Bry isn't stupid and being pregnant hasn't made her blind so she knows that she's said something to make Bob, not exactly mad at her more like disappointed, but she doesn't understand what.
Having Bob pissed at her is making an already bad couple of weeks even worse. She's tired all the time and she can't seem to keep her temper. When she hears herself snap at Mikey, she knows it's time to give herself a timeout.
"Well," Bob says, appearing out of nowhere and pushing a water bottle across the table toward her. "The good news is that no one's guessed you're pregnant."
Bry winces and fiddles with the seal on the bottle. "What's the bad news?" she asks eventually.
"Gee and Ray are worried you're using again."
Bry's head jerks up so fast, she almost cricks her neck. She can feel her eyes go wide and knows how startled and open she looks; that was about the only thing Bob could have said to her that she wouldn't have a glib answer for.
Bob scoots around the table and squeezes the back of her neck. "Dude, you don't think maybe it's time to tell them?"
Bry shakes her head. "Not yet," she says. She can't really put it into words, but none of this feels real yet. She's kind of feeling her way through this one step at a time and she'd like to be sure she knows what she's doing before she gets anyone else involved.
She is glad Bob knows though and she reaches up impulsively, putting her hand over Bob's where it's still resting on her neck. Bob ruffles the shorn sides of her hair, where it's growing out of an ill-advised buzz.
"Ready to go back in?" he asks her.
"Fuck, no," Bry says but she drags herself back inside anyway.
Everyone looks up, wearing various expressions ranging from wariness to concern and she puts her hands on her hips. "Guys," she says to Gerard and Ray, and Frank for good measure, "I'm not on anything, okay?" Gerard smiles and Ray nods like he never really thought she was. "And Mikeyway? I'm sorry."
Mikey unfolds his legs and tugs her down onto the sofa beside him. He keeps his fingers around her wrist and she doesn't shake him off; when Mikey touches anyone, it's at least fifty percent because he needs the contact himself. "Are you okay?" he asks really quietly, so quietly the others probably don't hear.
"Yeah," she whispers back, feeling bad for lying. "I just haven't been feeling so great."
Somehow, everyone hears that and she spends days after having to put up with a lot of fairly socially inept guys trying – and failing – to cure her of a magical, mystery ailment.
Bry grits her teeth and works to keep her temper in check and her fist out of Bob's smirking teeth.
Somewhere outside Minnesota, Bry's doctor calls and starts talking about sonograms.
"Wait, what?" Bry asks. It turns out she has to have one. After that little surprise, Bry goes out and stealth-buys all the pregnancy books she can find. She hates not knowing what to expect.
"Are you sure you don't want anyone to go with you?" Lindsey asks; her eyes fixed on her bass while she tunes it rather than on Bry.
Bry shrugs and leans back on her elbows, staring up at the pipes criss-crossing the venue ceiling. She's grateful for the ambiguousness of Lindsey's 'anyone'. "What's the point? I'm just gonna be lying down, right?"
"Sure but-." Lindsey stops. When she looks up, she's smiling. "But it's up to you."
Bry knows that Lindsey thinks she's doing this pregnancy thing wrong, that she should be asking for help and getting everyone involved, but she's grateful that Lindsey isn't actually saying that. "Damn right it is," Bry says mildly.
Bry's baby is basically a blob. It possibly has a tail or tiny horns or something. Bry squints at it and tries to think baby really hard, but it doesn't make much of a difference.
"Would you like to see if we can hear the heartbeat?" the technician asks.
"Already?" Bry asks, not looking away from her blob. Her pregnancy guides say it normally takes longer than this.
The tech clucks her tongue. "Let's see, shall we?" She presses a couple of buttons, taps a screen and then, very faintly, Bry can hear a heartbeat. It's soft, like Bob practising one line over and over in the middle of the night when he's trying to be quiet.
Bry swallows hard. "That's it?" she asks then clears her throat, embarrassed by the thickness of her voice.
"Okay." Bry's heart is beating too fast; her eyes are stinging. "Can you turn it off now please?"
Bry is still feeling jittery when she makes it back to the venue. She sees Lindsey and Kitty across the room and wonders how many cool points she'd lose if she went over there and asked for a damn hug already while none of the guys are around to see. Girls do that, she's pretty sure.
She steps through the doorway just as a burst of static screams across the room, latching onto her already shaky nerves and making her jump.
"Shit," Bry snaps, making a grab for her folder and missing. It hits the ground with a slap of paper and pops open, spilling the contents everywhere. "Shit."
The floor is cold under her knees and she curses again for no real reason. She's not enjoying today.
A shadow falls over her and someone laughs softly. Bob, great. "That was clutzy," Bob says, kneeling down beside her and helping her pick shit up.
Bry tries to laugh but it won't come. "Yeah, don't," she says. "Not today."
Bob hands her a sheaf of papers but catches her hand before she can pull them away. "You okay?" he asks.
Bry swallows. "Sure," she says. Bob's thumb strokes carefully over the back of her wrist, his expression worried and she has to snatch her arm away because it's too much right now.
Slowly, Bob turns back to collect up more of Bry's papers and then, out of the corner of her eye, she sees him get even slower. "What's this?" Bob asks. His tone is clipped, approaching angry and Bry looks up, startled.
Bob's holding her sonogram picture.
"Oh that's-." Bry feels suddenly, irrationally guilty. "That is 2.3 inches of foetus, Bryar," she says glibly.
Bob's fingers clench around the picture and Bry reaches out to take it away from him. Bob ignores her, straightening it out himself. His thumb strokes over the creases he's made in the corner, smoothing them away. "Didn't you-," he asks, keeping his eyes on the picture. "For fuck's sake, Schechter, didn't you think I might want to come?"
"What for?" Bry asks automatically then realises that was kind of an assholish thing to say.
Bob throws the picture at her and stands up. "Fuck," he snaps and Bry scrambles to her feet as well. "You know what," Bob tells her in his quietest, most serious voice. "I'm not okay with this. This is my kid too; I'm not okay with being frozen out."
Bry is vaguely aware of the door opening behind her, the sounds of the rest of My Chem spilling in, but all she can really hear is the buzzing in her ears. "I am not freezing you out. Bob, what the fuck?"
Bob folds his arms. He's all flushed and puffed-up with anger. "Your body and your decision and your kid, you said."
Bry gapes at him. "I never," she says, waving her hands to try to convey that he is a crazy person. "I never said my kid. Fuck's sake, Bob, this is our kid."
"Yeah well so far my only contribution has been an orgasm four months ago."
And okay, that's it. Bry is having a shitty day and she loses it. "Oh I'm sorry, would you like more of a role? Would you like the morning sickness or the backache or the stomach cramps or the peeing every ten seconds? Take your pick."
Bob's expression breaks a little, losing some of his anger. Fuck that, she doesn't want that. "Sit down, Bry." Bob tugs on her hand and it just makes her madder.
"Let go of me," she snaps and slaps his hand away. Everyone is looking at them. She can feel eyes on her. Fuck it, Bob can explain if he wants but she just doesn't care right now. She turns on her heel, marching away before she really makes a scene.
Gerard finds her three minutes later. Her toes really hurt from kicking that wall.
"What are you looking at?" she asks, glaring up at him from her place on the floor.
He sits down next to her. "A pregnant lady beating up a wall?" he suggests and she doesn't mean to smile but it sort of happens.
"You got it," she agrees. She sighs, pressing a hand to her forehead. "Sorry, I was going to tell you."
Gerard bounces on his toes. "I'm very hurt that you didn't," he says but he's smiling.
Bry sighs. "Was I just like the biggest bitch of all time?" She doesn't think she was, but sometimes Gerard sees things in ways she doesn’t.
"Nah." Gerard shakes his head. "Lindsey's yelling at Bob. He was kind of bitchy too." She doesn't say anything and he tips his head and lays it on her shoulder. "I was so excited when Lindsey told me she was pregnant," he says quietly.
Bry turns her face into Gerard's hair. "Yeah?" she asks.
He picks up her hand and starts to trace the edge of her tattoo sleeve. "Then I got really scared."
"Why?" Bry asks quietly. She's pretty sure she knows.
Gerard snorts. "Like, I couldn't reliably take care of myself and now I had to take care of a kid? Yeah, that was pretty scary."
"You had Lindsey though. You knew you guys were going to be a family."
Gerard lifts his head enough to stare at her with his big, sincere eyes. "Bob is stubborn, you know that. But I bet you he'd like to be part of your baby's life."
Bry snorts. "Yeah?"
Gerard shrugs. "If I'm wrong, you can come live with us. It'd be awesome. We could start like, a commune."
Bry closes her eyes and leans her head against Gerard's. "You just want the free love," she says and smirks at his instant denials.
Gerard kisses her nose. "We all love you lots," he says earnestly.
Bry closes her eyes. "I know," she promises, hoping that's an end to it. Gerard never shuts up when she wants him to though.
"You need to talk to Bob."
"I know," Bry sighs. "Fuck, I know."
Bry finds Bob pretty much where she left him. He's moved over to the stage and is sitting there, swinging his leg and staring moodily into space.
"Hey," she says, hoisting herself up to sit next to him.
He doesn't say anything for a minute and she decides to be the bigger person. "I'm sorry okay." She scoots closer. "I didn't know you'd want to come," she tells him.
He doesn't look at her. "Yeah, you did."
There's not much she can say to that. It's pretty obvious now, what with hindsight being a bitch and all, that obviously Bob would like to be there for the first glimpse of his kid. But still. "How the fuck was I supposed to know?" she asks calmly; she's too tired to yell. "You've been avoiding me."
That gets Bob looking at her. "I was giving you space," he says.
Bry waves a tired hand in a carry on motion. He doesn't. "Did I ask you for space?" she asks. She didn't; no more that she normally asks for.
"You told me there was no pressure on me," Bob says.
Bry shakes her head. "And there isn't. But there isn't any pressure on you to stay away either, okay? You have to pick one way or the other. But if you want to be part of this process then I-." She wants to say that she'll be totally cool with that, but she knows it's not exactly true. She's never been good at sharing herself and that's probably not going to change. She can try though. "So, do you?"
Bob draws a slow breath in and Bry holds her breath as she waits. "Yeah," he says, "I do."
They sit quietly for a while. Bob's good at quiet; it's the first thing that made Bry start seeking him out, back when he was new to the tour, fresh and so young-looking that she felt like Mrs Robinson every time they screwed.
Bry feels suddenly, unbelievably homesick for their friendship. She reaches between them and touches his wrist. She's not very good at affection but he must get the message because he holds her hand and doesn't let go until it's My Chem's turn for soundcheck.
The Used were the first really big challenge Bry had as a tour manager. They were worth it in the end but it took her a long time to stop wanting to punch them in the face and see that.
"Bryacinth," Bert sang, wrapping his arms around her neck. "Bryonica. Bryctoria."
His breath stank of booze and Bry shoved him off. He landed on his ass, still sniggering.
"Get up," Bry snapped. "You're four fucking hours late, asshole. We're supposed to be on the road now."
Bert flopped pitifully over onto his belly and pushed his hair out of his face to grin at her, showing all his teeth. "Aw, sugar, don't be mad," he crooned, grabbing her ankle then her knee then her belt to pull himself up.
His hand wound up on her crotch and she snarled, not in the mood to give him any leeway right now.
"Sorry, sorry," he slurred, "Hand slipped."
"Right," Bry said shortly and shoved him toward the bus. Branden met them in the doorway, rolled his eyes and pulled Bert inside.
"Fucker," he said and threw Bert at Quinn.
Bry slumped against the doorway, just for a minute, not sure if she was more angry or relieved; not being able to find your fucking singer for most of a day, including the time at which you were supposed to be leaving the fucking state was no joke.
When she opened her eyes, Branden was looking at her. "What?" she asked tiredly. Branden just looked for another minute then shrugged and sloped off.
Bry let her head bang against the wall and muttered, "Fuck," quietly to herself. She knew she didn't have good enough control over this band; she didn't need anyone's silently accusing stares rubbing it in.
She made her way to the front to tell the driver they could finally get moving, then she steeled herself and march into the back lounge. Bert was curled up around Quinn, foot between his thighs, nose in his ear, like the clingy fucking spidermokey that he was.
"Uh-oh," Quinn sing-songed, poking Bert in the knee. "You're in trouble."
Bert burped and hid his face behind his hair. He wasn't as cute as he – or, Quinn apparently – thought he was.
"You know what?" Bry said, exhausted, "I don't give a fuck if you want to drink yourselves to death, okay? But as long as you're still alive, I expect you to be where I say, when I say it."
"Where I say, when I say it," Quinn echoed solemnly, nodding and poking Bert in time with the words.
"Where I say, when I say it," Bert giggled then again and again, pitch rising higher each time.
Bry just watched them, feeling her energy for this bullshit seeping away. She never backed down from a fight, but this wasn't a fight, this was an impossibility.
She slammed out of the room, shut herself behind the curtain of her bunk and slammed her palm in the slats above, over and over, until she was sure she wouldn't cry.
They arrived at the venue late (obviously. Though not as late as they should have and she bought the driver a coffee and an ice cream as a thank you for that). Bry had plenty of things to occupy herself with so she didn't look too obviously like she was avoiding her band.
When she got back on the bus in the mid-afternoon, everything was silent. Bry tensed, expecting a trick but Jepha just raised his eyebrows and pointed at the doorway over the bunkroom where someone had stuck two pieces of A4 paper side by side to make a sign.
SILENCE, MOTHERFUCKERS! it said in large, careful capital letters.
"Bert," Jepha whispered. "Quinn's got a migraine."
"And Bert's taking care of him?" This Bry had to see. She slunk quietly up to the door and peered around it until she could see inside.
Quinn's bunk was in shadow but Bry could see Bert kneeling on the floor with his head on Quinn's pillow, murmuring words in surprisingly soothing tones and pressing something that looked like a damp cloth to- well, the majority of Quinn's face, but Bry guessed he was aiming for his forehead.
Jesus. Bry blinked and rubbed her eyes, but the picture stayed the same.
Bert McCracken being sweet. Who knew?
Bert's eyes were soft and serious and he was talking quietly, touching Quinn's hair awkwardly but clearly sincerely.
"Thanks," Quinn whispered and Bert's smile was a little bit heartbreaking to see.
Bry crept away silently.
When Bert left Quinn to sleep, Bry cornered him. "Okay," she said, "Now I know you're not actually an asshole, this is how it's going to be."
"Okay," Bert said, he sounded tired and he didn't bother to make any cracks while she laid down the law.
Now that she was looking, now she wasn't just looking at the stereotype (which was a trait she hated in other people), she could see just how in need of some kind of friendly bullying he was, someone with his best interests at heart to keep him in line. So she gave him some new rules, what she would and would not put up with.
When she was done, Bert smiled at her, a little bit cheeky and a little bit shy. "Can I have a hug?" he asked.
"Uh," Bry said, thrown. "Sure." She grabbed his hands before leaning into to hug him carefully. "Touch my tits and die, McCracken."
He giggled into her shoulder and waited a whole fifty seconds before trying to lick her cleavage.
"When we get to Seattle I'm gonna disappear for a night, okay? So don't freak out."
Bry looked up at Jeph, almost surprised; they were waiting around backstage and he'd been so quiet that she'd almost forgotten he was in the room with her.
"Yeah?" she asked, trying not to sound too interested. Jepha was pretty private and didn't tend to talk much to her.
"Catching up with a friend," he told her, smiling in a lazy, private way that told her what kind of a friend. "Sometimes you just got to get it out of your system, you know?"
"Sure," Bry said, even though she hadn't gotten laid in so long she was half-convinced her virginity must have grown back.
Jepha looked at her for a long time. "I could probably find someone for you too," he said, "Just say the word, sweets."
Bry was tempted for maybe half a second. "No thanks," she said easily.
"What, don't you like sex?" Jepha asked at, great, exactly the moment Quinn stumbled out of the bunk room, followed by Bert.
"Who doesn't like sex?" Bert asked. He paused in the doorway to spend a couple of minutes scratching his ass, sniffed his hand thoughtfully then ambled over to the sink to rinse his fingers.
"Bryony," Jepha told him even though Bry was trying to kill him with her brain.
"That's because you haven't had the right man yet," Quinn said with a lazy thrust of his hips.
Bert giggled. "Or woman," he said, making kissy faces at Bry.
"Wouldn’t you like to know," she smirked then pulled her hood up over her head so they wouldn't see her smile.
By the time they left the venue, there was a line of fans waiting for them; Worm winked at her over the tops of their heads and she grinned back. Yep, they were totally doing something right, this tour.
"Okay, guys, one picture each," she said, stopping at the end of the line. It was Branden and Quinn tonight; Jepha had gone off to meet his friend and Bert was either too wasted or too hung over to be presented in public – Bry didn't know which. Despite what he might think, she wasn't his fucking mom.
They worked their way down the line, getting closer to the bus and freedom and a chance for Bry to sit down when Branden skidded to a stop in front of one particular girl, eyes bugging out for a second before he cleared his throat and shot Bry a look.
Bry worked her way closer and only just stopped herself rolling her eyes in the face of a girl who had her shirt pulled up and no noticeable bra, do me now, scrawled across her tits.
"Jesus," Bry sighed. Putting a hand on Branden's arm, pulling him along. Branden was about the least likely of the guys to take that girl up on her offer but still, that kid couldn't have been more than fifteen and Bry was not a big fan of getting sued.
Sometimes, Bry just wanted to sit down girls like that and tell them to go home. She wanted to tell them that guys in bands were assholes; they'd fuck you but forget your name in the morning. Except that wasn't totally fair, not really.
She remembered being that age, going to shows because the music helped her forget everything else going on in her life and gave her a safe space to scream out her issues. Besides, for every girl who wanted to do a band boy, there was one who wanted to be in a band and, for that, Bry would never try to close down the lines.
It's dark, it's quiet, Ray has gone to bed and Bob and Bry are sharing the sofa in the back lounge. This is pretty much exactly the kind of time when usually they'd be fucking and she wants to, she still really wants to. It's not a good idea though.
Bry looks up and Bob's looking at her; the way his eyes darken tells her that he's thinking along the same lines she is.
"We're not going to fuck," she tells him and he jolts, cheeks flushing.
"Did I say I wanted to?" he asks, lifting his chin in that way that he has when he's embarrassed about being embarrassed.
She kicks out her legs across his lap and stares him down until he slips off her heels to rub her arches. "Okay, look." His thumb presses exactly where her shoes have been killing her all day and she breathes out a groan. Why exactly is she not having sex with him? Oh, right. "It’s probably a good idea if we stick to just being friends from now on.”
Bob presses down extra hard between her toes and she'd complain except that feels awesome. “Right?" he asks, "You think so?”
She shrugs. “I just think it’d give the baby more stability.”
“Right. Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He doesn't look upset but he doesn't exactly look pleased either. She guesses on some level that's flattering.
“Come on," she says, digging her toes into his thigh. He carefully but firmly removes her foot. "Don’t look like I’m giving you a death sentence, dude. There are plenty of other girls who’d kill for a piece of Bryar action. None of them are as hot as me obviously, but.”
Bob laughs, grudgingly but it's still a laugh. "But definitely friends?" he says.
She sits up and puts her head on his shoulder. It's the kind of move she'd normally make on Mikey not Bob and maybe that's the point. "Friends."
One of the main reasons why Bry believes she can do this baby thing is how well Gerard and Lindsey have taken to it. The two of them have adapted brilliantly to being on the road with their kid.
If Bry had known five years ago that she'd ever look to Gerard Way as her child-rearing role model, she'd have laughed herself sick. Or possibly cried. But the truth is that he's a good dad.
Mikey, also, is a total surprise; he's a pretty fantastic uncle. Bry is hanging out with Mikey and Bandit, pretending like she knows anything about kids beyond what she's read in books and picked up from accidentally winding up as this one's godmother.
She's kind of at a loss when Bandit holds out a red, plastic spoon.
Bry frowns, not totally sure what Bandit wants her to do with it. Feed her, maybe?
Mikey coughs. "It's a present," he tells Bry and great, now she feels stupid.
"Right," she says then bends awkwardly to take the spoon from Bandit. It's damp with saliva at one end and something she doesn't want to identify at the other. Just what she always wanted. "Thank you, sweetie," she says, brushing her palm over Bandit's dark hair.
Bandit babbles something in her soft little voice and Mikey gets a listening expression on his face and drops down on his knees to hear her better. When Mikey looks back up at Bry, he's grinning. "She says it's for your baby, Auntie Bry."
Bry has no idea how he can understand what she's saying. It must be a Way thing. "Oh," she says awkwardly. "Thank you." She feels honest-to-god tears sting her eyes and looks away, laughing at herself.
When Mikey stands up, he's got Bandit tucked against his hip. She bats against the "Way" of his Mikey Fuckin' Way shirt – the U of Fuckin' now starred out to make it niece-appropriate.
"You're good with her," Bry tells him, smiling.
Mikey shrugs. "She's Gee's kid. I don't think I could be bad with her."
"You better be careful," Bry says, trying to sound like a tiny kid hasn't completely thrown her for a loop, "I'm going to make you chief babysitter for this one too."
"Sure," Mikey hums, totally failing to rise to her bait. "I wouldn’t care. I like kids."
"Aw," Bry says, reaching up to pinch Mikey's cheek. He flails at her one-handed, ducking out of the way. Bry laughs and tries not to worry that she doesn't like kids, not really. She's hoping that that'll just kind of come when it's her own.
It's one of those afternoons when everything goes wrong and everyone pitches in when and where they can. Bry has spent the last hour or so lifting boxes and she's loading her seventh amp when a soft, low-level ache twinges in her belly. It's nothing major, but it reminds her that she should maybe take a break. Still, she reaches for the eighth, not wanting to fall behind. She lifts it to knee height then lets go, gasping at a shooting fucking pain that leaves her doubled over, gasping for breath.
"Bry?" there's a tech – Jay? Joe? – at her elbow, helping her upright. "You okay?"
She shakes her head. Her stomach hurts. Oh god. "Can you, um?" She takes a deep breath. Freaking out would be bad. "Can you find someone?" She means Bob, fuck but she wants Bob.
Jay/Joe is still hovering. "Are you hurt? Seriously, are you okay?"
She's just about to really yell at him when Worm is just magically there. "What happened?" he asks, slipping his huge hand around Bry's waist. Bry doesn't know if she needs the help or not; there's panic clawing at her insides.
Joe/Jay sounds confused, which is fair she knows; the local crew don't know about the pregnancy yet. Worm's arms tightens around her. "Okay," he says, sounding cool and in charge which is Bry's role dammit. "Jay, do you have a car?"
"Yeah," he says slowly.
"Give me the keys. And then I want you to find Bob Bryar and tell him to meet Bry and me at the hospital. Okay? Can you do that?"
"You want my car-?"
"Give me the fucking keys," Worm says sweetly and Jay must do because Bry blinks and she's sliding into the passenger side of a pretty sweet GTO.
"It's going to be fine," Worm says, putting the car into drive then reaching over to squeeze Bry's knee.
Bry nods. She spreads her hands out over her belly and wishes she felt half as confident.
Back in Utah, about to start another tour, they took on new people. Bry proved herself pretty well on the last tour – mostly by not killing anyone, she thought – so she had total control over the hiring and firing this time.
It was awesome.
The first thing she did was score them a new sound tech right out from under the grabby hands of a half dozen other tours. This guy was the shit, she'd been told, and she wanted the best.
Still, Bry didn't actually get to meet him until they were packing up to leave. She was half-lost behind a wall of boxes, clipboard tucked over her arm, checking off shit like amps, batteries, condoms and juice boxes because she knew what a tour needed now and they were going to have the best stocked tour of all time.
"Hello?" called a voice from somewhere behind her box wall and Bry turned around, looking for the voice, knocked her elbow into a crate and sent it skidding off the edge.
"Fuck," she said, grabbing for it but missing. She didn't know what was in it, but chances were it was breakable.
"Whoops," said that same voice and then the box stopped falling, and a big, blond guy appeared holding it.
"Thanks," Bry said, automatically snatching the box back and putting it back on the pile. "Don’t you know better than to creep up on people who can't see you?"
The guy smiled, apparently not bothered. "I do," he agreed and held out his hand. "Bob Bryar. You're Bry, right?"
Bob Bryar? Bry ran through her mental list of names until she hit on his. Fuck, the sound tech. "Yeah. Yes, hi." She took his hand, squeezed it firmly. "Sorry. You caught me at a bad time." She stopped, grinning ruefully. "Expect to be doing that until the tour's over, okay?"
Bob nodded and rubbed the back of his neck. He looked kind of awkward. Not exactly shy but like he wasn't quite sure where to put himself. "You need any help?"
Bry needed help from people who knew what they were doing, not guys who just wanted to help. She shook her head. "I'm good," she said. "But thanks." She turned to the next crate, checking it off her list then hefting it up into the back of the van.
"Seriously, I'm not doing anything else. Sure you don't want any help?" Bob's voice asked from behind her and she rolled her eyes; god save her from chivalrous men.
"I'm sure," she said then forced herself to smile when she turned around. "Dude, you need to go claim yourself a bunk before we get moving. They'll land you with the shittiest one otherwise."
Bob hesitated and Bry knew she'd scored. He looked like the kind of guy who would appreciate somewhere decent to sleep. "Go," she emphasised, flapping a hand. He went.
Over the years, Bry had gotten used to having Worm as a silent shadow, so it took her a while to notice that she'd gained another one.
"Here," Bob said to her after the second night of the tour. He was holding out a beer and a take out box toward her.
"Please tell me those are both for me," she said, putting down her cell phone where she'd been sorting out her organiser.
"Yup," Bob said and bopped her lightly on the head with the take out carton before handing them both over and sitting down beside her. "You didn't get any dinner tonight."
Bry narrowed her eyes at him. "How'd you know?" she asked. She hardly ever remembered to go down early and grab some food before the ravening hoards of artists descended. Apparently Bob had learned quicker than her.
"Because I'm a creepy stalker," Bob said dryly, then ruined it by waggling his eyebrows.
Bry snorted into her beer and offered him some take out. Chinese; her favourite.
Bob picked up a couple pieces of duck and stuck them in his mouth, licking his fingers clean. "What were you doing?" he asked, nodding to her cell and the organisers surrounding her.
"Working out hotels," she told him. She took another long swallow of beer. Fuck but she was tired. "This is a fucking big tour; inevitably someone ends up sleeping in the bathtub."
Bob winced. "Comfortable," he said. He stole some more duck, not stopping until Bry wrapped him on the knuckles with her chopsticks. "Anything I can do?"
It was on the tip of Bry's tongue to tell him no; she liked to do everything herself, that way she knew it was done right. She felt bad about always turning down Bob's help though.
"See this list," she said, dragging her eyes half open to point to the right clipboard. "Can you go through and check I've got contact names and numbers for all of them?"
"Just that?" Bob asked.
Bry grinned at him. "Trust me. It's a help." She closed her eyes again and focused on the comfortable buzz of beer at the back of her brain and the lift of a weight from her shoulders.
Bry got used to Bob being around during their down time, bringing her food and helping her out with little things while she ate and she was okay with that, that was something she was comfortable with. She should have predicted that things weren't going to stay that easy.
Bry was giving the soundtechs a hand setting up the outdoor stage for later that day, shifting around a speaker when it was unexpectedly lifted out of her arms.
She stumbled. "The hell?" she asked, looking up to see Bob with the speaker held firmly under his arm. "I can do that myself."
Bob shrugged, not looking bothered. "Sure." He turned away, still carrying the speaker. "Over here, yeah?"
"Yes," Bry snapped, "No." She followed after him, frustrated.
Bob put down the speaker and frowned at her. "What's the problem? I don't have anything else to do."
Fuck, Bry thought, she should have seen this coming. "The problem is that it isn't your job. I'm not paying you to be my fucking…" She searches around for a word. "Lackey."
"Dude," Bob says, leaning against the speaker. "It's not your job either. Besides, this thing weighs more than you do. D'you see me trying to lift shit that weighs more than me? That's just asking for a fucked up back."
Bry opened her mouth to argue, blinked, and closed it again. "Come over here," she said, grabbing his arm and pulling him to one side. When they had a little privacy, she lowered her voice. "No, okay? No."
Bob scratched the back of his neck. It was obvious he didn't get it. "No?" he repeated.
"This is the biggest tour I've done, okay? The biggest chance I've had to prove myself. I'm still on shaky ground with some people and I cannot be seen to be doing anything less than a guy tour manager would do."
"No, hey," Bob said, shaking his head, "I wasn't trying to help because you're a girl."
Yeah, Bry believed that; Bob was kind of clueless not chauvinistic. "I know that," she said, "And you know that, but we're not the only people on this tour. Okay?"
Bob sighed. "Yeah, okay. I get it." He knuckled his forehead looking frustrated. "I'll fuck off and mind my own business, yeah?"
Internally, Bry breathed a sigh of relief. "Yeah." Before he turned away, she touched his arm. "Feel free to bring me beer tonight though, okay?"
Bob snorted and rolled his eyes. "Sure, then you want me," he said.
"Yeah, yeah, cry me a river," Bry called over her shoulder, heading back for the next speaker.
The first time they fucked, they were drunk.
It felt to Bry as if it were happening in a series of shutter slides. One minute they were doing shots at the back of a run down little bar, celebrating a motel night and the halfway point of the tour then she blinked again and they were kissing; blinked and Bob's mouth was still on hers but they were in her room; blinked and her hands were freeing his cock from his jeans; blinked and Bob was pulling open her shirt, ripping buttons in his hurry; blinked and they were naked and he was holding her up against the wall and sucking on her nipples.
"Shit," Bry muttered, hooking her right leg more securely around Bob's hips. She could feel her cunt sliding wetly against his thigh and she shuddered. Her head was spinning and this was such a bad idea but god she wanted it. "Bryar, fuck, c'mon on."
Bob growled against her chest and bit lightly at the skin below her nipple before lifting his head. "What?" he asked. His pale skin was flushed drunk and his bottom lip was bleeding slightly; she wondered when she'd bitten it.
"Fuck," she breathed again. "Condoms? Do you have condoms?"
Bob breathed out against her throat, sweaty skin pressed against sweaty skin for a drawn-out moment before he set her down so her feet could touch the floor and pushed off from the wall. She leaned back and watched his ass and the play of muscles in his thighs and along the top of his shoulders as he turned away from her and started to root around in his duffle.
"Wall or bed?" he asked, straightening up. She shook her head; she didn’t care. She just wanted him inside her.
"Now," she said instead of an answer, though she guessed it was a good enough answer because he laughed and made his way back to her, stumbling slightly over air on his way.
Bry caught him by the shoulder when he was close enough, pulled him closer. "You're drunk," she said, feeling part way between amused and his mother.
Bob grinned at her. "So are you," he said, then frowned, shaking his head and blinking. "Wait. Are you too-?"
Bry rolled her eyes. "I'm plenty sober enough to know what I want, Bryar. Are you?"
Bob didn't answer her in words, just pushed her up against the wall again and bent his head to kiss her really fucking dirtily. Bry wrapped her arms around Bob's neck and did her best to give as good as he was giving her. She sucked hard on his tongue, noticing this time when she bit his lower lip by the coppery taste of blood.
"Ow," Bob said, wiping his mouth across the back of his hand and smearing a bright line of blood to the corner of his mouth.
"Sorry?" Bry said, but she wasn't and she didn't sound it.
Bob just grinned at her. "Bed," he said and started pushing her along the wall. The bathroom doorway loomed up behind her back and she stumbled back through it, laughing and shaking her head.
"Bed's the other way, Bryar," she told him but what the hell. There was a counter behind her ass now and this was as good a place as any, especially with Bob boosting her up onto it and crowding between her knees. She brought her legs up so the toes of one foot were curved over the edge of the counter, her other foot ending up in the washbasin, the looking glass cold behind her back.
Bob stopped for a second, standing over her and looking down. She wondered how she looked and then, almost like the world was shifting to answer her questions, Bob kicked the bathroom door closed behind them and she could see them both, exposed in the long mirror running down the inside of the door.
Bry blinked, trying to get her eyes to focus, curious. Most of their reflection was taken up by Bob's broad, bare back and tight ass but she could see herself too, messy hair and smudged make up, naked and flushed, legs loose and spread. Bry tipped her head back until she could barely see them anymore then glanced up at Bob through her eyelashes.
"This is your engraved fucking invitation," she told him, running her fingers down past the tattoo most people didn't know about and down over her clit.
"Oh god," Bob breathed and then he was fumbling on the condom, fingers shaking enough that Bry watched him carefully to check he didn't rip it. He didn't. And then he was pushing her legs further apart, pressing inside of her and Bry arched all the way back until her hair stuck slickly to the mirror at her back and the ceiling lights were going blurry in front of her eyes while Bob practiced a few initial, shallow strokes.
Bry wrapped her legs around Bob's back, pulling him in tighter and groaned out, "Fuck me."
"Harder?" Bob asked, shoving back into her. She nodded. "Harder?" Bob asked again, and he was really fucking her now, hands promising bruises on her hips.
"Harder," Bry gritted out between her feet. Her elbow skidded on the damp counter and she reached behind herself, hands slipping on the mirror as she pushed herself out to meet Bob's thrusts.
"Jesus," Bob said, "You're fucking demanding, you know that right?" He was panting and groaning above her and Bry didn't think it was a criticism.
"I know," she promised. "I know, I-." Bob pressed his thumb down roughly on her clit and she broke off from what she was saying with a greedy moan. "Bob, Bob, Bob," she said instead and everything about the way Bob reacted to that told her that he liked it. "Bob," she said again and he swore loudly and jerked inside her, coming.
Disappointed, Bry flopped down onto the counter, letting Bob sag against her for a minute before she kicked him off and stood up on seriously shaky legs. "Thanks for that," she said archly, raising her eyebrows.
Bob was flushed pink from his belly button to his hairline and his eyes were foggy with postcoital sleepiness but he still managed pretty well at rolling them.
"Did I say I was finished?" he asked and pushed three fingers into her cunt.
"Mm," she managed, scrambling back up onto the counter and holding her legs open to give him room. Bob leaned over her, kissing her lazily while he finger fucked her, rubbing rhythmically over her clit with his thumb on every other thrust.
Bry felt hot all over, orgasm building through her thighs and her belly; her nipples were rock hard and she pinched them between her own fingers, rolling them, groping her breasts until Bob knocked one of her hands away with his free hand and took over.
"Okay?" he asked her, "Can you come like this?"
Bry could so easily come from this, she was about ten seconds from doing so, but she was curious. "What other tricks you got, if I can't?" she asked. In answer, Bob let go of her tit and folded down onto his knees instead. He had to tilt his head up to reach her and she let her legs flop down over his back, weight supported mostly by his hands cupping her ass while he ate her out.
"Fuck, fuck," she swore and then she couldn't string it out any longer, coming hard enough that the world, already tilting lazily, threatened to flip all the way over.
Bob was leaning back against the opposite wall by the time she managed to get herself together enough to sit up. He'd gotten rid of the condom somewhere and his cock was half hard in a nest of pale blond hair. He was a bit too soft around the middle to be totally built but he looked good, strong and solid and awesomely muscled across his chest and arms, a drummer's body, Bry thought appreciatively, letting herself think for just one minute what a shame it was that this couldn't happen again.
In the morning, Bry was more appalled at herself for having stayed the night in Bob's bed than she was for having fucked him in the first place. And she was pretty appalled at herself for having fucked him.
Bry was always professional, always. Fucking a guy who worked for you was really unprofessional. Especially, when he could easily go out the next morning and tell everyone else who worked for you all about it.
"Oh fuck," Bry groaned, cradling her aching skull in her hands. "This absolutely cannot happen again."
"Why not?" Bob asked her, pressing a glass of water into her hands. His eyes were red and bloodshot in his pale face. He didn't sound like he was whining, just like he was curious. Bry boggled at him; it made her feel nauseous so she stopped.
"Because I'm your boss, Bryar," she snapped. She'd finished the water and now she needed caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine. The room swayed in a way that told her she wasn't fully sober yet, when she climbed out of bed and headed for the coffee table.
Bob caught up with her at the coffee machine and took the jug away from her. Her hands shook; she thought it was pretty unfair that his didn't. "Yeah, you're my boss," Bob agreed, "But that was great sex."
She rolled her eyes. "Nice to know you're thinking with your cock," she told him, sitting up on the side table and watching Bob make them coffee.
"So that's a no then?" Bob asked. He filled a mug with the first of the coffee and passed it over to her. His hands closed around hers until he was sure she had hold of the mug and Bry didn't let herself react to the touch.
"It's a no," she agreed and tried not to sound like she wished it wasn’t.
The second time was, if anything, even worse of an idea than the first. They weren't even drunk.
Bob had been cranky all fucking week and Bry was getting sick of it. She didn't want to admit that she'd gotten used to having a friend, someone to hang out with who didn't try to look down her top or treat her like the enemy because she was in charge, but yeah. She'd gotten used to having a Bob.
They'd recovered pretty well from their night of sex-related stupidity and Bry was reasonably confident that Bob hadn't even mentioned it to anyone. Certainly, no one had hinted to her that they knew so that was – almost – good enough.
"Bobert," Bry said, coming to stand in front of Bob where he was slouching behind the van, smoking. "What's up?"
Bob twitched and frowned at her, pulling his hat down to cover more of his eyes. "Don't call me that," he said crossly.
Bry rolled her eyes. "Sorry. C'mon, dude, what's wrong?"
Bob waved his cigarette her way. His foot was tapping out an agitated beat on the grass.
He didn't answer so she clicked her fingers under his nose. "Bob?"
Bob blinked, looking up at her. "What? Nothing."
Bry frowned. She didn't actually know how to wheedle; she'd never really needed to. Normally people just told her shit or she thought fuck them and didn't worry about it. Bob wasn't someone she could just leave when he was clearly upset though; he was too important to the tour.
"I'll buy you a beer if you tell me," she said and at least that got him to laugh.
"I swear to god, Schechter, I'm fine," he promised. "Just tired."
"Okay," Bry said, not convinced. They smoked in silence for a while before Bry realised that Bob was shifting around like he had sudden onset ADD or something. She lifted her head, about to ask what was wrong when he noticed where he was looking. She was wearing a short skirt today over heavy tights and Bob was looking at the place where her skirt was stretched across her thighs, his knuckles going white as his fingers clenched into fists.
She swallowed hard, her pulse picking up speed. She forced herself to laugh. "Seriously, Bryar? You're being this much of a bitch because you're horny?"
Bob jumped, eyes snapping up to her face. "What? No."
It was easier for Bry to laugh this time; he just looked so caught. It was kind of sweet actually.
Bob's eyes narrowed and it occurred to her that yeah, she probably shouldn't be laughing at him. "Fuck you," he muttered and stomped off.
Bry watched him go, frowning but still kind of amused. She'd never seen Bob get mad before.
She bumped into Bob three hours later when she went looking for Branden and found Bob at his kit, beating the shit out of the drums. She stopped in the doorway, impressed. He was good. Very angry apparently, but good.
"Bryar," she said, stepping forward when he broke a stick and had to stop a second to grab a new one. "You can't turn into an asshole just because you're not getting laid, dude."
Bob stood up and came around the drum kit. Bry stood her ground; she wasn't scared of Bob. "Who says?" he asked, getting up in her face.
Bry took a deep breath so she didn't slap him out of it. "I say. You need to find yourself someone to fuck because you're no use to me right now."
"Are you offering?" he asked and there was something nasty in his voice. Something mean and un-Bob-like.
"Asshole," she said and shoved him. Bob didn't budge, so she shoved him again. He stumbled, catching himself on the cymbals with a curse.
"Ow fuck," he muttered, holding up his palm where a line of blood was welling up.
"Idiot," Bry snapped, catching his hand between hers. It wasn't bleeding much, just a graze and she pressed her mouth to the thin line of blood before she'd thought it through, smacking a kiss there in an angry imitation of a mom's kiss.
Bob's breath caught and then his hands were in her hair, dragging her head up and leaning down to kiss her.
She shoved him again but she was kissing him back and she kept kissing him and kept shoving him until they hit the wall. Bob was hard against Bry's stomach, catching and releasing her hair in carefully controlled frustration and Bry thought fuck it and got down on her knees.
Bob swore, sounding surprised then swore again when she kissed his cock, clumsy and hard, through the thick material of his jeans. He fumbled his pants open for her but didn't try anything else after he'd pulled out his cock, didn't try to direct her mouth or touch her head or anything so Bry took her time, teasing him before she sucked him down.
They didn't have much time to waste; someone would come through here soon enough so Bry didn't worry about technique, just went for a fast, hard blowjob, lots of tongue and suction, a little bit of teeth because she was getting the feeling that Bob liked it harder than he knew he did.
It only took a couple of minutes until Bob was muttering incomprehensibly, punctuating wordless vowel sounds with curses, his thighs going tense under her hands and his cock growing thicker in her throat, and Bry had to wonder exactly how long he'd been walking around like this, unfucked and horny.
She pulled back, scraped her teeth deliberately over the head of his cock and smirked when he started to come, finishing him off with her hand and catching his jizz in her palm.
"Oh Jesus," Bob said weakly, sliding down the wall in a spent puddle of limbs and limp muscles.
Bry looked at her spunk covered hand for a long minute before grabbing Bob's dark green sleeve and wiping her hand off. Bob wrinkled his nose but was apparently too comfortably fucked out to argue.
This was the point where Bry should get up and walk away. Instead, she punched him in the thigh. "Hey, that wasn't a freebie," she said pointedly, grabbing his hand and putting it on her thigh.
Bob grinned at her, the loose, easy grin she'd missed. "Hang on," he said, climbing to his feet. "Just gonna lock the door," he said, "Unless you want the guys to see me eating you out."
"Good point," Bry said and didn't mention how Bob hadn't been worried about anyone walking in while she was on her knees for him.
She had her tights off and her skirt up by the time he made his way back to her. He smiled at her in a way that didn’t gel with an afternoon quickie. “Lie down,” he said.
She smirked at him. “You lie down.”
He raised his eyebrows at her, but did. Bry hiked up her skirt and straddled his chest, shifting forward on her knees and clenching her fingers in his hair to put them both in a better position. “I’m not the kind of asshole who gets pissy when I don’t get laid,” Bob told her with his hands sliding up her bare inner thighs.
“What kind of asshole are you then?” she asked, pulling on his hand until her was cupping her, rolling her hips appreciatively.
Bob hitched up one shoulder in a horizontal shrug. “You’re hot and you’re around all the time.”
Bry didn’t really know what to say to that, so she shut him up by sitting on his face.
After that, came the third time, the forth time, and the eleventh time. Bry still felt like she was hovering on a precipice, waiting for the day when Bob announced to the tour that he was fucking the tour manager, but it hadn't happened yet.
Master Post | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four