Authors: Hb Heinzer
by HB Heinzer
Text copyright © 2013 by H.B. Heinzer All Rights Reserved.
This book may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights.
All characters and storylines are the property of the author and your support and respect is appreciated. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Also by HB Heinzer
Coming in 2013
Blessed Fate (#2 in Blessed Tragedy Series)
Breaking the Rules (#2 in the Back to Brooklyn Series)
HB would love to stay in touch!
The day I graduated high school was the day I was paroled. After an eighteen year sentence, the “princess prison” I was born into could no longer hold me. As the only daughter born after three sons, Mom dressed me in pink from birth and enrolled me in ballet as soon as I turned three. Lucky for me, my father drew the line when she started talking about beauty pageants.
In high school, I was on my school's dance team. Okay, so we were cheerleaders who performed dance routines during the winter season but confessing to the lowest point in my adolescent existence makes me want to vomit in my mouth just a bit. I wasn't thrilled by the idea but mom thought it would keep me out of trouble. She doesn't need to know how flawed
plan was. Let's just say encouraging your daughter to jump around in a skirt that barely covers her nether regions is never the way to keep her pure.
Madeline Grace Neumann died graduation night when I climbed into my 1977 Chevy Malibu determined to live my life on my own terms. I wasn't looking forward to resurrecting her as we drove down the Interstate. By the time we pulled off at Lexington, Rain Maxwell would be shoved in a box and the pretty, polished Maddie Neumann would walk off the bus I've called home for the past five months.
"Come on, Rain," Colton urged, "We all know you're one of the toughest bitches out here; but we want to be there for you."
I'd been having this fight with all of my band mates since I got the phone call. Mom's cancer had been worse than they thought. It turned out three to six months was an optimistic prognosis. Within a month, she was gone. She was gone and I wasn't there for her.
"Absolutely not," I snapped narrowing my eyes. "Trust me when I say it's the last place you guys want to be. Think I'm kidding? Take a good look at me when I walk off this bus."
Colton's thick arm wrapped around me, drawing me closer to him. "You shouldn't have to do this alone. You
have to do this alone," he whispered. "When was the last time you went home?"
It killed me to think about the last time I'd seen my mother alive. I had been home once, about a year after graduation. I hadn't hooked up with the band yet, but I had already transformed myself into Rain Maxwell. When I walked in the front door of my parents' golf course community home, she cried. She actually cried when she looked at me. And they weren't tears of joy.
My naturally sandy blond hair had been dyed deep red, styled with blunt bangs and big curls to the middle of my back. My brown eyes were a brilliant emerald thanks to the magic of colored contacts. While she didn't understand those changes, I think it was the lip ring, my first three tats, and the patent leather knee-high combat boots that caused her breakdown.
I've spent the past five years avoiding home, unwilling to hide who I was and unprepared for a hysterical encore from my mom. Sure, there were times I missed my family but they didn't understand me any more than I understood them. The guys in the band have been my family since shortly after that trip and that's good enough.
"I haven't been home since before Trav asked me to join you guys," I answered. Having said it out loud, I curled my knees to my chest and began to sob. "She…the last time…my family didn't approve of my life after I left home. Please, Colton," I begged, "It's not that I don't want you guys there. You just can't be there."
The gentle sway of the bus cruising down the highway lulled me to sleep in the kitchen area of our home away from home. Colton never left my side. He pulled my head to his shoulder gently rubbing my arm as I slept. It was the first time I had let my guard down since my oldest brother, Matt, called me with the news.
"Hey, man," Travis whispered. I felt him bump into the table as he slid onto the bench across from us. I could hear everything going on around me but exhaustion forbade me from opening my eyes. "Make any progress tonight?"
Colton shook his head, "No, she's still being stubborn."
I heard the crack of a beer can being opened and I felt condensation dripping on my head as Colton took a drink. "I think we just have to let her do it her way. She doesn't need us telling her what's best for her. I have a feeling she'll be getting plenty of that from her family. Maybe we just need to drop it."
"I don't know man," Travis sighed, "You didn't hear the call from her brother. She was pretty upset when she hung up."
My head bobbled against Colton's chest as he laughed, "No shit, man; she just found out her mom died. I'd be more concerned if she wasn't upset."
"Not like that." Travis drew a deep breath, "Let's just say it might be good we're not going. He was cocking off to her about not being there. Told her she was a selfish bitch for wanting to finish out the tour. If he's as charming as he sounded, I'm not sure we'd all make it out of there without someone going to jail."
Life on the bus wasn't that different from life growing up in one way: I still had three older brothers. I had no doubt in my mind that Travis was telling the truth. Colton, Trav and Jon didn't put up with anyone giving me shit. It wasn't outside the realm of possibility that one of my band brothers would clobber the hell out of one of my blood brothers if this trip went the way I was fairly certain it would.
Matt was furious when I told him it would be two days before I could get home. Selfish bitch, I believe, was what he called me. More than once. When he told me I would have made it a priority to come home to see Mom if she meant anything to me, I might have snapped on him.
"Screw you, Matt," I screamed, "When Dad emailed me, he told me she had more time. You have no clue what my life is like out here." I wished I had waited to call him back until I was inside the bus. There, I could have locked myself in the back bedroom and had a little bit of privacy. Instead, I was crouched behind the bus where all of the roadies and local help could hear every word.
"I told him I'd be home as soon as we're done with the tour. He said that would be fine," I continued, "Do you really think I wouldn't have jumped on a plane if I knew how close it was?"
"Honestly, I don't know Madeline," he spat placing emphasis on my given name. I hate that name. "You can be a selfish bitch, so no, I'm not sure you would have come home. You're so worried about your precious fans and your image. You forgot all of us when you left."
"You have no fucking clue what motivates me or where my priorities lie. I was going to be home the day after the tour was done," I sobbed, "Why didn't you call me when you knew it was time? If you'd called, I would have been on a plane as soon as I could get to an airport. Now I'm the one who didn't get to say goodbye." The kohl eyeliner and mascara combined with tears to form black streams down my face. From what Matt told me, they sat there and watched mom slipping away from them for days. Realizing they had robbed me of my goodbye, I was pissed.
"I have to go. The sooner we get this bus moving, the sooner I'll be there," I managed to say through ragged breaths. "Keep me posted."
Last night's show was hard to get through; I'm not going to lie. The guys told me to go home, that they could rearrange the set. I didn't really see the point. Flying home wasn't going to bring my mom back. There wasn't anything to do except sit around the house with Matt and Mike scowling at me, making comments under their breath while Mark tried to get everyone to calm down. This way I could keep my mind busy for one more night, hopefully missing out on the decision making that I wouldn't be allowed to have a say in anyway, and then get home to say goodbye to my mom.
I managed to keep it together through most of our set. Normally, there's a rise and fall to the set list to keep the energy level going. Knowing I was teetering on the edge of falling apart, Jon reworked the set list with Trav so we started high and just kept getting higher. When I almost lost it during
If You Only Knew
, Colton was by my side. He had been my rock for the past thirty-six hours.
After listening to the guys pick apart our entire show while they thought I was sleeping, I opened my eyes. "Hey," I said softly. When I started rubbing my eyes, the guys all started laughing at me. "What?" I snapped.
Colton kissed my forehead as he slid from the bench. "You might want to go take care of your face," he chuckled. "You didn't take off your makeup when you got on the bus. You kinda look like a murderous clown right now."
Maybe it should have upset me that I looked like a two-bit whore the morning after a busy night but I couldn't manage to get worked up over it. They'd seen me looking worse. I pulled myself up from the bench saying goodnight before turning toward the back of the bus. Part of me wanted to stay in my makeup just to hold onto Rain for a few more minutes. Less than eight hours from now, I would say goodbye to myself for a while.
"Hey, Rain?" Colton called after me.
Instead of hollering back and forth through the bus, Colton followed me. "Trav and I talked about it. We don't like it, but we're going to respect you not wanting us there." His voice was sincere but his face showed how upset he was to be telling me this. Did they really think I didn't
Grabbing his shoulder, I turned Colton back to where Trav and Jon were starting to work on lyrics for the next album and pushed him down the aisle. I needed to clear the air. Realizing he'd hit a nerve, Colton didn't resist. He actually sat as soon as we reached the benches, leaving me towering over the three people on the face of the planet who loved me unconditionally.
When they started snickering again, I glared at them. They shut up. "Colton said something and I don't want you guys giving me a line of shit about it," I said in the most authoritative voice I could muster. "Do you guys think I don't
you at my mom's funeral?"
Colton raised an eyebrow to the other two. Travis started to say something and then stopped himself. Jon pulled the long, black curls away from his face like he was going to pull the tresses into a ponytail. It was something he did when he was deep in thought.
"Rain, we don't know what the deal is.
want to be there for you but you've made it clear that isn't what you want." Jon reached for my hand, "It's okay, really."
I took a few breaths to collect my own thoughts and then slid back onto the bench next to Colton. It was time to tell them about my life before the band.
I thought Travis was going to have to see a doctor to have his jaw set back in place when I revealed that I'd been the co-captain of the cheerleading squad. It was only partly because of the shock on his face. The rest was because I may have clocked him a little harder than I meant to when he begged me to bring my cheer uniform back with me.
I broke down bawling as I told them how disappointed my mom was the last time I saw her. Once the initial shock over my appearance wore off, she begged me to enroll in college.
“You have so much potential,”
she told me time and again, “
It's a shame to see you wasting your life when you could be taking steps to the future you deserve.”
Apparently being happy didn't figure into my mother's idea of what my future should hold. To her, it was all about getting a "sensible degree" and finding a Ken to live happily ever after with my Barbie persona.