Elegy - Cover


Copyright© 2023 by Lumpy

Chapter 27

I was completely drained by the time I got home. After the funeral and having to hear how everyone was sorry about my mother, and then having to face the band and tell them we were going to have to cancel our upcoming shows, I honestly couldn’t deal with any other human beings today.

I waved off Mrs. Philips and Kat when I got home; just telling them I was tired and wanted some sleep. While I was tired, I wasn’t sure I could ever get to sleep again. My brain felt like it would never shut off, running through all of my worries, the fight with Dad, and the stuff that happened in jail. It was a never-ending loop of the worst week of my life.

I lay on my bed, just staring at the ceiling, for what seemed like hours. I was pretty out of it, even though I was awake, and it took a while for me to realize the buzzing I was hearing was my phone. Picking it up, I saw Kent’s number.

Since Warren was at the funeral, I knew Kent knew about my parents and that the funeral had been today. Part of me didn’t want to answer. I assumed he was calling to offer condolences from the label or whatever, and I honestly couldn’t stand hearing that one more time. But it could be something else, and I’d had enough trouble with the label over the last several months, I didn’t want him thinking I was dodging his calls.

So I answered.

“Hey, Kent,” I said, trying not to sound like I was about to fall to pieces.

“Hi, Charlie. I know you’ve had quite the day, but I just got off the phone with one of your bandmates named Marco, and he had some disturbing things to tell me. Is it true that you were arrested for the murder of your parents, you’re currently on pre-trial release and you’re not going to be able to play the shows we set up for you in Philadelphia, Georgia, and Florida?”

I was honestly completely floored. Marco called him. Of course, he did. Marco would rather be proven right, that I was a liability, and let the entire record contract burn to the ground than try to find a way to make this situation work. My brain was reeling and I didn’t answer right away, causing him to repeat himself.

“Charlie, is this true?”

“Partially. I was charged with my father’s death, and I do have pre-trial release restrictions that might impact some of our shows, but I’m taking care of it. The charges are bullshit.”

“But the pre-trial conditions are not, right? Are you really not allowed to leave the state or play in bars?”

“For now.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means we’re working on getting the pre-trial restrictions changed. I’m not going to end up in jail, Kent,” I said, trying to sound as confident as possible. “The DA has it out for me for personal reasons and has twisted this case to file charges. Even the local sheriff thinks it’s wrong. The DA also knows I’m a musician and that I play shows here and in other states, which is why he pushed for these specific restrictions, to further hurt me. It’s why he included both the out-of-state thing and the limitation on playing in places that serve alcohol. His case is weak, and it’s going to fall apart. We’ve already started working on motions to get him removed from the case. If I get a fair trial, this will all go away.”

“So you can’t play any shows until you go to trial?”

“No. We’re also filing for a change of pre-trial restrictions. My lawyer is confident he can get those removed, or at least get exceptions added that would allow me to still perform.”

That was the first outright lie I’d said so far, since Mr. Eaves had made it clear he wasn’t confident he could get them changed and that he was more focused on the actual charges and not my pre-trial conditions.

“Charlie, I understand you want to put a positive spin on this, but we need to know exactly what’s going on and how it’s going to affect the label and your tour schedule. Are you going to have to cancel shows or not?”

“I don’t know. I might get the conditions reversed this next week, in time for Philadelphia.”

“That means yes then. We need to give them some notice to replace you unless we want to burn our bridges with the venue permanently. We’ll rebook that show.”

“What about the tour? That’s three weeks away. How far out can we cancel?” I asked.

“We’ve already dumped money into those shows, and we’re already inside the window where we will be penalized for canceling your performances. This is going to cost us money.”

“But I might still be able to make those shows.”

“Most of the shows on that tour are smaller venues. If we stop the marketing, there’s no way we make enough to make the tour worth it.”

“What about Miami? That’s got a built-in audience, so you’re not having to spend anything to market that, and knowing later will not affect how much of an audience we have.”

“We can maybe wait a little longer on that, but not a lot longer. They need more time to fill that spot, and unlike one-off shows, the label has a relationship with the people producing that show. We can’t afford to cancel with them on short notice. I’ll give you a week from Monday, but that’s it.”

With our show a week from Monday, it seemed very unlikely Mr. Eaves would be able to do anything by then. So I was definitely kissing all of these shows goodbye, and almost certainly the Miami show too. This was a disaster. I knew it was possible, but I didn’t think it would all fall apart this fast.

“What I want to know is why you were going to wait until Monday to tell us all this. If you knew last week, you should have called us then, so we could have done something about it,” Kent said.

“I know, and I’m sorry about that. In my defense, it’s been a very difficult week. After watching my father murder my mother, I was falsely arrested and spent until Wednesday in jail, where I couldn’t do anything, and as soon as I was out, I had to plan her funeral and work with my lawyer to do something about the charges. I’m not trying to say calling you wasn’t equally as important or anything. I just ... it was a lot to deal with.”

“Okay. We’ll let you know what we decide on the shows,” Kent said, and abruptly hung up.

That wasn’t how I wanted the conversation to go. I was fairly certain they were going to have to cancel some shows. The Philadelphia one, at the very least, seemed impossible to make. I also knew it was going to cause me additional problems with the label. After everything my dad did last time, when he was trying to ‘manage’ my career, even though I didn’t want him to, I knew I was on thin ice.

What I hadn’t expected was getting no signal from Kent regarding where things were now. Clearly, he was pissed. That much wasn’t hard to pick up. What wasn’t clear was how I stood with the label now or what canceling these shows was going to do to my contract long term. Limbo was the last place I wanted to be.

After ending the call with Kent, I went back to staring at the ceiling for a while. Everything was falling apart, and I really didn’t know what to do anymore. What I really wanted to do was talk to someone. I didn’t want to talk to Kat or Hanna, not because I thought they wouldn’t be supportive, but because they were both still on the fence about canceling their plans so that they could be with me. I didn’t think I could mask how despondent I felt at the moment, and I was worried they might take that to mean that I couldn’t handle this on my own and go back to putting their lives on hold again. That was the last thing I wanted.

Then I started to think about Sydney. I really did want to talk to her. She’d clearly avoided me at the funeral, but it still wasn’t clear to me if that was her father steering her away from me or if she was doing it herself. We’d been in such a good place on my birthday, before everything happened, I really needed her.

I still vacillated whether I should call her or not, but eventually decided to give it a try. I just wanted to hear her voice again.

I dialed her number, and her father answered, which surprised me since I’d called her cell phone. For a second, I almost hung up, but I knew he could see on the screen that it was me.

“I was trying to get a hold of Sydney,” I said, although that was probably pretty obvious.

“She’s not going to talk to you, Charlie,” he said coldly.

“Can she tell me that? If she doesn’t want to talk to me, I won’t bother her again, but I’d like to at least hear it from her.”

“No, she can’t. Charlie, I’m trying to be patient with you because I know you have a lot going on, but I was serious when I said I didn’t think it was a good idea for you to see her anymore. You have enough going on right now, just leave this alone and focus on that.”

“But that’s exactly why...” I started to say, but he cut me off.

“Charlie, I’m serious. Stop calling her. I’m asking you nicely for the last time,” he said, and then hung up.

The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.