Hey, readers (new and old), here is episode 7. I'd like to thank all the blogs that have linked to us and sent so much traffic our way (Queerty and ProjectQAtlanta and, of course, Darian, again!). And also, you, the readers, are awesome and I can't thank you enough for all the wonderful emails and encouragement you all send my way. A., I missed your Thursday email of love. I., no, I can't write seasons 1 and 2 for you, but thanks for asking me (Buy the DVDs, man!). So, in two weeks, the final episode will be posted, so make sure you give me some feedback on what issues you think need to be addressed or tied up. Okay, see you in two weeks. - NAFF
The Award Goes To
“Thank you so much,” says Alex. He hangs up the telephone.
“Babe, who was that?” asks Trey.
Alex takes a deep breath and grips the desk to keep from falling over. “That was,” he says, trying to catch his breath, “the Urban AIDS Awareness Foundation, and they are awarding me and the clinic an award for our AIDS efforts in the black and Latino community.”
“That’s great, babe!” Trey sweeps across the room and hugs his husband. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Trey, I think I have to sit down.”
“Oh.” Trey grabs Alex’s arm and guides him to the sofa. “You want something to drink?” Alex nods.
Trey returns with a glass of cold lemonade. “Here, babe.”
Alex takes a sip. “Whew. I can’t believe it, honey. All that hard work, the setbacks, just to get our clinic running paid off. And they’re honoring all the volunteers too with an award. That means you, Junito, the guys. Ooh, get me that phone; I’ve got calls to make.”
“Wait, babe. Can we, uh, celebrate before you start making calls?”
Alex looks around the room. “Where’s the baby?”
“I just put him down for a nap.”
Alex straddles Trey and kisses him. “Well, come on, then.”
I Just Want to be Alone
“Come in,” says Noah, opening his hotel room's door. “I haven’t had the time or the energy to work on anything, Brandy. So don't even ask.”
Brandy steps inside the room. “Why is it so dark in here?” she asks, closing the door behind her. She pats the walls looking for a light switch. “Can I at least turn on a light?”
“Don’t turn on the light!” Noah shouts.
She does anyway, and gasps. She slides her oversized sunglasses down her nose, and her eyes open wide in disbelief at the mess of a man in front of her. She shakes her freshly blown-out head at the sight of the bags under Noah’s eyes, at the dirty jeans falling off his ass, and his frizzy unkempt hair. “Excuse me, I’m looking for Noah Nicholson, is he here?” she asks.
“Brandy, I’m not in the mood,” Noah says, belly flopping onto the disheveled bed. “Just leave the script on the desk.”
She prances over to the bed, and with her hands on her hips, she says, “Tell me those sheets are yours.”
“Are you insane? Never sleep on hotel sheets. I don’t care how many stars it has. Dateline, T.”
Noah pulls the covers over his head. “Brandy, I just want to be left alone.”
“Fine. Suit yourself, Garbo.” She pulls her oversized Balenciaga bag off her shoulder. “Here,” she says, reaching inside and pulling out a brown bag, “I brought you croissants.”
“I don’t want them.”
“But you love croissants.”
“I’m not hungry, Brandy. Just leave.”
“I’ll leave them on the desk.” She reaches in her bag again and pulls out her cell phone before sneakily dropping her bag on the side of the desk. “I’m going now. I’ll call you later.”
Noah removes a hand from under the sheet and waves it in the air. “Don’t bother. I’m turning my phone off again.”
Brandy slowly closes the door, and once she's outside, she frantically dials a number on her cell phone. “It’s worse than I thought,” she says, impatiently pacing the hotel hallway waiting for the other end to pick up. “Alex!” she screams into the phone.
On the Hunt
The doors of Trade Analysis are violently pulled opened. “Wade?” Rafael asks, startled. “Excuse me for a second,” he says to a customer.
“I’m looking for Ricky,” Wade says, coming behind the counter and going directly to the backroom.
“Uh, you can’t go back there,” Rafael says following behind him. “Excuse me, what the hell are you doing?”
“Just tell me if he is here,” Wade says, kicking open a storage closet door.
“He’s not here, Wade. I’ve been opening the store for him for the last two days. What’s going on?”
“If you talk to him, just tell him Wade is looking for him,” Wade says, leaving the way he came in.
“Noah, open up, it’s Brandy. I forgot my bag,” Brandy says, knocking on Noah’s hotel door. “Hurry up! I have another meeting to get to.”
Noah groans and crawls from underneath the sheets, taking his sweet time to open the door. He blindly finds the doorknob and opens the door. “Where is it?” he asks, shielding his eyes from the hallway light.
“I must have left it by the desk,” Brandy says through a wide smile.
Noah walks over to the desk and finds the huge bag on the floor. “How the hell do you forget a bag this big?” he says to himself. He picks up the heavy bag with both hands “What’s in this damn thing?” he asks, handing it to Brandy.
“My career. Your career. My life.” Brandy eyes roll to the left and she takes a step back.
“Thank you, gir,” says Alex, appearing suddenly from Brandy’s left side, “I’ll take it from here.” He pushes the door open completely and barges in. “Call you later, gir.”
“Alex, what are you doing here?” Noah asks.
“I come to get you out this dark ass depressing hotel room,” says Alex, flicking open the curtains, letting the blinding sunlight flood the dark room. He cracks the windows and lets in fresh air. Noah covers his eyes and turns away from the light. Alex picks up his Louis Vuitton duffel bag and grabs a can of air freshener and starts spraying. “Chile, it’s stuffier in here than in a fat man’s pants.”
“Alex, I came here to not deal with life for awhile. I need some time to get myself together.”
“No,” says Alex, grabbing Noah by the arms and pulling him to the bathroom, “what you need is a shower.”
“Alex, listen to me,” says Noah, resisting.
Alex pushes him in the bathroom and closes the door. “Ten minutes!”
Noah comes from his shower and finds Alex setting up a tray with fresh orange juice and croissants. “Did you enjoy your shower?” Alex asks, fanning open a napkin.
Noah shakes his head and sits on the bed. “Alex, th-“
“Wait.” Alex slides the tray over to Noah. “I want you to eat something first, then we can talk.”
It had been three days of him being cooped up in a stuffy hotel room, surviving only on three mini bottles of blackberry Stoli, two packets of peanut M&Ms, and red bull from the mini-bar. But even Noah surprised himself at the voracity with which he attacked those croissants and orange juice.
“I brought you some clean clothes,” says Alex, pulling neatly folded clothes from his duffel bag and placing them next to Noah.
“Thank you,” says Noah, his mouth full of croissant. He thinks of French toast suddenly. He stops eating. “Alex, how is Ricky?”
Alex sighs. “I ain’t gon’ lie, he is in bad shape. I took him some soul food last night and he barely ate any of it.”
Noah’s head falls into his hands. “It’s all my fault. This is just one big mess! Ricky probably hates me now.”
“To tell you the truth, I ain’t thinking ‘bout Ricky right now. Ricky ain’t the one hiding out in some hotel room starving to death.”
Noah holds his aching stomach. “I think I ate too fast,” he says. He unfolds the shirt Alex laid out and puts it on. “Anyway, I’ve probably ruined our friendship for good now.”
“Y’all had sex?”
“Close, but Wade came over right before anything could happen. They fought and Wade looked like he would kill us both.”
“That’s a shame,” Alex says, shaking his head. “Years of friendship down the drain, and for what?”
“It’s my fault, Alex. I should have never let things get as far as they did. I don’t know what I was thinking. You wouldn’t understand.”
“Noah, I get it. I understand.”
“Yeah,” says Alex, joining Noah on the bed, “I made the same mistake a few years ago.”
“You cheated on Trey?” asks Noah, shocked.
Alex drops his head. “Almost. It was my insecurity at work. I doubted myself and I doubted our relationship. Can you imagine that? All those years we’d been together and I still couldn’t accept Trey’s love. I didn’t believe Trey could love me; I thought I didn’t deserve to be loved, that no one loves a person like me. My old insecurities surfaced, and I acted out.”
Noah’s eyes well up. “Oh, Alex,” he says, laying his head on Alex’s shoulder.
“When I found myself on the Internet, telling some man all the things I would do to him, while Trey was sleeping in the next room, and actually planning to have him come over when Trey went to work the next day, I slapped myself. Literally. Girl, I ain’t never cried as hard as I cried that night. I was a mess. Here I was, about to throw away a relationship I, no we, worked hard for just because I couldn’t accept love can be unconditional; that Trey loved me for me, and that he saw me better than I saw myself.”
Alex looks at Noah. He grabs a Kleenex and wipes Noah’s tears. “No, no. Don’t cry,” he says, wrapping his arms around his friend. “Listen to what I’m saying. Let Wade love you. Stop fighting him. You ain’t giving him steady ground.”
“But Alex he was talking to Dre-”
“Did you hear anything I just said?”
“I heard you, but-“
“Unh-uh, no buts. When a person doesn’t have steady ground to walk on, they are not secure in knowing they are taking the right steps. Wade ain’t never had steady ground with you; maybe not even with himself. You’ve got to be the one who gives it to him.”
“And what about my ground?”
“Noah, as quiet as I have kept it, you don’t have to worry about the ground.”
“No. Because Wade always carries you.”
Nothing Can Come Between Us
“Thank you, Alex,” says Noah, leaning across the passenger seat and kissing Alex on his cheek.
“I’ll call you later,” says Alex. He hugs Noah. “Now, go talk to your husband, gir.”
Alex waits and watches as Noah slides his key into the door and disappears behind it. “Jesus, let them get it right,” he says, driving off.
Noah finds Wade in the kitchen, eating a sandwich at the counter; his back is to the kitchen door. He walks slowly up to Wade and taps him on his shoulder.
Wade jumps, dropping his sandwich. “Wh-”
“Hey.” Noah sits down at the table and kicks out a chair for Wade to sit in. “Can we talk?”
Wade shrugs his shoulder. “Okay,” he says, sitting down.
Noah takes a deep breath. “First, I just want to say that I want to work at this,” says Noah, already starting to tear up. “We have been through a lot, and there will be more to go through, but I know…” He takes a moment to wipe his tears and compose himself. “I know whatever it is I have to go through, I want to go through it with you by my side.”
Wade exhales and scoots his chair over to his husband. “Baby,” he says, grabbing Noah’s hands, “I know I made a mistake, and I want you to know that I am sincerely sorry. I was scared. I was scared of losing you. I felt like you would never trust me or believe that I would walk through fire for you. I felt like I could never win.”
“I was scared too, Wade. I thought if I let work distract me, then I wouldn’t have to deal with the fear I was feeling.”
“We have been through a lot, but hasn’t it always made us stronger?” Wade asks.
Noah shakes his head. “And I want us to be even stronger.”
Wade tears up. “Noah, I love you. I love you more that I love myself. I found myself through you.”
“Wade, I love you, too.” Noah hugs his husband, pulling him tight against his body. Wade pulls him from his chair onto his lap. Noah stares into Wade’s eyes. “I love you so much, Papo.”
“I always hope that you remember
We'll never really learn the meaning of it all
What we have is strong and tender
So hold on”
“I know this won’t be easy,” Wade says, “but I don’t want easy. I want us.”
“In the middle of the madness
When the time is running out and you're left alone
All I want is you to know that
It's strong still
Can't pull us apart"
Noah kisses his husband like the night he was carried to his bedroom and the world stopped for those precious few hours and they made love like they would die tomorrow; a kiss to his soul, which no man has ever been able to do. “Wade,” he says, “make love to me.” Wade picks him up, and carries him up the stairs and into their bedroom--where he belongs.
"Nothing can come
Nothing can pull us apart
I always hope that you remember
What we have is strong and tender
In the middle of the madness
So it truly is a good thing
And I always wanted you to know
There is always this
And this is everlasting
It's about faith
It's about trust (yeah, yeah)
It's about faith
It's about trust
Nothing can come
Nothing can come
Nothing can come between us
Nothing can come
Nothing can come
Nothing can come between us
Lyrics used in this work belong to Sade and are used without permission.