The semi-autobiographical accounts of an entirely fictitious pop idol.

“My parents were arrested by the secret police when I was seven. They were executed. I went to an orphanage.” — George Idelston

“I still don’t know what happened to my baby sister. She was just gone.” — George Idelston

He pulled open the green room’s door and hurried inside, slamming the door behind him. “Whoo, I think I need a vacation,” he said, then looked around the room.

The whole of the girl group “Shan-Wei” were huddled together in a corner, trying their best to ignore the advances of the teenaged members of “QT Pi.” It was kind of funny: the taller young women in their short black ruffled dresses with the cute and girly white bloomers underneath, and the smooth cheeked boys in their leather and chains trying their best to act all tough.

There was a bunch of actors near the snack table. He felt a perk of interest when he realized one of the women was Jessica Turan. He turned toward her, seriously considering asking her for an autograph, when his attention was caught and held.

Sitting on the reddish-orange couch against the wall were the five members of “Alta Vita.” The leader, Danny Soshin, had looked up at Idle’s entrance and met his eyes. A rather nasty sneer pulled his lips and his pretty blue eyes were narrowed and cold.

“Well, who would have thought that Idlewile himself would make an appearance here,” Soshin said, spreading his knees a little wider and giving Idle a razor blade smile. “Or didn’t you know I was going to be here?”

Idle shifted uncomfortably, finally tucking his hands in his jacket pockets. “It’s true, I didn’t know you were going to be here.” He licked his lips and looked down and away from Soshin’s eyes. “How have you been, Older Brother?”

“I’m not your Older Brother,” Soshin growled.

Idle bowed his head, his hair falling over his eyes to hide his expression. He could feel that they’d caught the attention of everyone in the room and he wanted to straighten his shoulders and pretend that everything was okay, but he just couldn’t do it.

There were only two people in the world that could make him feel this way, and Soshin was one of them. It just completely stripped all sense of pride from him.

“It’s good to see you again,” he said. He backed toward the door, reaching behind him to grab the knob. “I’m glad to know that you’re well.”

He opened the door and slipped back through. He would rather wait in the hallway than risk seeing Soshin again.

There were just too many memories and too much pain whenever they were in the same room with each other.

After Chris and Matty leave: “He’s a wonderful man,” Jessica said, “but he needed something different than I could offer.”

Idle looked at her and bit the inside of his lip. She sounded so sad that he didn’t know what to do. So he said nothing.

Jessica suddenly laughed, her face brightening. “He seems so much happier now.” She glanced at Idle, then back toward the window. “It was really hard for both of us, but it was probably the best decision we could make. Letting go was better than just holding on until it all just crumbled apart.”

“Matty’s a great kid,” Idle said.

“Yes, she is. She’s the best reason why I don’t look back on our marriage as having been a mistake.” Jessica rose to her feet and made to take Idle’s plate, but he beat her to it.

“I’ve got this,” he said, pushing his chair back. He picked up his plate, then reached over and took hers out of her hand. “You fed me, so the least I can do is clean up.”

“Chris fed you,” she pointed out. “I just watched him cook.”

“Well, your watching must have been the reason the food tasted so good,” he said. “So I’ll clear the table and wash the dishes.”

She looked at him for a long moment, then shrugged. “Who am I to tell a handsome young man not to wait on me hand and foot? I’ll go and get ready.”

He paused. “Get ready for what?”

Her grin was cheeky and much younger than her age. “Why, I’m taking you out today, didn’t I tell you? The legendary Jessica Turan and her man about town.”

Idle carried the plates to the sink, then came back for the rest of the dishes. “I don’t know when I became a man about town, but I’m feeling a little nervous about it.”

“Don’t be nervous, darling,” Jessica said. “I promise you that I’ll be having a wonderful time.”

“Thanks,” he said dryly, rolling up his sleeves and turning on the water.

She just laughed in reply and left him to the dishes.

He probably should have been upset by her manipulative behavior, but instead he found himself smiling as he rinsed the dishes and loaded them into the dishwasher.

Once again, Chris was surprised by something about Idlewile. And not just the fact that he seemed to have an eidetic memory.

With his bleached blond hair and beard, Idle had looked like trouble waiting to happen. He was the rebel idol, the bad boy that everyone loved in a slightly ashamed way. Without the beard…

Baby faced was right, Chris had to give Adelaide props for that.

Idle could have been a smooth-cheeked eighteen with clearly defined features that included a set of cheekbones. Chris had never thought another man beautiful before, but that was exactly what Idle was. Beautiful in the way of paintings and artwork and songs.

His hair had been chemically loosened, releasing the curls from their tight coils and into more natural, loose waves that rested atop his head like the ripple of angel wings. He looked young and beautiful, refined in a way that other people could never manage. It was the kind of inestimable beauty that he had once glimpsed in Jessica, but in Idlewile it blazed halogen bright, burning through the fog so everyone could see their way to the shore.

Chris had been momentarily stunned by Idlewile’s new appearance, then his frozen state was broken by Sam telling everyone to get back to work. He had let himself move along with everyone else and forced himself to stop being so melodramatic – so the guy got a new hairstyle and shaved his beard? Why did the whole world have to stop because of that?

Which is why he had even bothered to say anything to Idlewile about not opening the script. He had wanted to prove to himself at least that he hadn’t completely lost his mind with no warning whatsoever.

Only now he was even more impressed than he’d been before, and it was the weirdest kind of thing.

Idlewile had been one of the things he had disliked about pop idols, yet he had been nothing Chris had been expecting. And his admiration kept growing every time he came into contact with the other man.

He watched Idlewile out of the corner of his eye and almost missed his first cue, but no one seemed to have noticed his slight lapse and he was able to focus on the script for a little while. Then he caught himself glancing at Idlewile again, tracing his eyes over that suddenly clear face. There was something there that made his lower belly draw tight in the oddest of ways, where it was nearer to pain than pleasure, yet he simply had to have more.

He was glad when they finally broke for lunch and he was able to escape that torture room for even just a little while. He took the elevator up to the top floor and went into the bathroom there just to be sure he wouldn’t run into any of his colleagues.

He was supposed to be the respected senior to all those young kids, so what would they think of him if they saw him trembling and sweaty with his whole body just buzzing with an unfamiliar energy? He just had this need to do something, though he had no idea what.

Chris hurried over to the sink farthest from the door and turned on the water as cold as it came and began splashing it all over his face. It was so cold that his fingers started going numb and at least he could be sure that all the sweat was gone.