• thejsingraham

Prestrum

Updated: Feb 8

In the precursor to my story "Strum," from Cleis Press' Big Book of Orgasms, Vol. 2, meet Jerian "Apollo" Adams as he preps for an upcoming show and his debut to the world.


Touch Me, Tease Me


Jerian “Apollo” Adams was a songwriter, producer, and musical savant that played three different instruments, two of which, the violin and viola he was classically trained in. The third, however, he used like a third appendage, and it was a major reason for his international rock star status.


Leigh Gandy, wrote in an article for Nia Magazine last year, “If you put an ax in his hand, Apollo can make you a believer, a creamer, or a screamer, and not necessarily in that order.” The quote hit like wildfire, but the cover photo from the indie imprint is what set the internet ablaze.


A Maryland based photographer by the name of E. Michelle shot the six-foot-two inch musician on a rooftop in downtown D.C. Using a spin on the infamous Janet Jackson, Rolling Stone cover, she shot a shirtless Apollo playing the guitar with a woman’s hands thrust inside of his unbuttoned and unzipped jeans from behind.


The headline:


SUN GOD: Meet the New Rock (Hard) Ax King.

A few purists attempted to take issue with the image and the claim, however the man’s background, rise to fame, and alpha male rock persona were undeniable.


The D.C. native had been playing guitar all over the area since the age of thirteen. He was in nightclubs by fifteen and sat in at his first major concert a year later.


Now at twenty-six, he was one of the most famous and highly sought after guitarists in the world and that was without looking at the man.


Apollo, a nickname given to him because of the way he handled a loaned guitar named Sunshine during his first mini-concert run--had the frame of the Greek god of the same name. Chestnut brown skin stretched over broad shoulders and down a lean, ripped and, tatted frame, that tapered into a sinfully pronounced Adonis belt, that had entranced women from three different generations and multiple continents.


Despite being regularly included on sexiest men lists, the man was a musician to the core. Though far from being a virtuous recluse, music came first and second in his life and he moved accordingly. He loved women but didn’t see a way to carve out time for anything resembling a real relationship, so he kept his dealings on one chord.

That didn't stop any and everyone from trying to gain access to the supernova-like talent with the chaotic eyes.

Apollo was notorious for turning down television and movie roles, and rarely did any press unless it was directly attached to music or a performance. Which explained why he was currently in an abandoned warehouse in Alexandria, Virginia. There was a big show coming up for his band Revol and the man knew exactly how to pull in the kind of clientele the club and its new silent-majority owner was looking for...more women.


“How we looking down there?” He asked, turning his attention to the guy applying the latest bit of retouched faux sweat to his chest and abs--for the fifth time in the past twenty minutes.


“Hmm?” the man replied without making eye contact.


“Do I look good enough...sweaty, and wet enough to go viral?”


The man’s hands, which had been moving increasingly slower, massaging oil into the man of the hour’s skin, froze their movement. He cleared his throat and stood from his bent position.


“Oh, sorry,” he said with an impish smile.


Pulling two paper towels from one of the pockets on his smock, he wiped the residual oil from his gloved fingers and used a spray bottle one last time.


Walking back to the set all Apollo could think was, I swear I hate this part of my life.


Ever since coming back from touring the UK last month, his name had been buzzing. This wasn’t exactly anything new, however. He’d been on stages both home and abroad for the last ten years and every time it was always the exact same thing...


Everyone wanted him to do everything, except music.


Be in this video. Go present at this award show. Here is celebrity X’s phone number, she’s inviting you to her premiere. Such and such company wants you to be their new spokesperson. To Apollo, that level of attention was cool when he was eighteen or nineteen, but that got real old real fast.


Flashbulbs popping refocused him. The faster we're done with this, the faster I can get back to the music, he thought. The gaze he sent toward the lens when prompted, dripped with the kind of lust that made married women stare at their ring fingers too long. And caused singles to pray for forgiveness, for the thoughts they had.


“Alright guys that’s a wrap,” the photographer called out.


“Cool!” He pushed out in an exaggerated manner. “No, in all seriousness, thanks to you and your team Tommi, for fitting me into your schedule. I know this was a super-last minute ask.”


“Stop it. Sir, do you know how in-demand you are? I’m going to be able to shoot anyone I want for the next two years off of today alone. I should be thanking you.”


“Well, in that case, you’re welcome,” he returned with a smile. “So you said you’d be able to turn those pictures around in a couple of days right?”


“Absolutely.”


“And I can still get that money shot with Strawberry, by tonight right?”


She paused before answering, “I normally don’t like to parse out my work Mr. Adams.”


His silence caused the woman who had been scrolling through some of the raw shots on her camera to look up. The expression she found held mood-shifting, unnerving energy. It wasn’t mean-spirited, but it did communicate very clearly that her answer wasn’t satisfactory.


“I’ll send you a link tonight,” she offered, clearing her throat.


When his cell phone vibrated, Apollo knew exactly who it was because the woman’s number was the only one he allowed to push through his silent setting.


Gwendolyn Hill had gone radio silent over the last week. This hadn't upset or even irritated him, but it did trigger his curiosity. What's on your mind, sexy?


To everyone else in the world save for family, he was Apollo. But Gwendolyn made it a point to call him by his first name from their initial interaction, which he appreciated. He thought it was due to her being ultra-professional. Unbeknownst to him, it was her unfettered determination not to get swept up in his aura. At forty-four, she had worked too hard to establish herself among businesspersons and socialites both in and outside the area, to fall into a cliche situation with a sarcastic, sexy as fuck, savant of a musician. Their fabricated, pained interactions made sense to her.


At least that’s what she told herself.


What they were doing didn’t have a title. They had only gone out in public alone once, due to Gwendolyn’s nearly having a panic attack about being seen talking with him after a Kennedy Center Honors event. And the only touching that had transpired during the course of the near month they had been associating, was a handshake until last week.


She had her driver pull up to a venue he was set to play one night on a whim. All of their run-ins tended to happen this way, it was her way of establishing control. Her intention was to show him her reach and access by surprising him with a guitar pick used by the great Jimi Hendrix. The response to such an amazingly personal gift that belonged to one of his musical heroes was visceral.


The kiss was wild and electric at first, then turned deep and probing before she snatched away. She feigned irritation, but couldn't take her eyes off of his lips as she stammered to push out some excuse to get away from him.


As far as the outside world was concerned, Gwendolyn Hill and Jerian “Apollo” Adams were business associates, and he was the latest asset she worked tirelessly to lure into a bevy of waiting seven-figure deals.


The reality, however, was they both had far more than a passing interest in the other and were both trying to navigate the barriers she had conjured.

 

G.H.: Have you given any more thought to doing the fundraiser?

Jerian: Hey stranger. And nah, I’m at a shoot right now, last thing on my mind.

G.H.: A shoot? I thought you said you hate doing those.

Jerian:` I do, but this #Galentines show gotta pop, right? I’ll send you a proof…boss lady.

 

After sending the final message, he powered his phone down and walked back downstairs to grab his guitar and bag. Heavy attraction aside, he enjoyed fucking with the woman who terrified most everyone. If for nothing else it fractured her facade and showed her human side, which intrigued him.


While her investment portfolio was frighteningly vast, the woman was a bit of an enigma. Gwendolyn tended to be seen in the most random of places, seated with or in deep discussions with some very powerful people. Still, no one seemed to have a true feel for who she was.


She never smiled in public.


Was always dressed to the nines.


She had a body that was may more Savage than anyone's Secret.


And people tended to stand up straighter and take shorter breaths around her.


Apollo, was not one of those people, however. And his overall presence and energy had touched a part of her she fought like hell to control.


A fight she could feel herself losing.




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