LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Paint the Town Rainbow by frostfall

Introduction

You don't have to watch Queer Eye (the reboot) to read this but if you guys haven't seen it and are confused, don't hesitate to ask! I'll try my best to answer them. :)


Also, happy birthday, Chester. We miss you.






*****






“You’re driving today,” one of the producers had told Chester. Or to be more specific, Brad had repeated after one of the producers because Chester wasn’t paying attention.


Which is unfortunate since Brad has a tendency to be speak louder than what is deemed normal, especially during mornings or when nobody is paying attention. Unfortunately for Chester’s poor ears, he checks both boxes.


In Chester’s defense, it’s 7.30 in the goddamn morning. It’s way too fucking early to be up right now. Plus, it rained last night. It fucking rained.


Nobody would understand what a godsend that is, being an Arizonian boy stuck in the middle of Kansas. It’s cool and airy – the perfect sleeping weather.


But no, he’s part of a reality TV show so of course, he has to roll himself out of bed and get to work.


Now, don’t get him wrong. He loves going to work. It’s the best job he’s ever taken and will probably ever have.


But god, why does he have to be up at five in the morning? Well, six today.


God, he’s so groggy. He barely had time to rinse his face since he overslept, which also meant foregoing his daily coffee fix. At this rate, he’s gonna fall asleep at the wheel and crash the car and get everybody killed. Anytime now.


Why the hell is he driving again?


Like the mind-reader he is, Dave pipes up next to him, “It’s your turn.”


Chester shudders. “Dude, you creep me out sometimes.”


“He’s right,” Joe barges in from the backseat, munching on a granola bar. “Seriously dude, how can you figure out whatever we’re thinking?”


“He has a fuck—”


“Language,” Rob reminds Brad primly.


Chester could barely suppress the urge to roll his eyes. Stupid TV-14 rating. It’s not like kids these days don’t swear, let alone spit out a ‘fuck’ here and there. Hell, he just witnessed a five year old say it just several days ago. And she wasn’t even cursing anybody out.


Plus, she was talking about cookies.


Fucking cookies.


A pang of mental pain hits him at the side of his head. God he needs sleep. He can’t wait to meet the Hero of the Week, trudge back to the loft, and fall back into the arms of his bed.


But whatever. It doesn’t matter. The editors will just cut that part off. If they bothered salvaging this part of the footage, that is.


“He has a freaking psychology degree,” Brad amends, shifting in his seat. Chester feels a little sorry for him. Being sandwiched between Rob and Joe must not be fun. Okay, maybe just Joe. Joe is not a great person to sit with in the mornings. Sometimes, he forgets to style his hair, much to Brad’s disgust.


To be fair, not everybody can be Brad Delson, the grooming expert. Man, did the fame got to his head.


Doesn’t make him any less lovable though.


“People with psychology degrees are always creepy.”


“For the last time, Bradford,” Dave begins, “people with psychology degrees don’t have any mindreading powers.”


“Then how do you explain whatever you did with—?”


“Guys,” Chester cuts in, his brain shutting down by the second, “can you shut up?”


Brad rolls his eyes. “I wasn’t even yelling, jeez. You really need to chill.”


Chester’s grip tightens on the steering wheel. “How am I supposed to chill when I'm half-asleep and fucking—?”


“Language!” interrupts everybody else.


“—driving, Bradford?”


Brad cocks an eyebrow. “Like Dave said, it’s your turn. I mean, you’ve known this since Season One. We all take turns driving each episode.”


Oh… Right. Season One was like two years ago. This is Season Three.


Huh.


“Why did I bother getting my fucking (“Chester!” the other four exclaims.) driving license?” Chester mumbles to himself.


Joe whistles lowly. “Goddamn, you’re cranky. Like crankier than ol’ Brad (“Hey!”) here when he’s out of sunscreen (“No, I don’t!”). Remind me never to piss you off in the morning.”


“Sure. While you’re at it, give Brad the memo ‘cause—”


Dave, ever the peacemaker interrupts him, “We still have time. I’m sure the execs don’t mind. We can just head over to a McDonald’s—”


“McDonald’s coffee sucks,” Chester says immediately.


Sure, he’s desperate and all but even he has standards when it comes to his choice of coffee. Only heathens drink coffee from McDonald’s.


“It is,” Brad agrees. “I mean, fast food places aren’t the best places for coffee but if you really have to buy from one, Dunkin’s is the best.”


Rob hums in agreement. “Second that.”


“You mean, ‘thirded’,” Joe says jokingly.


“That doesn’t make any—”


“Speak of the devil,” Dave cuts in, his nose pressed against the glass of the passenger seat window, “there’s one coming up.”


Chester’s limbs almost give way right then and there in relief.


Finally. Heaven.


Or as close as it can be, for the moment.


One whole iced americano and two strawberry jelly-filled donuts later, Chester’s energized and raring to go, which doesn’t spell good for everybody in his vicinity, unless they’re as psychotic as him. Chester runs of caffeine and sugar, no matter how many times Rob lectures him on doing so.


He can imagine the producers playing up the 180⁰ his demeanor takes. They’d probably tell the editors to use shitty PowerPoint transitions like in Star Wars. A wipe would be appropriate. Or a split. Either one is good.


Or maybe the whole thing will be on the cutting room floor. A cranky Chester and feisty Brad who’re raring to go at each other doesn’t make good television. Or computer. Or whatever. It’s Netflix. Netflix is everywhere.


Then again, they are shooting a reality TV show about friendship and love and all things positive and wholesome. So maybe not. Goes against the brand, even if they aren’t being serious for the most part.


“So,” Chester begins, drumming on the steering wheel. His fingers are itching to turn the radio on and blast Taylor Swift and scream the lyrics at the top of his lungs. That’s a sign the caffeine is slowly working its magic, “who’re we going to see on this wonderful and beautiful Monday?”


Brad snickers, wiping his powdery lips with a paper napkin. “Well, well, well. Look who’s suddenly Mr. Sunshine. Not an ounce of sarcasm or grumpiness found.”


“Can it, Bradford.”


Through the rear view mirror, Chester could see Joe snickering as he scrolls through the iPad on his lap. Time to launch into the introduction then.


It’s a good thing they have a dash cam in the car. Chester would’ve feel bad for the poor bastard that would’ve needed to film them goofing off otherwise.


It makes sense they’d do it now. They’re probably halfway to their destination anyway. Not that he specifically knows where it is. All he’s told is that they’re heading to one of the suburbs on the outskirts of town. Two towns away, to be exact.


“So,” Joe begins, “our latest victim—”


“Latest victim of your bad breath,” Brad remarks.


“And latest victim of your terrible joke— Hey!”


Chester couldn’t help but break into snickers as Dave snatches the iPad out of Joe’s grip. “You gays are hopeless.”


Brad smacks his lips together. “Love you too, babe.”


Through the rear-view mirror, Chester watches Rob pull a gagging expression. He doesn’t blame him. If Chester’s a hundred percent awake and not seventy-four right now, he would’ve barfed for real. Oh, and maybe make a smart comment too.


If Dave acknowledged Brad’s words, he doesn’t do it verbally. “We’ll be seeing a Michael Shinoda. Goes by ‘Mike’.”


“Shinoda?” Brad asks. “That’s Japanese, right?”


“Yup,” Joe says cheerfully before taking a loud sip from his iced mocha. He tilts his head to the side, his grin broadening. “Wow, lookie here. Guess bottoming for Dave adds for brain cells to that empty brain of yours after all.”


For the next ten seconds or more, the car ride is accompanied by boisterous laughter and an outraged croak courtesy of Brad.


God, Chester hopes this bit makes the cut.


“Oh god,” Brad mumbles, burying his face with his hands. “I’m surrounded by idiots.”


“So are you,” Dave says, grinning. He cocks his head to the side, clasping his hand in Brad’s. “Love you too.”


Just like that, Brad’s pulled out of his brief funk, his smile widening and the pink in his cheeks darkening.


Then there’s another round of awws, which Chester is positive will end up in the final cut. The producers love milking Brad and Dave’s relationship.


Well, Brad and Dave do make a wonderful couple. Makes sense that most of their viewers are obsessed with them. It’s sweet. They’re sweet.


“Anyway,” Dave stresses, returning his hand back to his side. There’s a light blush spread across his cheeks too, “back to Mike. He’s an artist—”


“Artist?” Rob asks. “Like a painter artist or a music artist?”


“Painter. He was nominated by his best friend and ex-girlfriend, Anna—”


Chester blinks, frowning. “Ex? His ex nominated him? That’s a first on this show, right?”


“Yup,” Dave confirms.


“I mean,” Brad begins, “who better to whip you to shape than the person who dumped you?”


“As much as I hate to admit it,” Joe says, “you’re kinda right. Goddamn you’re harsh today.”


“Aren’t I always?” Brad replies sweetly.


“Guys,” Dave says exasperatedly, “do you want to get fired?”


Brad throws his hands up in the air. “Ugh, fine. You’re no fun.”


“Says the guy dating said no fun guy,” Rob snorts before biting into a donut.


“Not you—”


A deep and unfamiliar voice suddenly fills the car, interrupting Brad.


“My name’s—”


“God, he’s hot,” Dave mumbles as he talks over who Chester assumes is Mike.


“Really?” Brad asks. “Let me see— God, you’re so right.”


“Mm hmm,” Joe chimes in. “Total hottie.”


“Second,” Rob agrees before handing the tablet back to Dave.


The video is put on pause, possibly to rewind back to the start of the video since everybody was too busy salivating over Mike’s looks—


Wait.


“Hey!” Chester demands. “What’d ‘bout me?”


“As much as I love you Ches,” Dave says, shaking his head, “I can’t show you him.”


“Why not?”


“You’ll just crash into a tree if I did.”


Fuck. As Chester suspected.


Chester snorts. “He’s that hot?”


Rob hums in confirmation. “Definitely the hottest guy we’ve ever had on the show.”


“He’s basically sex on legs,” Brad adds. “No way you can see him.”


“But—”


“Remember Patrick?”


Oh god.


Patrick.


Right. From Season Two.


Patrick’s pretty hot. He and his boyfriend’s pretty hot. If only they’re polyamorous.


Unless they are and Chester didn’t know. Then, well. That ship has sailed already, huh. And— Okay, that’s not the point at all. The downside of having caffeine and sugar in you in the morning.


What’s the point again? Oh, right.


Okay, so maybe Chester gets a little distracted every now and then by some good eye-candy. But the eyes want what it wants, right?


And the heart. And the dick.


“Okay, that was one time,” Chester says dismissively, “Besides that, I have a clean record. I have impeccable driving skills.”


“Maybe,” Rob considers. “But I don’t trust you half-asleep.” Murmurs of agreements follow after.


“I have caffeine in me.”


“That you only drank like five minutes ago.”


“But—”


Guys,” Dave whines, “you’re talking over Mike.”


Chester rolls his eyes. “Okay, fine. Carry on.”


With a quick tap on the tablet screen, Mike’s brought back to life.


“My name’s Mike Shinoda and I’m a fine artist.” He pauses. “As in I paint, not that I’m fine looks-wise. Definitely not. I—”


“Well, he’s dead wrong on that,” Brad mutters.


“—and uh… I guess I need help? Which, I don’t get. I think I’m fine.” He lets out a nervous laugh. “And I don’t mean looks-wise. Again.”


A feminine voice follows after. “Mike has never been good at asking for help. He’s bad at admitting he needs help. And he thinks he doesn’t need it, which is a big fat lie.”


Mike scoffs. “I’m not lying. She makes a big deal out of everything.”


“Ooh, denial,” Chester pipes up, earning a kick to the back of his seat. Either Rob or Brad. He’s willing to bet a hundred bucks it’s Rob.


Yup, that’s going to be edited out.


“Mike’s a huge workaholic,” the woman continues. There’s genuine concern in her tone. She’s most likely Mike’s ex, Anna. “He doesn’t have time to do anything, to eat proper meals, dress properly. He didn’t even have the time to unpack… As you can see.”


“Yeah,” Mike says sheepishly. “I just moved into this place about a month ago and uh… Yeah. I think you guys can tell by the state of it.”


“What state?” Chester asks.


“Apartment’s empty,” Dave answers. “Boxes everywhere.”


Brad exhales heavily, crossing his arms. “Well, that’s no fun.”


“Well, I’d rather have it empty than wade through a month’s worth of laundry,” Rob says. “Besides, we’ll be snooping through his boxes anyway. Same old thing.”


The banter between Mike and Anna continues. According to Anna, Mike doesn’t have many friends, opting to spend time painting. Even if he spends time with somebody else, it’s with Anna and only Anna.


Judging by his hearing, the two seem to have maintain a tight friendship despite the end of their romance. Chester’s glad for them. Most of the people he’s known aren’t the most…amicable.


Like him and his…thing.


They’re the kind of people Chester could see ending up together again by the end of it. It has happened before on the show. Could happen again. They do have a lot of affection for each other.


But not right now. Right now, Mike’s dependence on Anna is not healthy.


Besides that, another thing Chester’s learnt from the video is that Mike also has a really, really attractive laugh when it’s out of genuine happiness. It just sounds so melodic.


God, what would it sound like in person?


He’s about to make a comment about it when the sad violins start to play.


“Even though Mike and I aren’t together anymore,” Anna begins, “my love for him hasn’t disappeared. I really do love him. He’s still one of my best friends and I hate to see him like this. Mike has always been a reserved guy. But lately I feel like he’s closing up. I know there are things on his mind but he refuses to tell him and I’m hoping that the Fab Five are able to…” Her words die on her lips, her voice wavering.


Chester’s heart skips a beat. Even after doing this for three seasons, he’ll never be used to this, the sadness and pain and hopelessness in people.


“…Are able to help him through this. Maybe there are things he isn’t comfortable sharing with me but I hope he’ll be able to let the Fab Five in. If there’s anybody that can, it’s them. I just want him to be happy, you know?”


It was a heavy way to leave the things, especially when five soft-hearted (as much as Brad wants to deny it) gays have to listen this. If this could ruin steel-hearted Brad, imagine what it could do to a thousand steel-hearted Brad-like viewers?


Goddamn producers and editors and whoever thought that was a brilliant idea. But it’s good. Vulnerability is also a win.


“Fuck,” Chester remarks after a long pause. The rest of the guys doesn’t bother correcting him this time. “Now, I feel bad for saying that he’s in denial.”


“I mean,” Joe says. “He kind of is.”


“It’s obvious he has things he needs to work through,” Dave reasons. His gaze shifts back to the tablet. “There’s a lot of changes he has to adjust to, not to mention the art exhibition he’s hosting this Friday.”


At that, the rest of the guys erupt in cheers and claps, the jovial atmosphere brought back. Chester wouldn’t be able to fight off the smile on his face even if he wanted to. Achievements always bring him joy, whether it’s his or others.


“Damn, that’s awesome,” Joe exclaims excitedly.


Dave bobs his head enthusiastically. “Apparently Mike has hosted several before but this is the first time he’s hosting one alone.”


Chester nods. “Makes sense he’d be nervous. And then there’s everything else going on in his life.”


“So,” Joe announces, clasping his hands together. Of course he couldn’t resist speaking again. The man could barely keep his mouth shut. It’s always either Joe or Brad yakking.


And well, Chester too but he doesn’t count in this equation. Sort of.


“Our mission is to help Mike prepare for an art exhibition, get him out of his shell, pry his secrets out of him, and get his shit together in every aspect of life?”


Brad tilts his head from side to side. “Sounds about right.”


“Well then,” Chester declares, “we’re going to help get Mike out of his black and white world and to a more colorful one.”


There’s a chorus of cheery agreements from his friends at that before they lapse into a lengthy bout of silence.


“Cringy, right?”


“Yup,” the rest of the Fab Five echo.


Chester shrugs his shoulders. It’s tradition at this point to say something related to their client of the week at the end of the introduction segment of each episode.


Well, he tried.


Moral of the story, let Chester skip being the designated driver if the destination’s two towns away.






*****






So, I just finished binging the latest season of Queer Eye and my brain was itching to write a story about it! If you guys haven't watched it, it's a show about five gay guys who help other people improve their lives in various ways. It's such a heartwarming and wonderful show and I highly recommend it!


Also, this doesn't mean that I'll be abandoning Apple Juice. This fic is only going to be seven/eight chapters long and I'll be posting alternate my updates between the two.


Hope you guys liked this chapter. Would love to hear what you thought of it. :D

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