Description Top music critic Zach Savoy is finally handed a chance to interview pop superstar Keith DeMarco after a year of secrecy and seclusion. When he penetrates the singer’s inner sanctum, though, he’s not prepared for what he finds.
It’s been a nearly a year since superstar pop dynamo Keith DeMarco had canceled the rest of the massive “Maximum De” world tour before he’d even left the western hemisphere. He’d flown home to LA in secret straight from this last-minute music video shoot amid the Mayan temples that they’d wedged into the tour, only to disappear permanently into the studio built into his lush Brentwood Heights estate.
Since then, he hadn’t appeared in public once, despite dropping three albums in the interim that shattered all kinds of records for sales, airplays and downloads. Even his music videos were designed not to show Keith himself. The ones that didn’t just feature sexy dancers or cheering fans showed various kinds of faux Keith: artfully reused old footage of Keith’s earlier, pre-disappearance period; a CGI Keith; a cartoon Keith; and so on. He’d done phone, radio, and podcast interviews … he’d recorded nonstop … he was still very much the world’s number one pop star. But no one apart from a few trusted associates had even interacted with Keith face to face, in person, for twelve whole months. Until now.
I pulled up to the huge, wrought-iron gate leading onto the DeMarco estate in my brother’s borrowed Audi A5 Cabriolet droptop, embarrassed to realize I was already half boned in my olive-green chinos. See, most of the time when you say you have a “hard on” for something, it’s metaphorical. When you tell your friends you have a hard on for string cheese, it typically doesn’t mean that you’re actually getting all riled up and popping wood whenever you’re standing there in front of your open refrigerator peeling open a package of cheesy mozzarella goodness.
But then there’s me and a certain pop star. Fuck. It goes back to the beginning. The moment I saw that first story on Buzzfeed about this scorching new star Keith DeMarco (already known as “The De”) I boned up right there on the L train. There weren’t a lot of pictures, and the didn’t even show him shirtless in that one—it was almost like it was just the name that got me hard in a second, like it was my own personal secret password to an aching erection. And then I heard his music. Funky. Edgy. Keith’s smooth, dark tenor voice twisting round his deft electric guitar riffs, overlaid with his own acoustic support and spot-on back-up from bass, drums, and keys. Taking exactly the right moment to harmonize his lead vocal track with a delicious, slightly deeper, kinda rough baritone. The first track I listened to, his first pop number one “Hard love”—honest to god, I nearly came. By the time I’d gone home and listened to the whole debut album, “De Lux”, lying in bed with my noise-redux headphones on, I discovered to my amazement that I’d come in my pants as I lay there in bed letting Keith’s music into me. Maybe more than once.
My condition—having a hard on for Keith DeMarco, in the most literal way possible—was a little bit of a problem as I write about pop music for a major entertainment magazine. At first I tried to be objective. My review of “De Lux” is almost passive-aggressively reserved, like I was trying to send an tortured, coded-subtext review that I secretly hated it in order to salvage my hard rock street cred. I still cringe whenever I read it, and positively shudder when I watch the video version I did to camera, interspersed with images from the official music vids. It was a train wreck of lust duking it out with journalistic objectivity, and nothing was left but the bloody carcasses.
After that I gave up. I told my editor that Keith DeMarco was the son of my mom’s piano teacher and that, given that glaring conflict of interest, my objectivity was compromised—that part, at least, was the truth. Any future pieces on the dude should be diverted to someone else, I told him. Rocco shrugged and duly turned over anything De-related thenceforward to a stringer named Vanessa Ivaneska, who very quickly carved out a chunk of the internet for herself with her nonstop, Niagara Falls-like coverage of all things Keith.
Then came the Mayan temple shoot, the canceled tour, the vanishing. Vaneska (she’d started going by her Twitter handle even for article bylines and face-to-face convos, igniting spirited debate around our virtual water cooler about whether it was naff or brilliant or brilliantly naff) tried valiantly to break through the new, impenetrable, audio-only wall that had suddenly spring up around the world’s hottest music star, but it wouldn’t crack. When a year had passed with Keith only getting hotter, mostly on the strength of his new albums but ramped up by agonized public hunger for this beloved star they hadn’t seen in forever, Rocco called me up on Skype one morning a month ahead of the drop-date for Keith’s sixth album and said, “Get me Keith DeMarco and I’ll give you all the string cheese you can eat for the rest of your life.” Well, I do really like string cheese. Just not much as a certain brown-eyed music hunk.
Okay, actually he offered me a raise. But he threw in the string cheese as a bonus, and that may have cinched it. That, and my dick, which had perked up at just the mention of the guy’s name. The idea of maybe seeing him, maybe being within the same room with him, made my skin feel hot and tight.
So I sat there at the desk in my little home office—which is actually just a corner of my ex-loft apartment what’s now a pretty nice corner of the Meatpacking District (no jokes, please)—and wondered what I should do. I decided just to go ahead and text Keith’s manager and publicist, a stone-faced, ultra-laconic guy named Paul Golden.
“Hi Paul, how are you.” It always pays to be emptily solicitous in this industry.
He replied after a moment with a somewhat baffling, “Yes?” I’d long wondered how this guy had ended up being the rep for Keith, or for anyone, given his grudging reluctance to offer even one more word that necessary. It was like there was no more where that came from. Maybe he was a kitten for his other clients and acted like an Easter Island statue just for anything Keith-related, but I found it hard to imagine.
I bit the bullet and typed, “I was wondering if you could get me in to see KDM for an exclusive interview.”
Fifteen endless minutes of thumbnail-chewing later, I finally got a response. It was a curt, “When?”
I blinked at my phone. My gut twisted as it occurred to me that Paul might be handling some other act with the same initials. I didn’t think Rocco would be very excited to read my sit-down with Killer Diarrhea Monkeys or Kavorkian Death March. Hurriedly I keyed in my response. “Keith’s convenience,” I typed, just to make sure I got in the name of who I actually wanted to see so there would be no confusion. “I can be in L.A. by tonight.”
Another fifteen long minutes passed. Was he conferring with Keith? Yanking my chain? Surfing for diarrhea monkey porn? At last can another uber-terse response. “8 p.m. tonight. Brentwood.” Then came another message. “Just you.”
I bit the side of my index finger, something I did when I was uneasy. I was a little disconcerted by how easily I’d scaled and dropped over a wall that Vaneska and a hundred other intolerably persistent journos and paparazzi had been banging their heads on for a year. Yeah, I was the senior music correspondent at one of the top print-and-online entertainment mags, but from Keith’s perspective I couldn’t see the difference between me and Vaneska.
Okay, there was one, very important difference. But plenty of those other flacks who’d been concussing themselves on that wall for a twelvemonth had junk that probably looked like mine, and some of them were hot as fuck. If the De wanted “the D”, I couldn’t see why Keith would green-light me and not Hunter Donahue from OneMusic, who was an ex-model and who I knew for a fact worked out just as much as I did and was hung just as thick and long as I was.
And that “Just you”? That was creepy. I very nearly texted back that the correct phrase was “Come alone”, and that a mook like him should know it. Seriously, this guy decided to go into publicity? That was like Pope Francis starting out as a nightclub bouncer.
Oh wait, that happened. Note to self: Insert better simile later.
So I confirmed with Paul and booked some tickets, and ten hours later, at 8 p.m. Pacific time on the dot, I was giving my name to the security guard and driving my brother’s sweet convertible up the curving drive to Keith’s tree-shrouded Italianate palazzo. I drew up to the understated porte-cochère and parked, figuring I could always move the car later, assuming there wasn’t someone to valet it someplace out of the way. I was a little distracted. I was in Keith’s space. His world. My pulse had already picked up, and my dick was threatening to inflate like a life boat. I got a grip on myself and switched off the Audi, reminding myself that I was a fucking professional and Keith DeMarco was probably almost certainly not going to let me fuck him on the first interview.
No sooner had I gotten out and slung my leather carrier bag over my shoulder than Paul Golden himself emerged from the main entrance, leaving the large paneled doors open behind him. I came around the car and stood in front of him. He was very solid looking, like a tank, and it occurred to me to wonder what he looked like out of that suit. He probably had chiseled abs and a granite ass, if only to match his eternally impassive expression.
“Zachary Savoy,” he said a trifle stiffly when I reached him, inclining his head literally a fraction of an inch. That was his idea of a greeting, I guessed. I imagined him being introduced to the queen and him flatly responding, “Elizabeth.” Or maybe “Elizabeth Regina”, just for the historical resonance.
“Yes,” I said, staring expressionlessly back at him. Ha! In your face! Two can play at that game.
His eyes shifted behind me toward the car, presumably to check and see if it was “just me”, then to my carrier bag. He seemed to guess correctly that its contents included a camera. “You are authorized to take four photographs,” he informed me when he looked up, still without any inflection. “Neck up only.”
Was this guy for real? He would kill as a comedy straight man. Maybe literally. I arched an eyebrow at him. “You sure, Goldie? I was really hoping for a whole Tiger Beat kind of spread. A big run of shirtless pics with him lounging on a—”
Paul’s eyes had narrowed. “Neck. Up,” he growled over me.
I smiled at him and nodded. “Got it,” I said easily. “I was just kidding.”
He squinted at me, then turned on his heel and strode into the house. It occurred to me that Paul was acting unusually tense even for him. Maybe this interview was a big deal for them. I’d sort of imagined Keith being behind the wall just to get some peace, and succumbing resignedly to my request because even a superstar’s sixth album probably needed a leg up promotion-wise. Now, I wasn’t so sure, and my stomach was fluttering as I stepped into the large foyer. It was warmly appointed, with a simple blond-wood stairwell leading up from the back of the space, a lush dark green carpet in place of the expected checkerboard tile, and white walls on which were hung a series of large impressionist-style waist-up portraits of what I surmised were Keith’s musical heroes, the artsy medium inviting the viewer to join in on the joke while still reserving respect for the subject. One of them was of Timberlake trying to bite an apple out of the side of his mouth, which was pretty hilarious on its face but especially when painted as a pseudo-Renoir. I spent a moment smiling at Jon Bon Jovi in a Ramones tee shirt looking comically exasperated, as if silently asking what he was doing there, but when I turned around to ask Paul about it I realized I was alone.
I stood there a moment, utterly nonplussed. The fucker had up and abandoned me. Geez, maybe this was a trap. Maybe a team of Bengal tigers was about to bound out of the arches on either side of the grand foyer and noisily devour me. That was why there wasn’t any in-person Keith stuff out there—no one had survived.
I shook my head and was just about to call out to see if Paul or someone else was within earshot when I realized I could hear a faint thumping bassline. There was music playing somewhere, dance music by the sound of it. My heart jumped as I realized it was probably Keith. I swallowed and, adjusting my fat mostly hard tool through the dark, sturdy fabric of my chinos, I made my way toward the source of the noise.
He was going to be here any minute. Zachary Savoy. Holy guitar gods, Zachary Savoy.
My heart was racing. I know it seems crazy. I could probably have any guy I wanted. I’m the hottest star there is, and I don’t just mean my music. And I’m not bragging. It’s the truth. Ever since Mexico, I’m so attractive guys literally can’t resist me, not if I want them too. But this … this was him.
I remember the first time I saw him. It was one of his video reviews, I think someone forwarded it to me, Paul maybe. He was reviewing a new boy band called Seattle Fire, a bunch of pretentious alpha hunks in fireman’s turnout gear from the waist down and nothing else. Normally I’d be looking at the boy candy. Supposedly I was bi, so my fan could think I’d be willing to fuck all of them, but the truth was these tan, cocky, all muscley dudes were right up my alley. Though they got points of for being totally fake music-wise. But I was staring at the music critic. Who stares at the music critic?
I fucking do, when it’s this guy. His face. His voice. Fuck, I was totally boned in my way-too-tight concert jeans, and I had to fucking go on stage in twenty. I watched the video three times while I waited to go on and people were running around nailing down sound, lighting, and security. It was Milwaukee, I think. I don’t remember. What I do remember is going on stage with a huge hard-on right there in my pants and no fucking way to hide it. I think a hundred Tumblr pages launched that night, all of them devoted to my dick.
And it didn’t stop. He got me hard every time. I’d load up a video and—sproing! Even a still picture would do it—shots of him would show up on the site he worked for, interviewing whoever for a print interview. Even a few red carpet shots, him looking all yummy in a tux as he headed into the Grammys or the opening night of some Broadway show. He was a celebrity too. And he made me hard every time.
I still don’t understand why exactly. He’s cute-handsome. Manly-beautiful. It’s obvious from the way he fills out his clothes that he works out regularly but isn’t obsessed with it. Broad shoulders. Amazing ass. Long, strong legs. Sexy voice. There are a million guys in the music business you could say that about. But Zachary … it was like I’d been born with a secret, hidden “on” switch somewhere deep inside me, and the label on that switch said “Zachary Savoy”.
I’d been disappointed that he’d stopped covering me after my first record. But also relieved. I watch the review and it was painful. It was like he was looking right sat me, apologizing with his eyes for all the things he wanted to say but couldn’t. I wanted to kiss him through my tablet screen. Hold him. Fuck him. Fuck him hard, then sweet. I put the tablet away and jacked off twice, glad I’d had enough forethought to watch this review alone in my hotel room with the deadbolt thrown. It was too close. Too intimate, him reviewing me. Too hard, if it wasn’t face to face, if I couldn’t actually see him and talk to him.
Then Mexico happened. Things changed. I changed. I drowned myself in my music. I laid down more tracks than the Union Pacific Railroad. Paulie, my manager, and Melody at the record company sounded like they were kind of in awe at how awesome they were. Guaranteed hits. Number ones, some of them. Some statues, too. I didn’t care. When music was thrumming through me—making it, listening to it, either way—that was when my life made some kind of sense. I didn’t realize I was driving in circles, pushing the throttle like a NASCAR hotshot hooked on the thrill of the race and nothing else. Not until Paulie told me that Zachary wanted to do a one-on-one.
Only Paulie and a couple of his people knew why I didn’t do gigs anymore, or in-person interviews, or show myself in public. Not even Mel knew. Everyone thought I was just fed up with the crazy and wanted to live quiet. Kinda true, but Paulie knew the real deal. And must have known other things, or he would have shot down the interview without even asking me. He must have guessed I was lonely as fuck. Paulie’s a nice guy, but he’s so in control of his body and his brain that he barely even notices what’s happened to me. He’s devoted to his husband anyway. I’d never fuck that up.
And he must have known about what Zachary did to me, even before my body and my libido got the upgrade to end all upgrades.
I went over to the table by the couches and grabbed the remote, upping the volume on the stereo so the thumpa-thumpa I was listening to filled the huge ballroom. This was where I went to dance, when I needed to dance. Right now I needed to dance. I went back to the center of the perfect parquet floor and I began to move.
I didn’t really pay attention to what I was doing. I just need to feel the beat inside me and move with it. After a while I realized I was doing the choreography for “Callback”. That was the one where we’d done the video with a CG me, using motion capture. That had been a blast. I’d missed dancing for the videos and on stage. The cute choreographer who worked for Paulie, Len, kept having to take bathroom breaks to jack off. But it was so needed. And it was a huge hit, the video too. Now I was twisting and jiving to Len’s extra-sensual choreography, and it worked. My focus was on the music inside me and how my body moved with it, flowing me, carrying me. until I opened my eyes and saw Zachary Savoy standing in the ballroom doorway, gaping up at me with enraptured awe.
We stood there for a long moment, the music crashing around us. Just staring at each other. The song ended. There was silence—I was listening to a promo disc and that was the last track. The room seemed to echo with the silence. I felt as though I’d been in isolation all this time. Sealed away. And Zachary had penetrated my isolation. The thought struck me funny, for all that I was overwhelmed to be in the same room with him, finally. My lips quirked, and the tension eased for a moment.
Zachary lips curled crookedly too, and he said, “Well, that explains it.” His voice sounded rough, and he cleared his throat. He started walking toward me, almost as if he was being pulled, not even blinking. He was drawn to me. Except I was walking toward him, too. And I was being pulled toward him. Someone somewhere had written our names on a single heartbeat, and now we were sharing it. Connected. Drawn. Bound together. I knew his heart was beating like mine. Was he afraid, like I was?
Off the dials magnetic attraction wasn’t the only thing that happened to me in Mexico. Some of it he could see, and some he’d find out about if I spent more than a minute in his presence. But even what he could see … It was one thing far away, across a room. It was another thing to be standing in front of me, staring up at me, seeing me as I was now. I should have told him to turn around. Walk away. Interview me from the hallway, through a door. I would have begged him to do those things, if I had any willpower over us at all.
What had happened to me was … Well, I wrote a song called “Big Heart” about it, kind of. It talked about a guy who was so full of primeval beauty that his body actually expanded to accommodate it, boiling outward through his veins and expanding his very flesh. No details in the song, not about what really happened. People mostly thought it was about a really fat dong. And it was, partly. But I was pretty proud of being able to write about it at all, and my guitar strokes built and swelled too. Like I did.
It was like there was so much hotness pulsing ceaselessly inside me that my body had rippled outward. My physical being pushed outward. Swelling larger in the world with my massive, sun-like energy that was inside me now. It was re-rendering me. Bigger. Taller. And more than that.
Everyone always said I was a good-looking man, but my chest and shoulders and arms, they told me, were beyond sexy. Premium sexy, my first lover said. It stuck with me, how my chest and shoulders grabbed his attention, and the attention of lots more guys after that. Like my torso was made to turn you on looking at it, even before I started to move with the grace and allure that came naturally to me. It even had just that perfect smattering of chest hair along the sternum to accentuate the shape of my pecs, and a thin treasure trail down from my navel. I usually shaved it all away once I started performing, so I’d look young and clean. I was fit, not huge. I worked out, but I was made to have an upper body that was pressed your buttons. The classical ideal, maybe. Proportions of a bright-eyed demigod, that Vaneska girl said once. The olive skin and the copious wavy dark hair of my Mediterranean ancestry, that all enhanced the effect, made it perfect.
And when what happened in Mexico unleashed itself in me, it was like my torso had already reached its limit but still had to be more, because all of me had to be more. My torso could only get more beautiful if there was more of it. More abs, rank after rank of hard, tight abs, an army of hard, tight abs. And my chest? My chest leveled up. It was like my chest was so amazing that my body just went and fucking pushed out a whole new pair. Another set of perfect, hard pecs, right over the old ones. It was like my torso just ratcheted up, one row into two, like something was pumping a car jack inside me, like whatever was inside me couldn’t be contained and was pushing up from that new energy source in my guts. More me, extruded up out of me like a rising soufflé. Hard muscle, pert nipples and everything. And the thick delts and long, muscled arms to go with them.
I hadn’t been able to wear a shirt in twelve whole months.
When I looked in the mirror I was taken with how hot I looked. Grown. Expanded. Stacked up like this. Hot as fuck, at least to me. Beyond hot. Premium hot.
I was scared I was the only one. For all my super-augmented magnetism, I was terrified Zachary wouldn’t think it was hot as fuck too.
And Zachary Savoy was standing in front of me, staring up, and up. Breathing hard. Our hearts were pounding. I didn’t understand it, but I knew we were in sync. We were both achingly hard, fully and completely hard. So hard, we’d never be soft again.
I was sweaty. I’d been in here dancing my ass off for hours. I was trying to clear my head, knowing he was coming. I tried to think what he was seeing. Guess how he’d react. I need him. I’d thought my hormones were boiling over all the time. But this, this was like my libido had been dead for a year and was now roaring to life. I was on fire. My hair was tingling. Toes curling. Everything about me was flaring with wanton lust.
His head came up to just under my bottom row of pecs. I was super tall now. The change grew me out everywhere. My legs matched my new extra-long torso, so I looked crazy long and limber. The loose running pants I was wearing now had to be custom made, but I refused to walk around naked all day.
He was looking up at me, but in that moment all I wanted him to do was devote his attention to what was right in front of him. I wanted deeply for him to reach out his tongue and lick my sweat-damp, salty abs.
And then he could work upward. My nips were there. Pebbled and hard. They were all ready for him. Two sets, buddy. All yours. Or downward. That would be good too. Though I wasn’t sure he was ready for another shock quite yet.
I had to stop my self from reaching out and touching him with every hand I had at my disposal. I didn’t know how we’d been connected, but we knew before we ever met that he was the only one for me. I could see all of it in his eyes. Confusion. Arousal. Want. Need.
“You look … “ Zachary started to say, almost as if without meaning to. Like other than his brain was speaking. “It’s like you’re almost glowing,” he breathed at last. His voice was warm and resonant, more so in person. It would have gotten me hard, if I wasn’t already. And what he said—
Somehow he could see it. No one else could see it, what was inside me. Not even Paulie. But Zachary saw it.
“Maybe I am,” I said. “Inside.”
Zachary swallowed. He closed his eyes and seemed to try to get himself back on track. Though his heart didn’t slow down, and his dick didn’t get any less rigid. “Do you … do you want to do the interview now?” he said.
Relief was washing through me. Then other sensations joined the flood and took it over. I smiled wolfishly at him, and he drew in a breath. “Yeah,” I said. “Let’s.” I dropped to my knees. Suddenly we were face to face.
I spent a long time standing there basking in Keith’s presence, gazing into his dark, flickering eyes. He let me, and it didn’t seem to matter because we’d somehow fallen between moments in time. I could feel my heart beating, hard but steady, and somehow I knew that Keith’s big heart was thumping right along with mine and marking out a solid, sure tempo for the strange song we were weaving around each other.
There was something strange about all of this, and the journalist in me wanted to know the answers, now more than ever before. My connection to Keith, before we ever met, had already been uncanny, and now that I was in front of him, inches away from him and feeling our hearts pounding together, some part of me was alarmed. But I was swamped by my heady attraction to him. My reason capsized, and I could do nothing but drink him in.
His face had a classic beauty, as if the thousands of generations of his ancestry had been progressive honing and refining the concept of masculine pulchritude until it had arrived at this one, final result—the ultimate paragon of arresting, almost unbearable allure. His hair was thick and long and a little untamed, as if it grew faster than normal and was a challenge to keep up with. This close, I could see that it wasn’t all the jet black I was used to seeing, but was interlaced with occasional strands of rich, dark brown. I was surprised to see a faint dusting of stubble along his strong jawline and around his chin and lips, accentuating the olive skin he’d warmed and darkened with a slight all-over tan. He had never appeared in public or on his publicity imagery as anything other than absolutely clean shaven, the better to show off his chiseled good looks; but I loved the stubble and wanted to see more of it, just like I loved the chest hair he always must have shaved before. It touched me, even more than his allowing me here, today, to experience his altered, reinvented form, because these things—the stubble, the chest hair, the sheen of sweat, the tender vulnerability—these were things he had chosen not to show the world even before, when he was a normal man, and showing them to me now was a choice, too, more of a choice than everything else that he did not control. These were the little touches of Keith’s beauty that I, only I, would see.
His brows were dark and thick, with a small, sharp arch to them, his eyelashes were long and dark, and his penetrating eyes were a deep, deep brown, like well-treated mahogany, and alight with hope and desire the possibilities he saw in us. I saw into them and knew. At some level in my mind, a place inside my thoughts that was either newly made or long dormant and now awake, I knew that we were connected and that he had been waiting for me without quite knowing it, as maybe I had been for him as well without understanding. It didn’t make any sense to me, not any more than it had when I’d been making my way here today with a giddy sense of foreboding, but it was also true that in that moment I did not need to understand.
I didn’t remember lifting my hand or reaching out to him, but I must have done so at some point because I found that I was caressing the side of his intoxicating face, running my thumb along his cheekbone. His lips were full and red like a rare steak, the lower lip just slightly thicker as if it were made to be teased with mouth and tongue and teeth. As the moment stretched and his right hands were sliding slowing up and down my back—when had he started stroking me?—his lips started to fill my vision, and I started thinking that those lips, his lips, would be truly wonderful to kiss. Even as the thought swirled and flashed in my mind, we were drawing toward each other, and those sweet lips were brushing across mine, so tentative it was almost heartbreaking.
I slid my lips against his, letting him know that this was what I wanted, as I slipped the hand I had on his cheek back and down around his neck, under the hair that cascaded onto his shoulders, and we deepened the kiss together. I ran my tongue along the seam of his lips and he opened for me, and soon we were kissing fiercely, as passionately as if there were no greater need than what we felt for each other. He was humming as we kissed, his body making music, sound in harmony with motion. His long, thick tongue was a warm presence in my mouth, and it felt to me as if it belonged there, just as mine belonged in his. All his hands were on me now, stroking me lovingly through my clothes like I was his beautiful cock, and I was doing the same to him, squeezing his strong neck with one hand while my other hand massaged the muscles of his bulging shoulders. Our bodies were pressed hard together, his long, endless torso rubbing feverishly against my whole body. We were lost in the throes of passion, delirious and desperate for each other, racing toward climax even while ever wanting it to end.
Sucking on his oversized tongue as we kissed, jockeying my tongue around his, seemed like sucking him off, and the thought hurled me over the edge, Keith and me together, like bound lovers on a runaway train that hurtles past the end of the tracks and over that impossibly tall cliff. We went over as one, spending limitless release in a moment without time, gasping against each other’s mouths as we came and came over and over again. I clasped him to me, hard and tight, and he did the same, four strong arms holding me close.
I breathed against him for a long time, and his warm breaths huffed into my neck and pushed his augmented, naked chest against my smaller form. I closed my eyes, a moment of serenity stealing over me. “Iicham,” I murmured into his ear, not knowing what I was saying, only that it came out of this pure, simple moment between us..
Suddenly Keith grabbed my shoulders and upper arms with all his hands and moved us just far enough apart so that he could look into my eyes. His were bright with amazement, and shock. “What did you just say?” he asked, his tone urgent.
I gaped at him. “I—I don’t know,” I answered honestly. I blinked at him, not sure what was going on, but knowing it was important, something about our connection.
“It’s a Mayan word,” he said, watching me closely. When he saw that I truly didn’t understand he licked his lips and started to speak, his dark eyes boring into mine. “When I was down there, something happened to me,” he explained. “I went exploring while they were setting up the cameras a lighting, and I found this chamber. The walls were covered with engravings, and many of the men were … giants, and more than giants. They looked … well, they looked the way I do now. Beyond human.” He nibbled that thick, full lower lip for a second, then continued. “Somehow I could read the symbols. They were priests, generations of them, cycles. Priests of a certain god. Chacab. God of masculine love.” He swallowed, preparing himself for what came next, his eyes never leaving mine. “There was a handprint on the wall, red like blood, and the door opened to me when I touched it.”
I stared back at him. I had dreamed that part, exactly as he had said—the room ewith the handprint, a chamber beyond—only it was me in the dream. I’d had the same dream often, and for as long as I could remember—almost as if the dream stretched back further than my own memories, as if the dream were older than I was. It was like a motif in my life. I’d even written a short story once, incorporating the dream into the context of a murder mystery set in the Yucatan amid the ancient ruins. I was stunned that that dream had become part of this story that was twisting us together, though in retrospect I could not have been more obvious.
He must have seen the recognition in my eyes, because he asked excitedly, “Do you know what was in there, in that room?”
“Everything,” I said, because it was true, at least in the dream. The inner chamber was at one level just a room—a stone space, without windows or light. And yet, contained in that space was the universe. Or, not the universe, but the Outside—the limitless unmundane where operated beings unfettered by the limitations of the mortal world, capable of the impossible. I realized I now understood for the first time what had been obscure to me until now. “Chacab,” I said. “It was Chacab.” He, like all the gods, dwelt in the unmundane, but that place was special to Chacab, as his primary access point to the ordinary world.
The recognition of him mattered. My blood seemed hot, as if something new, something raw and elemental, were flowing through me from that moment, though it had always been there. I shivered, unnerved.
Keith nodded. “He made me one of his giant men, his beyond-men,” he told me. “I had always been his, from before birth, I think. But there’s something else,” he added earnestly.
My lips quirked into a half smile. “How could there be something else?” I teased him. He blinked and then smiled, and I went on, “It’s like saying, ‘Oh, hey, I won the lottery, but guess what happened to me after that!’”
His teeth were bright as he smiled back at me, and the sweetness of that smile, the affection it held for me, pierced my heart. “Actually,” he said, “this, now—” He took one hand away from my shoulder to gesture between us. “—this is a lot more amazing to me than what happened to me then.” He cupped my cheek. “Zach … all those priests, those beyond-men, they were all in pairs,” he said. “They were only truly able to function as agents of Chacab when they had found the other half destined for them. And the word for that is—”
“Iicham,” I said again. “Husband.”
“Husband,” he agreed.
We stared at each other solemnly for a moment, and then both burst out in goofy grins. “I always dreamed of getting married in a big, fancy palazzo,” I said, and kissed him gently, delighting in the scrape of his stubble against my smooth skin.
After a moment we pulled back from each other, still smiling. “I feel like there’s more to understand,” I said. Him and me, I was almost ready to accept that, but my reason had righted itself and I could not ignore the questions that had been propagating like randy badgers while my mind was otherwise occupied. We were still warm with exertion, still breathing hard, but I wanted to know why things had happened the way they had. Someone—Chacab, or whoever—had laid out a plan for us, and Keith and I were still in the dark Why now? Are there others?
I hadn’t forgotten who I was. I was cynical about the world in general, and the ability of musicians to relate to normal people in particular. There was too much to swallow here, and I didn’t just mean the gallon of spunk Keith had just doused his bricked-in abdominal highway with.
“There must be a reason for this,” I said out loud, as much to myself as to him, as much to let him know I wasn’t just a patsy for whatever all this was. “There’s something I haven’t discovered yet.” I caught Keith’s expression and frowned. He seemed expectant, as if there was something that he was waiting for me to notice.
Something made me look down. Now, it was true that from the moment I’d come into this room I’d been arrested by Keith’s beauty and my powerful need for him, so that I’d barely been able to look away from his face, and especially his eyes. But at some level I’d registered what was erupting rudely and insistently from his expensive track pants. I’d been reasonably sure that there had been two of his mighty manhoods, appropriately complementing, I reflected, his other spectacular augmentations. Both of them were massive and as thick as a forearm—one of his forearms, even—and when we’d both climaxed and released our seed, he’d painted the red-flushed skin of his endless abs and heaving doubled chest over and over again with the eruptions of two monstrously huge and exquisitely beautiful organs. So I was now, shall we say, taken by surprise.
“There’s three,” I said blandly. “That’s … a thing.” The three glistening cockheads gazed pertly up at me, all of them profoundly hard and red with unslaked need, as if our world-shaking shared climax had barely taken the edge off. That, at least, I understood, since my cock was still—since my—cocks…
“Yeah, that’s a thing,” Keith said, sounding smug and awed and slightly abashed all at the same time. He was looking down too, taking in the impressive sight. “I grow new ones like this sometimes. I have more. Upstairs. A lot more. It’s … it’s part of being a, you know, beyond-man, I think. I don’t know why, not yet. They just burst out of you sometimes, just pushing right out of your body, all hard and needy, and you have to take care of them.” His eyes lifted to meet mine. “As I think you’re finding out.” We looked down again, this time looking at the outlines of my own twin cocks where the damp fabric of my chinos clung to them. They were twitching with an imperative need to make love, and more—to instill that fever in others, spreading the power of masculine love in the world, connecting humans, sharing the wealth of intimacy, love, companionship, and protection. These, his and mine, were organs of power, talismans of the godly power that had reshaped him and drawn us together. That they were increasing seemed significant, and possibly portentous.
That was a little heavy, so I pictured the box of dicks Keith apparently had upstairs. Too much man for one cock, or even three. Was he feeling their collective arousal? Did they multiply his need? Did Paul get someone in once a day to clean and bathe them and set them in fresh linen, or did he do that himself? I imagined the potent lust a sex godling like Keith experienced, and something kindled inside me on a layer apart from love, apart from questions, something reciprocal and altogether wanton.
We looked back up at each other, and I knew my eyes were shining as bright as his. There was more that I wanted to ask, more that I needed to know. But when I looked at him in that moment, I caught a flash of his vulnerability again. He didn’t just need my physical affection, or even my emotional affection, not just that. He needed me to step up and accept not only him but us, as partners in whatever it was that was being done to us. If a long-lost Mayan god was pulling our strings, we needed to decide our actions and our fate together, or we would both be lost.
At some level I knew that my love for Keith, and Keith’s love for me, was not of our own making. It did not matter to me. Whatever seeds planted years or centuries or eons ago had traced their way to this moment, there was one thing I knew more clearly than anything else in that fraught, uncertain precipice of a moment: My bond with Keith was true, it was real, it was written on the universe like a physical constant or a Platonic law. I had been vested with a love for Keith more pure than anything I’d ever felt, and though I did not choose to receive it, I chose not to fight it. I would love Keith, and Keith would love me, and we would accept or contest what lay in store for us together.
My eyes locked with Keith’s, and he saw my acceptance. We kissed again, long and slow, and as we kissed a twisting began inside me, and I felt the change begin.
Description Top music critic Zach Savoy is finally handed a chance to interview pop superstar Keith DeMarco after a year of secrecy and seclusion. When he penetrates the singer’s inner sanctum, though, he’s not prepared for what he finds.
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