Short Fics





Chapter 18

"WHAT?!" Veruca stared disbelievingly at Alex.

"You KNOW what I'm talking about don't play dumb, bitch!" Alex was on the verge of yelling, slamming his hand onto the table.

"You can't put the blame on me! I wasn't even there you prick!" Veruca shot back. She'd stood up from her chair and was now standing face to face with her employer cum boyfriend, her eyes burning with fury.

"All the more you should be blamed! It was YOUR responsibility to see to it that nothing like this would happen. And it did! And where were you? Out bangin' those fuckhead Linkin Park!" he threw the thick folder of statements and police report on the table. Veruca tried to control her anger, shutting her eyes and counting slowly.

"So how's that MY fault?! I TOLD you I was taking the day off! EVERYONE KNEW it was MY day off! It's been on the schedule for ages! And don't bring the guys into this!"

He looked at her for a moment before saying, "You settle this shit, Veruca. I don't care what you're going to do and how you're going to do but you get it done." He turned to look out the window of the makeshift office.

"No," Veruca glared at his back. He turned abruptly to look at her as if he didn't understand what she had just said.

"I'm not going to fix your shit, Alex. It's not my responsibility and I had 
absolutely nothing to do with it. You want it settled, get one of your 
minions to do it. Better still, settle it yourself, cos I ain't your little 
servant girl." She blurted out in anger.

Two weeks into the fest and a fight had let up in the pits. She wasn't there to see what happened, but Liz had told her that there were 6 people hurt and one of them was in a critical condition, having been hit over the head with a beer bottle during the fight. The police department had sent for a statement from the company over the violation of safety and violence codes. Veruca had been out with the guys when it happened. They were taken by surprise to see the police and ambulance at the entrance instead of the normal crowd and loud music. Alex had dragged her into his office the moment he found her, going off about the whole incident as if it was her fault. She'd let him go on, not knowing what really happened, but when he'd called her up again, tossing the entire responsibility onto her lap, that was the last straw.

"What the hell are you crappin' about now?" he glared at her.

"Quittin'. I've had enough of you giving me shit over this job and over my own life. I don't need this, and you know that. Bet you also know that without me around, you can't do shit. So yeah. I'm quittin'. Both you and the job," she added the last bit at the last moment and stormed out of the room, not letting him get a word in edgewise.

She groaned inwardly when she'd cooled off. In truth, she needed the job. Apart from the fact that she actually loved doing what she did, she needed the money for her new apartment and Camaros don't exactly come cheap. Liz was nowhere to be found. Great. Just when you need her to talk to, she's nowhere to be found. Veruca frowned, downing her beer as she sat at the edge of the stage. Her sex life with Alex was the least of her worries right now. She didn't know either why losing her job with him bothered her so much. The thought of the money came into mind and she groaned again. She let her legs dangle over the six feet high stage, ignoring the stage crew cleaning up behind her.

Chapter 19

"Hey yo. What's up gurl?" She saw a pair of Adidas sneakers beside her and looked up as Mike sat down beside her, letting his legs dangle over the stage. "Hey." She offered him a can of beer and watched him pop it open happily. She watched him, her mind churning.

She was glad that things had worked out well after the night they spoke. He'd resumed to his normal bubbly self again and had seemed to have forgotten whatever that had happened before that. Chester had actually thanked her for returning Mike to normal again. She'd laughed at the way he'd gotten to his knees and kissed the back of her hand thankfully before hugging her tightly.

"So, wanna talk about it?" he asked her placing his half empty beer can beside him.

"Huh?" she stared at him blankly.

"You look like you have something on your mind, kid." he grinned at her. She arched her eyebrows, grinning herself, covering the fact that his smile still affected her in a way she couldn't explain. "It's that obvious?"

"Yeah. You've got 'Big Problem' written over your forehead and a neon sign that says 'help' hangin' over your head." He teased, poking her forehead.

"That's lame, Mike. Really lame." Veruca mumbled over the can of beer.

He let out a short laugh, "So tell me already, V. What's up?" he leaned back on his hands, staring at her.

"Oh, nothing big, really." She shrugged, mimicking his action. "Just had this big fight with Alex."

"Work or love?" he asked, flinching inwardly at the last word. He still couldn't believe how a woman like Veruca could end up with Alex.

"Both." she scowled. "What love?" she scoffed a few seconds later. He chuckled. It sounded like the most wonderful sound in the world that moment.

"Okay, so care to elaborate on that? Or do I have to make you?" he shot her a devilish look.

"He's holding me responsible for the incident. So if anything happens and the authorities closes the company and bans the fest, I'm the one that's in deep shit."

"That prick. That's not fair. You weren't even there when it happened." Mike frowned. He'd never liked Alex from the time he'd met him. He'd disliked him even more when he found out about him and Veruca. He tried to convince himself that it wasn't jealousy. They just don't seem right together, that's all.

"That's what I have been trying to tell him, but I might as well talk to a rock. It would have understood me better than he did. He was just giving me hell over the whole thing. So I told him I quit." She said calmly. He gawked at her.

"You quit?!" he asked disbelievingly. She nodded, smiling at him. "Yeah dumped him too," her smile spread into a grin. Mike's grin was instant. "Yeah. Bout time."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, sitting up suddenly.

"Nothing. Just glad that you finally did what you should have done ages ago. Alex is bad news, girl."

"You don't say," she chuckled. "He never fails to remind me what a prick he is."

"So then why did you stay on with him that long?" Mike furrowed his brows. He was sitting Indian style, facing her and he had a serious look on his face that Veruca couldn't help but laugh at.

"You know, when a girl knows what a prick her boyfriend is and still stay on, there's only one reason for it," she said.

"Has he been threatening you? Abuse?" Mike's eyes widened.

"Okay, so maybe two reasons. But no. You think I'm stupid or something?" she giggled. "I wouldn't let him abuse me."

His mouth was agape, when he suddenly understood what she was implying. She was sent into fits of laughter. "Oh my god. VERUCA! I never knew. You slut you!" he had a grin on his face by then. "For real?!"

"Yeah. And he was really good too. I mean DAMN FUCKIN' GOOD, okay." she confessed humbly, enjoying the look on his face. She'd always knew that he'd seen her as a nice sweet person. Well, now he knows what I really am. Let's see how far he's gonna run.

"Wait. We're talking about the same thing here right?" he asked to make sure.

"I was talking about sex. What were you talking about?" she smirked. He opened his mouth to say something, then shut it. "Right. Okay.." he didn't know what else to say.

"So you wouldn't be working with the fest anymore. But you needed the money, didn't you?"

"Yeah well, I'll figure something out. I always do. Besides, now I get all my days free so I can hang out with you guys as much as I want." She gave him a sweet look as best she could. "My plane ticket's not due for another couple of weeks anyway. Thought that I could really check out this place before I leave."

"Oh yeah." He said thoughtfully. "Cool!"

"We're gonna go down to Cube again later. Wanna come along?" he asked as he got up and dusted his pants. She shook her head. She was tired and the beer had made her sleepier. She wondered how she was going to drive back to her hotel.

"I'll see you guys tomorrow. I need sleep badly," she heaved a sigh and yawned.

"Okay then. See ya girl." He headed towards the stairs and turned back after a few paces. "You hang in there girl. Take care alright?" he hugged her, catching her by surprise. That was the first time he'd gotten that close to her after that night. She smiled, watching him make his way back to the tour bus. She popped open the last can of beer and sat drinking it, watching the southern skies. Maybe things aren't going to turn out so bad after all...

Chapter 20

She heard a far off banging. Stirring amongst her sheets, she groaned as the banging got louder. She covered her head with her pillow, hoping that the sound would go away and she could continue with her sleep.

"VERUCA!" She finally say up, cursing under her breath when she heard her name being called.

"What!" she muttered rudely, as she opened the door, looking up bleary eyed at the person standing in front of her. she groaned.

"Whaddaya want Joe? It better be good. You're depriving me of my beauty sleep here. Don't wanna see how ugly I can get." She mumbled dragging herself back to her bed, Joe following her in.

"Mike told us about what happened, gurl." He sounded too happy about it. Veruca made a face, her eyes still closed. She'd lay down back on her bed and had submitted to the soft warm covers of her bed willingly.

"Get up, sleepyhed." She felt Joe poking her. "Mike's got something to tell you," he said insistently.

"What? Now?" she turned to her side and snuggled up against her pillow.

"Yeah now!" Joe pulled the covers away from her and consequently pulled her up by her arm. "Girl. Get your butt up now!" He moved over to the other side of the bed and proceeded to push her off the side. She yelled when she hit the floor.

"Okay okay. I'm up," she mumbled, rubbing her sore back. "What's this thing Mike wanted to tell me and why is it so important that you have to wake me at the ungodly hour of 2 in the afternoon when every other sane person is asleep?" she grumbled, getting into the bathroom.

"You just wait for him to tell you!" Joe called from the room.

"Mike, is that you?" she mumbled with her toothbrush in her mouth when she heard the door close.

"Yeah," he grinned at her when she popped her head out from the bathroom door. "Take your time, honey! No hurry." He chuckled jokingly.

"So? what is it?" she asked, unimpressed by the fact that they'd broken her sleep cycle.

"I was thinking about what you told me last night and I have got THE greatest idea." Mike's eyes flashed excitedly.

"Yeah, what?" Veruca sat back down onto the bed, looking up at him.

"Since you don't have a job, why don't you come work with us?" he asked. She looked from Mike to Joe suspiciously.

"Doing what?" she asked skeptically.

"Hm.. I dunno... stuff. You could be our manager cum organiser cum whatever else you were doing for Alex." Joe offered.

Veruca shot Mike a look, her eyebrows arched. "Whatever I was doing for Alex, huh?" she asked him. He smirked sheepishly. "Well, workwise, that is," he added.

"I'll think about that," she offered finally.

"No no no.. don't think! Say yes!" Joe pleaded with a pout.

"Okay! Have you talked to your actual manager about this yet, guys? Don't come getting my hopes up and then tell me that it was all a mistake," she warned.

"Yeah, sure. He's okay with it. If he's not, we'll fire him. The important 
thing is that YOU get a job." Joe sounded enthusiastic.

Laughing, Veruca shrugged. "Gee. That was fun. I've been fired less than a day ago and you're offering me a job already. Begging at my feet nonetheless." She joked. "Darn, I was looking forward to enjoy a few more days of being an unemployed bum."

"C'mon then, let's go meet your new workmates," Mike nodded towards the door.

Chapter 21

"What are you still doing here?" Alex caught her arm when he passed her. She frowned looking up at him.

"Don't worry Alex. I'm not here to get back at you or anything," she said bitterly.

"Shouldn't you be back in New York by now, bitch?"

"No... I'm quite happy here with my new job. Thanks for asking."

"What new job?" Alex's expression changed. He now looked at her skeptically.

"What do you care?" Veruca shot back, her eyes narrowing. "I don't work for you anymore and just in case you forgot, I've dumped you too. Plus, I'm not bound by any of your contracts so you pretty much can't do anything to me."

They stood near her car in the parking lot, glaring at each other, him seething because he knew what she'd just said was right. It made him feel worse than he already did. He wasn't just going to let Veruca go like that.

"So it's true what they said. About you working with those bastards?" his blue eyes narrowed menacingly at her. His lips thinned in a straight line. Veruca didn't feel the need to be afraid of him. She glared back with equal hatred.

"For the last time, Alex. Don't bring the guys into this. And don't freakin' call them bastards when we both know full well that YOU'RE the bastard here." She said through her teeth.

"So. This is how it's gonna be then huh? Find some other fuckheads you can fuck and dump me for someone else?" he asked bitterly. "So tell me. Is he as good as me? Has he satisfied you as well as I did? Or are you still trying to get him into your bed?"

"Shut up Alex. You know it's not about that." she clenched her fist to hold back her anger. She couldn't believe that he'd twist the entire situation into something so crude.

"So which one of those puck ass rockers are you after this time huh? The blond freak? The drummer? Or could that be the redhead half Jap.."

Veruca felt fury surge up inside her and before she knew it, she'd punched him on his nose. "Don't say shit about the guys, you prick! I told you not to! OW! DAMMIT!" She shook her hand which had started to hurt.

"OOOWW!!! FUCK!" Alex held his nose, glaring at her. "DAMN YOU BITCH!" He yelled hitting her back on her face. Veruca fell to the ground at the impact, holding her cheek. She stood up, tasting blood in her mouth and felt tears stinging her eyes. She knew that those weren't tears of defeat for she felt nothing except anger towards the man standing in front of her with a possible broken nose.

She watched as Alex fell to the ground, hearing knuckles cracking against his face. She blinked back her tears and watched as he was punched over and over again.

"THAT'S for hitting a woman, you pathetic sonofabitch!" She heard Mike growl as she watched him pick Alex up by his shirt. Alex groaned in pain, blood trickling from his mouth and nose.

"Are you okay?" he turned to her, looking at her in concern. She nodded blankly. "Dammit, V, you're hurt," he graced the red bruise on her cheek lightly with the back of his fingers. She flinched at the stinging pain and also his touch. "I can't believe that bastard hit you!" she could still hear trace of anger in his voice, but it was soft and comforting.

"Yeah. And thanks for coming to save my life AFTER I broke his nose," she mumbled, smirking slightly for him, hoping to lighten the situation. He stared at her, slightly taken aback, but chuckled when he caught her smirk.

"Hey, I came to your rescue didn't I?"

"Oh well, that's true." She let him lead her away from Alex who was glaring at them as he leaned on her car, tending to his own wounds.

"DAMMIT BITCH! YOU FUCKING BROKE MY NOSE!" He yelled, trying to stop the bleeding. "You're not going to get away with this easy!!" They ignored his yelling, walking off.

"Hey, your hand looks pretty bad too," Veruca pointed out as she sat 
patiently in the bus, Mike tending to her bruised cheek. She'd said that to break the silence and the awkward feeling that was growing inside her from being this close to him again. He turned to look at his hand absently and shrugged. He hadn't noticed that his knuckles were bruised from hitting Alex. He hadn't felt anything until then. He winced slightly as he used his bruised hand to clean her blood.

"It's nothing."

"You're such a shitty liar, "she chuckled, grabbing a roll of bandage from the first aid kit.

"Am NOT! It doesn't hurt a bit!" he said defensively.

"OH, don't try to turn all macho on me, Mike. You know it hurts." she smirked, holding his hand down to examine it, catching him flinch again. "So much for being the hero of the day huh, superman?" She wrapped his hand up in bandage as he watched her in silence.

"OH MY GOD!! WHAT HAPPENED?!" Chester exclaimed, overreacting, when he saw them, breaking the momentary silence.

"I got into a fight with Alex and our knight in shining armour here came to my rescue only after I got hit," Veruca grinned at him. Mike frowned. "Hey, stop saying that alright. I risked my life saving yours and I have a bruise to prove it," he held his hand up for her to see.

"Aw... poor Mikey's valiant act is not appreciated by the fair princess?" Chester cooed teasingly at Mike which made him frown more. "Shame on you, Veruca. Look how hurt Mike is now." Chester scolded Veruca who couldn't help but laugh when she looked from him to Mike.

"Aww.. Mike... thank you. I'm eternally grateful. I owe my entire life to 
you now, okay?" she looked up into his eyes innocently before erupting into fits of giggles again. She'd felt better and all her anger had disappeared by then. Mike grunted, pouting like a five year old. "I don't want your life. Oh forget it, V, if you're not going to be sincere about it." he turned away. Veruca stopped giggling and stared at his back, realising that she'd probably hurt his feelings somewhere along the line of cheering herself up.

"I'm sorry," she said quietly, resting a hand on his shoulder and caught a smirk on his face. "Yeah well, not forgiven. Unless you buy me dinner 
tonight." She gawked at him. "Fine," she laughed, shaking her head.

"Am I in this too?" Chester asked hopefully at the thought of free dinner.

"Yeah yeah. Sure." Mike mumbled, rubbing his sore hand as Chester jumped off the bus to get the rest of the guys. Veruca sat beside him, looking at him expectantly.

"Thank you," she gave him a sincere smile which caught him off guard. 
"Y'know, I was pretty freaked out when he hit me. I really don't know what I would have done if you weren't there. I might have killed him or something," she confessed, smirking at her last comment.

He laughed his deep delicious laugh again, "Oh, someone's trying to be all macho now. Kill sounds like a good thing to do, though." She peeked out the window to see the guys heading towards them. They hopped off the bus as the guys reached it.

Chapter 22

"What happened?!" Veruca burst into the room, looking around at the small crowd. Joe frowned looking up from the girl sitting on the couch.

"Someone pushed her during our show."

"Yeah! And Mike's gone out to find out which sick bastard did it!" the blond girl said enthusiastically. Veruca felt a smirk on her face despite the fact that someone just got hurt.

"So are you okay now?" She asked the girl who gave her a frown. Apparently shed been asked the same question a tad too many times.

"Oh, sure. If having an ankle that hurts like shit is okay. Then I guess I 
am," she retorted sarcastically. Veruca caught Joe smirking as he poked the girls ankle. "Stoppit Joe!" the girl kicked at Joe, narrowly missing his face as he stood up out of the way, grinning.

"You must be Gem," Veruca turned to the blond girl, her identity suddenly clicking in her head. Gem looked up skeptically at her and nodded. "Yeah. And he's annoying," she threw a cushion at Joe, hitting him on the stomach, hard.

"Hmm... yeah that he is." Veruca smirked at Joe.

"And I'm Erin," she spotted the girl who was sitting beside Gem and smiled warmly at her. She heard the door open and Mike's voice, "The guard said that someone pushed from the back and the crowd fell over the barracks onto him." He looked obviously angered.

"I'm sorry you had to go around finding out about this, Mike," Veruca spoke up, realising that she should have been the one doing what Mike had done.

"That's okay, V." He didn't seem to be angry at her as he sat down on the floor, tired.

"What else did you find out?" Chester asked from his chair.

"That's about it, man."

"So how are we gonna find out who did it?" Rob asked.

Some of them shrugged.

"Guys, I'm sure it's nothing really. Things like this happen at concerts all the time," Gem reasoned.

"No. We have gotta look into this, right Veruca?" Chester turned to her with a serious look on his face. She took a while to answer, but nodded in the end.

"Sure. I'll go check up on it straight away. Thanks for the help by the way Mike. Don't say I didn't give you credit where credit is due this time," she smiled lightly at him. He returned the smile with a relieved one. Erin looked at the both of them sitting beside each other skeptically. Was there something going on between the both of them? She couldn't tell for sure, but she had a strange feeling about their new manager. The fact that she was a gorgeous female egged Erin. She wondered why the guys had suddenly hired her out of the blue.

"Hey, could you get us something to eat too?" Chester asked sweetly. Veruca laughed as she stood up, rolling her eyes.

"Oh whatever. What do you want?" As the guys placed their orders, she tried memorising them, asking Gem and Erin for theirs too.

"Do you need any help, Veruca?" Brad asked looking up from his book.

"I'm not that helpless Brad." She waved him off.

"I've got good memory. I just know you're gonna get all our orders wrong. Besides, you're gonna need someone to carry the load of food Joe ordered," Chester offered.

"Right. You're scrawnier than me, Chez. I don't want to have to carry you too if you collapse," she teased as he cracked up good-naturedly.

"Want me to go with you then?" Mike asked, looking up at her.

"No, Mike. You stay here and rest. I'll manage." She shook her head, 

Chapter 23

They all jumped when the door slammed opened.

"What the fuck was that all about out there?!" They heard a voice boom over them and saw a tall dark haired man standing in the doorway, his eyes dark with fury. His tanned skin a stark difference to the white bandage on his nose.

Veruca groaned. Not again, she sighed mentally as she turned to face Alex.

"I don't need any more violence and people getting hurt here. What the fuck was that, Veruca?"

"That was what I was going to find out before you barged in here like some insane dog," she retorted pushing him aside to get out of the room. He pulled her back in roughly, glaring at her. Mike stood up, ready to break Alex's nose again.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" he asked, holding on to her arm. Veruca flinched. It had started to hurt, but she wasn't going to let him know that.

"That's none of your business." She said through her teeth, wishing that 
this wasn't happening. Not in front of the guys.

"The hell it is! Some one just got hurt during their show. The show I'M in 
charge of." He pointed to the direction of the guys who were all watching in 
silence. The girls were dumbfounded. "You're working for them now. Doesn't 
that make it my business to know where you're going?"

Behind Veruca, the guys had all stood up, frowning at the whole scene 
playing before them. Brad rested his hand silently on Mike's arm knowingly.

"I've put in a lot into this project, Veruca. Don't think you can just sneak 
your way in and ruin everything!"

"Are you trying to imply that I set that all up to jeopardise you?" her dark 
eyes narrowed sinisterly.

"Then why the hell is she sitting in here with you?" he pointed to Gem who 
looked taken aback to find that she was involved. "HEY! There wasn't any 
conspiracy okay! I'm the victim here!" she stood up for herself.

"What the fuck is your problem?! She got hurt, so the guys brought her back 
in here! It's that simple, Alex! Why do you have to twist everything around 
so that the blame falls on me?" her voice rose a few decibles.

"I'm not twisting anything Veruca!" he yelled back. "I know what you're 
trying to do," he grabbed her arm again when she tried to get out of the 
room, ignoring him.

"Ow!" she flinched, trying to pull away.

"HEY! Let go of her, you fuck!" Mike stepped forward before Brad could hold 
him back. He pried Alex's hand away from Veruca's arm, shoving him.

"You stay out of this, punk!" Alex pointed his finger at Mike threateningly, 
shoving him back.

Mike would have hit Alex if Veruca didn't stand in his way, making sure he 
couldn't reach for Alex. "I'm not doing anything except minding my own 
business, Alex. There's nothing else to explain to you. So get out of here 
before you get hurt," she told him curtly.

"What? Are you going to make one of your boys hit me again?" he scoffed. 
"Go ahead, man. Hit me. C'mon. I can always sue your asses off and bring 
this whole band down to nothing."

"She doesn't have to make us do it." Mike growled.

"We can sue you for harrassment and slander, too you know," Brad said 
coolly, from where he stood, arms crossed.

"Get out of here fuckhead! We don't want to dirty the carpet with your 
blood," Chester stepped up beside Mike.

"What the hell is your problem, you sick fuck?" Joe asked unbelievably, 
shaking his head.

"Just watch out, Veruca. The next time you won't get away with it that 
easy," he glared at her, realising the trap he'd created and stepped into 
him self. He stormed off, slamming the door behind him.

"Why didn't you let me at him?" Mike asked Veruca when Alex was gone. She 
looked up at him, expressionless, shaking her head.

"Thanks for trying to help guys." She looked at every one of them. "I'm 
really sorry about all that," she mumbled, stifling her anger before walking 
out of the room herself. Mike went after her, a worried look on his face.

"Veruca!" he called out, catching up with her. She walked on, ignoring him. 
"V!" he reached out to grab her arm when he was close enough. She stopped, 
flinching from the pain in her arm. It still hurt where Alex had grabbed 
her. "I'm sorry," he let go of her arm apologetically.

"Are you alright?" he looked at her, eyes filled with concern. "Yeah," she 
shrugged nonchalantly forcing him a smile. "I'm just gonna go get you guys 
lunch okay?" she headed towards the direction of her car.

"V," Mike stood his ground, looking at her quick disappearing form stupidly 
before catching up with her. "I'm coming along whether you like it or not." 
he said as he slipped into the passenger's seat beside her. She threw him a 
glance and pulled out of the parking lot without saying a word.


"Stop bugging me Mike. I told you I'm alright," she said as she counted the 
correct amount of cash and paid the pimply cashier for the food.

"I'm not gonna stop until you tell me what's up." He lugged the bags of food 
with him ,following her out. She sighed, stopping in her tracks, "Fine. I'm 
just really pissed off over the fact that he isn't leaving me alone and I 
know he's not stopping until he's got me good." She frowned. "Can you hold 
on to this for a sec?" she passed him her bags, fishing her keys out of her 

"See, that wasn't so hard to get out was it?" he asked, trying to lighten 
the situation. "Anyway, you don't have to worry because we're here to 
protect you, so nothing's gonna happen to you as long as we're around, 

"Mike, what I'm worried about is him doing something bad to you guys." She 
turned to tell him a matter of factly. "Don't underestimate Alex, okay? He 
may be a loser, but he's got connections and he can get you guys defunct in 
the matter of hours. You all don't deserve this," she smiled, as if it could 
neutralise the negativity she was feeling.

He stared at her, not knowing what to say. "That's about it that's up with 
me, Mike. Thanks for trying to listen to me and all that shit. I appreciate 
it," she gave him a genuine smile, looking into his eyes. "Really. I do," 
her smile widened when he didn't seem convinced. He returned her smile, but 
he still felt that there was something wrong somewhere. He couldn't 
understand why she was hiding it from him. He turned to watch the road 

She was back to her normal cheerful self by the time they got back to the 
room. He watched her downing her food heartily as she laughed at Joe. He 
swallowed the last of his burger and turned his attention to Erin. Thoughts 
of Veruca danced in his head and he tried his best to push them aside as he 
spoke to the girl in front of him.

"HEY! SOUNDCHECK IN FIVE!" she yelled up the bus where the guys were waiting 
in. "Get your butts down here prom queens! Are you guys done with the make 
up?" She flashed Rob a grin when he hopped off first.

"A man has to look his best always," he grinned back, adjusting the collar 
of his black workshirt and waited for the rest of the guys twirling his 
drumsticks in his hands.

"You don't EVER rush a rock star like that!" Chester chuckled.

They'd just arrived back in California for another leg of their tour. All 
new venues, awesome songs, same old organiser. Veruca groaned at the thought 
of working near Alex again.

"Rock star my ass!" Mike laughed as he came down the bus behind Chester. 
They headed for the arena which was already full. Another band was onstage 
performing. Straining her ears to distinguish the song, she realised it was 

"Hey guys!!" They heard a familiar voice and turned to find Gem and Erin 
beaming at them in their LP T-shirts. There was another girl with them, 
about the same height as Gem.

"HEY! It's my Gemmy!" Joe hugged her. "And Erin! And girl I don't know!" Joe 
hugged them all, grinning from ear to ear. When there was Gem around, there 
were Skittles and he beamed when she slipped him his bagful. He popped some 
in his mouth, his green frog flopped on his shoulder.

Erin stepped over to Mike and hugged him, not missing the fact that Veruca 
was standing beside him.

"This is Holly," Erin introduced to the guys. "She came over here with Gem. 
She's from the UK too."

"This is Veruca," Chester slinked an arm over Veruca's shoulders as they 
continued their journey with the additional three people.

As she waited for the guys to finish their 40 minute show, Veruca busied 
herself with their schedule that Martine, LP's manager had gladly handed 
over to her to be in charge of. She'd thought that it would have been a 
great idea that Veruca took over while she moseyed off to the Caribbean for 
a long break.

Photo shoots.... interview... interview... online chat... interview.... 
gig.... rest... She mentally read out the events for the next day. She 
smirked knowingly. Chester was going to make a big fuss over the full 
schedule for sure. She sipped the cup of tea, not lifting her gaze from the 

"Peekaboo... Iseeyooo..." she looked up to see Joe's head at the door.

"Are you guys done already?" she asked, not realising until then how fast 
time flew.

"Nope. Still have to be at the booth. I came to drop of my frog. Take care 
of him 'kay?" he placed the frog carefully into her hands.

"Okay. I'm charging five bucks an hour by the way. Babysitting's tough 
work!" she called out as he exited the small dressing room where they'd 
placed all their belongings in. "Go rob a bank!" she heard him yell as he 
made his way back to the signing booth.

"V?" she heard a familiar female voice at the door and shrieked when she 
looked up. "LIZ!" she ran over to hug her friend.

"Woman, it's been AGES since I last saw you!" Liz sat down in front of her. 
"So what have you been up to?"

"Yeah.. I miss you too woman." Veruca rolled her eyes. "Nothing much. Just 
work," she shrugged.

"And what about the red head?" Liz smirked cheekily.

"What about him?" Veruca smiled innocently.

"Don't play dumb girl. What's up with him and you?"

"Nothing." Veruca grinned. "Really, Liz. There's nothing between us. He's 
awful sweet though. They all are."

"Say... is that the famed frog of Joe's" Liz eyed the green toy lying on the 
papers. Veruca nodded. "How much do you think the girls would give to get 
their hands on this bugger?"

"Liz... stop that. Poor Joe would shrivel up and die if he loses this," she 
grabbed the frog from her friend and placed it back on the papers. "You 
wouldn't want to be around when that happens. All hell breaks lose."

Liz laughed her high pitched laugh. "How about that other guy. The drummer? 
He seems like a silent brooding type. Is he single?" her eyes flashed 

"Uh.. Liz... he's way too young for you woman. How old are you again? What? 
24? 25?" Liz shrugged. "That depends on my mood." She answered cooly. "I'm 
23 sometimes." She joked.

"Gurl, he's 21. So hands off alright!" Veruca warned, knowing that Liz would 
have made a move on Rob even if he was 17.

"He's old enough to make his own decisions. Don't be a bitch and mother him 
like that," Liz went on.

"HAH! Hands off! I'm not gonna let you corrupt the mind of a sweet innocent 
kid, okay."

"Shit, he's not a kid, V. Hello... he's 21 and so goddamn hot if you ask 

"I didn't ask..." Veruca grinned as Liz stuck her tongue out at her.

"Well, I better go darlin'." Liz got up finally and headed for the door. 
"You better let me know when something happens between you and that redhead. 
And be quick with it will ya? I'm growing mushrooms on my head just 

"Yeah. Might be a new breed. You'll make good money and get to name it!" 
Veruca chided, avoiding whatever Liz said before the mushrooms. Seeing Liz 
again was good. She'd missed her friend and it had been weeks since she last 
saw her.

She stacked up her papers and places the frog back into Joe's bag before she 
headed out herself to the booth where the guys were. She had a sudden urge 
to go check up on Rob.

"Hey girls, have you seen the guys anywhere?" She asked when she neared the 
three girls who were talking amongst themselves. They looked up and grinned.

"Joe and Chester's gone to get more beer. Probably nabbing them from someone 
else's room," Erin said.

"The rest of them have gone back up the bus for some stuff. They told us to 
tell you that if you came around asking for them," Gem informed.

"Thanks. Did they say anything about dinner?" she asked the girls. She 
didn't mind getting closer to the fans, actually. They seemed like an 
interesting bunch of people. She wondered what it was like to be in their 
shoes. They shook their head.

"Great! So you girls wanna tag along if we go have dinner?" she asked the 
girls who beamed at her. Won their hearts instantly. "I'm sure one of the 
guys would know of a good place to eat around here," she went on.

"Don't they have to go home? They DO live around here, right?" Holly asked.

"Not till tomorrow night. They've got a full schedule tomorrow." She sat up 
on the barrack with the girls, waiting for the guys to get back so she could 
ask them about dinner. "They're living in LA. That's about an hour's drive 
from here." They nodded.

She noticed that Gem and Holly had the same spiked bracelet as Chester and 
Erin's ear stud was suspiciously similar to Mike's. They were nice girls. 
She knew that it was people like them that were part of what kept the guys 
going. They'd always placed so much importance on their music and their 

"So, when did you guys first got to know about Linkin Park?" she asked 
aimlessly trying to kill time.

"When they first came out with the single," Holly said proudly. "I've always 
loved them."

"Yeah us too," Erin nodded in agreement, popping her gum.

"Cool." Veruca smiled at them.

"What about you?" Gem asked. She looked sincere about the question.

"Oh, I never knew them until I had to work with the organisers at Ozzfest."

"So how come you're working for the guys now? What happened?" Holly asked. 
She beamed at the fact that Veruca was lucky enough to be working so near 
all her favourite bands. "You're so fucking lucky to have worked at the 

"Lucky wouldn't be my exact definition of it, gurl," Veruca rolled her eyes, 
reminded of Alex.

"Remember that loser who made a big fuss over you falling off stage?" She 
asked Gem. "I got into a big fight with him over another incident and I quit 
my job and dumped the asshole," she grinned, a little proud of that.

"He was your BOYFRIEND?!" Erin asked disbelievingly. Veruca laughed, 

"What the fuck were you thinking of, gurl?" Gem asked, totally put off by 
the thought of Alex.

"You wouldn't want to know," Veruca mumbled.

"Wouldn't want to know what?" Mike asked as they guys came up to them, a can 
of beer in their hand each.

"Nothing. I just told them about Alex and how I landed this awesome kickass 
job with you guys," she smirked at the tall emcee who offered her his beer. 
The rest of the girls looked at them with a funny expression on their faces 
as Veruca took a gulp of his beer.

"Yeah and V here needed money desperately to support her obsessive 
compulsive shopping and her apartment and her Camaro, so I did the only 
thing a hero can do. Give her a job," Mike grinned at the girls.

"The only thing YOU could do?" Joe's brow arched inquiringly.

"I DID come up with the idea," Mike offered. Joe sneered at the answer.

"Oh yeah I told the girls we'll be having dinner with them. Aren't we 
girls?" she smirked at the three girls who returned her smile with wan ones.

"There's this really great Japanese restaurant in town. Let's go there," 
Phoenix suggested.

"Me no like sushi," Joe made a face.

"You can have the noodle then. No one's asking you to eat sushi," Brad said.

Veruca strolled arm in arm with Chester down towards the van she'd rented 
for them. He'd begged her to let him drive her Camaro, but she'd refused, 
knowing that he'd had more than three beers and she didn't want her car to 
end up in some ditch with the rest of the passengers hurt.

"Darn it bitch," he stuck his tongue out at her childishly.

"Oh get in the van Ches," she rolled her eyes, pushing him into the back of 
the van. Brad and Rob offered to ride in Veruca's car, happy that they 
didn't have to squeeze with the rest in the van. They also knew that the 
girls would want to sit with their favourite band members. They didn't 
really mind. Plus, Chester was out of the way and he was pretty hyper that 
day. Rob turned up the volume on Veruca's stereo and Drops of Jupiter by 
Train poured out the speakers.

"Whastis?" Brad asked from the backseat. "Train. Drops of Jupiter. You know. 
That band that sand Meet Virginia? Are they awesome or are they awesome?" 
she asked.

"I thought WE were awesome," Brad grinned.

"Yeah, well, but they're awesome in a different style," she wondered why 
they bothered to bicker about something as nonsensical as that. They let the 
music take over as the lead singer sang about deep fried chicken and soy 

"Hey Veruca," Brad finally spoke up long after the song has faded out into 
another of Train's song. "I've been wondering. Is there something going on 
between you and Mike?"

Veruca almost hit the brakes when she heard the question. Instead she 
laughed and shook her head. "What makes you think so?" she glanced at Brad 
through the rearview mirror.

"I dunno. It just seems that way if you watch the both of you long enough." 
he shrugged. "Don't you think so, Rob?"

"Yeah!" Rob nodded. "C'mon Veruca. Are the both of you secretly seeing each 
other or something?"

"GUYS! He's hardly been out of your sight. How the heck is that possible?" 
she laughed at the absurdity of the whole situation, although deep down she 
did wish that they were true.

"Gee... you tell me. You're the one who's involved with Mike," Rob said 

"I am NOT involved with Mike, okay? Which gossip mag did you read that 

"The Chester Daily?" Rob grinned. Brad guffawed, "Good one, man!"

"Well? Is it true?"

"Shut up guys, or I'm gonna throw you out of the car," she grinned.

"You're blushing! Look! She's blushing!! That means it's true!" Rob pointed 
at her, laughing.

"Okay. That's it. Out!" she stopped the car in the middle of the road. Rob 
and Brad were laughing too hard to get out.

"Alright alright... we'll stop. Only if you tell us what's going on."

"But I did! There's nothing going on, boys!" she was starting to get 

"Seriously Veruca, if you guys are going out, I'm happy for the both of 
you," Brad said in a serious tone. "You're good for Mike, you know?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked skeptically.

"What it's supposed to sound like it means. You bring out the best in Mike. 
He thinks we haven't noticed his weird moods lately. But we know.... yeah.. 
we know..." he started to sound suspiciously corny. She rolled her eyes, 
contemplating whether to believe him or not. Rob let out a delayed burst of 
laughter that sent Brad into another round of laughing. Veruca only wished 
that they'd reach the restaurant as soon as possible.

To Chapter 28 >>>


Part 3

TOP   |   Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).