America Harding killed Travis.
I close my eyes and swallow back a lump of pain and fear.
It wasn't Stephen Hammergren that ran my best friend over with his car; it was Amatory Riot's manager. She killed my friend because he wanted his kid, because he was a better man than I was – than I am – and now he's gone. He's gone and his kid's been raised by a man willing to torture and kill people as part of some elaborate revenge plot against his ex-wife.
“Fuck.” That's the only word I feel capable of speaking right now, the only thing that seems appropriate. I've been trying to wait for Turner to calm down a little, so I can ask for more details. All I know at this point are facts I've been fed from everybody else, from Jesse who's thankfully still alive. Josh. Milo.
That's also an important distinction to make here. Who didn't make it through that concert is just about as important as who did.
Stephen. America. Joel, the bald dude. Poppet.
Four dead people, several injured.
Blair. Cohen Rose. Honesty, the bassist for Ice and Glass as well as their guitarist, Chris. KK, Lola's manager. And most important of all: Naomi and … Lola.
“Go away, Milo. Can't you fucking see he doesn't want to talk right now? Go get us something to eat, Jesus Christ.” I grab a pillow and chuck it at my manager, not in a playful way either. It's just, I gotta throw something, so it might as well be something that doesn't kill the guy. My mind is spinning and the only thing I can think about besides the violent shit storm that just occurred, is meth. I want a hit so bad I can taste it. How else am I supposed to survive this? There are so many elements to what just happened that are liable to destroy my life.
Lola shot Joel. She killed him.
Prison for life, anybody?
Oh, and let's not forget that the girl my best friend fell in love with, Naomi, she shot someone, too. America. She fucking killed her. In front of a crowd with numbers in the tens of thousands. Add that to the footage exploding across the Internet, taken on cell phones and captured by raucous media members, and you've got some serious, serious problems.
I can't think right now. I want to lie down and sleep until there's news about Lola. But I can't. I glance over at Turner who's shaking and staring into space like he's not even home anymore. I recognize the look, and I can't let it go on. I've been there, done that before. Asuka, please God, help me through this, I need your strength.
I slide off the edge of the bed as Milo retreats and scoot on my knees to sit beside my friend. I have to snap my fingers several times to get his attention.
“Turner,” I whisper, knowing a scream won't work any better to break through that trance. “Hey. You in there, bro?” Nothing. Not even a blink. At least he's not screaming anymore. I get the pain, but I don't know if I can hold myself and him up at the same time if he keeps wailing like that. The sound cuts straight through my head and into my brain, eviscerating me from the inside out. “Turner Motherfucking Campbell, wake your ass up.”
“Go away, Ronnie,” he drawls, leaning back, smashing into the bed with a shudder. “Leave me the hell alone.” I watch as he curls in on himself and starts to shake. Shit. I rise to my feet and look around the room. It's just us in here, with two of Brayden's men. I don't know where Amatory Riot is – or anyone else for that matter. Jesse, Josh, Sydney. Milo says he's seen them, that they're okay, but it's kind of freaking me the fuck out. Why separate us all? Hell, why put Turner and me together? I don't get it.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath.
Lola. God. Even though I've showered, I can still feel the stain of her blood on my hands. The warmth of it. The consistency. And then, as if that wasn't enough to fuck with my addled brain, I start to think about Asuka. About her blood. I start imagining that I have the crimson color of both girls splattered on my hands.
I open my eyes and shake my hands out, trying to get a hold of myself.
“Turner,” I repeat, grabbing his leg and trying to roll him over, away from the headboard and towards me. “HEY!” I shout and he startles, flipping up to his feet and slamming his palms into my chest.
“WHAT?!” he screeches, shoving me again. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” I let him yell, getting at least some small thrill of pleasure from watching Brayden's guards shift uncomfortably. I force myself to smile at my friend.
“You can still scream like nobody else,” I say as he rolls his eyes and thrusts an arm across his nose, wiping away the tears like they were never there. I watch as he visibly tries to contain himself. Same thing happened when Travis died. Not the wailing, not really. I mean if he did that in private, I don't know, but this gathering of the spirit that he's attempting, I saw that happen. Thing is, it didn't really work. Turner ended up drowning himself in sex and drugs and alcohol. He never really recovered, not until Naomi Knox showed up. I've got to protect this man the way I didn't protect Travis. My heart shudders in pain. “And I'm pretty sure it was that raging screech of yours that saved Naomi's life,” I say, trying to be optimistic. Ask any of my friends: optimism has not generally been my strong suit. But I'm trying to change here, trying to fight for something I had once and never thought I'd have again. Love. Fuck. Let's just get through this, get Naomi and Lola out of the hospital, start the fuck over again.