Diary of a Rocker's Kid (D.O.R.K #1) (6 page)

BOOK: Diary of a Rocker's Kid (D.O.R.K #1)
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“Let’s go,” Dad says, and all four of us turn tail and rush out the door. I hear a clamor behind us as people beg him not to leave, but Dad urges me forward with a hand at my back.

“Well, here we go,” I say as we all pile into the truck. “I don’t think our identities are quite so secret anymore in Lawrenceburg.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

May 17, 2015

Step 4 Complete

Well, the secret is out. The employees at Hogger’s BBQ connected the dots and made sure to tell everybody in town exactly who we are. The town newspaper and some other websites picked up the story, and now we’re getting calls for interviews from everywhere. The news of our location is truly going viral.

Ana’s parents found out who we are and, surprisingly, they were okay with it. They even asked Dad and Cass for autographs. I guess they’re excited by the fact that now they have someone to ask a favor of when they need a new organ or projector for the church. Plus, we’re celebrities, and we’ve been to their church. I guess that would make anyone happy.

Dad is absolutely furious with Cass. He’s been out with the horses constantly, and he doesn’t want to see her at all. I know Cass meant to be discovered, but she still keeps apologizing over and over, and I think she severely regrets it. I feel bad that I was part of the reason she did it. I hope she didn’t just lose him for good.

Nana and I are taking Cass to the airport tomorrow so she can go home. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time I’ll ever see her. She’s done a lot of good for me at great cost to herself. Also…I mean, I got to jam with Black Angel for a couple of weeks. I don’t want to lose that.

I guess soon we’ll find out if Dad values his relationships or his stubbornness more. I understand why he’s mad, but seriously, I’m almost an adult. There can’t be that much danger now that I’m five months away from turning eighteen. It’s about time we came out of hiding.

It feels wrong to be so excited about this, but I am. No more hiding. I’m ready to live.

Ttyl,

Mads

 

***

 

Nana and I take Cass back to the airport early the next morning. She sheds silent tears all the way there. When we have to say good-bye before she goes on to the next area, she holds on to me tightly.

“Keep trying to get him out to L.A.,” Cass whispers in my ear. “Don’t give up. You deserve those answers, and you deserve to have your real life back.”

“I won’t give up, Cass,” I say, pulling back. “Thank you for everything. I’m sorry it backfired so badly.”

“Well, I didn’t do it all for you,” Cass reminds me. “I have my reasons for wanting the hiding to be over.”

“Yeah, but it seems like you may have lost him for good now.”

“It’ll be okay,” Cass says with a sad little smile. “Trust me, I know Mike. He can’t stay mad at me forever. Keep in touch, okay?”

“Will do. I’ll see you again soon.”

We say our good-byes, and then Nana drives me home in her car. When we arrive, there are cars lining the entire length of our driveway, and there’s a swarm of people out in front of our house. Some of them are reporters, but others look like crazed fans that will do anything to get a glimpse of a rock star. Nana drives past the cars on the grass and blares her horn at the mob. As she parks and gets out of the car, she pulls a Beretta out from under her pants leg and points it at the ones who are banging on our front door. She’s had a concealed weapon permit all these years, and now she’s finally using her privilege.

“All you trespassers get the hell off my front porch,” Nana squawks, and I snicker behind my hand at the terrified looks on the people’s faces. “This is private property! I’m not afraid to use this!” Nana fires a couple of warning shots up into the air, and everyone scurries out of our way. Most of them run back to their cars, and the few stragglers that remain follow suit when Nana points the gun directly at their heads.

As we approach the front door, I giggle and whisper to Nana, “I gotta admit, that was pretty badass.” Usually Nana would yell at me for the dirty word, but this time she just smirks and winks at me.

When we get back inside, Dad’s slumped on the couch, looking dragged down and older than when this whole mess started. Nana goes around to the kitchen to get lunch started, but I sit down on the couch with Dad. There’s a long moment of silence, and then he speaks.

“I didn’t mean she had to leave,” he says, staring sightlessly at the TV in front of us.

“Then why didn’t you say anything about us taking her away?”

“I was just so angry.” Dad shakes his head. Even from the side, I can see his pained scowl. “So angry she let that happen. That all those years of hidin’ were undone in an instant.”

Anger simmers inside of me too, but it’s for a different reason. “They weren’t undone. Trust me, I’m still suffering from the effects.”

Dad looks at me. “What?”

I’ve been trying so hard not to explode at him, but it’s no use. The fury at the knowledge of everything I’ve missed out on is too much to handle. “
How could you?
” I whisper-shout, feeling rigid and poised to detonate.

Dad sighs and drops his shoulders. “Here we go…”

“How could you keep me hidden from my real life for
seventeen years
?” I stand from the couch, and my voice echoes through the house. “How could you force Cass to stay at a distance and go by a different name? How could you let her leave like that? Do you care about either of us at all?”

Dad jumps to his feet, his anger nearly matching mine. “Believe me, I care about you more than you will
ever
know,” he spits with a finger pointing right toward my face.

“If you cared about me, you would have let me live a
normal
life! You lied to me and made me think I was this whole other person! You kept me away from everything for
so
long, and I don’t know if
anything’s
true anymore. I don’t feel safe anymore.
Ever
.”

“I did what I did to keep you safe. I gave up
everything
for you! Don’t you
ever
say I don’t care about you!”

“Why was all of this necessary to keep me safe? Why couldn’t you have just
fought back
in court? You’re a rock star, for God’s sake. Surely you had better lawyers than her.”

“I know for a fact I would have lost you,” Dad says with a break in his voice. His hand falls down to his side, and his eyes water up.

“How do you know?”

“I can’t tell you that.”


Why?
” I sob. “Why can’t you just tell me the truth?”

“Because when you find out who your mother is, it’s gonna
destroy
you!”

Both of us are stunned silent. Dad grips the hair on the back of his head, and I watch my father full-on cry for the first time in my life. “It’s just…it’s gonna break your heart. I wanted to wait until you were grown and could handle the truth.”

I stand there in silence, suddenly feeling more scared and vulnerable than I’ve ever felt in my life. This woman has got to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood if it would hurt me that much to find her. My heart pounds, and for a moment I lose my resolve to find her. It’s going to kill me, I can clearly see that now, but…why do I still have this ache for her?

“I didn’t know that,” I whisper, and both of us sit back down on the couch, needing the support.

Dad chokes back sobs with one hand clamped over his nose and mouth and the other gripping his knee. Finally, I realize how much all of this has hurt him too. He left his career and his mansion behind just to protect me. My heart is softening toward him, but I still feel violated by the lies, and I don’t know if that’s ever going to change. I lay my hand over his on his lap, and he immediately turns it over to grasp mine. We sit there for a while staring at our hands without a word.

Finally, I break the silence. “Look, Dad…I’m sorry you lost everything for me, but…we’ve
all
been hurt. How would you feel if you lived your entire childhood as one person, and then you found out you were someone totally different? That there’s this great life you could have lived, places you could have seen…” My tears start up again, and my voice starts to tremble. “We could have traveled the world together, you know? I could have gone on vacations…I could have gone to school, had so many more friends…I’ve been hurt anyway. Now that people know who we are, there’s nothing stopping us from living on the outside. I know if she finds us, it could mean trouble, but…I’m sure there’s hope. I mean, I’m seventeen now. Is she really going to try to take me away
now
, after so much time has passed?”

Dad blows out what feels like a gallon of air, staring at our hands in his lap. “I dunno…you may be right.”

“Also, think about Cass. She was your best friend, and you’ve been forcing her to stay out of your life all this time. She was just
hurt
…you know? She just wants you back. That’s all. She misses you so much.”

“I know. I miss her too. And I really don’t hate her, I was just angry.”

“I think she deserves an apology, and I think she deserves it in person.”

His gaze travels up to meet mine. “Are you suggestin’ what I think you’re suggestin’?”

I nod quickly with a pounding heart. “Everybody knows where we are now, anyway. We need to go back to L.A., and not just for Cass. You have things there that have probably been sitting untouched for
years
. Why don’t we go there just for the summer? Then Cass will know how much she means to you, and you’ll get to show off your rock star past to your daughter, who is
dying
to see it.”

Dad chuckles softly. “Honey, I would love to show you my ‘rock star past,’ but…your mother still lives in Los Angeles.” Dad pauses for a second in thought. “Then again, I did hear she’s gonna be on a film shoot out of town for the whole month of June, so if there was a time to go to L.A., it would be now.”

“Well, uh…” Shit, that’s a complication I hadn’t thought of. At least I know for certain she’s an actress now. Maybe I could extend the trip somehow if I find out who she is. Either way, I’ve got to keep a straight face or he’s going to suspect I want to meet her. I give him a nonchalant shrug. “I have to agree. Now’s the time.”

“Can you promise to behave if I take you to Los Angeles?”

My heart rises into my throat. “Uh-huh.”

“No drugs, no booze, no studly boys?”

I laugh my ass off. “Dad…have you seen me?” I gesture to my skinny, boy-like body. No L.A. stud is going to want to hit this.


Promise me
,” Dad says with a solemn gaze.

“I promise.”

“Well…then I guess we’d better start packin’. It’s gonna be one helluva summer.”

 

***

 

May 19, 2015

Mission L.A. Almost Complete

I did it! I got Dad to agree to come to L.A. He’s probably going to stick by my side like glue and never let me do anything by myself, but at least I have him where I want him now. I also convinced Ana’s parents to let her come with us after about an hour of begging, swearing to keep her out of trouble, and promising to find a church to attend in L.A. We won’t be keeping that third promise—on the few vacations I’ve been on in my life, we’ve never done anything but pig out on junk food and laze around in the pool—but I got them to agree, and Ana couldn’t be happier. I promised her we could shop on Rodeo Drive together as long as she visits the Grammy Museum with me. Usually, I avoid clothes shopping like the plague, but this is a special occasion, so I guess I can deal.

I know I’m taking some huge risks with this trip. I still plan to search for my mother, even though I know that finding the truth about her might destroy me. I wish her pull on my heart would go away, but it won’t, and the longer I have to wait to confront her, the more it’s going to hurt. I can’t deal with any more secrets in my life. I need to find her. I need to hear her side of the story and see if she’s changed. I hope I’m not putting anyone in real mortal danger, but it sounds like she’s more of a liar and a backstabber than a felon, so hopefully it will be all right. She won’t be there for the whole month of June, so if I do find out she’s a serial killer or something—highly unlikely—I can get our asses out of there before she comes back.

Two more weeks and I’ll be staying in the house I should have grown up in. I don’t know how I’m going to get any sleep from now until June.

Ttyl,

Mads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8

 

 

June 1, 2015

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

I think a person can actually die of excitement. I swear I’ve felt my heart stop at least five times tonight as I was trying to sleep. Tomorrow we’re flying into Los Angeles International Airport. We haven’t told Cass about our visit because Dad wants it to be a surprise. It seems like he’s excited about the trip too, which is a relief. I was afraid he was going to bail on me during the two weeks we’ve been packing and setting things up for Nana. Aunt Melissa, Dad’s older sister, is coming to stay with Nana while we’re gone, and I’m confident she’ll take excellent care of Maggie. Melissa owns a legit horse farm a couple of counties over from us, and she’s trained dozens of horses, including Weston.

Ana’s sleeping over tonight…well, staying over. She’s not sleeping either. I know because the light from her iPhone is merging with the light from my laptop. I know I need to sign off, but my fingers won’t stop moving. It’s like I have a caffeine high, but I didn’t drink coffee or anything. The anticipation of a trip to Beverly Hills is the equivalent of three Red Bulls for me.

Beverly Hills…my Cinderella story is finally progressing. Now if only I was pretty like Ana and could easily attract a Prince Charming.

Guess I’ll turn on the Relaxation channel on Pandora and try my best to sleep. My chronic insomnia really is becoming a problem. I’ll get that checked out when I go to therapy after finding Mother Dearest.

Ttyl in L.A.,

Mads

 

***

 

My stomach does a flip when the plane touches down on the runway in Los Angeles. I press my nose against the glass, trying to drink in every second of this huge moment. This was my first plane ride ever, and I loved it, especially since we got to ride first class. The whole way, amidst Ana’s chattering, I watched older, dignified people sip champagne and look all important as they kept their noses in books and laptops.

There were some rich teenage guys in first class that looked us up and down when we first got here. They seemed impressed with Ana, but they didn’t linger on me long, as I expected. We overslept this morning, and I didn’t even have a chance to take a shower, let alone put on makeup or look any sort of presentable. This is the story of my life…not even fame can make me more attractive than her.

We leave out of the gate and make our way through the airport, and all the way to baggage claim, people stare, point, and whisper about us. Dad puts on his shades again, trying to keep a low profile, but people recognize him and follow us as we pick up our bags and go to get a rental car. When they bring out their phones to take pictures of us, Dad groans and mutters under his breath, “I should have hired bodyguards.”

Bodyguards. We need bodyguards. Sometimes I still think I’m living in a dream.

Dad picks up a rental car and drives us straight to the Beverly Hills neighborhood where the mansion is. Ana and I link arms as we ride down some more secluded streets in Beverly Hills. The houses we pass by are nothing short of spectacular. They’re all different styles, but each one looks like it cost at least a million dollars to create, whether in present times or past.

My chest constricts when Dad pulls into 21 Leighton Way and stops at the gigantic black gate, which is connected to a stone wall. He talks to someone through an intercom, and they open the gate quickly to grant us access. We drive up the long driveway to our home, and I grip Ana’s arm so hard that she winces.

I’ve seen the mansion in pictures already, but nothing compares to stepping out of the rental car and seeing the real thing up close and personal. The mansion is two stories high, made of white cement, and the balconies have minimalist steel railings and sliding glass doors leading out from each bedroom. Black double doors with thin steel handles beckon me from the front of the house. As soon as Dad stops the car, I drop everything and shove my door open, running up to the front patio as Ana follows closely behind me. I stop in front of the doors with a heaving chest.

This is it. I’m about to see the house I should have grown up in.

I ring the doorbell, and I instantly recognize the tune. It’s custom-made with the melody from the chorus of “Tearing into Silence.” A thin brunette answers the door, and her eyes widen at the sight of me.

“Uh…may I help you?”

“Hi, I’m Madison Daley. I…well, technically, I live here.” Dad instructed me to use Daley instead of Landers while we’re staying here so people will know who I am.

“Oh, of course! I’m Kelsey, the housekeeper.” Kelsey and I shake hands, and then I introduce Ana. Kelsey glances behind us and sees Dad coming up the way with our luggage. “Michael Daley in the flesh…” Kelsey whispers, releasing Ana’s hand. The look in her dark brown eyes makes me gag. You can tell she wants to do unspeakable things to my father.

They introduce themselves, and Kelsey’s voice is about an octave higher while she’s talking to him. Dad tells her to call him Mike, and then he says, “We’re here to visit Cass. Is she home?” To his credit, he’s not paying any attention to Kelsey’s doe eyes or her pushed-out chest. In fact, he’s looking behind her for Cass.

“Yes…right this way,” Kelsey says. She takes our luggage and sets it to the side, and then she ushers us into the entry hall.

On the way out to the backyard, I gaze in wonder at the interior of our home. We have a two-story entryway with a semi-vaulted ceiling and a skylight. The stairs are like white floating platforms with steel railings, and they curve on their way up to the second floor. Peeking into the living room, I see a gigantic 4K television on the wall in front of the black leather couch, which is decorated with red throw pillows. The white, black, steel, and red theme continues throughout the house, including the kitchen, which has black granite countertops with stainless steel appliances. There’s a bar with black leather stools that looks just perfect for eating a bowl of cereal in the morning…or whatever fancy famous people from L.A. eat in the mornings. I really have no idea.

Kelsey takes us back through a sunroom which is lined on two sides with nothing but floor-to-ceiling windows. She opens the sliding glass door for us and gestures to the patio, where Cass and a thin African American man are sitting at a black cast-iron table with an umbrella. I glance behind them at the Olympic-sized swimming pool and the wet bar that’s right near it. Judging from the number of benches, tables, and chairs around this pool, I’d say Cass throws a mean party in the summer.

My gaze returns to Cass and the man she’s talking to as we approach them. One look at this guy, and I can tell he’s not going to be Cass’s next boyfriend. His sense of style is quite flamboyant, and Ana, a fashion enthusiast, recognizes him immediately.

“Oh. My. God. That’s
Stephan Lowe
!” she whisper-shouts. Stephan Lowe is one of the foremost designers in L.A. Ana wants to be a model someday, so her meeting Stephan Lowe of Stephan Lowe Designs in the flesh would be like me meeting the members of A7X in person.

“Don’t pass out, Ana, don’t pass out—”

“I might,” she chokes out, “hold me.” I keep my arm around her as we cross the patio.

Cass and Stephan stand from their seats with wide eyes. “What the…
what
? Am I seeing things?” Cass mutters.

Dad and Cass face off in front of each other before his resolve crumbles and he takes her in his arms. “I am so sorry. I should have talked to you. I didn’t mean you had to leave.”

Cass is overcome by emotion. “Oh my God! You came back!” she says over and over through body-racking sobs, holding on to him like she’s afraid to let him go.

While Dad and Cass make up, Stephan turns his attention to me and extends his hand with a big, white smile. His teeth are almost brighter than Cass’s. “Madison Daley, I presume?” His voice is high-pitched and pleasant.

“Stephan Lowe, I presume?” I reply, and he laughs—a tittering, jovial sound.

“The very same,” he says, and we shake hands warmly. “This is going to sound strange, but have we met before?”

“Uh…highly unlikely. I’ve been out of town for the past seventeen years.”

Stephan laughs again. “You’re a funny girl. I only asked that because you look so familiar, but I suppose you’re right. It’s an extraordinary pleasure to meet you, dear. If you ask me, you and your father have been out of town for far too long.”

“I agree.”

“And who is this vision of beauty?” Stephan asks, turning to face Ana.

“This is Ana Lincourt, my best friend.” I push Ana forward. “She’s a huge fan of yours.”

Ana’s hand trembles as she shakes his. “It is an honor to meet you, Mr. Lowe.”

“Steph is my preferred name, honey,” he says with a wink. “Forgive my boldness, but are you a model?”

Her voice cracks. “I want to be.”

A delighted smile grows on his face. “We’ll talk about that later,” Steph says, and Ana suppresses a squeal.

Cass lets go of Dad then and grabs hold of my arms while Steph and Dad introduce themselves. “You did it! How did you manage to finally get him here?”

“I told him he needed to apologize in person because he was being a massive douche to you.” Her eyes widen. “Well, okay, I didn’t use those exact words, but it was that basic idea.”

“Very impressive! How does it feel to be in L.A.?”

“It’s amazing. This is so huge…but I have to admit, I’m starving. The food on the plane was inedible.”

Cass releases me and motions to follow her. “Well then, come inside! Let’s go, everyone!”

“Cassidy, darling, I’m going to have to excuse myself,” Steph says, and everybody groans in disappointment. “Don’t worry, I live right next door.” He giggles as he gestures to the impressive Italian villa just to the right of us. I can see its towers poking up above the stone wall, and I can already tell it looks amazing up close. “You all are welcome to join us for dinner tomorrow night if you’d like.”

“That would be terrific!” Dad says, and the rest of us agree.

“Perfect. My family and I will be expecting you.” Steph gives us a little wave. “I’ll leave you to explore your home. It was a pleasure meeting all of you.”

“Likewise,” Dad, Ana, and I say, and then Steph leaves us and Cass leads us back inside the mansion.

After a quick lunch of chicken wraps, Dad and Cass take us upstairs to get settled, and they give Ana and me rooms next to each other. “There’s no point in makin’ you share one, since there are nine bedrooms in the house,” Dad says.

“But girls like sharing bedrooms, don’t you know that, Dad?” I tease. That was always his excuse for shoving Ana and me into a single twin bed back in Kentucky.

“It’s okay, now I won’t have to put up with your bony knees in my back all night,” Ana says. She’s referring to the many sleepovers we’ve had where I accidentally tried to maim her in my sleep. Apparently, I sleep-kick…tae kwon do style.

My king-sized bed has a pretty minimal design—it’s basically just a mattress on top of a black platform. I have my own bathroom and a few black shelves on the walls for displaying things. There’s also a TV in my room that’s about three times bigger than Ana’s TV at home. I feel every bit the spoiled rich girl I am as I lay my carry-on bag on the bed and breathe in the smell of fresh linens. Cass enters the bedroom with my suitcase, and I take it and unload my things into an impressive walk-in closet.

Ana joins me in my room after a few minutes. “Oh…my God…this place…is
epic
!” she exclaims, beaming.

“Yeah, it really is.”

Ana pokes her head into my closet and laughs. “Oh no. No. This is not okay. Are those really all the clothes you have?”

“Yeah…” I groan. My clothes only take up about a fourth of the space, and I brought nearly every item of clothing I own.

“Tomorrow we’re going shopping. You have to promise me.”

“Does it really have to be tomorrow?” I ask.

“Yes. We’re having dinner with Stephan Lowe. You can’t show up to that in a faded Black Veil Brides tee and Converse.”

I glance down at my outfit, cringing when I realize that next to all this black leather, my previously black shirt looks gray. I never realized how faded all my clothes are, but everything I own is at least two years old. Dad did a great job pretending to be poor.

“Yeah, you’ve got a point.” I let out a heavy sigh. Guess my day of reckoning has finally come.

BOOK: Diary of a Rocker's Kid (D.O.R.K #1)
13.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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