Author: Honunjama PM
MxM SLASH The club is called Heaven, Gem's life right now is anything but.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,593 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 10-11-12 - Published: 06-02-12 - id: 3028422
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
For GreenGrass1 and Chowdizzle :)
Every eye in the place focused on Gem as he mounted the stage. He could feel their stares burning through the fabric of his dress like bright pin pricks of light. The alcohol in his system loosened him up, took the edge off the dread that crawled inside his chest but it also disconnected him from reality a little. His arms swung uselessly beside him as though they were connected to a much looser, freer person. Because he wasn't free. At all.
The stage consisted of one battered two meter by six meter black platform, framed by a deep red velveteen curtain behind which a variety of props were placed. Music pulsed out to the increasing audience from two large speakers high on the ceiling above the stage, loud enough to make his teeth chatter as the beat vibrated through him.
Leonard had said a bit of suggestion and teasing was what was expected. Turn the audience on and leave them begging for more. Dangle the carrot, never let them have the carrot. But although naturally confident, Gem was not a natural performer. He knew how he looked and he relied on that far too much, and he was not going to act like he was in some fucking pantomime. Yeah, he could be loud and foolish, particularly when drunk- he left his guard on the floor when he was drunk, which was why he never let himself drink more than one or two measures- but he didn't want it to look like he was the act, a guy in drag, because that wasn't how he saw himself. He lived his life looking like this. This wasn't part of his job, this was part of who he was. He realized then that he couldn't pull it off. He couldn't stand there on stage and act like this was a mask.
"Get on with it!" A heckler from the back of the room took Gem by surprise. He stared out into the darkness wishing he were far away from this place. Wishing he were back home putting Joel to bed, or reading him a story.
Fabien started to loop the track again, obviously thinking Gem had missed all his cues, which he had, because all the visions he'd had of how his performance would go were like an innocent kid's hopeful expectations and nothing at all like the reality. This crowd wanted him laid out on a plate, they wanted to devour him.
His cue came to sing, but he couldn't remember a word, all he could think was how disgustingly like smoke the air tasted on his tongue.
Julian would be at his flat by now, waiting for him with Romeo.
With shaking hands he started to strip. Leonard had warned him not to do this, but what else could he do? What else had he got to give them? He thought of the money.
Gracefully, he shimmied out of his dress, flung it behind him and stood before them in his sequined underwear. He'd stripped for Julian once, at home in his bedroom, while Julian lay on his bed, hand down his pants, stroking himself, so close to coming before Gem was even completely naked. He used that memory sometimes, and he hated himself for it.
A chant of 'off off off' started up. And he knew there was only one way to go from here.
Without much enthusiasm, he unfastened the bra and flung it out into the crowd drawing a singular wolf whistle, but now he had nowhere apart from stripping completely.
He'd never felt less sexy and more like a piece of meat in his life. He stopped dancing.
He caught Aleksander watching wide eyed from the bar. Zed stood next to him clutching a half-finished drink and holding his hand over his mouth. And that was it, he lost it.
Stumbling from the stage, he assumed things could not possibly get worse, but as he stepped to the floor he lost his footing and crashed clumsily into a table in the front row, smashing all the glasses and whacking his face so hard on the edge as he fell blackness narrowed his vision for a few seconds, but he didn't lose consciousness.
The next thing he knew gentle arms were carefully hoisting him up and he felt his dress being wrapped around his body, covering his back and chest. Somehow he knew it was Aleksander but when he reached the dressing room and looked, it was Zed and some other man in a dark suit with their arms around him, and Aleksander was nowhere to be seen. The dim lights hurt his eyes, his vision was swimming a little. He just wanted to lie down somewhere dark and quiet.
They led him to a worn green velvet armchair in the corner of the room away from the brightest lights. Zed tossed the clothing laid out over the seat onto the floor.
A small crowd had gathered. No one was laughing now.
Zed looked deadly serious as he peered into Gem's eyes. "Should I call an ambulance?" He asked.
Gem blinked slowly. "No. I'll be okay." He said with difficulty. His head was really beginning to throb now.
A few seconds later something cold was pressed to his bruised skin and Aleksander appeared in front of him holding what looked like another double whiskey.
"Thanks kid." He tried to whisper, but it sounded like an incoherent mumble.
Aleksander glanced worriedly at Zed. "Is she okay?"
"M'fine. Just ne mint."
"My car is parked just outside. I could take him to A and E." The guy in the suit looked round at the three of them, eyes glittering blackly in the light.
He reminded Gem of certain of his customers that came for a quick fuck directly after work but before they returned home to their wives and families. Liars, he called them.
Zed looked the guy up and down, so obviously in tune with Gem's thoughts, that Gem could have hugged him.
"I think it'd be best if you went back to the bar. Meesh." He hollered. "Can you show this gentleman the way? And get Leonard in here. Where the fuck is he anyway?"
Zed stroked his cheek as one might stroke the cheek of a sick child.
"Now what are we going to do with you?"
Gem closed his eyes. The others rushed to get ready around him, all fabric swishing and whispers….
"Sweetheart?" Lightly a hand tapped his cheek. Zed leaned over him, fully made up and dressed elegantly in black. "I don't think you should be sleeping."
"Get me a drink?" He murmured. It'd be better than a paracetemol. He really didn't want to be sober right now and have to acknowledge what had happened out there.
He zoned out again.
Next thing he knew Leonard was standing over him, looking weary.
"I don't know what happen out there but see that it doesn't happen again, alright? People don't pay to see you dying up there, and your little stunt with the glasses cost me money tonight."
"Oh for fucks sake Leonard, Aleks breaks more glasses in his first hour than anyone else does in a week, give the guy a break!" Zed called from the other side of the room. "Also, someone needs to watch him, unless you want an emergency trip to A and E, and we're all on in ten."
Leonard sighed. "I'll send Aleksander in."
So he still had a job then. He didn't feel as relieved as he thought he would. He wondered if he would be paid for tonight, or if Leonard saw giving him another chance payment enough.
It was hard to remember how many measures of whiskey he had had by now. The empty glasses lined up on the floor swam in and out of his vision as he leaned over the arm of the chair. A few too many. They couldn't all be his, could they? He could feel laughter bubbling up inside him, easy and free. He'd never been a big drinker. At least his head was no longer throbbing. There was a nagging thought at the back of his mind that he should be somewhere else right now, instead of lying here. But he didn't want to think too hard about that, it was nice here.
Aleksander perched on the arm of the chair beside him. How long had they been talking? Was it minutes? It felt like hours. Time seemed slow as syrup.
"I like what you said earlier."
"What…when?" Aleksander frowned as he picked at the loose threads of fabric under his fingers. His beautiful hands only millimeters away from Gem's face.
Gem smiled, he hadn't felt this relaxed in anyone's company in years. The room was warm and he felt the dress which lay across him slip down, he shifted so it dropped to the floor with a whisper. "When you said she, instead of he. You said, is she okay."
Even the silence between them was comfortable. Beyond the thin dressing room walls the club was alive with noise- whoops of fractured laughter and a crowd cheering so loudly they drowned out the throb of music. Gem knew he had been wrong about Zed. Zed was good at what he did, really good.
"It's because I thought you were." Aleksander said, shifting uncomfortably. "When I first saw you I thought you were a girl."
The cheering had reached its peak, the show would be over soon, the others would be coming back in here and they would no longer be alone.
"I like that you thought that." Gem whispered and reached out to touch his fingers to Aleksander's. "I like that you're here with me. I like that a lot."
Ignoring the jolt of pain across his cheek, and the way the room tilted and swayed, he pulled himself up, his face so close to Aleksander's he could feel the sweet heat of the other boy's breath on his lips, see the way his eye lashes fanned out against his flushed cheek as he closed his eyes. He let the moment length, until he could stand it no longer and pressed their lips softly together. He arched his body forward, needing to touch and be touched. Felt the swell of his erection grow as it pressed against the arm of the chair. It had been so long since this blissful rush had swirled inside him, so long since he had felt the want, the need to take a boy home with him and spend the night in slow exploration of each other's bodies. He moaned softly as he ran his tongue across Aleksander's lower lip and stroked the hard line of his jaw with gentle fingers. It was perfect, but…
Aleksander pulled away and sank down on his knees on the floor. He looked lost, forlorn. "Don't." He whispered.
Gem stared, wishing the happy buzz of alcohol wasn't clouding his comprehension, because this just wasn't making sense. He could see Aleksander was attracted to him, he'd had too much experience not to know that.
"Why not? I know you like me."
A tiny sound full of frustration escaped as Aleksander shook his head. "I just don't want to get involved with anyone…not anyone from here."
"I wasn't asking for your undying love! I don't do fucking relationships either!" Gem was startled to realize he's shouted that last bit and lowered his voice. "I fancy you. That's all." He shrugged, he didn't come on to many boys and when he didn't he wasn't used to being turned down. "I just…I thought we could make one another feel good."
Aleksander scrambled up, his expression pained.
"You don't understand. You look like a girl. But you're not. It wouldn't make me feel good. I'm sorry."
What? Gem stared after him in confusion as he disappeared through the door and back out to the bar, just as the others tumbled noisily into the room.
Gingerly, he pulled himself up out of the chair and winced- his head felt as though it had been split open with an axe.
"Want me to call you a taxi?" Zed asked as he pulled his feathery outfit over his head.
Feeling very sober and very old, Gem nodded.