The sound of the front door slamming was what pulled me from my deep sleep on the couch. I half leaned up on the leather couch, my bare back becoming unstuck from the material with a slight pull. I winced and swore slightly for not wearing a shirt. I noticed first off that the lights were back on and was relieved to know that the power outage was out. Then I remembered the door slamming and frowned, knowing Axl was home.
I threw myself from the couch, scratching at my bare stomach absentmindedly. Without the air conditioner running, it was too hot to wear clothes. So I opted for just jeans tom relax, the bottom left open because I was too lazy to close it. Looking at the foyer, I noticed Axl's leather jacket on the floor and my frown deepened. I knew he was pissed just by that gesture. Axl always hung up his white leather jacket. No matter what.
Hearing banging in coming from the kitchen, I walked there slowly. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and tried to look like I hadn't just woken up. I didn't need to piss him off more than what he was. I entered the kitchen carefully, glad that I was barefoot and didn't make a lot of noise. I caught sight of whipping orange hair and knew Axl was fuming.
Axl was resting against the counter, a bottle of Jack in his hand. I eyed it carefully, Axl had a tendency to throw things when he got mad. I crossed my arms, looking him over and wondering why he was acting so strange. He glanced up at me, eyes smoldering but didn't say anything yet.
I sighed, crossing the kitchen to get a beer from the fridge. Axl's eyes followed me the whole time. I popped the top, tossing it on the counter next to him. " What's eating you? You got that look on your face." I asked, sipping down half my bottle.
Axl flipped hair from his face with a pale hand, which I noticed was shaking. I bottle froze just below my lip. "Heard you were on the Strip today…with Sixx." he said sharply, eyes darkening when he mentioned Nikki Sixx.
I sighed, rolling my eyes. I was starting to get an idea where this was going to go. "Yeah, we went for a beers. He had some errands to run and asked me to tag along. He just wrapped up a tour. And we hadn't seen each other in a while. Why? What's the big deal?"
I had just enough time to duck before the Jack bottle shattered above my head. The sound of it cracking sent shivers down my spine. I straightened, staring at Axl. "He's a junkie. And you are too. For all I know, you two were shooting up together." Axl shouted, face reddening as he pushed off the counter.
I felt my whole freeze. I couldn't believe my ears. "You know for a fact that Nikki's been clean for years. And so haven't I. How could you accuse me of that?!"
Axl completely ignored me for a moment, twisting to pull something out from behind him. He slapped something onto the counter and I bent to see what it was. It was pictures of me and Nikki from the Strip, we were goofing around in a photo booth and those were the evidence. I mean, we were sober but we still liked to goof around.
"What about those? Are you cheating on me with him, Slash?" Axl asked, voice surprisingly calm despite the rage in his eyes. I laughed, still holding the pictures. I couldn't believe the situation was turning into something like this. "What are you laughing at, asshole?"
"You. I'm laughing at you. I can't believe you're accusing me of cheating. Why would I? Yeah, sometimes you're a massive pain in my ass but I would never cheat on you." I explained, looking my lover hard in the eyes.
Axl's face darkened and before I knew it, he had me pinned against the wall. I pushed against him, surprised that he was stronger than me for once. I looked at him, finding him almost demonic in the kitchen light. "So I'm a pain in the ass, hu? Like you're any better? With your drinking? And stupid snakes? You could be cheating on me with him. You're both addicted to heroin."
I was starting to feel my own anger starting to grow, which now a days happened easily. I pushed Axl off of me, my curly mop of hair falling into my face. " For the last fucking time, I'm not fucking cheating. And we're clean. Fuckin' Christ, Axe, you know I gave that shit up."
He scoffed, rolling his eyes. I felt my anger rise a notch. "The why were you with him. Was it something I did? You know I don't like him. I told you he was a no good-" he started to rant, voice growing emotion with every word.
I looked at him disbelief. Once again, he was turning everything about him. Always, he was the center of attention. I just shook my head, turned around and walked back towards our room. He shouted at my back and I heard his muted footsteps on the carpeted floor. I just kept ignoring him. I finally had enough.
I walked into the room and went directly into the closet, grabbing the duffle bag from the floor. Without paying attention, I stuffed clothes into it at hyper speed. He was still yelling his head off, now more pissed because I was ignoring him. I really couldn't care less. I was sick of him and his ego. I zipped up the bag and grabbed my favorite baseball cap from the hook. I stuffed it on my head with a grunt and left my side of the closet.
He was in the doorway to the closet when I tried to exit. He gave me one of his smug 'what are you going to do now' looks and crossed his arms. I fought back the urge just to punch him square in the jaw and leave, though I knew he deserved it badly. "Move, Axl." I ordered, slinging the strap over my shoulder. He just smirked more, taunting me on. I could feel the snake of anger starting to grow. It was never nice when that happened. "Fuckin' move already."
I pushed past him, walking to our bed and dropping to sit on the edge of it. I pulled my Chuck Taylor's out from under the bed and stuffed my feet inside. "So what? You're leaving? We're just arguing. It's not like it's a huge fight." Axl asked, voice sounding uncertain.
I paused and looked at him, shaking my head. "That's the problem, Axe. Right now it's an argument. Give it an hour and it's a war. All we do it fight now a days. I miss the days when you wouldn't come home and instantly assume I was high because I was on the strip. Hell, I would love it if you would just stop assuming."
"Well, it's not entirely my fault. I can't fight with myself. You're part of this too, Slash. So take some of the blame." Axl hissed out. He was starting to sound hurt now. I looked in his eyes and was surprised to see them glistening with tears.
I ran a hand through my curls, as if I could control everything by doing so. "I know it's not all your fault. But I'm sick of all the fighting. We're either fucking or fighting. I miss watching a movie on the couch and you falling asleep in my arms. I miss walking in the door and you tackling me to the ground to kiss me. I miss hearing 'I love you Slash' during Paradise City. We've grown apart. We're like blood and chocolate. We mix perfectly but yet we're as hateful as the other."
Axl didn't say anything for once, which surprised me. He always had an argument for everything, always. Axl half turned away from me, wiping his face roughly. "So how do we fix this? What can I change?" he whispered , voice broken now. I sighed, grabbing my duffel bag and standing.
I walked close to him, wrapping my arms around him loosely. He leaned into me without a word, tears staining his cheeks. I kissed the salty trail, feeling my own tears pricking my eyes. "What causes us to fight is everything I love about you. I wouldn't have you change for anything. But we can't go on like this. We need to chill out for a bit before we get back in the ring."
"How longs a bit?" he mumbled, eyes closing and shoulders dropping. Axl was defeated.
I hesitated, though he didn't see it. I didn't know how long a bit was. For us, it could be within the hour or it could last months. We just needed time. "We'll give it a week and then we'll go from there. Okay?"
Axl nodded, opening his mouth o say something but snapped it shut instead. I kissed his cheek again, eyes watering. I always did hate saying goodbye to him, no matter where I was going. "I love you, Axe. Just remember that okay. I'll always love you." I whispered into his ear.
He let me go without another word. Somewhere deep down, I wanted him to say I love you back but I knew it wouldn't happen. He wouldn't say it until he was truly sorry for everything and when we could continue life without fear of fighting. Looking at our mansion in the rearview mirror, I could've sworn I saw Axl on the front steps. Did I turn back? No. I pressed my foot down harder and drove into the darkness.
I was sitting at my kitchen counter, enjoying my morning paper and coffee, when my cell started to ring. I glared at it, annoyed that I was getting interrupted. I had been enjoying my silent house but apparently someone wanted to go and ruin it. I grabbed the annoying object, relaxing when I saw it was only my new guitarist, Dj Ashba. " 'Ello?"
"Hey, Axe head! Enjoying your morning?" he asked, already bouncing and happy. I something wondered how he could energetic all the time. He was like the energizer bunny, he just kept going and going and going.
"I was. Until you called. Whattya want? It's our day off." I asked, yawning slightly and scanning my eyes over the paper again. Nothing popped out so I folded it up and tossed it to the side of me.
"Yeah I know that. But I wanted to let you know that Slash a new CD out. Solo stuff." he explained carefully. I tensed slightly at the mention of my ex lover. Even after almost seventeen years, I still wasn't over him. Even the mention of his name hurt.
I played it off like I didn't though. "I already knew that, Dej. I do read the web."
"I didn't know old people knew how to work the internet." he laughed, making me smile despite my saddened mood. "Anyways, supposedly there's a song on there about you . Thought you might want to check it out. I sent you a couple of links. Click the one that says first. Second one should be up in about ten minutes. Later dude."
I ended the call, mug halfway to my lips. Slash wrote a song about me? Really? Or was Dj pulling my leg? The more I thought about it, I knew he wouldn't do that. He wasn't that kind of kid. I sighed, pushing myself up from the table. I walked to my first floor office and smiled at the huge Appetite logo that covered the back wall. It was my reminder to the good old days. I swiped my computer one and clicked at the first link Dj sent me.
I was brought to a Youtube page and waited patiently as it loaded completely. I hated half loaded video's. They always stopped halfway through. I frowned at the title of the song, Crucify the Dead. I saw Ozzy was the guest singer and guessed it could've been worse. He could've used Vince Neil to sing about me. I only had to listen to the song once to know the song was about me. One verse gave it all away. A loaded gun jammed by a rose. If that didn't give it away, I didn't know what did.
I leaned back in my seat, chest feeling heavy. I didn't understand why either. Now I really knew how lash felt after all the years apart. Instead of just telling me face to face, he writes a song. And the worst part was it was good. It had a good vibe to it, but underneath, I could feel the true emotions. It made me miss him. It made my heart ache all over again like it did when he left. Even after swearing I hated the man, I was really lying to myself.
Of course, I didn't make it easy for Slash to talk to me either. I bad mouthed, even went as far to call him cancer. I made him hate me. He even tried to fix what was wrong between us and I pushed him, being my usual egotistical self. I made myself be dead to him. I cause the song to be written. Maybe he was right. The thorns weren't around my head. They were around my throat, killing me slowly.
I sighed, closing the window and staring out the window. I could feeling my heart racing with shame and I hated it. My phone vibrated on the table and I looked at it without paying. It was just a simple instructions from Dj to open the second link. I sighed and obeyed, not really in the mood to be bothered. I just wanted to be left alone.
I opened the second link and was brought to a private video feed. This made me interested. I knew Dj often video chatted but I never did it before with him. I recognized Slash right off, looking much like he did the last time I saw him. Maybe a little older. Nikki Sixx was there, a notebook in one hand and a cardboard coffee cup in the other. I realized right off that Slash probably had no idea that Dj was doing the video.
Slash was plucking at his guitar half heartedly, the melody I knew as 'Sweet Child'. A frown graced his face and from his uncovered eyes, I saw they were stormy. I leaned closer to the screen, as if I could get closer to my ex-lover. I could tell something was wrong with him. I always could and it was a habit I never lost. Even looking in magazines I could tell when he was truly happy and when he was faking it.
"Slash, man. What's eating you?" Nikki asked, hand pausing over his paper. Slash shook his head, as if to clear his head of bad thoughts. I saw the frown deepen and felt my heart ache slightly for him. "You've been like this since last week."
Slash shrugged his shoulder, eyes darkening more. "It's nothing. Just thinking, ya know." He paused, mouth working like he had more to say. "It's his birthday tomorrow." he mumbled, placing the guitar on the side of him. I froze, realizing that he was talking about me. "-hate this time of year."
Nikki sighed, running a hand over his face. Slash leaned forward, caramel colored arms dangling between his legs. "Have you tried talking to him again? Maybe emailing him this time?" Nikki asked, voice sounding dead sincere. At that moment, I hated him a little less for helping Slash when he truly needed it.
"I pick up the phone and have no idea what to do. It's been so long. I mean, he hates me. And the last time I tried talking to him, it didn't end well. It sucks. I wished I could back and take it all back. Just get a second chance and make sure it didn't end this way." he explained. I heard the pain in his voice and wished I could've taken everything back. Just so I didn't have to hear the pain.
Slash coughed, wiped his face and looked towards the camera, at me, without knowing. "I mean, I wish I could see him again. Just to say I'm sorry. And happy birthday." Then he stood and walked off the screen. "I'll see you at the show tomorrow."
The screen went black and I craved it to come back on. I sat back in my seat, eyes closed. So he missed me as much as I missed him. Now it was out in the open. I grabbed my phone and dialed the man who just did an undercover mission for me. "Ollo?" Dj answered, sounding somewhat happy.
I sighed, rubbing my forehead. "I saw what you did….thanks. But now I need your help with something. And Nikki's, if he's willing." I mumbled into the phone, eyes locked on the photo of me and Slash from a photo shoot. It made me smile and miss my guitarist even more. "I really need it."
From my position on the stage, I could see everything in the old theatre. Fans were everywhere, cheering my name and singing the lyrics. I noticed a few were wearing old Guns shirt and couldn't help but smile. Glad to see the old stuff was still around. It made me miss the good times terribly and deep down, I knew the solo project was just a way to deal with not being with Guns.
After the song finished, I slowly walked off stage, I needed something to drink and cool off. Good think I agreed to let Tommy Lee solo for a halftime thing. It was last minute, but Nikki and Tommy were old friends so I let him do it. Nikki was on the side of the stage as I came off, a bottle of water in hand and a smile on his face. "You're kicking ass out there, Slash. They're loving you."
I smiled, removing my top hat and wiping the sweat from my face. As my was moving my hand away, I could've sworn I saw a flash of familiar orange but when I looked, it was gone. My heart clenched at the thought of it, OF HIM, and I frowned. I wondered why I was hoping he would be there. He would never come. It was his birthday after all. He was probably home celebrating.
"Yo Duffy! Didn't know you were coming!" Nikki exclaimed, pulling me back from my unhappy thoughts.
I turned, looking at my longtime friend and bassist, Duff. His long arms wrapped around the thin waist of Guns original rhythm guitarist, Izzy and they both looked extremely happy to be in the theatre. I was even more amazed to see Steven along with him, looking pretty much the same from the last time I saw him. I felt my face break into a smile and hugged them all. "What the hell are you guys doing here? If I had known, I would've taken out a bigger insurance policy on the place."
Duff smiled wickedly, shrugging his shoulders. "Got a call yesterday. Told me and Izzy to be here at this time. We were walking in and ran into Steven on the way. You had no idea we were coming? Seriously?" he asked, smile growing.
I nodded my head, dumbfounded. "I honestly had no idea. I didn't invite a lot of people. It's just a small support show. Who the hell would've call you all?"
Duff, Izzy and Steven all shrugged, looking each other curiously. Then Duff's eyes found the instruments ling the side of the stage. When he looked back at me, I knew exactly what he was thinking. Izzy and Steven seemed to be on the same brain wave also because the next thing I know, they're getting ready to play. "Let's party like it's the eighties!" Steven cried out.
Walking back out onto the stage was a whole difference experience now. It was like someone lit a fire in my belly. I smiled at my band mates, my fingers opening up 'Welcome to the Jungle.' It felt amazing to hear the real members of the band instead of just replacements. It made playing more bearable and brought me back from the slump I was in.
"Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games!" I froze, not believing what I was hearing. Instead of hearing the fill in singer I hired, Axl's voice was pouring out of the speakers. I couldn't see if it was really him because the stage lights were still off but yet, odd as it sounded, it felt like him. I felt his intensity and it made my heart race.
When the lights finally did kick on, I stumbled back slightly. Not because of the flash of lights hitting me, but because Axl was actually was really there. Mic in hand and face red from singing. I surprised myself by not messing up the cords and looked at him, trying to figure out if he was real or not. He looked real, but I mean, my mind could be slipping. I was getting on in my years.
The years hadn't really changed him, despite what the press said. His hair was shorter maybe even darker. The corn rows were gone and so was the stupid goatee I despised. His face was calm and clear, like he finally looked happy. He looked exactly the same as the day I left. Maybe a little skinnier and paler but not much. But good, he looked amazing up on the stage still. Even after the years apart, he still got me hot.
I felt someone tap my shoulder and I turned to look, confused when I saw no one. Then I heard the crowd laughing and looked over my opposite shoulder. Axl was crouched behind me, laughing his ass off at my dim wittedness. I smiled at his closeness and realized that this was our way of saying everything was forgiven.
"Ready to go to Paradise?" he asked, when he straightened back out. I noticed he still wore his old AXL shoes and cut off jean shorts and smirked. "What are you smirking at, Slash?"
"If you're coming, I'm ready to go." I mumbled, mouth feeling dry like the desert. Was it really hard to talk to him after so long? I motioned with my head to his outfit, smiling easily. "Still dressing the same, I see. Looking good."
Axl blushed, sweeping a hand through his soggy hair. Then he smiled, a genuine smile reserved for me and only me. Then he nodded. "You lead and I'll follow." he smirked, dancing back over to the front of the stage. I laughed, feeling years of weight lift from my shoulders.
I started the song, like I had done hundred of times before. Axl shot me a glance over his slim shoulder, eyes dancing in the over head light. He looked better than ever in that moment. Here on stage, he was happy and nothing else mattered. No past, no fights. Nothing.
Halfway through the song, close to the song, Axl started to dance around the stage. Like usual. He was like a blur moving everywhere. I felt that familiar itch in my legs and followed his lead. I hadn't moved around the stage in years, since I had gotten the pacemaker. But at the moment, it didn't matter to me. I felt my heart racing and it felt wonderful.
My solo came and I threw myself into it. I played like it like I never played it in years. My eyes closed, hair fell into my eyes and all I heard was the music. Then I felt arms wrap around my shoulders, squeezing them gently. Warm air blew against my neck, causing shivers to rise up my spine. I opened my eyes, looking into Axl's green ones. "Hey stranger." I smiled, fingers moving on their own.
Axl smirked, hands coming up to steal my top hat and placing it on his own head. Like he used to do when we were together. "Hey yourself. You're playing amazing tonight. I loved your tunes. Even 'Crucify.' I loved the emotion."
I blushed a little. "Thanks." I nodded to his hair, smile growing. "Love it more than the braids. Natural. Makes you look younger. By the way-" I leaned, twisting my body to block us from the crowd and kissed his cheek. "Happy birthday, Axl. I missed you."
I pulled back slightly, a coy smile on my lips. Axl blinked, a blush forming on already dark cheeks. Then he leaned in and kissed my lips, retraining himself from getting more. "I love you, Slasher. I missed you too. Please don't leave me again. I can't stand being without you." he whispered roughly, voice harsh with years of emotions.
I smiled, forgetting the song and throwing my arms around him. I crashed my lips to his, hands wrapped in his hair and not caring who saw us. I heard Duff cheering us on and Izzy telling him to quiet down. I smiled, kissing harder. I felt fingers curl into my shirt and knew everything was going to be okay. We weren't hiding anymore and now we could live in peace.
I pulled away from Axl, who pouted wonderfully. We gasped for air and smirked at each, knowing it was time to leave. The crowd yelled for more but we all ignored them. "I got a present for you. Come backstage with me. Please?"
"You already gave me a gift but I never deny gifts." he laughed. He looked at the other three and shook his head. " Shitheads lets blow this joint." Duff and Izzy both mumbled something about old times but followed. Steven jogged over, a huge smiled on his face.
Nikki and Tommy smiled when we came off the stage. Dj sat on the extra amps, sprawled out and looking pleased with himself. Somehow I had a feeling they had something to do with what happened tonight. I looked at Axl and he blushed a little, twisting his hands in my shirt. "Anything I should know?"
Axl just shrugged, smiling at the guys. "I needed help getting it all planned. You were the only one that didn't know what was going on." I looked at the others, smiling somewhat. I guess it didn't bother me. "Oh for helping, we have to do a reunion tour and have them support us. Sixx's idea." Axl explained.
I glared a the Crue bassist, who just shrugged and smiled. "Well, what could I do. I was sick of your bitching. At least, he's back in your life right?"
As I was about to argue, Axl poked my side. I looked down and instantly, I was calm. "Come on, fireball. Let's get that present." I smiled. I opened the door to my dressing room and let him enter first. "Stay." I tossed over my shoulder.
Axl stood in the middle of the small dressing room, his shirt thrown over his shoulder in attempts to cool off. His arms were wrapped around himself and I knew he was uncomfortable as I was. I gently moved him to the couch, laughing when he jumped as I touched his sweaty flesh. I sat beside him, pulling my satchel bag up from under the seat. "I've been carrying these around for seventeen long years. They mean the world to me."
From inside the bag, I pulled a small velvet ring box. Axl saw it and his eyes started to water instantly. I opened the lid and pulled out one of the identical silver rings inside. Even after seventeen years, they still looked exactly the same as when I bought them. I treasured them. "Love 'til death." I whispered, sliding the ring onto Axl's ring finger.
Axl was silent, eyes locked on the ring. I slipped the second one on, smiling softly. He lifted his eyes to me, tears streaming down his cheeks. I wiped them gently and kissed his forehead. He pulled away and looked at me flatly. "When? How? Why?" he asked, voice tight.
I laughed, wrapping him up in my arms and lying back in the couch. He curled into me instantly and it felt like he never left. "The day I went to the Strip. I went to pick those out. That's why Nikki went with me. He was getting his ring resized. They were supposed to be surprised."
"Well, I am surprised." He laughed, running his fingers over my forearm softly. I smiled gently, closing my eyes and relaxing. "Where's your wedding band?"
"Don't play stupid, Saul. Where's your wedding band? I've seen a few pictures lately and you haven't been wearing it? What's going on with you and Perla?"
I was surprised he noticed that. I was more surprised he knew my wife name. If I could call her that. She was more of a cover up to deal with not having Axl around. She gave me my boys and that's all I really loved her for. Other than that, I never really loved her. "We're getting a divorce." I said simply.
I sighed. I hated when he asked questions. I wanted to relax. "You."
"Why me? What the hell did I do?"
"You may not have been around but she knew who I really loved. So she wants a divorce. I never really loved her. I only ever loved you and the boys. No one else." I explained, voice soft. Axl sniffed and I smiled. "Now can you shut up so I can sleep? I'm tired and you're comfortable."
Axl slapped my arm gently but settled into me. I buried my nose into his hair and breathed in contently. "This is where I belong." I mumbled. I love you, Axe." I kissed his head and smirked, feeling peaceful.
"I love you too, Slasher. Until death." he replied, kissing my cheek and settling back down.
We were quiet for awhile, our breathing filling the room. Then I realized something. "Hey! When did you pierce your other nipple?!" I exclaimed, looking down at my lover with arched brows.
Axl blushed and cast his eyes down. "This morning. I remembered how much you loved it when I had just one so I thought I would do the other one. Why you like it?" he asked, wiggling his eyes suggestively.
I felt my mouth fall open. "Now I remember why I fell in love with you. And of course I like it. Once I sleep, I'll do something about it." I smirked, resting back again.
"Good. I've been waiting."
I smiled, tightening my arms and yawning. As I fell into a peaceful sleep, I knew for once in a very long time, I'd be waking up right where I belong. I'd have the man of my dreams right next to me and nothing else mattered. Everything had changed. We were blood and chocolate but we mixed perfectly.