BEHIND THE LIGHTS

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Chapter 4

October 18th, 2016
Munich, Germany
Rule of Nines - Spiritbox

“Oh my God! Chris!” Leah screamed when she entered the tattoo studio. “Hey, Gisela!” She stopped in her tracks and greeted the receptionist.

“Hey, Leah!” The blue-eyed girl smiled at her. Her blonde waves cascading down her shoulders as she leaned on the desk writing something.

“What are you doing here so early?” Leah asked.

“Emma’s baby wasn’t feeling well and since I only had two classes this morning, Chris called me to see if I could come earlier today,” she explained.

“Oh, I see... How’s it going? You studying?” she asked as she looked at the papers Gisela had spread over the glass desk.

“Yeah... I have a classic literature test next week and I’m not prepared,” she huffed, making Leah chuckle.

“I’m sure you’ll do great,” she smiled. “Where’s the dimwit by the way?”

“He’s working on some designs for a new client,” Gisela told her, gesturing with her head towards the hallway.

“Nice! I’ll go bother him a little.” Leah mischievously grinned as she walked away. “Have fun with that!”

“Yeah!” The girl sighed.

Walking down the corridor to the back of the shop, Leah couldn’t control her excitement. Right after Søren left the apartment, she changed her clothes, put on some light make-up, and ran out of the house.

She needed to see Chris’s face when she told him. It wasn’t the first time they had met some famous bands but it had always been at a concert or a festival, not walking around their house as if it was the most normal thing.

“Chris!” Leah shouted as she entered his office, making him jump.

“Fuck!” he exclaimed. “You scared the shit out of me!” he said as he turned back on his rolling chair.

“Sorry! It’s... Ah! You’re not gonna believe this!” she said as she moved closer to him.

“What?” He quirked an eyebrow, looking at her with a suspicious expression.

“You know who came to our house today?” she asked, leaning forward and putting her hands on the armrests of his chair, their foreheads almost touching.

“Your client?” he sarcastically noted. She stared at him, a happy grin on her face, not even caring about his grumpy mood. “C’mon, Leah! I’m working and this is going to take forever...” He pushed his chair back.

“First of all, it’s lunchtime, so we should go somewhere to eat. Second, you’re a party pooper.” She narrowed her eyes at him and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Whatever...” He rolled his eyes. “Are you going to tell me or what?”

“Søren from Dark Omen.”

Chris’s eyes opened wide as he started gaping like a fish, no sounds coming out of his mouth. Leah could hear the wheels in his brain turning as he was trying to process what she just told him.

“Søren Fucking Wolff from fucking Dark Omen?” he asked with a strangled voice. “Are you fucking kidding me?” He blinked fast.

“Nope.” Leah smiled, her heart still palpitating fast.

“I... I... Jesus!” He ran a hand through his hair. “How is he? I mean, is he as impressive as he looks?”

“I almost fainted when I saw him standing at the door. I mean, we’ve seen him at some concerts and on TV and so on, but I don’t know... He was wearing his hair in a messy samurai bun and a black sweater with some ripped blue jeans, but his voice is so deep and... Oh, God! Fuck me!” she babbled. “He’s imposing! He has this magnetic aura around him. I don’t even know how to explain it!” she sighed. “And when he tried the guitar-”

“Wait! Did he play the guitar? Like in front of you?”

“Yeah.”

“Fuck my life! I should have called in sick today!” Chris chuckled as he leaned back on his chair.

Leah laughed. “I almost had an orgasm watching him as he played.”

“You could have asked him,” Chris blurted out.

“What?”

“To give you a real one.” He smirked.

“What the actual fuck?” She smacked his head.

“It’s been a couple of months since the last time you fucked someone and I bet he’d have done a good job. You know, he has that big fame.”

“First, I’m not a fucking groupie!” Even if she felt curious about his skills in that certain area -because, let’s face it, he was hot- the idea of going back to that kind of life gave her the creeps. It took her a long time to stand on her own two feet again after escaping that endless spiral of lies and she wasn’t going back to it. She’d had enough of that shit. “Second, it’s creepy that you keep track of my sex life. And third, I’m busy and my battery-operated friend does the trick.”

“That cheap vibrating toothbrush can’t compare to the real thing.”

“Jesus, Chris! You’re so vulgar I’m going to tell Camille and Marie about this!” Leah facepalmed herself. She didn’t care about the way he talked -she could be even worse- but his mom and sister had always hated when he talked to women with such vocabulary, and watching them scold him was so much fun.

“Fuck, no. Don’t do it! The last time you ratted on me my mom called me and yelled at me as if I was still in school!”

“They’re the only women you’re afraid of and the best card to use against you.” She laughed.

“That’s not fair! I’m just being honest and you ain’t a princess.” He shrugged; a smug smile painted on his face. “But you sure are dumb, it was a golden opportunity. I’d have fucked him,” her friend admitted before letting out a roar of laughter.

“You’d fuck anything that has two legs, so it’s not much coming from you,” she chuckled as she rolled her eyes.

“I’m not into dicks.”

“Whatever.”

“And I wouldn’t fuck you either.”

“Ew! Gross,” she said as she scrunched her nose. Just the thought of even kissing her friend made her cringe, he was like a brother to her and that image was disgusting.

“Anyway, did you get an autograph, a picture, or something, anything?”

Leah stared at him for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. She had been so nervous she had almost forgotten how to speak in front of him, and for sure, she forgot to ask him for any of that. She even had to think about her own name when he asked her.

“That’s a no, right?” Chris asked, laughing and shaking his head to the sides.

“Yeah...” she sighed. “My mind went blank the moment I saw him. I don’t know how I managed to put the strings on the guitar with him watching me. He even teased me!”

“What do you mean?”

“I was acting like a robot, barely talking, and then one of their old songs started playing. I tensed a string so much that I broke it,” she laughed. “And he was all like I thought you made a living out of this,” she mimicked his voice with a mocking tone, crossing her arms over her chest to imitate him. “And then got all serious when I told him I didn’t expect a famous person to buy anything from me. He laughed in my face when I started rambling,” she exclaimed, her hands waving in the air in a very exaggerated way.

“Just like you’re doing now, you mean?” Chris smirked.

“It’s not funny!” She glared at him.

“I’d have paid to see you fangirling over him.” Chris cackled.

“I bet he thought I’m dumb!” Leah huffed, looking up at the ceiling.

“So what? It’s not like you’re going to see him again.” Chris shrugged. “That’s why you should have asked him for a picture or an autograph!”

“Chris- Hey, Leah!” Klaus said when he peeked through Chris’s office door.

“Hey, Klaus !”

“I was going to grab something from Ringlers’, you want anything?” The red-headed man asked her.

“Oh, yeah! One of those vegetarian wraps, with fries and all, please?”

Klaus nodded with a grin, making the long cone lip stud move over his bushy beard. “Okay. What about you, Chris?”

“The pastrami menu. Do you seriously have to ask that?” He rolled his eyes. “You know I could live on that shit!”

“Just making sure,” he chuckled. “Okay, be right back.”

As Klaus left the room, Leah let herself fall on the couch Chris had in his office.

“What are you going to do later?” Chris asked as he went back to his design.

“I don’t know. Probably rest, do a workout, make a tea with some honey or something to prepare my vocal cords for tomorrow...” she trailed off as she searched for her phone inside her bag when it started ringing. She frowned slightly at the unknown number on the screen. “One sec,” Leah told Chris.

“Sure.” He nodded and went back to his work.

“Who’s this?” she asked as she picked up, looking at her ruined black manicure. You need to stop picking off your nail polish.

“Long time no see!” Her back stiffened when she recognized his voice.

“What do you want?” Her exasperated tone of voice made Chris turn to her with a questioning expression on his face.

“You still angry, Baby doll?”

She had never really liked being called that but now his pet name for her made her grimace. “I’m not angry but I thought I made it pretty clear that I didn’t want to hear anything from you ever again.”

“But we know that was you just being jealous. And it was three months ago, c’mon!”

“Whatever,” she scoffed.

“I’m in the city, why don’t we meet for a drink?” He ignored her words.

“Even if I didn’t know what you’re implying with that, I wouldn’t meet you.”

“Why are you acting so cold? We always have fun together.”

“Go fuck yourself, James. If you ever contact me again, I’m-” As she said his name, Chris got up and walked towards her, snatching her phone from her hand.

“Next time you call her, I’ll find you and smash your face,” Chris growled.

It took Leah over a year to have a normal life and another year to get the confidence to sleep with someone again. She wasn’t ready yet to trust any of them on a deeper level and that was what made James so perfect for her because he understood the no strings attached kind of relationship.

He was from England but used to travel a lot as he was a professional photographer for a UK music magazine. Fooling around with him from time to time was fun.

However, he was a liar.

The day Leah found out about him being married, she didn’t give it a second thought and pretty much told him to go to hell.

She wasn’t disappointed nor jealous, they didn’t have an emotional connection but she felt bad for his wife. She had been on that side of the equation and, as open as she was with relationships and sex, cheating and being the dirty, little secret wasn’t something she could tolerate.

The macho conversation lasted barely a minute, and two-thirds of the words that came out of Chris’ mouth were threats or profanities as his pretty features turned into a scowl. “Whatever, dude. You’ve been warned.” He hung up, not letting the bastard add another word. “Jesus! What a prick!” Chris exclaimed as he gave her back her phone.

“Tell me about it...” Leah sighed. “Thanks for standing up for me.” She smiled.

“No prob. I know you didn’t need any help with this but I couldn’t help myself,” he said as he sat on his chair. “What did you do to him?”

“Nothing!”

“Dude, you slapped him, called him a ‘fucking dickass motherfuck’ and you haven’t talked to him in three months, yet he called you again?” He raised an eyebrow as a smirk spread on his lips.

“Maybe he has a hidden masochist side,” Leah laughed as she shrugged.

“Maybe...” Chris chuckled. “Anyway... Anna’s working tonight but she said she has a couple of hours this afternoon...”

“That’s why you asked what I was doing today? I’ll have my earplugs ready,” Leah laughed. “I don’t know how you can concentrate on the deed with her, she’s so noisy.”

“But she’s got the best tits ever.”

“You’re such a pig!” Leah rolled her eyes.

“But you still love me!” he proudly said as he grinned like a kid.

“Sadly!”


The rest of the day went by really fast. Leah made a video-call with her father. They were living in different cities and that made it hard for them to see each other like a normal family, but that worked for them.

Then, she focused on the bass she had picked up the previous day, working on it for a few hours before Chris came back with his tiny, screaming friend.

As they locked themselves in his bedroom, she put on her headphones and did a short Pilates routine with a focus on the abs. She got into the shower right after, music playing in the background as her whole body relaxed under the warm water. It had been a weird and intense day, so much it almost felt surreal.

When she got out, she put on her Slytherin pajamas and went to the kitchen to prepare vegetable soup for two.

“Yeah, I’ll call you, don’t worry,” Chris told Anna as he accompanied her to the door.

Yeah, whenever it itches between your legs.

“You’re not staying for dinner?” Leah asked even though she knew the answer would be no since Chris had told her the blonde was working at night. She just wanted to annoy him and maybe make him freak out a little.

He didn’t mind repeating partners but none of them would stay to eat, sleep, or anything that could make them think their relationship was something more than sex. That was his only rule.

Chris’s eyes bugged out as he gesticulated with his hands behind the nurse. Leah had to purse her lips to hold the laughter.

“That smells very good but I gotta go to work.”

“Oh... Take it easy then!” she smiled.

“Thanks. Bye!” Anna waved her hand to Leah.

“Bye!”

As they disappeared in the doorway, Leah flipped the chicken breast she was preparing for Chris, turning off the stove when it was done. She grabbed two bowls from one of the cabinets for the soup and a plate for the chicken fillets.

“Why did you do that?!” Chris exclaimed as he came back, making Leah laugh out loud when she saw his flustered expression.

“You should have seen your face!”

“You’re evil, woman!”

“Can’t help myself!” She grinned and shrugged as she took the tray and walked towards the living room. She placed it on the coffee table and sat on the floor.

“I don’t know why I’m still your friend,” Chris mumbled as he sat beside her, turning on the TV.

“Because I cook for you and put up with your shit better than anybody else?”

“Touché.” He chuckled. “Peaky Blinders?” he asked as he logged into their Netflix account.

“Yep.”

It wasn’t much and it could look like nothing special for the rest of the world but having Chris in her life again was everything she could ask for. Even if she still had a hole in her chest that made it hard to breathe sometimes, sharing those moments with him was healing.

Having him around like that made her think about their childhood when all they worried about was to be the first to get home from school or to win their stupid hot-dog eating competitions. He had always been her best friend, the one person she could talk to about anything and after all that happened, she couldn’t thank him enough for not letting her down after disappearing on him.

She looked at him and smiled. Everything was finally falling back into place.

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