my first nights after I moved to L.A. He gives great blowjobs, you know. Heh, well, I guess you don’t, but after he did that, I guess it all clicked. I am a fucking gay, or bi asshole, and I was in love with my religious, crusade-leading, friend.”
“You’re not just using Tracii as a replacement, are you? I realize the kid is fucking hot, and I’ve heard he’s a freak in the sack, but I don’t ever want to see him hurt.” Izzy peered at the blonde. His voice had taken on a hard edge though it was well masked by his soft voice.
“No. After what I’ve been through, I would never put someone through that. I was honest with Tracii, and he said he didn’t care. We’re more or less an on again off again kind of thing. That’s why I didn’t freak out when he went off after those girls. He gives me room to experience things, and I let him have his women when he wants them. We don’t attach strings to us.”
“Okay,” Chris said with a nod. “So we’re going to start a band, right? We need a drummer, a bass player and a singer. Tracci plays.”
“I don’t think he’s going to want to play bass.” Izzy grinned.
“Fine. I’ll play bass.”
“No!” Izzy yelled before Chris could finish his statement. Chris’s eyebrows shot up. “The way you play it fits my guitar and…I don’t want to screw you or anything.”
“Hey man, I’m not worried. You want rhythm or lead then?”
“I’ve loved rhythm since I played in Shire. I can focus more on writing.”
“Cool. I think I know a drummer, and most everyone in this town can play bass, so that shouldn’t be hard.”
“Just need to raid a church for a choir boy to sing for us.” Izzy chewed on his extinguishing cigarette.
“Shouldn’t be too hard.” Chris clapped his shoulder, stubbing out his cigarette in the ashtray. “You really live here?”
“I sleep on Tracii’s couch.” Izzy shrugged.
“That must be hard on your back.”
“Naw. I sneak into Tracii’s room when his mom and dad fall asleep.”
“I thought you said, you didn’t fuck, when she was in the house.”
“We don’t. We sleep.”
““Man, just live with me.”
“Well duh, if we’re going to start writing together, we’d better start getting to know each other. Now, get your shit together.”
“Okay, I’m ready.” Izzy stood with his guitar.
“You travel light.” Chris laughed.
“I want to dye my hair blue,” Izzy said with a sly smile.
“Fuck yeah!” Chris yelled.
Jeffrey continued his thundering tempo matching Axl’s aggressive vocal chords with every movement of his arms. Cymbals clanked and rattled as the snare beats increased in time with every reverberating note.
“Yeah!” William’s growl drew out long, as he finished the song. Flashing Jeffrey a smile, he put down the hammer he used as a microphone. “That’s fucking awesome, man!”
“Yeah, you got a good voice,” Jeffrey said.
“Have you always played drums that good?”
“My grandma taught me. She was a drummer in a swing band.”
“That’s cool.” William nodded, stretching his arms long.
“Hey, you’re not wincing anymore.” William stared at him for a minute.
“You’re right. I’m not. Thanks Jeff.” William smiled, his teeth glowing against his cherry lips.
“Happy to help.” Jeffrey smiled.
“I want to thank you. I mean, really, thank you.” William moved closer to the flushed musician. Jeffrey’s breath caught as William crawled into his lap. Arms lacing around his head, bruised lips planted petal like kisses to his lips. He remained stoic, not wanting to hurt the blood-dried skin.
William smiled, as he arched his neck. Light red hair cascaded from his unblemished neck. Jeffrey moved forward burying his nose in the delicate skin. Smiling against it, he inhaled the other boy’s scent, before his tongue peeked out, slowly licking. William moaned, arching into his torso. Jeff continued to lap at the pearly skin, his arms rubbing William’s shoulders tenderly.
“Thank you, Izzy.” Jeffrey jerked back, hitting his head against the wall. What had William called him? William grinned. “But you know this isn’t how it went, so wake up Izzy, Izzy, Izzy…”
William drifted backwards like a phantom, from his arms, leaving Jeffrey with an unpleasant rush of cold air digging into his bones. William stopped mid air as the familiar Rose house formed around his ghostly body.
Lunging to his feet, Jeff ran to the door pounding hard and fast, begging desperately for William to come out. It was as if William didn’t hear him. He didn’t see him when Jeff looked in the window. The red head just smiled as he gazed out the window as if looking at a pleasant Midwest sunrise. His emerald eyes boring right through and past Jeffrey.
“I’m sorry,” Izzy whispered. Fingers pressed against the glass, as he saw the feint scar line on William’s cheek reflected in the warm light.
The voice started. The frightened voice from the first night started chanting in his head frantically like a hurt spirit, “Izzy, Izzy, Izzy…”
“Izzy, Izzy, Izzy! Man, wake up!”
Izzy bolted upright, hitting his head against Chris’s nose.
“Fuck, dude,” Chris said, clutching his nose. He shook his head. “You okay? I’ve never seen someone have such an intense dream.”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry, man.” His eyes drifted to the dark window. No matter what window he looked out of, the endless night was the same, bleak and bitter. The dream attached itself to his waking mind. It was the first time he had that dream, and he wasn’t sure what to make of it. A haunting melancholy fell over him. Where are you, Bill, he called silently into the endless night.
“S’okay.” Chris lit a cigarette, handing it to Izzy. “You want to talk about it?”
“I just want to forget,” Izzy mumbled taking a long drag off the cigarette.
“Want to write a song?”
Izzy gave the tiniest smile. “Yeah.”
“Well, then get the fuck up. I’m not carrying you.” Chris gave a lopsided smirk, clapping Izzy on the shoulder. Relief fell over Izzy’s anxious bones as he followed the blonde guitarist into the other room.