The intercom was buzzing fiercely and Ian got out of bed. Who the hell could that be? And at this hour? What hour was it anyway?
“Yeah?” he said to the box on his wall.
“Dylan! Open up, we’re here!”
“Wrong bell, Dylan’s at 2A. But I’ll buzz you open.” Ian said, and pressed the button. His automatic response was to turn around and go back to bed, but curiosity kept him from it. Instead, he pressed his ear to the door. Part of him yelled at him because what the fuck, but he hushed that part up real quick.
Three pairs of footsteps came in, accompanied by male voices. He couldn’t make out what they were saying until they were right at Dylan’s door.
“So 2A, that’s this one.”
“Who figured Dylan would be okay to live in a shithole like this?”
The bell rang
“He should’ve just stayed put, that house was perfect.”
“You’re only saying that because you miss the pool.”
“Hey, I miss Dylan too!”
“Ian? That’s a little early for… Hey guys! How did you get inside?” It was Dylan’s voice. It didn’t sound annoyed in the first part of the sentence, more surprised. Ian figured that was a good thing.
“Your neighbour from 2B buzzed us in, Jeroen accidentally pressed the wrong bell.”
“Oh, yeah that’s Ian. I’m surprised he’s up. Well, come on in!”
“Is that the musician you mentioned?” Oh my god he mentioned me to his friends! Ian thought, internally screaming, then wondered why he was so excited about that.
“You live next to a musician? Is he famous?”
“He’s going to be. He’s really good.” Ian felt goosebumps rise on the skin of his arms. Oh wow… he meant it. It wasn’t some useless compliment you give someone after they play. He really thinks I’m good. Ian felt like doing a little dance.
Then he heard the door close and that ended the audible part of the conversation. Ian pulled his head away from the door, finally took a breath and then found himself grinning like an idiot. And that’s exactly what he was, an idiot.
He did the little dance his body was aching to do anyway.
What the fuck is wrong with me? Ian thought. He hadn’t stopped thinking about Dylan since the show. First, he had lain awake being afraid he was dealing with a serial killer, and when that turned out wrong, he had felt extremely repentant for thinking something like that in the first place. Then he had tried to write a song about it. Which got him thinking about exactly how much sadness Dylan must have bottled up inside. He had wanted to help him let it out, so he spent the rest of the morning picking out songs that fit to comprise the Spotify playlist.
Ian was running on fumes when he rang Dylan’s doorbell and spilled his entire life story. Well certainly not all of it, but definitely enough. And he’d been high as a kite the entire time, too.
Still he remembered every second of it. It was the first time he had told his story to anyone, but he had told it because Dylan had the right to know. No, because he wanted him to know. Why was that? And why wasn’t he completely embarrassed right now?
Because you didn’t do it.
Ian’s heart sank, but he knew it was true. He had almost done something extremely stupid and even with the sleep deprivation, too much stress in his system, and a little too much MDMA, which he shouldn’t even have used, he still hadn’t done it.
To be fair, upon entering Dylan’s apartment he had no idea that the urge would arise. But when it did, Ian had handled it, he had smiled and put music on and just walked himself out. Therefore, he was not embarrassed and even a little proud of himself.
And also very much confused.
Ian stayed confused for three weeks straight.
Three weeks in which he recorded a couple of different versions of Mania, of which he sent the poppiest one to Phonosonic.
Three weeks in which he visited Dylan at work twice, and at his home five times. It may have been a bit invasive to keep showing up unannounced, but Dylan didn’t seem to mind, and Ian just kept telling himself it was for inspiration. He proved his point by writing songs about every single thing his muse told him. Most of them were shit, but that didn’t matter. He had gotten at least two good ones out of it, with lyrics that he was actually quite content with.
In return he made four more playlists for Dylan. The one he already had was titled Mourning, but Ian added Extra Hurt, Get Over Yourself, Enjoy Your Day, and Happy Nonsense. The last one containing, amongst others, a song about clams who may or may not have feelings too, because sometimes it’s just good to be happy you’re not shellfish.
But after three weeks the confusion had slowly become a horrifying dread.
He hadn’t felt like this over a person before, but it reminded him of a very dark time indeed. The way just listening to Dylan talk made his heart race, and at the same time made him feel completely relaxed. Every time the guy smiled, he felt his gut seize up in a not unpleasant way. Every day he didn’t see him was bleaker somehow. And every time he did, it felt like a score. He wanted more. More Dylan. He wanted to lie down in his embrace and just surrender to bliss.
After experiencing that for three weeks, Ian knew exactly what those waxing feelings were: he was addicted.
This was obviously a bad thing. He had battled addiction one time before, and it had almost killed him. Well, it had almost killed him to quit cold turkey, so he wasn’t going to do that now. Besides, he really didn’t want to.
Which was problematic, because whichever way you go about it: when you quit, you quit. It’s not like an addict can go back to recreational use of a substance, now can they? But maybe that was different when it’s about a person? Ian didn’t know, but he knew someone who would. Someone that helped him out of the same predicament three years ago.
Ian thought it was crappy that he couldn’t just make an appointment, like you would your physician. Doctor Bernstein worked for the clinic only, which meant he had to go back there to see her. A phone call to the receptionist got him an appointment with his psychiatrist, but he had to come in an hour early, to fill in the whole flurry of forms one would fill in when admitting themselves. He also needed to and produce a urine sample for testing. Ian cursed the bureaucracy, but went along with it anyway, since it was the only way he’d get to see his doc again.
“Hello Ian, I’d say good to see you, but clearly you’re not doing okay, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.” She said, with a gentle smile on her face. Her grey hair was tied tightly in a bun and she was still wearing the same pearl necklace as she had three years ago.
“So tell me, Ian. What happened to make you relapse in this manner?”
What? “No, you’re mistaken. I didn’t relapse, I’m still clean!” Ian said hurriedly. He didn’t want to give his doc the wrong idea.
Doctor Bernstein raised an eyebrow. Which made Ian swear to himself he was gonna lean to do it someday, even if he had to tie a string to his piercing to raise the fucker manually.
“Really Ian, this doesn’t look clean to me.” She said, pushing over a piece of paper with stats. Ian had tested positive on a lot of accounts.
“Oh that!” he smiled. “No, that’s okay, that’s just recreational use. And see, there’s no opiates in my system. I haven’t used any since I left here.” He beamed proudly, pointing at several negative results on the chart.
“Are you sure this is recreational use?” She pointed to the red bar labelled ‘cocaine’.
“Well, yeah. It helps me with my job and my performances, and I know what I’m doing, so I think it’s alright. And I can afford it. Besides, I know what addiction feels like and that’s definitely not it. However, and that’s why I’m here, I think I have developed a new addiction and I don’t really know what to do about it.”
“Tell me about it.” The doc said.
“Well I think I’m addicted to my neighbour.”
Ian explained the entire story and his feelings from the last couple of weeks as doctor Bernstein nodded and made notes. Sometimes she asked more details, but those were mainly about his drug use. When Ian finished his story, she tilted her head and asked: “Ian, have you never been in love with anyone?”
Which was a silly question, really, because everyone experiences a crush once in a while, especially in puberty. “Of course I have,” he said. “First crush was a girl in my class, I think I was 13 at the time? She was really hot, and she always wore those miniskirts. I used to get wet dreams about her. But that’s not it, doc. This is different.”
“Is it different because your neighbour is a man?”
Oh, that again. Did she really think he was a fucking teenager, confused about his sexuality? He had expected better from his doc.
“No. I’ve had crushes on guys too. But this is not the same, I’m telling you. It’s not just thinking someone is sexy and you know… wanting to have sex with them. This really feels like an addiction. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”
“So, you don’t think your neighbour is sexy?”
“Oh no, I do, don’t get me wrong… But that’s not the point. It’s not just about sex. It really feels like an addiction. I just want to see him all the time, listen to him talk, just be in his presence. I think about him ALL THE TIME, it really drives me crazy.”
“Ian. As your psychiatrist, let me tell you. These feelings are okay, even though you’ve never felt that before. Just enjoy it, and I hope you get him. He sounds like a nice guy, and from what I get from your story he’s gay and single and he likes you too, so it may well work out between you two. However, in my professional opinion, I do think your substance abuse is a serious problem. I’d like it if you would come by more often and we can work on that.”
“But it’s not a problem!” Ian said, still mulling his head over her other words.
“Okay, then stop doing coke for a month. If it’s really no problem for you to do so, you were right. If it IS, then you come back, and we’ll sort you out here. Do we have a deal?”
“Sure.” Ian lied. Then he politely thanked the doc and left.
Well that was a waste of an afternoon…
The doc clearly didn’t know what she was talking about. She’d seen problems where there weren’t any, and had made his problem into something mundane. Which it clearly wasn’t. But yet her words had stirred something within Ian.
‘…he likes you too, so it may well work out between you two.’ She had said.
The idea alone made Ian feel like his heart was about to explode. It wasn’t true though. Even IF it was true that what he was experiencing was something like love, how could Dylan possibly feel the same for him?
Yeah, alright Dylan didn’t seem to mind hanging out with him, but that was just because he was such a nice person. And even IF he did genuinely like Ian’s company, it was in a friendly neighbourly way. Besides, he was still mourning his husband’s death. Ian was sure the doc was wrong.
Also, if Dylan knew the truth about Ian, he would like him even less. No one likes a drug abusing whore, certainly not someone who’s as perfect as Dylan.
Ian thought about how Dylan always greeted him with that brilliant smile, how he chuckled at his jokes and the way he watched him playing guitar. The way the whole world was warm if they were together. The feeling that somehow he was a real person when he was by his side. Those magnificent blue eyes that radiated anything the man felt... Those extremely kissable lips...
Okay, maybe I am in love with him.