White Trash Love Song Page 1


I DIDN’T DESERVE TO be here but would gladly do it all over again.

I squeezed the dark bars in front of me until my knuckles turned white and my palms threatened to bleed, layers of paint chipping and sticking to my damp palms. The minutes felt like hours and my skin began to crawl with the waiting. I wasn’t a bad person and sure as shit wasn’t cut out to be locked in this shit hole. I’ve always heard that before you seek revenge you should dig two graves. This was mine. A place where I was locked away with my own thoughts that threatened to drive me insane. A place where I was forced to watch life pass me by and all I had were memories to cling to.

The walls were a deep gray that matched the floor. The only furniture was a metal bed attached to the wall and a toilet. Everything felt dirty and layered in grime. It was sickening.

Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way. I should have been able to control my rage, but a man can only take so much.



Five Days Earlier

I’M NOT WEARING a f**king tie, Tuck,” I growled as I tried to knot the silky fabric around my neck. I yanked it off and tossed it to the ground in frustration.

“You just need to learn how to tie it, Eric.” Cass smiled as she patted me on the shoulder. “You would look good all dressed up.”

I rolled my eyes and picked up the light blue scrap of fabric from the ground, determined to figure out how to wear it. Tucker laughed and shook his head. I owed it to Cass to try to be on my best behavior. She went through hell to plan this wedding around our schedule, and I wouldn’t screw that up for her. We stayed in Southern California after our last gig, and she went to work ironing out the details with only two weeks until we go back to work. Each of us had his own job to do. I chose the church. It was small but sort of quaint, and the pastor talked my ear off for an hour about young love. I knew he wouldn’t judge their decision to marry young.

“How come you listen to her and not me?”

“Because Cass is prettier than you,” I joked, and Tucker rolled his eyes. “Seriously, why can’t we just dress the way we always do? You want to start off your marriage with a lie?”

Cass’s hand connected with the back of my head.

“Oww!” I yelled, then rubbed the tender spot. I knew she was stressed out about the ceremony, and it was too hard to resist messing with her. She had been trying her hardest to get Dorris to attend, but her health was failing and Cass finally gave up two days ago. I held out hope some of our friends would show, but it had been months since I’d talked to Sarah and I assumed Filth was touring and didn’t have the time.

“You’re not going to dress as a homeless rock star at my wedding,” Cass called over her shoulder as she made her way to the hotel bathroom.

“I am a homeless rock star.”

“Semantics,” she called out with a laugh.

I was happy to be a rolling stone. Cass and Tuck had been talking about getting a home of their own, and the idea made me cringe. I didn’t want things to change. I ran my hand through my hair and pushed out a sigh. Maybe the shots of Jack before lunch were a mistake. Drinking never took away my problems, but ever since our tour ended and Sarah—the girl who had gradually become my rock—was long gone, I didn’t want to cope with reality.

It was easier to find peace at the bottom of a bottle.

“You all right?” Tucker asked, leaning in toward me and lowering his voice. His hand clamped on my shoulder. I knocked it away and took a step back from him.

“I’m fine.”

The truth was, I was far from okay. I just didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to play another gig and get lost in the music.

I glanced up at Donna, our manager. Her dark, wavy hair was pinned back, but loose curls spilled down the back of her neck. I wanted to wrap my fingers in it. I shook the thought from my head and made my way to the kitchen area of our hotel suite. Donna had been loosening up around all of us a lot more lately—it was a refreshing change from the all-business bitch who first showed up to whip our band into shape during our tour. Sometimes we’d even flirt a little. And in the months since Sarah left, Donna and I had actually grown closer as friends. Plus, she was hot when she let herself kick back and have fun.

But I couldn’t let my mind go there, especially not today . . .

Maybe the problem wasn’t that I had drank; maybe I just didn’t drink enough. I poured two fingers of whiskey into a glass and quickly drank it down, letting it burn my throat.

I sat the plastic cup on the counter and wiped a drop of liquor from my chin as Cass came to my side.

“I could use a few of those myself,” she said quietly as she leaned her back against the faux-granite countertop.

I stared at the cabinets in front of me as I clenched my jaw. I knew Cass could tell I was upset. She had become like a little sister to me, and as much as I loved her, at times I wished we could escape each other. I hated how transparent I was to her, and she never let shit go.

“Have you talked to her?” I asked after a pregnant pause. Even thinking about her made my head start to ache, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I had one of my headaches.

Cass nodded, swallowing audibly.

“She doin’ okay?”

“She . . . she said she is happy.”

I could hear the pain in her voice and I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the look of pity on her face. It wasn’t long ago I had judged Cass and Tucker, afraid of their ripping apart our band with their relationship. But now here I was, sad and sulking over someone I had no right to miss, not even wanting to think about how lost I’d be without Cass’s and Tuck’s support.

The conversation came to an abrupt halt when a hand slid over my spine. Even though I’d been doing my best to avoid Donna’s most deliberate advances knowing it would only end badly for all of us, suddenly the idea of having someone touch me, distract me from my pain, even for a few hours, was all I wanted. And I wanted it more than anything else. I watched Tucker and the twins from the small kitchen area, trying not to meet her gaze. I didn’t mind sometimes blurring the lines a little, but today was different. Today I was forced to watch others move on in their lives, build a future, and I was still lost and alone.

“You mind sharing?” Donna cocked an eyebrow at Cass, and I knew she wasn’t talking about the alcohol. I rolled my eyes and Cass gave me a sympathetic smile.

“I need to go fix my hair. I’ll talk to you later.” Cass tucked a dirty-blond curl behind her ear and headed off to the bathroom of the hotel room. It was cramped with all of us in one room getting ready, but it was downtown and had a great view of the city. Donna insisted on letting us live a few days in luxury, even if she couldn’t land us all rooms with personal hot tubs. We each had our own room, but after the wedding Cass and Tuck would be across town to get some privacy.

I slowly turned to look at Donna, who was wearing a low-cut, navy-blue dress that stopped midthigh and left little to the imagination. She smirked knowingly as my eyes finally landed on hers.

I poured her a shot into my glass and slid it across the dark faux-granite counter to her. She picked it up and raised it over her head to me before throwing it back. She scrunched her nose at the harshness of the liquor as she slammed the cup on the counter.

“Good shit, huh?” I laughed as she nodded, unable to speak. “Not much of a drinker?”

“Not yet. Pour me another.”

“What’s up with you today? Not a fan of weddings either?”

She shook her head, and her gaze dropped to the bottle. I nodded and poured her another shot, giving her a little extra this time. I slid the glass over to her again and she took it, her fingers sliding over mine. The electricity between us was undeniable today and I tensed, hating my attraction to her. She wasn’t my type. She wasn’t anyone’s type. She was closed off and angry at the world. She used her work as an escape from living her life and enjoying herself. I also knew that any attraction she felt toward me was purely physical. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that she was our manager. I had to keep reminding myself of that.

“Wanna talk about it?”

She drank the shot, a trail of whiskey running over her chin and down her throat. I grabbed a paper towel and wiped it off for her, careful not to mess up her makeup.

“Just brings back bad memories.”

I nodded, completely understanding. Even as Donna and I had grown closer over the past few weeks, I knew there were things she wouldn’t tell even me. But I guess that was only fair, given how much I kept to myself, too.

“That’s life,” I said as I poured myself another drink. “A series of struggles strung together with the occasional moment of joy that makes it worth going another day.” I turned around. Drink in hand as I looked over at Tucker. He was nervous but smiling in his charcoal-gray suit. Chris and Terry laughing and helping him shake his nerves.

“You think he is happy?” she asked as she leaned back against the counter, her body brushing against mine.

I cleared my throat and moved over a fraction of an inch. “Of course he is. Look at him. He’s in love.” I smiled, genuinely happy for my best friend.

“The deeper your love, the harder you fall when it goes bad.”

I grinned, glancing over at Donna’s profile; for twenty-seven she could really be intense. “Careful . . . you’re dangerously close to opening up to someone.”

She laughed sardonically and shook her head as she looked down at her shoes. “I won’t make that mistake twice.” She gave me a sideways glance, and the corner of her lips curled up in a small smile.

I didn’t want to push her to say anything more, so I just offered a halfhearted smile in return. “I’ll drink to that.” I poured the amber liquid down my throat and tossed my glass in the sink behind us.

Donna grabbed the light blue tie from the counter and wrapped it around my neck. She was standing so close I could feel the heat radiating from her and the faint smell of her minty, alcohol-laced breath.

“You’ll drink to anything.” Her eyes narrowed as she worked quickly to secure the tie and fold my shirt collar down over it, her fingers lingering on my shoulders. My body moved on its own as I leaned forward a fraction of an inch, as if a magnet were pulling me toward her, or maybe I had drunk a few too many shots. I was thankful when Cass returned, her hair swept back at her nape. She was still wearing an old T-shirt and shorts.

“How you feeling?” she asked as her eyes danced between Donna and me.

Donna took a step back, looking embarrassed. “I’m going to freshen up.” She left us and Cass smiled widely. We watched Donna walk away.

“She really has a thing for you.”

“Nah. She just wants a distraction.”

“You could both use one.”

“Cass, you know I can’t do that. There isn’t anything there. The last thing I want to do is mess things up for the band over some chick.”

Cass raised an eyebrow and I realized that probably sounded like an insult to her.

“You know I didn’t mean you. You’re like family to all of us.”

“I wasn’t always. I remember what it felt like to be an outsider in this group. Maybe Donna just needs to find her place.”

“Donna is one of us, she just doesn’t realize it.”

Cass sighed loudly as she looked around the room. Her face looked sullen as her eyes glassed over.

“What is it?” I reached out and took her hand. She glanced down at the ring on her finger and shook her head, fighting back the tears.

“My dad.”

“Hey . . .” I pulled her against me and wrapped my arms around her neck, giving her a nice firm hug. “We talked about this. You don’t need him. I’m going to walk you down the aisle with the twins. You have all the family you need.”

“I know.”

I pulled back from her and ran my thumbs carefully under her eyes to catch the tears that began to spill over. She jerked back and made a gagging sound.

“Jesus, E! You smell like a bum! How much have you had?”

“Not nearly enough.”

She smiled. “I could use a little relaxing myself. I can’t stop shaking.”

“You scared?”

“No, I’m not scared. I’m happy. I can’t believe it is finally happening. It’s overwhelming.”

“What are you women talking ’bout?” Terry asked as he made his way into the cramped kitchen space and threw his arm over my shoulder. I pushed it off and took a step away from him.

“Just because I am sensitive to the ladies doesn’t make me a chick.”

“Doesn’t make you much of a man either.” Terry laughed.

“How much have you drunk, Terry?” Cass asked. He just laughed, his eyes glazed over and bloodshot.

“What does make you a man, O wise one?” I asked as Chris made his way to us.

“This,” Terry shot back as he grabbed his crotch.

“A small package?” I joked, and glanced over at Chris.

“Let it be known we are fraternal, not identical,” Chris replied as he winked at Cass, who let out a giggle.

“Thanks for the backup, Brother.” Terry ran his hand through his hair and cracked his neck. Chris just shrugged and took a swig of his bottle of beer.

“Beatfest is in a few days,” Chris said to no one in particular.

“Great. I wonder which one of you will get in a fight first at the festival.” Cass rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“They all promised to behave,” Tucker spoke up in our defense. “They know how hard it was to convince you to stay here longer just for a concert.”