The Meet & Greet
I emerged from the shower that morning with nothing but my towel tied around my waist to find one of the last people I’d wanted to run into this morning perched on the edge of my bed with an ominous smirk on his face. Damn it, I thought and closed the bathroom door behind me. What now? Slowly, I approached him, trying very hard to disguise the prickling sensation of discomfort from my face. Kai smiled at me and motioned for me to sit down with him. Like hell I would. Instead, I crossed my arms over my chest and waited for whatever it was he was going to say. Or do. He was just too damn unpredictable sometimes.
“What?” I asked and narrowed my eyes at him. “What are you doing in my room? We’re leaving soon. You should be getting ready.”
I stifled a yawn and waited impatiently for his reply. God, It was just too damn early to deal with him right now. Who gets up at five in the morning just to make your life miserable? Hadn’t he ever had one of those days where he just wanted to stay in bed without seeing anybody? Of course not. This was Kai I was talking about. God, I needed a vacation. The room was mostly dark, expect for the orange halo of light the lamp cast up on the ceiling. The heavy red velvet curtains of the suite were still drawn closed since I’d gotten up before my grandmother had to take a shower. Kai looked me up and down slowly, starting from my bare feet and worked his way up to my dripping hair. That made me uncomfortable because he seemed to like what he was staring at. Or was it just me being paranoid? Kai didn’t strike me at all as gay in the least.
“What?” I said again. “It’s too early to play charades, Kai. if you nothing important to say, then just get out.” With that, I turned on the ball of my heel and stomped off to the bathroom, shaking water out of my head and grumbling to myself.
And then he pulled my towel off me. I spun around and stared at him as if he were my worst nightmare in the fresh, eyes wide and my mouth hanging agape. Kai smirked at me and then his eyes dropped to the dick in between my legs. I jumped back and covered myself the best I could, scowling at him. My face felt hot and my heart was galloping away inside my chest like crazy. Kai burst out laughing and pointed at my balls again.
“Gimme back my towel, Kai,” I said menacingly through gritted teeth. He shook his head and burst out laughing again, the sound rolling off the walls of my room and leaking into the hallway.
“Jesus,” he gasped in between guffaws, “never seen balls so small in my life!”
I scowled at him and turned tomato red, which made him laugh even harder. I was not small. Who the hell was he to judge anyway? Who said he wasn’t small down there? I jumped out and snatched one end of the towel with my right hand and jerked it in my direction. Kai smiled ominously at me and tugged at it just as hard, making me stumble froward with a slight grunt.
“Alex- man, get in here! You’ve gotta see this!” Kai called out and I, being the idiot that I knew I was, dropped my end of the towel. Kai laughed again so hard that tears were trickling down his cheeks.
The door open and Alex poked his head inside, curiosity written all over his overly tanned face. He blinked and raised his eyebrows in surprise, then suddenly fell into a jag of laughter and tears. I spun around and lunged for the bathroom door, anxious to get away from these guys. Damn jerks. Kai jumped forward and grabbed my wrist tightly and spun me around, then roughly pushed me into Alex, who’d stepped inside the room and closed the door behind him. Damn you guys, I thought bitterly and shoved Alex away from me. He pointed down at me balls and shook his head back in forth in disbelief, as if he’d never seen packages my size before. Ugh.
“My God,” Alex gasped and wiped his face dry with the sleeve of his white button up shirt.
“Get lost, tan addict!” I sneered and shoved him again, making Alex bang his shoulders into the door. He seemed unfazed by it though. He looked over at Kai and nodded.
Uh oh. This wasn’t good. I turned around slowly, blood pounding loudly in my ears and cold sweat prickling the back of my neck to see Kai rolling up the towel diagonally, one hand wrapped around one end of the towel and the other slowly winding it, the smile growing darker and darker by second. I gulped and backed up into Alex, who pinned my arms behind my back, not hard enough to hurt me, but enough so I wouldn’t be able to break free.
“Kai, don’t,” I pleaded and stared at the tightly twisted towel with wide eyes. Alex snickered in my ear and kicked my feet apart with his foot from behind.
“Target practice Kai,” he said and laughed. Kai approached me slowly, snapping the towel as he did, as if testing it out to see if it would accomplish what he’d wanted it to do. I gritted my teeth together and struggled against Alex’s grip. Oh Jesus, I thought with dread and closed my eyes. I felt like I was going to throw up. I could feel the acid churning restlessly in my stomach and bile bubbling in my throat. Think Eden! Don’t just stand there! I urged myself. Kai stopped short and few feet away from me and grinned.
“Any last words Princess?” he jeered and snapped the towel again. Alex chuckled darkly in my ear and I struggled again when Kai snapped the towel again for the third or fourth time.
“Oh God.” He snapped the towel again and stuck me in my right thigh, sending a fiery arch of pain throughout my body. I cried out and cursed at him as loud as I could. God, I hated towel whips. The towel whip crackled again and stuck my stomach. I doubled over in pain and Alex burst out laughing. Kai snapped the whip and stuck my shoulders. He repeated this motion a few more times, sending ripples of fire all over my body and leaving behind bright red marks for me to remember this torture by. Where the hell was Manager when you needed him? Where the hell was everybody?
“One last go!” Kai bellowed and snapped the towel, hitting me in the most sensitive spot I had on me. Right in between the legs.
I cried out as loud as I could and doubled over again, eyes watering and a tidal wave of hot pain expanding from my towel whipped balls. Alex let me go and I crumpled to the floor, bringing my knees to my chest and cupping my balls with my hands to suppress the pain. I pressed my forehead against me knees and moaned. Alex’s smile faded and he looked at Kai anxiously, as if to say, “maybe we went a little far?” Kai was still smiling and pointedly ignored Alex.
“Kai...maybe we took it too far,” he said in a small voice. I glared up at him through my tears. “God- you think?“I shrieked and let out another agonized groan. Kai just smiled and shook his head.
“Kai, let’s go,” Alex said and pointed to to the door. Kai ignored him; he bent down next to me and looked at me closely, like a doctor examining a patient. “C’mon,” he said and tried to spread my legs to take a look at my damaged goods. “It didn’t hurt that bad.”
“Shut up!” I screamed and glared up at him. “Let me catch you naked and towel whip your balls and see how you like it! Damn you both to hell! Arggggggggh!”
“Let me see,” Kai said and attempted to pry my legs apart again. I rolled away and kicked out at him, catching him in the shoulder. Alex paled and hung back, as if he was afraid to do anything anymore. Assholes. What the hell did I do to get whipped at five in the damn morning? Kai grabbed my ankles and dragged me toward him. He wasn’t smiling anymore; now, he looked just plain annoyed. I kicked out at him again and caught him in the jaw.
“Kick me again and you’re dead,” he snapped and motioned for Alex and help him out. I glared up at him, as if to say, “you move, and you die on the spot.” He hesitated, his dark blonde eyebrows pulling together in distress and hands hanging limp at his sides, fingers twitching. I continued to kick out, missing various times but occasionally managing to strike Kai somewhere. He grunted and pulled me even closer, fury evident on his face and coloring his olive cheeks red. “Let me go!” I shouted and this time swung a fist. “I don’t need your help!”
“Just shut up and let me see!” Kai retorted and crawled on top of me. He pinned my wrists down to the floor and glared down at me. A burning pain erupted from my balls again and I cried out.
“Alex, tell it how it is,” Kai commanded and motioned for him to look at my balls with his head. “Is it that bad? Or is he just exaggerating?”
“Do I sound like I’m exaggerating?” I bellowed and struggled under Kai’s crushing weight. I didn’t know whether to be scared or flat-out pissed. “Get off me, Kai. You’re sitting on my damn balls!Get off!” Alex reluctantly moved closer to us and bent over behind Kai to see what the damage was. He looked sick; his face an unnatural shade of white underneath his dark tan and his lips drained of their color. I kicked out and caught Alex straight in the face. He staggered back, holding his face in his hands and shouting into them. Kai sighed and finally rolled off me.
And then the door open a little and Kelsey poked her hand inside, motioning for us to hurry downstairs. “Hey guys-” she stopped short and her eyes darted from me, to Kai kneeing next to me staring at her blankly, to Alex, who was now glaring at me murderously, and back to me again.
And then she screamed at the top of her lungs and pointed at my naked body. “Eden Michael Sioux! Just what in the name of God and everything holy are you doing naked on the floor? What is going on here?!” she shrieked, sounding like Grandma when I accidentally curse in front of her. I paled and buried my face in my hands. Could this get any worse? Kelsey let out another long, earsplitting banshee screech and the door opened all the way, revealing the impatiently face of Manager and Grandma behind him, pulling an overly stuffed Pullman behind her. She stopped short and stared at me as if I’d just announced that I was Matt Damon’s long lost twin.
“Eden Michael Sioux!” she yelled at the top of her lungs. She blinked several times and shook her head back and forth slowly. I sat up with a grunt and Kai snickered next to me. “Boys! What in Sam Hill is going on in here? I want explanations, damn it!”
I hastily snatched the towel out of Kai’s hand and wrapped it around my waist and to my surprise, and everybody else’s, Kai helped me stand. “I-I can explain,” I said and gritted my teeth.
“Boys!” Grandma hissed and balled her hands into tiny fists. “Explanations. Now.”
“Allow me,” Kai and and I felt my stomach drop to my knees. “No-”
“Eden here,” he said and motioned to me. “Was just horsing around. We were wrestling and I pulled his towel off and then we fell. Alex over there got hit in the face. He was suppose to be referee. It was just early morning fun.”
I leaned over and grabbed my balls again. Why the hell would Kai lie for me? He was getting harder and harder to figure out by the second. Alex nodded and pinched his nose to keep the blood from gushing out. Was it stupid for me to feel bad for him after what he and Kai did to me? Tough love, I thought. Be tough on them. Kai shrugged and ushered me into the bathroom before Grandma could question him some more. Kelsey rushed over to Alex to examine his nose, touching his face with great gentleness and keeping a hand wrapped around his arm as she led him out the door and back to his room.
“Stupid kids,” Manager grumbled as he dialed numbers into his cell phone. Grandma shook his head in disapproval. I felt a sharp pang in my chest. Somethings I could stand, like Kai’s dirty antics, but disappointing Grandma was not among those ‘somethings.’ Kai shut the door behind him and motioned for me to start getting dressed.
“Hurry up,” he said and I slipped my legs into my pants slowly, cursing out loud and taking great precautions to avoid having my balls make contact with anything. Kai sighed with impatience and leaned against the door, eyes fixed on me and an amused smirk on his lips. Damn idiot. I’d managed to button my pants and slide my shirt on over my head in slow, elephantine movements.
“Finally,” Kai said and turned to opened the door. “Kai?” I asked and he sighed loudly and peeked at me over his shoulder.
“What?” He asked, emphasizing his annoyance on the word. I ignored this and asked my question anyway. “Why did you cover for me back there? You’re not suppose to do things like that for me, you know. I thought that was our memo. You’re Tom, I’m Jerry. Like that.” I closed my mouth and stared at him intently, as if he’d break under the intensity of my stare. He simply shrugged one shoulder.
“I don’t like you,” he said matter-of-factually and I nodded at that. I wasn’t surprised. I already knew that.
We’d been playing this game of cat and mouse ever since the band was formed, so this was no shock. I wasn’t going to have a heart attack over it. He stared at me for a second, as if trying to decide whether to say something else to me or just leave, like I knew he wanted to do. I hated moments like these; when we both pretended to actually be civil with each other even though we wanted to rip each other’s heads off. It was just such a big waste of time. After this, once Kai would disappear through that door, we’d automatically go back to hating each other, so why even bother?
“Believe it or not, kid,” Kai whispered finally and stared me straight in the eyes. “I do have a heart.”
I blinked several times in surprise, trying to make sure I’d heard right. It was always surprises with this guy. He was like a maze; there were so many complicated twists and turns to him that you just couldn’t help feel a bit lost when you were wrapped up in him.
“No offense, Kai,” I said and grinned a little. “But that’s sort of hard to believe, coming from you. So far, since I’ve started working with you, I haven’t seen that heart of yours. Just a heartless shell of a person.”
Okay, so I did mean to offend him somewhat. I was still pissed about him towel whipping my balls and having Alex pin my arms behind my back just so he could do it. Kai with a heart? I still had trouble believing he was even human. Maybe he was some human-killing, blood-drinking vampire or something. Yeah. That seemed to fit him revolting personality quite nicely.
Kai chuckled to my response and disappeared behind the door with a muttered, “Hurry up and get dressed.”
The restaurant was empty as I walked in on my golden heels, pushing the set of heavy glass doors aside, a big smile painted on my face. There were several tables spread out in the spacious, elegantly decorated area; each was draped with a white silky table cloths and a lit red candle standing in the middle of it, illuminating the room with warm, yellow-orange light. Two french bistro chairs accompanied each table, all empty and abandoned, but neatly slid into place. Like someone has taken the time to do so.
I glanced down at my strapless, moss green corset style prom dress paired off with a pair of gold t-strapped holiday party heels from Tasha Wild and matching sparkling gold clutch. My hair was pinned up atop of my hair with a few curly, auburn ringlets bouncing around my face and I walked through the candle lit room, maneuvering myself around the tables by carrying my dress with my hands and occasionally stumbling on my heels. Okay, so even in my dreams I wasn’t as graceful as I wished I would’ve been in real life. Anyone who knew me would know that I could never afford anything from Tasha Wild on my ridiculous allowance of five dollars a week either. Even if I were to get a job, how long would it take me to save up enough money to shop in stores where they’re prices would make me spend more money in one night then Mom spent in a year?
“Good evening, Miss Katherine,” a tall, lean waiter whispered in my ear in a deep, heavily accented voice before he picked up my hand and kissed it. Even in my dreams it could me all the energy I could summon not to fall off my chair drooling for this guy. He was just gorgeous! He smiled and gave a quick toss of his head, sending his long, wavy, black hair swirling around his chiseled face. I sucked in my breath and blushed underneath the pounds of heavy makeup I had on. Why hadn’t mom ever taken me to France?
Focus Kat, I urged myself as the waiter seated me at the table by the window, where I had a great view of the Eifle Tower standing off in the distance. I placed my clutch on my lap and folded my hands on top. I could hear the loud thumping of my heart since it was silent and adrenaline cursing through my veins like rushing water in a river. Oh jeez. What if I messed this up? What if he just left? I gasped and clamped a hand over my voice. I felt sick all of a sudden. I’d never been on a date with a boy before. What if he stood up me? What if he’d decided that I was beneath him and was out taking a stroll through moonlit Paris with another girl? Say, his ex-girlfriend, Stevie Rae, the pop singer?
A wave of nausea washed over me and I titled my head back and closed my eyes. Calm down moron! I scolded myself. I could almost feel the room start to spin in lazy, slow circles and lean on its side. Was I having a panic attack?
“Is something the matter, Miss Katherine?” the hot waiter asked, concern thick in his voice. “Would jou like something to drink?”
I opened my eyes and saw that he was alarmingly close to my face. I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to nod at the first question and shake my head at the second. I was being paranoid. Of course he’d show. Eden wasn’t the kind of person that would stand me up. He was a nice guy. Everybody in the music business said the same thing.
How do you know? A small voice asked me. I looked around, startled, expecting to see Hayden or Stevie Rae herself standing there, a smile on her chipmunk face and her hand wrapped around Eden’s...
Stop it! I snapped inward and took a deep breath. Oh yeah, that felt good. I practiced breath like that, in and out, in and out, forcing the image of Stevie Rae making out with Eden outside this restaurant with me seated alone here, oblivious to what was happening. Her anorexic arms around his neck, her hands wrapped in his glorious tawny locks, her stick thin frame pressed against his, her big mouth on his soft one, her tongue in his mouth...
I was only playing tricks on myself. What did she have that I didn’t? I didn’t look like a fake, ugly, blond weave-wearing, miniature Daisy Duke with lip gloss and ribbons in my hair. I wasn’t as flat-chested as her. The resemblance between her chest and a table was quite staggering, like a table itself with a wonder bra on. She clearly stuffed her bras. My two front teeth weren’t shaped like a rabbit’s and I could so rock a six-inch pair of heels a lot better than she could. I didn’t walk like a transvestite in them. Maybe she was one...
“Katie! Get up-gawwwwd!” The whisper sounded urgent and more then a little anxious. I groaned and rolled over in my bed, pulling the covers high over my head, trying to block out whoever or whatever was in my room. I was still at the restaurant, waiting for Eden to show up alone without that tramp draped on his arm like a jacket. Ugh. He could do so much better than that fame-eating, money-hungry skank. Who did she think she was anyway? Prancing around Hollywood with that cheesy smile on her ugly baboon face and her cheap, drab clothes draped onto her bony, pale form. She had to be anorexic. No one was that thin naturally. Ugh. I was starting to sound like a jealous hater-which I was not. Eden was right to dump that whore.
“Katie- Jesus! Get up!”
The voice sounded female, but now impatiently and raspy, liking someone who’d been screaming for hours on end. Then the covers came off my head, accompanied with a vicious tug of my hair and Hayden loomed over me, hands balled into fists on her slender hips and a murderous scowl etched onto her make-up free face.
“Ow!” I howled and glared up at her. She stomped across the small cubicle that was my room and disappeared into my closet, rummaging through its contents and making coat hangers rattle loudly. I could barely see her in the darkness of my room if it hadn’t been for the pale pinkish-orange light of dawn peeking over the horizon and in through the thin, orange curtains of my window, signaling the beginning of the day. It was still too early to get up. School didn’t start for another two hours or so. So why was Hayden in my room possibly robbing me of my clothes?
“Hayden!” I said only half-awake and stumbled off the bed and through to darkness to find her. She’d emerged from the closet with all my Alpha Centari gear I’d purchased at their earlier concerts a while back; belts, black hats, shoes, T-shirts. I stared at her in flat-out fury. If she thought that she could wear any of that stuff to school, knowing how important it was to me, so help me God I’d-
“Why are you still sleeping?” she asked and tossed the clothes at me along with some additional things from my drawer. I stumbled for a second and blinked at her as if she’d just slapped me. Was this a trick question?
“Because it’s early,” I retorted through gritted teeth. Hayden nodded and frowned at me. “Whaaat? Why? Everyone’s downtown- haven’t you seen what Jennifer from English class posted on LoveBucket last night?” Her brown eyes were suddenly bright and she was squealing with delight.
“Shhhhh!” I said. “You’ll wake up my-”
“She’s not home,” Hayden interjected and screamed at the top of her lungs, making me jump and cover my ears with my hands. Was she on drugs or something? She had to be if she was here at this hour. She was not a morning person.
“I got grounded,” I explained when she stopped. “Mom went ballistic when-”
“Who cares?” Hayden cried and squealed again. I sighed and rolled my eyes. Better to save my explanations for later. “Hurry up and dress! I have to car out front! Eeeeeeeek!”
“Why? What happened?” I asked. When was the last time I’d checked my LoveBucket account? Monday? Tuesday? What day was it anyway? What time was it? Hayden sighed through her nose, an obvious sign of impatience, and marched over to me. She pulled my shirt off over my head and unbuttoned my pants with a devious giggle. I gasped and wrapped my arms around myself protectively, trying to cover myself up. Was she freaking crazy? Hayden pushed me on the bed and jerked my pants off my legs. She was surprisingly strong. With a sigh, I lay limply on my bed as Hayden began to slip my only pair of black tights on me. I felt uncomfortable; Hayden was normally all about privacy and personal space and I was too. It wasn’t like her to just rip clothes off of people.
Her fingers brushed over my thighs and she pulled the tights up and I shivered. “Where are we going Hayden? We have school-”
“When was the last time you were on-”
“Just tell me!”I cried exasperatedly. Hayden slid on a tight black miniskirt I didn’t remember being in my closet up, but felt it hanging low on my hips. I reached out to pull it up and Hayden slapped my hands away.
“Stand up!” she said and pulled me to my feet. She reached around me and unhooked my bra. I screamed and pushed her away. Hayden burst out laughing and held my bra dangling in front of her face.
“What are you screaming about? You have no tits whatsoever,” she teased and I glared at her. We weren’t all blessed with C cup breasts. She plucked a black push up bra off the pile of clothes she’d looted from my closet without permission and reached around again to hook it again. I shivered and held my breath until she pulled away, but not before grabbing my boobs and squeezing them once. Hard.
“Hayden!“I screamed. “Where the heck are we going? Gosh.”
“To Primrose Hotel downtown-duh!” she said with a squeal. I rolled my eyes, but stopped myself mid roll. Hayden continued while shaking my shoulders violently.
“We’re going to see if we can get a picture and autograph with Alpha Centari! That’s the hotel that they’re staying in!”
And then I joined her in her jubilant hopping, squealing, and hugging. Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! How did Jennifer even get that kind of information? I hastily pulled my favorite Alpha Centari T-shirt over my head and pulled my hair back into a high pigtail. I hadn’t even brushed my teeth or washed my face. Hayden assured me that I didn’t have any morning breath, even thought I knew she just said that because she wanted to get out of the house. She lifted my shirt so my belly button was fully exposed and tied it into a knot behind my back before she half-carried me down tha stairs and dumped me in the back of her brother’s dark blue convertible. No doubt she must’ve ‘borrowed’ it. Ray wouldn’t let her drive it if it was the only car in the world.
“Alpha Centauri- here we come!” she yelled at the top of her lungs before she inserted one of their CD’s into the car’s CD player and played their single, “Lovebite” at full volume. I screamed with her as she peeled out of my driveway and sped off.