Backstage Pass / Page 41

Page 41

Author: Olivia Cunning

“They’re al madly in love with his stage persona,” she said.

“But you’re madly in love with the real person,” Malcolm said. Myrna felt the blood drain from her face. “That’s why I married Claire. She knew the real me and loved me anyway.”

Claire grinned up at him mischievously. “What makes you so sure?”

“Excuse me,” Myrna said. “I need to… erm… use the restroom.”

She fled to the shower room, not realizing how it must look until she’d already entered and found herself in the company of not only naked-Brian, but also naked-Sed and naked-Trey. She caught a glimpse of three very nice, very white asses before she diverted her gaze and scanned the room for a bathroom stal . Urinal? No can do.

“Don’t mind me,” she said, locating a stal in the corner. She let herself in and locked the door behind her. She stood there trying to col ect her scattered wits. What exactly had Brian told his parents about her? Madly in love? She’d never been madly in love with anyone.

“You okay in there?” Brian asked from the other side of the stal door.

“Did you tel your father I was madly in love with you?”

“Uh… No, of course not.”

“Don’t lie to me, Brian Sinclair.” She opened the stal door. He stood there in his towel, water clinging to his skin, looking as irresistible as ever. Madly in lust. Yeah, she’d admit to that.

“I’m not lying. Are you hiding?”

She laughed. It sounded false even to her own ears. “Of course I’m not hiding.”

“Trying to get a glimpse of the band naked?”

“Yeah, that’s what I was doing.”

“So, who said what?”

She could tel his patience was wearing thin. “Your father said I was madly in love with you.” She rol ed her eyes.

“Maybe he was just cal ing it like he saw it.” He put his hands on his hips, a chal enge in his eyes.

“What did you tel them?”

“I didn’t tel them anything.” He sighed, al the fight going out of him. “Because apparently there’s nothing to tel .” He turned and walked toward the dressing area.

She lifted a hand toward his retreating back. Trey approached, one towel around his waist, another in his hands as he dried his hair. He dropped the second towel around his shoulders. Trey usual y had this devil-may-care expression on his face, so Myrna didn’t quite know what do when confronted by this serious version of party boy.

“I try to stay out of this because it’s none of my business,” he said, “but you need to realize a few things, Myrna. Brian won’t say anything.”

“About what?”

“About his parents.”

Her brow arched in question.

“It’s hard to understand what it’s like for Brian. To grow up in the shadow of a great and be destined for the same career. Brian has always tried to prove himself to his father, and the man scarcely validates him as a musician. I don’t think Malcolm realizes how that affects his son. Brian works his ass off to show his father he’s worthy of his approval, but it doesn’t matter. He’l always fal short in Malcolm’s eyes. And Brian’s mother?” Trey rol ed his eyes. “She’s got her plastic surgeon on fuckin’ speed dial. I know because my father handles her wrinkle catastrophes. Al she cares about is herself and how great she looks.”

Myrna shook her head. “She obviously loves her son.”

“Yeah, now that he’s famous. She completely ignored Brian as a kid. She was too concerned about Kara’s blossoming beauty. Do you know who Kara is? Brian’s little sister.”

“Brian told me she died.”

Trey nodded, a deep sadness in his eyes. “When Kara died, Claire’s competition for best-looking in the family was gone. I think she was relieved that her daughter would never surpass her in the modeling world. And Malcolm is the same way with Brian. It’s strange to watch. And it eats Brian alive. He always makes excuses for the man.”

“Aren’t parents happy when their children are more successful than they are?”

“These aren’t normal parents, Myrna. We’re talking about a pair of highly successful people beyond their prime. Now the reason I’m even bringing up Brian’s family baggage, at risk of a serious ass whippin’, is because Brian saw fit to introduce you to his parents. That’s a big deal for him, you know. He’s never opened a relationship to criticism from them. He identified you as being worthy of their approval. Approval even he can’t seem to obtain.”

“You mean he’s never introduced a romantic interest to his parents before?”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“Wel , why didn’t you just say that?”

“Because if I cal ed you his ‘romantic interest,’” he said, using finger quotes, “you’d probably go hide in the bathroom again.”

“I wasn’t hiding.”

“Yeah, uh-huh, okay. Myrna, you real y shouldn’t blow this thing with Brian. There wil come a time when that fortified wal of yours wil turn him away. I mean a guy can only take so much abuse.”

She scowled at him.

“Lucky for you, he’s a glutton for punishment.” Trey grinned. He paused and ran a finger along one eyebrow. “And he doesn’t like guys.”

Myrna’s eyes widened. Was Trey implying what she thought he was implying?

Trey laughed. “I’m kidding, Myrna.”

“Trey, you better get dressed,” Sed said. He leaned against the stal partition next to Myrna.

“If you tolerated his parents tonight, it would mean a lot to him, Myrna,” Trey said. Myrna nodded. She’d pretend to be Brian’s doting girlfriend for his parents’ sake, but he’d owe her one. Trey winked at her and headed for the dressing area.

“What were you two discussing?” Sed asked. “Looked serious.”


Sed sighed. “Mine didn’t show up. Both of them had to work.” He leaned closer to her and grinned. “So al those squats I’ve been doing have real y been paying off, huh?”


“Don’t tel me you didn’t check out my ass when I was in the shower. You’d be lying.”

She snorted with laughter. “Yeah, Sed. I can’t stop thinking about it. Thoughts of your perfect ass wil consume my every waking moment, interrupt my dreams and send me into an insatiable lust even Brian won’t be able to satisfy.”

“I could offer my assistance.” He ran his fingers over her lapel, his eyes trained on her neckline.

“Only if you want to lose some teeth,” she said, brandishing a fist at him.

He laughed. “You know it turns me on when you play hard to get.”

“Try impossible to get.” She patted his recently shaved cheek and headed toward the locker room exit, hoping Brian’s parents wouldn’t notice that she’d just spent twenty minutes in the locker room with their son and two other guys. She found Claire laughing hysterical y with Eric. Claire wiped tears from the corner of her eye and gave Eric a heartfelt squeeze.

“I’m going to adopt you one of these days.”

“If you adopt me, I can’t marry you,” he said, grinning ear to ear.

“Hey, wait until I’m dead before you start hitting on her,” Malcolm said, drawing his wife away from Eric and against his side. Claire started when she noticed Myrna standing at her elbow. “Oh, you’re back,” she said. “So, how did you meet my son?”

Myrna wondered if Brian had already told her. She knew better than to get caught in a lie, but if Brian had already lied about it, then he’d be the one who looked bad. She smiled, deciding to be as vague as possible.

“I met him in a hotel lounge. I was at a conference for work and he…” Why had the band been in the hotel that night instead of staying on the tour bus?

“…was staying in the hotel suite the concert venue provided free of charge,” Eric supplied. “Nothing better than a long bath after being on the road for a month.”

At Eric’s mention of the hotel bath, Myrna’s lungs stopped functioning.

Claire giggled.

“I hear you,” Malcolm said.

Myrna decided it would be better if she asked the questions. “So I assume the two of you have seen Sinners in concert before. They put on a fantastic live show, don’t they? The best.”

Eric beamed at Myrna’s compliment and shifted from Claire’s to Myrna’s side. Myrna hoped he didn’t start with the perpetual fondling. She glanced up at him and found him behaving himself for a change. Claire didn’t look too pleased to have lost Eric’s undivided attention. Trey obviously understood this woman quite wel . Myrna made a note to never look more attractive than Brian’s mother while in her presence.

“We’ve seen them quite a few times,” Malcolm said. “They sound a hel of a lot better than they did when they were making noise out in the garage as teenagers.”

Claire giggled again and patted her husband’s chest. “They were awful, weren’t they?”

“And now they’re one of the most popular and talented bands out there,” Myrna said, stil smiling. Eric touched the smal of Myrna’s back, as if trying to protect her from impending doom.

“Just because you’re popular doesn’t mean you’re talented,” Malcolm said, scowling. If Myrna had a cotton swab, she would have cleaned out her ears. He didn’t real y just say that, did he? Eric’s fingers gripped the back of her jacket. Was he trying to keep her from jumping Brian’s father and kicking the shit out of him? Probably a good move on Eric’s part.

“They just don’t make music like they used to,” Malcolm added.

“Thank God,” Myrna grumbled.

“I mean Sed doesn’t even sing,” Malcolm said. “He just screams and growls.”

Eric’s fingers gripped Myrna’s jacket even tighter.

“And Brian solos constantly,” Malcolm continued, the furrow in his brow deepening. “He wouldn’t know a good riff if it bit him in the ass.”

“Malcolm…” Claire said in warning, but she was grinning to herself in agreement.

“And why in the hel do you need three bass drums, Sticks?” Malcolm asked. “You only have two feet. And fourteen cymbals? I mean real y. What’s the point?”

“Different sounds,” Eric said quietly.

“You’re a fuckin’ drummer. Your job is to keep the beat, not make different sounds.”

“Eric is the best drummer in the business,” Myrna said, her blood pressure sky high. “Sed has a beautiful voice and Brian’s solos are amazing!”

“Yeah, wel , it sounds like a bunch of noise. It ain’t music.”

“What the hel do you know, you washed-up has-been?” Myrna sputtered. “Why don’t you step off your self-erected pedestal and offer your son some support? You don’t want him to succeed, do you? He thinks you want him to appreciate his success, but in reality, you didn’t want him to surpass you. Too late, O’Neil. He already has.”

“Did you just cal me a ‘has-been’?” Malcolm asked.

She doubted he’d heard anything else she’d said. The important stuff about his son had apparently bounced off his overly large ego. Frustrated to the limits of her tolerance, she shoved Eric away and spun on her heel. Sed, who was standing directly behind her, caught her by the shoulders to steady her. And beside Sed stood Trey and… Brian.


From Brian’s stunned expression, she gathered he’d overheard her tirade.

Prev Next