Perion went to rehearsal that morning, even though she would have rather eaten broken glass first. She didn’t know if she could face Lein, especially since she had left her ring at his house. She knew she couldn’t deal with him much longer, the band would have to get new management.
The first person Perion saw, of course, was Lein. He looked at no one but her. She wanted to avert him, to ignore him, but it was very hard. Her mind played back to the previous night’s festivities repeatedly. With startling horror, she noticed he was wearing her engagement ring on the tip of his index finger. She hoped no one else had seen it. Her heart beat fast and hard. She felt as if she would throw up at any second, and her head thumped sickly. It was as if she had a hangover. In a way, that was exactly what she had. Her body had greedily drunk forbidden juices; not from a bottle, but from another body...Lein’s. Like an alcoholic’s morning after indulging in that forbidden juice, she paid the piper with a lovely hangover.
The girls approached their instruments to begin warming up. However, they didn’t even get the chance to play one note.
Lein, unmindful of the others, approached Perion and took her lightly by the forearm. “I need to talk to you for a minute,” he told her.
She tried to jerk free of his grasp, but was unable. Although he held onto her lightly, he used firm pressure. “We have to rehearse,” she protested.
“You’ve got all day. This will only take a few minutes. Besides, I found something peculiar in my carpet last night, and I think you’ll be quite interested in seeing what it is. Let’s go.”
Unwillingly, she let him lead her out of the room, and then outside. It wasn’t until then that he let her go. Lein held up his finger. “After we made love, Perion, did you happen to forget something during your mad dash out of my bed?”
She snatched the ring off his finger as if afraid he was only teasing her with it. “I have to go,” she said shortly, trying hard not to look at him.
He grabbed her arm again. “Oh no you don’t,” he said, pulling her back toward him. “I’m not finished with you yet. Why did you leave?” He shook her lightly. “Look at me, Perion, why did you leave?” Defiantly, she looked at him, but said nothing. “You don’t just make the most incredible love with someone only to leave like you never wanted anything to happen. I know you wanted it; you wanted it as much as I did. How could you leave after what was said? Can you tell me?”
“Yes,” she said shakily, “I can. I’m engaged. That’s why I left. I’m committed to Blaine and I intend to stay in the relationship. Why do you keep asking that? One incident of fooling around, and one night of empty sex between strangers can’t erase four years between lovers.”
Lein was literally dumbfounded. ”How,” he spat out, “how could you even want to stay with him, want to marry him? You weren’t meant to be with him, nor are you meant to marry him. If you had been, then you wouldn’t have made love with me. What we had should have shown you.”
“What we had were a couple of fucks, Lein,” she spat out crudely, trying to shake him, “nothing more, nothing less. Anybody can fuck. What I have with Blaine is love.”
He was not shaken in the least bit. “What we did wasn’t fucking, and what you have with Blaine is a lie. He doesn’t love you, not like you think he does. He’s only staying with you because of what you’ll become, what you’ll make him look like.”
Perion was angry, on the verge of utter rage. Hot tears streamed out of her eyes, scalding her cheeks. “You don’t love me, either. All you loved were the fucks we had, and my band’s success surely isn’t hurting your finances either. I’m leaving.”
She moved past him and left him standing. After a few moments, Lein went back inside the rehearsal studio. “I think you guys better go home,” he told them quietly, “you can’t do anything today.”
“Where’s Perion,” Debi asked.
“She’s gone, she went home,” he told her dejectedly.
“Did something happen between you guys,” she asked.
“I thought it did.”
Debi didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, but she was intent on finding out. The other two girls didn’t know what to do. Syndi and Randi watched as Debi, then Lein, left the studio without saying a word to either of them.
When Debi arrived home, she found Perion crying in the bathroom. “Perion, what the hell is going on?”
She wiped the tears out of her eyes with a swatch of toilet paper. “Nothing.”
“Nothing? Bullshit, girl. You’re in the bathroom crying and Lein is walking around that damned studio like a shell-shocked soldier. You guys were together last night, weren’t you? You made it with him, didn’t you?”
Without a sound, Perion nodded. “Yes, twice. We almost did the day before, but I left before it could happen. I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know why or how I could have let it happen.”
“Maybe he means more to you than Blaine does.”
“He meant more to me because I wanted him to fuck me, that’s what he did, that’s what I let him do. But nothing more than that,” she said softly.
“Are you sure?”
She began to cry harder. “No, I’m not. I’m not sure of anything at all.”
Later, Blaine came back to the apartment from Tranquility Lane. He found the girls at home, which confused him a little. They usually rehearsed until their gig. Blaine found Debi, Syndi, and Randi in the kitchen. Perion was in the bedroom, lying belly down on the bed. He got down on the bed with Perion. He tried to move her hair aside to kiss her neck, but she wouldn’t let him.
“Nothing. Blaine, how long would it take to get blood tests and a marriage license ready?”
“Well, I imagine the license would be ready in a couple of days, the blood tests would be about a week, but I’m not sure. Why do you ask?”
“Why don’t we go to Las Vegas? I don’t think you have to get a blood test to get married there, at least from what I’ve heard. Why don’t we plan some time off, go to Vegas, and do the deed as soon as we can? What do you say?”
Blaine was surprised, very surprised indeed. “Are you sure? I mean, you got this busy schedule and-”
She interrupted him. “We’ll work around it, don’t worry. I’m not going to work for a little while. I’ve already told Mr. Cochran. He’s cool with it. Newsome won’t be so cool about it, but he’ll deal with it. What do you say?”
“If you want to do that, we can.”
She looked at him. “I do.”
He smiled. “Then I do, too. Why are you in such a rush?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m just ready now.”
He moved to kiss her neck again, but she wouldn’t let him. “Peri, what is it?”
“Nothing. Why don’t we wait to make love after we’re married? You know, sort of make it special when we say ‘I do.’”
“Whatever, that is, if I can wait.”
“Oh you can, you’ll make yourself,” she told him, forcing a smile.
Perion didn’t want Blaine to touch her, not after Lein. It was silly, she knew. She couldn’t help it, but Blaine disgusted her. She couldn’t fathom the idea of ever allowing Blaine to touch her again. She knew it was only a matter of time before Blaine lost patience with her little abstinence game. He wasn’t above taking her by force. However, she would put it off as long as she could.