Lexi had put off doing the test for over a week for fear of Ale finding out. She wanted it to be a surprise if it happened to be positive. Alex had left to meet with their manager and he would be gone for several days. Anxiously she waited for the timer to go off. Five minutes never felt so long when the timer went off she exhaled a breath she had been holding. Crossing her fingers she closer her eyes hoping for a positive result. She smiled as she read the test result…positive. It was positive. Smiling at her affection she couldn’t wait to tell Alex the news. It was what he had wanted. She hoped he still did. Putting a hand to her stomach she wondered who he or she would be like. She hoped it would be a little boy who looked just like his daddy.
Alex was trapped in a room listening to his no nonsense, humorless manager drone on about keeping the band together. Shaking his head Alex stood up frustration oozing from his every movement. Crossing his arms Alex glared at the man “I don’t like it. Ron is out of control.”
“Ron said he was being provoked” the manager countered “he claims you were provoking him. He felt threatened under attack.”
“That’s a damn lie and you know it” Alex shouted back at the obtuse man “I was not in any condition to provoke a fight with him. I had just gotten out of the hospital and thanks to Ron I was in the hospital for another month after that incident. All I did was get between him and his intended target.”
“That’s not how Ron tells it,” the man shook his head leaning back “at least he’s not pressing charges.”
“He’s not pressing charges because he knows he’s the one in the wrong.” Alex stated keeping voice even despite his rising temper.
“That’s neither here nor there” the idiot manager said “you can’t kick him out of the band.”
Eyes narrowing Alex nodded silently fuming “I’ve spoken with my lawyer and since your adamant Ron can’t be kicked out of the band then, we the band, minus Ron of course have decided to take an extended hiatus from performing and recording.”
Rising to his feet the manage spluttered “you can’t do that. Your under contract….”
“Yes I know what is in our contract. You have been our manager for too many years. However the contract also specific that we had to perform so many shows, go on so many tours and have so many recording deals. According to the records my lawyer provided we have honored our end of the contract. We don’t owe you anything other than a steady paycheck and we can do whatever we want with the remaining time we have contracted with you. Since we’ve been performing nonstop for the past three years we’ve decided, myself, Lexi and Zac to go on hiatus. We need time to re-energize our creative juices.”
“I’ll take you to court,” the man threatened.
“Go ahead you don’t have a leg to stand on,” Alex told him.
“You won’t be able to perform or record anything for two years,” The man blustered “that’s death in the music business.”
“We’ll come back better than ever,” Alex told him standing firm “when we do come back we’ll have a new band, a new sound and a new manager.”
“You can’t do that,” he repeated “Ron is the band leader not you.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Alex told him “I started Molten Lava in high school. Ron and Ali were the first members to join. When we drew up the band charter they agreed I was the leader…”
“There is no record of that,” the manager scowled “it’s your word against his.”
“Wrong again,” Alex smiled enjoying pushing the older mans back against the proverbial wall. “My Uncle Gene was in show business. He knows all the ins and outs. He suggested the band charter when I told him I wanted to start a band. He also had me legally register the band name and charter in Starlight Shores. It’s all on file with my lawyer.”
“Ron never mentioned this,” the man stated falling into his chair somewhat deflated.
“Ron’s an idiot,” Alex stated “for that matter so are you. You thought you were dealing with a bunch of naive vulnerable kids who you could manipulate and we wouldn’t know any better. We may have been young but I had people looking out for us.”
“This isn’t over,” the man snarled “I’ll get a lawyer. No one makes a fool out of me.”
“No one but you,” Alex told him laughing. Tossing a card at the man he said “have your lawyer call my lawyer.” With that Alex turned and left the mans office with a sigh of relief. He should have listened to hs Uncle when he told him to get a different manager. Well it couldn’t be helped now and the lawyer Uncle Gene suggested would assist in picking the next manager. It’ll all work out in the end even if they had to take a forced break. They’ll come back better than ever minus the no good manager, Ron and Ali, those three combined were ruining the group.
“Lexi I wish you were here,” Alex said into the phone as he sat in his hotel room.
“It went that bad?” she asked a note of concern in her voice “do you want me to join you?”
Feeling restless Alex got up and paced the small confines of the luxury hotel room “no don’t. There’s nothing you can do here anyway. It’s mostly going to be handled between the lawyers now.”
“It’s not your fault” she said sensing his conflict “the dick manager didn’t give you a choice and no one wants to work with Ron anymore…”
“I know,” Alex let out a pent up breath of air “Ron and I used to best friends. We grew up together…”
“Alex I’m sorry” she said wishing she was there to hold him. To tell him he was doing the right thing. “Ron needs help. He’s not the person he used to be.” Sighing she looked out the window “maybe this will be a wake up call for him. Maybe he’ll get help…”
Running his hands through his hair Alex nodded then added realizing Lexi couldn’t see him “I hope so. I…Lexi can you hold on a minute someone’s at my door.” Alex put the phone down on the small table beside the bed and went to see who was pounding on his hotel door. Looking through the peep hole he saw Ron on the other side. He went back to retrieve his phone. “Lexi it’s Ron.”
“Don’t answer the door Alex,” she demanded.
He could hear the fear in her voice. The last time either of them had seen Ron he had put him in the hospital for a month. What if Ron was there to finish the job? He hadn’t looked too stable from the glance Alex had taken through the peephole.
“I won’t sweetheart” Alex told her “I don’t want a repeat of last time.” He would have said something else except Ron started to pound and kick the door between them.
“Alex I know you’re in there,” Ron shouted “let me in. We need to talk.”
“Shit,” Alex muttered into the phone.
“What? Whats going on?” Lexi shouted into his ear “Alex talk to me.”
She pressed the phone to her ear straining to hear. All she heard was silence then the distinct dial tone. They had been disconnected. She dropped to her knees sobbing. This couldn’t be happening. She couldn’t lose him not now not ever. Ron was dangerous. A dangerous idiot.
Pulling herself together she dried her eyes dialed the Starlight Shores police department. It was something she could do. She could send the authorities to the hotel and hope help arrived in time. While she waited for Alex to call her back or worse yet the police. Lexi tried to learn the new song Alex had written for the band. It was a beautiful ballad something she and Zac had wanted to do more of but Ron had vetoed. The mention of his name caused her fingers to stumble across the keys missing the notes. Giving up she went and lay down on the bed feeling the emptiness beside her. Please please let him be alright. She silently pleaded while holding her stomach. He had to be alright. He will be alright she told herself wiping tears away that wouldn’t cease cascading down her cheeks.
Watching the door shake under the assault Ron was giving it Alex knew it was only a matter of time before it broker under the abuse. Regretting the necessity to disconnect his call with Lexi he dialed 911 as he slipped into the bathroom putting another door between him and Ron. The lady who answered his call insisted he stay on the line when all he really wanted to do was call Lexi back to hear her voice one last time. He heard the door give way and Ron crashed into the room screaming his name.
“Alex how dare you try to get me disbanded. I made the group. If it weren’t for me you’d still be a nobody.” He rattled the door knob before kicking it.
Heart pounding in his ears Alex almost didn’t hear the soothing voice of the woman talking to him on the other end informing him of help was on the way. He dropped the phone as Ron burst into the room.
“You’re going to pay for what you did to me.” Ron snarled.
“Ron please you need help” Alex raised his arms up to shield his face as Ron approached fists flailing. There was nothing Alex could do to defend himself. His punches bounced off of Ron like rain drops. Ron’s fists felt like a jack hammer leaving deep wounds.
“I don’t need your help,” Ron shouted at him “I need you out of my life. You ruined my life. My marriage. My career…”
Alex went down under the onslaught of Ron’s fury induced merciless attack. Once he was on the floor the pummeling turned to kicks. Grunting in pain he barely heard the commands of the police officers who flooded the room through the broken door. The crazed look in Ron’s eyes left little comfort for Alex who had no doubts that if the police hadn’t arrived when they did Ron would have left him in the same condition as the doors…crushed, broken and possibly dead. Moaning as one of the officers knelt beside him Alex mumbled through swollen lips “my wife call my wife…” he panted licking his bloodied lips before continuing “tell her … I love her.”