"You like all this, Danby?" Suddenly he had the terrible urge to grab Danny and run. Like he had a right to after all these years. This wasn't like the Danby he knew, though. Not at all.
"No." Danny looked him right in the eyes, looking about a million years old, and so sad. "But that's the way it is. This is what I do. Why did you come, Dub?"
"Because I wanted to see you. I think about you a lot, man." Okay, it was usually when he was drunk, late at night and lonely o'clock. Didn't mean it wasn't true.
"Oh." Danny smiled and for a second the man was nineteen again, full of mischief. "You still passing for straight?"
He laughed, the sound surprised right out of him. "These days I'm passing for a monk."
"That's a damn shame. You were always good with your hands."
"I'm even better with my mouth." His cheeks heated, but he'd been told it was the truth. More than one cowboy had said so in the back of a king cab. It was probably a lie, since he was always in a hurry, but they'd said it.
"That doesn't surprise me." Danny's lips quirked in a one-sided smile. "You look like walking sex."
His face was going up in flames. "Yeah? Thanks." He wasn't nothin' special. Just Wranglers and a white shirt and his boots and hat, but if Danny liked it, he was pleased.
"Yeah. Come on. I want some sun." Danny stood up, swaying dangerously, and led him into a pair of double doors, past a huge bed with crumpled covers.
He moved right up to support Danny with one hand, following him to the balcony, which was huge. Even had picnic tables. The view was fucking amazing.
"Yeah?" Danny shrugged. "I like the sun."
Boone didn't bother to point out that it was snowing. Danny was going to catch his death, for God's sake. It was almost Christmas, and in Reno that meant cold.
Danny plopped down, the man's face ghostly white with the weird makeup.
"Be right back, man. I need to use the head." And find a washcloth and a blanket.
"It's right there."
The bathroom was fucking enormous, strewn with pills and make up and towels, along with sheets of paper covered in scribbles. Music. The whole thing was sad. It looked like Danny hid in the head a lot.
Some of the scribbles could be good songs. Danny still had it. It was just clouded by the drugs. He sighed, wetting a washcloth, getting it steamy, looking for a big bath towel that was clean-- oh, a robe. Good deal.
"What are you up to, man? Where's G?" That came from Spencer. The smarmy little manager dude on the other side of the door. Creepy fucker.
"Dub? Are you there? Don't let him in." Danny's voice floated back to him, too, and that was just sad, that he didn't trust his manager.
"I'm right here." Boone came out to the balcony thing again, smiling as he held out the robe. He got Danny all cuddled up in it before easing him back down to wipe his face. "I want to see you, huh? No more make-up."
"No one wants to see me. Just this. This is what they pay for."
"Well, I didn't pay a cover at the door, Danby." He held Danny's chin and wiped the rest of the make-up off. "There you are."
God, the man looked tired, scared, bruised, and skinny. The smile that he got, though, that was real enough, that was his friend. Someone who was so glad to see him that it ached. He hadn't had a plan when he walked in, but he had one now.
He could no more help the words that came out of his mouth than he could stop the sun from coming up. "Let's get out of here."
"What?" The word was surprised, but he got a nod immediately, Danny agreeing right off the bat.
"Let's just go. My finals are over; we could get a cabin up in the mountains." It was crazy, but it was right.
"Just... now?" Danny blinked at him, the little traces of mascara making him look like a raccoon.
"Yeah. We'll stop at a Wal-Mart, get boots and coats and shit." Yes, now. He could just take Danny away.
"Okay." Danny nodded again, jaw set like he'd made a tough decision.
Okay. Yes. Fuck. Good. Boone felt a ball of tension settle in his belly. They'd have to get out past all the sleazy...
"Is there a back way out of the suite? Like that the service folks use?"
"There's a hallway that Spence takes me to when a group of fans gets in. It's just back behind the closet."
"Let's go." He reached down and pulled Danny up, supporting him with one shoulder. Danny swayed but stayed upright, clinging to him like a limpet.
They were getting the hell out of Dodge.