20 None of my business

Steve

I pull my cap on snugly as the elevator doors opened. I step out and keep my head down, pulling my jacket around my shoulders. I don't need to look where I was going as I already knew my way around. I keep my head down as I continued walking down the block, turning the corner to the park a kilometer away.

The park is empty, it is too hot out for kids to be playing on the swings. I open my phone and book a taxi.

"Hi Steve," says a familiar voice behind me.

"God, Chas," I turn around to look in her direction, but not directly at her. "You almost gave me a heart attack." I look back at my phone to finish my booking.

"Where were you last night?" Chastity continues. I know she was looking at me, her face stern, hands crossed in front of her chest. I can feel her eyes boring a hole into my cheek.

"Why are you here?" I ask. Booking confirmed, my taxi was on its way. I look around the street. Not a lot of people but this stupid girl wasn't wearing a disguise or anything.

"I followed you, of course," she says. "Who are you fucking this time?"

"None of your business, Chas," I smile at the space beside her ear.

"LJ and Rory are fucking," she says, her voice getting a bit louder.

"That's none of my business, Chas," I reply. "Why don't you go home and be a good girl? Aren't you promoting the new album these days?" I turn away from her to check if my taxi was approaching yet. It isn't but I need to get away from her as soon as possible

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"You lied last night," she accuses, walking around me to stand in front of me again, so that I would face her. "Why don't you tell everyone I was your first?"

"That wasn't the question and I did answer truthfully," I calmly reply. I instantly regret replying, though. It is not worth defending myself to her, as she gets everything wrong anyway. She only believes what she wants to believe.

Chastity is the true anomaly in Succulent, whose group concept is wholesome pretty girls with amazing voices. In their group, as a singer, Chastity is only so-so. She can carry a tune while the other girls could hit high notes and belt out like it was the end of time. Unlike Mark, who makes up for his weak voice with other talents, Chastity is not much to look at either. Pretty, fine, but not beside Sandra and Charlene and Rory. She is also the only one who has to put on this act of wholesomeness to fit into her band. Underneath the sweet face is this vampire who likes to play in the sun.

"People need to know about us, Steve," Chastity argues.

"There is no us, Chas," I remind her. I hear a noise down the street - an elderly lady had come out to sweep her sidewalk and is looking at us curiously. I can tell that I am nearly about to lose my cool. Where the hell is that cab?

"Why can't you at least say you had me and you liked it?"

I bite my lip to keep from responding. Talking to her only encouraged her, and I should know better. I see my cab inching towards us at a snail's pace.

I knew it was risky to leave Teresa's after lunch. I'm so careful about shit like this 99.9% of the time, and never make wrong calculations. But here is proof of why I need to be extremely careful about shit like this because the one time I go against my better judgment, I open up opportunities like Chastity of Succulent harassing me openly on the street.

But I'm just so sick of this, to tell you honestly. Finally, we get a day where we don't have to do anything until the evening because Barney made it mandatory for all of us to show up at Mark's movie premiere and Ned couldn't schedule anything before that because Mark had a photo shoot for the other movie, and a round of interviews right after, plus I lied about not needing anyone to come in to re-record vocals. Seriously, I just need one day of doing nothing, after nine years of this shit. Seriously.

"I want us to be together again, Steve," she sounds like she was about to cry. Or maybe she was already crying.

"Chas, I have to go, we're finishing an album," I pat her shoulders. "Get home safe, okay?" I jump into the cab and tell the driver to step on it. I don't look back at Chastity at all; I never once looked her in the eyes this whole time. I call up Teresa to warn her to not go out alone the next few days and to keep her door locked. Maybe I should stop seeing Teresa altogether.

Damn. I really like Teresa. I pull my cap off and rub my temples where a sharp pain had suddenly started drilling into my skull.

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