His family. It had to be his Nulligan. The way he reacted earlier when I asked him about it made it seem like he didn’t want to talk about them, but I wanted to know for sure. “Do you get out to New Hampshire often to see your family?” He grew up with Brandt and I remembered he hailed from the suburbs of a small town in New Hampshire, so I started with a simple probing question.
“No, we don’t talk much anymore.” He kept his voice steady as he answered.
Ryder didn’t seem to shy away from the question, so I delved further, “And why is that?”
Shifting slightly on the end of the bed, he laid his back against the large tufted footboard. We went back to lying on the king-size bed, and he massaged my lotion into my skin starting with the legs. After our relaxing shower together, it felt heavenly. His strong drummer hands kneaded my muscles into submission even though I tried not to show how much pleasure I derived from his touch.
“I was raised in a well-to-do household. My mother and father were considered the socialites to know. The term ‘keeping up with the Jones’ applied to them - they were the Jones' and the wealthiest in the neighborhood.” He worked his way down my calf and started on the instep of my foot and I fought back a moan. One side of the hotel’s silk bathrobe I acquired fell open exposing my sex, but I draped the end back over it to cover it up. It wasn’t as if I was shy, the furthest thing from it actually, but I didn’t want him to stop massaging my legs any time soon now that our initial love lust was conquered.
“My mother met my father in college while she pursued a degree in art history. He studied business and already had been promised a lucrative job out of college, so my mother stepped aside and became the doting housewife.” He shifted to lift up my other leg trying to cause the robe to expose me again and was amused by the way I denied him. I didn’t mind him wanting a peek. He always made me seemed like he couldn’t get enough of me and it was.... refreshing. As much as I would like it to be false, I haven’t had this much male admiration in a while.
“My dad did well for himself and us. He quickly rose up the ranks in the bank he worked at and is now the CEO of the whole corporation. And my mother?” He shrugged as he splayed my toes apart, “She was always concerned about her image. As the elected president of the school board, the church council, and the chairman of the foundation for the town’s arts and theater she kept busy with what she considered her humanitarian efforts.” If I remembered correctly Brandt’s parents never hurt for money either so it didn’t surprise me Ryder came from the same livelihood.
“Don’t tell me your role as an accomplished rock star didn’t sit well with the elitist relatives?” I felt I hit the nail on the head but found out I was only half right.
“They didn’t like it but accepted it. They thought it was a fad. Something I would outgrow, so when I left with Brandt for California they couldn’t believe I would leave them. Leave the life they wanted to hand me for a life of poverty as we clawed our way to stardom. Even that seemed tolerable though. It wasn’t until I hit the big times they started to turn their backs on me.”
What he said didn’t seem to jibe with what I had in mind. He saw the confusion on my face and gave me a lackadaisical smile. “When I became famous the tabloids would follow me and the band and write about all the shit we would do. The late-night partying, the bar fights, even my personal interest in strip clubs and hookers.” I held my breath and tried not to show my surprise. Of course I knew about the prostitutes, but I was taken aback by his honesty. We really were going to lay it all out. Chelsea talked about his affairs briefly, but she didn’t want to gossip and frankly, we never did talk much about Ryder in the past, but I was still impressed with his way of revealing his dirty little secret. Maybe it wasn’t so secret?
“So, they chose to believe the paparazzi instead of you?”
He hiked up his brow and looked straight into my eyes, “They should believe it. It was all true.” No shame. Not one bit. I didn’t know whether to be impressed or worried.
“Do you still fancy hookers?” I needed to know, now fully glad I insisted on a condom.
He smirked halfheartedly, “I find it easier with them.”
I steadied my face until I heard the whole story. It wasn’t my place to judge Ryder. We both lived different lives but maybe they weren’t so different. When I stared at him unwavering, he continued, “On tour, I never had a shortage of women looking to make me a notch in their belt. I didn’t blame them because it went both ways but almost as soon as we were done fucking they were the ones to broadcast it on some social media site or some shit like it. They needed the exposure to make themselves feel better where I never felt the need. They might have been a conquest but so was I. That didn’t even bother me as much as when the women somehow felt I owed them something. The ones who thought one night of fucking meant I would whisk them away from their shitty lives and give them the lap of luxury even though I made sure to be honest with them upfront. I didn’t lead them on and expressed exactly what I wanted from them whether it was finding pleasure with me or sharing them with others in the band.” My poker face betrayed me as he noticed the alarm on it. It wasn’t the thought of him with another guy and a woman, it was which bandmate he had chosen as my friend was married to one of them, and I felt it better if I didn’t know the details.
Almost as if he read my thoughts, he exclaimed, “We all shared women early on but no, Brandt was always faithful to Chelsea. Just like Brandt, Quade wouldn’t share women either after he met his girlfriend. He was always faithful to Mac too for all the good it did with her turning out to be a cheating bitch. JJ and I would mostly share the groupies. It was an easy way of getting rid of a little steam and making sure they never stuck around too long but still, I never led them on.” His admission should have pissed me off. He used women but I believed him when he said he told them no lies. I couldn’t count it against him as I had my fair share of men I indulged in as well.
“So you never put stock into being a family man? You know, the wife and the kids with the white picket fence,” I couldn’t help but ask.
He flinched slightly as almost covering up his weakness and I felt I had gotten close to finding out his Nulligan. “Kids were never a need of mine and the reason I got a vasectomy early on.”
My breath caught and I sat motionless for a few seconds before I could recover. He smirked hitting a nerve on my usually infallible poker face. “I didn’t say it so I could go raw with you. You don’t have to believe me. We will still use a condom. I only wanted to explain how serious I am about never wanting children.”
Did he think it would bother me he didn’t want children? Actually, I felt it was a redeeming quality of his. “I don’t blame you for the vasectomy. I never wanted kids either. I’ll let Chelsea and Brandt overpopulate the earth, I was just amazed you could get a physician to do it. In my early twenties, I tried to get my tubes tied to make sure I didn’t accidentally have a little bastard but I couldn’t find a clinic to do it. One doctor even asked me if it wasn’t just a reaction to a bad breakup like I couldn’t make the decision on my own.” He laughed.
“When you are willing to pay cash, and above usual and customary, the physicians are willing to take you more earnestly.” I shook my head wishing women were taken just as seriously as men. I finally settled for an IUD, and after having it in for as long as I did, I gave up on anything more permanent.
Even though he said he would be honest about his answers, I had a nagging idea he wasn’t giving me the full story on him wanting children. Maybe he thought he would never find the one or maybe his desire to be with hookers outweighed his desire to be a father, but either way, I still got the impression he covered up something. When I saw him with Chelsea’s kids, he seemed at ease, although I could just be projecting too much into it. He had no reason not to be truthful with me. After today, we would be going our separate ways.
“So Mommy and Daddy didn’t like your extracurricular activities? They must’ve given you a little credit later when you became a successful businessman.” The appreciation on his face when I called him successful made me smile. By all rights he earned it. He invested his money from world tours and album sales into the three clubs he owned, and from what I knew had several lucrative investments as well. It should account for something. How could parents just disown a child because they wanted to play music and live a little?
“Yes success is something valued in their household, but the debauchery I have incurred in my life is not well tolerated.”
“Then your mother must have been a nun.”
Ryder laughed a strong, hearty laugh and it warmed me from the other side of the bed. “Probably as close to being a nun as they came. Roman Catholic as well as an admonished pillar in the community. We had very little access to depravity even. The only jerk off material I could find as a hormonal youth was her old art books.”
It was my turn to laugh, “And what exactly did these books contain that would appeal to a teenage boy?”
He only said one word, “Hera.”