Sybel delRio-- no one's heroin(e)
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  1. #11
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    Sybel delRio-- no one's heroin(e)
    Christmas came and went in a dazzling string of events like brightly colored stones strung on a necklace of promises and forevers: the hurried packing of clumsily wrapped presents as they decided last minute to wait until they got to Zen's home to celebrate, ducking the papparazi in the American air port and happily noting their relative absence at the European one, meeting Winston and spending the end of the old year and beginning of the new in a veritable castle of a home on a cold, lonely beach. There was nothing cold about the boy who kept her warm at night.

    There had been a fight. She was hot-tempered and he was hard-headed. Asking either of them later, neither Sybel nor Zen could tell you exactly how it started, but they could tell you with no little uncertainty how it ended.


    Six months later.


    That first night spent back in his arms felt like holy redemption: it wasn't any lamb-eyed martyr Sybel worshipped, but the fair-haired blue-eyed boy that fell asleep with his head against her breast sometime just after morning broke. Exhausted but still awake, she finger combed sweat damp hair back from the elegant arch of his brow, lulled closer toward sleep by the now even keel of his heartbeat. Time without him had dragged its reluctant heels, but now with Zen held like something precious and infinitely fragile in the circle of her arms, it seemed to never have existed at all. Surely, it couldn't have been months spent apart, could it? Dimly she could remember an endless string of cheap hotel rooms, her stubborn insistence at getting a room separate from Brynn. Remembered sputtering candles and dirty crystal that wouldn't melt fast enough as she shivered, sitting half-naked and hollow-eyed on the cold edge of a grimy bath tub. Remembered vicious paparazzi she wasn't famous enough to warrant as a solo-act, but as Zen Wilting's scorned lover, they couldn't get enough, swarming like hungry piranha all wanting a bite of her. Even as she made a quiet, private spiral into brief self-loathing, some part of her knew, knew without question that their separation was only temporary. Pale violet shadows spread like bruises under her eyes, whittled away the sleekness of her already wiry frame until the juts of her hip bones cradled her belly like praying hands, the angles of her shoulderblades the shafts of broken wings under bronze skin.

    Zen always was the lightest sleeper, perhaps her very thoughts were enough to rouse him, because he stirred with a wordless murmur. Lifting himself up slightly with one elbow and looking down at her with watercolor eyes that always looked sleepy no matter the hour or circumstance.

    "Mnph," he began articulately, working some wetness into his tongue before trying again. "Not a dream," he mumbled. Disengaging the still sticky tangle of their bodies he rolled over onto his side, reaching for her one handed, the splay of his long fingers coming to rest on the shallow bowl of her belly as he apparently fell asleep again. Finally, the last of the haunted look in her eyes was burned away by his boyish reassurance -- that she wasn't sure if it was for him or her didn't matter in the slightest.

    Smiling, she twisted around, like a feline the way she insinuated herself under his sleep-heavy arm, nestling her dark head comfortably against the crook of his shoulder and noosing his waist with one arm.

  2. #12
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    <center>

    </center>


    It wasn't so very long after that Zen would receive a laughing, slightly exasperated voicemail from Sybel.

    "Don't you ever answer this thing? Anyway, Brynn and I are going out to smoke and drink a little tonight out at the fire watch tower, same one where we-- well, you were there, I'm sure you remember. We're driving separate, so if you show up Brynn'll be gracious enough to bail so can-- well, whatever, yanno? Mmkay, well hopefully see you later!"

    Roughly three and one-half hours later, two thirds of Lax were enjoying the fruits of their labor from having braved the heights, and for having dragged up a backpack heavy with cold beer and the telescope Zen had bought Sybel once upon an enchanted time. Sybel had never had much luck getting it to work properly, but Brynn expertly played with the angle, twisting various knobs to adjust the little interior mirrors and bring the focus sharp. A woven Mexican blanket was spread over the tower's platform, the corners held down by sharply scented citronella candles to keep the bugs away. Already there was a pair of emptied bottles, another ten crammed haphazardly with ice chips into a soft cooler.

    "Syb, check this out. See-- people weren't so totally dumb thinking the moon's made out of cheese. Up close, it looks even more like cheese. Seriously, take a look."

    The lanky drummer, who had been meticulously lighting an expertly rolled joint, fluidly rose from her crouch, taking a lengthy draw from the twisted paper, passing it to Brynn as she stooped to look through the eyepiece. Exhaling with a surprised puff of smoke, Sybel was grinning like a thrilled child.

    "I wish Zen was here to see this, this is freaking fantastic."

    The rest of the joint, most of a second, and three beers apiece later, both girls were lying flat on their backs, staring up at the unobscured stretch of star dotted sky overhead.

    "I just-- fuck, something is serious killing my hip--" Sybel interrupted herself long enough to dig her cellphone from her back pocket, inadvertently calling the last number she'd dialed. Which was, of course, Zen.

    "I just," she continued, scooting her phone towards the cooler without looking, sprawling back out comfortably.

    "I mean, I've never really been one of those chicks that freaks out about shit, you know? But when we were apart, the thought of anyone else touching me like, seriously made me feel like I would hurl. And then he, without me asking, tells me he was with two chicks. And he says they didn't mean anything and I believe him, but... yanno? Does that fuckin' mean anything that he didn't feel the same way?"

    There was silence from Brynn, who was carefully wiping char off the tip of the joint, taking another deep hit before passing it back, holding the smoke until her lungs felt as brittle as parchment paper, finally exhaling slowly.

    Finally, she exhaled slowly before responding thoughtfully. "Syb, I think that him telling you took a lot of courage, and that you shouldn't punish him for his honesty. If he was honest enough to tell you about it, there's only two options. He was worried someone would publish pictures of him with some other woman and he'd rather you hear it from him than The Star, ooorrrrr, that everything happened just as he said. He ran to two chicks and that was that and they don't mean anything, and you should just let it go."

    "Mm," Sybel agreed contemplatingly. "I just... I really kind of love him, you know? Like, so much it pretty much freaks me out." There was a long moment of heavy silence.

    "Like, did I even tell you that the first time he told me he loved me, I punched him?"

    "Sybel, you didn't!" Brynn sounded appropriately appalled.

    Silence. And then a titter of laughter. Soon, they were both howling laughing, gasping helplessly.

    Finally, still laughing, Sybel found her voice again, choked as it was from laughing so hard. "Oh, I did. And then had a pretty good fuckin' breakdown in the bathroom. Snot, tears, the works. I must have been totally hot." Silence.

    "And you know, he stayed." This time, the silence was thoughtful, softer than it had been. "I don't know that I ever thanked him for that."

    <font color="#a62a2a"><font size="1">[ June 26, 2006 11:15 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font></font>

    <font color="#a62a2a" size="1">[ December 07, 2008 10:30 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font>

  3. #13
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    "I'll only be a week," he said, laughing and capturing her face between his hands. He had the smooth palms and rough fingertips of a guitarist, his fingers moving as delicately as a surgeon's. Like he could learn something about her by reading her bones like braille.

    Three weeks and counting, and for the first time since she'd met Zen Wilting, Sybel was considering kissing someone else. What bothered her was not that she had the impulse to kiss someone else-- it was that she wasn't repulsed by the idea. Even during their four month hiatus, the idea of another man's hands on her made her feel vaguely ill, and in strong need of a shower. Now they were together again, and she was thinking about kissing a mouth that didn't belong to Midnight's front man, and she felt... nothing. A shiver of anticipation, if anything.

    "Christ, when did I become such a fucking.. girl," she sighed at her reflection. Skinning off her jeans, she wore only one of Zen's skinny tailored black button downs, leaving all but a trio of buttons between her breasts undone. She finished brushing the sharp, lemony taste of Tequila and beer from her tongue, spit one final time and cut off the tap. Sybel only made it as far as the edge of the tub, an elaborate claw footed affair that had taken a half dozen workmen to wrestle into her apartment. Perching on the rounded porcelain edge, she twisted on the tap, testing the water until it was hot enough to make her skin itch. Plugging the drain, she let the water run and fog the age clouded mirrors. While she ran the bath, she hunted down her cigarettes and cell phone. Just in case.

    Forty-five minutes later, Sybel was enjoying being a girl, and all its accouterments; digging up an yet-unused Christmas present from Brynn, she'd found an assortment of expensive looking pampering bath things. The bath water was a milky white and smelled faintly of sweet almonds. The ashtray perched precariously on the edge of the tub was peppered with butts.

    After long consideration, she decided what was so attractive was not, necessarily, Holden Hart. Cute as he was. What was attractive was the effort-- god love him, he certainly was persistent. It felt good to be wanted, to have someone that was more than just a ghost and a double handful of good memories.

    And then there was Andre. His card tucked between two sheaves of sheet music on her kitchen table, hidden as guiltily as a stash. Sybel didn't feel quite up to mulling that one over, she'd need something much stronger than a single beer and nicotine.

    In the end, she was alone, and her phone was silent.

  4. #14
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    "Sybel, I really think you should go to a doctor, this looks really bad," Brynn muttered, adjusting the lamp to see better. Lax's bassist was currently playing doctor with her eyebrow tweezers, carefully fishing out flaky, breaking pieces of brick from her hand.

    "No, yanno, it's late, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have--" Sybel went to get up, but Brynn halted her, wrapping fingers around the drummer's wrist and pulling her back down to sit.

    "God damnit Sybel, I didn't say that to insinuate that I'm bothered by you showing up bleeding at my door at midnight. I said that because I'm pretty sure I can see the bone of your middle finger knuckle, and this is beyond my expertise."

    Sybel sat back down, stilling again as Brynn went back to work, blond curls like up like a sunny corona around her head from the reading lamp Brynn had dragged onto her kitchen table for the occasion.

    "Now, back up. You and-- what's his name, Holden? You and Holden got in a fight?"

    Sybel shook her head wearing, nursing the beer she'd stolen from Dave, grimacing. Bud Light. C'mon, Dave.

    "No, no. Like.. remember right after Christmas, when Zen and I sorta-but-not-really broke up?"

    Brynn nodded, swishing the tweezers in a little glass of rubbing alcohol before returning to picking the grit out of Sybel's hand.

    "Yeah, when he fucked those two chicks."

    Sybel grimaced, both from the bassist's frankness, and from whatever the fuck she was doing to her hand.

    "Yeah, OW! Christ, take it easy with those things," she yelped, drawing one leg up under her. She took another swig of her beer before continuing.

    "Shit just got worse after that. Like, we got back together and shit was wonderful, for two or three days, it was like nothing had ever happened. Seriously, I know it sounds lame as fuck, but it's like no time at all had gone by, and those couple of months apart were just, like, a bad dream or something."

    Here Brynn paused, slanting a look that was at once empathetic and amused. The one thing to always reduce Sybel to an honest-to-god girl was having her heart broken. Sybel was not, in fact, as apart from her sex as she'd like to think.

    "I mean, he says he's gonna be gone for a week, and it turns into almost a month. I know our schedules suck, and I know that business is fucking business, but I don't think it's too god damned much to ask, just for a single fucking phone call to let me know he isn't dead in a fucking ditch somewhere." With her good hand, she hit the kitchen table, making her beer jump. Without looking up, Brynn reached to steady the swaying bottle. The flood gates were open, but Sybel's just gotten going bleeding the pressure off.

    "So I'm already having these doubts, and then I meet this guy, Holden. Really cute, really sweet. A little too sweet, maybe, but it was such a novelty having a guy around that just, you know, wanted to be around me all the fucking time. It just felt really good, you know?"

    Brynn nodded in all the right places, trading her tweezers for a clean cloth as she started gently, but firmly, washing Sybel's flayed hand.

    "And suddenly, I wanted to be with him. Holden, I mean. And it was him, but it wasn't, you know? It was the situation. He could have been any guy, just sweet and eager and, and.. so fucking into me, Brynn. I can't even tell you the last time Zen looked at me like that. But, I was still with Zen. Things were rocky, but technically, we were still together. So I left him a message-- lame, I know, but he never came back for me to tell him in person. Saying, 'Please come back so we can talk about this, I don't think I can do this any more, blah blah.' I'm gonna fastforward here before I put you to sleep," Sybel muttered, grimacing.

    "Last night, Zen shows up at the bar. I was outside, just thinking, knowing I gotta do something, because it's just fucked up of me to like, be leading Holden on if shit's gonna work out with Zen. Anyway, he shows up, and he is strung out as all hell. I mean, he looked psycho. And I know if he just got in he had to be jetlagged as hell, but it was more than that. Well, he's all fucked up, and he asks me to marry him."

    Brynn paused, looking up with startled blue eyes. "Come again? He was high, and he asked you to marry him?" Knowing Sybel, she suddenly looked worried. "You didn't slug him again, did you?"

    Sybel smirked, shaking her head in the negative. "No, I didn't hit him. He didn't give me time, he kinda kidnapped me. We didn't have sex though, I wouldn't let him. He was talking crazy, and wasn't listening to a thing I said, even though I tried, again, to talk to him about what was going on."

    Sybel sighed, shoulders slumping inwards. "And then tonight..

    "Tonight I was having a drink with Holden, and Zen comes in. Very, you know, I'm fucking rock god Zen Wilting so piss off, and it was just really, really fucking rude. If he isn't going to hear me out, and he's gonna fucking insist like everything with us is peachy-fucking keen, then what good is he? He wants to marry me, but won't even hear me out when I'm fucking baring my soul and trying to explain that shit with us has got to be fucked up if I'm seriously wanting to fuck another guy."

    Quieting, Sybel polished off the remaining two thirds of her beer. "I got mad. I was mad at Holden for putting me in this position--" Brynn glanced up and Sybel rushed ahead. "I know, I know, not his fault, but fuck me, I was mad. Unjustified, but mad, whatever."

    "And I was fucking furious with Zen. I know him, he's so fucking smug, like he's got me under lock and fucking key, and that if he's here I better fucking come a'runnin' and be thrilled to see him. So uh, I got up and left."

    Brynn, sensing that this was the culminating point of the story, stopped fussing with Neosporin and gauze, giving Sybel her full attention.

    "He said.." Sybel paused, her eyes burning hot. If there was anyone who'd stuck with her through almost all of her significant low points, it was Brynn. Brynn wouldn't think less of her for crying, and she would never dream of telling anyone. Except maybe Dave, and he didn't really count. The tears started, slow and shameful, leaking from the corners of whiskey colored eyes, down the curve of her cheekbones and under her jaw line.

    "He said I... I'm a clingy bitch, with two much time on my hands, and.. and.. that he'd never respect me because I'm not a real woman, and to have fun sitting on underage dick, and--" if there was more, it never made it. Her breath came in choking, gasping sobs, shaking her so hard she thought that surely she'd fly apart at the seams.

    "And I can't go back to my apartment, because I don't know what would hurt more," she finally sobbed, "Him showing up to apologize or him not showing up at all."

    For once, Brynn had nothing to say at all, though her pretty features twisted bitterly when Sybel relayed the star-crossed lovers ending.

    "You can stay here, Syb, long as you need to. Dave can deal. Okay? C'mon, let's just get you cleaned up, and--"

    Sybel had been using Brynn, who was technically only a handful of years older, as her resident den-monther since she was sixteen years old. And tonight was apparently not a night for breaking trends. So she let herself be cleaned up, bandaged, and tucked into Brynn and Dave's guest bedroom without much fuss at all. Just before falling into an uneasy sleep, she picked up the digital clock on the end table, fussing with it left handed until she set the alarm from ten. She owed Holden Hart an apology breakfast.

  5. #15
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    "I can't believe anyone thinks we actually write half this shit." Sybel sat crossed-legged in front of her infrequently used laptop, studying Lax's MySpace account their label's promotion team had whipped up. There were a half-dozen chirpily written "Rock'n'roll, Pheonix, you were great!" type blogs-- a promo for the upcoming movie release they'd done the soundtrack for, the ghosts of tour dates from this past summer, and more pictures of the Lax girls than they could shake a stick at.

    Trying to figure out how to navigate the site, Sybel inched closer to the slim monitor, lighting another cigarette and scrolling through the comments. Most were from fans praising their performance in this city or at that venue. There were at least half a dozen from the more zealous music bloggers that had gotten wind of she and Midnight's frontman's latest hiatus. There were 96 unread messages, an ungodly number of friend requests, and more new comments than she had time to skim through, tonight.

    "Whoever is getting paid to manage this shit is doing a sorry ass job," she muttered, knocking ash into an empty bottle of Stella. There was a space for band Q&A, and Brynn's section was the only one that had been completed. Sybel would have bet a dollar to a dime that Dave had filled it out for the bassist: Brynn was even more technologically inept than she was.

    "Okay," she said, taking another drag before carefully balancing the cigarette on the lip of the ashtray, rinsing the smoke from her mouth with a swig of beer before settling in, the click of keys filling the relative quiet of her apartment.

    Name: Sybel
    Age: 25
    Birthplace: Ventura, California
    Siblings: Four brothers. Older brothers.


    Likes:

    Here, she paused, snickering. "Long walks on the beach, puppies, world peace, and candle lit dinners," she said in a ridiculous falsetto before continuing.

    Likes: Mexican food, that Latino guy on Ghost Hunters, Neil Pert's signature 16th and 32nd note fills on the toms, Ludwig drums and Sabian cymbals.

    Dislikes: Minding my fucking manners, pretension, tabloids that use stank photos of me, warm beer, that Julyia formerly of Fuse grabs my ass every time we bump into each other.

    Favorite instruments: See above for drumming gear. Newly partial to Gibson's Dove for acoustic gee-tars.


    There was more, but with a sigh, Sybel wrapped up and posted what she'd finished of the survey. Tomorrow, she'd call her label to bitch that if they're going to push for Lax having a blog, that at least someone stay on top of the damn thing. It was still relatively early by the time she'd closed her laptop, finished another cigarette, and climbed into bed. Punching in Brynn's number as she curled up under the plush gray suede comforter, she frowned when she got voicemail, and spoke in a rush after the tone.

    "Hey, Brynnie, sorry I missed lunch with you today. Shit hit the fan at Gravity, so real quick-- Zen and I are taking time off, again, I know, don't lecture me. Slept with Holden. Twice. No lecturing! Got the finger-shaking from his girlfriend-- I KNOW I KNOW, pack my bikini I'm going to hell. Whatever. She acted like a complete cunt, but you'd be so proud, I just walked away. And yes I'm telling the truth, you think that shit wouldn't be splashed across today's headlines if I wasn't? One more violation and seriously, even our sterling legal team wouldn't be able to save me from doing--" beep.

    Sighing, she clicked off the phone and left it on the shelf of her headboard. Somewhere in the night, the old iron steps winding up to her apartment groaned under the slim weight of a boy, the quiet shuffle of paper being fed under her door. Perhaps the day did her a favor in letting her sleep through it all.

    <font color="#a62a2a" size="1">[ October 14, 2006 08:58 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font>

  6. #16
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    "We'll just have to run the promo all weekend, and make it a Friday the 13th weekend thing." Sybel sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose before using the heels of her hands to scrub at her eyes. The truck that was suppose to arrive on Thursday morning rolled in late Friday afternoon.

    "Philly, can you finish marking down the shit we set aside for thirteen bucks? Jason, first, take that fucking Helmet album off the overhead, it's been playing for about two hours now. One of the part time kids made a spooky mix, put that on or something." The two boys, in almost identical fading black band t-shirts, ripped jeans, and beanies, nodded and went off in opposite directions.

    Sitting in Gravity's back office, Sybel would have been well within her rights to throw a hissy fit of ginormous proportions. Half unpacked boxes and teetering stacks of paperwork formed a semicircle around her where she sat, crossed-legged, calm as a zen master. Well, almost.

    "Fuck," she snarled, backhanding a stack of signage, labels scattering everywhere.

    "Hey Sybel, man, it's jumping out there!" By jumping, the slender, fox-faced girl juggling two pizza boxes and a two liter of Coke meant that there were more than a dozen people in the store, milling through CDs, vinyl, posters and various other kitschy music memorabilia.

    "I picked up the pizza and drinks," she said needlessly, looking around for a clear space to put the grub down, finally stepping over a stack of brightly colored fliers to clear an ashtray from the top of the mini fridge.

    Just then, Danzig's "Mother" kicked on on the overhead speakers. Sybel bobbed her head appreciatively as she went to her knees to straighten the labels, almost knocking heads with Josie, who'd moved to do the same thing.

    "I got it, Jose," Sybel said, forcing a smile. "Why don't you get something to eat, then go help out on the floor, yeah?"

    "Oh, I ate a slice on the way over," the girl explained, straightening the low-riding flare of her rust-red corduroys before wandering out of the back room; it doubled as Sybel's office, the break room, the receiving area, and occasionally, a storage room. Sybel didn't need to look in the box to know Josie was fibbing, but it wasn't worth arguing at the moment, she already had too much on her plate to contend with playing den mother for her employees.

    "Okay, the rest of the thirteen dollar CDs and t-shirts are done," Philly said as he strolled back in, a pricing gun at his hip like Wyatt Earp's peacemaker. Crossing the room, he peered into one pizza box, then another, helping himself to a slice.

    "Oh, uh." He spoke around a mouthful of pizza, looking around for nonexistent napkins, "Jason isn't going to be able to close tonight--- but!" He rushed on when Sybel's expression turned murderous. "But, I'm staying late for him, I kinda need the hours."

    Sybel was quiet a moment, watching him from her nest of paper work and boxes.

    "So, you're pulling a double, and you're still going to open tomorrow?" She asked quietly.

    Philly picked a pepperoni off his pizza, taking another bite and nodding. "Yeah. Like I said, I could use the hours, if that's okay. Shit's a little tight lately."

    After a long moment, Sybel nodded in understanding. "It's not a problem, man. If there's any pizza left tonight, why don't you take it home with you, yeah? Because we both know if that shit gets stuck in the fridge, it's just going to turn into some green furry science experiment."

    Licking grease from his fingers, Phil pulled off his beanie, raking a hand through his shaggy dark hair.

    "Sybel... I just want to let you know that I really--"

    She cut off any thanks that might have followed with a quick nod. "Look. Josie's probably out there flirting up anything with a cock, and the Freddy Kruger thing is still giving me the furry eyeball," she said, pointing to a leering life-size cut out of the nightmare king against one wall, improbably wearing a The Hotness t-shirt. "Go hit the floor and keep the place from burning down while I finish up here, yeah?"

    "Yeah," he echoed, smiling and tucking his long hair back up under the hat. He paused just at the door, looking back. "Thanks, Sybel. I appreciate... you know, everything."

    Returning to sorting the signage, she waved away his thanks, with a faint, private smile for his back. After almost a decade of couch surfing and living off the tolerance of her friends, it was sort of nice to be able to return the favor every now and again.

    <font color="#a62a2a" size="1">[ November 19, 2006 11:52 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font>

  7. #17
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    <center>


    yes it's true, i've got demons inside me
    and sometimes, they need to speak
    - my ruin

    <font color="#a62a2a"><font size="1">[ December 07, 2008 10:37 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font></font>

    <font color="#a62a2a" size="1">[ December 07, 2008 10:37 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font>

  8. #18
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    (early July, 2006)

    There would be no promised breakfast with Holden Hart. Bleery-eyed and still in the clothing she'd worn the day prior, Sybel made it back to her apartment late the next morning to find the street swarming with cops. Taking fingerprints off the battered Camaro, collecting shreds of a ruined guitar, taking pictures of both. Three and a half hours later found her ensconced in a claustrophobic office at the RDPD.

    "Ms. delRio, are you certain you don't want to press charges? In cases like this, we highly advise the assaulted woman--"

    "STOP," Sybel snarled, lifting one hand and cutting off the officer. "I was not assaulted. My car's gonna be fine. I am not pressing charges, and if you don't take down my god damn statement verbatim, I'll sue you." Honestly, she wasn't entirely sure that was even possible, but she sneered at the cop with all the righteousness of someone backed by multi-million dollar legal counsel; even if it was under the umbrella of her label. Officer Martinez stared at her stonily above his steepled fingers.

    "Ma'am, are you done?"

    "Don't you fucking ma'am me. I've already told you, I don't care what his bail is, as soon as it's posted, let me know and I'll cut you a check. Yes, I'm aware his representation is well aware and capable of doing that. Now, I want to see him."

    "I'm sorry Ms. delRio, but that isn't a possibility. We don't have him in custody, he's been released into the care of a medical health facility. Since you are neither a blood relative nor his spouse, we can't disclose that information."

    Sybel stared at the officer, grinding her teeth.

    "Fine," she finally hissed, pushing up out of the uncomfortable chair opposite the cop's desk. "If you can't help me, what the fuck good are you?" Turning, she straight-armed the door to his office open, making the cheap Venetian blinds hung there jump crazily, banging against the glass loudly enough to make several heads turn in the crowded station.

    "Ms. delRio!" The officer called after her, hurrying from behind his desk, "Ma'am, please, come back, we have a few more questions--"

    Sybel turned up her middle finger, not breaking stride. Feeling sick, she stormed out of the police station.

    "Sybel, hey-- hey!" A man with a camera rushed up to her elbow. "We've heard Zen Wilting has been arrested, is it true? Have you been arrested? Has he been in an accident of any kind?"

    Sybel was right handed, but she swung with her left. It wasn't as clean a hook as it would have been had her right hand not been splinted and bandaged, but it cracked the camera back against the man's cheekbone.

    "If you plan to press charges," she told him calmly, "I suggest you see Officer Martinez inside, he has my contact information."

    The man was already lifting his camera again as Sybel jogged the last thirty feet to a sunny yellow Mustang, ducking into the passenger side seat where Brynn waited, the engine idling to keep it cool under the sweltering summer heat. "Go, go," she pleaded. Brynn didn't have to be told twice.

    -----

    "Fuck, I can't--" Sybel groaned, and Brynn took the pen out of her hand. She studied the clumsy, child-shaped letters Sybel'd been working on in the letter, before pushing it aside and getting a clean sheet of paper.

    "Sybel, dictate, for Christ's sake, let me write it."

    Sybel scowled, but finally nodded, cradling the phone to her ear. She'd been on hold for forty five minutes waiting on Zen's agent, figuring that if anyone knew where he was, it would be him or Robin, whom she didn't know how to contact.

    "Fine," she sighed, slouching back in the chair at Brynn's kitchen table.

    ----

    His agent's chilly response reverberated in her ears much louder than the intercom clicking on, a physician being paged repetitively overhead. Sybel, don't you think you've done enough? Just let him get his shit together in peace.

    "Ma'am, I'm sorry, he's not allowed any visitors right now. If you'd like to leave your number with me, I'll be glad to contact you as soon as that status changes. Besides, dear, he's made it strictly clear that he doesn't want to see anyone at this time. And as you're neither a relation or his spouse--"

    "I know, I know," Sybel said wearily. "Look, can you at least give him this?"

    She forked over a fat envelope between two fingers, and the nurse nodded primly. "Of course, dear."

    Sybel pointed to an uncomfortable looking elbow shaped couch in the waiting area. "I'll wait over there."

    "Hon, I'm sorry, but it could be a very long wait," the chubby nurse behind the desk said, watching the drummer with apologetic, sympathizing eyes. "You can't rush this kind of thing, it could be days, or weeks, hard to say, really."

    Sybel lifted her chin defiantly, before simply shaking her head. "I'll be right there waiting, and you fucking make sure he knows it. Capice?"

    The nurse tsked at the language, considered calling an administrator to ask her to leave, and decided against it. Young people were all flash and fire, very little staying power. She mentally decided the girl would stay an hour, maybe two, and then be on her way. Leaving her desk a moment, she touched the elbow of a younger nurse pushing a heavily laden meal cart, murmuring something and handing her the envelope. The attendent nodded, laying the envelope atop a covered dinner plate, and resumed pushing her cart quietly down the hallway. Sybel watched until she turned a corner, disappearing. She'd wait as long as it took.

  9. #19
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    (present day, earlier in the weekend)

    "Ms. delRio--!" Of all the things Sybel had expected of Holden's gallery opening at Evolution, being recognized among uppercrust New Yorker society was not among them.

    Her pause to adjust her dress after stepping out of the taxi was more than long enough, flash bulbs snapping like lightning strikes.

    "Sybel," the reporter pressed, stepping away from the clusterfuck of people in black tie and modestly extravagant evening wear and press near the door, making his way over as she hurriedly passed a few bills to the driver.

    "Will Zen Wilting be joining you this evening? Rumor has it he's on extended stay in a minimum security prison-- or is a mental health facility? If he's out, or if he's there, are you two still together? Ms. delRio? Sybel?"

    She smiled for the camera, crossing the sidewalk with a quick click of heels, clutch purse in hand as she threaded her way through the crowd, earning more than a few frowns when she resorted to gently using her elbows to hasten the process.

    "I won't stay long," she muttered under her breath, "Just long enough for a hi-howya-doing-congratulations, and a glass of overpriced champagne."

    <font color="#a62a2a" size="1">[ December 07, 2008 10:38 PM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font>

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    Members do not see advertisements
    Sybel delRio-- no one's heroin(e)
    It wasn't any wonder, after going through an old shoe box, held together more by duct tape than the original card board, that she dreamt of Kenneth Wiltings. The box was marked The Ex-Files in Sybel's jagged print. Like carefully preserved remains of long-dead creatures in museums, this was her private cache of memories. Some fond, some bitter. The receipt from the night Kip had ordered fifty dollars worth of Mexican take-out, because he couldn't remember what her favorite was. A candy-cane pink and black striped scarf and matching gloves from Johnny Rockefellar. The label of a Corona, where Evan had written his number the first night. A slim notebook of lyrics and letters from Zen while he toured, and a construction paper heart that read, with this, we'll be just a little bit closer; it had been taped to the telescope he bought her. There was a double handful of unsorted photographs that heat and humidity were slowly curling the edges of. Every time she went through the box, she had the intention of storing the pictures better. In an album, maybe.

    She dreamt of the day she'd tried, and failed miserably, to cheer Holden up. When she'd bought them both a pack of pastel sidewalk chalk, and dragged him down to the park for some avant garde Mary Poppins style art. She'd sketched his likeness there, with sunshine yellow cowlicked hair and childishly swooping lines; Sybel had only told the truth when she claimed there wasn't an artistic bone in her body. But when she glanced up, to where he should have been drawing a menagerie of circus animals, Zen sat across from her. She blinked, the thick stick of pale blue chalk falling the short distance from her hand to sidewalk, where it shattered like glass.

    "That doesn't look a thing like me," he finally admitted, after studying her handiwork a long minute, looking back to her with his chronically sleepy blue eyes.

    Sybel came awake with a start, thrashing against suddenly constrictive sheets and blankets. She was alone, and her apartment was quiet in the hour before dawn, even the garbage men and street sweepers hadn't gotten going yet. Sighing, she swung her legs down and switched on her bedside lamp, blinking against the sudden light, muted though it was by a gauzy red shade. Scrubbing the sleep from her eyes, she groped about on the table to find her cigarettes, lighting one with shaking hands. Even her subconscious, it seemed, had an opinion on her choices.

    <font color="#a62a2a" size="1">[ October 31, 2006 12:44 AM: Message edited by: everyday arsenic ]</font>

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