Chapter Two: Tibo
Usually the protesters were from conservative groups, more often than not human, supposedly concerned parents who felt his emolation, as they called it, during concerts was evil. One set of parents had even blamed him for their daughter’s suicide. Didn’t take a genius to see that her uptight, intolerant parents had caused her to take her own life.
Tonight, though? Tonight’s protesters made Tibo’s stomach feel like it was trying to crawl up his throat.
Tiborishandelac Glent – Ashamed Of His Name
Tibo: Forgot Where He Came From
Goblins. The protesters were all goblins, mostly older with silver streaking their dark hair, but still…his own people. He’d heard grumblings sometimes, insults he put down to jealous mutterings. But this? So much anger on their faces, a sea of green-skinned hate, all for him.
Tibo pressed the control to lower the window between the passenger compartment and the front seat. “Jimmy? Clear a path, please.”
Jimmy grunted in acknowledgment and shoved his way out of the car. While he was more reliable than some security trolls, Tibo still held his breath when crowds got ugly. In the years that Jimmy had been with them, he’d only lost his temper once, and the worst that had happened was a paparazzo ended up head down in a garbage can.
The intimidating bulk alone had protesters falling back from the limo door, and both band and groupies took advantage of the cleared space to pile out of the limo, sticking close to Jimmy as he bulled his way through the crowd. Rolly brought up the rear, his coloring and his features marking him as banshee, a high-class and well-educated one, but old prejudices died hard. People shied away from his practiced baleful glare.
“Shame, Tibo! Shame!” one old grandmother shouted on his left.
The goblin next to her yelled, “Greedy punk!”
“Our kids look up to you! There’s more to life than hooch and hoochie!”
Tibo rolled his eyes. Judge him without knowing him, fine, great. Now they were trying to be clever, though, and he wasn’t going to put up with that. He stripped off his gloves and stepped out from the band of groupies who had pulled tight around him. Turning in a circle, grinning madly, he raised both his green, well-manicured middle fingers at the protesters.
“Fuck you very much, ladies and gentlemen!” he shouted back, wondering if he could get away with punching a face or two before Rolly swooped in and yanked him after the entourage.
The moment they reached the hotel lobby, Rolly spun Tibo around to face him. “Are you insane? What are you playing at?”
“Don’t break the arm, Rolls,” Tibo murmured, swallowing hard as he stared up into the frosted gray fury of Rolly’s eyes. “They pissed me off.”
“What are you, six? Flipping off a bunch of silver-haired grannies for the cameras?”
Tibo stabbed a finger at his chest. “They don’t know a fucking thing! They don’t know what I’ve been through!”
“No. They don’t.” Rolly let go of him with a tired sigh. “But maybe they have a point. Maybe it’s time to grow up and take a look around sometimes.”
Shaking his head, Rolly strode for the elevator banks, leaving Tibo alone in the massive, over-decorated lobby, gaping after him. He straightened his leather coat, head held high. “We can’t all be fucking perfect like you, Rolly McFarland.”
The elevator doors had already closed, and the comeback was quavering instead of fierce like he’d meant it to be. People were staring, so he swaggered to the elevators like he didn’t give even half a shit. They had the top floor suites, easy enough to find, and Sean was up there to show him the four-room suite at the end of the hall he and Rolly were sharing. The groupies laughed and horsed around in the common room, already into the well-stocked bar. One of the bedroom doors, the one with Tibo’s suitcase on the bed, was wide open. The other, Rolly’s, was shut. When he tried the knob, also locked.
Damn Rolly, anyway, and his high-society family. What gave him the right to judge? Prick. Tibo counted and all the groupies were in the common area, giggling and drinking, so Mr. High and Mighty hadn’t even picked one for himself. Whatever.
Tibo hung his coat in the closet while he surveyed his selection. Mostly human and one tall pooka cutie with red eyes. Let’s see, do I want a boy or a girl tonight? One of each? The whole set? He flopped down on the couch and managed half a smile when one of the girls snuggled up to him and offered him a tumbler full of whiskey, no ice.
He gave the girl an appreciative once over. Long and lean, with legs that could wrap him twice ‘round, he caught himself frowning when she pushed her hair behind her ears. She was “pointing,” using metal ear cuffs on the top edges of her ears to give the illusion of pointed ears instead of rounded human ones.
A quick glance around the room revealed everyone but the pooka kid was pointing. Two of them were running hands over one of the boy’s artificially black, shiny hair and talking about the finer points of “sheening,” the chemical process that made human hair resemble the black shine of goblin hair. Something twisted hard inside Tibo and he rose slowly from the couch, trying to make some sense out of the anger gathering in his gut.
“Why do you do that?” He waved at the boy with the sheened hair.
The boy blushed and gave him a shy smile. “To, you know, be like you.”
All the anger and frustration churning inside Tibo reached a rolling boil. “Were you born goblin? Do you have any fucking idea what it’s like growing up goblin? Do you have any clue, you entitled human brat, what it means to be goblin?”
“Hey. Tibo,” the pooka boy said softly, holding a hand out toward him. “It’s just imitation ‘cause they idolize you.”
Humans. Human kids idolizing him while goblin grandmas spat at his feet. He couldn’t sort through it all, not with them staring at him like wounded baby deer. This irritation had been itching under his skin for a long time, and now it found a target.
“Learn the fucking difference between appreciation and appropriation, assholes.” He didn’t quite snarl at them, but it was close, and his anger was too hot, too sharp-edged to be safe. With a cry of frustration, he dashed to the closet, grabbed his coat, stomped back out, down to the street, and off into the night. He needed to disappear for a few hours, fade into the crowd and pretend he wasn’t Tibo Fucking Glent.