Vocally gifted singer, Jesse Alexander, has dreams of taking his band, Conquest, to the top. Evan Arden was thought of as a musical genius when at the height of his career he vanished from the spotlight. Together, their relationship is just as intense as their music careers. With success pushing down on them, Jesse must decide between his life of music, or his life with Evan.
"Jesse, sweetheart, it's mom again. I wish you would call me back. I've been worried sick about you since last night. Your father, I know he feels horrible about what happened, and I know saying this is just going to get you angrier, but you can't blame everything that happened on him. You know how his temper is, and you still provoked him by yelling at him and shoving him. If only you wouldn't push him so hard to accept that you're...you're-"
Jesse snapped his cell phone closed to silence his mother's stammering message before the roiling disgust in his stomach rose to his throat and choked him. He lifted his left hand, gingerly touching his fingertips to the light purple bruise on the left side of his jaw. His father felt horrible? Yeah, right. If there was one thing his father felt horrible about in regards to his two sons, it was that in his father's opinion, they had fallen so short of being the men he wanted them to be.
Jesse fell over backward on the twin-sized bed that barely fit in his apartment bedroom. A growing headache caused his brain to feel like it was swelling to the limits of his skull. As if it hadn't been embarrassing enough setting foot in a house he had vowed never to enter again, to do it in order to borrow money to get his piece of crap truck fixed-money his mother had sneaked away from his father-and getting caught by his father arriving home early, had been absolute humiliation. Maybe he deserved what he got for going where he knew he was forbidden to return. Maybe, for once, his father's rage had been justified. Maybe he should have accepted being told, yet again, that he was ungrateful, that he had thrown everything away in pursuit of a pointless dream, that no little faggot was any son of his father's.
With a mental fist, Jesse punched the thoughts away. No. He didn't deserve any of that, and he held no regrets about retaliating against his father, even if it had earned him a right hook to the jaw. It was better than letting his father feel victory over him. Never would he allow himself to be defeated, not by his father, not by anyone or anything; and by staying true to himself, he knew he delivered a more devastating blow to his father than any physical hit. Though it had felt really good to shove him and feel his father's body give way under the force.
From the small stereo on the nightstand beside the bed came the smooth baritone of his favorite singer, Evan Arden. Like a soothing tonic, Evan's rich voice cooled his heated temper and mended his frayed nerves. He listened to the ballad "One More Time" and softly raised his tenor to join Evan.
"Despite all the tears I've cried,
And all the pain they've brought,
I'd shed them all one more time,
To see you smile again.
If seeing me hurt pleases you,
Then I'll cherish this pain forever..."
Jesse sighed and let Evan take over. The song finished, and he raised his left wrist above his head to look at his watch. Seven o'clock. He needed to get ready to meet his brother. He pushed himself upright and hopped off the bed, snatching the clothes he had laid out on his way to the door.
He opened his bedroom door and paused. It seemed so dark and gloomy in his apartment, but then he thought maybe it was just his mood. He glanced at the cracked and scratched hardwood floor, the stained countertop separating the kitchen from the living room, the secondhand furniture, the single window overlooking the dingy alley below, and decided his apartment was a gloomy shit-hole no matter what his mood.