It’s powerful. Like you have a nuclear-powered engine inside you.
But the problem is, if you don’t get over it, it starts sapping energy out of you instead of creating it. It takes a lot of fuel to keep anger going, and it starts leeching off of the energy reserves that power everything else.
And I found myself getting angry, and staying angry, more and more often.
Angry and jealous and insecure and depressed.
So if he meant it to provoke me and turn me on, it backfired. I actually stopped being responsive and wanting sex as much because I was just hurting.
And when we did have sex after that, I noticed it became less and less about foreplay and sensuality, and more just… ‘banging.’ He tended to do a perfunctory warm-up to get me halfway going, then we cut straight to the main act.
Don’t get me wrong, what we did do was really good… better than the best sex I’d had with anybody else. But that heightened sense of sexual tension back in my dorm room four years ago? The hallucinatory sensuality of the desert? The way he had touched me and seduced me when I was angry at him?
Those things virtually disappeared. It was like they receded in the rearview mirror as we drove away, leaving them in the dust. I caught glimpses of them again, but the glimpses were always fleeting – and then it was ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ (even if the ‘wham-bam’ part lasted a good fifteen or twenty minutes).
But in the end, I don’t think he flirted with other women to provoke me and turn me on.
He did it because that was what he was, and that was what he did. He sought out female attention and validation, however he could get it. And he wasn’t going to change it for anybody.
Which, to my mind, was being a dick.
If you’ve got a woman in front of you who you say is your girlfriend, but you still act like you’re a single guy out to get his next piece of ass?
You’re a dick.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t have expected to hook up with one of the most desirable men on the planet and then believe that he would want to settle down.
Except I kind of did.
When a guy tells me I’m his girlfriend, I expect him to fucking act like I’m his girlfriend. Not just when he wants a little ooh-la-la.
Killian’s words kept returning to me. Not the part about Derek lack of maliciousness, or how his actions were just part of his ‘nay-chuh.’ If I’d actually concentrated on those things, then maybe I would have dealt with everything better.
No, I kept asking myself, Is this Derek being a scorpion?
And is this me being the frog?
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop – to feel that horrible pain when we were halfway across the river, and for the both of us to drown.
In the midst of all this angst, Glen from Rolling Stone started calling more often.
At first it was just to check in, with a slight note of urgency. Hey, how’s it going? Are you getting good stuff? When are you coming back?
But then the conversations began to get more and more charged. More negative. More domineering.
Look, you need to wrap this up.
This is going on way too long.
We’re not spending any more money on this.
It was the money part that really ticked me off. When he told me that, I hadn’t had my own hotel room for twelve days, and I hadn’t charged a goddamn thing on the Rolling Stone credit card for ten. I ate with Derek, either alone or with the rest of the band, and everything else was essentially free.
I told him that.
“I don’t care,” he shot back. “We sent you out there to do a job, not go off on your own little fantasy vacation.”
He absolutely had a point: I was here to do a job. And I wasn’t doing it.
But it was obvious he was just using the money angle to manipulate me.
It felt like he didn’t give a fuck about me; that all he wanted was the story, and if I was the only way he could get it, fine… but I was just a means to an end. Nothing more.
He finished up with, “This is verging on the EXTREMELY unprofessional.”
This from the guy who didn’t care that I slept with the interview subject.
But… to be fair… I was a nobody with a shot at a Rolling Stone cover article, who wasn’t holding up her end of the bargain.
So I gritted my teeth and said I would do better.
Finally, though, there came a conversation that was like a sucker punch to the gut.
Thank god Derek was there to hear it.
I was in the hotel room when Glen called. Derek was scribbling out some lyrics on hotel stationary at a big wooden desk in the corner.
“That’s it, you’re out,” Glen snapped in my ear.
“…what?” I asked, stunned.
“This has gone on long enough. Get on the next flight back to New York from wherever the hell you are.”
“But – but I’m not costing you guys money anymore – ”
“I don’t give a shit, Kaitlyn. It’s obvious to me that you’re just taking advantage of the magazine.”
“I’m not taking advantage of you! I’m doing what you asked!”
“You’re not doing what I asked – you’re not doing anything REMOTELY close to what I asked.”
“Yes I am! I’m doing interviews with the band members, I’m getting background stories, I’m actually starting to write the article – ”
“STARTING to write the article?! Jesus Christ! Maybe you forget that you’re on a deadline!”
“You never gave me a deadline!” I said, my voice rising in panic.
At this point Derek looked around in curiosity. He could tell I was in fight-or-flight mode, and he frowned as he heard more of my side of the conversation.
“It was IMPLIED that we needed this as quickly as possible!” Glen yelled.
“You never told me that! You never told me that you needed it by any specific date!”
“Well I’m telling you NOW! Stop acting like a freshman in college, get the fuck back to New York, and do your goddamn job!”
At this point tears were welling up in my eyes.
As soon as Derek saw that, he got up from the desk and held out his hand for the phone.
Fear bloomed inside me.
“No,” I said, shaking my head, afraid of what he might say. My relationship with Glen was already dangling by a thread. I could only imagine what the Rock Star Who Despised The Press would do if I gave him the chance.
Unfortunately, Glen thought I was saying ‘No’ to him.
“WHAT the fuck did you just say?!”
“Oh – sorry, Glen, I wasn’t talking to – ”
“FUCK YOU. You do NOT tell me – ”
Derek didn’t give me a choice. He just grabbed the phone away from me and hit the ‘Speakerphone’ icon on the screen.
I went sick to my stomach. I tried to wrest it away from him, but he turned away and kept me at arm’s length.
Glen was still talking. “ – ‘no,’ I tell YOU ‘no,’ and NOW I’m telling you to leave your fucking entitled bullshit at the door and get back here and act like a professional, for Christ’s sake! I knew this was going to happen – I should have had my fucking head examined for – ”
“Hey, what’s up!” Derek said loudly, like he was entering a party and announcing himself. But not in a friendly way.
Glen went silent – but only for a second. “Kaitlyn, are you there?”
“She’s here, she’s listening in on speakerphone.”
“Um… I need to talk to Kaitlyn – ”
“Oh, you can still do that. AFTER you talk to me.”
“Um… who is this?”
“This is Derek Kane.”
Glen’s attitude turned around 180 degrees in a tenth of a second flat.
“Derek, hi! This is Glen Smith from Rolling Stone – I’m a big, big fan – you guys are phenomenal – especially you, I personally think you’re quite possibly the most gifted singer/songwriter of your generation – ”
“Hey, Glen? Take your tongue outta my ass, buddy.”
Despite how afraid I was, I couldn’t help laughing – and had to stifle it with my hand.
Glen didn’t take it well. Although he retained a lot more cool-headedness than he’d displayed with me.
“Hey, there’s no call for that. I’m just being friendly and letting you know – ”
“‘Friendly’? Really? That’s funny, coming from a guy who was berating my girlfriend just a few seconds ago.”
My heart thudded in my chest.
Glen tried to keep up a valiant front. “Oh… uh, look, I can appreciate that she’s special to you, but she has a job to do. I mean, if somebody in your organization wasn’t doing their job, I’m sure you would – ”
“Glen!” Derek barked. “Why is she here?”
There was a pause.
“Um… I thought you knew…”
“Oh, I know why, I’m just wondering if YOU do. So, tell me – why is she here?”
“…um… to do a story on you and the band – ”
“EXACTLY! To do a story on me and the band. And she’s the only reason you’re getting that story, Glen. Do you know why?”
“Um… well… you’re not a big fan of the press – ”
“That is one way to put it. That is definitely one way to put it. But more specifically, it’s because I fucking hate little cocksucking weasels like you. Did you know that, Glen? I fucking DESPISE little cocksucking weasels like you. And let me be clear, because you might try to misquote me to make me look bad, which you and your cocksucking weasel friends do all the fucking time. So write this down, Glen, ‘cause I’m going on record: I couldn’t care less if you’re gay. Doesn’t matter to me in the least. But the fact that you’re trying to be my best friend and suck my cock – for a story? Trying to stroke me off so I’ll give you a couple of quotes for your magazine, all while you’re verbally abusing my girlfriend? Fuck you, Glen. FUCK YOU. Why don’t you go and print that?”