Chapter 7.28

Mateo

If you would have told me I’d be here, getting my hair shaved off, with my band split up, and my life in total chaos, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I was so golden a few years back. Cheyenne and I were solid. Happy. In love.

During the peak of our relationship, we’d have to find new places to be together since our first album went platinum just like Dusty Blair said we would. Our renovated warehouse had this cool laundry room with keycoded locks so no paparazzi could invade our privacy.

Worked for us.

Even our bandmates wouldn’t hear a thing.

I was in heaven.

But even back then I felt it wouldn’t last.

Cheyenne would ask me what’s wrong, but I couldn’t put a finger on it.

So I played it off. I mean…nothing WAS wrong. Right?

When first our drummer Angelo quit to get married to his longtime girlfriend then Hunter got asked by the legendary Tyler Stephen to be his new lead guitarist in Stereosmith, news hit that Edge of Eden was breaking up and paps hounded us relentlessly.

We couldn’t even go shopping for a new car anymore without guards.

I shouted at them but that only made it worse.

I thought we’d get through it though. Find a new drummer and lead guitar. I had tons of contacts of awesome talent who I knew would give their left nut to join us. We needed dudes only since Cheyenne could be the only flower in Edge of Eden.

But before I could start the interview process, our producer called me into her office and changed everything.

*****

Jack

“No, dammit. That screenplay isn’t worth the space on my computer hard drive, Crenshaw. Get me another one that’s worth a damn and I’ll remember not to fire you.”

This was the last straw with my newest agent. I’d fired six in the last three years. They all didn’t understand that I wasn’t an object to toss around to any heartthrob romance movie. I honestly rue the day when I signed onto those stupid teen flicks. Moonlight type casted me so badly that I didn’t think I’d ever dig myself out of those sappy, awfully written teen thrillers. Sure they made me cold hard cash but I was an actor. A damned good one. I deserved better.

Backpedaling, Seth Crenshaw cooed, “No problem, Jacky baby. I’ll do some shaking and baking and get you the script of your dreams. No sweat.”

I growled into my phone, “It better not be all talk, Crenshaw. This is your last chance.”

Seth’s voice raised a notch. “Don’t worry! I’m going to talk to Larry Spugberg right now. I heard he has a new psychological thriller that will blow your mind. I’m sure I could talk him into allowing you a read.”

I shook my head. “You’ve got it all wrong, Crenshaw. I’ll allow him a read. He’d be damned lucky that I’d even consider a script from his production company. Didn’t he produce those ridiculous dinosaur dramas?” I glanced at my watch. Fuck. I was late for my dinner date with Dawn Martin, my co-star in Moonlight. According to our contracts, we had to “pretend” to date for the remainder of the movies. We had one more. I hated her guts. But she didn’t like me either so it was fair. I was lucky she was as good an actor as I was.

My guard, Benny, opened my car door for me. Because of my glory days as a young music artist, I still had teens throw themselves at me so I had to have guards with me 24-7. And doing all those Moonlight movies didn’t help. I needed a REAL movie. One that would dust off the cliche memes and catapult me into movie history. I wanted a Simacadamy award. I knew I could earn it. But that wouldn’t be in my future with the crap I was doing right now.

I set my jaw. “I want that script in my inbox tomorrow morning or you’re history.”

“I’ll have it there before midnight,” Seth answered.

I smiled. I liked it when people quaked around me. “Good. And if it’s as stellar as you’re boasting, I’ll make sure your bonus is doubled.”

I glanced at a sign next to my car and my stomach plunged.

Could that rosy beauty really be…Cheyenne?

MY Cheyenne?

I ripped off my shades to get a better look then nearly dropped my phone as my hands shook.

No fucking way. How did I not know she was a singer? And if she coined signage in this trendy location, she must have a huge production company backing her.

Mateo

“Look, Mateo, it’s nothing personal. Cheyenne needs wings to fly. You’re dragging her down.”

I was stunned. Shocked. Mortally wounded. You name it. “What the fuck are you talking about, Dusty?” She lead with that sentence without a hi or hello. But that was Dusty Blair. Straight business.

She arched an eyebrow. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m sending out a new contract that will supplant the ones with Edge of Eden. You should have seen this coming. Do I need to spell it out?”

Okay fine. She was right. Edge of Eden’s first album went platinum but the next two might as well be dumpster fire fodder. Total duds. But still…we could rise up with the next one. I countered, “We’ve been working hard on our newest album. You mean you want us to split up?”

“I don’t care what you do, Mateo, but we want Cheyenne to go out alone with a new pop sound. A black metal band might break out like with your first album, but fans are fickle. Pop music always stands out and Cheyenne has the talent to be a huge star.”

My heart twisted. “Did Cheyenne say yes to this?”

“No, actually. So it’s your job to convince her. You know I’m right. You’re dead weight. Cut her off, and she’ll fly. Otherwise…” She stopped then grimaced. “You both will end up in hasbeen hell.”

Dusty was right. I knew this. And my Cheyenne, my beautiful girlfriend whom I loved more than the world itself was so loyal to me, she’d die at the bottom of the sea rather than go for the stars.

I couldn’t let that happen.

I had to speak to her in private, so I ushered her to our bathroom. Once I laid out that I wanted her to go solo, she lost it.

“Do you realize what you’re saying, Mateo? No. Absolutely not. Edge of Eden has fans. Hundreds of thousands of fans. Dusty Blair doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

Hating what I was about to do, I took her beautiful, soft hands. “Baby, please…just listen.”

I couldn’t look at her because I’d back out. “Dusty has offered me a chance to form my own band as leader. I can name it what I want. Dress how I want. Even call it BLITZED. She’s giving me a two album contract, so…”

She wouldn’t argue with me if it was about my career. I wasn’t lying. I forced the deal with Dusty in order to convince Cheyenne. I felt like shit. But it was for her own good. I was just dragging her down.

Cheyenne rubbed my face. “Do you know what that means?”

Raising her hands to my lips, I kissed them. I couldn’t say anything more to her or I might have lost it.

Curling her around me, I held her as if maybe I could stop the train that already thundered out of the station. I knew it would be the end of us. And so did she.

Fast forward six months, my tour schedule was set with tons of fans ready for my black death rock somber tunes. My heartache from our break up was actually good for me creatively.

And we still talked. In fact, we’d hook up whenever our schedules allowed.

But it wasn’t enough for me.

I felt empty inside.