Authors: Erika van Eck
By Erika Van Eck
Copyright ©2014 by Erika Van Eck
Cover Design by Erika Van Eck
Cover photographs purchased through Dollarphotoclub.com
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Editing by Editing4Indies
To you, the person reading this.
Thank you for taking a chance on me.
Ace’s Wild Playlist
(In no particular order)
“Kiss Me” -Jason Walker
“For You” -Staind
“Breathe Me” -Sia
“Be OK” -Ingrid Michaelson
“As Much as I Ever Could” -City and Colour
“I Won’t Give Up” -Jason Mraz
“Over You” -Miranda Lambert
“Ex’s and Oh’s” -Atreyu
“Addicted” -Saving Abel
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” -Ingrid Michaelson
“Young Folks” -Peter Bjorn
“The Scientist” -Coldplay
“Barton Hallow” -The Civil Wars
“A Thousand Years” -Christina Perry
“Gone, Gone, Gone” -Phillip Phillips
“What If” -Coldplay
I gave my all for them. Blood, sweat, and fucking tears. And for what? So I could be kicked out and cast aside for greed. It sure as hell wasn’t for friendship.
I was in need of my best friends’ support after the year I’d had but instead they chose money over our friendship. Over ten years of friendship down the drain.
Well, screw them.
I’m still trying to process what my now ex-manager Bill just informed me. This shit storm in my head all started with a phone call…
“Ace, uh, hey man.”
“Bill! Hey, just the man I wanted to talk to. I started getting some new tracks together, and it’s turning out really good. When should we get the band together to record?” I had been eager to start
recording. None of the guys had been answering my calls, which is a little out of character for them. So I was relieved that Bill was finally calling me back.
“Uh, about that, there won’t be any more recording sessions. It’s been decided that you will no longer be a part of Spades. The guys decided to go in a different direction with the band.”
What. The. Hell.
“What do you mean they decided to go in a different direction? I built this band from the ground up. You can’t just kick me out!” I jump to my feet and begin pacing the length of my room. My hand is clutching my cell phone threatening to break it into pieces. My other fist is clenched ready to send it flying into the nearest object.
“Chill out, it’s nothing personal, just a difference in artistic direction. The guys just can’t see what your vision is anymore and frankly, neither do I. Your creative abilities were compromised when you went to rehab.”
Wow, he really just went there. Bill, the bald headed, short, stubby, smelly little fuck has been a pain in my ass since he became our manager when we signed.
“Compromised? Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve written some of my best material since rehab. You guys would know this if you answered your damn phones! I have rights to all of the songs the band has put out. You can’t kick me out and expect to use my material!” I was livid. My head’s throbbing, I can hear my pulse thumping in my ears. I’m trying my damndest to not go over the edge but I’m at that thin line. One more step and I’m going to flip.
“You’ll be compensated for the material you’ve written but as far as rights are concerned you signed those away when you signed the record deal. You have a copy, look it up. The guys came to a unanimous decision in this. The band has been drifting apart for a while now. It was only a matter of time.”
This can’t be happening. I’m finally getting my life back together after the hell that I’ve lived. Things have finally started looking up. I spent ninety days in rehab then another ninety in a sober living facility. I’ve gotten my life back on track and was trying to prepare myself for life on the road again. Nothing could have prepared me for this.
I knew when we signed our contract with the label that we were rushing into it, but we were a bunch of eighteen year olds from broken homes who were excited to have a rock ‘n roll career and lifestyle. We wanted to be famous.
We got our wish but at a cost. I’ve always liked to party but when you’re in a rock band on tour, you’re practically given a buffet of drugs. I took it easy at first but one thing led to another and it ended up sending me down the road of the bitch, heroin.
For the first time in my life I felt free. I didn’t have a care in the world, except to get more heroin. It was euphoric, my head was clouded with the
feelings I so desperately craved. When I was high, I actually liked myself. But after the high comes the low, the craving for more and the self-loathing when you can’t get enough. Sure I liked myself while I was in my delusional bliss, but did that matter if I hated myself sober? So, I decided to stay high.
I put them through hell seven months ago when I was on a drug binge, (surprise, surprise) and we were supposed to perform at a sold-out show in NYC. I don’t remember it but there was enough media around that what happened next is pretty hard to deny. I do remember that before I went on stage I shot up a particularly big dose. I was chasing the original euphoria, I just wanted to feel that way again. I can remember walking out of the dressing room but after that it’s all blank until I woke up strapped to a hospital bed.
According to multiple reports, I was about to go onto the stage when Zee tried to stop me and talk. Zee and I don’t have the best history. He’s the lead singer of a fellow rock band called Ignite. They started around the same time we did, we’ve gone on tour with them a few times, and the other guys in the band are actually really nice guys. The members have been rotated out a few times. Zee is known for his bitch fits, and if a bandmate gives him shit, he kicks them to the curb. Zee has always had a pissy attitude toward me, and I’ve never known why, but it’s not surprising considering his track record.
After he approached me, we were talking for a
minute and then he put his hands on my shoulders. No one was able to hear what was said but according to reports I started throwing punches. It took three guys to pull me off of him. Which was impressive considering how much heroin was in my system.
I was arrested and eventually released. Zee never pressed charges so nothing came of the incident except for my wake-up call to get clean. I can’t even remember what the guy said, it had to be something bad for me to react that way. I was taken to the hospital just as a precaution until the drugs were out of my system. I went to jail for a couple of days, just until Zee decided if he wanted to press charges or not. During those two days I began to go through withdrawal. I decided at that point that I never wanted to feel that way again so rehab was really my only option.
Rehab wasn’t exactly smooth at first but eventually I began wanting to fix myself. Bettering myself for the band was my ultimate goal, and I worked my ass off every day trying to get better.
I shake the memories from my head and take a deep breath before asking Bill the question I’ve been dreading “Was it the band’s decision or the record label?” I have to know. I’ve known these guys since I was thirteen.
“I’m not really at liberty to say,” Bill answers reluctantly.
“You guys are royally fucking me over right now. It’s the least you could do. Answer. The.
Question,” I growl. I stop pacing and take a deep breath trying to hold myself together.
He sighs. “Listen, the guys were given the option to stay with the label with an increase in pay as long as they dropped you, or keep you and go to a different label. At this point I don’t think I have to tell you what they chose. You’re a liability that no big label wants take on. Look, I’m sorry it happened like this. Really, I am. I hope to see you do great things in the future, but it’s not going to be with this band or this label. Good luck to you.” With that, he hangs up without even a goodbye.
I throw my phone against the wall and then roughly rake my fingers through my hair. “DAMN IT!” I punch the nearest wall sending my fist through the drywall. My brother’s going to be pissed, but right now I could care less.
I can’t stay in this house—I feel like I’m going to suffocate. When I feel this impending doom over my head I know the chance of a relapse increases. I can’t afford that right now. I have to get away.
I snatch my wallet and iPod off the nightstand, grab my guitar off the bed, and head out of the room. I walk down the hall and into the kitchen where my brother sits at the breakfast bar on his laptop typing away.
“Where are your car keys? I need to borrow your car.” I make an attempt to sound calm but my voice shakes with frustration. If anyone can see through my façade, Nate can.
“What’s wrong? What happened to your hand? I thought I heard noise back there, but I thought you were trying out a new style of music.” His mouth lifts into a side smirk but his joke falls flat. My current state of mind isn’t absorbing jokes at the moment.
“I can’t talk about it right now. I just need to get out before I do something stupid.” Which is the truth. Already, my past addictions are starting to taunt me. They sound more appealing by the second, and I have to try to run from them. The only thing that can take the urge away is music. If that doesn’t do the trick, I don’t know what will.
He releases a breath. “Okay man, do you want me to come with you?”
“No, I need to be alone. I’ll talk when I get back.” I’m already pissed, but I’m trying to hold back so it doesn’t seem like I’m taking it out on Nate. He means well, but the ground beneath my feet is crumbling, and I have to try to figure out how to stop it.
He hesitates. “You know if you need me, I’m here.”
He reaches in his pocket to grab his keys and then he hands them to me. “Whatever it is, it’s not worth a relapse. Take a step back to get yourself together. You got this bro,” he says as he pats me on the back.
I walk to the garage and get into Nate’s pickup truck. I hop in and hook my iPod up to the sound system and put on the loudest angriest song I can
find. I need the distraction. I back out of the garage and go to a place where I know it’ll be quiet.
I’m glad I don’t have any connections to my old life in this town. It would still be easy for me to find drugs if I wanted to, people know who I am. Not only was I the face of the popular rock band Spades, but I’ve also been all over the tabloids this past year for my indiscretions and rehab stint. We had three records that all were number one. Every song we put out shot straight to the top spots on the charts, but the fame caught up to me and so did my demons.
As I drive, I let the music blur my thoughts. I just want to get to my destination and let out my emotions the only way I know how.
I park the car and grab my guitar before locking up. I start my trek to the best spot in this town.
My brother moved to Vacaville a few years ago, and I visit him as much as my schedule allows. My residence is technically in Las Vegas but since rehab it doesn’t feel like home anymore. But this place feels like home. I feel a connection to it on some deep level that I can’t even begin to explain. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.
I discovered this spot when I was visiting a couple of summers ago. My brother recommended this recreational park because there are a bunch of trails, and he said it was a decent location to get some writing done.
I continue to follow the paved path until the small dirt trail comes into view. I turn right and with wide strides I continue up the steep hill until I am on top. The view is spectacular. My thoughts have already slowed as I take a lung full of fresh air. Up here you can see the hills spotted with trees. The freeway is in the far distance, but it’s not bothersome. Down below there’s a large pond encircled by trails and trees with a small parking lot along the lower left side. I can see spots of people walking the paths, and I can’t help but wonder if they’ve come here to clear their thoughts too.
I take a seat at the bench and begin to let my thoughts free.
How could the guys do this to me? What am I going to do now?
I knew we’d been growing apart for a while now but I would have never guessed that they would ever do something this low. I’d never admit this to anyone, but my heart is breaking. I haven’t dealt with this feeling before. Sure, I’ve had girlfriends in the past, but I’ve never cared much beyond them putting out. These guys were my best friends since I was a teenager. Losing practically a lifelong friend is just as heartbreaking as losing a partner, especially when it’s because of betrayal. I never questioned their friendship; I’m not sure what the label did to get into their heads, but it had to be something huge for them to turn their backs on me.
I start strumming my guitar to a familiar tune that I like to sing in my darkest moments. I played it a lot at the beginning of my rehab stint when I wasn’t comfortable talking to anyone. I begin singing “Bleed” by Cold. It’s so fitting for this moment, I don’t really want to bleed, obviously, but I want to show everyone what I’m feeling. I feel crossed, cheated, betrayed, sad, fucking pissed. In this moment, music is my only cure. I sit here for a few hours until I feel calm enough to talk to Nate about what’s going through my head and the unfortunate situation I have found myself in.
I should be used to people ditching me by now. It has happened my whole life. The only people who have stood by my side are my brother and grandma. Through everything they have been my fucking rocks.
When Nate and I were kids our parents weren’t around much. We grew up in L.A., our dad was a high paid lawyer for the rich and famous, and our mother was a socialite. We were raised by our nannies, and our parents were rarely home. When they were they made us feel like inconveniences. We were never good enough for them. Don’t let the wealth fool you, some of the wealthiest homes are some of the most broken. Even through their negativity Nate was my light. He takes any situation and squeezes out the positive.
When I was nine my parents were killed in an accident. It’s a subject that Nate and I don’t talk about often because it’s not something we like to relive. I feel guilty because my feelings toward my parents are still bitter, but I guess in a strange way it’s because I miss them. After they died we were sent to live with our grams who is our mother’s
mom. My mother didn’t allow her in our lives, and I’ve never known why. From the moment we started living with my grandmother, I’ve loved her. She’s the most caring individual I’ve ever met.