4 Stories Up is a fictional, serial story that follows a talented, sexy female drummer as she seeks fame and fortune with a band. Tory is a woman making her her way in a male-dominated world of heavy metal. She is passionate in life and music and she plays for keeps. Her feisty nature often gets her in trouble but she fights on towards perfection in her love, her music and her life. – Find past chapters here.
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Tory, Chris, Doug and Jake were one their way to a beach bbq. The windows were down in the old van and it rumbled towards the ocean with Chris behind the wheel. Behind them, Mandy had Doug’s “friend” Won, Phillip and Beth in her car. The bandmates had decided to travel together to figure out the next rehearsal and next steps as to The Pit.
“Okay,” Tory said, “let’s talk this out because when we get to the beach I am not talking shop any more today!”
“I’m not going back into that shithole,” Chris stated, scowling.
“I agree that we don’t go back unless there’s some real movement towards hard rock and away from country,” Doug agreed. “We don’t need that again.”
“Dad likes Beth,” Jake said quietly.
“He seems to,” Tory agreed. She was sitting in the passenger seat so she had to turn to look at him. He looked pretty miserable.
“I don’t like her,” Jake confessed.
“Me neither,” Doug agreed. “It sucks that she seems to be in his ear, but what can we do? Phillip’s done a lot for us. It’s not like we can just turn our backs on him.”
“Actually,” Chris said, “we can. We could find another manager.”
“Chris!” Tory said, shocked as she turned to look at his profile. “It’s Jake’s dad!”
“And the fact is, he may need to decide if he is going to stay with his dad or come with us.”
“I don’t think we’re there yet,” Doug jumped in. “Let’s give it a little time. Phillip’s a smart guy. He’ll figure her out.”
“How long do we give it?” Chris asked calmly but practically. “One show, two shows at The Pit? As more time goes on, the less bang we get for playing the stadium show in Tampa. We need to act on that now. I’m not interested in being a house band for a shitty place like The Pit.”
“House bands get paid,” Tory argued. “It’s nothing to turn up our noses at. If I could quit my job at the coffee house and get paid to play full time, that would be amazing!”
“Not all of us have mommy’s who help with rent,” Doug reminded Chris.
“Do you want to be a house band or do you want to make it big?” Chris countered.
“Why can’t we do both?” Tory asked. “Twisted Sister started as a house band for a club and made it big.”
“In the 1980’s,” Chris clarified. “Look, I’m just saying my goals are higher than being a house band.”
The band all sniffed as the salt air floated in through the open windows. “The beach is at the next turn off,” Doug advised.
“Can we agree that we will tell Phillip we won’t play at The Pit again until we see some effort by Beth to change the demographic from country to hard rock?” Tory asked.
“Fine,” Chris said, “but I also want him to keep looking for bigger venues too.”
“Of course,” Doug agreed. “I’m in. I wouldn’t mind some cash coming in every week. Jeez, maybe I could even rent a room somewhere!”
“And give up all this?” Tory laughed as she gestured around the van.
“Jake?” Doug asked, looking over at his younger friend.
“I’m good,” Jake agreed.
“Awesome. Beach time!” Doug yelled as they pulled into the parking lot.
Everyone poured out of the old van. Mandy pulled in beside them and everyone else got out, forming group. There was a bit of awkward silence as Mandy maneuvered herself beside Jake, Won went over to stand by Doug and Beth wrapped a protective arm around Phillip’s waist. Chris and Tory made an effort not to look at each other.
“Let’s find a spot,” Tory said, ending the silence. Everyone smiled in appreciation and started towards the beach.
After a few minutes of walking, they found a great spot that wasn’t too crowded and offered a bonfire pit. Tory and Mandy took their shorts and t-shirts off, having their bikinis underneath. Beth had a sundress on over top of her one piece. The guys just ripped off their jeans and had their trunks on underneath. Chris couldn’t help but look over at Tory. Her long, lean frame was toned and the bikini highlighted her tight calves and muscular arms. Her red hair was free, flowing down her back. She laughed at something Mandy said and he felt his heart race.
Tory, in the meantime, was trying hard not to look at Chris. His bronzed skin glistened in the sun and his six pack was evident in his trunks. She swallowed hard, a gesture that was not lost on Mandy.
“He is pretty hot,” she admitted.
“Who? What? Oh, Chris, yah…” Tory said lamely.
“Too bad he’s such a jerk,” Mandy continued.
“Yah, such a jerk,” Tory agreed, her face reddening.
“Although, he’s probably not always a jerk, right?”
“Not always,” Tory admitted.
“Just go over and be with him already!” Mandy commanded, laughing at Tory’s uncomfortable stance. “It’s obvious you guys like each other. He’s practically eating you up right now!”
“He, he is?” Tory stammered.
“He is,” Mandy confirmed. “And, hey, if anyone has the power to turn him from a jerk it’s you. So go spend some time with him!”
Tory blushed again and smiled sheepishly. “It’s that obvious, huh?”
With that, Tory walked over to Chris and dared him to race into the water with her. He agreed and, laughing and shrieking, they splashed into the cold ocean water together.
The group had a wonderful afternoon. They bathed in the sun, drank some beer, swam when they got too hot, and laughed and joked together. Phillip got the hotdogs and hamburgers started over the fire pit and everyone had a bigger appetite than usual. Then, putting aside the top rack, they brought down some firewood from the van and started their bonfire.
They had all had some drinks, except of course Jake who was not yet old enough. Tory noticed Jake and Mandy were in a deep conversation and were snuggled closely together on a blanket. Phillip was eying the two closely as Beth tried her best to snuggle up to him as they sat on a piece of driftwood. Doug was sitting beside Won and was looking around at his bandmates nervously. She wondered if tonight was the night he would introduce Won as his boyfriend to the group. She hoped everyone would be accepting as she had rarely seen Doug as happy as he had been today. She sighed softly and suddenly Chris dropped down beside her.
“Penny for your thoughts,” he smiled at Tory.
“No thoughts, just happy,” she smiled back.
“Tory, I know we haven’t moved forward after the day at Disney…” he started.
“Chris, I don’t know what I want,” Tory interrupted him. “I like you. A lot. It’s just so complicated when you work together. I don’t want to mess up this band…”
“I know. So, let’s just start out slow,” Chris suggested.
“Really?” Tory asked. He had been much more “all or nothing” the last time they had tried to talk about it.
“Really. The more I’m with you, the more I want to try things out. But we’ll go slow. We’ll keep things casual,” Chris said.
“I…I think I’d like that,” Tory agreed.
“Me too,” Chris whispered. He leaned in and kissed Tory softly. Her world seemed to whirl around her as his lips found hers. She breathed in deeply and he pulled away with effort.
“Casual?” Tory repeated.
“Casual,” Chris confirmed.
“Doug and Won are kissing.”
She looked at him in surprise. “You knew?”
“Of course I knew. I’m not stupid. Doug seems happy. That’s cool.”
Sighing softly, she put her head on his shoulder and smiled. “Maybe there’s hope for you yet,” she laughed.
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Get the latest on Tory and the band between chapters at their official Facebook page!
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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