Head swimming, hands clammy, and with cold sweat trickling down my spine, I stand on the stage with the lights beaming down on me, hotter than the fucking sun. With the music humming through my body, I let the deafening roar of the crowd wash over me like a balm to my toxic soul. I would kill for a fucking line of blow right now.
This should be more important than any high. Then again, so should she. I shake my head to rid myself of that shit and the world of hurt that goes along with it. ThereÔÇÖs no time to waste on things I canÔÇÖt change, not on this stage anyway.
I smile at them, raise my arms, and motion with my hands for them to give me more, and they do. I feed off their energy; the stadium is alive with it and I need it to breathe life back into me. Not that I fucking deserve it.
Reaching for my mic stand, I bring it to my mouth and give them my ÔÇ£rock starÔÇØ smirk. The one that says IÔÇÖm the guy your mama warned you about and the one that your daddy has dreaded since the day you were born.
ÔÇ£Hello New York!ÔÇØ I yell into the mic, making them go even crazier. ÔÇ£Are you guys ready to rock?ÔÇØ Behind the drums, I give Lawson the cue to start the countdown and the show begins despite the fact that my heart isnÔÇÖt really in it tonight. She isnÔÇÖt waiting in the wings for me.
Two hours later we head off stage toward the dressing rooms and the after parties that I love a little too much. Wiping the sweat from my face, I almost miss her standing there with her back against the wall, that sad damn look on her face that I put there. Willow was here. I was crazy to think she wouldnÔÇÖt be. With new- found confidence I watch as she gives the guys a wave as they greet her. Knowing that something isnÔÇÖt right with us, the boys are smart enough not to linger.
ÔÇ£Willow.ÔÇØ Her name leaves my mouth on a strained breath. I was sure that I would have to hunt her down and beg for forgiveness after the shit I said to her. The accusations I hurled all while tears streamed down her face. Shit I can barely remember because I was so fucking high. Words that I thought IÔÇÖd said in a dream, only when I woke up to find her gone, I knew it wasnÔÇÖt a dream. More like a goddamn nightmare, and I was living it.
ÔÇ£I need to get my things out of the hotel room, and I donÔÇÖt have my key. My name isnÔÇÖt on the reservation so they wonÔÇÖt give me one at the front desk. I wasnÔÇÖt sure if you were planning to leave right after the show or not, soÔÇªÔÇØ She trails off. ÔÇ£I wonÔÇÖt take long, and IÔÇÖll leave it at the front desk for you, for when you get back.ÔÇØ
All of this is said in a cold, detached ramble that IÔÇÖm not used to hearing from my Wills. Her face looks drawn, her eyes red-rimmed. I broke her and that kills me. WeÔÇÖve been together for years, and in one night, I threw it all away. And for what? I canÔÇÖt even remember right now. No, thatÔÇÖs not true. It wasnÔÇÖt just one night. IÔÇÖve been throwing her away every damn night for months. Chasing that high, letting the paranoia seep in where it didnÔÇÖt belong.
ÔÇ£I just need to grab my stuff and then I have a flight to catch.ÔÇØ SheÔÇÖs soÔÇªempty. Void and despondent. It stabs at my insides. Bile churning with the knowledge that I snuffed out her light.
ÔÇ£YouÔÇöyouÔÇÖre leaving Wills?ÔÇØ The pain I feel at that rocks me.
Shaking her head at me, I see the tears glistening in her hollowed out eyes.
ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt. DonÔÇÖt call me that! The only reason that IÔÇÖm even still here is because my purse is in the room with my phone and ID in it. Otherwise, I would be home by now.ÔÇØ ThereÔÇÖs an underlying thread of hysteria and damning heard in her words.
It hits me then just how big of a bastard I really am. I hurt her, forced her to walk out on me last night, all because of my insecurities, my need to occupy that place of numbness, my heaven and her hell. And now she tells me that she had no phone, no money, no clothes. Nothing.
ÔÇ£Where did you stay last night, Wills? Where did you go without your purse?ÔÇØ
She flinches mildly and then shuts down again. ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt worry about it, Stone. IÔÇÖm not your concern anymore. You donÔÇÖt have to take care of my ÔÇÿneedy ass.ÔÇÖ I can take care of myself.ÔÇØ
I can see the anger flaring, red creeping across her beautiful face, but I can also see her lip quivering as she recounts the hurtful things I said to her last night. Words meant to hurt but that were in no way true. I was a dick, I screwed up, and I know in my heart she wonÔÇÖt give me a chance to make it right. I pushed her too far for too long, and now sheÔÇÖs done.
ÔÇ£Willow, I didnÔÇÖt mean that. I didnÔÇÖt mean any of it. I was drunk and stupid. Please, baby, letÔÇÖs talk about it. As soon as the tour is over we can go away just you and me.ÔÇØ ThereÔÇÖs desperation in my voice, fear lacing my words. I canÔÇÖt lose her. IÔÇÖm not me without her.
ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm finished talking. I am sick of being accused of things I would never do. I am over walking on eggshells with you, afraid to upset you. Worrying that IÔÇÖll end up alone in our room again, in another strange city that I followed you to, wondering where you are and who youÔÇÖre with and what youÔÇÖre doing. Hoping this high wonÔÇÖt be the one that you take too far. IÔÇÖm done with all of it. I love you and I have stood by you, putting up with all of it because I wanted to support you. To be there for you because I know that you are under a lot of pressure, but now IÔÇÖm done. IÔÇÖm going home. I see now that I never should have left.ÔÇØ
This is all said with such finality that I feel panic bubbling up inside me. I open my mouth to beg her to stay and talk when a trashy-looking blonde walks up and slides her hand up my arm.
ÔÇ£Stone, I thought you were going to call me,ÔÇØ she whines as she strokes her fingers back and forth over the tattoo on my arm, the willow tree that I got as a surprise for my girl long ago. I snatch my arm away from the blonde and look up at Wills, my eyes wild.
ÔÇ£Baby, itÔÇÖs not what you think. I swear to you, Wills, it isnÔÇÖt.ÔÇØ I have no clue if thatÔÇÖs the truth.
ÔÇ£Save it, Stone. I heard you loud and clear last night. YouÔÇÖre not made for one woman. I was stupid to think that you were. Can you please just give me the key so I donÔÇÖt miss my flight?ÔÇØ Her voice is laced with the anger and pain that sheÔÇÖs feeling, that weÔÇÖre both feeling.
ÔÇ£Please!ÔÇØ she cries out, stomping her foot. IÔÇÖve never seen her this way. So emotional yet detached at the same time.
The blonde still standing there, watching it all.
I shake my head, imploring her with my eyes, since my words donÔÇÖt mean anything right now, begging for her to not do this. Taking in a painful breath, I pull out my wallet and take out the room key.
Handing it over to her, I try one more time.
ÔÇ£Willow, please donÔÇÖt leave. Not like this,ÔÇØ I plead with her.
She takes the key card from me with a trembling hand, careful not to touch me when she does.
ÔÇ£IÔÇÖll be out of the house by the time you get back into town. IÔÇÖll leave my keys over at the studio with Addy,ÔÇØ she says, looking right through me.
She flicks a glance over at the girl who still hasnÔÇÖt moved and then back to me.
ÔÇ£You got what you wanted, Stone. YouÔÇÖre single and free to do whatever and whoever you want without having to worry about sneaking around. DonÔÇÖt keep her waiting ÔÇö she looks like a sure thing.ÔÇØ
With that little parting remark, I watch the woman of my dreams walk away and out of my life. There isnÔÇÖt enough music in the world that could make the pain of losing her go away. This isnÔÇÖt where our song ends; I wonÔÇÖt let it. Only IÔÇÖm not sure I have much of a choice. And just like that, my heart stops beating in rhythm.
Come get Wrecked with Stone and Willow in this second chance Rock Star Romance releasing on July 13th!
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ÔÇ£A rock star with no rhythm is a man with no soul.ÔÇØ ÔÇô Stone Lockhart
As the lead singer of one of the hottest bands to hit the rock scene, fucks are free, drugs come easy, and music is life.
For as long as Stone can remember, Willow has been his music ÔÇô the notes that weave his soul together.
Until he threw her away.
All he has left is a handful of pills and a few lines of powder to make him forget her.
And he tries, over and over.
Clean and ready to make things right, heÔÇÖs faced with the fact that WillowÔÇÖs moved on. SheÔÇÖs not the same girl he cast aside. WillowÔÇÖs a woman sure about her purpose in life. Sure about who sheÔÇÖs meant to love.
Stone may be lost without his rhythm, but Willow has found so much more.