A Kind of Honesty

By: Lane Hayes

To Zack. You’re the reason I began this journey just as you were beginning your own. May you find your own kind of truth, romance, and honesty.

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”

—William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

Chapter 1

THE CRYSTAL chandelier in the bathroom swayed when the door slammed. It was hard to tell if the coast was clear yet. There were at least four rooms in the hotel suite she could have stormed into in her epic rage. I just hoped she chose the exit. And took all her shit with her. I didn’t want to climb out of the en suite Jacuzzi to find an expensive bag, a bathing suit top, or even a pair of lacy panties she might come back for. Miranda claimed she was done with me, and I hoped like hell that was true. Because I was done too. Done with everything… the nonstop parties, the drinking, the endless stream of willing women, and the pressure. The constant fucking pressure. A tiny voice in my head whispered it would be so easy to end this. A bottle of pills and a silent good-bye.

Who was I kidding? I didn’t want to die rock-and-roll style in an LA hotel bathtub. Besides, my friends would kick my ass.

I waited a few minutes, listening for any hint of a crazy lady rustling around in the vicinity. It was quiet, and now the water was too warm. It was time to buck up and begin the undoubtedly lengthy chore of unraveling my mistake. I reached for the plush white towel on the marble ledge as I stepped out of the tub. I dried myself quickly, then tied it around my waist and quietly moved into the adjoining bedroom. It was empty. And thankfully, untouched. Knowing Miranda, there was a decent chance she might have broken a Baccarat crystal vase or whiskey decanter on her way out as a parting fuck you. There was no sign of her in the living area either. I scanned the luxurious room as I dialed reception. It was beautifully furnished in cream tones and offset with gold silk drapery, a funky brass chandelier, and a series of black-and-white photographs of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars from the mid-twentieth century.

“Hi, it’s Tim in—yeah, I’m in the Hepburn suite. Hey, I’m going to need my key disabled again. Right. I don’t expect any visitors.” I ran my hand through my hair as Bill from the front desk hurried to assure me my privacy was their number-one goal. “Thanks. I’ll grab the new key card from you later tonight. Okay. Perfect.”

I set the phone down, then checked the lock on the main door. You could never be too careful when dealing with fruit loops, I mused. I caught my reflection in the antique mirror in the entryway and stopped. Fuck, I looked like hell. My dark blond hair was shaggier than normal. It might look more “rockerish,” but I preferred a conservative style. And as our band climbed the charts and people began to take notice of Spiral, little details from the length of our hair to what brand of jeans we wore seemed to matter. I’d get it cut and shave my beard when I got back to New York tomorrow. Those were easy fixes. The bags under my eyes and my overall pale complexion, no doubt due to stress, exhaustion, and too much time in the spotlight, might take a little longer to cure.

If I was smart, I’d order room service, rent the latest Star Wars movie, and celebrate my newly single status in peace and quiet. I’d worked nonstop with my band for well over a year. We were finally getting a brief hiatus before heading into the studio to record our second album in July. I couldn’t speak for Rand, Cory, or Isaac, but I desperately needed a break. Three months would hopefully be enough time to get my life back on track.

I stared a moment longer at my tatted arms and torso, then at the opulent room’s reflection. A panicky feeling spread through my veins. This was part of the problem. This wasn’t my life. I wasn’t the guy who stayed in exclusive hotel suites or the guy who knew what the hell Baccarat crystal was. When had I become so fucking… elite? Or was I just out of touch? I liked baseball, beer, and playing the drums. Not fancy hotels, private clubs, and champagne. This wasn’t me. This was a claustrophobic hell of fake smiles and posturing people who wanted a piece of the action. Overzealous guys who wanted to be best buds, and women with big tits and surgically enhanced faces willing to spread their legs at a moment’s notice to be with a rock star. What had once felt like a winning lottery ticket now felt like a prison.

I dropped my towel on the floor and hurried back to the bedroom. I had to get the fuck out of here.

LA WAS a fairy-tale-magic land of dreams or nightmares, depending upon which direction you traveled down Sunset Boulevard. We were certainly heading toward the dark side now. The bright lights faded to dingy-looking strip malls as the driver turned south onto the 101 freeway. Somehow the absence of light in the grittier part of town was liberating. I felt like I was shedding an unwanted burden. Tonight, I wanted to get lost. The darker, the better.

When I gave my driver the LA address, he didn’t blink twice or ask any questions, like “What the fuck?” He was a professional, hired by the label to drive me anywhere I wanted to go. Anyone else might have asked what the hell I was thinking going to a dumpy gay bar forty-five minutes away from my posh Bel Air hotel when there were dozens of hipper establishments in nearby West Hollywood. That was if they didn’t question why I’d want to go to a gay bar in the first place.