Saturday, September 23rd,
Greg turned to Evan, once they were in the room. “Hey, my
man. I’m gonna hang with some of my venue security homies that got invited
here. We want to talk mixed martial arts. Learned a few things from them the
other night when we were breaking up fights and blocking aggressors. Want to
“Umm, yeah, sure. But I need to talk to Dana first. See how
“Ladies’ man.” Greg smiled, and elbowed Evan playfully. “I
got it. Yeah, go check her out. But last I saw, she was doing quite well.”
He squinted and stared at Greg. “What do you mean?”
“Ahh, I don’t want to tell you, bro. You’ll find out. Text
me when you’re done.”
Evan felt his heart sink. This couldn’t be good. “Yeah,
okay. See you later, man.”
Greg walked to the left, toward a bunch of guys sitting on a
L-shaped dark-colored sofa in the far corner of the large room.
Evan took in the rest of the view. Quite the large
convention party room, maybe fifty yards deep by a hundred yards wide. All
around the perimeter of the room were orange and purple light beams,
originating from the floor and shooting upwards to place orange and purple
spotlights on the ceiling. The carpeted floor was a mix of swirling designs
with a similar color scheme, though it was hard to say for sure from the dim
lighting in this room. Across to the other side of the room, any of the tall
windows had their curtains closed. Heck, it was nearly 8:30 PM. Carter probably
didn’t want any fans or paps peering in.
He looked to his right. This section of the large room had a
wall running parallel along the length of the main, larger room, making two
smaller areas. Some sort of permanent bar structure was close-by to where he
stood. Twelve chairs were placed in front of the bar table. And five of them
He began walking, slowly, and searching. Dana. Where could
Near the center of the room were a bunch of tall, round
tables, where people could stand and drink. Maybe about ten to fifteen of them,
counted roughly, had several of Dana’s team already by them.
Yeah. Good thing his age was a barrier. Last thing he needed
right now was a drink.
And then the music started. It was Dana’s music. In the
far-left corner, from his position, a DJ was working on a tall, wide mixing
He could see some of the backup singers and dancers, near
another one of the L-shaped sofas at the opposite end of the room, near the
windowed-wall. He headed that way.
Walking past the bar, his peripheral caught someone jumping
off the bar stool. He glanced over in that direction.
That someone was Chella. And damn, was she looking smoking
hot, wearing high-waist denim shorts that just snugged her tiny little waist
and a red, low-cut V-neck top showing some cleavage.
He stopped walking. “Hey, Chella,” he said quietly, though
loud enough for her to hear over the music. “How are you doing?”
She stepped up closer, holding a drink in her hand. “Oh,
pretty good. Just enjoying my martini. You thinking about breaking the law
tonight and getting a drink? It’s the tour’s next to the last party.”
He laughed. “Umm, in that case, probably not a good idea.”
She smiled. “Yeah, I guess so.” She took a sip of her drink.
He looked back at that L-shaped sofa, where the singers and
dancers congregated. Some of them had stepped away. He could see better now.
Dana was sitting there. And so was Hal.
“Hey, umm, I’ll be back,” he said to Chella. “Going to see
how our main girl here is doing.”
Chella blinked a few times, and smiled briefly, but the
smile didn’t appear sincere. “Oh, sure. She seems a lot better since last
night. But yeah, let me know how she’s doing, when you get back. Okay?”
“I will.” He smiled at her, warmly.
He headed toward Dana. He didn’t want to appear too obvious,
but his pace was nearly a run.
So dark in here. Music pounding like a massive drum. Just
Eventually he was close enough to see better. Dana sat in
the middle of the longer section of the L-shaped sofa, and next to her, far too
close to her, was Hal. Hal was settled back into the seat and had his arm
around her, on the sofa pillows, very reminiscent of the close sitting position
he shared with Dana in her dressing room last night. And Dana had a drink in
her hands. But worst of all, she was leaning close to Hal too.
Evan stepped nearer until he was about six feet away from
Dana took a sip of her drink and stared up at him. “Well,
well. Look what the cat dragged in.”
Hal laughed, and she did too.
Evan stood tall and steady, though he felt a tremor along
his spine. This was all wrong. Didn’t feel true whatsoever. He stared at her.
“I…I was just wondering, how you are feeling, since…you know, last night.”
Hal laughed again. “You really need to ask that…bitch?”
Dana smiled and turned to Hal. “Hey, now, now. Don’t have to
be calling names.” She directed her eyes back on Evan. “Well, as you can see,
drink in hand.” She lifted her glass up high, lowered it, and took another sip.
“No problem.” She gave him an insincere smile. “So, how are you doing, bitch?”
Hal smiled and turned away, laughing to himself, while Dana
giggled along with him.
Evan sighed. “I’m fine, thanks. Umm…” Motion on the right
caught his eye. He looked in that direction. Near another bar, about fifty feet
away, Carter and Lloyd stood by one of those standing tables. And they were
staring dead on at him. “Well…” He focused into Dana’s cold gaze again. “I will
leave you be, then.” He lifted his hand up, like a wave good-bye, and headed
back toward Chella.
“Yeah, you go over there,” he could hear Dana say from
behind him, as he walked away. “We’re far too drunk for your fragile ass.”
Fragile? She has no idea.
His heart and his brain were quickly at odds with each
other. Though he immediately understood Dana probably had no choice but to
behave like this, he still felt a crushing blow to his gut. And it hurt, bad.
Think, think! His heart told him to leave, to get as far
from here as possible, to lick his wounds in the hotel room. But his mind and
clearer thinking needed to prevail.
Syrrah, remember Syrrah, if this is truly her, trapped,
herself deeply hurting.
He inhaled a deep breath.
He turned back to see Dana again and instantly wished he
hadn’t; she was gazing right into Hal’s eyes, so close, and he was staring
back, intrigued, hungry.
Evan faced forward and clenched his fists, tight as metal
He kept walking. He didn’t see Chella. He walked until
arriving near a rarity in this convention room - a circular sofa with high back
seats, so anyone behind on the opposite side couldn’t see you. No one was
sitting on the seat currently. He walked over to the side facing toward Greg’s
location in the room and sat down.
He leaned forward and took out his phone. Calm, stay calm,
and think! Need to stay here. Must keep an eye on her, as best as possible.
Remember the suffering she expressed last night. Besides her physical pain, she
suffers from emotional and mental pain too.
But then doubts twisted across his thoughts. Is she really,
truly Syrrah, deep inside, under all that rude, narcissistic behavior? Maybe
her reaction last night after meeting Neraeh was only fibromyalgia-related, a
sudden, disrupting attack of the disease.
Except for those mumbling words, however.
He opened the web browser on his phone. He wondered of
Heidi’s Instagram or Twitter account, and if she had posted anything damaging
that Dana might have spotted.
Someone sat down next to him, on his right.
He turned to see. Chella was by him.
She had sad, concerned eyes. “Hey, I’m sorry, Evan. I guess
she’s still not feeling okay.”
“You were watching?”
“Yes, I did. I’m sorry. I was just curious, but…but Dana.
She’s definitely not herself. She never wants to be around Hal anymore. Why is
she doing that?”
Evan leaned back into the soft cushions of the seat and
gazed into Chella’s pretty eyes. “I don’t know. But, I really don’t want to
talk about it now. So, did you stay safe last night, with all that brawling
Chella then explained what had happened, how she was able to
get her purse and phone and eventually corral together, safely, in a locked,
secure room, with the other backup singers, dancers and a few of the musicians.
Her soft, gentle voice was so soothing to listen to. She also explained how
some of the guys in their little grouping went back outside to help the
security people, after things settled down a bit.
She took a sip of her drink. She didn’t speak a moment, only
eyeing Evan closely. “You know, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times,
but you are really a big, strong, handsome guy, Evan.”
He smiled. “Aww, thank you, Chella. And yes, you are
correct. I have heard this a few times, at least since I’ve been on the tour.”
“Well, yeah, it’s nice to be right for once.” She laughed
briefly. “But, so, I have to ask. Do you, Evan, have a girlfriend?”
He felt a rush of heat spread across his face. He leaned
forward and gazed down at the carpeted floor. “I do, or did, actually. But,
it’s complicated.” He looked back into her eyes. “We had some issues, I guess
you could say.”
“Oh, yeah. I understand. That can happen.” Something
distracted Chella. She glanced in the direction Dana was sitting and looked
back at Evan. “Dana is walking over here.”
“Really?” He noticed the same. And Dana was walking with
emphasis, although she randomly teetered, her balance off some. He hadn’t
noticed earlier, probably from the dim lighting, but she was dressed casually,
rather uncharacteristic for her, only wearing body-hugging jeans and a
Hal was walking a distance behind her, at a slow amble, his
behavior all proud, smug. Screw him.
Dana soon arrived and stood in front of Evan.
He gazed up at her.
She took a sip of her drink and stared at him with cold,
intense eyes. “I thought you said you would never leave me.”
The current song over the sound system was lower than
previously so he could hear her adequately, and her words made no sense. “Uh,
excuse me? You were just quite rude when all I wanted was to find out how you
She sniffed, smirked, and then took another sip. “Typical.
Empty words. Like so many other men.” She laughed. “What was I thinking, I
meant little boy.”
Hal showed up and wrapped his arm around Dana, closely,
though Dana was focusing more on Chella.
Anger in her eyes, she pointed at Chella with her
non-drink-holding hand. “You. You’re skating on thin ice with me, I hope you
“I…I’m sorry, Dana. I only wanted to talk to someone.”
“Funny,” she said, glancing around the room. “I see a whole
room full of people in here.”
“Come on. I need another drink,” Hal said to Dana. “Let’s
get away from these losers.”
Dana gazed down at her drink and ran her fingertip around
the circumference of the glass. “Yeah. You’re right.”
Obviously not done yet with his smug high horse, Hal again
stared his dark, evil eyes at Evan. “She’d rather be with a real man, bitch.”
He then turned Dana and himself toward the bar, Dana still staggering as they
Uncontrollable rage suddenly boiled within Evan. This was
too much. He rose from his seat.
Chella seized his upper arm with both her hands and pulled
down on him. “No. Evan. Stop!”
She was right. And what Art said too. He slowly lowered
himself down to the seat. Besides. The night wasn’t over yet. He looked at her.
“I’m sorry, Chella. Sort of lost control.”
She batted her eyes and stared into his gaze. “I know. I can
see it.” She continued to hold on to his upper arm, her hands seemingly glued
to his large bicep, and drew closer to his ear. “You need to listen to me.
Lloyd, Carter, maybe even Hal. They are into some weird shit, like magic,
spells, high-tech sci-fi stuff.” She spoke in a louder voice than she probably
intended, given the music now upping in volume a bit. “Rumors. You need to
watch out. Not kidding.”
He breathed in her scent. She smelled so good. And for a
moment, Chella made him want to take her from here and forget about Syrrah
forever. But it was only for a moment. And it seemed wrong, strange, out of
Regardless, Chella cared. And it felt good. “Don’t worry. I
can take care of myself.”
She looked, perplexed, into his eyes, and released his arm.
“You actually believe me?”
He shrugged slightly. “I know some things. I’ve seen some
“Oh, stuff I’ve read and seen online.” Damn. He just lied.
Or did he? He had read and seen things online too.
“Evan. Can I tell you something?”
“Sure. What is it?”
“I can see you like Dana, and maybe she even likes you too,
or has a thing for you…or, should I say, a fling for you. But it won’t end
well, for either of you. Know what I’m saying?”
“People like us, the side workers, the roadies. We are just
not at her level.”
“Speak for yourself, Chella. I have plans.”
“Well, but anyway. You are really talented. But…but she’s
just so messed up.” Chella placed her hand on his right thigh. Her touch felt
very nice. “I’m here for you, Evan.” She gazed kindly into his eyes.
He lifted her hand from his thigh, her small hand
practically disappearing within the grasp of both his hands. “Chella.” He
smiled at her and caressed her hand gently, warmly. He gave her a kind gaze
back. “Thank you, really.”
She placed her drink down on the seat and held her other
hand over his grasped hands. “Evan. Take me back to your room. Please. I want
to be with you.”
Evan closed his eyes and breathed in her pleasant perfume
again. This was very tempting. But, Syrrah. And all that Art had told him. He
opened his eyes and took hold of both her hands, until gently placing them upon
her own lap. “I would, believe me. But we can’t. Remember. All that you just
told me. It’s not safe.”
She sighed and stared down at her hands. “Yeah. I guess you
A drowning wave of weakness suddenly swept through him. Odd.
What was this all about? “Chella. I…I think I’m going back to my room. I’m
really tired for some reason.”
The disappointment on her face changed to concern. “Really?
Is something wrong?”
He felt his breathing ramp up. He held out his hands. They
were trembling slightly. “I…I don’t know.” He slowly stood up, keeping his eyes
on her as he did. “I’m really sorry. I don’t mean to leave so suddenly.”
She stood up too. “Maybe it’s just all the stress from Dana
being so disrespectful to both of us.”
“Could be. Or maybe I overdid the workout today. Maybe a
combination of both.”
Chella lifted her drink from the seat and held it with both
hands. She took a sip. “I’m actually pretty tired too, but I think I’ll stay
here a little longer.”
He gave her a sincere expression. “I’m sorry, again…about
not having you come with me.” He gazed down at the floor.
“Evan, it’s all right. You go ahead, now. You are absolutely
correct. It would just cause a lot of turmoil with Dana, and our jobs with
He looked over at Greg yet hanging out with those venue
security guys. But he detected zero energy to go see them, even if he truly
wanted to at this point. He gazed back into Chella’s pretty eyes. “I’ll see you
She gave a sad, half smile. “Sure. Okay.”
He headed for the door he and Greg came in.
His steps felt like lifting lead, almost similar to what
they experienced on Titan. Wait. Like Titan? Limati. Was this from Limati?
In his continuing motion, he looked over at the bar, about
ten yards away. Dana sat on a bar stool, Hal sitting next to her, but she was
facing Evan and her eyes, angry eyes, were directed right at him.
He had wanted so much to talk with her tonight, maybe even
make the final determination, by somehow sneaking in Neraeh’s story of the
puppies. And though he yet worried of her well-being, and her words that he
would never leave her, the confusing messages received from her interaction
with Hal simply didn’t fit right. All of this was upside down turned sideways.
Her anger mixed with this weird heavy tiredness was just too much. He focused
away and locked his eyes on the door.
Besides. Seven days yet remained. There was always tomorrow.
Without warning, a glass cup flew across Evan’s path, coming
within inches of hitting his right leg. He halted instantly. The glass
continued hurling until loudly smacking, shattering upon a nearby wooden
Suddenly the room became quiet. People stopped talking.
Evan looked at Dana.
She laughed, and then held her hand over her mouth. Hal was
watching and laughing now likewise. “Oops,” she said loudly. “My bad. Meant to
hit you in the dick. Guess I didn’t throw right.” They laughed even more, as
did many of the people at the bar.
Carter abruptly arrived out of nowhere. He took hold of
Evan’s shoulders. “Come on, Turrone. Let’s get you out of here.”
He headed them both toward the door.