Once I’ve snorted some blow in the restroom, I pour myself a glass of whiskey and sit on the couch in the green room.
We’re at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, the first stop on a three-show summer event with my dad’s band, Fully Wired. I can’t believe my own group, Borrowed Faith, is the supporting act, but I believe opening for Fully Wired will draw more attention to us before we’re headlining.
My father, Leon, along with the rest of his bandmates, are standing around, shooting the shit. My dad isn’t a quiet guy, but Dex is louder and laughing it up at the moment.
Sighing, I take a sip of my drink. The speech he’s about to give is going to be so damn long. The man has seven kids. Seven. Apple has one older brother, Clay, but the rest of Dex’s daycare are younger.
Speaking of the forbidden fruit… I glance around the room since she’s supposed to be here, but Faith is the only female present.
Oh, shit. The head of our record label just walked in. He’s wearing a suit, but it’s not surprising since the man’s name is Asher Wainscott. Talk about a pretentious sounding name.
I glance at Faith, and sure enough, she’s frozen in her spot, staring at him. Aiden’s sitting in the chair to my right. I watch his hands ball into fists. I think Faith is banging Asher.
I filled in on the second leg of Borrowed Faith’s tour after Tripp’s brother, Nathan, died. It was before I officially joined the band. Faith just happened to disappear after our gigs on the nights Asher showed up.
It’s not normal for a record exec to make that many appearances when one of their bands are on the road, so I put two and two together. It’s another secret that causes a shitload of tension amongst our band.
Dex approaches Asher, and they speak while everyone else wanders over to the sitting area I’m occupying. Faith takes the spot next to me on the couch and taps her heel. With drumsticks in hand, Tripp sits in an empty chair, and he looks about as enthused to be here as I am.
“Does Mr. Wainscott wear that expensive suit just for you?” I whisper to Faith.
“Shut up, asshole.”
I chuckle. I knew they were screwing, and it makes sense that Asher’s here tonight since we’re staying in a hotel. I demand we stay in them as often as possible. I’ve suffered from insomnia for years and can’t sleep on buses. The situation’s bad.
“Lady and gentlemen…” Dex says as he grins at Faith. Geez. He’d probably sleep with her, too, if he didn’t love his wife so much. “Mr. Wainscott came to watch tonight’s show. Let’s give him performances he’ll never forget.”
Asher displays a faint smile, his eyes glancing around until they fall on Faith. Why don’t you make it obvious, dude?
“I’m sure I won’t be disappointed,” he says.
I guess he could be here to support Fully Wired. They haven’t been on tour in five years, and the three shows they’re doing with my band aren’t only to help us; they’re also to showcase my dad’s band before their new album releases soon.
“OK, let me get to the main reason we’re having this meeting,” Dex says. “As Pete probably informed you, my daughter Apple is on the road with us. She’s hanging out on our bus as we speak.
“I’m sure you’ve heard I’m starting the eMagazine eWired in the fall. Apple just graduated with a journalism degree and is excited to be writing the feature article in the first issue. She’s also eager to write about Borrowed Faith.”
Dex smiles at me, and I don’t know why. Is he trying to piss off my bandmates? They already feel like I stole the show when I joined the band two years ago. Tripp especially hates me for replacing his brother.
“While we’re traveling, Apple will be interviewing each of you. Please be cooperative. This project is important to both of us. She’ll hang out on your bus during the day, but at night, she’ll be on our bus.”
He furrows his brow. “I’ve sheltered Apple as much as possible, but I’m not stupid. I’m sure she knows about or has done things I’d cringe over, but she’s not going to do shit or see shit with any of you. Understood?”
As my bandmates nod, I fight an eye roll.
“My daughter is special,” Dex continues. “She has gifts that others don’t possess, and I don’t want anyone hurting her or damaging her unique abilities.”
I’ve heard all about what makes Apple special, but I still find it hard to believe. What I do know is she was adopted by Dex, and how that came about haunts me to this day. It’s one of the reasons I can’t sleep at night, especially on buses.
“I’d keep her off this tour the same way I’ve kept her away from the previous ones, but she’s been watching that movie Almost Famous since she became a teenager, and Apple believes she’s going to reenact it.
“I’m hoping this brief tour will get the allure of rockers and stardom out of her pretty little head. Unlike the kid in the movie, there will be no deflowering of my daughter. If it happens, I will ruin you.” He glances at each of us. “Ruin. Have I made myself clear?”
“Dex,” I say, “come on. She’s twenty-one. Do you honestly believe she’s still a virgin?”
Glowering, he points at me. “This warning is directed mostly at you. Don’t touch her, Zain. Even your daddy won’t be able to save you if you do. In my mind, she’ll forever be as pure as the undriven snow, and the guy who leaves his tire tracks behind won’t be some godlike rock star whose world always comes first.”
I hold my hands up. “Damn, I didn’t plan on it, but I still think you’re being overprotective.”
“You’ll understand once you see her. She’s not the teenager you remember.” He scratches his head, messing up his blond hair that’s spiked on top.
“Now, let me call her to come meet all of you. Then, you can put on a kickass show before we put on an even better one.” He gives a toothy grin, thinking he’s clever.
The man’s been good to me over the years, but I’m not a child, and I don’t appreciate him treating me like one. Also, what the hell’s wrong with dating a rock star? He’s one, and he’s managed to stay married and have kids.
Although, I guess Erica has stayed home to raise them. Dex has always come first. If anyone’s godlike, it’s him.