Hot sex. Raw emotion. Dark times, and life changing revelations. “VIP” is a gritty, in-your-face, first person account of falling in love, getting destroyed, and coming to terms with the fact that sometimes, you just have to take a chance.
Dade Remmington was her biggest mistake, and Wren’s tried everything to get him out of her life. But her job puts her front and center for every concert his band puts on. Watching him up there, on stage, makes it impossible for her to resist.
According to her best friend, Abby, men are only good for one thing anyway, so now, they have rules.
Don’t get attached.
Don’t screw them more than once.
Never, ever, bring them home.
Wren never wants to fall in love again. Thankfully, what she has with Dade isn’t love. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.
Wren learns the hard way that there are just some feelings you can’t ignore. No matter how bad you want to. He was a mistake, but now, he just might be the only thing she needs.
Can you ever really get over having your heart ripped out?
Can people really change?
Second chances can change your life. For better or for worse.
The bouncer eyes me as I flash him my all access press pass. I get the usual reaction. My uneven, slightly lopsided, fire red hair and slightly inappropriate attire usually throws them off for a few seconds.
“Pitch. It’s me. Wren. Lemme in. I’m already late.”
“Wren? You look– different.” Pitch is taller than any person really needs to be. He’s been working the door here at the Lexington for as long as I’ve been assigned the venue, but he still doesn’t recognize me when I show up at the door. “Oh, you nixed the mohawk.”
“Had to. Apparently, my tiny mohawk didn’t fit the image that ‘The Miami Beat’ was going for. This,” I say, pointing to my mangy, bright red mop, “seems okay though. Now, are you gonna give me fashion tips or do you wanna let me in so I can get to work?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He groans, as he unhooks the velvet rope and lets me pass. I can hear the line behind me piss and moan. The group of girls in front calls me a bitch, so I turn around, smile, flip them off and flash them my pass. My press pass gives me an unearned sense of importance and I use it for my benefit whenever I can. Something about those three little letters; V, I and P. They make people treat you differently. Then again, I actually went to school for it, and made it through without having to fuck any of my professors, so I might as well take advantage.
I make a quick stop off in the bathroom before I head off to the pit. That’s the small walkway between the stage and the barricade, not to be confused with the mosh pit, where grown men and women go to smash into each other for no apparent reason.
The ladies room here is actually nice. It’s white, and there are daisies on the walls. It smells like flowers and disinfectant. Pretty much the polar opposite of the men’s room, which is a dank, piss stained, shit box that smells like dirty sex and bad decisions. I hike up my plaid skirt that my boss, Crash, once compared to something a rebellious Catholic school girl would wear to her first gangbang. So of course, I had to wear it tonight. I adjust my tank top, so all my ink is on display. Again it’s just something I have to do. My full sleeves look like a trippy garden of butterflies and flowers. I think it might just be the girliest thing about me, or maybe I just like being bright and colorful. My newest piece is an entire verse from the song ‘Oh, Death.” It’s a long story, but it’s one of my favorites.
I tug my hair up and fix my heavy eyeliner, I even put on some of that shiny lip gloss shit. I normally wouldn’t care all that much but, I know he’s here and I like to take every chance I can to remind him of what he’s missing.
When I’m satisfied with myself, I grab my insanely heavy equipment bag and mentally check through all the pictures I have to get tonight. It’s pretty typical stuff; full body shots of the guys, with and without their instruments, and a few usable crowd shots. Those are surprisingly hard to get. You’ll see.
I pull the heavy metal door open and push my way out. This hallway is always crawling with roadies and groupies and sometimes there’s even security, but not right now. Tommy’s probably outside, smoking weed with underage girls, and Glo, my Silent Giant, isn’t here tonight. They save him for the promotional stuff and for when the really famous bands play.
The girls are out in full force tonight, and the aroma of all their cheap girly perfume is an immediate attack on the senses. It’s always fun to watch the girls around here. So desperate for attention. Always willing to do whatever it takes to let the guys know they’re down. I’m so glad I never had to put that much effort into it.
“That you, Bird?” He says, and I stop. Shit. I hate it when he finds me first. He sounds like sex, and his words hit my ears and roll down my back, then land hard in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know why I’m surprised, I knew he’d be back here. “Wren?” He says again, with a little more edge. He doesn’t like to be ignored.
“Reaper.” I mumble, as I slowly turn around to face him. It’s a mistake. I should know better than to look him in his eyes. They have a direct line to every single nerve in my body. Reaper is his stage name. It’s a stupid name, but the ladies seem to like it. His real name is Dade, which in my opinion, isn’t any better.
“You can call me Dade.”
No. He likes that too much. “I could just call you what you are. Asshole.”
“Your favorite asshole though, right?”
“Don’t be like that.” He half smiles, and I hate him. That cocky, lopsided, slightly pursed smolder is the same move he pulls every time I see him, and every single time, my libido falls for it. “Come on, Bird. Stop being mad at me.”
“Mad?” I sneer, then I roll my eyes, pretty much do all I can to emphasize that ‘mad’ is an understatement. My brain and my itty, bitty heart try to walk away, but my vagina won’t let me. I can practically hear it calling his name. Asking him to come back. Get comfy. Stay awhile.
“You know you miss me.” He says, blinking those ridiculous, electric blue eyes. I thought he wore contacts, but surprisingly, the intense blue in his eyes is real, and dangerous. “You know I miss you, too.”
“I’m sure you do.” I spit my words at his feet, trying my best to pretend that I’m not already picturing his face between my legs.
He reaches his long, toned, fully tattooed arm up and wraps his fingers around the back of my neck. Reaper knows how to play women almost as well as he knows how to play his bass; or at least, he knows how to play me. I have to go, now, before I pull him back into the bathroom with me and let him bend me over the counter.
“I have work to do, Reaper.” I snake my way out of his grasp and push off down the hall, refusing to give him the gratification of looking back. I slide past the half-naked girls, sucking on their bottles of warm, piss water beer. The smell of weed is heavy down the entire hall and I can literally hear the sound of coke being snorted off dirty wooden countertops and unwashed body parts. Never a dull moment backstage at a rock show.
I have no orders to get shots of the opening acts, so as they play their slightly mediocre songs, loudly and slightly off key, to a less than enthusiastic crowd, all I can think about is Reaper. I’m in my usual place, on the right side of the pit, between the front of the stage and the barricade. I’ll be on Reaper’s left, and he’ll be standing over me, shirtless, since that’s how he likes to play. He’ll have a glass of some kind of liquor off to the side. He’ll probably be high, but he says that effects the way he plays, so he’ll probably wait until after the show to smoke.
I can always get great shots of him from where I am, but that’s the problem. Watching him up there, sweaty and tattooed, singing and pounding the strings of his guitar, the plugs in his ears and the bars through his nipples catching the light; fucking Christ. It boils my blood and the second I get the chance, I go find him backstage.
When the hype man takes the microphone, he stands there for a second, teasing the crowd until they settle down. He introduces ‘'Ninth Circle', and the crowd goes insane. They’ve built quite the following. They’ve played the Lexington a hundred times, but tonight, they’re the headliners, and playing to a crowd of thousands is a pretty big deal. I still remember the first time I ever saw them. It was in a shitty, rundown little place called ‘Club Arcane’, and there were maybe, fifty people there. That didn’t last long. They got popular pretty fast.
Now, the best time to get crowd shots is right when the band comes out, so, as the guys take the stage, I turn my camera and start clicking. Crowd shots are the bane of my fucking existence. The guys in the crowd tend to hang back, so they can hit the mosh pit or crowd surf. The girls, however, take up the first few rows, and most of them are already flashing their tits, and those tits tend to stay out until the very last song. They don’t even seem to care that the band isn’t even paying attention yet. It’s why I try to grab a few shots beforehand, but the crowd always ends up looking bored. I won’t be able to use any of the snaps that show tits, since the magazine could get sued, and because most of these girls don’t look like they’re even old enough to vote yet.
The small, salivating trio of girls right beside me, are clearly big fans of Reaper’s. They’re all wearing tiny little miniskirts and homemade shirts with his face ironed on the front. They’re clearly new to this ‘I wanna be a groupie’ thing. You don’t wear a shirt with the dudes face on it. That might be okay if you came to see the fucking ‘Backstreet Boys’ or something, but not a hard, gritty, alt rock band like 'Ninth Circle'. I have to smile a little, knowing that none of them are even Reaper’s type. They’re all clean canvases; not a single tattoo between the three of them. Reaper likes girls with ink. They all dyed their hair with the same rainbow of pastels; so they can wash it out before they put their ‘American Eagle’ and ‘Forever 21’ back on for school on Monday.
The only one of them with even half a chance is the redhead in the middle. Reaper likes redheads, even fake ones like me.
When the music finally starts, I feel like I’m on the other side of the barricade again. I can’t pull my eyes off him, but he knows that. Our eyes connect a dozen times in the first ten minutes of their set and every time, I want to jump the stage and climb my way up his body, like I’m fucking King Kong. I’d have to wave a white flag when I get to the top. I surrender, to Reaper. My one and only weakness in this world.
It’s not one sided, like it usually is when I lust after a member of the band I’m assigned to. Reaper wants me too. I can tell. Not that he ever tries to hide it. Even from the stage, he makes it clear to me, and everyone watching, that if he could fuck me on the stage, he would. Too bad he can’t.
I take a break from the camera and listen to a few songs. They’re actually a really good band and even if I hadn’t been assigned, I’d probably still be a fan.
Chance Mitchell is the front man. The lead singer. He’s tall and blonde, with green eyes. He’s covered in tattoos, which I think is a requirement for being a band. He sounds a lot like Corey Taylor, with all the right parts of M. Shadow’s swirled in. He can scream, he can actually sing. He can do it all and it’s impressive. He and Reaper write all their songs.
Cole, whose last name I can never remember, plays guitar. He’s got a buzz cut, but sometimes he shaves his head completely. His eyes remind me of the sky, when it’s really blue outside, but he wears contacts that make them look black. He loves to show off, does a lot of solos and he’s finally perfected the art of spinning his guitar around his neck without it flying off the strap. He’s done that before, a few times. I’ve seen it.
Dean Lewis is the drummer. He’s a quiet guy and doesn’t talk much. He has shaggy brown hair that he keeps pulled back, and his eyes are the color of leaves when they start to turn from green to brown in the fall. He likes to drink Wild Turkey straight from the bottle and he likes to break things when he gets wasted, but other than that, he just sticks to playing drums.
Then, there’s Reaper. He plays bass and does vocals. He’s six foot, decently ripped, deceptively strong. He has pale white skin that’s covered in a variety of storytelling ink. He has onyx black hair that hangs to his shoulders, lips that will haunt your dreams and a voice that could probably get nuns to take their clothes off. He’s pretty much everything a music nymph like me, and countless dozens in the crowd, could ever ask for in a man. He knows it, he uses it and he tends to get whatever he wants because of it.
Right now, his jeans are unbuttoned and hanging on his hips so low that you cans see the top of his pubes. He catches me staring and smiles this annoying, cocky, ‘I know you can’t resist me’ smile. The fucked up thing is, he knows it’s true.
I refuse to smile back at him, even though I want to. My poker face doesn’t show it, but inside, I’m a raging, unrelenting firestorm of pathetic, lusty need. A need, I’ve noticed, over the last two years, that only he can seem to satisfy. No one else has even come close to measuring up to Reaper. Physically or otherwise.
Too bad he’s such an asshole.
During a short break between songs, he kneels down and takes a sip of whatever amber colored booze he’s poured himself. Our eyes catch, as they often do, and he brings two fingers to his lips. He sticks his tongue through and flicks it up and down, then walks away before I have a chance to flip him off. Memories of that tongue flood my head and do nothing to help me talk myself out of letting him have his way with me. God damn it.
They play a few more songs, then Chance lets the crowd know it’ll be a few minutes while they switch out their instruments and do whatever it is bands do while the crowd waits around. Reaper saunters over and stands on the edge of the stage, which is a good five or so feet off the ground. He drops down, lying himself out on his tight, flat stomach. Our eyes lock, and for a second I stop breathing, but give me a break, staring directly into the sun tends to catch you off guard.
“You coming home with me tonight, or what?”
“Why would I wanna do that?”
“Oh, Bird. You know exactly why.” He says, inching his face a little closer. “So I can fuck you until you forget my name.” The group of girls are well within earshot, but he knows that. “I’ll be outside my room. You know which one. If you just can’t wait, I’ll fuck you in there, then, I’ll take you home anyway. Don’t act like you don’t want it, we both know you’re lying.” He puckers up and kisses the air before he stands back up and walks away.
There’s my Reaper. The man I’ve grown to lust for every time I hear his name, or even when I hear one of their songs on the local independent radio station. He has no qualms with saying shit like that, and he doesn’t care who’s around to hear it. In fact, the more people around to hear it, the more I think he likes it, and the kinky bitch in me, that gets off on the sound of his voice, can’t get enough of it. He left a voicemail once, after he left a couple months ago, telling me how he couldn’t wait to get back to town so he could fuck me on the balcony of his apartment. The voicemail was much more detailed than that and I think I used it to get myself off like, forty times, before I accidentally deleted it while trying to update my phone. I was so upset that I almost cried. I was tempted to call him and ask him to leave another one, but, I’ve never give him the satisfaction of doing that.
None of this would be so bad if what I have with Reaper wasn’t completely and ridiculously sick and unhealthy. He’s an awful addiction and just seeing him now, after all this time, has me jonesing for a hit. I hate knowing I have to wait, but he does this shit to me on purpose. He knows that I’ll be thinking about him from now until whenever I can get him inside me. He’s probably loving every second of it. The next time he looks at me, I’m sure he can see it all over my face, but watching him look directly into my eyes as he grabs his dick and adjusts himself, tells me that he’s thinking about it too.
The girls nearby see him too, and I see them, from the corner of my eye. They’re giving me that ‘if it wasn’t for you, I’d have a chance with him,’ death stare. They wouldn’t, but who am I to further piss on their dreams?
The girls continue glaring at me as the show goes on, but they never take their eyes off Reaper for too long. Towards the end of the show, he does what he does best, and he plays it up to the crowd. He jumps from the stage and stands on the wooden step-ups in front of the barricade. Starting from the opposite side, he slowly moves his way towards me, giving every girl in the first two rows false hope and sweet dreams.
I snap off a few shots as the dozens of hands shoot up and slide over his naked skin. A few of the braver girls grab at his dick and his perfect ass, and tug on the hem of his jeans. When he reaches the drooling girls next to me, he stands on the higher step, so he’s towering over them. He glances back at me, to make sure I can see them all worship him; their hands in the air like he’s a faith healer with the cure to all that ails them. Prick.
He jumps back up when he’s expected to play again, but he doesn’t go far. He stands on the edge of the stage and stares down at me. He plays his bass, his insane eyes reading every errant thought in my head. They’re doing a cover of ‘Scream’ by Avenged Sevenfold, and he sings the song to me as Chance sings it to the crowd. He knows he’s right. He makes me want to scream, and every time he’s around me, I get completely caught up in him; his madness–everything. Honestly though, have a guy sing that song to you and tell me you don’t want to fuck his brains out afterwards. Or, maybe I’m just easy. Who knows?
At the end of the show, I take my time packing up. For the first thirty minutes after a show the lights backstage stay dim, but I have no idea why. They turn them back up after the house clears out. I try to talk myself out of going to Reaper, but I already know that’s a lost fucking cause. I made up my mind before I even showed up here tonight.
My press pass gives me access to ‘The Rooms’, which is what everyone calls the hall of dressing rooms just beyond the general backstage area. Only certain people are supposed to be allowed back here, but with Drunk Ass Drake working the door, anyone who asks, gets let in. He’s bad at his job and he does this shit all the time. That generally means there’s going to be a lot of girls back here, and as I push my way down the hall, I’m more and more thankful that I’m not the jealous type.
I find him easily enough, standing outside ‘his’ room. Room C. The room he always uses when they play here. I stop a bit away and watch him for a minute. I like watching him, but I’m not sure why. He rakes his fingers through his hair and pulls it all back while he uses that annoying ‘Prince Charming’ smile of his to get all the girls around him to grovel at his feet. Right now, he has his long arm slung over some random hanger-on with blonde hair. She’s not his type, but that doesn’t stop him from whispering sweet nothings into her ear, apparently, to get her to take her top off. Which she does. Without a second of hesitation. All the guys in the hall lose their shit, like they’ve never seen a pair of second-rate tits before. She turns to him, smiling, with a desperate look on her face, like she’s saying, “Did I do good?”, but he’s already turned his attention to the next one.
She’s one of the girls that was near me by the stage. The redhead, which is his type. I watch him pose, while she snaps off a few selfies. She plays with his hair, which he hates, but he smiles, because his livelihood depends on keeping the fans happy. Chance stops by and hands him a beer and he turns away to talk to him.
Red is tall, but she’s got no tits. She has long limbs and a tiny waist, but no ass to speak of. Her mossy green eyes are pinned on Reaper, and she’s laying it all on pretty thick. Flipping her hair and batting her lashes. She stays pretty close, even when a few more fans come over to have a beer with him. Somewhere between the end of the show and arriving back here, Red took her bra off. I applaud her tenacity, but I have to laugh. Her white shirt, with his face on the front, is almost comical. Her pointy nipples look like horns on his head. It’s fitting. Reaper might as well be the goddamned devil.
I watch a cute little blonde bounce up, giggling and blushing. He tosses his arm around her narrow shoulders and kisses her rosy cheek. Her friend takes a few pictures and then they switch places. They try to talk to him, but Red inches her way between them. Then, while Red rambles on beside him, he scans the sea of people and his peacock blue eyes finally catch mine.
He motions for me to come to him, and as he jerks my invisible leash, I move. As I get closer, he reaches behind him and pushes the door open, his eyes never leaving mine. I flash him a smile and walk around him to get inside, then set my bag on the floor and hop up on the small bar that’s built into the wall.
I don’t know what he was doing, but he stops and walks inside, closing the door on his adoring fans as they all call out to him. The heavy door closes ever-so-slowly, and I see Red’s face twist up a little when she realizes her aspirations of fucking him are slowly closing with it. I smile when she spots me and give her a little wave before I turn my attention back to Reaper and open my legs for him.
He locks the door and makes his way over, unzipping his pants as he goes. By the time he reaches me, he’s already pulled his dick out. He’s hard and ready to impale me. Thank God. I don’t know if I could wait to get back to his place.