Part 9. Steven and Joey have a serious roadblock.
As he walked he saw a steward with a cart in front of Steven's door. "Is that for Steven Tyler?"
"Yes sir, but he won't answer."
"Can you open the door?" Joey motioned to the cart, "I was gonna talk to him, so I can take it."
The man's eyes narrowed a bit, but just as quickly he gave a nod. He took his pass card and opened the door. "Very well."
Joey pulled out a good tip. Money always made everything better.
"Thank you sir!" The steward spun on his heel and walked away.
Joey pushed the cart inside. The living room was dark-maybe he was still asleep. Joey knocked on the bedroom door. "Steven?"
He knocked again. Nothing. "It's me Joey."
He finally opened the door. Steven was dressed in pink silk pajamas. He was the only man that could pull that off. He was sitting on the bed, hunched over silently sobbing in front of his laptop.
"Steven," Joey said in an exasperated tone.
He looked up and held his arms out to him. Joey rushed to him. He wrapped his arms around his love. "What's wrong?"
Steven motioned to the screen. Joey looked at it. He was on one of the many Aerosmith message boards. The news had hit: No show tonight.
"Oh, Darling, why do you go on these things?"
Steven scrolled down, almost every comment was to the effect of 'goddamn it! I wanted to see them! I've been waiting for tonight!'
He looked over and saw the tears streaming down his face. He put his arm around him again, "They love you, they don't mean it."
Steven shook his head.
"Look at this one." Joey pointed, "Here this one. 'Hope you get well Steven and see you soon.' See?"
Steven barely looked at it. He grabbed his notebook and quickly scrawled, For every one of those there are ten that are pissed.
"Darling, they are mad at you, they're just-" He chose his word carefully. "Frustrated."
It didn't help. Back to the paper. Frustrated? They don't know fucking frustrated! They act like I'm fucking happy not to go on! They act like I'm out having the time of my life! I would love to go out there and do a two hour set!
"I know, I know." He held him and felt him sob into his chest. "Did you see that doctor?"
He felt him nod.
"So you can't say anything?"
He felt him shake his head, and then he pulled away and went for the notebook. He's sayin it's laryngitis but I know it isn't. I've had that before. This is nothing like it. It's like I got something caught in my throat. It's not I don't wanna talk-I can't.
"Maybe you should see a specialist."
He nodded. I'm afraid. What if this is it? What if I can't sing again?
"Steven don't think like that." He decided to change the subject. "I brought your supper in."
He lay back on the bed and with a wave of his thin hand dismissed it.
"Do you want me to go?"
He shook his head, then patted the bed beside him.
Joey took his place next to him. Steven took his place too-on Joey's shoulder. They held each other for a few moments when Steven tapped him on the arm.
He looked at him. He raised his eyebrows then did three quick pelvic thrusts into his side.
"You wanna make love?"
Steven quickly nodded his head.
"Are you up for it?"
He answered by shoving his tongue into the drummer's mouth.
Joey wasn't too sure about this. Steven was extremely vocal in his aroused state, but he kissed him back. He loved him-he would do just about anything on earth for him. Joey's mouth moved onto his neck. He could taste his salty tears. He must have been crying for a long, long time. He knew he had to make him feel better...
Joey sat up enough so he could push his top out of his way. He felt Steven shudder as his lips met with his skin. He kissed him and let his tongue dance over his stomach.
He felt Steven's fingers in his hair, slowly going over the back of his head.
Joey looked up at him he knew what would make his day. "Kisses?"
Steven's face lit up-a smile the size of Texas was on it.
He pulled his cock out of his bottoms and began to gently knead him and his lips stayed at his stomach. He had done this before on him-rarely though. He did it to him the second time they were in the restored van-and once before the tour had started.
He knew this tour would be different-Jesse had come out to be the back up for him, so he couldn't be with Steven every night. It was more of a hit and miss affair at best. That's why he'd done it.
As Steven became more aroused, Joey heard his breathing-it was shallow and quicker. He ran his tongue over his cock. He heard him take a deep breath.
Then he remembered something, something he saw on the web. "Wait a second." He sat up enough to reach in his pocket. He took out a rubber and this new magical thing he'd read about.
He popped an altoid and put Steven into his mouth.
He heard him let out a gasp then another deep sigh. Steven's hands were in his hair, one went down onto his shoulder and back. He wasn't as gentle as before, rubbing at his body harder and harder.
Joey had him completely in his mouth, letting his tongue rub against him, listening to his panting.
Finally Steven tapped his shoulder.
He looked at him, his face glistening with sweat, love in his eyes, "Are you ready?"
He gave a gentle nod.
Joey placed the rubber on him and back into his mouth. He sucked on him hard then let his tongue flick the bottom of his head.
Steven's fingers grabbed his hair and pulled as he released. He was panting and gasping for air as he throbbed inside Joey's mouth.
He was done. Joey heard him catching his breath as he removed him. As he took off the rubber and tossed it on the floor, the extent of his illness hit him: Steven couldn't make a noise if he wanted to.
Or else he was the best actor on earth.
Joey ran his hand over his head to see if he'd left any hair. He felt Steven's hands pulling him until he lay beside him. The smile on his face, hell you could light up a stage with that smile. He gently kissed his face, then he gave him a puzzling look.
Steven lips silently moved 'What did you put in your mouth?'
Joey handed him the tin. "Altoids-the curiously strong mint."
He read the box, and made an 'Oooh' with his lips. He handed it over, 'So you can read my lips?'
He smiled, 'Good cause some can't.'
"Why don't you have your supper?"
Steven snuggled closer to him in protest.
"Would you do it for me?"
He looked at him then gave an easy smile. He got up and left the room.
Joey got up as well. He picked up the rubber and tossed it into the basket. As he did, he saw something strange.
Another used rubber.
He felt himself frown. He heard his silverware clinking, as he made his way to his notebook. He had to know.
He page back, notes he had written to his doctor, then he saw it.
Are you hung like your dad?
Dad? Oh god, either Tony or Jesse. Joey felt his heart pounding as he read farther.
Guess you two have more in common than the drums!
He wanted to beat him! He wanted to go out there and pound the shit out of him. He walked out with the notebook. He watched him eating his soup; he looked up and gave him that million-dollar smile again.
"I just saw another rubber in the garbage." He was surprised by how calm he sounded.
Steven gave a nod. Then he made the universal sign for jacking off.
Joey silently handed him the notebook, still turned to the damning page.
Steven's face fell. His lips trembled as he stood.
"How could you do this? How could you do this to Jesse?" He said in shock.
Steven mouthed, 'No Joey baby. I love you.'
Joey bolted out the room. He was devastated. He blindly walked to his room.
There was Jesse, sitting there watching T.V. "How is he?"
"You tell me." Joey made his way to his son.
Joey took a few paces, "Were you intimate with Steven?"
He was stunned but quickly hid it.
Joey had his answer. He dropped to his knees and held his face in his hands. His only son had been with the only man he ever cared about.
Jesse quickly made his way to his father. "Dad, it was nothing. He gave me a hand job. That's all."
He couldn't look at him. He held his head, wishing that he would wake up from this nightmare.
"Dad, please don't tell Mom about this." He swallowed hard, "Sometimes I like being with a guy-"
"What the fuck else are you hiding from me?" Joey screamed. "Are you on drugs?"
"No!" The boy retorted. "After seeing what you and the guys went through fuck no!" But he clicked his tongue, "I do smoke pot on occasion, but that's it. And the only times I've been serious with a guy is after I've had a couple of bowls-"
"That's the oldest fucking excuse in the book!" Joey stood looking over his son, "How many men have you been with!"
He stood now, facing him, "Three."
"Is that counting Steven?"
"No. Hand jobs don't count."
"If hand jobs don't count then why is there a used rubber in his garbage?"
"Hey, Dad, come on." Jesse sat back down on the couch, "What happen was Steven sent me a message. I went there and he was down. He trying to tell me but I didn't know what he was talking about, so he wrote it out. And then he started touching me and that's how it all happened.
"I know he's lonely and hey I got to share a moment with Steven Tyler. Of course I can't really tell anyone about it."
Joey couldn't say a word.
"Dad, please don't tell Mom. I'm begging you, please don't tell her I'm this way."
Joey felt like crying and vomiting at the same time. "No. I won't tell her." He numbly sat down. "If you don't tell her something." He knew that she knew-but he didn't.
"Yeah, what, I won't say anything to anyone."
Joey cleared his throat and wiped his eyes. "Steven and I have been lovers for years."
Jesse gasped in shock. "I didn't know. Dad you gotta believe me, if I knew that, I wouldn't have-"
He looked at him, "I do. I do believe you."
Jesse wiped his mouth with his hand, "God damn, I never saw that one."
Steven with notebook and pen in hand made his way to Joe's bus. He needed someone to help him. He was relieved to see Joe opening the door.
'Are you alone' He mouthed.
"Yeah, I'm alone."
'I fucked up big time Joe.'
He saw how agitated he was as he sat down. "What?"
He handed the notebook to Joe. He watched him read the lines. "Oh god Steven how could you do this?"
'Joey saw it. He knows and' He started a mute blubbering.
"Did you explain, that is if you can?"
Steven shook his head, the grabbed his hand, 'Help me.'
'Come with me and be there when I apologize to him.'
Joe frowned. "Sorry didn't catch that."
Steven mouthed it again; then finally wrote it.
"What good will I be? You gonna use me as a human shield?" He started weeping again, "Ok, let's go."
They were quickly standing at Joey's door. Jesse answered. "Joe, oh Steven."
"Is your Dad here?"
Jesse opened the door letting them see Joey, sitting in the chair, staring at the floor.
Joe slowly walked in, but Steven bolted to Joey. He dropped to his knees put his head in his lap and cried.
Joey didn't make a move; it was like he didn't notice him.
Steven tapped his arm, getting him to look at him, 'I'm so sorry.'
Joey's eyes moved back to the floor.
Steven looked at Joe. 'Help me.'
"Joey, Steven let me know what happened." Joe said as he walked to the couch. "We're four intelligent men, who can discuss this openly and honestly."
Silence filled the room. Jesse and Joe finally sat on the couch. Steven remained, fixed to Joey. Joe wasn't sure what to do if no one talked. Steven couldn't and Joey's eyes were burning a hole in the Oriental rug.
"So, Jesse, why don't you tell me exactly what happened."
"It was just a hand job. That's what I keep telling him. There was no penetration." He drew a deep breath, "And he told me about Steven and the fact that the are lovers. If I knew that I wouldn't have."
"Steven knew." Joey finally spoke. The tears ran down his face and with hatred in his voice, "Steven knew we were lovers and he knew you are my son. That's why this is unforgivable."
With the word 'unforgivable' Steven threw himself on the floor as if he'd been slapped. He scrawled on his notebook only stopping long enough to wipe his eyes. Finally held it out for Joey. He didn't take it. Steven motioned for him to take it again. Nothing.
Joe finally took it. "Can I read this?"
"Joey I am so sorry for hurting you. I would never intentionally hurt the only person who has stood by me in these past years. I am a frightened man. I am frightened of not being able to sing. I am frightened of being alone. I am frightened getting old. That's why this happened-it was an ego trip. I'm an old man that's playing a young man's game. I'm an old man that was trying to get a young man's attention. I had to see if I still had it. I am a fool. I am a fool for throwing our love into the wind for something this trivial. I am begging for your forgiveness. I am sorry for hurting you. I love you with all my heart and soul. I always will love you Joey."
Steven looked at him as Joe read, trying to see if his words had moved him.
"You keep saying that," Joey rubbed his chin, "You're an old man in a young man's game. You keep acting like you're forty years older than us. You're not. You're two years older than I am. We're all old men in the young men's game."
He looked at Steven. He mouthed. 'Forgive me. Please forgive me.'
"Why did you have to do that with my son? Why Steven? Why Jesse?"
"Would you like it if I asked one of your kids if they were as tight as their Dad?"
He shook his head.
"No, I didn't think so. I knew that you'd come to me one day and say 'Joey I met this girl, and she's so incredible! I never knew life could be like this!' You would fall for her, and forget about me." The tears kept running down Joey's face. He looked at Joe, and gave a little laugh, "Or he'd go back to you. I never dreamed in a million years that he'd go after my Jesse."
Jesse's eyebrows went up, prompting his father's remark, "If you only knew half the things that happened in this band."
Steven took the notebook back and wrote. He handed it over to Joe again.
"No woman could ever replace you in my soul."
"It'll happen. You're Steven Tyler. Half the women that are at the concerts are flashing their tits trying to become the next Mrs. Tyler."
Steven began writing again. Joe read. "I don't care about these women-they are in love with a man that doesn't exist. And Jesse was just as bad-suddenly I was an icon to him-not a man. Everything that happened between Jesse and I-that was not my intent. I wanted to tell him what a great drummer he was and I knew that you were playing in pain. You are afraid of how good he is."
Steven's trembling hand made it way to Joey's knee as Joe continued.
"That is what I wanted to do. Give him a pep talk; let him know that we really appreciated him coming out on the road with us. Then all this shit had to happen. For Christ's sake Joey I love you. I know you love me. Can we just forget that this ever happened?"
"I'll never forget this."
Write. Read. "Joey hit me! Slap me around! Yell at me! Scream at me! Call me every filthy name in the book! I deserve it! Beat me up! But for god's sake don't hate me. Please Joey, don't stop loving me. I want to be your darling again! I need you more than ever. I'm so scared. A drummer can find work-guitarists and bassists can find work. What can a singer do when they can't sing any more? This band, my children and you are all I have in my life. My children are growing up and will be gone. My voice is gone. All I have left is you. Without you I am nothing. I am pleading with you to give me another chance. I will work hard to gain this shattered trust. I will never stop loving you."
Steven wrapped his arms around his leg and wept uncontrollably. Joe bit his lip-Steven's words had touched him. He looked at Joey, "Is you're heart made out of granite?"
Joey stood; he ignored Joe and focused his attention on him. "OK, I've heard you're side Steven, now here's mine. I loved you. I loved you when everyone else left. I loved you when you couldn't stand up onstage. I loved you when you were a fucking asshole to everyone-including me. I loved you when you were tempted to go back on drugs. I loved you when she left you. I loved you through your hepatitis. I loved you through every high and low. I asked for nothing in return, except your love.
"You said you weren't into mind games. What do you call this? Do you ever think of the consequences? I though for sure when I found that rubber it was Joe's. That's why I looked through the notebook. I didn't want to know, but I had to know. And I wish I never had read it.
"I remember when you held Jesse for the first time." Joey cried. "Maybe if you had gotten some guy I didn't know I could forgive you. Right now, I don't know if I can ever work with you again."
Steven sobbed. Joe now stood. "Joey hey you're hurt, but don't say something you'll regret. That's what I did and it took me years to figure it out."
Steven was in hysterics. He threw his body around Joey, his arms wrapped around his legs, his face buried in his thigh. He finally looked at him. Their eyes met. 'Please Joey. Please forgive me.'
"I don't know if I can."
'I'll kill myself.'
"No you won't."
Steven stood and ran to the sliding glass door and threw it open. The other three raced after him. He was almost on top of the ledge when Joey grabbed him around the waist. Jesse and Joe both grabbed a shoulder.
He fought them. He was going to do it. "Steven don't!" Joey shouted. "Get back here!"
They were too much for him, the three of them pulled him back to the patio. He curled up in a fetal position and cried.
Joey wiped his face, "Let's get him inside."
Steven was placed on the couch. Joey sat next to him. He hesitated as he placed his arm around his shoulder. "Don't you ever do anything that stupid again."
'I love you. I never thought' he bit his lip and took his notebook. I never thought you would find out. I am not lying when I say that this was the only time I have been unfaithful to you. I can't live without your love. Please, give me another chance. Don't forgive me. I understand. I'm a fool to think you could forgive me. Please say that you love me.
"Of course I love you. Why do you think it hurts so much?"
"I've been quiet," Jesse began, "Can I say something?"
Joey looked at him. "Yeah."
"Dad, look at him." He pointed at the singer. "LOOK A HIM!"
"His soul's been ripped out. Look at him and tell me he's not sorry."
"I think he's sorry he got caught."
"No, no, no. He was remorseful when we were done. He kept mouthing, 'Don't tell anyone. Don't tell him.'
Jesse knelt by them, "I see a man that is utterly broken, broken by all these fears. I see the same thing when I look at you-brokenhearted because he did this to your son. I could have stopped it. I'm an adult Dad. Ok, this was wrong. What we did was wrong. If I knew what you two were I wouldn't have.
"But it's done. It can't be undone. The past is dead and the future is unborn. The only time that matters is now. The present. Are you going to throw all of the happy times away on one measly bad thing?"
"It's not measly." Joey retorted.
"Honestly Dad, if he would have done this with a lighting gaffer, would you have reacted like this?"
He tightened his grip around Steven's arm. "The only way I can answer that, is no. Because Steven was right: I'm playing in pain. Every night I want to scream, my shoulder hurts that bad.
"That first night, when you covered for me. Fuck I didn't hear you miss a beat-you played my shit perfectly. I was proud and terrified all at the same time. Cause Steven right-this is a young man's game.
"I was afraid that the band would invite you to join and kick me out. And when I read that page, I knew it was all over. He found a new drummer and a new lover."
Steven took his face, 'No. No. I would never do that.'
"However," Joey continued, "Even if you weren't on tour, and he did this to you, I would still have reacted this way."
Steven slowly began moving toward him, almost waiting for him to slap him. He gingerly kissed his cheek. He tasted his tears; he saw the pain in his eyes. 'Joey baby I love you.'
"Darling I love you too."