Fade Away Page 34

Thumper was busy studying him again, her eyes narrowed and focused. Myron tried to look neutral, but he felt like a doofus. Being so openly inspected did that to him. He tried to meet her gaze.

Thumper suddenly smiled widely and folded her arms. “I get it now,” she said.


“It’s obvious.”

“What’s obvious?”

“You want revenge,” she said.

“Revenge for what?”

The smile grew a bit, then relaxed. “Greg stole Emily from you. Now you want to steal someone back.”

“He didn’t steal her from me,” Myron said quickly. He heard the defensive tone in his voice and didn’t like it. “Emily and I broke up before they started dating.”

“If you say so.”

“I say so.” Mr. Snappy Retort.

She let loose a throaty laugh and put a hand on his arm. “Relax, Myron. I’m only teasing you.” She looked at him again. All of this eye contact was beginning to give Myron a headache. He stared at her nose instead. “So are we going to do this?” she asked.

“No,” Myron said.

“If it’s the fear of disease—”

“It’s not. I’m involved with someone.”


“So I don’t cheat on her.”

“Who wants you to cheat? I just want to have sex with you.”

“And you think those two things are mutually exclusive?”

“Of course they are,” Thumper said. “Our having sex should have absolutely no effect on your relationship. I don’t want you to stop caring about your girlfriend. I don’t want to be a part of your life. I don’t even want to be intimate.”

“Gee, you make it sound so romantic,” Myron said.

“But that’s just the point. It’s not romantic. It’s just a physical act. Sure, it feels great, but in the end it’s just a physical act. Like shaking hands.”

“Shaking hands,” Myron repeated. “You should write greeting cards.”

“I’m just telling you how it is. Past civilizations—ones far more intellectually advanced than us—understood that pleasure of the flesh was no sin. Associating sex with guilt is a modern, absurd hang-up. This whole concept of tying sex to possession is something we got from uptight Puritans who wanted to maintain control over their major possession: their wife.”

A history scholar, Myron thought. Nice to see.

“Where is it written,” she continued, “that two people can’t reach heights of physical ecstasy without being in love? I mean, think about how ridiculous that is. It’s silly, isn’t it?”

“Maybe,” Myron said. “But I’ll still pass, thank you.”

She shrugged a suit-yourself. “TC will be very disappointed.”

“He’ll get over it,” he said.


“Well,” she said, clasping her hands together, “I think I’ll mingle. It was nice chatting with you, Myron.”

“A true experience,” Myron agreed.

Myron mingled a bit too. He hooked up with Leon for a while. Leon introduced him to his wife, a blond sexpot named Fiona. Very Playmate-like. She had a breathy voice and was one of those women who made even the most casual conversation one long double entendre—so accustomed to using her physical charms that she did not know when to turn them off. Myron chatted with them both briefly and excused himself.

The bartender informed him that they were not stocking any Yoo-Hoo. He took an Orangina instead. Not just orange soda, but Orangina. How European. He took a sip. Pretty good.

A hand slapped Myron’s back. It was TC. He had foregone the GQ-suit look, opting for white leather pants and a white leather vest. No shirt. He wore dark sunglasses.

“Having a good time?” he asked.

“It’s been interesting,” Myron said.

“Come on. I’ll show you something.”

They walked in silence up a grassy hill away from the party. The incline grew steadily steeper, the music fainter. The rap had been replaced with an alternative group called the Cranberries. Myron liked their music. “Zombie” was on right now. Dolores O’Riordan was repeatedly singing, “In your head, in your head,” until she got tired and moved to repeating the word, “Zombie, zombie” several hundred times. Okay, the Cranberries could work on their chorus lyrics, but the song still worked. Good stuff.

There were no lights now, but a glow from the ones by the pool provided enough illumination. When they reached the plateau, TC motioned in front of them. “There.”

Myron looked out, and the sight nearly took his breath away. They were up high enough to get an unimpeded, spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. The sea of lights seemed to shimmer like beads of water. The George Washington Bridge looked close enough to touch. They both stood in silence for several moments.

“Nice, huh?” TC said.


He took off his sunglasses. “I come up here a lot. By myself. It’s a good place to think.”

“I would think so.”

They looked off again.

“Thumper talk to you yet?” Myron asked.

TC nodded.

“Were you disappointed?”

“No,” TC said. “I knew you’d say no.”


He shrugged. “Just a feeling. But don’t let her fool you. Thumper’s good people. She’s probably the closest thing I got to a friend.”

“What about all those guys you were hanging out with?”

TC sort of smiled. “You mean the white boys?”


“Not friends,” he said. “If tomorrow I stopped playing ball, they’d all look at me like I’m pinching a loaf on their sofa.”

“Poetically put, TC.”

“Just the truth, man. You in my position, you don’t have no friends. Facts of life. White or black, it don’t matter. People hang around me because I’m a rich superstar. They figure they can get something for free. That’s all.”

“And that’s okay with you?”

“Don’t matter if it’s okay,” TC said. “It’s the way it is. I ain’t complaining.”

“Do you get lonely?” Myron asked.

“Too many people around to get lonely.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” TC sort of jerked his head from side to side, like he was trying to loosen up his neck before a game. “Folks always talking about the price of fame, but you wanna know the real price? Forget that privacy shit. So I don’t go out to the movies as much. Big fucking deal—where I come from you can’t afford to go anyway. The real price is you ain’t a person anymore. You’re just a thing, a shiny thing like one of those Benzes out there. The poor brothers think I’m a golden ladder with goodies at every step up. The rich white boys think I’m a fancy pet. Like with OJ. Remember those guys who hung out in OJ’s trophy room?”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies