Dead Serious(6)

By: C.M. Stunich

I wait in silence, my arm wrapped around my woman's waist, as we head right back to the damn lobby, bodyguard in tow. Naomi wraps her fingers around mine and steers me straight to the smokers' courtyard and over to the bench where Ronnie still sits in contemplative quiet.

“She threatened to shoot me,” Naomi growls, lighting up a cigarette and plopping down next to my friend. I sit down next to her and lean in close. “Well, maybe not her specifically, but Brayden.” Naomi gestures with her lit cig, face contorted with anger and eyes glaring.

“Who? America?” Ronnie asks, getting that crystal clear clarification he's always after. Naomi nods. “Why?” I watch as she shrugs angrily and takes a massive drag on her smoke. Her orange-brown eyes sparkle with rage as her free hand clenches tight against her jeans.

“Because I threatened to walk out. Because I had the Goddamn audacity to think that perhaps the death of our lead singer might exclude us from the concert in L.A.” Naomi exhales and lets her eyelids flutter closed. Her skin is singing; I can feel it from here. Pure rage is radiating out from this woman, and it's turning me on. Totally fucked considering the death of Hayden and all that, but what do you want me to do about it? “Brayden isn't just working for her; she fucking owns him.” Naomi pushes some blonde hair behind her shoulder. “You know, she didn't just threaten to shoot us, she flat out said she'd hunt us down and kill us if we tried to leave the band or the tour.”

“Are you fucking shitting me?” I growl, leaning in even closer. I don't know if these guys have got us wire tapped or what the fuck ever, but I might as well keep my voice down. Ronnie and I exchange a glance.

“I thought she was on our side,” Ronnie whispers, a fresh cigarette clutched between his fingers. Hell, I'm not one to fuck up a party. I get out my own smoke and light up.

“Apparently there are three sides to every fucking story,” Naomi sighs and leans back, sliding her arm along the back of the bench. Her fingers just barely brush my neck, and I find myself gritting my fucking teeth to stay sane. I never thought a monogamous relationship could be so freaking torturous. I just figured that eventually, I'd get tired of doing it with the same person and move on, so I never tried. Big fucking mistake. It's like each time we touch, the thermometer climbs up a degree or two, moving closer and closer to a scalding fucking explosion. What happens when we get there? I don't know, but for now it makes me want to grab my dick and squeeze. I keep my eyes off of her low cut white T-shirt and lock them on her face. “I don't know America's angle in all of this. I thought I did, but now I'm just not sure. I don't know what's real and what's not.” She pauses and takes a deep breath. “If I were you, I'd get out while I still could. Go. Pull Indecency from the tour, from the concert, and just lay low. America never said anything about shooting you.”

“Yeah, uh, fuck that,” I say, flicking my smoke to the ground and leaning close to Naomi's ear. “I'm not going anywhere, so get that out of your head.” I bite her earlobe and she shivers, even as she elbows me in the chest. I sit back with a half-smile. It's hard to smile big knowing that Hayden Lee just put a bullet through her brain. “We're going to figure this out, destroy the world with our careers, and retire in five years. We'll all live in one, big, dumb-ass gated community with over the top HOA fees from a home owner's association run by me. No beige, no picket fences, and no fucking golden retrievers. Ronnie's sixty-eight kids can come over and play with our two. That is how this shit is going to play out.”

“I have to sing,” Naomi whispers, her voice oddly hollow. You'd think she be happy about it, right?

“You've been singing,” I tell her, thinking of the newsfeed I saw of her whooping Hayden's ass, putting her boot on her back. “Like, crazy a lot.” She shakes her head and stands up, turning in a half-circle to face us, cigarette still in hand.

“Yeah, but I didn't have to. Not really. This is … I have to take Hayden's place, Turner. And I'm not like that. Not like you. I play the fucking guitar. I don't sex up the stage, put on a Goddamn show.”

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