“Wake up, asshole!” someone shouted at me.
I was too hungover to care. I groaned as I rolled over, but I refused to open my eyes. Whoever it was could go take a flying leap.
“Wake! Up!” the person yelled into my ear.
I felt like lightning was shooting through my head. My eyes opened slowly, and I saw Chloe glaring down at me. “Chloe?”
“Good job. You know who I am. Now, get up.”
I instantly went on alert at the anger in her voice. She was obviously still pissed about my little scene at the bar last night.
I slowly sat up and looked at her. “Not so loud. My head is killing me.”
“It’s really going to hurt after I get through with you,” she said as she threw something at me. “Look what fell out of your pocket.”
My eyes widened as I realized what it was. I glanced back and forth between the bag and her, trying to think of something to say. “That’s not mine.”
“Don’t lie to me, Drake. I’m not stupid! It fell out of your pocket!” she screeched.
Eric stood up from his bed and put his hand on her shoulder to keep her from attacking me. “Hey, calm down.”
I watched as she turned to glare at him.
“Stay out of this. Actually, I want you guys to give us a minute alone.”
“I, uh…you’re kind of mad right now. I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Eric said.
“No, I want to be alone with him. Please.”
Eric seemed unsure, but Jade nodded.
“We’ll be outside. Just yell if you need us,” Jade said.
Chloe waited until Eric, Jade, and Adam left to turn back to me. Neither of us spoke as we stared at each other. Her eyes welled up with tears, and I felt my chest tighten as I watched them slide down her cheeks. I knew I was causing her pain, but I didn’t know how to stop it.
“How could you?” she whispered.
“I didn’t—” I started.
She held up her hand. “No, just stop. Tell me the truth.”
I stood and reached out for her, but she pushed me away. That hurt more than I wanted to admit. I never wanted Chloe to push me away. “Chloe, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen.”
“That’s a lie. If you didn’t want it to happen, you wouldn’t have started using to begin with. You’ve gone years without using. I thought you were done with this shit.”
“I was. I mean, I am. Everything got to me, and I wanted a release. I never meant to keep using, but things just kept getting worse,” I said, trying to explain my reasoning. I knew using made me weak, but I couldn’t help it.
“Drugs are not a release. They’re a prison. How long?”
I looked away. I was ashamed and terrified to admit just how long I’d been using cocaine again. I knew she would be disappointed, and I didn’t want her to hate me any more than she already did.
“How long have you been using again?” she repeated the question.
When I looked up at her, I saw that she was actually shaking. Whether it was from pain or anger, I wasn’t sure. “Since the night Kadi showed up with the pictures.”
“It’s not a big deal, all right?” I said defensively. If she understood that I had it under control, maybe she wouldn’t be so mad.
“Not a big deal? Are you kidding me? You know what I went through with my mother, and I’m not about to go through it again with you!”
Rage filled me at the comparison to her mother. “I’m nothing like her. I would never hurt you like that!”
“You already did, Drake. You’ve been lying to me this entire time. And don’t even get me started on your anger issues. I won’t do it again. I want you to get help.”
“What do you mean, help? I don’t see what the big deal is, Chloe. I’ve got it under control.”
“No, you don’t, or you wouldn’t still be using. I want you to go to rehab again. Please…for us.”
“I’m not going to rehab, Chloe! You’re overreacting to all of this!” I shouted, finally losing my temper. There was no way I was going back to rehab. Besides, I had it under control.
“Then, stop using right now!” she shouted back.
“I will when we go back home. I promise!”
“Bullshit, Drake. You can’t stop. Either you go to rehab, or we’re done!”
My mouth opened and closed, but no words came out.
“I mean it, Drake. Either you get your shit together, or I’m walking out the door right now, and I won’t be back.”
“You don’t mean that, Chloe. You wouldn’t just leave me like that. You love me.”
“You’re right. I do love you. But I have to do what’s right for me, too. I can’t be with you if you won’t stop, Drake. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that again.”
“Just wait until we finish the tour, and I’ll go. I swear to you, I will.” I started to panic. She couldn’t give up on me that easily.
“No, I won’t wait that long. Either you go now, or it’s over.”
“Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!” I kicked the bag next to me, and the contents scattered. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“Because I love you, and I want you to get help! You haven’t been on them long, and it won’t be hard to stop.”
“I can’t do rehab. Just let me do this on my own. Please.” I didn’t need help. I knew I could handle this on by myself.
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, Drake, but if you won’t go, then it’s time for me to leave.”
“You wouldn’t really leave me, Chloe. Think about it. I love you. Hell, I want to marry you someday!”
I winced as I watched her face pinch up in pain. It wasn’t the best time to throw that at her, but I was desperate. I loved her more than life itself, and I didn’t want to lose her. Maybe if she knew just how much I loved her, she wouldn’t do this to me, to us.
“Good-bye, Drake. I love you.” She stepped closer to me and kissed my cheek.
“Chloe, please don’t go,” I pleaded.
She ignored me as she walked off the bus.
I stood there, frozen for a moment. I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to run after her, but what good would it do? She had made up her mind about me, and nothing I said would change her decision. I kicked my bunk before running to the window. As I looked out, I saw Jade, Eric, and Adam standing next to the door, talking to Chloe. I watched as Jade held her arms out, and Chloe fell into them. My heart broke when I saw Chloe sobbing while Jade rubbed her back. When Chloe pulled away from Jade, Eric stepped up to her and hugged her tightly. I felt rage fill me as I watched another man comfort her. She was mine, yet I was the one causing her pain. It shouldn’t be Eric holding her, it should’ve been me. How could things have gotten so fucked-up so quickly?
She stepped away from Eric and started toward her car, but Adam stopped her. He surprised me when he wrapped his arms around her. Adam was never one to get all emotional, yet there he was, taking care of her. I really had fucked up.
I watched as he whispered in her ear, and she laughed. She stepped away and waved at everyone before she got into her car. She pulled away without a backward glance. I stood, frozen, as the band stood by the bus and watched her leave until she disappeared around the corner.
It seemed like hours before anyone moved again. I continued to stand by the window, unable to make myself move, as I realized that she was really gone. It wasn’t just her blowing hot air in hopes of making me do what she had told me. My legs buckled, and I sank down to the floor, trying to process what had just happened.
Chloe had caught me, and now, she was gone. I looked down and realized that I was still clutching the bag that she had thrown at me. I felt rage take over as I threw it across the bus. It bounced off the table and landed on the floor a few feet away from me. One fucking bag had just ripped my life apart.
I sat there until the bus door opened, and the band walked in. I didn’t bother to glance up as I saw three sets of shoes stop in front of me. I knew exactly what they were going to say, and even though I knew I deserved it, I didn’t want to hear it.
“I hope it was worth it, Drake,” Jade snapped.
I knew it was bad when Jade was the one to jump on me first. We were all a family, but she always tried to keep her opinions to herself.
“Don’t, Jade. I know I fucked up. I don’t need to hear it from you.”
“Obviously, you do. You just let the best thing that ever happened to you walk away. How stupid are you? Are the drugs really worth losing her?” she asked.
“You know the answer to that! Of course they aren’t worth losing Chloe, but what do you expect me to do? She wants me to quit the tour and go into rehab. We can’t afford to cancel the rest of our shows, and I don’t need rehab to stop. I can handle this on my own!”
“Fuck the band, and fuck the drugs! This is your life, Drake, and you’re letting it walk away without even trying to save it.”
“Just stop!” I stood and glared at her. I stepped forward until we were mere inches apart. “It’s done, and there’s nothing I can do to change it!”
“Back the fuck off of Jade, Drake. It’s not her fault that you’re a fucking idiot,” Adam said as he pushed me back.
I snapped when he touched me. I drew my arm back and threw a punch that held every emotion I was feeling—pain, anger, regret, and most of all, loss. When my fist connected with his nose, he stumbled back.
“What the fuck?” he roared as his hands went to his face.
My eyes widened as I watched the blood pour from his nose. “Oh shit, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to.”
“Fuck you, asshole!” He threw a punch of his own.
I stumbled back with the impact. My nose instantly started bleeding, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of the entire situation.
“What the fuck is so funny?” Adam asked.
My laughter turned to full-out howls at his words. “We’re punching each other and bleeding all over the place.”
The three of them stared at me like I’d lost my mind, and I had to admit that I was thinking the same thing.
I managed to stop laughing long enough to speak again. “I’m sorry, all right? I didn’t mean to hit you, Adam. And I’m sorry for what happened with Chloe, but I don’t know what to do to fix it. I can’t go to rehab right now.”
“Why not?” Eric asked.
He had been silent through all of this, and I was surprised that it was him who spoke up.
“Because we need to finish this tour. After we’re done, I’ll go after her. Hell, maybe she will cave and come back to me.” I didn’t see the latter happening, but I could hope.
Chloe was a hard-ass, but I knew she loved me. I wasn’t being conceited about it. It was just something I could see. I knew the chances of her coming back were slim, but that hope would keep me going until I could stop using and find her.
And I swore to myself that I would stop using. As soon as we finished our shows, I would stop, and then she’d see just how wrong she had been by trying to force me into rehab. I’d hated it the first time, and I wasn’t about to go back. I was in control this time around, and I’d be damned if I let anyone, even Chloe, try to tell me different. I knew her heart was in the right place, but she had freaked-out for nothing.
“You’re insane, Drake. Chloe isn’t going to come back to you, especially if you don’t stop using. She’s a smart girl, and she knows that she needs to protect herself,” Eric said as he watched me closely.
“She doesn’t need protection from me. I would never purposely hurt her. You guys have to know that.”
“You’ve already hurt her, and you’ve broken her trust. You can’t just go back from something like that. If you have this under control, I want you to stop using right now. Finish the tour sober, and then find her. We’ll back you up if she doesn’t believe you. I love you both, and I don’t want to see either one of you hurting,” Jade said.
I walked around her and grabbed a few napkins off the table to wipe away my blood. “I’ll stop. I promise. Let’s get through these last few shows, and I’ll stop.”
“You’re seriously going to keep using even though we all know?” Eric asked incredulously.
“Chloe just walked out on me. Would you rather I found another way to deal with it?” I asked, hoping he would understand.
Jade’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t cheat on her, Drake. I know you better than that.”
“Chloe, drugs, and women are the only things I know. I can’t go without having at least one of them.”
Jade threw her hands up in the air. “You’re a sick fuck, Drake Allen. Enjoy your drugs and women because you just lost everything else that was important to you, including me.” She turned to stomp off the bus.
I watched as she walked down the stairs and slammed the door behind her. Great. Now, I’d not only pissed Chloe off but Jade as well. How many times could I fuck up in less than an hour? I looked up to see Adam and Eric watching me. “What?”
Adam shook his head. “I hope you get your shit together soon because I’m not going to sit here and watch you crash and burn.” He turned and followed Jade down the steps.
And now, I could add Adam to the hate train, too. I glanced at Eric. Maybe he didn’t hate my guts. “We cool?”
He shook his head. “We’re the furthest thing from cool you could ever possibly imagine. I don’t even know what to say to you. I knew something was going on with you, but I hoped that it wasn’t this.”
“I’m fine, Eric. Honest. Just give me some time to get my shit together, and everything will go back to normal. I’m not going to lose Chloe…at least not for forever.”
“You’re an idiot if you think that you haven’t already lost her. I saw her face, Drake. There’s no coming back from that.”
“She’ll be fine. Like I said, when we finish this tour, I’ll stop using, and I’ll find her. She loves me too much to let it all go.”
I was sure of it, but Eric looked far from convinced.
“You took everything bad about her childhood and threw it back at her. You know what she had to deal with, and it’s like you don’t care. I can’t even begin to understand your thought process right now.”
“Let me handle it, okay? Just focus on our band, and I’ll take care of my personal life.” I was starting to get pissed off again, and on top of that, my head was still killing me. I needed to escape before I did something stupid, like hit a band member in the face. Wait, I’d already accomplished that feat.
“It’s your life to live, and I’m not going to sit here and preach to you about it. I just hope you get your life together soon. If you keep it up, you’re going to be out of the band, too.”
His words shocked me. Never once had any of them mentioned kicking me out of the band. Sure, I knew I had been a dick lately, but I didn’t see how they could want to kick me out. I was the main attraction, and they’d tank without me.
“Whatever you say, but we both know you can’t get rid of me without the whole band going under.”
“We’ll survive. I don’t want to kick you out, but we can’t keep dealing with your shit.”
I ignored him as I reached down and picked up the cocaine bag from where it had landed earlier. I didn’t need this shit from any of them. I walked to the bathroom and slammed the door behind me before I pulled out my mirror. Fuck them all. I had this under control.