Rough Boys Ch. 23byroughboy18©
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Mrs. Johnson was going to visit her daughter and grandkids. She really didn't like flying, but it certainly beat three long days of driving. The weather in Napa Valley was great this time of year. She looked forward to two weeks of getting to know her newest grandchild. She'd seen pictures of the sweet baby girl and couldn't wait to cuddle her.
She was reading her Good Housekeeping magazine and barely glanced at the young Asian man who took the aisle seat. He was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, tennis shoes, and a backwards baseball cap. She focused on the foolproof guide to getting seedlings started. Usually at least half of the ones she planted died before she could even repot them, and another half again died from the repotting process.
As everyone settled into their places, she was happy to note that no one took the middle seat between her and the young man. She would have a bit more room to spread out.
The Asian leaned his head against the seat rest and closed his eyes. About halfway through the flight he got up and went to the bathroom. Some time later a beautiful Asian woman appeared in the aisle next to her and pulled a suitcase out of the overhead bin, setting it in the Asian boy's seat.
She looked up in surprise, about to mention to the woman that that someone was sitting in that spot, but she stopped abruptly and her mouth opened in shock. She was pretty sure this elegant young lady had been an unremarkable young man just a few minutes earlier.
The baseball cap was gone. His hair was shaved close on the sides but longer on top; teal and magenta feathers had been threaded into his hair and they flounced over his forehead like plumage. He was wearing elaborate makeup and false eyelashes. He had taken off his sweatshirt, revealing a beautiful blue silk blouse.
He had on the same tight black skinny jeans and tennis shoes, but he pulled a pair of tall, high-heeled boots in chestnut leather out of his suitcase and slipped off his tennis shoes to put them into his case. He retrieved a purse from his luggage before closing it and returning it to the overhead compartment.
He was quite striking, but it was unsettling for her to witness a sex change before her very eyes. Of course, I am going to San Francisco, she reminded herself. It's full of those kinds of people.
Kaeden smirked at the elderly woman in the seat beside him who was staring at him with her mouth agape.
She quickly lowered her eyes and pretended to turn her attention back to her magazine. She watched him out of the corner of her eyes as he took out his press-on fingernail polish and carefully applied bright blue and black striped stick-ons to his nails.
When he was done he took stock of himself, what he could see without a mirror. He had gotten rid of most of his feminine clothing in a fit of self-loathing shortly after he had returned home from Vegas. Luckily he hadn't been able to bear to part with the long leather jacket and high boots that Yoshi had bought him in Paris. He'd also hung onto a few pairs of his skinny jeans. Tommy had met him for a quick shopping trip that morning where he'd managed to purchase a few items with color and feminine touches that had been missing from his wardrobe. He'd also bought a couple of purses and a pair of bright pink high-heeled pumps.
The whole process of transforming himself back into a femme had been immensely cathartic. This is the real me, he thought. He felt an almost overwhelming sense of relief. It was like coming home. He had hidden his return to femininity from his parents, not completely convinced of his mother's acceptance of his homosexuality and knowing that his father still had issues with it. He didn't want to make his parents uncomfortable.
Now that he was feeling like himself again, he couldn't wait to see Sean. He hadn't asked Dani about him during their brief conversation the day before. There seemed no point in it since the band was leaving the country. He also hadn't called Dani to tell him he was coming to San Francisco—he had wanted to surprise them. However, now he was plagued with second thoughts. What if Sean has a new boyfriend or girlfriend? That's what I told him he should do. Doubt crept into his mind, clouding his euphoria.
To make matters worse, his flight was delayed by three hours due to thunderstorms in the Midwest. He would be lucky if he got to the venue before the concert was over. What if I don't manage to connect with him before he leaves? He pushed this thought aside as being ridiculous. Surely he would be able to track them down even if he missed the concert entirely.
The closer he got to San Francisco the more he stewed.
"Hey, dude. I got a lead on some awesome blow. Want to go in with me on an eight-ball?"
Sean turned to Jerry and snarled. "I'm on probation, mate. Are you trying to get me arrested?"
"Dude, we're leaving the country tomorrow. You got tested a few days ago. They're not going to test you again until you show up for your scheduled exam in Singapore. This is your best shot. The drug laws are stricter in Asia; it will be more difficult to find."
Sean considered this. Jerry was probably right. Discord Records had been able to arrange a special deal for him to leave the country while he was still on probation by setting up a schedule of meetings and drug tests along their route.
In spite of how well their new album was doing, Sean couldn't seem to pull himself out of his funk. He had lost interest in most things and spent his days in a haze of regret. No matter how much time he spent meditating or working out, the pain in his heart and his head wouldn't go away. He ached all the time. Even Erin seldom made him laugh anymore, although she certainly tried.
"Well, it's a moot point anyway," Sean said with a sigh. "You forget—I have no money."
"No worries. I can cover you until we get paid again. It's not like you're not making shitloads of money now." Jerry grinned. "You can pay me back when you get your next check."
Sean glared at him. "Why are you so fired up to see me do coke again?"
"I miss the old Sean, dude—the one I used to be able to party with. You're so grumpy these days. Come on! Go in with me. The stuff'll be here by the time the concert is over and then we can go hit some bars together—maybe pick up some chicks."
"That's just what I need." Sean scowled.
"That's probably your problem—how long's it been since you've been laid?"
Sean groaned. "Too long." The sharp ache in his chest was back stronger than ever and he felt a lump forming in the back of his throat. The thought of sex reminded him of Kaeden. Almost everything reminded him of Kaeden somehow. He had been trying to forget him, without success.
Perhaps Jerry's right. I should just go find someone to fuck—perhaps some slutty little blond chic who won't remind me of my sweet bird.
"And I've heard there are places to go in Tokyo where hot hookers will do things to you that you never even dreamed possible."
Sean's pain spiked. "No Asians."
"I thought you had a thing for Asians."
"Not anymore." Not since Kaeden had broken his heart. He didn't blame Kaeden. It wasn't his fault that Sean had fallen so deeply in love and he hadn't. You can't help who you fall in love with—or not. He let out a heavy sigh.
"Well, all the more reason to go out tonight. We'll be in Asia for the next several months. If you don't want Asian tale, you'd better get it now. So, what do you say? Get some blow and then after the concert we'll go party?"
Sean wavered. He was so tired of being in pain all the time. He remembered how a high quality line of coke made him feel—instant euphoria. He thought about how much he missed the taste of Jameson and the accompanying pleasant buzz he got from it. It'll only be this once—after tomorrow I'll be out of the country and it won't be as readily available.
As if echoing his thoughts, Jerry said, "Aww come on, Sean. Just once for old times' sake."
"All right," Sean agreed. "Just this once."
"Sweet!" Jerry cried, putting his hand up for a high-five.
Sean met it but with considerably less enthusiasm. He was immediately having second thoughts. However, the idea of alleviating his pain, if only for a night, was too alluring. He pushed Swami Sripal out of his mind and tried to smile at Jerry.
"You won't be sorry!" Jerry said. "This will be so much fun! There are so many places we can go in San Francisco. I'm even willing to go to a gay bar with you if you want."
"No," Sean said curtly. If he was going to end up fucking someone tonight he wanted her to be female. He doubted that any bar in San Francisco would be without gays though. He wasn't sure he wanted to go out at all. "Maybe we can just party here," he suggested. The hotel room was nice and quiet.
"Well, we can start here, sure," Jerry agreed. He was confident that after Sean caught a good buzz he'd be up for going out. "Let me go get the wheels in motion. You relax and get yourself ready to play tonight."
Sean picked up his acoustic guitar and started strumming a slow, sad melody. He hadn't been able to come up with any new material that wasn't morose. Maybe this will be good for me, he thought. Maybe it will help me start to forget.
By the time the plane touched down in San Francisco, Kaeden had worked himself into a tight ball of nerves. The concert had just started; he wondered how long it would take to get to the Oracle Arena in Oakland. I should have flown directly into Oakland.
He hurried through the airport dragging his wheeled suitcase behind him, his leather jacket over his arm and his purse over his shoulder. Following the signs to ground transportation, he finally arrived at the taxi stand. To his dismay there was a long line.
He fumed and fidgeted while he waited, pulling out his phone repeatedly to check the time. Finally he put his headphones on and set his phone to shuffle his favorite tunes. That helped calm him down enough to call Dani. He wasn't expecting him to answer since he would be on stage by now, but he left a message anyway, saying he was in San Francisco and on his way there, hoping to catch the end of the concert. After he hung up, he texted Dani with a similar message.
By the time he was in a cab, he started worrying about how he was going to get backstage to see the band. If Dani didn't check his phone, he would be stuck in the audience with the rest of the crowd.
What didn't occur to him was that he wouldn't even be able to get into the concert. The ticket window was closed and there wasn't anyone manning the booth anymore. Dragging his suitcase behind him, he approached a side entrance to the concert hall.
A burly security guard stood in front of it, his arms folded across his chest. He eyed Kaeden up and down, his expression neutral.
"I need to get in and go backstage," Kaeden said, a bit breathlessly.
"Are you on the list?" the guard asked politely.
"Uh, I would be, but they didn't know I was coming." He pointed to his suitcase. "It was a last minute trip for me. I just arrived."
"Sorry. If you're not on the list, I can't let you in."
"But I'm Little Bird!" Kaeden protested. "I know Sean really wants to see me." He sure hoped that was the case. He wondered if the guard was a fan of the band and was familiar with the song.
The security guard snorted. "Yeah, right. That song's about a woman. Sean ain't gay."
Kaeden drew himself up to his full height and still he barely came to the burly man's shoulder. "Sean is bi, and that song is most certainly about me."
"You'd best be moving along," the guard said. "I'm not letting you in and I have better things to do than argue with you."
"My name is Kaeden Song. Why don't you call in there and find out? Sean is going to be pissed if you don't let me in."
"He's giving a concert, kid. He's not gonna be answering his phone."
"Well call Jerry. He knows me."
The security guard glared at Kaeden. He was a persistent little fuck.
"I'm not going anywhere until you call," Kaeden said stubbornly, folding his arms across his chest.
"All right. Fine. I'll call."
The security guard clicked a button on his radio and began to speak into a miniature mic that was attached to his lapel. "Hey, this is Huey out front. There's a ... um ... guy here who says Jerry'll vouch to get him backstage." Turning to Kaeden he barked, "Name?"
"Kaeden Song," he said, his excitement mounting now that he was on the verge of getting in.
The security guard repeated his information into his mic and they both waited while the person on the other end of the radio presumably relayed the information to Jerry. Kaeden couldn't hear his response since it was being fed directly into the security guard's ear, but presently a smile lit his face and he turned to Kaeden with contempt.
"Jerry says he's not expecting Kaeden, and that indeed it would be impossible for him to be here. So you'll need to move along."
Kaeden's mouth dropped open and his heart skipped a beat. "It's not impossible!" he protested. "I'm here, aren't I? Let me talk to him."
"I don't know who you are, but if you don't move along, I'll have to call the police."
Kaeden's desperation was mounting by the moment. He wasn't about to give up on getting in. He paused, observing the security guard, trying to figure out how serious he was about calling the police.
"If you have me arrested, Sean will be really mad," Kaeden warned.
The security guard clicked the button on his radio again and spoke into his lapel, "This kid out here is delusional and he's not going away. Can you send a black and white around to pick him up?"
"Delusional!" Kaeden cried. "I'll show you delusional!"
Just then the door behind the security guard opened up and a couple of intoxicated young women staggered out. Kaeden abandoned his suitcase and ducked past the guard while he was momentarily distracted.
"Hey," he heard the man yell as he slipped past the door.
Kaeden took off running fast as he could. He heard shouts behind him and knew the guard was in pursuit.
As he dashed down the long curving hallway that wrapped around the amphitheater, he glanced toward one of the entrances to the venue, thinking maybe he could lose himself in the crowd, but the way was guarded by more staff and he wasn't sure he could get past them.
He could hear the sharp smack of feet running behind him, gaining, and for the first time he cursed his high-heeled boots. His pursuer would catch him in just a few seconds.
Panic fueled Kaeden's legs. He spotted a women's restroom just ahead and, without giving it a second thought, he turned and burst through the door.
His momentum was such that he almost ran into a woman who was standing before the mirror fussing with her hair. He teetered a bit on his high-heels and grabbed the edge of the counter to balance himself as he came to an abrupt halt. His eyes darted around the garishly lit room. Fuck! It's not going to do me any good to hide in one of the stalls—I'm trapped!
The three women who were in the restroom stared at him in shock.
"You're a dude!" one of the women said.
"I'm Little Bird," Kaeden replied breathlessly. "I've come to tell Sean I really do love him, but ... uh ... security is after me.
Kaeden spotted a second door leading from the bathroom and headed toward it.
"Little Bird!" one of the women squealed. "You look just as imagined he would—except I thought it was a she. But you're perfect!"
Just then a deep voice called from the doorway. "Ladies, I'm coming in."
One of the women screamed. "Ahhh! No! Not yet!" Her eyes swept Kaeden up and down as she quickly removed her jacket. "Trade with me!" she hissed at him.
Kaeden slipped off his leather jacket, feeling only a small pang of regret as he handed it to the woman. She wrapped her coat around his shoulders.
"Your hat, Kerra!" she demanded in a loud whisper.
The other woman tore off her cap and positioned it on Kaeden's head. Then she slipped an arm around his waist and the two of them bolted out the second door together just as they heard the security guard bellow, "I'm coming in, ready or not!"
The woman who was wearing Kaeden's coat fled to one of the stalls, hoping to distract the burly guard long enough for Little Bird to slip away. Unfortunately, she didn't look anything like him and the guard was not fooled. He caught sight of the second bathroom door swinging shut, and the chase was on again.
Kaeden and his new friend had only made it a short distance down the hall, walking as fast as they could, when he heard a furious roar behind him.
Shit! That didn't take long. Kaeden snatched the hat off his head and dropped it, letting the coat slide from his shoulders as he took off running again.
"Thank you!" he called over his shoulder.
"Good luck, Little Bird," she yelled back as she deliberately stepped into the guard's path, causing him to swerve around her, snarling.
Kaeden ran as if his life depended on it—my love and my life, he thought. If I don't get to see Shawn, I'll die of heartbreak. He finally neared the place where the hallway swept around behind the stage. He looked desperately for an entrance.
He could hear the crowd roaring. The concert must have just finished, he realized with a sharp ache.
Two more guards moved in front of him, clearly planning an interception. He started to veer to avoid them when he realized they were guarding the entrance to the backstage area. He could hear the other guard hot on his tail, almost close enough to touch him.
This is my last chance. He ran directly at the two guards, aiming for the smaller one. He didn't slow down; he smacked right into him, shoving him back several feet.
"Hey, you fucking faggot! Where do you think you're going?" the guard growled. He grabbed Kaeden firmly by the arm.
Kaeden was so focused on his goal of getting to Sean, he didn't give a thought to his next action. Fueled by a sudden burst of anger brought about by the man's bigoted words, he took advantage of his speed-hindering high-heels to kick the man in his shin. He followed this immediately with a knee to his groin.
As the man doubled over with scream of pain, Kaeden dodged past him and barged through the door into the backstage area, followed closely by his pursuers.
He only got a few meters down the hallway when he was tackled from behind and crashed, sprawling, onto the hard floor. Kaeden managed to get his arms out to protect his head; his knees and elbows took the brunt of the fall.
Before he had a chance to gather himself and assess his injuries, he was yanked to his feet and held firmly by his arms. He found himself facing the same security guard he had argued with at the entrance. The man's face was beet red. He huffed and puffed. His expression was so dark with fury that a sharp spike of fear sliced through Kaeden. He thought the man might hit him.
"You little shit! Led us on quite a merry chase there, didn't you?" he wheezed. "I think you'll have plenty of time to regret your actions while you await trial for assault and battery."
"Assault and battery?" Kaeden echoed back. Suddenly he was crushed by a chilling thought. What if they take me to jail and I'm there so long I miss seeing Sean entirely?
A great wail came out of his mouth, "Noooooo!"
Dani hurriedly zipped his fly; he could tell by the noise of the crowd that they had an encore. Of course he'd expected one—the crowd had been very enthusiastic all night—but he'd had to pee so badly, he'd dived into the bathroom as soon as they got off stage. Their first performance had gone off without a hitch, and Dani was high, feeding on the frenzy of the crowd. His nervousness was just a memory and he couldn't wait to get out there and do a couple more songs.