Lein smiled. Perion, Randi, Syndi, and Debi were at their first ‘meet the press’ party on the night before their debut album and single were released. They were being interviewed in a continuous flood by various rock magazines, music television stations, and a myriad of people with cameras, notebooks, and tape recorders. There were also people present requesting autographs. It seemed as if Bitter Wynter was a very hot ticket even before their effort was released. It also seemed as if the four young ladies were totally flabbergasted by all the attention they were receiving.
Of course, as always, Lein’s attention was on Perion. She looked extremely sexy [again, to him, as always]. She was dressed in a black leather miniskirt and a white off-the-shoulder peasant blouse. Her platinum tresses were curled, and the left side of her hair was pulled up and held back with a black ribbon barrette at the back of her head. The rest of her hair was fluffed out around the right side of her face and down her right shoulder. There was a big gold hoop earring hanging from her left earlobe that twinkled with every flash from the cameras. She was breathtakingly beautiful and reminded Lein a little of Dorothy Stratten.
On the eve of Bitter Wynter’s debut release and subsequent success, Lein stood back and beheld the woman he loved more than he had ever loved anyone. He’d helped make her band into what they were beginning to become, yet she had taught him more about love and life than he had ever learned from his former girlfriends. It was amazing to watch her and the others as virtual babes in the woods. He’d soon have to cut in and take them away from the press before they suffocated.
Before Lein had that chance, he noticed an all too familiar lanky figure bustling through the crowd. Absurdly enough, Blaine Marion was dressed in a perfectly tailored suit and tie. Damned if he wasn’t wearing a pair of round frame eyeglasses like he was Jimmy fucking Olsen, for Christ’s sake. Topping off the look, his long hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Amazingly, he actually looked like one of the reporters he had busily elbowed out of his way.
Blaine pushed through the horde of photographers. He held up a micro cassette recorder in one hand and a tiny microphone in the other. Lein realized too late that he couldn’t break through the crowd and get to Blaine before he made an incredible scene.
In a booming falsetto voice, Blaine called out, “Excuse me, Ms. Thorn!”
All the noise died down in the room. Perion looked up abruptly and fixed Blaine with a cold stare. It didn’t seem to affect him at all. He kept a smirk on his lips and proceeded to shove people out of his way, all the while holding up the recorder and microphone.
“Excuse me,” his voice boomed again, “could you tell me how you got where you are? Rumor has it you got here by sleeping your way to the top, specifically, sleeping with your band’s manager while still married to your former manager. This manager is reportedly Hard Axe’s own Lein Blake. Would you be where you are now without extensive experience on Lein Blake’s casting couch? How successful would Bitter Wynter be without your allowing Lein Blake inside your panties, Ms. Thorn? Can you answer any of these questions?”
Perion said nothing; she kept a fixed, cold gaze on Blaine. Meanwhile, Lein began shoving his way through the crowd.
“Can I take your silence as affirmative answers to some of these questions, Ms. Thorn,” Blaine asked crudely.
The reporters began shouting questions at Perion. Their attention soon turned to Lein as he pushed his way closer and closer to Blaine. He waved them off and continued pushing people out of his way.
“Well, Ms. Thorn? Are you going to answer? We have the right to know.”
She remained silent, but she gazed at him stonily. Lein grabbed a handful of Blaine’s suit jacket and began pulling him back. The crowd of reporters began piling up against them, getting involved in the scuffle as well. Dozens of camera flashers went off at the same time.
Perion could see Blaine and Lein in the middle of the crowd. As she expected, they had begun to fight, and the press crowded in around them. Finally, security moved in and began breaking up the fight. It didn’t matter, the damage was done. Blaine got the exposure he wanted and the bad press was his revenge, or at least part of it, Perion feared. By the time security pulled Lein and Blaine apart, most of the people had been shuffled out of the room.
“I want him arrested for trespassing,” Perion said.
“He’s press, you know, free speech and everything,” one of the security guards said.
“If he’s press, then I’m a goddamn Franciscan monk,” Lein spat out, wiping blood from a gash on his cheek.
“He’s not press, he’s an impostor,” Syndi said.
Blaine jerked himself out of the grasp of the guard holding him. He prissily straightened out his suit. “It was fun, really. I can’t wait to see the story in the magazines. I really can’t wait to see those photos, too. Man, Perion, does fucking a rock star make you a harlot? You never dressed like that until you let Super Stud over there get a piece.”
Lein made another dive for Blaine, but the guard held him at bay. “If you don’t stop, I’m gonna call the cops and have you both arrested. Look, four eyes, if you get the hell outta here now, maybe I won’t let Lein over there have your nuts for breakfast,” the guard told Blaine.
“How can that be when she’s already had them,” Blaine asked amused.
Lein made another lunge, but Perion’s voice called out, “He’s not worth it, Lein, he’s just not worth it.”
“No, honey, you’re not worth it. You never were and you never will be,” Blaine said, and then walked out of the room.
“Damn, that was ugly. Why is he such an asshole,” Randi spat.
“Babe,” Lein questioned, concerned for Perion.
“I’m fine. He just had to show his ass, that’s all. He still wants to get back at me for what’s going on. Let’s just get out of here.”