My Life isn't a Fairytale prt 17, a short story by J.Morgan. Date added: 2012-02-11. Times viewed: 482.
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“I’ve been working on it lately and I think we should try it, instead of doing someone else’s song,” Viper said excitedly while searching through his bag with his back to me. I rubbed my arm walking in seeing the bed and the lampstand. There really wasn’t much to the place, the bed dominated it all, and of course I was nervous as hell.
“I guess so,” I said quietly staring at the door that connected the two rooms. Ant and Bull were on the other side and I was desperately wishing they would come through and make it all less, intimate.
“Yes, here!” Viper turned around a pile of papers in his hand, his grin turned tentative, and I saw a flash of nervousness in his eyes. He’d written this piece, and I realized that showing me was a big thing for him. So I smiled and walked over taking the papers that he reluctantly gave me. I looked it over. I realized then that I couldn’t read music. So far I’d been singing songs that I knew by heart, and I never really needed to see what I was singing before. But a new song, that I’d never heard. How was I going to do this? I wouldn’t even know if it was good or not. I could feel him sigh since he was standing close to me, and after a moment of me looking blankly at the page his hand took the papers halfway and flipped the top one over. Words were scribbled there, I could see notes and slashes, everything he’d done hit me. He truly worked hard on this.
“It’s a duet,” I said swallowing glancing at him and he nodded, still struggling to keep a small smile.
“Yeah, I though you and I could sing it together.” His eyes averted away from mine and he turned around laying the music on the bed. “So what do you think?”
I sat down on the bed hard, shocking him into looking at me. I was smiling. “Well we’ll have to practice,” I was still holding the one page with words on it, “Though you’ll have to help me with the melody.”
Viper sat down beside me, though not too close. He went over the melody, never once making me feel as if this was just some way to get me further into his bed. The song he wrote was really good too, I was enjoying singing it, though it was a bit of a love song, with a hard rock kick, which made me think about us singing on the stage together. We’d have to give these record guys a good show, so there would have to be a lot of eye contact. Eventually Ant and Bull did come in and I noticed Ant eyeing me up curiously as I sat on the bed with Viper. My legs were crossed in the middle while he was leaning on the end, going over his part in the song, studiously staring at the paper.
“There is a small fast food place down the street, Bull and I were going to grab something. You want us to bring you something back?” Ant asked after Bull gave him a look. I caught it just as I glanced up. It could have been that Bull was just really hungry, the stocky drummer could put away a lot of food, but I wasn’t sure that was it.
Viper stretched and groaned popping his neck. “I’m starving actually,” his head turned to me. “What about you Liz?”
No. “Sure, I guess. Just grab me a burger and a chocolate shake.” I glanced at Viper as he gave his order, and just as Ant and Bull were about to leave, I added, “Don’t be too long, I’m hungry.”
“Sure thing chika,” Ant waved as Bull closed the door behind them.
“Ok,” Viper stood up and turned on me. “Now we should try it together.” He was excited, glowing almost. I laughed at him and slid off the bed. No matter if he did make me uncomfortable sometimes, he was still my friend. It wasn’t his fault I was utterly destroyed emotionally.
“Alright but only once, I really am hungry, and tired.”
Viper nodded and tapped his foot closing his eyes. I had to look at the paper since I was still learning the words. He started humming the tune and would start first. Then it was my turn. I felt the music take me over. Even without Ant and Bull. A cold seed inside of me spread, forcing bumps to my skin. Viper joined me in the chorus. I closed my eyes, feeding that sensation like breathing the air, or being plunged into water, my body just started to move with it.
My voice faded, but the sensation didn’t, it carried me, and my skin began to shiver from the cold that was consuming me, I was too distracted to notice what was happening.
The song faded, and I opened my eyes to find Viper staring at me, there was something in his eyes that terrified me. Suddenly my head hurt and I winced moving away, palm pressing my eyes. And when I looked back to Viper, my vision blurring slightly I noticed he was still staring at me. After the initial shock of it, I realized it was a vacant stare. I moved towards him. “Viper?” I touched his shoulder and he swallowed, his lips moving slightly. “Carl,” I said again shaking his shoulder. “What’s wrong?”
He blinked and suddenly the vacancy in his eyes was washed away, and he shook himself like a dog trying to get the water from his coat. “Whoa! Damn girl you can sing.”
I gave him a halfhearted smile and said, “You’re not so bad yourself.” I turned half away. “Honestly I don’t know why you guys need me.”
I was too stunned at what just happened that I didn’t notice the room shift. Before I knew it Viper was holding me and I was on the floor. I looked up at his face, which was the only part of the room that wasn’t spinning and making my stomach protest. Like a carnival ride that I’d mistakenly went on when I’d just eaten. I could see his lips moving but all I heard was a muffled sound. What was going on? A flurry of motion came after that. Ant and Bull’s faces, Viper’s worried eyes always there.
“Maybe we should call an ambulance.” I heard vaguely, I think it was Bull.
“No,” I said surprised that I could even move my mouth enough to speak. My body was so heavy, even wiggling a finger would have been out of the question. “Just need to sleep...please.” I managed to look at Viper. I didn’t want the band to have to give up this opportunity for me. His mouth was a hard line that nearly disappeared into his face, the speckles of brown that decorated the center of his blue eyes were something that I’d never noticed before. As I looked into them, the nebula effect began to smooth, and turn green and I blinked. Drake’s face, his human face was staring at me through the ghostly image of Viper’s.
“Alright.” Viper’s voice was quiet and firm. “But if you’re not better by tomorrow then you’re going to the hospital.”
“Kay..” I whispered, tears building, drowning my eyes and making the spinning background fade away. Drake’s face that doubled on top of Viper’s came close. I closed my eyes imagining that it was really Drake’s lips that touched my forehead. I relaxed then, allowing my body to drift into the place of dreams that I’d been trying not to go to.
When I opened my eyes I was in a hotel room, my room, the orange of the light coming in told me it was just sunrise. My head felt clear and I couldn’t remember having any dreams, which was good. Though I couldn’t help the empty feeling I always got when I didn’t dream of Drake. I reached out automatically and picked up my phone. I wasn’t sure if Sam would be home, or even awake, but I had to speak to him.
“Yeah..” His groggy voice answered.
“Sam?” My voice shook and I had to hold in the tears.
“Beth, sweetie what’s wrong?”
“Sam, I think something is wrong with me.”
I ended up telling her that it was nothing. That she didn’t have to worry about what happened. Of course she didn’t believe me, but what could I say? I didn’t know much about manna, or how it worked; if it was even the manna that had caused Viper to go all zombie, plus her reaction afterwards, nearly passing out. I almost passed out when she told me. I swore at myself for letting her do this. Viper doesn’t know anything about her, and can’t take care of her like I can. Though I do have to say I was relieved that they didn’t go into his room for anything other than practice. Not that I was being hypocritical, but part of me hoped Beth wouldn’t turn into me.
I thought about calling Drake, to ask him, but once again I was faced with that choice. And in the end I realized that if he knew she was in danger, he would come and sweep her off to somewhere safe. Would that really be much better? Would he be tempted by her manna again? No. I had to keep her safe from danger, which included Drake, since it was obvious he couldn’t control himself with her.
On the road again, with my back and neck killing me since I slept in my car, and whoever rented that cabin beside Beth’s kept his door locked, and didn’t come out once. To top it off by the time I woke up, he was gone. It was frustrating as hell, not to mention nerve wracking when I watched Beth and the band load up and go. She was sitting up front again, and each of the guys were watching her as if she was going to fall over at any moment.
Viper didn’t remember anything strange other than my ‘rockin voice’ as he called it. Sam said I shouldn’t worry about it, but he didn’t sound so sure. My chest felt as if an elephant was sitting on it, even after hours on the highway. Ant was driving now, since Viper did most of the driving yesterday, but when I offered they all, in perfect unison, said no. I didn’t push, because I wasn’t sure how I would hold up anyway. I bet Drake would know what is going on, I thought, but then had to wrestle the ache that began from just thinking of him, about how I saw his face, doubling over Viper’s. Why did I keep seeing him in my dreams and why was I seeing him now when I’m awake? Was I going crazy?
It was like I could feel him near me, but even when my eyes would scan the horizon, or stare in the side mirrors at the cars and road behind us, I kept yelling at myself to stop. That he wasn’t there. How could he be? He was probably back in the city, not knowing where I was. My fingers fiddled with the zipper of my jacket, the weight of the gun Sam gave me was securely in the inner pocket. I never told the guys that I carried it, not really sure why.
I-80 west seemed to stretch out endlessly, though I knew we were getting close. We passed through Des Moines in Iowa, and into Nebraska. The next big thing will be for us to cross the Colorado state border. I began to think about where we were going, trying to distract myself from what happened at the motel. I’d never seen Denver, or the Colorado Mountains. I’d seen pictures sure, but…
“Look!” Ant pointed out the windshield. “Wow, I can’t believe we can see them from here.”
Blue ridges of the Colorado Mountains were visible as we crossed the state line, I couldn’t help but smile back into the back of the van. “We’re almost there.”
Viper and Bull both stood up, hunched over and crushed themselves between the seats to see. The air in the van was suddenly electrified with anticipation, mingled and twisted with excitement and bit a fear. It was exhilarating, I couldn’t deny that. Even though becoming a big time band wasn’t important to me, it was to them. This was an adventure, one that I never imagined being a part of. The guys began to talk about how we were going to do this while joking and almost vibrating with anticipation. I joined in. I laughed truly and honestly, from the very bottom of my tattered soul. It was almost as if I was healed, I could feel a bit of the life that was in me, return. At least it felt that way for a little while.
“Can’t we stop there for the night?” Ant whined. I was looking wistfully out the window as the sun went down. Plumes of clouds decorated the horizon in purples and blues, mourning the end of another day, with it the feeling of emptiness came again; washing over me like a child that needed a parent to cuddle close and fight away that compulsion to cry. I never had that, never had a parent to come to me and kiss my head, tell me that there were no monsters under my bed. I was forced to toughen up, and I did. What happened to that Beth? To the one who was willing to rush into a house where a man with gun waited, just to save a friend? When had I changed into this? That question was easily answered. It was when Drake told me to go, when he turned his back on me.
“If we try to go that far by the time we get there we’ll be dead tired, then we won’t be up in time to go and we don’t have time to do anything anyway. We can go after we get the contract.” Viper growled, from the back. The mood had dimmed and we were all getting tired. The temptation to head all the way to Denver was making them grumpy, or maybe it was the nerves about getting this contract.
“The hotel is another twenty minute drive,” Ant said sighing, rubbing his eyes and stifling a yawn. I yawned too making my eyes water. Then I saw a sign.
“I can’t wait twenty minutes, pull into that rest stop. Please.” I looked over at the base player and he sighed glancing back. But of course Viper wasn’t going to refuse me.
We pulled into the small parking lot of the rest stop and everyone got out to stretch, I swear riding for eight hours straight made every one of my muscles twist into knots. The concrete building made simply for people who are traveling to be able to use the bathroom and get a bad cup of hot coffee, was set in the middle of a small patch of manicured grass, coffee and candy vending machines line the outside as I walked, with my legs completely numb, inside.
I was so tired as I entered the lobby, which was just a octagon room with a few payphones and tourism literature, that when my eyes locked on the back of a man standing at the end of the corridor opposite of me, my adrenaline kicked up. My feet moved, I couldn’t help it, “Excuse me,” I called in a broken whisper that seemed to echo in the concrete walls and floor, my hand reaching out. It couldn’t be him. Black hair bend against the black leather jacket, with metal studs, a pair of stone washed jeans hugged his legs, and the way he stood there, with that lazy predator confidence. I couldn’t see his face, but the closer I got, the more I was pulled.
“It was an addiction. I couldn’t function without her around.”
Oh how Sam was right. Tears crept up on me, but only lingered in my eyes like a prelude to a torrential breakdown.
“Liz?” Viper’s voice cut in and I turned my head holding out my finger as if to tell him to wait. He stood there, confusion plain and when I turned back, the man was gone. I ran down the hall, I had to see where he went. I had to know. I looked down both ways but didn’t see him. I heard Viper come up behind me, his comforting hands were warm, but I only barely felt them. He turned me around and lifted my chin, it was only then I realized I was crying. Quickly I wiped the tears away and tried to stop them, but Viper, being the sweet guy that he is, crushed me into his chest. He was trying to make me feel better, but all he was doing was pushing me back into the shell I’d created long ago to deal with my life when it went wrong.
“What’s wrong sweetheart?” I heard his words, but I didn’t respond. It had been days since I felt like this. It was as if I’d lost him all over again. I wanted his arms around me, I wanted to feel that strange heat of his skin. I was addicted, and I needed a fix, even if it was just a dream. But I hadn’t dreamed of him, not since the night before we left. Even if that guy wasn’t Drake, which of course he wasn’t, it didn’t matter. Maybe he looked like him, or sounded like him. Maybe he’s a Draconian, automatically entered my mind. I shivered. “That’s it.” Viper growled pulling me roughly away and tilting his head trying to force me to meet his eyes. “Damn it. Is this about that guy?” I shrank back from his anger, not wanting to deal with anything. I wouldn’t meet his eyes. “You can’t let this piece of shit mess you up like this. You deserve better!”
Again I didn’t say anything. How could a guy who just happened to be wearing the right kind of leather jacket, who had the same stance as Drake, do this to me? I heard him sigh hard and glanced up for just a second. “I’m fine,” I said not really planning on it, but pulling away. “I’ll be out in a second.” I turned to walk to the ladies’ restroom when Viper grabbed my hand.
“Wait, what started this?” I heard how worried he was. So I turned my head, forcing myself to meet his eyes.
“I saw someone that looked like him. Sorry, I’m a bit of spaz. Just….I’ll be out in a sec.” When he didn’t let my hand go I said in as confident voice as I could. “I’m okay, I just need some time alone.”
Reluctantly Viper let me go and I went, shuffling my feet, forcing each movement to get me to the restroom. Once inside I leaned on the last sink and stared at my reflection. The mirror was chipped and had a haze where the reflective seal had allowed some moisture inside. I frowned at my image that was a shambles. My hair was matted where I’d been leaning on the window, my skin was pale and I could use a good night’s sleep to take away the dark circles under my eyes and puffiness from where I was crying. “I know you loved him, but he’s gone now so you have to move on. It’s for the best.” I recited a speech I gave to Janine the first time Dog left her in high school. It sounded so empty, no wonder Janine didn’t listen to me. I didn’t understand how she felt. Obsession. It wasn’t love. I told myself that so many times. That she was obsessed with him, because there was no way anyone could love a scumbag like him. This was different though. Drake wasn’t a scumbag, he was wonderful and intense, handsome and sweet…...and he told me to go, pushed me away when I needed him to tell me he was sorry, when he should have been like every other boyfriend and begged my forgiveness for lying to me, for using me.
I collapsed to the cold floor, my one hand still clutching the sink. I don’t remember how long I sat there like that, but eventually a woman came into the bathroom, her eyes uncomfortably trying not to notice the wacko on the floor crying like a baby. I shuddered, and pulled myself back up, then splashed some cold water on my face, trying to order my chaotic thoughts.
Eventually, I came out to the van where all three of the guys were waiting for me, leaning against the hood that had a few rusty spots on the edges. It was obvious Viper told them some at least of what happened. Great. I rolled my eyes and avoided looking at them any further. I opened up the front door.
“No,” Viper snapped coming around making me pause. He came and opened up the back door. “You and I are sitting in the back.”
I opened my mouth but then clicked it shut as Ant pushed gently between me and the passenger side door then, hopped in and closed it hard. Bull was already in the driver’s seat and turned the engine over. Viper motioned me inside again and I stepped up and made my way to the two person bucket seat against inside, straddling a few suitcases and part of Bull’s drum set. When I finally got to the seat I had to slide over to allow Viper to sit beside me. It was cramped, my arm was against the back of his, that is, until he shifted and reached his arm back along the seat. He didn’t have it around me, but it was close, and I was like a trapped rat as he gazed hard at me.
“Tell me something Beth,” he said his eyes sliding down as his hand took mine, which was clenched into a tight fist. “You trust me right?”
“Sure,” I said, my body still frozen like a statue.
“Then tell me why you can’t let him go?” With his voice like a whisper I looked up biting my lip. His expression was tormented, something I knew well. The ice was melting away inside of me, revealing a hole that had been just a wound before.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said relaxing my fist, allowing him to lace our fingers. My stomach twisted, but I pushed that away. I usually didn’t go for the whole using a guy’s affection to get what I wanted, but this was different. I couldn’t explain it without hurting our friendship. Though I had a feeling he was going to get hurt no matter what I did.
Viper lifted my hand and kissed it gently, “Okay, let’s just get to the hotel and you can get some rest.” I nodded but couldn’t find it in me to be glad that it had worked.
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