Hard Rock Deceit – August Summers Bonus Alt-POV Scene
The backstage was its usual organized chaos. Staff running around with earpieces and clipboards, crew members with equipment and tech, various band members hanging out, psyching themselves up for their upcoming performance.
My guys were all doing their normal pre-show routines. Or, I suppose I should say, their new pre-show routines. Ian, Noah, and Cameron were all glued to their phones, talking to or texting their girlfriends. It was a change from the usual bullshit they got up to backstage, flirting with the assistants, pranking the roadies or squabbling with each other. A welcome change. Although I was the youngest by two months, I was getting too old to deal with their with antics anymore.
Even as I had the thought, I had to smile. It was exactly that kind of spirit, that zeal, that made us work so well together. There was no substitution for the kind of chemistry the five of us had together.
My eyes wandered backstage until they landed on a slight young woman, camera in hand.
Dressed in tight leggings and a sweater, with a hem that just barely covered her ass, I’d never been so tempted to say fuck it to a performance and just drag a girl into the closest empty room and—
I shook myself mentally. So unprofessional. I couldn’t be thinking things like that. Not when we were mere minutes away from taking the stage. I carefully went over our set list in my head, making sure I knew all my cues by heart.
When I had my head back on straight, I returned my attention to Cassie. She was snapping photos of Damon, a look of utter concentration on her face.
The furrow of her eyebrows, the glint of her bright eyes, the purse of her pink lips—
Fuck, but she was cute.
Chemistry with the guys was one thing. We all worked well together, for the most part, and had developed a familial bond that was unshakable. They were my brothers.
But when it came to Cassie…
The chemistry was explosive.
I hadn’t expected that. When I’d first started scouring student art showings, I’d simply been looking for someone with raw talent, someone I could mold and shape to do my bidding. Another person to add to my collection. Another one of my projects, as Cassie had put it.
But she had turned out to be so much more than that.
As I watched, Cassie had put down her camera and began speaking with Damon. He eyed her with curiosity. I didn’t like that look. It was the look Damon got when a girl caught his interest.
Jealousy tore at my gut. My back and shoulders tensed. My fists clenched.
I’d already warned Damon to stay the hell away. Perhaps a reminder was in order.
A sharp brand seared my skin, tearing through the muscles at the junction of my neck and shoulder. My eyes squeezed shut against the pain. I took slow breaths, trying to keep from moving my arm until the flames flickered out.
It felt like an eternity.
The handful of small pills I’d shoved in my pocket called to me. It would only take one. Just one, and all the pain would go away.
But I didn’t have many left. Did I want to use one here, now? Surely I could put up with the pain for the few minutes it took to die down. I had to ration the meds. Who knew when I’d be able to score another handful. I had to save them for when it really mattered. Like after I’d been on stage for three hours in a row.
The burning worsened. My muscles locked up. The nerve endings of my fingers began to tingle.
Fucking fine. I’d take a goddamn pill. It was just one, after all. It would probably last me throughout the whole concert, and perhaps after.
I snagged a bottle of water from a table and quickly chugged one down.
The mental relief was instantaneous, although it would take several minutes for the meds to kick in. Knowing I’d soon have a respite helped the muscles in my back loosen some. My fingers uncurled at my sides.
Noah and Cameron chose that moment to start bickering like children. Or maybe it was more accurate to say, Cameron started baiting Noah and Noah played right into his hands. That man never knew how to just let things slide. Cameron got off on torturing our lead singer more than the others simply because he was such an easy mark. Getting Noah riled up was effortless. Getting him to cool down was harder.
Luckily, it only took a sharp word from me to ease the tension. Noah slunk off, grumbling. Cameron tried to look remorseful, but I caught a hint of a cheeky grin, that brat.
Like herding fucking cats, I swear to god.
My eyes fell on Cassie again. This time was she looking straight at me. I flinched back, gripping my water bottle tight. How long had she been watching me? Had she seen…?
But no. Even if she’d seen me take something, it could have just been an aspirin. Something normal. Something legal. No reason to worry.
Still, unease settled over me. That same feeling I got whenever I played off my fucked up shoulder as the usual aches and pain of touring.
I didn’t like keeping this from the guys. But I knew they’d only worry. Besides, I had it under control. I was fine most days. And on the days I wasn’t, one small pill and I was good as new. Nothing to be concerned about.
Everything was fine. No need to worry anyone else.
I had everything under control.
Cassie asked me to take a look at her photos, to tell her whether or not she was improving. And she was. Every day she got better and better. More in tune with her subjects, more in tune with herself.
When she told me she was worried about the journaling assignment I’d given her, worried whether or not she was doing it right, my heart clenched in my chest.
Cassie had something special. She had a gift. I hadn’t been lying when I said a true artist needed to dig deep. And she was willing to do the work.
That was one of the reasons I was so attracted to her.
I placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, meaning only to reassure her. I wanted her to know I was proud of her. She’d improved so much already.
Her skin was soft under my hands. Warm. Inviting.
I held myself there for a moment too long.
Her fingers gripped her camera so tight it shook. Her lips parted as she took in small, shallow breaths. Her body trembled under my touch, a faint flush on her face.
I wanted to hold her and cradle her and ravish her and ruin her, all at the same time.
I knew I shouldn’t have. We were backstage. Anyone could see. But my fingers moved without input from my brain, caressing her skin. I drew forward, pressing my lips against her ear. I wanted to know what she was feeling.
No. That was a lie. I knew exactly what she was feeling.
I wanted to hear her say it out loud.
She wouldn’t, though. Or couldn’t. It was too soon. I wasn’t disappointed. I could take things slow. I knew someday soon I’d get it out of her.
Someday soon, I’d have her underneath me, screaming those words in pleasure.
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