Chapter 7.30


“Jack?” I gasped. “Rackham?”

He smirked at me. “In the flesh.”

I pulled in my breath. Here he was. THE Jack Rackham, standing in my dressing room as if we had been besties since middle school. My heart pounded as my knees shook. I didn’t know what to say.

Gazing down at me, he added, “Just thought I’d stop by and congratulate you. Hell, I didn’t know what a huge star you were until I saw your billboard on Starlight Blvd. So I had to come and see for myself. Great concert by the way.”

My mind whirled around. I knew I should have been flattered he decided to even speak to me but it was all so strange. He popped out like a creepy puppet in a horror movie. “Wh-who…I mean…how did you get in?”

“Oh…your PA let me in. Nice girl. You should give her a raise.” He lifted his eyebrow as if I was supposed to do as he said.

When I didn’t speak back, he lurched his head. “What? An old friend stops by to see you and you don’t even give him a hug?”

Wrapping my arms around him, he smelled like an expensive bottle of cologne and something else I couldn’t put my finger on. Whatever it was, just having him near me was like a dream come true. At least for the little girl inside me. It was all so surreal. I thought he hated me. Or didn’t care. I was just some silly kid who had a crush on a super star. It seemed the way he treated me back then that he looked down on me but…maybe I misjudged him?

He whispered in my ear sending shivers through me, “I can hear your heart beating, Red. Wanna get out of here? The Starlight Hotel has a private bar at the penthouse level where no paparazzi would bother us. We should catch up.”

Pulling back, I smiled, twisting a lock of hair behind my ear. “I’d love to but my flight leaves soon. I’m going back to the valley.”

“Cancel it, Red. I mean…you could always fly back on my jet. I’ve got plenty of room.”

I blinked.

Mateo’s face shot into my mind. Sure, we weren’t exclusively dating but…I was still attached and even having a drink with Jack would feel like cheating to me. “I…can’t, Jack. I have…a…another commitment. I can’t get out of it.”

His face grew cold. “I used my private jet and flew here just to see you. Certainly you can rearrange your schedule. Use your star power. Remember. You’re the one who pays everyone’s bills around here. Do what you want.”

I still couldn’t get over the fact that he was even standing here. And to top it off…asking me…out? Every part of me screamed to go with him, but Mateo was waiting and…I just couldn’t do that to him. “It’s not that, Jack, but…um…I have…a boyfriend and he’s waiting for me, so…”

His eyes looked down. “Oh, I see. Damn. Should have seen that one coming. Of course you have a boyfriend. Who is he?”

“Mateo Martinez.” I was shocked he had to ask. We’d only been plastered on every magazine about our break up.

He nodded then shrugged. “Tough break for me then. He’s a lucky guy.”

I didn’t know what was happening to me but I was drawn to Jack like he was a flame and I needed his warmth. There were so many questions swirling in my mind. How was he doing? What projects was he working on? How was his mother? I’d always kept up with him in social media but you couldn’t count on the magazines to tell the truth. Why couldn’t we have met up earlier in my life? It was like we weren’t meant to be together. And maybe that was okay. At least I knew he actually cared about me and thought of me as an old friend. That, at least, made me feel good inside.

I stepped closer to him. “Thanks for visiting me, Jack. I…really appreciate it. Maybe we could catch up some other time?”

His eyes locked onto mine, making me blush. “Of course.”

He took out a photo of himself and scribbled something down then pressed it into my hand.

“I’ll be awaiting your call. See you later, Red.”

When he left, I looked at his picture and what he’d written.

It said:

To Cheyenne,

For you only

and then he’d written his number.

But I knew I would never call him.



It seemed like I’d been waiting for Cheyenne for years. And when she finally walked through the door to her entertainment room, I couldn’t keep my hands off her.

She stared at me and said, “You cut your hair.”

But I didn’t want to talk. I’d missed her so much, it crushed me. Grabbing her, I felt the emotions well inside me. She couldn’t see me mist up so I buried my head in her shoulder, smelling her sweet soft scent.

“I missed you, baby,” I whispered.

Pulling back, she gave me a light kiss. “Me, too,” she said.

But I’d been waiting to kiss her for six long months. A little kiss wouldn’t do for me.

And after we’d had sex, I cradled her, so happy she was in my arms again.

Being with her again gave me hope. Maybe we could make this work. Somehow. She was my best friend. We fit together perfectly. Why couldn’t she be mine forever? I’d decided that night I’d propose soon. We could work our schedules out so we could be together on our off months.

As she snuggled into my arm, I even thought I could quit my band. Maybe be her manager. It would work.

It had to or I’d go crazy without her.

Chapter 7.29


After I got over the shock of seeing Cheyenne on a marquee and then a huge billboard smack in front of my trendy neighborhood, I decided I’d better take a look at what everyone obviously knew that I didn’t.

I jetted out to San Myshuno to her latest concert, incognito of course. Didn’t want my fans to recognize me at her concert.

Beyond the drop dead gorgeous woman she’d turned out to be, Cheyenne was incredibly talented. Chills rippled through me when she belted out the most explosive high notes.

My God, I thought. Her voice had really matured since the old days of our youth at that performing arts camp.

I drifted back to those simpler times. Times I relished. Even though I was already a superstar, there, I was just Jake, having a little crush on a beautiful girl.

Honest. Pure. Real.

What amazed me most was Cheyenne learned to dance as well.

The little girl with two left feet had arrived to the applause of all who saw her.



I gotta say, the San Myshuno crowds were the best! Their cheers buoyed me and I sang my heart out. Better than I’d ever hoped to before!

Marching through my routines, it was like an unnatural confidence swept through me and I owned the stage.

This was what I was meant to do all along. Every concert, I would gaze out over all the screaming fans and I knew. I was home. Right here.

At the end of the night, with emotion rising through me, I threw a good-bye kiss to all my fans.

I shouted, “You all are so amazing! I’ll see you next time!”

They screamed, hurting my eardrums.


After Cheyenne’s fantastic concert was over, I knew I had to see her. My bodyguards ushered me through the back doors into the place where Cheyenne’s dressing room would be. Of course being who I was, we got through security easily.

Cheyenne’s concert logo seemed to vibrate out of the walls. I was so proud of her.

How far she’d come since the days when she couldn’t step anywhere but on people’s toes.

A curt voice broke me out of my revery. “Sir! You’re not allowed down here. Go back or I’ll call security.”

I couldn’t believe this was all that was between me and seeing the biggest star here. What was Cheyenne’s security team thinking?

The girl eyed me up and down. Did she recognize me even through the disguise?

Knitting her eyebrows, she said, “I mean it. I’m about to have you arrested. Leave. Now.”

Giving my glasses and hat to one of my body guards, I then strode up to her, eyebrow arching. “I’m an old friend of Cheyenne Day.”

Instantly, her eyes bugged out as she lost her breath.

Shocking people never got old.

I cocked my head. “Now…can you take me to Miss Day’s room or will I have to text her about your negligence?”

She wilted underneath my gaze. “Oh please don’t say anything to Miss Day. She’s already told me that if I mess up one more time, she’ll have to find me another job. I love working with her so much. You won’t tell on me will you?”

The silly thing didn’t even give me a chance to answer. She just muttered to herself. “Oh God how stupid could I be? You just mouth vomited at THE Jack Rackham, idiot.”

Then she waved her arm. “Follow me, Mr. Rackham.”

That’s one thing fame always got you.

Anywhere you wanted.


She knocked but no one answered, so she gingerly tiptoed in, finding no one around. I could hear the shhhhh of a shower streaming in the distance.

“So, like, Miss Day is getting ready. If you want, just make yourself comfortable on the couch.”

The girl pointed to her right. “There’s goodies and stuff on the table over there. Thanks so much for the autograph, Mr. Rackham. You’re a doll.”

Then she closed the door and I found myself in Cheyenne Day’s dressing room. I knew carrying a few pictures for fans would come in handy. A little bribery always helped.

She took the longest shower and I was growing perplexed. After all, we hadn’t seen each other in years. Fifteen to be exact. Would she be upset by my forwardness?

Nerves got the better of me when I heard her come out of the bathroom. What if she wasn’t clothed? That wouldn’t be a good scene, so I scuttled to her closet, hoping she wouldn’t find me crouching there. If she did, well, maybe seeing me would be enough for her to forget the intrusion and she’d just wrap her arms around her old friend. I was sure she’d be okay with it, so I tamped down my anxiety.

Then I heard her chatting to herself and couldn’t make myself come out to greet her.


“Mateo always loves me when I’m dressed down,” I said, glancing at one of my selfies. God, I couldn’t wait to fly home and dive into his arms. It’d been six months of a whirlwind tour and I needed some R n R. Thankfully, we were still talking even though on the books we were broken up. He was my best friend in the whole world and I never wanted to be with anyone else.

I glanced at one of his texts after I sent it.

He was so cute. And predictable. I missed him so much, I couldn’t stand it. So I struck a pose just for him.

But then he ignored it after I sent it. “What’s going on?”

Instantly, he called.

“What the hell, boyfriend? You don’t like my pics?”

His low voice sent shivers through me. “I just want the real deal is all. I miss you.”

“I’ll be in Del Sol Valley by morning. Meet me at my place, okay?”

When I hung up, warm feelings swept through me. Mateo still loved me and it seemed nothing had changed between us. Maybe…just maybe…things could work out with us?

I had to block that out of my mind. Attachments only meant hurt in the end. But I could dream…right?

A few minutes later, a man’s deep voice reverberated through the room, sending knives through my back. “Hello, Red.”

Oh my God. Only one person ever called me Red.


Chapter 7.28


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.



“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.


“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.