Blurb: Coffee fanatic, Evie Langston has taken great shots of rock stars in her life and none has intrigued her like the picture she took of star guitarist Del Vanz of the heavy metal band, Blood Reign. Evie is more than interested in finding out more about the mystery man behind the makeup but can’t get over being intimidated and afraid of rejection.
Tightly wound but a dog lover, Del Vanz, Blood Reign’s head axeman, never saw such a beautiful lady in the pit taking pictures and he wants to know more. However, he’s not sure how she’d accept his career choice. If so, would she be interested in the man behind the white paint?
“Del…Del…” A call from the front of the bus startled Del Vanz from his sleep. He rubbed his eyes and immediately pinched his nose when he took a whiff of the stench coming from the next room.
Damn I gotta get my own bus.
Their tour manager, Ted shoved the curtains back and popped his head in. “Hey man, we’re almost in Chicago. Gonna stop at one of the local joints to eat. Want anything?”
“No, I’m good, mate.” Del waved him away and slowly turned over to attempt getting up from the bunk too small for him. As his joints protested his sudden movements, he grimaced and inched off the bed to make a bee line for the toilet. “It’s too early for this shit,” he grumbled about the smells of marijuana lingering under his nostrils. He hated the smell of it and begged his band mates to keep it off the bus. Of course they never listened and much to his displeasure did it anyway. Perhaps he should’ve paid the money for his own digs.
Korn does it, why can’t we?
Del shoved the drapes and walked the narrow aisle to get to the john, less than twenty feet away. He’d had more than enough beer the night prior to last him a lifetime. He hadn’t drunk that much since his early twenties and now he was paying for it.
Del stomped over empty beer cans, dirty napkins and paper plates, along with cigarette butts. What a fucking mess! He couldn’t stand these guys sometimes, but he loved them nonetheless. They are my band mates.
When he finally made it to the door, he pushed it hard but it didn’t budge.
Del bammed loudly, doing the pee pee dance while he waited for the person in there to come out. “C’mon, open up!”
He winced and continued to hop in front of the door. When it opened, his bandmate Enzo fell forward, nearly taking him down too.
“Oh damn, sorry mate.” He apologized in his best Brits speak, patted him on the chest, and stumbled in the other direction.
“Yeah whatever, Enz…” Del hurried and shut the door just before he had a very embarrassing accident. He breathed a sigh of relief and cursed the name of Miller Lite and his band mates for making him so drunk. It had been awhile since he got wasted and he never wanted to do it again. Del didn’t feel like himself now. Instead, he felt like another lazy slob rock star just like the others on this bus.
“Fuck!” Del zipped up and flushed. Quickly, he washed his hands and left back out the door, kicking all the excess litter in his path. “I hate this feeling,” he snarled and threw back the curtains once again before bouncing on his bunk. “Tired of being alone. No use being rich and famous with no one to share it with.” Del punched the velvet pillow behind him and yanked the covers over his head.
“Del, damn man, what’s with all the racket, dude?” Lead singer Enzo laughed like a hyena and plopped down on the floor next to his bunk. He lit up a cigarette and took a few puffs. “Some of the groupies are trying to sleep.”
“Is that so?” Del spoke from underneath the covers. “Why are they still on the bus, Enz? I thought you promised me a marijuana and groupie-free trip the rest of the way. We only got these last three days in Chicago, then I can go back to my lonely home in Santa Barbara, away from you drunk assholes!”
“Del, c’mon, lighten up, will ya? I mean, don’t you wanna have a little fun? We’re rock stars, babe. We’re supposed to smoke, drink, and have lots of sex.”
“No…nope, not this one.” Del tossed the blanket from over him. “I’d had enough of that back in the nineties, Enz. I almost died because of this kind of crap. You almost took me back down that road!”
“C’mon, Del, with beer?” Enzo fingered his blond locks with his silver ringed fingers. “A little Miller is harmless, dude. You might’ve had a six pack…”
“Yeah, six too many,” he interrupted. “My ol’ drug counselor won’t be happy if I told him, either. Enz, you know I usually don’t drink that much. Perhaps a glass of wine just to relax but that’s it.”
Enzo puffed again and blew a cloud of smoke over his head. “Del, c’mon. You’ve become no fun ever since you started the health kick shit, man. You don’t eat anything but veggies. You hardly drink, you don’t smoke, and you don’t partake in any of the ladies. Why, damnit? Why you gotta be such a freaking bore, dude?”
“Since I almost ended up six feet underground, Enz and my girlfriend left me for another guitarist. I chose the drugs over her, dude. The worst mistake of my life!” Del threw the pillow up in the air and spiked it across the room. “I love playing, man. I love the music, I love being in front of the crowd but damn, lots is missing, my friend. When you’ve no one to share that joy with, it isn’t as fun anymore.”
Enzo pinched the end of the cigarette and slipped it behind his ear. “Man, you’re sharing it with me!” Immediately, he got up from the floor and shoved Del back on the mattress and planted multiple kisses on his face.
“Dude, stop, ooh God, stop it!” Del pushed Enzo away. Sometimes he enjoyed this playfulness with his best bud but now wasn’t the time, especially when he hadn’t showered, smelling like sweat and liquor along with stale Marlboros. “C’mon, Enz, I don’t mean you, I know I got you, but I mean, a female. Someone I can call my own!”
Enzo ceased his attack and sat up straight. “Ooh that. I get it man, wrong equipment!”
“Um…yeah, way wrong. I love ya, bud, strictly in a platonic kind of way.”
“Yep… same here dude.” Enzo leaned against the wall and folded his hands over his stomach. “But it’s not like you haven’t been getting the offers from women, Del. They been throwing it at ya, left and right but you haven’t taken advantage.”
“Because I don’t like sleazy women, Enzo. I like the quiet type, strong, intelligent, creative, talented…” Del stroked the black fuzz on his face and thought back to the charity show at the Metal55 in Indianapolis. “Like the girl I noticed in the pit.”
“The blonde? Oh yeah she was…”
“Nope, uh uh, not her. The cute redhead with black rimmed glasses. Short curly hair with pink lipstick. I wish I could’ve found her after the show, but we were in such a rush to get out of there.”
“Oh, I think I recall who you peeped, man. She’s cute but not as hot as the blonde.”
“Well you can have that. This lady reminded me of a librarian, just the kind of woman I’d like to snuggle up with at night. I gotta find her on this go round, man. That isn’t the first time I’ve noticed her in the pit.”
“Ooh, damn. Sounds like you got it bad for the cutie with the camera, huh?” Enzo tossed the pillow back at him and hit Del squarely in the head. He chuckled heartily and ducked when Del tried to throw it back.
“Hey cut that out, man. Yeah I do. So bad I can’t even aim or block shit. See that? Besides being hung over, I’m lonely and lost in my thoughts. I haven’t stopped thinking about her since the last time we were here in January. Too bad I was with someone then.”
“Yeah that bitch, Carrie. Don’t remind me. Boy was she a drag!” Enzo rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“Yeah but… this girl, I know she won’t be. I gotta make sure she doesn’t leave the pit this time without at least meeting up with me after the show.”
“Why don’t you call Metal55 and see if they know her? I mean, they gave her a press pass to get in there and take pictures. They probably know who she is.”
Del nodded in agreement and his eyes widened. “Fuck, man… Enz, I never thought I’d say this but you’re a genius!” Del kissed Enzo on the head and got up from his bunk. “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?” Del grabbed his phone and went through the numbers in his contacts.
“I don’t know, Del. Perhaps weed does make you smarter,” he winked.
In jest Del licked out his tongue at his band mate and thumbed through the numbers. Why hadn’t he thought to call the venue and find out more about the quirky redheaded photographer who’d been clogging up his brain for the past few months? Why hadn’t he seen her at any of the shows before that? Why hadn’t he noticed her before? Didn’t matter. He did now and whatever it took to find out more about her, Del Vanz would do.