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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On the plane, Tory thought about how quickly things can change. One moment, she was ready to be with Chris and the next moment she was sobbing on his shoulder. When her mother called and said her Nanna had died, Tory was inconsolable. She squirmed a bit uncomfortably when she thought of how she had just let herself go with Chris. “That was definitely not sexy,” she thought to herself wryly.
Chris had been wonderful. He had held her and told her it would be okay. Today, he had driven her to the airport and she indulged in a mind-blowing kiss before she left him to check in. Maybe he wasn’t such a jerk.
With the light of day, she had berated herself for letting things get as far with Chris as they had the night before. She had let her emotions and her attraction for him get the better of her. If her mother hadn’t called…but yet she had no regrets. He drove her nuts, he was abrasive and often confrontational. He consumed her dreams and even thinking about him made her smile, even while in pain from her recent loss. Wherever this was going to go, she felt she had to let it run its course. She was powerless to avoid it.
The plane touched down and she self-consciously ran her fingers through her hair. She had not slept last night but had just packed and headed for the airport with Chris. Her mother had given her a first class ticket and the plane left Florida that morning at 8am. She had just washed her face and climbed into some clean jeans and a fresh t-shirt. She was well aware her mother would be at home in full make up, a freshly ironed dress and her hair would be perfect. People would be coming to the house, so she would likely be wearing her pearls and ensure the floors shone brightly.
When the taxi pulled up to the Connecticut home the first thing Tory noticed was the grand pillars her mother mentioned every time she went to the country club. There was a large veranda at the front and the second story had a smaller balcony off the front of the house. That was her parents’ room. The beige paint seemed to communicate their conservative values. The taxi driver glanced back at Tory in her jeans, black t-shirt and messy red hair dubiously. “This the place?” he asked her suspiciously.
“Yah, this is it. Real nice, huh?” she answered sarcastically as she gave him the $20 fare and got out of the back seat.
Taking a deep breath, Tory walked to the back door off the kitchen (only company used the front door) and fell into the arms of their housekeeper, Ruby.
“Darling girl!” Ruby gushed. “Oh, honey, I’m so glad you’re home.”
“Ruby,” Tory said, crying as soon as she saw this woman who had been her saviour when she lived here. Tory had spent most of her teenage years with Ruby, avoiding her parents. She could talk to Ruby about politics, music and her views on equality. Her parents would roll their eyes when she mentioned the homeless by her high school and tell her they were bums who were afraid of hard work. Then they would lecture her about doing well in school and going to a good university or that could be her!
“I’m so sorry,” Ruby whispered into Tory’s hair as she lowered her head to rest on the housekeeper’s shoulder. Ruby was a good foot shorter than Tory and as big as she was tall. Her hair had turned a lighter shade of white but she still had the no-nonsense air about her. She patted Tory’s back and then took a step back. “Let me look at you!” she smiled.
Tory obediently turned for inspection as Ruby snorted impatiently. “You’ve lost weight,” she fussed.
“I’m fine,” Tory smiled through her tears.
“Do they feed you at that coffee shop? Or are you just living off coffee? You’re not taking drugs, are you? Do your friends in your new band take care of you?”
“I eat just fine, Ruby,” Tory answered seriously. “I’m not taking drugs, I exercise and my new friends are great.”
Ruby’s eyes narrowed as she took in the information and then she cheered up, saying, “We’ll get you fattened up a bit while you’re home!”
Just then, Tory’s mother rushed in through the kitchen door. “Oh, Tory, good you’re home.”
“Hi, Mom,” Tory said. Her mother, as predicted, looked like she had stepped out of Good Housekeeping.
“What have you done to yourself?” her mother scolded. “You look awful. Have you showered today? You aren’t using the mask I sent you, are you? You have some wrinkles already. Really, in that sun, you need to think about your skin.”
“It’s good to see you too, Mother,” Tory said, rolling her eyes.
“Oh, baby, it’s good to see you,” her mom said as she took her in her arms. “I’m just overwhelmed with what needs to be done.”
“I’m so sorry, Mom,” Tory said, tearing up.
“I know, honey. You and Nanna were close.”
Tory’s mother took a step back, just as Ruby had done. She eyed her daughter critically. “Tory, we have people coming over. You need to go get showered and dressed in something… appropriate,” she said, curling her nose delicately.
“I brought one nice outfit with me, Mom. Other than that, it’s jeans.”
“Oh, Tory. Well, luckily you still have some clothes here. Go put something on that’s decent and make sure you take out that awful piercing from your eyebrow! The minister will be here in an hour.”
“Mom, you know Nanna didn’t go to church,” Tory argued. “She never wanted a church service.”
“Well, funerals aren’t about the dead, dear. They are about the living. We are a part of the church community and we need to remember her properly.”
“No arguing, Tory. For heaven’s sake, your father’s mother just died. Just do what you’re told for once?”
“Fine!” Tory snapped as she grabbed her bag and stomped up the stairs to her room. “Wow,” she thought to herself, “some things never change!”
She stopped and stood in the doorway of her room. It was like she had never left. Her dark comforter her mother had hated so much was still on her bed. Her posters were still covering her walls of drummers she had idolized: Tommy Lee, Bill Ward and John Bonham. Her walk-in closet was filled with her favourite clothes from high school. When she had left, her parents refused to help her so she had one bag she could carry on the airplane for her flight to Florida.
As she sank onto her bed, she realized how tired she felt and how much she had missed all these little luxuries. She forced herself up and into her ensuite bathroom. She turned on her shower and the mist seemed to cleanse her. Her mother had stocked her shower with her favourite shampoo, conditioner and soap. When she stepped out of the shower, her feet sunk into the plush mat and seemed to hug her feet softly. The towels were fluffy and still warm from the dryer.
Tory crawled in between the sheets of her bed to just lie down for a few minutes. As she drifted off to sleep, she sighed contentedly. She would go back to Florida and her apartment in a few days. In the meantime, enjoying life’s luxuries wasn’t so bad.
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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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