BEHIND THE LIGHTS

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Chapter 30

January 15th, 2017
Vienna, Austria
Down to the bottom - Dorothy

In the spur of the moment Leah felt all brave and bold but now, in the midst of the morning light, she was nervous.

After their hot make-out session, Søren and her went back inside the building with their friends. Lustful gazes were shared, exciting words were whispered and subtle caresses happened, but nothing else occurred. They behaved like normal people and not like a pair of monkeys in heat. Talking, laughing, and simply enjoying the good company on a night when the members of Buried Alive had reached an important milestone in their career.

Of course, the guys teased Leah when they went back to the hotel—even if they weren’t too obvious, the air between them had changed and didn’t go unnoticed—but they weren’t as annoying as one would expect and by five they were already in bed.

And now, there they were, sitting in a cafe, waiting for the members of Dark Omen to show up to have breakfast together.

“Kill me...” The guitar player mumbled. “Why are we here?”

“To have breakfast,” Erik said.

“This can’t be called breakfast if I haven’t slept at least six hours,” Chris whined.

“Shut up, your voice is piercing my ears,” Marc protested, ducking his head between his arms crossed on the table.

“Are you a vampire?” Erik quipped.

They were inside the cafeteria and it was still pitch black outside since it was barely nine in the morning, but the bass player was wearing sunglasses.

“This light is so annoying...”

“You should have drunk water too,” Leah reminded him while checking the menu.

“I hate you both for not having a hangover.”

“That’s what happens when you’re a grown up who knows how to drink,” Erik joked.

“Whatever,” Marc scoffed.

The clinking of the door made the four musicians turn their heads towards the entrance. No matter how much time had passed or if they were friends, those guts had a majestic, solemn aura around them that made them look unreachable.

“Good morning!” Jørn greeted them.

“For you...” Chris muttered without getting up from his seat.

“Don’t you have a hangover after everything you drank?” Marc asked.

“For this guy to have a hangover the world would have to end,” Ian commented, patting his shoulder.

“I do have hangovers,” the drummer retorted.

“Yeah, once a year after your birthday, and only if you drink absinthe shots.” Søren snorted, approaching Leah. “Good morning,” he whispered right after placing a soft kiss behind her ear, leaving her skin tingling.

“Morning.” She beamed, trying to act normal. How could a simple touch from that man trigger so many sensations?

With several eyes piercing through her back, sensing her friend’s cheesy grins spread across their faces as if they were in a schoolyard, Leah put some distance between them and sat again.

“Hey, Alex!” Erik saluted. “How are you feeling, man?” he asked, leaning on the table with one hand while holding the other out to him.

“Better, thanks,” he said, shaking his hand.

“Good to hear.” Leah gave him a half-smile.

A woman that was standing behind them cleared her throat. She was tall, skinny, and gorgeous, plump pink lips and stunning light green eyes dragging all the attention to her perfect oval face framed by a black hair styled in a short bob.

“Ah! Sorry!” Jørn chuckled. “This is Astrid.”

“Hi!” She waved her hand at them. “Nice meeting you, guys. I’ve heard lots of things about you.” Her accent was thick but beautiful. She held her hand out to Leah, smiling.

“Nice to meet you.” She shook her hand, hypnotized.

Søren had told her about his friend and Leah had seen her in a few pictures on their stories, but her presence, the energy emerging from her, was sexy, mysterious, and disturbing at the same time. She seemed nice and her smile was pretty, but the blatant once-over she gave the German singer before sitting felt odd.

Maybe it was just her mind playing games and being paranoid, but that weird sixth sense, that red light that switched on in her head, never failed her.

She remembered the first time they talked about her. He had posted a story with a picture of all of them at their bar and Astrid was in it too, grabbing Søren’s arm in a very familiar way. Curious, Leah asked him about her and he joked about her being jealous, which of course made her roll her eyes.

He told her about having met her when he was a teenager. That she was a bit socially awkward because she didn’t trust a lot of people but would give anything to protect the ones she loved.

“You all know what you’re going to have?” Ian asked, bringing her back.

“Yeah,” Marc replied.

“Is he okay?” Alex asked, gesturing with his head towards Chris, a smile playing on his lips.

“He’s just in a mood.” Erik chuckled.

“I’m not! You’re in a mood!”

“Do they have tranquilizers here?” Leah questioned. “Don’t want to deal with him on the way back home.”

“You could always knock him out,” Marc suggested.

“Shut up!” Chris said as he got up.

“Where are you going now? We have to order.” Leah laughed.

“To pee! Just get me a coffee, black with tons of sugar.”

“Fine!”

“He really isn’t an early riser.” Søren chuckled.

“Hangover and getting up before ten? Definitely the worst mix.”

“Like you’re much better,” Marc quipped.

“Says the guy wearing sunglasses when it’s dark outside,” she retorted.

“Meh.”

“Seems like he’s in a mood too,” Ian pointed out, making the others laugh.

If someone had told her a few months before that she would be sitting at the same table with such amazing musicians, talking to them as if they had been friends forever, getting furtive, enticing glances from a man she had fantasized about a lot in all possible ways while his leg was purposely touching hers, she would have said they were nuts. Insane. Ready to get locked in a mental institution.

But there they were, all together, having breakfast in a small, cozy cafeteria in the middle of Vienna.

“Good morning, everyone!” the waitress greeted when she stood beside their table. “What are you going to have?”

They had been there for an hour, but Buried Alive had to leave or they would miss the train back home.

“Gonna go to the bathroom real quick,” Leah said as she got up.

“Sure.” Chris nodded—hot coffee and freshly made croissants had put him in a better mood.

Søren got up to let her out of the booth. His hand sneaked to her back and squeezed her ass, smirking when she turned around with a bewildered yet funny expression, thanking the gods no one had seen that.

No fucking shame!

Shaking her head, with the smile still plastered on her face, she got inside the bathroom.

After emptying her bladder, Leah washed her hands, the sour candy strawberry smell from the foamy soap flooding the space, smelling good enough to eat.

“Hey.” Leah smiled at Astrid when she walked in the bathroom.

“Hi,” Astrid responded, gaze lingering on hers for an uncomfortably long amount of time, making her feel uneasy.

“What is it?” the singer asked. She wasn’t looking at her, but she could feel her eyes stabbing the back of her head.

“This is none of my business but...”

Leah closed the water tap and stared at her through the mirror.

“What?” She turned around to face the woman with her heart hammering in her chest.

Whatever it was, it had to be something to worry about—nobody would start a conversation with that kind of sentence otherwise. Besides, her brows creasing during breakfast every time she looked at Søren and her gave her a bad vibe.

“Don’t get attached,” she said, a stern expression on her face, eyes fixed on hers.

“What?” Leah couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

She was friends with Søren, and she knew him better, but who the fuck gave her the right to tell her how to manage their relationship when she was still trying to figure out what she wanted out of it? Hell, she wasn’t even sure what the chaos of emotions she had, meant.

“I’ve seen it before and it’s always the same. He’ll get tired and dump you.”

Straight to the point!

“And why are you telling me this?” Leah frowned, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Look, I love him but you seem like a nice girl and I wouldn’t want you ending up with your heart broken because he doesn’t know how to stick with one woman.” Leah stared at her, waiting for further explanation. “He’s not really a player, he’s always clear on his intentions, but After Nadia... his longest relationship has barely lasted three months so... Don’t waste your time and invest too much on a road that will lead you nowhere.”

Thank you for reminding me of fucking Miss long legs of Norway.

“Thanks.” She didn’t know what else to say and not sound rude.

It was weird as fuck that Søren acted like that with her only to get into her pants and dump her later. Too much work for one single woman when he sure had tons piled up at his door, waiting for him to fuck them senseless.

He didn’t strike her as that type of man, besides he seemed pretty honest, but what if she was telling the truth? She didn’t really know him that well. What if he was the kind that got obsessed with a woman and once he had his way with her he kicked her out of his life?

With her confidence wavering, wondering if she should get involved with a musician, she walked out of the bathroom. An uncomfortable pressure weighting on her chest as questions, and certain annoying thoughts, flooded her mind.

As she got closer to the table where the guys were still sitting, Søren’s eyes immediately found her, lighting up with desire as he gave her a faint smile. The intensity of his stare making her shiver as mixed feelings swirled around inside of her.

Should she jump into that unknown and scary ocean or remain in that safe, calm corner inside her mind?

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