Warning: Drug use and a few words of profanity.
His band was on a multiple state concert tour and then a European tour. This was the first time that Crystal had joined him. She’d flown out to stay with him for the weekend.
There was an after party when the concert was over. Crystal made her way through the groupies to Angelo. June had asked her if she ever worried about Angelo and the gorgeous “thot” groupies and back up singers. Crystal had told her no. If Angelo decided to cheat, then there was nothing that she could do about that; and she’d never beg any man to be with her, not even Angelo.
Angelo wrapped his arm around Crystal and introduced her to the people surrounding them.
They all greeted her.
Angelo pulled Crystal aside. He leaned his head against hers and she caressed his cheek in her hand. Although she might never admit it, she really liked how physically affectionate he was with her. It seemed to come so naturally to him, and she’d never had any guy before Angelo treat her like this.
“I have this song rattling around in my head. It came to me when I saw you offstage. I need to go to our suite and get it down.”
“No, that’s alright. You stay here and enjoy the party.”
When his songs were in their beginning stages, Angelo preferred to be alone for a while to develop them. Crystal agreed and Angelo left.
She was glad to have this weekend to unwind. Work had become extremely stressful. Her employer, Lionel, had been out for the last month. He’d had surgery, and it was taking him longer than expected to recover. In the meantime, Keith was the acting manager.
Keith had told his fiance about the night that he’d slept with Crystal, and his fiance had broken off their engagement and their relationship. Keith seemed to unfairly blame Crystal for the break up and was making it miserable for her at work. Nothing that she did passed his inspection.
He also said that her recent work was sub-par and her disrespect and insubordination was unacceptable. Most of their difficult interactions took place when they were alone, and so none of the other workers witnessed the way that he was treating her. It would be her word against his, and she knew that Lionel would believe Keith. She had been happy with her promotion, but becoming involved with Keith had been a mistake.
Crystal decided to get wasted and just dance the evening away. She knew that Angelo’s band mates, Chris and Eric, would make sure that she made it back to the suite safely. After a couple of drinks, Crystal was feeling a little less stress, but her mind kept returning to her problems at work.
She took a seat at the bar and ordered a stronger drink. Then she ordered another one after that. As she looked around the room, she noticed a few groupies going through a door at the back behind the bar. Earlier she had seen Chris go through the door. She wondered what was going on inside.
“I thought I locked that door!”
Crystal hadn’t “used” since she had been a teen. It had been years since she’d had any cravings for the stuff. However, she remembered the way it had felt to get high, to go into an alternate state where she didn’t have to think or to feel anything.
She didn’t believe that a joint would hurt her. If she hadn’t already been drinking, she wouldn’t have had such twisted thinking. She’d have said no, but the drinks had already lowered her inhibitions.
He cursed. “Bruh, you really screwed up this time! What are we gonna tell Angelo?”
He went over to Crystal and tried to get her to respond. She was too far gone. He didn’t know what to do. Chris was so high that he didn’t even acknowledge Eric’s presence. Eric was thinking really fast. He locked the door so that no one else could come inside unexpectedly. He pulled out his cellphone and called Angelo.
“Yeah, I’ll stay down here and keep an eye on them. As soon as Crystal wakes up, I’ll get her upstairs to your suite.”
“Are you sure? I can come down and carry her upstairs.”
Angelo trusted Chris and Eric to look after Crystal.
“Sure. You get some rest, Bruh.”
He disconnected the call.
Crystal felt miserably sick when she came down off the high. Having had too many drinks didn’t help either. She went into the restroom to try and clean up. Her hands were shaking badly, and her eyes were bloodshot. She vomited into the toilet. She couldn’t even remember everything that had happened earlier that night.
“Man, Crystal, I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry that I didn’t get here before you used.”
“I—I used? What did I take!”
“You okay? Eric said you and Chris were wasted.”
Sometimes with Crystal it was hard for him to know what he should do. He’d wanted to go downstairs and get her, but she was so independent. He didn’t want her to feel that he was smothering her or trying to control her.
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
“Getting wasted wasn’t such a good idea tonight.”
“I love you Angelo.”
“I love you too.”
He held her tighter, and they fell asleep. She stayed with Angelo for the remainder of the weekend and then returned home. At work on Monday, Crystal and Keith avoided each other. Still, Crystal was barely able to concentrate.
By lunchtime, she had the shakes and couldn’t control her hands to work on any designs. She had to finish this design for the client by the end of the day. She didn’t want to give Keith any legitimate ammunition to use against her with Lionel. She was beginning to feel very ill. At lunchtime, she left the building knowing where to get what she thought she needed.
Crystal began being late for work and taking long lunches and sometimes calling saying that she was too sick to come in to work. The quality of her work went down. June had tried to find out what was wrong, but Crystal had told her to mind her own business.
Angelo had back to back concert tours. One was in the United States and then the other tour was in some European countries. His and Crystal’s plan had been for her to fly out to join him on most weekends and to keep in touch by “Skyping” during the week.
However, it hadn’t worked out that way. Crystal had only flown out for one weekend, and her contact with Angelo had gradually grown less and less during the months that he was on tour. He’d tried to reach her several times, but she hadn’t returned any of his calls. June didn’t know where she was either. Crystal wasn’t answering her calls, and she was never home when June went to Crystal’s loft.
To make matters even worse for Angelo, one of his band mates was again strung out on cocaine. Eric, Chris and Angelo had been close buddies since elementary school, and Angelo had formed their band in high school. Angelo’s and Eric’s parents had insisted that Angelo and Eric attend college to get a degree in case their music careers were not successful. Chris hadn’t gone to college. After college they had all started performing together again.
However, Angelo and Eric did not know that while they were away at college, Chris had become addicted to cocaine. Angelo and Eric had managed to avoid the seedier side of the music business. Chris sought it out.
Because of the effects of his addiction, the band had lost gigs. Angelo had given Chris an ultimatum to go to rehab and get clean or he was out of the band. They had helped him get clean, and Angelo had thought that he was completely well again. It had been several good years for them all since Chris’ recovery, and now their band was becoming well-known.
During their concert the previous night and the one they’d had that night, Chris had faltered and played the wrong song. Angelo and Eric had been able to cover for him, but their performance had been off. As soon as their concert was over, Angelo had confronted Chris. The conversation had not gone as Angelo expected.
“What are you talking about?”
“Yo shorty got me jammed again.”
Eric’s mouth fell open! He hadn’t considered that possibility when he found out that Chris was using again. Now Angelo wouldn’t come down so hard on Chris. Crystal had told them about her past drug use when she’d learned that Chris had also had a drug problem.
Now Eric remembered Crystal’s expression when she’d found out that she had used the night of the after party in Chicago. No, Chris was lying. Crystal hadn’t caused Chris to use. It had been the other way around. Still, Eric didn’t say anything. He and Angelo were tight, but Eric was closer to Chris than he was to his own brother.
Angelo went out into the corridor and tried to call Crystal again. This time he got a message saying that his call could not be completed as dialed. He had to get back to the states and find her. He felt guilty for putting his career ahead of her. He should have left the tour and gone home to see her before now. He called their manager to join them.
He didn’t wait for Wayne to try to talk him out of it. He caught a taxi and went to the airport.
When he arrived in town, Angelo headed straight to Crystal’s place. There were notices on her door from the electric company and from her mortgage company. Her electricity had been disconnected. He let himself into her apartment. She wasn’t inside and it didn’t appear that she had been there for some time. Her television and her stereo were gone. He read the notice from her mortgage company. She was behind on her payments.
Misty answered and was clearly pleased to inform him that Crystal no longer worked there. He asked to be transferred to June, and she told him that she still didn’t know where Crystal was. Crystal wouldn’t return her calls either and was never at home when June went to Crystal’s apartment.
On impulse, Angelo checked his and Crystal’s joint savings account balance. They had opened it to save up a down payment to purchase a new larger place for them to share. Crystal intended to rent her apartment out to tenants after they found the new place. Angelo was disappointed to see that Crystal had withdrawn most of the money. He called the power company and had Crystal’s power reconnected, and he caught up her mortgage payments.
He called Chris to get an idea of where to search for Crystal if she was using again. Then he went looking for Crystal.
Crystal sat in a booth. She was feeling very mellow. She looked over at Luther. This was his place, and he was her dealer. He had the pure stuff and made sure that she got it. She knew that he was just waiting for her money to run out.
He’d make sure that she continued to get the coke, but she’d still have to pay for it. She’d have to pay with her body. He’d use her for himself and then probably pimp her out for hire. It disgusted her to realize that she would do whatever he wanted as long as he provided the drug.
She looked over at the dance poles. The bar had just opened and the dancers would be coming out soon. An idea came to her. Maybe she could convince Luther to let her dance in exchange for what she needed and not have to work the streets.
Crystal was shocked to see Angelo come into the club. She quickly went out through another door before he saw her.
“I’ll take care of it.”
Luther went back out and spoke to a bouncer.
“Get rid of that guy, permanently.”
“Time for you to leave, Buddy!”
They forced Angelo out of the bar. Crystal was looking out the door and saw them take him out. Luther came back over to her.
He went into his office.
Something about the way he’d said it made Crystal’s heart constrict. She rushed outside and saw the two men dragging Angelo around the corner into an alley.
When Crystal saw the bouncers exiting the alley, she hid in a doorway until they passed. Then she rushed into the alley.
“Bruh, take it easy!”
“How did I get here? I was looking for Crystal.”
Angelo told June his code, and she played the message. She put the phone on speaker. It was from Crystal.
“Angelo, I–” There was a long pause as she seemed to be trying to get the right words out. She didn’t sound like her normal confident self. “Stop looking for me. I can take care of myself, and I make my own decisions. I’m where I deserve to be. I’m with people who are just like me.” There was another long pause. “I told you from the very beginning that I didn’t know if I could have this type of relationship. June was right. You deserve someone who will treat you in the way you deserve to be treated. That someone is just not me. It’s my fault that you were hurt tonight. Don’t look for me again. Just forget about me for your own good.”
“I’ve gotta call her sister. Maybe she can help her. Maybe Crystal will listen to her.”
June went to Crystal’s apartment and found Alissa’s number. She gave it to Angelo, and he called Alissa.
Thank you, Niki, for letting me use Chris and Eric. Thanks Maddie for letting me continue using your Sims for Angelo and Keith’s characters. Thank you, Ali, for allowing me to use June. Thanks to everyone who has given me Sims to use in my story. I also appreciate all of the custom content creators for sharing their creations to use in our games and for our stories.