Brace yourselves: this crossover means that shit’s about to hit the ceiling, folks! (if you haven’t read the last chapter of NOTH, this chapter won’t make sense)
Carla woke up the next morning with a smile on her face; she was pleasantly sore and in a very good mood thanks to her boyfriend’s surprise last night. She rolled over to lay her her head on the drummer’s chest but the space next to her was empty. In fact, his covers were still in the exact same place as they were last night- he couldn’t have gone to bed. The redhead got up and put a night gown on, just in case he and Jared (or worse, a friend) were downstairs talking. She checked the entire house but came up empty: Shannon wasn’t there. But where could he have gone? He didn’t leave a note and he hadn’t texted her so what had happened? He wasn’t out getting drugs again was he? Or worse- had her uncertainty about having children with him pushed him back to using?
“Stop it” Carla told herself, trying to stay calm “You have no proof anything is wrong”
For all she knew, he may have had a brilliant idea for a song during the night and had run off to tell his brother about it before he forgot. Yeah! That was probably it! They were working on another album and Jared had wanted to hear his ideas in person so Shannon had to haul ass over to The Lab. He probably just crashed there in his old bedroom and would be back for breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, she should probably get cracking if she was going to make it in time for work. The redhead quickly showered and got dressed before starting on the food. She found a fresh package of cinnamon rolls and pressed them into the waffle iron while she cooked some eggs and sausage in a pan. Everything had just been put on a plate when the front door opened, revealing a very tired drummer holding a cup holder filled with Starbucks beverages.
“Hey, Shan!” she said, trying to sound chirpy. “Are you hungry? I made breakfast!”
The musician nodded. “I could eat”
Carla set his plate in front of him with a smile and sat next to him at the breakfast bar, itching to ask where the hell he ran off to but trying to hold off and avoid another fight.
“You spend the night at Jared’s?”
Shannon’s eyes widened in anger and fear. “How the hell did you know that?!?”
“I, uh… It just seemed like a logical explanation. You guys are still working on new songs and I just figured you went over to The Lab during the middle of the night to work on something”
“Oh” he replied, shaking his head “No, we weren’t at The Lab. We were up all night talking at his new place”
A wave of relief washed over the dancer when he confirmed that he was in fact with his brother and not out looking for drugs.
“Wait, Jared has a new place?”
Shannon nodded and took a bite of his waffle. “He bought an old military compound and is renovating it into his dream home. Give him some space between work and relaxation, you know? The Lab really isn’t much of a home anymore”
“That’s understandable… I wish I would have known, I would have gotten him a housewarming present or something. I’ve just been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to talk to him- or Emma for that matter. We should have lunch one day and catch up, I hardly ever see her anymore”
“I’m sure she’d like that”
Carla’s phone went off and she check the screen, wondering why Aeris was calling her now. She still had an hour and a half before her first class.
The redhead pulled the phone away from her ear. “Yes?”
“You have to get here: RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!” the instructor shouted “Dresden was supposed to show up last night for her 10 p.m class but she didn’t, I’ve been calling her all night and all morning to see if she is coming in but her phone is going straight to voicemail! We have SIX classes this morning, hun: SIX!”
“Yes, Aeris: I can hear you and I know how to count”
The model scoffed. “Do NOT get smart with me! Coco has a doctor appointment this morning which means that we will have to do some serious juggling. Whatever you’re doing, stop and head over here before we lose all of our clients!”
She hung up and Carla groaned, furious at the blonde for bailing yet again on the studio.
“Do you know where I can find a certain blonde dominatrix who has a habit of being completely unreliable and difficult to get into contact with?”
Shannon looked like a deer in headlights. “Why are you asking me that?”
“Because Dres is M.I.A and I have to pick up her slack- AGAIN!” she huffed, tying her shoelaces “Do me a favor and ask Jared if I can borrow a bell collar or nice spanking paddle to keep her in line”
The drummer looked like he was about to be sick. “Trust me when I say that I don’t think that is a very good way to go about keeping Dresden in line”
“Then what would you suggest?”
He shrugged. “Talk to her?”
“You don’t talk to Dresden” the redhead replied “SHE talks to YOU”
Shannon looked uncomfortable. “That may have been the case but it might be nice if you just called and checked up on her. If she didn’t show up for work, you might want to check and see if she’s okay.”
“I’ll do that AFTER I do all of her work in addition to my own. God! I swear that bitch better have a good excuse for ditching everyone” she gritted, reaching for her bag
“Something tells me that she does…”
The redhead walked through the door and dropped her bag on the floor, too exhausted to hang it up and put her things away. Not only had she taught her own classes today, but she had picked up the other four advanced classes that were supposed to be Coco and Dresden’s jobs. She could happily forgive Coco, the poor woman had to see her doctor, but what her college friend had done was completely unforgivable. What kind of excuse did she have to give?
“In here, LaLa” she heard from the living room.
The dancer dragged her feet toward the sound of her boyfriend’s voice and was surprised to see his brother sitting on the couch.
“Oh, hi Jared”
He waved, looking sad. “Hi Carla”
She was used to the singer being the first one to talk and or give orders or explain things, but something was wrong. He just sat on the couch playing with his thumbs.
“I told Jared he could stay for dinner” the drummer said “He’s feeling a bit…down right now”
Carla immediately became worried. “You’re not feeling depressed are you? Are you having trouble sleeping? You have to speak up about these things, Jared! It’s what killed Heath Ledger, may he rest in peace. The Joker was a phenomenal role but it took over his psyche- don’t tell me you’re struggling with the same thing”
He gave her a soft smile. “It has nothing to do with work, Carla but thank you for your concern”
Shannon put his hand over hers and shook his head, telling her to leave it alone. Jared was like a brother to her and she wanted to know what was wrong, she wanted to be able to help. Nevertheless, her boyfriend knew his blood better than she did and if he said to back off then she would.
“Well, if you want dinner then I’m afraid we’re in a bit of a pickle. It’s later than I thought and I’ so tired, I don’t think I can-”
“I took care of it, babe” Shannon said, pointing to the counter “We picked up some Italian on the way home.”
Relief hit her in full force. “That is really fucking awesome! I’ll unpack everything”
“I’ll set the table” Jared said, standing up “Can’t just sit here and mope”
Carla allowed him to get to work, putting out several place settings for each of them when Shannon reached for her waist and brought her ear to his lips.
“Do me a favor, LaLa? Don’t bring up Dresden or her dominatrix tendencies”
Things were starting to make sense. “Oh… did something happen during a scene with Jared? Is that why he is so down?”
“Yeah, something like that. I know you usually wouldn’t but please just don’t bring up anything bondage or sex related, alright?”
Her boyfriend didn’t have to ask twice; there was no way she was going to bring up their sex life in front of anybody- especially Jared.
“Done and done. Now let’s eat”
One Week Later
It was almost time for Shannon to leave for Europe; they only had a few shows left for the Lust + Lust tour but it still broke the redhead’s heart.
“Hey, hun” Aeris said, shaking her friend’s shoulder “How you holding up?”
Carla shrugged. “We still have tonight so I’m not too down, but I will admit that I’m feeling a bit scared”
Although she didn’t want to divulge her boyfriend’s past drug usage, she knew she had to confide in somebody.
“Well, first of all it’s our first time apart since we first got together and I don’t know how to handle it. Plus, he’s had some ‘issues’ in the past that I’m worried may come to a head- not to mention that he’ll be surrounded by beautiful Eastern women. I’m not saying he’s going to cheat, but the temptation will be there and… well, he’s only human”
The studio owner gave a quick slap to the redhead’s face, delivering a blunt and powerful message.
“Bitch, you listen here!” she exclaimed “That man literally risked his life for you, would move heaven and earth to be with you, not to mention he has done everything in his power to protect you and love you. Why the fuck are you tempting the cosmos to fuck this up spouting shit like that?!? Shannon would never cheat on you- and if he does: you make sure to let him know that what I had in store for Clayton was NOTHING compared to what I will do to him if he breaks your heart”
Carla rubbed her face. “Not to worry, Dresden already gave him a very explicit warning as well as some visual aid to warn him of what will come should he stray… Speaking of which, have you seen her? Or at least talked to her?”
The model shook her head. “Nope, I tried getting calling and texting her but nothing, no calls or anything. You don’t think a scene went bad and somebody-”
“Please, that woman would castrate and dismember anybody that even thought about turning around her. I think she may just be dealing with some personal stuff, it is almost the anniversary of her dad’s death after all.”
“That’s true” Aeris admitted “Say, since we only have two more classes- why don’t you head out early and spent the rest of your day with your rockstar? Give him a farewell that he’ll never forget, one that will help him keep his paws off all them European groupies!”
She winked at her friend. “I will do just that! Thanks, Aeris!”
The redhead grabbed her stuff and ran to her car, wondering if she could call Dresden again. After all, it wasn’t like a dominant to admit that they needed help- especially when they really did need it… In fact, speaking of dominants- she should probably say good bye to Jared as well, he’d been so down this past week. She’d pick up a nice cupcake or something for him at Whole foods while we she went shopping for dinner.
Hey Shan, I’m picking up some stuff for dinner so don’t eat before you come home! Oh, and I’m also going to drop off some dessert at Jared’s to cheer him up before you guy’s leave for Europe. I love you and I’ll see you tonight- XOXO
Sooner than she expected, the redhead had all of her groceries including a very pretty and delicious looking vegan fruit tart just for her the singer. She’d better drop it off at his place before she went home; she didn’t want Jared to disturb her and her lover when they were enjoying dessert…
“Awesome, dude! Thanks!” Stevie exclaimed, opening his Black Fuel lunchbox. “Is this a thermos and- seriously, FREE COFFEE?!? I love you, bro!”
Shannon gave him a hug. “You’re welcome, oh and do me a favor? Tell me what you think of the S.L blend, alright? And be honest- I only want to make things better.”
“Will do my man” he assured his band member.
Emma ran into the studio and yanked on Shannon’s arm, clearly in a panic.
“Whoa, Em” he said “Calm down, what’s the problem?”
The dirty blonde dragged him away from the group until they were alone in one of the offices. She handed him his cell phone and Shannon read the text, confused as to why his friend was having a panic attack.
“She’s giving Jared some dessert, what’s the issue? It’s not like a small piece of cake is going to ruin-”
“No, Shannon!” Emma hissed “She is dropping by Jared’s house! His new house where only a few people have been! Or to be more specific, where a certain person IS with your brother and no doubt in a very compromising and sexual position!”
What the fuck?!? “You mean Dresden is at J’s right now?!? What the fuck is she doing there and why didn’t anybody tell me?!?”
“Jared told me not to!” Emma explained “He texted me about thirty minutes ago and said that she had stopped by and they would be taking awhile so don’t bother calling him because he wouldn’t answer.”
Shannon facepalmed and dragged his nails across his skin. “And now my girlfriend is on her way to no doubt catching my baby brother beating her best friend into submission and what the fuck do you think she will have to say about that?!?”
“Stop her! You’re closer to Jared’s place than she is, hopefully you will get there before she does!”
“We can only hope” he muttered, grabbing his keys and running out the door.
Carla drove onto Jared’s new property, astounded by the size of his new home. It looked a little bland at the moment, but with the actor’s vision and determination- there was no doubt it would soon become a piece of art. Grabbing the dessert from the passenger seat, the redhead walked up to the singer’s front door and knocked- surprised when the door just swung open. That was surprising; Jared NEVER left his door unlocked. Now genuinely worried, Carla entered his home and called out softly.
She was met with silence and chose to explore further, searching every room until she came to Jared’s dungeon. There were torn ropes that partially hung from the ceiling and piled onto the floor next to a bottle of Valium and a knocked over bottle of water. Now the redhead was really starting to become frightened: what had Jared been doing in here? Had he hurt somebody- or worse, was he hurt?
She heard a mumble from the other end of the house and ran towards the sound, swinging open the door to the master bedroom. Carla’s first instinct was to close the door as quickly as she had opened it; on the bed lied Jared and a very curvy blonde companion whose face was obscured as she nuzzled it into his chest. But something stopped her; although the light from the hallway was dim- she couldn’t mistake the large dragon on his bed mate’s hip. There was no way…
Carla turned on the bedroom light and dropped the fruit tart onto Jared’s bedroom floor. Although she may have been wrong about the dragon tattoo- there was no mistaking the elaborately free-handed Jabberwock poem on the blonde’s shoulder. Dresden was in bed with her boyfriend’s brother.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!?”
Jared startled awake, his jaw dropping in shock but quickly regaining his composure. “Haven’t you heard of knocking?”
“I did fucking knock! The front door was open and I think you’re dead but I find something worse!”
The screaming awoke Dresden and she sleepily rubbed her eyes, opening them and cowering at the sight of her friend catching her in a VERY compromising position.
“Jared…” she whimpered, curling into the actor’s chest.
The singer wrapped his arms protectively around the dominatrix’s body and whispered into her ear, making sure to give her a delicate kiss on the forehead. Clearly, this was not a no-strings attached one night stand: this had been going on for a long time and the two were intimately involved.
“Carla, don’t! Oh shit…”
She turned around and saw her boyfriend standing in the hallway, not looking half as surprised as she was. Obviously, he knew something she didn’t.
“You knew about this?!?” the redhead exclaimed.
Jared wasn’t about to throw his brother under the bus; he stepped in before the drummer could open his mouth.
“This is NONE of your business, Carla” he snapped “Or Shannon’s. We are two consenting adults who have made a decision to become sexually involved.”
Carla scoffed. “Consenting adults? That’s rich! Don’t think I didn’t see the Valium and bondage equipment in your kink room! Does Shannon know about-? Wait… That’s why you left the other night wasn’t it? That’s why you told me not to bring up bondage or Dresden or- fuck! How could I have been so stupid?!?”
Shannon reached out for his girlfriend’s arm, trying to calm her down.
“No, don’t! Don’t you fucking touch me!” she screamed “How dare you?!? How dare you keep this from me! How dare you allow your brother to hurt my best friend! How long has this been going on?!?”
Her boyfriend looked extremely uncomfortable and Jared stepped in once again. “Like I said, that is none of your business. Both Dresden and I signed confidentiality agreements to avoid a mess like this”
“Confidential- Damn it: this is fifty shades of Leto!” the redhead screamed, completely overwhelmed “Dresden? Did Jared force you into this? Did he blackmail you or something?”
“Carla!” Shannon hissed “That is below the belt and you know it!”
She glared at her lover. “Yeah, because let’s pretend that Jared isn’t a pushy, high-handed, self righteous asshole who will do anything to get what he wants! Including, entrapping my friend into a room of punishment!”
“HE DIDN’T FORCE ME!” the blonde shouted “I MADE UP MY OWN FUCKING MIND AND IT WAS JUST AS MUCH MY DECISION AS IT WAS HIS!”
Jared cringed; he’d been trying to take the fall, minimizing the backlash on the blonde as much as he could but clearly she wasn’t going to let that happen. They couldn’t leave Carla with one friend…
“So you, you did this? Willingly?” Carla asked, mortified “You let him string you up and beat you and call you filthy names and hurt you over and over again? What the hell is wrong with you, Dresden?!? What could you possibly get out of that?!?”
This was bad; the dominatrix had just come to terms with her weakness and past abuse and now Carla was exploiting it. If Jared didn’t put a stop to this right now, it would only get uglier. The lyricist swung the covers to the side and stood up in his bare naked glory- not caring if Carla got an eyeful.
“Shannon! Take her out of here right now! Stay in the living room or leave, I really don’t care but get out of my bedroom. The last thing Dresden needs-”
“Dresden can speak for herself!” the blonde shouted, also standing up naked “I don’t need your protection Jared and I sure as hell don’t need your approval, Carla! Let me rinse off and I’ll be gone, out of your lives forever!”
The businesswoman ran into Jared’s connecting bathroom and slammed the door, ending the 'conversation’ between the foursome. Shannon knew his brother’s temper was only going to rise in the blonde’s absence and he got the hell out of dodge- grabbing his girlfriend’s arm and dragging her out of the bedroom.
“I know you hate me and him and her and everybody else in the world right now, but you need to calm the hell down” Shannon ordered “Go back home and we’ll talk about this when I get back but you are only aggravating the situation. Leave”
“Gladly!” he redhead snapped.
She couldn’t stomach looking at him for another moment. Grabbing her keys, the dancer left her friend’s house with a very loud slam.