Dead Serious(7)

By: C.M. Stunich

“But you can, and you have,” I emphasize, wondering where the hell this is all coming from. Confident fucking Naomi Knox is having a breakdown? I guess it's understandable, but a little weird. “You freaking piss all over that stage. That's all there is to it. Mark that bitch and make it yours.” Naomi stares at me, eyes cutting so deep, I feel like she can see my fucking thoughts. “Is that what you're worried about? Taking over the band?”

“Jesus, Turner,” she snorts, shaking her head and dropping her chin to her chest. “You have no idea what I'm going through right now. Hayden is dead. Do you get that? Dead. And yeah, she killed herself. Yes, her hand pulled that trigger. But why? Why did she do it? She has a kid, Turner. A kid. What did Stephen do to push her so close to the edge that she'd rather die than deal with the consequences of living? This fucking shit is serious.” Naomi puts a hand up to her head. “And I am all sorts of messed the hell up. I didn't like Hayden, but we had fucking history, Goddamn it. I deserve some time to process my crap. I don't want to get onstage and step into her spotlight. Not like this. This is not how I wanted to win.”

She throws her cigarette to the ground and takes off towards the glass doors. I try to go after her, but Ronnie grabs my arm, giving me a look that damn near convinces me that he's a whole decade older than he really is.

“Tread carefully, my friend,” he says which only makes me scowl. I jerk my arm from his grasp and take off after Naomi, running a hand through my hair. I'm not used to chasing after anyone – and I don't really like it – but I'd go anywhere for her. I would run a fucking cross-country marathon for Naomi Knox. I pause once I'm inside the lobby, dragging my security detail along in my wake. Naomi is nowhere to be seen, and I have no fucking clue where she went, but I do catch sight of Dax. I run my tongue over my lips and try to gather some tact. It ain't anything I've ever been good at, so it takes some work.

When he sees me standing there like a Goddamn tool, he groans and rolls his eyes. His pretty little emo face is streaked with tears, red and puffy like he's been crying all damn night. Probably has, too. If Hayden shot herself yesterday, then Dax has had plenty of time to stew in this shit. I hook my thumbs through the loops on my pants and hike them up, sucking in a deep breath and moving across the marble floor towards him.

I get intercepted by Treyjan's piece of shit fucking sister.

“What do you want, Sydney?” I growl at her as she crosses her arms over her fake ass tits and stares me down. It only takes me, like, a split fucking second to tell that she and Dax had sex. I'm like an incubus or some shit, like a sex god. I can smell that fucking shit. “You got some sausage, so you're all up in arms now?” I wave my hands around and watch as Dax slumps against a decorative pillar nearby, closing his eyes like the weight of the world is just too damn much for him to hold up.

Sydney narrows her blue eyes on me and steps closer, getting near enough that we could kiss. That is, if I wasn't fucking disgusted by that thought. Or desperately head over heels in love with Naomi Knox. I try not to smirk. Feels wrong, you know? Like, Dax is a bro now, and I don't fuck with my friends.

“He doesn't need your shit right now, Turner,” she whispers under her breath. I roll my eyes and push her out of the way. Dax's lids split and he glares at me as I come closer, pausing just far enough away from him that we can whisper without anybody hearing, but not gay close. I don't really do gay close.

“I'm really sorry, man,” I say before he can spit out anything that'll piss me off. He's on the defensive right now, and I don't blame him. I get it. That's how I deal with my shit, too. I reach out a hand and pat his shoulder. Dax doesn't move, letting his gray eyes drop to my fingers with a detached expression that makes him look a little scary. Too bad it ain't Halloween cause I could wear that face as a mask.

“Don't touch me, Turner,” he says as I lift my hands in surrender. I'm not here to start a fight. Seriously. “You didn't give a shit about Hayden.” Dax pauses and I can see his fingers curling at his sides. “Nobody did.” I take a step back and watch as Dax lets the emotions run over and through him, electrifying his fingers with unwanted energy. They twitch by his sides, a half second away from exploding into violence. Trust me, I've played the rage game many a time in my fuckin' day.

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