Rock hard, p.50
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       Rock Hard, p.50

         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
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Page 50

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “Open. ”

  The nurse scribbled notes while the doctor described what he could see. Didn’t sound good.

  “I want him scoped this afternoon,” Dr. Jarvis said. “We need to take a better look at those cords. ”

  “Yes, doctor,” the nurse said.

  The doctor met Sed’s eyes. “It looks better than I expected. Can you swallow?”

  Sed swallowed, but it brought tears to his eyes.

  “Take it easy. No talking. And soft foods only. ”

  Sed nodded. The doctor took the chart from the nurse, scribbled some additional notes, and then left the room.

  Jessica moved to stand beside him and kissed his forehead. “He said it looked better than expected. That’s good news, right?”

  He closed his eyes and nodded slightly. How could Sinners record their album next week if their lead vocalist couldn’t sing?

  Chapter 46

  Sed’s eyes eased open to Eric’s concerned expression.

  “Ah good, you’re awake,” Eric said.

  How was he supposed to sleep with Eric staring down at him so creepily?

  “Let’s get out of here, buddy,” Eric said. “I’ve got your wheelchair oiled and ready to roll. ”

  His throat was on fire, but he didn’t need a fuckin’ wheelchair. “Wha—”

  Eric’s hand blocked his words. “No talking. Jessica put me in charge. ”

  Where was Jessica? She’d still been there when they’d given him that sedative the night before.

  “She said she’ll meet you at home. She went to do something at the University. ”

  Good. He hoped she clawed that professor’s eyes out. Sed used Eric’s arm to sit up in bed and then stood on wobbly legs.

  “I hope you’re up to stopping by the studio,” Eric said, while Sed slipped into his clothes. “Brian and Trey are recording today. ”

  Sed’s heart skipped a beat. They were recording without him?

  “We figured we better get some recording done before something else happens. Every time we try to work on the new album, one of us gets injured. First, Myrna’s ex-husband smashes Brian’s fingers, then Trey’s head injury, now you’ve gone and blown your throat out. Jace and I are afraid to get out of bed. I think the new album is cursed. ”

  Sed grinned. “Superstitious much?” The raspy sound of his voice surprised him.

  “Hey, no talking. ”

  “My throat doesn’t feel too bad. ” It hurt to talk, but wasn’t unbearable. As for screaming and singing, Sed had no plans to do that today. Perhaps tomorrow.

  Eric pulled a roll of duct tape from the bottomless pocket inside his leather vest. He peeled back a piece of gray tape, tore it off with his teeth, and stuck it over Sed’s mouth. “Jess said I’d probably need this. I promised her I wouldn’t let you talk. ”

  Sed yanked off the tape, along with some beard stubble, and crushed it into Eric’s hair.

  “Now that was totally uncalled for. ” Eric ripped the tape out of his hair with a grimace. “Look at this shit. ” He showed Sed the tape covered with black hairs of various lengths.

  Sed pointed to where his whiskers had once been.

  “Let’s get you out of this place,” Eric said.

  After they secured his release, Sed followed Eric to the parking garage. Eric jumped over the driver’s side door into his convertible ’68 Corvette Sting Ray. A nice looking car, painted a deep emerald green, but its interior was trashed and the engine needed a total rebuild. Eric had been trying to get this car fixed up for over a decade. Problem was, he insisted on doing all the work himself. What he lacked in time, he equally lacked in skill as a mechanic.

  “You got her started?” Sed asked quietly as he let himself into the passenger side.

  “Isn’t she sweeeeet?”

  “I doubt she’ll make it back to L. A. ”

  “He didn’t mean that, baby,” Eric said to his car, stroking the steering wheel lovingly. He scowled at Sed. “And you aren’t supposed to be talking, Mister Jerkface von Pessimist. ”

  Eric turned the key and the engine whined. It whirred several times, but didn’t catch. “Come on, baby. I’ll buy you a new intake manifold. ” He pumped the gas pedal and cranked her over again. The engine sputtered, caught, backfired, and then died again. “Sounds like you’d rather have new plugs. ”

  Sed covered his mouth with the back of his hand and muttered, “Dude, your car is a piece of—”

  Eric reached into his pocket and retrieved the duct tape. “Don’t make me use this. ”

  “Maybe you should wrap some around the engine. Couldn’t hurt. ”

  “Shut up. ” Eric hit the steering wheel with frustration and turned the key again. She started right up. “I guess she wanted it rough. ”

  They headed southwest out of Fresno. The sun beat down on them mercilessly, but the convertible top was shredded, so there was no use in putting it up.

  “So are you going to give that violin playing idea a try?” Eric asked, the wind riffling his already wild black hair into something bordering on profane. “You could replace some screaming with that. ”

  Sed hadn’t given it much thought since their brief song writing session over a month before, but he nodded. He didn’t really want to give up his signature style, but he wasn’t sure he had a choice.

  “Trust me. It will be cool!” Eric glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. “I’ve also added some piano pieces to a couple of the songs. Did you know Jace plays the piano?”

  Sed shook his head. Beyond Jace’s bassist skills, Sed didn’t know much about him at all.

  “He played some stuff for me back at your studio. He’s amazing. We need to fully utilize his talent. He seems to think he’s still auditioning for the band. Doesn’t want to step on any toes. ”

  Sed scowled. Why would Jace think that? His trial period was long over.

  With no warning, Eric hit the brakes and the Corvette skidded into a parking lot. Sed grabbed the dashboard and prayed that the axle didn’t snap as they went airborne over a speed bump.

  “Want some ice cream?”

  At risk of his life? No. But since they were already in the drive-thru line, ice cream sounded wonderful.

  Eric ordered an ice cream cone, a couple of burgers, fries, and a Coke.

  Thank God. Sed was starving.

  At the drive-thru window, Eric handed the soft-serve ice cream cone to Sed. Eric popped a straw in his drink, set the coke between his legs, and placed the entire bag of food between his hip and the driver’s side door.

  Sed licked his vanilla ice cream. He winced every time he swallowed, but despite the threat of pain, he couldn’t wait to bite into a big juicy hamburger. His stomach rumbled loudly in agreement. Eric reached into the bag and stuffed several fries into his mouth as he turned back into traffic.

  “Pass that over here,” Sed insisted.

  Eric swallowed and took a slurp of his drink. “Pass what over there?”

  “My burger. I’m starving. ”

  “No burger for you, bro. You’re on a soft food diet. Or have you forgotten?”

  “Bullshit. ”

  He reached across Eric and got his hand on the bag before taking a sharp elbow to the ribs.

  “Back off, dude. Jessica said only soft foods for you. ”

  “Since when do you listen to Jessica?”

  “Uh, since always. She said if you started acting like a baby to remind you that you need to heal for your concert next week. ”

  “Like a baby?”

  “And if you’re a good boy, she said she’ll have a surprise for you. ”

  Surprise? He liked the sound of that.

  “Now, shut up. You’re on voice restriction. ” Eric grinned wickedly and unwrapped a deluxe hamburger with one hand, while effortlessly merging onto the freeway. “And I’m trying to eat here
. ”

  Sed sighed loudly and lapped at his ice cream. Though he hated to admit it, Eric was right. He needed to be careful with his throat and give it a chance to heal. He vowed not to talk for the rest of the day. No matter how much he wanted to cuss Eric out.

  Eric moaned in bliss. “This is the best damned burger I’ve ever had. ”

  And it smelled like heaven on a bun.

  “Wanna bite?” Eric swayed the burger back and forth beneath Sed’s nose. “Can’t have one. ” He drew it away and took another bite. “Mmmm. Good. ”

  Sed punched the soda cup between Eric’s thighs. It exploded in Eric’s lap, drenching his crotch, the seat, and the dashboard.

  “You ass!”

  Sed wiped his wet hand on Eric’s shoulder and then slurped some melting ice cream into his mouth. Jessica’s surprise had better be spectacular. Leaving him in Eric’s care. What was she thinking?

  Eric stuffed a wad of napkins between his legs to absorb the puddle of soda. His hamburger now rested somewhere on the floorboard. “If you weren’t injured, I’d kick your ass for that. ”

  Sed lifted an unconvinced eyebrow at him.

  “You’d better watch your back, Lionheart. ”

  Sed pretended to shudder with fear.

  “And I’m telling Jessica. ”

  Sed took what was left of his cone and stuck it upside down on Eric’s shoulder.

  “Dude, knock it off. I’m trying to fuckin’ drive!”

  Heh, I win.

  Halfway to Los Angeles, Sed leaned his head against the back of the seat and closed his eyes. The rumble of the engine, with its consistent knock, must have lured him to sleep, because the next thing he knew, they were sputtering to a stop inside a parking garage near the recording studio. The engine coughed, then died.

  “Nice nap, douche bag?” Eric asked, drawing his lean body over the driver’s side door and leaving a sticky puddle behind in the driver’s seat.

  Sed nodded drowsily. He supposed he was still a pint or two low on blood, and that half an ice cream cone hadn’t been exactly filling.

  Rubbing his eyes, Sed followed Eric into the building and the appropriate recording booth. Brian and Trey were in the studio wailing on their guitars. Without a doubt, the new album was going to be their best yet.

  Assuming Sed’s voice returned.

  “Where’s Jace?” Sed asked, noting one member of the group was absent.

  “No telling,” Eric said. “I swear he’s an international spy. He just comes and goes as he pleases. No one can keep track of him. He’s probably off with his dominatrix chick again. Or smuggling tomatoes across the Mexican border. ”

  Oh yes, Jace Seymour, international tomato smuggler.

  Sed sat next to the soundboard operator. He leaned with rapt attention toward the glass that separated him from his guitarists, suddenly in awe that he worked with these talented motherfuckers. When the current take came to an end, Trey waved at the window.

  “Perfect. We got it,” the operator said into a microphone. “Why don’t you guys take a little break? Your fingers must be exhausted. ”

  Trey and Brian removed their guitars and left the studio to enter the booth.

  “They let you out of prison already?” Trey said. “I was stuck in there for days and days. ”

  “My injury wasn’t as serious as yours. ”

  “Looked pretty fuckin’ serious to me,” Trey said. “What did the doctor say?”

  Eric reached into his vest and produced a roll of duct tape. “I’ll tell them. You keep quiet. ”

  Sed nodded.

  “He needs to check with a specialist in a few days and get the all clear before he’ll be allowed to sing. He might be okay before our next tour date, but if not, we’re cancelling the show. ”

  “No, we are not cancelling any shows. I’ll be fine. I guarantee it. ”
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