Rock hard, p.48
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       Rock Hard, p.48
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         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
Page 48

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  When the song ended, he handed his mic to Trey and launched himself over the drum kit platform to Jessica’s hiding place. She stumbled backwards over a collection of cords, but Sed grabbed her by her upper arms before she could flee.

  “What are you doing here?”

  She couldn’t answer his question, because she didn’t know. She shook her head, tears streaming down both cheeks.

  “I don’t want to see you,” he bellowed. “Don’t you get it? Go away!”

  She shook her head harder, tears flying from her cheeks. “No, I don’t get it. I don’t get it at all! What changed, Sed? What… I don’t understand… Please, Sed. Please. ”

  “You’re gonna beg, Jess? Beg like one of my groupie whores? Go ahead. Beg. Beg me to take you back. It won’t change anything. ”

  “I love you. ” She couldn’t see his expression because his face was blurred behind her tears. “I love you. ”

  “You and fifty thousand other women. ”

  He released her and she sat down hard on the stage. She drew her knees to her chest, wrapped her arms around her shins, buried her face against her knees, and sobbed.

  Sed’s voice came through the speaker a moment later. “What do you say, Fresno? Are you ready to climb the gates of Hell?”

  Chapter 43

  Sed had been unprepared to see Jessica that soon after their breakup. He felt guilty for being so hard on her, but he didn’t think she’d leave otherwise. He refused to be her excuse for giving up on law school and her dreams. Things would never be right between them if that happened. But after the cruel things he’d just said, things would probably never be right between them again anyway.

  God, he couldn’t breathe.

  Which made it exceedingly difficult to sing.

  But not as hard as it was to keep his attention from the back of the stage where he’d left the only woman he’d ever loved sobbing on the floor.

  Somehow, he got through “Gates of Hell” and “Good-bye Is Not Forever. ” He allowed himself a quick glance behind the drum kit. Jessica was gone. A gaping hole filled the place where his heart had been a few days ago. This was what was best for her. He had to believe that, because it sure as hell wasn’t what was best for him.

  When the band went on break, leaving Master Sinclair to dazzle the crowd with his solos, Sed grabbed a licorice rope and stared at the floor, chewing slowly and trying not to think much. He could not allow himself to hunt for Jessica, apologize, grovel for acting like an ass. He had to stick to his guns.

  “Where’s Eric?” Jace asked.

  Sed glanced up. Usually, Eric would be drenching himself in water and changing from his sweat-saturated shirt into a dry one, but he was conspicuously absent. Sed rounded the back of the drum kit and found Eric trying to coax Jessica out from between two empty equipment cases. How had she managed to cram herself into such a tiny space? Sed hesitated. He couldn’t stand to see her like that, especially knowing he was responsible. Why had she come back? She obviously wasn’t thinking clearly. He’d given her a perfect out.

  Fuck.

  Sed nudged Eric aside and extended a hand toward Jessica. “Come on out of there. ”

  “Get away from me, you asshole!” she shouted. “I fucking hate you. ”

  So they were back to this. He’d thought it would make it easier, but no. “It’s okay to hate me, just do it somewhere safer. ”

  “Why do you care?”

  He reached into the space and grabbed her ankle, trying to tug her out of her hiding spot.

  “Don’t touch me. ” She kicked at him. The stack of cases wobbled. He released her leg and stepped back.

  “All right, I’ll leave you alone. Come out for Eric, though. He’ll be worried about you under there. ”

  “Yep. ” Eric peeled his sopping wet T-shirt off over his head. “And if you don’t, I’ll throw my sweaty shirt in there with you. ”

  Sed stalked off around the drum kit and once out of sight, paused to watch Jessica squirm from between the equipment cases. When he was sure she was safe, he headed back to the stage. He clapped Brian on the shoulder and encouraged the crowded to cheer their guitar hero’s amazing compositions. He then extended a hand toward Trey, who’d joined Brian in the middle of his last solo and sounded better than ever. A second round of cheering for Trey now.

  Sed paused halfway through the next song to get another drink of water. His throat felt raw, his vocal cords strained. He hadn’t consumed enough glycerol during their break, but it shouldn’t have made this much of a difference. On his next carried note, he broke off in the middle with a ragged cough. Maybe he was coming down with a cold. He finished the song, keeping his volume down to alleviate the burning sensation in his throat, and left Trey in charge of the crowd while he headed offstage to chew more red licorice.

  Travis, one of their long-time roadies, patted him on the arm. “You okay, Sed?”

  He nodded. “Sore throat. ” He glanced around, not meaning to look for Jessica, but unable to help himself.

  “Do you want me to get you some numbing spray?”

  “Yeah, that would help. I’ll be back after ‘Twisted. ’” He returned to the stage to find Trey and Jace fighting over a pair of panties that some chick had thrown onstage.

  “Did I miss something?” Sed asked.

  “Those are for me,” Jace insisted.

  “Aw, Trey, let the kid have his panties,” Sed teased.

  Trey tossed them over Jace’s head to Brian, who caught them in one hand and dangled them from a finger.

  “Ah, fine, whatever,” Jace grumbled and headed to the back of the stage to hang out by the drum kit.

  Brian rolled his eyes. “I guess Jace doesn’t want your phone number, sweetie,” he said to the girl who’d tossed them onstage. “Try a bra next time. They fly farther. ”

  Sed chuckled, but even that hurt. He cleared his throat. “Who out there is feeling a little twisted tonight?”

  The crowd cheered in response, knowing it meant Sinners was about to treat them to their most energetic anthem, “Twisted. ” Eric thudded his bass drum with the introductory beats of the song. Sed roared through the first measure. When he screamed the first note, something thick and hot poured down the back of his throat. He choked on the liquid, covering his mouth with one hand.

  When he drew his hand away, it was covered in blood.

  Blood?

  He stared at his fingers in disbelief. They blurred out of focus.

  The stage rose up to meet him as he blacked out.

  Chapter 44

  Jessica stood outside Sinners’ dressing room, leaning against the wall. She’d finally calmed down enough to stop crying, but she wasn’t leaving until she saw Sed. She wanted to tell him what an asshole he was and that she never wanted to see him again. Yeah. That’s exactly why she wanted to see him. So she could tell him off.

  The music blaring from the stadium stopped. Strange. They’d just started the next song. A moment later, a roadie sprinted down the corridor, talking frantically into a cell phone. Jessica’s heart rate kicked up a notch when the wail of an ambulance stopped just outside the back doors. Paramedics flew by with a gurney.

  A fan? A roadie? Had something happened to Trey? He’d seemed fine the last time she saw him. Concerned, she headed after the paramedics. When she reached the edge of the stage, she froze. Trey had blood all over his hands, but it wasn’t his.

  “Sed!”

  She launched herself across the stage. Brian caught her around the waist, but she fought him until he released her. She landed on her knees next to Sed. Blood. Blood everywhere. And it was coming from Sed’s mouth.

  “Do we intubate?” one of the paramedics asked another.

  “God, I don’t know. Where’s all the blood coming from? He’s going to drown in it. ”

  They rolled Sed onto his side, and a pool o
f blood spread across the stage from his mouth.

  “Help him!” Jessica insisted.

  “Stand back, ma’am. ” One of the paramedics examined the inside of Sed’s throat with a tiny flashlight. “His trachea isn’t collapsed, but he’s blown a blood vessel in his throat. Keep him on his side and let’s get him to the hospital. We can’t fix this here. ”

  They lifted him onto the gurney. No one else moved. The entire stadium stood silent. Several roadies helped the paramedics lower the gurney to the floor and then they were racing toward the ambulance with Jessica on their heels.

  She could hear a crowd of people following behind her, but she could only see Sed. Unconscious. Shallow breathing. Pale. Blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. So pale.

  Oh God, please let him be okay.

  Jessica waited for the paramedics to load Sed into the back of the ambulance and then climbed inside without hesitation.

  “Ma’am?”

  “I’m his wife,” she lied.

  She sat near Sed’s feet and held on to his shin while the paramedics tried to get the bleeding to stop the entire long ride to the hospital.

  At the hospital, Jessica was the only one there to impress upon the emergency room doctor the importance of treating Sed’s throat carefully.

  “He sings professionally. Please keep that in mind when you work on his throat. ”

  “Do you want him to sing or live?”

  “I want him to live, obviously. I’m trying to think about what he would want. ”

  While they worked on him, Jessica stood just outside the curtain wringing her hands. How had this happened? Her thoughts kept returning to that night at the strip club when Sed’s throat had been injured by that bouncer. Surely, that injury would have healed by now, but maybe all the screaming he did onstage had prevented full recovery.

  A nurse ushered Jessica to the waiting area. The place was packed with familiar faces.

  Trey grabbed her by both arms. “Is he going to be all right?”

  “I think so. They got the bleeding stopped, but I’m not sure they were careful with his vocal cords. ”

  What would Sed do if he couldn’t sing? Singing was his life.

  They waited for word from the doctor for over an hour. When he finally came to report Sed’s status, he approached Jessica.

  “Your husband lost a lot of blood, but he’s going to be just fine. As soon as he wakes up, you can go see him. ”

  “How’s his throat?” Trey asked. “Will he be able to sing again?”

  “There will be a long healing process and there might be some scar tissue. We won’t know for sure until the swelling goes down. Right now he has a tube down his windpipe to keep his airway open. ”

  “I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Eric said. “This is Sed we’re talking about here. He won’t let anything stand in his way or put up with any bullshit. Not even from his own body. ”

  Sed was moved to a room upstairs and the crowd of band members and roadies headed to a waiting room on that floor.

  “Can I sit with him while he sleeps?” Jessica asked the nurse.

  “It’s past visiting hours. You should all come back in the morning. ”

  “He is going to freak out when he wakes up and doesn’t know where he is. ”

  “I know you’re worried about him, honey, but rules are rules. ”

  “When do visiting hours begin?”

  “Eight a. m. ”

  Unacceptable. She couldn’t go seven hours without seeing him. Without touching him.

  “What room is he in?”

  The nurse eyed her warily.

  “So I know where to go in the morning. ”

  The nurse consulted her computer. “Room 2117. Now head on home and get some rest. I’m sure he’ll be really happy to see you in the morning. ”

  Jessica smiled wearily and nodded. She told the guys waiting at the end of the hall what the nurse had told her.
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