And that's how the five of us ended up in Las Vegas. Fuyuki researched the battle of the bands event that I had been talking about pretty quickly, and discovered that sure enough, Shell Plate was already registered to perform. I knew well enough that Axel especially just ate up those types of competitions, and Izzy loved Las Vegas, as he would tell us so often, so it didn't surprise me in the slightest. Soon enough, we had all shelled out a bit of money, loaded up the van, and drove it across the country in just three days. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it, eh?
Apparently, I was the only one out of the five of us who had never been to Las Vegas, and the bright nightlife around our van earned me a bit of teasing.
"Wow, somebody's got the tourist look down," Midori said, sticking out her tongue from the chair next to me. I rolled my eyes, most of my focus out the windows at the neon lights and flashy clothes all around me.
"It's pretty amazing," I observed, grinning over at her. "What's the deal, anyway? I assume Eddie wants us to be all business?"
"Do you have any idea where we're staying?" Eddie called back from the driver's seat, gesturing at the upcoming hotel. "I'm going to hit their restaurant before we do anything. You all can do what you want."
"I'm gonna join you," Leo announced from the seat behind us. Fuyuki sat up, slouching across the back of his chair to ruffle Midori's hair.
"They've got a sweet dance floor, from what I hear. How's that sound, babe?" His girlfriend beamed, obviously impressed by his insight, and I leaned back in my own chair again, looking back out the window as we pulled into the parking garage. Something told me it was going to be a good night.
But once our bags were in our room and the other four wandered off to dance or eat their fill, I found myself in the middle of my hallway, pocketing my hotel key and feeling a little lost. I was still trying to get accustomed to the whole dancing thing, and I had eaten on our last pit stop, so that ruled those two out, at least for now. But hey, maybe it was about time to see how my tolerance levels were working. Something told me I would need it while I was in Vegas.
The bar wasn't nearly as crowded as I expected, but the murmur of conversation was loud enough for me to have to shout my order to the bartender across the counter. With a wink and a promise of 'discounts for band members,' he set to work, leaving me to do a bit of people-watching. A few familiar faces were scattered around- in fact, I could swear I saw Casey Lynch downing a whole bottle of whiskey- but it seemed that I was going to be drinking alone, at least for the time being. When the glass was placed in front of me, I did my best to down it, fighting against my turning stomach. Maybe that was for the best. After all, I was headed on the quick road to embarrassment.
Surprisingly enough, a few drinks had me properly relaxed, and I leaned a little on the bar, holding out my glass for a refill with a lazy smile. As I downed my drink, eyes closed, I heard the bar-stool beside me shift, and opened one eye to find a familiar face. My eyes widened just a little, and I lowered my glass again, trying to narrow them again.
"You've gotten yourself a liking for that stuff, haven't ya?"
"I...I didn't know you were at this hotel, Izzy," I said, for lack of anything better. For whatever reason- something told me it was the freaking alcohol- I couldn't bring myself to be annoyed by the fact that he was here, all smiles and bright clothes. Izzy chuckled a little, turning away to order a drink before returning his attention to me.
"All the bands are at this hotel, kid," he replied, leaning forward under the low light and grinning. "It's gonna be a wild place for the next few nights, isn't it?" He picked up the glass now, raising it at me before downing the entire thing. I grinned, copying the action and flashing him a thumbs up.
"Where's your guys, then?" I asked, my speech starting to get a little slurred. To my surprise, Izzy leaned forward, his breath strong against my ear. Something told me he had come to the bar already drunk, somehow.
"Not at the room, if that's what you're asking," he purred, a hand already tangled in my hair. I shivered excitedly, moving closer and letting his other hand reach my lower back. Tipsy as I was, there was a small, almost-silent voice in the back of my head, trying to send off warning bells. Get it together, Michelle. This is your rival, Michelle. Don't go to his room, Michelle.
But at the same time, there was something delightfully weird about being touched like this, something I hadn't felt since my college years. I didn't want to admit it, but it had taken him just a few minutes to have me wrapped around his finger, and I sure as hell didn't want him to think I had gotten easy over the years. Either way, that warning voice seemed to have wandered off, and it had taken my common sense with it. And next thing I knew, I was being led out of the bar under the arm of my ex-bandmate.
By the time the elevator even got to our stop, he had already gotten his tongue in my mouth and was doing his best to keep it there as we stumbled back to his room. Practically shoving me against the door in the process, he let us in and had me on my back in almost one motion, clambering up on top of me as I pulled back just to gasp for air before going in with renewed zeal.
But, that's about the time my memory lapsed. Yeah, turns out I was fooling myself with that higher-tolerance thing. Some things are never going to change, huh? Point is, I don't remember what happened between him taking off his shirt and Judy Nails screaming when she entered the room.
"You son of a bitch!" she practically roared, slinging her purse across the room. Izzy was off me again in an instant, holding up his hands in defense as a tube of lipstick, a toiletries bag and a chocolate bar went flying across the room within seconds of each other. Dazed, I sat on the mattress, the entire ordeal kind of fascinating. Judy was talking so fast that I could hardly make out what she was saying, besides 'washed-up man whore' and 'should have burned your damn leather pants', and Izzy was firing back with something about Johnny Napalm and a night in Boston. The realization of what was really happening finally hit me, and I looked down to find that I was still fully clothed. Relieved, I slung my legs off of the bed, ready to high-tail it out just in case Judy turned her wrath on me. Instead, she settled for throwing the ice bucket at her bandmate and then stormed back out of the room, leaving me to admire the damage. Always beware the angry woman.
"So...fill me in. What the hell happened?" I asked. Izzy took a seat beside me, laughing weakly as he looked around the room as well.
"In order? I brought you back here, made out with you, tried to get your shirt off, then Judy came in and went bat-shit insane on me, then she left."
"You didn't actually get my shirt off, right?"
"Ah, you're worried about that," Izzy realized now, chuckling. "No, your pants have been on lockdown."
"Good, then. Last thing I need to lose on this trip is my virginity," I grumbled, making to stand up again. Izzy laughed openly now, pulling me back down and kissing me all over again. The taste of alcohol was still strong on his mouth, but it wasn't nearly as good the second time around.
"Michelle, you'd be so much better off with us. You realize that, right?" he asked against my lips. My eyes widened now, Lars' words returning to my brain in a second. "Personally, you were a lot more fun than she is. So, here's your chance. Why don't you come back?" I pulled back, probably a bit too violently, and stood up again, trying not to fall on my face as I headed for the door.
"Lars told me everything, Izzy," I said, smiling wryly. "Everything. I'm not seventeen anymore, you prick."
The bar was ruled out as well, it would seem. Not to mention my head was starting to hurt. The night was officially a lost cause. I headed back to the elevator and then to my room, fumbling in my pocket for my hotel key as I went. A small sting of embarrassment was starting to poke at my chest a little, and I rolled my eyes, scanning my key at the door and pushing in. Just because of that one kiss all those years ago...I had been a kid! Was that really all I amounted to for him? And why the hell did it matter?
"Oh, you're back."
I jumped, not expecting to hear another voice in the room. Eddie was seated on the bed, leaning against the pillows and eying me with a raised eyebrow.
"Hi," I replied, a little lost for words. My frontman picked up on it, too, and smirked, crossing his arms.
"Leo wanted to go get snacks again, so I just came back here. Where were you?"
I'm not really sure why I did what I did next. Maybe I was still a little drunk, or maybe I wanted to prove that I had grown up. But in that moment, I strode across the room, took a seat on the bed beside Eddie, and kissed him.
I was really getting around all of a sudden.
"You're drunk," Eddie observed once I pulled away, smiling nonetheless.
"Yeah, I think so," I replied earnestly.
"You idiot." And then he had pulled me back down, and for a moment I was totally and completely blissful. At least, until the door opened again. Leo has uncanny timing, let me tell you. It's sort of his thing.
"...I knew it," he said simply, tossing the grocery bag on the table and walking back out. In his wake, the two of us shared a confused look, only for Eddie to speak again.
"Did he ruin the mood, then?" I grinned, wrapping my arms around his waist and laying forward.