“I don’t have time. I’ve got a flight to catch to Australia,” Tom says while placing his hand to his head, grimacing.
The doctor shakes his head as he packs his equipment back into his bag. “No you don’t. No flying while you have a concussion.”
“Fuck,” West mutters, and I sense the tension in the room escalate while all the men look more pissed than they did a minute ago.
“He’s right, Tom,” Jett agrees with the doctor. “You can’t fly. I’ll stay here with you and get you checked out.”
“Like hell you will,” Tom argues, and his voice gets louder even though it’s obvious by the expression on his face that the noise is causing him more pain.
Jett crosses his arms over his chest and it looks like he’s settling in for an argument. “I’m hardly going to leave you alone while you’ve got a concussion.”
“Jett, the label were clear – they want the band back home and doing everything you can to fix the shit going down over there. Apparently, the rape scandal is only getting worse and they think it’s time you all did interviews in order to try to shift public perception.”
“Shit, maybe we should just pay that bitch off,” West interjects. Defeat hangs heavy in his words and I hate that he’s going through this.
Jett’s head snaps around to face West. “No fucking way are you paying her. That smacks of guilt and you’re not guilty.”
West throws his hands up in the air and stares at Jett. “Well what the hell am I supposed to do? She won’t go away on her own.”
I step forward and offer a suggestion. “Guys, why don’t you all go home and I’ll stay here with Tom? I’ll get him to the hospital and make sure he’s okay before we fly home.”
Four sets of eyes are suddenly on me, staring, and I wonder if I’ve said something wrong. Tom finally speaks, breaking the awkward moment. “Thanks for the offer, Presley, but I’ve got a sister in LA who can help me. You head back with the boys, and, for the love of God, please make sure Jett stays out of trouble.”
Jett frowns at him for a second. Cocking his head, he asks, “I never knew you had a sister here. You sure that’s not a bullshit story?”
Tom pulls his phone out and passes it to Jett. “Search for Tina and call her. She’ll verify it.”
Jett calls her and she agrees to come and take care of Tom. As he passes the phone back to Tom, he says forcefully, “I don’t want you coming home until the doctor clears you, yeah?”
“Yeah.” Tom waves him away. “You all need to get to the airport. I’ll be okay on my own until Tina gets here.”
Jett scowls and grabs his phone out of his pocket. He dials a number and puts the phone to his ear. After a few moments, he says, “Van, we’re heading to the airport. You better be there, asshole.” As he shoves the phone back in his pocket, he mutters, “Fucking message bank.”
At this point, I’m guessing Van won’t be there. And wondering like hell where the band will go from here.
I check the time on my phone for what feels like the fiftieth time. Half a fucking hour until we leave. And he’s still not here. Shoving the phone back in my pocket, I scowl. Van’s fucked up this time, and I’m almost out of patience with him.
Presley leans her head against my shoulder and murmurs, “Thank God I’m with the band . . . flying on a private jet is the only way to travel.”
I chuckle. “Yeah, sweetheart, stick with me and we’ll see the world by private jet.” Thank fuck she’s here; her presence may well be the only thing helping me keep my shit together.
“Now that’s a tempting thought, Mr. Rockstar,” she teases. I know she’s teasing because Presley is one of the only women I know who wouldn’t stay with me simply to enjoy the luxuries in life. And that’s exactly why I will give her every damn thing she ever wants or everything I think she might want.
We retreat into silence and I watch Hunter and West for a moment. They’re both sitting on their own. Hunter’s scrolling through his phone, and West has his head resting on the back of his seat with his eyes closed. We’re all exhausted and pissed off. Not a great combination. So it’s probably a good thing Van hasn’t shown up. Although, that will only prolong the inevitable.
I shut my eyes and try to push the shitty thoughts swirling through my mind away, but all I can think about is the band and where we’ll go from here. Ten fucking years and Van’s attitude is threatening to throw all that away. Not to mention his bad behaviour. I have no idea how Tom will handle this. If he walks away from us, we’ll struggle to find a manager as good as he is. Tom’s well respected in our industry, and there are a shitload of bands who would kill to have him manage them. He’s been our manager for eight years and was instrumental in steering us in the right direction when we first started out all those years ago.
“Jett.” Presley’s voice snaps me out of my thoughts.
“What, baby?” I ask, opening my eyes and looking at her.
“Van’s here.” She jerks her chin in his direction and I twist my head to look at him.
He’s not as banged up as Tom is, but at least Tom got a punch or two in; Van’s face is bruised and his lip is cut. The scowl on his face tells me he’s still pissed but I don’t have it in me to care. I leave Presley and walk to where he is. “What the hell happened with Tom?” I demand, already feeling the beginning of another headache. The last one I had has only just subsided so this only makes me more irritable.