“You what,” Blaine spat out incredulously.
Perion sighed and tried to think past his piercing voice. “I said I want the band to retain Lein as manager for as long as he can do it.”
“I thought you wanted to get rid of him, Perion. I thought you wanted to hire someone else, someone better,” he said.
Perion plopped down on the bed. “I did, but I’ve changed my mind.”
Blaine stared hard at Perion for an undetermined amount of time. It was on the tip of his tongue to blurt out: does this have anything to do with what I found in the laundry hamper, my love? He’d found a black button-down shirt at the very bottom of the hamper. It had been doused in strong, musky cologne. The shirt definitely didn’t belong to him, or to Perion. He had nearly asked her about it when he first saw it, but didn’t. He simply took the shirt, ripped it in shreds, and threw it in the garbage can. He wasn’t an idiot. He knew it belonged to Lein, but since Perion had consented to marry him, he didn’t mention that he had found it. Surely she hadn’t fucked him. At least he hoped she hadn’t.
“Well, I thought since we’re married now, I could manage again,” he told her, sounding almost hopeful.
“Maybe later. We’re still focusing on getting the demo to a record company. I believe we need Lein to take care of that right now. We’ll still be looking for someone else. As of now, I think Lein should be around until the demo attracts a company. Please say you understand,” she pleaded.
He didn’t, but he sighed, giving in. “All right, Perion, whatever you think is best for the band. I still don’t like it.”
Later, Perion was wide-awake and had decided to sneak a late night sandwich. Just as she had gotten it together, Debi came through the door, glowing happily from her date. Debi said nothing to Perion; she moved toward the refrigerator and began to rummage around for a soda.
“Debi, are you ever going to talk to me again,” she asked her friend.
Holding a can of Dr. Pepper, Debi closed the refrigerator door. “I think you made a mistake, okay Peri? And I’m not necessarily as mad as I am concerned. I’m even more concerned now that I’ve heard we’re not giving Lein the ax.”
Perion set her sandwich down. “I can handle being around him, Debi. I just think if we get rid of him now, our chances for success will go down.”
Debi opened the Dr. Pepper and popped the tab off with her thumb, sending the little piece of aluminum flying through the air. It landed perfectly in the trashcan. She sat down at the kitchen table. “Bullshit, Peri, bullshit. We could do fine without Lein now, you know it and I know it. And I have a feeling you’re not going to be able to resist him. You had trouble with that before, as I recall.”
“It’s different this time,” she whispered, not making eye contact with her friend at all.
“Again, bullshit. The only difference now is you’re not single.”
“I can handle it, you’ll see,” she said, picking up her sandwich.
“If you say so, Perion,” Debi said and left the kitchen.