Exclusive Excerpt from Sweet Thing
by Isobel Starling
Simeon Duchamp stared out of his bedroom window at the Phoenix Clinic, a private rehabilitation clinic overlooking Lake Zurich and the snow-capped Swiss Alps, where he was receiving treatment for alcohol, drug, and internet addictions. Sim was addicted to sex too, but he would rather die than admit to that and spend his life trying to abstain from cock!
It was a glorious spring morning; the sky was a sharp arctic blue. Thickets of trees on the perimeter of the vast wooded lakeside grounds swayed in the gentle breeze. A group of six patients were completing their early morning yoga class on the main lawn, bending and bowing with their final leonine stretches.
Simeon watched the group do their sun salutations, downward dogs and child poses, secretly wishing he were with them, and that he could stay cocooned and pampered at the clinic forever.
Simeon’s world had shattered two years ago when he fell in love with his fellow model and best friend, Pieter Bayer. Pieter never returned the same level of affection and had, in fact, fallen for someone else. On discovering that Pieter was in a relationship with painter Emily Raven, Simeon couldn’t cope with what he saw as rejection. In spite and jealousy, while under the influence of a mixture of substances, Sim decided it would be fitting revenge to leak false information about Pieter to a fashion gossip website. The information was shared and commented on by millions of followers.
The fall-out from that sorry exercise was nearly disastrous for Pieter’s career—Clients falsely believed he was walking away from his contractual obligations, and he was deemed unreliable and unprofessional.
However, after Simeon’s exposure as the source of fake information, his career began to falter. Clients refused to work with him, friends dropped him like he was on fire, and the backlash became intolerable. Simeon disappeared, and when his father’s investigators eventually found him at a hotel in
Geneva, he was trying to kill himself with a cocktail of vodka and pills. The intervention by his father, Patrice, and subsequent treatment at the Phoenix Clinic saved Simeon’s life.
After three months as a patient at the clinic, Simeon’s hedonistic, outrageous model façade dissolved, along with the drugs and alcohol that were purged from his system. Beneath his camp, party boy mask there was a quieter, more introspective, sensitive young man—a man who felt everything too keenly, loved too deeply, and could not cope with the pain of loss and rejection.
Sober for the first time since his late teens, Simeon was as fragile as a fledgling and bewildered by the colors, scents, and sounds of the big wide world. Who was Simeon Duchamp without his mask, without the crutches of alcohol and drugs giving him the confidence to get through each day?
A gentle knock on the bedroom door startled Simeon from his introspection. He looked away from the window toward the door to see his favorite young male nurse Karl, poke his head inside.
“Your last session with Dr. Schroeder is in twenty minutes,” he informed.
“One for the road?” Karl’s brows waggled provocatively.
©Isobel Starling 2018