Notes: Enjoy and please R/R!
One Last Kiss Goodbye
Written January 27 2012
"Dick," he mumbled to himself. White paint face canvassed his profile and was surrounded by black outlines highlighted the silver around his eyes. He looked like a figure from a foreign land. Although it was a routine he had come to know, recent days he felt as if he might as well be living on another planet and not one he wanted to be an inhabitant of. It was a trademark of his spaceman character.
Although he was publicly known as the jokester of the bunch, deep inside Ace was feeling anything but silly, especially tonight. They had a performance on one of the most watched primetime shows and even though his schedule was getting tighter than the national budget, this `overexposure' had begun to burn him out. Even workaholic Simmons was getting testy. What else was new?
What the fuck was that supposed to mean? My B flat was off? He doesn't know a damn thing about music! The only thing he cares about is his precious money!
What started out as a dream became his absolute nightmare. What was once a fleeting moment of escape was now no different than being entangled in chains. The last few years in this gig had sullen and soured his wounds. He chose to drown his sorrows in drink or girls but even that had become a chore. It was like putting a bandage on a tumor. It was starting to become impossible to hold together under pressure. The rewards came with double the responsibility, something that a free spirit like him was allergic to. Back when they were hungry, there was spontaneity, creativity and most importantly he was allowed to breathe. Now, everything was carefully choreographed and if Gene Simmons had caught you so much as sneezing at the wrong time you would not hear the end of it.
And this was just for rehearsals.
Such was the life for Ace. He had found a new playmate with their new drummer Eric but he was still homesick for Peter. Still, at least Eric wasn't a stiff like the other two in the band.
Their latest gig was for this variety show, Fridays. The producers and staff were very friendly and gave each band member his own dressing room which was perfect for Ace as he needed the breathing room away from the group's bass player and public face. Some days it felt like he was back in school again and Gene was the strict teacher. Even that appearance with two of them at an Australian show a few months back was underlined by unspoken tension. Some people are good at keeping that under wraps. Paul for instance was a master of that illusion. Gene was blunt and there were only so many times one can tolerate a condescending attitude from your own peer.
He was only two years older than him and yet he was so fucking cranky. With success came demands, more cash, more chicks. Any normal guy would kill for that kind of opportunity. Their ambition was unstoppable, their drive incomparable. They say that you should reach for the skies but sometimes, as KISS found out, there are some projects that are best left to certain people. They were not Floyd, they were not the Beatles, they were certainly not Zep. It made absolutely no fucking sense that they would try for an artsy fartsy project like the `Elder'. Gene wanted to cash in on The Wall, Paul on the other hand saw as a way to `creatively express' themselves. It's one thing to want to be like your idols, it's something else when you try to emulate a style that is a complete 180 from what you are known as. KISS was a purely hedonistic band with catchy songs about girls and partying. Why deviate from a formula that worked so well?
The Spaceman stared solemnly onto the mirror reapplying the makeup onto his face. It had smudged a bit under the lights thanks to promos and fans who wanted pics.
"So fucking stupid," Ace said to himself as he reapplied black lacquer over his eyes. THE Judas kiss was that kiddie film and now this shit. You cannot teach a pig how to sing. Gene and Paul might as well have been teaching a Danish Landrace how to sing in soprano.
"Fifteen minutes, Ace!" A stagehand knocked from outside. A girl tried to force her way in but Big Jim one of their roadies pushed her aside. More than likely he would `inspect' her first before passing her onto Ace. It was a fascinating and sad fact. Girls would do anything and everything just to spend time with one of them, even if it was just a couple of hours. In the beginning it was like waterfalls in the middle of the Gobi desert. Now, it's like picking out chocolates at a candy store. That is not to say that he did not enjoy the companionship of Mindy, Karen or whatever her name was at any given time.
But there were times when he craved companionship AND a challenge over getting head from some girl who had to work at the coffee shop the next day.
Through the mirror he could see a light creaking. He assumed it was the blond girl from the show offering to make a quickie before the final encore. Much to his surprise it wasn't the stunner from earlier.
It was Gene.
Ace's heart raced in anticipation and anxiety.
What was he doing here? He usually doesn't make house calls like this.
Oh fuck, he is going to give me another lecture?
Why is he so tense?
Can't he just fuck off and leave me alone?
"Hi," the Demon said quietly.
"Hey," Ace nodded as he dabbed more makeup.
There was something off-putting about seeing the Demon faced axe bass player speak in a normal to deep tone. A Demon with a serious face was quite an enigmatic thing to see. Everyone was used to the menacing figure stomping up and down with those monster shoes. Now, he was slow and methodical. Maybe it was because he was grinding his axe before he was making a blow. Of course, what else would it be?
"What are you doing?" Gene stated simply.
"Putting on my rouge. What's it look like?" Ace shot back, ignoring him.
"No, what ARE you doing?" The Demon said with a lower tone. Ace's eyes shot back at the Demon defensively. This shit again? "Your walk was wobbly. Your notes were off time and you went to fast for Eric." Gene stated simply.
Ace turned around and glared back at the bass player.
"The fuck?" Ace replied defiantly.
"You did not give it your all. You were just gliding, standing in the background like some shy geisha instead of owning the stage!" Gene remarked angrily. "No balls, Ace."
Now that was hitting below the belt.
"Well pardon me, Geno but I didn't hear anyone complaining." Ace said with all the calmness he could muster. Don't let him win. He hated confrontation. "Second of all, you should know after ten years that is my signature and FYI, I always let you have the stage since you're a hog an all." Ace said with a small cackle. He wanted the tension to lesson. "Maybe I am just being considerate. You're always yelling at me that I am not."
"That is not it. Why settle for ten when you can go for one hundred? Why settle for one palace when you can have ten?" The Demon replied back. It was painfully obvious to everyone within earshot now that SOMEBODY was upset with the new project they were promoting and they did not chart the way they wanted.
"You weren't complaining in Oz when you had three girls in each arm, Gene. Just sayin'." Ace replied with a forced laugh. Ace added some extra black paint to highlight his mouth. His hair which had now been cut off revealed a different but very familiar creature in the mirror. Ace hardly recognized himself with this new look. He saw that same `face' but it was outlined by a strange image. He was `leaner' but it was not `him'. Mentally he was elsewhere. As Ace pondered this new image, Gene stepped forward. Ace noted the figure behind him.
"I just want you to get better." Gene stated simply.
"Excuse me, Geno but you ain't my dad. Even he doesn't pull that condescending attitude on me." Ace scoffed.
"And that is where he failed." Gene said gruffly. Ace chose to ignore the comment but nothing gave him greater pleasure than seeing Gene with a toothless grin courtesy from Ace's right hand hook.
Ace let out a small snort. DO NOT let him get the better of you. That is what drives him crazy. Still, Ace wanted to believe that some connection could still be made. If only Gene could take down those walls. He was worse than Paul.
"That is exactly the problem. You don't care." Gene shot back. He still stood there.
"No, I just choose not to stress out about things I can't control. There is a difference." Ace replied calmly.
"Typical justification for your being sloth." Gene spat back. "Don't you have ambition, goals, or drive?" Gene might as well be jumping on him. He wanted to pop him like a pimple and so far he was failing miserably.
"Yeah and guess what I already check marked them. Check, check, check." Ace gestured in the air. "I ain't gonna make a song and dance about it. I would have joined Broadway if I did." Ace counteracted. "You know Gene, you really need to lay off of people. If you weren't such an asshole people would like you more instead of being scared off." Ace said with all the control he could muster but at this point he would have preferred throwing hot candle wax to the other man's face.
"I am difficult because I have to be. No one is going to empower me but me. I am not going to wait for someone else to fix things when I can do it. Unlike you I actually care about the image I project."
Ace rolled his eyes much to Gene's ire.
"That's the problem. You can't force things on people. They aren't your little toys. Look at you now. Making a mountain out of a molehill all because of a couple of notes or because one or two people didn't get up from their seats when you sang `Heroes'. You might as well be eight years old and throwing a tantrum or somethin'."
"What do you know about losing things, Ace? Hmm? What do you know?" Gene grabbed Ace by his outfit and pulled him close, staring down at him. Ace's mind ran at a thousand miles per hour. A myriad of ideas percolated in his head but decided it was best that he stayed quiet for their lives were worlds apart.
Unlike Gene, Ace had the privilege of a two parent home. Gene didn't and he did not have to point out Gene's personal history. There were times when someone DESERVED a verbal ribbing but now wasn't the time and if Ace didn't know any better, this visit had nothing to do with the show itself. Yes, it was about Gene displaying dominance but why? Ace pulled himself away from Gene's grasp.
"Just forget it," Ace sighed. "I am fed up with this bullshit and I know you are too. Just let me do this thing and I will quit like you want me to."
"DON'T!" Gene bellowed and grabbed Ace by the arm, pulling him closer.
"Why not? We both know that you want me outta the group. You got tired of Peter so what makes you think you want me around?" Ace shot back.
Gene digested the words but did not want to.
"The contract asks for three original members. You breach it and there will be hell to pay, Frehley."
"Of course, dollar signs. Look Gene I may be a lot of things but I ain't a whore for your pay." Ace hissed. "There's more to life than Jacksons and Hamiltons."
"Like what? Poisoning my body with dangerous substances or putting in herbs that alter your stream of consciousness to the point that you lose concentration and almost electrocute yourself to death?" The Demonic figure roared back. Gene might as well have mentioned it with a bullhorn but both men knew he was referring to the incident in Florida a few years back. Or rather, what he did AFTER.
"That was a nice gesture but like always you want some sort of check out of it." The Spaceman replied.
"Did I do that at the time?" Gene grasped Ace's arm more tightly. He was not going to let him go until he got what he wanted.
They both knew the answer and it was no. Still, Ace could not figure Gene out. He had to admit, seeing Gene be this passionate was almost exhilarating primarily because there was an obvious twinge of weakness surrounding Gene. He was on a sinking ship and he wanted to drag Ace down with him.
"Look, Simmons. I have thought it through and I want out." Ace stated simply. Gene still held quickly to him.
"You will be throwing your life away. You have no buoy. Who will support you?" Gene's tone was surprisingly dulcet to Ace's ears. Was it possible that he was detecting a hint of desperation in that voice? "I will tell the promoters to double, triple your pay."
"Man, we should have gotten married so that we could have the divorce!" Ace laughed but was quickly shaken by Gene.
"This is not a game. There is a lot at stake here. The contract, the promotions, the tour amongst other things. Are you going to piss it all away for some selfish pursuit?" Gene dug deeper. It was like trying to catch a slippery fish that landed on your ship.
"Is it possible that it's still a `selfish pursuit' if I wanna detox myself because of all the stress from being around you?" Ace said with a smile. Okay so it was a half lie but he said it because he wanted to hear Gene's words.
"That can be fixed. We can hire a professional who can help." Gene replied quickly, throwing out as many cards as he could.
"That's not the point. I am tired." Ace said softly looking down. Gene loosened his grasp.
"You don't throw in the towel when you are tired. You may take a break but don't throw it all away." Gene said in a low tone just above a whisper. He was so clinical, so by the book. He had never heard of nuances and subjective things like creative spontaneity or inspiration. For Gene, you might as well have created Lennon in a microwave. Yelling obviously did not get him on an equal plane with Ace, or at least on a level where he would listen. This would be the better alternative as long as he could contain him, make him listen to him.
"Since when did you get all Mr. Philosophical?" Ace perked up.
"I am just pointing out facts. He may not show it but Paul thinks the world of you. Eric thinks you are a riot. You have a place." Gene tugged at Ace.
Sure, it sounded nice that Gene was sugarcoating the legal aspects but there was one thing that pondered Ace's mind.
"And you? Would you care that much if I left?" Ace said finally. His smile was devilish. Much to Gene's surprise he had never caught Ace with such a look at this proximity. It was certainly...different and not in a bad way.
"Honestly yes," Gene said finally.
"Is that so?" Ace said with a small smile.
"Because it would mean that I failed," Gene stated firmly, nothing more and nothing less. Ace wanted to investigate the truth beneath those words.
"Failed as what? You are like the Amazing Gene. You make anything happen." The lead guitarist said with a low tone. He noted that Gene's hand had loosened completely and was now holding him by his hand instead of his arm. He did not want to let him go.
"Ace.." Gene began but could not finish. This had been one of the most intimate conversations they had had in a long time. Something was bubbling under Gene's words but for some reason he could not muster the courage to say them and this coming from the KISS member with PR experience and did not believe in keeping coy. Something had entangled his tongue. Gene had used covers so this should have not come as a surprise. Still, he wondered as to the true reason for Gene's visit? A last minute chance to make amends? That came too late. Interesting still, he was still here. Gene's eyes bespoke a tenderness Ace had not see in a long time.
This was not about a fight, this was not going to be a fight. Not tonight.
"Don't.." Gene began but Ace shushed him. He knew immediately what was on the bass player's mind. It did not have to be said. The tension from the last few years said it for them. It was time to take it to the next level. Ace leaned in gave Gene a small peck on the cheek. Immediately, Ace could feel the tension ease out of Gene's body like a mist from a hot spring. Gene loosened his grasp. Ace pulled back and took note of Gene's face. Gone was the glare of the business suit who lived on deadlines, choreography and an `image'. Here was a human being baring his soul. This time, Gene held him by both arms.
There were some things that did not need to be said. Some things needed only to be expressed.
Ace leaned in again and this time aimed for Gene's mouth. The connection the two of them made breached beyond all levels of their consciousness and comprehension. It was like a weight being lifted. Gene's heart raced as he pulled Ace closer, not wanting to lose contact. This was different than being with a groupie. With a groupie, it was all about the sensations and it was interchangeable. Each promised a different flavor but they were pretty much the same. To use an `Ace-ism' it was a high that was all too temporary and that valley would last until the next one.
With Ace, things were different but very similar which made the exchange a little easier. Ace submitted and let Gene run his hands on his back and pull him closer. Even he was slightly taken aback at such..interest the Demon was expressing. In between kisses, Ace let out small smiles, laughing at the fact that Gene might as well be a fat kid at a muffin shop.
"Wow," Ace mouthed softly. So, there was something to their interactions during `Cold Gin'. His muscles contracted as he desired more contact. This was a little different than being with a groupie. They serviced YOU. They would take care of you before you even knew what was going on. It was like being pampered by a maid. It felt good but it was nothing like this. Nothing could compare to this. Dare he say it but his body felt like it was experiencing a charge from breaking down the walls to get to the dungeon and heart of the Demon.
Gene on the other hand felt like he could breathe again. Punctual and to the point, he was suddenly disentangled from the guitarist's touch. He was not sure if he hated this. It was out of his comfort zone but it was not unlike an experience with a girl except that it was his own fucking guitar player. This was not practical, there was no rhyme and reason, this just was. The only thing that was slightly bothering him now was this was taking time away from his encounter with the busty redhead from backstage. Gene made a mental note to include her with his 10 PM `appointment' and asked if she liked `company'.
"Hello, gentlemen? Gene, Ace?" Rudy the sound tech knocked before forcing the door open. Gene immediately pushed him back, forcing Ace onto his back and Gene looking over him like a disappointed parent. Ace took quick note that Gene had placed a chair in front but it had been pushed aside thanks to Rudy.
"Is..everything okay?" Rudy asked nervously, as if he had seen something he was not supposed to.
"Fine, Rudy. Ace, clean this up." Gene ordered and walked out. Hard to imagine that less than thirty seconds ago, Gene was putty in Ace's hands, savoring his touch and close contact. Now he had just discarded him like a dirty towel.
"Ace? You okay?" Rudy asked nervously.
"Yeah," Ace lied and got up. Rudy handed him a hot towel and a bottle of water.
"Two minutes, Ace." The skinny nerd said before making a quick exit. Ace applied the last remnants of his makeup before taking his instrument and walking out the door. Girls clamored for his attention but his mind drifted off on a different plane far from them.
Gene walked towards his dressing room which was adjacent to Paul's. He wiped his lips as if he was getting rid of a poisonous agent. And yet, a part of him could not help but relive that moment in his head. He rewound it like a tape.
"Hey, Gene." A familiar voice piped up. It was Paul, still in his robe. "Did you talk to our spaceman?"
"I did." Gene stated simply. He began to apply more black liner to his lips.
"What did he say?" Paul queried.
"I simply told him that he was making the biggest mistake of his life." The Demon shot back.
"He didn't do anything else?" The Starchild pressed on. At this point, Gene himself was getting fed up with Paul's intrusiveness. He still had not digested what had just happened.
"I said that is all he did." The bass player answered swiftly. This was Paul's cue to leave. Apparently Ace was playing hard to get. Perhaps it was time that he would take matters into his own hands.
Paul leaving was the only solace Gene had received that evening.
In the world there were two types of people. One half were dependable, drama free types. The others were more fluid than pancake syrup. Paul was in the former, Ace was in the latter. People like Ace were hard to put in jars and Gene hated that. Ace was a slave to sloth but he was also an enigma. At this point, he was also their bread and butter. Had it bothered him that much that Ace would leave? Was he THAT attached to the lead guitarist? The kiss was perhaps one of the most exhilarating things he had ever exchanged with the other man. At the same time, it was the most self defeating because he now knew that he had a weak spot. Gene reached for a bottle of water and noted a piece of paper attached to the bottom. He opened it and it read "Room 27" in black eye liner. It was outlined with a card that had heart shaped symbols on it. This was NOT from a female admirer outside.
Dick, Gene thought to himself.
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Well written! I really like your description about Ace. :3
WOW. I just can say that I love it. You know what? I have never read something like that, left me speechless!