Having Hope (The Blow Hole Boys Book 4) (6 page)

BOOK: Having Hope (The Blow Hole Boys Book 4)
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I was happy for them, I really was, but that didn’t mean I didn’t miss the old days. I missed the days when the boys and I would fuck up the city of Vegas. We would tear the place apart, living in the VIP sections of the hottest clubs and drinking the finest of everything. I longed for the days when they were down for a good time just as much as I was.

Now, I spent most of my time feeling like the outsider. I was the adopted hindrance no one wanted—the nuisance—the one most likely to get the guys in trouble. I was an annoyance for the boys—someone who called them to pick me up when I was too fucked up to drive home or find a cab. The boys had never said as much, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew who I was.

It was my life, though, and I wasn’t changing my ways anytime soon.

We played two shows in Vegas, bringing the house down and even throwing in a few songs that weren’t on our albums. After our set, I stayed on the side stage and watched the Red Room Sirens play.

They were good.

No.

They were better than good.

Lena had a set of lungs on her that echoed throughout the venue and almost engulfed the instruments. Her long, dark hair blew in the soft breeze from the foggers and gave her an ethereal presence. She was pretty and sang with heart, but she wasn’t as hardcore as some of the other girls in the group were.

Constance’s guitar playing rivaled Zeke. She was so good, in fact, that we had no problem whatsoever letting her fill Zeke’s spot a while back when he had crushed his fingers. I could see why Tiny was so in love with her. She played hard, but she loved even harder. I could see that every time she looked at Tiny—every time she put her all into what they were building together.

Mia’s bass line vibrated the venue, adding that extra something to each song they played. Mia was the something spicy in the group. With her thick thighs and beautiful cleavage, she drove the guys in the crowd wild. I couldn’t lie, I’d looked, but for some reason, I couldn’t get into Mia. She was too much like a younger sister or something.

Twiggy played her keyboard, her thin arms flexing as she pressed her fingers on the keys like her life depended on it. We didn’t have anyone on keys, but I had to admit, it added to their sound and rounded them out. Twiggy was tall and skinny, but she played like a beast.

But it was Hope who held my attention.

She was amazing on the drums—her tempo precise—her use of the drumsticks artistic. The muscles in her arms gleamed under the lights, her tattoos coming to life with each move she made. Her expression reminded me of a woman in the throes of passion—her release so extreme as it moved through her arms, into her sticks, and landed on her drum set.

She was a show on her own, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I’d always been curious about Hope, but seeing her play—seeing her love of the drums—made her an enigma.

I wanted to know more.

No.

I needed to know more.

I found myself staying to watch her play instead of letting a groupie climb all over me, and that in and of itself was a big fucking deal for a dude like me.

I stayed glued to the spot, and for the first time in a long while, I enjoyed watching other people play. I hadn’t been to a concert in years, but when the Sirens played, they brought the house down.

“They’re good,” Finn said at my side.

I hadn’t even realized he was standing beside me. I’d been so engrossed in Hope and the way she beat the shit out of her set.

“Yeah.”

“The boys and I were talking. Whatever beef you have with Hope, squash it.”

I turned his way, taking in his nonchalant expression. “There’s no beef … at least, not for me.”

He chuckled. “It’s more than obvious to everyone. Whatever it is, try to fix it, man. It’s bad for morale around here.”

I nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.”

I turned away, putting my attention back on the girls, but I could feel Finn’s gaze on the side of my face.

“I’m worried about you, Chet.”

I nodded, keeping my eyes on the girls. “I know you are.”

“Do I need to worry?”

He was feeling me out. I wasn’t sure why Finn was starting to worry all of a sudden. Maybe because I was living alone for the first time since I’d joined the band. Maybe because they’d all moved on and had families while I had no one.

He didn’t need to worry, though. I’d be fine. I’d be okay until I wasn’t. Of course, by then no one could save me.

“Nope. I’m good, man.”

I hated lying to Finn. He was one of my best friends, and I wasn’t much for lying, but some things were better left unsaid. So I would continue to pretend everything was okay, even though it wasn’t.

“I know you’re lying to me, but I also know you’ll tell me when you’re ready.”

I nodded, and he walked away from me toward the exit. Seeing Finn after our show was rare since usually he’d go straight for his phone and sit on the bus talking with Faith and the kids. 

That night, both bands had a night out on the town. We took over the VIP sections of every club we hit, which made it hard for me to meet any women since women weren’t really allowed in anymore. That was just another change once the guys got married. 

I still had a great time, though. Finn and Zeke even did some shots with us. We laughed and drank, and for a while, it felt just like old times again … minus the women, of course.

A few hours later, my headache began. It started out as a soft ache in my temple, but before long, it split my head in two, pounding so fiercely with the music that I thought I’d be sick. Still, I drank through the pain, drowning it out completely with hard liquor until I was too buzzed to care that my head felt as though an elephant was sitting on top of it.

“Check this out, man,” Zeke said, holding his sleek smartphone my way.

The screen lit up with three females—all blond—all so ridiculously beautiful it made my heart ache. Zeke’s daughters had me wrapped around their little pinky fingers. I would do anything for them. So when he showed me the picture of the three of them—all bright smiles, all blue eyes—my heart melted.

“I love those little girls.” I leaned back on the couch and took a deep swig from my beer.

“They love you, too. I miss them so fucking much.” He darkened his screen and stuffed his phone in his pocket. “I remember when all I could think about was the music and the tours. Now, all I can think about is going home to them. I love this job. I love playing so fucking much, man, but I love them more.”

I nodded.

I understood exactly what he was saying. Even though I didn’t have a family of my own, Finn and Zeke’s families were sort of like mine. Their kids treated me like their favorite uncle, and when it came to spoiling them, I was all about that shit. Their moms bitched, but I saw their secret smiles when the kids would go nuts over their new toys.

Sadness swooped over me, taking with it the tiny buzz I was enjoying. My head banged, making me flinch with the pain and reminding me that I’d never have kids. I’d never have a wife. I wasn’t even sure I could settle down long enough to be faithful to one woman, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want the option of trying.

My eyes moved around the room, taking in the couples on the dance floor, the men and women at the bar flirting, and my group in the VIP section. Everyone around me was so happy—getting the lives they wanted—and thinking of their future.

Not me.

I had no future.

My eyes clashed with Hope’s from across the VIP section, and her brows pulled down in confusion. She had been watching me, and I couldn’t help but wonder what she saw.

Did she see the piece of shit I’d become?

Did she see the sickness that dwelled inside me?

Or did she see the lost little boy I felt like most days?

Sadness.

Anger.

Regrets.

I didn’t know what she saw. All I knew was sometimes when she looked at me, I felt like she could see more of me than anyone else could.

I was not sure I liked it very much. Being laid bare for anyone made me uncomfortable.

Looking away, I downed the shot sitting on the table in front of me. It was going to take me the rest of the night to gain my buzz back. And if I wanted to go to bed without feeling anything, including the raging headache that was busy devouring my brain, then I needed to get started right away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something was off with Chet. He wasn’t being himself at all. His smiles forced, his eyes strained. He didn’t laugh as much, and he seemed to be drinking too fast—as if he were trying to drown himself. It was so glaringly obvious; I was surprised the guys didn’t notice.

Maybe it was because I was getting a good look at him without women draped all over him. Maybe it was because, for the first time in a long while, he had a strange clarity in his eyes. I wasn’t sure how I knew something wasn’t right. I just knew.

He was sitting in the VIP section drinking with everyone, yet it was like he wasn’t there. His long jeans-clad legs sprawled out in front of him, and his T-shirt was tight against his abs. His dark hair hung in his gloomy eyes as if he was trying to hide behind the inky strands, but I could see him. I’d always been able to see him.

He was somewhere else—some place far away—lost in his mind as if something was bringing him down. He was battling something, as if he was being eaten from the inside out, and I found myself feeling sorry for him.

The minute his eyes settled on mine, I felt embarrassed that he caught me staring. I’d been doing that a lot lately … staring at Chet. I hated him for not remembering me, I really did, but I couldn’t deny the fact that I was attracted to him as well.

Every time the thought of him against me would roam into my mind, I’d curse myself. I’d shake my thoughts away each time I’d remember how good it felt to have him inside me.

He was good—the best—my only.

I looked away quickly, but his eyes remained on me. I could feel them, penetrating me and learning all my dark secrets. I couldn’t sit there while he figured me out. While he learned everything I was trying to hide. Instead, I stood on shaking legs and fled to the bathroom.

Twiggy followed, her small frame slipping through the massive crowd like it was nothing. Once we were inside the pink neon-covered space, I disappeared inside the closest stall and stood there trying to catch my breath.

“You okay in there, Hope?” Twiggy called out.

I could see her through the crack in the stall door. She was looking at herself in the mirror and tilting her head to the side.

Meanwhile, I was hyperventilating in a small space that smelled like piss and perfume.

I wasn’t going to make it through this tour. I was slowly losing it—catching myself daydreaming about a man I could never be with, while still secretly wanting to choke the life out of him. It was beyond sick and demented, but that was me … fucked up mentally, as always.

“Hope?” Twiggy asked again.

“I’m good. Be out in a sec,” I responded. 

I’d prided myself on the ability to contain my emotions, which weren’t many since I squashed anything I felt the second I felt it, but I was slipping. Things were showing. My secrets were winning, and if I didn’t stop myself, Chet would soon know everything. Everyone would soon know everything.

“So what’s the deal with you and Chet?”

Twiggy’s words crashed into me making me gasp. I swallowed hard and closed my eyes against the anxiety.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She laughed. “Bullshit. It’s obvious you guys have an issue with each other. What’s the story there? You guys fuck or something?”

My heart was going to beat out of my chest. I pressed the back of my head against the stall door.

Shit.

Fuck.

Damn.

“What?” I pretended to be appalled. “Hell, no. We just don’t get along. No story. I just think he’s gross.”

Again, she chuckled. I peeked through the gap in the door to see her leaning against the countertop waiting for me.

“I think he’s hot.” She giggled.

“You think everyone’s hot.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Well, it’s obvious you guys don’t like each other. I just assumed you’d fucked, and it ended badly or something.”

She was so close to the truth it was suffocating. But I didn’t let on. Instead, I laughed it off.

“Hell, no … I wouldn’t let that sick fuck touch me. Seriously, there’s no story. I just don’t like him.”

“Well, squash that shit. The girls are starting to talk about it, and if we’re going to be on tour with Blow Hole, we need to keep the peace.”

I nodded even though she couldn’t see me. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Good. Are you almost done?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be out in a bit.”

“Okay, well, I’ll see you out there,” she said.

The music flowed into the bathroom as she opened the door and went quiet again when the door closed behind her.

If what she was saying was true, and the girls were starting to notice that things were weird between Chet and me, then it was time I stopped making my hatred for him so obvious … even if I had to pretend to be his friend. Whatever it took, I’d do it if it meant I could get through this tour without any issues.

Thirty minutes later, I left the bathroom feeling as though I could breathe. I grabbed a drink at the bar and made my way back to the VIP area. I spent the rest of the night in the corner downing shot after shot with the girls. The drinks went down smooth after a while, and slowly, my worries began to melt away. 

The night ended earlier than usual. We were exhausted—our days full of sound checks and our nights full of shows. I was never so happy to return to my quiet room where I could snuggle in my bed and recharge. I could remove everything and lay around naked in peace and quiet. It was going to be amazing.

We split in the lobby, Constance returning to a shared room with her husband, Tiny, Lena and Mia going out for an early breakfast, and Twiggy going for a new tattoo with Finn and Zeke.

A couple in the elevator made out as I rode the lift to the tenth floor to my room. The walls closed in on me as my buzz fizzled through my brain. I’d definitely drunk too much, but considering my circumstances, it made sense. The night had been long, and as much as I tried to stay away from Chet, I could still feel his eyes on my body—undressing me—caressing me.

When the doors opened, fresh air filled the elevator, and I took a deep breath before stepping out. My legs wobbled as I passed door after door until I was standing in front of my room. I slipped the card into the lock, and the green light flashed with a click. Pressing the knob down, I opened my door and prepared to enter when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.

It was Chet.

He was standing in the center of the hallway about ten doors down from me. He wasn’t moving, and he was alone. His body was stiff; his hands perched on his hips. He’d been acting strange all night, but something was definitely off with him.

I closed my door and started toward him. He was facing me, yet he never looked at me. Instead, his eyes moved wildly around the hallway in confusion. Once I was close enough, I could see that sweat covered his face, and he was obviously panicking. The pulse on his tattooed neck beat furiously; making the black and red dagger inked on his skin look like it was stabbing him over and over.

“Chet?” I questioned softly.

He looked like he was seconds away from running away. Fear and anguish transformed his usual carefree persona into something completely different.

He didn’t answer. He didn’t even look at me. His eyes danced around the space we stood in as if it were an alternate reality. Instead of speaking to me, he swallowed hard and continued to hyperventilate. He was so pale—so sweaty—not his usual attractive self at all. 

The last thing I wanted to do was touch him, but he was obviously in distress. I hated myself for the worry that worked itself into my conscience. I shouldn’t care. If anything, I should be happy about his distress, considering. Instead, I reached out and laid my hand on his arm.

He was hot beneath my touch. His muscles bunched and rippled against the pads of my fingers, making them tingle. I hadn’t really touched Chet since that night so many years before, and all it did was remind me of being close to him. It reminded me of feeling him and becoming one with another human being. It was almost too much, but still, I wrapped my hand around his firm forearm trying to calm him.

“Chet?” I repeated.

His eyes darted to my hand, which was resting against his tatted skin, before clashing with mine. He was dazed, without an ounce of clarity in his eyes. Whatever he’d taken, he was obviously having a bad reaction.

Drugs.

It was always something stupid like that when it came to Chet.

Fuck him for making me worry when it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do.

“What did you take, Chet?” I sighed in aggravation.

There I was, worrying that something was wrong with him when he was obviously having a bad high. I needed to figure out what he took and get him back to the boys so they could deal with him. He wasn’t my responsibility.

“I didn’t,” he stumbled over his words.

I pushed his arm away when I lifted my hand from his skin. He was starting to annoy me. I’d had a long, stressful night, and because of him, I was losing my buzz. I wanted to go to my room and crash. The last thing I wanted was to be caught up in an empty hallway with him while he crashed from his high.

“Cut the shit, Chet. Just tell me what you took so I can take you back to the guys.”

“I can’t find my room,” he said.

Worry flashed through his eyes, and he swallowed hard.

I shook my head, my aggravation growing.

“Well, you could start by going to the right floor. You boys aren’t even staying on the tenth floor.”

He blinked. “Tenth?” he asked, confused.

Again, his eyes moved from mine and over the doors around us.

“What floor are we on?” he asked.

He was fucking with me. I wasn’t dumb enough to fall for his stupid shit again.

I shook my head and sighed. “I don’t have time for this shit.”

I turned to go back toward my room, but his hand on my arm stopped me.

My body stiffened; his touch repulsed me, yet still managed to send chills up my arm and more memories crashing through my brain. I tugged my arm free from his grasp and practically growled at him.

Something in his expression changed, and he went from drunk, lost, and confused to sad and fearful again.

“Please, Hope,” he whispered. “Please.”

My hands went to my hips, my Converse tapping quickly on the plush carpeting beneath my feet.

“What kind of game is this?” I asked, annoyed. “What are you doing, Chet?”

I didn’t know this game. I wasn’t sure how to play this.

“No game. Please,” he begged, his expression something totally opposite of anything I’d ever seen on his face. His smug, confident self was gone, and instead, there was only a frightened young boy. “Please take me to my room. I’ll never ask you for anything else ever again.”

I swallowed, unsure of what my next move should be. I knew the boys were on the fifteenth floor. I knew about what room Chet was staying in since I’d gone to the room Constance and Tiny were sharing and happened to see Chet come out of the room next door. But did I really want to help this man?

I’d needed him once, and he wasn’t there, but it wasn’t as if I’d gone to him and asked for the help. It wasn’t as if he knew anything. And while I’d continue to hold my sadness and regrets against him, I wasn’t the kind of woman who could walk away from someone begging for help.

I nibbled my bottom lip, still unsure, but then I remembered my conversation in the bathroom with Twiggy. If I wanted to keep my secrets, I needed to make nice with Chet … even if it was just a little nice.

I nodded.

“Come on.” I turned away and started back toward the elevator.

He didn’t respond, but I felt him behind me as he followed.

The button to open the elevator was warm beneath my finger, and it took forever for the lift to make it to our floor. I stood there, my back straight, with Chet, my worst enemy, right behind me.

His breath shifted the hair on the back of my neck and chills moved down my stiff spine. I scratched at the back of my neck as if to scratch the chills away.

BOOK: Having Hope (The Blow Hole Boys Book 4)
9.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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