Author: Draven Valentine PM
Kian Martoni, the young brother of Trainwrecks and Firewater's frontman Sonny, features in the story of his rise to fame and the passions that drive him. Featuring original songs by Eddy Habib.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Chapters: 14 - Words: 29,194 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 2 - Updated: 06-05-08 - Published: 02-16-07 - id: 2320888
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(A/N: Guys, how long has it been since I've updated this story? Too long! Anyway, I just thought I'd remind you all that this story takes place BEFORE the events of "Emo Boy and His Encore", just in case some of you got confused. So just to confirm: this story happened BEFORE the things that happen in "Encore". I just happen to be writing them and updating them at the same time, so I'm sorry if you do get confused, it is my fault. But if anyone has any questions about the stories or anything else, feel free to private message me via my profile.
Back in the day, I used to give each chapter of the story a song or two that went with it. So, in the spirit of the good ol' days, if you have access to them, the songs that best suit this chapter are: "Skyway Avenue" and "Stay Young" by We The Kings. You can listen to them on the band's myspace. Now, on to the story!)
I don't really do forgiveness. It's not something that comes easy to me, not something I understand and not something I've ever asked for.
Most of the role models in my life are pretty unashamed of their lives, their choices and their success but that doesn't mean they don't ask to be forgiven, that doesn't mean they haven't begged for it when they had to.
I went with Adam to a posh restaurant just off Sunset for a business dinner one night, to discuss the marketing strategy for the album. I was hoping we wouldn't have to push the album too much (oh the benefits of having a famous brother at your back and a super-famous producer at the helm), mostly because I didn't want over-enthusiastic, over paid TV chat show bimbos getting in my face, talking about my sexuality, my age or my family ties.
But I was impressed that Adam was taking such an interest in me. Eden Records is still an independent label and I knew he was incredibly busy with his family and his own multi-platinum selling rock band "The Best Deceptions".
"Hey sport," he smiled as I approached the table, standing up to meet me. I was nervous, very aware of the fact that I was meeting him in a business capacity. He may be a good friend but he's still my boss.
"Hey," I replied, sitting opposite him.
He looked at me for a long moment, his chin resting on the steeple made by his slender fingers. He was still sporting band aids on his fingertips - after years of playing the guitar, his fingers still bled sometimes. It's a sigh to behold, his blood spattered acoustic guitars. He never washes the blood off, not even when he's playing live. I remember watching him on afternoon, after he emerged from the Anavrin studio. The lights got tangled in his hair, melting the dark bangs around his face to honey streaked waves. I watched as he bandaged his fingers in silence, without so much as a wince.
"Will your fingers ever stop bleeding?" I asked suddenly. He laughed, a soft rattle that made his whole body shake.
"Mr Phonascus used to ask me that same question at every practice!" He replied, the flame from a solitary candle flickering in his eyes. "I honestly don't know. I hope not."
"Sorry…I shouldn't have asked."
"Don't be silly. I like that playing, writing…I like that it hurts a little," he said with a shrug. "Pain defines us so much more than happiness. I don't think my songs would sound the same if I didn't literally put my blood, sweat and tears into them."
I nodded silently, unsure of what to say. What do you say to something that profound?
"How's Ivory doing?" He asked, changing the subject.
"He's…" I hesitated. It would be a lie to say he was fine. "Well, he's moving on, that's what matters."
"I'm glad to hear it. Anyway, Kian, we've got some important things to discuss."
"Marketing?" I offered with a glum sigh. He laughed again.
"It's really not as boring as it sounds," he assured me. "The whole idea behind marketing is based on the principle that people's perception of you can have a radical effect on your career. That being said, marketing teams can be very…harsh."
A silence fell - I knew that a comment made by a marketing exec at the major label Adam was signed to had contributed to a dark time in his life, when he struggled with an eating disorder.
"So," he said. "I'm in charge of your marketing. I want to keep it simple, for a few reasons. The first being, I don't really know what I'm doing," he confessed with a cute grin. "Plus, you already have a distinctive look, a style and a sound that works for you, so I don't want to tamper with it."
I let out a sigh of relief - I should have known Adam would go out of his way to make everything as easy as he could for me.
"Really, we just need to push your music, clarify your message a little and get it out there. The only thing counting against you just now is people thinking you're where you are because of Sonny. We need to prove them wrong."
"I always enjoy a challenge," I said with a smile of my own.
"Good. So now that the album is in its final stages of mixing, we need to get you out of the studio. I'm scheduling a few interviews for you, a photo-shoot for the album art and a video shoot," Adam told me. I felt a little overwhelmed, and I knew he could tell.
"Ok," I replied, nodding.
"You can do this, Kian," he assured me. "Just…don't apologise for anything."
There's nothing like waking up in the morning to see your face - or in my case, other parts of your body - all over the news.
"If I was you, I'd just stay in bed all day," Sonny told me, towering over my bed. I groaned, rubbing my eyes. Rayden stirred beside me and yawned.
"You know what? Move over, I'm coming in too."
I shimmied over and Sonny crawled under the duvet, stilettos and all. He glanced up at me through his thick black eyelashes and threw an arm over my stomach.
"If Skylar asks, you haven't seen me," he mumbled.
"Sonny, what's going on?" I asked brightly. I wasn't worried - Sonny often did completely random things that no one understood.
"Uh…did you and Rayden get it on in the box room at the studio?" He asked.
I blushed and I felt Rayden frowning against my neck. We had gotten intimate in the box room after I spent a long night laying down vocals.
"Um…kind of…" I stammered. "Why?"
"Well, it turns out, some undercover idiot had every room in the studio under surveillance, trying to get a scoop on you. I'm talking cameras, microphones, all that crazy spy stuff," Sonny explained, biting his bottom lip.
"What?" I exclaimed.
"And…you left the lights on," he added.
I instantly felt sick to my stomach. If Sonny was saying what I thought he was saying, it meant I had just joined the sex tape scandal crew. Rayden groaned and buried his face into my neck. I clung to him.
"Um…" I mumbled. "How many people have seen it?"
"The clip? Oh about twelve million or so online. But all the tabloids and entertainment shows are running stories on it," he told me. "Adam's working over time."
"I'm sorry Sonny, I…"
"Don't be ridiculous!" He interrupted, playfully slapping my arm. "You weren't to know. We've all had sex in ah…places that maybe we shouldn't have. Ok, so there was this one time, in Disneyland…"
"Sonny, I'm already in therapy," I reminded him, pinching the bridge of my nose. I felt a headache (and some really strange visuals I didn't need) coming on.
"We'll fix this, Kian. I promise."
"Fixing it" involved countless television appearances - including my first on TRL - phone interviews and dodging the paparazzi. I was embarrassed at first but as time wore on, I just got bored of it. Sure, my profile had skyrocketed but I felt like no one actually care about me as a musician - I was just a hot topic.
"The way I see it," I began in my 54th interview. "I wasn't doing anything so wrong. I love Ray, he loves me. Our privacy was invaded, it's not as if we made the tape ourselves. I just want to focus on my album and my family."
Ivory and Rayden found themselves in the middle of a media storm. Everyone knew that Ivory and I were close and that he was a permanent fixture in the back up band, so he was constantly hounded for comments. One night, about a week and a half after the scandal broke, Ivory left a diner with Johnny and was instantly surrounded by a pack of slobbering journalists.
"Ivory!" One of them howled. "Do you have any comments?"
"Yeah, I have a comment," Ivory snarled, his blue eyes burning. "Get to fuck!"
Johnny led him away, unable to keep the grin off his face.
When I wasn't being grilled on my sex life, I was busy launching myself into a gruelling promotion schedule. Angel Andrews - Matt's wife - was to be the art director of the album artwork, and she came up with some truly fantastic ideas, but they didn't really suit the album content. Eventually, it was Matt who came up with the images to accompany my songs.
The concept was simple: the front cover would be bright and cheery, gaudy colours like the houses in "Edward Scissorhands", and it would feature a photograph of a suburban living room. Becky and Bill, the bassist and drummer who played on the album were dressed up as typical, strict parents. I couldn't help but laugh when I arrived on the set - they looked like Republican Presidential hopefuls.
Ivory and I were to sit on chairs in front of them. Becky and Bill put their hands on our shoulders so that we looked like we were part of a typical, traditional family portrait. But in the picture, Ivory and I were tied to the chairs with bunched up American flags. I was gagged by an American flag and Ivory was blindfolded.
I loved the finished pictures - they were loaded with political messages, they were provocative and I knew a lot of people would be very angry when they saw them, but at the same time, they would generate a lot of discussion.
My individual shots were even more outrageous. I remained gagged but I leaned back in the chair with my legs open, my eyebrow raised and my eyes half lidded and lust filled.
"Thanks, Kian," Angel said I packed up my bag to leave. Ivory had finished his individual shots long before I did, but had waited on set for me.
"My pleasure," I replied with a shrug.
"You're definitely going to stir things up with these shots," Matt grinned at me, an alluring blush dancing around his normally pale cheeks. I smirked cheekily at him, feeling confident and flirty.
"I love to stir things up," I reminded him, leaning in to kiss his cheek. "Call me, ok? We still need to finalise the track listing."
Matt just nodded, open mouthed. I even blew him a kiss before I flounced out, arm in arm with Ivory. I was delighted - I finally felt like everything was back on track, that I was doing something that would help my career.
I had no trouble adjusting to the fact that I'd gone from being a boy with a dream to a young man with a career. Rayden's support, Matt's guidance and Ivory's company had made it an easy transition, one that I was happy to make.
I wanted people to know that my music meant everything to me, and I knew the only way I could do that would be to work as hard as I could. So I got Adam to arrange a whole new set of interviews and a handful of shows in Los Angeles. I was also throwing an album release party at the Beckett Bar, the place that launched The Best Deceptions and Sonny's band, Trainwrecks and Firewater.
Sonny was more than supportive. He would spend hours sitting in his king size bed surrounded by satin pillows wearing nothing but his underwear and his stiletto boots with the laptop, running my Myspace profile and working on the website. Trainwrecks were taking some time off before their tour, and when he wasn't working on my various websites, Sonny spent his days going out to lunch with friends, designing a range for the SuckerLove clothing line and shopping. He's just such a big presence that it's easy to forget he's just a man himself, with his own thoughts and feelings. One day, I made some time to catch up with him, just as he was about to leave for another lunch date.
"Hey, where are you going?" I asked as I entered the kitchen.
"I'm going to lunch," Sonny shrugged, his delicate shoulders lifting once then dropping gracefully. I watched with a raised brow as he shoved an extra packet of cigarettes in his favourite Chanel bag. He doesn't let me call it a purse, but it clearly is.
"Lunch? With who?" I asked, trailing my finger tips through Rayden's hair.
"Nikki," he replied, stopping to check his reflection in the gleaming silver saucepans. He tutted to himself, and reapplied his lip gloss.
"Why?" I sounded childish, and slightly petulant, but I was genuinely curious.
"Because, kiddo, sometimes you just gotta move on. We've all got baggage from all sorts of places, and this will lighten the load a little, you get me?"
"Seldom, if ever," I replied with a smile. He smirked.
"I know you do," he retorted, sticking out his small, pink tongue. I kissed his cheek as he passed.
Sonny didn't say it out loud, but I knew he was trying to lead by example. He had re-established contact with our biological father, James Grant and wanted me to do the same. I'd lived with James at the dancing academy his father ran, for years. He watched me struggle after my mother's death, and he never told me that he was my father. He never once reached out to offer me the comfort I badly needed. I couldn't forgive him for that, even though Sonny wanted me to and I'd usually do anything for Sonny.
I distracted myself with my work, and I was so busy I was starting to neglect Rayden. He had been having a few problems with his own father and the latest in a long line of stepmothers - they'd been very upset about the sex tape and the fact that their son was now a tabloid favourite. He found it difficult to deal with the increased attention but, like the clever boy he is, soon turned it to his advantage. He is, without a doubt, one of the most gorgeous boys I'd ever laid eyes on, and I'm not just saying that because I'm insanely in love with him. With his dirty fair hair, shimmering blue eyes and perfect skin, Rayden combines conventional beauty with real attitude - his strength, his intelligence and his passion radiates from his every pore and people notice - that's why everyone is drawn to him.
He was being offered multi-million dollar modelling contracts, sent scripts and screenplays and asked to join about a hundred different boy bands. I know it amused him, but Rayden was a dancer and that was all he wanted to be.
I took him out to dinner at a swanky restaurant with a silly name and a strictly A list clientele. I got reservations easily and I knew Rayden would like it.
"Wow, Kian, who did you have to sleep with you get us in here?" He breathed as I led him inside. I pulled out his chair for him, took his hands over the table and smiled.
"Just you," I grinned, earning one of his heart warming chuckles. "I feel like we've barely had time together, just the two of us, these days."
"Yeah," he agreed. "But you've been busy, I understand."
"I'm never, ever too busy for you. Anytime you want to come with me, you're more than welcome," I assured him, kissing his knuckles.
"Of course. Music is my life, but God Ray, you're my world."
"You're a charmer," he beamed. "I can see why all the girls like you."
"It's my sparkling wit and political views," I replied.
"And that provocative album art! You're a sexy boy."
"No way, Ivory is everyone's favourite! He's all…wicked school boy," I said with a laugh.
"Is he looking forward to the tour?" Rayden asked, sipping his water.
"I think so, I am," I told him. "About the tour…"
Rayden shifted uncomfortably in his seat. I knew he was anxious about the tour and how it would affect our relationship. He was worried that it would break us up, but I had something in mind.
"I've got a real show in mind," I began. "I ran it past Adam, he's fine with it. I want a whole big production, multiple back drops, light shows and dancers."
I watched his eyes light up and I felt my heart flutter at the sight. I wanted Rayden to be a part of the new life I was making for us. I wanted him to feel as cherished as he was.
"Yeah. And dancers need a choreographer. I want you to choreograph all the routines and perform them on stage as lead dancer, every night of the tour," I explained.
"Yes! I want you to assemble and audition a dance troupe to come on tour, and to appear in the video. Adam will pay you and everything."
"Kian…I can't believe this is happening," he murmured.
"I wouldn't be living my dream if it wasn't for you," I told him. "Let me repay the favour."
The rest of the evening was wonderful - just spending time with him, watching him talk and laugh. Rayden was, without a doubt, one of the best things that ever happened to me. We took a midnight stroll along the beach, holding hands and swinging our shoes.
I felt at peace, a normal kid for just a little while. I knew kids like Rayden and I were being persecuted for being in love with someone their parents didn't approve of, or for looking a certain way. I wanted so badly to liberate us all.
"Sometimes," Rayden whispered to me that night as we cuddled up in bed. "It feels like nothing's changed."
"I know what you mean. Part of me expects James to come in and warn us that Mr Grant is on his way to inspect the dorms," I replied.
"Will you ever call James Dad?" Rayden asked quietly.
"I don't know," I confessed with a shrug. "I haven't forgiven him yet. He could have really been there for me…he had every opportunity to be my father."
"I can't say I blame you," he agreed. "And you're not the forgiving type."
"No," I laughed. "I guess not."
"It'll be nice to work together," Rayden smiled up at me, changing the subject.
"I know!" I beamed. "I can't wait. We can have an illicit office romance."
"Did no one ever tell you not to mix business with pleasure?"
"Mmm, yeah," I murmured, pushing his bangs from his eyes. "But I'm willing to break that rule for you."
"I'm honoured," he giggled, tilting his head back to kiss me. "I always fall for the rebel."
Sometimes, things happen so fast that you don't really have time to absorb them. The album art got leaked online and I was being slammed by some and hailed as a hero by others. I defended the photographs, going so far to claim the debate and discussion they generated is what I wanted in the first place.
"So, are you saying that you were deliberately provocative?" A cable TV show host asked me, looking apprehensive. I already had a reputation as being a tricky interviewee. I grinned openly at the camera.
"Yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying. But if you think those pictures are provocative, you haven't seen anything yet."
I glanced over my shoulder and saw Rayden, Sonny and Matt standing just off camera. Rayden had swung by the studio straight from the dance studio and was wearing a tight white tee shirt over a pair of tiny black shorts. I let my gaze rake over him, meeting his eyes and grinning at him. He wasn't wearing any shoes. I arched a brow, and beckoned to him.
"What?" He mouthed at me, before realising I wanted him to join me on stage. "No, look at me!"
"I am looking," I mouthed back. "C'mere."
I turned to the audience that had assembled in the studio. They were wearing home made tee shirts with the name of the album, and some lyrics on them. Some of the shirts even had pictures of Ivory and I on them. It was sweet, if a little surreal - they were all gazing wide eyed at me.
"Do you guys want to see something provocative?" I asked with a cheeky smirk. "Rayden, baby, wanna show these kids something that'll really shock their folks?"
That got me a smile from Rayden, who shrugged and made his way to the centre of the stage where I was sitting in an overstuffed chair. He blushed slightly when he realised that everyone - including me - was openly staring at him and his long, bare legs. I felt a rush of pride, knowing that I had the privilege of being his partner.
"This is Rayden," I told the audience, who applauded and wolf whistled. He perched himself on the arm of the chair. I put my hand on his knee without even thinking.
"He's been getting a hard time from his folks lately," I continued. "Because he's dating a boy. Because he's dating me, to be specific." I paused to let the audience respond, and they booed loudly. "Hey, I'm with you guys on this one. I want you all to understand that love between human beings, love that makes you happy, love that makes you want to be a better person…it's never an abomination, it's never wrong. It's beautiful, miraculous, and should be celebrated!" I turned to Rayden, trailing a hand up his arm to stroke his shimmering blonde hair. He was beaming at me, and I beamed back.
"I love you, Rayden," I told him, earning another round of cheers.
"I love you," he replied quietly, leaning in to gently brush his lips against mine. I used his movement to pull him onto my lap and in to my arms, so I could deepen the kiss.
The cheers, the presenter's shock, the knowledge that this was being broadcast live on late afternoon TV just melted away. The world was suddenly an intimate place of warmth and love, where everything was just Rayden. I swept a thumb over his bottom lip, and he opened his mouth, and open invitation for me to deepen the kiss again. I felt his sigh, his contentment and I tried to pull him even closer. He was all that mattered, all that had ever mattered. I didn't realise how close I was about to come to losing him.