Born Wrong

By: C.M. Stunich

Hard Rock Roots Book Five





I've never been so scared in all of my life.

“Oh my God, I am so nervous,” Hayden says, pretending she doesn't see the exchange between Turner and Naomi. But I do. They're kissing now, not just once, but twice, three times. I roll my eyes and focus my gaze back on the black curtains swirling in front of my face. The fabric flows like a specter, whirled around by the staff as they move Indecency's instruments off the stage and move ours on. I crack my knuckles and try to breathe.

In my mind, the audience already hates me. I'm just that emo bitch, that stupid drummer fag. That's what the Turners of the world think of me anyway. The number of people I've slept with isn't comparable to the population of a small country, and I don't post pictures of my dick online. I guess that makes me a loser. I get more hate mail than the rest of the band combined. But that's okay. In fact, I try to think of it as a good thing. If their expectations are so low, then it shouldn't be hard to impress them. One day, the audience will realize that I'm not just a robot on repeat, pounding out Naomi's songs for their listening pleasure. There's a little bit of me in there, too, and it is bad ass. Hey, her and Hayden might be the stars, but even stars need a sky, right?

Right?

I close my eyes and turn away, trying my best to drown out the roar of thousands. Outside this dark bubble backstage, there's a sun shining bright, ready to burn. Turner and Naomi took care of that for us, took the audience from lukewarm to scalding. This is going to hurt, isn't it?

“I am just freaking the fuck out. How about you, Dax?” Hayden asks me, reaching over and massaging my shoulder with her nails. I jerk away and wrap my arms around myself, casting a glance over my shoulder at the departing backs of Indecency. Unlike Hayden Lee, I really am nervous.

“I'm sick to my fucking stomach, Hayden,” I say, trying to keep my voice soft. I'm the only person on this earth that's nice to her, the only one who thinks she's redeemable. Deep down, she's a good person. I know it; I just have to find a way to prove it to everyone else. Right now however, the only thing I'm really capable of is trying to give myself an internal pep talk. I've never felt like this before, not even at the show in Little Rock. There are cameras here, broadcasting us to the world. This moment, whether good or bad, is going to be written into human history for the foreseeable future. In the past, I've rationalized my fear of performing live by telling myself that the only people who could see me, who would even know if I fucked up, were the people in the audience. This time, everyone will know. Even Dad.

I feel my eyes growing wide, the blood draining from my face.

Arnold and the rest of the McCann clan could be watching. Ugh.

I squeeze my eyes shut, try not to think back on the last conversation we had.

You're a freak, Dax, and I could never, never be proud to call you my son. And if your mother was still alive... Shame on you for wasting her life, boy. Shame on you.

Somebody touches my shoulder again, and I jump, spinning to find Naomi standing behind me with a slight frown. My heart is pumping like crazy, smashing against the inside of my chest and drawing breaths from me in ragged gasps. I'm such a wreck.

I untangle my arms from around my chest and dip my hands into the pockets of the sleeveless hoodie I'm wearing. It's not really something I'd have picked for myself, but it's alright. There's a glow-in-the-dark skeleton design on the front, and it does a decent job of showing off my tattoos. I run one hand across the grim reaper tat on my forearm.

“Where the hell are they going?” I ask, tilting my chin at the door. Turner's in a big, fucking hurry. So much so that he doesn't even bother to turn around and look at Naomi on his way out. I figure it must have something to do with his friend, Trey. Yet another asshole, like a Turner clone. I don't like Treyjan, but I also hope that nothing bad's happened to him. This whole thing, this devious plot crap, is bullshit. Nobody deserves to die swimming in bullshit.

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