The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 40

Saturday, September 23rd, 8:25 PM

Minneapolis, MN


Greg turned to Evan, once they were in the room. “Hey, my man. I’m gonna hang with some of my venue security homies that got invited here. We want to talk mixed martial arts. Learned a few things from them the other night when we were breaking up fights and blocking aggressors. Want to come?”

“Umm, yeah, sure. But I need to talk to Dana first. See how she’s doing.”

“Ladies’ man.” Greg smiled, and elbowed Evan playfully. “I got it. Yeah, go check her out. But last I saw, she was doing quite well.” 

He squinted and stared at Greg. “What do you mean?”

“Ahh, I don’t want to tell you, bro. You’ll find out. Text me when you’re done.”

Evan felt his heart sink. This couldn’t be good. “Yeah, okay. See you later, man.”

“You too.”

Greg walked to the left, toward a bunch of guys sitting on a L-shaped dark-colored sofa in the far corner of the large room.

Evan took in the rest of the view. Quite the large convention party room, maybe fifty yards deep by a hundred yards wide. All around the perimeter of the room were orange and purple light beams, originating from the floor and shooting upwards to place orange and purple spotlights on the ceiling. The carpeted floor was a mix of swirling designs with a similar color scheme, though it was hard to say for sure from the dim lighting in this room. Across to the other side of the room, any of the tall windows had their curtains closed. Heck, it was nearly 8:30 PM. Carter probably didn’t want any fans or paps peering in.

He looked to his right. This section of the large room had a wall running parallel along the length of the main, larger room, making two smaller areas. Some sort of permanent bar structure was close-by to where he stood. Twelve chairs were placed in front of the bar table. And five of them were occupied.

He began walking, slowly, and searching. Dana. Where could she be?

Near the center of the room were a bunch of tall, round tables, where people could stand and drink. Maybe about ten to fifteen of them, counted roughly, had several of Dana’s team already by them.

Yeah. Good thing his age was a barrier. Last thing he needed right now was a drink. 

And then the music started. It was Dana’s music. In the far-left corner, from his position, a DJ was working on a tall, wide mixing board conglomeration.

He could see some of the backup singers and dancers, near another one of the L-shaped sofas at the opposite end of the room, near the windowed-wall. He headed that way.

Walking past the bar, his peripheral caught someone jumping off the bar stool. He glanced over in that direction.


That someone was Chella. And damn, was she looking smoking hot, wearing high-waist denim shorts that just snugged her tiny little waist and a red, low-cut V-neck top showing some cleavage.

He stopped walking. “Hey, Chella,” he said quietly, though loud enough for her to hear over the music. “How are you doing?”

She stepped up closer, holding a drink in her hand. “Oh, pretty good. Just enjoying my martini. You thinking about breaking the law tonight and getting a drink? It’s the tour’s next to the last party.”

He laughed. “Umm, in that case, probably not a good idea.” 

She smiled. “Yeah, I guess so.” She took a sip of her drink.

He looked back at that L-shaped sofa, where the singers and dancers congregated. Some of them had stepped away. He could see better now. Dana was sitting there. And so was Hal.

“Hey, umm, I’ll be back,” he said to Chella. “Going to see how our main girl here is doing.”

Chella blinked a few times, and smiled briefly, but the smile didn’t appear sincere. “Oh, sure. She seems a lot better since last night. But yeah, let me know how she’s doing, when you get back. Okay?”

“I will.” He smiled at her, warmly.

He headed toward Dana. He didn’t want to appear too obvious, but his pace was nearly a run.

So dark in here. Music pounding like a massive drum. Just keep moving.

Eventually he was close enough to see better. Dana sat in the middle of the longer section of the L-shaped sofa, and next to her, far too close to her, was Hal. Hal was settled back into the seat and had his arm around her, on the sofa pillows, very reminiscent of the close sitting position he shared with Dana in her dressing room last night. And Dana had a drink in her hands. But worst of all, she was leaning close to Hal too.

Evan stepped nearer until he was about six feet away from them.

Dana took a sip of her drink and stared up at him. “Well, well. Look what the cat dragged in.”

Hal laughed, and she did too.

Evan stood tall and steady, though he felt a tremor along his spine. This was all wrong. Didn’t feel true whatsoever. He stared at her. “I…I was just wondering, how you are feeling, since…you know, last night.”

Hal laughed again. “You really need to ask that…bitch?”

Dana smiled and turned to Hal. “Hey, now, now. Don’t have to be calling names.” She directed her eyes back on Evan. “Well, as you can see, drink in hand.” She lifted her glass up high, lowered it, and took another sip. “No problem.” She gave him an insincere smile. “So, how are you doing, bitch?”

Hal smiled and turned away, laughing to himself, while Dana giggled along with him.

Evan sighed. “I’m fine, thanks. Umm…” Motion on the right caught his eye. He looked in that direction. Near another bar, about fifty feet away, Carter and Lloyd stood by one of those standing tables. And they were staring dead on at him. “Well…” He focused into Dana’s cold gaze again. “I will leave you be, then.” He lifted his hand up, like a wave good-bye, and headed back toward Chella.

“Yeah, you go over there,” he could hear Dana say from behind him, as he walked away. “We’re far too drunk for your fragile ass.”

Fragile? She has no idea.

His heart and his brain were quickly at odds with each other. Though he immediately understood Dana probably had no choice but to behave like this, he still felt a crushing blow to his gut. And it hurt, bad.

Think, think! His heart told him to leave, to get as far from here as possible, to lick his wounds in the hotel room. But his mind and clearer thinking needed to prevail.

Syrrah, remember Syrrah, if this is truly her, trapped, herself deeply hurting.

He inhaled a deep breath.

He turned back to see Dana again and instantly wished he hadn’t; she was gazing right into Hal’s eyes, so close, and he was staring back, intrigued, hungry.

Evan faced forward and clenched his fists, tight as metal balls.

He kept walking. He didn’t see Chella. He walked until arriving near a rarity in this convention room - a circular sofa with high back seats, so anyone behind on the opposite side couldn’t see you. No one was sitting on the seat currently. He walked over to the side facing toward Greg’s location in the room and sat down.

He leaned forward and took out his phone. Calm, stay calm, and think! Need to stay here. Must keep an eye on her, as best as possible. Remember the suffering she expressed last night. Besides her physical pain, she suffers from emotional and mental pain too.

But then doubts twisted across his thoughts. Is she really, truly Syrrah, deep inside, under all that rude, narcissistic behavior? Maybe her reaction last night after meeting Neraeh was only fibromyalgia-related, a sudden, disrupting attack of the disease.

Except for those mumbling words, however.

He opened the web browser on his phone. He wondered of Heidi’s Instagram or Twitter account, and if she had posted anything damaging that Dana might have spotted.

Someone sat down next to him, on his right.

He turned to see. Chella was by him.

She had sad, concerned eyes. “Hey, I’m sorry, Evan. I guess she’s still not feeling okay.”

“You were watching?”

“Yes, I did. I’m sorry. I was just curious, but…but Dana. She’s definitely not herself. She never wants to be around Hal anymore. Why is she doing that?”

Evan leaned back into the soft cushions of the seat and gazed into Chella’s pretty eyes. “I don’t know. But, I really don’t want to talk about it now. So, did you stay safe last night, with all that brawling going on?”

Chella then explained what had happened, how she was able to get her purse and phone and eventually corral together, safely, in a locked, secure room, with the other backup singers, dancers and a few of the musicians. Her soft, gentle voice was so soothing to listen to. She also explained how some of the guys in their little grouping went back outside to help the security people, after things settled down a bit.

She took a sip of her drink. She didn’t speak a moment, only eyeing Evan closely. “You know, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but you are really a big, strong, handsome guy, Evan.”

He smiled. “Aww, thank you, Chella. And yes, you are correct. I have heard this a few times, at least since I’ve been on the tour.” 

“Well, yeah, it’s nice to be right for once.” She laughed briefly.  “But, so, I have to ask. Do you, Evan, have a girlfriend?”

He felt a rush of heat spread across his face. He leaned forward and gazed down at the carpeted floor. “I do, or did, actually. But, it’s complicated.” He looked back into her eyes. “We had some issues, I guess you could say.”

“Oh, yeah. I understand. That can happen.” Something distracted Chella. She glanced in the direction Dana was sitting and looked back at Evan. “Dana is walking over here.”

“Really?” He noticed the same. And Dana was walking with emphasis, although she randomly teetered, her balance off some. He hadn’t noticed earlier, probably from the dim lighting, but she was dressed casually, rather uncharacteristic for her, only wearing body-hugging jeans and a dark-colored T-shirt.

Hal was walking a distance behind her, at a slow amble, his behavior all proud, smug. Screw him.

Dana soon arrived and stood in front of Evan.

He gazed up at her.

She took a sip of her drink and stared at him with cold, intense eyes. “I thought you said you would never leave me.”

The current song over the sound system was lower than previously so he could hear her adequately, and her words made no sense. “Uh, excuse me? You were just quite rude when all I wanted was to find out how you are.”

She sniffed, smirked, and then took another sip. “Typical. Empty words. Like so many other men.” She laughed. “What was I thinking, I meant little boy.”

Hal showed up and wrapped his arm around Dana, closely, though Dana was focusing more on Chella.

Anger in her eyes, she pointed at Chella with her non-drink-holding hand. “You. You’re skating on thin ice with me, I hope you realize.” 

“I…I’m sorry, Dana. I only wanted to talk to someone.”

“Funny,” she said, glancing around the room. “I see a whole room full of people in here.”

“Come on. I need another drink,” Hal said to Dana. “Let’s get away from these losers.” 

Dana gazed down at her drink and ran her fingertip around the circumference of the glass. “Yeah. You’re right.”

Obviously not done yet with his smug high horse, Hal again stared his dark, evil eyes at Evan. “She’d rather be with a real man, bitch.” He then turned Dana and himself toward the bar, Dana still staggering as they walked.

Uncontrollable rage suddenly boiled within Evan. This was too much. He rose from his seat.

Chella seized his upper arm with both her hands and pulled down on him. “No. Evan. Stop!”

She was right. And what Art said too. He slowly lowered himself down to the seat. Besides. The night wasn’t over yet. He looked at her. “I’m sorry, Chella. Sort of lost control.”

She batted her eyes and stared into his gaze. “I know. I can see it.” She continued to hold on to his upper arm, her hands seemingly glued to his large bicep, and drew closer to his ear. “You need to listen to me. Lloyd, Carter, maybe even Hal. They are into some weird shit, like magic, spells, high-tech sci-fi stuff.” She spoke in a louder voice than she probably intended, given the music now upping in volume a bit. “Rumors. You need to watch out. Not kidding.”

He breathed in her scent. She smelled so good. And for a moment, Chella made him want to take her from here and forget about Syrrah forever. But it was only for a moment. And it seemed wrong, strange, out of place.

Regardless, Chella cared. And it felt good. “Don’t worry. I can take care of myself.”

She looked, perplexed, into his eyes, and released his arm. “You actually believe me?”

He shrugged slightly. “I know some things. I’ve seen some things.”

“Really? What?”

“Oh, stuff I’ve read and seen online.” Damn. He just lied. Or did he? He had read and seen things online too.

“Evan. Can I tell you something?”

“Sure. What is it?”

“I can see you like Dana, and maybe she even likes you too, or has a thing for you…or, should I say, a fling for you. But it won’t end well, for either of you. Know what I’m saying?”

“I think.”

“People like us, the side workers, the roadies. We are just not at her level.”

“Speak for yourself, Chella. I have plans.”

“Well, but anyway. You are really talented. But…but she’s just so messed up.” Chella placed her hand on his right thigh. Her touch felt very nice. “I’m here for you, Evan.” She gazed kindly into his eyes. 

He lifted her hand from his thigh, her small hand practically disappearing within the grasp of both his hands. “Chella.” He smiled at her and caressed her hand gently, warmly. He gave her a kind gaze back. “Thank you, really.”

She placed her drink down on the seat and held her other hand over his grasped hands. “Evan. Take me back to your room. Please. I want to be with you.”

Evan closed his eyes and breathed in her pleasant perfume again. This was very tempting. But, Syrrah. And all that Art had told him. He opened his eyes and took hold of both her hands, until gently placing them upon her own lap. “I would, believe me. But we can’t. Remember. All that you just told me. It’s not safe.”

She sighed and stared down at her hands. “Yeah. I guess you are right.”

A drowning wave of weakness suddenly swept through him. Odd. What was this all about? “Chella. I…I think I’m going back to my room. I’m really tired for some reason.” 

The disappointment on her face changed to concern. “Really? Is something wrong?”

He felt his breathing ramp up. He held out his hands. They were trembling slightly. “I…I don’t know.” He slowly stood up, keeping his eyes on her as he did. “I’m really sorry. I don’t mean to leave so suddenly.” 

She stood up too. “Maybe it’s just all the stress from Dana being so disrespectful to both of us.”

“Could be. Or maybe I overdid the workout today. Maybe a combination of both.”

Chella lifted her drink from the seat and held it with both hands. She took a sip. “I’m actually pretty tired too, but I think I’ll stay here a little longer.”

He gave her a sincere expression. “I’m sorry, again…about not having you come with me.” He gazed down at the floor.

“Evan, it’s all right. You go ahead, now. You are absolutely correct. It would just cause a lot of turmoil with Dana, and our jobs with her.”

He looked over at Greg yet hanging out with those venue security guys. But he detected zero energy to go see them, even if he truly wanted to at this point. He gazed back into Chella’s pretty eyes. “I’ll see you later, okay?”

She gave a sad, half smile. “Sure. Okay.”

He headed for the door he and Greg came in.

His steps felt like lifting lead, almost similar to what they experienced on Titan. Wait. Like Titan? Limati. Was this from Limati?

In his continuing motion, he looked over at the bar, about ten yards away. Dana sat on a bar stool, Hal sitting next to her, but she was facing Evan and her eyes, angry eyes, were directed right at him.

He had wanted so much to talk with her tonight, maybe even make the final determination, by somehow sneaking in Neraeh’s story of the puppies. And though he yet worried of her well-being, and her words that he would never leave her, the confusing messages received from her interaction with Hal simply didn’t fit right. All of this was upside down turned sideways. Her anger mixed with this weird heavy tiredness was just too much. He focused away and locked his eyes on the door.

Besides. Seven days yet remained. There was always tomorrow.

Without warning, a glass cup flew across Evan’s path, coming within inches of hitting his right leg. He halted instantly. The glass continued hurling until loudly smacking, shattering upon a nearby wooden chair. 

Suddenly the room became quiet. People stopped talking.

Evan looked at Dana. 

She laughed, and then held her hand over her mouth. Hal was watching and laughing now likewise. “Oops,” she said loudly. “My bad. Meant to hit you in the dick. Guess I didn’t throw right.” They laughed even more, as did many of the people at the bar.

Carter abruptly arrived out of nowhere. He took hold of Evan’s shoulders. “Come on, Turrone. Let’s get you out of here.”

He headed them both toward the door.