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He was still watching me, his eyes hard and patient.

I plucked my new drink off the table and took a bigger gulp than I intended. “I believe in Dex Foray. What do you believe in?”

“Dex Foray,” he agreed with a smile and raised his glass. We clinked, drank the rest and that was the end of that.

Oh, and I did take the blonde home. The ghosts never came and I stuck my cock up her ass. Win win.

~~~

All right, I know what you’re thinking. I’m a crude man-whore. And I couldn’t argue with you. If it looks like a pig and fucks like a pig, it’s a pig.

But crude man-whores don’t last forever. Eventually they meet someone who puts all the other women to shame. Sometimes it’s someone you least expect.

Abby wasn’t quite a groupie, but she certainly was a fan. I’d seen her around at shows before. She never approached me and barely looked my way half the time, but when the lights hit the room just right, I’d catch her watching me. And yes, I know, I’m the singer and everyone more or less watches me. But this was different. It wasn’t lust or frenzy or acceptance I saw in her eyes. It was something akin to awe. Like she admired me. I liked that. Shit, I liked that a lot.

After one show of ours, in a tiny little club packed with more douchebags than I could count who clearly thought our band was a little more hardcore and less weird, I saw her ordering a drink by the bar. I was intrigued by this shy girl and for once I wasn’t thinking with my dick.

I approached her and told the bartender that I would pay for whatever she was having.

She barely turned to face me. She just shot me a look – one I couldn’t read– then turned away.

“Hey,” I said. I wanted to follow it with: I bought you a drink, say thank you. But I didn’t want to seem like an ass. So I left it at “hey” and bit my lip.

She ignored me. Walked off.

What the fuckity fuck?

I’d never had anyone do that to me. Who the hell did she think she was? She wasn’t even all that pretty. She was attractive, I guess, but there was nothing remarkable about her. She had dark eyes and strawberry blonde hair that was neatly curled in waves. She was wearing a dress that was far too girly for a club and flat shoes. From what I could tell from her body, she was of average weight, not fat nor skinny and of average height. She was pretty...average.

So why was she walking away from me? And why did I care?

Regardless, I found myself at her side again and grabbed her arm.

She looked scared. Up close, with her facing me, I could see she was a little prettier than I had originally thought. Nice lips. Nose had a bump on it. Brows were a bit too low and thick. But sparkling eyes. They made me feel kind of crazy.

“Hey,” I said and smiled most handsomely. “I’m Dex.”

She continued looking scared until I dropped my hand off of her arm. Then she relaxed. She took a sip of her drink.

I raised my brow and leaned into her. She smelt like soap and lavender. “Do you have a name?”

She swallowed hard and nodded. “It’s Abby.”

Her accent was pure Fargo. Later I’d find out it was Minnesota, but same difference.

I held out my hand. “Nice to meet you, Abby.”

She gave it a light shake. It was weak but her touch lingered. I don’t know what it was but I felt her touch all the way down to my toes. Now my dick twitched a bit in my pants. So much for not thinking with it.

“I hope you enjoyed the show,” I said, trying to ignore the rising erection. I swear it popped up at the most inappropriate times.

“I did,” she said. “I’ve seen all your shows.”

“You’re a fan?” I asked even though I knew.

“Of the band,” she clarified.

“Not of me?” I teased.

She shook her head. “You’re a bit of a chump.”

Whoa. And my pants deflated.

I laughed awkwardly. “Ouch. Now I feel like an idiot for buying you a drink.”

“I could have warned you.” She smiled coyly. Was she flirting with me or wasn’t she?

I eyed the drink. It was fancy looking. “I bet it was pricey too.”

“Aviation club cocktail. With top shelf gin.”

“Well that serves me right for assuming...”

She raised a brow. It looked less bushy now. It suited her face. She was actually very pretty. “When you assume...”

“You make an ass out of you and me,” I supplied.

“No, I was going to say when you assume, you make assumptions.”

I grinned at her. “Aren’t you a clever girl?”

She looked down at the floor and in the dim light I caught a hint of color growing on her face. Success! I made her blush. “I’ve been called worse things.”

I held out my arm for her. “Well since you’re such a fan of the band, would you like to meet them?”

She nodded excitedly. “Yes please. Especially Max.”

I kept the smile on my face while I frowned internally. Wasn’t easy. Fucking Max. This wasn’t the first time girls were going after him. It pained me to admit it but he was one good looking dude. But it was the first time a girl I wanted showed interest in him.

A girl I wanted. There you had it. And it wasn’t just in a fuck your brains out till morning, avoid the ghosts and get the goods, type of want, either. Oh it was there, but I had a strange inkling to actually spend some time with this girl. Talk to her. Figure out what she’s about. Then fuck her brains out.

But I sucked it up. I brought Abby over to meet Max, even though he was dating a girl named Kate at the time. I also introduced her to Dennis (our drummer), Travis (our guitarist) and Pete (our keyboardist). She was actually quite shy and reserved around all of them but they were nice enough and Pete even bought her another one of her weird gin cocktails.

She flirted with Max all night, sitting on his lap and giggling into his ear as she got progressively drunker. Something told me that she was drinking to cover up what she was feeling. Shyness? Nervousness? Either way, even though she wasn’t in my care or even my friend, I felt strangely protective of her.

At one point we were in the back room of the club with our gear and Abby and Max had started making out. He was drunk too, so I had to go over and tap him on the shoulder and very clearly say, “Where’s Kate? You know, your girlfriend?”

That barely got his attention. So I tapped Abby on the shoulder. “You should probably go home Abby. Come on I’ll call you a cab.”

She pushed me away but eventually Max came to his senses and put an end to it. I didn’t want him to take her anywhere because that wouldn’t have ended well, so I put my arm around her and escorted her to road.

She stumbled a bit, drunk as anything. A cab came up but I realized I didn’t have the heart to send her on her way. I didn’t know where she lived and she probably wouldn’t know either. She was that wasted.

With a sigh I got in the cab with her and we left for my apartment. That was the beauty about being the singer. Never had to help the band load in and out. I just showed up and left as I pleased.

Believe it or not, we didn’t have sex. I wasn’t an animal. She ended up with her head in the toilet most of the night just puking her guts up. And yes, I held her hair back. She was right. I was a total chump.

But, what the fuck ever. I guess it bonded us or something because after that we were inseparable. We had sex the following morning and didn’t stop for days, weeks, months. I only stopped to eat, shit, go to school, drink, play a show, write a song, make a movie. Every other spare moment we were in each other’s beds, screwing like our livelihoods depended on it, as if we were trying save humanity with each moan, with each thrust.

It was a good few months. The best.

Then things started to change. I started to change. Abby had gotten under my skin. She was all I thought about, all I wanted to do. I was addicted to her, physically and mentally. I was obsessed. I was paranoid. I was jealous. I was head over heels in love. So far down the rabbit hole that there no way out. I was wedged in there, helpless and needy. Oh so fucking needy.

It...disgusted me.

No one had done that to me before. I had never given a girl that type of power. I didn’t trust females. I didn’t want them close to me. I wanted them close enough that I could see their eyes flutter when they came but I didn’t want them inside me. I was inside them, it wasn’t the other way around. I didn’t want them anywhere near my soul or my heart but fucking Abby, she clawed her way in and set up camp.

The Dex Foray I knew was gone. If I thought I was out-of-control before, I was wrong. I was always in control. Wild but on purpose. Crazy but free. With Abby I was locked down and trapped because I couldn’t go a single day without feeling her wetness around me, without looking into her deep eyes, begging her for some sort of acceptance.

I’d fallen. And it sucked.

And really, it was my fault. I gave into love and it chewed me up and spit me out.

I became a man I never wanted to be and I drove her away.

I accused her of cheating on me when she wasn’t. And when she inevitably did, I blamed it on myself. So did she. Or, I guess she did. I never knew because she died.

Another death on my hands.

I forget all the details. It doesn’t matter that she drove drunk and had many DUIs before back in Minnesota. It didn’t matter that I was just the angry boyfriend and she had been having an affair. It didn’t matter. She’s dead. My fault through and through.

I’d never experienced such pain in my entire life. And that was saying a lot. Losing Abby...I lost a part of my own life. My own future. There was chunk of my heart and soul buried with her in that cold, cold ground and I was never, ever going to get that back.

And Max. Where was he in all this? He was my closest friend, the guy who was always around, like a flame-haired shadow, asking me questions about weird things, taking me out for a drink when Abby and I had a fight (which, by the way, was often). He went from, I don’t know, a (shitty) guardian angel, or even a brother figure, to someone who despised me. Maybe that’s not the word. He was disappointed in me. It’s like he gave up and decided I wasn’t the type of person he wanted to be around anymore. I thought Max being in my life was fate. An answer to something.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

To make matters worse, because he was pushing me away, I found comfort in his girlfriend, Kate. At first she was just a shoulder to cry on. She was Abby’s best friend now too and she was also hurting. Eventually though, things got physical. Max thinks I only slept with her once, and that’s because he caught us in a very compromising position. The truth is, I was sleeping with Kate every chance I could.

Because, you see, the ghosts were back. I didn’t have Abby to distract me from them.

This time, the ghost was Abby.

SPOOKSHOW BABY

The room smelled like shit. Shit, seaweed and decades of decay. It was too bad Smell-O-Vision never went anywhere, because the smell of the old lighthouse would have been just as terrifying as the sight of it.

Speaking of, there wasn’t much to see here. Downstairs was empty. This floor gave up noth-ing except doors that wouldn’t open and I was beginning to doubt Old Captain Fishsticks was actu-ally haunting the place. Just because pansy-assed ghost hunting shows were clamoring to film the lighthouse, didn’t mean anything was actually here. Had I been duped by the hype? No. Not me. That was impossible.

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