In last week's chapter of In Pieces, Ryan was given some boundaries by Aiden in regards to his twin, Abby. Will this make Ryan's job harder? What is going on with these people? Find out more in this week's chapter. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #23 (7.3)
“Yeah, sure,” Ryan stammered, even as he was wondering how he would get background information if he couldn’t ask questions about the band members’ backgrounds. Guess he couldn’t. At least, not all of them. Maybe some of them wouldn’t mind.
He made a mental note to discuss the situation with Ben later. For right now, he’d just leave the topic alone.
Don’t ask about transgender or family. Duly noted.
“So you and Ben are stepbrothers?” Aiden asked. At least the potential storm had passed, to Ryan’s relief, leaving no trace, almost as if it had never been, and Aiden was his usual sunny self once more. Ryan was glad. He wasn’t one to court drama.
“Uh, yeah. My dad and his mom.” He tried not to squirm. Why did that question make him so uncomfortable? Maybe because he didn’t want people to think of him and Ben as brothers, and even saying stepbrothers was a little too close for comfort. To consider them as being siblings would make his feelings for Ben inappropriate, to say the least. The truth of the matter was their parents had been married once upon a time for a few years. Okay, it had been a decade. But there was no shared blood between them, that’s what counted. The bond Ben and he had was something entirely different. Something special.
“I take it you haven’t exactly kept in touch with him,” Aiden continued. “I mean, you seemed so shocked to see him up at the airport. In fact, you were so surprised you fainted.”
Ryan’s cheeks heated at the memory. “I haven’t seen Ben in ten years,” he said, more than a little defensively. “This was the last place I expected him to be, much less involved with Salvation.” Who was asking the questions here? And why did he feel the need to explain himself anyway?
“Well, it certainly is a small world, isn’t it?” Aiden took a sip of his coffee, watching Ryan over the rim of his mug.
Ryan ducked behind his laptop screen. He knew he shouldn’t allow himself to get so riled over a simple question. Aiden hadn’t meant anything by it, Ryan was just reading into what he’d said. He needed to stop being so sensitive where Ben was concerned. Especially now that they were together again. He didn’t want to do anything to fuck that up. Not before he had a chance to make things right, the way they should always have been.
“How long have you known Ben?” Ryan redirected the conversation to where it should always have been. That had to be a much safer topic. Nothing taboo there, right?
“A couple of years, I guess. We met when we played together in a band in San Francisco.”
Ryan set his coffee aside and began to type. “What was the name of the band?”
Aiden shrugged. “Ill Harmony. Bad Vibrations. I forget. It wasn’t much of a band, to be honest, and the music pretty much sucked. We were all glad when the lead singer decided to call it quits. I think he went into the porno industry.”
“Ben didn’t sing lead?” Ryan was surprised.
“No, but he should have. He was a lot better than that other guy. Maybe that was the problem. He was too good. He became a threat the other guy couldn’t deal with so he broke up the band. Then the three of us just moved on.”
“Is that when you formed Salvation?” Now they were getting somewhere. This was the type of information that fans would find interesting.
“Not right away.”
Ryan glanced up, fingers poised. “Was there another group? Before Salvation?”
“Briefly. It was called Primary Wisdom, but it was short-lived.”
“Not good either?” Ryan was becoming curious. Was it normal to go from band to band like this? He didn’t really know.
“No, Wisdom was pretty good actually. Especially once we got Keanu and Deacon. We had a good sound going on.”
“Was it the same genre, church metal? And by the way, how would you define church metal? I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t know.”
Aiden shrugged. “I can’t really define it. It’s just something you have to feel. Like religion. But no, Wisdom was more rock and roll than metal.”
That was about as clear as mud. Not very helpful at all.
“So what happened to the group?”
Aiden didn’t reply right away. Several seconds passed before he finally said, “Internal strife, I guess you could say. Ben doesn’t like to be told what to do. Things got really tense, so we split. Headed in a new direction.”
“Who was trying to tell Ben what to do?”
Ryan was shocked. Not once since being reunited with Ben had thoughts of Liza crossed his mind. He hadn’t even thought to ask Ben about her, how she was doing, was she still alive. Ben certainly hadn’t introduced the subject himself. Out of sight, out of mind.
A chill crawled down Ryan’s spine at the mere mention of her name. He’d never liked her, and he hated her what she’d done to his dad. And to him, when she took Ben away, keeping them apart for ten long years. Could that have been a deliberate ploy on her part? And why had that idea never occurred to him before? Maybe because he’d been too busy missing Ben to worry about her or her motives.
Lost in thought, Ryan was startled by a hand on his arm. What the hell was Aiden thinking? But when he glanced up, he found Ben standing there, hair freshly damp from the shower, cheeks glowing. Ryan’s heart skipped a beat at the sight.
But what had he heard? And how would he react to the mention of his controlling mother?
to be continued
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