Authors: Sophie Monroe
“The road in life is too short to bitch and moan.
Let this song play on and remember just one thing,
are only words unless you sing
RING AROUND THE HALO
~The Heroes Lie
To my fans! I am beyond humbled by all of you. Your messages keep me writing away in hopes that you’ll fall in love with the next story.
To Tim. Sometimes you meet people by coincidence, but there’s usually a purpose behind it. I feel so fortunate that we’ve become friends.
You get my random ramblings and crazy antics. You never hold my quirky rants against me
; if anything, I think you’ve grown to expect them.
for doing my incredible cover and keeping me moving in the right direction when I’m discouraged or just downright slacking. You’re my favorite!
To Eric, Brett, and the rest of the guys over at The Heroes Lie for being awesome and making music that keeps me motivated. It’s also their quote you’re seeing on the cover. I think everyone should listen to that song at least once.
To Sarah, my friend, turned editor. Oh. My. God. What would I have done without you? You gave everything from moral support to challenging me to make Conflicted the best it could be. You made me think of things that never would have even entered my mind. There is no way I could ever repay you for everything you’ve done to get this bad boy finished. You’re AMAZING! THANK YOU!!!!
If you need an editor, you can find her here:
http://sarahdaltry.com/ or [email protected]
To the ones that have been with me since my beginning and the ones that who are just joining me on this wild ride.
Lastly, to the ones that chose never to give up.
Copyright © 2013 by Sophie Monroe
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form
or by any means electronic or mechanical, including: photocopying, recording or any information storage and revival systems without prior written permission from the author except where permitted by law.
The characters, places, and events portrayed in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons living or dead is coincidental and
not intended by the author.
PLEASE DON’T PIRATE OR STEAL. NOT ONLY IS IT AGAINST THE LAW BUT IT’S REALLY UNCOOL. IF YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH A FRIEND, LOAN IT OR BUY AN EXTRA COPY. THANK YOU!
The author acknowledges the use of the following:
Red Bull, Tetris, Trapt, Pontiac, GTO, Diet Coke, Maker’s Mark, Ford, Mustang, Papa Roach, Theory of a Deadman, Emphatic, Toyota, Corolla, Escalade
It was a hot summer day in June and school had just let out for the summer. My younger brother, Kyle, and I were out in the front yard playing in the sprinkler, trying to cool off with some kids from the neighborhood. It was unseasonably hot, even for Arizona.
Kyle wanted to go across town to his best friend, Mikey’s, house. They were planning on camping out in
the woods behind his house and Kyle was really looking forward to it. However, our dad had already forgotten that he was supposed to go. By the time Kyle started begging him to take him, Dad was already half in the bag. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t a surprise; he was always drinking. He liked his cheap vodka almost as much as he liked the whores he’d pick up to blow him every payday, sometimes even with us in the car.
My mom was working that night as a receptionist at the local hospital and wouldn’t be home until morning, which left my dad. I loved my mom, but she always turned a blind eye to everything
, since he was a good provider and a pleasant drunk.
Hell, he was nicer drunk than sober.
My dad, Derek Andrew Scott, Sr., looked like your typical All-American guy. Tall and broad, with light brown hair and a dimpled grin. We shared the same blue eyes, but not much else. He played football in high school and got a full scholarship to Arizona State. During one of the championship games, he blew his knee out, along with his chance of making something of himself - or so he thought. He met my mom, Becky, during his junior year at State and I came along nine months later. He never said out loud that I was a mistake, but I knew I sure as hell wasn’t planned.
Four years later, Kyle was born
and we became a family.
“Please,” Kyle begged, for what seemed like the hundredth time.
“Fine. Go pack your bag and get in the fuckin’ truck,” Dad relented, tossing his hands in the air.
Kyle grinned, knowing he won, and ran inside to pack.
I wanted to say something, like maybe Dad shouldn’t be driving, but it would just end in me getting my ass kicked so I kept quiet. My best friend, James, from next door had invited me to come to his house for dinner. His mom, Mrs. Costello, came out and told my dad that it was fine. James’ dad was a police officer and worked nights, so she always liked the extra company.
“I’m gonna go take
Kyle to Mikey’s. I’ll be right back. Don’t come home until I get back, ya hear,” he said sternly.
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
Walking across the lawn, we went into the cool air conditioning and grabbed some sodas before heading out back. James and I ate cheeseburgers and watermelon for dinner. It seemed like it was taking a long time for my dad to get back. It was only fifteen minutes each way, and even if he stopped “somewhere,” it still wouldn’t have been more than an hour to get home.
The sun finally set and Mrs. Costello put me in a pair of James’ pajamas
. She had me take a seat on the couch to wait for my dad to return. She put on a movie and was just walking back in the room when the front door flung open.
“Lucy, I need to talk to you for a minute,” Carlos, James’ dad said, walking into the room in his uniform.
She handed me a bowl of popcorn and went back into the kitchen.
Next thing I heard was her let out a loud sob before Carlos came back into the living room and looked out the window. A couple minutes passed
and more people showed up. There were detectives and social service workers. No one told me what was going on, until a woman with graying hair came and took a seat next to me.
“I’m Ms. Bennett,” she said softly.
“Hi,” I said, looking at the officers in the corner.
“There’s been an accident, honey.” She placed her hand on mine and rubbed it soothingly. “I’m afraid your brother didn’t make it.”
What? Kyle was my best friend. Sure we fought, but all siblings do. He couldn’t be gone. He had his whole life laid out already.
Mrs. Costello came and sat on the other side of me, rubbing my back
and apologizing for my loss. I sat there like a zombie, waiting to wake up from this nightmare, but it never happened. Carlos told me they had my dad in custody and that the driver of the car they hit also died on impact.
My hands were shaking and my eyes filled with scorching hot tears.
My mom arrived a little while later and brought me home. She told me to go to bed and then she went straight to her room, closing the door behind her. I was dying inside and she barely said anything to me.
The next week was a blur. We should have been outside playing basketball and riding our bikes
; we should have been chasing after the ice cream truck. Instead, we planned a funeral.
, my life fell apart…
, OR NOT TO BE…
“Believe in rock and roll because I swear it saved my soul…”
Ring Around The Halo by The Heroes Lie
Conflicted. What does it really mean? The definition says it’s a prolonged struggle or an incompatibility between two or more options, principles, or interests. Or is it having a clash of opposing wishes or needs? Or maybe it’s experiencing mixed inconsistent feelings? Either way, it’s great to have a word to put to my feelings and all, but it still doesn’t fucking help me.
Surely everyone has felt conflicted at one point or another. Maybe there was a time that you felt a way that you didn’t think you
should, or did something you weren’t supposed to do, but at one point in your life, there came a time that you felt conflicted. For me, there’s been several times; more than I’d like to count actually…
While in Vegas
a couple months ago, something happened. It should have felt wrong, but it didn’t. Everyone always assumes that because I’m the rowdy one, or the one who shrugs his shoulders, I don’t have a clue what’s going on. It’s actually the exact opposite. I sit back and take everything in. I watch people. I read body language. I look at their facial expressions. I perceive everything.
Since we returned home from tour, everything’s changed, both for the better and the worse. Aubrey’s about to pop at almost nine months pregnant
, and Piper is right along with her. Blake is getting ready to become a dad for the first time, while Jake is preparing to add a third to his brood. Kevin is back in LA full time to make wedding plans with Bryn, his long-term girlfriend turned fiancée. Which leaves me, lonely old Derek, alone and fucking confused.
Sitting on the couch in front of the giant flat screen, I was sorting myself out
by watching some porn that would probably make my dead mother roll in her grave. I pumped another handful of lotion into my hand and continued stroking my “lady-killer.” The one upside to having the guesthouse to myself was watching porn on the big screen and not having to worry about interruptions.
That was until the door flung open and Jake stood there, all six-feet-two inches of
bad-assery, staring at me with an open mouth.
I tried to get to the DVD remote to shut it off, but my hand was too slippery and the remote fell to the floor like a greased fish.
“Um, dude, what the hell are you watching?”
He stammered, looking perplexed at the scene playing out on the screen.
the floor to pick up the remote, I wasn’t surprised when I lost my pants and they ended up around my ankles. “Nothing,” I said, quickly hitting the power off button.
“Okay…” He shrugged, drawing out the Y.
Pulling my pants up, I zippered them, avoiding eye contact at all cost. Fucking-A; he was one of my best friends. We were all best friends, more like brothers. I met Jake when I was fifteen. We were both in the system and got bounced around from one place to the next together. We’ve been close ever since.
At thirteen, I landed in the system because my dad ended up going to prison and my mom couldn’t handle what happened and decided to off herself. T
o this day, I resent her for doing it and leaving me alone when I needed her most. The memory was still fresh in my mind, like it happened yesterday. Even though I tried my hardest to suppress it, it clawed its way to the forefront anyway.
Jake came and placed his hand on my shoulder, breaking me from my reverie.
“I was just coming to see if you could come sit with Violet and Jameson until Caroline and Granny can get here. Aubrey’s water just broke.”
“Yeah, let me go wash my hands first,” I tried to joke, still feeling mildly embarrassed.
“Dude, it’s all good,” he said, patting me on the back. “I’d never judge you for being into freaky shit.”
After washing my hands twice, I walked across the lawn to the main house where Aubrey was sitting on the bottom step, looking like she was in pure agony.
The twins were toddling around like the adorable little monsters they were. Jameson was the spitting image of Jake, a complete mini me, and Violet looked just like Aubrey.
Violet walked over and smiled, showing off her two bottom teeth. She held her hands up for me to pick her up. Leaning down, I scooped her up and tossed her in the air, making her giggle.
I tossed her up one more time and put her on my hip.
“Thanks, D,” Aubrey said, cringing.
“Anytime. You know I love these guys. Good luck.”
“Thanks. We’ll call you as soon as we know anything,” Jake said, wrapping an arm around Aubrey’s back and leading her out the door.
I brought the kids into their playroom and set up some blocks for us to play with. Jameson was
having fun knocking them down and Violet obviously thought the W tasted exceptionally delicious, judging by the way she was gnawing on it. My phone beeped and I pulled it out of my pocket to see a text from Blake showing a picture on the screen.
Waverly Grace Potter 7lb 12oz 20in.
She was a cute little thing with a full head of dark hair. Fucking-A; Battlescars was turning into baby central. It was hard to believe the babies were going to share a birthday. It was almost like having another set of twins.
A little while later, Granny
Jean and Caroline showed up to take over twin duty. I decided to stay and play a little longer, since I didn’t have anything else that needed attending to and they helped keep my mind occupied.
“What crawled up your ass?” Granny asked me.
I looked up at her, confused. “Huh?”
Putting her hands on her hips, she looked at me intently. “Something’s
eatin’ at you. I can tell. Now spill the beans.”
“I have no clue what you’re talking about, Granny.”
“Uh-huh, sure you don’t. You’re full of shit, but whatever; you don’t wanna tell me, don’t. Actually, I probably don’t want to know. It’ll give me nightmares.” She laughed.
It was funny how she hit the nail right on the head with that one. There was no way in hell that I was tainting Granny with my fucked up life.
A couple hours later, Jake called to let us know that Aubrey had had the baby. Her name was Ella Caroline Parker; she was perfect and healthy. Ten fingers, ten toes, and all that shit. Aubrey and Piper were in their glory since they had rooms right across the hall from each other.
twins were asleep in bed, I said goodnight and excused myself back to the guesthouse. I headed straight to bed with my mind still racing.
Would any of this ever be in the cards for me?
When I woke up, it was already after noon. After sleeping for twelve hours straight, you would think that I wouldn’t still be tired. Wrong. I guess playing with kids will do that to you. Damn, they’re a handful, and now Jake and Aubrey have three.
I was planning on going to the hospital after I stopped at the baby store to buy each of the newborns a stupid stuffed animal or something expensive and unnecessary as a welcome to the world gift.
Checking my phone, I saw the number that was causing a
huge part of my conflict. I deleted the message without reading it. I didn’t want to deal with that headache today, or ever…
Sometimes when you think about your life, there are certain things you wish you could reverse or change. Everyone has at least one. The night in Vegas was
definitely one of those things.
Stepping into the shower, I tried my best to shut off my brain. All
the thinking about my family yesterday left me in a major funk. I couldn’t help but wonder what Kyle would be doing now if he were alive. It was hard to believe that he would have been twenty-two this year. Would he be a scientist like he’d wanted to be before he died? Would he be married with a family?
Then I thought about my mom. Even though part of me wanted to hate her for being selfish and leaving me here alone, the other part fought to understand. Her entire world came crumbling down in a matter of minutes. It was too much for her to bear.
I wondered if she would be proud of me for becoming a musician and doing the best I could?
The biggest question that lingered over my head constantly, though, was if I would ever be able to forgive my dad for taking them from me?
It seemed like there were so many questions to which I would never get answers.
I tried to always keep busy, so there wasn’t time to think about it.
Turning off the shower, I got dressed and did my best to slap on a brave face. I didn’t want to ruin something
special and celebratory for the guys by being a downer. Grabbing a Red Bull and my car keys, I climbed into the trusty ole girl and headed to the baby megastore across town.
After walking the aisles aimlessly and getting a couple looks from expecting mothers - some looking to maul me, others looking to call the cops - I picked out stuffed monkeys, matching cheetah print tutu dresses, and these ridiculously large flowered headbands.
As the smoking hot, dark haired cashier rang them up, I wondered how the hell a couple of baby dresses cost so much. There wasn’t even a yard of fabric between the two of them and somehow they were over seventy dollars apiece! Tossing them into a gift bag, I made my way to the hospital.
Walking through the automatic doors, the smell of antiseptic and the sound of coughing coming from the waiting area off to the side
greeted me. Everything was way too fucking white.
Feeling awkward, I checked in at the Fort Knox like reception desk. The older woman, who was nothing like the candy stripers you see in the
pornos, pointed over to the elevator and told me where to go from there.
ce in the elevator, I hit the button for the maternity floor. Meandering down the hallway, I checked each door for the room number she gave me. Just being here made me feel uncomfortable. It shouldn’t, but it did. I felt like a whore walking into a church. Something about babies scared the living fuck out of me. It also didn’t help that every person I walked past stared at me. Sure, I looked like a typical rock star, but I was clean cut. I just had more tattoos and piercings than the average Joe.
Once I reached Piper’s room, I stood off to the side and knocked.
I waited for Blake to say “come in” before I moved a muscle. Aubrey was sitting in the rocking chair; she looked up when she saw me and smiled. It was then that I noticed her boob was out, feeding the baby. I quickly looked to Jake who was sitting on the arm of the chair; he looked like it was just another day at the office.
latch her like this,” Aubrey said to Piper. I looked and Piper had her boob hanging out, too.
What the fuck?
I made a quick retreat back into the hallway before things had a chance to get any more awkward.
Blake came out less than a minute later. I didn’t even have a chance to regain my composure. “What’s the matter,
bro?” He laughed. “There’s nothing to get grossed out about. You’ve seen plenty of them in your day. Unless you’re turning gay on us.” He chuckled with a grin.
“You’re hilarious, Papa Potter,” I chided, playing it down. “You’re right. I’ve probably seen more than you, but not your wife’s, or Aubrey’s. I mean, fuck man, that’s just gross.”
“Hey now, I highly doubt you’ve seen more. I’m front and almost center at every show; I’m sure I’ve seen more. Besides, I clearly remember you trying to get in Piper’s pants, so it can’t be that bad.” He smirked. “I’m glad you’re here though. I need a favor.”
“As long as it doesn’t involve your wife’s tits again, fine,” I grumbled.
“Joss is flying in today. She should be here in a couple hours actually. Any chance you can go pick her up from the airport for me? I don’t want to leave Pipe if I don’t have to.”
“I can do that,” I said, shoving the gift bags at him, glad for the chance to escape without looking like an asshole.
“Thanks, dude.” He slapped my shoulder. “Hey, everything okay with you?”
Was I that obvious?
“Yeah, man. Everything’s good, just got some stuff going on in my head. Thinking about Kyle and shit.” I knew my face gave me away.
looked at me with a sad expression. I could see he was struggling not to pry. “All right, well I’m here for you, and so is Jake. If you need anything, make sure you let us know.”
I nodded and left for the airport to go get Joss.
Damn, I hadn’t seen her in a couple years. Joss was always a sweet girl and a
loyal friend. I felt guilty for not keeping in contact with her more, but Blake wouldn’t be happy about it since she was his baby sister. I needed to keep my distance. He didn’t even like her coming to shows; he was so protective of her. I never went back to Arizona unless I absolutely had to. The only things I had left in Arizona were pain and my bastard of a father. I could live without both.
Rolling down the windows of my 1969 Pontiac GTO, I cranked the stereo, listening to the new Trapt CD. I loved my car. When we moved to Ohio, some guy had it sitting in his yard with a “for sale” sign on it. I bought it and had it
fully restored with jet-black paint, black leather seats, a premium stereo, and an engine that roared like a motherfucker.