Perion, catnapping, was awakened by Lein’s soft kiss on her shoulder. She turned to her back and looked up into his eyes. “I’m sorry it has to be this way,” she told him softly. “I’m going to fix this as soon as I can.”
“I don’t care what way it is. You’re here now, and that’s all that matters.”
She kissed him softly. “I have to go.”
“I know, but I really want you to stay,” he said.
“I want to, but I can’t.”
He entwined his fingers with hers and said, “I’m not going to pressure you to do anything,” he told her. “You do what you have to do, I’m not going anywhere.”
She kissed him deeply. When she broke the kiss, she momentarily buried her face in the hollow between his throat and shoulder, inhaling the scent of him. She pulled away and looked at him. “If I don’t go now, I’ll never leave,” she whispered.
She reluctantly slid out of his bed. She began to retrieve her scattered clothing. He sat up and silently watched as piece by piece, she covered her magnificently naked body. When she was fully clothed again, she walked over to his side of the bed and sat down, facing him.
“This is going to sound like a cliché and maybe a little sleazy, but I can’t wait to see you again,” she told him, smiling a little.
He took her hand and kissed it, then returned her smile. “Well, if it’s any consolation to you, I feel the same, even though it is kind of corny.”
Perion giggled, then stood. “I really have to go; if I don’t, no telling what will happen. See you in the morning.”
Perion didn’t go home immediately. She went to The Rose Bush and entered the backstage area. For a very long time, she sat at her vanity station and stared at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t find a trace of guilt there, not one. But the reason why she couldn’t was simple. She didn’t feel guilty at all. She was in love, not with her husband, but with Lein. There was no doubt about it any longer. Sighing, she stood up and decided to make her way home.
“Where have you been,” Blaine demanded of Perion as soon as she walked through the door.
Perion noticed he had conveniently gotten rid of the girls. They had the apartment to themselves. How convenient, she thought. “I don’t think that’s any of your business,” she told him.
He laughed sarcastically. She thought it was the most inappropriate thing he could ever do. “You know, Peri, I think you’ve been sleeping with Lein. Have you?” He didn’t wait for an answer; he actually didn’t want her to speak at all. “You’ve been fucking him since before the night you decided we should get married right away. And just why did you want to get married so damn fast? In case you got knocked up by fucking a rock star?”
Perion sighed. “Blaine, I have no time for your shit tonight. I have to get up early in the morning. We’re recording tomorrow.”
She tried to move past him to go into the bedroom, but he wouldn’t let her pass. “You’re not getting away from this so fast,” he spat out angrily. He gripped her shoulders painfully and glowered into her face hatefully. “I saw that fucking shirt in the hamper. It stank of his cheap ass cologne. You wore it home, didn’t you? You wore it home that night you came in so late. Did he fuck you that night? Did he? DID HE?”
“LEAVE ME ALONE,” she screamed and jerked out of his grasp.
Blaine stalked angrily toward her and grabbed her wrist tightly. “Listen to me and listen damn good, ’cause I’m not repeating myself. If you’re fucking Lein, you’d better put a stop to it. It won’t do any good, because I’ll never let you go. Is that clear? And another thing, you’re going to have to find yourself a place to sleep tonight because you sure as hell ain’t sleeping here.”
He shoved her out the door and closed it. Even though she was almost positive he had locked her out, she tried the doorknob anyway. It was, of course, locked. Instead of banging on the door and creating an even bigger scene, Perion walked away from the building. She had no idea where she would go. She didn’t want to go to Lein’s and get him involved in the mess. She ended up walking to the rehearsal building they continued to borrow from Hard Axe. Once inside, she curled up into a ball on the sofa and fell into a fitful sleep.
The next morning, Perion met with the other band members to discuss their recording schedule with Lein, and the impending party being thrown by David Cochran. Although Perion had a tough night with Blaine, the instant she saw Lein, all the ugliness was forgotten.
It was very hard for Perion to contain her feelings for Lein, and he had the same trouble. But they kept a tight lid on it. Although he felt drunken giddiness at the sight of her, he quickly grew concerned when he noticed that she was wearing the same outfit from last night. When they found a moment to be alone, they knew they should be discreet to keep suspicious minds from wondering, but they also had a hard time following through with it.
Lein pulled Perion over to stand closely beside him. They stood together like two conspirators planning a murder.
He leaned his head down so he could speak almost directly into her ear. “Are you okay?”
She smiled a little to show him how ‘okay’ she was. “Yes, I’m fine. The old man and I just had a spat, that’s all. So, I stayed here last night.”
“Did this have anything to do with me?”
“Yes and no. You see, Blaine is an unhappy guy, and he takes it out on me sometimes. It’s no big deal. It happens a lot.”
“It definitely sounds like a big deal. I think you’re taking some of the edge off it. You didn’t have to stay here all night. You could have come to me.”
“Lein, I didn’t want to drag you into the middle of it.”
“Perion, I’m already in it. Are you sure you’re okay?”
She smiled again, this time genuinely. “Yeah, the instant I saw you, it was all good.”
He nodded. “Yeah, well, I understand all about that. I can’t keep my eyes off you. From the second you came in this morning, I haven’t looked away once,” he told her, keeping a perfectly tuned poker face.
Her smile remained. “I noticed. That’s okay. I’ve been doing the same kind of thing myself. I just hope I can keep my mind off last night. If I don’t, I’m going to get myself into major trouble.”
He kissed her temple, not caring who saw him do it. “I guess we’ll get into trouble together, then. I can’t wait until I see you at the party tonight.”
“Me either. I have a little surprise planned for you,” she said.
Lein placed his hand on her back in a gentle stroking motion. “Great, I love surprises.”
His very presence, and his voice falling into her ear, made her quiver. “I hope you’ll like this one,” she said, grinning a little. Then she boldly and openly kissed him on the mouth.