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When I get back upstairs, I find that the commotion has only gotten worse. The cops all eye me like they're pretty sure I'm the killer, even if it defies all logic. Their questions were pretty pointed, too. They'd love to pin this crap on me. Thank the friggin' stars that I was onstage at Chelsea's estimated time of death. Stupid fuckers. I pause in front of Turner's room and take a deep breath, wishing I didn't have a massive, throbbing fucking erection. That's nice. Great way to reintroduce myself to my daughter. I have no idea what I was thinking following Lola downstairs, but … strangely enough, even though we barely made it out the damn doors, I feel better. A lot better. I raise my hand to knock, but the door flies open in front of me and leaves me face to face with Naomi Knox. “You better get your ass in here before he kills your kid on accident. Never in my life have I been so happy to be sure he's not a father,” she tells me, stepping aside and sweeping some of her blonde hair over her shoulder. Turner's sitting on the floor with Lydia, turning the pages of a tattoo magazine and pointing at half-naked girls with his finger. “See the rose?” he asks, gesturing at a bright, red flower on the back of some skinny chick's butt. Nice. Real nice. He looks up at me when I step into the room and narrows his eyes. “Star,” Lydia says, leaning forward and pointing at the tattoos that line the edge of Turner's hairline. “Daddy has stars.” He groans and leans back, letting his head fall so that he's staring up at the ceiling. When he looks back up at me, he's frowning hard. “Where the fuck have you been?” he growls as Naomi rolls her eyes and plops into a chair near the small table by the kitchen. Fucking Turner got a Goddamn suite all to himself. How special. “Answering questions from the cops,” I say, and before he can protest and call me out on that, I move forward and squat down next to Lydia. She's not covered in blood anymore. Her red ringlets are damp and she's dressed in a T-shirt that's way too big for her. It's got our logo on the front, the one with the stupid goat with X's for eyes. She doesn't turn to look at me, just keeps staring at Turner and pointing at his tattoos. “Kitty paw,” she says and he sighs, raising his brows and giving me a look. “You are in deep shit, man,” he says. “Deep, deep shit.” Turner gets to his feet and Lydia reaches forward, grasping with her fingers for his pants. “Daddy, no!” she calls out, tears filling her green eyes and dripping down her face. God, I'd love to be able to cry like children do. They don't hold anything back. Their emotions are all out on the table, laid flat and unforgiving. They never apologize for feeling the way they do. They just let it out and move on. I'm envious as fuck. “Lydia, that's Uncle Turner,” I tell her, reaching out and touching her arm with my fingers. My hands are shaking like crazy. I try to blame it on the drugs, but when I look up at Turner, his face is full of sympathy. I swallow hard and look back at my daughter who's sobbing a bit more quietly now, rubbing at her face with her hands. I lick my lips and try to find my voice, but it isn't there. I'm suddenly speechless, and my heart starts to pound. The way you look at me, I know there's love there. You don't even have to say it. I can see it. Just look at me, Ronnie. Look at me. Pain hits me like a truck and I double over, dropping my head to my knees. Asuka's voice ricochets around in my head, blocking out any logical thoughts, blinding me. I need you, I think at her. I need you for this. I don't know what to do. God, help me, but I'm lost. I lift my chin up and stare at Lydia, doing my best to bring up an image of her mother in my head. The only thing I can come up with are the photos the cops showed me. I have no real life memories of her. None. And now she's dead because of me. How sad is that? My self-esteem takes another plummet, threatening to pull me down along with it and wrap me up in the threads of my own demise. I can almost see the image of my own death floating before me, beckoning me with cruel hands and a wicked smile. “Man, are you alright?” Turner asks, bending down next to me. I can't even see his face, all I can see are ghosts and lost promises, broken hearts and bloody fates. “If you don't love yourself, you're pretty much fucked. Chin up and you'll get through it.” Lola's words slip through the cracks in my consciousness breaking my melancholia like a sheet of glass. It's the first time in a long time I've actually heard the voice of a live person in my head. The weirdest part about it is, I don't even know the girl. I don't know her, and her advice is mediocre at best anyway. It's not an epic quote pulled from the depths of an ancient anthology. It's just … some words. Meaningless words. But they help. They help, and I don't know why.
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