Home > Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)(16)

Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)(16)
Author: Carian Cole

I shake my head, completely dazed. “I don’t know. I don’t think I even know their music. I didn’t recognize him, and he didn’t tell me he was in some famous band. He told me he was a bike mechanic.”

I grab the remote from Michael and turn the volume of the TV up. Storm is being interviewed by a female news host. He’s wearing jeans, a white button-down shirt (mostly unbuttoned), a black leather jacket, and the damned smoky kohl guyliner!

“So Storm, we’re all aware of your reputation as being a rock and roll sex God. What exactly happened with you and this woman trapped in your truck for two days? I’m sure you found ways to pass the time?” She winks at him and smiles at the camera.

My eyes bug out. Did she really just ask him that?

Storm shakes his head and smirks. “Absolutely nothing.”

Newsgirl persists. “Come on now. You don’t expect us to believe that, do you?”

Storm crosses his leg, putting his foot up on his knee. “Nothing happened at all. She wasn’t my type.”

“So you have a type?” Her fake smile is so sickening, I want to reach through the television and punch her.

Storm laughs. “Not really. But I’m not into annoying chicks and this girl was (bleeping) annoying as hell. She just wouldn’t shut the (bleep) up. Dealing with her was way worse than worrying about freezing to death.”

The newsgirl laughs and touches his arm flirtatiously. My heart sinks. “She sounds terrible, Storm. You poor thing!”

Michael turns to me with a look of fake shock on his face. “You drove Storm Valentine crazy? What the hell did you do to this guy?”

“Nothing! He was a total asshole!”

I jump off the bed, grab my cell phone, and head for the bathroom.

“Can you try to get some concert tickets from him? I’d love to go! They’re one of my favorite bands!” Michael yells after me as I slam the door and lock myself in.

I can’t believe this! How could he call me annoying like that? On television! Is that really what he thought of me?

I find his number in my phone and press dial. He answers on the third ring.

“Evelyn?” Obviously, he must have my name programmed into his phone.

“You asshole! I just saw you on television! You never told me who you were! I can’t believe what a freakin’ liar you are! And you totally just disrespected me on television by calling me annoying! You could have just said it to my face, ya know. You didn’t have to pretend to be my friend while you were hating on me inside and then go on television and talk shit about me.”

There are a few moments of silence and I think he’s hung up on me.

“Are you done?” he finally asks.

“Yes. For now.”

“Look, I really didn’t want to have this convo on the phone, but since you’re having a fucking meltdown, I guess this is how it’s going down. I didn’t lie to you, first of all. I just didn’t tell you everything.”

“Oh, so lies by omission are acceptable? Come on, Storm.”

“Could you shut up for a few minutes and let me explain?”

I roll my eyes. “Fine. Explain.” I sit down on the bathroom floor. My throat feels tight and my eyes are burning with tears.

“First, I really am a motorcycle mechanic. That’s true. I’m in a bike club and I build and fix all the bikes for the members. And yes, I’m in a band too, and we’re getting pretty big, but I left that part out, and I’m sorry. But when I realized you didn’t know who I was, I kind of liked it. You were yelling at me, and having your little crazy fits. I can’t remember the last time I was with a fucking chick who just treated me like a normal guy. Or who just acted like a normal girl and wasn’t a stuck up model with fake body parts. All they care about is dating a musician, hanging out backstage, going to the parties, the money, and all that crazy shit. It was nice to spend a weekend just as a regular guy again, and see if you would like me just for me. That’s all. I wasn’t trying to deceive you.”

Wow. My anger starts to slowly fade away. I can sort of understand what he’s saying and why he didn’t tell me the truth, but I still feel like he deceived me and was making fun of me in his mind the entire time we were together.

“But on television you said I was annoying.” My voice cracks and I can’t talk anymore without starting to cry.

“Evelyn, I didn’t mean that. You gotta understand. I have a reputation. It’s part of the act. And I wanted to protect you. I don’t want anyone to find out who you are. They will hound the shit out of you. I mean, you were a little annoying, but I think you know I liked it.” I can feel him smile through the phone. “So tell me...” he lowers his voice, “did you like being with me, Evie?”

My heart starts to beat faster. “Storm, you know I can’t—”

“Just answer. Don’t think.”

I can’t answer him because I really don’t know. My brain and heart are too confused to sort it out. My body definitely liked him, but I’m just not sure if it’s more than that. I’m not sure how to tell if it’s just lust or something more happening inside me. Feeling anything for another man is entirely new territory for me, and I have no idea how to accept it or rationalize it. The only way I can really describe it is tingly, but I can’t tell him that. Hey, you make me tingly!

I hear him cover the phone and mumble something to someone. “Shit, I have to go, Evie. Watch my next interview at two on channel five, okay?”

“Another one? Are you serious?”

“I gotta go. I’ll call you later.” He ends the call and leaves me sitting there holding the phone. I really want to know why he’s doing all these interviews. Why do people have to know? Is he using our experience as some sort of promotional gimmick? I will kill him if he is doing something so stupid and invasive and exploiting our experience.

When I come out of the bathroom Michael isn’t in the bedroom anymore, so I get dressed and go downstairs to find him sitting at the kitchen table drinking some coffee and reading the paper. I always laugh inside when I see him reading the paper because who really reads the newspaper anymore? You can read all of it online now and not get black ink all over your fingers.

“Evelyn, I could shit a brick. I can’t believe you were with Storm Valentine all weekend.”

I can feel my cheeks get red. “Michael, I was not with him. I was stuck in a truck with him in a blizzard. We pretty much argued the entire time. He’s a little obnoxious and a lot in love with himself.” I pour myself a little coffee even though I know it will taste like crap because it’s not my coveted white mocha.

“His band is kick ass. I can’t wait to tell the guys.”

I shake my head frantically and almost spit my coffee out. “Michael, no. Please. Don’t tell people. I just want to forget this.”

“Evelyn, don’t be a baby. It’s pretty much the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you. Can you find out about getting us into one of his concerts?”

“It’s not exactly at the forefront of my mind, Michael, but I guess I could find out.” I am totally not ever going to ask Storm if we can have free tickets to his concert. I refuse to be that person.

Michael stands up, grabs his coffee cup, and kisses my forehead on his way to place his cup in the sink. “I’m going to the office. Call the car place and find out when your car will be ready, okay?”

“I will.”

As soon as Michael leaves, I high tail to my laptop and start to Google Storm’s ass. There’s a ton of band photos, the usual stage photos of him playing with smoky fog surrounding him under glowing red lights. There are literally pages of photos showing him with different women. Some blonde, some brunette, some purple hair, all of them gorgeous and incredibly sexy. Jealousy starts to boil inside me seeing so many photos of him with girls wound around him like horny snakes. He definitely looks wasted in many of the photos, too. I keep searching until I find a page with a biography that seems to be fan made:

Storm Valentine, the lead guitarist of up and coming rock band Ashes and Embers, was born in February of 1984. Many people think his name is a fictional stage name, but it’s actually his birth name. The band is made up of brothers and cousins who are also part of a motorcycle club in their so-called spare time. Storm started playing guitar at age five. He was in the band Wrecked in his early twenties, but the band crumbled due to several of the members ending up in rehab, Storm included. He was recruited into Ashes and Embers by his brother Asher, one of the original founders of the band, four years ago when the original lead guitarist left for personal reasons. Storm is a notorious playboy and has been linked to several supermodels and porn stars. Storm married his high school sweetheart when they were both just seventeen years old. However, tragically, she committed suicide a year later, three months pregnant. Sources say the girl was bi-polar. It was after this Storm developed a severe drug and alcohol problem, which almost ruined his career. Our sources say he is sober now but is extremely private about his personal life. Sadly, it appears almost every member (both past and present) of Ashes and Embers has been struck by some sort of tragedy.

I sink back into my chair and stare at the screen. I want to take back reading all of this and erase it from my mind, but it’s too late. I didn’t want to know any of it. I had no right to know any of it unless he chose to share it with me. But there it was, on a web page for the entire world to see. I simply can’t imagine him as a teenager so crazy in love that he got married at seventeen, or dealing with the suicide of his wife and loss of his child at age eighteen.

Halo jumps up on my lap and I hug him close to me. I want to call Storm so bad, but I don’t even know what I would say. What could I say? Nothing at all. I vow to never tell him I read this. If he wants me to know, he will tell me.

I call the garage and Seth tells me my car will be ready tomorrow and Storm has covered the bill. What the hell? I can’t allow him to do that. I’m going to have to find a way to pay him back.

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