Hey, readers (new and old). Episode six is here. First, I want to thank Darian for writing about the blog and sending us some traffic. It took me by surprise when our traffic more than doubled. I said, "What is going on?" Then I saw the referrals on my stat counter. So BIG thanks to Darian. The episodes are getting down to the nitty-gritty, so I am unable to indulge myself as much in the writing. This weekend, I will be working hard on the penultimate episode. Only two more episodes to go, so send your feedback my way. Thanks for reading. See you next Thursday.
Rumble in LA
“Shit!” Noah shouts into his hands. Jumping up from the sofa, he runs into Ricky’s bathroom and slams the door.
“Uh…what do you want?” Ricky says through the door.
“Is Noah here?”
“It’s 2:30 in the morning, Wade. Who let you in?”
Wade knocks again. “Are you gonna open the door?”
Ricky quickly zips up his jeans before opening the door. “Happy?”
Wade looks terrible with his red, swollen eyes. “I’m looking for Noah. Alex said he might be here,” he says, his voice hoarse and strained. Though his tone is calm, the look on his face says he better not be here. He glances over Ricky’s shoulder into the apartment and sees the tossed towel, Ricky’s shirt hanging off the arm of the sofa, and the dimmed lights. “Oh,” he says, taking a step back. “I’ll let you get back to whatever it is you were doing.”
“Thank you.” Ricky goes to close the door, but Wade stops him. “What?”
“Is that Noah’s bag?” Wade says, pushing his way into Ricky’s apartment. Ricky tries to stop him, but Wade pushes him against the door. He grabs the bag off Ricky’s coffee table and looks in it. He pulls out Noah’s laptop. “He’s here? NOAH!” He marches into Ricky’s kitchen; then into Ricky’s bedroom, jerking open closets and looking under the bed. Ricky meets him in the hallway and throws himself in front of the bathroom door.
“You need to go,” says Ricky.
“Get out of my way, Ricky.”
“Get out of my apartment, Wade.”
“I SAID LEAVE!” Ricky shouts in Wade’s face.
“Get out of my face, Ricky.” Wade reaches around Ricky and turns the bathroom’s doorknob. It’s locked. “NOAH!”
Ricky pushes Wade into the wall. “You’ve got one minute to get out of my apartment before your ass ends up in jail for trespassing.”
“Keep your fucking hands off me,” Wade says, grabbing Ricky by the shoulders and slamming him hard into the bathroom door.
“STOP!” Noah screams, yanking open the bathroom door, causing Ricky to fall in. He bends down to help him. The towel he's put on inside the bathroom unravels and falls to the floor.
“Why the fuck are you naked?” Wade throws off his jacket. "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS SHIT!" He pulls Ricky up and tries to punch him in his jaw, but Ricky blocks him and lands a fist into his gut.
Noah throws himself in between them. “I SAID STOP!”
Wade recovers from the gut punch and stands up. “With Ricky, Noah? How could you do this to me?”
“You did this to yourself,” says Ricky, trying to get around Noah.
“How could I do this to you?” Noah asks. “What about what you’ve done to me?”
“I’m not sleeping with Dre. We were just talking.”
“Bullshit,” says Ricky.
“I swear, Noah.”
“GET OUT!” Ricky shouts.
“Leave, Wade. I can’t be around you right now.”
Wade looks in Noah’s eyes, his eyes welling up, his jaw clenched, his body trembling with anger. He raises his hand to hit Noah, but can’t bring himself to do it. He turns and leaves. On his way out, he knocks one of Ricky’s lamps to the floor, breaking it.
“And you’re gonna pay for that,” Ricky yells after him.
Chance, Je t'aime
Chance emerges from the bathroom, moisturizing his hands and elbows. “Eddie, I’m done,” he says, sitting on the bed. He grabs a bottle of wine and pours himself a glass.
Eddie comes from the closet. “Having another glass of wine, honey?” he says, sitting next to Chance.
“You know I like a glass before bed.” He raises the glass to his mouth, but Eddie stops him.
Eddie sets the glass on the nightstand, and grabs his husband’s hands. “I love you, okay?”
“I know, Eddie.”
Eddie clears his throat. “I think you drink too much.” Chance stiffens up. He looks at Eddie, speechless. “I’ve been noticing it lately.”
Chance smiles and shakes his head. “Eddie, me having a glass of wine before bed is not drinking too much. I mean, sure, I like my wine, but—“
“Chance, I’m not asking you to defend yourself. Just tell me if something is wrong.”
Chance eyes the glass of wine. “No, Eddie. Nothing’s wrong.”
“Are you sure?” Eddie asks, turning Chance’s face towards him. “We can talk about it.”
Chance closes his eyes. “I.”
“Talk to me, Chance.”
“I want to go to Paris,” Chance blurts out.
Taken aback for a moment, Eddie says, “We can’t afford a vacation right now, Chance.”
“I-I’ve saved up enough money for me to go. I was going to tell you.”
It takes a few seconds before it dawns on Eddie. “Oh, I see.”
“Eddie, it’s just that I need a break.”
“A break from your husband and daughter? A break from your life?”
“Don’t say it like that.” Chance squeezes Eddie’s hand. “Something is changing in me, and I need to figure it out.”
“Chance, just tell me what you need. You don’t have to fly across the world.”
“It’s not forever, Eddie; a couple of weeks at most. I think—I think I have to do this. I need you tell me you understand.”
Do Overs are Out of Stock
“Look at all this room,” says Ricky, showing Noah the space he cleared in his bedroom closet. “You can stay here as long as you need.”
“You don’t have to say it. Last night is just that—last night.”
“Thank you,” says Noah, sitting on Ricky’s bed.
Ricky joins him. “I wouldn’t have gone through with it anyway.”
Noah smiles and nudges Ricky’s arm. “Yeah, right.”
“I was totally unaffected by it all.”
Noah tosses a pillow at Ricky. “Please. You were harder than a Rubik’s Cube.”
“Let’s not talk about it, okay?”
Noah's smile fades. “Yeah, let’s not.”
“Besides, it would have been the biggest mistake of our lives.”
Ricky looks Noah in the eyes. “Wouldn’t it?”
Noah folds his legs underneath him. “My life!” he says, running his fingers through his hair. “I’ve never felt so out of control. I’ve never been so uncertain; so unsure.”
Ricky climbs behind Noah and begins massaging his shoulders. “Welcome to life,” he says.
“Sorry. Out of stock.”
Chance dashes down the stairs to open his front door. “I’m leaving Wade,” says Noah, walking past Chance. Ricky is behind him. “I’ve made up my mind.”
“Uh…” says Chance, rolling his eyes. He closes the door. “Noah? Ricky?”
Ricky flops down on Chance’s sofa and throws his feet on his coffee table. “What?”
“You two just barge in here talking about something I have no clue about. What exactly is going on?” Chance knocks Ricky’s feet to the floor. He snatches a squashed pillow from behind Ricky and fluffs it.
“Wow,” says Ricky, “Chance not knowing something?”
Noah, still standing, says, “I caught Wade cheating.”
Chance gasps. “What? When?”
“I caught him talking to Dre on his laptop the other night.”
“And? He was talking to his ex-boyfriend,” says Ricky, grabbing a shiny red apple from the fruit bowl in the center of the coffee table.
“This,” says Chance, snatching the fruit from Ricky’s hands and putting it back in the bowl, “is not for consumption.” He takes a seat in his recliner. “And talking to your ex is not cheating, Noah.”
Noah sits down next to Ricky. “That’s who he was masturbating to on the laptop. There I was, feeling guilty about working all the time, and he was digitally cheating on me. Who knows what else has happened or what other sordid plans they had.”
“He’s been staying with me,” says Ricky.”
“That…is not wise,” says Chance, eyeing Ricky.
“It’s not like that, Chance. Ricky and I are over all that.”
“Yeah,” says Ricky, extending his arm behind Noah. “We’re over all that.” A smug smile spreads across his face.
Chance looks at them both, his eyes bouncing back and forth between them. “Oh. My. GOD!”
Noah chose Monday afternoon to return to Silver Lake to get some of his things. He knew Wade would be tutoring kids at the the community center. He had to beg Ricky not to accompany him; he assured him he was going to just grab a few things and be out before Wade even returned home. He wasn’t expecting Wade to be waiting for him on their stair case.
“What are you doing here?”
Wade stands up. “I could ask you the same thing.”
“I came here to get some of my things.”
“And then what?”
Noah tries to go around Wade, but Wade blocks him. “Let me by, Wade.”
“You fucked Ricky,” says Wade, his tone aggressive.
“What?” Noah says, trying to pass Wade again.
“I have given you everything. Everything, Noah.”
“Wade, I don’t want to have this conversation right now. I-“
“You always hurt me. Why?”
Noah turns to leave, but Wade yanks him around to face him. “What are you doing?” Noah says, trying to pull his arm free from Wade’s grip. “Let me go!”
“YOU FUCKED RICKY!”
Noah’s eyes open widely. “Wade, let me go.”
“TELL ME WHY!”
“I didn’t fuck Ricky.” Noah pulls his arm free. “Don’t ever manhandle me like that again.” He pushes Wade into the banister. “I just came here to get some of my things. I don’t wanna talk TO YOU!” he says, running up the stairs.
Wade follows behind him. “Is that the truth?”
Noah grabs clothes, cologne, shoes, and scarves and stuffs them into a luggage bag. “I told you I am not having a conversation with you right now.” He grabs manuscripts off his desk and puts them into his messenger bag. He goes into the closet and snaps clothes from hangers and tosses them onto the bed.
Wade leans against the bedroom wall, his arms folded across his chest, calmly watching. “You have nerve.”
Noah stops ransacking a dresser drawer. “I have nerve?”
Wade chuckles. “The things you’ve done to me. I make one mistake and just look at you.”
“You know what, Wade?”
“What? Tell me, Noah.”
“You’re pathetic. It’s so you to turn this around and make me the bad guy. Just admit it: you’re still in love with Dre.”
Wade rises up from the wall and stands behind Noah. “You think you know everything. You don’t know shit.”
Noah goes back to combing the dresser drawer. “I know I need to get away from you.”
“If you slept with Ricky, I’ll—“
“You’ll do what? You think violence solves everything, don’t you?”
“This is what Ricky’s been waiting on. He’s got you right where he wants you. He’s waited years for this.”
“RICKY IS MY FRIEND! He was my friend before you and he’ll be my friend af…”
“Say it, Noah. After me, right? RIGHT?”
Wade goes over to the drawer and grabs a handful of Noah’s things. “Here,” he says, tossing them on the bed, “let me help you leave me.” Item after item he throws onto the bed. He pulls open the bottom drawer and starts pulling from it. “And here,” he cries, dashing over to the armoire, “don’t forget to drop these in the garbage on your way out.” He grabs their wedding album and DVD and throws then on the floor. The album flies open. He falls to the floor and takes the album in his hands. His tears fall on the two smiling faces looking back at him.
“Time can never mend
The careless whispers of a good friend
To the heart and mind
Ignorance is kind
There's no comfort in the truth
Pain is the whole you’ll find
I'm never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I've been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you
Tonight the music seems so loud
I wish that we could lose this crowd
Maybe it's better this way
We'd hurt each other with the things we want to say
We could have been so good together
We could have lived this dance forever
But now who's gonna dance with me
Noah can’t watch Wade breaking down, so he leaves, not taking anything with him; not even the bag he came with. He drives and drives until he is outside a hotel. He checks in, turns off his cell phone, and makes a beeline for the minibar.
It’s midnight, and Ricky is driving the streets of LA, looking for Noah. He had called Alex, Chance, even Mrs. Nicholson. He even found himself outside the Silver Lake house. No one had heard from him. “I’ll drive all night,” he had told Alex. I’ll drive all night.
“Now that you're gone
Was what I did so wrong?
So wrong that you had to leave me alone?”
In the dark bedroom, Wade lies on top of Noah’s clothes, sobbing. He’s been this way since Noah left him on his knees in their bedroom crying over their wedding album. I asked you to marry me, because marriage is a deed. I asked you to marry me here, in my family’s home, to prove to you I have no shame to place our names together in front of the whole world--so that the world can bend for us and for our love.
“I won’t let him,” he says, sitting up and wiping his eyes. “I’ll fight. I’ll do whatever. But Noah is Wade’s.” He turns on the light and starts picking up Noah’s clothes. He laughs through his tears at the Batty Boy wife beater. He goes over to the bed and grabs Noah's things and starts putting them back where they belong.
Lyrics used in this work belong to George Michael. A small portion of the writing is taken from Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom.