Make it Rain

Make it Rain

Sasha Marshall

September 2019 $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-61194-955-1

The Guitar Face Series, Book 5

 
Our PriceUS$14.95
Code978-1-61194-955-1
 
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Kip

When you rip the Guitar Goddess's world apart, and your own, how in the f@*k are you supposed to find redemption? She's my world, and I've shattered her. What began as a break for us to both heal, ends in the dissolution of our relationship. I committed the most unforgivable transgression. One more tragedy—one more f@*king tragedy—may be the only way back into her heart. I have one more chance to explain what really happened, and hope she believes me.

But maybe not everything is as it seems.

Henley

He was the only one who had never betrayed me, until he did. He never lied to me, until he did. He was always by my side, until he wasn’t. The one person who had always been my constant, best friend—and then lover—left me. Then, he showed up again with his gorgeous green eyes, tattoos, and undercut, and I have a hard time staying away. But I also can’t seem to look him in the eye anymore. I can’t give him any more of my heart, because that precious little organ barely survived him the first time.

Maybe we should never have crossed the line from friends to lovers. If we hadn’t, I’d still have him by my side. If we’d never danced the way we did, he’d still be my best friend. I don’t know how he’s supposed to fit into my life anymore. He’s always made my life brighter, happier, and carefree. How do you learn to live without that?

I thought I knew everything about him, but now I question everything.

This book is not a stand-alone novel. Books 1-4 in the Guitar Face Series should be read first. If you are looking for a story of redemption with comic relief and a heavy sexual tone, you've found it. If you are offended by hot, tattooed rock stars, who are vulgar then this is not the book for you. Please be warned, this book is not for anyone below the age of 18. The book has sex, death, violence, and harsh language.

Award-winning author Sasha Marshall, a concert photographer, toured with legendary bands such as The Allman Brothers Band. A self-proclaimed free spirit, she’s most often found outdoors, or painting a canvas, capturing a photograph, people watching, reading a book, or writing a new book. Sasha makes her home in the beautiful state of Georgia and loves to hear from readers.


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Coming Soon!



Chapter 1

Cory

"HENLEY!” I SCREAM after her as she runs straight for another crowd congregated outside the venue.

I push myself even harder to catch up with her. When she’s within reach of my fingertips, I make contact. It stuns her enough, allowing me to grab hold of her body as she falters. Out of instinct she fights me.

"Stop fighting me,” I tell her and throw her over my shoulder in the midst of a large crew of security members. I get her to the bus as quickly as possible and deposit her in the middle of the living area. "You don’t have to face a damn soul in there, but stop putting yourself in danger,” I yell.

She bites her lip while fighting tears.

"The driver will take you home. Do not stray from the path. I’m begging you not to compromise your safety, Hen,” I plead with her.

She nods with her bottom lip tucked between her teeth.

"Say something,” I say, out of breath.

She breaks eye contact and shakes her head slowly as she looks to the right, "I’m done.”

"I don’t blame you darlin’, but no more bullshit. I can’t protect you like that. You hired me to protect you, please help me do my job. Are you going to stay on this bus until you get home?”

"Yeah,” she answers.

I pull her in for a hug. "They’ll have enough room between the other two tour buses. It’ll all work out. It always does.”

"I’ll be okay,” she promises.

"I’ve got some other shit to take care of here tonight, but we’ll be right behind you. If you need anything, call me or Joe,” I tell her.

"Thank you, Cory.”

I leave my favorite rock star on the bus and watch the driver as he takes Henley back to Georgia. I don’t have the time I need to sort her out.

"What’s the problem?” I ask Joe.

He’d approached me moments before everything went to shit on stage about the girl Kip cheated on Henley with. He sighs. "I’ve seen shit overseas men should never have to see; this one takes the cake.”

I hold a finger up to him and answer my ringing phone, "Hillary?”

"Cory. I don’t know where the fuck all your damn goons went, but it’s DEFCON motherfucking one in here, or however you soldier boys equate dealing with a shit house rat kind of crazy...”

"Whoa! What the fuck is going on?” I ask her.

"Hasn’t Joe told you? We’ve been waiting over an hour for you!” she yells at me.

"Calm down, woman.”

"Did you just call me woman?” she asks.

Normally, I know better, but I’m a little stressed out and stretched thin. "We had another issue arise that needed my immediate attention. Joe hasn’t had the opportunity to tell me anything, because Henley sent her band off the stage and then destroyed the damn thing with a guitar and a mic stand. I’ll talk to Joe as we make our way to you. Is Marques there?”

"Holy shit... yes, Marques is here.”

I end the call and fall into a fast pace with Joe as we walk toward the entrance of the venue.

"Jasmine, the girl...” he begins.

I cut him off, "I know who the fuck she is.”

"She’s Jasmine, but she says she’s not Jasmine,” Joe continues.

"What?” I ask, losing what little patience I have left, with every word that comes out of his mouth.

"She’s calling herself Danielle and talks about Jasmine like she’s another person. Then she goes back to saying she’s Jasmine and acts differently. It freaked me the fuck out,” Joe says.

"She has multiple personalities?” I ask.

"I don’t fucking know. I can’t take this crazy bitch back home if I don’t know where it is, and I can’t find the damn thing if I don’t know who she is,” he snaps.

"Jesus Christ.”

We move quickly through the backstage crowd, and I give Joe directions to put everyone not in the inner circle on a bus back to Georgia as soon as possible.

Marques is leaning on the wall across from the dressing room door. His large arms are crossed against his chest, and he looks as though I asked him to babysit toddlers all night. The slightest change in his expression tells me something is amiss.

"Well, if the big bad bodyguard isn’t here to save the day,” Jasmine greets.

Immediately I notice she’s handcuffed with a table separating her from Hillary and Jamie.

"How can I help you, Jasmine?” I greet with no patience.

"DO. NOT. CALL. ME. JASMINE.”

"Jasmine is the name you gave us. Isn’t Jasmine the name Kip knows you by?” I ask.

She huffs and rolls her eyes. "It’s disrespectful. I’m not that weak bitch.”

"I’m confused,” I say.

"Welcome to the fucking club,” Jamie grumbles.

"You’re fucking crazy. Aren’t you?” I ask Jasmine, or Danielle, or whoever the fuck she is. I know it’s not couth, but I don’t feel like being nice. She’s giving me heartburn. I should be halfway to shutting this damn place down and getting rock stars back to Georgia. I’m fully aware that truly crazy people don’t know they’re crazy, but it’s always worth a shot.

She lets loose a laugh that’s scary and definitely crazy.

"So who am I talking to?”

The name smoothly rolls off her tongue, "Danielle.”

"Where do you live, Danielle?”

She laughs again and I look at Marques, who I’m pretty sure is planning on snapping her neck.

"Wherever I want,” she says.

"That’s not an answer.”

"It’s the only one you’re going to get.”

"I could smack you around a little and see how forthcoming you’re feeling after a few minutes,” I threaten.

"Are you always such an asshole?” she asks with a sly grin.

"Mostly, yes.”

"I want to see Kip,” she orders.

"I’m not sure you understand the situation here, Danielle, Jasmine, whoever the fuck you are. You aren’t going to see Kip or anyone else beyond this room. You have two options. You can tell me truthfully where you live, or I’m going to make up some crazy shit about you when I take your ass to the nearest hospital. I will make sure they lock you up in the nuthouse for three days minimum. They’ll find out who you are and where you live. So we can do this the easy way or the hard way, it’s up to you.”

At the mention of a psychiatric ward her eyes narrow. Surprise, surprise, she’s been there before.

"No!” she screams, startling me.

What the fuck? I should shoot her now and save us all the trouble. Disposing of a body is a lot easier than listening to this shit.

"Weak, stupid little bitch,” she yells.

"Can I stab her?” Jamie asks.

"Yes,” I answer.

She picks up her pen and leans across the table, but Marques stops her. The nutcase starts crying; her eyes are darting around the room with fear in them.

"She came back, didn’t she?” the girl asks.

"Who came back?” I ask.

"Danielle,” she answers.

I open my mouth to say something and promptly close it, because I think I can now say I’ve seen it all. What in the hell am I supposed to do with this one?

"And you are?” I ask.

"Jasmine,” she answers meekly, not making eye contact.

"Shit house rat crazy,” Hillary says and looks at the girl like she’s the eighth wonder of the world.

"Where am I?” Jasmine asks.

"What’s the last thing you remember, darlin’?” I ask.

"I was shopping at the local store for food,” she answers without meeting my eyes.

The girl is genuinely terrified. "Where was the store?”

"Snowmass, Colorado.”

"You have no idea where you are?” I ask.

"No,” she whispers and looks ashamed.

"Is Jasmine your real name?”

"Ye... Yes. Who are you?”

"My name is Cory. I’m a security professional for Abandoned Shadow and Broken Access.”

Her eyes light up. "My friend, Kip, plays in Broken Access.”

"Yes.”

"He told you about me?”

"No.”

"I... I’m sorry. Where am I?”

"Austin.”

"Texas?”

"Yes.”

"What did she do?” Jasmine asks as concern settles in her eyes.

"I’m not sure, honey. What’s your last name and where are you from? There has to be someone who’s looking for you,” I softly say.

"My dad. His name is Jeffery Corners.”

"Do you have a number for him?”

She nods her head and recites the number from memory. "She took my medicine,” she says to no one in particular.

"Danielle?”

"Yes.”

Hillary goes in for the kill, "Jasmine, are you still alleging you engaged in sexual intercourse with Kip Paxton?”

"Hillary,” I warn.

There’s awe in her voice. "What? No. Kip is just my friend. He’s in love with Henley Hendrix. She’s so pretty. I wish I could be confident like her.”

Kip

I HANG MY HEAD and bury my face in my hands. My shoulders are weighed down with a thousand pounds of shame, guilt, and pain. The look on her face each time she lifted her weapon of choice strikes a burning ache through my heart.

I remain in the dressing room all alone, waiting for the crew to announce it’s time to head to the bus. A sliver of my soul wants to take the first step down the path to redemption by seeking forgiveness from her. Another part of me hopes they never come and leave me to rot in this dressing room. The largest part of my soul is afraid to step onto the path paved with apologies and groveling. Fear of failure and rejection cover my conscience tightly, suffocating me.

I don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy. I fucked up. I committed the most unforgivable sin, the most abhorrent of all sins. I was unfaithful in my time of grief. Thoughts of accountability and the commitment I made to another human being didn’t factor into my actions. Only feelings that alternated between despair, anger, and numbness washed through me as I walked a path lit with the flames of purpose, the purpose of destruction.

A knock sounds at the door, but I’m too tired to raise my head. Another knock comes seconds before the door is opened. An announce­ment isn’t made, and the silence causes me to lift my head. I meet Cory’s eyes. They’re full of anger, frustration, and maybe even a bit of sadness. His sadness isn’t for me though. His sadness is for the one I betrayed. The only one who deserves sympathy or pity.

"Get up,” he says with impatience.

If he wants to fight, I’m not doing it in here. "I think we should take this outside,” I say as I stand.

"No.”

I stare at him for a moment, attempting to gauge his intentions.

"No?” I ask.

"We have much bigger problems than we thought,” he says.

I scoff, "I seriously doubt it.” I fucked up as badly as a man can. How can it be any worse?

"Did you fuck her?” Cory asks.

I think back to the morning I woke up with Jasmine wrapped around me. The taste of bourbon was old on my tongue and I was naked under the covers. She laid on my chest quietly asleep. Somewhere between sleep and consciousness, I thought she was Henley. When I leaned down to smell her hair, reality smacked me in the face. It wasn’t Henley.

"I asked you a question,” Cory glares at me.

"I...”

"Did you fuck her?” he asks between clenched teeth.

"I guess... that’s what she said, right?” I answer the best I can.

"Do you have any memories of the act itself?”

"I... uh... no.”

"Tell me about Jasmine. I need to know everything you remember,” he says.

"What’s this about?”

"I’ll tell you that once I hear the story. Things may not be what they seem, but we’re dealing with a clusterfuck here and I need you to tell me everything from the beginning.”

I run my hands through my hair and try to think back to where it all began.

Prior to the makeup tour

Kip

I TAKE ONE LAST look at her as she sleeps with Cash curled against her back, sleeping like the dead. She whimpers from the pain of her injuries and maybe the nightmares. I rethink my decision to leave, to leave her. I don’t know if I can do this. How am I supposed to leave her? I need her as much as I need to leave her. I can’t keep doing this to us. Neither of us can scream out as my mother’s demons slowly kill us and tear us apart. I’ve watched and felt those demons bring darkness to our lives and our relationship. If I don’t leave now, they’ll do irreparable damage to us both as individuals, but more to us as a unit. We’re best friends, lovers, partners-in-crime, and connected on some deep spiritual level I can neither explain nor at times fully understand. I know what I’ve always felt between us, and even more importantly, I know I feel the demons tearing it apart.

I need to put distance between us. We can heal individually and then come back together whole. This is life or death for me, for us. I don’t have the balls to tell her, to see her tears, to hear her pleas for me to stay. I take the coward’s path and write her a letter while she sleeps. I place it on my pillow and softly tell her I love her before I force myself to turn and walk away.

Henley,

I’ve tried for a week to tell you the things I need to say, but I could never find the words until last night. I sat up and watched you sleep while I wrote this. The words finally came to me, but I realized it wasn’t the words I couldn’t find that stopped me as much as it was my fear of telling you.

You used to tell me there was this darkness inside of you. A darkness you couldn’t escape from no matter how hard you tried. I now understand what darkness feels like. I thought I understood after Gary’s death and Beau’s shocking tale, but I had no idea the depths of which darkness can penetrate your soul.

For weeks I’ve watched you heal and itched to fly. If I could’ve sprouted wings and flown away for just a little while, it would’ve done the job; however, I can’t sprout wings and I can’t fly on my own. I can’t fly this out. I’m so lost in the clutches of the black poison that fills me that I can’t find solid footing. I lose time. My thoughts are my own worst enemy, taking away moments of life I should be living. Moments I should spend taking care of you.

My God, baby, my own mother shot you. The bullet wasn’t merely meant to wound but take your life. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she’d taken you from this world. At the same time, I’m filled with regret and shame that she reached the point of no return. I let her drag you into her sick world, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for that.

My thoughts often take me through the scenes that have played out in life over the last year, and I have a running list of all the things I could’ve done differently. Should’ve done differently. I know they say hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I find the old adage to be an understatement considering the magnitude of the ripple effect my failures have caused. I know where to place the blame, with Pam.

All I ever wanted was a safe home and you. It was always so simple in my mind, grow up and take control of my own life and win the girl. I won the girl, but now I can’t bear to look her in the eyes. The distance between us is wider than it has ever been. You’re quiet and in pain. You can’t scream at me about the woman who tried to murder you, because she’s my mother. You can’t talk about anything surrounding that day because everything that surrounds your pain, both physically and emotionally, stems from the woman who gave me life.

I can’t scream how much it hurts that my mother took her own life. I can’t tell you how the guilt eats away at me slowly, taking pieces of me one day at a time. I can’t tell you what it felt like when I saw the blood on your head, because for a moment I was certain you were dead. A gunshot wound to the head can only equate death, and even in the height of the moment I knew that. I never turned around to look at my own mother. I searched for your wounds until paramedics arrived to care for you. I was off the bus, walking after you when Cory stopped me.

You see, I left my own mother, dead on the bus. She came to me that day because she was too far gone, and I did nothing but push her over the edge. I wasn’t with her in thought or in spirit when she died, which is only an additional guilt added to a pile that has grown too large for me to manage anymore.

I need to scream and cry. I need to move from underneath the stares and whispers of concern and shock. I need you to heal both emotionally and physically. You can’t do that with me around. Neither of us can let it all out around the other; therefore, I’m taking a break from the world for a little while. I’m giving us both the opportunity to heal without the constant fear of overstepping a boundary neither of us is sure even exists.

I didn’t want to leave you while you were broken and fragile, but I’m so fucking shattered I can’t help you. I’m the last thing you need right now, no matter how much I want to be there. I love you Henley. I’ve always loved you. Please know you’ve done nothing wrong. This isn’t about you being an innocent bystander in a fucked-up situation. This is about us and my refusal to let her tear us apart any more than she already has.

My mother may have shot you and killed herself, but I still need to grieve her. She may have taken a lot from me, but she’s still my mother. I’m not sure where I’ll go. I need somewhere quiet where I can work through the nastiness that clouds my mind. I knew that you of all people would understand my need to flee.

You’ll be with me every step of the way. You’re always on my mind because you’ve ingrained yourself inside me. You flow through every beat of my heart, into my veins, and circulate through again ensuring you never leave me. You ensure you touch every part of me.

I’ll think of you every minute. I’ll wonder if you’re alright. I’ll wonder if you still love me. I’ll wonder if I can still have you when I work through this.

I love you, baby. I’ll be home as soon as I can.

Love always,

—Kip

I drive my car to a storage building I’ve had for years. It’s the same place I keep an old Harley Davidson I bought. If anyone comes looking for me, no one will think that I rode off on a motorcycle. I’d been by here days ago and attached saddlebags to the bike for my escape. I don’t know how long my journey will be or how many miles I will cover, but I wanted to be prepared to travel light.

I pull my car into the storage bay and transfer my belongings to the saddlebags. I lock the vehicle, mount the bike and roll it outside the bay. I dismount to close the storage door and lock it before remounting and start the rumble of the engine between my legs. My eyes close as my lungs seek a large breath of air.

I’m sorry, Hen.

I drive through the darkness. Miles upon miles of highway stretch out in front of me, but I don’t register most of it. My head and heart are still somewhere back in Macon, Georgia sleeping through her pain.

I pull over to refuel. I walk inside to pay with cash and the store is empty just like me. I grab a drink from the cooler and walk to the register through the candy aisle. A familiar logo catches my eye. I turn my head to identify it. Jolly Ranchers. At first a smile graces my face, but then the tears come so fast I can’t stop them.

I check out at the store and head to the bus. I like when the bus parks at large stores, they have a bigger variety to find what I’m looking for. It’s always hit or miss with convenience stores. We have to wait until the wee hours of the morning to stop at places like this. I enter the bus to find Henley looking like a toddler on a mission.

"Holy shit. That’s the biggest bag of Jolly Ranchers I’ve ever seen,” I say.

She only looks at me with her frowning face for a moment before she refocuses her attention on the candy bag.

"What are you doing?” I ask her.

"I don’t like all these flavors. I want to get all the watermelon pieces out before Koi steals them,” she says as she furrows her brow even more and comes up with another handful to sort through.

"You bought that big ass bag only for one of the five flavors?”

"Yes. I’d like to call Mr. Jolly Rancher and politely suggest he make bags full of individual flavors. It’s asinine to think everyone likes all five flavors. I’m not digging the grape or the cherry. I rarely eat the sour apple, and the blue raspberry is the only one I’ll settle for. Watermelon is where it’s at, Kip.”

"So what happens if Mr. Jolly Rancher refuses to make packages of individual flavors?”

"I’ll stop being polite,” she says with a sigh as she grabs yet another handful and picks out the watermelon and blue raspberry pieces.

"Oh, yeah?”

"Stop talking. I’m trying to concentrate.”

I chuckle as she picks out the pieces she wants with a quickness only reserved for disengaging a time bomb.

"Why don’t you dump the whole bag out and pick through them that way. It would be quicker,” I suggest.

"If Koi comes on this bus and sees them, he’ll steal some of the flavors I like. The next thing you know we’re at war over fucking Jolly Ranchers. I love my brother and would hate to explain to my parents that their precious son is dead because he stole from me,” she answers seriously.

"Why don’t you tell him he can have the other three flavors?” I ask.

"Watermelon is his favorite too.”

"Come on. Let’s go to the back of the bus and lock the door. We’ll dump them on the floor and sort through them before your enemy even knows he’s been had.”

She looks up at me. Her eyes sparkle with mischief, but she finally smiles and follows me through the bus.

"Are those Jolly Ranchers?” Koi calls from the front of the bus.

Henley lets out a yell of surprise and runs to the back of the bus. We barely make it behind the door and lock it before Koi makes it to us.

"Don’t take all the watermelon pieces!” Koi yells through the door.

"Buy your own damn Jolly Ranchers!” Henley shouts back.

I snatch the bag from her and dump them on the floor. She dives into the pile like she’s looking for gold. She shoves her favorite pieces in her pockets and bra. She even shoves a few in her shoes.

"Here,” she says and shoves the rest in my pockets.

When we’ve collected all her bootie, she scoops the remaining pieces into the big blue bag and unlocks the door.

"Here,” she pushes the bag into Koi’s chest and makes a dash for it.

I follow Koi as he walks to the table in the living area. He dumps the bag out and quickly sifts through the discarded candy Henley left him.

"That little bitch,” he says and runs down the bus steps.

I follow him to watch the drama unfold.

"Don’t let her on that bus!” Koi yells and Caleb turns around. "She took all the good Jolly Ranchers!”

Koi runs toward her, and Caleb grabs her around the waist to prevent her from running onto the second bus.

"Not so fast little one,” Caleb says.

"I’ll give you half,” Henley barters with him.

He smiles. "Nah, this will be more fun.”

"Traitor!” she yells at Caleb.

"What’s going on?” Jagger steps off the bus Henley was seeking cover in.

Caleb chuckles.

"Someone went through the bag of Jolly Ranchers and stole all the watermelon and blue raspberry candies.”

"Didn’t your mom teach you to share?” Jagger asks.

"Not really,” Henley answers honestly.

"It’s definitely time we teach you how. Better late than never,” Caleb tells her.

"Check her pockets,” Koi tells Caleb.

Caleb pats her pockets and smiles when he discovers they’re packed full of candy.

"If you reach into my pocket, I’m telling Red you were perving on me,” she says with the most beautiful smile a nineteen-year-old girl has ever possessed.

"Fine by me,” Caleb says and leans down to pick her up.

He holds her upside down and shakes causing all the candy to fall from her shoes, jeans, and hoodie.

"You’re all assholes!” she yells through her laughter.

"Get them all before he puts her down!” Koi tells Jagger.

"I bought the damn things!” she yells at her brother.

"You don’t share and it’s not nice,” Koi informs her.

"Where did you put the rest of them?” Koi asks her.

"Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Uh-oh.

"Where did you put them, Hen?” Caleb asks and tickles her ribs causing her to squeal.

"In my vagina, asshole.”

"You can keep those.” Koi grimaces. "Where are the rest little sister?”

"Not telling,” she says.

Koi turns around to look at me.

Fuck.

I try to keep a passive look on my face.

"You were back there with her,” he points out. "Empty your pockets, Paxton.”

Koi begins his stalk toward me.

"Don’t let them win, Kip! Run for your life!” she yells, and a childlike laughter emanates from her.

Koi stops to see if I’ll run, and I take a moment to decide the best plan of action. I take a few steps back and turn on my heel and run like my life depends on it. I run toward the grocery store I just exited and get to the automatic doors in time to narrowly escape Koi’s grasp.

I slide on a corner and run down the aisle like a madman. I zip past an old lady who probably thinks I’ve stolen something. Of course, I’m running toward the back of the store so it would make me the dumbest criminal of all time.

"Kip!” I hear Henley yell for me over the tops of the aisles.

"Henley!” I yell back.

"He’s over there!” Jagger announces.

Fuck.

I get to the end of another aisle and run into Henley, who is pushing a cart. She bursts into laughter when she sees me.

"Get in!” I yell.

She jumps into the cart, and I push her as I run full speed ahead. I almost tip the cart over several times as I take corners sharply, but she only laughs louder. The next thing I know she grabs cans of vegetables and other items from the shelves as we pass by.

"What are you doing?” I ask through my labored breaths.

"Gathering ammo. I told you we’d be at war,” she answers.

"Got you!” Koi says as we come to the end of another aisle.

He jumps out at us startling us both. Henley chunks the biggest can of baked beans ever made at her brother.

"Holy shit!” he yells as it barely misses him.

We speed by him and turn the corner as he ducks when she throws another can his way. I push past three other aisles before I take another turn.

"Woo-hoo!” Henley yells with contagious excitement.

Jagger runs toward us from the other end of the aisle and before he realizes what’s happening, Hen throws a can of beets at him.

"Shit!” he ducks, but the can hits his arm.

She throws another can, green beans this time, at him, leaving him in the dust as we turn the next corner.

This time we’ve turned down the baking aisle and Caleb waits for us with a large bag of flour. I stop the cart in the middle of the aisle.

"Jumping ship,” Henley announces to me.

She jumps out of the cart like a ninja and smiles back at me. After she tosses me some cans, she and Caleb go into a standoff.

"Your weapons are weak,” she tells him.

"You won’t be able to see,” Caleb retorts.

"Neither will you, when I clock you in the eye with a can, dumbass.”

Caleb chuckles. "Touché.”

Jagger and Koi join Caleb’s force soon after and each grabs a bag of flour.

"I have a good arm,” Henley says and winds up like a pitcher until her arm hurls the can toward the three.

They all hit the floor causing Koi’s bag to burst open and cover him in flour. Henley and I crack up laughing at Koi. Rhys, Griffin, and Cam turn the corner on our end of the aisle.

"What the hell happened, bruh?” Rhys asks.

"War,” Henley answers.

"Fuck yes! It’s been too long!” Griffin yells excitedly.

"Dipshit fell on the bag of flour and covered himself in it,” I tell them.

"What did it start over?” Cam asks.

"Jolly Ranchers,” I answer.

"Who started it?” Cam asks.

I chuckle. "Depends on how you look at it.”

"Are you joining those two ass hats?” Jagger asks the three new arrivals.

"They have cans and y’all have flour. Taking my chances over here,” Rhys answers.

Koi chunks a large bag of flour at our end of the aisle, but it lands short, exploding open and forward to all of us.

Our enemies laugh at us. We pick up bags of powdered sugar, cornmeal, and syrup and throw them until they explode. Henley decides to open icing containers and runs straight to the three men and covers them in what she can as they attempt to wrangle her.

"They’ve taken our princess!” Rhys yells and grabs vegetable oil for all of us.

We run forward as Henley’s wiry body kicks and laughs at the enemy. While they’re paying attention to her, we dump vegetable oil all over them. Unfortunately, we cover Hen too, but she cracks up even more.

"I wish we had eggs,” she says, and Rhys and I look at each other.

"Yes!” we yell in unison and take our floured asses and the cart to the egg section.

When we return, a man not much older than us appears and asks us to stop fighting with the products. We only laugh and hand out dozens of eggs to each other. The man doesn’t get much else out as the egg fight ensues. Eggs are every-damn-where. Some hang off our bodies, coat our hair, but at least half of them are staining the products and shelving units that line the aisle. When we run out of eggs, we all sit down and laugh while also trying to catch our breaths.

"What the fuck?” Rob, the tour road manager, asks.

"I think we got carried away,” Henley chuckles.

"How in the hell does this even begin, much less get carried away?” he asks with a beet-red face full of anger.

"I’m calling the police,” the young manager says as an egg falls from the top of his head and lands on his shoe.

Rob attempts to calm the man. "There’s no need. We’ll pay for all the damage and for someone to clean it up.”

While the two men exchange heated statements, we sneak down the aisle, turn down the next and run out to the buses. We run to a nearby gas station and look for a water hose. Henley finds one and begins the process of spraying us all off. We laugh through the entire process.

"I want my fucking Jolly Ranchers back,” she tells Jagger and her brother.

"If we go to jail, you realize it will all be over Jolly Ranchers,” Rhys advises.

"At least we’ll suffer for a worthy cause!” I shout in my best William Wallace accent.

"Sir? Sir? Are you okay?” The old man who mans the counter touches my shoulder. I smile at him and wipe my tears away.

"I remembered something I hadn’t remembered in a long time,” I tell him, although I’m sure he doesn’t give a damn.

I pick up the bag of Jolly Ranchers and follow him to the counter to pay for my items.





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