Dirty Pleasures (Page 8)
“I don’t have one. Newlyweds. You might have read about it in the paper. I’m Creighton Karas.”
He raises one dark eyebrow. “The billionaire dude?”
He tilts his head. “Yeah. I guess you could be him.”
I flash my license at him. “I am him.”
“Still ain’t letting you backstage without a pass. So put your money away, man.”
I grit my teeth, all the muscles in my jaw clenching.
“But you can wait out back by the tour buses after the show. She’ll be going out that way, and you can talk to her then. If she wants your ass with her, then she can tell her security to let you on the bus.”
I try to hand him the money, but he waves it away. “Nah, man. I’ll get fired, and I like my job.”
Fair enough. “Thanks for the heads-up.”
“Better get yourself a beer and enjoy the rest of the show.”
“I’ll do that.”
And I do.
Four beers and two more acts later, and I’m finally making my way around the back of the theatre to wait. What I find there surprises me. I’m not talking about the heavy metal barricades creating a path for the talent—those don’t surprise me. No, it’s the half-naked women shoving each other aside to press against those metal barricades. Security is stationed along the way, trying to hold them back, but the women are adamant that they’re going to see some guy named Boone or BT or something like that.
I make my way to the edge of a barricade as politely as I can, because I’m not about to shove my way through a bunch of women. But then again, I’m not taking a chance that I’ll miss Holly, even if I do feel fucking ridiculous waiting outside with rabid fans like this.
Finally, the back doors open and a swarm of security precedes a crowd of people. The women start screaming, and I’m lifting my hands to plug my ears when I catch sight of Holly.
I call her name, but I don’t yell it. She doesn’t hear me. Another dozen feet and she’ll be standing right in front of me.
Rage burns in me as they get closer and I see the last guy who played—this Boone guy—with his arm around her, holding her against him.
What the fuck?
“Holly.” This time it comes out louder and harsher.
The guy drops his arm and comes to the railing a few feet away from me to sign some woman’s tits. Classy guy. Holly continues toward the bus.
She jolts to a stop, turns, and her eyes go wide as they lock onto mine. She stumbles, and another man reaches out to steady her. I don’t like his hands on her any more than I liked the last guy’s arm around her.
Her smile is tight when she comes toward the railing. The tit-signing genius comes down the line, meeting her in front of me.
“You okay, sugar?” he asks her.
Holly opens her mouth to respond, but I beat her to it. “She’s fine. She’s just wondering why her husband is standing with the groupies.”
His eyes cut to me. “So you’re the husband, huh?”
“Yeah, I’m the husband.”
He looks to Holly. “Didn’t mention he was comin’.”
“I didn’t know he was,” she says quietly.
“How about you move this reunion onto the bus?” Boone says.
Holly nods, and he gestures to security. “Get him on my bus. We’ll be there in five.”
A security guard hops the fence and leads me around the crowd to the tour buses. We slide between the barriers and he raps on the door. It opens, and I climb up the stairs.
It’s not the pit I expect it to be. Aside from a case of empty beer cans and a few empty liquor bottles, there’s not much garbage. Some clothes, drumsticks, notebooks, guitar picks, and video game controllers litter the counter and table.
I stand next to the couch and wait.
It takes longer than five minutes. Impatient, I move to the tinted windows and watch their slow progression—signing autographs and taking pictures from awkward angles.
Finally, the door opens again, and Holly climbs inside.
I’ve made myself at home on the couch, and I’m considering what to say. But she beats me to it.
“What are you doing here?” she asks without prelude.
“Looking for my wife,” I reply.
She mumbles something in response.
“I said I’m kinda surprised.”
My first instinct is to defend myself, but there’s really no point. I screwed up, and I know it. That doesn’t mean I’m not still pissed that she didn’t wait just a little bit longer before she walked out.
I decide an apology is the best choice. It’s not my usual, but I’m surprised how easily the words come. “I’m sorry, Holly. I fucked up. I told you I’d be somewhere, and I wasn’t.”
Her mouth drops open, and I’m instantly reminded of all the things I want to do to that mouth.
A slow clap starts from the front of the bus, interrupting the conversation.
“Now that’s a guy who knows how to grovel. I’m taking notes, man, in case I ever get myself up shit creek.”
He strolls down the aisle and holds out a hand tattooed with what looks like brass knuckles with skulls. “Boone Thrasher.”
I stand and appraise him, man-to-man. “Creighton Karas.”
We shake hands, neither trying overly hard to crush the other’s, which is more than I expected from a guy with brass knuckles tattooed on his hand. Assumptions and all that.
He’s still wearing the ripped jeans, camo ball cap, and biker boots he wore onstage, although he must have pulled on a new T-shirt because he ripped the last one off mid-performance.