Truth was, it didn’t matter why they were doing it. All that mattered was they were doing it together.
I grabbed a hammer and joined in, because that was what family did. We stood by each other’s side through all of the ups and downs.
A week later, Holly’s lungs were doing better, and the pacemaker surgery was performed. Thankfully, the operation was quick and without complications. Her recovery process would require a lot of care and attention, but she had a good army behind her to make sure everything went as smoothly as it possibly could.
All of the guys pitched in to help finish the flooring in Big Paw’s house before Holly came home.
“The biggest concern is making sure Holly is all right,” Eric said one night as we all gathered in the barn house. “The music isn’t going anywhere.”
“I still feel bad for all of this, you guys. Max has been coming down hard on us all since I put up that post about Hazel, and I feel bad that I didn’t come to you all about it first,” Ian said.
“Are you fucking kidding me? Max Fucking Rider crossed every line saying that to Haze! He had a lot of nerve, and if I had known, I would’ve never let that fly. I’m glad you posted that shit. It’s about time someone spoke the truth,” Marcus exclaimed. “And another thing: he also fucked us over with our album! Fuck Max Fucking Rider in the fucking ass.”
James sat on the stage where the band used to put on all of its shows. His fingers ran across the wooden platform, and a crooked smile sat on his lips. “I miss this place. I never really thought I’d say that, but I do. I miss the way we used to love the music. Don’t get me wrong: I know we’re blessed, and I wouldn’t give up this world for anything, but it feels like it’s so far out of our control sometimes, and I feel like if we don’t put a stop to some of these crazy demands, we’ll lose ourselves down the line.”
“I say we take a vote,” Eric commented, dancing his fingers across his keyboard. “All in favor of sitting down with Max and Donnie and having a real fucking talk about who we are and what we want to do with this career of ours, say aye.”
“Aye.” The room echoed, and I smiled at them. The four boys who had dreams that they were taking control of once again.
Ian held his hand out. “Until forever.”
Each of the guys walked over to him and placed a hand on top of his. “Until forever.”
They all looked over to me with cocked eyebrows, perplexed. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to crash your moment. I can let you guys—”
“Hazel, if you don’t bring your hand over here right this second, I will have to force you over,” Marcus threatened.
I laughed and walked over, placing my hand on top of theirs. “Until forever,” I agreed.
“Speaking of Max and Donnie”—Eric smiled wide as he pushed his thumb against his nose—“I think I know the best way of tackling our issue.”
“And how’s that?” Ian asked.
“Let me show you.” Eric walked over to his backpack near his keyboard and pulled out his laptop. As he powered it up, we all crowded around him. “You all know how I’m a professional at always recording videos and stuff, even when people don’t know it.”
“Yeah, speed up to your point,” Marcus harassed his brother.
Eric pulled up a video and hit play. “I’ve been making a nice home video of situations with Max and Donnie since we met them. Times we’d been at parties and Max popped pills or did lines of coke. Times both of the very married men were seen with women on their arms. Times when they’ve had aggressive conversations. Everything. We have enough to nail these assholes.”
“But we can’t. This stuff would never hold up in court,” James argued. “It was illegally recorded.”
“That’s not the point. We don’t even have to take it to court. The point is we threaten to show their wives unless they allow us to get out of the messed-up contract.”
“You think showing their wives will matter? These are assholes, Eric. They don’t care about their wives’ feelings.”
“Yes, you’re right. But I’m sure the wives will be interested in seeing what these men have been up to. Plus, they’ve been with their wives since before they found fame. And you know what that means?”
“What?” Ian asked.
“No prenups. Which means if their wives left them, they’d leave with pretty much half their shit.”
A small smile formed on everyone’s face as realization began to set in. That plan was brilliant and might actually work. I was certain the guys would fine-tune it before approaching Max and Donnie, but there seemed to be a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel for the Wreckage.
The rest of the night, we stayed in the barn house, with Rosie joining in when she awakened from her nap, and the guys played music with all of their hearts and every ounce of their passion. They returned to their roots and sounded better than ever before. I loved that they weren’t afraid to speak up for their wants, for their needs as musicians. It couldn’t have been easy to go against men like Donnie and Max, but they weren’t doing it solo. They would be walking into that meeting with their heads held high as a complete unit.
No matter what happened when they met with the record label, I knew everything would work out exactly as it was supposed to. The Wreckage would end up exactly where they were meant to go, because they had each other’s backs through thick and thin. There was no getting around the fact that when they said “until forever,” they truly meant those words.