Bad Day

By: C.M. Stunich

CHAPTER  1

There is blood fucking everywhere. Everywhere. I mean come the fuck on. It's dripping between my breasts, stuck in my ears, crusted in my hair. In my lap lies a white towel stained red. It's not enough to get all of this … this stuff off of me. Because it's not just blood. There are … other bits. Pieces of Turner's friend all the fuck over me.
I lean my head back and stare up at the ceiling.
Glug, glug, glug.
A water fountain starts up down the hallway. I turn my head to look and startle a man in scrubs who's staring at me like I'm either the most beautiful or the most horrifying thing he's ever seen. I've gotten both tonight. I throw him the bird and kiss the tip of my finger while he scurries away, sliding down the hall and around the corner before he gets in trouble with one of the security officers or cops standing nearby. Oh, yeah. We're in big time lockdown now. Big time.
The sound of a gunshot, the feeling of wetness behind me, screaming, the fences caving inward.
I shut my eyes tight, squeeze them so hard they hurt.
“Ugh.” I drop my chin back down and stare at Lola Saints sitting across from me. The enemy, my mind hisses. But that's not true, not anymore. She told us everything she knows which is a hell of a lot more than we had before. Not that it stopped what happened tonight. Who woulda thunk? Who the fuck would've, huh? The cops asked so many stupid ass questions, but I get the gist – they don't know who did it. Not some random shooter in the crowd, that's for sure. This was a planned hit from on high. Oh yeah, a professional job. That's great, just fucking fan-flipping-tastic.
I swallow hard and wait for Turner and Milo to come back. What else can we do? Can't go back to that hotel – too many reporters there now. Honestly, this is one of those moments in life where a barrel in the mouth sounds like a good idea. Or a hit in the bathroom. But I don't have any drugs with me. If Kash or Wren did, then I'm sure they've already used them. I glare at them snoozing in the chairs across from me. I only wish I could sleep. But I can't. Not knowing if Turner's best friend is …
“I'm sorry,” Lola whispers, her voice so soft I can barely hear it over the scuffle in the hallways. I don't say anything, just sit there and stare at her, dark hair falling over her face, skin pale as crack. Her lips are trembling slightly and her hands are falling over one another like they're trying to climb a ladder to nowhere. “I'm such a … ” She pauses, takes a deep breath. Her blue eyes bore into mine like ice. She leans forward and whispers to me, like she's afraid Dax might hear her. Far as I can tell, he's also asleep. “Such a bloody fuckface.” She runs her fingers through her hair and drops her elbows to her knees. I watch as the pair of guitar earrings she's wearing swing forward and sparkle under the parking lights from outside. The ones in the waiting area are dimmed, presumably to try and keep us all calm. Though how calm anyone could be after what just happened is beyond me.
I lift a hand to my face and see that it's shaking. I think I'm in shock.
Dropping to the ground, crawling forward, Turner screaming.
I have to resist clamping my hands over my ears to block out the sounds. I'll never tell a soul, but the only thing I want to do right now is take Turner in my arms and hold him tight, brush his hair back and tell him it'll be alright. Don't believe me? You should've seen his face when he saw Trey.
“I really believed you and Turner were the only targets scheduled for … you know.” Lola sits back and sniffs, glancing around the room like she expects to see some of the members from Ice and Glass come around the corner. But they all left on the first bus, with Burning the Bleeding and Terre Haute. Little Lola here just happened to be onstage pounding the shit out of her kit with me and Turner and the rest of the fucking gang. Damn you, Turner. Why did you have to open your big mouth? “I'm such an idiot.”
I try not to get too angry with him. He is, after all, paying the ultimate price for his words. Then again, we have no way of knowing this wasn't pre-planned. The hit may have already been set to go before the show even started. In fact, the more I think about it, the more sense that makes. How easy is it to get a hit man up in a nearby building with an hour's notice? Not all that fucking easy would be my opinion.
“And now all I can think about is Poppet,” she says, slumping in her chair, fingering the edges of her skirt with nervous hands. “Fuck me swinging. God, Poppet, I hope you're alright. Please be alright. Please, please, please be alright.”
“This is fucking bullshit!”
Turner.
I stand up so quick, I startle Dax from his sleep.
“You can't do this to me!” Turner storms out of an office with his hands in the air, moving past a pair of security guards. As soon as he gets out of range of them, he swipes his hand across a metal cart, knocking various instruments to the floor. “You can't fucking keep me from seeing him. He's my best friend.” Turner slams his palm against his chest and there, in the corners of his eyes, I see the tiniest flicker of tears. “He's my best Goddamn friend.”
Milo comes out after Turner and puts a hand on his shoulder, patting him gently. The other members of Indecency file out, all except for Josh who's off somewhere with Hayden and Blair, getting checked for minor injuries. Fuck, we're all lucky we didn't get killed. The crowds nearly crushed us. If it wasn't for the bodyguards, the fencing, the van, we may have been trampled to death.
Ronnie slumps back against the wall, face a lot cleaner than it was when I last saw it. He was covered in blood, just drenched in it. His eyes though, God. I look over at Lola and see that she's shaking twice as hard as she was before. I can tell she wants to go to him, but doesn't know their boundaries as a … couple or whatever. I tuck my own hair behind my ear and try not to think about that either. Instead, I just watch as Jesse walks slowly towards us, swaying a bit on his feet. He's not crying now, but he was; they all were. The sobbing of those boys pierced through my head. It keeps playing on a continuous loop in my brain, drowning out everything else. They really, truly fucking love that guy. It's hard for me to comprehend since I've never had a family like that, but Indecency – at least the four original members – really do care about each other. Kind of surprising for such loser drug addict, womanizing fuckwads.
I feel water stinging my eyes and look away. Poor Turner. Poor fucking Turner. Turner fucking Campbell. I look back over at him and stay where I am, feet twitching to step off this carpeted area, clack across the linoleum floor, so I can throw my arms around him.
“I want to see Treyjan. He doesn't have any fucking family left. He grew up three trailers down from me.” Turner points his arm down the hall and swallows hard. His jaw is clenched tight and the muscles in his arms are quivering. “Except for his piece of shit stripper sister, there's nobody. Come the fuck on.” I watch in tense anticipation. Turner looks like he's about this close to taking off down the hallway and trying to find his friend, whether they like it or not. Whatever the doctor says, I can't hear, but Turner spins away, putting his head in his hands and storming down the hall towards me. My skin starts to prickle and my throat goes dry. I can feel his pain thrumming through my body, can still hear his voice as he scrambled to his knees and crawled over to his friend's broken body.
Trey got shot. Trey got shot. Trey got shot.
Turner repeated himself over and over again as he held his hands over his friend's bullet wound. I want to hate him, but I can't. Especially not right now.
When he gets closer to me, I take a step back. The energy crackling between us is so strong it almost hurts, like a really bad case of static. I touch my hands to my jeans, rubbing my palms across the denim. He's still looking at the floor, focusing on the space where the shiny white linoleum becomes dull blue carpeting. Like me, he's got blood crusted on the back of his neck, his shirt, his hair. I can't even believe that Trey is still alive. Obviously, that was not the intention of the shooter. Somebody is going to be pissed when they find out. Well, if he makes it. There's still a chance he could die.
Turner raises his face up to mine, and grabs hold of me with an expression as raw and open as I've ever seen. Pain. Guilt. Confusion. Where's all of that haughty arrogance? That sense of total control, like he owns the damn world. The silver shine of tears hangs onto the corners of his eyes, beading on the edges of his eyelashes as the street lamps outside draw shadows across his face, limning him in darkness against the brightness of the hospital lights. He stands there staring for a second, and then digs around in his pocket, coming up with a pair of bloody shades. I watch as Turner slips them on his face just a second before a tear slips down his cheek.
“He lived three trailers down from me,” he says, swiping at his cheeks and throwing on a sultry smile with absolutely zero heat in it, just a false front for the world. “Just three fucking trailers down.” And then he reaches out and encircles me with his arms, and I let him because there's nothing else I can do. I let him hold me like I'm the one who needs comforting, sliding my arms around his waist and squeezing tight. Despite everything, I'm wrapped up in Turner Campbell bullshit, buried neck deep in the crap. I hold him, perfectly aware of Dax behind me and Lola by my side. She's still standing there, wondering if she should go to Ronnie or not.
Turner's breath stirs my hair and the muscles in his chest tighten up as he struggles to control his emotions.
“Is he … ” I don't know how to phrase the question, so I hold it back, tuck it deep inside and try to absorb some of his pain. Why, I don't know. I should be glad the fucker's finally feeling some of the pain that's wracked me since that night so many years. Since March 15th.
Lola takes a step forward, crossing her arms under her breasts, eyes seeking some sort of answer. From who, I don't know. I sure as shit don't know anything at all. I'm standing here holding this man like I've never held another man, and I … I'm so conflicted I could split right in half.
“Not yet.” Turner's whisper is so low, I feel the words against my skin more than I hear them. “Not fucking yet.” He squeezes me one last time and pulls back, face dry, mouth turned down in a frown. Ronnie comes up behind him and clamps his hand on Turner's shoulder before turning to Lola. They stare at each other for a moment before he steps forward, slides his fingers through her hair and kisses her lips. If I didn't know any better, I'd say they'd been friends for ages. Funny how that works, isn't it?
Poor Jesse comes shuffling up to us with nobody to hug, nobody to take that look off his face or that pain from his heart. I tuck my hands in my pockets, not even sure how I feel about doing it for Turner Campbell. But Lola Saints apparently has a bigger heart than I do. I watch as she untangles herself from Ronnie and steps over to Jesse, reaching her arms around his waist and squeezing him. I don't even think that they know each other. Good for her. She's a better person than I am. I watch the back of her head carefully, thinking about Marta, the blonde roadie who died on my tour bus. I imagine her ghost will be trailing after us all for some time. At least Lola knows she did something wrong. The rest of her band … This Tyler guy. I have a feeling we're not going to get too many more changes of heart here.
“Oh my God! What did I miss?!” Hayden comes clinking across the floor towards us in her pink hooker heels, and my vision goes white hot, my fists curl at my sides. I want to kill you. You backstabbing, lying, egotistical, self-absorbed fucking whore. I want to rip your teeth out one by one and make a friggin' necklace out of them. Her lips turn into a round 'O' and her hands fly up to her face. Tears tickle the edges of her eyes. What a fucking performance. “He's … please tell me Trey's going to be alright.” Hayden sniffles a bit, and my anger surges over and through me.
I move forward before I can stop myself, grabbing her by the front of her oversized Misfits T-shirt, letting loose the anger I've been feeling since Lola reconfirmed her continued involvement. No, no, no. The anger I've felt since she started blackmailing me, since the night I stabbed my foster parents' in their miserable rapist throats.
“Look at that, another Oscar Winning fucking Performance goes to Miss Hayden Lee.” I shake her, but she doesn't drop that pathetic whiny mouse look she's got plastered on her face. Even her tiny, upturned nose is red like she's been crying. Or taking a nice long toke in the bathroom. “You don't even get to pretend that you give a fucking shit.” I shove her backwards and she stumbles in her heels, catching herself just barely on the wall by the doors. One of the police officers steps forward, but he doesn't say anything, just clears his throat to remind us he's here. Damn, I guess the ass kicking she's got coming her way has to be postponed. Lucky little bitch.
“I don't know what you're talking about, Naomi,” she says, getting snippy with me. Her eyes trawl through the faces around me, looking for sympathy, understanding. Nobody gives her a damn thing, not even Jesse who has no clue what's going on here. “Treyjan Charell is one of my idols.” Hayden touches a hand to the mosquito bite tits she's got on her chest. “I can't mourn with everyone else? How inhuman are you that you'd deny that to me?”
My blood gets so hot, I feel like my skin's about to split open and spill my hatred to the floor like battery acid. I've been dealing with this bitch's shit for so long – too long. I move forward, but Turner stops me with a hand on my upper arm. I shake him off with a growl, but I stay where I am, eyeing the nearby cop with a narrowed gaze. Is he one of the dirty ones? How will we ever know? We can't fight professionals on our own. We need help, but where is it going to come from? Where?
“You.” I point at her, my hand shaking, the bracelets on my arm clanging with the motion. “I see right freaking through you, baby doll. Keep your shit together because the second – and I mean the second – you let your guard down, I'll be there to expose you.”
Hayden's laughter splits the silence of the hospital like a knife as she takes a step forward and focuses her blue eyes on mine, threatening me with a gentle flutter of eyelids. I've known her for so long now, I can read the violence in her body language. But I can also see the fear.
“Getting awfully uppity there, Knox.” Hayden snaps her fingers, and I hate her so much more in that moment than I did before. Any situation can be turned to her benefit, making her the star in the face of tragedy. This right here, right now is about Turner, Ronnie, Jesse, about Trey. But yet here we go, everyone's attention focused on Hayden. Even mine. It's served Amatory Riot well for a long time, but I'm not doing it anymore. I need her gone. Out of my band. I have no fucking clue how I'm going to pull that off, but I'll make it happen. I will. I have to. “It's almost like you've forgotten all the beautiful memories we share.” She tilts her head to the side, brunette hair slithering over her shoulder like a snake. Somehow, she has no blood on her. Imagine that. It's almost like she knew what was coming!
“And you've almost forgotten that I have this.” I pull the picture out of my pocket and flash it at her, waving it around enough that I'm sure nobody else will be able to make out the shot of her covered head to toe in blood. Oh yes, bitch, I purr inside my head as I watch her cheeks blanch. Oh yes. I hold the photo up to my mouth and give it a little kiss. “Remember that photo shoot you did for Tin Dolls Magazine? Wonder if they'd enjoy a follow-up piece. They seem to have a thing for your tiny tits.” I slip the picture back in my pocket and turn away before she can sputter up some kind of nasty response.
Turner's smiling at me, but it doesn't look half as real as his limp when he moves towards me, slinging an arm over my shoulders.
“'S get the fuck outta here, baby,” he says in a voice I have never heard before, with an expression I have never seen before. It's a little scary.
“Yes, please,” Milo Terrabotti says, making me jump a little. It's like he appears out of nowhere. I guess these boys need a man like that in their life, a father figure they've never had or whatever, but shit, I'd get tired of that real fast. “Just us being here poses a safety risk to the hospital's patients and staff. I've arranged a safe house for us which we'll be staying in until otherwise notified by the police.”
“Oh, fuck that!” Turner snaps, pulling away from me and spinning on his manager. His face is all sweaty and his skin tight. He needs a fucking nap and some meds bad. I move after him, but what am I supposed to do? I'm not his freaking keeper. So I cross my arms over my chest and watch. “I'm not going to run away and hide. That's exactly what this fucker wants.” He turns on Ronnie who's so stoic, he may as well be made of stone. “Isn't it?” Turner looks at Lola. “This guy … ” Turner swallows and glances over at the cops. It's hard to remember that not everyone knows about this Tyler Rutledge. I considered telling the cops, I really did, but like Lola said, some are dirty. We tell the one wrong, her sister dies. Or worse. And that's assuming that even if we do tell the right person, that anything can be done about it. From what I've seen, Tyler Rutledge, whoever he is, is very meticulous, very careful. These crimes might all be related, but if nobody can prove it then well, we're screwed. Feigned ignorance is best at this point. Hopefully our little performance in Little Rock, and Turner's announcement, won't blow things for us. “This person or people or who the fuck ever want us to stop, to hide, to lay the hell down and die. We keep going. We keep playing. That's what Trey would want.”
“Turner,” Milo says softly, putting a pale hand on his shoulder. He looks like a corpse right about now. Bloodless lips, blanched cheeks, white-blonde hair, ice blue eyes. There's almost no color to Milo Terrabotti. His job has just gone from hard to impossible. In fact, I'm surprised he's still here. A lot of people would've cut and run by this point. “This is not a decision we can make spur of the moment. Let's head back to the safe house and talk things through tomorrow. I think we could all use a good night's sleep.” I glance out the window, following Milo's gaze and see that the sun is already peeking its head above the horizon.
“But we have to fight for Trey,” Turner mumbles, losing steam like a pot off the stove. Shit. My heart almost breaks in half for a moment there. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. “We have to fight.”
“Nobody's saying we won't, Turner,” Ronnie whispers from behind him. Turner glances over his shoulder at his friend, at the blood staining his shirt, crusted on his arms, his jeans. “Let's just … let's get out of here, okay? We can talk about it tomorrow.” Turner squeezes his hand into a fist and bunches his shoulders up tight. I wish he wasn't wearing those shades, so I could look into his eyes and figure out what he was thinking.
“Fine. Just … fine.” He slumps, sinking in on himself like a deflated balloon. Turner rubs his hand across the lower half of his face and turns towards the doors, moving forward so quickly the police and the bodyguards with us have to scramble to keep up.
“Turner, wait just a minute, please!” Milo says, clapping his hands. From the corner of my eye, I catch Blair and Josh trailing towards us, talking in low voices. They both have bandages on their arms, but it doesn't seem serious. “We need to do this strategically.” Milo clears his throat. “Miss Lola Saints here will be heading to the new hotel we picked out for the other bands. It's just going to be us, America Harding, and her band members. With a few selected members of staff, of course.” Milo gives Lola a sympathetic look, but I don't think he sees the shiver that travels up her spine, the spike of terror in her blue eyes.
“No!” This from Ronnie, almost a roar. Even Turner has to stop and stare at him for that one. “I don't want her going back there.” I glance over at Hayden who's leaning against the wall smiling. Fuck, shit, and bitch. That friggin' whore is going to spill the beans. Wherever we go, it's not going to be safe, not with her there. But what am I supposed to do? As far as anyone else knows, she was kidnapped, too. She's in danger, too. I think of Lola's words, of Hayden's cryptic request for me to sing the night I was kidnapped. From right around Denver, I think. Did she know before she left that night what was going to happen? Or after? “You send Lola away, then I go, too. She comes with us.”
“Ronnie,” Milo begins, and I can tell from his tone of voice that he's not used to having to argue with this particular member of his band. Ronnie runs a hand through his bloody black hair, hands trembling. Guess we've all got the friggin' shakes today. Getting shot at by a sniper rifle oughta freak anybody out.
“I mean it,” he says, but Lola's always grabbing onto his arm, looking up into his eyes and shaking her head. She stands up on her tip-toes and whispers something into his ear, something that makes him stiff as a board, that cuts across his face with a frown. “Lola,” he says, voice soft and gentle. “Please come with me.” But she's already backing away, shaking her head.
“No can do, mate,” she says with a false smile. God, the false cheer in this room is strong enough to choke a horse. “You're gonna have to do without this ass tonight, fuckhead.” Lola slaps her butt with her hand and tosses Ronnie a wink. He reaches out a hand towards her, fingers curled like he's grasping at a fleeting memory, and then abruptly drops them by his side. I don't know what she said to him, but I can take a guess. She has to go back or they'll all know something is up. If they don't already, that is. That little performance onstage last night was maybe not the best way to keep our cover. Lola basically gave her band a fuck you right up the ass – no lube. She's risking a lot by separating from us.
“You are one brave bitch,” I whisper to her as she passes, and her smile gets a little more real. She pauses by the doors and turns around, hands on her hips, head turning towards the parking lot, smile fading as quickly as it came. A head bobs across the walkway towards the doors and turns in, flashing a badge to the guards there. Seconds later, in walks in Lola's manager. I have no idea what her name is, but she has the creepiest eyes I have ever seen in my life. If a house fly and a crack head tweaker bitch fucked and made some kind of hybrid baby, it would be this chick.
“Lola,” she says, smiling wide and ugly, like a crocodile.
“KK,” Lola responds calmly, and I swear to God, I hear a gurgle come from Ronnie's throat. He looks down at the floor, eyes closed, sweat pouring down the back of his neck. KK reaches out to put a hand on Lola's shoulder and she shrugs it off.
“Stop grinning like a shot fox, you bodgy bitch, and keep your damn hands off me.” I grin while I watch Lola pull out a cigarette and light up right there in the hospital. “Now get me the hell out of here before I puke on your shoes. I could use a bit of shut eye and a fucking drink.” Lola grins right back at me and spins on her leopard print heel, marching out those doors like she owns the place. I hope to fucking God that we see her alive again. Somehow, I have a bad feeling in my gut that we might not.
 

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