a Seaside Prequel
by Rachel Van Dyken
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2014 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design
To my AWESOME Rockin’ Readers group on Facebook,
who inspired me to write Tear from Alec and Demetri's POV.
THE CROWD WAS fierce. I rubbed my palms together and took a few deep breaths as the sound of the music rumbled across the stage.
“Is everyone ready?” Kane yelled into the microphone, “I can’t hear you!”
The screams were piercing. I shivered a bit and looked at my watch. Our start time had been getting later and later recently. I bit my lip and closed my eyes.
“Ready man?” Demetri hit me across the back and popped his knuckles in my ears.
I opened both eyes and looked at him — really looked at him. “You planning on going out there with coke on your face?”
“Shit.” He wiped his nose and pulled Visine out of his tight leather pants, splashing a bit in his eyes before blinking the tears away.
“You gonna make it?” I asked teeth clenched.
“You mean am I ready to go sell my soul?” He sniffed. “Yeah.”
We stood there, side-by-side, breathing in and out, but not really experiencing anything but the drone of the voices and the hype of the music as it got louder.
“We can’t keep going on like this. You know it. I know it.” I shook my head and wiped my face with my hands.
“You chose this.” Demetri sneered. “Deal with it.”
“I don’t have to deal with shit!” I grabbed him by the shoulders. “I’m your older brother, I’m all you have.”
Demetri jerked away from me and rolled his eyes. “Stop being dramatic, man, it’s our last concert for that very damn reason.”
“Let’s give a huge shout for AD2!” Kane’s voice was so loud, so deafening, that I had to fight the wince on my face as I ran onto the stage and was handed my guitar.
Demetri went to the drums and started counting down with the sticks. “One, Two, Three, Four.”
We always started with our most popular songs.
“I’m breaking out,” I sang, “Breaking in. Fading in so many places my mind is nothing but endless races. Shake me, move me, make me feel.” I grabbed the microphone as the pyrotechnics team did their thing making the stage look like it was on fire.
Ripping open the front of my shirt I knelt on the stage in front of a group of girls. “Make me bleed, make me feel, if only I could touch you and see you’re real. I’d touch your skin, feel your sweat, baby I’d do things you’d never forget.”
The girls’ screams made me want to run in the other direction.
It wasn’t real.
None of it.
I smirked and offered a wink as I slowly licked one of my fingers and dipped it into a girl’s mouth.
She passed out into her friends’ arms as the other girl yelled, “Bitch!”
The music stopped, and then Demetri’s higher voice joined in, the entire sold out stadium went quiet as he left the drums and walked slowly towards the middle of the stage. His leather pants and ripped green t-shirt made him look like he’d just gotten into a fight. The makeup crew had drawn blue lines down his temples made to look like tears a bit. Mine were red.
Then again the tour was called “Bleeding blue and red.”
“I’ll do things,” Demetri sang, walking past me and kneeling in front making a rocking motion with his hips like he was screwing the stage. “You’d never forget. Oh baby, believe me, you’ll be screaming until you’re hoarse. Believe me when I say, you’ll finally live, on that day.”
More screaming commenced.
Demetri pulled off his shirt and threw it into the crowd.
Then turned to me and smiled.
I stopped in my tracks almost missing the dance sequence when the background dancers jumped on stage and started bumping and grinding against us.
All because of that look on my brother’s face.
He was so freaking empty. And it was all my fault. I’d done that to him — to us.
With a smirk he pulled one of the dancers towards him and licked her face, then set her back on her teetering feet.
I’d created a monster.
Then again, what else could I have created? When I was the one he looked up to? When I was doing the exact same thing last year?
Death has a way of screwing with your head.
You either try to become a better person.
Or you do what Demetri does.
And try to forget the pain.
“AD2!” the crowd shouted over and over again, “We love you Alec!”
“Marry me Demetri!”
I swallowed and finished the song, my gut sinking with each note, knowing that if we didn’t get our shit together in Seaside — there would be no hope.
Demetri’s future was a drug overdose.
And mine was death by guilt.
I wasn’t sure which was a worse way to go.
“WELL, SHIT.” I blinked a few times then put on my sunglasses. “At least the sun’s shining.”
I really shouldn’t have said that.
Because in that instant, it started pouring rain.
“You were saying?” Alec snorted and pulled open the door to the beach house that we were going to be staying at for the next few months.
“I hate this place already. It smells,” I grumbled popping my knuckles and stuffing my hands in my front pockets, only to fidget with the few pills I kept on me just in case.
You know, just in case I fell off a building.
Or got attacked by a shark.
Or felt… sad.
Scratch that — just in case I felt anything. Even happy.
“So,” Alec licked his lips, “We should probably get going.”
“Uh?” I looked around. “We just got here?”
“Right.” Alec didn’t make eye contact. Instead he coughed and opened the fridge. “I kind of signed us up for school.”
I froze. My heart damn near beat out of my chest. “How do you kind of sign us up for school? When you say kind of do you mean you thought about it and then laughed your ass off for even having that thought?”
“Don’t worry. I gave you easy classes.”
“Are you shitting me?” I roared.
“No.” Alec’s jaw flinched. He threw me a bottled-water and took a swig of his own. “I’m not. Now put on some jeans that don’t have rips all the way up to your ass and try not to make a complete fool out of yourself.”
I shook my head. “Your insane! We’re going to get mauled!”
“Nah,” I shrugged, “It’s Seaside. Check it, they still have a video store.”
“I’m sorry I really don’t know what that means.” I muttered.
“VHS,” Alec said slowly, “Tapes.”
“Like as a joke?” I scrunched up my face. “Why the hell would someone watch — oh God, are they Amish?”
“The townfolk!” I threw my water-bottle onto the couc., “Do we have to grow beards and shi
Alec’s stern face broke out into a smile. “Yeah and they deliver milk to our front door every day. But don’t worry if you run out we can just milk the goat out back.”
“We have a goat,” I repeated. “Is it tame?”
“Yeah.” Alec shrugged. “I named it Billy.”
My eyes narrowed. “Does it live under a bridge.”
“We don’t’ really have a goat do we?”
“No, but it is Seaside, anything’s possible.”
“Next you’re going to tell me it’s like Disneyland and this is where dreams come true.” I grunted and picked up my tossed water-bottle and started playing with the paper so I wouldn’t reach into my front pocket and take my second pill of the day. If I was going to be going to rehab I needed to stop being so dependent if I had any dream of graduating the program and moving back to LA. I wasn’t that addicted anyways — I could quit for a few months. It wasn’t like I needed drugs to live or anything.
Yet my hands still shook.
And I still wanted that happy feeling.
The one that was so damn fake it made my chest ache — because at least then I wouldn’t have to think about everything else going on.
“They can’t possibly be that naïve,” I grumbled. “We’re on every magazine in the country not to mention we were trending on Twitter for an entire week. A week dude.”
“But” — Alec held his hand into the air — “They won’t expect it. Besides, if things get crazy we hire security. Our fans aren’t like Bieber’s.”
My body shivered involuntarily. “Scrappy little monsters.”
“Older.” Alec shrugged. “We have older fans, it won’t get that crazy.”
“Famous last words,” I grumbled. “Let me go change out of my pants then, seems we have a super fun day of going to actual school to look forward to.”
“That’s the spirit.”
I nodded, forced a smile, and did what I always did when my brother pissed me off. I grabbed the little white pill and chewed the bitter pieces — my tongue was already going numb.
In a few minutes the rest of my body would follow.
As I ran up the stairs and changed out of my jeans, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror.
Dark circles were under my glassy eyes. I looked like hell.
Well great, going to high school sure seemed like hell. I’d fit in just fine.
“Hurry up!” Alec shouted from downstairs.
“On it.” I grumbled and put on a pair of pants that wouldn’t get me arrested.
The drive to school was way too short.
“Do we really have to do this?” I watched in horror as kids, normal kids, piled into the large run down building. Some had backpacks, others carried books. “Hell, its like someone’s dropped us into a lame teen movie.”
“Hmm” Alec turned off the Mercedes — “You’d think after taking a pill this morning you’d be in a happy mood.”
Caught. Damn it. “Alec, look, it was only one—”
“Honestly man. I don’t wanna hear it. I really don’t.”
He got out of the car and slammed the door behind him, leaving me blanketed in the silence of my own guilt.
With a curse, I got out of the car and followed him through the parking lot.
Huh, who would have thought?
We walked through the doors and went straight for the office where one teacher promptly fell into a chair and started fanning herself, the secretary swallowed her gum.
And the principal beamed. “So you made it.”
“Yeah.” Alec nodded. “We did.”
“Your schedules.” He handed a folder to each of us. “And you let me know if there are any issues. I’m still convinced you won’t be able to pull it off, but good luck.”
“Thanks.” Alec smiled warmly and nudged me back towards the door.
The lady who fainted in her chair reached out and grabbed my shirt.
“Mrs. Smith!” the principal scolded, “He’s under eighteen.”
“Oh.” She blushed.
“Aww, teacher wants to play with the student?” I smirked and blew her a kiss. She continued fanning. And Alec pulled me by the shirt out of the office.
WATCHING MY BROTHER stroll through the halls as girls literally stared and gaped — well it was like watching a lion strut around its cage and suddenly come to the conclusion that he was going to try and capture every damn female within his reach.
“Daaaamn.” Demetri’s eyes scanned the halls with interest. “High School girls be looking good.”
“Keep it in your pants,” I grumbled. Irritated that he wasn’t taking anything serious. But who was I kidding? I was the serious one. Not Demetri — hell he was happy enough for the both of us. If I lost control, then who would be his parent?
Control. I breathed in and out, counted my breaths, and started mentally singing the lyrics to one of my newest songs.
If all else failed I could go home and organize the fridge.
Wow. How awesome was I?
Too bad it was illegal to bring alcohol on school premises — then again I was starting rehab tomorrow, alcohol would probably be frowned upon.
My fingers itched at my sides as we slowly made our way down the hall to Homeroom.
I’d gone to school once.
I really had no idea what I was doing.
I’d been desperate. When your desperate you find yourself doing lots of things that make you want to ram your fist into the wall.
Demetri stopped and pulled out his phone to send a text while I kept walking.
A girl was a few feet ahead of me. Girls. Girls. Girls. Shit. I was so sick and tired of the female sex.
Her hair was really pretty, it kind of bounced when she walked, and I was kind of irritated that my eyes followed each bounce like I was getting hypnotized.
Her outfit wasn’t anything that made her stand out. Everything about what she was wearing was sporty and semi-plain. But damn that hair.
I picked up the pace a bit, following the dark blonde as she made her way towards the same room I was going to.
Suddenly, she let out a squeak as she tripped sending her messenger bag flying across the floor.
On instinct, I ran up to her and knelt down.
“Crap!” She huffed, her hand reaching out to grab her books just as mine covered it.
She jerked in response and looked up.
Mouth agape, her eyes widened just slightly before a pretty blush stained her cheeks.
I didn’t know what to say. For the first time in my nineteen years of living, I was speechless. I was a writer — it didn’t happen often. But my brain just suddenly stopped working. I tried to pull out words, phrases, sentences — even a smile would have been helpful.
But those eyes.
Those deep brown eyes.
It was the first time in years that I actually felt like someone saw me — not just the rockstar, but me. And I craved it — in a way I never thought I’d crave something.
The pull — to just collapse into her arms — a stranger’s arms, was so overwhelming it freaked me out. Was I that stressed? That strung out?
Her eyelashes fluttered a few times.
My breath hitched in my throat as I offered my hand and helped her to her feet.
I’d spent my teen years writing about that moment — when you touch a girl for the first time — when your fingertips graze her skin.
My words — hadn’t done it justice.
An electrical current made its way from her body into mine, almost bringing me to my knees.
Just as I was about to say something, I heard Demetri approach.
“Knocking girls off their feet already, hmm Alec?” He patted me on the back and flashed the girl one of his typical Demetri grins.
I felt sick.
Sick because I knew in that moment — she w
My heart hammered in my chest as she returned his grin.
Their eyes locked.
It was like drowning and knowing that nobody was going to offer you a life raft. I felt the blow like someone had punched me in the stomach.
“Um…” She took his hand and shook her head. “He didn’t knock me down, he was helping me. I tripped and…” her voice trailed off as she swallowed and rocked back on her feet.
Demetri’s head turned to the side; he was captivated and amused. I could tell. “No worries. Demetri, and your name?” He invaded her space, making it so that his chest almost brushed across hers.
“Natalee, but everyone just calls me Nat.” Her eyes flickered from Demetri to me, “It’s nice to meet you both.”
Hah. Riiight… More like it was nice to meet sunshine standing next to me. Pretty sure right now she thought I was evil incarnate. Maybe it was because I’d forgotten how to smile. But how the hell was I supposed to be excited about the fact that Demetri already had her in his hold — and she had no idea.
“Yeah well” — Demetri shrugged — “We’re new in town. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of us.” He winked.
My heart ached so I looked away, feeling a bit pissed at the whole way things were going down but unable to do anything to stop it.
“Right.” She started backing up. “Um, like I said, nice meeting you. I’ll just…” Yeah she turned and practically ran away.
“Dude,” Demetri swore, “Stop scaring them off.”
“I wasn’t scaring her off,” I said defensively, “I just didn’t want to be late for class.”
The tardy bell rang.
“For real?” Demetri threw his head back and laughed. “Who died and made you a nerd? Can they even give us tardy slips? We’re new.”
“Whatever,” I snapped. “Let’s just go.”
Of course the same class that the cute girl ran into was the exact same class we were going to.
And it was just my luck that the teacher looked like he’d swallowed a lemon when we walked in a few seconds late.