Life can be pretty damn fucked up.
Sure he knew there were some who looked at him and said, "wow, your life must be perfect" but that really wasn't the case. He'd been through a lot of shit to get where he was. Personal, professional, hell, he couldn't think of one aspect of his life that hadn't been a major fuck-up.
Hell, just look at the last mess he'd been through! What had he been thinking? Paris Hilton! Hello?! Yeesh! He's been nuts.
I mean, how the hell could he ever have been so damn stupid as to get involved with a psycho bitch like her? Sure, the sex had been great - and plentiful - but, with hindsight, had he really been that superficial? His album tanked, his family life was a car crash and, while the group had reformed, there was still that whole 'will we ever get to the top again or are we a punch line waiting to happen' vibe. Then, suddenly, one of the most famous chicks out there is all over him. Paparazzi are following him around and you couldn't turn on a tabloid TV show without footage of the two of 'em together. Even Timberlake wasn't getting as much coverage. Well, except for his whole 'uncoverage' thing. Grammies aside, he was hot and Justin was not. He had to admit it sure felt good.
Then some psychic says 'be alone, Paris. Be alone" and he gets dropped like yesterday's birdcage liner. The tabloids were agog - Nick and Paris call it quits - and then follow her around like some pack of dogs to her Pavlovian bell. Sheesh! Yep, welcome to LaLa-land.
And still she teases. No, we aren't dating anymore Nick, but let's still party together, I'll still hang with your lil bro (just to give him credibility as a Hollywood player), but we are not dating. Remember that. And that means that I can flirt to my heart's content now. And you'll just have to take me rubbing it in your face.
He remembered the exact moment when his 'love' for her turned into disgust. The point when something clicked inside him and he realized this was all too much crap. He'd dated high maintenance chicks before, but Paris was in a whole other area code. That moment when suddenly it was all too damn absurd for him and waking away... well, he could do it without a backward glance. "Don't Want You Back" was right. Funny how titles to songs he'd sung just seem to fit perfectly with his life, hunh? Don't even get him started on "The Call"…
Anyway, they'd been at some club, or rather he'd been at the club and she'd shown up. One of her lapdogs must have told her where he was - for someone who was the dumper she sure seemed to show up a lot in the places where the dumpee was hanging. He'd been there with a few buddies, just chilling, just hanging with the guys, just starting to let the whole 'liberation' vibe set in. And just when he was getting nice and mellow, there she was.
Sure she kept her distance, but she also made sure he knew she was there. Hell, she was practically sitting in the lap of some guy only a few feet away. And while she was usually fairly soft-spoken, suddenly he could hear her cooing and flirting with the guy. With the way the music was pounding out of the speakers she sure must have been talking loud.
So he ignored her. He was there with the guys after all. No chicks allowed - well, except for the waitress and the ones who stopped by to chat. They didn't stay long, though. It was one thing to 'drop by' and see if you could pick up some gossip and another thing to have to sit through a bunch of men talking sports. So he'd stayed and he'd ignored and he'd carried on with what he was doing. Let the whole drama start again tomorrow. Tonight he was just gonna enjoy.
Dude, tell that to Paris!
He wasn't sure how long it had been since he'd really paid attention to what else was going on in the club, but an altercation over by the back wall soon attracted his gaze. And a pesky voice inside his head told him that he better see what was going on.
He shouldered his way through the crowd, trying to see what was going on. Seems the girlfriend of the guy she'd been flirting heavily with had finally had enough. She was telling Paris, in no uncertain terms exactly what she thought of her. Words like 'skank' 'whore' 'sleazebag' and 'money-rich loser' were flying. He had to admit, he liked that last one. Was it Kev or Brian who liked to say Paris was 'famous for being famous despite her little TV success. But that success was due only because, well a lot of people do slow down to watch a car wreck.' He sure hoped it wasn't Kevin: he was sick of that knob always being right. Of course, Brian was just as bad…
Anyway, Paris finally had enough and launched herself at the other chick, kicking, slapping and screaming at her in language that'd make a longshoreman blush.
That's when it happened. It was like there was this little clicking sound in his head and suddenly he realized, "dude, you don't need this shit. You never did." The fog lifted from his brain. He saw the light. All those things that mean you finally clued in. It had happened.
Suddenly he saw Paris for what she was. And what she was, well, was exactly what the other chick had called her. She was a nip/tucked, botox-ed, collagen-injected, slutty, self-absorbed, violent-tempered, no-talent Barbie doll wannabe with a wallet full of charge cards.
He'd thought he was in love with THAT? Blick!
He sighed heavily, knowing that somehow it was incumbent upon him to break up the fight. For some reason it was the ex-boyfriend's task to break up catfights (insert another BLICK). Yeesh! Why the hell had no one mentioned this in the 'I'm dating someone who is more famous than me' handbook?
He caught the eye of the guy Paris had been flirting with. The guy had been standing there watching with a bit of a smirk on his face. Nick had a quick mind flash of the guy standing there in a Southern Belle costume simpering, 'why, are you all fighting over lil ole me?" At Nick's glare he quickly wilted, flushing with embarrassment, and nodded. The two of them stepped forward. He approached Paris from behind - easier to avoid those razor sharp claws she called fingernails - grabbing her firmly on both upper arms and lifting her off the other girl. The other guy did about the same for his chick, but she sure protested less than Paris did. Paris kept twisting and lurching, trying to break free so she could launch herself on her chosen prey once again. For a chick who weighed less than her damn dog she sure was strong. She almost pulled him off his feet, causing him to squeeze tighter on her arms, as she lurched forward.
But finally all that deep-sea fishing paid off and he managed to reel her away from the fight club. She was a bit disheveled - Paris may have been a puncher and a nail-scratcher, but the other woman was obviously a hair-puller. He had to work hard not to show a smile at that. Paris was worse than Howie for her hair fetish - at least Howie didn't have a team of hair care professionals on speed dial (or maybe he did. You never knew with Howie). But, either he hadn't been successful or she was just still in the mood for a fight, because suddenly she was kicking back at him, cursing him out for interrupting. Why couldn't he leave her alone? Why was he always so jealous when she found other men attractive? Why was he always trying to fence her in, to keep her for himself?
It was like he had a little soundtrack in his head, but all it played over and over again was 'blick.'
With another sigh he slowly released her, stepping back quickly as she spun around to glare at her. He wished he could say something dramatic and earth shattering about her tirade. Something that would put her in her place, but the best he could offer was, "whatever." And with a shrug he turned and left the club.
He avoided her calls the next day, sneaking out the back of his house, driving as far as San Diego to do some golfing and get away from her bangs on his door. After all, when that 'click' happened you don't go back on it. It really is a final thunderclap. The Gods may be crazy, but they do eventually get around to telling you when to quit.
She'd been scheduled to leave town soon anyway. Yeah, her publicist had been very clear that he must memorise her schedule and never interfere with it, unless it was to be her escort (read arm-candy) for public appearances. He knew he just had to avoid the bitch for a day or so and then he could relax a little. With her attention span she'd have probably forgotten they'd been dating by the time she got back from the East Coast. So it had been a bit of a shock to see pictures of her splashed around with bruises all over her. He noticed the bands of black and blue around her upper arms and winced, knowing that they were just the right size for his hands (give an inch or two for wiggling primadonna). He hadn't meant to clutch her so hard, but then with her fair skin, she did bruise easily (just ask any of the furniture she bumped up against when she was drunk). The fat lip was from the other chick, and in a way he was glad of that. He'd seen the girl when he was leaving the club: she was all scratched up and looked like someone had dragged her through a briar patch. Once again Paris had come out of one of her messes a lot better than anyone else.
And in the next few days it was clear that she was also going to make a mess of him.
The New York papers were 'agog' with the news that it had been HIM who was the cause of her bruises. Sure, he'd admit to the ones on her arms (not publicly of course), but get real! How many people had been at the club that night? How many people saw lil Miss Perfect Hotel Heiress brawling like a drunken fishwife? Damn! That stupid 'blick' soundtrack was back.
Yep, the chick who always had something to say to the media (usually something stupid) was suddenly close-mouthed. Neither confirming nor denying where she'd gotten the bruises from. From LA to Calcutta he was know as the pop star who may (or may not) have beaten his ex-girlfriend.
Guess that'd teach him not to jump when she told him to.
And then there were all those pics of him almost crying when he got jumped by the paparazzi that night when he went out with Kev and Howie. You'd think that after that Rolling Stone article a few years back where he'd said he couldn't cry anymore, people would be glad that he could show a human emotion. Of course, all that counseling when AJ went into rehab had helped. But, no, it was all "Backstreet Boy cries" shit. Yeah, yeah, so a few tears trickled down. He had been drinking heavily - alcohol was a depressant after all - and then he'd heard all the shit people were yelling at him (why the fuck was Paris so damned revered in LA?), well, a few tears might sneak out on you too if that had happened to you.
He sighed, leaning back against the pillows, hands behind his head. Yeah, you could say he'd made a fuck up of his life in the last year. But what was it they said? "You gotta hit bottom before things start to look up." Something like that. And glancing over to the body beside him he had to admit, he had 'hit' a bottom. He chuckled quietly. Something told him that the kind of bottom he'd hit wasn't exactly what they (whoever 'they' were) had meant.
But he wasn't going to complain. Not when he'd finally got what he'd always, secretly, yearned for. And it had been even better than he'd ever thought it could be. Damn, he'd been an idiot! Why had he waited so long? Why had he never said anything before? Why had he let himself think it was all just a hopeless crush?
"Listen man, if you aren't as exhausted as I am, the least you could do was pretend," came a gruff voice from the pillow beside him.
He smiled. "What? Making you feel your age?"
The man growled, lifting his head and glaring at him. Tousled dark hair spiked out in all directions and there was whisker burn on his cheek. "Listen, young whippersnapper, I don't need any reminders about my age. I'm old. I get it. But I'm a hell of a lot better looking than you are so shut your face and go to sleep."
"Better looking? As if," Nick snorted.
"I'll have you know I have millions who worship me. Millions, I tell you," he replied with a cheeky grin. "And if you aren't gonna go to sleep now I'm gonna have to wear you out some more."
Nick blushed slightly, remembering the pleasure he'd felt earlier. "I thought you were exhausted."
The man grinned again and flexed his arm. "Amazing recovery ability. You young-uns may have the enthusiasm but us old timers have the stamina. Maybe this time I get to taste a little of that 'ghetto booty' hunh?"
"Could be arranged, I guess." Nick was flung back against the pillows as a body landed on him.
"You guess? Forget that, honey. I paid for dinner - you better put out."
Nick giggled. "I put out a few times at least." He was kissed quickly on the mouth.
"One more for luck, then?"
"I thought if you caught a leprachaun it was nothing but good luck forever."
The man scowled. "Contrary to popular opinion I am NOT a leprachaun. And besides, its not good luck you get it's a pot of gold."
Nick ran his hands over the man's firm ass. "This pot?"
"That's it. You have just insulted the Fine Kirkpatrick Ass. No more sex for you."
Nick grabbed Chris before he could clamber out of bed. "Dude, that was a compliment not an insult! Love the FKA. Wanna love it some more."
Chris gave him a thoughtful look, but Nick could tell by the crinkles around his brown eyes that Chris was just playing. "I suppose I can forgive you this once. Only 'cause you asked pretty." He snuggled back into Nick's arms where he was welcomed gladly.
"Come on, man. You weren't really gonna leave were you?" Nick asked, kissing Chris' forehead.
"Nah. Was just gonna get up so I could get a better leap going. I find its better to get some height when you are gonna jump on you tall ones."
Nick laughed, hugging the smaller man to his chest. Yeah, THIS was the way it was supposed to be. Be with someone who was a friend, someone you had idolized as a kid and loved as an adult. Someone who understood you and your shit. And someone who was fun to be with - in bed and out. Fuck all that 'star power' shit. The only real power came from being with someone you loved. Someone you'd always loved.
Enough introspection. He had the warm body of a man he'd wanted for years beside him. A man who - apparently - had felt the same way he had. Why lie around thinking when there were other things he could be doing?
He could be "hitting bottom"…
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