The argument he had with Jennifer still lingers in his system. David wipes some sweat off his brows and tries to concentrate on his yoga position. The nauseus feeling persists, accompanied by a growing rumbling in his stomach and guts. The heat outside doesn’t really help to ease his discomfort.
Though knowing he hates it to be disturbed so shortly before a show Jenny peeks into her husband’s dressing room. “Gosh, Dave! You look awfully ill!” He flips his eyes open and frowns. “It’s just the fucking heat. Let me try to relax and everything will be fine.” “You’re a bloody die-hard! I’m calling Dr. Benson.” “You’re not! I performed under worse conditions!”
Just to prove him wrong a wave of sickness hits him full force and he hastily jumps up, dashing to the bathroom. He nonchalantly avoided to mention he already needed to rush over there about six times. Leaning over the porcelain bowl he retches his guts out. Suddenly seeing stars and sensing the ground shift he lets his pale, cold-sweaty face slowly sink against the cool rim. From afar he can hear Jen’s upset tirade, yelling for Jonathan. The next he realizes is strong arms lifting him up. A water bottle meets his lips. “You need to drink, Dave.” It’s Martin’s concerned voice. A few moments later the tour physician arrives, checking pulse and blood pressure.
“David, you can’t go on stage. You’re starting to dehydrate already and I suspect you’ve got food poisoning or something along the lines.” The singer’s protest ends in throwing up again. Mart is just fast enough with a towel. “You already must have had cramps for a while, right?” Dave nods, exhausted and barely at his senses. The pain meanwhile is worse than anything during his rehab. Talking on his mobile the doctor orders an ambulance car. “It’s for the best, Dave.” The addressed stares into four stern faces. JK pats his shoulder. “I’m off to cancel the gig now.”
The support act already performs on stage for the greek audience.
After numerous tests Dave rests on a snow-white clinic bed, trying to count the drops that constantly leave the drip and disappear through the clear tube into his vein. The dreadful urge to vomit and the cramps in his guts slowly lessen. Every now and then his eyes fall shut.
“Mr. Gahan?” A soft nudge at his shoulder brings him back. Three white-dressed men, carrying flip boards, stethoscopes and very concerned expressions.
Jenny sits at the foot of the bed, silently crying. Martin tries all to keep Dave down on the mattress. “You’ve got to be strong again, my dark angel. You can do it – you managed before.” The brunette man is not able to voice what turmoil takes place in his head. He’s just trembling in his friend’s arms. “Fly back to New York. The results of the biopsy will tell. There’s no reason to overreact now.” He runs his fingers through Dave’s damp hair. “I know you’re scared. We all are. It’s not a bad thing. Pushes your will to survive.” “Curly, I feel like drowning…so weak, so helpless.” “You’ve got all the support you need, Baby. Jenny, John, me, the band, your family and friends.” He cups his lover’s face. “Don’t forget: In good and bad times.”
The tour is on halt. The speculations why the Athens gig was cancelled on such short notice plus more concerts let the speculations run wild. There’s no official statement yet – besides the information about gastro-enteritis. Not many people seem to believe in the news.
“John, we need to post something soon! Did you read the fan forums recently?” The bearded band manager sighs, listening to Andrew’s suggestions on his Blackberry. “I did. Christian also called an hour ago. Nasty stuff cruising around. We can’t bow down to that pressure though.” “Anything new? I mean, how’s Dave?” “Back home from hospital since yesterday. God, Jenny really is a tough woman! You simply have to love her.” “She’s not unbreakable.” “I know. She’s great though. Just what he needs.” “And Marty? I wasn’t able to have a proper talk with him since he joined you.” “He’s just sweet. I really hope they won’t announce anything stupid soon, out off the sentimentality of the moment. Regarding the boards and the current mood it’s not a bright idea at all. Fans still think they had a row and the band might be over now. Dave’s gastro-enteritis was just a fake, and so on.” “Bloody wankers! Sorry!” “We had all the rumours several times before. OK, I see your point, Andy. I’ll call Marek for a press conference. David really needs his privacy now.”
“It’s funny. Now I understand why I had the urge to drag you in front of the altar. It all makes sense.” Dave’s slim fingers weave into Martin’s. They both loll in the huge hammock that spans over the roof terrace of the penthouse. “Life can be so fucking short all of a sudden. Rosie’s too young to grow up without a dad.” His voice breaks with emotion. “Shush, Dave, no! You heard the docs! All fine, just in time – if you follow their instructions.” “I need to go back on stage, Curly or I’ll go nutz! It’s like the air I need to breathe. That professor might agree on mids of June.” What are you talking about?” “Umh, I might stop with the treatment till holiday break.” “Dave, don’t fall over your own feet now! I know you well enough. He for sure already told you it’s not really an option and you better should take it slow. Hey, you simply can’t perform below 100%!” “If you’ll all play Nanny it should work. It’s the best therapy I could think of now. You don’t want me to circle around my belly button here, getting all depressed. The fans deserve it anyway.” He swallows. “It might be my last tour – who knows?” Mart kisses Dave’s forehead, his eyes turning a little glassy. “Stop it, don’t you even spend a single thought about it, Angel! What's Jenny's opinion about all this?” Dave scowls. “She’s not amused.” “She’s got every right to, she’s your Queen.” “That’s just right.” A female voice interrupts their conversation. The brunette woman balances a tray with iced, homemade lemonade and some sandwiches. “Martin, John wants you for some urgent business. You two cuddled long enough anyway.”
Alan paces through his office in his Sideline Studio. The words of Dave’s health bulletin still burn in his chest, a big lump narrows his throat. I thought I had enough in the past! Enough pain, enough angst, enough desperation! Oh my god, David!
He feels like calling him, telling him what moves him, apologizing again and again. What use, what good would that do? After another hour he decides to at least text him.
I’m not sure what to tell you in this situation. Yes, especially me. I’ve tried to say sorry for so many times the word just bears no meaning any more, all sense worn off. I’m shocked – to say the least. Though I apparently did all to hurt you, push you away from me as far as possible – I’m here if you need someone to talk, to blame, to curse…whatsoever. I blamed myself for so many things in the past year – there’s not much that would really get me lower. Nobody deserves a situation like you’re in. It’s not your fault. I know you’ve got your family and friends. Rely on them – but most of all, trust in yourself! You’re strong, Dave – stronger than you might think at the moment. Fight!
Dave sucks up the energy of the masses, senses the flow. They carry him with their love, their cheer and screams get him going. Come back, come back to me…the chorus goes on an on. His eyes water when he stops at the end of the catwalk, seeing all those waving arms in a slight blur. Like a field of wheat moving in the summer breeze. It’s weird – this feeling never seems to wear off. The pain in his calves is persistent. He ignores it another time, moving his pelvis seductively and dances back to the main stage.
Dave, you’re a fighter! Just the 2nd encore set! He buries his face in the soft towel, trying to blend out all the noises around him for a moment.
Martin gently pats his moist shoulder. They walk over to their microphones for WTFN. Every now and then Mart glances over to the taller man next to him, his body hair standing up while listening to Dave’s brittle, emotional voice, joining him with the next chorus again. The audience seems mesmerized. For a reason. It’s one of these rare, magic moments – like electricity crackling on bare skin. He sees the uproar whirling in lover’s irises though Dave tries all not to lose his composure, staying professional. Within the branding applause at the end of this last song he opens his arms and the brunette man follows the nonverbal invitation, encircling the glittery, silvery chest.
Follwing Martin backstage, the cheers of around 60.000 people still in his back, the cramps in his legs become unbearable. Michael is just fast enough to catch his fall and then Darren simply lifts him up and carries him to his wardrobe, ignoring Dave’s weak protest. The physio therapist immediately starts massaging his calves. John’s face is serious – as most of the time the last weeks. “Dave, are you sure this is what makes sense, what you want?” “Yes, John!” It comes through clenched teeth yet with the determination of a stubborn five-year-old. His manager can’t help to smirk. “Doc, what’s your say?” “Well, it was just the first concert. I think David’s body needs to adjust to this sort of extended work out. Cramps are not unusal. Everything else seems in the tolerance levels.” “Thanks, Doc!” “Dave, I will stop you any time you’re not following my advice. This is no competition ‘Dave vs. Karma’, alright?”
“Enjoyed your bath, Baby?” Martin silently closes the suite door, looking over to the huge bed. Dave sits on the edge of his side, a fluffy, white towel around his hips, and brushes through his damp hair. He can’t stifle a yawn. “Lots of fans down in the restaurant and bar. Good luck Christian took over. I finally could sneak off.” He stretches his arms. “I’ll take a quick shower.”
When he returns into the bedroom he recognizes a green and a blue book resting on the other pillow. Dave meanwhile slipped under the sheets, his view inviting him. Martin quickly obliges.
“Thank you for all the love, Curly.” He fixes his eyes. “And for all the pain. Your thoughts taught me a great deal of life, you know. I think I don’t need them any longer – the diaries, I mean, geez!” “I’ll keep on writing. Imagine us old, deaf and nearly blind – reading and recalling everything.” The blond curly man smiles broadly. “Do you want the odd or the even days?” “Huh?!” “Well, journal entries. I thought we’d write OUR diary.” “As much as I love that thought…I’m not that much of a frequent writer, you know.” He gently kisses Mart’s lips. “I have ways to encourage you.” The evil glimmer in those green eyes let Dave shiver. He rests his head in his partner’s curve of neck. Listening to the regular heart beat his conscience fades away, his exhausted body giving in to sleep.
Alan turns his head from the sports page of the news-website. The remixes for his Recoil project are going well so he takes the time to check for the recent chricket results. His mobile chimed with an incoming text message.
It’s been a while. We’re in the middle of touring as you certainly know. I thought it would be a great idea to play a charity concert next year in February for UK’s teenage cancer trust. John got us booked into RAH, can you believe that?! The band and I…well, could you consider to meet us on stage for a song or two? Let me know asap what you think of it. –Dave
P.S.: Thanx for the text those days. You see – I’m a fighter. I’ll win…