Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Beth hung up her phone, almost dropping it from how badly her hands were shaking. She sat down heavily on the edge of her bed and dug the heels of her hands into her eyes, then brought her hands to her mouth and screamed into her fists.
“Beth, sweetheart what’s happened?”
Her roommate Jess poked her head into Beth’s room when she heard her scream, looking a mix between confused, scared and worried.
“That was Leo……it’s Ricky……He…”
Beth broke down into tears and Jess was by her side in an instant, wrapping her arms around the red-heads slim waist.
“He’s dead, Jess. Ricky’s dead!”
Jess went with Beth as she crumpled to the floor, holding her friend until she finally stopped crying and passed out. Jess easily lifted Beth up, and gently placed her on her bed. Beth was a very small girl. Beth had issues with her weight and self-confidence as a child and had developed an eating disorder. It plagued her well into her teen years and now at twenty-one, she was starting to get better. Beth was still extremely skinny, but still well-endowed due to being a chubby child growing up, much like her big brother, Ricky. She had big, bright, innocent hazel eyes and her red hair fell to just below her waist.
Leo Donovan pocketed his phone, the tears already beginning to fall and staining his cheeks. Calling his best friends little sister to tell her that her brother was dead was something he hoped he would never have to do.
“Leo, come on, Elias wants to see us.”
“Coming Vic, sorry, I had to call Beth. She…she needed to hear about Ricky from a friend, not some random police officer.”
Leo forgot that the rest of The Relentless didn’t know anything about Ricky’s family, he was very private in that aspect. Plus, the two of them decided long before the band started that Beth was having nothing to do with them. They didn’t want her getting dragged into the sex, drugs and rock and roll environment. He turned to Vic, rhythm guitarist, with a native American background, Vic was tall, had long, black hair and brown eyes.
“Beth is Ricky’s little sister, she’s seven years younger than he is and still lives back home in England. We’ve known each other since we were kids. Ricky and I, we both agreed that we didn’t want Beth anywhere near this environment, she’s just a kid. Too easily influenced. The last thing we wanted was for her to be around a bunch of rock stars and drugs and drinking.”
“Dude…I had no idea. Poor kid…how…how did she take it?”
Rolling his eyes, Leo shouldered past Vic and out to the awaiting car, tucking himself into the corner and avoiding eye contact with everyone else.
“I’m sorry Leo, that was a dumb question.”
Without looking at Vic, Leo grasped his knee and squeezed it gently.
“S’ok, she took it about as well as you’d expect.”
“Is she coming out…?”
“Is who coming out?”
Drummer Dylan James, swung into the car next to Vic and asked excitedly. Dylan was tanned with short, dark hair and bright blue eyes. He was also a total womanizer and the last thing Leo wanted was Dylan knowing anything about Beth.
“Ricky’s mom, you know, to say goodbye. But no, she can’t come out, it doesn’t matter. Ricky hasn’t spoken to her in years.”
“That’s a shame.”
Leo wipes his eyes again as finally Johnny gets into the car and they head off to the owner of their record label, Elias’s house.
Once she came around after crying herself to exhaustion, Beth grabbed her laptop off the floor and booked a flight to Los Angeles. She threw her clothes into the hamper and jumped into the shower, letting the hot water wash over her and relax her. Once out of the shower and dry, Beth threw on her black, ripped skinny jeans, and a dark purple tank top, finishing off her outfit with her black, scuffed up Converse and a messy bun. Going back into the bathroom and applying a little bit of eyeliner and mascara, then grabbing her make up bag and throwing it on her bed. She pulled her suitcase from underneath it and opened it up, barely noticing her friend re-entering the room. Jess leant against the door frame and watched her friend with a concerned face as she threw clothes into a suitcase on her bed.
“Honey…what are you doing?”
“Packing…what does it look like I’m doing?”
Beth rolled her eyes and threw her The Relentless hoodie, and the Access All Areas pass Ricky sent her for her birthday last year, two items that would be very useful in getting her into their shows and backstage.
“I can see that, but…why?”
“I’m going to L.A. I want to say goodbye.”
She didn’t tell Jess the real reason, her friend would try to stop her if she did.
“Do you really think that’s a good idea, Beth? Ricky always said…”
“Yeah well Ricky’s dead!”
Beth takes a deep breath and throws a pair of heels into her suitcase before shutting it. She places the bag on the floor and pulls the handle up, looking at Jess.
“Jess, I love you but I…I need to do this. Leo has been there for me and Ricky our whole lives, now it’s my turn to be there for him.”
“How are you even going to find him? L.A is huge, babe.”
Beth giggles and pulls out her phone, showing it to Jess.
“Leo never turned the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature off. I always know exactly where he is. I’m going to surprise him.”
Jess rolls her eyes and pulls Beth into a hug, squeezing her tightly until she hugs back. She pulls away and holds Beth at arms length, looking her over then letting go of her hands and going to her closet.
“Here, put this on. We both know you get cold, even when it’s 90 degrees out.”
Beth accepts the black blazer Jess hands her and puts it on.
“Thanks, Jess. I promise I’ll be careful. I’ll text you when I land.”
With a kiss to Jess’s cheek she’s gone, out to the awaiting Uber to head to the airport.
Leo cried the whole way through the meeting with Elias. Johnny, Vic, Lily and Dylan all exchanging concerned looks as he didn’t say anything. It had been months since Ricky died, they’d played a world tour which had been hard on all of them, especially Johnny and Leo. Johnny with his heroin problems, and Leo grieving over Ricky.
“Leo, we…we can take the time off if you want. Play Hellfest then just relax for a while.”
Johnny says quietly, trying not to freak him out, everyone worried about how fragile Leo is right now. Johnny is tall and skinny, with short black hair, lip and nose piercing and covered in tattoos.
“No, time off is the last thing I need right now okay? It’s fine, seriously you guys, I’m fine. This is what Ricky would have wanted. I’m not the one with the problem here, shouldn’t we be talking about Lily’s blatantly obvious drug problem? At least Johnny is clean now.”
“I’m not the one with the fucking problem, I have my habit under control. We’re concerned about you and all the crying you’re doing, Leo.”
Lily shoots back, the tone of her voice the only thing giving away that he’s unsettled her. Leo looks up as Johnny and Lily stare at him, Lily’s face impassive but Johnny looking lightly irritated.
“Fuck you, Lily.”
He almost growls at her.
“I thought that was Johnny’s job.”
Leo can’t help himself, the words are out of his mouth before he can stop.
“Low blow, dude. Unfucking called for. You’re grieving, and we get it okay? But there’s no reason to be a fucking asshole about it.”
Leo turns his head away from Johnny, can hear the hurt in his voice, doesn’t need to see it on his face.
“Sorry…guys I’m sorry, it’s been a rough couple of days and I’m not sleeping and…”
Vic, ever the voice of reason, slings an arm around Leo’s shoulders.
“It’s okay dude, we get it. We’re all tired. We’ve got the rest of today and tomorrow off, it’ll give us all a chance to refresh yeah?”
“Yeah, sure. Rest……”
Leo goes quiet again after that and Vic and Johnny have a hissed whispering conversation that Leo doesn’t want to here while Dylan and Lily talk about sexual conquests they’re planning for the next couple of days.
The flight to L.A was mostly uneventful, aside from a bit of turbulence and a hell of a bumpy landing but using money that Ricky had been sending to her, Beth flew 1st Class and slept for the majority of it.
“Welcome to Los Angeles, Miss Rollins.”
The flight attendant smiles and sounds a little bit too friendly to Beth and she can sense his eyes on her as she walks off the plane. Initially, Beth’s plan had been to use the pass Ricky had sent to get her backstage for a show, but upon further investigation it seemed that Leo was at home, and had the rest of the day and tomorrow off, so the plan changed. Beth went straight to the hotel she had booked, not too far from Leo’s place, and showered. She sat on the edge of her bed in her towel and pulled her phone out, Jess picking up almost straight away.
“Beth! Thank god, I was getting worried. How was the flight? You okay?”
“Yes Mum, I’m fine. Just wanted to get to the hotel and shower. I’m gonna get dressed then head to Leo’s.”
“Does he know you’re there?”
Beth smiles to herself an stands up, opening her suitcase on the bed and deciding on the outfit she’s going to wear to Leo’s.
“No, it’s going to be a complete surprise. I gotta go, I’ll call you later.”
“Okay, be safe, Beth.”
“I will, I’ll call you when I’m with Leo.”
Signing off Beth dropped her phone on her bed and got dressed. She put on a pair of black denim short shorts with fishnet stockings and black, knee high boots. Pairing the outfit with a dark purple, sparkly tank top with spaghetti straps and her black blazer. Shoving her phone, some cash, her I.D and her bank card into her pocket, Beth checked her appearance in the mirror before heading out of the hotel to hail a taxi. Once outside the home the Leo apparently owned, Beth checked to make sure he was still there before walking up to the front door, taking a deep breath and knocking.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Beth meets Dylan, but is that going to be a good or a bad thing?
Beth swallowed nervously and knocked on the door, shoving her hands in her pockets once she’d done it.
“About time you got back! It shouldn’t take that long……you’re not Leo.”
Not expecting Dylan to open the door, and definitely not expecting him to be shirtless, Beth opened and closed her mouth a few times but didn’t say anything. Dylan looker her up and down and smirked, crossing his arms and leaning against the doorframe.
“You’re a lot prettier than Leo. I’m Dylan, what’s your name gorgeous?”
“Beth……is Leo here?”
Dylan shakes his head and reaches out to put an arm around Beth’s shoulders, pulling her into the house and closing the door behind them. Beth jumps a little bit from the sound of the door closing and Dylan giggles in her ear.
“Just the door closing, no need to be scared. Leo should be back soon and it makes no sense for you to stand out there in the cold.”
Beth shrugs Dylan’s arm off of her shoulders and turns to face him, not at all comfortable with the way he’s looking at her. She starts backing up slowly, but Dylan follows, looking very much like a cat stalking a canary.
“I…I really don’t mind waiting for him outside.”
“Nonsense, baby, its okay, Dylan’s gonna take care of you.”
Dylan closes the gap between them and crowds Beth up against the wall. She squeaks and drops her head, biting her lip. Dylan tips her head up with a finger under her chin and smiles at her.
“I’m not gonna hurt you. Come over here and sit down, I’ll get you something to drink.”
Beth doesn’t really get the chance to argue with Dylan as he pulls her over to the couch and sits her down. He squeezes Beth’s shoulder and disappears to make her a drink and Beth picks at her nails nervously.
“Here you go, sweetie. How do you know Leo anyway?”
“Thanks, Dylan. Um, I…um, we grew up together.”
Beth takes a sip of her drink and shudders at how strong it is, Dylan smirking at her over the rim of his own glass. With shaking hands, Beth puts her drink down on the coffee table and stands, adjusting her shirt that Dylan has managed to nudge off of her shoulder.
“Where’s your bathroom?”
“Just down the hall, 3rd door on your left.”
Flashing Dylan a quick smile, Beth stands up and heads to the bathroom. She runs the tap and tries to calm her breathing down.
“Where the fuck are you, Leo?”
She says to herself and sways a little bit. The drink Dylan gave her was definitely a lot stronger than she thought it was and Beth makes the decision that she isn’t going to drink anymore of it. Taking a final deep breath, Beth heads back out to where Dylan is waiting for her, sitting on the couch and smoking something that’s definitely not tobacco.
“So Leo didn’t say anything about having a hot friend of his coming to visit, Beth.”
“He uh, he doesn’t know I’m here. I was planning on surprising him. Do you know where he is?”
Dylan blows the smoke into Beth’s face and shrugs.
“He was going for pizza, shouldn’t be too much longer. You look hot, why don’t you take this off?”
Beth instead pulls her blazer closer around herself and shakes her head, Dylan just smiles and pushes it off her shoulders anyway. Beth opens her mouth to complain but doesn’t get the chance to because Dylan kisses her. She squeaks and pulls away, pushing him off her and standing up.
“Where are you going, cutie? I wasn’t done kissing you yet.”
“You’re sweet, Dylan, and you’re cute, but I’m not interested.”
The front door opens and Beth sighs with relief, turning her head to smile at Leo. She doesn’t actually get to see his face though, because Dylan goes for her again, pushing her up against the wall and kissing her again. Beth gets her hands between them and pushes hard at Dylan’s chest but she’s not strong enough. When Dylan shoves his tongue in her mouth Beth bites it and pulls away, Dylan smirking and then slapping her across the face.
“You like it rough, huh? I can oblige to that.”
As soon as Leo hears Beth’s voice he puts the pizzas down on the table and rushes over to pull Dylan off Beth, who he’s desperately trying to kiss again.
“Touch her again, and I’ll kill you.”
Leo growls in Dylan’s face and pushes him hard in the chest. Dylan puts his hands up in surrender and goes for the pizza Leo put down on the table. Leo lifts Beth’s chin with his thumb and frowns at the rapidly forming bruise on her cheek.
“How did you find me babydoll?”
“You never turned off Find My iPhone. Leo.”
Beth tightly wraps her arms around Leo’s waist and buries her head in his chest. Leo wraps his arms around her just as tightly, frowning again at how small she is. Last time he spoke to her she had her eating disorder under control, but Leo is not convinced that she still does.
“I don’t……I don’t feel so good.”
“I got you, Beth. It’s okay.”
Leo picks Beth up, she’s falling asleep in his arms and glares at Dylan as he passes. He takes Beth down to his bedroom and puts her on his bed, pulling off her shoes and covering her with his jacket. Leo stalks back down to the lounge room, where Dylan is sitting on the couch eating pizza and Leo smacks him across the back of the head.
“Please tell me you didn’t do what I think you did to her.”
“I only gave her a little and I was just trying to loosen her up. Thanks for coming in and cutting my lunch, dude. Who is she?”
Running a hand through his hair, Leo sits down on the couch next to Dylan and sighs. He really didn’t want Beth around any of his band, but now he doesn’t really have a choice.
“She’s Ricky’s sister.”’
“Shit dude, does she know?”
“Yeah, I called her and told her the other day. That’s why Beth is here if I had to guess. We’re as good as family. Ricky is going to kill me for Beth being here, neither of us ever wanted her around all of this.”
Leo turns the TV onto MTV while he and Dylan eat, saving some pizza for Beth and watching the clock. After about an hour, Beth, now wearing the jacket Leo covered her with wanders back in, curling up in his lap.
“Hey Baby, how’re you feeling?”
“My head hurts. Did he drug me?”
Leo answers through gritted teeth and Beth giggles into his chest and kisses him on the cheek. Dylan is in the kitchen and Beth walks slowly over to him and taps him on the shoulder. He turns around and smiles at Beth, albeit a little nervously.
Dylan doesn’t get to finish his sentence and Leo looks over at the sound of Beth’s palm connecting sharply with the side of Dylan’s face.
“Don’t ever call me ‘kid’ again, Dylan. And if you ever try to date-rape drug me again, I’ll make you regret it. Okay?”
“You’re incredibly unnerving for someone so tiny, Beth. I’m sorry.”
Beth smiles and accepts the hand that Dylan offers her to shake and then hugs him, taking him completely by surprise and kissing him on the cheek. She looks over her shoulder at Leo and winks at him and Leo rolls his eyes.
“I can be scary when I want to be, even though I’m, as you put it ‘tiny’. I never used to be, it took me a long time and an eating disorder to get on top of it. But I have that under control now too, you want to make me a drink without roofies this time?”
“You got it, like I said, I’m sorry.”
Beth shrugs and goes back over to Leo, sitting in his lap again and Leo wraps his arms protectively around her.
“You promise you have your eating disorder under control still? You’re thinner than you were when me and Ricky left.”
“I got sick a few months ago, I was in the hospital, it was why I didn’t come to the show. I did wonder why you and Ricky never called or came to see me. He was already gone wasn’t he?”
“This isn’t the time or the place to talk about this, love. I didn’t see a bag by the door, is this all you flew over here with? I really thought Jess was more responsible than this.”
Leo knew he’d get a smile out of Beth when he brought up her roommate, Jess was all Beth would ever talk about when she and Ricky spoke on the phone. The thought of Ricky brings Leo’s excitement at having Beth in his arms down a little and he can feel the tears that spring to his eyes.
“Don’t be silly, I bought clothes you looney, they’re in my bag at the hotel.”
“Hotel? No way, not a chance in hell. Even the safe hotels in LA aren’t safe, you can stay here with me and Dylan. Give me your room key and Dylan and I will go and get your stuff.”
Beth opens her mouth to protest but there’s a knock on the door before she has the chance to speak.
“I got it.”
“So much for keeping you a secret.”
Leo kisses the side of Beth’s head and moves her off his lap and onto the seat next to him instead, wrapping one arm around her shoulders and holding her hand with the other.
“So, this is the infamous Beth that none of us have heard anything about. You’re a lot prettier in person than the pictures Leo has on his old Facebook of you guys. I’m…”
“…Vic, yeah, I know. My brother used to talk about how sweet you were all the time. It’s nice to finally meet you in person.”
Beth stands up and gives Vic a hug and pulls him down onto the couch with her and starts playing with the rings on his fingers.
“Right, room key please. Vic, would you mind staying here with Beth while Dylan and I go and get her stuff from her hotel?”
“Wait, don’t I get a choice in where I’m staying? I’m an adult, Leo, I don’t need a babysitter. You guys have enough to worry about without me cramping your style.”
Dylan and Leo laugh together and Vic smirks knowingly.
“Dylan has no style to begin with so you’re not cramping anything there, and if you think I’m going to lose another Rollins sibling you’re out of your mind. Hand it over, kiddo.”
Beth reluctantly hands over the key to her hotel room, but catches Leo’s hand before he moves it away. She backhands him hard across the face while she has a grip on him and goes for another one but Vic pulls her off before she can.
“You know how I feel about that word, Leo. You should know better than that.”
“She’s feisty, I like her. I’ll hang out with Beth while you guys go get her stuff.”
Vic turns to Beth and pulls her back down onto the couch with him.
“I have so many embarrassing pictures and stories to share with you.”
Beth giggles and rolls her eyes then turns to look over the back of the couch.
“Shouldn’t you two be going?”
She says cheekily, turning back to face Vic. Leo and Dylan watch the two of them animatedly talking with a lot of hand gestures and laughter. Leo smiles fondly at the little girls he’s watched grow up, thinking hard about what his true feelings are for her.
“You’re driving. Let’s go loser, I wanna get back before he tells too many embarrassing stories.”
Leo catches the car keys Dylan throws to him, and with one more glance at Beth, follows him out of the house and to the car.