45 Days

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Chapter 23- Holiday Joy with Sorrows

Soon December rolls around, and things are up and down. Rey and Addie enjoy the honeymoon phase of their newly blossoming relationship. Eddie and Lynn spend time with Aiden and Vickie around the house on weekends after practice but before they play down at the Import Room.

On the downside is where Dakota finds himself. Heather has become distant with time, but she occasionally comes to visit.

“Hey babe, I’m going to get going early in the morning. That means I can’t make it to your show tonight.” Heather informs while they enjoy dinner at Rusty’s Steakhouse.

“Really, oh c’mon, you got here late. I’m losing time with you.” Dakota states his case, feeling like she’s rushed to get away from him.

“It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, and I need to get home. I’ll be back by Christmas Eve. I promise, sweetie.”

Heather returns to pack up her bag and ignores Dakota in the doorway.

“Fine, whatever, Heather.” He stomps away, feeling like a second-rate citizen.

Dakota leaves alone while he heads out to the Import Room. Once she sees that he’s gone, Heather unzips her side compartment to her bag, taking out an envelope, and places it on his nightstand along with the engagement ring.

“I’m sorry…” She whispers, kissing the envelope leaving a lipstick imprint.

Heather allows plenty of time to pass before she makes her getaway. Heather goes out to her Legacy and stares at the house with a couple of tears. She can’t feel the sharp, crisp winter air against her face.

Heading out of the hollow, she reaches Route 2 and quickly speeds to the connector on her way to the interstate leaving the area behind.

By the time Dakota reaches the club, he’s beyond furious. After he parks and marches inside, he meets up with the guys in the back as they discuss Christmas plans.

“Hey, if you don’t mind, I’m heading over to Lynn’s to spend Christmas with her family. Which means you’ll have the house alone with Vickie.” Eddie divulges his plans.

“Nah, you can have the house; we’re spending it with her dad since he’s not any better,” Aiden tells him, patting Aiden on the back.

“Yeah, well, I’ll have Addie over at the house. This is awesome; my first girlfriend at Christmas to spend time with that isn’t a real bitch.” Rey giggles with excitement.

Standing there, Dakota fumes at the seams.

“At least you’re all getting happy Christmas’. Heather ain’t coming back until late Christmas Eve.” Dakota lets out, letting them know he’s in the room.

“That sucks, bro. You’re more than welcome to kick it with us until she arrives on that day.” Eddie offers as he waves Dakota over.

“Nah, I’m good, but thanks.”

While the fellas get ramped up, Vickie helps the bartenders with the packed club waiting for the band.

“Hey, hey, yeah, you with the pretty blond highlights, hey sweetie, what can I get ya?” Heather asks, poking the customer in the shoulder.

“I want a Long Island Ice Tea.” Ally yells over the roar of the crowd.

“You got it, coming right up,” Vickie yells, unaware of who she serves with at the moment.

When she carries over Ally’s drink, Aiden’s ex makes some small talk after she pays, “Packed house, the band must be pretty good.”

Taking a moment to acknowledge the statement, Vickie takes pride in how she answers her, “Yeah, the guy on the keyboard is also the lead singer. He’s my boyfriend. He’s pretty freaking hot too!”

Ally simply smiles and nods, indicating she heard Vickie, and walks away holding up her drink.

“Take it easy, doll!” Vickie yells before she returns to the bustling patrons at the bar.

Soon the band members come out and receive an ovation when they step on stage.

“Good evening, Import Room people. Glad to be here with all of you tonight. We are Disgrace thru Grace, and we’re going to open up with a new one called Chaotic Mindset.” Aiden says in the microphone.

He barely catches a glimpse of Ally in the crowd before she vanishes when the lights blind him. Once he’s regained his focus, he taps out the count with his foot as Eddie begins another wild show. Every once in a while, Aiden would try to look for Ally as he’s partially distracted. He does well to keep it hidden.

After the show comes to an end, Aiden gives up searching for his ex in the crowd. Back in the rear room with his friends, they are still hyped after every show.

“Hey guys, great gig!” Rey shouts, pulling out his earplugs.

“Oh, speaking of gigs, I did get some good news in the mail,” Dakota announces, remembering what it was in the back of his mind.

Eddie, Rey, and Aiden stop dead in their tracks, giving Dakota their full undivided attention, “Well…” Eddie says with his arms extended.

“I got our official invitation to the big show in Columbus. The Ohio Rock Fest is on!” Dakota yells, flinging his hands in the air.

“Hell yeah.”

“Right on!”

“Kickass!” Each of them lets out in excitement.

“April twenty-ninth boys, we are performing at the best gig yet, and by God, we’re going to win!” Dakota proclaims, smacking his hands, creating a loud popping noise.

Exchanging fist bumps, they push and shove around until Vickie walks back to see why they haven’t exited the back room.

“Hey, boys, what’s the big commotion about?” She asks, seeing them act stupid with the roughhousing.

“Oh yeah, Dakota told us that we’re going to being in Columbus next year!” Aiden shouts mid-shove into Rey.

“That’s excellent, but don’t think I’m sticking around this shit hole town. I’m going too. We can make a weekend of it.” Vickie informs Aiden as he shrugs it off.

“I don’t care,” Aiden says.

After the excitement dies down, the four of them slow down and stare at Vickie.

“Did you need something, sweetie?” Aiden asks when she stands with her arms crossed.

“Yeah, you’re being requested for an encore before last call later. So, get ready to back on and play the rest of the night.”

The four of them stand there motionless for a moment.

“A please can’t hurt, can it?” Eddie questions with his hands on his hips, mocking Vickie’s stance.

“Fine, will you assholes, please can you go back out there and play some more so I can make more money off of drunks.” She shots with a harsh, sarcastic tone.

“We’ll think about it.” Aiden jokes as the guys crack up, “Yeah, we’ll be out there in a moment, babe.”

Throwing her hands up in the air after rolling her eyes, Vickie walks out, wiggling her ass to tease Aiden.

“Dude, I gotta say I certainly like this one. I know you were stuck on Ally, but Vickie, does she have a nicer ass.” Dakota jokes to hide his silent misery.

“Hey! She’s mine, so back off, dipshit.” Aiden teases, pushing on Dakota’s shoulder.

“Good to see you smile and having fun again. Welcome back, we’ve missed that around here.” Dakota comments, eager to back out on stage.

The rest of the night flies by after they get back on stage and continue to try out new songs. Even Dakota gets into it with a solo song he’s been written.

The crowd pops at the song, and the boys take their signal to join in free play. Aiden alters the sound of the keys to an electric guitar to compliment Dakota’s sound. The show comes to an end around four in the morning. The equipment is loaded into Rey’s SUV, and everyone calls it a night.

The next day Addie wakes up to see Ally in the kitchen making breakfast.

“Hey morning, have fun last night listening to your boy toy play at the bar?” Ally asks with a sense of anger in her voice.

“Yeah, I did, enjoy stalking Aiden and Vickie?” Addie shoots back in a similar tone.

“I wasn’t stocking them. I was trying to get an idea of how to get my man back from that bitch.”

That’s all it takes for Addie to lose her cool, “Go eat a dick, Ally, this is all your mess anyways. I told and warned you several times to stay away from Sam and look at what you did.”

Addie continues ripping Ally a new ass by getting directly in her face.

“No, you had to go and start sleeping with him, and of all days to get caught, it had to be Valentine’s Day. You’re the reason all this happened. Aiden was going to take you back the night you danced on his lap at that bullshit club, but no, you had to stand him up. He waited hours on your skinny ass, and I do mean hours out on the porch for you to show up.”

Ally’s shoved back into the wall near the kitchen table. Addie has had enough of the double-sided friendship, “I’m not saying he’s been right the entire either, but damn it, at least he’s moved on with his life. Let it go, Ally. I love you, girl, but you’re standing still and want revenge on something you can’t control anymore.”

Lowering her head, Ally realizes she must take Addie’s advice to heart, “You’re right, I mucked it up, and what else do I have other than staying semi-exclusive.”

Addie loses her cool when she hears that come from Ally’s lips, “You bitch!”

Addie backhands across her best friend’s face after she grasps the gravity of her actions, “Oh my God, I am so sorry, I don’t know what came over me.”

“I deserved it. I’ve been a fool. All I can do now is wait for my time and not make that many mistakes in the meantime.”

Ally slides down the wall clutching her rosy cheek. She begins to sob, accepting the problematic truth.

After the next few days, it’s Christmas Eve, and everyone has temporarily gone to do their thing to celebrate.

At sunset, fresh snow begins to fall. Mr. Myers uses Aiden as a crutch to walk out to see his house covered in Christmas Lights since he’s grown weaker.

“They’re perfect; thank you a lot for getting them up.” He says to Aiden and Vickie.

“Daddy, you used to love taking us out to look at lights every Christmas Eve. It’s the least we could do for you.” Vickie reminds her father as a smile works its way across his face.

“It’s perfect; a little fresh air never hurts.” Mr. Myers tells her with his weight on Aiden’s shoulders.

“If you’d like, I can see if I swap vehicles for the evening with my friend Rey. He has an SUV that I can use to take us out to look at lights.” Aiden offers that sends Vickie into an instant state of excitement.

“Yeah, daddy, c’mon, you can sit in the front, and we’ll enjoy it one more time.”

Able to make it to his feet just to prove a point, Mr. Myers stands on his own two feet for just a moment.

“No,” he states, balancing his weight a little more.

“What, daddy, why?”

“If this is my last Christmas, I want to spend it at home with my daughter and the man who loves her. I’d rather spend an evening by the fire listening to Christmas music and a fresh mug of hot chocolate.” He says and shows the signs of weakness.

Unable to form a sentence, Vickie waves for Aiden to take her father’s weight on his shoulders.

“If that’s all you want, daddy, that’s fine, but don’t talk like that. You have several Christmas’ left with us.” Vickie nearly shouts while wiping tears from her eyes.

Mr. Myers smiles, putting more weight against Aiden.

“Don’t worry, sir, I can support more weight if you need me to.” Aiden offers with his right arm around Mr. Myers’ back to hold him up.

“Thanks, kid, you’re too kind.” He says, easing his body to walk.

They head back inside and get cozy. Mr. Myers is assisted back to his chair. Aiden takes a seat on the couch while Vickie whips up three mugs of hot chocolate mixed with butterscotch syrup.

“Thanks, babe,” Aiden says when he takes the mug, gently blowing the steam away.

Slipping out of her shoes, Vickie slides up beside Aiden, nestled up, resting her head on his shoulder.

“Now that is a sight for Christmas.” Mr. Myers states, sinking further into his chair.

The three of them sit in silence and enjoy each other’s company. They listen to the roar of the fire and the low, dull sound of Christmas music on the stereo.

A couple of counties away, Ally lies in bed, looking out the window as the snow continues to fall. She thinks over the stupidity when she rolls over to retrieve her clothes.

I hate myself, I hate myself, I HATE MYSELF!” She screams in her mind, nearly falling out of Sam’s bed.

She’s able to brace her body with her foot and hand. Ally slowly slides onto the floor and slips back into her clothes. Once she’s dressed and tiptoes out the door where the only sounds are her shoes crunching in the fresh powder, she makes her way over to her vehicle to carefully drive home.

Ally slides as she stops along the one-way street in front of her parents’ house and backs into a spot. When she’s out of the car, her demons play a cruel memory on her.

Her mind travels back to the day when Aiden caught her and Sam in the middle of having sex.

Looking from the doorway, she remembered the cream-colored jewelry box resting laying half-way open. “Aiden…No!” She remembers shrieking when it dawned on her what she was doing.

“Goddamn, it get out of here!” She recalls screaming at Sam and kicked him off the bed.

“Fuck you.” She recalls him mumbling the insult when she scrambled to throw clothes on and run out the door.

She recalls Aiden getting to his car and sees herself run full speed after him, yelling as she’s hurrying.

“Aiden, baby, please stop, wait, let me explain…Baby! Please stop, don’t go!” She hears herself plead at the top of her lungs, ignoring the icy brick street beneath her bare feet.

Ally remembers the sight and sound of the CRX start-up without stopping at the stop sign. She can feel her entire world crumble apart all over again as it all breaks her heart again.

“What did I do?” She questions again down on her knees with tears down her cheeks.

“Please come back, please, I finally love you…I love you, Aiden Daniel Hart.” She remembers as she sobs through her hands near the same spot when everything in her life fell apart.

After a couple of minutes to collect herself. Ally shuffles to her feet, wiping off the snow from her jeans and hands.

She lingers back to the house, where she stares with disgust at the bed, “Addie’s right; I can’t blame anyone but myself.”

“Sam is right. I am a ho. I gave up a great guy for a real low-life dickhead.” She whispers, sick to her stomach, “No, you can get through this. If Aiden can heal and move on, then so can you.” She tells herself.

Ally numbs herself all over again, but unlike before, Aiden isn’t the person she’s going to take it out on. She sets her sights to destroy the bond he has with Vickie. Even if it means sitting in the dark to watch from afar and be the wedge that fits in place when the time is right, she’s become hell-bent on revenge.

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