Cough Syrup- Calum
Authors Note: I AM BACK BITCHEZ
Summary: Calum is gay.
“Life’s too short to even care at all, oh, I’m losing my mind losing my mind losing control”
Calum didn’t love girls. In fact, he didn’t even like them. They just reminded him of his adolescence filled with lonely friday nights and empty diner booths. None of which mattered anymore, now that he and his band 5 Seconds of Summer were skyrocketing in fame. Calum’s life was actually perfect at the moment. He had fame, fortune, friends, and even a crush on a stellar guy he knew.
The thing was, nobody could know that Calum would rather be singing his band’s lovesongs to a boy with crazy hair and light pink lips than to any of the girls that threw themselves at him. So instead, he hid it. He went out and slept around with girls he felt no attachment to, and held his true feelings under the mask that fame had tied to him.
But then one day people found out.
The band was just out at a club in whatever city they had played that night, and Calum was practically blind drunk. All his thoughts felt delayed, and he couldn’t think about what was really happening around him. Before he knew it he had strayed from the company of his bandmates, and was wandering around the dance floor.
The beat of one of the radio’s meaningless rap songs surrounded Calum’s senses, fueling the adrenaline that was slowly replacing the sluggishness left from the alcohol. Soon he felt more excited than he had in awhile, and he was thinking about how he wanted one thing: a guy. Any guy he could find to put his hands on.
It only took a few moments for people to start surrounding Calum, most of which were overly made up girls with boobs pushed up to their noses’. Calum started to roll his hips to the beat, lettings the girls around him grind on him, their phones recording. Calum didn’t care though, because as he did so his eyes locked with a mysterious boy with thick lips and bad intentions.
Calum immediately danced away from the group, wincing as some greedy hands grabbed sensitive places. Moments later Calum was dancing near the boy he had saw, the boy inching closer and closer to Calum to the rhythm of the music. Calum smiled darkly as the boy’s body collided with his, the contact sending electric shocks through Calum’s aching body.
“Names, André,” The boy whispered against Calum’s ear, a hispanic accent rolling off his tongue.
Calum was instantly seduced, the large amount of beer in his system controlling his actions. One thing led to another, and soon they were both rushing out of the club, desperate to get somewhere private where their hands could roam where the eyes couldn’t see. In his drunken horny haze, Calum had forgotten who he was, and the reputation he had to uphold.
But it all came back to his mind when he stepped outside the club doors, the lights of cameras and the shouts of paparazzi filling his senses. He tried to escape the mob, but they had already seen him. The real him. The one was in love with boys, and sometimes just wanted to act upon this love.
The world knew Calum Hood was gay.
“These fishes in the sea they’re staring at me oh oh, Oh oh oh oh, A wet world aches for a beat of a drum, Oh”
Calum woke up in his hotel room, with a pounding headache. He groaned instinctively, realizing he had a hangover. He rolled over to find an empty bed, and was slightly surprised. Normally on nights out with the boys he came home with at least one random girl. Calum sat up, rubbing his eyes and reaching for his phone. He turned it on to find millions- no billions of notifications. There were texts from almost every person in his contacts list, including many from his management.
He sighed unlocking the phone and reading the messages. A confused look grew on his face as he was sent many links to news articles. He clicked on at random, to be met with a picture of himself and a random hispanic dude both of which had swollen lips and hickey’s littering their neck’s. Calum’s heart fell as the realization of what was happening started to sink in. He read some more messages from friends and even his sister, questioning whether it was true. It was like all hell had come crashing down on his head.
Everyone knew. Even twitter had blown up, many hashtags trending. Most of the fans were supportive, they’d always hope one of the band member were gay anyways. Calum smiled at all the positive comments, despite the tears of fear running down his cheeks. He always knew the fans would support him, even after keeping it a secret for so long.
Calum felt semi-confident about the situation now, and threw his legs over the bed in excitement. Now that the secret was out, he didn’t have anything to hide. It was like a burden had been lifted off his shoulders. He smiled brightly when he changed into a sweatshirt and shorts, heading downstairs to meet the boys at the hotel’s breakfast.
As soon as Calum reached the elevator, he felt his mood begin to fall. He was in the elevator with Ashton, and all he did was stare at Calum. Ashton turned away, staring at the floor as the elevator rode downwards, completely ignoring Calum’s existence. It was like Calum was some sort of alien that needed to be feared and ignored. When they both arrived at the table to eat breakfast with the rest of the boys, they acted no different. Luke stared down into his food, like it was the most interesting thing on the planet. Michael attempted to smile at Calum, but it looked more like a grimace. Breakfast was silent, and sullen which made Calum lose his appetite. He felt like a burden on them, something holding them back from talking to each other.
Finally Calum broke the silence, unable to handle it anymore.
“Is everything okay?” He asked, worry and fear lacing his voice.
“I don’t know man, you tell me,” Luke responded quickly, his voice cruel.
Calum was taken aback by Luke’s tone, and finally realized how angry everyone really was. Ashton’s fists were clenched around his glass, and Michael tapped his leg angrily.
“It was just some boy,” Muttered Calum, forcibly shoving some dry toast in his mouth.
Ashton snapped, his attention on Calum.
“Some boy that makes the fans think we sleep around like scumbags!” He yelled, throwing his hands in the air.
“You guys do the same thing with girls all the fucking time!” Calum fought back, recalling all the tabloids that had ever been published with some slutty girl on the boys’ hip.
“That different,” Muttered Luke, avoiding eye contact.
Calum scoffed, getting up from the table. He stormed off towards the hotel lobby, desperate for some air to clear his head. He heard footsteps come after him, but he ignored them. He pushed through the front doors of the hotel to be met with screams of fans and paparazzi.
Calum sighed annoyed, realizing for the second time in the last 24 hours that he was in fact a “celebrity”.
Calum was blinded by all the flashing lights, and all he could hear was the sounds of paparazzi shouting things at him. It was all blurring together and Calum felt a sense of panic filling his chest. However,the words of a particularly loud interviewer rang out, grabbing Calum’s attention.
“Is it true you are gay Calum?”
Calum heard himself let out a soft yes, causing all the sounds and flashes cease. It was like a spell had entranced everyone, and they stared at him with dead wide eyes, like fish. Calum looked around at everyone, expecting them to unfreeze and continue like in a movie.
But to his dismay they all stayed still, staring at him. Calum’s heart started to race, his eyes looking in every direction to be met with a pair staring right back at him. It was like a horror movie, but there was no way to turn it off. Calum’s breath began to come out fast and labored, like he was running out of oxygen. He felt like everything was closing in on him, like the eyes were slowly creeping closer and closer. Calum backed up against the door of the hotel, attempting to grab his bearings, but everything was spinning, the eyes swarming him like tiny bugs. His mind felt like it had melted, and the eyes no longer belonged to people, but were an animal of their own. They were in his hair and covering his feet, and they filled his mouth until he couldn’t breath.
Calum thought he was going to be suffocated by the flying eyes when a hand grabbed his, dragging him back into the hotel lobby.
“If I could find a way to see this straight, I’d run away, To some fortune that I, I should have found by now”
Calum stared at the ceiling of the hotel, his mind spinning. He gasped for breath, his hand clutching onto the one of the person who had grabbed him. It took a few minutes for Calum’s breathing to become regular, and his mind to slow down. He felt everything in his body calm and he turned to be met with the green eyes of Michael. He looked worried, staring at Calum as if he had a seen a ghost.
When Michael realized Calum had stabilized, he let go of his hand, backing up a bit. Calum felt a pang of hurt in his chest, but sat up slowly.
“What just happened?” Calum questioned, convinced what he just saw wasn’t real.
“I don’t know, you left angrily and next thing I know you’re pressed up against the hotel doors like a fish out of water or something,” Michael said, still weary of being close to Calum.
Calum stood up, regaining his grip on reality. He looked at Michael, a boy whom yesterday was his best friend. Michael looked concerned, but also scared. Calum wasn’t sure if he was scared for Calum’s health or scared of Calum.
“Are you scared?” Calum asked, walking closer to Michael.
Michael fidgeted a bit, his eyes focused on the decreasing space between them.
“I’m scared for your health yeah. You literally almost passed out there dude.”
Calum kept walking, so his face was mere inches from Michael’s. Michael looked incredibly uncomfortable, like Calum was going to rub off a disease on him.
“Say it to my face then,” Calum said, his eyes looking straight into Michael’s.
Michael backed away from Calum, silent. Calum let out a sigh, confirming his belief that he was scared. Scared of what, Calum still couldn’t understand, but he knew he was scared. Calum turned away from Michael, remembering why he had even gone outside in the first place.
This time, Calum went out the back of the hotel, with sunglasses and a thick beanie hiding his identity. He walked down the sidewalk of the city he still didn’t know the name of, admiring the plain beauties of his surroundings. He smiled as he saw couples in restaurant booths, and laughed at the mime desperate for money on the street corner. Calum liked how simple everything was around him, people just being people.
Calum’s thoughts wandered as he took in the city, to what could have been. Without the fame who was Calum Hood? Was he just a simple boy meant to work in a coffee shop his entire life? Or was he meant to travel the world, discovering the real meaning of why humans walked the earth the way they do. Oh, how Calum longed for a life without cameras and gossip.
He could see it in his mind as he walked. He would be an author, who instead of putting his feelings to songs, would put his feelings into books. He would tell stories of coffee shop romances, and of star crossed lovers who would do anything for one last kiss. Calum smiled at the idea. He wished he could turn back time, and do it all different. Live a life where he could be himself, and be free of judgement.
Calum wished he could just run away from it all and start again.
“Life’s too short to even care at all, oh, oh, I’m coming up now, coming up now out of the blue, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, these zombies in the park they’re looking for my heart, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, A dark world aches for a splash of the sun,”
Calum was broken from his thoughts and fantasies by spotting a park ahead. He walked towards it, beckoned by the sounds of dogs barking and children laughing. Upon entering the park Calum found a bench, and decided to sit and people watch. He hoped it would make him feel better, since his walk had definitely boosted his mood significantly.
Calum relaxed into the bench, his attention immediately being grabbed by some boys skateboarding. They laughed like nothing mattered to them in the world, and they didn’t care about the disapproving looks the adults around them were giving. Calum admired them, the way they didn’t care about judgement. Calum felt a surge of confidence race through him, and he walked over to the group.
“Hey can I try?” Calum asked, trying his best to hide his Australian accent.
The boys nodded and one handed him one of their skateboards. Calum got on it easily, his skills from grade school kicking in. He sped through the park, the other boys laughing and skating after him. A dopey grin spread across Calum’s face as the wind hit him. He didn’t seem to notice when the beanie fell off his head, and his sunglasses fell off his face. He stopped when he reached a pond on the other side of the park, thanking the skateboarders. They smiled and left, probably off to disappoint their parents or something.
Calum’s mood felt boosted as he stood in front of the pond, just reminiscing in the feeling of freedom that had washed over him. It was like a small taste of everything he had ever wanted, and he didn’t want to let it fade quite yet.
A tap on his shoulder made Calum turn, to be face with a girl who looked about his age.
“Hey, are you Calum Hood?” She asked, batting her eyelashes.
“Um, yeah,” Calum said, bracing himself for hugs and pictures.
Instead the girl laughed cruelly before responding, “How’s it feel to have destroyed your band because your a fag.”
Calum was taken aback by what the girl said, angry at her words.
“I’m not a fag,” Calum said, disgusted.
“Oh did I hurt your poor gay feelings?” The girl sneered.
Calum felt rage bubble in his veins. He hated this girl, and her stupid slurs. It was a new feeling to Calum, the feeling that he just wanted to crush her small head in his muscular arms. It blinded his judgement, and without think he lunged at her, tackling her to the ground. He threw a few punches to her small frame, before stopping abruptly. He met eyes with the girl, whose nose was red and had blood dripping from it. She looked so afraid of him, just like Michael had. Calum climbed off her, ashamed of what he had just done.
He saw people starting to stare again, this time their bodies moving slowly towards him, like zombies. Calum felt his brain turning to putty again, and heart started to race. He turned, afraid of himself and the people around him, and ran back towards the city. He pulled up the hood of his sweatshirt, having lost the beanie and tried to blend with the crowd of people sitting on the sidewalk. Calum walked for a while, trying to control his breathing. He couldn’t understand anything anymore. He knew there were haters out there, he’d always had them.
Why did it hurt so much more now?
“And so I run now to the things they said could restore me, Restore life the way it should be, I’m waiting for this cough syrup to come down”
To say Calum felt bad was an understatement. He barely knew who he was anymore. He had lost his best friends, had completely broken down twice, and punched a girl within the last couple of hours. On top of all that, it had started to downpour, and Calum didn’t have a clue where he was. He sighed, trying to pull his hoodie tighter around him, trying to keep his now shivering body somewhat warm. After walking for about an hour, he gave up and dunked into a random store. He was met with what looked like a pharmacy, but it was completely empty except for a middle aged man who sat behind a register.
“Can I help you with something?” The man asked, a bored expression on his face.
Calum shrugged, walking over to where the guy stood.
“I don’t know anymore, my entire body feels like a sack of rocks.”
The man let out a dry chuckle, reaching for a bottle from the display in front of him.
“Judging by the sound of your raspy voice, you have a cold. Here’s some cough syrup, but be careful dude– an overdose of this will fry your brain”
Calum took the bottle turning it over in his hands. Now that he thought of it, he did feel an uncomfortable tingling in his throat. He paid for the cough syrup, taking it and heading to the nearest motel he could find. He couldn’t be bothered with finding the hotel anymore anyways.
He checked into a rundown motel that smelled of mold and sweat, and sat on the stiff bed staring at the wall. Calum’s body ached of fatigue and sickness, and all he really wanted was to sleep for a very long time. He took some of the cough syrup, pouting his lips at the tangy taste of cherry it left in his mouth. Calum hated cherry. He tried to lay down, his body tired but couldn’t get his mind to quiet down. All he could think about was the things he had seen today. The people staring at him like dead fish, the fear in Michael’s eyes, and the people that looked at him like zombies.
Each image flashed through his head like a movie, every time it repeated worst than the last.
Fish, Eyes, Zombies.
It was like a chant his brain was making. It made his head pound to the rhythm his heart was beating, and he couldn’t stop it. Calum laid on the motel bed completely numb, wishing his brain would just shut up. All he wanted was for it to stop, because the more he thought about it, the more he hated himself. He hated how the paparazzi stared at him like he should be ashamed of himself. He hated how the people in the park stared at him, like he was deranged and crazy.
Most of all, he hated how the boy who he called his best friend, who he had loved since he was 14 years old, and who he wrote every single damn love song about, couldn’t even look him in the eyes without fearing him. Fearing Calum.
Calum felt like a monster, someone that was dangerous and couldn’t be controlled, and it consumed his every thought.
“One more spoon of cough syrup now, whoa. One more spoon of cough syrup now, whoa.”
Calum sat up, his eyes practically blinded by the pain he felt in his head. He only had one objective in his mind, shutting his brain off. He wanted it all to stop. He wanted to stop thinking and feeling.
He didn’t want to be alive anymore.
Calum reached aimlessly for the cough syrup, his hands gripping the bottle tightly when he found it on the bedside table. He unscrewed the cap haphazardly, drinking as much of it he could before his mind started blanking and stopping. He body twitched painfully, and the bottle fell from Calum’s shaking hands, shattering on the floor.
Calum forced his body to lay back on the bed, his eyes staring up at the ceiling as waves of pain washed over him like tidal waves. The pain soon ceased though, and everything felt heavy. Calum stared upward, realizing that he wasn’t only shutting down his mind, he was shutting down his body.
He was dying.
Calum didn’t care though, in fact he felt relieved.
Afterall, what’s the point of being alive, if you can’t even love?