Chapter 1

I want to know how it'll end. 
I want to be sure of what it'll cost.

   Alan slapped the wheel with both hands in a fit of temper. It was kind of irrelevant of Mister Random to choose this song to play in his car. 
   It stroke Alan today right in the morning. He was flooded with some strange feeling. It was so clear that he started to feel uncomfortable, though there were no grounds for it. He shaved nervously, ten times checking for no reason whether well enough, and splashed his face with perfume twice as he forgot he had already done it. And he suddenly came to hate his comfortable dark grey blazer, finding it bobbled, and put on his new black shirt. Hepzibah, his beloved spouse, who was applying makeup in the bathroom, looked at him very suspiciously. But he just couldn`t help it. His heart started missing a beat from the strange premonition. 
   He was planning his own business in the morning, but Hep asked him to pick her up so they could buy a wedding gift to Alan`s colleague: they were invited to the event next Saturday. 
"Very well," Alan said, "but you’ll go to the shop by yourself." 
"And why is that?" Hep objected. "He is your colleague. What if I choose something weird?" 
"Like I care," Alan said with a mischievous grin. 
"Right. Like you care," his spouse mocked him. 
   They both laughed when they went out heading to the car. Actually, they slightly disapproved the choice of Alan`s colleague and often chuckled with each other about the misadventures on his way to the family happiness. 
"If you can`t cope with the consequences, you`d better not put it out of your pants at all," Alan`s wife was kidding terrifyingly, as always. 
"Indeed," Alan grinned, "each of us should have been thinking about it from the start." 
   His spouse was offended by him because she decided he meant her. Of course, Alan hastened to assure his wife: 
"I did not think about you when I said that!" Now he caused even more embarrassing questions, like who he was thinking about, and when exactly he had time to put it out of his pants, and what she had missed. 
"Hep, I cheat on you only with the bottle of Stoli, cross my heart! I do it a lot, hard, and often - but with her only!" 
"That means you were talking about me," Hep said gloomy. 
"God bless you, woman!" Alan replied quickly. 
"Whom, then?" 
"It was just an expression."
"Alan Charles Wilder! You can`t say something that would be just an expression because you just can`t," Hep said. "The left turn." 
"Well, let us assume I was talking about my first wife. Feeling better?"
"Nope", Hep said. "I asked you to turn left. Now you’ve missed the turn. What`s wrong with you today?" 
"Shit! You`ve drowned me in empty talk!" Alan said de bene esse. "Why are women always talking that much?" 
"I don`t know why women are always talking that much", Hepzibah was as cold as a stone, "I mostly care when men talk too much." 
Alan`s lips formed a thin line. He got furious but tried to keep control with diligence. 
"Anything you say may be taken down and used in evidence?" he asked through the clenched teeth. 
   Hepzibah burst out laughing. Anyway, she decided not to press her husband too hard as he seemed in the wrong box today, so she turned it all into a joke: 
"Aye aye, sir! You`d been thrown into each other by passion! You are so emotional!" 
   Alan faked a smile. That wasn`t so funny for him at all. However, he thought it wouldn`t be polite not to support his wife`s mood. There was a second reason either. But mainly it wouldn`t be polite. 
"I wouldn`t call it passion, though…it was…" 
"It was?" 
"I think…I suppose, this person meant so much to me," Alan said emotionless, "too much. Overvalued." 
"A person", Hep`s voice sounded zonky, "Alan loved a person. Was it mutual?" 
Alan`s face  remained calm this time. He decided not to notice the provocation. He was on his guard. 
"I didn`t say it was him, Hep." 
"You didn`t say it was her, Al." 
"Shut up, Hep, or I say nothing." 
"Damn, you caught me!"
They both laughed again. 
"I used to believe it meant so much to me. That. Relationship. When I was young, I thought it was love in itself. Now I’m terrified to reflect on what it actually was." 
"Stop here and wait for me. It won`t be long." 
   Hepzibah seemed to have lost all interest in his revelations and opened the door of the car, letting the warm air into the conditioned cabin. Alan respired and set the collar of his black shirt right. He desperately needed some air. 
   No, not love. Fear? Envy? Hate? Rivalry? Control? Struggle for power? For respect? For love? Oh, no, he never loved anyone, he was quite confident so far. He wouldn`t risk his health for it. And at that particular moment mister Random decided to answer Alan`s question by playing ‘Want’. Want. Want! That`s it. Just like this. Not even desire, just want. I want, and fuck it all. I want, and I don`t give a damn of how it will end. I want, and I don`t give a shit of what it will cost. I just wonder how far you can go. I want to taste my own kind. 
   The cold sweat stood out on his forehead because the feeling became so intense…the feeling he thought he`d got rid of years and years ago. He felt the pain that made him paranoid this morning. There was only one person in this world that could make him painfully itching for no reason. The feeling of his presence was so clear; Alan even looked around through the car windows, with his head drawn into his shoulders. All he saw was a young pair, a girl and a boy, sitting on the bench staring at their i-phones, and a fat pigeon hobbling down the pavement. 
   "Idiot," Alan said to himself. 
   The cell phone quivered in his pocket. Unknown number. Alan looked at it for a while pondering whether to answer or not. Finally he felt uneasy that something had happened to his children, so he carefully said: 
"Miller," spitted out his mobile, "I`m not at my place." 
"Hi, Dan," Alan said. 
"What are you doing right now, old boy?" 
"Performing my marital duty." 
"Succeed?" The producer was not confused at all. 
"Sitting in the car, waiting for my wife to return from shopping. Want me to visit you at your office?" 
"Oh, yeah, exactly", Daniel said after a minute, "but I am not in the Country at the moment. Come next Tuesday, for five-o’clock." 
"What’s happened…in general?" Alan asked. 
"Need money?" 
"Have to work?" 
"A little," Miller said. "Some sideline for two months or so, in the studio." 
"«Recoil»?" Alan specified. 
"No," Miller chuckled, "just some young unknown boy band", Miller started to laugh out loud to his own joke, "with some stupid French name…how do you put that?" he imitated Dave’s accent, "«De-pe-shi-e Mode»? No fear, man, nothing unnatural, just refreshing some old material. I am sorry, I have to go now, so see you next Tuesday. Alan? Hello, Alan, are you there? Alan?" 
"Yes, I am", Alan said when he finally could unclench his damn teeth. "Yes, Tuesday, that`s fine for me, Dan." 
   After the words «De-pe-shi-e Mode» - somewhere on the other side of the phone line, very clearly - he heard laughter. This laughter he could never confuse with anything in this world and could never forget. He heard it in his nightmares. And not only in nightmares. He hoped that he would never hear this laugh again, except maybe at his own funeral, but he wouldn`t really care in that particular case. 
   His forehead was covered with sweat; he turned the rear-view mirror and pulled Kleenex out of the glove compartment to wipe it dry. It was too impossible. He saw a pale mask with almost fully dilated pupils and a dropped jaw. 
"You are a beauty!" he told himself. 
   A second after the conversation Alan felt that it had all been a daydream, some sort of odd hallucination. Perhaps he should have slept more and drunk less the day before. 
   Hep was pretty happy when she returned with a big festively decorated box. He felt her perfume mixed with the warm air again and started to think that his mind was playing tricks on him. Still, his prudence made him push the "save" button. At his leisure on the evening, he would very likely check the international phone code. Just to kill his paranoia for the hell of it. 
"Let`s go," Hep said impatiently. 
"Wait a minute." 
   Alan`s fancy carried him away in time for two decades ago. 

I want to strangle the stars for all they promised me.

   It was raining. What a surprise for the London summer! Grey days, and humidity, and rain. However, it was warm in Miller`s Mute studio. Fletch was picking his nose thoughtfully. Alan was staring into the computer`s blinking screen. Everything was in place. There was a smell of burning only, as Martin decided to make himself a toast. 
"Martin, aren`t you burning something?" Alan shouted, irritated, not even turning his head. Fletch seemed not to care, and Dave had, as he explained, «dat rhi-d-itis»: he`d caught a cold and just couldn`t smell the infernal smoke that started to eat everybody`s eyes out. 
"No, I am fine, thank you," Martin announced very politely and charmingly. Then he laughed cheerfully, "Well…I think…I suppose…generally speaking…erm…I shall state the fact that I`ve already burnt the shit out of it! Besides, I`m not quite sure that I understand how it happened." 
   Dave roared with laughter, jumped up immediately, and ran to Martin to check out his achievements in that primitive art of cooking. Soon his buoyant laughter filled the kitchen, mixed with his advice to Martin to start lecturing in Oxford on "How to prepare a toast and not burn your house down". Dave said that Martin was a true professor - he never knew before that bread could be turned into this condition in a toaster. Dave was also very interested if Martin used lighter fluid or preferred old-style kerosene. Martin`s invariable "heh-heh-heh" was the only answer. 
   Fletch stopped reading his newspaper and decided to go and see what was happening. He started chuckling in the hall already. Soon his wise commands were sounding from the kitchen with such professionalism as if he was a surgeon performing an operation. 
"No, use the fork." 
"Second one." 
   Finally Alan couldn`t stand it anymore and went downstairs to take part in this serious event. He shouldered Fletch aside, as the guy was obstructing his view. 
   Martin was half-lying on his stomach on the kitchen table concentrating…well, nobody could say that he wasn’t trying to…but his thirty-two teeth smile was shining on his happy face while he was holding the toaster with his both hands. 
"Oh, fucking cunt! I can`t tear it off… Mart, did you spread some glue on your toast? Huh?" 
"No. Shall I?" innocently asked Martin. "Remind me the next time. I will…spread." 
"Ouch! Fuck! It`s fucking hot…I will fucking spread ya…shit! WHAT?!" 
   As previously mentioned, Martin was half-lying on his stomach on the kitchen table. He was…let us put it that way…topless. He had taken off his sweater; probably, he was too proud of his fresh summer tan which he got despite the rainy weather. Dave rolled up the sleeves of his checkered shirt; he was carefully scraping the toaster`s insides. 
"How do you usually do it in the morning, Mart?" 
"I am afraid your idea of my morning routine is somewhat wrong, Dave," Martin`s smile was heard even in his voice. "I don`t usually do it in the morning. I usually go to the City by the morning train. Then I wake up. Sometimes." 
   Now it was Fletch`s turn to laugh, as he began recalling all the times he had dragged sleepy Martin out of the train onto the platform. Alan also started to laugh and decided to do everything like it should be done. 
   He estimated the disposition to find his way to get to the toaster. On the right side of Martin there was Dave manipulating his hellish pokers. Fletch looked preoccupied and was breathing noisily and heavily through the nose. With a mischievous grin Alan decided that he had no choice and lay down on Martin`s back as he was: with his shirt and a leather vest on. 
"Let the Master do his job!" Alan jeered, catching up Martin`s body quite unexpectedly from both sides, very carefully, like a baby’s, but very efficiently as if he meant only business. Alan didn`t realize how it dawned upon him to lie down onto half-naked Martin. Well, Martin walked around half-naked from time to time, so the lads got used to it. Alan didn`t want to show that it bothered him, because nobody in this studio was bothered at all. That`s why he did it. 
   Alan pulled the grid off the toaster by holding it with his right hand that lay exactly on Martin`s. He consciously restricted Martin`s freedom to move, making him feel helpless at that point. Suddenly, Alan felt how the body underneath him strained. He virtually saw goose bumps running down Martin`s spine, but this tension was not hostile. He`d rather decide there was something sexual in it; well, he could be mistaken, though. 
   A strange wave of energy rushed over him from Martin, as he realized that this guy underneath was not actually caring much to win his freedom back. On the contrary, somehow he chose to obey and found the situation highly amusing. Alan felt Martin relax under him, melting like ice, subjecting to him willingly. Alan could swear that everything happened at that exact moment. To be more precise, he realized that it would happen between them in any case. Sooner or later. 
   Dave`s gaze slipped absent-mindlessly over Martin`s totally relaxed pose and stopped on the lad`s temple. Then slowly moved onto Alan. 
   Alan anxiously pushed his ass back because the feeling of Martin`s obeying body stung him right on his groin. He suddenly caught himself imitating the fact of the most enthusiastic peering into the depths of the old toaster in the crossfire of Dave and Fletch`s stares. Actually, he was just trying to lower his head closer to Martin`s bare shoulder, because the smell of his skin was the main thing that he wanted to feel - the more the better. It was Alan`s trial not for Martin but for himself. It became utterly clear to Alan that it was the very first moment when he began to perceive his friend as a sexual object. And he was wondering how it would end. He wasn`t in love - he had never actually been in love with anyone before; let`s say Martin retained his interest. Alan never lost his head. Well, it seemed like this. That’s why he was pretty calm and just waited for the natural barrier to trigger. He was sure it would. And he would no longer want Martin. So he was teasing himself and his friend quite shamelessly. 
   Martin used to behave like some bimbo. He was absolutely dysfunctional in life, showing his naivety and disadaptation to “life in general”, as he called the way of things in Basildon: in particular, his fights with the local rednecks who beat the shit out of him and Fletch almost every time. Occasionally they managed to escape, though. They would return from work in London by the last train, and it was quite difficult to avoid the beating. Nevertheless, Martin took it as a necessary evil; he did not care to resist, just sometimes, when he was in the mood, complaining or joking with his colleagues on "the world we live in and life in general". 
   The story of how Martin drove his girlfriend to the movies - and how later, after a couple of hours, Fletch dragged home a hero lover whom he found sitting in a puddle in a state when he was drunk to reaching the Earth’s orbit, puking all around - cheered even their manager Miller. Every time he heard the narrative, he even took off his glasses to wipe the tears of laughter. Martin giggled, self-satisfied and embarrassed at the same time. Somehow he was able to look both embarrassed and self-satisfied simultaneously, for example like when Dave had asked him for a lighter, and Martin told him to look in his yellow jacket. Dave also found a pack of marijuana in his pocket, and female stockings, and a candy. Dave couldn`t help noting this fact: he entered the studio with a pensive air, with the stockings in his hand: 
"Martin, and why exactly do you need THAT?" 
"Heh-heh-heh," Martin would giggle, self-satisfied and embarrassed, and pretty sure that it was an irrefragable answer. 
   Alan was older - much older, as it seemed at that moment - and he strongly suspected that Martin`s buffoonery,  deliberately unassuming manner, his unnatural suppleness (especially admired by Daniel Miller as Martin always did what he was told with no questions) were just Martin`s way to win. 
   Much later, when Martin had rooted under his skin, so that ripping him out went as painful and disgusting as ripping out Alan`s own inner organs, a spleen or two kidneys one after another, Alan was horrified to realize that his young friend was just compensating his overdeveloped self-centeredness, rigidity, and aggression. Being a skeptic, Alan should have had suspected from the beginning that such a bunch of shiny angelic qualities was not given for free on this earth. But at that moment Alan just thought it was Martin`s boyish manner of compensation to look more successful in his friends` eyes. Alan pitied him for that. And made advances to him as if trying to give Martin some support that he didn’t have. 
   Later Alan realized that he shouldn`t have had listened to Dave`s stories either. Intentionally or not, Dave put Martin down by saying that he was just copying him, Dave, and his bygone bearing of a bully - because Martin was the quiet one and jealous. In fact, Alan believed it and relaxed, yet he shouldn`t have. 
   He understood much later the reason why Dave was so eager to put Martin down in his eyes, but at the time Alan just thought he could probably help that simpleton Martin achieve something that rang true. Especially since Martin regarded him with some degree of cautious respect and seemed to be flattered by Alan`s attention. Idiot. He`d better listen more carefully to the intonations of that damn self-satisfied “heh-heh-heh” than to Dave. That was what Hep, his wife, told him once, and he could not disagree. 
   Hep loved Dave. He seemed very sweet, simple, and sociable person to her, just like her husband. She didn`t love Martin and called him “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide in one” because he seemed so sweet and nice, especially when drunk, but at the same time he was quite a rude monster, a misanthrope, and a scum. Hep said that she always hated men like Martin. Alan suspected she had some particular personal female reason to hate Martin, but he never consciously cared to analyze it to make Hepzibah love Martin. His inner psychoanalyst was pretty shocked when he realized that he, Alan, loved Martin, and that was more than enough. He barely survived this idea. 
   By the time Alan realized that fact, Martin didn`t love him in return any more. Well, let`s say, Martin no longer needed him. He took everything he wanted. Martin was a fast learner; he had a phenomenal memory for the things of his interest. 
   Hepzibah helped Alan fight the ghosts from the past, assuring him that he had made the right choice; Alan wasn`t that certain when he was all by himself. 
   But let`s return to the Mute`s kitchen and to the burnt toaster. At the time Alan was overwhelmed with a research interest - so it seemed to him, to be correct. He was mesmerized by the chemistry flowing between their bodies, his and Martin`s. It was like they were making love in front of Dave and Fletch, and those two had no idea of what was going on. 
   Alan was still staring into the toaster`s insides and lowered his face almost to Martin`s shoulder, slowly sniffing the scent of his skin. It smelled like honey. Not the most distinguished scent in perfumery: too down-to-earth and too literal, somehow even too natural, not very pleasant from the very beginning; but nevertheless catching and calling you to feel it over and over again, making you drool realizing that nothing could smell better and be sweeter than that. 
   Alan closed his eyes for a second to imagine himself moving down along Martin`s spine with light kisses, stopping right between his shoulder blades, and found with perverted preciseness that he was absolutely ready to go to the next stage, and fought the temptation to taste Martin`s skin… At that very moment he felt that Dave was burning a hole in his forehead with his like-an-optical-sight stare. 
   Exactly at the time Alan, triumphant, pulled out the grid with the remains of the burnt toast, graciously giving Martin the opportunity to slip out of his sudden embrace. 
"Who`s wearing the trousers here?" Alan asked victoriously, waving the grid in the air. 
"Heh-heh-heh," Martin said very eloquently and took away the grid. A look askance, however, was enough to make it clear to Alan that Martin understood what was happening between them. 
   Alan cheerfully poured himself a glass of vodka with orange juice and knocked this “screwdriver” back at one gulp. The crazy idea that, contrary to his expectations, nothing was over yet and he was somehow subconsciously waiting for Martin’s response, oddly enough cheered him up. 
   It appeared that he began to see advantages of the work for this strange band. Well, a couple of. And he still saw Martin as a sexual object. He couldn`t help it. He just wanted more. However, at the time it did not scare him at all. 
   He was wondering what Martin would do, what his response would be - now it was the most important. The morality of his behavior, as well as the consequences, he would think over tomorrow, maybe. Now he was a hunter, and it was hell fun. The funniest part was to hunt in front of the lads who suspected nothing; but yet he was quite aware of the idea to find a way to have some privacy with Martin here. 
"Alan, what are you doing there?" Dave asked, waving at him to go back to the studio. "Wondering whether you should sample the burnt toaster, man?!" 
"Very funny, Dave," Alan said. "Can`t believe it is your idea." 
   They worked late into the night. At first Alan shuddered from each move of Martin; he mocked himself for the fact that he behaved like an eleven-year-old girl at a school dance, and it cooled his ardor a bit. However, Martin kept his distance and showed no sign that what had happened earlier that day was not the result of Alan`s vivid imagination. By two o`clock a.m. Alan convinced himself that the sexually yielding flesh under him was just a figment of his sick imagination. 
   Alan was standing over the sound controls, with his body weight shifted on his hands, and trying to think about the song. At that very moment Martin rubbed his bare arm against his, hard as a man should but nonchalantly like a cat would. Alan was already drunk enough to look Martin in the eyes and sober enough to realize that was precisely what he was waiting for the whole day. 
   God, he saw this picture from the studio a thousand times afterwards. Martin and him, shoulder to shoulder. It looked innocent as hell. It looked as innocent as it was actually not at all. He never knew what was going on inside Martin, but he knew what was happening to him. And it was far from innocent. 
   They were recording “Stories of Old”.

Take a look at unselected cases
You'll find love has been wrecked
By both sides compromising
Amounting to a disastrous effect

“Love,” suddenly Martin said, “I see love as a con-so-la-tion…some kind of the consolation prize and some great reward…for the…erm…life routine. You know, the booby prize given to those who came…last.”
“Interesting theory,” Alan said, “although controversial.”
“I mean sex. And booze. They somehow compensate the desperate boredom of existence.”
Alan nodded intently: 
“I agree, particularly with the booze part. Are you so bored with life?”
“Yes, I am,” Martin said honestly.
“And why is that?”
“I don`t know,” Martin answered too buoyantly to believe truly how bored he was. “Probably because nobody gives it to me.”
“Hm. Come with me; I can give you something,” Alan said grimly.
“What?” Martin tensed a little in response to his proposal. Alan could not help enjoying a couple of minutes of pure triumph over his fellow.
“A drink. And what did you expect?” 
  Martin laughed out loud in his own authentic manner, and Alan understood that he appreciated the depth of his humour.
“My last train has just left,” sadly said Martin, looking at the clock on the studio wall and clinking glasses with Alan.
“Well, let`s drink to the train,” Alan said. “Call your mother.”
“What`s the point if I won`t be home tonight?” Martin asked, and that put Alan in a deadlock for a few seconds. Then he decided to answer him in the same absurd manner so that his words would reach Martin more easily:
“Call your sisters then.”
“They are sleeping already.”
“I think I understand you,” Alan took off his vest and put on his leather jacket. “Well, Mister Gore, and what are your plans for tonight? Can I engage you to visit some God-forbidden place called nightclub just around the corner and to drink with me a cup of misanthropy, caused by watching people around, to the bottom?”
“It sounds surprisingly alluring,” Martin said, “as compared to my planned night at the station. I am all yours.”
  Martin quickly pulled on his chunky knit white sweater and worn yellow leather jacket, jumped into his shoes without untying the laces, and now he was bouncing impatiently. Alan was still standing before the mirror, combing his hair and smoothing it back. Then he held the comb out to Martin.
“I’d better not,” Martin shook his head; his face suddenly looked as if he was about to cry.
  Alan laughed. Martin`s complicated relationship with his hair, stiff rebellious African curls dyed into hellish yellowish-white with some sort of class hatred, had already become a byword.
“All right, Angela Davis, the heroine of the African people, shall we stay or shall we go now?”
They walked down the street and just reached the bus stop.
“Hey, where are you going?” Martin asked when Alan spontaneously ran across the street to a rough sleeper in a TV box under the bridge.
“Wait a minute,” Alan said. He quickly sat down in front of the homeless man, threw him some coins, and raced back. “You never know what tomorrow will bring,” he shrugged sheepishly as if embarrassed about his display of kindness as a shameful act of weakness in Martin`s eyes. “My Grandma used to say so.”
  He was afraid that Martin would make fun of him like his friends always did. But Martin`s face showed no trace of a smile. He was quite serious; he repeated Alan`s route and left the homeless some money without saying a word about that at all.
   After walking a few hundred meters to the left, they stopped for some time to stare at the brightly lit storefront of the Musical Instruments Shop. They were just standing there and poking each other in the ribs, like “look, this one is really cool”. Alan avowed to be gathering his own collection of rare instruments and every now and then was pointing with his finger to show Martin what he already had and what he needed.
    Martin was leaning against the window, his nose buried in the glass, enclosing his face with his palms on both sides from the streetlights to see what was inside. From the point where he stood Alan could see pretty well, but he was more interested to look at Martin: the latter was staring at the instruments with the same absolute ecstatic lust as a child gazing at a confectionery counter. So, he was just standing there and smiling as he looked at Martin. Alan felt surprisingly good. The rain had stopped; it was dull and damp but warm. The air was thick and left chewy sweetness in the mouth and viscosity on the teeth like semolina pudding. Martin made him smile constantly; Martin himself smiled so that it crunched behind the ears - he seemed to be absolutely happy.
  Alan wanted to come up and cuddle Martin close to absorb this sudden feeling of absolute happiness. He felt Martin exuding it and thought that if he came up now, the happiness would overflow him as well. Martin was still shining with it, even when he shared his secret by telling Alan the heartbreaking story of how his mother had thrown his collection of rare records off. Alan comprehended all the suffering of Martin`s wounded soul, but he just laughed out because he just couldn`t help it. Martin was not offended; he laughed in response, adding by the way and rather cruel that he would never forgive her. The streets were empty; their steps echoed loudly. They were intoxicated with the night.
   Then the guys started a football game by hitting an empty beer can all over the place, bending in half with laughter because first Martin, in the heat of the game, bumped his forehead into a post, which made Alan roar and rush his back to a phone booth, so now Martin almost fell laughing about that.
“Are you not ashamed of the way you’re scoffing at your friend?!” giggling Alan asked Gore.
“Oh…no! Not at all! Can you…re….ha-ha…repeat it once again?”
“Shit!” Alan bumped his head into the club door. “Martin, aren`t you going inside, huh?”
  Martin was howling with laughter, hugging the post on the other side of the street:
“A-a-ah…you….just…just leave me here…ha-haaaa-haaaa!”
“Oh, Martin,” Alan shook his head, still smiling, and stepped through the door. The guard cast a sidelong look at him; Martin, however, did not follow. Alan glared at the corridor walls for a few minutes, then opened the street door:
    Martin stood right behind the door; he opened his mouth in amazement while he was gazing at the flashing sign of the club. When he finally could speak, his voice was expressing some very strange emotions:
“Alan Wilder, this is a gay bar!” he said. “You`ve brought me to a gay bar, Alan Wilder?”
“Dammit, Martin! Fuck you, don`t act like you were born yesterday!” Alan said and grabbed him by the hand. “Hey, do you know another place that is open now, at night?! Come on, let`s go, for sure you can buy a drink here.”
“Oh, really? I thought clubs should serve some free drinks for the girls,” Martin gave his thirty-two-teeth smile to the guard. “If that’s so, I think you should know that I am an open lesbian.”
“Martin fucking Gore!” Alan said strictly.
“Heh-heh-heeeh,” Martin fucking Gore replied.
  There were just a few people inside the club, and it was relatively quiet. Some tables were occupied, and several pairs of shadows were moving to the music somewhere closer to the dark corners. The light was dim, and the music itself wasn`t loud enough to make them scream into each other`s ears. An average club; so, they drank a couple of beers there. A beefy hairy dude strolled past them. He was wearing an American policeman-style leather cap. Martin pointed his finger at him with childlike simplicity:
“Look, Al, Andy was performing in a cap like that!”
The dude was obviously staring at Martin, but Martin was not confused at all because he couldn`t see him. He was busy with his beer mug.
“Was it your idea?” Alan asked skeptically, lighting a cigarette.
“No, that`s Dave. He`s our designer,” Martin said.
“Oh, my God, where am I?”
“I…I was wearing a cross-harness, you know, like the one this dude is wearing on his boobs,” Martin chuckled. “It`s so nice.”
“Isn`t it?”
“Well, I like it,” Martin said.
“I`d say, you`d better stop pointing at him,” Alan said carefully.
Alan showed with his chin.  Martin squinted to see the guy more clearly but failed and just forgot about him.
“«Shall we play?» Huh?” half-kidding, Alan asked somehow between this and then.
“The play.” 
“What play?” Martin looked utterly uncomplicated, and the subtle hope that was born inside of Alan died a natural death.
“BDSM,” Alan said grimly. “Bondage. Domination. Sadism. Masochism. Do you know what I mean?”
“No, I think I…probably…do not…know,” Martin`s cheeks suddenly flushed so bright that Alan could swear he felt the heat emanating from them. “Well…yes, I know actually…But in general, like…no.”
  Martin buried his embarrassment in his mug of beer. They sat together side by side on high stools at the bar. Martin seemed to feel a little uncomfortable here at first, so he leaned into Alan`s space lightly, resting his thigh and arm against Alan, as if he thought he would be safer like that. It appeared Martin trusted him; at least Alan did not feel it was a trick. Later, when they drank a little, Martin relaxed a bit but did not move away from him.
   Alan had often seen Martin sitting with Dave like that, leaning against him with his whole body, therefore Alan considered himself particularly favoured and did not resist. Well, he actually liked it in a certain sense. He just didn`t want Martin to know about it, so he was just sitting there afraid to move his leg or his arm not to frighten Martin off. 
    They sat there in silence for quite a while. Suddenly, Martin turned to him and gasped:
“Do you?” Alan felt Martin`s breath with his neck. And he felt creeps. It was probably a bad idea to bring the guy here…indeed, he started to feel that he wanted to play with him. Alan warily glanced askance at Martin and met his shiny emerald gaze full of interest and admiration. Obviously, Martin found a way to cope with his previous embarrassment, and now his face was showing pure interest and admiration. This face was showing admiration for him, Alan Wilder. Damn. Alan realized that he would definitely have to lie to Martin. He would do anything not to betray those sparkling emeralds.
“I do,” he said very seriously, hoping that the natural paleness of his skin would hide his emotions.
“Tell me,” Martin said, “how it goes.”
“Martin,” Alan pushed his beer aside, “I guess it is very incorrectly to ask.”
“Well, Martin, there are some things…beyond…”
“Beyond what?”
“You know, there is such a thing as one`s personal life. For example, I am not asking you how you usually jerk off, right, Martin?”  
  Martin looked at him with a strange smile. Or rather, Alan couldn’t understand if Martin had such strange shaped lips or he was smiling at him in a very strange way. He was peering right into his eyes, not blinking at all, like a snake hypnotizing its prey.
“Give me your hand,” Martin said all at once. “Look, you just have to put your hand on…you know…just like this.” He showed how, firmly and painfully grabbed Alan`s wrist, and started to move his palm up and down in the very distinctive manner. Then he laughed aloud.
   Alan leaned back abruptly and nearly fell off the chair. Blood rushed to his head. He opened his mouth unable to make a sound. He had not expected that sudden aggressive provocation from Martin. He was too relaxed, or too tired, or too drunk; he believed Martin`s childish behaviour, so innocent and pure, and his brain couldn`t switch into another position so quickly. He realized what had happened only when he saw that Martin was laughing at him. Alan gave him a morose look while climbing down from his stool:
“I need to pee,” he hissed through his teeth.
    Alan went to the loo stiff-legged. The feeling of warmth and trust had left him without a trace. Now he was shaking inside, with a little help of nicotine and alcohol, but mostly from the ice rocks in his stomach. Anger and irrational fear seized him. Alan was angry with himself and afraid to screw up in front of Martin. All night he had been waiting for Martin to response; no sooner did he relax than he was immediately caught off-guard and hit straight between the eyes by Martin. 
    Alan cursed himself that he hadn`t taken Martin`s prior words seriously enough: “Sex and booze against the boredom of existence”. Oh, well, so we are having fun now. We are making fun of Alan, now! The fuck you don`t know how to play, baby! What a fool I was to think that it was just a figure of speech!
   That was no accident - that was Martin`s answer to his question. Martin was expecting the next movement from him now. And if he could not respond adequately, he would fucking fall from his pedestal like some cormorant with turpentine in its ass.
    Alan moaned over the urinal, burying his forehead in his fist that rested against the grey-painted brick wall.
“The fuck you don`t know how it goes,” he said to his own cock, scaring the shit out of two gays who were cuddling in a corner. Well, he was not trying to talk to his cock; it`s just nobody else was around. Martin was not there. “And what the hell are you doing to me right now? Damn, what a fool I`ve been!”
    On the other hand - Alan thought washing his hands - there was also a positive side of Martin`s behaviour. He obviously showed his interest in the game and was evidently trying Alan out, otherwise he wouldn`t do that. Well, that was definitely the positive aspect of the issue. Alan looked into the mirror, turned his head to one side then to another, proudly throwing out his chin. Let`s see who will win!
“So, let`s play then,” he said to his own reflection.
  Alan returned in a much better mood, sorting through the options of how to respond to Martin`s provocation. Only later would he finally realize that that was the exact moment he swallowed Martin`s bait and was hooked through his cheek like some stupid fat carp. He would figure it out afterwards. 
  But at the time he knew what to do, and something told him that the answer would probably not come easy to Martin.


Alan came home in the evening and turned on his computer immediately. He didn`t even undress, just took off and threw away his shoes. That damn laptop had never booted for so long. It seemed to mock him, proposing a couple of urgent updates and really buzzing while downloading Skype. When he finally got to the site with the phone codes, his hands were shaking with hatred for this insidious piece of iron. 
     However, it was worth the wait. His intuition did not fail him. Alan pulled out his phone and looked at it with the warmest affection he possessed. Yes, there was a good reason in the morning for the feeling like he was hit by the truck. His poor nerves could not help but feel the vibrations of the noosphere when THIS was approaching him.
   As he suspected, his cell phone showed the code of a sweet small California town called Santa Barbara. The place on a map that he was usually too scared to look at. Alan rubbed his forehead and chuckled. So, California, then. If Miller called him from Santa Barbara, then it is not that bad with his ears and brains. So, this phone number has something to do with Martin Gore. The hell he will erase it now!
    Alan wasn`t sure at that moment whether it could be of any use to him, but the idea to erase it seemed monstrous. California. The image of California reminded him of a song. The very thought about this place suddenly inspired him to turn on this old song, the one that was too hard to forget, even though he hadn`t listened to it intentionally for ages. But today there was something wrong with his mood. The train of thoughts and memories was impossible to stop now. Hence, it was easier to succumb than to resist it.

Chapter 2

Is simplicity best
Or simply the easiest
The narrowest path
Is always the holiest*
So walk on barefoot for me
Suffer some misery
If you want my love
If you want my love

Man will survive
The harshest conditions
And stay alive
Through difficult decisions
So make up your mind for me
Walk the line for me
If you want my love
If you want my love

Idle talk
And hollow promises
Cheating Judases
Doubting Thomases
Don't just stand there and shout it
Do something about it

You can fulfill
Your wildest ambitions
And I'm sure you will
Lose your inhibitions
So open yourself for me
Risk your health for me
If you want my love

*Matthew 7:13  “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”

Alan always thought that this song was about Martin. The best song about Martin he had ever heard. Even Martin would probably agree. At that time he even took a new nickname to Ůheck into hotels while touring - “Mister Iscariot”. But at first Martin didn`t recognize himself in Alan`s setting of the song. Well, Martin actually rejected it hard and coldly. He didn`t like it at all, although Alan thought his version was truly genius. It reminded him…California...probably, yeah. Midday. Lazy, passive, and relaxing July midday. Melting air over the fields. Everything seems so good,  but you find it terribly impossible to breathe; you feel totally scared of this alarming tranquility. It seems you are just to have fun, but even birds have stopped singing. The only thing you can hear is sunrays scorching the last life out of the half-dried grass and probably several roulades of a lonely cicada gone nuts because of the heat. Strange, unnatural, somnambulistic, almost pre-apocalyptical tranquility. Nobody knew what was going to happen - either a storm or a tornado, a hurricane or maybe an invasion of locusts that were like horses prepared for a battle, with their men-like faces and women-like hair, or what the hell John the Revelator had promised. Anyway, in that painfully relaxed cheerful midday one felt less optimism than in the maddening calm of a threshold of a terrible storm. 
   Pre-apocalyptical pathological calmness. Martin was radiating it. Alan thought that the song arrangement…it was some kind of a strange impressionistic sound portrait by him, “The picture of Martin Gore”. Probably, that`s why Martin was too mad to acknowledge this fact. Alan was younger at that moment; perhaps, he should have had excused Martin, but he never thought about it. It is unlikely that this heavy burden was that easy for him to carry, and Martin would unlikely ‘talk about it’, as psychoanalytics would say. Just because he never had a choice. Just because he`d already chosen it for himself. It was the way that he was led by his talent, that made him sacrifice himself and sacrifice those miserable bastards who were foolishly led by him. Then again, would they get right with him if they`d thought he wasn’t strong enough to accomplish his goal? Of course not.
   They would never forgive him his weaknesses, and he never dared to fall down in their eyes. He never dared to fall down in his own eyes. He was just moving forward weighed down by this burden. Switching off  his senses and emotions, fighting everything that was humanlike in him, because he was afraid of breaking. And he had nothing humanlike at that time. Dave regarded him as God. Alan thought he was a mechanical toy with a painted-on grin. In fact, they were both wrong. He was just a man trying to survive, and he did survive despite all the losses and wounds he had had.  Although all of his wounds were self-inflicted. They all were great at the ability to tear their flesh apart at that time. But they all survived, by the way.
   Still, Alan couldn`t see it then. He was sitting in the eye of a hurricane and couldn’t know it was destroying everything around. He just thought that Martin was an arrogant bastard, who couldn`t be grateful for what Alan did for him – him, who worked his guts out and could hardly excel himself in that genre another time in his life. Alan started laughing, hiding his face in his palms:
  ‘’Idiots, Dear God, what idiots we’ve been!’’ he said and stood up from his chair to take a shower and change his clothes.
  He was laughing about that itching sense of shame he still felt, recalling how hard they struggled with Martin that time. To tell the truth, Martin really impressed him. Fanatic pedantry of his nature in their work had never manifested itself so vividly. Martin forgot his gentleness and pliancy, and pushed Alan with all the power of a typographic press; he stood his ground and refused to give the Enemy even a single inch of his scorched land. In his turn, Alan stubbornly pushed him to do what he knew was better for them all. They had shouted at each other for good eight hours. Flood, their sound-producer for Songs of Faith and Devotion, tried to reconcile them but got hit from the both sides, took offence, went downstairs into the basement, and locked himself in the Laundry room. Fletch asked them to hush the fuck up their roars, but Alan recommended him to go and learn to clap his hands better, because they`d be on tour soon, and Fletch was paid as a fully functional musician.
“Exactly. And it would be better for you not to forget who I am!” Fletch replied gloomily, looking at him over his glasses.
   Then came the Dave whom they hadn`t seen for two days as he never got out of his room. He asked them to stop shouting because it made him nervous. It was mere his bad luck that he got Martin`s fist in his face. Martin should never even shout at Dave. It was absolutely forbidden. Ever. Everybody could, but Martin couldn`t. 
   Dave reminded a sheep dog to Alan sometimes. Especially at that exact moment. Like for any purebred dog, very proud and sensitive, hearing his Master scolding him was a real shock for Dave. He was stunned with fear to believe that his beloved Master raised his voice and hand to him; he failed to recognize what he had done wrong because he was just trying to please him…then came the tears. Drugs did their job, although it was always hard for Dave to manage his emotions. He came up with a hysterical breakdown. Normally, Martin would apologize several million times and try to console him.
   But that time only some black fire flashed inside his eyes, then he clenched his teeth and said he hated them and let them do what-fucking-ever they wanted, and left for the pub.

Martin was still sitting there, leaning against the bar and swinging his legs on a high stool. It was just that fucking dude who was now blithely sitting near Martin in Alan`s place. As it could be seen, communication held them, Martin and the kinky guy in leather Ůap and cross-harness, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Alan came from behind and took Martin's neck into his hook-bent elbow, making it impossible for him to breathe, and pulled him back so that Martin was lying on him now:
“I sincerely do hope I interrupt you, gentlemen,” Alan informed them through his clenched teeth.
  Martin hissed something untranslatable, grabbing Alan`s arm with his hands and obviously fighting to breathe. The kinky Leather Dude was alarmed by Alan`s aggressive possessiveness and disappeared quickly.
“Home. Now,” Alan said to Martin, who was trying to clear his throat. 
  They went upstairs to the front door, then got out to the street in complete silence. Martin didn`t say a word about what had happened. Alan kept silent too. Not that he was mad at Martin now, but he was worried about the strength of the rage attack he felt when he saw Martin talking to someone else. He almost strangled him, and he was worried about it. 
“What`s wrong with you?” Martin finally asked him as they walked down the street to the Thames. 
“What`s wrong with you?” Alan retorted grimly. 
“Listen, it`s just…we were talking…”
“As I am Charles, the Prince of Wales.”
He grabbed Martins arm, dragging him aside.
“Where are you taking me?” asked Martin rather calmly, following  Alan to a solitary construction site. They felt crunched pieces of fallen plaster, boards, glass, metal, and some other garbage, unidentifiable at night-time, under their feet. 
“To talk…” Alan replied through his clenched teeth.
  Martin`s face held a strangely smug expression, either from alcohol or by nature. He was surely impressed by Alan`s outburst but not in the sense Alan would be happy to know. Alan looked askance at Martin; he was surprised that even in the dark he saw that his eyes were green. They were glowing with bewitching green light right from their depth, fatally mesmerizing Alan like some sort of will-o'-the-wisps. To see the will-o'-the-wisps was a bad sign in the land where Alan was born, but it seemed that to meet Martin was even a worse one, so he had nothing to lose.
   Alan grabbed Martin`s shoulders, turned him around and pressed him against the wall with all his heart. Exactly against the motto “Kip Britin Vait!” written over the painted “SHARP” emblem of antiracist skinheads. He didn`t give Martin a chance to realize what was going on and dug his lips into Martin`s mouth, clumsily biting his lip at first because he was too scared to miss it. 
  Alan`s heart was beating so fast and loudly in his ears that it almost hurt. He heard nothing, even his own heavy breath and Martin`s gasps, only this fucking ‘boom-boom-boom’; he was too scared to open his eyes. When he realized that the dice had been cast, fear paralyzed him. In fact, it was the worst kiss in his life. His worst nightmare came true. He almost bit the lad`s lip through, too scared to stop the kiss because then he`d meet the consequences. He hoped that Martin`s adequate reaction would come before them, but the time was passing, and his breath was almost over, as well as his ignition.
  Martin stood still. 
  He didn`t move a fucking musŮle.
  Absolutely. He didn`t even grab Alan`s arms, although he should have done it instinctively out of fear to fall back when Alan pushed him up to the wall. Now all Alan wanted was to die. He wished Divine Powers would struck him down with the Thunder from Heaven on that shitty construction site right then and turn him into dust under those glowing green eyes. Because Martin was just staring at him silently. Alan felt like Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo; in simple words…totally fucked up. It was an epic fail. What the heck should he do now?
“You don`t like me?” Alan asked in a husky voice. Well, now he really had nothing to lose.
“I do like you…I believe…” Martin said calmly.
  Alan felt cramp at the back of his head from both sides. He put one hand on the right from Martin`s head and the other on the left, pressing his palms against the brick wall. He was glaring at the lad darkly. He wanted to ask Martin if he was sure he knew what to do when kissing, as he became tired to be the one and only idiot here. But his sense of humour left him completely.
“The things you do…I think I…like them too.”
“Oh no, really?” The sort of metallic sound in Alan`s tone was indescribable.
  Instantly another idea struck him. Oh, what a fool he had been. What if…
“Dave?” he asked.
“Dave - what?” Martin replied quickly. Too quickly.
“Well, you and…Dave...is there something going on between you two…er…I don`t know…some kind of relationship? Are you, like, you know…together?”
“Oh, obviously, we are not,” Martin sighed.
  If Alan was more clever at the time, he would notice that Martin almost betrayed himself with this “we are”. He should have understood that Martin and Dave were “we” even then. He would run away from that construction site, hurrying like a bitch from hell, but he was too young, too dumb, too inexperienced; he was tired and horny, also drunk and mad, and his mind was focused on solving the problem of Martin resisting to kiss him back. So, Alan heard only one word: “no”.
“Why don`t you kiss me back then?”
  Martin shrugged; he was sure it was a complete answer. Alan had never been as close to murdering a man as at that moment. Without saying a word Martin stood up on his toes, touched Alan`s angry face with his both palms softly, and gently placed his lips on Alan`s. It was too hard for Alan even to unclench his teeth. The idea to kill Martin still seemed more attractive to him than kissing, but the lad became surprisingly persistent. Slowly, tenderly, somewhat pedantically gently he was placing short soft kisses on Alan`s upper and then lower lip. His tongue was teasing him and it was almost ticklish, so Alan even opened his mouth to say that to Martin…but the latter just used the advantage to deepen his kiss. He did even more - he used Alan’s distracted attention to turn him around and press him against the wall with his own body, continuing his slow and gentle kiss. Oh, you fucking bastard, you can kiss, Alan thought. Martin really liked to kiss and wasn`t afraid to show his interest. Alan started to melt. He fucking liked it. Maybe it was even better that he hadn’t killed Martin? Alan laughed at his own thought.
    He made some clever movement to return Martin to the original position. Despite his expectations, Martin neither resisted nor defended his active position - he was willingly accepting Alan, catching his lips with his own and moving towards. Alan felt he was desired for. It was a turn-on. A fucking turn-on.
    He put his hands underneath Martin`s sweater and felt the burning heat of his skin. Martin almost jumped with Alan`s touch because his hands were as chilly as ice. The night was pretty cold, so was the brick wall from which his palms took in the chill, but he forgot about it.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Alan bowed his head in shame.
“I probably would,” Martin laughed.
  Their lips entwined with a wet juicy sound, and the feeling of unity absorbed them both. They were here in the street alone; they were together. It was like the world outside never existed. Their kisses became shorter; their breath was rushing, and their heads were turning. Alan`s hands slid up then down Martin`s back and became as hot as his skin. Alan moved his palms to Martin’s navel and up and stopped on his chest, holding his sweater up to his armpits. 
    Martin groaned and arched his body forward, pressing his thighs into Alan`s, unambiguously hinting at his body’s reaction to Alan`s treatment. Alan seemed to have missed the moment where they`d stopped kissing and started to make love. And he never would if some drunken bum hadn’t appeared from nowhere and cursed them:
“Go `way, fockin` fags!”
  They`d forgot all decency.
  Alan jumped away from Martin like a scalded cat. 
“Holy shit!” Alan thought his heart would jump out of his chest from the infernal mix of fear and desire.
  He thrust to the right corner, pulling Martin with him, as a glass bottle slammed against the wall where they stood a moment ago.
“We are fucked!” 
“Ha-ha-ha-ha,” Martin expressed his opinion of the situation and followed Alan on a short path over the fence.       
  When they ran far enough, they stopped on one of the main streets which was lit sufficiently. Alan bent over, leaning against his knees, trying to catch his breath:
“ If...if…”  he spat on the sidewalk in a bad manner. “Holy Cunt, Lord Almighty, if I survive tonight...”
“You will, ha-ha-ha,” Martin said. "You won’t get off so easily! HIS sense of humour is too twisted. What’s the point in killing you now if He could laugh more later?» 
   Martin made Alan laugh out loud. Alan was still fighting for his breath. Martin, however, seemed quite pleased with what had happened. For a “good  boy” he liked to appear he was too calm and confident in such an extreme situation. Apparently, it was a part of his struggle with boredom. Alan began to suspect that the stories about the rednecks beating the shit out of Martin and Fletch almost every weekend were not the complete truth. Well, Martin`s smile was too wide. Some of the chavs probably survived. And damn, Martin apparently missed less physical training lessons at school than Alan. He was walking around him impatiently:
“So what are our further plans for tonight, Al?” Martin said grinning. "Let`s go to the skins; there`s such a nice place to make out.”
“Oh, please go ahead, you can do it without me,” Alan stood straight now. “I`ve had enough for today.” 
“I need to drink,” Martin said, “I am almost sober. And I have three more hours until work. Not enough time to sober up completely, so I believe there is no point in stopping.”
“Reasonably,” Alan agreed, “if you will be able to understand what to do at work.”
  Martin shrugged.
“I…can`t actually say I understand what I do there every single day, so nobody will probably notice any difference. We`ve got three hours to kill.”
  Alan laughed.
“Let`s go to my place then. I guess we`ll find something to do.  You`ve got nothing to lose anyway, mainly…if you are still drunk.”
   Martin`s loud laughter cheerfully announced to the surroundings that he was there.


 Alan had never ever waited for Miller so impatiently. His mind had overworked itself. He was weighing the pros and cons. At first he decided to say yes to any of Miller`s proposals. Then that authentic and oh-so-familiar ill-mannered chuckle he`d heard on the other side of the phone line somewhere near his producer started haunting him. He became aware that he would look like a happy dog who ran hurriedly to his master`s call, and it killed his mood. Obviously, Dan discussed all the details with HIM, as he would never ask if it hadn`t been HIS will. It was absolutely sick to think about it and to be so nervous, but the situation looked equally bad from both sides. If he refused, he would look like a shitty coward, but if he agreed…he would give himself away.
   Alan started to call Miller, but the latter didn`t answer, as if he knew everything about Alan`s doubts. Then Miller left him a voice mail:
“Hi, this is Dan Miller. And you, Wilder, don`t you fucking even dare. See you at the tea party in my office this Tuesday. Don`t try to bring any biscuits.”


I want you to call me on your drug phone.
I want to keep you alive so there is always the possibility of murder later.

Alan put a liter of Jack Daniels on Miller`s table.
“Well done, well done! Good boy!” Miller said.
“I am so touched, Dan.”
“Sit down, please,” Daniel pointed to the armchair beside the low coffee table. “Drink yourself?”
“I am driving. Besides, I hate whisky. Do you have white spirit? Or some screen wash? Makes no difference for me.”
“Like I will jump and run to find you some white spirit! I need to talk to you, so eat what you are given,” Dan was kidding, but he said it without any trace of a smile on his face; he even put his cigar out of his mouth.
  It might be really important to him. Alan didn`t want to upset Miller or to show any disrespect for him.
“Do you want to get me dead drunk and take the advantage over my weaknesses in that state?” Alan joked, leaning back in a soft leather armchair.
  It seemed that the talk would be long. Ok then, he could leave his car there and call a taxi.
“Indeed,” Dan wasn`t smiling even politely, just at all. 
  Alan nodded. Instantly he felt like a little boy, though Dan didn`t even push him anywhere. Yet.
“You won`t find enough white spirit here,” he replied.
  Miller generously poured himself a glass of whiskey and a second one for Alan. He drank almost to the bottom.
  So did Alan - not to stutter. 
“So, you saw Mart…Martin?”
“How do you know?”
“Because of Santa Barbara`s phone code.”
“You know Santa Barbara`s phone code by heart?”
“No, I`m just a smart shit. I had checked afterwards. When I heard that painfully familiar “ha-ha-ha”, I was worried where my producer was hanging around - and here I am. He was with you when you called me?”
“Ah, ok then, yes, I was visiting Martin. Just business, but I also wanted to see his new house after his divorce and to talk like good friends, something like that…you know.”
  He refilled their glasses.
“From that time I can`t drink vodka any more. So thank you very much for the whiskey.”
“You are free to choose your poison,” Alan laughed.
“Mart said that he believed it could be incorrect to work on remasterings of the old DM material if you, Mr. Wilder, disagreed to take part. Because of the respect to your creative contribution and input. So, Alan, you should know you are stealing my money if you even try to disagree. I know you don`t need any money for yourself,” Miller was trying to make it sound like a joke, but Alan was just staring bluntly at the wall, so Miller continued, “but Martin insisted that I asked you first, Mr. Wilder.”
“Mr. Gore could call me by himself,” Alan`s voice sounded quite bitchy, “as far as he nicely decided to be that gracious.”
“And why is that? Fancy to ask him out to lunch?” Miller was not impressed by his tone. “No problem, Al, I can call him for you right now. By the way, what time is it? Oh, I believe it might be morning at Mart`s place.”
“No!” Damn, Alan sounded so hysterically that he felt really embarrassed.
  Miller started laughing.
“At the current stage of our relationship I am not ready for this yet. Shall we see each other?”
 “Well, I guess if you feel the NEED to…then, of course, you can meet each other for God’s sake! The most important thing is - for God’s sake only. You two are adult men, and you have families and kids, so who am I to judge you? Actually, I thought you were better than that, Al. No, I was pretty sure about Dave when I saw him first. But, Alan, YOU?!” 
“Fuck it, Dan! It`s not that funny as it seems,” Alan commented wistfully.
“You don`t say so!” Dan laughed again. “It does seem quite funny for me, old boy!”

Chapter 3

I want to be there where you learn the cost of desire.
 “Have you seen my glasses?” squinting, Andy entered the room.
  Silence was the answer. Alan only looked at him over his shoulder. A working evening in the studio had started as usually. Alan arrived first, at noon, having had enough sleep after the hard-working night. In fact, he couldn`t sleep normally after Martin had left. He fell unconscious for a few hours and then just lay in his bed, shifting and rolling from one side to the other. The bed linen smelled like Martin. That’s why it inevitably turned the track of his thoughts back to what they had been doing here. It hindered him from sleeping, filling his raw nerves with shame and dismay. No, it hadn`t been that bad yesterday or rather say earlier in the morning. Quite the opposite: it seemed so natural and easy; not that they didn`t have a choice, but none of them wanted to make any. However, Martin wasn`t near now – he went to work, apparently even in time; he didn`t wake Alan up and just shut the door behind himself. If he`d waken him, all this everyday domestic activity, like making tea for him or something, would wash away the useless knot of cowardly emotions, because he`d have to look a more experienced male in Martin`s eyes. But since Martin wasn`t around, Alan didn`t have to pretend. He didn`t want any tea either.
  So he was rolling from side to side, white-hot thoughts stinging his brain. The thoughts about what he`d done and said, burning in love fever, and mostly about what he hadn`t said or done. It now seemed to Alan he`d said too much but hadn`t done what he should have had. He`d got lost. He`d been drawn into that flow of warm caresses and ardent kisses. He`d had enough balls to stay cool at first, trying to be polite and show Martin his favourite vinyl collection, but Martin looked at his watch in some businesslike manner and said in the most inhumanly metallic tone:
 “We`ve got two hours and a half for everything.”
  For everything.
  Ok, deal. Alan knew what Martin meant.
  So he just threw him down on the bed and fell atop, kissing Martin`s lips, nose, forehead and cheek; he placed his lips on Martin`s ear, then right under, then traced his jawline and back to the lad`s lips again. Martin groaned like he could come right now, exhaling with a hidden thirst of unsatisfied desire in his moan. He couldn`t hide the rapture about unexpected level of Alan`s sudden tenderness. As for Alan, though, he didn`t expect such approval for his small steps. Did not expect, but it hit him like a truck up to his cerebellum. So he decided to repeat his circle of kissing over Martin`s face and then slid down, feverishly licking the lad`s neck; he almost stopped breathing not to miss any sound that Martin would make.
 “Hell, you`re such a turn-on!” Alan whispered.
 “Ah-h-h…” another hot wave hit Alan`s balls.
  Martin`s breath started to rush, indicating the rightness of Alan`s actions. It made Alan relaxingly dumb. Dumb - because he was melting with every minute like a knob of butter on a hot pancake. He felt so warm and safe inside - Martin was in his arms, and he wanted to be; there couldn`t be any other opinion. 
  Alan kissed his way down to Martin`s neck, then lower, tracing his collar bones. Martin let him bring his arms up and over his head - yes, it was much better this way. Taking his pleasure of Martin`s shuddering under him, Alan kissed the inner sides of his elbows and several inches lower where the skin was most sensible and defenceless. He didn`t think much before passing his tongue across Martin`s nipples and chest.
 Martin was acting as if reading the unwritten law of desire by heart. He arched his body and pressed his hips against Alan`s, reminding him about the state of his own excitement. Alan moaned through the gritted teeth, trying to suppress his emotions, and he was a success until the moment he heard:
 “Touch me.”
  Alan gulped nervously and did what he was asked. Well, of course he knew where exactly Martin needed to be touched. And yes, he did touch him there. Martin`s screams felt like TNT for his brain. Alan got out of breath at the hardness he felt under his palm.
 “Let me…” Martin whined, “let my hands go!”
 “Why the heck? I am all happy!”
  Martin decided not to go into details much. He just escaped from Alan`s grip and started kissing him hard, almost hurting their jaws and removing Alan`s clothes.
 “I see your point!” Alan said when he was able to.
  He obviously got too lost in researching Martin`s reactions and forgot how much he was aroused now. Actually, he forgot that Martin was the guy, just like himself, so he would hardly wait for his initiative. It added a lot of pepper to this erotic dish. He wanted him. Martin really wanted him. Oh, fuck!
  Recalling all that in the morning was the most perverted torture on earth. It was tearing Alan apart with the mix of erotic ecstasy and black paranoid fear and uncertainty. Martin had left him silently, and it was understandable from one point of view: it looked like some sort of care for Alan`s repose; but it was fucking hell. Alan wished he could see Martin`s eyes - it would ease his mind. 
  Alan jumped off his bed and went to the shower. Warm water relaxed him a bit and helped him find some kind of peace inside. Well, no more did he wish it had never happened. Not now, when his hands were gliding over his own body with a sort of ironical research interest, finding how sensitive his skin still was after that kind of night.  His skin responded like it was someone else’s touch.
  A warm stream of water caressed his mouth and made him lick his lips. He felt like an idiot; he was ashamed of what they`d done, and he still didn`t have a clue what the hell he would say to Martin when he`d see him again – yes, it was all quite the same as before, but with one difference. He stopped fucking care. At the moment he cared much more about the fact that he wanted Martin here and now. In that shower.
 “Fool in love!” Alan smiled at his mood changes.
  He grabbed his balls from behind, slowly remembering how it felt when the other man`s hand did the same. The other man`s hand, then mouth.
  Martin didn`t hesitate - he pulled Alan`s zipper open, let his aroused flesh free, and took it into his mouth. Alan realized that now it was definitely the point of no-return and nothing-to-lose. He groaned, arching his back towards Martin`s caress. He felt every touch, a little bit soft and ticklish from the start, but soon Martin`s moves became firmer and faster. Alan decided it was time to open up his eyes. The feeling was great, but that wasn`t the only thing he wanted to experience now. He wanted to see Martin giving him his head. The sensation of his caress alone couldn`t help - he NEEDED to see MARTIN blowing him. Alan bit his lower lip, mesmerized by the intricate beauty of the whole process coming into view. 
“You,” he exhaled, “are sucking my dick.”
“I am,” Martin nodded half-jokingly, although he realized why Alan needed this statement.
  He needed it too, but for some other reason than Alan, of course.
  It took time for Alan, now staying under the stinging streams of water, to realize that he was caressing himself quite seriously, and he just wouldn`t stop until it came to its natural finish. His dick stiffened in his own hand that was moving back and forth faster, which made steamy pictures in his mind increase their temperature more and more. Martin`s blowjob, slightly abashed and thereby so precious, became not enough in his state of arousal now. He recalled his later insanity, when he had been lying naked on Martin`s back, biting his skin right between his shoulder blades in order to contain himself; he recalled the taste of Martin`s sweat – the taste that had made him even more insane because it was the result of what he` been doing to Martin at the time.
“I want you…I want to have you…I want to feel your body accepting me willingly, because you want me…I want to feel you wanting me,” Alan was feverishly whispering the words he probably shouldn`t have to, but he felt so good.   
  If he had ever felt any love before in that kind of ungodly act, it grew dim beside the strangling sensation that paralyzed his mind and loins with pure rapture now. He was mumbling bullshit, but if he`d not, he would probably moan to Martin that he fucking loved him - to strangle himself in the morning after that. He did love him, but he wasn`t sure he meant it. He loved Martin in that exact moment; he loved how he was answering his erotic movements; he loved how he reacted to his pain and tenderness; he was hypnotized by the line of Martin`s shoulders; he adored his arms and his arched back; he worshipped the beads of Martin`s sweat crawling down his spine between those fucking shoulder blades – the beads of sweat he kept licking off like a maniac.
  Alan loved how Martin`s muscles reacted when he changed his tempo. Martin was squeezing him more than necessary because Alan was squashing his thighs together; it was too intensive for the first time, but Alan wanted it that way. Martin didn`t object either. He did everything Alan asked.
  It was strangely erotic. It was purer and held more chastity than the same act of love with a girl. It was an act of intimacy and trust between the two men; however, it was the refined sexuality itself. It was sex purified from any biological instincts; it was the other man satisfying his intimate needs voluntarily. Alan felt it was the absolute love, but he was not ready to discuss it with Martin at the moment. He thought he had already revealed too much of his possessiveness and care - Martin could put it against him any time if he`d like to.
  Alan trusted Martin because he was a guy too, but he was the man he started to fear. He was too scared to say «I love you», even though his heart was asking for it, and his lips were begging. He was afraid that Martin would see it as weakness and reject him. Alan felt that the man underneath was in need of his strength, but he wasn`t ready to give such a weapon right into THOSE hands.
“You belong to me now.”
  It was especially immoral to get so aroused by the feeling of control he had over the body beneath. Still, the body didn`t show any resentment.
  Well, it did stiffen at first from his invasion, but Alan tried to be as careful as a goldsmith, and soon Martin started to groan pretty vitally, urging him not to stop. And not even try to give him any kind of freedom.
  Alan started to moan just with Martin`s excited moans. He was stimulating him to feel that good, and if he`d tried to suppress his groans, his abdomen would explode from the happiness that Martin`s «ah-h-h» brought him. Those trivial air flows inside his lungs that caused his husky moans really helped him to ease the pain from each forward movement of his over-aroused cock.
  It filled his brain, and it was too much in his tired and half-drunken state, but he wanted more; so, clenching his teeth, he was trying to make this distinctive pleasure last longer. He was wet; Martin was wet; sheets were tangled up between them and totally got everywhere in the way of their movements. They both were too exhausted to continue but too excited to stop.
  Martin was begging for more; Alan`s arms were trembling, and he was alive only due to his will to fuck the hell out of Martin, whatever it would cost him. It was dawning outside, but he was still too fucking busy because of that. Finally Alan realized that he could change the position, so he would probably not die before coming. He was not lying on top of Martin`s back anymore, gripping his thighs with his own and hammering Martin into the bed with his bolt. Although the sensation Alan got was different from THAT, he could take the new one. 
  He made Martin stand on his elbows and knees. It was a sort of insight! He could move now! And so, he did. The change of the position emboldened them both, so Alan had to do little to send them over the edge of ecstasy, and he didn`t give a fuck if he was screaming or yelling now - his balls were fucking smashed with pleasure.
  Unconscious, he fell down on Martin and…well, and then he awoke. Alone.


   When Martin entered the studio after his working day, he was, in Miller`s apt expression, «as quite as an ant pissing on cotton». He silently entered the room and barely nodded to everyone. While Daniel was in the same room with all of them, Martin was convincingly playing moderately enthusiastic, desperately propping his chin up on his fists. He actually swayed from time to time, but Fletch kept on trying to return his friend into vertical position. Dave humorously moved Martin`s elbow from left to right and vice versa, not sure either trying to help the buddy drop his face on the table or to stir him up. Martin just gazed at him from under the heavy eyelids with the tranquility of the Thai Golden Buddha statue, passing into nirvana at a noisy and irrepressible child.
“All lay loads on a willing horse, huh, Martin?” Miller asked, jokingly petting Martin`s hair.
“M-m-m-m,” Martin said.
“Listen, haven`t you had enough of it yet? You are working in your bank like a zombie and sitting here, you know, like a…erm…zombie, too.”
  Martin shrugged:
 “I…I don`t know, really. I believe…I hope they will fire me somehow. I`ve dreamt about that all day, I`ve begged them internally to throw me out, but somehow they did not.”
“You can, like, retire, dude. By yourself, though,” Dave said.
“How come?!” Martin was deeply surprised, or so his face said.
  Dave frowned. He was the only person in the studio to take Martin`s question seriously, so he started to choose the words to explain. Alan even dropped the spoon into his cup of tea, watching the interaction with an inexplicable - at least for Andrew Fletcher and Daniel Miller - enthusiasm. He found the mise en scene extremely entertaining. However, at the moment when Dave began explaining how to write a notice of resignation and where to put the date in the paper, Alan decided to tell Martin that mocking children and animals was immoral. He even opened his mouth. But Martin answered Dave first:
“How can I leave when they took me?”
  Alan forgot to close his mouth. He never thought that it could be a dialogue of two equals.
“Ain`t they be upset if they won`t be able to see your sleepy mug every day, chuck?”
“Errrr…” Martin was staring bluntly at the ceiling for good two minutes, “no. I think they won`t.”
  Martin`s mood enlightened instantly.
“So, where shall I write the date? Left corner?” he asked Dave.
  Alan was terrified by the thought that Martin wasn`t mocking Dave, so he looked at him once again with greater interest. At night he thought he was shagging a much more evolutionary developed human being than that; he had definitely drunk too much.
  Martin consciously avoided looking him in the eyes.
“Did you leave Basildon by the seven-twenty`s train?” suddenly asked Andy. “I totally lost you in the morning!”
“No, I did not.”
“Couldn`t you just wait for me?”
“I didn`t go to work by the morning train,” Martin answered again patiently, “I walked.”
“You walked right on the railway line?” Dave laughed.
  Fletch worriedly touched Martin`s forehead, suspecting he had some kind of delirium. 
“No, I am not crazy,” Martin said a little bit touchily, throwing Andy`s hand off his forehead, “I wasn`t at home yesterday. I stayed the night in London.”
“OOOHH, YEAH, BABY!!! THERE IT IS!!! HERE WE GO!!!” Dave was laughing out loud now. “And the night was rather hot, wasn’t it?”
  Alan didn`t realize at first that he stopped breathing.
  In a very matter-of-factly manner Martin announced to the world:
“Nothing out of the common.”
  Alan choked on his tea.
“Watch yourself, Alan!” Miller said grandmotherly, patting Alan`s back, “we have a lot of work to do yet!”
“Tha-thank…you, Dan,” Alan felt he was blushing like hell.
  Earlier, when he came to the studio, he told Dan that Martin had stayed the night at his place. Like he didn`t think much. Dan just told him that Andy had lost Martin, so had Martin`s family; probably he knew something? Alan decided there was nothing extraordinary about it - what the problem? They could`ve had stayed in pub for too long in the night, and there weren`t any night trains!
  Alan hoped Miller would be so kind not to eat him alive by telling this fact to everybody, and he would do his best to save face. Dan opened his mouth, and was ready to kill everybody with the details, but Alan hit first:
“Aren`t we going to do something today already?!” he said, pretending that the teaspoon in his hands wasn’t shaking.
“Oh, yes, we are,” Martin jumped up off his seat.
  There was a couch in their working room. Martin had his certain plans for that couch.
  So they all forgot about the topic soon. It wasn’t that important after all.
  Martin entered the room enthusiastically and lay down on the couch, which he was craving most as he was almost going insane from the lack of sleep. He hugged himself, crossed his legs, and passed the fuck out in a second. Dave ran into the room, hissing and pressing finger against his mouth. In his hands he held Fletch`s glasses that he had obviously stolen, and he was happy as a baby. He looked around in search of the most funny object to place them…and saw Martin, who was sleeping like an angel. The opportunity was too tempting for Dave to miss it. He giggled and quietly applauded himself for the idea; even gloomy Alan started smiling. Dave placed Fletch`s glasses on the bridge of Martin`s nose. Martin felt nothing and didn`t move at all. So, and here came the Fletch:
“Have you seen my glasses?”
“Nope!” Dave was shaking his head violently, like a child insisting that it was the cat who had eaten all the raspberry marmalade.
  He turned to Alan, winking him deviously. Usually Alan didn`t support their educational games with Fletcher`s glasses, but this time the temptation was too big even for him. From time to time he darted glances at Martin, sleeping in Andy`s spectacles. Well, Andy looked at Martin too, but he couldn`t see if those were Martin`s glasses or his own.
“Alan, have you seen my glasses?”
“I would tell you, Fletch, where I would like to see your glasses, but you will most likely be offended,” said Alan, smiling to the guy affectionately. 
  Fletch swore under his breath.
“Relax, Fletch, we will buy you a new pair!” Dave was wrinkling his nose not to laugh out too loud.
“I don`t want a new one, I am a retrograde, I`m eager for my old ones! My favourite old glasses!”
“Fletch, really, calm down, drink some coffee. Just realize you can drink coffee in the studio the whole day, and you won`t need glasses!”
  Dave twisted his finger at his temple:
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING `BOUT?! And how will Fletch read his newspapers?”
  They both burst out laughing. Fletch called them “degenerates” and “moral monsters”, and assured them that he knew who`d stolen his glasses, and as soon as he found the item, he would beat the shit out of that red impudent muzzle! 
  Alan tactfully pointed out to Fletch that he could not, of course, objectively judge the nuances of male faces and their expressions, but the only person with natural red hair color was Fletch himself, so he asked Andy to make sure he would call him to see how he would beat himself in the face.
  Dave whimpered from laughter and played a brief but expressive pantomime "Fletch beats the shit out of his impudent red head". Andy, however, continued to stick from one corner of the studio to another, occasionally howling melancholically like a ghost that had not found his rest in peace, in his search for the precious glasses.
  The first three times Alan and Dave tried to hide their grins until the pain in their cheeks, but the howling repeated so insistently that they started nickering like beasts. Martin woke up from their heehawing and sat on the couch yawning. He tried to rub his eyes but was unsuccessful as fuck because he rubbed the glasses instead. The guys started laughing even more than before. They were literally crying from laughter. Martin replied:
“Hah-hah-hah-hah,” he seemed to have understood what was going on there.
  Fletch decided to look inside the room again.
“Fletch,” Martin said joyfully, “why did you put your glasses on me when I was sleeping?”
“Me?!” Fletch said indignantly.
  After that short break they started to work more productively. They recorded five versions of one song. They all were just great from one point of view and just a crap from another, so when it was eleven o`clock, they decided that tomorrow is a new day. Andy took Martin by the scruff and said they had to go now, otherwise they would miss their train.
  Dan was sitting in his office, and Dave was on the telephone in the back room, rambling. Alan went downstairs to close the door behind them.
“Goodbye, Alan,” Fletch said ceremonially.
“I am looking forward to seeing you soon, Andy,” Alan replied in the same tone.
  Martin said nothing. Alan raised his eyebrow while closing the door. In his humble opinion, even on the scale of Martin pretending that nothing had happened he just surpassed all moral standards. There was a knock on the door at once, briefly - Alan had not even had time to hang the chain. He opened the door. There was Martin smiling broadly:
“I forgot something,” he said to Fletch over his shoulder, pushed Alan away insistently, rushing in and shutting the door with his leg, and stang Alan`s lips with his own.
“Oh...that`s so nice you remembered…because «something» was pretty puzzled!” Alan whispered into his very lips.
  Martin smiled but just deepened their kiss.
  The touch of their lips struck their bodies with an electric shock immediately: their mutual excitement knew the most precise and short way as it had learned the day before, so it worked out right now. Somewhere out there Dave`s voice was mumbling something peacefully from afar. And there were Fletch`s loud steps on the other side of the door.
  Alan pressed Martin against the door with his body, placing hot kisses on his mouth. Even through their sensual heated rush he felt the presence of Andy pacing in about a meter from them and having no clue that they were almost making out like some crazy pair of lovers. In fact, they were the crazy pair of lovers now - right from the moment Martin had French kissed him secretly. Before that it had been just a stupid experimental drunken fuck. Now it was a statement that they were lovers. He`d been waiting for that moment the whole fucking day; their lips were entwined now, and it meant that Martin was telling him, “Yes, I want to be with you.”
“MARTIN!” Andy shouted loudly to be heard through the door.
  It seemed he pressed his ear to it to hear better. Alan was trying not to suck Martin`s lips so vigorously, although he felt they both were almost laughing because of the adrenaline and the absurd of the situation.
“Wait a minute, I am coming!” Martin said, fighting for breath.
  Alan was just lying atop of him now, breathing hard and feverishly licking his lips. Clasping the bottom side of Martin`s body to himself, he listened to Andy`s ramblings about some superstars who imagined that Essex trains would be waiting for them. Limousines could wait for the superstars, mini-vans and private jets could wait for them too, but Essex trains wouldn`t ever.
“Don`t go!” Alan said somehow too feminine and wistfully.
  He despised himself right at the moment he said it. He knew Martin had to go, and he didn`t plan to expose Martin or himself. What had happened was their private matter and nobody else`s business.
“I don`t want to,” Martin admitted honestly, “but...”
“I know,” Alan wanted to say the world to him now.
  “I don`t want to go” melted all the ice and let out what he wanted to keep inside himself. He was eager to tell Martin that the day had been the pure hell for him, and how he was waiting for his mere glance, and how he nearly died when he heard that “nothing out of the common”. But that was totally unmanly, so he just touched Martin`s cheek and asked, “Tomorrow?”
  Martin nodded. And at that exact moment they were pushed off the door by the Great Hurricane named Andrew! Alan shoved his hand quickly into Martin`s pocket, thoughtfully pulling his wallet out and trying to show it to Martin:
“Here is your wallet, Mart, here it is,” as Alan`s other hand was hugging Martin`s shoulder, showing as much caress as it could. “Already returned, Andy?” he greeted Fletcher coldly. “Missed me?”
“Oh, wha-what is that…ah, couldn`t it be, the wallet of mine!” Martin said cheerfully.
  Fletch dragged him out to the street silently.  Alan stood near the window and looked at long-legged Fletch angrily walking down the street and Martin, who was somehow stately and blithely at the same time skipping behind his friend half a length. When Alan turned around to go back to the studio, he noticed Dan standing in the way and cleaning his eye-glasses with his T-shirt.
“You should eat a lemon,” was his advice to Alan.
“To make your face shine not so bright!”
  Alan thanked his senior fellow for the advice, estimating how long Dan could have stood there. Then he remembered what had happened before and realized that for the first time in his life he didn`t give a fuck. Dan wasn`t a fool after all.
  He entered the room. Dave had just put the handset. 
“Whoah! You are so cheerful, Al,” Gahan said giggling. “That`s almost unnatural! How many people have you killed today?”

Chapter 4

I want you to understand that my malevolence is just a way to win.
I want the name of the ruiner.
I want matches in case I have to suddenly burn.
I want you to know that being kind is overrated.

  He was happy. Probably the first time in his life he was completely happy. Alan was sitting with his ear-phones on, smiling and daydreaming, moving some controllers up and down, professionally imitating the creative process. It wasn`t hard for him because he had just sampled Martin`s accidental exhale and now was making some sort of erotic groan. 
  He was consumed by this activity. Besides, tomorrow had already come. It was Friday. It meant that tomorrow would be Saturday and then Sunday. Alan was too eager to continue the banquet. Making love for the first time, being drunk after a sleepless night, was cool but obscenely unnatural. Well, because he actually wanted to perform more qualitatively and put his soul into it. For four o`clock in the morning he did fine, and it felt fucking awesome, but it was interesting to know what it could be like when done to the full extent. Martin was moaning erotically right into his ears, although he even didn`t know that, and Alan`s sexual fantasies went wild with it.
  Although, he needed to confess he had lost half of his courage by the moment Martin came to the studio. Alan started shaking, not sure what to await, but Martin sat near, touching Alan`s arm with his own, with the obedience of a Japanese geisha and with the same inscrutable facial expression.
  Alan saw that Martin was wearing a thin black sweater that quite frankly accentuated his bodily features and voluptuously clung to Martin`s shoulders, chest, and waist. The deep neck of the sweater and the rolled-up sleeves showed enough skin. Martin`s t jeans hugged his ass and hips and some other body parts that particularly interested Alan so tightly that it made Alan want to touch him there to check whether it was not too much. Alan took a closer look. Martin was shaved more carefully than usual. Alan could feel the smell of his skin. Martin wasn`t wearing any perfume as if he somehow surmised that Alan wasn`t a big fan of that stuff. It was just his very own scent mixed with the smell of the clean clothes, and it was the greatest aphrodisiac. Alan realized that Martin had prepared for their date. It was another turn-on. No, actually, Alan had also tried on about five shirts until he was satisfied with how it fitted him and showed his chest the right way. And how he should roll up his sleeves, and how to brush his hair back to look stylish, but, for God`s sake, Martin shouldn`t see that he`d done it on purpose. Still, the thought that Martin did all that, too, filled him with warmness.
  Alan was not a fool and realized that for Martin it had been the first time with him. Martin hadn`t warned him and said nothing about it before and after. Well, there was no need for it as his enthusiasm and devotion compensated for his lack of experience. This little secret brought them two even closer that night. Martin was a man Alan respected and felt a big sympathy for, so he feared to touch some details in the conversation not to injure another man`s dignity. But inside, Alan felt that this little lie became some great reward for him. Some special prize that Martin would never confide to have given to him, most likely feeling rather ashamed of it than proud. But it was a step of his desire and trust towards Alan. He became his first man. Simply and without any pathos or drama. Alan feared that he could offend Martin by accenting that, but now he surely saw the seducing game that Martin had been playing with him from the start in a completely different light. 
  And now Martin was sitting here, dressed the way Alan liked and feeling no shame to show that he wanted to please and to belong to him. Alan could think of nothing in this world but of kissing Martin over from heels to top. It was a damn revelation he had only read about in some books before, and now the heat of Martin`s arm and thigh through his clothes told him that it was for real. It was the best working time, productive and useful, but he was eager to call it a day as soon as possible. They had been so close with Martin all day, and there was only a moment when their contact was broken off: when Dave laid on Martin`s back right between them and cheerfully shouted out loud:
  Martin got tensed and arched his back like a scared cat. It was very surprising, because Alan knew Martin loved to be touched. Fletch sometimes squeezed him like a doll; Gareth, their sound producer, carried sleeping Martin in his arms, so why would Martin react to Dave like that? Dave hadn`t noticed - and was blessed by that - but Alan started thinking about it. All his connection to Martin was lost. He wanted to know why. He would remember not to forget this thing to research later.
  They took a cab to go home. They were sitting in a backseat, their thighs touching, and Alan was trembling in appreciation. Wishing to hide his nervousness, he joked:
“Feel sorry that you decided to go with me? Dave was so eager to go to the club with you and Mark today.”
  Well, it seemed like a good joke to him. And he definitely felt suspicious about Dave.
  Martin looked at him strangely. When Alan had already lost all hope to get an answer, Martin asked with a metal in his soft voice:
“What exactly do you mean?”
  Alan wanted to tell Martin that he was jealous about Dave because it seemed that Dave was trying to show Alan the superiority of his rights to Martin. When Martin rejected his invitation, apologizing, Dave started a scandal as if an angry wife refused by her husband to be accompanied on traditional weekly grocery shopping. Dave showed everybody that his most sacred feelings were insulted and stated that he had a legal right to Martin`s will. He almost burst into tears of resentment and brought Martin into emotional stupor. Everybody knew that you couldn`t push Martin, because if you did, he would submerge himself in intellectual paralysis and hibernation, from which it was impossible to take him out - with any artificial ventilation by the mouth-to-mouth method or  by any other method.
“Dave, piss off,” Fletch said strictly. “He already said he is busy.”
“I mean nothing, I was kidding”, Alan replied to Martin`s question in the taxi.
  What the hell else he could say? He felt sort of a jealous paranoiac. Don`t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you. Several months had passed from one of his most significant talks with Dave. Martin and Dave acted like cat and dog when they were together. Dave exploded with fury from each word of Martin; Martin, who would usually remain calm, replied with hate so deep and hot that it was driving Dave insane, and he started such an intensive verbal flow that the ones who`d stay alive would envy the dead. Alan and Fletch, they dragged them both to different corners of the studio each evening, thinking that now they were fucked up as a group for sure and that Martin would never talk to Dave again. However, overnight they would miss each other, and in the morning both would smile and joke and rub against each other and behave like two hungry kittens waiting to be fed. They were like two angels.
  But in the evening they would fight again.
  So it was on that usual evening. Fletch dragged Martin from his fight with Dave to see a football match. Dave and Alan were sitting in a pub, drinking beer and waiting for them.
  Dave complained about Martin that they couldn`t find a common language. Dave was sure he gave up everything for Martin, but nothing worked out right. Martin didn`t want to see or hear him, just closing himself from Dave completely. Dave tried to worm it out from Alan what Martin talked about him, as he noticed that Martin would spend much more time with Alan now. Alan wondered if Dave suspected anything, but no, Dave was as innocent as the Holy Virgin Mary.
“Look, I wanna be closer with him,” suddenly Dave said.
“Closer to him?” Alan thought it would be more correct in English.
“No, closer with him,” Dave repeated stubbornly.
  Well, it definitely made sense when Martin said that Dave loved to argue.
“You know, we are friends, kind of. But I want us to be the best friends. Very close friends. I wanna know him like myself and feel him; I want to be closer with him.”
  Alan sipped his beer and answered coldly:
“Are you gay?” Well, an attack was the best defence in his case. 
“Why? No!” Dave wasn`t even offended, just shouted out joyfully, “I`ve got a girlfriend!”
“Excuse me, sir,” Alan said, “it`s just not easy for me sometimes to understand your Essex dialect. I must confess I decided you wanted to have sex with him.”
  He had a reason now to expect a tantrum from Dave for his rather aggressive joke, but Dave laughed and said sadly:
“Oh, c`mon. He`s not like that.”
  Both Alan`s eyebrows lifted up at the same time. Sometimes he felt sorry that he was the only one who could get those joke here. Dave understood his facial expression in a different way:
“What? Him? You think he would…oh. I don`t know, you are older than me, Al, kinda you have more experience maybe… Am I wrong about that? No, I mean, sometimes I think that I`m wrong. He can stare sometimes, you know, closely, I`m starting to…uhm, it`s so hot that I forget that I have a girlfriend. I…catch my breath….and…”
“He has poor eyesight,“ Alan cut off, “but it turns out to be not HIS problem.”
“Oh, yeah…mmm…ok. So, I will remain heterosexual then,” Dave answered so sadly that both started laughing.
  Alan liked Dave for his easy-going and simplicity. At that moment he had realized he felt bad about the circumstances that put limitations on their friendship. Although he couldn`t change them now.
“I want to be friends with you, Dave,” he said honestly.
“I am not gay!” Dave reacted immediately.
“Frigging Essex!”
“Focking London!” Dave retorted.
  They started laughing again and roared until their friends returned from the football match, eager to celebrate the fact that “Arsenal” had won.
I want to write my secret across your sky.
I want to watch you lose control.
I want to watch you lose.
I want to know exactly what it's going to take.

So, now they came home. Next thing Alan remembered was how reality hit him as he felt liquid drops merging together between their naked bodies in a cool bedroom. It was hell fun to make love in a hurry, almost fully dressed, but this almost Victorian sense of two naked bodies in a dark bedroom, totally prepared to make love, together made it feel like the highest level of intimacy. Alan knew it wouldn`t be quick today. That`s why he was not in a hurry.
  The moonlight, pale and subtle, was outlining the strange curve of Martin`s lips. They were not only smiling oddly - they seemed fuller and more enticing than ever. Alan felt he`d die from hunger if he didn`t touch them right now. He touched them with his finger, caressing Martin`s bottom lip, and Martin`s mouth opened a little more, catching Alan`s finger and kissing it as in gratitude for his caress. It was too much for Alan to bear, so he dug into Martin`s mouth spasmodically and felt it opening towards his movements more and more.
  Unlock their lips - just to lock them again and again and again. The bedroom was becoming warmer and warmer - and not because of the central heating.
“I love to make love to you,” Alan whispered.
“I love the way you make me come,” Martin said through the clenched teeth not as tenderly as Alan expected, but his words penetrated Alan`s brain like a red-hot drill.
  He rocked back grinning. Then he repeated his maneuver with the finger, sliding along Martin`s lips and making him suck his finger into his mouth. Martin obediently did what he wanted - well, almost, because he bit Alan`s finger in the end, so Alan slapped his face jockingly with wet fingers and hurriedly whispered:
“If I do something you don`t like, just tell me. Understand?”
“Yes. Touch me now.”
  Alan moved down to his chest and caught Martin`s nipple between his index finger and his thumb. Not indenting to hurt but to show that he was there not to caress his body tenderly. Martin hissed, automatically rubbing his other nipple. It was painful for Alan to say what he said, but he had to, even though his brain was begging him to shut the fuck up and watch!
“Don`t you dare to touch yourself when I am near you,” he hissed; fuck, he had just lost an erotic show, and only Martin`s grin made it clear that the sacrifice was worth it. “Unless I order!”
  Martin`s hand moved downwards; he seemed to obey, but no, he was actually caressing his own navel to tease Alan more.
“Then shut the fuck up, buddy,” very cheerfully said Martin, “do something.”
  Alan couldn`t choose what to do first - to silence him or to say something nasty, but then he decided to go a less simple but more effective way. Slowly he went down the navel with short kisses right through Martin`s pubis to his thick cock, busily swallowing it to the middle at once. Couldn`t take more. As he expected, Martin`s humour was gone completely. He spread his legs, arching with sweet moans when Alan pulled his cock off his mouth and started to lick its head. Then he swallowed it again to move down the barrel, feeling his lips burning with lust as he sucked Martin`s cock.
“More!” he heard when he left Martin`s dick and started to place kisses against his hips.
  To this particular word he could listen day and night. He took into his mouth even more than he thought he was physically able, feeling he had control over the body underneath. He was captivated by the process of giving pleasure for pleasure only. Deliberately slow he was sliding his lips over Martin`s dick, stopping and not pressing too hard. He was caressing the lad`s flat belly and the inner side of his thighs slightly, with his fingertips only. Licking his own fingers from time to time to touch Martin again. He liked the erotic trance he was guiding Martin into, because he wanted to share what he had felt the previous night. He didn`t want to lose his head too soon that day - he wanted to enjoy their intimacy as long as he wold be able to. He caressed Martin like that for the whole fifteen minutes, so that his jaws hurt, but his ears weren`t tired of the quiet moans of rapture at all. He bit one of Martin`s nipples, then the other.
“I want you,” Martin whined.
  Oh, dear God, he must have had died and gone to heaven.
“Please me.”
“Fuck me in the mouth.”
“As you wish, sir,” Alan smirked while getting astride him and sitting onto his bare chest.
  The thought of fucking him hard in that uncomfortable and subordinate position hit him like a truck, tugging him from his erotic trance into completely different mood. Excitement choked his breath as he put his penis glans into Martin`s swollen lips. Martin`s hands were gripping Alan`s naked thighs, pressing harder when Alan pushed too far inside.
“Holyfuckingcunt, oh, shit!”
  It was fucking hot. He started to move his hips rhythmically, in and out, not too deep but really fast and persistently. Martin pressed his hands against Alan`s abdomen to somehow restrain his vigour; he moaned the way that made Alan`s eardrums explode, and he nearly came from that sweetest sound produced by the mouth occupied with his cock. Well, but Alan, you shouldn’t do that now!
  He turned Martin upside down, so that his face was pressed into a pillow, hands behind his back. Pushing his legs to spread them apart as far as he could with his own knee. Martin was aroused enough to take pleasure from this kind of treatment. Alan was eager to tie Martin`s hands. Breathing heavily, he reached for his leather belt, wound it into an eight and then around Martin`s wrists, pushing them together to the point of pain, shoving the buckle pin into the hole. Martin`s reaction assured him that he was not the only one fucking overexcited animal in that room.
  The pale moonlight probably lied, but Alan could swear he saw Martin`s hips move upwards to him as he slid, sweating, his cock  along Martin`s inner thighs, up and down and up and down again. Anyway, he had to check and to gain several minutes before he would fucking lose his head over their sex by an indefinable reason. Alan bit Martin`s triceps, then between his shoulder blades, making him arch. He licked his arms down to the belt that was tying them and placed his jaw on Martin`s naked ass to suck his fingers intentionally teasing him.
“Take me,” that wasn`t unexpected, was it?
  Alan`s cock was vibrating at the same frequency as that sound wave`s length. He decided that Martin was hard enough to receive him without any problem. But just in case he slapped his butt soundly to distract Martin`s nerves a little and to make his muscles relax. He knew that he freaking liked it, but he was shocked by Martin`s words that if he didn`t fuck him right now, he would finish the fuck alone. The pictures in his head were too hot, and he just shoved his buzzing cock between the slim thighs widely spread for his pleasure. The insertion seemed to sober Martin down a little bit, although Alan tried to be merciful, which was pretty hard in his state of arousal. But that was good because then Alan could shag him nice and slow, all the way up and down, while Martin was getting used to his presence inside. So, Alan started to move a little faster, feeling Martin helping him, fucking back and moving his ass towards Alan`s dick, as it made him feel better and better.
  Alan came inside him, making Martin come too. He enjoyed the feel of his own sperm with his cock and hand when he pulled off Martin`s ass, continually caressing this particular thoroughly fucked place in Martin`s body, kissing his neck tenderly.
“Drink,” Martin said.
  Alan brought some wine and fooled around Martin, refusing to untie his arms and making him drink out of his hands. The wine was everywhere around them; it left red stains on the bed sheets and poured down Martin`s naked body. Alan didn`t give a fuck about the sheets, but he diligently licked it off Martin`s skin, turning them both on again. The night promised to be long, though.

Chapter 5

Several months had passed.
  Alan was sitting hiding his face with his palm. Depeche Mode gathered in a body. They were listening to Maestro Gore`s demos. All of them: Dave in shorts, jolly as a sandboy, serious Andy, and Miller and staff. They were listening intently:
There's a new game
We like to play you see
A game with added reality
You treat me like a dog
Get me down on my knees
We call it master and servant

  But only Alan was red as a tomato. Maestro Gore felt splendid. Dave was sitting near him, singing the refrain loudly right into Martin`s ear - he loved the provocation indeed. Martin was smiling enigmatically like Mona Lisa and squirmed from time to time when Dave`s breath or lips accidentally touched the sensitive skin under his ear. In Alan`s not so humble opinion, Dave was teasing Martin shamelessly - it was probably even more shameless than Martin`s revelation about their sexual practice. The other people in the room seemed to be truly blind if they couldn`t sense the air melting around those three.
It's a lot like life
This play between the sheets
With you on top and me underneath
Forget all about equality
Let's play master and servant

  The problem was that Alan had a full erection when he heard something like that from Martin. He had it right now, too. He was recalling their last time: when Maestro was in especially fuckful and slightly bombed condition - which did not affect his sensibility to the other man`s caresses at all - and their shagging was a remarkably enchanting extravaganza that time.
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” Dave applauded loudly. “Can we repeat it once more? Mart, you fucking son of a bitch, you rock! Huh, Al?”
“Yes,” Alan said quietly.
“Do you like it?” Dave asked.
  Dave laughed out loud together with Andy and Daniel; they all found Alan`s gloomy face comically funny. 
“Oh, our Mister Good Boy is so embarrassed at our bad manners! Mart! You`ve made him blush!” Dave said sarcastically and started to sing along in the most obscene way he ever could:
“Ooohhh, yeah…come on! Let`s play master and serva-a-ant! Oh, come on, Al, just give it to me!”
“Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh!” Martin sounded loudly and clearly over the others.
“Come back to earth, Alan, baby! People fuck here!” Dave was visibly flattered by Martin`s reaction to his joke, so he continued his mockery with more enthusiasm. “I understand, of course, that you haven`t been told in your conservatoires or by your grandmothers and grandfathers – lifelong members…members of the Royal Geographical Society…of Sussex – that people fuck doggy style, but you`re older than us, you`re a grown-up man, Alan! You could teach us!”
  Martin was already crying with laughter, tears running down his face. Dave actually couldn`t get the whole hysterical humour of the situation for Martin, so he thought it was all about his own, unique and authentically Dave`s, drollery. Thus, he continued to scoff at Alan`s high blood, and delicate psyche, and the fact that a thought of anal-izing someone in a role-playing game shocked him. Martin was holding his belly and whimpering with laughter.
  Alan removed his hand from his face; his lips became thin. He suddenly got so mad that he could hardly suppress the desire to hit Martin in the face right there, in front of everybody, and to say something very scabrous and dirty about how a couple of days ago Martin was kneeling, naked, and giving him his mouth and his ass like a good whore in all thinkable and unthinkable positions, and asking for more. He wanted to jump on Martin, collar him, and lustfully share with Dave his primeval rapture that made him cry hysterically when Martin had said those three and a half sacred words to him. He wanted to look into Dave`s eyes and ask him, “Do YOU know how your own guts and brain can explode from that happiest “I love you” scream under a swish of a leather belt making a fruity slap on a craved defenseless flesh underneath?! From another ecstatic cry, and then swish, and then again a portion of that deadly poison?!  “I. Love. You. Alan.” Do YOU, Dave, know how it can kick a hell out of you and how you spasmodically press your lips together not to sob aloud, just letting euphoric tears silently flow down your cheeks?! Because you go mad from the desire to entwine your body with the one beneath, to sink into your deep kiss, to go further under his skin, and stay like that in your desperate and unsatisfiable thirst for fusion and intimacy. When all you want is to throw off all defensive shackles and to cry like a baby, holding HIM with your whole body. Because that kind of “I love you”, it is killing you. It is totally wrong, because you are the one who has to be the strongest and to give pleasure to the one submissive to you. He shouldn`t be able to feel your limitations and break them, but he does because his “I love you” is much stronger than you can imagine. It`s a step beyond the bounds of sex and sensual delight, on the edge of pain. How to remain who you are and to bring that kind of pleasure? How to remain who you are when it`s tearing up your insides? How to do it when you are going blind with tears, and your hands are so eager to tenderly caress his sensual neck and his lips, and your lips are so willing to kiss his eyes and forehead? Because you mustn`t touch his lips with your own - it`s a taboo, as you will immediately lose control and take him at once in some hysterical oblivion. There it is, only forehead and eyes and neck, moaning desperately through your teeth the primitive: “Love you, love you, love you, baby, with every single cell of my body, with my every move, with my every breath. It`s ME who loves you - you`re just feeling my love, drinking it and getting high from it.” Making another slap, giving pain without giving pain, just to bring maximum pleasure, and hearing an ecstatic confession – all of this is so perversely and unnaturally glorious that you can`t describe it!” And there you go…they hadn`t even fucked each other yet to feel that. Alan hadn`t even fucked Martin but he was about to yell in orgasm.
Alan wanted to explain everything to Dave clearly and vividly and then ask, “Do you fucking know, you, little bastard, that`s the moments worth living for?!”
  Alan sighed and rubbed his face, especially his lips and jaw, because his anguish mingled with a severe attack of sexual frustration. He got fucking hard from it all, and it was a dangerous cocktail. But his good breeding, conservatoires, and grandmothers who were lifelong members of the Royal Geographical Society, as Dave had named them, did their part, so Alan regained his presence of mind. He sighed, staring at his own fingers, and silently asked Miller:
“Do you really think that censorship will admit it into rotation?”
  Miller was replaying “Get me down on my knees” and shaking his head, focused on a song:
“This is good, I think,” he said, “I like it. Das ist gut, as they say here. Well, we`ll tell them this is a deep social satire. They would hardly dare show they don`t get it. Life fucks and rapes all of us in every imaginable position. Topical. Burning. We`ll release it as a single!”
“What the fuck did you just say?!” Martin, Dave, and Andy choired.
  Things that happened afterwards were not entirely unexpected for Alan. It entered his life subtly and gently. Too gently and too subtly to decide anything.  Too imperceptibly to realize what had happened. He just walked into the studio one day and saw Dave nervously clutching his beer and giggling uncontrollably. Miller was screaming at him:
“If you ever approach Martin Gore`s home closer than one hundred meters, I will call a policeman!”
“So, one hundred and one are allowed then?” Dave giggled.
“If I see you crawling his way, I will kill you. I`ll kick your guts out!”
  Alan felt his eyebrows rise up in surprise. He had surely missed something from the last time he saw Martin. Dan was freaking mad. Dave looked strange. He was drunk and shaking and acting more weirdly than ever. Y` know, Dave behaving more weirdly than ever – that was a wake-up call! Alan stopped near angry Dan, who was standing in front of Dave with his hands on his sides and his glasses on the tip of his nose.
“Something happened?” Alan asked, but no one paid any attention to him.
  It was even stranger. He started to feel nervous.
“What the hell were you both doing?” Dan asked angrily. “What the frigging fucking hell?!”
  Dave burst out laughing - inadequately under the circumstances, from Alan`s viewpoint – and suddenly poked his finger right into Alan`s belly:
“Ask Alan. He is a MASTER of those things. Oh, he surely can tell you what to do at nights!”
  Alan gloomily slapped Dave`s hand.
“Dave, are you fucking nuts?!” 
“I DON`T CARE WHAT ALAN DOES AT NIGHTS. LET HIM FUCKING SCORCH CARAVAGGIO`S PAINTINGS WITH A BURNER ON HIS FRIDGE IF HE LIKES! But Fletch has never complained about trying to resuscitate Martin after an attempt to intoxicate himself to death after that, fuck you sideways!” 
  Suddenly Dave`s face changed. The corners of his lips were looking down now, like some sad doll`s, and two big heavy teardrops slid down his cheeks. 
“He hates me, Dan!” he said sobbing. “He doesn’t  LOVE ME-E-E-E-E!!! Neither does he love you, by the way.”
  The speed of switch in Dave`s emotions was astonishing. Again Alan had to slap his hand, more angrily.
“Aye aye, sir, Martin told me by himself!”
  Alan felt as if someone kicked his abdomen good - he forgot how to breathe. He hoped that he was still dreaming and all of that wasn`t real. Fucking bullshit. Anyway, he seemed to have managed to save his face, because Dan saw him closely but didn`t show any interest. All his interest was in Dave now.
“Dave, I`ve warned you about Martin, haven`t I?”
“Have you understood?”
“Now get back to work, Dave!” Dan`s voice became calmer, so it relaxed Alan a bit.
  Dave turned around, heading to the main room, but suddenly froze. 
“Daniel Miller!” he called.
“What do you have to say to me, David?” Dan replied with the tone that could be more suitable for the school for mentally retarded children.
“Dan, why doesn`t he love me?”
“Dave, I`d be a lot more surprised if he`d found a reason to love you. Because I do hate you at the moment! So get thee done! Be gone already!”
“But he did love me!”
  Alan was praying silently to help this evening of revelations come to the fucking end. He had had enough already. But Dave slid his crazy glance at him and said:
“It is HIM who turns Martin against me!”
“Dave, if you are not satisfied with your relationships with other people, it doesn`t surely mean that it`s their fault or someone else`s,” Alan replied quietly and politely. “Who am I to judge you, but have you ever thought that it could be your own fault?” 
  Daniel hee-hawed loudly:
“Oh dear, what would I do with this funny farm without you, Alan!”
  Strangely, but Dave laughed too, although his eyes didn`t show he`d got Alan`s joke.
“Dan! Tell him to love me!” Dave whined half-jokingly, but Dan howled at hearing that. “Dan! You are older than us! He will obey you! Tell him, Dan, damn ya?!”
“Walk your way, Gahan, and don`t try my patience anymore `cause it has its limits!”
  Alan automatically moved down the corridor after Dave, but Daniel called him:
“Alan, come to my room for a couple of seconds. Is anything wrong with you?” Dan sounded very anxious, and Alan followed his gaze to find out he was holding his abdomen tightly, as if he had some colic pain.
“No, I am fine, thank you.”
  He followed Dan.
“Need a pill?” Dan asked. “Don`t bear the pain!”
  Alan started giggling foolishly at that good old parents` advice. “You don`t need to bear the pain!” Oh, dear God, if a pill could help everything! “You don`t need to bear the pain”, huh!
“Don`t worry, I will die anyway,” Alan replied.
“As you wish, lad. But you can call me if you need something. Take a seat; I will not keep you long.”
  Alan sat on a couch near Miller`s table. Dan was sitting on the edge of it, his arms crossed. He rolled up the sleeves of his red checkered shirt and stared at his own wrists thoughtfully. His jaw muscles were moving angrily. Still, when he addressed Alan, his voice was calm and peaceful:
“Alan, it`s just all I wanted to ask. I know you and Martin are pretty close now.”
  Alan felt something stab his belly.
“We are good friends, I think,” he replied.
  Dan looked at him perplexed, for he thought that Alan didn`t need to specify.
“Yeah, that`s what I am talking about. Can you…clarify what happened there? I mean…ask Mart?”
  Alan lifted his eyebrows.
“With God`s help. But what`s wrong, Dan? The last time I saw Martin and Dave and everybody, they were happy and joyful and even not too drunk. What`s happened?”
“Well, from my point, it started like that. I was working early this morning. Later, about noon, I was distracted from my mesmerized staring at a financial report by a human screaming blue murder and the sound of a dull surface hitting a hollow surface. Or vice versa.”
  Alan laughed nervously. Dan continued:
“So, I went out of my office and saw Fletch trying to break Dave`s head against the sink, swearing the most obscene way I ever heard from that gentleman. My ears and brains melted as I tried to imagine all the things Fletch promised to do with him.”
“Ha-ha-ha!” it was so hard for Alan to suppress his laugh.
“So funny, huh?” Dan grumbled.
“I`m sorry, Dan.”
“So, while I was trying to save the face of your irreplaceable frontman and to isolate Fletch, who was out of his mind, Martin called and in a voice of a dying swan told me that he was unable to visit any of his deeply adored work places, for which he was terribly sorry, as he felt slightly sick. You know, I decided it was just a hangover and wanted to fuck him right into his scull for it, but suddenly Fletch asked me not to press Martin. I promised I would be as tender as a mother and would even breastfeed him if Fletch stopped beating the shit out of Dave and explained himself.”
  Alan rubbed his face. He took a bottle of water in one hand and a glass in the other.
“So, what did Fletch say?”
“Fletch announced something like this, “I come. They`re there. The fuck I know what they`re doing; fighting. Yell heard from the beginning of Mart`s street. The door`s locked. I smell a clusterfuck!” Then Dave rushed out of Martin`s door, and Fletch saw Martin trying to make his all-time record for drinking C2H5OH, as much as possible at once – in order to die, as Fletch thought.”
“Oh shit!” the glass fell from Alan`s hands, spilling the water on a carpet. “Excuse me.”
“It`s all right, that was exactly what I said, too.”
“I`ll clean it up,” Alan said and grabbed the broken glass, course cutting himself.
  He froze, for some reason stunned by the sight of his own blood flowing down his finger.
“I`ll do it myself,” Miller pushed him back onto the couch. “I`ve had enough of human losses today in your pack of mates. So, Fletch said he had saved Martin for future generations with a good old two-fingers-up-the-throat method and a cold shower, and had made him sleep it off. In the morning he checked the patient`s vital signs - moaning, swearing, and begging to be shot down - and handed Mart to his mother and sisters, who had just returned from their French leave. He announced that their son and brother poisoned himself with an oatmeal cookie at five o`clock tea, but he was a lot better now, and they could even try to give him some soup or a pair of toasts – and left for the studio.”
“Have I got you right?” Alan asked. “You are trying to say that Martin has displayed a kind of suicidal ideation?”
“I like the way you put it. Yes, some suicidal ideation indeed, with his attempts to die from self-intoxication.”
“But why?” Alan asked. “I`ve never suspected anything like that in him. Why would he do that?”
“That IS exactly what I want you to ask Martin.”
  Alan laughed in a high-pitched voice - absolutely foolishly, in Dan`s view - though it was not typical of him. He wanted to tell Dan that it was easier to teach a lamp post to recite Kant than to have a heart-to-heart talk with Martin. But Miller`s face was dead serious. Alan licked his finger to stop the bleeding - and to hide his smirk, too.
“I just want to know where we`re heading. I mean, does it happen to be so serious? How come those motherfuckers who fight here every day have suddenly become so bleeding fucking sensible?” Dan said. “I want you to talk to him because you are the one who can talk to them all, and they trust you without pretending to have dementia or falling into anabiosis.”
  Alan smirked; he knew what Dan was talking about. Well, he desperately wanted to know the truth already; of course, he had his own personal reasons.  So, he nodded and got back to his work, sucking his finger thoughtfully. He was freaked out, to say the least. “Neither does he love you, Martin told me” was tearing his mind apart and made his heart jump. No, Alan knew Dave was quite a loose-tongued bitch indeed, but why would he misinterpret Martin`s words? There is no smoke without fire. At that point he realized that Martin could have already been dead by then. A wave of nausea swept over him. He suddenly thought his feelings were far too egoistic. He went to the telephone and called Martin; his sister picked up and told him Martin was sleeping. Alan went to his work area somnabulistically - as if he could work today! Why, he imitated some labour orgasm for two hours, but the thought that he was to go and see Martin was haunting him.
  Dave couldn`t be still either. He feared Fletch, and Alan felt strangely sick of him. Dave started to beg permission to go to Ramones’ gig. A cigarette, three coffees, a cigarette; Alan didn’t know why he was staring at the monitor any more.
“Ramones` gig was last week”, cut off Dan. “What did I tell you about Martin?”
“What if he needs something?” Dave suggested. 
“If he needs something, Alan can give it to him!”
“But…why Alan?!” Dave asked more aggressively.
“Because Fletch can`t stay at Martin`s house every night! He has his own life!”
“Dan, no problem with that,” Fletch began, “I am Martin`s neighbour. What`s the point for Alan to go to that ass of Earth? He kind of can be beaten there just because they don`t know his mug yet and he looks like he`s not from the block…”
  But Dan interrupted him:
“I need you today, Fletch, for some financial stuff.”
“It`s not hard for me at all,” Alan gave voice at last.
“So go now!” Dan said impatiently.
“What about me?” asked Dave. But his voice remained the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.
  In the train, Alan had scrutinized The Times, trying to distract himself from thoughts. He read all adverts, including ones for lost pets, counted numbers in stock market data, and meditated for some time on a shot of Lady Diana in a new dress beside her husband. The process captured Alan, and stupid thoughts gnawed at him no more.
  Using a map he reached Martin`s house and knocked on the door. It was opened by a woman who must have been Martin`s mother. He said his name was Alan Charles Wilder, and that he was a musician from London, Martin`s colleague, and that their labour collective had sent him to check on the patient and ask if he needed anything. Even if she was surprised, she didn`t show it.
“Please come in! Thank you, he feels much better now. I don`t think we need help, but once again thank you for your kind attention.”
“It`s our duty. No, it`s nothing, really. I am sorry to disturb you, Mrs Gore. You have such a nice house.”
“Oh, thank you, young man! Give me your jacket, Mr Wilder, I will put it in the wardrobe. Martin`s room is upstairs. Martin!” she called louder, “you have guests from work!”
“Which one?” Martin answered warily.
  The sound of his voice broke the ice inside Alan`s stomach, and it all started to feel so natural as if nothing had happened.  A secret hope that everything would be fine and nothing would ever change rose in him like a phoenix from the ashes. He didn`t realize how much he had been worried until he heard his voice.
“It`s me, Mart,” he said entering the room.
  Martin was sitting on his bed, one leg under his butt, and playing something absent-mindedly on a guitar. He seemed really fine. Well, he was a little bit pale, and his face in general seemed strange, but in a creative sense the day was obviously more productive for him than for all of them. Alan wished he could ask Martin, “What the heck are you doing, you little motherfucker?! How can you behave so devil-may-carishly?!” But he couldn`t find proper words not to trigger Martin`s emotional outburst – at least until he would know what had provoked Martin`s breakdown. Anyway, it looked like Alan should play a grown-up there. 
“Here I am,” he said gloomily. “How are you?”
“Would you like some tea?” Martin`s mother appeared in the doorway.
“Thank you, Mrs Gore, please don`t worry about me!”
“Oh, Mr Wilder, it`s nothing at all. I`ve just made tea and I`d be glad to treat you to some!”
  Martin stood up from his bed in one fluid motion, put his guitar onto the floor and touched Alan`s shoulder.
“C`mon,” he whispered, “all resistance is vain. It will just prolong your sufferings.”
  Alan followed Martin downstairs, staring at his reddish blond fluffy nape and feeling all range of contradictory emotions at once. 
“Please my mother,” Martin said quietly, but Alan heard it all. “So rarely has she got a chance to talk good English to someone of my friends. She`s happy I`ve met somebody decent at last.”
“Oh, I don`t know, Mart. I am so flattered by your words, but, you know, deep inside I am not sure the fact you`ve met me is a reason to make your mother happy,” Alan retorted sarcastically.
  The loud and joyful “hah-hah-hah-hah” showed that the patient was more alive than dead. 
  Anyway, the strong black tea cheered Alan up, for he had been hungry since the morning. He worked hard on bread and butter and cookies, but it did not prevent him from discussing Lady Di`s new gowns with Mrs Gore – she had also read The Times, including adverts for lost pets and stock market data. Martin`s elder sister hung around them for a while but soon lost all interest in Alan, as he paid no attention to her except mentioning that he had two brothers.
“What do they do for a living?” Mrs Gore asked.
  As soon as she learned they were classical musicians, Mrs Gore melted completely and just sat there and listened to Alan`s story about his studies in musical college. Well, actually he didn`t say he had left his family with some sort of a scandal and hadn`t talked to them for a couple of years by then. He decided this information was excessive at that moment. Probably, he wanted to enjoy the feeling of family warmth he had lost some time ago and now suddenly regained. Alan didn`t have the guts to spoil that magic moment.
  Martin stood silent. His face showed that he was happy to keep quiet for a while, and that he was deeply thankful to Alan for the opportunity. Alan looked at him askance from time to time and noticed that his hands were shaking, but he carried himself well. Leaving out of account that he almost dropped his tea-spoon five times in a row, he bore up inhumanly well.
  Martin`s big white dog came to greet them and ate Alan`s last toast at once. Mrs Gore tried to send the dog out, but he preferred to hide under Martin`s chair, completely forgetting that he was much bigger now. Martin laughed and patted the dog`s neck and ears:
“Go away, boy,” he said, and the dog didn`t try to disagree and left as his master said.
  Alan thanked Mrs Gore for the tea and went back upstairs to Martin`s room.
“So, what`s happened after all?”
  If he didn`t ask now, he would never do.
“Erm...I…probably got drunk,” Martin sat down on his bed again.
“I am aware of that fact,” Alan considered all the pros and cons and sat right near Martin. “That`s not what I am asking you about.”
“I believe I got drunk and…that`s all, that`s it…I am almost sure of it,” Martin repeated.
“Ah, Fletch told us everything. And how he resuscitated you, too,” Alan retorted calmly.
“Everything?” Martin asked.
“Almost,” Alan answered, “but with this almost I can`t sleep, can`t eat, can`t do anything.”
“What?” Martin asked with the most innocent and sad of all the available tones.
“Four simple letters. D-A-V-E.”
“So what?” the same word as it had been, but some thorns were almost showing now on Martin`s skin.
“That is exactly my question, Martin. So what?” Alan asked through the clenched teeth.
“I`ve told you already that nothing happened.”
“Martin,” Alan crossed his arms on his chest nervously, “I hate ultimatums, and I am very sorry, but if you refuse to talk to me right now, I will leave,” Alan was pretty stunned with his own courage to say that, but there was no other way to win. “I will not just leave your room, Martin - I will leave your life in a very wide sense because it all fucking hurts my heart, and you are fucking around. I was not sent to you to play cat and mouse!”
“I can`t talk about that,” Martin moaned silently but desperately. 
“So, I can go now?” Alan asked.
  He stood up to make his intentions clear. Martin embraced his own knee and froze staring bluntly at the wall. The clock was ticking the long seconds away, but he showed no sign of life.
  Alan crossed the room to see Martin`s vinyls. His eyes were blunted; he didn`t see what he was looking at. At that time they all didn`t know yet that Martin was a great professional artist to keep a pause, so Alan just hoped this pause would end before his patience was violently tried. But it was not that simple: Martin stayed in his anabiosis and obviously felt good there. Much better than Alan who was nervously scratching himself; in his heart the hell fire of hate started to rise. He almost reached the door when he heard something he didn`t expect to hear. He hoped that Martin would surrender and say something like ‘please don`t go’.
“Break up with me,” Martin said.
  Alan thought he misheard.
“Leave me. I hurt you. I don`t want to, actually.”
  Well, he was ready to go - until Martin asked him to. Martin`s voice was too serious and calm, but the point was rather harsh, so he sat down on Martin`s bed again. Then he took a pillow and lay down parallel to Martin.
“You know what, Mart?” he said thoughtfully. It had grown dark by that moment, but they didn`t turn on the light. “I know it already. And still, I`m here. Or even that is why I`m here. You know why?”
“Why?” Martin answered with his lips only.
“Because our relationship means something to me. Because it happens that you mean something to me. I know you get sick from that sort of banal talks about love, but I respect you...”
“I don`t deserve any,” Martin replied surprisingly hard but not aggressively.
  Alan even half rose on the bed to see Martin better. Ah, come hell or high water!
“Do you love Dave?”
“I can`t say that I am sure of that fact at the moment,” Martin replied.
  Alan`s guts were turning into hellish spirals, but he decided to survive. He wanted to hear more of what Martin would say.
“I was drunk,” Martin said.
“I think I`ve heard it before,” Alan replied.
“And he came in.”
“Came in?!”
“Through the window,” Martin specified. “Sometimes it`s easier to go in or out here. I use this way myself quite often.”
“Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo,” Alan recited, looking outside Martin`s window to see the way with his own eyes. 
“Well…he knows everything about us,” Martin said calmly.
  Alan nodded. He had already realized that, but he couldn`t understand why the fact was so shocking for Dave. Well, that interested him most.
“He asked why am I worse than him. I mean, why is he worse.”
  Oh, it explained everything. Alan bit his thumb not to spit out something that he would regret.
“Why is he worse than you?” Martin scratched his knee thoughtfully. “I can`t answer such sort of questions, to be honest. So, he asked why he couldn`t have what you have.”
“What is it?”
“It is me.”
  Alan had to confess that no breathtaking thriller could compare to Martin`s monotonous speech. 
“And what happened next?” he asked through the gritted teeth.
“Nothing,” Martin answered. “Well, something had happened, actually. But I felt really sick. I don`t know what I did wrong, but I have never been hurt so deeply…I`ve never felt so…”
“Fucked up,” Alan prompted.
“Fucked up,” Martin agreed.
“You love Dave,” Alan repeated, and it wasn`t a question any more, although Martin answered:
“I`ve never put it that way.”
  The worst thing was Alan knew Martin wasn`t lying. At the same time, he didn`t disagree. So, that was a question of terminology. 
“May I smoke?”
“To the window.”
  They both turned round to some hands-and-knees positions and shoved their faces outside the window, staring at the street lamp light like a lump on a log and trying to light cigarettes with trembling hands.
  Alan realized that now he had three feelings at once, and he fucking didn`t have a clue what to do. He knew that the band had formed long ago before he joined them, and they had their laws and limitations. He understood it was not that simple with Vince, too: in fact, those charming nice guys, Dave, Martin and his personal assistant Fletch, pushed him out. Dave, Martin, Fletch…ah, he almost forgot Dan. Dan was on Martin`s side now as well. Dave treasured too much his position of the second person in the hierarchy, and Martin never pushed anyone, although he was pretty suggestible. Up to a point. He had his inner core, and if he had it, you could try to knock a nail into his forehead - he`d probably miss it.
  Alan knew that Dave was unwilling to give Martin to him mostly because of that - Martin was something that was his. His, not Alan`s. So…that`s why he actually went to Martin`s place to finish their relationship but then suddenly saw he had no reason to think that Martin was dishonest with him. Everything had happened exactly how he told Alan!
  So, he knew now that Martin didn`t lie to him. And if he said that nothing had been between them two, Alan had to believe him. There couldn’t be, aside from some sort of interest in each other, and there wouldn`t if he hadn`t appeared. He, Alan, diverted Martin`s attention from Dave and became more interesting for him than Dave was. Nothing would ever happen between Martin and Dave. He felt it was his fault that it had happened between them that day. Dave`s feelings were so awfully animal and predictable; but then, he felt jealous indeed for his sudden rival, because Martin`s feelings were never predictable. To be honest, Alan felt like telling Martin that without him those games with Dave would hardly continue, but the thought that he could go down that far to play at the same field with Dave made him sick.
  Anyway, it was him who had tea with Mrs Gore, and it was him, not Dave, who was now standing on all fours with his ass in the air on Martin`s bed and smoking at his side in some mutual fucking withdrawal.
  It was dark outside. The street lamp light hit his eyes too bright. Alan looked at his watch and realized that it was almost nine o`clock. What a surprise! He thought that only half an hour had passed from that tea ceremony. 
“I have to go, I think,” he said hesitating, for he felt uncomfortable to hang around Basildon at night.
  If he had to go, he had to go now!
“I don`t want you to go,” Martin said.
“You said “leave me”, that was what you said,” Alan replied. “You made me sure that you are going to get rid of me.”
“I didn`t mean it.”
  Alan`s sarcastic manipulation didn`t impress Martin much.
“I will never tell you to leave of my own will.”
  Wow, that sounded like words of love. Besides, it started raining outside, and there, in Martin`s room, it was warm. It strangely felt like home. Alan didn`t know what would happen next - he just thought that to stay was the best idea ever. Even if he would blame himself the next day, it looked great! 
“I find your original idea to canoodle, as you could name it, with your family behind the wall pretty perverted,” he told Martin laughing.
“We will be quiet,” Martin said, sending his cigarette stub somewhere over the neighbours` fence.
  Alan wanted to comment against it, but he had a choice - to eat his own stub or to end running around the house and asking where to drown it; so, he just repeated the manoeuvre. Martin shut down the window, and Alan grabbed his leg right over his knee not to let Martin stand up.
“And fast.”
“I can`t be quiet with you,” huskily said Alan.
“I am a boy. I can find something to shut you up,” cynically but tenderly Martin said, moving his leg to escape, but Alan just tightened his grip, making Martin fall down on him. He was caressing Martin`s thigh through his pants from the inside, just where it was necessary. Martin gasped over his ear, and it obviously made his day.
“Or you can sleep on a folding bed, if that so…” 
“I believe a folding bed will be creaking far too loud if I do,” Alan found his lips, feeling that they were searching for his, too.
  They twisted in a tight lock, unable to be apart even for a second, because when they did, it felt like being cut off from a magical fresh spring. Their bodies came to life as their lips entwined. Alan put his palms under the belt of Martin`s light-blue jeans, and now they were lying somewhere beneath his waist. Martin`s lips slid down onto his chest, kissing it in the shirt opening and making Alan arch his back and draw his hands down further, unashamedly displaying his desire.
  He felt wanted as always. And he felt skilful. That was the thing that got him hooked on Martin, apart from the pure pleasure of shagging someone. Alan wasn`t much more experienced at that time. He four-flushed like hell because he got hard from Martin`s interested stare addressed to him. He was afraid he would lose his courage in the process…but he actually forgot about it. It seemed so natural, what they both were doing. Not at the point that it did not turn him on - oh, fuck no! Of course, he would go insane from the thrill he felt when sitting all day and planning their next encounter; but it just all happened so naturally. It was easier with Martin than with a girl, because Martin was a guy; he knew what the other guy wanted, and Alan knew that too. He learned to see what Martin wanted just from the look on his eyes. It wasn`t difficult because Martin was hard every time, almost.
  When Alan started to see Martin from the sexually frustrated point of view, even he was surprised to know how often Martin appealed to sex in his own routine behaviour. Martin`s long stare; the way he licked his lips; his manner of speech, probably annoying at first, slow and arrogant and provoking, hiding all the sins under the baby-like appearance, shining with the most charming of the smiles. All those Martin`s features suddenly were brought in a sensual alignment, and Alan realized that it all was for a good reason. Martin wasn`t flirting with people, but he made them think about sex. Up to a point, he made them think about sex with him. Devil may know if he realized it himself – barely, Alan thought; it was just his nature.
  Martin was like a cat. Independent when full up, and so greedy for caresses. Why not stroke a cat? See, he`s hanging around, purring, and fawning upon you? You are a frigging asshole if you don`t stroke the cat - it`s against  human nature! But if you don`t want to stroke him, he has never meant it; he just would fuck you and the fact that you exist, too!
  If even Alan himself gave up his brain to the pleasure of that cat and only months later realized what he had done, Dave with his animal sensuality was moving towards Martin`s call instinctively. Unlike Alan, Dave was totally free from self-reflection bouts and pangs of humiliated self-conscious that had to follow the sordid desires of its master. Dave would fuck those kind of problems and let go! He didn`t give a damn that this sex-appeal wasn`t applied to him alone. Alan saw that Fletch behaved like enchanted; sometimes even Dan, whose attitude to Martin was sceptical enough, acted as if Martin put them all under some sort of mass hypnosis.
  But Alan was the one who suffered most, for aside of him no one associated all this Martin`s sex-appeal with the reminiscence of his naked skin against their naked skin; convulsive breathing; whimpering in unison with the rhythm of their over-excited cock; his rushing heart under their hand; his sweetest moans exploding in their mind. Alan was the one to suffer from the fact that seeing Martin`s stare under those heavy eyelids with long fair eyelashes and his mouth swollen from their kisses, he desperately wanted to lay that body precisely and cynically on a control board and make with it all that he really wanted to.
  Anyway, they had to break their kiss. Alan was standing in the center of Martin`s room in a penalty position, smiling like a retarded and covering his erection with the Iggy Pop`s The Idiot vinyl. Martin was playing mommy`s good boy, and Alan couldn`t help enjoying such a hypocritical artistic action.
  Oh, it is so dangerous in Basildon at night! And his colleague lived so far from here! Alan slobbered over a variegated pillow-case on his folding bed when trying to help Mrs Gore, shifting the vinyl from one hand to the other. Martin was biting his lips not to burst out laughing, because unlike Mrs Gore he perfectly felt Alan`s pain and passion for Iggy Pop`s works at that moment. So, when at last the beds were made and the lights turned off, Alan jumped to the door, locking it with a key and swearing quietly, dived to Martin`s bed under his blanket, silently grabbed him, and pulled him atop of himself, continuing just from the place they`d intermitted.
  They woke up with the third ring of the alarm clock, swearing and trying to get dressed and eat something on the run. Fletch was waiting on the corner of the street on the way to the station, impatiently passing up and down a Bazildon side road. Well, Fletch was waiting for Martin, actually. He was surprised to see Alan, but there was no time for a sophisticated small talk, as their train was to leave in ten minutes or so; besides, sleepy and malicious Alan was not in the mood to talk, so he just shook Fletch`s hand and kind of greeted him. Fletch shook Martin` hand as well and spit:
“Hurry up, we are almost late.”
  And ran up the street at a noble pace. Martin was somehow bouncing beside him, and Alan was trying to accommodate, changing his allure from Fletch`s to Martin`s but anyway feeling rather uncomfortable. So, when they reached their train, he was so tired that he just crashed out onto Fletcher`s shoulder as soon as they found their seats. Martin was sleeping opposite, with his face pressed against the train window.
I want to see you insert yourself into glory.
I want your touches to scar me so I'll know where you've been.

Those images of the past, one brighter than another, filled Alan`s mind unexpectedly. He was sitting in Miller`s office aware of the date, but alcohol warmth flowing down his body was the best lubricant for his memories, making them bloom like a spring garden.
  Miller`s voice was soothing. He was speaking about Martin`s divorce and all that Santa Barbara soap opera. He told Alan about the musician fired by Martin and gone right to Dave`s open arms. About life and customs in the village of California, and also about all Mr Gore`s escapades. Alan laughed at this heart-wrenching tragedy. No, it was not comradely, and it wasn`t good in a masculine way at all, but he was happy that Martin had divorced Susanne. Well, Miller was really worried about Martin`s drinking too much now - in his case it did mean something! He had never appeared onstage without having had a bottle or two, as he knew him, and he was almost sober. As Martin explained, that helped him release terror.
 “You fear people?” Alan used to ask him.
“No. It`s nothing in particular. Just…I just fear.”
  Alan would laugh at him until he saw Martin`s panic attack with his own eyes. After that he decided it would be really better to let Martin drink. It wasn`t that obvious, by the way, whether he was drunk or not. When they were young, one could never see that clearly in any of them. They never behaved more inadequate than they were when they were buzzed. Although, were they adequate when sober at all?
  Miller told him the story of Martin`s deadly combat for his children and of division of property. 
“One must be an idiot to divorce in California!” Alan said.
“That was exactly what I`d said,” Dan nodded. “Martin told me that one must be an idiot to be born Martin Gore. I couldn`t find an answer to that.”
  Alan hooted with laughter. He couldn`t help it. He was laughing loud, and tears were flowing down his face. He probably hadn`t laughed like that for ten years or more. Unaccustomed, he even felt bad from that kind of wicked laughter - he was fighting for his breath now, and his stomach hurt. 
“Shall I pour you some more whiskey?” Miller asked carefully.
“Go ahead!” Alan answered.
“Actually, I was quite surprised that he started talking about you,” Miller`s tone was very serious now. “Jonathan told me that Martin`s Santa Barbarian boozing companions confessed they were forbidden even from saying your name.”
“Oh, now, that`s something interesting,” Alan smirked.
  Miller was probably afraid to hurt him by telling that, but Alan wasn`t hurt at all. So, HIS feelings were still alive. Even if they were closer to hate, that was much better than nothing.
“So he asked you to talk to me, right?”
  Maybe it was the booze, but Alan felt that long-forgotten feeling of inadequate rapture was starting to warm him up inside.

Chapter 6

  Three words.
  These three words broke him.
  Broke his little world and tore down his fragile feeling of happiness, sureness, and trust. Ripped apart his brain and his insides. Pulled the rug out from under his feet. Simply saying, they killed him. Only three words.
  Martin came into the studio early, before the others, and announced without even saying hello, his eyes down:
“I`ve slept with Dave.”
  If Alan had been smarter, he`d have reacted some other way. If Alan had been more unconcerned, he`d have reacted some other way. But he couldn`t be smarter and more unconcerned, so he slapped Martin on his face wordlessly. Martin bumped against the wall and, as wordlessly, just rushed away through the door like a bullet.
“Cunt,” said Alan to himself.
  He automatically reached for his jacket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter with the shaking hands, and went out into the small rain and fog to have a smoke. He stood there for a long time with his cigarette unlit, staring bluntly. He never knew it could hurt like this before. From one point, they`d promised nothing to each other. From that point, they both were grown-up and independent gentlemen with the right to be themselves. But it hurt like hell as if something was tearing up his guts. And…it was Dave. Fuck him sideways!
  Fifteen minutes had passed until Alan was able to try to lit his cigarette, but it was so wet that he didn`t succeed. He scolded and threw it away onto the lawn, and got another one from his pocket. He didn`t care about the raindrops rolling down his hair and face; he was reflecting what was more appealing to him now - to kill Martin, to kill Dave or to die himself.
  The first nervous drag brought him back to reality a little – at least he started seeing want was going on around. Fletch passed him and said something, but Alan could not hear clearly enough yet. The second drag on the cigarette. Fletch came closer:
“Hey, why the heck are you soaking here?» He was definitely surprised. Alan wanted to answer, but his lips were convulsing. So, he just held out his arm with the pack of cigarettes. Fletch took his pleasure from Alan`s offer, lit his cigarette, turned away, then suddenly turned back looking at Alan amuzed:
“What… Are you crying here? What`s happened?”
“No, it`s just rain,” Alan answered when he realized that Fletch was right. “Or,” he sniffed, “smoke…got into my eyes.”
“Where`s Mart?” Fletch asked.
  Alan didn`t find what to answer. He shrugged.
“When I`m with you, baby, I go out of my head! I just can`t get enough! I just can`t get enough!” Dave`s buoyant voice singing Vince`s hit pierced the grey rainy street.
“Cunt,” Alan said again. This word became his own hit for today.
“Hi there, Dave!” Fletch stretched out his hand to greet him.
“Hi there, Andy! Hello there, Al!”
  Alan pretended he didn`t see Dave`s hand, but nodded very politely and tried to stretch his lips in some grimace supposed to look like a friendly smile. 
“I hear your football team lost yesterday,” announced Dave, laughing about his own sparkling sense of humour. 
  The fucking Essex bugger was glowing with happiness! Alan wished he could shove Dave`s happy round mug against the pavement, but he didn`t want to initiate Fletch into the intimate details of his love life. Besides, Alan was as sure that Dave would shout out everything he knew and what Alan didn`t have a clue about as in the fact that his name was Alan Charles Wilder. 
“Nonsense,” he said through the clenched teeth. “We`ll win back next time.”
  Dave laughed again, showing his teeth.
“Dream on, dream on,” he said. “Where`s Mart?”
  Definitely, it was the most popular question at the moment.
“Here I am,” Martin said silently, stepping out of the fog. He greeted no one - just passed through, not even looking at them.
  Alan felt as if something hit his stomach again. Oh, dear God, if only he could just get drunk as soon as possible! How would he work? How would he communicate with Martin at all? How? Hell, hit the road from here, away from this fucking band, before it`s too late. If only he`d known how it would all have turned out! But he`d thought he had time then!
  Dave ran after Martin like a happy puppy, losing all interest in the comrades immediately, but continued singing: “We slip and slide as we fall in love, and It seems I just can`t get enough, ohhh!”
“Lord, what perverted gibberish,” Alan said.
“We are wide awake,” replied Andy.
“Was he writing it sober?”
“We don`t know. But we believe it`s better than ‘Hey, you`re such a pretty boy. P-R-E-double T-Y’.”
“Ha!” Alan laughed. “I`m happy I was out of touch with your creativity before I joined you.”
“Martin presumes you are lying,” Andy answered coldly.
“Hey, lads, let`s get in already,” Dave called them, opening the door.
“Coming,” Andy said. “Let`s cease this constitutional walk for now.” And went straight into the studio.
  Alan didn`t have a choice. He couldn`t stay there forever.
  Martin threw his coat onto the arm-chair in a fit of temper and ran upstairs. Dave broke into a gallop after him with his jacket on. Alan left his in the hall. For several minutes he hesitated, while Andy was unwrapping his scarf off and rolling it neatly to put it onto the shelf. Alan stepped to the arm-chair, took Martin`s coat, and pedantically slowly removed all drops of water from it with his hand, put it on a hanger, and then hung it into the wardrobe.
  Andy was looking at him askance.
“It`s raining. It will never get dry otherwise,” with no reason Alan started to defend his actions. Judging by Andy`s face, he didn`t have to. Alan blushed.
I want you to watch when I go down in flames.
I want a list of atrocities done in your name.
I want to reach my hand into the dark and feel what reaches back.

  Miller was gone to Berlin for a week.
  They were sitting in the studio, four of them.
  Alan put on headphones - it freed him from the necessity of imitating any kind of social interactions. Dave was still shining like a frigging supernova; technically, it was a good thing because his voice had never sounded so tenderly, passionately, and clear. Alan was listening almost spellbound.
  Martin was melancholically boozing it up in the corner. Silently, calmly, and methodically. With his stare fixed on the ceiling and his painfully erotic profile turned to Alan. The picture was driving Alan insane. He failed to find any sign of shame or repentance in those angelic features. Obviously, Martin wasn`t happy, but there was no sign of guilt on his face either. Even the resentment he must have felt towards Alan showed there like some sort of arrogant contempt.
  Alan was cross as a bear. His anger was scorching him from the inside. He was mad at Martin`s  I-don`t-give-a-fuck mask. It was written on his face that he wouldn`t beg for forgiveness. Alan was mad at himself for slapping Martin on the face, because thus he had exposed himself. Now Martin could be drowned in his resentment easily, and elegantly wave his tail and dump Alan for Dave. And let that underage retard rejoice. Splendid! Magnificent! He had been forced to make a perfect choice: to lose or…to lose! Thank you, Martin. Thank you very much indeed. Was that all the fucking trust, their efforts, and their relationship was worth?
  Alan felt he`d been dragged through the mud. Cunt. Whoever in this fucking world - but NOT Dave! He hated Martin at the moment. He didn`t want to lose.
  Martin yawned and went downstairs minding his own business. Andy asked him to bring a folder from Miller`s office on his way back. Everybody knew: when Andy was seated, only a crane could move him.
“With great relish,” Martin said.
  Alan made up his mind. He put his headphones off and followed Martin. He shouldn`t have done that, but it was a question of life and death. Later he cursed himself for that. But now he whispered in Andy`s ear, asking him to hinder Dave by hook or by crook because he deadly needed to talk to Martin confidentially. Even if Andy was surprised, he didn`t show it and said:
“No shit. In fact…are you…alright? ”
“Yes. I am not. Andy, please, it is very important to me. I need to talk to him, but I don`t know how to do it. I should try.”
“Any punch-up?” Andy frowned.
“Nothing that will make you worry, cross my heart.”
“Okay,” Andy said gloomily, “if I hear something, I will kill you both.”
“Can I kiss your cheek?”
“Fuck off…”
  Nevertheless, Alan shoved his nose into Andy`s cheek just because he couldn`t refuse the temptation to make him mad a little. He waited until Martin came inside Daniel`s office and shut the door, then slid down the banister and opened the door sharply, staying in the doorway not to let Martin out.
  Martin was confusedly staring at the shelves with folders, desperately trying to find the needed one.
“Hit me,” Alan said.
  Martin didn`t look at him and with an eloquent gesture encouraged Alan to fuck off.
“I am serious,” Alan insisted. “Mart, in this particular situation, you know, I am physiologically unable to beg your pardon. I find it very unnatural. My organs of articulation are paralyzed by the mere thought of…you know what I mean.”
  Surprisingly, Martin nodded. He was still showing his profile, but he heard Alan.
“So I can tell you nothing,” Alan finished.
  A normal person would ask, ‘’Then why the hell have you come here?’’ But Martin could hardly be regarded as normal. Finally, he turned to Alan and stared at him:
“I suppose…” he said suddenly, non-aggressively and non-impudently at all, but it felt he was strangely assured, “I…don`t have any right to ask for forgiveness.”
  Now, that was interesting!
“I could tell you I didn`t want it or I was drunk or I don`t have a clue how the hell it all happened, but that would be lie,” Martin continued in a pathologically calm tone. “I suppose you know that I was aware of what I was doing. It doesn`t mean I am proud of what I did - please don`t think I am.”
  For God`s sake, Martin`s pathological truth-telling seizures were even worse than lies-telling ones. It was the first time in his life Alan would prefer to know nothing. Well, he definitely would prefer some sloppy lachrymose repentance and a couple of false promises. When Alan managed to unclench his teeth, he asked:
“So, what am I supposed to do from now on?”
  Martin shrugged.
  Alan hated to behave like a female lover, but he didn`t know what else he could do.
“He doesn`t love you.”
“I know,” Martin seemed to be unimpressed by Alan`s speculation.
“And not because he doesn’t love you - hell, he doesn`t love anyone but himself. Probably I don`t know you well  after we`ve been sleeping together for half a year, but you are everything except a fucking altruist! Though, Satan himself broke his teeth over you…“
“You see, Al, it is not always our right to decide.”
“Nonsense! I can choose my own destiny as long as I am of sound mind and memory; leastways, I can consciously decide whom to shag and why!”
“True for you,” Martin said. “But it`s not exactly like that. It`s not everything you can choose…and decide…not everything. It just happens…because it had to happen. I know what I did, but it wasn`t a thing I was allowed to choose.”
“Martin, it was the most awkward evasion I`ve ever heard.  Couldn`t you take a trouble to make up a suitable excuse?” 
“What for?” Martin asked.
“For the sake of our relationship. Of respect for it. If they are worth it. If they were worth it.”
  Martin`s eyes were glistening with tears; he bowed his head. Tell something, you, fucking cunt! Alan felt he could hardly control himself as well. He didn`t know what he wanted to do most: to cry like a baby or to hit Martin in the face again - both sounded rather shitty.
“Come on,” he hissed through the clenched teeth, “I am sorry. I was wrong. I beg your pardon for slapping your face; it was against the rules. So, come on, just do the same to me - and let us part friends. Show your respect for me at least!”
“Alright”, Martin nodded.
  Alan closed his eyes automatically, just in case. So he missed the moment Martin stood on tiptoes, cupped Alan`s face in his hands, and kissed his lips tenderly. Alan had never been shocked by a kiss so much in his entire life. The slightest touch pierced him like the electricity through a bare wire; it silenced him, blinded him, making him feel nothing but acute pain from his lips to the tips of his toes. He almost yelled with the pain from that touch, but a second later it was replaced with delightful languor, and he couldn`t open his mouth. He was unable to withdraw his lips from Martin`s and missed the moment when he started answering the kiss. It was wrong and pedagogically incorrect. It was the fucking taste of their kiss that got him hooked like a drug. The very thought of it made Alan hard. It was all the fucking scent of the skin, subtle but reminding of what made him come almost every night.
  Alan grasped the back of Martin`s head, gliding his fingers through his curly hair. He knew that it gave a kick to Martin, and he wanted Martin to get high every time he was near him. Alan wanted Martin to depend on him. To depend on his attention, on his mood, on his caresses. The very thought of it turned him on. The fact that Martin was dependent of the sexual relationship with him was a turn-on. It was a rope he could pull if he needed to.
An invisible rope, longer than the room, it got him hard faster than the tenderest love expression. It was his power and his control.
  So, well, maybe...what if…screw Dave. What the heck could he do to take Martin away from Alan - what he hadn`t done yet? Would it dawn on him that Martin could be handled using sex? It would never cross Dave`s mind. What`s the use of denying himself good regular sex for the moral code? As an old saying advised, he would throw Martin out of his bed only to fuck him on the floor.
  Martin pulled Alan at heartstrings by slowly getting down on his knees before him. He said nothing - just got down on his knees and hugged his waist. It was so moving that Alan forgave him. Well, actually, Alan would stay like this all day if he wasn`t aware that in this position something was sticking into the jaw of kneeled Martin. But he was becoming more and more aware of it.
  Sitting in Miller`s new office, in Mute, twenty years after that remarkable event, Alan was recalling that Judas` kiss. He took off his jacked and threw it on that good old leather couch where Fletch caught them that day - half-naked in the act of insane kissing. They were licking each other ecstatically, with Fletch`s folder somewhere under Martin`s butt. Actually, they had no intention of having sex in Miller`s office, but they just couldn`t stop.
  Alan hadn`t known before that Andy could swear so arty-crafty. The main idea of his monologue was, “I will fucking never…ever…fucking cover you no more, Alan. You came to talk to Martin, cause you needed to, you fucking son of a bitch! Aw, you my talkative…my communi-fucking-cable lads!” Well, Andy put it in unspeakably more beautiful way. Alan couldn`t translate everything that he was saying about him and Martin. Martin was giggling as mad - he definitely found it really funny. Alan would be offended if he wasn`t charmed by Andy`s lexicon so much.
  Alan looked at the security cam in Miller`s office and laughed out. He`d never been so happy the technology was lame in the eighties. He tried to imagine Miller`s rapture if he`d known the history of his old leather couch. It made him laugh even harder.
  Miller didn`t understand his funny mood indeed.
“Listen, Daniel,” suddenly said Alan, “I recall Martin telling me once - I don`t quite get it, but still - that we don`t always have a choice. I didn`t believe him then; I had my personal reasons not to. But now I am coming to think that he was probably right.”
“What do you mean?” Dan asked carefully, looking at Alan through his glasses.
  Alan drank his whiskey to the bottom in one gulp, giggled, and looked at his producer:
“Do you know the truth, Dan?”
“Do I?”
“The truth is: I will do anything he asks me to.”
  Miller`s face turned to stone - it was his authentic working look. It was the moment from where Alan`s moral hesitaion cared him no more.
“So, it means the deal, Alan?”
“So, it means the deal, Dan.”
  Creativity and sex.
  Everything was built on those two things. That was what kept them together. Alan just couldn`t comprehend where the first thing ended and the other started. Everything that Martin did gripped him from inside, even though Alan never told him. Martin`s each word could cut him to the quick. Each note. Alan knew that Dave was sure it was all about him. Alan just knew that it was not that simple. He found Martin`s candour excessive, but it turned him on. He had sex with it. All the free time Alan had he painted an image of the ideal love - of their ideal love. It started simply as a research of some new images and sounds, from their striving for the unique style and sound of the band. And if Alan, fuck him sideways, ever knew when it all became the mesmerizing research of Martin`s sexuality and the dreamily realization of his own erotic fantasies about their love.
  Alan knew that the picture of love painted by him was spellbinding for Martin. Better than the others, he knew that Martin was not interested in anything but music and erotomania, which in its acute exacerbation led to the most desperate and unsatisfied thirst for love. Albeit, the total atrophy of understanding the social code and stereotypes had complicated his task to start a new relationship. It was a good thing because otherwise Martin wouldn`t show up at the studio at all. Alan suspected that if they hadn`t been so interested in each other from the creativity point, they would hardly bear each other for more than half a year. However, he felt in love with the love he`d painted. And he made Martin fall in love with it, too. It was the most he could do for them.
  But first he crossed Martin up a little, actually.
  It was his little revenge on Martin for cheating him with Dave. He had his right to it as both of them agreed on the rules of the game. After their licking foreplay, Martin was in a state to agree on anything he would be proposed, and Alan perfectly knew that. He proposed him to “play”. As a rule, it meant something better than just sex.
  Martin`s stare told Alan that he was ready to give him everything in the most obscene way in the nearest backstreet. Martin`s eyes were flashing killing light at Alan. Like emeralds rounded with diamonds in the sunlight.  His body and face were showing only one thought, “I want you now”. Well, this thought could be read on his face almost each time Alan looked at him, but now it was particularly obscene.
  In his turn, Alan did all he could and even more. He did it wholeheartedly. He had never wanted to prove his power over this body so much. He made Martin struggle under him, almost made him strain his voice under him. He felt the scent of the rapture, leaning down to place love bites, and left more marks on his body. This scent was the scent of the skin and adrenaline. It was a non-comradely way of thinking, but he could never ever dream of a better whore than he had at the moment.
  He made Martin go down on his knees and fucked his mouth in the roughest way he ever did. He handcuffed him, leaving the lad`s hands behind his back, making him even more defenseless. Martin was kneeling, naked, and Alan was fucking his mouth, clenching his fingers in Martin`s hair. He liked that despite Martin had choked on his cock probably five times in a row, he never tried to defend his life from the obvious danger; Martin played his role perfectly. It was arousing as fucking hell, almost as much as the thought of Dave seeing the result of his imaginary victory.
  For about fifteen minutes Alan observed, mesmerized, his dick hiding inside of his lover`s mouth. He pulled it out only to slap Martin`s swelled lower lip slowly and lasciviously - the lad`s mouth was opened obligingly to please his Master`s needs. He pulled it out only to see Martin`s tongue licking his dickhead, moving around and then straight to the middle dip, then gliding his cheek over his cock. To move his weapon inside again until hearing a subtle moan and the attempts to break free from his firm grip. Still, Alan was sure Martin liked what he did to him. Otherwise he himself wouldn`t do it THAT good. Alan never knew how good Martin was with women in bed, but he could bet the health of all his relatives that the motherfucker operated cocks too good!
  He turned Martin face-up in his bed, unceremoniously shoving his middle and ring fingers into his mouth, making Martin treat them as his dick, softly but rhythmically shoving them in and out. Then Alan licked his chest and neck; he knew it turned Martin on. He replaced his tongue with his fingers and pinched Martin`s nipple relentlessly, making him clench his teeth on Alan`s hand. For that Martin was punished with a fearless slap on his face. It was allowed at that state of his excitement.
“You are my slut,” Alan could not suppress such a happy announcement, touching Martin`s lips with his own, marking his right of the ownership.
  He went down, torturing Martin`s nipples longingly. His lips followed his tongue, then his fingers, and then the lips again. The only thing Alan didn`t touch was Martin`s cock. Not for the reason he wasn`t eager to feel that velvet hardness inside his mouth, but because he enjoyed the feeling of the desperate need of Martin`s body - the body that had already comprehended it would not unload in the traditional way. Alan was ready to do everything to hold Martin in that state as long as possible. He wanted him more and more every minute; he was unable to hide or control it. Alan was happy he had handcuffed him; otherwise, the fun would be already over: Martin just wouldn`t have had so much willpower.
  Alan was overexcited too, but the desire to wear Martin down held him within limits. He desperately needed to make marks on him, to make Martin grovel to him; he wanted him to beg, to kiss his boots pleading to fuck him hard. For that, Alan was ready to experience a couple of tortures of the Holy Inquisition, not to mention seeing Martin`s hard cock weeping with desire. He sucked hard on Martin`s nipple like a vampire, barely covering his teeth from touching the aroused flesh.
  He realized that his actions weren`t pleasurable; well, they were outside the range of pleasure. Another pair of shoes was that Martin was probably unable to distinguish between pain and pleasure under the endorphins he had by that time. He was shouting nonsense, asking Alan to stop or do something – he didn`t know already.
  Needs to be said, it was harder and harder for Alan to control the situation as his own flesh reminded insistently that he could end up before having started. Alan lifted Martin`s spread legs in the air and, using Martin`s excitement, entered him to the balls in one fluid movement, his moan covering Martin`s. Yeah, it was hard for Martin to accept him completely, but he couldn`t push Alan away because he was handcuffed behind his back. Large drops of cold sweat and Martin`s squeezed eyes were all Alan could see, but, hell, it was so arousing that he decided not to stop. He felt the body underneath relaxing with each move, but the fucking distress and Martin`s grimace of pain were too turning-on to get away satisfied with some inner massage this time.
  He didn`t know how he got that exciting idea. It must`ve been a short circuit in his brain. He just wanted to feel it. Alan grabbed Martin`s neck, without stopping his insistent movements in and out, and pressed his thumb and the pointing finger on the lad`s carotid artery, reducing the oxygen inflow to his brain. Hell, it was pleasurable from, oh, so many points. He felt Martin`s fear and inability to control him; Martin`s body contracted on him spasmodically again. Alan took away his hand; Martin said nothing - if only he was still conscious. Alan checked it up by slapping Martin`s face. Martin told him to fuck off; that was the best way to confirm he was alright. Alan leaned yet closer, kissing him gratefully on his mouth but fucking faster and harder.
  He wanted to control the things that couldn`t be controlled. He continued kissing Martin, holding his knee on his shoulder with one hand and pressing on his neck with the other - much softer than the first time but nevertheless making the images shift quickly before Martin`s eyes. He didn`t know if Martin could hear his desperate groan -
“You are mine, you belong to me” - because Martin`s eyes were unfocused.
  He knew he should stop because he couldn`t control himself any more.
“Come on,” Martin moaned from the fucking knot of their naked bodies, “finish what you`ve started! Will you make me come today?”
“I will!” Alan roared, rolling off Martin and turning him face-down to make it easier.
  He unclasped the handcuffs, which was accompanied by Martin`s moans as his hands were obviously numb. Then he took Martin`s wrists up to fasten them to the headboard. He was as crazy as a sack full of ferrets, but he noticed the bruises the handcuffs left on Martin`s tender skin.
“I will when I decide it’s time!”
  Without further ado, it should be mentioned, Alan did make Martin come. By the very enthusiastic punching of his overexcited cock into his butt, shoving his fingers into his mouth again, and making him come without any help of his hands - just because he was fucking his ass. Well, it doesn`t matter that the skin on Alan`s fingers was grazed in the end; actually, it was even honest.
  Is it needed to be said that when he discovered that Martin and Dave had a fight the next day, he was in pure ecstasy? Dave could be a retard most of the time, but he was not a fool at the point of love bites and bruises on Martin`s wrists.
  Andy parted them to their corners like two cats, and he understood everything as well. Maybe even more than he should have. It was the first time in his life Alan saw that much hate addressed to him in somebody`s eyes.
  No problem, we will survive.
  When Dave realized that his favourite toy had been taken away, he became a drama queen. He turned the studio upside down swearing like a devil, went to the corridor and phoned Miller to explain deliberately loudly that he had to leave the Depeche Mode now! The target of that impact was a curly blond in the corner, who was like a stone and could hardly understand what had happened, but shuddered every time he caught the meaning of Dave`s words. Alan suddenly realized in terror that Dave had a string to pull Martin when necessary, and one could hardly predict who would win in the end.
“Depeche Mode will never exist without Dave,” Martin announced in his most pathologically calm voice the same evening.
  They were on their way to Alan`s place, and Alan advised him, in a fit of anger, to send Dave to hell or further and put an end to his bloody hysterics that started to enter their lives more and more deeply. 
“Depeche Mode will never exist without you,” he answered to Martin.
“I don`t feel I have the right to decide that kind of things,” Martin said, “and I…I hope…despite everything, we will find a way to move on…”
“Yeah, that is exactly what I fear most,” Alan said. “That we will find the way.”
  He emphasized the word “we”, meaning he had no doubt Martin would find a way to convince Dave. He even knew which way he would choose. That damn Depeche Mode with its weirdness infected everyone who ever touched it. Even Alan, who had never doubted his own rationality, became suspicious that some unknown force was pushing him to do things he never thought were right. Alan got entangled in his own actions like in the Hampton Court maze and totally lost his way out.
“It goes to show,“ Alan said laughing, “every time Dave decides to get something from Martin, all he needs to do is intimidate him by the threat of his leaving the band. And Martin will give him everything.”
  Alan intended to sting Martin by his straightforwardness. But, as always, it worked out wrong.
“You comprehend me overmuch,” Martin said in his metallic tone. “I don`t like the look of it.”
  That was sort of a too ambiguous compliment - even to Alan`s taste.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7
I want to remember when my nightmares were clearer.
“I love you, Dave,” Alan stated. “That`s my boy, Dave! Well done, old boy! You clever cookie! Dave, I guess I adore you!”
Dave was startled like hell, especially when Alan kissed him with all his heart, slavering both his cheeks. Right in the middle of the street where they met on their way to the studio.
“Does Martin know already?” Alan`s eyes were indecently shining with felicity.
“Nope,” Dave frowned instantly. “Don`t know how to tell him…”
“Oh, come on, you`ve already done everything,” Alan patted his shoulder. “It is as easy as pie to tell about it now.”
“Tell?!” Dave was terrified. “To tell Martin?! As easy as pie?!”
Alan started to laugh like a drain. Dave is such a Dave.
“Oh, my God, I am going crazy,” Dave said. “What if he gives me a punch in the eye?”
“I`ll ask him to be careful with your face. You are a frontman, and you kind of work with it!»
«Aw, thank you, Alan.” Alan didn`t get if it was a sarcasm or not because Dave`s face was very complicated. “Al, what if…what if it will be you who tells him?”
“That you are marrying? Oh, Dave, of course you will always have my strict “no” for that. Just because I`d rather see it from the outside,” Alan grinned. “Honestly, I`d even sell a pair of tickets to this show!”
“Asshole,” Dave murmured. “All you can do is make fun of your mate… Lend me a cigarette.”
“You`re old enough to have your own,” Alan retorted, making Dave wince - as each time when he borrowed a cigarette and Alan gave him a gentle reminder to leave the disastrous addiction. Of borrowing cigarettes. Although Alan held out the open pack. “Or it costs all your wedding budget?» 
  Alan intended to mock at Dave, but Dave just nodded sorrowfully:
“Money is extremely scarce now. I hope Miller pays us before we go to Berlin; I have no idea how I`m going to live there.”
  Alan decided not to ask what the hurry was for Dave to marry his playmate two days before leaving for Berlin to Hansa Studio. They should finish their album there, as was Daniel`s accountant`s idea. Well, it was Hansa`s accountant who wished to work for Daniel, actually, but it didn`t matter. Daniel was pretty sure that the new impressions would shake them all in a good way. From all those previous Dave vs. Martin hysterics he made a conclusion that the two warhorses had become restive and got frenzied from boredom and inability to use their folly to run riot. So, he decided that a new place to live, a new country, new impressions of Berlin would definitely help them to sublimate their foolishness into some socially useful activity. 
   No, Alan wouldn`t ask Dave why he couldn`t do that after the return from Berlin. He knew the reason better than the others. Dear God! He suspected that Dave would make this stunt, but he was surprised how soon and how easy he had made it. Alan expected Dave to try to make Martin come back to him, even in his awkwardly absurd manner, so he prepared himself for a long and exhausting struggle. But it was Dave: all or nothing! What, Martin is cheating on me? I`ll go and marry someone to annoy him! Get this clear! And let it be my lost! Ha-ha-ha! Well, actually Alan started feeling sorry; he didn`t expect Dave to lose so soon. What a pity! He was a nice adversary. Well, leastways, they could probably be friends now.
“Ah, come on, let`s move already!”
“Let`s go inside then, prom trotter.”
    Alan gave him a head start for five minutes, hanging his jacket and making tea. 
   Without any erotic prelude and foreplay Dave stated everything right from the doorway. He decided that if he didn`t do it now, he would rather go to Joanne to tell her that he’d changed his mind than tell Martin he was marrying. It didn`t matter that he hadn`t slept for a week; it didn`t matter that he had chewed off the fucking corner of his pillow not to cry like a girl. It didn`t matter that he felt betrayed and hated Martin more than ever. It didn`t matter that he had decided never to depend on the guy and never to sell his soul for his glance. It didn`t matter that he had made up his mind to prove himself worth something to Mart, and he wouldn`t die without him.
   Dave entered the room and saw Martin half-lying on the couch pillows with a cold cup of coffee that he was clutching with both hands like a little baby and staring bluntly at the wall, past Fletch, who was sitting near and reading a newspaper. Martin seemed to be absent from this dimension. Instantly, Dave`s resentment towards Martin started to look very insignificant. Especially now, in the studio warmth, when Martin was here, sleepy and so down-home, half-dressed and so his own one. Well, he`d made out with his ex, by force of habit – so what? We are all made from flesh and blood, so…shit happens! After all, they were both men, so…nothing to talk about. But Alan was menacingly rumbling with teacups downstairs, and Dave realized that he would look like a coward in Wilder`s eyes; and, well, if Martin cheated on him with some chick, that`d be ok but…with the friend of theirs! With Alan fucking Wilder! What a sacrilege and an outrage upon their friendship! So, Dave pushed this thought away with the unreal willpower of his. Alan was making his way up the stairs when Dave spitted out quickly in a fake joyful manner:
“Me and Joanne, we`re gonna marry this Sunday!”
   Martin didn`t move a muscle. He kept looking through Fletch as he was before, like nothing had happened.
“Such a good egg, Dave! OUR congratulations!” Fletch said without looking up.
  At that exact moment grinning Alan entered the room, holding a porcelain cup of steaming tea on a tea plate. 
“Good morning! The weather is just as perfect as the morning today, gentlemen,” he said as if he didn`t have a clue what was going on here. “The sodding rain is as cold as ice, and London will probably not see the sun earlier than next spring, and the day has been a buggery from the start. So, everything`s as always. Fine.”
“Good morning, dear Alan,” Fletch said, “the sun of ours. If it wasn`t for you, this day would be such a waste!”
   Martin shrugged and stared at Alan`s cup. It seemed that the movement attracted his attention.
“Martin,” Dave hissed through his teeth, “MARTIN!”
Martin tore his eyes off Alan`s cup with a visible effort and moved his stare to Dave`s eyes without blinking. 
Martin was just staring. Fucking hell, why no matter how right he was he looked like an idiot, Dave thought.
“I invite you. Both.” Dave was drilling Martin with his eyes, searching for any kind of reaction.
“We will surely come, Dave,” Fletch said, “right, Mart?”
    Martin desperately yawned, hiding the yawn with his hand. Dave was expecting anything but such a cruel and  demonstrative I-don`t-give-a-fuck attitude from Martin. Well, Martin was a master of I Don`t Give a Fuck Attitude, but that day he outdid himself! Dave bumped the wall with his fist; fuck, he could barely hold himself from jumping on Martin to shake or beat the shit out of him, no matter what. How dared he be so laid-back, as if Dave`s personal life interested him no better than the one of a garden caterpillar!  
     Alan sat down into his armchair, putting his cup on the table and hiding his face with his palm, looking askance at the acting area. He was the second person in this room, probably, who was very interested in how Martin would play his part. Though, seeing Dave becoming irritated more and more and Martin`s imperturbable face, Alan was giggling to himself. He was right - it was a true show! 
“Has she caught a baby?” Fletch asked, because he suspected that something was wrong there and tried to defuse tension - well, as he could.
“No!” Dave cut off.
“Why all of a sudden then?” Fletch asked.
“It`s none of your business!” Dave was unexpectedly aggressive. 
Martin placed his cup on the coffee table, stood up stretching, then rubbed his jaw and headed for the door.
“I wish but I can`t go,” he said abruptly, passing Dave. The three lads gave a start as they didn`t hope to hear Martin`s voice that day already. “My doggy needs a vaccination.”
“Excuse me, WHAT? You can`t go to my wedding because your fucking doggy needs a fucking vaccination?!” Dave repeated slowly. Alan laughed up his sleeve. Fletch was looking with reproach, though it was not clear at whom.
   Martin deigned to reply. As always, he felt idiosyncratic to explain his actions or to defend himself. He clutched the door knob.
“Don’t-cha need to shave your cac-tus?” Dave was spitting bile.
“I will shave my everything without your advice, Dave,” Martin retorted quickly, shutting the door behind his back.
    Alan moaned with muffled rapture. Dave grabbed his cup and threw it with all his heart at the shut door, spilling tea all around and scattering the bits of porcelain all over the floor. Alan wanted to applaud, but his natural prudence reminded him that the tea plate was still on the table.
“That was my tea, Dave,” Alan tactfully specified. 
“WHAT FUCKING TEA?!” as tactful – well, as he always did - Dave asked.
“My fucking tea,” Alan repeated calmly. “Why did you throw my tea at the door, Dave? I haven`t made it to be fucked up. I`ve made it to drink. If I knew it was so necessary for you to throw some porcelain at the door, I`d make a tea for you too. Excuse me for my ignorance.”
“Ah, fuck. Sorry, Alan, sorry, old boy,” Dave seemed to have come to himself suddenly. “Fletch, don`t look at me that way!”
Fletch even took his glasses off. His face showed that he was eager to kill Dave.
“Okay, alright, I will put it up and clean everything up now!” Dave hurriedly grabbed a doorknob.
“FREEZE!” Andy roared in a thundering bass.
  Alan realized that it made sense because down there Martin was walking freely; therefore, they couldn`t let Dave out without a muzzle. Dave flinched and stopped.
“Go and sit with me, now!” Andy said in a metallic voice.
Dave took Martin`s place near Andy obediently, hugged the pillow which Martin was leaning against before, breathed in, and howled pitifully, exhaling.
   Andy went downstairs to take a mop and a scoop to remove the disaster from the floor.
“Do you think I`ve done everything right?” Dave asked in the unhappiest voice.
“Perfect. From my point of view, you were perfect,” Alan announced honestly. From his point of view, Dave couldn`t have done it any better. Was Dave seriously relying on him for that? “Thank you for everything you`ve done, Dave.”
“Wait, what do you mean thank you?” Dave`s face expressed a sheer surprise, but then he immediately frowned. “Shit,” he said.
      The moment of triumph changed into the total failure.
The day ’ had come.
They were to leave for Berlin.
Accidentally, Andy had missed Dave`s marriage as well. They had got blindly drunk, all of them three, right before the flight, afraid that there would be no pubs in West Germany. Alan didn`t remember clearly how they got onto the plane, actually. He kept only one thought - not to forget his luggage, as well as Martin`s. Well, he hoped that Martin could care of it by himself.
“Hey, you, beloved mine, are you fucking aware where your bloody bag is and that you should go somewhere? Can you goddamn watch your own stuff?!”
“Fu-ucking cu-unt, I do-on`t give ah…shit!” Marin laughed out loud joyfully in answer; the thirteenth pint of beer was definitely excessive. 
“Clear enough.”
  Alan understood that he would have to deliver the body to Heathrow, and stopped asking Martin useless questions. The next thing he remembered was that he started to laugh like a madman at the airport when he saw sweaty Andy with tousled hair and his glasses crooked on his nose, who was pushing a cart, all doom and gloom, with his suitcase and Martin sleeping atop of it.
   Andy`s face was desperate; the boarding on their flight was almost over. Alan forgot where he had lost the lads - they had been together, and then the two disappeared. Alan started to feel nervous, but they appeared again. Well, Andy appeared, pushing the cart with Martin.
“Where have you been hanging around, you bastards?” Alan said thickly.
“All is lost!” Andy whispered loudly.
“What, Fletch?”
“Everything!” Andy said, terrified. “We are flying nowhere!”
“Are you insane, Fletch?”
“We are fucked up!”
“Passport!” Fletch said. “We, Martin and I, can`t find his passport!”
Alan looked at Martin, who was sleeping like a baby, and expressed his doubts about Martin`s desire to help Fletch in his search for the passport. He actually expressed his doubts that Martin altogether gave a fuck where his passport was.
“Holy shit, what are we gonna do now? Miller will kill him!” Fletch started to wail. “We can`t get him aboard without the passport! Miller will beat us into a matzo!”
“He will. Both of you – honestly, you are worth it.” Alan giggled and pulled both passports out of his pocket. “But as you have me, we will take a ride…in this plane I mean…he-he-he.”
“Why do you have Martin`s passport?” Fletch looked at him wide-eyed; he definitely wanted to ask why Martin`s personal stuff was kept by Alan, but at that moment their names were called over the airport loudspeaker because they were the missing passengers.
“Oh, hell, we should hurry up now!” Fletch yelled. “Is there a way on earth we can make him stand upright?!” he meant Martin. 
“Check him as the luggage!” Alan said gloomily. But when Fletch understood him literally and started to push the cart away, he shouted:
“Oh, Fletch, for fuck`s sake! No! Just lift him somehow! Use me as a support to its…I mean, his vertical position while you`re checking our luggage! And hurry up, please!” 
   Just married Dave must have had a litter of kittens in the plane already about their absence. He was mad as a bear with a sore head. Firstly, for their ignoring the main event in his life so far. Well, Alan wanted to go, but by the time he recalled that he should go, they had all been too drunk, and Dave was probably sleeping like a log after the good workout on his wedding night. So, Alan decided not to go, Martin consistently didn`t give a fuck, and Andy did as Martin commanded. 
   This long and windy path to the plane Alan would never forget. He didn`t know that it could be so hard; he felt they had been walking for the whole hour. In sober fact, Martin wasn`t that heavy, not heavier than any girl, but Alan found it inappropriate and too risqué to carry the lad aboard in his arms; so, as he was leading him, Martin would fell down periodically. Finally they appeared before Dave`s black eyes burning indignantly - as they were, booze breathing: Andy with his crooked glasses (who broke them, Alan never understood clearly), and Alan himself, clutching Martin firmly at his waist as he was consistently drooping down. 
“What the fuck!?” their frontman was almost shrieking.
In answer, Alan dropped Martin occasionally onto the lap of some old lady in a cherry coat and with Queen Elizabeth`s hairstyle. Martin opened his eyes, stared at the lady, and asked sheepishly:
“Ex…excuse me…isn`t…it…too notice…notice…able…that I am drunk?”
“Oh, no, don’t say that! Not at all! ” Alan and Fletch assured him, taking him away from the lady`s lap. 
“Excuse us, madam!”
“For God`s sake, we are very sorry!”
“Alrighty then!” Martin said happily and fell down again, this time right between the rows of the seats.
    Alan took his seat, after having thrown, with the help of Fletch, their mate`s body onto the aisle seat on the second try, and was ready to give a prayer of thanks to God, although his parents had done a lot in his youth to take a wind off his sails to do that ever again.
    For Dave the final stroke of their departure from London was a cynically naturalistic picture: Alan sitting with his eyes shut, and…Martin curled up on the guy`s lap as trustfully as atop of Fletch`s suitcase before. Dave understood that if he didn`t buzz up like them, he wouldn`t reach his destination alive because he would explode with hate. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! FUCK!!!
Alan found a nice little apartment near the studio. He had to confess it wasn`t that bad. Everything wasn`t that bad. It worked out as good as it could. They spent a day and a night in bed with Martin. No, they did nothing, just slept, lolled, watched TV, and bitched up enthusiastically for several hours about the music channels and the shit they were showing. Then they went to a grocery shop. Then drank some beer right from the bottles, thoughtfully staring at Berlin`s sunset, and lazily chatted about the work and the clubs and David Bowie. Then they went to sleep again. It felt like an old routine, and strangely it was something Alan liked most. It was hard to explain why, but it was so peaceful.
    In the morning Dave came to see him.
“Zombie smells coffee,” said Dave, sniffing, instead of “hello”.
“Good morning, Dave.”
“Hello, Al. I`ve come here to tell you that it is a perfect morning today!”
“So sweet of you, Dave.”
“I just woke up and remembered that I live on the other side of the street from you!»
“I do love you too, Dave,” Alan was still standing, inhospitably holding the door not to let Dave in. Dave was jigging up and down impatiently, evidently waiting to be invited, but Alan kept delaying.
“I`ve run out of coffee!” Dave confided.
“My condolences,” Alan said.
“All restaurants are closed. Too early. And all the shops too. C`mon, let me in…” 
  Alan tried to protest:
“Listen, Dave, don`t get me wrong, I am glad to see you. Please don`t think that I…well, but I am not sure that it is a good idea to…”
“Listen, why are you so greedy for your coffee?”
“I am not. Not at all,” Alan said. “It`s just I am undressed.”
Dave stared in surprise at Alan wearing pyjama pants and a black bath robe. From his point of view, he was overdressed.
“Okay, I won`t look at you, my lord! Go and put on your scarf or your buttonhole, your night cap or your night vase…or whatever your morning tuxedo is missing. Just tell me where the coffeemaker is,” Dave pushed Alan away from the door, invading his territory shamelessly. “Is the kitchen that way?”
    Dave joyfully headed to Alan`s bedroom. 
“THE OTHER WAY!” Alan said through the clenched teeth.
He rubbed his face with both hands, looking at himself doomy in the mirror on the wall, watching Dave buoyantly galloping back to the kitchen.
“Co-f-fee-co-f-fee-co-f-fee-co-f-fee. If I don`t drink coffee in the morning, I am dead!” Dave shouted merrily from the kitchen. “A silent, withered, and inactive dead body!”
“You don`t say!”
“I guarantee! I can`t live without coffee at all! Good thing that I have my best buddy Alan Wilder who has coffee.” 
“The problem is that I am not alone,” Alan finally dared to say.
“Never mind! It`s better to put up with it!” Dave said, pouring himself a cup of coffee. “Do you have cream?”
“It`s better to put up with what exactly?” Alan asked warily.
“Milk maybe?”
“Choke on it!” Alan spitted in a fit of a temper, putting a milk jug near Dave.
“Thank you, for you are so kind, Charlie,” Dave laughed, calling Alan by his second name like his relatives did.
“Better to put up with what or whom, Davie?” Alan purposely called him by pet form, but Dave didn`t notice his sarcasm as always.
“With your mates,” Dave sipped coffee soundly and exhaled in ecstasy. “I`m in Heaven!”
   At that exact moment Martin came out of the bathroom. He was drying his hair with a big white towel. He was in his birthday suit. Alan stood with his back to the door, but he didn`t need to turn his head to know what had happened. Dave`s face told the complete story. 
“Oh, Dave, by what chance?” Martin`s voice was as calm and confident as if he was meeting the Queen in and was wearing a tuxedo.
  Alan was watching him with a certain interest. Dave was watching him too. Silently. His face gave away all verbally inexpressible changes of his feelings. Very slowly Martin shook the towel well, then painfully slowly wrapped it around his thighs. Alan hardly held himself not to applaud this improvised striptease vice versa. If he wasn`t so sure that there would come a real punchfest, he would applaud indeed. A thought of a fight strangely combined inside his mind with the fact that Martin was naked, and he felt his face flushing. He got embarrassed.
“Dave`s run…out…of….coffee,” Alan managed to say.
“Aw, run out of coffee, then,” Martin repeated the way it sounded like a slap on the face. Dave jerked as if he was in pain.
“What have you run out of, Mart?” he reacted finally. “Water?”
“Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh,” Martin replied tauntingly, “very funny, Dave. Made the joke by yourself?” 
   Alan had never noticed that Martin could experience such a sweet intoxication from performing the acts of sadism on his buddies. He was staring at the lad in a complete shock, freezed, with a coffee-pot in one hand and a cup in the other. Martin entered the kitchen slowly and sat down. His face was radiating the most perverted joy and self-satisfaction. It appeared that Dave was also rather shocked, because he fell silent as a stone, which was very unnatural for him.
“You`ve told you will live here with your friend Christine?” Dave whimpered slightly.
  Martin exhaled, moving his body a little bit lower on his chair and spreading his legs wider, letting the towel form a deep cut on his left thigh, so his skin could be more visible to Alan and Dave.
“Fucker!” Alan muttered, spilling steamy hot coffee on his hand; he almost dropped the cup.
   Martin`s behavior, the way he moved his ass forwards on the chair, was so ambiguous that he started blushing like a virgin, even if he was sure they did nothing like that yesterday and the night before yesterday. Alan only thanked God that he wasn`t in Dave`s place now.
“Would you like some coffee, Mart?”
“Will you give it to me?” Maestro was in royal spirits.
“I will.” Alan couldn`t disagree with that.
“Christine is out of town,” Martin answered impassively. Even Alan believed him, albeit yesterday he heard Martin talk to her by the phone and tell how he loved her, missed her, and that he hoped he would be in Berlin soon. Alan knew enough German to understand that. He didn`t tell Martin he understood, though.
“Awwww,” Dave said, “and you are fucking Alan until she returns?”
Alan put the cup near Martin with a hammering sound.
“Until that, Dave, I am fucking Alan,” he admitted slowly and calmly.
  Alan coughed nervously, hiding his face in his palms. Martin, you damn motherfucker!
“Oh, fuck me sideways! I completely forgot.” Martin stretched his hand out for the milk jug. “I came here because I ran out of water. I am so sorry, gentlemen. Thank you for the coffee, mister Wilder, you are so unexpectedly kind today.” 
“It brings me a sheer pleasure to serve you, mister Gore,” Alan hissed. If Dave didn`t kill Martin today, he would do it himself anyway. He pushed his chair aside and sat near Martin.
    Then Martin began to fuck around with the milk jug. He thoughtfully tried to drip some cream into his cup but failed and then looked inside. Shook it, raised it, and opened his mouth… Alan turned his face away from that; he had had enough for that day already. He was surprised that Dave swallowed all this. He`d already be gone if it was for him. But even with his eyes closed he smelt the fresh scent of Martin`s skin, and he was aware of the fact that Martin was naked too. The only thing he had in his mind was that they hadn`t fucked for two weeks. Hell, Dave, how soon will you understand that you`d better go, buddy? He hated the sound of it, but he became desperate for fuck. Dave drank his coffee in one gulp.
     Martin giggled idiotically, lip-smacking obscenely, and licked his own finger. Alan didn`t need to see that of course Martin spilled some cream on his naked chest and now was wiping it off. Alan was seriously thinking what to do first: to fuck Martin and then kill, or in his case it would be much better to perform the second act first. Dave stopped breathing for a minute.
“You are…such a…cunt, Martin!” Dave jumped up from his chair. The tears in his voice were so noticeable that Alan almost fell from his chair; Dave whimpered again, even if he tried to hide it.
“Dave,” Alan stood up, trying to catch Gahan, while Martin was cynically laughing out loud at Dave`s breakdown, slapping his lap buoyantly. Even though he was the only one who got the humour in that situation, he forgave them.
   Dave shut the door behind his back, escaping the damned apartment, and Alan gloomily locked it. Martin became bored sitting at the kitchen alone, so he came to the corridor to Alan. Alan turned around and opened his mouth to say something rude about what had just happened, but shut it down again.
   The lad stood folding his arms and staring heavily. The glaze of humour disappeared from Martin`s features, and only the darkest melancholy, sorrow, and desperation remained. Martin stopped blinking again. His jaws, his hands tensed spasmodically; Alan changed his mind about saying some bad words to him ‘cause now it seemed too cruel.
“Hey,” he said quietly and tenderly, “come here, little fellow, closer.”
He touched Martin`s hand, making him cringe. 
“Hush, relax,” Alan grabbed Martin`s waist, hugging him closer. “Don`t push me back. These hands never made you feel bad. Never did you harm. They can only make you feel good - and no other way to use them.”
   He gripped Martin`s head, pushing his face to his naked chest in the bathrobe cut. Martin was still folding his arms, and they were pressing to his navel. Martin did not resist but did not change his position either. Alan caressed his still a little wet nape slowly. 
“Ah, you are such a skull fucked…curly, who did that to you?”
  Martin smirked right to his chest, unfolded his arms, and hugged Alan`s back. Alan called Martin on his nick name to make him relax, and it worked out right. He softened in his arms. 
      Alan felt he was happy again. He felt Martin`s breath with his bare skin and goosebumps of pure happiness it caused on his spine. He felt his temperature rising with each Martin`s exhale. Alan was holding Martin`s back with one hand, convulsively tousling the curls on his head with the other, pressing his face harder to himself.
    He felt they were so close. They were together now. He knew it wouldn`t last longer than several minutes, but he desperately and childishly wished it could last forever. He could stoically suffer the cold metallic door knob grinding into his spine not to spoil the moment. At the exact moment he got absolutely limp and dumb from happiness, Martin lifted his head slowly to announce in an indescribable voice:
“You`ve got a boner.”
“Oh, no. How could it happen!” Motherfucker, how dare you spoil such a sacred moment. Ok, not really spoil, actually. 
  Alan grabbed Martin`s backside, pressing the lad`s hips into his firmly; Martin balked, pushing his palms against Alan`s chest, not seriously - there was a wide shining Disney-cartoon smile on his face.
“Are you teasing me now?”
The smile widened more, even if a second ago it seemed that nothing could be wider and it was impossible to shine more. Oh, you cheeky monkey, I will wipe this smile from your face in a second! Alan removed the towel from Martin`s hips, in one fluid movement slapping Martin`s round ass with his both palms. Nevermind how skinny Martin could be, his ass never lost its tempting roundness. He himself was very shy of this fact. Alan`s regrets about its roundness came from completely different reasons. 
    He grabbed that ass from below, squeezing it unceremoniously, and Martin`s resistance was over - he was just passionately clutching Alan`s shoulders with both hands. Lips found other lips, touching tenderly. Feeling the ignition start working out slowly inside their bodies, they weren`t hurrying at all, trying to enjoy the feeling of it to the bottom. 
  Alan glided his hand down Martin`s spine. Furthermore, he was excited by the fact that he was fully clothed and Martin was absolutely naked. He stopped breathing right after that thought reached his brain. The thought of Martin`s openness and defenselessness hit his groin like a truck. He suppressed his hoarse moan of that feeling again. 
“I want you,” this whisper right before his own lips wouldn`t let him rest much that day. If that wasn`t love, then love didn`t exist at all, because Alan had never been so overwhelmed as in moments like these. When the blood pressure in his ears was so high, he could hear the sound it was making rushing through his veins; he became someone else but not himself. He wasn`t manipulated by his brain any more, he would lose all self-control - it was a disgusting feeling, and he would sure feel sorry for it later, but his rapture to lose it was so obscenely high that he had no way out. 
     Alan turned Martin, so now the lad was standing with his back to the wall, and caressed the guy`s chest, navel and down there, grabbed his dick that was no less optimistic than Alan`s own, and it was a certain profit. With his manipulations he made Martin utter the happiest moan he was capable of. Of course, how could you not want me! Alan opened Martin`s mouth with his jaws, shoving his tongue inside, and right in time with it started to jerk off his cock in some moderate tempo. Half a minute - and Martin`s fingers were grinding into his flesh through the thick fabric of the bathrobe. He felt Martin couldn`t breathe, couldn`t control his own body any more because of too much different stimulations at a time, so he freed the guy, making his body slide down against the wall a little.
   Alan held him right under his arms and kissed his sweaty forehead.  Such a grateful reaction from his lover`s body motivated him more than enough. Alan felt himself wired up. He thought he would satisfy his own needs later then, because that was the right time for the private show. Martin moved with his lips towards him and surely was not rejected by Alan`s slow tenderness.
“Touch me,” burned down his ears. This sound was a pure rapture, pure velvet, and pure sex, but it also was a strict order. Alan had problems  learning to understand the nuances of Martin`s softness in the beginning; he almost had to pay for that some times by losing control of the situation in their educational role-playing games for the kids from age eighteen. It wasn`t too important in that exact case, but he got wise. 
“No,” Alan needed all his willpower to say that, because he was too willing to obey, “Martin, not like that.”
   He pressed Martin`s hips to the wall again. He could do better. Alan kneeled before Martin abruptly; he was still caressing the lad`s naked thighs, while catching a tip of his cock with his cheek firstly and then gently pressing his lips around the very top. He could listen to the music of those moans forever. That was precisely his kind of show, because his one and only show-goer was so interested in it that it made it very exclusive. And Alan felt he was in control now. He was controlling Martin`s pleasure and Martin`s body. 
    He took his cock off his mouth, pressing him up with his hand to Martin`s navel, pointing at twelve o`clock, licking his way up from his balls to the top on the bottom side of the lad`s cock. Realizing that Martin was watching him with great interest and trying not to look so self-satisfied, Alan took his dick into his palm again and shoved the fat tool into his mouth as deep as he could. Not much, but he was heartedly trying, though. He was caressing Martin`s tummy while sucking his dick, wishing him to really like it. Well, of course Martin would enjoy it just because Alan was giving him his head, but Alan wanted it to be the ideal blowjob, so he was almost counting inside to make a perfect rhythm of his mouth`s movements. His palm felt Martin`s breath shorten and speed up, finding himself breathing in fumes, so he stopped for a second and leaned back.
“More!” Martin said, and damn him, that was an order again. Alan was breathing heavily, looking him right into his eyes. “Alan, go back to you work. Now!”
      Fucking hell! Alan thought he would be fucked up with that even more if he wasn`t so excited with the whole process himself. If his dick wasn`t pulsating in its hardness, and each Martin`s word wasn`t making him even harder, forcing the sweetest pain of the pleasure to flow through his body. He would never let Martin do this if he was more sober, but he fucking couldn`t think any more! He could see the body and the naked skin right before his eyes; planting his palms on the floor, Alan lowered his head to the level of Martin`s knee and kissed it so very slowly. Then he put his tongue out and slid up on the inner side of Martin`s thigh, stopping on his way on the most sensitive areas to bite slightly the willing tender flesh. Next day he would despise himself for lying at Martin`s feet like this and kissing his knees, but Martin`s cry of rapture was the biggest prize he would ever like to get.
    Alan slid his lips on Martin`s other leg almost to the floor, making Martin spread his legs wider to give him a better acŮess. And he gave Martin any caress he wanted, everything he had, because inside Alan there was nothing left but the animal desire to be closer to him. And he wanted to make Martin come. Alan knew it would be something that could turn him on even more now, and Martin would not object of course. Alan cupped Martin`s balls possessively, letting him know he should not relax too much, because he was aware of his rights to the most tender parts of Martin`s body. Shoved his dick deeper into his throat, with several intensive movements of his head making Martin arch and moan.
“Come for me,” he squeezed the painfully erected cock with his hand again, moving it up and down, holding the pulsating head in his mouth, “I want you to come into my mouth!”
  The first sperm shoot landed onto his cheek, making him catch the following with his mouth more precisely. It was so fucking hot; he kept sucking Martin`s cock, feeling the last spasms of orgasm fading. Now he knew for sure that this man belonged to him. Well, until tomorrow, at least.
“To my bed. Now!” he commanded Martin, trying to stand up. “No fucking kidding!”
Of course Martin started giggling, but he had had enough of the lad`s perverted sense of humour for that day!
“I will fucking make you sorry for your laugh!” Alan tugged off his bathrobe gloomily.


Chapter 8

I want to be there when your hot black rage rips wide open. 
I want to taste my own kind. 
I want to be wrapped in cold wet sheets to see if it's different on this side. 
I want you to come on strong. 
I want to leave you out in the cold. 
I want the exact same thing but different. 
I want some soft drugs...some soft, soft drugs. 
I want to throw you. 

The sun was shining bright, maliciously and impudently tearing through white metal strips of blinds in the studio causing attacks of sickening migraine with its frightening cheerful optimism. Alan groaned with strange cheek pain, and after a few seconds, he realized that apparently he fell asleep on toggle-switches during work late at night yesterday or rather early in the morning today.
“Crap! Charlie, it’s 2 o’clock already! The guests are coming!”  
"Huh?.. Guests? Which guests?"- Alan asked. Well, he was asking it jokingly. Rhetorically. He believed his spouse would understand his humour. Actually, he loved her mostly because she was able to understand his humour. His life experience has taught him that cohabiting with another person with no lethal threat to your own life is possible only by mutual sense of humour. That was the reason why he so fearlessly decided to cast in lot with her. Because she was laughing at his jokes, and more of that, to her credit she could guess the right places where to laugh at. 
She understood his humour. Usually. Obviously not this time. In response to his clumsy attempt to make amends for his own mistake, he heard that she was tired of being the only male in their house!
“Who’s banging whom in this house?!” 
“Ha-ha-ha” - Alan was shocked by his own reaction. Good thing she didn't understand his hum or again. Well, in any case it was far better than what he had almost answered to her.
“Yesterday you swore you’ll put up the tent aside of the pool!”
“Oh, Good God... Hep, I had a lot of frigging work. I intended to do it... “- honestly, he forgot about the sodding tent. Does he have to remember about all those sodding tents in the house like there are no other problems? – “Actually, you could remind me again!”
“A lot of work!” – Hep grabbed an empty bottle of vodka and a sticky glass of muddy mixture of melting ice and soda squeamishly, – “You, seems to be, a work addict, aren`t you" - she picked up another bottle at the door, - “Twelve hours in a raw, raising your glass up and putting it down tirelessly,...”
Guiltily Alan rubbed his bristly cheek with reddish imprint of toggle switch, where he conked out yesterday.
“Can I have my tea, missus?” - He said rather timidly, though.
“Water is in the tap so you can help yourself, Sir!” - Hep slammed the door shut.
Alan instantly felt relief when Hep was gone as if she took away a thundercloud. Even the headache seemed gone. He breathed out a sigh of relief because there were no casualties and stood up. It was like Hep could feel it, the door opened again and she sternly reminded:
“The tent.”
“I definitely need to shave and to take a shower...and... oh, I`m yearning for my fucking tea…”
"Yes, Boss”
Alan stepped outside, blinking, shrinking and running away from the sun that burned his skin. He felt himself like at the best times of Devotional tour when they had to leave the hotel in the mornings: an unhappy vampire who frankly has to be killed. The life nastily blazed on the lawn of freshly cut grass and succulent green leaves. Fucking birds chirped pathologically cheerful, and light clouds were slowly drifting across the sky. Immediately he became ashamed of his unwashed head, stale shirt and unshaven face. He wanted to go back where it was cool and quiet, confident and calm, into his half-light with his booze. Inside of his half-light and his booze, he felt himself at home, but here on this fucking fresh and clear air he felt like someone took off his skin and exposed his guts.
He was God in front of his musical equipment, where he breathed the soul and the life into the ocean of sounds with the hand of Creator. However, under the Merciless Sun, he was unshaven boozehead and patresfamilias who have past his best, and he was like everyone else.
            The reality was disappointing.
He dissolved in the Universe that existed outside of time. It was created back then, ten years ago, but yesterday when he immersed in it, he felt like it born and revive again under his touch. Martin was damn right because he honored his Holy Right to His Universe, and refused to let anyone but Alan in. Alan suddenly felt a sharp surge of infinite gratitude to Martin Gore for that. Seems like he started to recall something unbearably good and right in this person, despite his own lovingly fostered resentment on him. Perhaps it was good that he had accepted his proposal... although once he feared that scratching his old wounds with such intense would definitely kill him.
Kids were scampering on the lawn near the pool, and Alan with his reflections did not notice that he almost approached his house.
           "Paris! You can’t catch me!”
            His son and his daughter started to run around him after each other, like playing around the tree.
           “Stanley! Give back my shoe, you lil` moron!!!”
            On the fiftieth circle, Alan felt dizzy. He caught Stan, pulled the shoe off his hands and handed it to Paris, then gave Stanly a hearty slap upside the head and proudly entered the house knowing he fulfilled his paternal debt of parenting.
            “The tent is done, isn`t it, Charlie?” – He did not meet hospitality in his own house.
After two and a half hours, he finally assembled this bloody tent. Evidently, as it happens every time: some parts of the construction suddenly stopped to suit to each other, and some of them had been lost and then found between the jaws of the porcelain dog by the fireplace in the living room after some vicious half-hour scandal. Alan was swearing like a devil, and Stan was rolling with laughter on a fluffy ultramarine carpet. The joke seemed extremely funny to him. Alan forced his son to help him with that tent for pedagogical purposes, but his son was not offended at all, and even assembled his part rather quickly. Of course, Alan criticized shortcomings on that side, but Hep stroked her son’s head. 
            “I think I’m done with this tent! How long should I overrun myself? High time to buy a new one!” – Alan said indignantly, heading for the shower. 
            “Well, then go and buy it” – Hep grumbled.
            “I'm working!” - Alan said, and didn’t turn around.
            “Over the last ten years, we assembled this tent more often than you worked” - Hep said vindictive, - “Despite the fact that we assemble it hardly once a year before your birthday!”
He slammed the bathroom door furiously showing the only argument that will not let her to find an answer!
            “And don't slam the door that hard, Charlie; you make tiles fall off the bathroom`s walls!” - Hep shouted back.
            Guests warned them that they would come up soon. Alan ruffled his hair and decided to go outside in order to artificially increase a sense of love for humanity taking the appetizer with father-in-law who has arrived early or more precisely, to dull the pain of communication with representatives of the human race by using improvised means.
At this moment, Hep came out the bedroom wearing an open dress with shoulder strap and with fierce scent of aggressive powdered lavender.
            “How do I look?” - She asked, pouting her lips outlined with shiny deep red lipstick; Hep was obviously flirting with him, -   "Am I sexy?”
            “I believe you`d better wipe it off." - Alan grimaced.
            "Alan, you've never been a ladies’ man, but today you outdone yourself” - Hep got offended.
            "You might be aware I despise red lipstick in general.”
            “It looks hella good on me!”
            "Did I miss something? We have brothel evening instead of a warm family party?”
            "Oh, Charlie, how nice of you, dear…So, you do mean you’re jealous" - Hep laughed, - "I wonder for whom? Maybe for Paul? Or maybe for my sister's husband John? So, Mad Othello, tell me what will you do to me if I`ll flirt with Paul?! Mmm?
            Hep mocked at him, but Alan was not in the mood to joke about it. She seems to be flirting with him, and therefore he automatically, but rather because it was appropriate playfully smacked her ass to soften the rudeness of his behaviour and his words. 
            “I would still want my wife looked more decent, no matter what” - the words were very acrimoniously and unflinchingly.


Oh, that lipstick of fucking red! How many nerves it wrecked him. This lipstick caused idiosyncrasy in him from those times when they lived together with Aint-Saint Martin in Berlin.
            Back then, he didn’t like that Martin is putting his make-up like a woman of pleasure. Not because he didn't like make-up or those women, but because Martin was a man in his expert opinion. He tried to convey to him this idea, but Martin just laughed like crazy:
“I despise Gender Stereotypes" - he replied.
            “I despise when everybody is looking at me and pointing the fingers” – Alan said.
            “They’re not looking at you" - Martin replied as usual – “While I am happy with everything”.
            “Lord, give me the strengths”, - it was the end of his attempts to expostulate Martin, but in a best-case scenario. At worst, he was dressing up even more provocatively. Soon Alan realized that even if he is very dissatisfied, it is better to keep silent in any case. So it turns out less painful for him.
In the Eastern edge of West Berlin, in Kreuzberg, where they lived, and where all more or less self-respecting outcast kicked up heels was generally inappropriate to dress normally and not to stand out from the crowd. It was also improper not to have bruising under the eyes in the daytime after a sleepless night spent at the club. It was also indecent like to come at work sober and without bottleache in the morning. It was improper like not to take a couple of ecstasy, or also unreal as you refuse to smoke the goofy-butt. That is why they went to the club every night. Martin did not avoid attention, even among the most prominent freaks and thugs of West Berlin. It took some time, though. But he tried very hard. He always tried very hard, whatever he was doing. And he succeeded. 
Alan knelt near Martin’s head; He was passionately fucking Martin`s mouth juicy coloured with the scarlet lipstick. Martin was lying across the bed almost naked, except... the black ladies' stockings with elastic suspenders on his wide opened legs. Alan gasped and didn't know where to look at. Either at the sensitive skin of his own cock, turning red by the second because of his arousal and lad`s lipstick smudging all over it, or at Martin’s cock, strained on his belly trembling in accordance with each tight movements of his lips along the surface of Alan`s dick. From one side Martin’s cock was surrounded by the happy trail of blond hair and on the other side, there was those murderous old-fashioned black laced ladies' stockings. And it caused absolutely bloodcurdling explosion of contradictory emotions inside of Alan. On the one hand, it seemed to him as an absolutely disgusting and unnatural combination. It was ugly, effeminate, unaesthetic, and even seemingly not erotic, it was somewhere out of vulgarity.
Alan felt everything just squeezed inside of his own pants when he saw them. That was why he had to take his trousers off immediately; He was scared the pressure of the clothes down from his waist would cause an asphyxia and the brain death due to the lack of the Oxygen.
 He was fucking Martin now, he clenched his teeth and groaned in his desperate desire to keep the nuclear explosion from tearing him to pieces, burning out of somewhere between his thighs, inside of his balls, though he gently cupped them in his palm guiding his cock into his the mouth beneath doing its job with great enthusiasm.
The more Alan endured and fucked Martin’s mouth, the idea to pay him back with interest more clearly loomed in his mind, because, virtually, the opportunity to suck one`s cock, lying between one`s legs in ladies` stockings is not an everyday option. God, he didn't know whether to cry or laugh at his own thoughts, but for sure, this idea mesmerized him as dangerously erotic.
It seemed like warm, gentle, affectionate embrace of Martin‘s wet lips began to cause his cock pain. Alan literally abruptly took out his own cock off Martin’s mouth in an incredible effort of his will, whimpering out because of the inability to endure. Alan sadistically smudged the remnants of red lipstick with his thumb all over Martin’s cheek. He wanted to do this publicly every time, when he saw those impudent coloured lips. But he was afraid of something in Martin's eyes, he would never actually do it. Now he didn`t give a damn, because he almost cum during this process on these iridescent stains mixed in with the rivulets of mascara – showing the depths of the manners Martin tried to appease him, and the depths of the manners Alan desperately tried to shove his cock deeper into Martin’s throat.
Alan moved his second knee back over Martin’s head. He crawled away from lad`s mouth on his trembling hands, trying to recover a bit and to postpone inexorably forthcoming ejaculation. He felt whacked out and deadly drunk at the same time, although he hardly drank a couple pints of beer today. His forehead was burning, the heart was throbbing painfully in his both temples, and inside of his chest, and his lower abdomen, sending more and more obscene fantasies to his mind, and continually strengthening the tensing that was tearing his brain. He just wanted to extend this crazy erotic intoxication as long as he could, but he barely could.
Martin tried to grab Alan's thigh. Alan sobbed:
            “Don't touch me... just, please... Martin… don't touch me… I mean... I'm not kidding... Don't!”
Alan tried to imagine himself from the outside. Something like at Grandmother's Christmas dinner together with his family, in evening gowns. Crawling in somewhat doggy style position, wearing  a shirt only, without any pants, with his trembling hands and knees, with his desperately sticking out shiny coral rock hard cock. But even this image, usually drove him to the jaws of terror was not enough to get rid of the understanding that he probably will cum now even if Martin will just look at him.
“Are you fine?” - Martin asked wonderingly, sitting up on his elbows.
Alan nodded slowly, thoughtfully looking at his throbbing cock and suddenly giggled.
            “Oriflamme*” - he said suddenly with a French accent, and giggled even more – “I feel like I am some sort of Tennessee Williams’ protagonist...”
            “Al, you`re out of your fucking mind or aren`t you?” - Martin inquired friendly. He turned on the other side and curiously looked at Alan while scratching his belly thoughtfully.
            “Oh, the heroine,… she, she…” – Alan laughed, - “was looking for a... perfect... you know... the perfect shade of red. Not carroty...not cherry... not brick colour...”
            “You are completely buggered up, soul mate” - Martin stated wearily.
"No…you have to know this ... the purest of scarlet...you know... the perfect red colour. The colour of the Oriflamme. So I...”- he sat up on his knees laughing. Fortunately, the attack of fun worked better than the thoughts of his grandmother’s face on Christmas dinner, so he was able to continue - “I ...think...I`ve found this colour. And it is just perfect, don't you think?” - he scooped up his cock with his hand and thoughtfully raised it in the air.
He was waiting when the air in the bedroom will be cut by painfully familiar "Heh –heh- heh", but Martin was pathologically serious. He turned on his back again, threw back his head and bit nervously licked his lips. He didn’t satisfy with Alan’s idea to take a break, and he didn't really understand what the hell they are doing here...
            “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” – he pronounce gloomy in almost pidgin French.
            “Pardon me?” – Alan said.
            “Drop your vermillion banner of French revolution and come for me”, - Martin said not trying to hide his irritation.
            “Oriflamme is not the banner of the revolution,... it is a ...”
            "Sure enough I don`t give a cunt suck …”
 Sure enough Alan didn`t give a cunt suck as well. All he cared of was to enrage Martin. In fact, it had happened the first time in his life. That was the very core of the reason why it was so enticing. Martin was obviously pissed off by his external indifference, and it started to turn on Alan again.
             “Have you read the book, old boy?” - Alan asked. While he obeyed Martin, carefully climbing on top of his body again. Now from the side that is more conventional, appearing above him face to face and staring up and down his body enthusiastically.
            "No", - Martin replied firmly.
            “Mmm", - Alan said, his voice was all milk and honey, while he smiled mockingly, - “What a shame!”
 Martin narrowed his eyes suddenly. Alan felt an instant hit of the cold almost physically. Martin understood that Alan was scoffing at him, and definitely didn’t like that. It infuriated him. Alan didn’t intend to scoff at him, by all means, it just happened because only here, half-naked, in the half light of blinded curtains, in dark grey Berlin winter whether morning or evening, among the crumpled sheets, only here he felt his real, live emotions, such...normal and human...you know…it was painfully touching. It was worth it. It was what is commonly called intimacy.   
Alan leaned and gently as he could touched Martin`s forehead with his lips, as if assuring Martin that he was not going to hurt him. Martin froze. It seemed like he even stopped to breathe and instantly leaned toward him. Alan groaned of tenderness.
            Then he moved back again to catch the breath. He was so touched and realized that he might melt into tears.
            “The come-off was satisfactory?” - Martin asked suddenly, running his fingertips over Alan’s cheek, and it took some time before Alan understood what he is talking about. Martin’s hand went down to his chin, then moved to the other cheek teasing his effectors with light delicate touches, suddenly causing Alan to think that he does have a couple of other erogenous zones in the most unexpected places. Martin's fingers settled on his lips, more precisely at his lips, not touching, only warming with his warmth.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," - he murmured, making his lips to caress Martin’s fingers slowly and they burned his skin at once. Nonsense, as he started to miss this touches right after they`ve parted, - “The consummation was no satisfactory at all. I mean probably the consummation was…. Bollocks!  All died.  This story is the sad one. Sorry, love" – Alan said. He could not clearly pronounce the last words, because Martin not just touched his lips with fingers, but gently and firmly stuck the tip of the middle and first finger into his mouth. Not too intensive, just a bit touching his lower lip, but obviously prompting him to take both fingers in his mouth voluntarily. 
             “Why on Earth?” - Martin asked, as if nothing had happened. Alan started to feel noises in his head, which mixed the feeling of tenderness with resurgent echo of quieted down exaltation. He remembered about his cock again, and frankly, he was already not very interested in World Literature. He shrugged, closing his eyes and clasping Martin's lips with fingers. 
            “Not saying I detest sad stories”, - Martin said, - “But it have to be a bit of hope in the end… which, I believe, can be a satisfactory come-off»
 Alan comprehended the idea of Martin`s mind, because Martin`s fingers was fucking his mouth now slowly, reminding him what Martin actually wanted from him. And Alan was willing to give him what he wants, but once they began to tease each other, he could not stop. He chuckled and slightly bit Martin’s fingers.
            “Ah, screw it!" - Alan said when Martin hissed and immediately snatched back his hand away from his bite.
After that, he was condemned to stare with open mouth hypnotizing by Martin’s wet fingers drawing circles on his own dark nipple.
Then he couldn’t take ineffectiveness in his subjective opinion of course, poked away Martin's hand, pinched his nipple between thumb and first finger, immediately forced himself to dwell, and Martin to hiss whether of pain or pleasure, which in this case was not so fundamentally different in their way of working.
            He did not allow Martin come to conscious and forced him to moan again, and then he immediately went down, glaring at the soft skin of the chest. He slid lower, caressing lad`s belly with his lips and scratching it with his teeth, forcing Martin to squirm under him. It was so good that it was just unbearable. Unbearably good. He felt Martin’s fingers grabbed his hair, the ring of the leather bondage bracelet hit his temple, it is unlikely Martin was trying to push him away; rather he was encouraging him to continue. Alan moved down, putting Martin’s leg in this frigging stocking on his shoulder, and quickly took Martin`s cock into his mouth as far as he was able, but he tried a bit too hard, because he barely kept himself from feeling dizziness and broke out with the panic that he won`t be able to breathe.
“A-a-a-ah” – this sound ripped Alan`s ears once again, forcing him to move faster feeling the touch of his lips and the feeling of how Martin was leaning forward now, how spasms of pleasure cramps his hips.  Smelling and feeling the nylon on his shoulder, probably it was the only way to feel himself truly alive outside absorbing his fantasy of images and sounds, outside of the Art, outside of the Music and outside the studio. The only thing in common thing was that he wanted to enjoy every second of the all of them. He yanked off his shirt becoming completely naked; he had to feel the weight of Martin’s body with his naked skin.
            Thick, old-fashioned lace was scratching Alan`s shoulder and cheek, flavouring the sensation of the large cock in his mouth with the feeling of the total brain decay and Decadence. He only wanted to suck, but goddamn, those spread thighs on his shoulders forced him to think further than that. Alan already imagined those not too masculine hips after one nice shagging, felt down apart in exhaustion, delicious and charming with the beauty and the ideality of the shape of bawdy shining milky white drops of their cum on the old-fashioned feminine lace of the stockings.
            Alan straightened up abruptly, not even trying to take off Martin’s legs; he just held his hips under a convenient angle. He was looking at Martin’s eyes, breathing heavily; the whole world depended on this sight now, only on HIS word, because he never would have done anything HE doesn’t want to. Everything just lost its meaning. There was no reason to do anything HE doesn’t want to. Alan just remembered those words, when he lost the sense of time, and found the taste of ravishment and pain and the point of his existence. 
            "I want you. Now", - Martin whispered.


Alan recalled Dave once stated "Berlin have spoiled us. But more than anything else we wanted to be spoiled". That`s was he said about their sojourn in Berlin.
            Kessler was telling the story about how a couple of days ago Frankie Goes to Hollywood outdid them with their “Relax” on the dance floor in the club. The fact that they were fussing over with their track about Master and Servant, polishing it in all possible and impossible parts, terrifying of how it could be accepted by local clubs... and eventually they forgot to record the drums and bass tracks. 
“And then there was some enchanting story…" - Kessler said shaking his leg, giggling and holding a cup of coffee with both hands, - “everybody just jerked away from dance floor when they heard the first sound... It would better if we just sink into the earth immediately!”
            "Oh, dear!" - Miller covered his face with his hands. It was both painful and funny for him. It was painful and funny for everyone, except for Martin. It seemed like he didn't care. This damn song didn’t bother him at all. He wasn`t care a flying fuck on this song. He was concerned on so much more epic thoughts.  
It was hurtful to look at Martin, and yet, it gave rise to some completely sick joyful emotions. He looked like he was wearing a stone mask; he was sitting here, covering the lower part of his face with his hand, and his eyes was glistening above his gnawed manicure expressing all the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust or something. It seemed like his eyes faded for instant, lost their smutty colour of green. Alan rarely could saw Martin in shock. While, Martin was shocked. He looked a little discouraged by himself.
            That was understandable, though. Alan thought that it would be hurtful for him or he would feel ashamed also. Somehow, it seemed incredibly funny. No, definitely he didn’t want to be on Martin’s place. In addition, of course he could not, because he would not be able to tear to bits like that, so the Universe did gave everybody what they deserved.
            Meanwhile, all of them in the studio had planned how to finish their spoiled hit and sneered at how they will come to the club saying "Hello again!” The conversation gradually moved on to the other songs.
Miller was explaining them something for half an hour, even drew something with a felt-tipped pen on the plastic board that was hanging in the corner. Daniel was in obvious inspiration, he was dishevelled and unshaven, but his eyes were insanely sparkling through his thick glasses, and thus it meant that their producer`s been inspired by some new idea-fix. In the first stage, it was necessary at least to look at him and to nod occasionally, pretending that you are interested. Otherwise, he could become furious. Martin was sitting right in front of him. Martin`s exterior didn’t show any signs of intelligence inside. He was just sitting and staring at one point.  
            Fletch was also staring at one point, folding his arms and looking into the emptiness over the glasses, but he had much more reasonable face expression, and he nodded occasionally. By the way, Fletch did not talk to Martin today. It was just amazing, last night was definitely successful, Alan was delighted.
“Martin?! Are YOU listening to me?”
            “Why?” - Martin flinched when Miller barked to his ear suddenly.
            “Why…w…why me?” - Martin asked.
            “Boy, can you speak English? Huh?”
            “Ah, can I?”
            "You surely can! »
            “Oh, I`m sorry…I have a terrible headache...”
            Dave was drugged-out with marijuana. He behaved as nutty as a fruitcake. He was laughing aloud derisively.  
            “He has a terrrific headache! Haaa-haaa-haaa...haaaa…” - Dave couldn’t calm down.
            “YOU CAN'T HAVE A HEADACHE, MARTIN!” - Miller yelled exasperatedly.
            “On what ground?" - Martin asked pulling his finger out of his mouth.
            “BY DEFINITION!” – Boss barked.
 Dave was crying with laughter literally. Miller hasn`t been there yesterday, but he agreed with him. Jonathan Kessler was wiping his tears off his eyes in the corner of the room. He`s been there yesterday although didn`t see some details. Alan also covered the lower part of his face with his palm to hide a smile and not to enrage Miller by starting to laugh aloud, because Dave’s hysterics was no less enchanting than Martin Lee’s coma.
            “You can't have a headache, Martin Lee Gore, because you haven`t got a head! - Boss continued furiously - “ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE AN ACHE OF SOMETHING THAT NOT EXIST, BY DEFINITION! IT`S IMPOSSIBLE.”
            Martin immediately glared at Miller and giggling Dave who was hanging around hither and yon before his eyes and something just pissed him off suddenly, he unexpectedly snapped viciously:
            “I could say that I am having a butt-ache, but I could not afford it in the presence of Ladies.”
            Alan howled and rolled out of the chair. He did not know what exactly Martin did meant, but the joke became too effervescent because Martin was the one who was wearing his most famous dress under his jacket.
            Dave cried and moaned muffled:
“Fuuuuckmesideways...” – he was nuzzling into Fletch’s shoulder. Fletch also tempered justice with mercy and his body began to twitch with laughter. Alan held his stomach, getting on the chair back; he really did run out of the air, he was afraid of suffocation from the laughter. Miller also began to smile, but only Martin didn’t laugh.
            “Could somebody kill me, please?" - He asked humbly.
“Ma-..mar..-tin we can't," – Alan couldn’t answer on the first try,-"you see, Martin, mere possibility of the observation... over... your...your...uh... let me put it that way:.. moral suffering... is so morbidly exiting that…it se-ems like it... causes some pre-ejaculation-like feeling inside”
            “Pre-eeeee - e-jaculation...” - Dave whimpered, he definitely liked the word.
            Martin stood up silently, looking at neither Alan nor Dave, and gravely headed for the door.
            “Where are you going?" – Miller asked.
            “To kill myself" - Martin answered.
            “Don't you dare until you finish the song," - Miller said from behind his back – “I’ll get you from the crow road, asshole!”
          “Since you are so persuasive,” – Martin said friendly, - “then I’ll go to pee, while they are neighing”.
Dave wiped his face with his hands.
            “What have you done with him, bastards?” - Miller asked sternly, for some reason strictly looked at Dave:
            “Nah…We just went to the club, ya know” – Dave replied innocently flapping with his long eyelashes and blowing his lips with unfailing charisma of a nice little Jewish baby-boy.
            Miller’s heavy gaze moved to Alan:
            “As a matter of facts, we did behaved as we always did" - said Alan, - “and nothing MORE unnatural than usual! I will answer for us both.”
            It would be nice if Dave wasn’t giggling so viperously.
            “I will abstain!” - Fletch said firmly.
            “By the way, Fletch did also abstained yesterday!” - Dave said quickly, getting knocked on the head with the rolled newspaper by Fletch, - “he was the only person who…abstained…actually.”
            “God... I can't take it anymore…” - Alan stood up and walked to the balcony, he just did not have the strength to laugh anymore and it seemed like he forgot how to cry at the moment. 
           “Dan, I have to go to the balcony, otherwise I’ll die before the end of the day.”
            "Alan, are you going to smoke?”
            “Why? You haven`t got your cigarettes, Dave?
            “Don't be greedy, Alan!”
Alan shrugged and handed him an unopened pack.
            “Got a light?”
 Give someone an inch and they will take a mile... – he kindly teased Dave with the folk wisdom.
              “Cunt” - Dave replied angrily, asking himself does the umbrage about Alan's rudeness worth to proudly give him back a cigarette and never bum a smoke today, and then he realized that it doesn’t, because he has already bummed the last one from Martin, and he definitely won’t attend to go to the nearest store soon.  


            It was easy to tell what had happened last night, but none of three of them could ever understand why it had happened.
            “I can’t get no satisfaction”- Mick Jagger’s voice hoarsely screamed inside of some Berlin bar. Alan was sitting at the counter, sniffing the glass edge of the beer mug thoughtfully and looking at the ranks of Jägermeister with acute fascination. Actually, he was drinking a beer for half an hour. Exactly since he lost Martin at the bar and he's already started to get bored. Therefore, he fell into a light slackjaw, hiding from himself a fair share of anger, which was drilling him from the inside.
            Unexpectedly Dave cheerfully laughed right at his ear. It was Dave’s smell, smell of sweat, alcohol and the grass. While it was not the smell of the lawn grass, it was extremely predictable.
            "I love you Alan...” - he said breathing hot to his ear.
            “What had happened this time? I hope someone died?” - Alan asked with the sadness in his voice, and the reader should not accuse him of hatred, because Dave’s joy was so suspiciously unexpected that Alan felt like his guts ripped off and crumbled down.
            "Nah, doncha worry," - answered Dave, - “I just wanted to be nice with you. Ya know”
            “I'm so touched, Dave. What do you want from me, old boy?”
“Ha ha ha” - Dave laughed happily, climbing on a wooden bar stool near Alan for the third time – “I have everything I need" - he laughed again at his own joke. 
            He smiled sweetly in return to some bearded German gay with muscular greyish hairy bare chest, because he clumsily fell on him all three times. Kind Berlin bearded bear deftly helped this thick-lipped dope head to sit on a stool, almost with the same pleasure as if he would mount him on top of himself.
        Alan deigned to look at Dave and squeamishly pointed his finger on the collar of Dave`s white shirt.
            “Since you`re newly married and the beginner in this sphere, so to speak, I'd tell you out of kindness that if I was your wife I'd started some vile and disgusting scandal” - he said dejectedly.  – “Because of the reason that the whole collar of your shirt and by the way, even your neck are smeared up and down with a vulgar scarlet lipstick.”
            “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” - Dave laughed out loud throwing back his head and brightening his unshaven face with red stains and red swollen lips - "I'd tell her: you silly woman you! It`s MARTIN GORE!”
“Indeed. I did recognized this unique shade” - Alan said dejectedly still, looking at the ranks of the Jägermeister - "Liberté, égalité, fraternité”
            “Da fuck was that?" Dave asked.
            “Freedom, coequality and debauchery or better to say harlotry” – Alan said through clenched teeth.
            “Hahaha, - said Dave, - “you are too funny, Alan. How does freedom and coequality come into the picture?”
            “Yes, you got it, for it is neither freedom nor coequality, it is a Harlotry. Harlotry is everywhere.” - Alan said gloomily. 
            “What’s wrong with you, mate?”
            “Forget it” - Alan squirmed, - "just forget it, Dave. Relax.”
            “I’m relaxed" - Dave said– “I’ a-a-am completely...hahaha...” - he decided that it sounds ambiguous and laughed – “relaxed. You look too strung-up, chuck. You two have a fight?”
Alan looked at Dave. At first, he thought that he was jeering at him and he wanted to punch Dave in the face. However, Dave’s face expression was so sincere and it seemed like he worried about him, so Alan hissed through his teeth:
            "Listen, I don't even know what to tell you" - he said, - “where is he? When I saw him last time, this shit” - he pointed to the French Combat Banner`s shades on Dave’s collar again – “was still on his mouth. Therefore, that means that you were the last. Although that is the question were you the last.”
            “Haaaa...”- Dave was not impressed with his hints, - “over there, be guided by Fletch,” - he said with the voice of the experienced pathfinder – “he's tall, red haired and he laughs all the time, because he took some ecstasy – you can see him or rather hear him from afar. He looks like sick maniac - pedophile.”
Fletch was really slobbering over the swirling crowd as a float and he shone. It took some time to find Martin, but resolved crowd facilitated his task. Martin was sitting on the chair, lightly throwing one leg over the other; He was wearing this legendary dress, more looked like a long tank tee with the long cuts up right to his hipbones, on both sides of the skirt. According to the legend, he borrowed it from his legendary girlfriend Christina. Alan did not really believe in these both legends. Swiping time with Martin every night at the club, and at least half of each day in bed, he guessed that his relationships with her are unlikely moved from Platonic phase more than a couple of times, and it was very doubtful how such a decent girl could dress up like that whore.
            Martin was sitting on a chair and shooting the breeze with someone. He totally undeterred by the fact that he actually showed his completely naked thigh for all the humanity, and with the length  of the cut he clearly gave others the understanding that probably he doesn’t wear any underwear aside of this idiotic garter and those black thick stocking till the middle of his thighs.
“Clusterfuck" - Alan said to Dave, but when he turned he realized that he suddenly vanished into the air. This club was just bewitched. All the band members have just appeared and disappeared all of a sudden.  
            “Noch ein Bier, bitte!** " - he asked the bartender to give him another beer.
            And it was the end of miracles when the bartender gave him another beer and Martin suddenly materialized next to him grabbing his mug.
            “I missed you, baby” – Alan said with the utmost sarcasm. 
Martin preferred to pretend that he didn’t understand sarcasm. He put away the half empty mug and kissed Alan right into his mouth not really concerning about his own beer moustache. Alan came off the stool because of Martin’s height and it was uncomfortable to kiss in such shrivelled pose. Alan wiped beer moisture imprinted from Martin’s face. He snuggled Martin’s belly into the bar counter, firmly hugging him across his belly, so he really could not move. He could only turn his head to meet his kiss, what he was actually doing.
It was quite usual for the gay club of this rate and the bartender immediately ceased to pay attention to what they actually was doing. And that was pretty damn good. Actually, no one cared about what they were doing there, it was noisy, stuffy, dark, and they were not the only couple who was making out in the club. Although it seemed extreme for Alan, but after standing for ten minutes with his raising boner bumped into Martin’s naked arse barely covered with a thin cotton cloth, he certainly has not forgotten about the existence of the world around, but a critical assessment of his own behaviour considerably decreased. Alan nestled in Martin’s ass with his cock and reminisced about the colourful stripes on Dave’s shirt.  All these facts filled him with rather strange emotions. He didn’t want to free Martin from his bear-hug, and Martin was obviously happy about it. However, he extremely wanted to take revenge for his humiliation, but he was unable to figure out exactly how. He could say: "You fucked with Dave, cunt, didn`t you?” -  Although it seemed amazingly corny, and his cock objected to such statement of a question, aware of the fact that he could spend the night drowning in sexual frustration, because yes, Mart obviously did that. Moreover, it was obvious that Alan could not accept it that easy; therefore, it would require an extraordinary exertion of all his moral and emotional strengths. Alan was too tired. All that he wanted was peace and regular sex.
Holy Crap, Heaven, do I really ask that much?
An ancient wisdom says - Lord, give me strength to change what I can change, the patience to accept what I cannot change and the wisdom to distinguish one from another. The wisdom was on Alan’s side this time.
He slipped his hand under the slutty cut on Gore`s  thigh as if he was the owner, suddenly realizing that Martin is not THAT stupid in regard of wearing this kind of dress, but rather he was stupid that he didn’t tried its benefit before. He took Martin's dick, which was no less strained than his own was, and from the outside, it looked a little bawdier than a nice hug. However, the incite that pierced both of them was the one that told them that there was no turning back. Of course, Martin liked that Alan was quietly stroking his cock under this stupid skirt, who would question that. He has really liked what Alan was doing; Alan even dared to suggest that was the only thing that his mate was yearning for lately. Obviously, Alan wanted to do things Martin desired, but he also wanted to do something for himself.
            He stuck his hand back, forcing Martin to spread his legs wider and protruded his ass further back. Everything was as he expected: on the inner surface of the thighs, in the rear, back there where he slipped his hand between lad`s legs was a little more humid than natural moisture of the skin. Martin immediately realized that he understood and strained frightened. Ah, hell, Alan was not going to make it easier for him.
“Hmm, Some Good Sam has left me the best lubricant inside of you for tonight, for the sale of good order,” - he told Martin through his clenched teeth, while he hadn`t been a Gentlemen with his arse, though.
           "What the heck, Alan?”
            “If I were you, I would shut the fuck up” - he replied tenderly, giving Martin the understanding that he gives him a choice. His hand still clutched him behind, hocking up the dress and then he pulled down the zipper of his own pants with other hand, taking his cock out and putting it directly where he had planned to enter to, at this exact historical moment.
            He did not expect, but Martin really shut up, although according to tension of his body, Alan understood that he is in a fit of completely uncontrolled horror. It is reconciled him to current situation and it made him to feel compassion for his partner, just because he didn't like the violence itself, but he was so close to it as never before.
            “Who was it, Martin?” - Wilder asked harshly, however continuing to stroke him where he needed, confusing his damn brain with the feeling of excitement and fear.
            “A-a-a-al...” – Gore`s voice was pleading. No matter what demon forced him to decide to let Dave to fuck him today, he desperately asked Alan's mercy and it was the fact that reconciled him with everything that was going on. He never called him Charlie though. Only Alan and Al. Sometimes.
            “Who. Was. It. Martin,” - his finger entered him and he realized that they don’t need any lubricant in this case, - “Was it Dave?”
            “A-a-a-w…” – Martin could only exhale desperately.
             “You`d better say it was Dave" - Alan insist, - "I am not really eager to fuck you right after the act of your unjustifiable unprotected kindness to some local aborigine ...”
            It seemed like he underestimated on how much Martin was turned on for now:
            “It was Dave,” – Mart sobbed under him – it looked like he was terrified more than anything by Alan`s possible reluctance to fuck him right now. He was so easy to manipulate it was almost boring.
            "So Dave did fucked you,” - Alan said, pressing his cock right to the entrance of Martin’s body. He could have sworn that the row of the Jägermeister’s bottles was playfully winking him now. Of course, standing at the counter of the crowded bar, in the middle of the goddamn Berlin city, he carefully inserted his dick straight into the Martin’s ass, easy with effortlessness, nearly invisible to others, hoicking up his dress. This fact is fascinated him, and the fact that Martin didn’t have any valid argument to object him.
            “Just don’t tell me that you regret about it, my sweet whore, because you have no fucking regrets" - Al put his cock inside of him feeling Dave’s sperm helps him, and he just completely lost the ability to think. The way, how his cock was clutched now just didn't allow him to think, but nevertheless he didn’t want to cross the line of decency now. The fact that frightened Martin was on his cock was enough for him to send him over the edge.
            He began to move, roughly turning Martin’s face to himself, because it was more interesting now to fuck him while kissing on the lips, this was the exact level of cynicism that he was looking for. However, Martin did not spoil his evening, because he immediately began to fuck back in physical and moral sense, moaning right into his mouth and showing that he likes how he fucking him over the Dave’s cum.
            Alan used the moment to tell Martin everything he thought about Martin`s behavioural pattern in public places in some extremely exciting and simple manner, because everything betrayed the fact that Martin likes that he was using and punishing him in such a manner. And in the sex context, he hardly could be satisfied better today.   
            But the most satisfying thing for Alan Wilder personally was Fletch’s discouraged face, who did not suspect nothing wrong. He came closer rejoicing that he saw his lost comrades and saw Martin was moaning right in Alan’s mouth, because he was perfectly and frankly fucking him from the behind, and it was impossible not to notice standing right next to them.
            Darn, the horror on Fletch’s face totally satisfied him when he had cum somewhere between Martin’s balls, smearing his own cum and mixing it with Dave’s. The moments like these were worth to live.


* Oriflamme - Tennessee Williams’s story (from the Latin aureum - gold, flamma - the fire) red-gold banner of the French kings.

** One more beer, please! (Germ.)

I want you to know I know.
I want to know if you read me.



Chapter 9

            Miller recently talked to Alan by Skype regarding his work on the remasterings and incidentally mentioned that Martin liked what he did.
            “You think Martin liked or Martin said he liked?” – It was hard for Alan to refrain the light growling in this situation.  
            Martin has very rarely spoken of anything good or bad about his and Dave’s work. More often, he kept silent and it was far worse than the death penalty. He knew how to keep silent to exhaust all your nerves to hell. He kept silent and you felt yourself like a loser, a worthless bum, a scrub who personally offended him by the fact of your mere existence. Nobody knew how to keep silent as Martin did. He drove him and Dave around the bend:
“Martin, what do you think about this?”
He shrugs.
            “You don't like something?”
            “Me?... I... I don't know...”
            “It seemed you wanted to say something...”
            “Did I?” – Martin added his special stupid ear-to-ear smile.
            “Dave and I believed that you probably should. Dave and I dare to suggest. Dave and I predict that you care.”
            “Oh, lads, you both are too kind.”
            “Mart, you are acting weird...”
            “Aw, really?”
            “Really weird”
            “Is that the opinion of Dave and yours?” – Martin asked them with his lifeless and metallic voice.
            “Fuck, yeah! And what should we do now?!”
            “Whatever" – right here he was supposed to get up and leave the room. Martin was doing the same thing every time.
For enlightened person of Depeche Mode team, this meant the following: Martin is boiling mad. Martin dissatisfied. He is furious and he believes that all they have done is an utter shit. Maybe not everything was so shitty, but it was beneath of his dignity to explain them where they did screw up. It was back in the days, far before they`ve recorded "Violator", even before Dave became hooked on heroin, therefore lost his authentic sense of humor completely, so, Dave and him, Alan, they`ve usually just looked at each other and said simultaneously: 
            “Fucking cunt,” - and neighed with understanding of each other’s feelings. It became even worse in Milan, because Dave started to get on Martin’s nerves in extremely aggressive and boorish manner. Actually, Dave was asking for trouble everywhere in Milan, and Alan was almost completely sure that they will not survive this year, and they will be definitely stabbed to death in some fucking backstreet by some unshaven and garlic reeking wops because of Dave’s unreasonable desire of attention.
            “You such a scumbag!” - Alan said to Dave jokingly and he used to laugh like a madman at this joke before, but this time Alan received an oral rebuke and barely escaped physical violence.
            Maybe it was the fact that he and Dave were fucking paranoids, but thanks to Martin’s efforts, they literally became a thousand times bigger ones. Dave started to put the squeeze on Martin with energy and tireless pressure, and Alan sometimes humanly understood why Martin’s slutty soul was coming back to Dave again and again. Dave’s pressure was truly fascinating. Dave`s behavior even looked like a sexual one from the outside; however, especially because Alan knew it was nothing more than sublimation. He definitely liked to watch this kind of show.
            However, Martin stubbornly resisted Dave’s manipulation. He felt himself really bad physically - sometimes to the point of tears. But, heck, he didn't give in. Therefore, Dave did worse trying to piss Martin off, to get his approval. That was as necessary for him as an air. Dave needed to gain at least some little emotion from Martin, which could show him that Gore is care, but ultimately Dave’s behavior forced Martin to avoid him and close his own protective shields even more. 
            Martin was suffering. However, he didn’t complain. Actually, there was no one to complain. Could Alan tell Martin, that he is sorry that Dave offends him? Alan would only laugh heartily and say that Martin deserved this. You wanted Dave, right? Enjoy!
            “Alan, Martin DID SAY that he liked” - Miller underlined.
            “Oh, thank you, Dear Lord, thank you! I haven`t been suffering all my life in vain! I must go and explode with joy,” - Alan could not restrain his emotions again.
            The last time he laughed like that had happened a couple of years ago; he was almost crying with laughter when Maestro Gore and his «Scumbag Diva» absolutely shamelessly were cat-fighting  in public, bringing to life Dave’s so-called solo work, which was so touching in its childish insulted frankness. It was some funny act of public humiliation of Martin by Dave. So feverously Dave was claiming the appreciation of his contribution to Depeche Mode.
Alan was deeply and sincerely agreed with him and he even called Dave and asked him to remind Martin about his, Alan’s contribution for good measure, comparing to the reward, Dave`s freaking awesome creative songwriting talent can get. Of course Alan decided not to tell the truth about Dave`s talent more straightforwardly.
            He and Hep made a bet, would Dave prevail over Martin. He was sure that no. Hap was laughing and fooling around:
            “Alan, you bastard! You`re making me to make a bet with you, because you know you will win!”
            “I can`t see the point of making a bet, missus, if I'm not sure that I will win.”
            He was sure that Dave would not prevail over Martin. Especially with such ridiculous demands that he put forward and which became more monstrous and outrageous. It was an epic battle that lasted over a year. Alan switched on a computer and read newspapers every morning not to miss another heartbreaking news. He felt like he was recording an album with his beloved friends again. It smelled not good, but it smelled like home. 
            Martin improved in his strengths over the years. He used to try to keep struggling though, but his face expressed his real emotions against his will sometimes, he could look miserable and lost. Nevertheless, today, no one could define his emotions no more. His face turned into an iron mask. It showed that this boy is not crying anymore, even alone with himself. Alan knew that Dave definitely could not prostrate him and celebrated his defeat ahead of the game. He even chummed up with Dave during this period. He went to his solo recital, gave him an ambiguous compliment and neighed with him at Maestro.
            Hep was the first, who read about that Dave requires the rights to the half of the songs and she woke him up in the morning enthusiastically shouting as if she was a hungry banshee, who saw its victim.
            "God, Dave, are you completely off the rails?” – Alan exclaimed rolling over in bed. He put the pillow under his back, sat up and unceremoniously snatched a newspaper out of wife’s hands - he read Dave’s speech and already knew that he won the bet, because Martin like any normal human being just could not be agree with such terrible demands.
            “Make me a coffee, woman!” - he shouted happily.
             He almost laid down the paper, he didn’t finish the last paragraph thinking that there is the usual unimportant garbage. But something made him stop and return to this article. “Otherwise, namely, in the case of non-compliance with my demands,” - David Gahan informed the world, - “I can’t see any possibility of continuing with Depeche Mode”.
            Alan froze with the newspaper in one hand and with a cup of coffee in the other.
            “Aw, you son of a bitch!”
            It is not because that Alan was on Martin’s side, but the way how Gahan crossed the line just took his breath away. How Gahan had CROSSED the line. The Holiest of holies. And HOW he did it.
            This line had shot down his own life and forced Alan Charles Wilder to blot out his life until the age of 34. This line finally forced him to make that difficult decision that he had to make. He told about it Martin once, at the beginning of their so-called relationships. This was something that Martin, Dave and Alan knew. It was something that three of them knew, including Fletch. This feature called "Martin would not endure if Dave would leave”. And if Alan would leave, Martin in a varying degree…could endure.” It was clearly written almost on the Mute’s door. Alan was so sick of it; he thought that they've gone too far in demonstration of the fact that he is not on the first place at all. It was obvious, and it was a taboo and if somehow, by the will of some heaven, suddenly, in some parallel Universe, if he were at Dave's place, he wouldn’t ever violate this taboo.   
            “Dave, did you dare to touch the Great Taboo?” – he asked Dave by phone strangely grinning.
            “Ha-haaa" - Dave laughed triumphantly, - "well, maybe at least now he will find out that something is happening!”
            "Yes, Dave, I understand you,” - Alan looked thoughtfully at a burr on his thumb, - "I understand you like no one else can. But... nevertheless, I think you were a little...uh...how to say it gently...”
            “Overreached?” - Dave said laughing cocky, - "Oh, Yes! That's exactly what I did!”
            "Well...I'd say... “you crossed the line of permissiveness”.
            “Can I give you wise counsel, Alan?”
            “I beg your pardon?” – Alan asked and he couldn’t believe his ears.
            "Don't worry, ha-ha-ha, it’s not my own counsel, but certain wise person told it to me. Listen, Alan. People are divided into two types: those who follow the rules and those who win. It is impossible to win without breaking the rules! I'll be the winner. And you just remember that, Alan!”
            In Alan’s opinion Dave really did overreach. And now he was not so concerned with his attitude to Martin, he was extremely strained by Dave’s behavior towards him. He took the newspaper again, peering closely at the painfully familiar Martin’s features printed on page. Will Martin be able to endure? Or Dave would win. Maybe he will endure…and it means that this line does not exist, and maybe he broke his life in vain, and maybe he shouldn’t leave?
            He was like a cat on hot bricks these two weeks until that memorable meeting. If to be more specific, until Kessler told him everything in person. He was so nervous that Hep was nudging him:
            “Honey, you’re so worried as if they deciding to take you back in the band!”
            “Honey, do you know that in London there is a law that prohibits violence against women only after 9 p.m. “because the cries of the victim can disturb repose of the citizens?” - Alan asked politely in response.   
            “Its 9:02 p.m. now, sweetie” – Hep responded him kindly.
            Dave won. Dave prostrated Martin.
            “Schlub," - Alan said to Martin’s picture in the internet – “Weakling”.
            He even fell into disenchantment with him. It seemed like Martin instantly lost his Demonic Halo.  He even made Alan feel uncomfortable to hate him. Martin was just a human, prostrated and weak. The same as him.
            Now it wasn’t even funny for Alan, when Miller told him out of kindness about Martin's drunken adventures in Santa Barbara. Alan didn’t envy Martin, in humane way. He would hardly have wanted to be in this situation, to go through divorce with his wife, the carve-up of property and three children at the same time, and to endure such a humiliating defeat from the man, who could be called his friend. It seemed like he began to feel something that he didn’t feel before for Martin.  
The compassion.
Although, it was Martin`s fault.  

I want to swing with my eyes shut and see what I hit. 
I want to know just how much you hate me so I can predict what you'll do. 
I want you to know the wounds are self-inflicted. 
I want a controlling interest. 

            “I won’t be second-guessed for you! Do you hear me, Martin? Do you hear me? I would rather be fucking number one for Berlin hedge-born whore than second-guessed for you! Do you understand me?”
            “Not really” - Martin said honestly and wonderingly wiped his nose with his bandaged hand. And then with his second hand, that was bandaged as well.
            “Get out of my face. Leave.”
            “Why?” - Martin looked wonderingly indeed. It didn’t seem like he really didn't know what happened, but force of Alan’s reaction surprised him. He thought that Alan was a pretty calm and levelheaded person so far.
            “Because I want you to leave me alone. I don't want to see you again.”
            "But I want to," - Martin said.
            “FOR WHAT FUCKING PURPOSE?!”- Alan almost screamed, forcing Martin to step back of surprise – “TO LOOK AT THE IDIOT? FUCKING CUNT, OF COURSE, MARTIN, WHERE WHOULD YOU FIND SUCH AN IDIOT, HUH?!”
            “I didn't look for the idiot...” - Martin said guiltily bowing his head.
            It was just ridiculous. He would have laughed if he could. He didn't know what actually happened to him, he had to get used to it a long time ago, but dammit, he couldn’t! It was impossible to hide from him an epic story about Martin’s hands and his drunken forced march from Alexanderplatz, and about how Martin went to confess Dave he loves him. Dave himself told him this story with great enthusiasm, celebrating his full and total victory on the other side of the phone line.
            “Al, listen to me...you see,” - Dave was laughing out loud at his own joke, - “If Martin will come to your place with his both hands bandaged , just be informed that…oh…be informed that he wasn’t wanking that hard.... I would even say that he didn’t wank at all!”
            Alan didn't know what happened to him, and he didn’t want to analyze why he forgave Martin before, but now he just suddenly flipped. Maybe he was provoked by confident insolence of Dave’s voice, he obviously considered himself the winner. For some reason he found the strength to put up with Martin’s cheatings, he considered it as some silliness, and even he was amused looking at Dave’s reaction when their fucking sun condescended to him. Somehow, he never doubted his superiority in this rivalry, for some reason he was sure that he owns Martin’s brain and it was much more important than owning his body. Maybe he thought that it was a kind of erotic game, which even entertained him before. However, he made Martin understand quite clearly that this does not mean he forgave him ...oh, again, this does not mean that he is willing to put up with this duality forever. Now, his confidence badly wavered for some reason. Maybe he was traumatized by Dave’s exuberant story about how Martin had admitted to him that he loves nobody but him. Maybe he's just tired. Tired of freaking out, tired to consider himself unworthy, tired of being not good enough, tired of doubts and jealousy. Goddamn, he is young, attractive, moderately successful man, he is a star for God’s sake, and girls would line up in the queue to his bed. Why the hell he allows some guy to treat him like a shit? It has to be over forever. With him and with Dave, he must have his own life, let them do what you want.
            “Pack your things and leave,” - he said through clenched teeth maliciously,-"Leave for good, Martin. Do you understand me?”
            "Yes, I u-understand” – Martin nodded suddenly and spun around to the door to hide his face from Alan.
            “That`s me!” - Alan yelled in desperation, punching the wall with his fist– “THAT`S ME, WHO SHOULD CRY IN THAT CASE! NOT YOU!”
            Martin sniffled and nodded. Yes, he was absolutely agree with him, but hell, it won’t work out this time.
            “Where should I go?” - Martin asked miserable and frankly. Alan wanted to say where. Well, everything was itching inside him to say where Martin would be better to go!!! It was simply unfathomable to the human mind how he restrained himself and what an effort of will it cost him!
            “I don't give a shit” - he said it with tremendous force of will to prevent a slaughter in his own rented apartment. Martin would better to leave now as soon as possible, - “Can I help you pack?” - he asked through clenched teeth.
            “No…thanks” - Martin seemed to calm down a little and at least he was able to make more or less acceptable appearance. He waved with his bandaged hands thoughtfully, - "I’m afraid that I can’t carry this anyway...then...I...uh...”
Martin began to stammer suddenly:
            “Alan!” - He said suddenly. There was a plea in his voice.
            “Huh?” – Alan asked maliciously, anticipating that Martin will ask his forgiveness, explain him everything and then this fucking shit will start again as it supposed to be at this moment. He began to feel sick of this thought in advanced. Hell no!
            “A-alan...you...would you...”
            “Martin, what the fuck...do you want from me...”
            “Could you... open the door for me, please...I ... I just can't...”
            Alan almost laughed at the voice. Jeez, why all the most tragic moments in his life with Martin were always on the verge of such a murderous farce? He watched how Martin in bandages trying to cope with the door...and realized that it was time for him to take a sedative pill. Heck, if he can’t open the door, how is he gonna...
            Alan suddenly stopped being angry. Conscience and compassion awoke in him all of a sudden. He came closer to Martin, lightly pushing him with his shoulder away from the door, grabbed the handle, slightly blocking the way to Martin. His voice became hoarse suddenly. Everything was alright, while he was bawling like mad and then he just became hoarse:
            "Are you...you...fine?”
            “I'm fine ...I’m totally...ok" - this asshole has found the strength to smile at him, as if nothing had happened, - "I... I think… I should go now. Just let me go, Alan”
            Alan stepped back, letting Martin to step forward to the stairwell. He suddenly felt something shrink in his heart, when he looked at his stooped shoulders, at his little bode shape that seemed so small and miserable. He decided to give him one last chance.
            “Martin, why?” – asked Alan, still hoping at least for some fucking "sorry" or "I love you" or at least for miserable "can I stay until the morning?", it was clear that he won’t say "sorry", but damn it, does he feel himself at least a little guilty?
            “Alan, I hate to defend myself, and you are aware of that fact,” - he smiled wearily.
Alan abruptly slammed the door.

            Alan was sure that Martin went to Dave’s place. Where the hell else he could go? That is why he calmed down and went to sleep. Well, relatively calmed down, of course, his anger has almost strangled him, despite a huge quantity of strong drinks that he took. In the morning, he woke up in his bed, alone, and actually, it wasn’t that bad, not as bad, as it seemed last night. It even had some advantages.
            He didn't have to wake anyone and pull out anyone from the bathroom under threats of bodily harm. He calmly took a shower, drank coffee, had breakfast, got dressed, surprised how long his morning is. He had time to watch TV, to polish three pairs of shoes and on the way to the studio he even went to the shop to buy two packs of cigarettes, just in case, because Dave won’t have his own anyway.
            Dave was in the studio, Fletch was in the Studio, everyone was in the studio, except Martin. A strange feeling of deja vu made Alan to strain badly.
            “Is he sick or what?” – Alan asked passing by Fletch, pretending he didn`t care and he was just being polite.
            “Who?” - Fletch asked strictly, dropping his glasses on the bridge of his nose.
            "I thought you should know better than anyone” - Fletch said coldly, - "Because I don’t know.”
            “Hey Alan!” – At least Dave wasn't shining, - “Did you buy cigarettes? I believe your pack was almost empty yesterday?”
            "Dave, you're so forethoughtful...that's so amazing...”
            “Ha ha ha...”
            “I am so sick of it" - Miller grumbled chewing his cucumber sandwich on the go and entering in the room – “you are dicking around, wasting your time, where's your fucking punctuality?”
            “I just came...”- Alan said aggrievedly looking at the clock.
            “Where’s Martin?” - Dave asked in surprise.
            “Are you asking ME?!" – Alan asked. He felt the bad feeling intensify, filling his belly with shards of ice. The blood rushed right in his head because of his thoughts and he would prefer that these thoughts didn’t bother him at all.
            “Yeah, why are you asking him?” - Miller asked still champing.
The oppressive silence hanged in the studio.
            “Dave, when I saw him last time, he was heading to your place.”
            “No fucking way!” - Dave assured - “Johanna has arrived!”
Alan stood and looked at Dave, he couldn’t understand if he was joking or not.
            “That’s enough" – Miller said, - “he fucked – me - up. We need to ruin his life. Maybe we should call his girlfriend?”
            Dave laughed very shrilly and subtly, glancing at Alan.
            “Why?" – Miller asked.
            “Ah, nothing," - Dave chuckled and glanced at Alan again.
            “Christina?” - Alan suggested. Everything numbed inside him even more than before.
            “Oh, right, Christina, do you have her phone number?”
            "Um... yes…at my ap-apartment," – Alan said.  
            “I saw a telephone book somewhere downstairs," – Fletch came at a bad time with his fucking advice, as it seemed to Alan, - “I'll bring it right now.”
            Never before those two minutes did not seem to him so long, while Fletch went down and back upstairs. He opened a thick book and started flipping through the thin pages searching for Christina's apartment telephone number.
            “Here we go! I found it!” - Fletch proudly looked around, mistakenly thinking that Dave’s and Alan’s dejected faces are expressing the envy to his mental capacity.
            “Dan, can I…can I call her?” - Alan said suddenly, - “I can speak German a little...”
            “Martin assured us she speaks English,” – Miller refused, - “at least he claimed that otherwise he couldn't really understand her...”
            Alan’s last hope has completely shattered. Miller went to phone her. He came back very thoughtful. Something was dinging in Alan’s head and his hands were trembling. He imagined very clearly how he confessed to them and even German police that he was the real Christina, who cohabitated with Martin.
            “She's kinda strange," - Miller said, scratching his still black, thick, wavy haired head, - they are two peas from the same pod! She was so surprised when I asked her to wake this drunk bastard up and to kick him to work, and she said that she doesn’t understand what I’m talking about. She didn’t see Martin and she didn’t seem to quite understand why she needs to know where he is now. She said they are friends and she's very sorry. German women are so strange...”
            “Oh, yeah!” – Fletch nodded sympathetically.
            “Who. Who the fuck, which one of you saw him last time?” - Miller looked at them confusedly through his glasses. It seemed that he is not only mad, but worried too.
            “He did!”
            “He did!”
Alan and Dave pointed to each other.
            “Nah, he did!” – They pointed out to Fletch simultaneously.
            "Thanks, boys, you helped me a lot," - Miller said. – «Ok. Let’s wait until the evening. Maybe he is hanging out with some local hoe».
            Of course, he wasn’t hanging out with hoes and of course, he didn’t come in the evening and even on the next day.
            Alan's hands were shaking when he tried to light up a cigarette. Dave went outside after him and he was freaked out as well. His eyes were red and his teeth were chattering:
            “Hey, ya see, chuck” - he asked very busily, - "He could ...”
            “Huh?” - Alan barely parted his jaws.
            "Oi... May be he went back home, to Basildon? Can we call his mother?”
            “And ask her what? “Hey, ma`am, have you fucking seen your son? Aw yeah, and we haven’t seen him too! Have a nice day! Goodbye! Best regards, your Depeche Mode!”
            “Yeah, stupid idea," - David said.
            “Besides, where the bloody cunt could he go? He left his stuff at my place! Everything, Dave! Documents, clothes, money!”
            “Oh, shit,” - Dave spit on the sidewalk as if he was thug- “cluster fuck!”
            “Cluster-fuck!” - Alan said.
            “So you saw him yesterday?”
            “You mean after your enchanting call about how you both do love each other and in what fucking parts of the body?”
            "A-ha," - Dave wasn’t ashamed of his behavior at all, he responded very quickly and casually.
            “I did see him” - Alan said grimly.
            “Why didn’t you tell us?" – Dave asked.
            “Dave Gahan, you are such a simpleton! How do you think I should explain Miller that I asked him to pack his bags and get the fuck out of my apartment because I can’t no longer take your floss and that both of you are fucking my brains out and I don't bloody like it?!”
            “Why me?” – Dave asked resentfully.
            “Go fuck yourself,” - Alan said wearily.
            “Did you kick him out of your apartment?" – Dave asked and even giggled with joy.
            “I did.”
            “Yes, Dave, indeed!”
            “Holy shit...” - Dave frantically dragged on his cigarette, - “And he left?”
            “Blimey! You`ve guessed it yourself?”
            “With the hands of him?” - Dave said in surprise.
            “With the hands of him," - Alan said and groaned desperately.
            “Idiot.... Why did you let him go, Herod? - Dave asked angrily, his black eyes flashed a spark of indignation over Alan’s behavior.
            “And why did you?” - asked Alan.
            “What? I was going to meet my wife at five in the morning at the airport, and he went to your place… how on earth did I know that you would be such a petty, spiteful and greedy asshole exactly this time?
            “Oh, God, now I'm the one to blame for everything, right?”
            “Right, yeah," - Dave said, - "Who else, though? Me?”
He was so sure of his rectitude that Alan couldn’t even object him immediately.
            "Lord, of course, I have sinned, but why the hell are you punishing me this way?!”
            They finished smoking and went back. It was necessary to do something. Maybe they were worrying over nothing and nothing had happened to Martin, but it seemed that they all would have to contact the police soon. Moreover, from that exact moment it could be the most enchanting fucking disaster to all of them. The worrying for Martin firmly mixed with worrying for their own arses, and who knows what they have to do now. Alan already imagined the headlines in papers revealing his romantic relationships with Martin and discussion of his mysterious disappearance, or God forbid...
Miller let them go home early today due to extreme situation. Dave caught up with Alan on the street.
            "You know what," – he said, - "I'm more experienced than you in these cases...
            “Which cases?" – Alan asked.
            “With the police,” - Dave said, - “If I didn’t meet Martin and Fletch, I would do the third time in jail...
            “So what?”
            “Well, let's go and talk to Christina...”
            “Miller talked to her yesterday” - Alan said sorrowful.
            "Listen, Al, you just don't be so slow-witted when I'm trying to blanch you over!”- Dave said impatiently, - “you will be slow-witted for a girl. You will imitate some dumb Englishman who does not understand where he is now and what's going on - you don't even have to work that hard for this, you will stand and look at her just like you looking at me now, in the same way, with the same amazed  and shell shocked face, but don’t threaten, because she's a girl! You can’t beat girls!
             “One question, Dave. Why?”
            “Well...we’ll say that our friend is missing and we are foreigners and as she is Martin's friend that is why we are asking her to call the police and tell them that he lives with her...
            “Do you believe she is that stupid?!” - Alan asked.
            “Nah, why?”
            “Do you really think that she will not realize that she would have to deal with police? Fuck, Dave, what if something is really wrong? She will be under suspicion. But if she will tell that we asked her, it will be clear that me...”
            “Why weren’t you so fucking smart yesterday, Alan?”
            “Two scores for you, Dave.”
            “That`s it, Charlie.”
            "Okay then let's go and talk to her, maybe she can give us some advice...and how do we know where she lives? The phone number was...oh, Miller has her phone number, come on...hurry”
            “Do not panic," - David took the yellow sheet that was torn from Miller’s phone book out of his bosom making incredibly important-looking face:
             “Fri-pri...bree – hell-knows-what - trase...
            “Strasse... hell knows what - Strasse 14...well, let’s go...”
            They took the train, looking at the map. Dave carefully read the list of addresses giggling over last names and street names. Alan was so envious of Dave’s optimism.
            “Ohh!” –Dave shouted suddenly scaring passengers - KANTSTRASSE! Look Alan...really...here...here…haaaa....Street of cunts....haha....look!”
            “It should be read differently in German …”
            “Kant-strasse! Street of cunts!!! Cunt – street! Listen, I feel it with my butt - Martin is somewhere there! Haaaaaa!”
            “Dave, just shut up! I beg you! Everybody is staring at us!”
            While they fussed and figured out what to do, miserable and nervous days full of terrible presentiments, blackest melancholy and desperation were lasting so long. Alan really thought that he began to turn gray probably around that time. Actually, Dave too….
            Martin came back.
            Dave wanted to kill him out of happiness, but he was barely detained.
            "Where... where the…fuck...where...have you...been?”- Miller asked breathing heavily and making huge pauses between words, which could fit paragraphs of brightest epithets and expressions.
            “We searched in every nook and cranny of Berlin..." – Dave roared.
            “But I wasn’t in Berlin,” - Martin Gore said shrugging his shoulders in astonishment,
"Oh, you know, you won`t believe me! I met some friends of mine! Some school friends! We`ve met there when I’ve been at school internship and they invited me to their village...well, one word led to another and...you know...”
            “No, I`ve been a good student," – Martin said. This bastard looked great. He rested on the fresh country air. His skin weathered, his eyes turned green like the fucking spring grass, he was cheerful and happy.
            This bitch was shining.
            “So, your hands are ok now, sir?” - Alan asked through clenched teeth.
            “Just great. Thank you for your concern. By the way, good news for you, gentlemen...” - Martin was really inimitable today, - “Now I can jerk off absolutely by myself, without any help!”
            Alan howled and tried to rush to Martin, as well as Dave earlier. But Fletch stopped him.


            «Find him a female of human you shall!» - Miller said them right after that in the evening, when they went to drink beer. He said it rather rhetorically, just by the way. Whiffed as the phrase goes.
            “And how will it make our life easier?” – Dave asked skeptically. He understood producer’s words literally.
            “Women are resource-consuming creatures. It's not just about money, although the money, of course too.”
Alan nodded thoughtfully.
            “Woman devours your time, your money, your emotions and your brain. God knows how they manage to do it! Of course, you can spend the money for whores, but it is different. They just take the money and give you the only thing that you really want from them. Sex. Whores are the most honest women in the world.
            “Martin thinks alike," - Dave nodded. He listened to Miller very carefully and his eyes expressed strange sadness.
            Daniel and Alan looked at him quite strange simultaneously.
            “No, he needs an honest woman," - said Miller, - "The woman, who will make him a man. Who will force Martin to settle down, who will motivate him to take actions not only at the behest of the Cock Almighty, but on the basis of his so-called mind...”
            “I also think that he went whoring around...” – it seemed like Dave understood Dan’s speech in his own way.
“of their common family benefit"...sorry, Dave?
            “I am asking, "Do you think he's lying about his friends? I thought about this whole stuff all the evening yesterday. HOW THE BLOODY HELL THIS JERK CAN HAVE ANY FRIENDS?! Friends...Haha yeah, right! Friends... I know... what kind of friends he can have... why he needs them...”
Alan quietly covered his face with his hand.
            “Dave, don't spill out," - he said wearily, hoping that Miller will take it as a joke. However, Dave should be warned. His restless soul was clearly eager to recoup for his worked nerves, and nobody could stop that appetite. But this appetite shamelessly exposed the true motivation of Dave's indignation by Martin’s behavior. Dave was angry with Martin because he was jealous.
            “... and...damn, I know that he's lying!”
            Dan stared in Alan’s eyes. Alan withstood his gaze and didn’t even blink. Therefore, it was useless to save Dave, because Miller knew everything very well. However, it seemed that there was meaning to save himself:  
            “Dave, why are you so bothered about where he was?” – Alan asked very lazily and willfully indifferent, with the hints of light weary irritation. He really wanted to show Dan that he absolutely doesn’t care about Martin. Dan looked at him again. Dave looked at him too and he was very surprised.
            “How come?! And you? Don't you care who did...”
            Alan persistently foisted Dave the mug of beer, raised his hand with this mug, smiling through clenched teeth and hissed:
            “Drink, Dave, drink, honey...," - Just shut up, you big-mouthed bitch...don’t even try to spill out me, you damn moron! Theoretically, Miller’s imagination should not have been enough to imagine the whole picture of the world as it was. Certainly, Miller thought that he took up with someone who more or less intellectually developed to not allow Martin Gore (he also doubted in his ability to think a priori) to do what he did to him and Dave. 
            Dave took a mouthful of beer. His cheeks became so chubby that he looked like a hamster. Dave’s eyes were like two juicy Greek olives in brine and glistened in the dim light, filled tears.
            “No! I don’t think that anything is wrong! I don’t fucking care whom he sleeps with!” - Dave corrected himself desperately thinking that it mitigates the situation. He put the mug down on the table at a stroke. Because of sudden movement, a heavy tear rolled down from his left cheek falling on the dark oak table.
            Now they looked only at Dave. He covered the lower part of his face with his hand just like Alan before. All comments suddenly became very unnecessary, as they say. They would only spoil the whole originality of the moment.
            “It`s just killing me….. that… he has to...hide something from me, he's...we're...friends... we are close friends…and he…he…doesn’t tell me…and he...he lied to me!”
            "Dave, you know how to find out that Martin Gore is lying?” - Alan decided to turn this very oppressive situation into a joke. He felt like he was sitting on an awakening volcano next to Dave. Another second and it’s gonna explode:
            “How? – Dave asked.
            “He opens his mouth” - Alan finished with a snake's smile, his eyes were shining with cold, he still tried to get Dave to notice that he shouldn't be so relaxed.
            “Ha!” - Dave said, wiping his cheeks with his hands. He laughed, but his eyes were streaming tears, - “Ha ha ha”
            Dave, apparently, didn’t care what everybody will think about him.
            “You're so cool, Alan," - he said suddenly, - "I'm so glad that you're my friend.”
            “Thanks David,” - Alan replied very glumly, - “I'm glad too.”
            "Amen," - Miller said and sipped a big gulp, - “Love and concord, my children. Just take precautions, I beg you.”
Alan gritted his teeth but didn’t say anything.
            “There is no bliss-out in a condom," – however Dave did.
            “Do you have a wife?" – Miller asked.
            "I do," - Dave said.
            “The rest is a debauchery”.
            “Ohhh, yeah... the deba-a-auchery...” - Dave said with such voice that Alan felt that something stabbed in his groin. Dave definitely did not regret it and even lusted it. His eyes were shining again, but with a completely different, totally crazy light. Dave rubbed his hands, as if in anticipation of something.
            “Good God," - Alan put one leg over the other, pulled out his cigarettes and the lighter. Everything just cramped inside him. It was so easy to read Dave’s thoughts, as usual. He was sitting and drinking beer with Alan, rejoicing with the fact that he won’t feel friendly inconvenience anymore, when he will fuck with Martin next time. And he will do it as soon as this cow-eyed blonde chance will come to his hand. As soon as this slutty, sensitive, poetic soul will be attracted to the human warmth again in order to dispel the unbearable sadness of his existence. It means that if David won't be a fool, they will pay at the bar right now and it will happen in about an hour, when the poet and his soulmate named Andrew Fletcher will come back from football.
            As if answering his thoughts, David was still shining desperately with his black olives eyes, which suddenly expressed erotic veil that was not relevant to this situation. He nervously licked his obscenely pouty half-opened lips. Alan wanted to spoil Dave’s shameless lustful joy, but due to the prevailing circumstances, he couldn’t.
            “Cigarette, Dave? Or do you have your own?” – He teased him as far he could.
            “Oi, I don’t, give me one please” - Dave shone in response for him, - "I ain`t got a cigarette...a cigar-ette...I just thought that I need to suck something into my mouth now!”
             Alan’s face froze.
            “Actually, I want to tell you, as a senior fellow... although, I don't know for what kind of money or benefits should I din into your heads...” – Miller continued scratching his belly, -  "Martin needs a good girl, from a good family, a real thoroughbred Banshee, who will suck out his... Damn, Dave, stop laughing every time you hear the word "suck"...Jesus...”
            “She will suck - Dave giggled enthusiastically – “haha she will...I agree with you, Dan! She would need to fucking suck as a….”
            “Fuck you, Dave...”
            “Yeaaaaah, she will suck as amenable! And she'll have plenty to work on, I must say!” - Dave was delighted with his own sense of humor. However, Dave was always in awe of his own humor. Even when he was the only one who was chuffed to bits.
            "Dave, were you ever bothered by the fact that nobody interrupts you, when you talking?”
            "Never," - Dave said.
            “And I am also absolutely not bothered by this fact.”
            "But...," - Dave was puzzled trying to go deeply into the meaning of Daniel's words, - "Aw, sorry, Dan.”
            "Nothing, Dave, I’ve got used to.”
            "Before I interrupted you, you said that Martin needs a chick that will suck...” - Dave politely suggested making the helpful face.
            Miller opened his mouth to continue, but Dave couldn't wait:
            “I'd give her a little advice" - he muttered to himself fearing of Miller, but still extremely pleased with his wit, - “on what to buy in a sex shop...”
            "Fuck, Dave, stop telling us about your unbridled imaginations with Martin Gore’s participation!” - Alan broke down and freaked out.
            “Rubber…” – Dave continued his though.
            “Dave, just notice that not all of us at this table are as concerned with Martin’s sex life as you are” - Miller was afraid of Alan’s face and clearly supported him.
However, Dave acted as if some king of demon has possessed him:
            “…dick," - he persisted.
            "Fuck Dave!” - Miller said very expressive.
            “Come on, he will like this stuff!" – Dave laughed. However, apparently it was funny only to him.
            "You finished?" - Alan asked Dave through clenched teeth.  
It has started to get really tough.
            "Not yet! Do you want to help me?” - Dave responded Alan instantly showing his mettle.
            "Dave, maybe you should go to freshen up? - Miller shook Dave's shoulder to bring him back to conscious at least a little, - "and drink some water...”
            Alan stood up abruptly tilting the chair onto the floor, scaring other guests in the bar and flung out to the street.
            “Alan! Al, wait...wait...”
            Useless. Alan literally rushed down the street at a quick pace, almost jogging. He had to drain somewhere the aggression that was tearing him apart, he was afraid to stop, afraid that he will just suffocate with raging feelings in him. He was walking quickly, not noticing his irregular breath, not noticing the passersby, not noticing the tears rolling of his eyes.
            He hadn’t even thought that he could feel such strong emotions, he thought that the falling into a swoon with emotion is a joke or artistic hyperbole. He put his hand on the wall of the hotel on the corner of Friedrichstrasse hardly taking a breath and knowing that another second and he will shut down. It’ became dark in his eyes and with an effort he run his hand over the rugged wall of gray rough concrete, deliberately causing himself pain to feel something other than gray cocoon that surrounded him from all sides making him blind and deaf.
            “Young man...are you okay? Young man? Do you feel bad? Hey, young man...?” - after a minute he heard the words...in German, at first he didn't catch the words, but they were repeated again and someone vigorously was shaking his hand. He twinkled his eyes and saw a neat old lady, who was holding his hand, looking top down at him sympathetically.
Top down?!
            Alan was surprised by this fact. He looked down and realized that he was sitting on his knees, right on the pavement, holding on the wall with his both hands. He wanted to say the old lady "thank you, I'm fine" in German, but his brain failed him. He said in English. Thank God that Frau was well educated, she responded to him in an old-fashioned English with a distinctive German accent:
            “Lean on me, young man,”
            “Don't worry about me, Madam...”
            "Let me help you,”
            “Oh, no...”
            “There is a bench not far from here, just a couple of steps, I'll take you, take me by the arm, boy, you shouldn’t be shy to touch me, I’m too old for this...”
            The gray-haired Frau led him to the bench, regardless of his attempts to put on a brave face and to show that he can go himself. He fell on the bench with relief, feeling himself a little more confident while sitting. Yes, this short walk to a bench with German old lady brought him in conscious.
            “I am extremely grateful," - he said, - "I'm feel really awkward that I ended up in this situation. You're so kind, thank you, Madam.”
            "It’s fine," - she said sitting down nearby, - “It is our duty to help each other.”
            “I can't understand what happened.”
            "You're very pale," - Frau said.
Alan rubbed his face with his both hands.
            “I thought that you are drunk…you know there are so many bars and sometimes boozers are lying here! Then I looked closer and noticed that you are neatly dressed, your face is intelligent, I thought, poor boy, what if he is ill...”
            "I'm not drunk," - Alan said.
            "Maybe you should go to a doctor?”
            "No thanks, I'm fine, just nervous," – Alan said. He felt safer with a completely strange woman, than with his would-be friends - "you know," - he opened his mind to her inexplicably, - “It happened for the first time to me. This week was the hardest.”
            "Oh, you work a lot...” - Frau sympathized with him, - “today's sensible youth are so overwhelmed, my grandson also often complains...”
            "Not exactly, you know, just... someone forced me... to jitter...”
            "I understand you," – old lady said, - “and that’s also a huge problem for young people. However, I will tell you that is not much easier in sunset years...”
            "No way," -Alan said.
            “You'll see.” 
            “I will not live so long," - said Alan.
            “I thought absolutely the same when I was your age!” - The old lady said laughing, - "but, as you can see, youth make mistakes.”
            Alan smiled with an obvious effort, looking at Friedrichstrasse causeway. It was a pedestrian zone. They sat on the bench directly opposite the coffee shop, and passers-by were walking past them here and there, preoccupied with their chores, fussing or simply promenading about. Alan felt that his consciousness finally returned and he began to realize where he is and what is actually happening.
            “I gotta go, though," - she said, getting off the bench – “I forgot my time in conversation with you!”
            “Can I escort you?” - Alan asked politely.
            “Sit down, you imp, we’ve just met!”
            Alan laughed suddenly. Frau managed to bring him back to life. She playfully winked at him:
            "Good bye and please, don't be so nervous anymore.”
            “Could you advise me something to stop feeling” - he said grinning, - "something...you probably know, maybe a pill or some medicine...”
            “Forget her,” – Frau said, - "just forget her, that’s it. Once and for all.”
            “To forget? How?”
            “There are many beautiful young girls in Berlin, they will quickly make you forget about all your problems...”
            “And will cause another one...”
            “Oh, you must be an Englishman?”
            “How did you notice?”
            They both laughed and said warm goodbye to each other. Alan kept seating on the bench at the corner of Friedrichstrasse. Later he decided to wander around the city. Just to relax a bit. He did not notice that his feet brought him to Christina’s house. He remembered how they hang out here with Dave for two hours, not daring to enter and arguing on the street last week, and grinned. Then he remembered their conversation and Christina’s surprised face, God, she must have decided that they are complete psychos! Interesting, is she at home now? Which floor? Third? Yes, here, in the middle, it’s supposed to be her window:
            “Damn!” – He yelled barely aloud. He rushed hiding behind the corner of the building, frightened. Maestro Gore melancholically stood in Christina’s window. He definitely was shirtless, at least, because Alan saw his naked shoulders, and he smoked. DAMN! WHAT IF HE SAW ME?! Alan felt his heart began beating in his chest, hell, he really will get grey ahead of time in Berlin. Cripes!!! It would be freaking amazing if he gets noticed here, under their window. He will probably think that Alan chasing him. Oh, he screwed up very well. Was it impossible to guess where Martin will go? What an idiot he is? Alan peered out from behind a corner.
            Martin was still smoking unconcernedly and looking completely in the opposite direction. Then Alan gradually realized that Martin probably would not see him just because he has weak sight. He slightly relaxed watching how Christina’s head appeared beside him in the window. Martin turned to her and kissed her, it seemed. Then they disappeared in the darkness of the room. No, Alan has guessed that despite of Martin's traditional drunk exhibitionism, he wouldn’t be naked at decent girl’s house for no reason. Or half-naked. It wasn’t so important in this particular situation. It didn’t change the case. But it impressed him like a right hook.
            Alan turned to the lane and got out to the high road. Need to catch a cab. He suddenly felt that he was deadly tired and that his knees became weak. That's all what it was worth. Everything that was between them. You suffered so long, my friend Martin. Well, on the other hand, Dave also had no luck today, Alan grinned in the car, resting his forehead against the side window.
            He heard his phone ringing, when he was opening the door with key. His heart instantly began to beat very fast somewhere in the neck and black veil covered his eyes. Oh God, what if it's Martin? Maybe he put his thoughts together and finally decided to have a normal conversation? What if he saw him there, under the window? Maybe he shouldn’t pick up the phone, pretend that he is not home? It's cowardly...the phone kept ringing persistently, while Alan hesitantly hovered at the entrance, deciding to take his shoes off and slowly come closer to the phone, hoping that the caller will lose patience and hang up the phone? Alan didn’t understand why a second after this decision, he found himself on the chair with his shoes on, squeezing the phone in his hand, whispering into the phone in a choking and trembling whisper:
            “This is Dave,” – phone said in an appallingly guilty voice.
            "Mmm,” - it was everything that Alan could say. Disappointment and solace somehow struck him at once. It wasn’t that phone call that he had been waiting for. He became indifferent suddenly.
            "Listen, how…how are you? Are you alright…in general…?”
            “It doesn’t worth of your concern, Dave.”
            "You just...you left so suddenly...”
            “Oh, that must have offended you so much, Mr. Gahan, there is no forgiveness for my insolence and rudeness!”
            “No, no, I'm sorry!" – Dave objected.
            Alan really wanted to say “How touching, I'm gonna cry”, but he has not been able to articulate the answer, you know.
            “I'm a fool," – Dave said.
            “Well Dave,” - He wanted to say that it doesn’t mean that he can do anything he wants!
            "Well, of course, it doesn't mean that I can do anything that I want..." – Dave said very compassionate as if he read his thoughts and he snorted into the phone like a puppy.
            “Ohhh, Dave, Dave...” - Alan covered his face with his hand again. It was just impossible. He simply lacked the strength.   
            “So you forgave me, right?” - the voice on the other side of the wire considerably cheered up.
            "And now?”
            “Jesus, just get off me, asshole!”
            "I didn't mean to hurt you, I love you, you're good, Alan!”
            It looked like a three-year-old child’s speech. It was just incredible for Alan, how an adult male could talk such nonsense. He just didn't know how to respond. He didn’t want to hurt the child. He wanted to sleep and he wanted to be left alone.
            “Well, Dave, I have forgiven you. What else do you want from me?”
            "Nothing," - Dave said and smirked into the phone.
            “Then goodbye.”
            “Good-bye, dear Alan!”

            Nobody expected that Martin and Christina to be a real thing. He took her everywhere with him, they were like two parrots-the lovebirds. Martin even started to come to the studio with her, depriving the work process of its entitled intimacy. He even began to dress up like a boy again. Jeans, t-shirts, leather jackets. Sometimes he came alone though, because Christina had to work sometimes and it was fraught with consequences for him.
            “Our Picasso had finished his "Blue period"?” - Miller loudly welcomed Martin talking about him in third person and referring to Alan somehow. 
            “He's not gay," - Alan said, changing the voice and obviously quoting someone - he just "doesn't like strict limits".
            “Heh – heh - heeee" - mocking rushed passing by.
Alan’s lips became even thinner, folding in a vengeful grin:
            “Maestro must be interested to know what women feel at that moment...”
            He didn't have to turn around to know exactly what the gesture Martin Gore showed them both. He's just reflected it sight unseen.
Miller showed Alan his thumb.
            “Five scores!” - he said.
            “Thank you, Dan.”
            “Poor girl!” - Dan sympathized Christina, - “I feel sorry for her somehow. She will not take it long!”
Alan nodded:
            “She is not the Banshee," - he said.
            "Indeed," - Miller honored that he used his terminology, raised his first finger up, - “What are your predictions, Mr. Wilder, how long it will last?”
            Exactly, until he gets bored inflicting vengeance on me, because I kicked him out, and he will not find another occupation, at least, equally fascinating, Alan almost said. May be he should ask him to come back for a boost, for pure savage fun, to see how young emerging unit of society is collapsing and experience the intoxicating in its vileness the sense of superiority?
            “God works in mysterious ways," - Alan shrugged.
            Right after Dave saw that Martin takes Christina to the studio, he immediately began to come to the studio with Joanna.
            “The monkey house," - Alan said through his teeth.
Miller spluttered with laughter.


Chapter 10

            Not much time has passed, until Alan suddenly noticed changes in Martin’s behavior. It took some time to understand. Alan could not remember when exactly it happened; he was shutting out the thoughts about it diligently. He used to shoot a look at his fellow accidentally somewhere afar off. He saw Martin huddling up on the chair in another unique position, enthusiastically yawning, same enthusiastically staring out the window, neighing, chewing something, conspiratorially hiding Fletcher’s glasses or absently pressing the same button within two hours in his headphones with the tenacity of a mental hospital patient with amputated brain or strumming some otherworldly shit on guitar. However, the last two cases meant Martin was working. However, he cared about nothing that was happening around him, in all those cases, except Fletch’s reaction on his glasses.
            Although suddenly Martin began to show his interest to Alan`s work. That was the sign. Alan stood next to the Sound Producer, shoulder to shoulder, explaining what exactly he would like to do and how, and suddenly his eyes caught this painfully familiar tender half face under the foam of blond curls and by contrast with a coarse black leather jacket. Martin could not fail to notice his gaze, but he pretended as if he could and continued to listen their conversation keenly and he did not even glance at Alan. In the end of their conversation, Martin just went away melancholically as if nothing had happened.
            Alan decided that Martin needs something from Gareth, because he appeared to stand right next to Gareth again, and then again. Nevertheless, one day Gareth did not come, but Martin accidentally appeared somewhere near again. Martin was completely unconcerned and it seemed that he was not attending to transact at all, but damn, he knew Martin Gore! Alan was wondering did he, himself, choose the correct demeanor to completely ignore and not respond to Martin's show, and therefore he became bored? Do not even think, I will not make the first step. Not me and not for you! However, Alan felt better because of these thoughts suddenly. No, of course, he did not forgive Martin, but that was bloody funny to interact with him somehow.
            Nevertheless, he has dreamed a couple of nights that he forgave Mart. He dreamt in details how exactly he did it. Obviously, this was due to the lack of regular sex. Still need to find a partner to get rid of shameful addiction that controls his brain. The third dream caused him the wakening among the sticky sheets. He was swearing like blazes.
            “What the heck do you want from me, you Bloody Succubus?”
            It was blatantly and hardly unexpected though, when Martin "accidentally" fell asleep in his armchair. Martin fell asleep in His, in Alan's armchair. What the hell, huh?! Alan's previous girlfriend had a cat, so there is no need to keep him for a fool at this behavior!
            Alan was looking at the sleeping person’s features that was glowing with peaceful calm, and he tried to reach him with his hand several times, but he could not dare to touch Martin, as if he was a sleeping snake. When Alan finally decided to shake Martin's shoulder, although he knew he could not touch him, because otherwise, he will lose to hell. Alan wasn`t sure why he wouldn`t dare to touch Martin now, but it was necessary to him put some physical and tangible bounds.
            Therefore, when he finally let it all hang out and decided to touch him, Gareth came up, pushed Alan`s arm away from Martin, then put his finger to his lips, and said:
            “Shush, he's sleeping!”
            Like Alan wasn`t aware!
            Gareth gently lean over sleeping Martin and grabbed him by his arm, gently, as if he was a young parent, who fell behind on sleep, protecting his breastfed child’s sleep and bringing human sacrifice, sweeping him up not to wake him God forbid. Not to mention that this breastfed child was reeking of alcohol like a wine barrel.
            "Come on, baby, let us lay you on the couch, you will feel more comfortable there” - Sound Producer cackled like the role-model soccer mom. Alan believed only women could have a maternal instinct. Gareth just cynically destroyed, almost treaded down Alan’s worldview by his cheap, old, but carefully polished velvet moccasins.
              Alan’s lips were becoming more and more thin with each passing second. Martin was not waking up.
            “Take the "baby" in your hands," – Alan whispered. He hoped that his voice would express the whole acrimony that overcame him, but he hoped in vain. It would be nice to draw a sign plate that says "Sarcasm" and raise it from time to time in this mental hospital, blimey!
Gareth easily lifted up Martin in his hands. Martin was not tall and he had a delicate frame. He stayed in this shape intentionally as Alan suspected, and he provoked men to patronage and care for him as if he was a child. Gareth heartedly thanked Alan for the advice.  
            “Use it in good health, Gareth, in good health. It is so important not to come to harm, in the question of health,” - Alan whispered with all sarcasm that God gave him.
            Gareth did not understand again. Lord, and they hired a True Professional! Martin was half-asleep now… Aw, really? Alan was just staring as the lad grabbed Gareth’s neck very gently, trustingly and very childishly; touching, making his colleague to drool over with tenderness and transport him to the next room to the comfortable sofa. Alan followed them keeping his eye open and tragically looking at another Victim burnt down in the Great Fire of Love, and hoping that Martin will slip it up somehow. He couldn’t find the strength to take off his gaze of his manicured childlike hands that was clutching Gareth’s neck gently and seductively and yet so tenaciously.
            He could hear grim crunch from the other side of the studio though. Dave has also appreciated this performance with the grimmest face splitting pistachios with his teeth. No, Martin was not a simple pistachio. He did not crack so easy. Alan returned to his chair with nothing.
            On the next day, he really wanted to give a thick ear to Martin, when he sat down next to him, shoulder to shoulder, but his good friend leaned over to him and whispered:
            “Pardon me, would you be so kind to help me with one of my demos, Alan? I have some doubts whether I can put everything right; I believe some things are just beyond me…”
            Yeah, right, that was the whole point! And I almost flew away to iridescent clouds! Such a romantic dumbass!
            “I get paid for it, Martin," - he said dryly.
            "Oh, thank you…thank you very much indeed, Alan!” - Of course Martin didn’t pay any attention to his coldness.
            “Erm…so…and, what's your problem now?” – Alan tried to show with his very face that he would prefer to stay with Martin in relationships of the colleagues. However, Martin did not push him. He just suddenly blushed.
             No, he blushed to the very roots of his hair!
            “Uhm….,” – Martin said suddenly, - " Sorry….I`m sorry for disturbing you… it`s nothing... just… no, I need nothing. Forget it, please…”
            “What happened?" - Alan asked.
            “No-nothing... It was too stupid even for me… this is nonsense...”
            “Martin, what is it had happened?" – What the fucking hell? And he is supposed to persuade him now? No way! If you don`t want it then leave it!
            “Excuse me,” - Martin said as he stood up to leave.
            "Holy Crap, Martin, just sit fucking down!”- Alan pulled his arm, forcing him to fall into a chair again, - "WHAT IS IT?”
            "Erm... I think I… I just can't record it”, - Martin said fatefully and sorrowfully, covering his face in his palms.
            “Why?” – Alan said grimly.
            “Why is that, Martin?” -  Alan's voice became threatening.
            “You know...” - Martin waved his hand – “this…this is embarrassing.”
            “Bloody hell, what the obscenity did you fucking write this time?”- Alan asked cautiously.
            “No... that is not .....I guess it is…it is a rather innocent track...”
            “So what then?”
            “I am shy," - Martin said. It explained everything in his very own opinion, - "you know…it just happens, it is...it is very...personal.”
            “You`ve got Dave" - Alan said.
            “It is not about Dave," – Martin said. It was one of those moments, when Alan suddenly stopped to believe that this person is the one that was shy and blushed a minute before, - “It would be wrong.”
            “Are you trying to manipulate me now, Martin?” - Alan decided that the straight attack is the best defense.
            “You said you get paid for it” – Martin said through gritted teeth.
             How could he be two completely different persons in the same second? How?!




            There is no need to be psychic to guess that Alan helped Martin to do what he asked. First, because it was damn interesting, what he really wants to say to him. Curiosity killed the cat, as his grandmother told him. And why he didn't listen to her?

I want somebody to share
Share the rest of my life
Share my innermost thoughts
Know my intimate details
Someone who'll stand by my side
And give me support
And in return
He'll get my support
He will listen to me
When I want to speak
About the world we live in
And life in general

            Dave and Fletch looked at each other and laughed at Martin’s favorite expression. Alan demonstrated them recorded demo version of Martin's songs. It was general muster in the studio. Even Kessler, the accountant and Miller’s right-hand, was seating with a worried “on duty” expression in the corner with his mustache esque porn star from seventies and in his once send colored worn down pants and was carefully listening to everything that was happening in the room, popping his eyes. Miller was wearing a rumpled stale shirt, disheveled and unshaven; he spent the night in the studio on the couch that is why he was in a bad mood.
            Alan suspected he looks even worse. More specifically, he was sure of it. He smelled of fatigue and sweat. His hair should have been washed a couple of days ago for sure. His cheeks were covered with stubble and his eyes were red like a rabbit`s, they desperately itched and ached.
            Dave was polished and lacquered like gingerbread, he was clean-shaven and smelled of expensive perfume by contrast to them. He wore dress pants and fashionable jacket with lapels on the sleeves. Kessler and Miller didn’t care about it, but Alan was infuriated somehow. He nervously rubbed his bare forearms with his hands to get his thoughts together a little bit.
            Andy was sitting in a horrible sweater. It was quite strange, because it was warm outside, but he recently had a few quirks. Strange bouts of depression when he was acting like a real old man. He coughed, flopped along, grumbled and wrapped himself in horrible colored winter clothes. They honestly thought that he was playing around, and they laughed about it at every opportunity.
            The Second —abaret Star also shone. He, as you remember, just finished the period of exploration of the female part of his individual self, because he was dressed like a local macho. He was wearing pale blue jeans, a snowy white shirt and shiningly white socks of the same shade, a leather jacket and a cap and indecently shiny polished shoes. He was pretty chalant, but his garment looked officially and perfect. He blatantly crossed his leg with the ankle on the knee in American manner, and rocked on the chair, sitting at a general round table in additional room in the studio.

Though my views may be wrong,
They may even be perverted,

            “Oh, yeah! They may be!” - Dave nodded, he obviously thought that the song was deeply humorous.
            "Dave, stop laughing! This is not fucking jocular couplets,” - Miller growled at him. Martin didn't move at all. He was staring at the ceiling with the face of the plaster statue. 
            “But it is so-o-o-o fucking funny-y-y” – Dave tried to hold his breath, - “Mart, Ma-a-art... say it!...fu-u-uck...”
            However, it was hopeless. Alan knew that Martin probably could be tortured in this condition, but he still will not say anything and to rely on Dave’s support was definitely overly ambitious. Alan was ready to sell the soul to know how he was serious in these words. Although, something told him that Martin hardly wanted to goof on him. He rather laughed at himself. It was weird and frankly scary, as sudden unmotivated striptease.
            Martin sat opposite to him, when Alan heard this song for the first time. Without saying a word, just finishing the last chord and as if forgetting about the string where his hands laid, as if forgetting about the guitar that he had held in his arms and even forgetting that Alan was there. Although, this certainly was not the case. He was waiting. Of course, he was waiting. Alan struggled with the desire to cheer him up, knowing that he likely going through the hell inwardly. This was not a song, this was a proposal. The proposal was not too tempting, not brilliant, in general and it was nothing out of the common. It was the proposal that you do not tend to accept, a little rough, offensive and not flattering to his vanity. It was so unflattering that Alan didn't know what he ought to do, to let everything go to hell, slam his fist on the table and say: Who do you think I am, goddammit?! Or to come closer to him and pat the idiot on the head, because traditionally it is considered inhumane in this society to punch the mentally retarded in the face.
            “Mr. Gore, you are obscenely honest," - he said coldly.
            He even felt with his own skin how his words slashed Martin’s heart as a sharp knife. It seemed like he felt the pain somewhere there. He frantically took a breath with his mouth. Fuck, show me that you care!!! Express your emotion, for fuck’s sake!
            Martin continued to look at him with completely lifeless eyes, no muscle flinched on his face or on his body. He obviously waited. He had no doubt that Alan knows WHAT he is waiting from him. Alan understood. But he didn't want to give up so easily. He just couldn't give up SO easily. He wanted reparations; he wanted compensation for his own surrender. Alan wanted to make him feel he's pain, he wanted to hurt him. He wanted to bring him off balance, he wanted to provoke Martin to emotions, to tears, to scream, to aggression, to fight, to anything for God’s sake, besides what he received from him.
            It took another five minutes and Martin nodded. Whether he heard his words belatedly, whether he nodded to his own thoughts.
            “I mean, you understand it.”
            “You don't like it?”
            “Right. I don't like it”
            Alan shrugged, pretending that he does not understand what Martin wants from him.
            “Uhm...” - Martin fell to thinking again choosing the right words. Alan wondered sometimes how he managed to represent his identity in his own songs so frankly- rude, when the basic question put him in a dead end and forced him to search for the right words for hours. He could swear that he sees that his cheeks and neck blushed of embarrassment. It would be hard to notice from the outside, but he already looked closer to the skin of this individual in various intimate situations to notice his reaction – “I mean... is this the answer?” – Martin asked faintly.
            “This is the answer," - Alan snapped.
            It put them both into another abyss of the ridiculous silence. Martin wasn’t upset and angry. Alan couldn’t read it in his eyes, to be more precise. Actually, he was scared of this pause, suddenly feeling himself guilty, because there was something too unnatural in Martin’s pose and face expression even for him. His silence pressed Alan with the weight of concrete wall.
            "Of course I can help you to record it, if it’s necessary.”
            “Oh, thank you," – Martin smiled at him very unnaturally, - "no, really, thank you so much for your opinion, Alan!” – He rubbed his forehead with his trembling hand, ruffling his hair – “... p - probably it’s all for nothing. I wasn't sure...that I should... perhaps, I should have thrown it away. Yeah, probably no. It is not necessary. Thank you again.”
 He stood up to leave.
            Alan realized that he overreached. Well, of course, he was sure that his behavior towards Martin was as right as ever, but he didn’t think about the song itself, he sat and thought about his offense and himself.
            “Listen, I was probably rude," - he jumped about. Fuck, he totally forgot what they are actually doing here and that there is something else existed in the world besides his wounded heart, - "I didn't mean to offend you...”
            “It's ok with me," – Martin said, - "I understand. I’m…fine”.
            “The song," – Alan said. He reached out and touched Martin's sleeve thoughtfully.
            “Whatever," – Martin said.
            "But," - he realized that he got himself into a dead end and he didn’t want to admit that he was wrong, but realizing that he's actually behaving unprofessionally.
            “Forget it,”- Martin said. Alan almost howled, when he abruptly tore the sheet into halves. Then he put them together and tore into another half. He felt pain physically, as if he ripping off his body part. He hopelessly looked at white papers falling into the trash. He was unable to intervene into this process. Then he gazed at Martin’s receding back. The decision came immediately, right after Martin slammed the door. It was humiliating and idiotic, but it forced him to grin happily.
Miller mocked at him for two hours.
            Alan was sitting at a large table, dumping everything out the bin, enthusiastically and with a maniacal thoroughness glued small pieces of paper. He smeared glue carefully and with great caution, as the restorer of the ancient frescoes setting a piece of paper on the right place.

He will hear me out
And won't easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact he'll often disagree
But at the end of it all
He will understand me.

            He hadn’t slept all night. He was finishing his mural with accompaniment of Miller’s giggle. While sorting Martin’s remarks, while recalling harmony and chords. Oh, how he wishes to have better memory and tuneful ear, and that God would give him a little more music talent. Well, he recorded it, as he could. He came into conscious, when the sun started to shine desperately from the window right into his eyes which were suffering with lancinating pain caused by lack of sleep. It was far from dawn. He realized that his face falls on the table, despite the fact that caffeine, alcohol residues and nicotine are vibrating inside his body, because he tried to encourage the semblance of cheerfulness artificially. He almost liked the result, of course, there was something wrong, but in general, he felt some satisfaction by the fact that he managed to rectify his own mistake a bit.

I want somebody who cares
For me passionately
With every thought and with every breath
Someone who'll help me see things
In a different light
All the things I detest
I will almost like
I don't want to be tied
To anyone's strings
I'm carefully trying to steer clear
Of those things
But when I'm asleep
I want somebody
Who will put their arms around me
And kiss me tenderly
Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
I'll get away with it.

            However, at 10 a.m. the last line caused nervous laugh in him with several vivid images. Alan hoped that Martin won't kill him for this, well, at least it was very unlikely that he would betray himself. Actually, he went for broke. He noticed the unreserved bewilderment on Martin’s face. However, Martin did not seek to meet his glance, but he was frankly surprised.
            “Martin, you need a woman!” – Miller said his catchphrase of the month.
            “Piss off,” - Martin said gently. When he didn’t think about what he wants to say, the words literally flew out of his mouth.
            “In the song!” – Miller clarified, because it really sounded not so nice.
            “I might say that the song does seem a bit ambiguous!” – Fletch nodded seriously rearranging his glasses.
            “Would someone be so kind to explain me the second sense,” – Dan said clasping his hands, - “Mart?!”
            “Whatever you want it to be," – Martin said. He was surprisingly amiable. No, seriously, considering all the circumstances it was astonishing.
            “He hates to explain his songs," – Dave said. In was unknown if he was being sarcastic or he just wanted to help Martin; it was impossible to identify Dave’s emotions.
            “I meant what I meant” – Martin replied harshly, through his teeth, and it sounded quite tinny. Miller even frozen a little, - “it doesn`t really matter to anyone but me”
            The silence fell in the studio. Everybody got curdled because of Martin's unexpected aggressive outburst and frankly bellicose wording, probably for the first time. Fletch was sitting in a sickening thick-knitted yellow-grey sweater and gritted his teeth. Dave nervously itched. He acquired this strange habit recently and itched all the time, but now he was inching very nervously.
Miller sat at the table in front of Martin:
            “Sorry, Mart” - he said, - “we’ve lost control.”
            "Oh, c'mon...Mart, did you really take offence?” – Dave immediately began to echo him, feeling how he has to behave.
            “Everything is fine,” – Martin said. He apparently got his thoughts together, - "excuse me, gentlemen.”
            “The s-s-song is g-good” - fuck, since when him, Alan, began to stutter?
            “Thank you, Alan," - he said very tenderly, although it would be nice if there were less venom in his voice. Alan felt that his ears and cheeks are burning.
            “You know...there is... "he"” - Miller said with cautious, very gently and tactfully as he talking to patient of mental hospital.
            “Yeah-yeah-yeah, that’s right, and who is "he"?!”
            “DAVE, DAMN!!!” – Miller blazed with his black eyes, forcing Dave to back out and giggle shyly.
            “There is "somebody", - Martin said indifferently, - “anybody. No one.”
            It was amazing, how did he manage to turn the situation in a way that Alan wanted to kneel down before him and beg forgiveness for his rudeness? After everything that happened between them? He sat there and felt himself guilty. A murderer and a rapist, who encroached on the sacred.
            "Somebody," - Miller echoed, no, he really fell to thinking and saying – “...somebody... someone.”
            “Something” - giggling Dave kindly suggested him, - “somebody’s…someone’s something" - Alan thought, is Dave acting like that, because he's Dave, or is he really not quite adequate today? – “I want somebody’s... thing... hhaaa.....”
Dave considered himself amazingly witty.
            “Heh-heh-heh” – Martin flashed with his teeth in the shadows.
            "Silence, Dave,” –Dan said wearily.
            “Listen, Miller, how did you find the second point in "Master and Servant?” – Fletch asked suddenly.
            “Yes!” - Dave said, - “you found it.”
            “It has been there," - Miller said.
            “So find it here also,” - Dave said, - “you're the boss and I'm a fool. Ha-ha-ha.”
            "Ha.Ha.Ha"  - Fletch mocked Dave thoughtfully rubbing his chin.
            “SHE!” – Miller barked loudly suddenly, - "Not "he"! "She”, the word should be replaced, Mart!
Martin smiled and shrugged.
            “Yeah, that’s right Mart, for sure! Then – then there will be another meaning, so, what do you think?!”
            “I think I don't care," – Martin said.
            "Well, you're the author...”
            “Do anything you want.”
            “Damn, it does not change the song, there will be one additional sound, and just imagine how many…how many chicks will happily fall asleep with the thoughts that…may be she!”
            “I believe it`s not so important to me," – Martin said.
            “No, no, I'll show you...what are the words? Give me the sheet of paper with the words!”
            Alan’s ears shrinked. Things are going from bad to worse.
            “Where are the words? Martin?!”
            "I threw them out," - Martin said. He said the truth by the way. But everyone started to laugh. Well, except for Alan.
            “Ok, write them again!”
            “I don't remember them...”
            “Yeah, you remember everything...”
            “Let me get record it on the tape” – Suddenly volunteered Kessler who was quietly sitting in the corner until now.
            "Don't," - Alan said with the dead voice, he stood up and brought the sheet to Miller. Of course, it caused an enchanting reaction of colleagues. Dave was literally rolling on the floor laughing and yelling:
            Fletch was laughing out loud looking at Dave. Alan stood next to Miller as paralyzed. Miller tried to sing this line: 

SHE will hear me out
And won't easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact SHE'll often disagree
But at the end of it all
She will understand me

            Dan sang out of tune hellishly, because he didn’t really have time to remember the melody, and the accompaniment of Fletch’s Homeric laughter and cheerful Dave’s screech, who was continuing to assume what Alan did with the piece of paper at night and the versions started to become more and more obscene, did not help to focus on melody. However, Miller’s sour hoarse baritone cheered them both even more.
            “Miller! MIIILLER! This is your song!!! You'll be singing it" - Dave yelled,-“it will be the bomb. Bo-o-mb! You’ll go apeshit, man! All top charts are ours!”
            Martin grinned and covered his face with his hand.
            "Fuck you, Dave!” – Miller roared indignantly,- "now let's go down to the instrument - you can sing, so go ahead!”
            Dave jumped to his feet trying to mimic Dan’s unique sour intonations.
            “She-e-e-e will understa-a-a-and me-e-e-e”
            “Fuck you, damn Star! Alan, can you play along?”
            “Of course.”
            "No, Martin, just admit it, it changes everything," - Miller continued – “This is much better!”
            "Probably," – said Martin, - “you know better.”
             "Ma-a-rtin wants...someone’s....Martin needs... someone’s..." - Dave sang from the hallway, he wanted to work so badly.
            “Oh, please, no!" - Miller said hastily standing up and pushing Alan towards the door, - "come on Martin...hurry up?”
            Martin continued to sit in the chair with his head on his hand, he was completely lifeless.
            “Let’s go downstairs.”
            "Do you really need me there?” – Martin specified quietly.
            “You motherf…” - Miller began.
            “I need you”- Alan said quickly hurrying to hide in the hallway and feeling ashamed of what he said. Of course, Miller didn’t understand the ambiguity, but he was sure that Martin understood. He wanted to catch up Dave and give him a few preventive headnuts to force him to stop break Martin’s balls to avoid troubles, but he found that Fletch already did it before him.

            Dave wasn't very good. No, he gave heed Fletch’s kick by the way and started to run around Martin, helpfully poking him in the face like a puppy and kept asking:
            “Is it right? What about this? What do you think?”
            Martin looked as if he was tortured. In fact, why “as if”? He obviously wanted them to leave him alone, but since they didn’t let him go and it was impossible to argue with them, he was sitting in the corner and it seemed like he wasn’t pretending that he didn’t notice how Dave is running around him and looking in his face. It took three hours of painful attempts, five of them, together with Kessler, with the blackmail and persuasion forced Martin to sing it. Kessler even went over to buy beer special for this. Martin suddenly cheered up and stopped shining with his moist eyes, when he took the perspired mug and childishly squeezed it in his little hands with the rings and with partial chipped black manicure and Alan suddenly wanted to kiss them. He stood next to Alan, who was sitting at the piano, and sang. He sang in such a manner that Alan even forgot that he has a stiff back and his lower back was aching due to sitting on an uncomfortable chair for a long time. He just forgot everything, dissolving in the energy of this music, in the energy of these words, he heard the words and he didn't hear Martin’s voice, he didn't know what his hands are doing, he just came to conscious, as if he just woke up when he played the last chord.
            “Bingo!” – Miller said.
Guys applauded without saying a word.
            He went out to the balcony with Martin, while the others went downstairs for a beer. Alan was exhausted. He didn’t sleep all night, he was nervous again, he wanted to go home and sleep and everything is perceived as if he is in some movie:
            “What a grotty day today," - he said lighting up.
            "Yes," - Martin said repeating his movements, "you know I...I...believe that..." - he laughed sheepishly – “the emotional striptease is absolutely disgusting.”
Alan grimaced.
            “You know, the idea of your body striptease is no less deeply unpleasant for me.”
            Of course, Alan hinted at recent show with Martin’s public striptease at the party. Because of this trick, a few decent hotels in the homeland of heroes are closed off for them. Martin laughed, but he didn’t comment on it.
            “Aw really? You don't like it?” – Martin asked – “That…that means you...have been imitating your orgasm all the time?”
            “I wanna murder you," - Alan said kindly, - "because you are a cunt”
            “Heh heh heh" – Martin said.
            “But virtually I ain`t gonna do this, because of my sweetest reverie to do it is the only thing that keeps me alive. Anyway, concerning your striptease...”
            “What, is that against the rules or something?”
            “The idea of public nudity is totally unacceptable for me. No, it’s not about that I haven't seen you naked, Martin. Honestly, sometimes when you dress up... you know, I'm not sure what is worse...”
            "Exactly," - Martin nodded, -"that’s exactly what I wanted to say. Honestly I have doubts if...”
            “Look, Mart, I’m sorry, but deliver me from your sexopathological theories about the sum of things! At the moment I am stupid, incommunicable, nasty and absolutely not able to take a different point of view for consideration. I haven't slept all night. I was enthusiastically rummaging through the trash for two hours like a fucking rat, lovingly scraping off Dave’s bananas parings from that stupid song pieces... then I picked up the comp... I got fucked for a month in advance yesterday.”
            “I have a theory you shouldn`t bother," - Martin said, exhaling cigarette smoke through his teeth.
            “If you are so eager to walk around the town bare-assed, shit, just go ahead! It`s summer, your balls won’t catch a cold!” - Alan couldn’t stop, - “and don’t give a shit about people with their narrow, stupid and sanctimonious viewpoints!”
            “Why are you down on me, Al? - Martin said. It sounded kinda strange, in Dave’s manner, or maybe Alan was jealous. But it was still in Dave’s manner.
               "You see, Mart. If to omit the issue of your scandalous behavior and provocation and not to disturb the devil, who obviously had been sent out from hell for his douchebaggage, and who settled inside you permanently... I would say that I understand the considerations of frankness, trust and openness and a kind of primeval innocence...”
               “Heh heh heh...”
                “Ok, naivety, Martin. You know, there is a huge philosophical nuance between when a man undresses and when he undresses for you. No, I didn't mean what you mean with your "Heh heh heh...”
                 “Heh heh heh," – Martin said.
      Alan gritted his teeth:
                     “I mean that this is the feeling of...relationships, their uniqueness, trust, you know, the understanding that this is your man, the possession...”
                     “Nobody owns anybody," - Martin said.
                     “Where this communism comes from? Fucking Berlin!”
                     “Why this idea seems stupid to you? – Martin asked, - "Why one person can claim ownership over another individuality, life and entity?”
                     “Because there is such thing as love!”
                     “What is love?" – Martin asked.
                     “The desire to own! And don't tell me that I'm in deadlock with my logic just because I’m really there.”
                     “I'm not saying that. But this is really the deadlock. No. Love is something else. I believe ... I... think," – Martin said, - "In fact, it’s not important what you take. It’s important what you give.”
                     Alan buried his face in his hand, he had no strength, but he laughed:
                     “Martin, forgive me for my rudeness, but if I were you, I wouldn’t give… so much of yourself to the others...”.
                     “Heh heh heh...”
                     “And I wouldn’t take that much from them into...God, I `ve got such a headache I`m presumably gonna die...”
                     “Maybe you should go home," - Martin suggested, - “You could ask Miller for some extra time off”
                     Alan decided he`s got nothing more to lose.
                     “Let's go together?” – He asked quickly, feeling that the heart wants to jump out from his chest. However, Martin did not understand or he pretended.
                     “Christina will come back lately," - he said, - "I don’t know what shall I do at home. She detests it when I am just sitting there. For some reason she asks me weird questions I don't know how to answer.”
                     “Holy Mother of Jesus, what are you doing there, when your Mistress is out?!" – Well, at least he was able to catch his breath.
                     “Watching football,” - Martin said, - “Drinking beer. Then drinking beer. Then watching football.”
                     “You are such a nice little boy," - Alan said aculeate – “And what’s wrong with your lifestyle?”
                     “I don’t understand actually," – Martin said, - "she starts to ask strange questions. Why didn't I do this or that. Why didn’t I guess to put the cup in the dishwasher, why didn't I guess to pay the bills, why there are empty bottles beside the couch in the living room. Why there are the bottles? Because I’m sitting and drinking beer. What else can they do there? And how could I guess to pay the bills if I didn’t know about them..»
                     “And she didn’t leave you the kitchen map with the location of the dishwasher...”
                     “Exactly,” – Martin said.
                     “What a cruel and uncomprehending German woman.”
                     "No, actually she’s not that bad…" – Martin said – “she’s nice and kind.”
                     “She's a Saint, Martin!”
                     “I hope you’ll understand with God’s will! Okay, are you coming with me to our place, or not?”
                     “I don't live there anymore.”
                     “I already want to kill myself with special cynicism for what I did. I already went through all the circles of hell. I'm sorry. I broke down. I had nervous wreck. My capitalist philosophy of owning private property rebels against your communist principles of sexual freedom. I really do not understand, do not accept, and consider it immoral.”
                     “You think that this is harlotry,” – Martin suggested.
                     “I think that this is harlotry," – Alan said, - "And what about Christina, by the way? Does she share your view?”
                     Martin shrugged wonderingly.
                     "How should I know? I didn’t discuss it with her.”
Alan wiggled his eyebrows skeptically:
                     “So, she doesn't know.”
                     “Why she have to know?”
                     “Are we going at my place?”
                     “For what purpose?”
                     For normal person such response would mean that he doesn't want. Alan broke out at first, but then he realized with whom he was dealing.
                     “What do you mean, for what purpose?”
                     "You are not accepting my principles, you think that they immoral. And you kicked me out. Why do you ask me to come now?”
                     "I already apologized.”
                     “I am not offended. I even think that you were right. It is better for us to live separately. This is much better for our relationship...because...they are...existing...at least. We can meet, talk and...you know, I miss it so much...”
            Alan's eyes filled with tears. He was barely able to keep them, sniffing and rubbing his eyes:
            "Holy Hell, Martin! Why, huh? Why does it happen the way it happens?”
            "I love you," - Martin said.
            “So why it hurts so much? I had to jump as stoned gelding after your words, but instead of this, I am standing here slobbering. WHY IT HURTS SO MUCH, WHEN I’M WITH YOU, MARTIN?!”
            Martin shrugged. He turned to Alan leaning on the balcony railing, and straightened his leather cap on his head:
            "Probably...virtually... you…too.”
            “Virtually,” - Alan mimicked him, - “probably. Obviously, but incredibly. So, you gonna come to me or not?”
            “For what purpose?” – Martin asked again. And it had no intention to refuse, he just still didn’t get the answer to his question.
            “Gotta shag you.”
            “I`m coming with you” - Martin said optimistically, his cap settled much more cheerfully now.
            “Yes, you are. Let's go now.”
            Finally, they were able to understand each other. Despite a fundamental difference of views! However, Alan realized that this song will become the song of the year for him. He remembered it later again, when he was half asleep - he passed out almost immediately, he almost fell asleep in the shower, actually, he never thought that he might want to sleep so badly. He felt how Martin’s wet body slid under the blanket, he felt the weight of his body on the bed. Alan scooted over by touch and vengefully put his arm across his chest, and the second arm settled under his neck. He clasped his hands tight, hugging him while sleeping and hearing his desperate quiet moan, of course, Martin understood this gentle kind of tease. Alan nestled his lips to his soap scented cheek, by touch and not opening his eyes.

Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
I'll get away with it.

            In their tour, which followed album release, Alan didn’t miss anything, but the feeling of serenity that was in Berlin. It was cowardly, but in times like today, he definitely would have given everything he had to get it back. He liked to be the star, especially for the material wealth, he began to feel himself much freer. Also, his ego got a good additional nutrition. He was not ready to chuck up everything. He liked the admiration and the worship of absolutely strange people. He liked the shouts: “Alan! Alan!” – when he came out of the car. He liked, how girls were smiling and blushing, when they asked for an autograph. He saw that Martin is crazy about it no less than he is. Therefore, he couldn’t dare to blame him. Although, he quickly began to get tired of everything else that Martin liked. Despite the fact that he shared Martin’s point of view about that they SHOULD use their advantages in this situation.
            "Al, just think about it, who would you ever score, if you hadn't been here?” – Martin asked him.
            “Thank you, Martin. Thank you, my dear," - Alan answered honestly, - "It was the best and deserved compliment that I’ve ever received!”
            "I didn't mean it”- Martin got confused. – “No, it’s not what you are thinking. You know, women just...”
            “Don't worry about me, sir. I can always satisfy my vital needs using appropriate physiological holes of my comrades, just in case!”
            Martin got really confused blushing and staggering back of Alan’s acridness.
            Looking at Martin’s reaction, Alan almost considered that his pedagogical method is accomplished, but Dave leaped out as jack-in-the-box between them and loudly announced:
            “Oh gash may be fine but one eye for mine !”
            A resounding "HEH HEH HEEEEEEEEEEH!!!!" immediately told Alan that this time he will make an ass of himself.
            They returned to their rooms taking the elevator. Dave with Martin were whispering about something and idiotically giggling behind him. Fletch was keeping silent and blushing like a Japanese schoolgirl. Six-foot Japanese schoolgirl, in pants which were starting from his armpits and whitewashed exactly in the tone of his beloved friend Mr. Gore’s hair and in his twelve sized shoes.
            Alan wearily rubbed his forehead.
            “Why is this friggin elevator so slow?!”
            Martin immediately moved over Dave, looking into the mirrored door of the elevator and staring at the reflection of glowering Alan.
            "Charlie, hey, Charlie?”
            “I’m Alan, Dave,” - Alan said through clenched teeth.
            “So you’re Alan or Dave, Charlie?!”
            “Heh heh heeeeh!”
            "Dave, fuck off.”
            “Mart, what’s wrong with him?”
            “Al, what happened?”
            “You make me sick.”
            “Ouch!” – Dave said enthusiastically, - “He’s sick...Mart, Ma-a-rty, Ma-a-a-art” –Gahan said flirty mewing Martin’s name like a cat and snuggling him in elevator wall with his shoulder. Mart blushed and carefully moving away his head, but his body could not have resist him - "What did you do to our Charlie, Ma-a-art?!”
            “Did I?” – Martin stammered foolishly – “Why me?”
            “Your floor, David," – Alan grumbled.
            “My floor. Myyyy flooooor,” - Dave moved away from Martin and headed for the exit, - "Oh, I’m so tired... today... exhaaaausted.”
            “Heh heh...”
            “Thank you for a lovely and soulful evening, gentlemen! I would never have left such a wonderful company so early...I know that you're not ready to say goodbye...”
            Dave put his leg to the elevator door not allowing it to close, as if he doesn’t notice Alan’s attempts to knock his leg out of strategically important positions with short and rhythmic strokes by his winkle pickers. Dave chuckled and didn't give up. Alan didn’t intensify his attack and didn’t increase its frequency, but didn’t reduce either, repeating it with imperturbable tenacity of a maniac.
            “I know you miss me already, and some of you” – Dave looked at Alan – “some of you, gentlemen, will cry for me all night, secretly in a pillow, because you know, we unlike you, know...I know what love is, you understand me, Charlie?”
            "Dave, take away your leg, don't break the elevator.”
            “Well, admit it, you really love me, Charlie!”
            “Get out of my sight!!
            “Our Charlie is so shy! Charlie, hey, Charlie, do you take off your pants, when you're having sex?! Or in your Pharisees sect doing it through a hole in a sheet?!”
            Alan got mad completely, when he heard the muffled sob with laughter of someone behind him, whom he hadn’t seen, because the doors were open. He kept patience with the last efforts. He was sick and tired of Dave’s stupid jokes about the fact that he refused to participate in their debauch with whores after the concert, and his delight about how they had fun.
            “Okay, I'd love to chat with you, but my girl...my soft, warm and pliant...bed...is  waiting for me...”
            “Convey my greetings to Joe,” – Alan interrupted his chirps very ungraciously and very tactless at Dave’s opinion.
            Unlike Martin Lee, David was ashamed and worried by the fact that he cheated on his wife like a fucking male rabbit. He cheated almost every day and he was very worried about it. He even cried sometimes in Alan's friendly chest, when he was drunk, and was even calling himself an enchanting asshole. Alan sympathized Dave at first, but then he just sat and laughed inwardly. Because he knew that he spoiled Dave the rest of the evening with his nice comment. So, it was necessary to enjoy somehow.
            The fact that Martin same as the second jerk took his wife with him didn’t have much influence on his schedule on the tour. He executed his marital duties with meticulous fairness and delicate attention and then broke away. If Alan was in his field of vision, he was with him. Unfortunately, Martin’s field of vision was very limited without glasses. That is why Alan had to be very close to him, and he tried to do it regularly to get there.  
            To get there, lying on top of him, at night, slowly, thoughtfully, kissing him in the mouth with his tongue deeply and powerfully, and at the same time wondering would he remember about him if he just sat in his room and waited, as he sometimes wanted to do, instead tarry for Martin. The woman in the next room was waiting for her lover every night in vain on much more legal bases. Alan sympathized her, feeling some portion of strange triumph, and at the same time, he felt sorry for himself that he got into a jam. He was demonstratively polite with Christina, but he would prefer not to stay with her face to face. God forbid something happens. Martin made this mess, so he is responsible for everything. Actually, Alan just didn't know how to behave himself. Sometimes he was tortured by philosophical question: should he feel some discomfort over the fact that he's fucking her husband. Of course, on the one hand, she was Martin’s wife, but on the other hand he was the first, who started to do it, and no one asked him to stop. The philosophical question of adultery still stayed open for Alan personally.
Nobody told him in Sabbath school, where his parents forced him to go in early years under the physical or even worse, under mental threads, how to behave himself with wives of your lovers, who are also your friends. The fact that he slept with Martin was a mortal sin according to science that was taught in Sabbath school and apparently, he fucked up his right to eternal life in the battle between the sheets, but details were lost somehow.
            He was lying half-dressed on the bed, tucking his leg and thoughtfully blowing rings of cigarette smoke at the ceiling. He was drunk and he was trying to make completely pointless attempts to entertain not less drunk Martin, who was lying next to him with logical exercises on the subject of why bisexuality is a greater mortal sin than homosexuality.
“Why greater?” – Martin grunted outraging unexpectedly and sincerely.
            “Why less?" – Alan asked. 
            "Well...you're not....refuse....to go forth, heh - heh - heh, and how it was…multiply,” - Martin said, - “it means that you’re executing your social duty, so to speak. You are not standing against the paths of evolution with your erm...perverted predilections. No matter what kind of paths they are...heh - heh...”
            “How does evolution come into the picture, Martin?!”
            "Well, a monkey took a rod...”
            “First of all, it wasn’t that rod that you're trying to demonstrate me...cunt, zip up! Martin! Do you have something I haven’t seen before?»
Alan pulled out the pillow that was under his head and in a fit of anger threw it at Martin. The laughter hasn’t stopped, although it became a little fainter. Alan quietened down resentfully. He toughed that Martin is goofing on him. Because of the fact that Alan quietened down, Martin apparently understood his feelings, and finally took the pillow away from his face and said with soothing voice as if nothing had happened: 
            "You're right, Alan. If this monkey would took this rod, it wouldn’t be evolved. At least, I wouldn’t. There is no reason to evolve if all you ever wanted and all you ever needed is… erm….in your hands…”
Alan grinded out a cigarette in the ashtray near the phone on the bedside table, crossed his arms on his chest and still resentfully said:
            “Actually, it’s Darwin's theory. Not that you saying now, it’s about the monkey.”
            “Giving a rod” - Martin suggested amazingly obliging, biting his lips.
            “Giving a rod” – Alan said through clenched teeth.
            "Oh yeah, right, I forgot," - Martin’s eyes shone so happily that Alan felt that something thaw somewhere inside. However, he didn't really understand why Martin is so suspiciously cheerful, actually, he would better to think about it, but he softened and continued. It seemed like Martin is interested in what he says.
              “And I'm talking about how the Church defines the meaning of sin. Adul...”
            "I`ve always said that a monkey wouldn`t have to evolve for all this, it should be easier just to take its... I am very sorry, Alan.”
            “...tery is a Mortal Sin. Sodomy is also adultery, but in case of homosexuality, it’s kind of aberration, yes, it’s a sin, but it’s something when you're just attracted to a person of your sex, and in the case of bisexuality, is when you attracted to men and women, so it turns into debauch.
            “Pardon me?” –Martin asked. 
            "Debauch," - Alan repeated, - “Adultery.”
            “Harlotry," – Martin said.
            “Harlotry," – Alan said, - "and licentiousness.”
            “Licentiousness,” - Martin said, - “it’s a good word.”
            “Licentiousness?" – Alan asked.
            "Say it again," – Martin said.
            “Cunt!" - Alan just realized, what is actually going on. He almost spew out
everything that he thinks about Martin in three or four concise sentences, but Martin stared at him. He stared and his eyes clouded with viscous and palpable haze of pure distilled lust. Alan forgot about what he wanted to say and realized his failure as a preacher, when he noticed that his trembling of impatience hands are desperately pulling off this man out of clothes, for whom he decided to sacrifice his immortal soul, without further ado.
Yes, Martin couldn't see well without his glasses, but it wasn’t a problem for some hobag to come into his view. Thank God that there were a good few of them backstage. Alan didn't really understand how Christina stands it. He couldn’t understand how she doesn’t guess about her husband’s pastime, and it’s not because the show business is a large village and some kind soul could let on, but just because he obscenely smelled of damn sex. Something made him bother every time when Martin entered the room. It was something that was called with buzzword pheromones or just a special predatory slackness, but it was something that painfully echoed in the underbelly with aching languor, that wasn’t what he called an erection. Martin forced Alan to fell himself, as wildebeest that pinching the grass in a few steps from lazily well-fed lion, which was lashing with his tail and looking at him with indifference. With indifference, forcing him to come closer, but creating an explosion of adrenaline, because the unfortunate wildebeest can never know, how full the predator is. Strange, but despite the alignment of forces and Martin’s demonstrative inactivity, Alan always felt himself like prey. And Alan knew that one glance, one touch and gesture will be enough to awake the hunger in both of them that will not be easy to satisfy, and which will make him to follow with acute fascination every movement of another body beneath him again.
 “It is the only Religion I believe in," - Martin said him one day, - "God is Sex!”
            “Heresy” - Alan said angrily, - “that's utter nonsense. Sermon for fools!”
            “Nonsense?”– Martin asked again – “Sermon for fools? This is the only thing that controls you. This is the only thing that makes you to get out of bed. This is all your essence and meaning! It commands you, it is your only Law and Master!”
            “So you think I am controlled by sex. It commands me. Sex is the only thing that controls me?”
            “You`re talking deliriously, Mart.”
            “Am I? Would you prefer to declaim me Brecht tonight?
            “Screw you, you bloody pervert!”
 “But Christina reads me...”
            “Do you have sex?”
            “Heh heh heh...”
Actually, after all, it really turned him on. Maybe Christina was thinking the same.


Chapter 11

     Today, Martin’s behavior was no worse than usual. No better, no worse. However, today’s women of easy virtue did not cause Allan enthusiasm for some reason. He was sitting in the dressing room on the couch, which was frayed with millions pseudo-stars’ butts and picked up whores. Probably with the same whores as theirs. The evening threatened to become languid from minute to minute. Alan was drinking beer with the feeling of vain desire to cut off nasty voice of the girl that was sitting next to him. This voice was criticizing everyone and everything around, causing a feeling of disgust. In the end, it was not her fault that he hated her. They were in the same team, he earned his money as best he could, and she was earning her money as best she could. He helped her to earn daily bread, she satisfied his needs, but he was just on top of show business pyramid, and she was at the bottom. 
     Now, he felt sorry for her, but this made even worse affection on his erection, than the previous release of bile.
“Hey, Alan, why are you sitting so bored in the corner?” – Dave said, suddenly shooting a look at him, - “come and join us, let’s have fun.”
“I don't want to have fun. I'm tired," – Alan said, - "I’ve been working a lot, by the way.”
“Oh, come on! You are standing in front of your keyboard for hours and hours and pressing the button! Why would you be tired?” - Dave surprised, forcing the whole spide company that was sitting on the sofa in various poses to laugh out loud.
"No, gentlemen, you are working one hour,” - Alan said through clenched teeth, he didn’t like when people sort things out, but Dave sometimes provoked him – “and I come to the concert hall with the technicians by the way, and all the instruments that you play are programmed....”
“Come on, Alan, it was joke. Why are you so chalant, huh?”
“I'm not chalant.”
"Relax, dude!”
“I SAID, I'M RELAXED, DAMN IT!” – he barked so that Martin anxiously removed brightly, tasteless and sloppy manicured girls’ little hand from his groin. Alan suddenly laughed out loudly, forgetting about his own irritation. Martin was afraid of him. It was so touching. A little bit more and he would have appreciated it. But a few minutes later, Martin seems to have forgotten about him.
Andy thoughtfully licked cheek of another humanoid female. There were four whores. His companions were so touchingly careful. Dave jumped up and hinted in his ear that actually the fourth whore was for him. Usually Alan used this opportunity, and in the end, they were not saints at all. But today, whether he was tired or something was wrong with him, he desperately didn't want to have fun.
“Thanks, not today,” – he answered Dave through clenched teeth. 
“Then you should better go to sleep or something” - Dave said, - “You’re kinda fucked in the head today, Charlie.” 
"Dave, are you really the one to throw a stone at me?”
“Hahaha,” - Dave followed his lady for today somewhere behind the partition joyfully, like a spring rabbit. He listened to the strange soundtrack to this surreal scene. He heard distinctive moans and grunts from around the corner, and he clutched hard hooker's shoulder and silently rejoiced that this blond cunt on the couch opposite him absolutely didn’t care a flying fuck. He's been busy. He’s been so busy that he didn’t notice Alan, who thoughtfully was sipping vodka with ginger ale, crossing his legs. Martin grasped the woman, as if she was the last woman on Earth. When two of the girls left after worked off with Andy and Dave, Martin deftly freed him from prostitute, and wiggling his bum went back to the corner with two of them stubbornly avoiding Alan sight.
Andy carefully supplied Martin with condoms.
“Thanks, Andy," – Martin said. 
“Thanks, Andy,” - Alan mimicked him with a very strange voice.
Dave was cackled loud and sarcastically, when he was heading to the shower:
“Tha-a-anks, Andy!” – Dave said the last word. Martin looked around squinting and clearly having understood the joke, which hung in the air without words, but he had nothing to say, that is why he scratched his head grinning stupidly and then disappeared around the corner. Andy did not move from his place.
Apparently, the girls started to show some exclusive private lesbian show, because there were only simulated female moans and smacking from the corner. Well, Andy also stood in the corner, happily opening his mouth, becoming red and he was shining. Alan put his legs on the coffee table and closed his eyes. He didn't know how long it lasted, but Dave, who went out the shower in his underwear, tank top, socks and towel, brought him back from the half sleep stumbling on his legs. 
“Oops, sorry, my friend," - he reached for a beer, opening the bottle and greedily throwing back his head. Andy did not change his position
"Oh, my little pervy Andy!” – Dave chuckled, - "You are peeping Martin!”
Happy Andy turned to Dave and beckoned with his hand, as if he saying, “come here, quickly”. Dave threw a wet towel on the floor, holding a beer, rode up to Andy, looking over his shoulder and whistling approvingly, he threw a couple of most obscene comments, inducing the company that Alan couldn’t see from his seat, but could clearly hear, to warm up even more, if such a thing were possible.
“Haaa,” - Dave smiled happily, - “Alan, come here, check this out, Holy Shit...”
“Screw you," - Alan said. He laid down on the sofa and closed his eyes, - “And your fucking Zoo.”
Despite the fatigue, the third voice that joined to those two and, which was painfully familiar for him started turn him on physiologically. He laid there and began to think seriously, what if forget about everything and join Martin in a high artistic meritpromiscuous sin, despite a complete lack of desire to interact with strangers, even if just to annoy Andy and Dave.
Before their relationship with Martin, he probably would have done it. Before, but not now.
“Come on, Alan! Get your old lazy ass off the couch! Do you really afraid to pop into the wrong hole?!” - Mr. Gahan was enchanting.
“There is nothing to afraid of!" – Andy said, obviously not realizing the depth of highly intellectual joke – “there are only two holes!”
"Three," - Alan said through clenched teeth, - “one for each gentleman.”
Dave laughed out loud.
“Oh, right, three...” - Andy agreed, -"but there are four of us?! And girls are two!”
“Aaaandyyyy” - Dave pitifully whined, - “I love you so much.....ANDY! But math is not your strong point!”
“I had good marks in math!” – Andy could not agree, - “Martin will confirm.... MARTIN?!”
“Look, otherwise you’ll miss the fun!”
“Better put on your pants, stoner! I'm not going to wait for you here forever!”– Alan said grimly.
Dave wasn't a bit ashamed of the fact that he was in his underwear, and whistled admiringly:
"No, Charlie, I'll be honest” – of course he didn’t look at Charlie, he looked there – “I didn't even know that this is possible!” – he fascinated and began to touch in his cock in the shorts.
“Oh, Goddammit, Dave, maybe you should lick his balls!”
“No, you lick," – Dave said, - "I allow you.”
“Guys, are you perverts?" – Andy asked.
No, he was not afraid to put it into the wrong hole. It`s just, for some reason he began to catch himself on a strange feeling, when Martin touched with his hands or lips and turned on by somebody else's body, it caused him physical pain on the verge of disgust and he felt sick. Moreover, philosophical reflections on the subject of gender identity of the object of arousal are no longer soothed him. If he did not see it – it was easier to leave it in the field of abstraction. He couldn’t see it in a certain point.
“Why are you acting yourself like a cherry?” - Dave was laughing at him sometimes, he believed that Alan is not involved in their orgies anymore, because he’s afraid to give out the whole intimacy of his relationship with Martin, - “Do you think that we do not know what is between you and Martin?”
"Dave, I don't know who of you and what you know, but what I have with Martin is not your business!”
“HOW COME?” – Dave startled quite frankly.
“Dave, that is why it is called intimate life, because it is the concern of two persons!”
"Lie! Everything about Mart’s intimate life is my concern!" – Dave snapped.
“Does Martin know about it?”
Dave shrugged his shoulders, but his opinions have not changed. These conversations with Dave are also left the bites of fierce jealousy. Martin didn't tell him that there is something between them. And Martin would not have time with Dave just physically. It seemed weird for Alan that Dave so easily agreed to change the relationship with Martin, after being his lover to become his companion in floss. He could not understand, whether Dave was so weak that fully obeyed Martin’s will, or he just didn't love him. But even in their friendships he felt a strange jeer, and Dave’s possessiveness forced him feel the greater threat.

They came out of the Elevator. Their rooms were on same floor. First, they said goodbye to Andy. Alan stopped to open the door. Martin passed further.
"Don`t you bother to visit me today, sir?” - he said through clenched teeth, - "Don`t you have any desire to communicate with your paltry fellow today?”
“We are making you sick," - Martin replied with some inappropriate insolent voice at Alan’s opinion.
“Mart. Don't you play with fire, Mart," - he said quietly.
"Or what?” - Martin stopped, he put his hands on his hips and grinned.
“Or it will be painful for you. When you playing with fire, Martin, you sometimes get burned. And sometimes, Martin, it can be painful. Very painful.”
Alan entered the room, and turned around holding the door. Martin stood wonderingly and looked at him.
“What?” – Alan asked, - "WHAT?!” – he barked out loud – “Fuck you, Alan, you're already fucked up, you don’t need me anymore?!”
"H-have you-you lost your f-fucking mind?” – Martin frightened and began to stammer – “There's door...my...room, there...is Chri...”
“I offered you to come in,” - Alan informed him very kindly suddenly.
“Oh, you...motherf..." - of course, Martin came in.
Alan immediately reacted on irritation that sounded in Martin’s voice. He shoved him to the wall, grabbing his neck in a headlock with his right hand. Martin clutched with both hands in his hand convulsively, raising himself on tiptoes automatically, trying to compensate Alan’s force.
“Fancy killing me?” – Martin’s surprised calm in this situation brought him to conscious for some reason. 
“Actually, yes," - Alan said gloomy, stepping back and dropping his hand, - "However I'm not ready to face the consequences yet.”
“Ahem” - Martin rubbed his neck, his brow comically arched, - "Well, then, can I go now? Christina is waiting for me.”
“Actually, I’ve been waiting for you too.”
“You're not ready to face the consequences yet" - Martin chuckled. For Alan it was enough to look at him. Very carefully. Enough for total evaporation of this idiotic sense of humor.
“I am sitting and waiting for you the whole evening like a dog...”
“Though I am here now?” – Martin said quietly, - "And you are trying to hurt me.”
Great. Now he felt this fucking guilt trip that mingled with humiliation, because in fact it was seemed like he begging Martin to stay with him, and he just sneered at him, it caused the sour taste in his mouth that the tears covered Alan's eyes. He turned away quickly.
“Don’t you like it?” - he snapped to hide his emotions.
“I like, when you control me," - Martin said without a trace of embarrassment, or remorse – “I don't like when you can’t control yourself!”
Lord! IT WAS UNBEARABLE! Simple conversation just can’t cause so much unbearable pain. It shouldn’t be that way. 
   It was so predictable. It wouldn't be Martin Gore, if he wouldn't have flown out of his room slamming the door, like a champagne cork. Joyful female voice behind the wall quickly informed him that Martin actually went to Christina. Why the fuck they were lived in rooms with a common wall? If they decide to execute their marital duties God forbid, he will go mad today for sure, or hang on his own belt, damn it. He felt strangely excruciating and dragging inside wild headache caused by anxiety and forcing to revive the feeling of nausea. He felt buzzing in his ears. He wanted to howl out loud. Why this is happening to him? WHY? WHY?!
There was a bottle of vodka somewhere in his travel bag. Maybe alcohol will help him to relax a little and save the remnants of his mind. He tried to pour vodka into a glass with his trembling hands, but he spilled it even more. In desperation, he fell on the bed, put the pillows under his back and decided to drink right from the bottle. His throat almost burned and he coughed for a while, but he began to hit right into the glass, he even guessed to dilute it with some fruit dregs from the minibar. So it was a little softer. Alcohol relaxed him s bit. It was silent behind the wall. Just TV worked quietly. Alan thought that it would better to switch it on too, but it would begin to annoy him very soon, so he didn’t do it. However, alcohol made him bad favor. It spread through his body forcing to revive the erection that had been forgotten in the tribulation. It made him want to touch himself, and the feeling of painful unsatisfied tenderness in the abdomen reminded him that it could be someone else to do ot, if he hadn't freaked him out. They could get off the ground and fly. And everything would be fine tonight. Alcohol reminded him the meaning of the word “want”. 
   He reached over to the bedside table to get the list of their band and staff’s rooms and phone numbers. In order to get away from thoughts about what he and Martin could do now, he started giggling and dialed Andy to make a joke about the fact that there is a fire in the hotel, and Andy should immediately evacuate over the balcony without dressing and with a British passport in his mouth. Andy believed in the beginning and started to worry, but then he recognized Alan’s drunken voice and told him to get lost.
Well, kill or cure. If Christina will pick up the phone, then he is not lucky today. Martin picked up the phone.
"I'm ready to face the consequences," – Alan said.
“Sorry?” –Martin asked.
“I made up my mind. I want you. Now.”
“The choice is yours. You can come now or never.”
Lord, how good it is to be drunk! Oh boy, how could he say that?
“Alright. I'll come in a minute," – Martin’s voice was dry and businesslike. Alan hung up and laughed. This mistress game made him laugh. He gulped the vodka in order to not lose the remnants of courage. The door of the next room is slammed. Damn, he didn't know that this sound can be so hot!

However, Alan didn't miss anything, but the feeling of serenity that was in Berlin. Especially during recording of this fucking hard won Somebody when they dragged skeins of wires as the last freaks to Martin’s newly purchased apartment, because they drunk away all the money for taxi.
"You know, but there's nothing there” - Martin said dropping the adapters along the way, right to the asphalt.
“Huh? Martin... you’re ham-handed...”- Alan started to scrabble under the curb, grabbing out everything that fell down, - “What do you have there?”
“Ha-ha...sorry. Nothing.” – Martin sat down on the asphalt thoughtfully, and Alan couldn’t figure out anything better than to sit next to him. They sat on the sidewalk and variegated Volkswagens and other offspring of the German car industry were driving by periodically. Alan lit a cigarette and offered it to Martin, he did not hesitate to grab it:
“Why the heck did you rent an apartment without the furniture?” 
“ņcoustics is so FREAKING AWESOME!” – he said lisping with a cigarette in his mouth, - "And there's a grand piano, I've told you. You know the acoustics. There are such ceilings, the building is old, I'm sure, just know that this is the only building, where Bowie and Iggy would work. You see, it's not the fucking ceiling for hobbits, it's acoustics, with a capital A. Acoustics and piano. What else do you need?”
"To sleep," - Alan said.
“Well, there is the mattress on the floor, beside the piano.”
“To eat," – Alan said. 
“You can eat right on pianna-Joanna...” – Martin said faking the Cockney accent.
Alan laughed.
“My relatives would curse you right now!”
“Why would they?" - asked Martin.
“I’m not talking about your slang, but to eat on the piano?!”
"Listen, Alan Charles Wilder,” - Martin thoughtfully released a long column of smoke from his mouth, - "Are you really sure that this is the only thing that your dear relatives wouldn't accept? And what dress should I wear, when we’ll go to meet your parents? Leather dress with detachable back or with two cuts on the hips? By the way, what they think about sex before marriage? And about the fact that pianna-Joanna is not the only one “not a woman” in this town?”
“Oh, shit, you knocked me into a cocked hat,” - Alan suddenly frowned, - “I must admit you did it with particular cynicism, Martin Lee Gore.”
"I tried,” - Martin Gore said honestly stating a fact, without a shadow of a smile.
Alan snorted with laughter:
“I can't say that you have ever been a part of my most cherished plans and dreams in life.”
“Yes, I`m aware," - Martin grinned, but sounded a little cold somehow. 
Alan thought he said something wrong.
“Perhaps even better than you," – Martin said after a pause and crushing the cigarette on the sidewalk, - “So you shouldn't worry to get this message to me. Sometimes I quite adequate in assessing the situation, even if it seems differently.”
“Sorry?" – Alan asked.
“Forget it.”
Whether he sounded like, or whether he really began to talk to him strangely through clenched teeth? For some reason, Alan felt guilty about himself, in fact, not really understanding why, but he tried to clarify:
“I mean...this relationship is not that... it's not about you, it's not that I'm not happy that you came on the path of my life...”
“Alan, I....I....,” - Martin got up from the sidewalk, - “I’m also glad to meet you” - he said very politely, - "Let's go, if we want to do something today, we should go.”
Alan thought that Martin got him completely wrong. He wanted to say "I love you, so I don't care about other people’s opinion and all my stupid dreams too". He said:
“I,...”- then his throat paralyzed, - "I..." – Alan repeated, - "I just meant that, you know, those dreams were dear for me, and I...”
"Listen, you don't have to defend yourself to me," – Martin said, his voice expressed light sympathy.
"I just, I think ... I don't know how to say it.”
"It was my fault," – Martin said, - "I wasn't supposed to start this conversation. You know, I have an amazing ability to shoot the crap, completely out of place. I talk too much.”
“Do you?" – Alan asked.
"I do," - Martin said, - “I should not have brought it up, I didn't mean to cause you inconvenience, I do not know why I started to talk about it, never mind.”
“I,” - Alan said loudly, when they stopped at the traffic light on the intersection, waiting for the green light. Martin turned to him face to face. The setting sun poured him with some unrealistically warm red light, Alan had seen it only that summer in Berlin. It played with golden flaming aurora in light green like a warm sea eyes. They were deep and clear, and Alan nevermore saw them in this light. He stood fascinated, unable to look away his eyes from Martin’s eyes and he couldn’t say a word. Martin was silent too, he just waited these words, and it aroused fear to Alan even greater. Splashing happiness in Martin’s eyes causing him to cut off the mind and to give vent to feelings. But the chill that suddenly emerged in his stomach and crept to his mind reminding him that he don’t know him at all and completely don’t understand the complexities of their relationships. What if he will make a fool of myself? What if he made up everything and Martin doesn’t need his love?
Martin was the first, who revert his eyes.
The corners of his lips trembled.
"Let’s go," - he said, he didn’t wait for a response and went ahead.
Alan followed him with bowed head. The moment was terribly missed. Now there wasn’t any reason to say it. He decided to turn their conversation in a humorous way.
"You know, at the age of eighteen, when I left my warm family nest, they still were not ready to reveal me the secret of my birth.”
“What is it the secret of your birth?" – Martin asked. His voice expressed deadly boredom and Alan regretted that he continued to speak to him.
“The one and only. The sacred. That I wasn't found in cabbage," – Alan said.
“Hm,” – Martin said, - “Are you sure?”
"Oh, c`mon, I can’t believe your parents were so open-minded!”
"I don’t know," - Martin said, - “I'm not sure I discussed all my views on sex with someone from my family. However, I asked my mother once, how to wash stockings, well, you know...she silently looked at me and said: Just put them in the washer, I'll deal with it.”
“Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah” – Alan almost fell under the wheels of another VW, - “Like begets like.”
Martin paused. Whether he offended or decided that revelations are enough for today. Alan never learned to distinguish the former from the latter. They came home. They were standing on all fours for three hours crawling around the whole apartment. Martin was right. The acoustics and the piano were unique. Alan would sell his soul for such acoustics and oldy, dryish sound that was striking right into the nerves with its precise calibrated intonation.
"Is it always been here?” - Alan was playing something, like Beethoven, lazily, just enjoying the beauty of the sound, while Martin hospitably dragged into the hall a case of beer. Alan realized that the work ahead of them probably would be great.
“Yes,” – Martin said, - “I was afraid to move it, because it may detune.”
“A good tool," – Alan said.
"Thank you," - Martin said.
They were making love so strangely that night. Not sex, just love. Like the first time. It was seemed like they refrained for years and suddenly fell greedily upon this, but for some reason it was scary or impossible to reach till the end. On the mattress "under the pianna". At night, in the dark, joining lips and hands, Martin was on top of him, touching him with his whole body, but without getting into. Just with kind of a strange animal passion, chafing him with his naked body, driving him crazy with his slowly, lazy and warming rhythm, plunging him into some sort of erotic trance, forcing to forget about time and space, to forget about the boundaries of his body, and making to believe that their aglow bodies is a single whole. He was annoyed by his own passivity, he was not able to move under Martin physically, he was enslaved by Martin’s animal passion to the physical contact. He couldn’t move under him morally, he was mesmerized and enslaved by emotions that was tearing him and Martin apart, since his cock was in his hand now and pressed against the entire surface to Martin's cock. He felt Martin's body trembling of tension and his every muscle spasm was reflected inside him.
"Oh, hell, baby, move,” - Alan groaned through clenched teeth, feeling how desire to increase their contact tears him apart, when he could say anything, because it took his breath away.
"Kiss me," – Martin whispered. Bowing his head closer, but forcing him to raise his head toward him.
“Mmmm," - Alan would say to him what he thought, but his lips were sweeter and closer than verbal fight, and he gave up, obeyed him, feeling the utter sinfulness of sweetest pleasure, blurring his body. The pleasure of the fact that he obeys Martin’s will. The will that enslaved him with sweet pleasure that caused by the thought that he wants him, by the fact that he wants him. The only thing that he could do at the last moment is to stick his hand between their bodies and grab Martin's hand that was squeezing their cocks trembling with tension, he was leaded by his male principles, but rather by simple desire to cum and feel, how Martin cums with the help of his own hand.

Alan opened the door of his room exactly in the second before Martin knocked.


The next morning everybody knew about Martin Lee Gore’s family drama. Well, at least about the fact that pushed his wife to break up with him, after a terrible night scandal. No one knew details, but everyone knew that it was terrible. They had appointed some promotional activities that day and it gave Martin the opportunity to stay with a painted smile on his face until the evening, and also eliminated the need to give any comments to his copartners. Obviously, that was precisely what he most feared.
   After the promotional activities, he was hanging out somewhere with Kessler and a couple of technicians, and in the evening he literally was carried into the bus, where all the guys from Depeche mode was already sitting and impatiently glancing at the watch. They had a long night trip ahead and it was impossible to lose any second.
  Martin didn’t say a word of excuse and proceeded to the first available bed stumbling. He looked concentrate and serious. It seems he didn’t recognize anyone around, and couldn't even articulate decent analog to "Hello" or "Sorry I'm late." He just said:
“This…a…bus?” - and fell on the first available bed. The first available, where Martin fell, was Dave’s bed. 
“No, this is a spaceship! A spaaa-ceee-shiip,” – Dave mimicked laughing.
“This nooot – a - bus?” – Martin anxiously opened his eye and tried to lift his head.
Dave cried with happiness:
“No, little green men came to you from Mars, Martin. Aliens welcome you on board!”
“Fffu-ck you..." – Martin groaned, - “ bas-tard. If you…will be...this…dd-runk...someday…I will...la…laugh’.
“If I be this drunk one day, you will laugh at my dead body, honey," – Dave absolutely wasn’t offended by Martin and went to help Fletch to pull his shoes off, because Martin passed out instantly losing his energy after remaining speech took his last power.
“He's so cute when he sleeps” – Dave said slobbering over him and plopped down next to Alan.
“Drunk” - Alan said skeptical.
“Shit faced” - Dave dreamy drawled, - “Ha-ha, little bunny. “This nooot – a - buus?””
Dave was unrealistically happy. And started itching again, but rather he was rubbing his hands, legs, nose, face, in fact, clearly giving presence of heroin in his blood. Alan wondered to himself why the hell he didn't notice that Dave is hooked on drugs. None of them noticed. However, it was hard to notice, is he on drugs or no. He always was a seizure boy and explosive, jumping from the bottom blackest despair to euphoria in one second. Honestly, when he was on drugs, he seemed even smoother, more subtle, kinder and communicative. Maybe everyone closed their eyes just because this Dave was more convenient. And Martin, and Alan and Fletch. Perhaps Martin thought that Dave just got older and wiser, became more restrained. If Martin actually paid attention to someone besides himself. However, Dave began to show less aggression towards him and lived in some world or looked at Martin with the face expression of "why I love you so much?", and it was suitable for Martin. Of course, they were arguing, as before. But Miller said: No fight –okay, I'm calm. For tranquility Alan needed another "no". Alan wasn’t calm. However, he thought that Dave just in a good mood, and he just kept itching.
Alan put one leg over the other, dimly leaning on the window with his forehead. Windows vibrated of the running bus motor. Fletch joked with Dave about something, asked him to pass him a beer, which stood next to Alan, obviously, ignoring Alan’s presence, as a class.
“Andy, will you sit with us?” –Dave asked cheerfully. 
"I guess no," – Andy said.
“Come on, dude, let's chat.”
“I'm not in the mood," – Andy said, - "I chatted all day, my tongue is tired. I want you just leave me alone, give me to read the newspaper and make me a feet massage.”
“Andy! Andy! We ain't that close for feet massage!” – Dave giggled, - "And what if Martin would wake up in the act! He ain`t gonna get you right!” 
“Sometimes I’m not ready to understand Martin also” - Andy strictly flashed with his glasses. However Dave couldn’t stop, - “But, I live with this fact somehow.”
“And I absolutely understand Martin!” – Dave said proudly. He clearly believed in this, - "I understand and accept him as he is!”
"Tell me about this tomorrow, when you will be fighting again till a bloody pulp for eight hours straight.”
Dave strangely flashed with his opaque-black, piceous in the semi-darkness eyes, he licked his lips thoughtfully and abruptly changed the subject:
“Andy, hey, Andy? How about some poker?” – his cheerful voice had not changed at all. However, Alan could not take his eyes from Dave’s face. He couldn’t put behind the instant suppressed flash that changed Dave's face beyond recognition. He remembered that it was the first time, when he realized that Dave is a good actor not only on the stage. And he is not that Joe Blow, as he wants show himself. He stared at Dave for a while, so he gave him a playful wink, and put back the mask of the fool.
“Why are you looking at me, honey? You want something or what?” 
“Fuck you,” - Alan replied wearily and turned away. He couldn’t understand why Dave's face is still in front of his eyes. Strict, straight, ruthless, inflexible and almost wolfish face. 
Suddenly it turned out to be the missing puzzles, which have helped Alan to assemble the mosaic. And to answer the questions that he set himself earlier. Suddenly, he realized that the strategy of Dave’s behavior is nothing but the strategy of wolf in the night forest behavior. Of the wolf that pursuing his prey cautiously, from a distance, but persistently and relentlessly, it seems too tough at the moment, but...it can become loose, it can get tired, it can fall sleep. He will not overlook any missteps. He attacks when at the right moment. He'll wait. He has the time. Because the whole night was still ahead.
“You two. Play together”- Andy advised, bringing them into reality.
“It’s not interesting to play together! – Dave said, snuffling in a napkin loudly, - “It’s not interesting to bluff, we know too much about each other!”
“I know about you as much as you would prefer never know.”
“Gosh, you are so tedious, nasty and top it off a tight-assed person, Andy!”
“You’re not hired me for work, Dave!" – Andy snapped.
“You’re crapper," - Dave muttered under his breath, and glance at thoughtful Alan, whose face never moved no muscle.
“I can hear that," – Andy said, without changing the intonation.
“You went to read the newspaper?” - Dave asked with exaggerated shrewish voice,– “Well sit there down and read! For yourself.”
“I sit and read! For myself," - Andy said, - “I sit and read and not bothering anyone.”
“You're not bothering anyone?! You making the macho contest, and promising to fire me!”
“Me?! MA-KING THE MA-CHO CON...I promising to fire you?”
“You threatened me! Alan, confirm! He threatened me! I've got a witness, Andy!!!” - Dave grabbed Alan’s hand and tried to shake him, but he did not succeed, - "Hey, Alan, are you alive?!”
Alan was silent.
“The dead witness!” – Dave stated the fact, - “But it’s ok, he left a suicide note. We frame it up later, no one will notice!”
“Dave I owe you at least a little mercy,” - Andy asked courteous and very wearily – “For survivors”
Dave kept silent for a few minutes, then said thoughtfully:
"Sit with us a little, pleeeease! I miss human interaction! I just need, if not human, but at least your communication so badly today, and he” - Dave showed at Alan with his head – “Fallen into dotage, and he doesn’t recognize anyone!”
“And I’m not even going to sit on the same couch with him!” - Fletch said suddenly out of mischief.
Alan just jumped out of skin, because Fletch ‘s voice expressed so much execration.
“Holly shit,” – Dave suddenly lost all desire to talk to Fletch, - “Did you hear that?” - he nudged Alan in the shoulder.
Alan looked at Dave frowningly. He gritted his teeth. They agreed with Miller last month, when they almost flipped the bus at full speed, they swear by the health of Kessler’s, Miller’s beloved accountant’s grandmother that they will never fight in the bus. No matter how much they pissed off. Dave sensed that in this case, the danger of pledge break is strong as ever. 
“Two on to one, it’s not fair!” – Dave said, trying a joke to alleviate the tension, - “And there's an odd number anyway! I'm really not sure yet which side to take, but most likely, I will definitely support a winning side. In case of emergency I’ll flop over at the last moment!” 
Alan lost his temper and snorted.
"And it's not fair after all," - Dave continued meanwhile, - “Mart will be offended! Fight without him!”
“Do you really think that he wants to see how I beat Andy in the face?” - Alan asked through his clenched teeth, and through his tone Dave realized that if Andy will not say anything, then the danger had passed.
"I dunno," - Dave said, - "But I would be offended if you decided to fight without waking me up. And...you know, actually, it may happen that Andy will punch you in the face!”
“Oh! Martin would never forgive himself if he`d miss that!” - Alan said sarcastically, and stuck to the can of beer. Dave also stopped for a while. For a short time.
"Charlie, why are you doing this to him?”
"Charlie, why are you doing this to Martin?”
“I'm sorry? Charlie with Martin doing what?!”
No, he was already aware that Andy is placed the entire burden of guilt for Christina’s leave at him, but he wasn’t expected that Dave fully shares Andy’s point of view.
“Well, you know what”, - Dave lost his signature talkative, - “He is worrying now.”
“No, Mart.”
“Well, he is swacked out.”
“So it means that he is worrying?”
“Well, Yeah.”
“Maybe he swacked out, because he’s happy,” – Alan said through clenched teeth, - "Actually, he should worry less. You know, at least every other day. These nerves can’t save the health!” 
“Don’t bust chops, Al,” – Dave said, - “Or give me the last can of beer, if you’re such a goody-goody.”
“Yeah, right!”
“That`s it!!” – Dave screw up a very funny face portraying the preacher, or someone extremely intelligent, - “Well, I’ll tell you as your friend, Charlie, you're wrong!”
“Where is my fault?”
“Mart’s wife left him!”
“So you blame me for the fact that his wife left him?” – Alan both eyebrows went up. He didn't know what to say. He didn’t expect it from Dave, - “Is it my fault that he cheated on her with me?”
"Of course," - Dave said, without a drop of doubt in his voice.
“I thought you were on my side, bud.”
“I am.”
“But this is my fault.”
"But this is your fault.”
“My fault that Martin's wife left him because he cheated on her with me?”
“This is your fault that Martin’s life is ruined!” - Dave said severely.
“Mine?! Did I ruin Martin’s life?!” – Alan didn't like when treacherous hysterical squealing is appearing in his voice against his will, - "Mine?!"
"Hush, Andy stands out!” - Dave whispered, - “Of course this is your fault! If it wasn't for you, she wouldn't know.”
“Fuck, it was pure accident...”
“Didn't you know that she stayed in the next room? Wasn`t you aware that the walls are so fucking thin?”
“Yes, at some point I was, but...”
“How couldn’t you notice that she was banging on your door?!”
"Dave, I...was out of condition to anal... Sorry, It seems I did choose the wrong word, better say to think what`s going on here”
“But you had to! Analyzing something or someone or not you have to think that Santa doesn’t visit bad boys at four in the morning swearing with female voice in German!!! You have to start to think already, Alan Wilder!”
“Is that you who teaching me this, Dave Gahan?!”
"Why not?!” – Dave didn't understand his hint – “We are fucking men. We have to stick together. Till someone catches you in the act –...well, the fact of adultery is not proven. That’s it! There was nothing. It’s not true. It’s optical illusion. IMAGINATION! Do you want to take material for genetic analysis from my balding head?!”
“I thought you were circumcised," – Alan said. 
“I will never get busted!” – Dave said with the same fierce emphatically voice as before that Alan nearly choked with beer and laughed, - "It's not me, and over there what you see is not my mare!”
"I just realized, why you took me to the band," – Alan said, - “To find someone to blame if something goes wrong. You are all innocent. Mart is innocent, because he is some fucking fine sensitive poetic nature, and everybody should make a fuss ‎over him and kiss his lily white arse…”
“Tee-hee," – Dave said.
“And you are always innocent just because you are Dave Gahan!”
“Tee-hee," – Dave said.
“No, I am ready, I am ready for everything! Actually I knew what I’m doing! Though, I came to you not only because I was attracted by your monstrous bestial attraction, but for the opportunity to improve my financial situation!”
“And how much did you earn? Maestro is no longer steals chickens? He can buy a whole chicken leg with honestly earned money for the month?!” - Dave said sarcastically, alluding to his story about the failed attempt of stealing the chicken from the supermarket, during the hungry youth of beginner musician.
“Get stuffed!" - Alan waved aside and smiled.
“And I liked Mart”- Dave said blushing like a little girl, - "Especially when he told me what he… hah-hah.. actually did in German village, when he lived with the family, as an exchange student during internship...Ja-ja, Das ist fantastisch!” – Dave parodied really nice.
“God knows there are things in the world I don’t want to know!” – Alan pretended to cover his ears. 
“He felt up cow’s udder!”
“I could just cry. Young Mr. Gore, in the hayloft, grabbing the German chick’s tits...I see it just like in reality!”
“No, the horny one!”
“Those, who familiar with Gore are all horny...”
“Shiiiiit....hahaha,” - Dave laughed out loud, - “Oh man, Charlie, you rock. Well, he also rocked about nipples. Do you know how cow’s nipples are look like?”
“I must admit I rarely think about cow's nipples, Dave...”
“Ha-ha, they’re like…” - Dave showed the diameter with his hands, - "He said that he loved it...” - Dave showed something that looked more like a male masturbation process, - “you know, milking the cow.” 
“Actually, I’m not surprised," – Alan said.
“It is only part of the story,” - Dave laughed out loud, delighted with his own joke in advance, - "So... I...are you listening?”
“Yes, I am...”
“Once I said “what a shame that you can't do it with your mouth!”
"Jesus! Dave! I don’t need your fantasies about cows!”
“Just wait a minute. You know what he said?”
“What?”- Alan asked with strange voice.
Dave cleared his throat and mocked his voice and the manner of his speech:
"You know, Dave…actually... you can!" That what he said! HA-HA!”
“God, this is so unexpected!” – Alan’s voice expressed a fair share of sarcasm, - “Who would expect it from him!”
“He was so confused, when said it...”
“Oh, get out of here!”
"I’ve never trusted these German villages...”
“Can you imagine? Martin takes cow’s nipple in his mouth and sucks!!! Haha!”
“In vi-vid de-ta-ils” - Alan said slowly pronouncing each syllable, hoping that Dave would get the hint. 
"Oh yeah..." - Dave blushed suddenly and even a little embarrassed, - "I didn't realize. It seemed funny for me. You weren't with us that time. There was no one to spoil the joke.”
“Theoretically it seems quite funny, right," - Alan agreed, - "And after this stunning image you fell in love with him at first sight?” - and at first it seemed that Alan’s voice just can’t be more acrid, physically.
"Yes," - and Dave was still uneasy. He was dreamy and romantically pensive, and his "Yeah" sounded with a typical erotic aspirated that was so maddening their fans – “I mean, no.”
“No?” - Alan grinned, thinking that Dave was going to deny the obvious. But Dave did not even tried:u;
“No. I think it happened before.”
“You felt in love?” - Alan was hoping that Dave at least understand the irony.
“Yes” – Dave didn’t give a shit about his irony. He was serious and touched at the same time, - “But I realized it later. I remember that I accompanied my friend to her house. It was Vince’s girlfriend. I mean, she wasn’t Vince’s girlfriend that time. She was my friend. Not girlfriend, just a friend, and she was friend with Vince, but Vince wasn’t my friend...”
“Basildon is such a nice place”
Dave didn’t pay attention to Alan’s remark:
“Vince offered me to come to the audition to try out for the vocalist. I suddenly screwed up, I thought, hell no, I won't go. What can I do? I’ll be laughed down. And I still remember that he said, "Dave, you have nothing to lose! What if you succeed? It will be silly not to try! They wouldn’t ask you to come just to laugh at you, they are nice guys. You can do it!" I thought that he is right, this is really stupid. So I came. Vince was like a Big Boss, and Andy. I was afraid Andy. I thought he was crazy. 
"I think he is even now," - Alan nodded in order to keep the conversation going.

“Though nothing will keep us together,
We can beat them forever and ever,” – Dave suddenly sang a line from David Bowie’s song "Heroes".
“Hush now! Don`t wake the Beast. I mean Andrew.”
“Martin was sitting there in a corner under the keyboard like a mouse. However, at this line he looked over and looked at me! I remember your joke about his dim eyes, Al.” 
“Hah," – Alan said.
“Then he came closer and said, "I love David". Only after three minutes I realized, that he was talking about Bowie, and then I said, "Actually, I’m David too". "I remember," - he said and stared at me. I just died right there. And then we kissed...”
"Aw, how sweet…" - Alan said.
“Do you know how it was?”
“I don't know, and I am not sure that I want to know," - Alan said, but he still knew that it does not stop Dave.
“You know, it wasn’t like I realized that I won’t be the same anymore. It was like it always has been like this. Without any words, it was as it meant to be. There was nothing more after that, if you know what I mean. But, I always knew it will happen someday, sooner or later, because it was meant to be. When it happened, I checked, I really felt the same. I feel it now. Though nothing will keep us together, we can be there forever and ever.”
Murderous revelation. Alan felt like someone cut his stomach with a huge cutter and turn it around a couple of times with so very realistic details. Dave could be prohibitive honest and straightforward in the presentation of his thoughts. “We”. There always have been this damn  “WE”. Hovever he, Alan and Martin didn't have it. There was no "us". And Dave has never back off. He was going to stay with Martin forever. This disposition is clearly as never drawn for Alan the thought that there is no place for him in this picture of the world. No allotted role for him. There is no place. No.
Fucking Bowie!
“So did you sleep with him before? – Alan asked lazily and absolutely without special interest to this topic, as a matter of form.
“Before what?”
“Before I came?”
"Yes, I did," - Dave said.
  Alan paused for a long time, looking at the ridge of the woods streaking behind the window of the bus in the dark of night. He suddenly lost all interest in talking and seeing Dave completely. Lost all his interest in Andy and Martin too. He suddenly wished he never met him, even unabled to read and buy the newspapers with fucking job ad.
“Why do you ask?” – Dave asked very carefully and persistently after five minutes of silence.
"Never mind," - the idea of suicide is started to seem more merciful for him in comparison with further continuation of the conversation with Dave, - “It’s absolutely not important.”
"No, tell me, why?”
“None of your business, Dave.”
“What? Why?”
"Cause I`d never go down on Martin, if I knew that there was something between you and him!”
“Does it mean Martin lied to you?” - Dave suggested with strange voice.
“It does." – Alan said.
“Hah. Hah” - Dave separately pronounced each syllable, - “Hah.Hah.Hah.”
“Are you satisfied?” - Alan asked through clenched teeth, - “Completely?”
“Yes,” – Dave said, - “I am satisfied completely.”
“So, can I sit here alone now and enjoy this beautiful scenery outside the window?”
“It`s dark outside.”
“I am an optimist.”
“Yeah, go on, lad, take your time, enjoy your view" - Dave, reached out and opened the last can of beer on the table – “However, it is still your fault in this deal with Martin!”
“I already heard that. I am actually nobody. But it was my fault.”
“Damn, don't distort things, Alan! Let’s start with the fact that I wasn’t busted with Martin. Do you really think that he didn’t cheat on her with me?”
"To be honest, I was really hoping that he didn’t," – Alan said through clenched teeth.
"Indeed, Al, you are an optimist!" – Dave laughed.
Alan really wanted to howl. Or to strangle Dave. Or both things at the same time.
“Listen, Dave, we’re all had a grotty day,” - he got up, getting over Dave, - "I want to sleep. And so should you.”
“And what about talk?” – Dave asked aggrievedly.
“Dave, I'm done talking for the month ahead.”
“A bunch of sissies!” - Dave said, - “Chickenshit! "No one writes to the colonel!" a drama by Galsworthy!”
“Hemingway, Dave.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot the name. Nobody loves me now, yet, by the way.”
“And what is this work? Tragicomedy based on Sir Martin Lee Gore’s words? "Nobody loves me now. Yet. We`ve got time to kill, we`ve got nothing to lose, by the way"
“HAHAHAAAH” – Dave laughed out loud.
Andy told them to get lost somewhere very emphatically.
"No, really, it sounds like Mart!” – Dave whispered, - "Sometimes he writes something very similar. Brilliant, Al!”
“Thank you Dave, thank you for recognizing my genius. Now I understand that I didn’t live in vain.”
“Joke like that again! - Dave said, - “I liked it.”
“Oh, maybe you`d better just go to sleep?”
“My bed is occupied.”
“You want me to give you my place and climb on the upper bed?”
“Do you want to bother Ogle Andy? What if he’ll wake up at night and kill you?”
“Holy crap, I keep forgetting where I am... after this mental hosp... Sorry I meant to say  Depeche Mode, Hell will seem to be a Resort to me!”
“Alert today, alive tomorrow. Go back to sleep to your place, you fucking lover boy!” – Dave chuckled.
  Alan groaned and stretched out on his bunk. Martin was sleeping in front of him. His face expressed utter serenity. If he wanted to pull his brains out for this time, apparently, he succeeded. He slept like a baby, enthusiastically wheezing and hugging his cap. So close and more distant than ever.


Chapter 12

It was not supposed to happen. If they were able to think at least.
Alan grabbed Martin by his pants. By his belt, if to be specific. And if to be more specific, for that belt, the one of the two, which were carefully omitted under Martin`s testicles, thereby forming the nice curve of the pants in his crotch area, which looked so thrilling to female’s and not only female’s hearts.
“Girl, you smell so good" – Martin gasped into his mouth toward the kiss – “What is that delicious you were drinking?”
“Vodka,” – Alan said not very clear, because it was difficult to speak up at the same time greedily grabbing other’s lips, and touching his exciting budge and immediately feeling Martin`s hand on his own. Definitely, it was good, he did got drunk right before that:
“Want me?” –  Alan was aware of the fact that Martin did wanted him, because the hard cock under his palm declared it very clearly, reviving with sighs and groans of it’s owner, and filling with force by each rub through the thick fabric of his jeans. But Alan wanted him to say it aloud by himself. 
"I do," – Martin said.
“You do what? –Alan said meanly, getting under the Martin's jacket with his other hand, and there was nothing under. It was very funny that Martin didn’t have a chance to get change, he even didn’t have time to take off his jacket. It was very funny, because Alan wanted to fuck him like that.
“Aw!” - Martin gasped suddenly, because he squeezed his nipple between his thumb and first finger with cautious, but confoundedly aggressive.
“I did not comprehend," - Alan said.
Alan took off his hand and grabbed Martin`s nipple with his lips gently kissing and quickly teasing with his tongue, and then slightly pulled off gentle skin with a loud smooching sound. 
"I want you," - Martin said with a miserable voice. With very unhappy voice, almost in tears. Not because it was unpleasant, Alan just began to flirt with his other nipple with the same excitement, continuing to squeeze the first one, - “I want. You.”
"Good baby," – Alan’s lips were reddened and swollen, when he tore away from his exciting activity, - “Because you have to work a little. Unlike all of you I didn’t cum today. And I need it! I FUCKING NEED IT!”
There was something very touching, when Mart sat at his feet, picking up his happily vibrating cock with his hand in the rings, and very gently and carefully touched his glans. Martin's eyes were dreamily closed, he licked the back side of his cock slowly, with meticulous care and caution, and trustingly nestled with his nose like a puppy. Unlike Martin, Alan kept a sharp look-out, and he was consumed by rather mixed feelings.
The bedlamp light reflected from the bare skin of his forearms. Touching and tender half face that was espousing his work self-forgetfully was barely hidden under a mane of curls and shadows that were becoming even more heartbreakingly tender. Alan’s heart started to beat so fast because of this excessive tenderness, and he scared that he could lose his arousal or just cum right now. He tried to remove his gaze from the lips that  were wrapped around the source of his life sufferings, and caressing him with painfully tender and unbearably gentle movements. Alan was ready to howl. He knew that he couldn’t take it any longer if Martin will continue at the same pace. He couldn't even catch his own cock to strengthen the stimulation. Martin’s hand that wrapped around it carefully and fanatically gentle kept the control of his own. An Absolute control.
In all Mart`s movements and in this maddening expression of his face was something that should be express an utter submission, but it that`s was a lie. That`s was a Lie!
"Look at me,” – Alan ordered Martin suddenly.
He was sure that the hell green lights in Martin’s eyes would tell him the truth about the true nature of his feelings. His eyes always were the only thing that couldn't lie about the nuances in that kind of situation. Alan lifted Martin's head higher with his palms in both sides of it, just to see his eyes. 
He did not quite understand, but Martin didn`t submit to his gesture. Actually, he even forgot that Martin did not do it. Martin squeezed his hand a little harder pulling his cock closer to his mouth, and Alan bawled loudly, begging him to continue, because his body that was missing the right manipulation intensity lurched towards the skillful caress. And he was hardly aware, when he tried to pop his cock deeper in his mouth refraining a painful shiver of ecstasy. Now he was clutching his face from the both sides due to urgent needs only.
"Oh...oh, yeah...make me off, ..make me cum, oh, do me with your sweet mouth, babe," –
Alan didn't know why he was so desperately crying out loud, it felt so good, but every word, his own repeated for the umpteenth time "babe" and "make me cum" caressed him from the inside, leading him to another level of his buzz, letting the orgasm to emerge somewhere in the lungs, to caress his lips, while Martin’s mouth was busy by sucking off his cock.
“My baby,” - oh shit, he was just drowning in nervous affection, and seems to have lost control completely. Absolute control. However, who cares about control when one`s make him cum like you have never cum…
   Martin moved over and leaned back suddenly, sitting on his hips and resting on his hands. He moved over exactly on point of no return. Exactly for a couple of seconds, if to be more precisely, before. He moved over with the precision of Swiss clockwork. He stared at Alan sitting on his knees, leaning on his hands, and... in fact, he complied with the request that was made earlier tonight. He looked at him.
His bare chest was breathing heavily, because apparently he was sucking Alan`s cock pretty intensive. But the fact that he was out of breath, did not change the fact that Martin looked disgustingly smug. Alan was not only able to decide exactly, whether it's spoiled the heartbreaking poignancy of the previous moment, or it’s adorned it. In any case, he could analyze and admire later, but not now! Get back here and finish your work, you bastard!
“Fuck, I`m…" – Alan started, but Martin interrupted him very quietly, thoughtfully, but Berlin Wall just collapsed under the explosion of trinitrotoluene in Alan’s ears.
"I'm ready to cum right now..." – Martin said.
Alan didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. But Martin was extremely serious. He looked at the lower part of Martin's body and realized that he was extremely serious. He recovered his breath and gently touched the upper part of the bondage belt, which apparently was stimulating his balls too intensive in this situation.
„Where is that piece of Satan`s shit can be got fucking open“  - Martin whispered.
“Indeed, hell,...where…?
Alan wanted to tell Martin that karma is decided to punish him for bullying at his neighbor during blowjob. But the words were hardly articulated, and he decided to say it some other time. He stood up from his chair snorting with laughter, deftly grabbing Martin by his neck, turned him around on all fours, sticking his head into the floor like a puppy, picking up Martin’s belt with his second hand, and pulling him a little higher and closer to himself.
Martin, bawl out loudly of course. Because it was exactly, what Alan shouldn’t do, considering Martin’s condition. Indeed, the buckle is drooped back. Alan began to unfasten the belt with his trembling hands, damn, he used to think that trembling hands during sexual excitement is just word picture, hyperbole, so to speak. And now this hyperbole does not let him to execute the simplest action in the life of any man.
“A-a-a-la-a-a-a-an,” - Martin didn’t lift his head by his own will. Actually, he afraid to move by his own will.
“I’m trying, pup…,” - he desperately pulled the belt, and thank Gods, it succumbed – “And why the fuck you didn’t put on a dress?” – Alan decided to make a joke. 
“You said you didn't like it," - Martin said with smoldering resentment. 
“I’ve changed my mind," - Alan said, - "So, will you continue?”
Martin didn’t change his position, placing his head in his hands and lightly lifting his butt higher.
“I want you to do this," - he said dreamily.
“To let you to goad me, to yell at me and to swear, if I do something wrong?” – Alan decided to ask. 
"No, I just want to feel your hands," – Martin said, - "But, if you really need it, I...”
Alan didn't know, what he needed, but after the forced break, the first part of Martin’s phrase seemed very interesting proposal for his recovered cock, that is why he just crawled closer to Martin, getting tangled in his own pants that was pulled down to his knees, caught him across his body, gently stroking his belly, unbinding the belt of his pants, and feeling Martin’s ecstatic trembling sigh more with his hands, than with his ears. He unbuttoned and unzipped his pants carefully, very carefully. More carefully, than he did anything else, and sinking his teeth into Martin’s nape enthusiastically, animally expressing either dominance or tenderness, or the dominance of tenderness. However, Martin read him like the book in one moment, he always did this in such moments.
"Kiss me," - he said, turning and lying on his back. It was like an order, but on the other hand, he was opening to his tenderness and to him. Alan was sitting on his knees, with his pants down and tenderly looked at Martin. From his lips, across his chest, to his cock, which was lying on his belly and which was peeking from behind his unbuttoned pants, and back.
“Where?” – he said with fascination.
“On the mouth” – Martin elaborated.
Alan stood above him on all fours, gently touching his lips with his own lips and feeling himself like absolute zombies. Martin reached for him, answering to his kiss and hugging his neck with his both hands, sighing with delight under his caress, and Alan didn't know why he said it at his lips ecstatically:
“I need my brains.”
Martin found a way to laugh.
"I love you," - he said grabbing his lips and muffling Alan’s moan.
Alan picked up his hands with some regret, because he was turned on by the heaviness of Martin’s hands on his shoulders, and he really didn't want to part with this load. He removed his hands from his neck and got them behind his head. He wished he could feel how his body obeys him. It was vital necessity. His cock happily thanked him for the initiative, re-filling his head with hot ideas.
“I still need to cum," - he reminded Martin about immediacy, - “How you want to do it?”
Martin did not bother the limitation of his freedom, however, as usual, he slightly drawn forward Alan.
“Cum inside of me," - he said, - "As you wish. I belong to you.”
If he wanted to sacrifice Alan’s brain today, burning it in the eternal fire of love, then he succeeded in the most enchanting way. Alan decided to forget about humanity, it means that he hasn't decided anything, he just took advantage of the generous offer. He did it quite fast at first, right after he slid with his cock along Martin’s lips, right after he felt his tongue with his balding head, right after he perched on his chest and trying to shove it in his mouth a few times, he just flooded his face, neck and chest with his sperm, jerking his cock. He wouldn't confide it to Martin, because his balls would explode, if he forced him to wait another second.
However, whether it was necessary to start for such a quick ending? He decided not to give the rest to himself and to him, and in fact, he forced Martin to lick his sperm from his soothing cock, seizing it from his cheek, slowly moving his hips and leaning on hands. He fucked him in the mouth, and although his cock wasn’t stiff, it was no less pleased than before. His body didn't want to finish, and delicate small respite to catch his breath was good for him. In addition, he was in relatively sober mind, actually, not in the limit of arousal, but in the relatively cold mind. He fucking liked the idea to force Martin kiss his balls and lick his sperm, which he aspersed at him.
The second time he did his work more consistently. At first he satisfied Martin with his mouth, in order to not spoil his blissout by thinking about his premature orgasm and not distract himself from much more important things. Martin have not really had time to recover, when he found himself standing in front of him on his knees again, but now he was completely naked, hardly holding the balance, with tided hands behind his back. Meanwhile Alan tightly held his hair with his hand, firmly and positively popping his already rather strong cock down to his throat.
Alan stopped to hesitate in self-expression. He didn’t know, when he will have such chance, and they will both be in this mood. He didn’t hesitate in self-expression by slapping the bare skin, forcing to bawl both of them. He didn’t hesitate in self-expression by lifting Martin’s feet up to himself, and spreading them apart and shoving his cock very deep, but from the other side, cumming the second time with no less delight, though with considerably more delightful effort.
They should better to be ashamed of course. At least a little bit. 
As life experience showed, the good cumming and good come out is not always been the same thing.


Many years later, in 2k and something, when he had a dinner with Dave in London, when he arrived with his solo tour, aggrieved by the clumsiness, coldness, uncommunicativeness and uncertainty of Maestro Gore once again. They have decided to sit and talk. 
    They were sitting together like in old times. The ice quickly faded away between them and they started to make fun of each other. Alan even lost his mind, when he was driving; it seemed for him like he would go to his little flat in Covent Garden now, with Martin awaited him after that. He even took a wrong turn. Then he berated himself aloud for a while, pulling out back to the highway.
No, no, don't think Alan wasn’t happy with his big house in Sussex, where he is joyfully welcomed by his wife and little daughter now. He was satisfied with everything and even happy to a certain degree. At least it was comfortable for him. Everything was defined, clear and calm. He knew who he was, he knew his place, and he knew what he meant in this life. His life depended on him. He was a father, a husband and an independent musician. Actually, pretty good musician. He met and worked with many interesting people, and they respected him and his word was the last always.
Alan was satisfied with the life that he has created. It was his life. It wasn't his feverish condition and veering between the gravitational fields in the Martin Lee Gore Universe, where everything rotated, scattered and adhered again, aiming to the point of singularity even against its will, and Martin Gore himself was that point of singularity in this universe. He couldn't and didn't want to be lonely comet, which was revolving around Martin Gore. He just didn't want to rotate around specified orbit. He put all his strength and all his health to not succumb to his gravity, he almost died because of this gravity that was tearing him apart, damn, he wasn't strong enough to resist it.
This is just because he cut all ends, finally finding the strength to leave him, really break up with him. Really to try to go his own way, and thank Hep that she was so kind to share with him his own orbit, that she made him stronger, and if he would be alone, he would return. No, he wouldn’t return, but he would secretly wander along State Street in Santa Barbara at night, hoping to meet him by accident, or to see him furtively.
“Do you know,” - Dave said incidentally, somewhere between the hot coffee and dessert, grinning and rubbing his hands, - “I remembered something. Do you remember when you asked me once, if I had something with Martin before you?”
"No," - Alan said, looking thoughtfully at the ceiling.
"You do," – Dave retorted, - "You remember everything. You have recorded and filed it, and the list is attached.”
“Is that about Martin lied to me?”
“Case number 13, series B!”
“I think it doesn’t matter now”
“I know,” - Dave said chuckling at his own joke, - “otherwise I wouldn’t say that. However, I will tell you, because you're my friend and it is not really good to lie to your friends. Al, I guess I will suffer, if  I don't tell you.”
“Dave, maybe it’s not necessary?”
“Something tells me that I will start to suffer, if you say it...”
“Hahaha,” - Dave said, - “Perhaps. But it ain`t be my problem no more”
“Oh, God, Dave... I gotta  go home.”
“Me either.”
“So, let's go.”
“Let's go. Alan. Alan?”
“Alan, he never lied to you.”

Here under God's sky,
His watchful eye,
And all of the lies,
My consolation prize.


Not much time has passed after that conversation. Perhaps, it would change his mind, but in fact, it wouldn’t even bother Alan now. 
  Well, what could he change now? He and Martin, they both, went too far apart. Alan’s heart did not even flinch. Nevertheless, he intimidated Dave in order to bring down his joy about unconditional victory over the enemy, and said that he would gladly take his place, if he ask. Actually, it was pure sarcasm. Hell no, he ain`t gonna sell his fucking soul again. He is not that absent-minded idealist anymore, and Martin is pretty damn far from the image of the Succubus, the young  men seductress - demon, who was sent by the Devil to take their souls! So, he could relax, and finally begin to enjoy his life. In the end, he deserved it!
However, goosey Dave believed him. Alan laughed like a crazy maniac, as an evil manipulator of the vintage movie, when he watched from the sideline, from his cozy manor in Sussex, how Dave quickly have found the way to creep up, skillfully pretending to be charming puppy, and rolled to Martin closer! 
Alan would like to give a cue to Martin, who is his Guardian Angel! Who really cares for him, cherishes and corrects his mistakes, and protects his complicated personal life. 
   Martin was not happy now, obviously. His marriage fell apart (However Alan was surprised that this marriage actually lasted so long), and his career of life The Depeche Mode was pierced by a crack with the depth of The Mariana Trench.
"Why are you such a milk-toast?” – Alan said to a web page in a fit of anger. He thought that there were no limits to Martin’s cowardice; to complete idiocy ….he even did not know how to call it. Had he guzzled away his brain so fast? How he could cede Dave time after time, and for fucking what? For God's sake, for what? To make him a new Depeche mode composer? They are both just a fucking clowns! A few clowns short of a circus! Nothing left in Depeche Mode without me. A mere name! The name and empty parody of a young version of themselves! 

Alan looked at the silent computer gloomily and angrily poured a glass of mineral water for himself, referring his thoughts to his old friend Martin Gore apparently.
"Hey, for God's sake, go on, just bury yourself and the project alive! I am firstly ashamed to be associated with all this! Idiot. IDIOT! THREEFOLD IDIOT!!! He’s trying proof that you’re nothing there. And he’s everything! And what are you going to do there? Don’t you see that he’s trying to dislodge you?! However, it serves you right. An idiot, nonentity and milk-toast!
“With whom are you talking to?” – Hep peeped into his room wonderingly.
"Don't worry, I’m talking to myself," - Alan said.
“Passions run high...don't punch yourself, you have to work tomorrow.”
“Well, I'll try to agree with myself.”
Martin has nothing left, or rather something insignificant that has left just sneaked away from his hands by his own will. And no, Dave is not one of those people who have the magnanimity to the vanquished. Depeche Mode days were numbered and it seemed that there were no forces that were able to fix it. 
Alan really thought that Depeche mode will not outlast 1995. They’re all thought that it won’t outlast. Everyone made fun of it. Staff prepared the award plaques: "I survived in Devotional tour".
Martin smiled: 
“That's not true," - he said, not with sadness, but rather detached and enlightened, - “actually, no one survived...”
He looked more and more detached and enlightened that time, whether it was his reaction to stress, or he took the drugs. It was impossible to determine the presence of psychotropic substances in his brain by his face. He looked like these substances are always in there. Alan suspected that it spontaneously evolving in Martin’s brain contrary to medicine norms. Even when Martin fought with him, or with Dave, he looked like Buddha passing into the Nirvana. It scared much more than his inadequate reactions and bouts of unmotivated aggression. 
“Are you went off chump?!” - Alan exclaimed angrily.
“Is…is it so obvious, huh?” – Martin asked smiling with enlightened Buddha's face.
For some reason, Alan even  got scared that he understood Martin correctly.
None of them remained the same. Alan left. Basically, their lives, the lives of all four are divided in half. On before and after. Depeche mode is not supposed to survive. God, or somebody, who led them all this time, turned away from them.
Like Adam and Eve, leaving them naked and hungry on the harsh Earth, forcing them to feel the pain, forcing to suffer and die. They weren't supposed to survive.

However, they held out for another 10 years. By hook or by crook, but they held out. Miller believed that they would die in 1997. Dan was happy as a child, when "Ultra" has been released and when they went to the mini-tour, he got drunk and almost performed striptease on the table at the restaurant in the best tradition of the young Martin Gore, anxiously looking around and dashing from his own shadow. Well, he at least he heard it from his buddy, who perpetuated Devotional diary for fans, in the hope that he will become a legend, the evidence of the last tour of a once great band.
It seemed like Dave has lived somewhere in another dimension so far, preoccupied with the idea of becoming a Rock God, the followers of Three Great Commandments – Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-roll, and the idea of dying on pinnacle of fame, at the age of thirty-three, at the age of Christ. It was especially symbolic for his enlightened, or more precisely, sparkling with whitewashed cocaine and heroin mixture brain.
Dave stopped to talk to three of them. Apparently, two motherfuckers, who were digging in their keyboards like "tap - tap – tap”, as Dave showed, giggling and jabbing his finger in the air, weren’t included in the image of an environment that was worthy of a Rock Deity. Eternally stoned, stinking and unwashed so-called rock ‘roll squad that cruised around with them, mingling with the army fucked-up fans were more suited to Rock Deity, whom was Dave. The deity was seating on the throne and allowed to slobber his hands by pissed vassals, the heroin servants. It was painful to watch this circus. Martin never appeared with Dave at his parties, and considering Martin’s love of partying, he would never go on tour that without it, as he confessed to Alan once - it was indeed a political statement.
Dave was very offended by Martin’s ignorance. He believed that Martin is jealous of the fact that he was on the leading position now, and that the whole game goes by his rules. Well, at least Dave thought that this is true, when he was gowed-up. He didn’t want to be concern with technical and managerial details, it was beneath him. And he didn’t want to be concern about situation in the band.
They did not talk to each other practically. They met only in the evening, at the concert. It was good. They had no time to fight, and even managed to miss each other. It has a good impact on concerts energy. Martin even let Dave to touch him sometimes, knocking off the electricity in the air around, that caused short circuit in the equipment. During the breaks between performances Dave cried with emotion, he smiled and tried to kiss everybody happily, "Martin loves me" - he used to say Alan and tried to kiss him deeply in the mouth. Or he just tried when he felt that he in love with Alan. Dave would fall in love with Fletch, but he respected him and feared, even when he was whacked out. After each of these manifestations of passion Martin began to spark and started to become quite insufficient in interaction.
Hiding his aggression, tired, jealous and desperate, he tried to keep a cool manner, but it costs him too much. He could get up and leave the room during the conversation, silently, without explanations. "I don't care" and "Do whatever you like, don`t mind me at all, mr. Wilder!" he answered very arrogantly and floutingly, on every complicated issue that required his opinion.
“With the greatest respect, Mr. Gore, can't you not be such an…excuse me, bitch,” - Alan blutered angrily, he was pissed off. 
“Hehehe. Include in my contract the clause about how should I talk to you to make you feel much comfortable, Mr. Wilder. But for an extra charge, please!”
A couple of times they got into a fight with Martin after that. Miller has sent the psychoanalyst with them, but obviously, he couldn`t help. Actually, the only good idea was to try to avoid the interaction with each other. He and Martin couldn’t talk no more. They normally talked two or three times in life about vital importance, but not more. But before that, they had sex. And the words that never been said were expressed by touches, caresses, sometimes they were extremely hard, but it were caresses, by pain, but not greater than could give a pleasure, by passion, as expression of his appetence to Martin. Alan knew that what he was doing in bed with Martin is more than convincing and more than enough to express his love to him. That's why he didn't go to a shrink. He knew his own psychoanalysis. Also he knew how to fix his relationships with Martin. They need to fuck. Preferably in a quiet and peaceful place, on two or three weeks. Admitting neither Fucking Rock God nor Fletch. It’s unknown, is he going to calm down, but Martin will certainly become obedient.
But he didn't think that shrink can help him in this issue. First of all, because Miller’s financial plan did not include the opportunity to fu... to rest for a few weeks, and because he and Martin couldn’t even drink a jug of beer calmly, without setting the fur flying to hell. So, having sex with Martin was out of the question.

“Doctor, can you help me to have sex with my colleague? Not with that blonde, no and not this one, Dave is fucking her!” - Alan talked to the mirror mocking and hinting at Dave’s long-standing narcotic office nookie with their PR manager, right after he broke up with Joanne, leaving his son Jack to her, - “and she is brunette now, because the Rock and Sex God should not be seen with cheap bimbo blondes! No, Gothic depraved brunettes only! All in the same bed! Store is no sore! YES! Oh, yes, doctor, what was I saying?! Oh, just forget it, doctor! Gothic depraved brunettes, doctor, because I hate blondes. I have an I-DI-O-SYN-CRA-SY! They are not turning me on, they just cause me the pain in the ass! - Alan laughed at his own ambiguous joke, - “Give me the Gothic depraved brunette gurls, doctor, and life would sure getting better!”
Well, he laughed with mirror. So what. There were nobody to laugh with. Well, no one would understand his humor. 
Every cloud has a silver lining. He thought he will never have right conversation with Martin, he even learned to live without him somehow. Yes, they both crossed every possible line of their relationships. And yes, he, Alan, had sex with Dave. Out of pity for Dave, of hatred and resentment for Martin, for the fact that he thinks he can do everything. For the fact that he had done to him, what he had done to Dave. They’ve been the closest to each other for that moment. Yes, they slept together. Yes, he knew what he was doing. He wanted Martin to find out about it, but he didn't know how, but he wanted. 
God dispose it even funnier, allowing him to catch them in the process. Alan caught up Martin somewhere in the street. It was dark and there were no passers-by, only Madrid taxi drivers was staring at them, but they didn’t understand English enough, based upon long conversation with them, and attempts to explain what the hell you want from them. And they had immunity to the spectacle by drunken tourists that was crawling out of the clubs.
"What were you thinking, dude? WHAT WERE YOU FUCKING THINKING?!” – Alan yelled without any embarrassment, because Martin obviously was trying to run away from him, but this was very funny, Alan caught up him making a couple of jumps and grabbed his forearm very hard and turned Martin around, - "Did you think that you in a sort of a fairytale? You can do everything you want and fuck the others? Did you just  ever tried to walk in my shoes? Huh? Didn`t liked that? And I live this way for a ten years. It hurts, isn’t it? Isn’t it, you bastard?”
"It hurts," - Martin nodded. His eyes were dry, and did not express anything – “It hurts me,” - his voice was the same. He just stated a fact, as if he confirms that he has British passports at customs, - "I knew that you will do it. I’ve been… expecting. No...I didn’t expect, I mean, I didn't want to, but...I probably knew. It was bound to happen. I...think...it's normal probably.” 
“Normal. IT’S NORMAL, RIGHT? So why the fuck are you running away? 
“Get away from me, Alan.”
“What are you running from?!”
“I`m standing here,” – he was really standing, because Alan was still clutching his forearm with the force of medical tonometer; however, he was waggling, but apparently he was standing with the help of Alan’s hand.
“Why didn’t you join us? Huh?” – Alan hissed like snake, - “that's what you wanted. You always were doing this. Isn't that was what you actually wanted?!”
“No, I didn't want it,” - most of all Alan was pissed off by the fact that he was terribly furious, and this bastard not only managed to stay calm, but also a profound sense of dignity, even though obviously he was drunk not less all of them. It was the most annoying. He hated it the most.
“Come on! You don't care. “
“I care.” 
“Come on, you dream about both of us.”
“It. is.Not.The.Same.Thing” – he said making clear pauses in the words, expressing his dissatisfaction with the ongoing conversation. It was the only emotion.
"Oh, aren`t you jealous now? – Alan laughed. It was funny in his opinion.
"I...don't think I have the right to be ," – Martin said very quiet and very sad, and it forced Alan to piss off even more, because despite the alcohol, he started to realize that in fact, it was his fault in this situation. And the last thing that he wanted is that his thoughts will be pronounced right here and right now. Alan shook Martin and punched him in his jaw in anger. Actually, he didn't want it, he just wanted to turn Martin's face, because he turned away from him, and he couldn’t calculate his forces and missed.
“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK WAT  DID YA THINKING LONG AGO!” - he yelled, grabbing Martin by the second hand and shaking it again, not even feeling that he clings to his hands and tries to resist. – “All that keeps me around is full of idiotic naivety of the idea that you feel something at least! What do you feel, Martin, tell me, for GOD’S SAKE! WHAT.DO. YOU. FEEL?!”
“I have said it all before,” – Alan’s gush of anger made Martin much more passive, - “It hurts me. I feel...I feel......the pain,” - Martin said the last word, rubbing his chin that was osculated with the pavement that was still warm from the Spanish sun in unexpected toss. Actually, Alan didn't want to drop him, he just pushed him in a fit of anger, released his hold, and Martin stubbed against something and fell down.
“D-u-u-u-de, hey, d-u-u-u-de!” –Dave giggled somewhere from the right side – “Can you light up, du-u-de...” 
He didn’t noticed Martin, who was lying on the pavement, until he stirred and sat deep in thought, silently wiping his face with his hand, or rather smearing the dirt and blood from the broken nose.
“Hey, Mart... wassup? Again? The aggravation...of pave...pavement diseases, hahaha" - Dave said, bending down in laughter and striking a lighter – “You don't take care of yourself at all, pal, just don't take care of yourself. Hahaha. Are you alright there? As we say in California," – in was very funny for Dave, - "Are you Okay?”
“I’m totally OK,” - Martin said sniffing and checking his nose with his fingers, - “Dave, I’m totally...OK”
Alan came out of the stupor, realizing that he did something wrong, he give Martin his hand trying to help him to stand up, Martin wasn't even looking at him, and silently turned over and stood up.
"Hey, listen, I...”
“Hands off,” - Martin shied away from him.
“I was wro...”
“Go to hell.”
“Martin,” – it never been so difficult for Alan to say a word.
“Alan, Martin said "Go to hell!"!!!! DAMN! YOU CUCKOLD!!! FUCKING ASSHOLE!!! MOTHERFUCKER! NO, IT’S YOU STINKING FAGGOT!!!” – Gahan’s last part of the monologue belonged to the taxi driver who just left. Dave stood in the middle of the road, he depicted a strange dance waggling and causing the laughter of taxi drivers, who were standing on the other side, and according to his opinion, it supposed to depict how he, Dave, free-and-easy catching a taxi and smoking elegantly.
It wasn’t first time, when Alan came up with the idea that he probably will kill Dave today. But it was first time, when he thought that today would be a good day. He must be gone mad back then. Why, God, why he did that?!
“DICKHEAD!!!” – Dave shouted to the car that was beeping and trying to go round him. Alan didn't know what to do, whether to drag stoned Dave by his hand on the sidewalk, or to run after Martin, who went back to the bar for some reason.
“Take Dave out of the road,” - Martin said distantly – “NOW!”
Based on the current situation, Alan did not contradict Martin, he took Dave aside with persuasion, arm-in-arm. A taxi drove up after some time. Martin leaned out the open window:
“Load up” – he said briefly. Alan realized that he had to grease a palm to the bar owner, because usually they catching a cab for an hour or more. It was bloody awkward, and he wanted this day to end quickly. Obviously, Martin wanted it more, because he showed such amazing feats of sociability and extrinsic arranging skills. Obviously it cost a lot. Stupid Spanish music and open windows that was letting the fresh night air has never been so appropriate. Dave fell asleep on the seat, and Alan was sitting like a girl holding palms between his knees, and carefully choosing words to specify the amount with Martin, because he felt very uncomfortable to be a debtor in this situation. However, they arrived. Awakened by their fuss and Dave’s indignant cries, Fletch went down in slippers and striped boxer shorts:
“Did you scuffle with him again?” – Andy asked Martin sternly, nodding at Dave, who held him tenaciously now. 
"No," - Martin said, - “It’s alright, I just fell.”
“Is he telling the truth?” – he stared at Alan with the sight of Nemesis through thick rimmed glasses. Alan had always felt like he was fully smeared in shit in the moments of his highest triumph over Martin. Actually, when he planned everything, it supposed be the moment of triumph and fair retribution. Alan couldn’t understand where the stumbling-block was, and why he hadn't noticed it.
Martin was silent. Alan also was unable to utter a word.
"Yes," - Alan said quietly. It was seemed like Martin smiled a little. It was a smile, which he would not wish to see ever again.
"Okay," – Fletch relaxed and patted Dave’s shoulder, - “I believe you. I would …” – Fletch’s voice became softer, contradicting to his own words, - “never believe them! But I believe you, Alan.”
Martin's cheerful "heh - heh - heh" included whole event history. Alan never thought that three syllables can accommodate so much. The taxi drove off, when he with Fletch dragged Dave home. Martin went ahead as if nothing had happened.
“Martin?” – Alan caught him at the entrance.
Martin turned flash-like, sweeping him with blackest sight, so Alan even made a step back, lifting up his hands to show that he has no thought to touch him, because he just read "if you touch me, I'll kill you!" in Martin’s eyes.
“I just want to a-ask, do...I owe you something?” – Alan thought that he chose the most discreet formulation and it was impossible to find fault. But it was clearly not his day.
“Even if you did, Alan, I...I...think that you gave me the full Monty today. Consider us even, Alan!” – Martin said and slammed the door before his face.
It looked not as bad as at night in the morning sunlight.
When Alan came into the kitchen, Martin was sitting at the table, thoughtfully licking the spoon and reading a newspaper. He was in a hoodie and striped boxer shorts, and even in his polished boots and in dandified gathered socks that were shined with pathological whiteness. Because Martin Gore could be without pants, in his underwear and without it in public, but he couldn’t appear without his shiny black shoes and unbridled striking and sparkling clean socks. He thought it was indecent. The rest of them were barefoot at home, but Martin thought it was indecent. It was woe to the one who could be next to him in dirty socks. The woe fell on the head of their sound-producer Flood, who, to be honest, often forgot about socks, due to his youth and instability of life and also, he didn’t worry about how he looked, because he worked in a strictly male clique.
Two assholes named Dave and Martin was trolling him for dear life. Once, Alan even found Flood crying. The second time Flood sobbed into the phone, when he saw TV show on MTV where two half-drunk, sleepy creeps, shining with polished shoes, ranted to the whole world that their producer has the stinkiest feet on the earth, and living in the same room is a real torture.
“And what do you want?” - Alan asked Flood – “Depeche Mode members ironing their socks, and starching shoe laces! So, you should... starch it too.
“Are you serious?” – asked Flood frightenedly.
"I’m serious," - Alan said.
“But Martin...and Fletch...” 
“I said that you should starch, so do it," – Alan said, - "we're gentlemen. Real British. What can you do? We can walk around in skirts without underwear, and I'm not talking about the Scots, I talking about us, about the British! We are brutal men, Flood, and forget about kilts, we are wearing women's skirts. We can defile at Dan Miller’s place naked in panti-tights of his wife, because we think that our cock looks very hilarious in it, and they all want to make fun of it. We can fuck with the mop, but we never, can you hear me? We never appear in socks in public or alone, if they causing scintilla of doubt in their sterility. Because we are gentlemen, Flood, real British gentlemen," - Alan paused and added, - “from Essex.” 
Flood didn’t understand his jokes about gentlemen and Essex. He was far from the class struggle within Depeche Mode. He cried about how he will be starching his socks in his room. Where should he do it? In a glass? And he didn’t even have the iron in his room.
Fletch was in the kitchen too. He ceremoniously greeted Alan and offered him coffee. Actually, he kindly offered him to make coffee by himself and Martin to add some porridge with caring voice of a mad soccer mom. Everything seemed to be as usual. But, of course, nothing could be the same again after it. 
He and Martin carried on all this time in this emotional stress, not daring neither to touch nor talk alone about something other than fucking job. Taking brakes by periodic drinking bouts threesome with Fletch, and it gave deceptive sense of hope, or as Martin liked to make fun about "sense of fallacious intimacy" and it was becoming easier for a while. But, when dawn was coming, it was clear that they are farther and farther away from the exit.
So, every cloud has a silver lining.
Fletch betrayed Martin in Devotional tour. But it was totally different story. They sat at the table, five of them. And Kessler. Gore said that he had spoken with Miller, and actually, their fears have panned out. Moreover, things are even worse than they expected. The tour did not justify the investment. Mostly because of production cost. And if to be more precisely, they barely managed to cover the invested money. Actually, a year of work was just for nothing. They worked, tearing off the strength, nerves and health. Just in vain. As if nothing had happened. So, Gore reported that he consulted with Miller, and Miller suggested them to continue tour, to make a light technical version for underdeveloped countries, and reported that he believes that this step is appropriate.
“Fuck you, Martin,” - Dave said expressive, - "I'm tired. I need to rest. You’re doing nothing on stage, but I’m working, by the way.”
"I understand, gentlemen, it's extremely insulting," – Martin said, - “if to be honest, though I do nothing, I also very tired. Health is not as good as it was, and the age effects.”
They were barely over thirty. Almost every one of them has managed to get to the hospital several times during the year. And not for childish reasons at all.
“Ha - ha,” - Dave said, he thought that Martin was kidding, - "Hahaha.”
“Yes, I have health problems, and I refuse to travel with this circus," - Fletch said with all seriousness.
“The one, who came up with the idea to carry these fucking screens should pay us!” –Dave assented indignantly.
“Anton," – Martin reminded, - “This is Corbijn. Well, this is our fault. He warned us that he doesn't know beans in stage design, and we have assumed this risk. It would be pretty crappy, if we take the words back.”
“We won’t take our words back! This will make the court!” – Dave said.
“Anton has done a lot for us....”
“No, it's me! I’ve done a lot for all of YOU, Martin” – Dave said addressing to ONE person, - “And YOU, Mr. Gore, going to fuck me over! I mean you’re not going to pay me. Because you owe” –Gahan began to mimic Gore’s intonation, - “Anton so much. Alan. What can you say, Alan? Do you want to sit without a paycheck too? To sit and be silent until this smooth operator” - Dave showed at Martin nodding, - “is robbing us. I'm sure he already secretly agreed with Miller to grab something at our expense! Grabbing hands! Hahaha!”
It was very funny for Dave.
Alan was afraid to look at Martin. However, he never moved a muscle, despite the fact that his cheeks are blushed and clasped fingers were white because of strain.
“I don't want to sound....arrogantly. Please don’t think that I want to edify someone," - he continued, - "but basically, we have a choice. If you decide not to continue...I'll accept it. But, basically, we have a choice. We rehearsed this tour, we can easily afford to ride another six months...”
- “...working off the money to the maximum, or, to take offence, to let it all hang out and leave with nothing. It seems to me that the latter is totally unreasonable in our situation, and I sincerely felt that we will be able to understand each other.”
“Actually, we understand each other. We don't want to continue,” - Dave said, - “accept it, Martin. And you, Fletch?”
"Well," - Fletch said, the solution is definitely made unanimously and will not be considered. I resent with the organization of this tour. I have repeatedly said that the financial plan that they made is the useless scrap of paper!”
It wasn’t first time for Alan, when they forgot to ask his opinion. He didn’t want to continue travelling with this circus either. But he could not say that he sees the situation so definitely.
“Alan?” – Martin asked faintly. Well thank you, your Majesty, you finally remembered that I’m here.
Alan shrugged: 
"I think that it makes sense," - he said. It was worth mentioning just because of the expressions of gratitude that have appeared on Martin’s face, apparently against his will, - “Dave, come on. In fact, I would like to earn money, but the court is unreliable and long lasting activity, and why should we get on the wrong side of our colleagues? Miller will certainly be offended.”
“Well, you right," – Dave said. A second ago he was sure that he no longer will take the stage, and now he actively began to convince Fletch in the benefits of the further continuation of the tour.
Fletch didn't give up.
They have already made the decision, but he still continued to rage. It was very interesting to look at how the Voice of God, oh, sorry, the first friend and Mr. Martin Gore’s translator is rebelling against his master. They were quarreling all night. Fletch left in the morning. Leaving everyone and everything, and saying that they can do anything they want, and he is leaving. But later, he offered excuses that he was sick and looking for the meaning of life in the monastery. But Alan knew the truth. Fletch just betrayed Martin, just because he wanted it.
Alan was glad about it. 
He didn’t see any benefit from Fletch. He told Kessler that he can teach the monkey to play Fletch’s parties within a week, and that more likely no one will notice his fucking contribution to the music and to the show of Depeche Mode. But the funny thing was that Martin had to communicate with him and with Dave directly and without Fletch’s help. It was worth to continue this circus just for enjoy of watching it. Here's Fletch. Here's your best friend, your right hand, ha!
And Martin HAD to communicate with him, whether he wanted or not. He had nobody to rely on anymore. Dave betrayed him long ago, leaving in his new advanced world with lots of cool interests, and such wonderful rock'n'roll dudes. He was the Voice, which God was speaking through and whispering something to Martin – it was a fucking Sodom and Gomorrah and nut-box factory rolled into one, but in general, Dave lived his own life, periodically remembering that Martin does not love him, and he is the reason that ruined his life and marriage with Joanne, and that he loved him and gave him everything, and Martin hates him because he's a cold-blooded creature, but it was happening during Dave’s comedown, and while he was fine, he didn’t even think about Martin.
It was not the best reason to come together again. But it became the reason.


But despite this temporary remission, it was obvious and clear for Alan that they have no future. Once shining with pride and glory project obviously was going to hell. In 1995, having held until the end of the tour, realizing that Fletch is not going to come back, and Dave...he didn’t expect to see him alive, he was waiting the last feather that could broke the camel's back. In other words, would be the last factor that compelled him to make a decision. And Martin did not fail to give it to him, as usual.
Alan thought that it was over. Enough is as good as a feast. Martin will not do anything without him. Even to suppose it seemed frankly ridiculous. With whom? He had no one! Depeche Mode had no future.
However, the time has shown that stubborn Martin persevered. He wasn’t happy. Actually, he lost, but stood up for unknown reasons.
“This is called "Arsenal Syndrome" - he said to his young wife. He made her proposal symbolically on the same day, when he finally decided to set apart his and Martin’s life, making her a symbol of his Salvation, - “There is not a bit of heroism. He just DOESN'T KNOW what to do and how to do something different, and he ashamed to say it!”
Hep laughed. She understood his sense of humor back then. She even gave him joy, understanding and warmth. She believed in his genius, talent, and was ready to serve him, and it seemed that she loved him too! Alan was so happy about his choice at that moment. He had a family. He had happiness. He was an independent musician. He had the freedom and authority. What else you could ever dream of?
Of course, Martin could not reach half of those heights that they overpassed that time, and the reward for his achievements were completely unfair in Alan’s opinion. Just reward for what they did earlier, which quite unfairly got to him. The reckoning had to come sooner or later. The things that Martin did not complete with himself, Dave finish the started for him, being a weapon in the hands of God as usual. If Martin survived in 1995, it is not the fact that he will outstay in 2005. He had a family that time, and hopes for the future. Now, he didn't have any hope. And even if he made peace with Dave officially, nothing good could come from this. This will be the most enchanting end of all ends. It was supposed to make happy. But it didn’t. Alan would have preferred that he was fine, and then he could hate him with a clear conscience. So, it was impossible to hate him, because he felt sorry for him. He felt sorry for him, as the winner for loser.
Alan knew he had won. Because unlike Martin, he still was happy in his new role and in his new incarnation. As soon, as Alan was convinced that finally, after so many years, he finally feels truly free from Martin, Miller’s call was like the last and the real test of his endurance and correctness of his decision.
Though, he still tried to convince himself that it doesn’t mean anything. It was just a way to improve his financial situation, moreover, he was obliged to Miller. And he didn’t even have any desire to return to this hell.

However, when epic dialogue with Alan and Miller had happened, it was far from reconciliation. However, the side work with a boys-band lasted over one year. Miller obviously wanted to improve the financial condition of his label, using the exploitation of man by man. 
“What's Dave doing?” – Alan asked Miller, when they met to listen the remastering of "Violator". He meant all of this show with Dave’s resentment that shocked the world. Miller said that Martin told Kessler that he doesn’t want his solo tour to be intersect with Dave’s tour as it possibly, and that tour managers are sick and tired with these two assholes. And the things are so bad in the Kingdom. And Alan asked. In fact, to keep the conversation going. He didn't know!
"Dave took offence at Martin!” - Miller said with businesslike voice. 
“What an amazing surprise," - Alan said sarcastically. 
“Yes, he's offended!” – Miller worried about Alan’s sarcasm not more than African elephant worries about political situation in the Middle East. 
“What happened this time? Martin didn’t praised his new Armani suit?” – in Alan’s opinion, he gave Dave all that he could. He, Alan, gave Dave everything. It was enough just to reach out and take what he gave in. 
“Because of Jennifer.”
“Jesus Christ, what Martin did with Jennifer?!” - Alan even scared, - "She mustn’t be his type. She's a decent woman! We met...”
“Ha - ha," - Dan said, - “Ha-ha-ha. Heh - heh - heh. No. Not in this sense.”
“So what happened?”
“She's all right, just you know...” - Daniel portrayed the work of thought on his face, - “Everything is alright with her and Dave. He's happy.”
“Is it bad?” –Alan asked imitating a surprise. It sounded so familiar that he felt like everything is shrinked somewhere under his stomach. 
“Dave offended at Martin because he's happy without Martin. You see, old chap, how complicated logic here? What a drama of Romeo and Juliet between two fucking forty and over year old men!”
“I always said that Shakespeare was right, when he killed them while they were young," – Alan said, - “Disgusting story!”
Actually Alan thought that he understands Dave’s feelings very well. Because although he thought that he had won, he did not want to thank Martin for his happy life every morning. But, he often wanted Martin finally understand how he feels, and what the everyday of this happy life is cost him. Also, he thought that Dave is an idiot. Because Alan could not forgive Martin that he couldn’t live without Dave, but he could do it without him, Alan. On the one hand, they have no choice. Apparently. Dave put his foot down, inviting the attention childishly and desperate, cutting his veins, demanding Martin’s attention. Demanding his love. Martin obeyed his demand. He gave up the first time, opening the way to new unilateral concessions. It looked like a string of a most monstrous and unwarranted capitulations. That Martin, whom he left, was still struggling. He was struggling for his right, for his position and power. Even though he pretended that he doesn’t. This Martin was just kept making a capitulation, without a single attempt to resist. The only person on Earth who didn't see it was Dave. In his opinion it was not enough that Martin gave him. He offended him. Alan handed Martin in his complete order, and Dave only confirmed his theory that he didn’t need Martin without Alan. He just didn't know what to do with him. He just couldn't take what belonged to him now. Instead, he sought to destroy it. The whole story smelled like pure cannibalism. The worst Martin felt himself, the more Dave was blooming and complacently blossoming.
“Dave offended that Martin had been detached from him.”
“Can’t believe that is Dave, as well as Martin” – Alan sneered. He liked to talk with Mute’s boss. Because Dan Miller was irrelevant to what he says. Dan listened to what he wanted. 
“When Dave needed Martin, he didn't come!”
“God bless him.” 
“But Jennifer came and saved him. It was Martin's fault that Jennifer came. And Martin angrily hisses through his teeth that he never claimed to be Dave’s Savior from his own idiocy. That he feels entitled to do it because he couldn’t escape from his own. Dave weeps, smashes his fists against the wall and at each corner shouting that Martin didn’t give him enough. That he is treating him humanly, and Martin turned...”
“His ass upon him," – Alan suggested. 
“Right," – Dan nodded. 
“But Martin says that he doesn't understand Dave’s offenses, because he gives everything he can and even what he can't, and that Dave can take all he wants. He can even pick up his debris from his backyard if he wants, it can be handy. With the only one condition, that he will shut up and not disturb him again. As I understand, Dave is willing to take even the debris from the back yard, but the conditions about not disturbing Martin, does not satisfy him, as I know Dave. 
“What? How?”
“Dave believes that his contribution to Depeche mode undervalued, and sued Martin demanding a half of the copyright of Depeche Mode songs.”
“Holly shit,” - Alan surprised not gentlemanlike. 
“Martin said, "Let him have it!" 
“What about court?” - Alan opened his mouth in admiration. 
“Court? You think that Sir Gore was there!?” - Dan wiped the sweat from his forehead, - "Actually, I advised him to file a counterclaim with the compensation for moral damage, but Martin said, "I don’t need anything from him." 
“What unrealistically high relationships," – Alan said. Somewhere from the unknown depths of his subconscious he imagined how he call and pat Martin on the head. Maybe he'll even slobber because of betrayal, complain about bad Dave, realize his mistake and ask him to come back. Although the imagination has stalled exactly at the moment when he tried to imagine Martin complaining. He relaxed and slobbered. Miller’s question brought him back down to earth.
“Did you put him wise to it?” – Dan rudely interrupted the flow of his fantasies. 
“Why me?” –Alan asked. 
"I knew it," – Dan said gloomily.
“It's not me!”
“Of course, Martin said nothing in response to my assumption, but I know that he...”
“DID YOU TELL MARTIN THAT I PUT DAVE WISE TO IT?!” – Alan jumped up pushing away the chair with his leg.
"No, what's wrong?!” – Dan asked, - "didn’t you share with him that Martin refused to talk to you long and tedious, getting in my…” - Dan pointed to his bald head – “hair. I turned into a baldy because of you, Alan. Don't pretend a flying away butterfly, sit down. Everyone saw it and everyone knows it.”
“Why did you tell Martin?” – Alan said hardly audible.
Great. Now Martin considers HIM number one enemy. HIM again. HIM, not fucking Dave.
“Come on, I don’t think that I destroyed your magical and wonderful relationships" - Dan said. Based upon his instantly softened voice, he was embarrassed that he did it. But he couldn't immediately go back down.
So, the option to call just fell away.
“I didn’t sue with Martin, if he deigns to remember it.”
“Yes, he deigned. But I assured him that people develop and grow over themselves. Come on, Alan. Don't pretend that it's my fault.”
Alan said nothing, gritting his teeth. The things that he wanted to say to Daniel at the moment just would cost him the loss of even the modicum of financing, which he condescended to give him. But in short, it was the reason of his attempts to stay away from those merry men. Now he has a reason not to sleep a few more nights. And he could not explain why he in his forty-five was so disturbed by the fact that Martin Gore will think wrong about him. Neither Dan, nor himself. He just knew that he won’t sleep because of it.
They sat closer to the computer to see what to do. They sat knee by knee, in silence, not looking at each other. Alan was not happy. Of course, Miller understood this, but of course, as a boss, he didn’t going to apologize. But as a cunning man, he decided to palaver him by further meaningless story about the adventures of this epic couple. Alan looked in the computer, and he was glad that he was sitting half face to Miller and that he don't need to pretend that he is interested at least.
For the sake of decency he pulled his lips into a smile lazily at Dan’s story about that Martin refuses to be with Dave closer than a distance of five to ten cities, or better states, and actually, he believes that the Pacific Ocean is the most comfortable distance between him Mr. Gahan.
“Gahan says he's lazy and that he doesn't want to work with him. But he have to. Martin says he owes nothing. And added somehow that...he didn't CHOOSE. Don't know what he meant, but after these words Gahan got into a tantrum... actually I wanted to forget what I had seen, but obviously, it was not meant to be. It stands before my eyes every night. 
“Dan, you know, every time you talk about them, I starting to feel with horror that I’ve never left at all! Home sweet home.”
“Conscience probably” - Dan said strangely, - "Alan, you probably want to go back!”
They gave a false laugh together. It seems like it was supposed to be. 
“I think Dave and I made the same mistake,” - Alan said after a few minutes of silence, - "Probably we both loved a completely different person than what he actually was, not worse, not better, just different," - Alan said quicker than she thought.
He realized the fact that he said something unnecessary only when Dan caught glasses on the tip of his nose with his hand.
Alan stared at the computer screen, pointing at the essential segment of "Enjoy the silence" song chart, actually, he already knew that he blurted out the excess, but also he realized that if he starts to make excuses or deny it, he just put himself in a ridiculous position. Actually, he didn't know what to say. He felt a huge chunk of ice stomach in his stomach, but it was impossible to fix something. He just confessed Miller right now, probably because he fell into thinking and got jittery. No, nobody would notice, but he knew that Miller understood everything exactly the way that he would least want.
“It should be corrected here," - he said carelessly to Miller.
Miller was silent, and also staring at him, resting his cheek with his first finger.
“What?” – Alan broke down finally, - "WHAT?! What's the big deal?? What did I say?”
Miller shrugged. He was very anxious. Apparently, he couldn't find the words.
“Well, correct it," - he said to Alan, nodding at the monitor. Miller’s voice was very different. It was very unhappy and very sympathetic. It’s like to talk to terminally ill patients. He couldn’t imagine the worse situation in a nightmare.
“It is necessary to increase the level of this layer here, look...”
Miller frowned and carefully stared at the screen. In this pose, in the touch of his elbow of Alan’s elbow was the only meaning. He sat and sympathized with Alan.
“Yes, I still think we need to correct here and there," - he said with the same nasty cautious voice like he was talking to patients, - “can you do it, Charlie?”
Alan gritted his teeth and moved the chart. Dan was watching his manipulation for a long time and shaking his head. 
"There you are. Mart,” - Dan said suddenly, - “Mart. Goddamn motherfucker, Mart...” - his voice expressed unpleasant surprise bordering on admiration, - "How could it be...?”
“Somehow," - Alan suddenly digged Miller in his ribs, although he didn't interrupt him. He just sat there, shaking his head and moving his lips soundlessly, - "what does it mean "I DIDN’T CHOOSE"? What did he mean?”
“I used to think that he is just a figure of speech," – Miller said, - "but now I don't know what to think.”
“Martin Gore is widely known orator in small coterie," – Alan agreed, - “A lot of legends have composed about his “figure of speech ". Especially among the victims.
“By the way, I used to think that you act yourself like an asshole...” - boss said vengeful.
“Thanks, Dan!”
“And now... now I don't know what to think...” - to say that Miller was shocked is to say nothing. Alan never had seen him in this condition.
Planets parade ended making a line and cutting the center of the Universe. Exactly that day, when Alan made sure that he was right. He realized that he can live alone and what is done cannot be returned. He made sure that he may even do something related to Depeche Mode and to maintain his independence and cold mind, everything that happened today and these three words "I didn’t choose" with a hellish rumble in the blink of an eye, returned Alan to his orbit around Gore. The gravitational force of the center of the universe grabbed the unfortunate cursory comet, which was climbing against a dozen light-years gritting its teeth, and with a steel hand got it back like it was fuzz.
"I didn’t choose"
Defenseless humility if this phrase has crossed out all that he believed to be his real life. How. How could he kill him at a distance after so many years, basically, doing nothing against intentionally? To kill just because he was himself? "I didn't choose". Then why are they apart? Definitely, he won’t sleep.
“You owe me SOFAD, Al," – Miller said sorrowful, as if he read his thoughts, - “don’t even think about scoot again. I sue you and seek the missed profit. But you have nothing to give, it’s like milk the bull. Well, it’s alright, we can distrain your property and sell it on auction,” - Depeche Mode producer’s voice still sounded with extreme degree of sympathy and empathy for Alan Wilder. It was positively contrary to the meaning of what he said.
“How do you think, how much we can earn for your gynecological chair from the collection of torture devices and tools of pre-war times? – Miller became especially aware for some reason.
“It is the dental chair.”
"I don’t give a fuck," - Dan said, - "It made me sympathized with your wife that time and now...”
“Now you don't know what to think,” – Alan finished the sentence gloomily.



Ankhesenpaaten Ra ©
translators Ankhesenpaaten Ra, breathing_in_fumes

Feel free to use it whenever you like