Jamie shut her eyes against the intensity and the fire there, scorching into her regardless if she looked away or not. Her body took over, as it did every day since they'd come together on the roof. With a slight tilt of her hips he found the spot and she splintered apart. Shattered, she took every stroke as he lengthened the orgasm with a clever hand between them and she sobbed out her release to any god that would listen.
Thankfully, there wasn't any real need to be quiet. There was always someone getting fucked backstage. It just so happened that it was her lately.
Her name, like a promise, was a whispered litany to the beat of his thrusts. Just loud enough for her to hear, a whispered scream that followed her into dreams and choked her awake in the middle of the night. He pinned her to the amp, a final jerk of his hips and then the groan just as he filled her. Her foot didn't drop, even as his hands peeled off her hips and his nose found the spot behind her ear, along her hairline and he breathed her in. She allowed herself this time, allowed herself to hold onto him for a few minutes. All too soon they'd have to pretend nothing happened.
Her fingers tangled into his wild mane of hair for one more moment before letting him slide out of her.
"Don't go, not yet."
"My DNA is already a part of the amp, Slick."
He eased back with a murmured apology. "I can't ever get close enough."
Her brain fizzled and she pushed him back, stepping into the jeans he'd stripped off of her. She understood and yet she didn't want to open herself to the possessiveness that threatened each time she touched him. "Don't."
Fingers gripped her hips and dragged her back against him. "Don't what? Don't fuck you until we're both too bruised to walk? Don't think about you every moment that I'm not on that stage? Don't wonder if you're fucking anyone else like you fuck me? What, James?"
The hideous darkness overlapped the tidal wave of lust. "No strings," she said hoarsely. "We agreed."
"Every time I cut the strings after I've had you I bleed just a little more. It kills me."
Tears burned and her voice went thick with it. "Then you don't get to touch me."
He spun her around. "No, don't you say that. Don't you ever say that!" His eyes were wild and his face pale with fatigue both from the show he'd just walked off of and the blistering sex they always had. It was never easy, never safe. Each time they got within the other's air it was always like this. Find the nearest corner, the nearest shadow, the nearest hiding spot that would let him be inside her the most expediently.
And no, it was never enough.
"Shh," she whispered, her finger over his mouth. "I didn't mean it."
His mouth took hers, hard and rough. Pulling back, he met her eyes, knuckling away the tears that had overflowed. "This has to burn out sometime, I know it. Nothing can be like this and last without putting one of us in the ground." He cupped her face, his thumbs smoothing over her cheekbones. "But it doesn't feel like it's going to do that anytime soon."
Her chest eased as logic poured into his blue eyes instead of that blind lust. It scared her, the way he felt about her, the lust she could deal with--she could match stride for stride, stroke for stroke--but the desperation was dangerous. Desperation equaled mistakes and they weren't allowed to make mistakes.
She pushed forward and bit his lower lip, then laved it with her tongue until it throbbed under the slick wetness of her touch. "We can ride the flame, but we both know it's going to end sometime, Slick. And when it does we both have to walk away. It won't work if we don't both walk away at the same time." She forced herself to let him go, even when every part of her wanted to curl around him and never let go.
And that simply wasn't allowed to happen.
She pulled herself together and headed into the backstage madness, forcing herself not to look back at him. If she did, she'd never leave. The second night in Portland and there were just 2 nights left to deal with. Then a blissful week off. A week where she could curl into her own bed, in her room...to let her family infuse her with something real, something normal. The road didn't have any basis in reality. It was one more mile-marker on a stretch of endless road. All the hotels looked the same, all the fans were starting to look the same.
That wasn't what she did this for. It was the stage that kept her sane, but the unending schedule was killing her. That was the only true statement she could make right now. The only thing she could swear on a stack of bibles about. She needed to get away. She needed the White Shoulders scent of her mother, and the tobacco and Old Spice familiarity of her father. The full bed smashed into the corner of her room with the bookcases filed with her notebooks. Writing music was her solace and she needed that scent of paper, of home to get her back to center.
Gratefully she took the red cup of oblivion from David as she walked into the party. She downed her first beer, took a swig from some guy's bottle of brew and pushed her way through the melee of people. All of them were faceless and certainly nameless to her. And at the center of it was an exuberant Ash and laughing Stephanie. A crowd of men surrounded them and her brother watched from the edges.
Turning into him, she lifted the pint of Vodka from his spidery fingers and took a gulp.
"Hey! Get your own," he groused.
She plopped on his lap and circled her arm around his neck, pointing her chin at Steph. "Why don't you go get your own?"
"I have my stash."
"Don't be obtuse, brother mine. You know what I mean."
"Get off," he said and stood another long pull from his bottle was his only retort.
"She won't wait forever," she called after him but Richie was ignoring her as plainly as he was ignoring Steph. Even if his eyes followed her all over the room. Even if he was too stupid to go and take what he wanted for once in his life. He went after everything else he wanted. She wasn't sure what scared him about all five feet two of her best friend.
But scared is what he was. Running scared.
And when she saw the vial pass from Doc to Richie she shook her head in disgust. He'd get high and ignore her for the night. And she hated that she wanted to do the exact same thing. Just one line and she could push the sludge of want and guilt out of her system and ride the high that never let her down. She followed him out the door, swearing when he slammed the door in her face not even seeing her. She pushed her way into the underbelly of the party. The air was thick with pot and too many colognes. Dim with only a few lights, she picked her way across wriggling bodies and simpering females in varying stages of undress.
Ad execs, friends, suits, or sluts, it didn't matter who you were when the lights were this low. Making sure she skimmed the edges of the party on the opposite side of the room to her brother, she smiled slyly when a suit slid his too soft hands around her wrist. It never took long.
"Oh yeah," she said and squeezed between two of the faceless and cut a line. She leaned forward, a hand at her back, the mirror smeared with razor scrapes and sweet oblivion just a moment away.
A blast of sunshine seared her corneas what felt like only minutes later. Somehow she'd ended up back in her room, and alone thank fuck. How she got there, she had no clue. Jamie rolled over, flinging the sheet and pillow over her head and prayed for black out curtains. "What the fuck?" she bellowed.
"Up and at 'em!"
"I know you didn't just clap at me like I'm a dog," she said from under the pillow.
Steph only laughed. "Hey, you knew we were going out shopping all day. You shoulda kept with your namesake or beer. It's not my fault you partied hard."
Hard wasn't the word for what she did last night. The guys she'd partied with had a limitless supply and seemed to be just content with hanging out with her. Of course, if you were a guy and had enough blow in you, your dick was about as useful as a overdone pasta. She reached onto the floor for her bag and found her No-Doze and aspirin, dry swallowing them before she stumbled out of bed. "Just let me get a shower."
Jamie shouldered her way into the bathroom, praying that the No-Doze would kick in so she could function. After dunking her head in the shower, she felt slightly more human. Ten minutes later she had her hair dried and was digging into her bag for something clean. Normally they did laundry on day two, but shopping took precedence. She wanted new clothes and new hair.
"Well, you look marginally more human."
"A shower does wonders, Lolly."
"Don't call me that."
She arched a brow at Steph. "C'mon, everyone else does."
"I hate it."
"Or is it that you hate being known for the power of your suck," she teased and flicked the end of her pick stained stick.
"One man should know, but he's too stupid to do anything about it."
Jamie winced. "Tell me that wasn't a veiled threat about you giving my big brother a blow job."
"Yeah well, it's not my fault that you're his sister."
She flipped a black lace shirt over a blue tank and hiked up black jeans over her hips. They were a little big on her at the moment. So, she'd have to add new jeans to her list as well. There was only so much a belt could do.
"Why is your ass baggy?"
She just shrugged. "Eating tends to be last on our list some nights."
"Not on my list," Steph pouted. "Though the kneeling stuff through Addicted has been adding to my stomach exercises." She lifted her loose white shirt and rubbed her palm down her flat belly. There was a sizable gap in her jeans too. "Well, look at that. Maybe I need new jeans too."
Jamie leaned down and snagged her credit card and jammed it in her back pocket. Rooted around until she found a pack of smokes and shoved them in her other pocket. "We good?"
"I've been good."
Jamie laughed over her shoulder. "You've been way too good. In fact, on our shop-a-thon I think we should make sure that whatever we buy is very, very bad for tonight's festivities."
Steph shouldered a denim sack that could quite possibly hold a child. "I think you're right. I need to step it up. I'm going to make sure that man is going to swallow his damn tongue tonight. And then maybe I can go fishing for it and show him how to use it properly."
She winced. "You're going to make my eye twitch. Cut it out."
Pushing her out the door, Steph leaned in very close. "I want Richie to put his--"
"Stop! Stop! Stop!" She clapped her hands over her ears and stomped down the hallway. "You're killing me."
Steph plowed her into the wall and ran ahead making her chase her down the stairs until they came face to face with Doc and Alec. "Shit," Jamie muttered. Al's slick and jittery eyes scraped over her chest and half exposed belly making her want to curl into flannel and eight layers of sweats. Christ, he was fucking creepy.
"Where are you two headed?" Al asked, interest blatant in his dark eyes.
"None of your business, I took care of the morning radio station spots." Steph sneered up at him.
"Don't fucking steal a car today, huh?" Doc said to Steph.
"Then I guess you should find us a ride."
"I'll drive 'em," Al said with another lingering look.
"I'd rather do shots of battery acid," Jamie said with a step forward.
Doc put a hand on Al's shoulder, holding him back and snapped his fingers at one of the bellhops. "Do you have a shuttle service to the shopping plazas?"
The boy nodded, trying desperately not to stare at Steph. Jamie popped a cigarette in her mouth and lit up with a laugh. Having Al so close made her skin crawl, but she was getting better at ignoring him. Even if he stared at her tits way too much. She slung her arm around the boy's shoulder and flicked her gaze at the gold tag on his too-skinny chest. "Are you going to take us to the big, bad mall, Todd?"
The kid flushed, freckles glowing off cheeks stained so red she almost felt sorry for him.
"Leave him alone, Jamie." Steph stepped up and blew the kid away with her heart-stopper smile. "Todd is it?"
The kid bobbed his head and stammered a yes.
Jamie laughed, taking a long drag on her cig and blew a stream of smoke toward Doc. "If we can borrow the kid and a car we'll be out of your hair all day." She grinned wider when Todd's face flushed even darker and his eyes widened. "Oh yeah, Todd, you'll do. We won't hurt him--much."
Steph rolled her eyes. "Down, girl." She slid her arm through Todd's. "You wouldn't mind driving us around would you?"
"I--my boss wouldn't--I mean, it would...ahh," he laughed nervously when she slid her fingers into his and laced them. "Let's just go talk to your boss and see what he says." Steph walked over to the desk and Jamie tapped her ash on the floor. "Another one bites the dust," she muttered. "Look, we won't make trouble. We just need to get out and away from everyone for awhile. We'll just go spend some money and be back in a few hours."
"Soundcheck is at three, think you can manage to get back for that?"
She flipped around the Rolex on Doc's fat wrist and winced. It was only ten in the morning. "Yeah, I think we can manage that."
Steph came back with her arms wrapped around Todd's teen-aged biceps. Stammering had turned to adoration as he fumbled with the keys to a vehicle. "Todd is going to be our chauffeur."
"Three o'clock, Steph. I mean it."
Steph nodded with a beaming smile. "Three o'clock--check!" She dragged Todd to the front doors and Jamie flanked his other side. The kid would live off this moment for weeks, might as well play it up.
Ten minutes later they were in front of a huge white and chrome mall.
"Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about." Steph slid out of the back of the van and plastered a pair of big sunglasses on her face. "Hair first?"
Jamie pushed at her overgrown hair and tugged at the red strips that had faded to a pink. "Definitely hair."
"We're going to take a few hours in the salon, Todd. So you can go ahead and do whatever. We'll meet you at the food court around noon."
The kid bobbed his head and they both walked off without another thought for the kid. "I think it's time for a new color."
"Yeah?" I was thinking the same thing. Steph fluffed her curls out. "I think I want a bit more blonde and it to be silky straight for tonight."
"Straight?" Jamie peered down at her best friend. "Who are you and what did you do with Lolly?"
Steph stuck her tongue at her and shoved a tootsie pop in her cheek. "I want to kill your brother tonight. So, let's go with Dangerous Stephanie."
"All right Dangerous Stephanie, let's get you tricked out." She laughed and pushed her into the chrome and glass doors of Ruby's Salon. It was a Tuesday and the place was practically deserted.
A woman with impossibly red hair peeked around the corner, waved a greeting and disappeared, then slowly backed her way back out and turned. "Holy crap!"
Steph smiled warmly and held out her hand. "I'm S--"
"Stephanie Loran," she breathed out and turned to her. "And you're Jamie Sambora," she said in a reverent whisper. "Oh man, oh man!" The woman snatched both of their wrists and dragged them inside. "Oh man!"
Jamie's eyes bugged as they were dragged into the shop. Posters overwhelmed the space. Some were the typical salon posters with various hairstyles and ads for hair care and color, but the other posters were metal bands, including three of their own. No shit. Jamie grinned. An honest to God uber fan. She just hoped it was good fan and not crazy fan.
"I was at that kick ass show last night! I can't believe you're in my shop! In my shop!" she all but squealed. "Okay, okay, I'm cool. Honestly." With shaking fingers she shook out a Marb from her apron. "I gotta smoke, okay?"
Jamie reached for her own crushed pack and offered one to Steph.
Steph waved it off. "Gotta save the pipes for tonight. I'm already raw."
Jamie lit up and looked around. Bright red stools dotted each station with sparkling clean mirrors and white and black checked floors. "Cool place..."
"Oh shit, I'm sorry. I'm Ruby. This is my place. Holy fuck, I can't believe half of Devotion is in my tiny little place. Holy fuck!"
Jamie laughed and dumped herself into one of the swivel chairs. "S'all good babes." She took a drag and swayed back and forth. "Since you're a fan, you know we gotta look badass. I need a new look and so does Steph."
"Oh man, oh shit! No shit!" Ruby crossed her arms and tapped her cheek with one long purple tipped nail. "Let me think."
"Well, let me start off with saying I want my hair cornsilk soft and straight and blonde it up."
Ruby stubbed out her cigarette and reached for Steph. "Oh yeah, you can use a touch up," she winced. "Sorry, I didn't mean--"
"No, it's okay. We've been on the road for months and we totally need an overhaul." Steph fluffed her bangs. "I want to keep my layers for my crazy curls, but I want you to straighten it really well so I can wear it like that for at least a full day, including a show."
"I got this new shine stuff--"
Jamie tuned them out as they talked about bangs and layers and the show tonight. Steph knew just how to make the girl feel like a million bucks and how to get the best look for herself. Not that Steph needed any help. Her hair back in pigtails, no make up, and that stupid lollipop in her mouth, the men were lining up. She stood, walking the length of the walls and plucking up books for styles and colors.
She stared into the mirror, fluffing her own hair. The feathering layers required more hairspray than she could deal with lately so she definitely needed a clip. Right now it was flat to her head and all sorts of pink streaks instead of the hot crimson she started with at the beginning of the tour. She looked over her shoulder and Steph had a cap on her head and strips of her hair being pulled through for highlights. Nose-searing bleach tinged the air and made her eyes water as Ruby and Steph chattered about the show the night before.
Richie coming on stage had been a surprise, a good one, but a surprise none-the-less. Playing on stage with her brother was a kick, and she hoped to do it again, but watching Steph melt around her brother had hit hard. Not because they were obviously on their way to getting together. No, she was cool with that--hell, she wanted it to happen so they would both stop with the puppy eyes around each other, but the way they got to be all over each other. The way she could curl around Richie and not worry about fucking anything up in their happy world.
She couldn't do that with Jon.
She wasn't allowed to jump in his arms because then everyone would know. She couldn't even pretend to hang off of him as it had to be obvious as hell, if she even touched him once, that she was fucking him blind every chance she got. Guilt talking much? Fucking hell. She gripped the hair at the back of her skull and forced herself to not smoke another damn cigarette. Her throat was on fire from too many as it was. "You got a water or soda or something in here, Ruby?"
"Oh yeah, sure." She opened a mini fridge and tossed them both a cold can of Diet Coke. "Okay, you're up Jamie."
She plopped into the chair and grinned at Steph. She had her hair in foils and looked like a sci-fi Medusa. "Very hot Mz. Loran."
Jamie roared out a laugh. "The price we pay for beauty." She looked at Ruby through the mirror. "Surprise me. I'm now at your mercy."
Ruby's heavily made up eyes widened until there was way too much white for her liking. "Really?"
"Yeah," she shrugged. "Do me, baby," she said with a grin and closed her eyes.