For the next few days, rehearsals seemed to be a thing of the past. Lein didn’t mind. He didn’t want to deal with seeing Perion, or with the idea of her staying with Blaine, or with anything to do with Perion at all. His mind wanted to, as did his heart. He had actually had her in his arms, in his bed, for Christ’s sake, but he had let her slip away as easily as he had made love to her. He was half in love with her, but didn’t realize it.
Ronnie had noticed the somber change in Lein and decided to take him out on the town. When Ronnie suggested a strip club, Lein had absolutely balked. There was no way he would step into another strip joint again. The brothers opted for a bar instead. Lein chose a table as far back in the dark as he could. Ronnie offered to play him in a game of pool [which Lein never refused when he wasn’t ill], but his offer was turned down flat and cold. Lein sat and sullenly nursed a mug of beer, and then changed to shots of whiskey.
“Man, what the hell is happening to you?”
Lein tossed back another shot before looking at his brother. “Nothing, nothing, nothing.”
“Come on, you’re not that liquored up. What’s happening?”
Lein sighed and pushed his empty shot glass and whiskey bottle away. He suddenly became uninterested in booze, for the moment at least. “Perion,” he spat out.
Ronnie sighed. “Give it up, man, she’s not going to be your lady. Quit pining, there’s other chicks, you know.”
“You’re dating Debi, right?”
Ronnie nodded. “Yeah, so?”
“You don’t want another girl right now, do you?”
He simply shook his head.
“My point is made. I don’t want anybody else, just her. But it’s not pining anymore, Ron, not at all. We were together a couple nights ago. I went to the strip joint with the intention of talking to her, but we ended up at my place. I didn’t plan on taking her to bed, it just happened. It was amazing, no, better than that. It was fucking mind numbing. It was right. Nothing ever felt like that for me before. She refuses to accept what happened, and as far as I know, she’s still with Blaine. But the thing is, I think I’m falling in love with her, and it’s driving me crazy.”
“Does she know how you feel?”
“No, she won’t let me near her anymore. They haven’t rehearsed since it happened. If I go to her place, I’ll run into him, and I don’t know if I could get past him without killing him. He doesn’t love her. He loves what she’ll do for him.”
“Maybe you ought to tell her. If you don’t, she’ll be gone.”
“She won’t listen to me.”
“Make her or lose her, you need to choose.”