Note: This chapter depicts/mentions some minor drug use.
Lucas smiled as he stared up at the crumbling paint of the hotel ceiling, watching as the ripples of smoke danced and weaved above his head before disappearing without a trace. It was oddly mesmerizing.
“Dude.” David’s gruff voice called from beside him. “Want another hit?”
He shook his head slowly, finally tearing his gaze away from the ceiling. “Nah, I’m good.” Lucas liked to unwind just as much as his bandmates, but he always tried to keep his head at least a little clear before show time.
David gave a small nod of agreement. “Babe, you good?” He asked Mia.
The black-haired girl nodded, then peered uncertainly down at the pipe in David’s hands. “It’s pretty much cashed anyway.”
“Hmm… Alright, one more.” He chuckled softly and reached out, then raised the pipe to his lips for one last hit. “Okay, yeah… Definitely cashed.” Florian laughed as he placed the pipe on the bedside table. “But I didn’t wanna let it go to waste, just in case…”
Mia just rolled her eyes. “We’ve all seen your stash, Flor. It’s not like we’re running out any time soon.”
He just laughed in reply.
Lucas smiled softly as he watched his bandmates joke with one another. Mia and David were usually such assholes… Extremely talented assholes, but assholes nonetheless. But it was the fun, peaceful moments like this that made everything worth it.
Man, this is really the life. He thought. When they’d first headed out on the road, Lucas hadn’t been quite sure what to expect. But now? He wasn’t even sure he wanted to go home… Except maybe to see his family again. That was the one thing he did miss.
“So, Lucas… Think you’ll break your record tonight?” David smirked at him. “You know what they say about those French girls…” The older man laughed softly to himself. “Though I’m guessing your Papa already knows better than anyone.” He added with a wink.
He’s such a fucking dick. Lucas rolled his eyes, ignoring the comment about his mother. Still… Could I break it? He wondered. What on Earth could possibly beat that night after their gig in Monte Vista? Three girls. Three. At the same time.
Best night of my LIFE. Holy shit. Lucas quickly chased the memories away before things got too vivid… The last thing he needed was to get a raging boner in front of his bandmates. Jesus, I’d never live it down!
“Mmm… I dunno.” He said at last. “Not sure if I could handle four. I mean, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out, would I?”
Florian, David, and Mia laughed heartily at his quip.
“Well, if anyone got bored, you’d know where to send ‘em… Right babe?” David winked at Mia, who simply giggled. “We’ve always got room for one more.”
“Or two!” She added happily, then turned her attention to Florian, who still sat in silence on the bed beside her. “Poor, poor Florian… Always left out.” Her tone was almost mocking. “We keep telling you, you’re more than welcome to watch any time… Or join us, if you want to.”
Lucas watched as Florian struggled to hide his discomfort. Can’t they leave him alone?
“Oh-so-kind of you to offer, but the answer’s still no.” Florian’s smile appeared forced.
David shook his head. “I don’t understand why you’ve always got such a fucking stick up your ass. We’re on the road, dude. Live a little!” His lips curled into a small smirk. “I’m sure Clara is…”
Lucas felt his stomach drop. Oh God, here we go.
Florian narrowed his eyes. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” He snapped.
“You know exactly what it means.” Mia was the one to reply. “That fiancée of yours is fucking gorgeous… And God, that ass.” The girl bit her lip for a moment before regaining her composure. “With you gone, I bet every guy on campus is looking for a piece of that… Probably half the girls, too.”
“And I’m sure poor, lonely Clara is more than willing to oblige.” David cut in. “It’s obvious, isn’t it? Come on, Flor. You’re leaving her alone for four fucking months. You can’t be that stupid, can you?”
Florian said nothing. His entire body was almost trembling, and his jaw clenched and unclenched itself several times. Jesus, he’s gonna lose it.
“Okay, first off,” Lucas said a bit too loudly, rising to his feet. “Can we stop talking about how hot Clara is? She’s my Tante. Ew.” He forced a smile. “And secondly, sorry to disappoint, but she’s not like that. Clara’s crazy about Florian. She’d never do that to him.”
Lucas glanced over his shoulder and, for a moment, he saw the trace of a small, grateful smile on Florian’s lips.
David shrugged his shoulders, seemingly unfazed. “I’m sure your Papa’s crazy for your Mama too, right? And that didn’t stop him from almost destroying his marriage, did it?” His smile was cold, and almost cruel. “Even if you’re a goddamn saint, sometimes the brain between your legs is louder than the one in your head.”
Lucas felt the blood drain from his face. This fucking bastard did NOT just go there. “That was different!” He managed to choke out. “Papa never had sex with that woman!”
David raised an eyebrow skeptically. “Uh-huh. Sure he didn’t.”
“And that was years ago!” He added desperately.
“Doesn’t matter when it happened.” The other man shrugged. “It’s a prime example of what I’m trying to warn poor Florian here about.”
Florian rose to his feet at David’s words. “You know what? Fuck you. You’re being a real piece of shit right now…” He shook his head slowly. “Every fucking time you get high you turn into such an asshole!”
“I’m always an asshole.” David reminded him. “Just more honest right now.”
“Whatever.” Florian reached into his pocket, pulling out his cellphone. “I’ve gotta make a call…”
Mia smirked. “See? He felt left out… Say hi to Clara for me!”
“And don’t forget to wipe your dick off when you’re done…” David snickered.
Florian narrowed his eyes before disappearing into the tiny bathroom, closing the door behind him.
“Jesus fucking Christ, can you lay off?!” Lucas hissed between clenched teeth as he dropped back onto the bed. “You know how much it kills him being away from her. Why do you have to say shit like that, huh?”
“Hey, the truth hurts, but someone has to tell him.” David’s smile had suddenly vanished. “And when she breaks that sissy little heart of his, he’ll be thanking me for warning him. You’ll see.”
Lucas couldn’t believe what he was hearing. David was usually a dick… But tonight, he was taking it to a whole new low. He opened his mouth, hoping he’d be able to find some kind of clever comeback, when he was interrupted by the sound of the opening bathroom door.
Florian returned his phone to his pocket and shook his head slowly. “Didn’t pick up.” He said softly.
David and Mia just looked at each other, smirking. Florian had been complaining for the past two weeks that Clara seemed to be avoiding his calls, and ignoring his texts. She’d blamed it on school work, but even Lucas had to admit that it seemed like something was up.
“Wonder what could be keeping little miss Clara so busy…” Mia’s voice dripped with false curiosity.
David winked. “Or who…”
“I’ve had ENOUGH of your shit! Get the fuck out of here.” Florian pointed to the door. “GO!” It wasn’t even his hotel room, but Lucas did not argue.
To his surprise, their bandmates said nothing, and headed straight for the door without argument. God, it took them long enough to get the fucking hint…
Florian crossed to where Lucas sat on the bed and dropped down beside him, leaning back and staring up at the ceiling above. Neither one of them spoke for a long time. Halfway through their tour, and things were finally starting to get heated between them and their bandmates… It was bound to happen eventually. But to be honest, Lucas was almost surprised they’d lasted this long.
“Hey, Florian?” Lucas finally broke the silence. “I hope you don’t actually believe any of that crap… They’re just jealous.” His said seriously. “They wish they had half of what you and Clara have. Hell, who wouldn’t?”
For a moment, an unexpected wave of bitterness washed over him. He would give anything to have someone who loved him the way his aunt loved Florian. But he’d given up on the hope of ever finding her long ago. Relationships are a waste of time. He’d decided. Why waste all that time and energy loving someone if they’re just going to turn around and break your heart? He’d learned too many times that it simply wasn’t worth it. But sometimes, he still wished…
“Thanks.” Lucas was called back to the present by the sound of his friend’s voice. Florian let out a soft sigh and sat up, stretching his arms over his head for a moment. “I know they don’t mean it… They’re just being assholes. And I know Clara’s just busy… I mean, it’s her last year at uni. That’s gotta be rough, right?”
“Definitely.” Lucas agreed. “I’ve barely heard from Joce lately… She’s been crazy busy. I’m sure Clara is too.” He hoped Florian could not detect the hint of uncertainty in his tone.
“And, uh, speaking of Clara… Thanks for sticking up for her. That was pretty cool of you.” Florian’s voice was sincere, though his words spilled out somewhat awkwardly. “You’re a good friend, Lucas… And in a year or two, you’ll be a good Neffe too.” A small, playful smile slowly found its way onto his lips as he spoke.
A loud burst of laughter filled the air. “Neffe?!” Lucas shook his head in disbelief. “Oh, and I suppose I’m gonna have to start calling you Onkel Florian?”
His friend just grinned. “Of course.”