Authors: R.L. Merrill
Teacher: Act Two
Teacher: Act Two
Copyright © 2015, Celie Bay Publications, LLC
All rights reserved.
No part of this book shall be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any mean, electronic, mechanical, magnetic, photographic including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without prior written permission of the publisher. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
This work is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Published By: Celie Bay Publications, LLC
Cover design by: Ellay Branton
Edited by: LTE Editing
Formatting by: Bob Houston eBook Formatting
To My Husband.
Thank you for being my best friend and lover for all of these years. You’ve inspired me to follow my passion, on and off the page, and I’ll love you to the end of time… Because “I’ll find you…”
Teacher: Act Two
The faculty of speech left me sometime around ‘it’s obvious you have something to say to her.’ I couldn’t believe this was actually happening! With worry on his face, Danny came around to the side of my chair and knelt down next to me. “Honey? What’s wrong? What do you think?”
My eyes darted between his and my heart was pounding. “Danny,” was all I could say.
He turned me to face him and rested his hands on the outsides of my thighs. “Jesse, what are you thinking?”
I put my hand to my forehead and blew out a breath. “I’m thinking I never could have guessed that this would have been our dinner conversation tonight.”
He took my hand in his and kissed it gently. “Me neither. But it’s what we wanted, right?” His eyes were imploring me to say yes. I’m not sure how I found the sanity to hesitate. His smile started to fade, turning to confusion. “Jesse?’
I cupped the side of his face and smiled at him. “I’m just in shock, Danny. She’s so perceptive. Here I thought we were doing a good job of being platonic.”
He laughed and rose up to kiss me. I draped my arms over his shoulders, enjoying his kiss. He spoke against my lips. “I knew I was doing a terrible job. I don’t want to be without you anymore. I love you so fucking much.”
“I love you, too, Danny. And I’m glad she’s given us her blessing, but I want to make sure we’re setting a good example for her. She’s going to look to us as a model of what relationships should be like. How do you think she’ll view it if we start shacking up together?”
Danny was frowning. “I hear what you’re saying. I do, Jesse. I just can’t help but worry that it’s also about you. Are you afraid to move in with me?”
I smiled at him and nodded. “I am, a bit. Not because I don’t love you or because I don’t want to. I’m afraid because, well, it’s a huge step! Not one I want to take lightly.”
He looked disappointed, but seemed to get where I was coming from. “I guess I can understand that. It is a big step.” He sat back on his haunches and frowned for a moment. “Will you think about it?”
I held my hands out for him. “I am thinking about it. And I’m not saying no.”
He exhaled and squeezed my hands. He pulled up and embraced me. I felt safe there, like I could count on him to accept my decision.
“How about this? How about we finish your credits, you take the tests, and we wait for your results? That gives us a couple of months to really get to know each other, for Jane to get to know me better, and by then I’ll know if I have my job back. If I’m going to live with you, I’m going to contribute. I can’t pay half, obviously, but I would want to do what I can.”
He smiled brightly at me. “That’s really important to you, isn’t it?”
I nodded. “I don’t want you to totally take care of me. I need to support myself.”
His expression led me to believe he was truly ok with this. “So you want to wait. I can do that. I don’t want you to have any questions about us when you move in. I want you to be here because you are ready.”
“Danny, it means so much to me that you understand.”
He pulled me to him and kissed me tentatively at first, then urgently. I heard a throat clearing and we froze, slowly turning our heads toward the sound. Jane was standing outside the kitchen with her hands on her hips.
"I thought I told you two to get moving! You guys can go kiss somewhere else!" She shuddered like seeing us kiss was disturbing.
"You did tell Cosmo we'd go see them tonight." He thought for a minute.
"I did. I guess we should go then."
We stared at each other for a long time, almost like we were trying to determine whether this was really happening. Our two biggest obstacles were removed. We had the night to ourselves. The possibilities were endless.
Danny went to change clothes while I paced in the living room. There were so many thoughts going through my head, I couldn’t keep still. I decided to step outside and get some fresh air. The night was chilly compared to the warm summer day. Danny’s backyard had a spectacular view and I took a few minutes of solitude to really take it all in.
There were myriad opportunities out there. I wondered how many people were sitting at home debating whether or not to take that life-changing leap. Maybe it was a better job. Maybe it was moving to a new place. Maybe it was deciding to love someone and spend the rest of their lives together. Not too long ago I was out there; just another person going about my day-to-day affairs and not thinking about my future. All I had been concerned about was how I could better help my parents, how I could aid my students in achieving their goals and dreams, and what kind of debauchery I would come home to involving my neighbor and his bandmates. I didn’t have dreams of my own, not since my dreams of dancing on Broadway were shattered by an early diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Tonight I had new dreams. I had new hopes. I had a wonderful man who loved me desperately and wanted me to be a part of his life as well as his daughter’s. I smiled when I thought back to her words at the dinner table.
“Jesse will take care of you, Daddy.”
And I would. Caring for Danny, like loving him, was as easy as breathing. He was easy to love. What wasn’t going to be easy was navigating his life. If I thought too long about what it would be like to be a permanent part of his life, I’d break out in cold sweats.
I shivered and heard the slider close behind me. I turned to find Danny decked out in his club wear: black boots, black denim, black button-down embroidered with skulls and rolled up at the wrists, shades tucked into his shirt pocket and black Fedora. He was truly decadent. The black contrasted nicely with his red and blonde hair. He filled out his clothes well and carried himself like a predator. With my black dress on we could certainly hide in the shadows from his rabid fans.
He wrapped his arms around me from behind and kissed my neck, taking a moment to inhale. “Enjoying the view or is that smoke I smell from the gears turning in your mind?"
I smiled and tilted my head to the side, giving him further access. “How’d you know?”
He rubbed his stubble against my cheek and my stomach started doing flips. “I recognize that look. It’s the same look you had the morning I found you in the shower and told you that you were spending the week with me.”
“Sheer panic?” He laughed and kissed my neck again, lingering on my jaw. I felt all my nerves go limp and almost switch off. “Mmmm, you keep doing that and I’m not going to be worried about a thing.”
His breath on my skin brought on a layer of goosebumps. “That’s what I’m hoping for. Let’s just be tonight, ok? No pressure. Let’s just pretend we’re out on a date like normal people who have not a care in the world.”
“This is going to sound corny, Danny, but when I’m with you, I do feel like my only care in the world is you. Is that too weird?” I felt vulnerable admitting that to him.
“Not weird at all. I’m glad you feel that way, honey. I want to make your life carefree. I hope you’ll let me.”
I relaxed further against him, taking in his scent, his warmth, and his love. I turned in his arms and he took my face in his hands, kissing me deeply, showing me how much he wanted to take care of me. I ran my hands up his back, scoring him lightly with my nails and enjoying the way our bodies fit together.
He sucked in a breath and said in a husky voice, “I can’t behave if you touch me like that, Jesse.”
I looked up into his eyes and saw all the stress he’d been carrying mixed with the sexual tension built up since our last night together. “Since Jane gets to have a sleepover at Nora’s, does that mean you get to have a sleepover, too? At my place?”
Danny’s eyes flared and I felt him tremble. A smile spread over his lips and I couldn’t resist kissing him lightly, just enough to make him crave more.
“That sounds like heaven, Jesse. Do you want me to?” I nodded and he crushed my body to his. His kisses were desperate. A growl sounded in his throat. He stepped back breathless and tugged on my hands.
“C’mon, honey. Let’s go have us a date so we can get to the makin’ out part.” I laughed as he pulled me back through the house and out to the garage. He held the door open so I could climb into the Challenger and closed it behind me. He jogged around to the driver’s side and slid in behind the wheel.
I was captivated watching him move. The engine roared to life, and the dash lights illuminated his profile. He was grinning so sinfully. I licked my lips in anticipation of whatever he had in mind. He pulled out his phone and tapped out a quick text before shoving it in his pocket.
“Just letting Nora know I’ll be home in the morning before Janey wakes. Don’t want the Warden to wait up for me.” He winked and pulled out of the garage.
Danny turned up the tunes in the car and we both bobbed our heads to Motley Crüe. It seemed like Danny’s taste in music was as eclectic as mine.
“Who would you say are your biggest influences?”
He pulled at his bottom lip and thought for a minute. “You mean my personal influences or Blackened’s influences?”
Confused, I asked, “There’s a difference?”
Danny nodded and said, “There’s definitely a difference between what I like, what got me playing music, and what we as a band have been influenced by. I listened to a lot of metal growing up like Sabbath, Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth. Many of the classics. Whatever I could hide from my mom since she thought it was all ‘devil music.’ When the guys and I got together, we all brought different influences to the table. Alex was a skater first and foremost, so he liked a lot of punk like Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Fear, stuff like that, along with the Metal he listened to with me. Now, Julian and Bronson were very much products of the L.A. scene and loved the hair bands and KISS, but were also classically trained musicians. The Mannings went to Julliard for a minute, did you know that?”
My jaw dropped. “No way! Really? Are they from down here?”
“Yeah, they grew up in Beverly Hills. Their father was one of the founders of Slade, our management group. Their mother was with the symphony for many years until they were born. She made sure they were brought up right and was determined they’d end up following in her footsteps. Their teenage rebellion resulted in them growing their hair, picking up guitar and bass, and later, slumming it with Alex and me.”
I cracked up. “I bet she loved that.”
He laughed, “She loves us now, but back then, absolutely not. She’s Hungarian and she used to cuss us out in her native language. We would laugh our asses off. She hated us! Alex and I corrupted her angels, you know.”
“Where did you guys meet,” I asked him, enjoying this little history lesson. Kind of felt like my own private episode of Behind the Music.
“We met on the Strip, hanging out at the clubs, trying to put something together. The music that was out then in the mid-to-late-90’s was not what we were into. It was a struggle to find our niche.”
“You seem to have done that pretty well. Have you achieved everything you wanted to in music?”
He shook his head. “Not even close. I want to keep making music. I still have so much in my head. Bronson, too. He’s a fucking genius, always coming up with new riffs and shit. We complement each other really well. That’s been the key to our success, I guess. The fact that we all respect each other and have stayed relatively clean.”
When we reached Sunset, the traffic was heavy but moving. There were lines outside the clubs we passed. I thought briefly of the last time we were at a club together.
“Danny, are you worried about people recognizing you?”
He shook his head. “People usually leave me alone inside the clubs unless it’s someone I know. Outside, we’ll just get an escort if it gets bad. Besides, you aren’t showing as much leg tonight. We should be ok.”
He reached over and squeezed my thigh and I covered his hand with mine. I loved being able to touch him without worrying about who would see or whether we’d get in trouble. That thought had me wondering.
“Did you tell Patricia what’s going on? With us? I don’t want her to be upset.”
He grinned. “I did. Well, I told her about our trip to your principal and she knows we went to New York together. She gives her blessing, by the way, if you were worried about that.”
I exhaled. “I was. She was worried about you being seen with me. I didn’t know if she still would be.”
He shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. She works for me. The only thing she was worried about was me and my diploma being in jeopardy or bad publicity for the band. She is thrilled that I’m not going to be such a dick anymore.” I giggled. Danny smirked and said, “I remember the last time you giggled like that.”
His reference to our phone sex the night I was quite inebriated had me blushing.
“Me, too. Don’t want a repeat of that state I was in, but you made me feel so much better.”
He groaned and then asked me seriously, “It didn’t cause your joints to bother you, did it?”
“Strangely, no. Perhaps it was because the Hangover Fairy did such a good job of providing for me.” I grinned thinking about the note he left for me.
He chuckled and smiled as he pulled into the lot at the Roxy. The valet greeted him by name as Danny handed over the keys. I checked myself in the mirror, taking a moment to smooth my hair and apply lip gloss. Danny opened the door and held out a hand to assist me from the car. We were ushered into the club by the doorman and Danny led me straight to the VIP area. He shook hands with a few people, but the music was so loud I couldn’t hear anything he said.
He found us a spot at the very back of the section, partially secluded, and pulled me down to sit next to him. He immediately draped a possessive arm around my shoulders and laid a kiss on me that felt demonstrative. I loved it.
The band playing was the opener the last time I watched Cosmo’s band. I remembered a couple of their songs. They were ok, kind of an 80’s throwback. The same could be said for Cosmo’s band, but they had enough of a timelessness that they could have been around in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s, as well as today. They had that something that set them apart. The club was packed tonight with bodies flailing about. Just about every hand held a drink. A gorgeous waitress slithered over to take our orders.
“Just waters for us, thanks,” said Danny loud enough for her to hear. She threw him a look dripping with invitation and he turned away without engaging. I wondered if he even noticed the effect he had on women. I was tickled that he didn’t respond, but I remembered what he said about people only falling for Danny the star, not the man. I’d fallen hard for the man. It was the star part that unnerved me.
The waitress brought our waters to the table and I laughed. “We sure know how to party it up, don’t we?”
He clinked glasses with me and said close to my ear, “They have a shitty bar here anyway. This isn’t where I’d come to drink if that’s what I was after.”
I rolled my eyes. “Where would you go?”
He shrugged. “Back when I was drinking a lot, I couldn’t afford to drink in clubs. Then when we got signed and started touring for real, the alcohol was plentiful and free. If I were a drinking man now, I’d imbibe someplace like the Dresden. Someplace classy.”
I snuggled up to him and said, “Will you take me there again sometime? I’d love to hear you play and sing in the bar. I can’t wait to hear you sing.”
He smiled at me, but it didn’t reach his eyes. There was fear there. “I hope I can sing for you, honey. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
I turned my body toward him. “You’re really worried, aren’t you?”
He took another drink of his water. “It feels ok. It sounds a little less raspy than before. I just don’t know what I’m going to sound like, or whether I can still hit the same notes or make the same sounds… Things might really change”
I smoothed my fingers over his worry crease. “I’m going to play devil’s advocate here, so bear with me?” He nodded and traced my bare shoulder with his finger. “Say you couldn’t quite sing the same, or it just didn’t feel right. Then what?”
He looked very uncomfortable. “I’ve tried not to think about it. I’m trying to stay positive.”
I lightly pulled his chin to face me. “Sometimes you have to face your fear to conquer it, baby. If you couldn’t sing, or couldn’t sing the same, you have other gifts. Tell me.”
He blew out a breath and squeezed his eyes shut for a minute. “I’d still write. I could still play. I’d still produce. Hell, I’ve got several bands calling right now that want me to work with them. People I respect want me to write with them, for them. I know there’s other things I could do.”
“Do you get enjoyment from those things?”
He nodded. “I do. Especially producing. I love playing with sound, taking someone’s craft and slipping around in it and turning it into something amazing. I’ve worked with a few bands that really let me tinker with their sound and the outcome was fucking stupendous.”
I loved his passion. “You’d go on, Danny, if you had to. You’d pour all of your creative energy into something else and make it wonderful.”
He looked at me knowingly. “Just like you did,” he whispered.
“Yeah,” I answered quietly. “Like I did.”
He pulled me to him and kissed the top of my head. I breathed him in and loved the comfort I felt there in his arms.
The opener finished and there was a break in the music. I looked around the club to see if there were any familiar faces and right then a very familiar face was walking by.
“Danny Black, how the hell are you?” Nikki Sixx was standing at our table. I tried to keep my eyes from bugging out of my head. Danny stood and shook hands with this legendary rocker. They exchanged pleasantries for a moment before Danny put his hand on my shoulder.
“Nikki, this is my girlfriend, Jesse Martin.” He held out his hand to me and I shook it nervously, praying he didn’t mind my sweaty palms.