Authors: Missy Johnson
A Wicked Innocence Novella
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No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
First Printing: July 2015
“Dude, you’re still fucking asleep?”
I feel something hit my head as I force myself to sit up on the edge of the bed. I’m naked, not that Max seems to care—nor does he care about the chick lying next to me, barely covered by the thin white cotton sheet. I reach over and cup her ass. I don’t remember much of last night, except that I had fun.
“Don’t you knock?” I grumble, rubbing my throbbing head.
He laughs and throws some clothes at me.
I jerk my head in her direction. “How do you think she’d feel waking up to a fucking audience?”
Max rolls his eyes. He laughs and rubs his jaw as she rolls over, a look of recognition showing in his eyes.
“Dude, considering I plowed that last week, I daresay she wouldn’t be that annoyed. I think I left her pretty satisfied,” he adds with a wink. “She kept calling me for days.”
I groan and get up, not needing the image his words have left imprinted on my brain. Going anywhere Max has been is
something I want to think too hard about.
“I think I’m swearing off women after that,” I mutter, stomping to the shower. “Now can you get the fuck out of my room?”
Max chuckles and walks toward the door. “Hurry up. Everyone else is waiting for your sorry ass. Some of us have lives to get back to, you know.”
I take my time in the shower, savoring the feel of the hot water running over my face. I feel like shit—a combination of lack of sleep and the amount of bourbons I slammed down last night. I lost count after number ten. Shit, I don’t even remember bringing the girl back to my room—not that that’s unusual behavior for me.
If there was one thing I learned early on in life, it’s that everybody needs an outlet. Mine is letting loose after a show. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be. Keeping up that level of motivation is fucking hard, so I make sure I let myself relax.
My drugs of choice at the moment are blondes and bourbon.
Outside, I ignore the guys as I load my stuff into the back of the van before sinking into the passenger seat next to Max. He glances at me and chuckles, his dirty blond hair in desperate need of a wash.
“You still look like shit,” he comments, rubbing his unshaven jawline.
“Yeah, well, it was our last night away. I wanted to make the most of it.” I grin. I pull my sunglasses down and close my eyes, the bright sun almost blinding me. “Besides, you think your bright smile’s fooling me? I know you feel as seedy as I do.”
“Not true. I hold my booze way better than you, my friend. Speaking of which, you coming out tonight, or is it a quiet night in with Mommy and Daddy?”
“I’ll let you know,” I mutter, which translates to
‘It depends how quickly my father gets on my back.’
The thought of heading back home makes me feel sick. I can’t wait to get my own place and get the fuck out of there.
My relationship with my parents is strained—to put it nicely. We are your typical upper-class family: a father who works too much, a mother who drinks too much, and two fucked-up kids. No, Stacy is anything but fucked up, but she’s only fifteen. There’s still plenty of time for my parents to ruin her life—and believe me, they try.
My dad in particular has never supported my music. According to him, I’m wasting not only my time, but theirs too. My favorite line from him?
“We didn’t have you so you could fuck up your life sleeping all day, drinking and chasing a dream you’re never going to achieve.”
Supportive, huh? You can imagine the hell it caused when I was spotted by a talent scout for a record label. Even when my dreams are in my grasp, I’m still a disappointment because I refuse to follow the path they chose for me.
It’s been six months since I joined Severed, and my life has already changed so much. I still struggle to believe that six months ago this was all still a dream. I’d spend my spare time playing songs I’d written in the park or down on the beach, and I was actually making a decent amount of cash from it. I hadn’t even intended to street perform until some dude dropped a twenty into my guitar case. In the end I was making a few hundred on a good week, and I had regular listeners who’d stop by to hear me play. I can’t describe how good that felt. People actually liked my shit.
When the scout from the record company approached me, I was stunned. This kind of shit didn’t happen to me. Touted as one of the up-and-coming bands, Severed was slowly receiving more and more attention as people began to realize our potential. I had direction and ambition, and nothing was going to get in the way of achieving my goals—especially not my own family.
For now, it’s still shitty venues and even shittier hotels, but things are about to change in a big way. I can
it. We’re on the verge of breaking through, and I’ve never been so ready for anything in all my life.
At twenty-one, I’m barely an adult, but I’m ready for this.
Throwing my bags over my shoulder, I thank Max and then slam the van door closed. Sighing, I turn around and study our house. The guys rib me all the time about what a rich shit I am—and it’s true. Our house is fucking huge. It’s not a mansion by any means, but my folks are well off. Our gardens are perfectly manicured, and our security is top notch. Hell, I even have two cars: my Merc for everyday use and a sportier number for when I really want to impress the chicks. But I’d give it all back for a family who actually gave a shit about me.
I haven’t even walked inside yet and I know what’s coming. Stace will be psyched to see me, but that’s all. Mom will probably be passed out after a heavy afternoon of drinking, and Dad will be at work. Later, he’ll get home and give me shit about how I’m wasting my life and then spend the rest of the night fighting with Mom.
Not that I plan on being around. Max’s party suggestion is looking more and more appealing. What’s not to like about going somewhere that I can get wasted and forget about everything? Why not live up to my father’s expectations of me?
The door slams behind me as I enter the eerily quiet house. I know for a fact that Mom and Stace are home—their cars are in the garage. And the housekeeping staff should still be here. How can the place be so damn quiet?
“Stace?” I yell, dropping my bags on the living room floor. I sink onto the sofa and listen to the sound of footsteps rounding the corner.
“You’re home,” Stace yells, launching herself onto the sofa. She throws her arms around my neck as I laugh, her long, dark hair flapping around my face.
“I was gone for a week,” I chuckle, prying her off me.
“Yeah, but a week alone in this house feels like a month,” she grumbles, rolling her eyes. “Mom’s upstairs if you want to try and wake her up.”
“Nah, let her sleep it off,” I say, giving her arm a squeeze. “How have you been? How’s school?”
I listen to Stace ramble on about her friends and school as I try to calm my annoyance at how shitty my parents are at being parents. Their fucking up my life is one thing—that’s already done—but sitting back and watching them do the same thing to Stace breaks my heart. I’d do anything for my sis, which is why I go out of my way to be part of her life. God knows she needs at least one decent role model.
“Seriously, Sax, next time you go away, take me with you.” She’s joking, but I can see the serious note in her eyes. “I told Dad yesterday I got a spot on the student paper and he told me to drop out.”
“Why?” I laugh. I would’ve thought all extracurricular activities would be welcome.
“Because ‘It’s not going to help you get into medicine, so why bother doing it? You may as well take up cheerleading or stripping,’” she recites, imitating my dad perfectly, right down to the facial expression.
I laugh. He likened writing for a school paper to stripping to a fucking
“Forget about him and do what you wanna do,” I tell her.
“Yeah, because that’s worked so well for you,” she cracks. “It’s different for me, Sax. I
to go to college and I need their help for that.”
“But what’s the point when you’re studying for a lifetime of something you don’t want?” I ask, frustrated by my father’s narrow-mindedness.
“Because I can squeeze in classes that
what I want,” Stace says, a grin spreading across her lips. “I can be sneaky when I need to be. I’ll be fine. Trust me.”
“I know you will, but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about you,” I grumble, giving her a rare peek at my vulnerable side.
She gets up and walks over to me. Wrapping her arms around my neck, she sighs. “I know you love me, Sax, and I love that you’re not afraid to show me that. You’re the only one in this family with any balls.”
I chuckle at her use of words as she pulls away from me.
“Are you doing anything tonight?” she asks, pushing her long hair over her shoulder. “I’m going out. Dad will probably be back soon.”
“Is that your subtle way of saying I should go out somewhere?” I tease.
“It’s my subtle way of saying if you don’t, you’ll wish you had.” she grins, poking out her tongue.
I take Stace’s advice and go out with the guys. It’s just another party with loads of girls and free alcohol. As much as I enjoy letting loose, I am tiring of the same old thing. I’m desperate for something to happen. Something new. Something to take my mind off my mess of a life. Regardless, I spend a good part of an hour downing drink after drink.
“’Sup with you?” Max asks, slumping down on the ground next to me. We’re sitting outside on the deck of a huge house owned by a guy who is the friend of a friend of a friend of Max’s cousin.
“Just not really in the mood, I guess.” I shrug and finish the rest of my drink, discarding the can beside me.
Max laughs, his expression one of disbelief. “Dude, you’re fucking kidding me,” he says, looking around. “There is so much choice here tonight. I’ve already made out with a handful of chicks. God, I love being a rock god.”
“Yeah, well I might leave you to service the rest of them,” I chuckle, getting to my feet. I’ve had enough.
“You’re leaving already?” Max asks, his eyes wide with disbelief. “You need to unwind, Sax. Here.” He pushes his drink into my hands.
I laugh and hand it back to him. “I’ve had enough to drink to know I’m just not up for this tonight.” I shove my hands in my pockets and shrug. “No drama, I’m sure I’ll be back on form tomorrow. I’ll see you later, okay?”
The walk home only takes about ten minutes, and I’m glad I’ve had the time to sober up a little when I see Dad’s car in the driveway. The light shining through the living room window tells me he’s still up. I contemplate turning around and walking the streets until he goes to bed, but I decide to just get it over with. The argument is imminent—whether it happens now, tomorrow, or next week just depends on how long I avoid him. Taking a deep breath, I stomp up to the front door and let myself in.
I follow the faint sound of the television into the living room. Dad looks up from where he’s seated on the sofa. A hint of annoyance settles on his face when he realizes it’s me.
“You’re home,” he mutters, turning his attention back to the TV.
I haven’t seen him in over two weeks and that’s all I get. I laugh and shake my head. “Nice to see you too, Dad.”
“What do you want from me, Sax?” he sighs. “I told you before you left on your silly little road trip that this was the last time. I refuse to stand back and watch you fuck up your life.”
“So that’s it?” I laugh. “You just cut me out? Pretend I’m not part of the family because I don’t want to do things your way?”
“Just leave it alone. Be thankful you’re still welcome under this roof,” he mutters, taking a long sip of his double malt whiskey. I know if he had his way I’d be out on my ass. That’s about the only thing I’m thankful to Mom for, though I’m sure Stace had more to do with it than I did.
“You call this welcome?” I can’t believe some of the shit that comes out of his mouth. “Dude, you’ve got no fucking idea how to be a decent father. I can see you making the same mistakes with Stace that you made with me. How long do you think until she hates you too?”
The words sting as they leave my mouth, and for a brief second I want to snatch them back. But then I take in his reaction. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t even flinch at my words, his eyes not leaving the TV. Hell, I’m not even sure that he’s listening to me. Fed up, I mutter a few choice words under my breath and stomp up to my room.
What’s the fucking point in getting into it when he refuses to even listen?