Chapter 7.24


It was nearly 2 am. We’d just finished with our last set but I wasn’t tired. Zachary was so sweet to walk with me back to my place instead of taking a cab. My insides were like whizzing butterflies. I was DYING to know what that producer thought about our band but Grandpa had left with her early and texted me that we’d know more later. That wasn’t a good sign.

I sighed.

“What’s wrong?” Zachary’s low voice rumbled in the quiet morning.

I shook my head and covered my mouth. “What if she hated us, Zachary? We’ll be doomed. This is our only shot at getting a label. If Dusty Blair says we’re no good, who would want her leftovers?”

He stopped and held me close, kissing my forehead. “It’s not something you should worry about, Chey. Come on. I’ll give you a nice back rub when we get to your room.”

I snuggled into his chest. I loved having him with me. He knew just how to settle my nerves.

My mind raced through the night, waking me. But then having Zachary there would help me get back to sleep.

Why couldn’t I just pack him in my suitcase and take him with me wherever I went? I clung to times like this with him by my side. It was pure heaven.

The following morning, my nerves were fresh and fried. I paced around like a caged animal. Zachary went out and got us some coffee with tons of whipped cream. My favorite. He thought of everything.

He looked a bit nervous, hesitating.

I cocked my head. “What’s wrong?”

Swallowing, he said, “I…I was thinking, Chey. If this producer thing doesn’t work out, would you consider leaving the band and coming with me to Bridgeport? You know that city has the best theaters in the country. You could work as an actress. And in time, it could lead to what you’ve always dreamed of–maybe even a movie deal.”

I sipped the delicious carmel coffee. My heart wanted to instantly say yes but…I mean…I just started with the band and I loved it. It was a part of who I was now. Of course, he was right. My dream of becoming an actress still loomed over me. I DID want to do that but theater acting and commercial acting were two different things. And the odds of getting a movie break working in Bridgeport were basically zero. Zachary didn’t understand.

“Zachary…” I started. “I…”

He stopped me. “Look, I’m not saying you need to give me an answer right now but let’s give it until I start football in the fall. Okay? If things aren’t going as well as you thought, would you consider it? For me?”

If I was serious about us, I had to consider quitting the band. I knew that deep down but pushed those thoughts out simply because I wanted everything. Couldn’t I be a part of the band for a few years and have a long distance relationship? Many couples did that for years.

But it was obvious Zachary didn’t think the same way I did. I guessed I didn’t have to promise anything now. And he was right. Maybe in a few months I’d feel differently. “Okay…I’ll think about it.”

He smiled breathing out. “I know you won’t regret it.”

Just then, Mateo and the others burst into the room.

“Where’s my favorite singer?” Mateo cried.

My stomach dropped. “What’s going on?”

Angelo grinned. “Dusty Blair called. She wants to make a deal.”

Whooping, Mateo yelled, “Yeah, baby!”

I couldn’t believe it! Racing up to my band mates, we all gave each other a group hug.

This was it! Our dream was coming true!

I couldn’t believe it!


I should have been happy for her. Hell, Mateo wasted no time in acting as if I didn’t exist, monoplizing Cheyenne. But I guessed I couldn’t blame him. I’d probably do the same thing in his position.

She was so giddy at what the news meant for the band.

It wasn’t lost on Angelo. He hated me since I’d tried to hit on his girlfriend earlier in the year. Heck, how was I supposed to know she was attached? And that was way before Cheyenne.

Being the dutiful boyfriend, I snapped some pictures of the band celebrating.

And before I knew it, the weekend was gone and it was time for me to go. I had meetings with my team and finals were coming up. I couldn’t believe I’d be graduating soon then off to Bridgeport for training.

I gathered her hands in mine. “Let me know what happens with that producer.”

She nodded, not saying anything. I saw tears in her eyes. We both knew we wouldn’t see each other for months. Would our relationship just fade away?

“I don’t want you to go,” she whispered.

“I’ll call you when I get home.” This sucked.


I hated saying goodbye to Zachary. We’d have the most amazing time together whenever he visited. It was like time was on fast forward when he was here. It wasn’t fair!

And then poof. He was gone.

But my love life had to take a backseat to my job.

Before I knew what was happening, the guys and I were in an uber going to the famous Simy Fire building. It was shaped like a guitar. I thought that was so cool!

I had a knot in my throat and my whole body was shaking just being in front of Dusty Blair. She exuded fame. She’d produced some of the all time greatest rock legends!

“Well, look at what the cat drug in.” She tutted. “I expect you’ve already signed your contracts then?”

We nodded looking at each other awkwardly not knowing what her words meant. Cat drug in? Like…was she dissing us or did she want to produce our music?

She dropped her hands on her desk dramatically. “Listen, I’ll give it to you kids straight. My PA will take you to hair and makeup then you’ll do a modeling session for all the PR we’re going to give you. Everything’s gotta change. All your hair has to match. And good God, we’re going to give you a hair weave, Mateo, ridding us of that god awful mohawk. I mean what is this? The 90’s?”

Mateo’s eyes widen then he scowled. I honestly had to stifle a laugh. She did have a point. It did look a bit on the nose for a black rock band.

Then her eyes locked on me. “Because you have a beautiful goddess in your midst, we’ll be highlighting her and changing your group’s name to Edge of Eden–a play on the sexuality of this goddess. You’re quite lucky to have her, boys. Most rock bands are men only. That will help the hype.”

“What’s wrong with BLITZED?” Mateo grumbled.

He was so cute. He’d come up with the name himself and with her attacking his hair, I could tell his pride was a little hurt.

She plopped her boots on her desk. “It sucks. We’re elevating you, dear boy. If you don’t like it, the door is always available for you to leave. Do you wish to leave?”

Of course, Mateo backed down. And before we could say DREAMS! YES! we were in front of a green screen, all primped up and trying to look right for the camera.

It was hardest for Mateo.

He was always goofing off, doing the opposite of what the frustrated photographer asked of us. At one point Angelo couldn’t help it but he laughed.

Mateo was being ridiculous.

After about four hours and four thousand pictures later, we finally got a few pictures that worked.

Chapter 7.23


Zachary just texted that’d he’d be here any minute. It’d been nearly two months since we’d seen each other and honestly, it was like a stone dumped in my stomach. I was so conflicted. A part of me couldn’t wait to see him but another part felt trapped.

Was I being stupid by keeping our relationship like this? My life just didn’t have time for him. He’d wanted me to join him at the SFL draft night. But I had a high paying gig and fought with my bandmates over it. Our first band fight. Mateo got so angry, he almost flipped a table and stormed out.

Zachary was so sweet about it when I let him know about our argument. But I felt like such an awful girlfriend. He deserved better. Draft night was the biggest night of Zachary’s life. I should have been there. His girlfriend SHOULD have attended and cheered him on but…I couldn’t. He didn’t get the team he’d wanted. Since he was taken in the first round, the awful, lowest ranked Bridgeport Bears snagged him. Bridgeport was on the other side of the country from Del Sol Valley.

I shook my head. A dozen times, I’d gone over and over about breaking up. But how could I? I loved him.

When I thought about it, I belonged with these guys. My bandmates. We were already so close. And I’d forget about Zachary until he’d call me. It was like Zachary and I were marching toward the end of a cliff. But he was at the other end without a bridge.

Rubbing my elbow, I sighed, steeling myself for what I was about to say to him. I was going to do it. Break up. I had to.

Suddenly, I heard a deep voice, “Hey, sexy.”

His handsome face enveloped me and I gasped, startled. “Zachary!”

“Is it okay if I come in?” It was as if he could feel my inner turmoil. But looking at his face made my heart melt. He was like coming home. I’d never break free from his spell.

Giddy feelings swept through me and I jumped into his arms. “Oh, God, babe. I’ve missed you so much!”

“I missed you, too.”

Our eyes locked and I wanted to take him to my bedroom right there!


Cheyenne was so excited about her new living arrangements. I hated the fuck out of it. Living with four guys 24-7? My friends thought I was crazy for even considering sticking with this relationship. I knew I was nuts, too, but when you’re a man addicted, there’s no logic. You have to have your fix. Cheyenne Day was my drug habit I would not give up.

But was I happy? Where was our relationship leading?

Since she didn’t attend my draft, I saw the writing on the wall. We were sunk. Unless somehow her band would break up in the next year. That was what I was giving myself on us. One year of these once every two month meet ups. And if things didn’t change, we’d have to go our separate ways.

“What do you think?” she said, her voice bringing me to the present. I had to stop thinking about our future or I was going to mess up any good times we would have this weekend. She went on, glancing around. “It’s still a little rough but we got this furniture at an old vintage shop and I just fell in love with the vibe.”

I didn’t give a shit about what the place looked like. I just wanted to be with her.

Cradling her body, we just blended together like usual. I couldn’t get enough. “You wanna show me your bedroom?” my voice rumbled. I wanted those clothes off. Now.


Fuck. Damned boyfriend ruined everything.

Just when I was beginning to think I was out of the friendzone, Mr. SFL had to come around and rip her heart away from me.

I’d been attracted to Cheyenne Day from the first time I’d seen her play at that party.

And now, we had a routine with each other. Like an old married couple.

We liked the same things–writing music, practicing, cutting up, being lazy if we wanted and just kicking back, talking.

She was the one for me.

But hell. She didn’t know it.

And now the guy who was all wrong for her was visiting.

I marched in unannounced, not ashamed for breaking them apart. “Hey, guys! How’s it going?”

Got a kick at seeing Jockstrap’s glare. He was onto me.

Cheyenne beamed at me. “Hi, Mateo. Are we all loaded up for tonight?”

I nodded. She was always thinking ahead. Ever since Cheyenne joined our band, we were more organized and flowed better once we got to our gig. “Yep. PA’s and mics are in the van. Just need to bring our instruments. Hunter’s going over our checklist now.” Yeah, I’m ignoring you, Jockstrap.


Getting ready for our gig, butterflies hit per usual. This was a huge venue for us. Not big in the way of size, but big in future. Grandpa was going to bring a producer to watch us and if all went well, we might get a label. That’s HUGE for an indie band. It meant contracts, bigger tour schedules and social music support like Simify might pick us up.

I just couldn’t screw it up.

Glancing at Zachary in my big warehouse bedroom, he looked small and lonely in that corner of my room. Like he didn’t belong.

I shook my head. I couldn’t think like that. Didn’t we have an amazing time christening my Murphy bed?

And it was nice to know he’d be in the audience, supporting me.

I was praying for this break. It would be life changing.


Mateo made it clear I wasn’t wanted in their band bus. Said there wasn’t room with the equiptment and all. The guy wanted Cheyenne. Might as well have tattooed her name on one of his pecs. And if I was going to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if I got a call one day with Cheyenne telling me they finally hooked up.

But here I was running around Del Sol Valley, taking in the sights until I got to the dive bar they were playing at. Like an unwanted fifth wheel.

The place kind of reminded me of their home–an old abandoned warehouse with a dirty street vibe.

When I walked inside, I was immediately hit with the musky scent of weed. I hoped I wouldn’t get tagged with that shit in my bloodstream. Second hand smoke was no joke and I couldn’t test positive for crap like that. Would ruin me.

I could hear the reverberating bass and fans screaming. Guessed BLITZED got started already. I thought they said they’d begin at 6 pm. Walking toward the back, I noticed a bodyguard narrowing his eyes.

Who did he belong to? Was there a mega star around here?

Then I heard a familiar voice. James Sanderson was here with some person who looked special. Didn’t know who she was. But they were in a heated discussion.

When James noticed me, he smiled and gripped my hand in a strong hello. “So glad to see you here, Zachary! Congratulations on your draft. First round. That’s amazing! I know Cheyenne is proud of you.”

I smiled, taking in the compliment. That meant a lot coming from a huge star like him. Although things were happening so fast with my career, it still was all surreal. “Thanks, sir. But that’s just the first hurtle. Gotta play my best and get the Bears from worst to first. Am I right?”

He patted my arm. “I’ve got no doubt you’ll do well. Hey, I want to introduce Dusty Blair to you. She’s the producer for one of the biggest labels in metal rock.”

He waved his arm at Ms. Blair. “Dusty, meet THE Zachary Hawthorne. Just got drafted in the SFL first round. He’s Cheyenne’s boyfriend.”

She took my hand and said, “I know exactly who you are, Hawthorne. I’m sad the Bears got you. Maybe you can work a trade and come to the Del Sol Valley Llamas, huh?”

“I will whenever I get the chance.” But I didn’t tell her that if I did well, I wouldn’t be going anywhere. Trades early in a career killed careers. “So…you’re here for Cheyenne’s band?” I wondered why Cheyenne didn’t tell me about this. If she was a producer, the band might get a label. That would change everything.

She scratched her cheek. “Like I said to Grandpa over here, the sound is right but the band members themselves are like a mish mosh of delapidated parts. Not sure if we can make a Smarley Savidson motorcycle out of them.”

James put his hand on his hip. “Bah! That’s all window dressing, Dusty! You could work your magic on them. It’s the sound that counts.”

The two argued for ten minutes and I grew tired. The stress of what could happen hit me like a laser slashing my flesh.

When I saw the fans screaming and heard the amped up beat of the metal music, my heart pounded.

My Cheyenne looked like a goddess in a garbage dump. She didn’t belong there. I knew that.

Maybe I could convince her to drop the band once and for all and pursue acting. That was her first love. Bridgeport had the top theaters in the country. Getting to work in some of them could catapult her acting career that would eventually translate to film.

The elation of the crowd buoyed her. She was such a natural performer.

If only she hadn’t said yes to this. Unfortunately, she was in the band deep. But I’d do my best to convince her.

I had to or we were finished.

Chapter 7.22


Months had passed and I was a little dizzy on how things were going with the band. I had to confess, it was such a rush to be in a band like this that had its own following (albeit small in the grand scheme of things), groupies, people who knew who we were (when we entered small dive bars), etc.

Honestly, I was HOOKED!

And between rehearsals, creating new music, and our gig tour, I really hadn’t had time to miss Zachary. I didn’t tell him that though. But I was working! Doing REAL work! Not stuck in a dorm room, pouring over scripts or memorizing bogus stuff I’d never use again.

One thing we as a band had decided was we needed our own place to record music, rehearse, and lay our head down whenever we weren’t on the road. Doing that together would save us money. And believe me, money was tight. We weren’t rich. And honestly, the odds of us ever breaking out were low, but I liked how we were little by little gaining more followers. In ten years, who knew?

We were meeting with a realtor this morning who really thought she had the perfect place. She’d taken us to about five dumps that didn’t have enough space. But she promised this would be different.

“What do you think, guys? Isn’t it amazing?” she gushed.

It was a broken down, abandoned warehouse that in its heyday used to be an office building, manufacturing air compressors. I had to hand it to her–the place was super huge.

Mateo arched an eyebrow. “It’s rough alright. It’ll take years to remove all the rubble.”

“Can we afford this?” I asked.

Hunter gazed up and down the sides of the place. “Right on.”

Angelo shot a look. “Dude, don’t get happy with it yet. We haven’t seen inside. I’m not optimistic. It looks like it could crumble under our feet.”

Without going inside, the realtor took us out back to the enormous patio. She waved her arm over the surroundings. “Picture all your instruments here. Synthesizers, anything you want. Isn’t this a great place to practice? Of course, you could remove a lot of the garbage, but I know a company who will do it for free if you donate the junk to them.”

Gazing at all the weird contraptions, old cars, beautiful graffiti’d walls on the street behind us, my heart skipped a beat. This was PERFECT!

“How many bedrooms?” Mateo asked.

The realtor answered, “There’s a ton of space on the second floor that you could use for extra bedrooms. It’s some old offices. There are actually two formal bedrooms that have vintage furniture in them that you may like. Let’s go up and see. Shall we?”

I already knew this was our place. Sure it was filthy but the bones were stellar. And the price was just right. How could we pass it up?

Mateo wasn’t sure.

“God, I’d hate to know the size of the rats who’ve been living here for the past half century. The place stinks.”

After entering what used to be the cafeteria, a disgusting decomposing smell overpoured me. I almost wretched.

But I was determined. So what if we had to hire some exterminators? The guys had to listen to reason.

I sat down, sliding the metal, decrepit chair. “Look, we’re not rich so we definitely aren’t going to get a cozy pristine warehouse that would cost a million simoleons. But guys! Can’t you see through the dirt and grime? This is an amazing deal!”

Mateo clicked his tongue. “Are you going to clean it up?”

I laughed. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make this place shine. Think about how much fun that’ll be!”

In the end, Mateo caved. I already had Hunter on my side and it only took a little convincing for Angelo and Devontae to climb aboard.

And just like that, before we knew it, we were jamming in our own backyard with loads of room and a cool backdrop to go with our industrial tinged metal rock.

I waved my arms. “What do you think, guys? This couldn’t fit us more!”

Devontae plinked on his bass. “As long as the neighbors don’t call the police.”

“What are you talking about?” Hunter countered. “I think the neighbors are gonna be our biggest fans.”

Angelo crashed a symbol. “I give it one day and we’ll have to move inside.”

I shrugged. “Then we move inside. The top floor can be converted into a soundproof studio in time. Stop worrying!”

Mateo shook his head and fiddled with his controls.

We ripped rock riffs all afternoon and no one called the cops.


“Do you like it?” Mom asked as we entered my room. She’d hired some movers to place things in my bedroom since I was basically broke. She brought in my old vanity and bought some rugs and a Murphy bed to save space.

It wasn’t perfect but it would do for now. The walls were still draped in that awful office drab brown and we still hadn’t removed most of the office furniture, but I’d do that in time. Grabbing her in a hug, I whispered, “Thanks, Mom. You rock.”

“Don’t forget your father was in on it, too. He wanted to be here, but couldn’t get away.”

I guessed Dad’s heart melted a little from the time I’d first told him about me joining BLITZED. I was relieved.

“How is it living with four guys?” she asked. “Is it strange for you?”

“We’re all best buddies. They might fart and smell a lot more than women, but all in all, it’s been fun.”

Mom got a weird smile on her face. “Well…be careful. Guys are not girls and I bet one or more of them might be attracted to you and then everything will change.”

I thought about how much fun I’d had hanging out with them. I could safely say that Hunter and Mateo were becoming one of my closest friends. They didn’t show that either one had any attraction even though I knew they didn’t have girlfriends. The drummer, Angelo, did have a girlfriend and Devontae was gay.

I loved joking around with them. They were so laid back and we just “got” each other. Mom had nothing to worry about.

“You don’t have to worry, Mom. Me and Zachary are doing fine long distance and…” I lifted the side of my mouth. “I’m just not attracted to them at all. They’re like having four extra brothers. Honest.”

“Well, if you’re happy, I’m happy, sweetie.”

Aww…I loved my mom. She was like having cold vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day.

Life couldn’t get more perfect. A few months ago, I’d never predicted that I’d be living in the heart of Del Sol Valley in an old abandoned warehouse with a rising indie band who were becoming my very best friends.

Pinch me now!

Chapter 7.21

Slight sexual situations ahead! 😉


So much was happening at light speed, my life literally felt out of control. It was like I was on this 3 D rollercoaster, cranking to the tip top point, knowing there was a thrill about to happen but also totally knowing it was going to make me beyond uncomfortable.

Thinking about my future would envelop me sometimes, forcing me to hide out from everything–my parents, my bandmates, my friends…even Zachary.


I sighed and chewed my pencil. My therapist told me to write down my thoughts whenever I felt stressed. Zachary was the biggest stress in my life when he should have been the most peaceful.

But our lives were going in two different directions and I just couldn’t fathom how we were ever going to get to the same path.

As soon as he came back in town from the game, we couldn’t wait to drink each other up. My body vibrated as his warm touch sent shivers through me. It was pure ecstasy.

But the mood entirely changed afterwards once I unloaded what had happened with Mateo and Hunter and the band, BLITZED.

“You’re mad, aren’t you?” I asked. I could feel the tension between us like there was this hidden minefield and one of us was about to step on a bomb.

Not looking up from his phone, he said, “No, I’m not mad.” But he still didn’t look up and he didn’t look at me. He was mad. I could feel the frost coiling around us. Winter had arrived and not just outside.


Okay so I was mad. How did she expect me to feel?

I’d finally found the girl of my dreams. Seriously. Me saying that was so out of character that it had been hard for me to wrap my head around it. I’d always dated around. Never had a serious girlfriend. But with Cheyenne it was different.

God, just being with her felt so amazing. Like we were one. I knew I had it bad when after the game, all I could think about was coming home to her, not celebrating with the guys or scanning for random girls.

I honestly had been thinking about shopping for rings, getting engaged once I hit the pros. In about six months. We’d even talked about it. She had actually told me she was going to look into acting gigs wherever I ended up and now she pulled this shit on me?

I didn’t want to get into it with her at that moment. I was still processing. But she wouldn’t let it go. “Zachary…come on. I know you. Tell me what you’re thinking.”

I glanced over at her. Damn. Why did she have to be so fucking beautiful? And why did she have to also be well…who she was? “What do you think I’m thinking?”

She flipped her hand. “Oh, I don’t know. Like it’s a stupid idea and I shouldn’t be so impulsive and this all could blow up in my face and I should slow down.”

Staring at her was like watching a butterfly molt from a cocoon. I knew I couldn’t contain her. People like her HAD to fly. And I was being this stupid selfish bastard wanting to have her to myself. But was that fair?

I wanted to say yes, dammit. It was fair to me.

But I just couldn’t.

I folded her hand into mine. “Babe, if your gut is telling you to do this–quit school and join this band then who am I to say a thing about it?”

“Really?” she asked, beaming.

Right then I knew I was going to lose her. I just clung to the notion that fate would somehow allow a miracle and we would end up together.


Zachary was so sweet about everything but he couldn’t fool me.

He was worried.

And so was I but…I just went with it, trying to push out reality for as long as I could.

He made a joke about me having to dye my hair black and get a ton of nose rings and ghoulish tattoos.

I loved how fun he was. He could always make me laugh no matter the circumstances.

We cuddled there on the bed, legs like noodles, playing footsie.

Then he pulled me close to him, stroking my cheek. “I love you, Cheyenne Day. I always will.”

The way he said it was like he was saying good bye. Tears welled in my eyes. “I love you, too,” I whispered.

He leaned in, giving me a soft, tender kiss. I never wanted to let go of him.

I decided I’d do everything I could to keep us together. He was my soul mate.

Wasn’t he?


Winter break was upon us and Kian and I along with Phoebe made the long journey to Oasis Springs. (Phoebe didn’t get along with her mom so she usually ended up with my fam most holidays).

Both of them changed into their swimsuits right away. One thing about the desert–it never got below 60 degrees on cold days. I thought it was too chilly for swimming but Dad heated up the pool for us.

I steeled myself a bit, walking around my dear old house.

I had tons of special memories here.

Mom and Dad never changed. They both were still focused on their research and archaelogical field work. I was happy to know they’d be home this winter break.

And I had something to unload on them that I’d been putting off.

I smelled something delicious smoldering on the grill. “Grandpa!” I blurted, so surprised to see him. “What are you doing here?”

“Can’t an old man visit his son and family?” he smiled, eyes crinkling.

I wrapped him up in a hug. “I love that you’re here. Hope you can stay for the whole time.”

Squeezing me, Grandpa answered, “I’ll be here for a few days, pumpkin.”

Oh right…it was Grandma’s turn to visit us for Christmas. That was a touchy subject with him. I was so glad my parents loved each other. Split families sucked.

With a twinkle in his eye, Grandpa said, “So…how’s the band coming along? Any new gigs I should know about? I want to see you perform, you know.”

Stomach jolting, I looked around for Mom and Dad. I hadn’t told them yet and I wanted to present it to them my way. “You didn’t tell them did you?” I whisper screeched.

“That’s a secret between you and me. Don’t worry.” He winked. “But you should tell them sooner rather than later. Remember. It’s your life. Hold your ground. Know I’m rooting for you.”

That little speech did nothing to calm my nerves. He knew as well as I did this was going to be a fight.

Just then, I saw Mom and Dad come up from behind him and my stomach jolted.

After they both gave me a hug, Dad said, “So…only one more semester until you graduate. I’m so proud of you, Cheyenne.”

“Eheheheh,” I fake laughed. “Yeah. So…um…I’ve got some news.”

“Really?” Dad’s eyebrows raised. “Spill, sweetheart. You dumped your boyfriend and got a new one?”

I shook my head. “Daaad…no. But can we go sit down to talk?”

Ugh. They both had these silly proud-parental looks on their faces. I didn’t want to disappoint them.

“So, what’s up?” Dad asked.

Like diving into an icy pool, I just had to muster up the courage and plunge in. “I got this really cool once in a lifetime opportunity. I was asked to join this indie band that totally have two hundred thousand followers on WooTube and thirty five thousand followers on Simstagram. Isn’t that amazing?” Oh dear God I was blowing it. Calm down, Cheyenne. You’ve got this.

It was like a wave of understanding hit both of my parents at the same time.

Dad gave me a look. “If they’re that popular then they must tour, right?”

“What about school?” Mom chimed in. She didn’t miss a beat. You couldn’t get anything past her.

“I’m…um…going to take a small break, you know. I mean…an opportunity like this doesn’t come around very often. Heh heh. It’s like winning the lottery.”

“What kind of band is it, honey?” Dad asked.

“Oh, well, you wouldn’t understand this kind of music. It’s sort of like rock and roll, ya know? Like throw back in the old days.” I seriously didn’t think they’d like me joining a black rock band…it was a bit edgy and my parents were anything BUT edgy.

Already I could see the tension filling Dad’s eyes. “If it’s oldies then why would you want to join it? That doesn’t sound like they’re going to be very popular.”

At that, Mom jumped up. “It’s her life, Liam. Let it be.”

“I’m just asking some questions, dear.”

“Okay, ask away, but whatever you do…be nice.” She threw all kinds of extra sentences at him with her eyes. Mom was always my biggest supporter of acting when Dad didn’t like it and now, I knew I could count on her to help me out except instead of staying and being on my side, she left.

My parents had a rule that if they didn’t agree, they wouldn’t argue in front of us kids. So she let Dad say whatever and then later, they’d talk. Sometimes she’d get through but other times, she’d side with him. I needed to stay strong. Just like Grandpa said.

“So…what kind of contract did you sign? You probably need an agent, honey.”

Agent? Wow. Contracts? They never mentioned anything. “I’m um…you know…going to get paid by the gig. We split everything five ways.”

“Do you know how much you’ll get per gig and how many gigs a week? These things are very important, Cheyenne. How are you going to support yourself?”

Omg…he was rattling off a bunch of nonsense! I mean…I guessed I didn’t think it through but those guys made it out okay. “I’m…in the process of figuring that out.”

Then his tone changed. “So you’re going to throw away everything you’ve worked for, toss out all that money we paid for all your schooling for the past three and a half years, to join a band you honestly know nothing about?”

“Dad…trust me. I know what I’m doing. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to school and finish. Okay?”

He shook his head. “No you won’t. Because once you stop, you’ll be out of the college mindset. You might do this for a few years, make a little money and for what? To barely make ends meet? What about acting, Cheyenne? That’s your passion. This band is just a flighty distraction.”

Ugh. He could be so unreasonable at times! Why couldn’t he support me for once in his life? He always had the delusion that I was going to end up like his dad or worse…his mother…who didn’t follow her real dreams and went on a whim with Grandpa to Del Sol Valley only to crush his whole family. “This is about Grandpa, isn’t it?” I almost yelled. “Well, I’m going to tell you once and for all I’m not HIM! I’m not THEM! I’m following MY path!” I flipped my hands. “Why can’t you just trust me for once?”

“I won’t support it.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Anger burst through me, making my eyes tear. “Fine. I don’t need it.”

Shaking, I bolted away from him. I couldn’t believe it was like I was a teenager, fighting with him over what I wanted to do in my life. Why wouldn’t he ever trust me?