Chapter 395) Stumbling

“You have not failed as long as you keep on trying.”

Phoenix Rising Private Rehab Facility

Stryker was miserable in rehab.
He hated everything about it, the restrictions, the schedule, the clothes everyone had to wear.
Sophie visited him three times, since visits were limited to twice a month. Phone calls were allowed once weekly, one per patient. It was rough on everyone, but especially on Stryker, as visits, too, were limited to only one person per visit per patient, he chose Sophie, but that meant he had not seen or spoken to his best friend Drake or Nate for almost two months since admitting himself.

Sitting across from him in the visitation room, him looking strange in that mandatory outfit, all the patients were wearing the same, which gave this facility a cult-like feel creeping Sophie out, she wanted to just pack up Stryker and take him home with her and make him feel better.

Overall, he made decent progress with the detoxing, but not the therapy parts. He was uncooperative in group therapy; one-on-one sessions were the worst. Stryker regularly argued with his therapists, which hindered his progress and nearly got him kicked out twice.

Eventually he just dropped out of rehab, so he could go on the scheduled PR tour for the first ever ‘Stryke 3’ album. It shot to the top of the charts immediately after release, just as Blaine had predicted, and the boys were busy riding the fame wave to the top.

As pumped as all three bandmembers were, it proved to be very rough on them being on the road. Stryker was the worst off. He really wasn’t handling the pressure well, fell off the bandwagon several times, two shows had to be delayed because he couldn’t function due to inebriation. Along with the fame came the headlines, bad ones, some reports came out alleging all three bandmembers had been arrested for solicitation of prostitutes but released on bail. Sophie was hurt and disappointed, even though officially, she still had no real rights on Stryker. They never had the chance to make it further than that kiss months ago now in his apartment.

During a break in the touring schedule, the boys got to come home off the road for a few weeks to take a breather. Stryker seemed genuinely happy to see Sophie, when she visited him at his apartment, to bring him food, even though she was aloof. Stryker, persistent as ever, kept probing her about it, until he got the reasons out of her.

“Soph, we talked about this, you’re not being fair freezing me out. You knew there would be BS headlines and rumors. We didn’t do what they claim. I admit, we were at a strip club, that’s true. But we were celebrating and drunk and when some girls were getting us all hot and bothered, we reacted and interacted. Next thing we knew was the cops showed up. We weren’t looking to buy sex, we were just having fun. Plus, if I really wanted to screw someone, I like to think I can still get some for free! Clearly, that was not it.”

“Strip club?! You went to a strip club?! Eww!” Sophie frowned.

“It’s a strip club, not a brothel. We’re men. We have been on the road for weeks playing our asses off on a stage every night. I had been in damn rehab for weeks before that and I have been cut off from everything for months and no mattress bouncing on the horizon for me anytime soon. We have urges. So, after a show we went and looked at a bunch of hot girls getting nekkid and felt better about life. No biggie. Sounds a lot worse than it was. Still better than me shooting up, don’t you think?”

“That’s still disgusting!”

“Why Sophie? Cos I am a healthy man and I like sex. What can I say? That might well be one of the most average things about me. No big deal, I just looked at some bouncing titties and didn’t touch. It’s how those girls pay their bills, I didn’t force anyone to flash me at gunpoint. I am still waiting for a better offer to come along, hint, hint.”

“Well, who’s unreasonable now? I can’t do THAT with you, even if I wanted to. I am shy about my body normally, not to mention now with all the changes – no way you or anyone is going to see any more of that than you seeing right now! Plus, I can barely get up off a couch without help at this point, am about to have a baby! YOUR baby. And you are drinking and using again and now hanging out at boobie bars. Stryker … seriously!”

“I know, I know, I know! But the tour was rough, and I needed a bit of release. Gimme a break, Sophie, I am trying. I swear, I’ll get a handle on it, eventually. And I didn’t cheat on you. Just leafed through a catalog, so to speak.”

“Cheat? Are we a couple? Like for real?” Sophie couldn’t help bursting out.

“Aren’t we?” Stryker shot back right away, looking confused.

“Wait – you’re my boyfriend? I have a boyfriend?”

“Aren’t I? I thought I was. If I am not, why would you get so bend out of shape about me hanging out at titty bars?” he shrugged.

“I don’t know, I thought we’re just dating …”

“Isn’t that what makes you a couple, aka boyfriend and girlfriend?” Stryker looked just as discombobulated.

“Are you asking ME? Are you serious now? You’re my first relationship ever, you know that. How would I know how those happen and at which point you are considered what?!” Sophie argued.

“So, you admit we’re in a relationship.” Stryker tilted his head.

“No, I didn’t mean that …” Sophie was confused.

“So, you are saying we DON’T have a relationship, even though we kissed several times, shared a bed and are expecting a baby together and clearly told everyone we were dating?” Stryker resumed unconvinced.

“Err … I don’t know. Are we in a relationship then?”

“Don’t you wanna be? I thought that was implied, but if you need to stack hands on it, let’s. You already got a good glimpse of my bad side. I told you I am not the type of guy girls like you want to date, but here we are, and I am trying here.”

“I thought that’s what we were doing, still trying to build a relationship. I didn’t realize we were already in one now. Then again, if you are already going to strip clubs and prostitutes and all now … I don’t want to know what happens when the rut sets in. I am also not gonna magically morph into a beautiful and perfect Cinderella Barbie after giving birth. What you see if what you get with me, this is what it is and what it’s gonna be, just minus a baby bump eventually. Not sure it’s gonna be enough to keep you interested.”

Stryker sighed frustrated, then just grabbed Sophie and hugged her as tight as he could with her considerably baby bump in the way.

“Sophie, you are perfect the way you are, obviously, or I wouldn’t pursue you, not to mention you wouldn’t be pregnant by me. I don’t want no fucking Cinderella and I don’t want some skinny chick again, been there, done that, it is NO FUN! Being thin and pretty is all they care about. Not me. THEM. They measure love by how much you buy them or drool over them. I thought arm candy was what I wanted, but after dozens of them, the last one being Alycia, I think that’s not working for me, just about damn killed me a bunch of times, cos that’s what got me into the drugs, a girlfriend when I was 17. She was 19, modeled to pay for college and used heroine to keep her weight down. And now for the 100th time, I didn’t go to any hookers not for ANY reason! We’re a rock band, we have been for a long time, not choir boys. I need you to understand that we have a certain way of life and while I agree it needs some adjustments, some aspects will always remain. Titty clubs are part of that! Some people who want to book you for shows actually suggest meeting there to discuss details. It’s the entertainment industry, not everything happens in fancy offices, at least not at the stage we’re still at. I’m trying here, you may not even see it, but I can’t change overnight; I have way too many things to fix about myself. It’s been stressful, the guys and I worked our asses off, yet the money is still not coming in the way we thought it would, almost all of it goes straight to paying all the huge bills the PR tour has cost so far. So, it’s a lot going on for me right now, Soph, me being who and what I am, namely an addict, yes, there I said it, I know I am still not fixed, means I don’t always make the best choices. I have fucked up, and I will fuck up again. Knowing that, do YOU still want me?”

“Yes.” Sophie said before even thinking about it.

“Are you sure?” he asked, sincerely.

Sophie nodded.

“Then I want you to show how serious I am about you. You mentioned something a while ago and it stuck with me, that I met your family, and you barely know my bandmates now let alone anything from my past. So, I want you to meet my mother. Don’t worry, she’s really nice, at least to you she will be, it’s me she has a problem with, always had. Just bear in mind, she is not your parents, she won’t present us with a multi-course meal, she cooks even less than I do, we’ll be lucky if we get a cup of instant coffee, so go in with the right expectations and you won’t be disappointed. She knows about you and the baby but has been rather … how shall I say … cautiously optimistic about it.”

“Your mom? Seriously?! Yeah, okay. Is she in San Myshuno too?”

“Newcrest. All right. How does this weekend sound? I know she’s usually home on Saturday afternoons.”

“Okay, can’t wait.” Sophie beamed.

While she was painfully shy around strangers, him introducing her to his mother was a great sign to her. To Sophie, that clearly read he was definitely serious about her. And about Spencer.

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 395) Stumbling

  1. I can see how hard rehab must’ve been on him. Especially being in the middle of the bands big break and not being able to be involved. Not surprised he checked out. One thing about him, he’s nothing if not honest with her now. I think he will,do,just about anything to make it work and Sophie knows it’s going to be hard but just cares too much and wants him too bad to say no. Her heart is so tender even though she acts tough. I think she’d so about anything to help him. It’s clear they most likely have an uphill battle between the band, the baby, the travel, and his addiction. I wish them luck to figure out how to manage it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. He had to check out to go on tour, band can’t do that without their frontman, everyone just expected it to go a little quicker, but his issues with therapy dragged it into ultimo. He’d probably still be in the clinic when Spencer goes off to college at that rate.
      He does care. Didn’t initially. When she first found him, he used her. He’ll be the first to admit that, he even has in one of the past chapters. But it’s changed. He didn’t mean for it to, it just happened and now he wants that feeling he gets when he’s with Sophie, some sort of security he never had.
      Sophie has been crushing bad on him ever since she found him, but especially since their night together. She’ll talk a little more about that in another chapter.
      If they can make this work with all the complications you listed is the big question. It does seem impossible.

      Liked by 4 people

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