It was the big day. The day of the social media awards. We are in the limousine and everyone is celebrating. The publicist is in the car as well as security. Topaz made sure that we always had Big John, the security everywhere we went now.
“I know you guys must be excited,” I state.
“We all should be excited. You’ve helped us along,” Topaz explains and adds with a smile, “I’m thinking after today we put you in all of our videos full time.”
“Seriously?” I ask.
I’m shocked. I would officially be the 4th Monroe brother. the thought of this makes me smile especially when the other two brothers immediately start agreeing to this.
“You’re one of us,” Onyx states, “You deserve the award just as much as we do.”
Copper smiles, “After today everything changes.”
I raise my glass to that, “I’ll toast to that.”
We have champagne. Of course, we’re all too young to start drinking but the publicist was damn sure not going to say anything. Neither was our driver or the security. For a moment in that car, it seemed like I finally found someplace that I belonged. For the first time in my life, I found people wanted me somewhere. For the first time in my life, I belonged somewhere. I watch as Topaz puts one hand on my shoulder pulling me close while holding the other hand out.
“To the Monroe brothers…” Topaz states.
We clash. Music starts playing on the loudspeakers. Onyx opens up his tuxedo shirt and lets his muscular chest fly free as he attempts to stand and dance to the music. We’re all smiling. We’re all enjoying the moment.
I look out of the window. I can see the venue from here. It’s right across a beautiful bridge that goes down to the Ballona Creek. The Ballona Creek was more like a waterway in southwestern LA county that drains the LA basin. Today the water shimmers over the beautiful bridge and I feel so high. I am so high above all of that. I’m high above all of everything. And everything feels so right.
“You look nice tonight,” a voice states.
I turn and notice the person who is talking to me is Topaz. He puts his hand on my leg. He probably doesn’t realize how it looks because he isn’t paying attention. I can tell he’s been drinking a little too much. He seems a little tipsy.
I whisper over a “Thanks…”
I notice what Topaz doesn’t notice. On the other side of the car is Copper. Copper notices what Topaz is doing. He notices Topaz’s leg up against my thigh. His eyes are squinting directly at us. I’ve never felt so awkward in my life. That’s when Topaz is bold enough to move his hand up my thigh. It goes higher and higher. It goes all the way to my crotch before he stops. He leans in slowly until his lips are almost touching my ear.
The whole time I’m looking at Copper. Copper is looking back at me. I wonder what’s going through his head the whole time Topaz is basically feeling me up to the sounds of Post Malone on the radio.
“Afterward,” he whispers to me, “We should celebrate. You know. Just you and me. You know. Naked, wet…celebration…”
As though completely forgetting we were in a car full of people he sticks his tongue in my ear. The wet tongue slobbers spit deep into my ear, swabbing me. He’s almost ready to bite down on my earlobe before I push him off.
“OH LOOK!” I shout, “We’re here.”
Luckily no one besides Copper sees what Topaz is just doing. Topaz is getting bold. He’s getting real bold. I should be happy. This is what I wanted. Right?
So why am I instead so worried about what’s going on in Copper’s mind at that moment.
“Oh, shit,” Onyx grunts looking at the venue, “OK boys get ready. The paparazzi are going to have a field day whenever we walk the red carpet. I’m walking just like this. Shirt open and all. I’m going to make some girls discover wet dreams tonight. I promise.”
He laughs taking a deep swallow of liquor.
“You deserve it,” I tell Onyx.
“This was all you!” He smiles, “I’m so happy I could kiss you. As a matter of fact. Fuck it. COME HERE!”
I don’t know what’s happening until he’s doing. It’s not a tongue kiss. Nothing like that. It’s just a sharp long kiss on the lips. He presses hard, exaggerating. The others in the vehicle break out in laughter. They notice the same thing I notice. Everyone’s a bit tipsy at this point. Almost everyone. When he’s done kissing me my eyes shoot over to Copper and I swear he notices everything.
“Get your drunk ass out before you throw up on the red carpet,” Topaz states grabbing Onyx by the shoulder blades.
I wonder if it’s a little bit of jealousy that causes Topaz to drag his little brother out of the car, but honestly, I don’t know. Topaz has this huge smile on his face as though he’s not taking it too seriously. I’m glad. Everyone is having a good time. Everyone is feeling their liquor. Everyone’s having fun. But then I see Copper.
“It’s that time,” I tell him, “See you out there.”
Copper grabs my arm and pulls me back. He waits until the publicist and security get out of the car. He pulls me back to the seat and I sit there for a second in a slightly awkward situation. I look over at him. He looks over at me. Silence. I laugh a little bit to break the awkwardness. He smirks as a response. Then he looks over at me again. Our eyes meet. It’s intense, to say the least.
“You happy for us, really?” he asks.
“You know a lot of things are going to change after today,” he states.
I laugh, “Nah, I feel like things are going to be the same…”
He smiles with this knowing grin, “Nah, I’m pretty sure a lot of things are going to change. Including your relationship with Topaz…”
“What’s that mean?”
He doesn’t answer with words. Copper just grabs me up. Fuck. I can’t believe it’s happening until it’s happening. Copper’s tongue is deep in my mouth. He climbs on top of me. He could care less about anything at that moment. He’s kissing me deep and hard. He grinds on top of me. His rock hard body is so close to me that I can feel his manhood growing in between my thighs. I kiss him back desperately. My hands circle to the back of the head. Before I know it I’m feeling him up grabbing his dick and struggling to get it out of his zipper.
I don’t get far before Copper stops me.
“Wait…not now,” he states.
“Why?” I state, “Onyx and Topaz are busy on the red carpet. We have a few minutes. The windows are tinted…”
“Break up with Topaz.”
“Break up with Topaz…”
“What do I get in return?”
“You’ll see before the nights up,” Copper says giving me a promising kiss.
“I’m not looking for sex,” I tell Copper, “If I wanted that I could have stayed with Topaz. If I wanted some boyish infatuation I could pursue Onyx. I want something more Copper. You understand that? I want something more than either of that. I want to love Copper. Can you give me that?”
I feel so hopeless at that moment. Was I hopeless? Was I that stupid boy looking for love in all the wrong places?
Just when I feel like I’m that stupid boy that Syn told me I was, I feel Copper press his hand on my cheek.
Our eyes connect and I feel it. I feel something different. It’s something I didn’t feel with the others.
“You are going to get everything you deserve Gem.”
He gives me a hard, teasing kiss that makes my hormones intensify. Then he walks out of the vehicle. I have to take a minute to let my raging hard dick go down for a few minutes before I have the balls to get out of the car.
I take a deep breath. He was right. Today would change everything. I deserved this. I deserved the way that Copper was looking at me right now. I deserved being loved, cherished and adored.
The award was for the Monroe brothers.
But today I was the winner.
“You OK?” he whispers.
The event is packed. This Social media world was definitely something different. It was definitely a world that I was not used to. The self-worship of this new form of media was amazing. I watched from my seat as people made a big deal of it all. The power of the clip in this world was amazing. You see, people didn’t have the same luxury as they did back in the day. Think about love. People didn’t want to do things the regular way. They didn’t want to take the chance to meet a boy at the corner store and pretend to give a fuck about how cute his dog was. Nowadays everything was about sex apps. Everything was about getting your point across quickly. Enter Social Media. Enter Youtube. Enter Instagram. Enter Facebook. This was our new world.
Love had become nothing more than a clip.
That was the reality of things.
“I’m fine,” I state.
“Good,” he states, “We can leave right after the awards…if you want to hit up the bathroom…”
I know just what Topaz is referring to especially when he slides his hands over to my hands. He does it in secret. He doesn’t want anyone to see. He would never love me. Not like he loved Ainsley. He wouldn’t be sneaking Ainsley kisses if she was here. He’d be open with her no matter what. He was a waste of time.
I pull away.
“I think we shouldn’t do this anymore,” I state.
I lean into him, “You know…fuck…”
Some guy is up there getting an award. It’s the perfect timing because we have to clap right before Topaz can say anything. The clapping interrupts him. I am hoping he would be over it by the time the clapping is done but he isn’t. When I turn I see that Topaz’s face has this really serious look on it. He’s annoyed about something.
Topaz leans hard, “Baby…”
“I’m not your baby, that’s the problem.”
“Let’s talk about this.”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” I state, “Topaz. We’re brothers for godsakes. Don’t you think it’s kind of sick that we are messing around? It’s fucking perverted. I feel disgusting. Don’t you? It’s wrong. You know that. Don’t you?”
Topaz looks like he’s just stuck at that moment. He’s completely stuck especially when I give him a look of wonder. A look that makes him feel an immediate sense of guilt. I wonder if he’s questioning whether everything he did was his own perverted fault this entire time. I can see him struggling to calculate everything that happened in his mind with his own lustful desires.
“But…” he starts off.
“No buts,” I state before adding in the most innocent way, “You’re my big brother. I think you should start acting like it more. Just saying…”
Someone else was getting an award. More claps. Just in time. Topaz hangs his head low. The way someone hangs their head when they had too much to drink and are really questioning reality at that very moment. He hangs his head so low that I make eye contact with Copper who is on the other side of him. Copper looks down at Topaz and then looks over at me.
I nod at Copper.
The job is done.
I’m all his. All his … forever.
“It’s that time,” I hear Onyx whisper.
He’s saying that besides the lights grow dim. Just at that moment, a video montage of the Monroe brother flashes across the screen. It’s one of the best videos I’ve ever seen. It kind of makes me emotional for the moment. Of course, Topaz is so out of it and in his feelings that he misses the whole thing. It doesn’t matter. I shed enough tears for him. I’ll make sure I get him a recording of the event when he’s out of his feelings.
Maybe I’ll play this at the wedding I have with Copper.
All of those people were there and I was there crying.
“The Social Media Star of the Year goes to the MONROE BROTHERS!” the announcer alerts.
All of my enemies were gone. Disappeared and I was the one there left to get up and start clapping for them. I shed enough tears for him. I shed enough tears for Ainsley who isn’t with us. I shed enough tears for Jericho who wasn’t with us. I shed tears for Syn. I shed tears for their mother.
It’s a damn shame.
I watch from my seat the brothers are on stage. Tears are streaming down my face. I’m the last one clapping. I’m sure of it. They look so handsome. I couldn’t be more proud. I look up seeing Onyx with his open shirt trying to strut around for the ladies.
“THANK YOU, LA!” Onyx growls into the microphone.
The audience goes nuts looking up at him.
Topaz has a smile on him. I can tell he’s trying to focus on the speech and forgetting about the awkward conversation we had, “You don’t know how grateful we are to be up here. Clearly, everyone knows that we have had…an interesting year to say the least. We’ve had good, we’ve had worse but it’s been something that we had to come through as brothers. And that’s what this all means. Sticking together means more now than it has ever meant.”
“Thank you guys for giving us this award,” Onyx states, “We mean it.”
They are about to walk off when Copper grabs the mic, “We’re actually forgetting one person.”
Onyx laughs, “How could we forget.”
Copper leans over, “There is one person who we would like to thank that is watching us now. Someone who hasn’t been with us this entire time but we are finally reunited with. That person is in the crowd now…and I would like to call that person up to the stage now.
My heart is racing.
Was this happening? Was this really happening?
I watch as Topaz and Onyx start clapping. They are looking over at me. I get up at that moment. But as soon as I stand up I see a hand grabbing me.
The hand is next to me.
The hand pulls me down to my seat.
“They aren’t talking about you darling,” the voice states.
The voice. It’s the voice of the devil. I swear it’s the devil himself that has found me on earth. I turn and see him sitting there. Somehow he’s gotten to the seat next to me. How did he get an invitation to this place? How was he still in Los Angeles.
It was him. Syn.
“Wait for it…” Syn whispers.
“I’d like to bring up my mother!” Copper states.
No fucking way!
I damn near collapse back in my seat. I can see the shocked looks of Onyx and Topaz. They both damn near lose it at that moment. It’s clear they weren’t aware of this. It’s clear that Copper was surprising them with their mother walking up across the stage. I watch as she crosses the stage at that moment and the boys run over to her. Tears are in their eyes. I watch as they embrace her. It’s the embrace they should have been giving to me. They were giving it to their mother. They were giving this hug to their mother.
My heart was breaking each second that passes!
This couldn’t be happening.
None of this could be happening right now!
“You reached out to her?”
“Me. No, you got it wrong. See I never wanted the money. It’s never about the money,” Syn explains at that moment.
“THEN WHY!” I roar.
I’m in pain. Why would he bring me so much pain? He was supposed to be my fucking friend.
“See the old lady woke up from the hospital. Imagining waking up and realizing that none of your sons are there. How bad would that hurt? They were too distracted chasing you. She left the hospital, alone and the first thing she saw in the hospital was the workout video…with you. So she didn’t go home. You see she recognized you were nothing more than an angel in disguise. She hired a private investigator to find out more about this angel that cast a spell on her kids.”
“And she found you…”
Syn smiles, “And she found me. You see when I came around, the Devil just said; oh shit, I got competition. I did it for free. No money. I never cared for Gem Monroe but he didn’t deserve to be murdered and replaced.”
“It was an accident.”
“An accident would have been called in. You would have told the cops,” Syn responds, “It was murder. That’s what it was.”
I’m still shaking. I’m sweating. I’m afraid for the first time in a very long time, “What now?”
Syn looks over at me and smiles, “See the faces on Onyx and Topaz. I’ve seen that face before. I saw that face a few days ago when me and Mrs. Monroe cornered Copper and told him all about you. That is the look of revelation. It’s the look of hate. It’s all over Coy. The sham is done. The disguise has been revealed. There’s no longer a point in embellishing your horns. We see you. We see your horns. We see you for the devil you are.”
I look at Syn. He’s enjoying this. He’s done all of this to prove some point as though he was the moral compass of the world.
“I’ll see you again.”
Syn smiles, “Perhaps. For right now though, I’d assume you should run for your life.”
“GEM!” the voice screams.
They’ve chased me all the way to the bridge. I turn and see Copper. He was a traitor. He was the real traitor in all of this. He made me believe he wanted me to be with him. It was all a lie. I had sacrificed for him! He’s not the only one though. All three brothers are there. They’ve cornered me there at the end of the bridge.
“That’s not even his fucking name!” Topaz barks, “Is it? Is it, COY!”
Topaz spits on the ground. He is disgusted with me. I look back at the brothers. I turn. I smile. I try to smile as lightly as possible.
“We can be together now,” I tell Topaz, “We can be in love.”
Topaz’s face says it all. I would want to say I never saw hatred like that in my life but that would be a lie. I remember seeing hatred like that on my mother’s face when they took my dad away. I remember how she looked. I remember how she hated me. She hated my fucking guts.
“You don’t know what love is…”
“You’re right,” I state, “How does one know love when the people who were supposed to love you despise you. How do you know love…it’s not my fault…”
“You expect us to feel sorry for you?” Copper asks, “We INVITED a scam artist into our fuckin’ HOME!”
I turn to Onyx.
“Onyx we had a special bond didn’t we? Don’t you remember?”
Onyx can barely look at me, “You’re dead to me. And soon I’m going to make sure you’re dead to everyone else when the cops bring you to justice for what you did to my real brother.”
I look at the brothers. In the distance, I hear them. The cops. The Sirens. They are coming from every side. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. Like Syn said…the jig was up. The brothers are looking at me with such disgust. Nowhere to hide.
“I’m Gem…” I tell them.
They probably don’t hear me. Tears are streaming down my face. They were forcing me to be myself. I didn’t want to be myself. Maybe that’s why I was crying so hard. Gem Monroe had people who loved him. Gem Monroe had people who cared about him. Coy never had that. Coy was a nobody. As I became myself I could see that all the love was gone and they hated Coy. They saw Coy for who he really was.
And they hated him.
I just wished I could be someone else.
I wished I could be anyone else at that moment.
“I swear,” I tell them, “Listen…I swear. I’m a nice person…”
And that’s when I jump and I fall. I fall away from Gem Monroe’s life. I fall out of that whole situation.
A man walks around once. He puts up a sign. He takes it down. He puts it back on. He checks his clock. He’s annoyed. That’s part is clear. He’s so annoyed. He’s waiting on someone. That much is clear as well. He sighs deeply. He’s wearing his feelings on his chest.
All of those things are very clear. What isn’t clear to this man though is that he’s being watched? He’s being stalked. There is a predator close to him. A predator with a soft, kind sweet smile. A nice person…
“Hello,” I say.
“Hey,” he states.
He shuffles. He doesn’t expect me to be standing as close to him as I am. Invading his personal space definitely makes him nervous. I can see the ring on his finger. He’s married. By his deep voice, his plain shoes and the masculine stance I assume it’s to a woman but you never know these days. He seems so aware of me. He looks me up and down.
“Nice day,” I state coughing a bit.
I have bruises all up and down my neck. I rub them a bit. I can’t help it.
I turn. The man at the airport is looking over at me. I went through the wrong exit. I’ve been at this fucking airport for 9 hours trying to figure something out. I’m wondering how I will be able to purchase a ticket. Of course, I look like shit.
Who knew I would survive the fall? Who knew I would wake up in a hospital. I stole the nearest guy’s wallet including his ID. The thing was though that I looked nothing like the ID. They’d wonder when I tried to purchase a plane ticket. I needed another plan. Any other plan.
“Just been through a lot,” I state.
It was a miracle that I survived. It was a miracle. I survived because God knew that I was a good person. He saved me because I was a nice person. That’s exactly what it was. The world needed people like me. I was God’s perfect little angel and he had bigger plans for me. I was sure of it. I just needed a sign. Any sign.
“I know right. It’s been a fight. That’s for sure.”
I’m a little embarrassed. The guy at the airport is handsome. The man is middle aged. He’s tall. He’s lean. I look at his face and he had dimples. I fucking loved dimples. Something about dimples just drove me fucking crazy. He’s been standing there for about an hour now. So I join him. It wasn’t like I had anything else to do. So I’m standing there. I’m just standing as he’s staring.
“Wait…from the war?” he asks, “Nah that’s ridiculous. His plane is just delayed. You don’t have an accent…”
He rolls his eyes. He’s annoyed. He needed an accent. I could make an accent. One of my favorite movies was Hotel Uganda.
I push the accent, “I was just trying to fit in.”
Yes. It’s really thick.
“Don’t tell me you’re Hasim,” he states, “The exchange student from West Africa…”
He pulls out a sign. It has Hasim written on it. It looks like he’s been waiting quite a long time for this Hasim to show up.
I stretch out my hand.
“I’m Hasim. Nice to meet you.”