Twelve months is a long time: A very long time for prolonged separation in any relationship. Thus, as I drive along this winding road, getting closer and closer to his house, I am trying to figure out what the hell I will say to him. I have not called him since I left. He told me that he understood, as I would be out of it most of the time, from the drugs.
I have just spent the past twelve months in the South of France, undergoing treatment for brain tumours. Fancy that, of all people, me, mister health conscious, Davad Moss, with brain tumours! For twenty-seven years I had lived a healthy life. Then one morning I woke up, collapsed in the shower and I ended up in the Angel Research Centre, only to find out that I had two tumours on my brain. Fancy that! I ended up spending five years undergoing treatment. Tom was very supportive. We have been lovers for ten years. That’s why I have to go see him now.
I remember the day my doctor, Marshall Reed, told me about the treatment program in France. I said no at first, because I did not want to leave Tom. Then Tom and I sat down and talked for hours over a bottle of vodka. Tom told me that I should go, as he could not stand the thought of me getting any worse, and Marshall had told me that it would spread, if I did not have the treatment.
I missed him the whole time I was in France. I missed running my fingers through his soft brown hair, and I missed looking into his beautiful hazel eyes. Most of all, I believe I missed the feel of him, touching his body and feeling him lying close to me at night. Of course, our relationship is a secret, as we cannot possibly afford to be found out by the media. I can just see the headlines: Billionaire entrepreneur, Davad Moss, in love triangle with Movie Star heartthrob, Tom Blade. The media would love that!
We do not want our business in the press. What we do together is our business and concerns nobody else, except for Natalie, as she is Tom’s wife. Yes, that is right, Tom is a married man. Obviously it is not a real marriage, as Tom’s producer friend, Ben Dover, arranged it. Set up the whole thing so that no one would find out that Tom is gay. We also met through Dover, as I have known him for many years. I financed his company when he first started making movies, and now he is worth a fortune.
In the beginning Dover was trying his luck with me, but I did not want a part of it. Then this new hot shot, Tom Blade, came onto the scene and pretty soon Dover found out that Tom was gay. Dover tried his luck with Tom too, as he probably does with every good looking man he meets. Tom was as interested as I was, so Dover reluctantly introduced us, and ten years later we are still together, and Mr Dover looks at us with the kind of contempt that leaves your heart bleeding like an open vein.
Well, at least I hope we are still together. It has been twelve months after all. Tom may have gone to Dover’s nightclub, The Dungeon, and met someone else in the Gallery room...
The Gallery is one place where Tom and I can show our love for one another. It is six floors underground beneath The Dungeon nightclub, and mainly frequented by men. Only those on the A-list; celebrities, the rich and famous, receive passes. It is one of the few places where people, such as us, can be ourselves.
Tom goes to the Gallery a lot. He likes to get behind the bar and serve drinks for a few hours. He cracks jokes with the guys who come up for a drink, and he probably seduces them as well. I do not mind when he does that. Tom is a real tease and that is fine with me, as long as teasing is all he does. Dover, on the other hand, is always trying to set Tom up with a different guy every time Tom goes to the club. I think Dover has this crazy idea that if we split up he will end up with one of us for himself. I do not believe that he cares which one he ends up with, just as long as he wins a heart in the end. I worry that Tom may have considered it during my absence. Tom may have encountered loneliness and looked for affection from another. If he did, devastation will strike me down like a match…
My black Lamborghini gleams in the sun as it approaches along the lengthy driveway of the luxurious estate. I sit behind the wheel wearing black, blending into the sleek upholstery. My hair remains still in the breeze, and sunglasses cover my eyes as the Lamborghini pulls to a halt beside the entrance.
I step out of the car, walk to the front door and push the bell, before leaning against the wall. A woman with red hair and a thin white face opens the door. A smile creeps across her lips as she focuses on the man before her.
“Natalie,” I say with a smile, while removing my sunglasses.
“Oh my god! Davad? When did you get back?” Natalie gives me a hug, “come inside.”
We enter into the wooden hallway, which leads to the lounge room, where we sit beside one another on the sofa.
“I just flew in today. I came straight from the airport.” I say, answering her question.
Natalie smiles and stands, “Do you want a drink, Davad?”
“Water,” I tell her while following her to the kitchen. “Where is Tom?” I ask as she hands me a glass of water.
“He’s not home at the moment. He’s working,” Natalie explains, diverting her green eyes.
“Is there something wrong, Natalie?”
“No! It’s just that you’ve been away for so long. I don’t know how Tom will react. I mean a lot’s happened in his life over the past twelve months.”
“I know, and I want to hear all about it. I am not going anywhere ever again. I have missed him so much.”
“I guess you would have. How did everything go?”
I move away from her, starting to walk back out of the kitchen. “Let’s not talk about it now. I have something for you.” I tell her, as I walk out of the room.
Natalie comes into the lounge room to find me sitting back on the sofa with a small black box in my hand. She walks over and sits beside me once more.
“What is it Davad?” She asks, looking at the box, “I’m already married you know!”
I laugh. “Yeah, Tom is a lucky guy. However, I do not intend to propose.” I say, opening the box.
Natalie takes the box from me, and runs her fingers over the gold bracelet inside. “It’s beautiful Davad. You shouldn’t…”
“Nonsense, Natalie, you deserve it” I tell her, taking the bracelet out of the box, and placing it around her slender wrist. “Perfect.”
Natalie leans forward, giving me a hug, “I’m glad you’re back, Davad, and I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“You know you do not have to sit here with me. You must have things to do.”
“No, I want to.”
“Come on Natalie. Do whatever you have to do. I need some time to think anyway.” I insist, giving her a kiss on the cheek, “Go!”
While waiting on the sofa, I feel as if years are passing by outside. Natalie comes in every now and then to refill my glass. If she speaks to me, I do not know, as I sit silently, lost in thought.
I still do not know what I will say to him. A lot has happened in his life over the past twelve months. What does that mean? I had wanted to ask Natalie in the kitchen. However, I could not do that. Tom would have to tell me himself.
Lots of thoughts float through my mind as I wait. Thoughts of France and the treatment, the pain I suffered for twelve long months. The only things that stopped the pain were my dreams of returning to Tom, dreams that he would greet me on my arrival home. He would hold me in his arms and kiss me. Perhaps they were only dreams and nothing more.
All the way home on the plane I had tried to think of what I would bring him. Something that would tell him how I feel about him. Something which would really say, I love you! I had thought about a car, or something like that, but Tom is not interested in those kinds of things. It had to be something special, really special. I could not think of anything until we landed. Then it hit me. I knew exactly what I needed to give Tom and now all I need, is for him to walk in the door. Hopefully, he will want me back. If only I knew that were true?
An hour has passed since my arrival to his house, and my attention has turned to the photo’s that decorate the lounge room wall. I have seen all the photos before, however, I look at them now as though it is the first time I am seeing them. I study Tom in each one, touch my finger to his face, and imagine the softness of his skin. It is stupid. I need to touch him for real. I need to watch him move.
With that thought, I focus on a line of black shelves along the far wall. Tom’s movies are all lined up in order of years on the centre shelf. I run my fingers across the titles. I have seen them all, except the final title on the shelf: ‘South Street.’ He was working on it when I left. Tom graces the videos sleeve, in blue jeans, with no shirt, sitting by a flaming garbage can. Another man sits beside him, wearing black jeans.
I turn the video over to read the back of the sleeve. Tom Blade and Eric Russell, trapped for six months in an old subway: There is no escape, no food or water: Just drugs, sex and alcohol. The air is running out and so is their time. Survive ‘South Street,’ if you dare!
There is something strange about this video. I cannot recall Tom telling me that the movie he was working on had anything to do with being trapped in a subway. I thought it was about an executive who fakes his own kidnapping so that he can rip off his company, something like that anyway. Eric Russell was in it. I know that for sure, as it had worried me that Tom was working with him, after all, Eric is a very attractive man, with an amazing physique. Tom has always had a thing for Eric and I remember how excited he was to be working with him. Shit! What if that is what Natalie meant. What if Tom and Eric are together now?
My thoughts are now running wild. Eric as far as I can remember is one of the straightest actors around, so that would never happen. Tom and Eric would certainly be a dream come true for Tom, but that is all it could be, a dream. Not entirely convinced, I decide to watch the film, thinking it will keep my mind from wandering until Tom comes back, but I could not have been more wrong in my entire life.
I watch Tom and Eric fall into the subway after an earthquake strikes. Watch them eat rats and drink so much alcohol that they should be dead. I watch Tom tell Eric he is gay and watch as Eric tries to rape him. I cannot believe what I am watching. I really cannot believe that Tom would agree to do a film like this. Has he really changed that much? I keep watching as Tom smokes marijuana, sniffs coke, makes love to Eric and I cry as he is dying...
I stop the tape. They did a love scene! A love scene with Eric Russell! My god! He touched his body. This has shocked me. This is the worst movie I have seen in my entire life. How could he agree to do such a movie? Did he think about the rumours that would follow? I have no idea what I am going to say to him after seeing this.
A mixture of the revving engine of a Porsche and blaring music coming up the drive fills the lounge room. Banners’ song, ‘Vodka till dawn,’ is playing at full volume. I take a long slow drink of water as the engine and music die outside.
Natalie is standing in the doorway between the lounge room and the kitchen, waiting to see Tom’s reaction when he sees me sitting on the sofa.
The front door opens and Tom enters the house. I look him up and down and notice how his black jeans and grey jumper cling tightly to his body. Seeing him standing before me in the flesh after so long sends shivers down my spine.
’The grunge look did always work best for you.” I tell him.
Tom turns around to face me, removing the sunglasses that have been shading his beautiful eyes. He stands there staring at me, with a look of disbelief for almost five minutes before he walks across the polished floorboards and out the kitchen door.
“When did he get here?” I hear him say to Natalie as they both enter the kitchen.
“He just got back today and came straight here to see you.”
I hear Tom throw his keys onto the bench. “I don’t know what to say to him Natalie, not after what’s happened.”
“Just talk to him, Tom.”
“I need a few minutes.” Tom tells her and sits at the kitchen table.
Natalie walks over to him. “He’s missed you Tom. You need to talk.” She whispers in his ear.
“How can I tell him about what happened? He won’t understand.”
Natalie sits beside him, placing her hands on his knees.
“You have to give him the chance to decide for himself and besides, you said that you’re okay about the Eric thing now. Remember?”
Tom gets up, walks to the long stainless steel bench and leans against it, staring directly at her. “I know what I said, and I am. I am over it. I just don’t think I can tell him. Davad knows how I feel about Eric. He won’t understand. He’ll say nothing just happens. He’ll tell me that there’s always an ulterior motive. You know what he’s like. He’ll sit me down for one of his lectures.”
Natalie walks across the room to stand in front of him. “Tom, talk to him,” She says sternly, “You have to!”
“Do I?” Tom snaps. “Since when do you tell me what to do, Natalie?”
“Don’t get aggravated at me. I thought you wanted my advice. You asked for it after all.”
Tom wraps his arms around Natalie’s waist. “I’m sorry...I’m just...”
“Well this is certainly a pretty picture.” I say, interrupting their romantic moment and alerting them to my presence in the kitchen doorway.
They both look at me. Natalie smiles while Tom stares at me with a blank expression on his face.
“Did Natalie show you the gift I gave her?” I ask to break the tension.
Natalie holds up her arm. Tom looks at the bracelet for about a second, and then looks me directly in the eyes. “It’s okay, I suppose,” He says, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
I smile at him and he drops his eyes. I feel as though I am intimidating him, which is not unusual. I always seem to do that to Tom. He looks at me as though I am some kind of icon or god, and I guess in certain circle’s, that is true, but I do not want Tom to look at me that way. I just want him to look at me like a lover.
“Tom. Can we talk?” I finally ask.
“Sure,” He agrees, taking a seat at the table.
I look at Natalie and smile, and then look back to Tom. This is not right. This is not the place for us to talk, not here in the kitchen. We need to be somewhere more private, someplace where I can bring the real Tom out again.
“We cannot talk here.” I tell him. “We need to go outside.”
Tom does not move until Natalie walks over to him and whispers in his ear. I cannot hear what she says to him, but he gets up from the table, kisses Natalie on the cheek and starts out of the room.
“Thanks Natalie,” I say, as I follow him outside.
Tom sits on a bench in the garden. Roses surround him and it is a tranquil picture, one that will come to my mind many times. He lowers his head to avoid my eyes as I walk over to the bench and sit beside him. He does not look up, so I lift his chin, until his eyes meet my own.
“You seem reluctant, Tom. What has happened?”
“I can’t tell you Davad.” He says, looking away.
I kneel down on the soft grass in front of him and take hold of both his hands. “It is okay, Tom. It cannot be that bad!” I tell him, with a smile.
“Please don’t smile Davad. It makes it so much harder.”
I squeeze his soft hands in mine. He has beautiful hands; soft and smooth like the hands of a child or a woman. “Listen. I know it has been a long time, but we knew it would be hard and if something has happened then we need to get it out in the open. We can overcome anything Tom. It is in our nature!”
“All right Davad, but you can’t look at me.” He insists.
“That is not a problem.” I agree and stand.
I walk around behind the bench and drape my arms around his shoulders. I know that whatever he has to tell me is serious. It is probably something I do not want to hear, and I know one thing for sure...It is to do with Eric Russell. I know that because I had been standing in the kitchen doorway the whole time that Tom was talking with Natalie. I know that I should not have been there, but I needed to know how he felt about my return.
“Take your time,” I tell him.
Tom sits there in silence. He is having a hard time bringing himself to tell me. He is probably considering lying; telling me what I want to hear, instead of the truth, however, I know that he can never lie to me. I am his stability, the only person who can keep him from going crazy in this fake life of his.
“I saw your new movie.” I finally say to break the deadly silence.
“What movie?” He asks, a little nervously.
I feel his whole body quiver and I know I have hit the right button. He will have to tell me now as he will have no doubt in his sweet mind that I know there was or is something going on between him and Eric.
“You saw it! When?” Tom asks.
“While I was sitting here waiting for you to come home.”
He sits there for a few moments longer in total silence. “It wasn’t really a movie.” He finally blurts out.
“What do you mean?”
“Well it really happened. We were really in an earthquake and really trapped in South Street station for six months.”
I consider this for a brief moment. “Then you really slept with Eric Russell?”
“Oh Shit!” Tom sighs, “Yes I did, but there’s nothing going on between us now.”
“Then what is the problem Tom?” I ask, as I walk back around the bench and kneel down on the grass.
“I thought you would hate me Davad. I thought you would say that I did it because I wanted to and I thought you would never forgive me.” He stares directly into my eyes and I smile at him, a little amused at his emotional outburst.
“I could never hate you Tom. If it happened, it happened. If it were I, trapped with Eric Russell for six months, I would probably have done the same thing. All except for the drugs!”
Tom looks away from me.
“I hope you are not doing them now!”
He looks back at me, shocked. “Of course not, it was a one off thing. I thought I was going to die. I thought I would never see you...”
“Okay, I believe you,” I tell him to cut his rambling short, “I brought you something,” I inform him reaching into the back pocket of my jeans. Tom watches as I take my wallet from my pocket and open it. I pull out a gold card and hand it to him. He turns the card over and over in his hand.
“It is a high rider card.” I tell him, “with your name on it.”
Tom looks the card over again, as though examining it. “What’s it for?” He asks, confused.
I get up from my knees and sit beside him on the bench. “It means that wherever you go, anywhere in the world, you just show the card and forget the expenses. It is a kind of access all areas.”
He stares at me, as though in complete concentration.
“What do you mean forget the expenses?” He asks.
“Just what I said… I love you Tom and I would do anything for you.”
“I know you do and I just want things to be the way they were before you left.”
“They will be.” I promise and kiss him softly on the neck.