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Here is the second chapter of “I Love New York”. Thank you so much for all the great feedback on the first chapter! This chapter will delve more into characters and Devon’s transition into New York. While it’s a bit different, I hope you all enjoy it. ~PeterPanics
It was needless to say that I missed my flight. I had twenty minutes to shower, get to the airport, and go through security, and with Lucas sitting naked on my bathroom floor, I couldn’t have been more distracted. Somehow, though, I was able to pull my mouth away from his long enough to mumble something along the lines of “I’m late and you’re not helping.”
So, to be honest, I wasn’t at all surprised to see the 4:00 flight to New York City was already up in the sky. Instead, I bought a ticket to the next flight (I could already feel the burn in my pocket) and sat down for the wait.
I’m not a very patient person. Long, open, periods of time make me anxious. Why? Because I cant sit still for twenty minutes without thinking about something too much. I overanalyze a lot of things. Sometimes, I sit and think in depth about stupid things. Other times though, I ponder on the heavy things. These thoughts, as you can tell, can be toxic. I don’t like thinking about those things, yet somehow, they always manage to sneak up on me when I’m least expecting it. Like when waiting for a flight in an airport.
I pulled out my phone, My fingers hovering over Lucas’ contact. No, I can’t. Things are complicated enough with him as is. Plus, I just said bye to him. No need to make it a habit.
Instead, I dialed Cassidee. Her bright, bubbly voice answered on the first ring.
“Devvy, babe, I’ll be at the airport in like two seconds, okay? There was a wreck in the middle of-“
“Cass. Calm down. I’m still in California.”
I heard her exhale on the other line. “Well you could have said that!” she breathed heavily and dramatically, like she’d been holding her breath on my every word.
“Yeah, Cass. Anyways, I missed my flight. I booked a ticket on the last one out of LAX. I won’t be in the city until sometime around ten. There’s a layover in Boston.”
She mumbled some curses under her breath. “Alright kid. Hurry up and get your punk ass out here. I miss you, and there is a shit ton of people that you need to meet. The city is a big place.”
I hung up after a quick goodbye, laughing to myself. Cassidee was quite possibly my best friend in the world.
We’d met when we were seven years old, at an after school art program for “troubled” students. She spilled blue paint on my canvas just to be an ass, and I spilled red paint over her head and called her a bitch. Thus the “troubled” part of that first sentence.
We were pretty much inseparable after that point. We both had horrible childhoods, but we had each other. Really, that was all we needed. Together, we got through a lot of bullshit. Lies, bullshit parents, sex, drugs, confusion… we’d fought it all. She knew me better than anyone. Really, it was no surprise to her the day I came out. We were both fourteen, drinking, partying. She knew I sucked cock and I knew she ate pussy. The lesbian artist and the gay pianist. It was like something out of a bad Sunday comic.
Anywhore, Cassi got accepted into the New York Academy of Art the year before I was accepted into Juilliard, and already had a nice setup in the city from everything she’d told me. She was graciously taking me under her wing, promising me that she’d guide me around the wonderland that is New York.
I’ve never been out of California. I mean, there was my senior class trip, and we went to Cancun, but other than that, I’ve only known the west coast. I was born and raised in Long beach, within walking distance to the sunny shore, thirty minutes from downtown LA and the sunset strip. Southern California was my favorite place to be. The people, the atmosphere, the sun. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, being that I haven’t been everywhere there is to be, but in twenty years, I’ve never gotten sick of SoCal.
There was a call for my flight to board, and it shook me from my thoughts. I gathered my things and followed the mob of people headed to the east coast. Here we go, Devon, here we go.
Cassidee came running at me, her face lit up with her smile. She barreled into me, almost taking us both down to the pavement, burrowing her face into my chest and squealing. I hugged her close to my chest, laughing as she yelled at me for not coming to visit.
She stepped away and grinned up at me, her massive blue eyes shining. A part of me deep inside wondered how she could see through all the eyeliner. She looked unchanged, her hair dyed a daring shade of purple that cascaded to her waist, standing almost a full foot shorter than me, her tiny body dancing in circles around me.
“devvvvoooonnnnn!” she sang in a tiny high-pitched elfish voice. “I’ve missed you so much babe!” she squealed, hugging me again.
“I’ve missed you too Cassi.” I assured her with a laugh.
Her devious grin made me smile. “Look at you Dev. Still doing the hardcore thing, huh?” she asked, reaching up to tug on my Mecidiyeköy Escort lip ring. “And you got a new one!” she exclaimed, flicking the nose ring in my septum.
“The boys like it.” I laughed, sticking out my tongue to show her the barbell that pierced it.
“Only you, Devon, could make having metal in your face look super hot.” She giggled, tucking her hands beneath her chin.
“What about you, Cass. Your still flitting around like a little butterfly?” I asked, looping my arm through one of hers as she lifted my duffel bag off the conveyer belt.
“I do what I do,” she giggled. “I laugh, I dance, I spill things.”
“Words to live by.”
“Aren’t they though?” she laughed, her chirpy little voice floating through the terminal.
She busied herself tying up her hair into a long ponytail while I gathered the rest of my luggage.
“How are things in Long Beach?” she asked, helping me carry all my bags while her eyes scanned for the exit.
“Y’know… always good.” I mumbled, looping my arm through hers as she maneuvered through bodies. Much easier for her to do than for me, just to clarify.
She frowned, not looking back at me. “Something is bothering you. No… a boy is bothering you.”
I was glad she wasn’t looking back at me so she couldn’t see my bewildered expression. She didn’t need to look back, she knew my thoughts.
“We’ve been friends thirteen years, Dev. I know you. So tell me about the boy.”
Lucas was a long story. Everything about Lucas required extensive amounts of explaining. “Just… its complicated.” I managed under my breath, narrowly avoiding walking over a toddler. How was she navigating the mass of people so easily?
Finally, we reached the revolving exit. I’d only seen revolving doors in movies. I wanted to stare at it for a minute, take in the nostalgia of it, but the purple headed monster in front of me dragged me onto the street behind it before I could give it a second glance.
“Everything is complicated with you. You’re a damn complicated person, Devon.”
I had nothing to say to that, so instead, I stayed quiet and followed her to her car.
I agree, Cassi.
New York City in the fall. It was breathtaking. I stared out my window with wide eyes, marveling in the beauty of it. Trees lined the heavy streets, just beginning to turn golden-brown in mid-august. People filed in massive crowds along the pavement in ways I’d never seen before. Los Angeles was busy, but this city was flooded. The traffic was intense, a sea of yellow cabs amongst the black tar and white dashes marking the streets below. Tall billboards broadcasted anything and everything imaginable, from sports feeds to news briefs to advertisements. I stared up at the skyscrapers, dragging their long fingers through the clouds. I couldn’t see the tops of any building I looked at. California has earthquakes, and the highest building I’d ever been in had eight floors. These massive infrastructures though, thirty, forty, fifty floors, more and more and more than I’d ever seen. Were New Yorkers just unafraid of heights?
“Everything is big.” I managed to whisper, breaking the silence in the car.
“That’s New York. A lot of people, and not a lot of room. So, we build up. Our apartment building has seventy floors.” Cassidee laughed, glancing over from the driver seat to see my wide eyes and dropped jaw. “You’ll get used to it, hun. Your not in California anymore. Lots is different. Driving is different, food, people, attitudes, everything is different. You’ll adjust.”
I managed a stiff laugh, nervousness finally knotting over in my stomach. This is it.
“Usually me and Gavin don’t even drive. Its easier to walk, or take the subway.”
I looked over at her. “Subway?”
She shook her head. “Your like a puppy, Devvy. Don’t worry. We’ll teach you everything.”
“Of course. Gavin. Me. All my friends.”
“Our roommate. Gavin. He’s an acting major at Juilliard with you. He’ll show you everything you need to know about the school and such. He’s a pretty good guy. He pretends to be hardcore, just like you devvybear.” She giggled, poking my cheek playfully. I smiled down at my knees, feeling like I’d been lifted from planet earth and put in this odd, wonderful place. Subways. More Taxi’s than I’d ever known existed. Buildings with seventy floors. Was this even the same planet?
Thirty minutes later, Cassidee was lifting a suitcase bigger than her entire body into the elevator. “Listen up, Devon. We are on floor sixty-two, room 7794D. there is a spare key on top of the eave, and usually either me or Gavin will be around to help. Comprendo?”
I laughed at her horrible use of Spanish and watched the elevator doors slide shut.
“So what have you been doing, Cass? We’ve been talking about me the whole time.” I asked, poking her in the ribs.
“Art. I just finished up my second of eight terms at the Academy…. Um… I work at this little bookstore at the moment, occasionally I get featured in a gallery event, usually small places, but its still exposure.”
“And in the Mecidiyeköy Escort Bayan love life?” I asked, leaning up against the bar in the small space and watching the lights on the wall skate past floors.
“Pshh. What love life? Girls in New York are all sluts.” she scoffed.
“Aww has it been a while since Cassididdles got some pussy?” I laughed.
She laughed out loud, holding her tiny stomach. “I’m not in a relationship, doesn’t mean I don’t get girls. I refer to what I said before. Girls in New York are sluts. Its like a wonderland of vagina out there.” We both laughed at that until we reached our floor.
Cassidee turned the key in the door of apartment 7794D, and opened it in one swift motion, inviting me in. “Welcome home!” she exclaimed.
I walked in to the apartment and gasped. I was used to seeing apartments that were crap. I’m used to gray carpents, windowless, dingy white walls, and shit lighting. This apartment was stunning. The kitchen veered off to the left, and the living area to the right. The kitchen was open, tiled in a black and white checkerboard pattern. The appliances were red, and cassi’s art hung above the stove. Everything was spotless. The walls were starch white, decorated by the bursts of color in Cassidee’s artwork. The living area was large, simple, and open, a long black leather couch with a matching loveseat and a coffee table, to the left of that was a massive grand piano. My eyes lit up. The piano was beautiful, polished and perfect, shining in the dim light cast by hanging fixtures above.
“Your room is down the hall. The third door,” Cassi said, pointing down a dark hallway. “GAVIN! WE’RE HOME!” she bellowed, handing me my bag and turning on brighter lights. I walked into the living room, feeling like an intruder, when a tall figure emerged from the hall.
I’ll admit he was gorgeous. And yes, he did the hardcore thing like I did. His hair was in long, dark dreadlocks that were tied back in a heavy band. His skin was a light olive color, his eyes light brown. His chest and arms were sculpted through his loose tank top, his eyebrows pulled over his eyes intensely. “You must be Devon.” He said with a warm smile.
I reached out to shake his extended hand. “Devon Maxwell Davis. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Gavin. Welcome to the city! Cassidee has told me a ton about y-“
“Are you two giving each other hand jobs yet?” Cassi interrupted, tossing me a bottle of water and slinking up beside me.
Gavin stiffened and glared at her, then plopped down on the loveseat. I looked at her quizzically.
“Gavin here is straight,” She giggled, sitting next to him and petting his arm, “or so he thinks.”
I sat down on the couch across from them and smiled, confused, as Gavin was no doubt envisioning murdering Cassi in her sleep.
“Its okay to be confused, Gavin,” she teased. He rolled his eyes, and something told me Cassidee did this often. “Gavin got caught kissing a boy in the bathroom of my last gallery event.” She explained.
I tried really hard to not laugh, but a giggle escaped as Gavin’s face turned bright red and he got up to leave. Cassidee caught his wrist and yanked him back down.
“I’m not gay, okay? I was really drunk and it was dark and I thought he was a girl.” He sputtered, looking at me with pleading eyes. I hated to admit it, but a curious guy that was as good looking as Gavin was kind of hot.
Cassidee just agreed with him and pet his dreads, mumbling something about how he was right, that guy did look like a girl.
I left them to go unpack my suitcases. For a long time, I stared out the window at all the lights. A sea of lights, and an ocean of opportunities. Turning to my suitcases, I unzipped them, pulling out my belongings one by one. I set my laptop on the nightstand and busied myself folding my clothes. A lot of black, gray, and white. A lot of chains, a lot of tight shirts and tighter jeans. Hats with flat bills, and bits of metal to put in the holes in my skin (four piercings, if you were wondering. my septum, tongue, snakebites, and my nipple.) I was good at pretending to be hardcore, just like Cassidee said. I didn’t feel anything but sensitive though, sitting on this bed, in this city, so far from home. It was a scary, overwhelming thought. But I’m here, and its going to be great.
There was a knock on my door, and Gavin poked his head in. “You busy?”
“Nah. Come on in.” I mumbled, clearing off space on the bed next to me. He held up a pair of my favorite jeans, and smiled at them.
“You can feel free to borrow anything you like. Just let me know first.” I offered a smile, as he set them back down.
“I may take you up on that,” he laughed. Translation: the gay guy doesn’t dress like a queer.
“I just wanted to apologize for earlier.” He continued “Cassidee doesn’t know how to shut up sometimes.” His smile was nervous as he sat down beside me.
“Trust me, I know. She means well though.” I promised.
“So… tell me about yourself Devon. Cassi just says you’re a pianist and your… um…
“Gay.” I finished for him. I was smiling, Escort Mecidiyeköy he wasn’t. “Yeah. I’m gay. But I’m also Devon. Twenty years old, but forever a kid at heart. I play piano, guitar, drums, bass, and cello. I don’t like peas. My favorite baseball team is the rangers and I watch football every Sunday. Go Colts.”
“Wait… you watch sports?” Translation: faggots do that? Since when? No wonder he was hell-bent on being straight, whether it was who he was or not. He was a fountain of gay stereotypes.
I laughed at him. “Only when I’m not watching musicals and singing show tunes, Gavin.”
Finally, he broke and laughed along with me. The awkwardness that surrounded him melted and he smiled, for real this time.
“So do you need any help unpacking?” he asked. Translation: can I go through your clothes so I can see what I’ll be snagging from your closet?
“Yeah, man, sure.”
I finished my packing, and I talked to my new roommate who was a very confused, but nice guy. I climbed into bed that night, and I knew that even though it was scary and new, New York was were I was supposed to be. I fell asleep and dreamt of a seventy story building with the Mann’s Chinese theater next door to it
“This city is massive,” I breathed, walking faster to keep up with Gavin.
“Yeah, but you’ll never get bored. There’s always a place to be, or something to do, people to meet,” he said, “I think you’ll like it.”
I shrugged. It had only been a few days since I’d landed in New York, and so far, I’d asked for ketchup on a hot dog (apparently a big no-no), gotten lost on the subway (ended up in queens), and almost got trampled crossing the street (what’s the rush?).
I felt like a failure as a New Yorker. Gavin was kind though, and continued to ensure that I would get used to things. Now, he was chaperoning me to my new university.
The campus was large and sprawling, most of the buildings low and flat in comparison to the skyscrapers towering above it. The trees were all turning beautiful shades of red and brown, orange with tips burning dark gold. Groups of scholars, the best of the best in performance arts, clustered beneath them, conversing and laughing.
“The main office is that way,” Gavin pointed, “I’ll be in the D building. Its around the corner to the left. Come find me when your done.” He smiled and gave me a tiny nudge toward the building.
I walked quickly, pulling my papers from the messenger bag slung over my shoulder. Tuition payments and the sort. I walked though the revolving door (I’d long lost my nostalgia. They’re all over the city.) and saw the line for finances almost leading to the door. I caught my place in line and prepared to wait.
The office was wide, and ornate. Long rows of benches pressed against the walls, different offices marked with large signs hung by brass chains from the ceiling. The walls were a soft white color and gold lamps made them glow softly.
So this is where almost 35 grand of my money was going. To decorate office buildings, cause I know this shit isn’t cheap.
It took almost an hour in line, and another half hour hassling with the old cunt of a woman behind the desk before I could finish and go find Gavin. I was stressed, tired, and just wanting to go home by this time.
I stormed out of the building, kicking up piles of leaves as I walked. My converse skidded across the sidewalk angrily, scuffing the white tip. Damn sidewalk. Messing up my sneakers. What a whore. Why do we even need sidewalks anyway? Cant people be smart enough to NOT get run over?
I groaned and searched for building D. I climbed a set of stairs, scanning each building block as I walked. Fuck, Gavin. Where are you? I’m mad, I’m frustrated, and I need to go home and clean off my shoes. I need to go home and sleep off the rising fury in my gut. How the fuck could she do this to m-
I was cut off by the sound of a song I knew by heart. A piano sonata OP. 46 was playing somewhere down the long hall. Almost automatically, my fingers twitched to the sound, and I could see myself dancing along the ivory keys to it. I’d won my first recital performing this song when I was eight years old.
I crept silently down the hall, the sound of Kabalevsky growing louder. I turned a corner and my eyes met an open door, the sonata playing within. I crouched near the doorframe when I saw a single figure inside.
I was silent as I watched, awestruck. There was a single male dancer in the room, spinning in time to the sonata. His arms extended full and wide, he took to the very tip of his toes to glide across the floor. A ballet. His skill was insane. He matched time perfectly with the piece.
He was breathtaking. His hair was long and dark brown, brushing his shoulders as he danced. The messy, choppy locks stuck to the sweat on his throat and forehead, falling out of the band knotted in the longest layers in the back. His face was thin, with wide, innocent eyes that watched the floor as he twisted with ease. Those eyes were the most stunning shade of hazel, with streaks of blue and flecks of green within the cinnamon brown that colored his iris. His chest was broad, his shoulders strong and wide, protruding from his tight black tank top. A tattoo covered most of his left shoulder and his forearm, though I was too far away and he was moving too quickly to identify what it was. He wore black yoga pants, strong calves visible as the fabric danced with him.
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