Authors: Lisa Suzanne
Books by Lisa Suzanne
© 2015 Lisa Suzanne
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Published in the United States of America by Lisa Suzanne.
This book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real people, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All characters and events in this work are figments of the author’s imagination.
All songs and titles mentioned in this book are property of the songwriters.
Cover Art by LM Creations
For my “Rock” Star
Thank you for your endless support.
I’m in trouble, Roxy. You’re better off without me. I won’t be back, but I will think of you every single second of every single day. Stay in this house if you want. If I stay, I put you at risk. If I tell you more, I put you at risk. This is a forever kind of goodbye. Please don’t hate me. I couldn’t take it.
Four hundred of my dad’s closest friends held their glasses in the air after the best man gave his speech.
I glanced at my new stepmother, Jadyn Snow, adult film star.
Who the fuck marries a porn star?
A rock star, that’s who.
Dear old Dad.
I had only attended the wedding because I loved and respected my father. I’d contemplated not attending, but my dad had texted me the night before.
CC, I would love if you could accept my new wife into your life. I’m glad you decided to come.
At the rehearsal dinner, I considered keeping a tally of how many times I heard my dad’s bride-to-be talk about money, fame, or my dad’s band, Black Shadow. What she really cared about became pretty evident as I listened to her talk to their guests.
That’s why I was having a hard time raising my glass in the air to toast this couple’s wedded bliss.
It was his third wedding in the last ten years, and this one was even bigger and more extravagant than the last.
This marriage wouldn’t last any longer than the others, but at least this time he’d been smart enough to make his blushing bride sign a prenup.
My dad took the microphone after his best man finished his speech.
“First I must toast to my beautiful bride.” He looked over at her, and it was clear he had genuine feelings for her. Maybe I just didn’t know her well enough to appreciate that she really loved him, but somehow I doubted that. He held his glass up. “I love you, Jade. I can’t wait to spend every day showing you how much. And to everyone else, especially my baby girl CC, thank you for being part of our day. We love you all. Now let’s get fucked up!”
The crowd roared with laughter while I fingered a lock of my hair self-consciously. It got stuck in a knotty layer of hairspray. I tended to be low-maintenance. My almost-black hair naturally dried straight, but the stylist insisted on curly waves for the day, and then she’d lacquered those waves until they were shinier than the sun.
I felt like all eyes in the room were on me when my dad said my name, and I wanted a hole in the ground to swallow me up.
Although money and fame certainly had its perks, I hadn’t asked for the attention that was forced on me because my dad was a famous rock star.
“Why does your dad call you CC?” A male voice from a nearby table spoke to me. I turned my attention to the voice.
He looked familiar, but I didn’t know his name. He was in a band, maybe, or on some television show. I didn’t keep up with celebrities.
“My middle name. Cecilia. He wanted it to be my first name.”
“Your mother insisted on Roxanna?”
I nodded. Roxanna Cecilia Price was my full name. I looked nothing like a Roxanna, but my parents assured me that my name was musical. I was named after the muses of two famous songs—“Roxanne” and “Cecilia.” I wanted a normal name. I wanted to be called Anne or Jen or Megan or Katie. But instead, I was Roxanna Cecilia. The name was too big for my skinny frame.
“Roxy, we need you for more pictures.” Delilah, my dad’s wedding planner, pulled my attention from my short conversation.
I’d had my picture taken more times just driving up to the hotel than I’d had in the entire last year. This circus of an event had brought out Hollywood’s elite. Paparazzi clicked away, each hoping for a glimpse of any one of the celebrities attending, not to mention the groom himself.
Those pictures would be worth a fortune.
Growing up the daughter of Gideon Price wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Most kids grow up wishing that their parents were cool, rich, and famous. I had all of that, and I grew up wishing my parents were just normal.
My mom had slept with my dad when his band stopped in Miami on a tour. It was a one night stand, a ploy by my mother to find a way to set herself up for the rest of her life.
My dad felt a sense of responsibility toward me, and he tried to work things out with my mom.
It didn’t work.
Sometimes it was hard growing up with the knowledge that I came from what only should have been a one night stand, but my dad always made me feel loved.
While my mom wasn’t a real part of my life, my relationship with my dad was the opposite. Even though he led an extremely busy life in the spotlight, and even though everyone wanted a part of him, he always put me first. He was my closest friend…my only friend, really.
After Delilah’s pictures and a visit to the ladies’ room, I was heading down a long hallway back to the ballroom when I heard voices. I glanced toward the doorway. It looked like a conference room, but the lights were out. The door was just barely cracked open.
“Do you think he’ll show up today?” I stopped in my tracks when I recognized the voice. It was Jadyn, my new stepmother. My dad’s bride.
“Maybe. We have everything in place for today.” It was a male voice—one I didn’t recognize.
“Don’t call me. I’ll get in touch with you.” I heard rustling, like someone was about to walk out of the room, so I slipped away before I was caught eavesdropping.
What the hell was that about?
I’d ask my dad.
While I didn’t want to needlessly upset him on his wedding day, I wanted to protect my father the way he’d always protected me. I had no idea what Jadyn had been whispering about. Maybe he already knew, but maybe he didn’t.
I had to walk past the hotel lobby to get back to the reception, and I saw my dad standing near the doors leading into the ballroom. He was facing the entrance of the hotel, his gaze narrow and focused. I followed his line of sight.
Men in black suits, who I assumed were part of my dad’s security detail, appeared to be tackling a man just on the other side of the glass doors. I couldn’t make out who it was from my distance, but there was certainly a commotion happening out front.
I watched as George, the trusted head of my dad’s security team, strode across the lobby. He met my dad’s eyes, and George nodded once. My dad nodded back in George’s direction before his eyes landed on me.
He looked anxious, but he smiled warmly at me as our eyes met. Clearly he was covering up the fact that something was happening out front, and it was enough to cause me to forget that Jadyn had just been mysteriously whispering with someone in what she thought was a secluded area. My dad waved me over and threw his arm around my shoulders. The two of us headed back into the ballroom.
He had people to entertain, so I went back to my table. I felt alone in the middle of four hundred people. I had no date for this event. He had left me nearly a year earlier.
I only had one constant that I held onto.
My job at Vintage.
“Roxy, when you punch in, can you hang up the posters Flashing Light’s manager dropped off?”
I nodded up at Tim, my manager at Vintage. I’d had a nice long weekend off work for my dad’s wedding, but it was Tuesday and I was back at the store.
Vintage had once been exclusively a record store before digital media emerged. To keep the store going, Barry, the owner, started selling vintage clothes and posters and books. He’d installed a small café that was perfect for breaks, and it offered a place for people to hang out.
A small crowd started gathering in the café where I was sitting before my shift started. Their t-shirts told me that they were waiting around for the band coming in to sign albums later that night. Barry didn’t allow lines inside the store any earlier than three o’clock, but the purchase of any café item was one way to get in early. The band wasn’t scheduled to arrive until eight, so these idiots had a long wait in front of them.
I finished my Coke and then headed to the break room to punch in and start my day. Monotony was my life. Punch in. Fold t-shirts. Alphabetize albums. Slurp down a Coke during my break. Set up the tables, chairs, and ropes that created the queue when artists came in. Punch out.
Vintage was the one thing that made me feel like a normal person.
I started by hanging up the posters the band’s manager had dropped off. I took a minute to study the four men on the poster. They looked like the type of crew I’d hang out with back when I used to have friends, back before my ex, Damien, had left in the middle of the night with a note telling me to move on.
Their faces were shadowed in the picture, but staring at a poster seemed more interesting than folding t-shirts. Their album was on the corner of the poster. I looked at the image for a minute, trying to decipher what it was. It was red and black and had some abstract image that made me think of blood. The album was titled
Tim told me the band moved to LA from Chicago a few months earlier, but their career had skyrocketed quickly. They were set to open for some other band on a US tour, but they were making the rounds of the local dives before heading out.
. I was curious about their sound, and I knew playing their music would make the fans who had gathered in the store happy.
I found a copy of their album under the counter where the registers were located, and I slipped it into the disc player that broadcast through the store. I pressed play and heard the first note of the first song. A cheer rose up through the crowd.
The first track was titled “Trial and Error.” The song started slowly as a bass drum echoed quietly in the background before it hit loudly, and then a guitar joined in. The singer belted out the first verse, and then I heard another voice backing up the lead over the bridge and through the refrain.
I can’t keep trying
You’re killing me slowly
I can’t keep dying
But I’m dying for you
You told me I’m a sucker
Just a crazy motherfucker
I’m done with this life
You’re handing me the knife
We tried, we tried, we tried
But all we got was an error
The words came from someone who was hurt, tormented by something that had happened to him. I knew that feeling because I’d lived it myself.
The next song played, and the next, and the next. I found myself swaying to their beats as I folded shirts and prepped the store for the chaos that would surely ensue later that evening.
The disc started over from the beginning. Ten songs. Too short in my opinion.
They were a mix of rock and metal. I liked their sound, but there was a voice behind the vocals, a sound that spoke to me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as
started playing for the second time, I knew there was something special about this band.
Tim’s voice cut into my internal analysis of the album. I snapped to attention.
“Roxy, can you bring another box of CDs from the break room and set them out on the table?”
Barry decided fans could only stand in line if they purchased a CD. It was a great marketing strategy even if it completely ripped off the fans. The store would do well, and Flashing Light would certainly get their cut.
I walked to the break room to gather the box he’d mentioned, still thinking about the music.
Somehow those songs had wrapped around me. I felt it in my skin, in my bones. In my chest.
Irritation lanced through me because Tim had taken away the feelings by sending me back to the break room to gather albums.
I took a minute in the break room to compose myself. That album had temporarily snapped me out of the detachment I had allowed to engulf me for much of the past year.
Music never had that sort of effect on me. I worked in a music store. I was the daughter of a musician. I was well aware of the powerful effects music could have on people, but I’d never felt it. Not once in my life.
I didn’t really care about the music scene. I had only applied to Vintage my senior year of high school because I thought it was cool to work somewhere named Vintage.
Truth be told, I resented the fans who screamed and acted like a bunch of maniacs. It was revolting to hear a woman tell someone she’d never met how much loved him. She didn’t know him. She didn’t know if he had a wife and kids waiting at home. All she knew was that he had money and he played music.
That was all my mother had known about my father. Maybe that was why I resented the fans so much.
Maybe that was why I resented musicians so much, too. The majority gave into the fawning fans. It took a strong man to reject the advances of a beautiful woman throwing herself at him.
And that was just one of the many reasons why I never wanted to date a musician.
I wasn’t interested in dating anybody, actually. I had moved past my ex, but relationships were too much work. Besides, everyone I’d gotten close to in my life either left me or had been taken from me. Only one person had always been there for me—my dad.
I was better off alone. I was still working on relying only on myself when I’d become so emotionally dependent on Damien that I lost sight of who I was.
After he’d left, I’d deleted my social media accounts. I’d changed my phone number. The only person I gave my new number to was my dad. I didn’t even tell my mom, not that she’d tried to get in touch with me in months anyway.
I didn’t want the friends Damien and I had known to ask me about the end of us. I didn’t have the answers they were looking for. Besides, every single one of them was only using me for my connections. In fact, pretty much everyone in my entire life had only ever used me for my connections… starting with my own mother before I was even conceived.
I was just the ticket to something bigger and better. I was the ticket to Gideon Price.
A customer pulled me out of my thoughts as I stacked CDs on the table. “Do you have any Flashing Light shirts for sale?” she asked.
I shook my head. “Sorry. We have CDs, but no shirts.”
She walked away in disappointment without so much as a thank you.
“Sure, no problem,” I muttered to myself when she was out of hearing distance.
We were fully staffed, which meant all ten Vintage employees were on duty in some capacity. My job that night was to straighten merchandise…at my request. I didn’t want to deal with registers. I didn’t want to watch the line. I didn’t want to stand by the door watching for line jumpers or shoplifters. I just wanted to mill around the store like I always did, and because Tim had always nursed a crush on me, that’s what I got to do.
I’d been listening to Flashing Light for five hours, and I wasn’t tired of it. Playing the album on repeat made the fans happy, but it also pulled at something inside of me.
I had opened the booklet inserted inside the CD case at one point.
Aaron “Fitz” Fitzgerald –Vocals
Vinnie D’Angelo – Drums
Parker James – Guitar
Garrett Harper – Bass
It wasn’t the lead singer whose voice spoke to me. There was some other voice in there, the one whose voice wouldn’t stop playing in my head.
I read through the entire insert. The guitarist seemed to have written most of the songs. It was his words that were washing over me, his words that were whirling around in my mind.
What was it about this song, this disc, this band, these artists, that bass drum, that guitar, that backup voice?
It was the first thing I’d really felt in months.