Love And Other Drugs
The long hallway leading to Alex's office looked so different now. A year ago the cream colored walls were covered in blown up magazine covers and Black Veil Brides reigned supreme. Now there were other covers, along with the BVB ones, and Luxe couldn't help but smile. The left side of the hallway was covered with her face, along with Char's Mads', Pixie's and Lulu's. The right side of the hallway still was a shrine to BVB, but now it was as if the two bands shared the role of record company darlings. It was strange to think that a year ago Luxe had been just meeting the girls, getting used to the way she looked and then she had met Andy.
Hatred had filled her gut upon meeting him for the first time-it had been in this very building that it had occurred and being back here was almost surreal. The two of them were walking down the hallway, hand in hand and Andy was trying to keep her calm. His thumb was rubbing against the skin of her hand and while comforting, Luxe still couldn't help but worry.
Why did Alex need to see the both of them? What was so urgent that it couldn't wait until tomorrow?
Andy was still clutching the paper bag full of produce, their homemade dinner put on hold for this obvious emergency.
"What do you think he wants?" Andy asked, his voice low and rough sounding. Luxe looked up at him, her sunglasses perched on the top of her head, pushing her blonde bangs back from her tired looking face. She was tired of being treated like a doll...like a puppet.
"Who knows. With Alex it could be anything...maybe we're going to tour together next year after the records come out..." She thought out loud and Andy only smiled at her, squeezing her hand tightly.
"That would be pretty awesome." Andy said, but he knew that that probably wasn't going to happen. The same bands rarely toured together twice, especially less than a year from their last tour.
"Don't sound so excited Biersack." Luxe said, a joking tone to her voice but he could also see how hurt she seemed.
"Hey, I love you and I would love to tour with you again. Being away from you is probably going to drive me crazy." Andy said, trying to keep things light but he could see the fear in Luxe's eyes. They had stopped walking and were now facing one another, Andy having dropped the bag to the floor and now he was griping her arms lightly. Their eyes met and he could see the tears there in her light grey orbs.
"I know...it's going to be so hard..." Luxe said and Andy just stood there, allowing her to fall against his chest and her tearless sobs seemed to wrack her entire body.
"Let's not think about that now-we still have a week before we have to say those goodbyes." Andy said and Luxe only nodded as she pulled away from his chest.
Slowly they continued walking down the hallway, until finally Alex's closed door stood right before them. They could hear soft laughter coming from inside and a different voice so it was obvious that Alex wasn't alone. What could this possibly be about? She had been good, Luxe had worn the clothes, acted like the rockstar he wanted her to-her arms were now dotted with various tattoos, not because she wanted them, but because it was expected of her.
Luxe had completely changed in to something she wasn't and she just couldn't understand what else Alex would want from her. What else was she not doing right?
Andy inhaled deeply as he looked from the door and down to Luxe-she was so scared, so worried about what Alex was going to tell them or say to her. Luxe had told Andy all about her transformation into the rocker that she now was-about the pressure she was constantly under to be the best. She had to walk a certain way, like a tough girl who wasn't afraid of anything. Talk a certain way, like someone who knew that nothing could stop her. Dress a certain way, look a certain way and even sing a certain way sometimes.
Andy had seen it himself-he had seen how abusive the manager could be to the girls, not even just Luxe, but all five of them. They all had certain roles to play, looks that they had to go by and Andy knew it was what had driven a huge divide in the group.
Alex McFadden was going to destroy the Hollywood Dolls and it was only a matter of time.
"You ready?" Andy asked as they came to a stop outside of the door. Luxe was visibly shaking and Andy only smiled as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and brought her close. He wanted to shelter her-from everything.
"Not really." She said, her voice quivering and Luxe knew that nothing good was about to happen in that office.
"It's gonna be okay Luce...promise." Andy said and then he knocked on the door.
"Don't make promises you can't keep Andy." Luxe said as she turned to face the door and out a wide fake smile on her face. Her deep purple lips were still in that smile when the door opened and both Alex and Jon, BVB's manager, were standing there, looking out at them.
The couple walked into the room, hand in hand and Andy felt his free hand clench around the handle of the paperbag he was carrying. Gold and platinum records hung on the walls-All Dolled Up had gone platinum and Alex didn't seem too shy about that fact. One entire corner was taken up by a glass cabinet, framed photos of the girls from the previous summer and their various stops on the tour laid inside.
Also there were smaller versions of the Kerrang Awards that the girls had won, obviously Alex was bitter that the girls hadn't allowed the manager to take them for his little shrine. Andy took the hand that was being held out to him, cringing as Alex shook it and then let it fall.
Silently the couple took their seats on the other side of the desk, watching as Alex took his own seat and Jon just kind of hovered in the corner. Alex looked ecstatic, thrilled even and that gave Luxe some hope that maybe this wouldn't be as bad as she thought it was going to be.
"You two are looking good. Time off suits you." Alex stated and Andy tried his best to not jump over the table and wrap his hands around this asshole's neck.
"Thanks. You said this was urgent...what's going on Alex?" Luxe said as she leaned forward, her elbows now resting on her knees as her chin sat in her upturned hands. Alex inhaled a breath, obviously nervous but there was still a smile on his lips.
"Andy, how're you doing? Spent a day together at the farmer's market I see. Get anything good?" Alex asked the male singer, staring pointedly down at the bag that was sitting on the floor between the couple. The manager was staling and nothing good was going to come from this conversation.
"I'm fine Alex. Can you please just tell us why you called us in here. Luce and I have plans for tonight." He said and the couple only smiled at one another sheepishly-boy did they have plans.
"Sure, sure thing." Alex said and then stood up. He was a large man, as tall as Andy but wider and his black hair was slicked back in that greasy way that made him seem like a rat.
"Jon?" Alex said quickly and soon enough the BVB manager had joined Alex at his side and they both faced the two lead singers.
"The two of you have done well. The fans love you...they love you together and they love you separate." Alex stated and Andy just cocked an eyebrow at him. What was this about? What-was the record label expecting him to propose marriage to Luxe now?
"Get. To. The. Point." Andy said through gritted teeth. He'd had enough-this was getting to be completely absurd.
"You're done." Was all Alex said and the room stayed silent for a moment. What did that mean? Were they being dropped from the label? What was happening right now?
"I-I'm sorry?" Luxe said and Alex smiled at her softly. He liked Luxe, she was always compliant, usually and now she sounded so terrified. Good.
"The two of you...we don't need you together anymore." Andy cocked his head to one side-was Alex saying what Andy thought he was saying? Andy looked towards Luxe, trying to see if she understood, but she looked as confused as ever right now.
"Ar-are you saying that you want us to break up?" Andy said and Alex only smiled at him. There was a small yelp from beside him and Andy knew that it had finally hit Luxe.
The record company was done with their relationship and now it needed to be over.
"Exactly! It was a wonderful way to get you guys publicity, both for your records, your duet and your tour. But now you're not touring together anymore and there are no plans for you to cameo on either records." Alex explained and Andy's vision quickly grew red.
"But...we love each other." Luxe said and Alex only smirked at her. This girl hated Andy and begged Alex to get them away from one another...now she loved him. It would be the perfect ending.
"Just think of the material this will give you both! The records are going in to production in a week-the writing process has already started...this is a way for you to sell some of the best records out there! Andy I thought you of all people would be thrilled...you hated the idea from the start." Alex said, now placing his hands behind his back as he began to pace. Why were they being so difficult? He was giving them an out-the out that they had been wanting for so long.
"You're fucking crazy." Andy growled as he pulled Luxe closer, as close as they could be while sitting in separate seats. He wasn't going to give in-he wouldn't be manipulated.
"Luxe? Come on doll...this is what you begged me for last year. You really telling me that this isn't what you want?" The manger was smirking at them both now and Andy was fighting everything he had within himself not to jump up. Why was Jon being so silent about this? What had happened to make him go along with this shit?
"I'm thinking a very public ending-perhaps we can set some kind of event up before the girls go up to Seattle? Jon-any ideas?" Alex sounded so thrilled and Luxe felt her stomach twist and turn. She wanted to throw up...she wanted to shrink in to nothing right now.
"Oh! And I'll need the two of you to get on Twitter...very public anger with one another, but not too angry, we want to leave room for a possible reunion." He was sinister-pure evil and Luxe took in a deep breath as she stood up and faced her manager.
"No? What do you mean no?" Alex said and Luxe stood her ground as Andy joined her in standing up, his arm still wrapped around her shoulders.
"We are not breaking up. You wanted us together-pushed us together-and now we are together. I'm not playing this game anymore Alex." Luxe said and the manager only looked at his singer, pure hate in his eyes. She was going to ruin everything for him.
"Oh really? Well how about I take that nice little condo of yours and put it on the market? Huh? Didn't think about that one did you Luxe? I own you and you will do as I say or you will regret it." He spat at her and Luxe only smiled as she turned, walked towards the door, but then stopped and faced her manager one more time.
"Not this time Alex...not this time."
With that the door slammed behind the couple and they were walking towards an uncertain future.
Looks like Luxe is finally standing up for herself. What will it cost her? Her friends? Her career? Or maybe...just maybe...her life.