Home > In the Arms of the Elite (Rich Boys of Burberry Prep #4)(13)

In the Arms of the Elite (Rich Boys of Burberry Prep #4)(13)
Author: C.M. Stunich

My face heats, and I look up at the blue, blue California sky.

“Erm, would you believe me if I said … lollipop?”

“No.” Creed narrows his eyes and huffs. “Unless by lollipop, you mean Zayd’s dick. Surely you noticed the stupid piercing? He’s such a showboating cocksucker.” Creed pauses, like maybe he’s reconsidering the use of that last term. He glances down at me. “Did you—”

“No!” I choke out, flushing. “We were both high. He stopped me.”

“He stopped you?” Creed asks, and then shakes his head, toweling his gorgeous hair before he tosses it aside, probably for some underpaid maid to clean up. It bothers me, so I pick the towel up and bundle it into a basket that’s already got some dirty clothes in it. “Interesting.”

“How is that interesting?” I ask, and Creed shrugs lazily, slouching his way over to the bed to lie facedown on it. He doesn’t even seem to care that we’re in Zayd’s room. Or that he came in his pants lying right next to me last night. Apparently the pot doesn’t erase memories the way I’ve heard alcohol does.

“Just … I mean, Zayd turning down girls is a new phenomenon.”

“You mean like you being a virgin?” I ask, sitting down next to him. He cracks one heavy-lidded eye and looks up at me.

“I’m not a virgin anymore,” he says, and this cavalier little smile takes over his mouth. “And neither are you. No matter what happens, you’ll probably remember me the rest of your life. I like that.”

“You’re a cocky, arrogant, lazy dickhead,” I say, but Creed just shrugs again.

“No arguing that. Should we take a nap before the concert? I don’t even know why we’re up at the butt crack of dawn anyhow. It’s not our show tonight.”

“We could take a nap …” I start, and there must be something in my voice because Creed suddenly doesn’t look so sleepy anymore. His cavalier smile turns into a satisfied male smirk as he pushes up and crawls over to me.

We just barely finish in time to get dressed for the start of the show.

“Gross, gross, gross,” Miranda murmurs as I flush, sitting in the back of the golf cart with her and Lizzie while Zack drives. “I can’t believe I walked in and saw that gross, wrinkly butt.”

“My butt is not wrinkly,” Creed growls, turning around to give her a look. Zack is so big and muscular that only he and Creed fit in the front seat, while the three of us girls fit easily in the back.

“Looked that way, pumping up and down like that …”

“Miranda!” I shout, putting my hands over my ears. “Please stop.”

Having Miranda walk in on me and her twin for a second time was not pleasant. Guess it serves us right for not checking to see if the door was locked.

“Okay, fine, but it still looked wrinkly to me …”

Zack makes a frustrated sounding growl while Lizzie giggles and puts her hand over her mouth. I’m just done with the conversation, so I ignore them all, gaping at the massive, heaving crowd gathering around the stage.

We follow the other golf cart around to the back where several burly security guards check and recheck our badges before letting us backstage.

“What a circus,” Tristan drawls, like he’s bored out of his mind.

“Better than a wrinkly butt,” Lizzie says, and I swear, she does it on purpose. I stop dead in my tracks and turn to look at her, but she’s already breezing past and giggling. Tristan looks at her and then back over at me. If the rumors are true, he hasn’t had sex in … years, right?

“Miranda walked in on me and Creed,” I tell him, locking eyes with that shimmering silver gaze of his. His jaw tightens, but he doesn’t say a word, waiting for the others to pass before Windsor pauses beside me.

“I wasn’t jealous before,” Wind muses, pushing his red hair off his forehead. As per usual, it sticks straight up. “I’m starting to get jealous now. What do you think, Mr. Vanderbilt?”

“Creed’s no threat to me,” he says, standing up straight and storming past us while Creed flips him off from behind.

“Fucking asshole,” he drawls, glancing over to gauge my reaction. I’m standing there, taking in the tension and wondering: how much longer can I do this? How much longer can I keep them all before they start to fight with one another?

“Hey.” Zayd appears, grabbing me by the hand and interrupting my train of thought. He’s got sweatbands on his wrists now, and this fierce look to his face that completely transforms him. He goes from gorgeous, slightly unattainable, mildly dangerous … to transcendent. Zayd Kaiser looks like a rock god. He’s in his element, and he’s feeling the vibes of the crowd.

His energy is infectious.

Zayd drags me to the edge of the stage where his band members are waiting, and the first group of the night starts to tune their instruments. The crowd goes wild in anticipation of the show as Zayd drapes himself over my shoulders, his breath warm against my ear.

“After the show, I need you to help me fend off groupies, okay?” he says, and before I get a chance to open my mouth to ask him about that, the music’s starting, and I can’t hear a damn thing.

For years, I’ve wanted to go to one of Zayd’s concerts and see him perform.

Tonight, I’m finally getting that chance.

The three bands before Zayd’s are good, but their lead singers don’t have that same wild energy that I can feel coursing through him as he touches me, his fingers on every part of my body. I’m wearing an Afterglow tank dress and heels, and it’s like Zayd can’t get enough of me. He basically holds me through all three sets before finally giving me a scorching kiss for luck, and striding out across the stage.

He tears the microphone from its stand, sweeps his fingers through his green hair, and then flashes this ardent look at the crowd that has them screaming.

“Whoa. If I weren’t gay, I might be switching teams to #TeamZayd.” Miranda whistles under her breath as Zayd moves up to the front of the stage and plants one of his boots on a speaker.

“Good evening, California!” he shouts, and a ripple of power seems to surge through the crowd. My heart stutters, and I make a small gasping sound that only Zack seems to notice. He glances from me and over to Zayd, watching him with dark, narrowed eyes, taking him in. “Are you ready to get your fucking faces rocked off tonight?!”

The responding shouts are deafening.

Zayd puts the microphone back on the stand, grabs a lime green guitar shaped like an axe, and strums it. Bern starts up the drums while Aiden plays the bass, and Benji takes up another guitar. I don’t know a lot about rock music per se, but there’s this unforgettable essence in music, something that you learn once and never forget. I might play the harp, but my body resonates with the notes Zayd strums with his fingers.

He opens with a song that’s a hell of a lot heavier than anything I’m used to listening to, but I like it. Sure, I’ll probably be deaf for a few days after, but … it’s so worth it.

“Altered by fire, destroyed by the flame, broken by violence, restored in the rain.” Zayd screams the lyrics into the mic, dropping his voice low as he strums the guitar with a frantic dance of inked fingers. I shiver, goose bumps springing up across my body as I listen to the words and try to decide if I’ve heard this song from him before. But no … this is a new one. A smile curves my lips. No ghostwriter penned this tune. “The fall of your tears was the catalyst I craved, the heat of your mouth was the balm that could save. You opened your eyes, and you saw through my pain.” Zayd pauses his strumming of the guitar, and then growls into the mic in such a way that I feel every single part of me come to life with a violent surge of want.

Holy hell.

Fend off groupies, he said?

I can see why.

“Now dance.” Zayd snaps this part off his tongue and twists his finger in a sharp circle, getting the crowd so riled up that a mosh pit forms near the front of the stage. Miranda and I are both screaming now and jumping up and down.

The energy carries through that song and into the next, when Zayd puts his guitar down and takes his performance up to a whole new level, using the entire stage as the canvas for his art. This next tune is much softer than the first, but still wild. He even climbs into the crowd and sings as they hold him up like a god.

“These videos are going to go viral,” Miranda shouts, soaked in sweat but grinning like a maniac. She points at the crowd and I see dozens … maybe more like hundreds of phones up and recording. She’s probably right. “By tomorrow, your boyfriend’s going to be in even higher demand.” Miranda squeezes my arm, and I wonder if she means that to be comforting … or terrifying.

Five hot, rich, talented guys … I’ve certainly got my hands full.

“Okay, party-fuckers,” Zayd says, panting, his shirt stuck to his body with sweat, green hair plastered to his forehead. He reaches up to scrub a hand down his face and smears his eyeliner. “This next song, I wrote for my girlfriend.” He points an inked finger in my direction and beckons me out toward him, past the safety of the curtain and into the spotlight.

“Go!” Miranda encourages, pushing me out and making me stumble slightly before Zayd is there, grabbing me by the hand and dragging me into the center of the stage. There’s some slight booing from some of the girls, annoying catcalls from some guys, but overall, the crowd seems pretty positive.

“Marnye Reed, y’all.” Zayd is panting as he lifts my arm up high, and I give a little wave to the audience. “She put up with my bullshit, and my bullying, and this song … it’s just for fucking her, okay?” He laughs and the sound travels through me like a shot, warming me up from my very core. “You can listen, but it’s not for you.” Zayd chucks some of his rubber arm bracelets into the crowd, the ones that say Afterglow Fangirl on them, before turning to me. “This is a new song, okay? So apologies in advance if I fuck this all the way up.” This last part is said with the switch on his mic turned off.

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