This chapter was edited on 4/28/21
Rob Starre stood bathed in sweat and glared at his image in the mirror. The fine wrinkles around his eyes and mouth proved he was no longer eighteen years old. Stepping closer to the glass, he ran
his fingers through his hair. Barely visible streaks of gray ran throughout his cocoa-brown hair. Once upon a time, he'd been proud of his hair. Now it was aging, too.
His gaze traveled down his body. Thank God he stayed in shape over the years. He had never been muscular, but he was slender and toned. He stood at six foot three in his bare feet. The years had
been good to him, even if he hadn't been good to himself.
Anger crept up on him. The clothes he wore were made for a teenager. I'm getting too old for this shit," he thought, and I can't sing in something this damn tight. I can hardly
breathe! If D chose this for me. . . Where the hell is he anyway? He should be here by now.
He wanted a drink. What he needed was a Valium.
The pandemonium upstairs told him that time was running out.
D was always here to make sure he had what he needed before going on stage. D'd been with him for eleven years. He knew the drill. So, where was he?
In one swift movement, he clawed at the thin shirt. His fingers shredded the material, and buttons flew in every direction. "Fuck this!" he gasped, throwing the shirt to the floor.
Dropping to his knees, he pressed his forehead against the cool tiles. His heart hammered against his ribs, and he couldn't seem to catch his breath.
Crawling to the vanity, he snaked his fingers across the counter, found his cell, and pulled it toward him. It dropped in his lap. His hands were damp, and he fumbled it, catching it before it hit
the floor and shattered into a million pieces.
Taking a deep breath, he tapped the contact with her name.
Please be there!
She answered on the third ring.
She sighed, exasperated. "You're not dying."
"I can't breathe!"
"You need to relax."
"I can't. I have to be on stage in ten minutes!"
"I don't know!"
"Christ," she swore. "Listen to me. I need you to concentrate."
"No, not okay, okay. I know you're not listening. We've been through this before. Close your eyes, picture my face. Can you see me?"
He leaned his head back against the dresser and closed his eyes.
"I see you."
"Good, now take a breath. As deep as you can. Blow it out slowly. Remember?"
"Keep your eyes on me, remember? Okay, now, take one more breath, a little deeper this time, and try to relax. Let's start with your toes and work your way up. Are you feeling your toes relaxing?"
"Yes." He saw her clearly now. Her beauty always astonished him.
"Take another breath. Relax those muscles. Does that feel better?"
"Feel your muscles letting go. Let that tension flow upward, up through your body, and out the top of your head. It's all going out that way. Feel it leave you. Your shoulders are loosening. The
tension in your neck is leaving."
He could breathe deeper now.
"Are you breathing any better?" she asked.
"I think so," he whispered.
"Just keep that up for a few more minutes. You'll be fine."
"I know, I just hope I don't lose my audience."
She gave a short laugh. "The fans will wait. They've waited for you before. You're a star."
"I love you."
"I know you do."
He heard the catch in her voice. It had been this way ever since their divorce ten years ago.
"I love you, too, and I always will. Now go out there and kick some ass."
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