Part 29a: Only 23 Ways to Repack a Pair of Jeans
Orlando has his hands on his hips, staring at the suitcase on his bed as if eyeballing it will suddenly make it melt away. He's packed, but he doesn't want to leave.
Instead of cracks of thunder and a miraculous resettling of the universe, Eric comes up behind him, tugging at the skin on the back of Orlando's neck with his fingers in a motion somewhat like a mother cat might make.
"So serious he is." Eric pushes his chin into Orlando's shoulder. "So serious. I was told these rock stars would be fun, would be entertaining."
"Really?" Orlando throws up an eyebrow. He wishes Eric would just keep his fingers moving right where they are, pushing into his skin right where the knot has been forming in his neck for days. He leans back a little into Eric's hand. "I thought we were all binge drinkers and the like."
"Hmm." Eric smiles at him and moves his thumb up and down Orlando's neck. "That too."
Orlando twists around and pulls Eric into something resembling a kiss. "Tell me about something."
"Something?" Eric smiles and sits down on the bed, next to the suitcase.
"Something chemical." Orlando sighs and then pulls at one of the cords around his neck, "Something a chemistry professor says to impress his students."
"Something chemical, hmm?" Eric moves back on the bed, across the blue and yellow patterned comforter and towards the headboard, elbows propping his head up on the pillow.
Orlando thinks he looks tasty. Looks enjoyable. And from the look in Eric's eye-- a little something peeking out in the fold of his eyelid-- Orlando suspects Eric knows exactly what he's doing. He looks at his watch and it tells him it's time to be downstairs. "Fuck it." Orlando shrugs and reaches for Eric's feet. He pulls off one shoe, then the other, then goes for the socks.
Eric just hums a little to himself when Orlando kicks off his own shoes and stretches himself towards Eric on the bed, hands pushing under Eric's shirt, undoing his belt, opening his fly, Orlando's working his tongue across Eric's skin.
Orlando's humming too. Lips wrapped carefully around his teeth, applying just the amount of pressure that Eric likes having at the base of his cock during a blowjob. Orlando's enjoying this, this month or so with something familiar. He's enjoying the process of learning about the different places on Eric's body where he does or does not like to be touched. He likes the way Eric's voice will catch in his throat just before he comes, and the way his accent and his vowels are even more pronounced after sex, or in the morning.
It's not that Orlando never slept with someone repeatedly, or earmarked a block of time in his life for interacting with one individual, it's just that at some point he stopped. And now, Eric's hand tight around his cock, he's not sure why.
Later, when Orlando's pulling on his jeans and looking around for his other shoe, he looks over at Eric, still lying in bed, cream colored sheet pulled up just past his waist, looking sleepy.
"So." Orlando clears his throat quietly. "We'll be in New York for, like, a week, right? Maybe two, tops."
Eric nods. He's heard all this before. "I'll call you when I hear."
"Yes," Orlando frowns and sits down on the edge of the mattress to retie his shoes.
"It'll be fine. I'm sure." Eric pushes his foot out so it rests against Orlando's thigh. "I'll be able to come out for a week, at least."
"Right," Orlando frowns. "But maybe more than a week."
"Well," Eric semi shrugs at him, "we'll see."
The phone starts screeching at them and Orlando has several ideas who it is. "Jesus. Like No one's ever late." He huffs a little and looks down at his watch, then over at Eric. "Just let me know." He yawns and hauls up his suitcase where it's propped half on and half off the bed. "Alright then."
"Good luck," Eric smiles. "Be nice to the reporters. Don't make Ian cry."
"Right." Orlando leans down to kiss him, quick, then turns towards the door. "I'll call you tonight."
"Yeah," Eric nods. "Go. I know you will."
Part 29b: Passengers Are Advised To Avoid All Band Members
Karl has a hangover, he's been babysitting all morning, and the latter has not helped the state of the former at all. Normally he loves Milo, normally Milo loves him, but Milo's eaten something wretched and he's been sharing it with the rest of them via ear-splitting wails all day. He looks like Karl feels. Karl's jealous.
They barely make the flight and it takes a painful dash towards the boarding area for them to manage it. Then, when they actually board the plane, Viggo drops his suitcase directly onto Dom's foot, hard.
"Fuck. Fucking fuck." Dom hops on his uninjured left leg.
"Sorry," Viggo winces and moves away, fast.
"Ow," Dom looks over at Billy.
Orlando rolls his eyes and pushes past Dom to get to his seat, his backpack slung over one arm.
It hits Dom in the arm and he looks back at Orlando over his shoulder. "Hey, watch that." Orlando doesn't look up. "Was that necessary?"
"Sorry." Orlando sighs and leans back in his seat, then closes his eyes. "I didn't see you."
Karl watches all of this, then looks at Daisy with a question mark on his face. Daisy shrugs back at him. They head towards their row, Liv following along with the now moderately sedated Milo, and get in place just as the air hosts begin to move around, looking official and making preparation motions.
"Look mate," Dom's voice comes from across the row. "It was you bloody hook-up that made us late in the first place, so kindly refrain from getting sniffy at me."
Karl rolls his eyes and tries to resist the urge to look over. He can hear Viggo muttering something in an attempt to be calming. Karl hates this point in the touring process.
Daisy nudges his arm. "Want a peppermint?"
"Please," Karl nods and takes three. He wants to find his sunglasses, but he also doesn't want to be that kind of rock star, ever.
"Don't be down, Orli," Elijah chimes in from somewhere behind Karl and to the right. "I'm sure we can find you someone nice and fit at the airport."
"Be good to get at something new anyway," Dom adds. "Right, Bill?"
Billy chuckles. "Don't look at--"
Daisy coughs loudly in Karl's ear and Karl turns back towards him. "What?"
He clucks his teeth at Karl, then murmurs, "this isn't going to be pretty."
"What?" Karl feels confused. He breathes in through his nose and smells baby formula.
"Look," Orlando's voice is low, but pitched to carry. "I don't know what planet the group of you are living on, but that 'shag' you keep referring to happens to be my boyfriend and I'm getting quite tired of the chatter, right? I am capable of human emotion and feeling like the rest of you mortals, right?"
There's a rushing noise and the plane tips up and into the air. Karl's ears semi-pop and he thinks either his head or his stomach will explode in the next two minutes. "Fucking drama queens, the lot of you." He closes his eyes tight, sees spots, and then turns his head towards Daisy. "Just wake me up when it's over."
Part 29c: PR Amazement In Eight Parts
"Holy fuck." It's a fairly accurate summary of Dom's state of mind at the moment. He looks over at Daisy, wonders if he can read the "what the fucking fuck!?" message Dom's beaming at him via his eyeballs. Or maybe he's too busy dealing with the petulance and murderous rage Orlando's transmitting with his shoulders to any and all in sight.
"Fucking diva," Dom mutters to Billy. But then the live feed coming from the little green room television is calling them up and out to God knows what sort of special hell.
"So, Peter and Fran! Peter and Fran!" Conan's teeth are polished and glistening. "You just flew in from the west coast! And a new album coming out!" His hair is shellacked into place and almost as shiny as his teeth. Daisy's always wondered-- because Conan's hair is imposing even on a mere television screen-- how it would be to face it in person. Now he knows. He makes a large mental note to reexamine all his own footage and ban his entire hair and makeup team from excessive hairspray use.
Daisy has to look away from the gleam. Dear lord, he thinks, catching a glimpse of Dom's face. Dom looks like he's having an aneurism.
"Oh, yes, Conan, we certainly do!" Sean glares at Orlando, Viggo, and pretty much any one else in his eye-line, for completely missing a cue. "Out in just a few days in fact. We’re all very excited."
No one else says a thing, no one even moves, and Sean feels sad really that the band can't appreciate the importance of sucking it up and playing the PR game.
"Personally, it's been a big year for me as well. I'm in the process of documenting our journey for a full-length feature. It's an exciting creative opportunity."
"Really?" Conan swallows, and then looks at the row of stools behind Sean. "How fascinating."
"...from being a film star?"
Orlando starts slightly when he hears it. Nothing signals a direct question for him like the term "film star." Useful that.
"Well. The movies, right," Orlando twists away from Viggo and towards Conan. "They're another side of me, another way of expressing myself. I like to think of them both as equally important avenues, right? Ways of looking inward."
Right. And Orlando also thought that, by now, certain individuals-- certain friends-- might have begun to appreciate that Orlando's life is a work in progress, that he's capable of some depth, of maintaining an emotional relationship-- wouldn't be able to depict them on screen if he couldn't, would he?
But apparently certain individuals are too busy with their Scottish soulmates to notice that anyone else could possibly do anything more than fuck. "Fuck."
Conan's eyes snap towards him with a sort of glee. Elijah's eye's snap towards him. Liv coughs. Twice.
Orlando blinks for a moment, then catches himself and laughs loudly, but slightly flat. "Sorry. Just wanted to know if we could say that on television."
This is the worst interview Peter and Fran has ever done. One day Milo is going to ask Liv about Peter and Fran and she'll have to tell him the band dissolved into mush after a disastrous Conan appearance, which is a really really horrible, R&B diva way to go.
She wishes Bean was here. Wishes it like mad. If he were here, had been here, he would have known just what to say on the plane before it got bloody. Would have shut Dom and Elijah up with a line about peas or smelting, would have known just when in the tour any and all teasing about Orlando's "live-in" needed to stop, and, most importantly, would have told Liv, filled her in when she had a break from Milo and was cramming in a quality moment with the group, that Orlando kind of, actually, finally had a someone he wanted to sleep with more than once. For the first time in, oh, about 4 years and 1 month.
Liv looks down at her hands. Then over at Conan, fast. "Oh yes, the tour stopped in Grace, Arizona to play. We want to bring attention to the federal mining rights being handed away. It's an abomination. And sacred land."
Karl's sitting between Liv and Daisy, staring down at the top of Billy's hairline and head rising up from the couch below him. He knows Conan has a little map in front of him with their names and assigned seats identified, but they all sat wherever they wanted anyway, which probably explains why Conan called him David earlier. He hopes so, at least, because they really don't look at all similar.
"So, Peter and Fran." Conan's looking at Karl, at all of them, opening his arms wide. "Fran and Peter. I know we have you down for one song, just one." Conan pauses so they audience has time to make sad sounds at the announcement. "But what about two, what about performing one now? What do you say? We'll cut to commercial and when we come back, two songs from Peter & Fran?"
Karl pushes up from his stool immediately. "Absolutely." It's probably the best bloody break they've gotten all day. He makes a beeline for the performance area and figures, if he moves fast enough, they'll all have to follow him.
Billy picks up his guitar and looks over at Dom. Orlando's being a bit of a bampot at the moment, but they're into full on promo and touring mode and really, that's enough to try the patience of even saints like himself-- and possibly Liv-- let alone normal mortals like his beloved.
They all lean in towards Viggo's mike to powwow on the song, but Orlando's clutching at his tambourine like it could be a weapon, Liv's got Polly pulled towards her chest like a doll, and even Viggo's looking a bit glazed. Or more glazed than usual.
"Right then," Billy looks around at the group. "'Meteorology.' Make it good, kids." He nods at Dom, poor bug looks like his mom left a rotten fish in his suitcase, and steps back to his customary spot. "One, two..."
Halfway through the second song, Viggo blinks and almost misses his cue on the chorus. He's got the songs imprinted on his muscle memory at this point, but he thought about it for a moment and it caused a hiccup. Plus there's a girl in the front row with a massive sequined covered bag flashing in his eyes. Plus Ian's standing to stage left, at the edge of the audience, glaring at them like he's ready to shoot on sight. Plus, since when did Orlando start getting boyfriends? Viggo feels like he missed something.