Exclusive Excerpt from Waiting in the Wings
by S.L. Danielson & Cheryl Headford
Gently pushing Vince out of the way, Asher walked over to the computer and sat down.
Erik’s face appeared on the screen. “Morning, sleepyheads. How are you guys?”
“Oh, we’re great, just grand. Have a good night last night? Good gig? Nothing missing, was there?” Asher’s voice was so cold it could have frozen a path to hell.
“Something missing?” Erik paused for a second before he caught on to the reference. “You mean the wristband? Hon, I’ve no idea where it went. We looked all over and still couldn’t find it. Only thing we can figure is that it got lost in the moving process. I promise I’ll make sure it’s found, it means a lot to me, just like you do.” He looked softly at the screen. “I miss you, baby. Daisy misses you, too. Hey Vince. Keeping my man company?”
Vince could only nod at first. “Yeah. Trying to.”
“You guys don’t look so good. Is it too early over there or did you have a late night?” Erik sounded concerned.
“Yeah,” Asher said softly, “I think I know just how much the wristband means to you, and believe me, I have plenty of evidence of exactly how much I mean to you.” His voice shook, and he kept his head down.
Erik sat forward in his seat. “Evidence? What’re you talking about?” He froze. “Asher…please tell me what you’re—”
“Who is he? How long have you been—” Asher stopped, his voice sounding choked with tears. “How long did it take you to replace me?”
“Replace you? No one can replace you!” Erik shot back. “Who the fuck are you talking about? Show me this evidence you have!” His soft look vanished and now his eyes glared back at the monitor. Motion behind him disturbed the picture, but as it resolved, Billy joined the scene.
“Dude…what the fuck? Hey, Vince!”
Vince felt like his heart might burst. He brushed tears off his face quickly. “Billy.”
Billy and Erik glanced at each other. “What’s going on over there?”
“What’s going on? You can ask that? It doesn’t matter what evidence we have. You know what happened. You cheated on us. Both of you! How could you? How the fuck could you? You’re a big ass singer now, let loose in the big city with the world at your feet. No doubt people are throwing themselves at you, but I never thought for a moment…” Asher wiped his eyes and laughed bitterly. “No, actually, I did think. I did know. I let myself believe you were different, that you were honest and truthful and strong, and I let myself believe you loved me. Trust me that’s not a mistake I’m ever going to make again.”
“Asher…” Erik paused. “I admit it,” he finally said quietly. “I was drunk, and so was he. He kissed me, and I kissed him back. We all went to a club together and…it doesn’t matter.” He shook his head. “The point is it happened, and I let it happen, even though I ended it. It never went any further than that, but it was enough to break my pledge to you.” He turned away from the camera, and Billy took over.
“Vince? It wasn’t planned. I’ll tell you that with all my heart. Like Erik said, we were drunk, and I was in a horrid mood, and…” He stopped, realizing how weak he sounded. “Never mind. It doesn’t matter at all, does it?” He reached up to the screen as if he could touch his boyfriend through it. “I’m so, so sorry, Vince. I hate myself for what I did.”
“Oh really? You hate yourself for kissing the man who’s been after you forever?” Vince flipped over the photo and stared at Billy and Connor kissing. “I knew I recognized him. I don’t remember his name, but he was there that night at the party. He’s wanted you for so long. Well, fine! Let him have you! You just ended us!” Fresh tears streamed down his face as he sat on the sofa’s edge.
“Wait!” Billy yelled as he looked at Erik. “Fuck! What the fuck did we do?”
“What did you do?” Asher asked quietly. “I’ll tell you what you did, both of you. You screwed up our lives…both of us.” He half turned and hooked Vince with one arm, pulling him into a hug. Vince rested his head on Asher’s shoulder and hid in his hair, sobbing, unable to look at the screen. “Take a good look, Billy. This is what you did. Proud of yourself? And as for you… If you think I’m going to crumble and fall apart, think again. You’d better not come back here, because if I see your face again, I’m going to pound it into mincemeat.” Reaching up, Asher ripped the necklace from his neck, threw it at the screen, then disconnected the call.