Good fucking God, what am I doing here, Lein thought as he took in his surroundings. He was jammed into a corner booth in a very loud rock club. Sitting across from him was fellow band mate, Frank, and his girlfriend. There was a band playing on stage below them. Ironically enough, it was a female band. Since Bitter Wynter had made its mark, a lot of copycat bands had sprung up. The lead singer was good, but not as good as Perion. A hurtful pain stabbed his heart at the thought of his wife. He wiped the thought out of his mind and again wondered why he had come with Frank. He then remembered.
The band was in the middle of a grueling rehearsal schedule, but Lein’s heart wasn’t in it. The guys knew what was going on. They would have had to be on Mars not to know what was going on. After they ended their session for the night, each man went his own separate way. Ronnie was meeting Debi, Robb had a hot number waiting for him at home, and Frank was meeting some chick at local club.
Lein was readying to go home to an empty house. Frank knew that Perion was gone, and that Lein was having a hard time coping with her departure. He suggested that Lein go with him to the club for a drink. Lein refused, he was in no mood, but Frank insisted and refused to take no for an answer. Lein eventually relented.
And now, here I am, and I’m fucking miserable, he thought. Frank and his girl were trying to talk him out of his funk, but it was no good.
The band below took a break and they were finally able to talk without screaming. At that point, Lein had finally given in and decided he could really use a drink. Frank flagged down a drink hustler and ordered a fifth of Lein’s favorite bourbon. After twenty or so minutes of downing the booze, Lein was feeling no pain. He had actually begun to feel pretty good.
Frank’s girl, Brandy, suddenly squealed, “Oh my God!” She then began waving her arms crazily.
Lein turned his head a little and glanced in the direction of Brandy’s frantically waving arms. A young blonde girl was dashing toward their booth.
“Brandy, Brandy, Brandy,” she squealed.
“Hey there! Come over, I want you to meet somebody,” Brandy called.
Without being asked, the girl took a seat beside Lein. He was too drunk to care, too drunk to protest. Hastily, Brandy introduced the girl to Frank and Lein as Katrina.
During the rest of the evening, Katrina didn’t make it any big secret that she considered herself Lein’s date. Frank thought it was funny as hell. Katrina was a forward girl, and she frequently touched Lein’s leg, his hand, and had once tried to kiss him. He was accustomed to women throwing themselves at him. He was married and he loved his wife. Lein didn’t intend to screw up his marriage any more than it was already screwed. Around two in the morning, a decidedly drunken Lein announced he wanted to go home.
Katrina touched his arm. “Why don’t you give me your keys and let me take care of you,” she said.
“She’s right, Lein,” Frank said. “You’re too fucking ripped to drive.”
Lein glanced at the girl beside him. He wanted to argue, he felt fine, but he was really in no mood. When he had first begun drinking, he had felt wonderful. But the alcohol had started to settle, and his shitty mood was desperately trying to return.
“Okay,” he mumbled, “whatever.”
Katrina stood and offered Lein her hand. He hesitated for a moment before taking it. When he stood, the room began to spin, and he nearly fell back down. However, Katrina’s grip was amazingly strong, and she held him up. When the dizziness subsided, Lein was able to walk out of the club with Katrina.
A valet brought them Lein’s car, and he climbed into the passenger side without much resistance. Katrina climbed behind the wheel and pulled away from the club.
“Would you like to stop at my place,” she asked.
Lein rolled his head over to look at her. She was really beautiful and inviting. What am I doing, he asked himself. His heart, which would always belong to his wife, said no. However, his drunken brain was ruling him that night.
“Yes,” he said, then rolled his head away from her.
Katrina lived in a small apartment in a gigantic complex off Ashley Drive. Ashley was in a seedy part of town. A lot of starving artists, so to speak, typically chose the area to live in until they got their big breaks. Lein noticed, with a pang, that Ashley Drive was a stone’s throw distance from Norma Avenue. Perion had lived on Norma when she and her band were starving.
Lein groaned a little. He wanted to stop thinking about her. She had made her choice; she had ultimately decided she wanted cocaine more than him. Despite that, he couldn’t stop thinking about her, dwelling on his feelings for her. He had tried to forget, but failed.
He willingly left his vehicle and followed Katrina inside her apartment. She sat him down on her tiny sofa. She offered him another drink, and he took it, even though he had drank enough to pickle a horse.
“I’ll be right back,” she told him before slipping into her bedroom.
Lein tentatively sipped at the drink Katrina had brought him. He still didn’t know why he had come home with this strange girl. He supposed it was part booze and part loneliness with a dash of guilt thrown in. He had never cheated on Perion, hadn’t ever wanted to. What’s the big deal, he thought. Your wife is busily fucking cocaine, why can’t you fuck around, too? He downed his drink in one gulp, feeling more and more like a hypocrite.
When Katrina reappeared a little while later, she had not one stitch of clothing on her body. She was young, firm, and absolutely gorgeous. Katrina kneeled before him and took his injured hand. She ran her lips and tongue along his fingertips. Lein felt nothing.
“What happened,” she asked, her lips against his fingers.
“I…I don’t…don’t want to talk about it,” he mumbled.
Unperturbed, she stood and brought him up to his feet. She wasted no time leading him into her bedroom. She kissed him then and pressed her body against his. Again, he felt nothing. He could have been kissing a brick for all he knew. Her tongue was nothing more than a wet, dead fish; her lips were nothing more than two warm slabs of meat.
After a few moments, her hands reach down and went to work unbuckling his belt. Suddenly, things began to feel real to Lein. He grabbed her hands and pushed her away. Naked, but now pathetically so, she gazed up at him in confusion.
“What are you doing,” she asked, bewildered.
More to himself than to her, he said, “I can’t do this.”
“Yes you can,” she told him, and then moved to approach him again.
He backed away a few steps. “No, I can’t. I’m married, I love my wife deeply, and I can’t do this to her.”
“Brandy told me that you kicked her out. She said you were getting a divorce.”
“I made a horrible, horrible mistake,” he said.
He didn’t know if his ‘mistake’ was actually coming home with Katrina, or asking Perion to leave. But he was sure it was the latter.
“No divorce; never. I have to get out of here.”
Lein left Katrina where she stood. He went out to his car, and thankfully enough, the keys were in the ignition. He had no clear idea of how far he could drive. He hoped he could at least make it to the studio.