A is for Abstinence (V is for Virgin #2)

by Kelly Oram

The music in the club stopped and a spotlight blinked on, momentarily blinding me as my eyes adjusted to the unexpected light. I wasn’t surprised when I found myself staring down the world’s biggest cake, but I acted the part anyway. Adrianna had gone to a lot of work to throw me this party. I wanted her to know I appreciated it.

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Kyle! Happy birthday to you!”

I’ve spent my whole life performing for other people. It was nice to have them all sing to me for once.

“For he’s a jolly good fellow! For he’s a jolly good fellow! For he’s a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny!”

An arm slipped around my waist and Adrianna’s soft lips brushed over my cheek. “Make a wish, birthday boy.”

“Why would I need to do that?” I asked her. “I’ve already got everything I’ve ever wanted. Fame, money, a beautiful woman crazy enough to marry me…”

Adrianna gave me a look that sent shivers down my spine. “If you don’t make a wish, then how can I make it come true later tonight?”

The crowd of people around us laughed and jeered. I grinned at them. “I think my birthday wish list just became endless.”

I swooped Adrianna into my arms and dipped her low. The kiss I planted on her hinted at exactly what I wanted from her for my birthday. After I set her back on her feet I finally blew out the candles—all twenty-five of them in one breath—and took a bow for the cheering crowd.

“Speech! Speech! Speech!”

“What can I say?” I asked, smirking for my friends. “It’s good to be me!”

And that was the truth.

A lot of celebrities grumble about the inconvenience of fame—the lack of privacy, people only loving you for your money and connections, the constant hounding by fans and the paparazzi. I can’t say I agree with them. If ever someone was meant to live the life of a celebrity, it was me.

I got my first taste of fame when I was eighteen and my band, Tralse, got our big break. Our song “Broken Passion” topped out at number one on the charts and our debut album went platinum. Our follow-up album, S is for Sex, went triple platinum, won six Grammys, and turned me into an international superstar.

For the last three years people have worshipped at my feet, and I’ve yet to tire of the attention. I’m never without friends or something to do, I always get everything I want, and I’m treated like a king wherever I go. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love it.

As someone started cutting the cake, the birthday guests began chanting again. “Song! Song! Song! Song!”

Like with the money and attention, I never get tired of being asked to perform. I love being on stage, and now, ever since the band broke up, I don’t get the chance to do it often enough.

Tralse got its start in my friend Reid’s garage when he got a drum set for his birthday and called his four best friends to come have a jam session. We were all twelve years old. Shane and Dustin already played guitar, and I could sing. After that first night we forced Jeremy to learn the bass guitar so that we could be a complete band, and the rest was history.

About a year ago, Reid died of a drug overdose. The five of us were like brothers, and Reid’s loss was devastating to all of us. The band didn’t survive it. I stopped writing songs after that and haven’t sung for an audience much since. But it was my birthday, and it was a great one so far, so I happily climbed up on stage.

The singer of the band Adrianna had hired for the night handed over the microphone with enthusiasm. “This is awesome, man,” he said. “Tralse was our inspiration. We play a lot of covers, so the guys know all of your songs.”

The thought of singing one of Tralse’s songs without the guys to back me up felt sort of like someone trying to rip off a band-aid that had been fused to my skin for a year, but I saw the excitement in my fiancée’s eyes and couldn’t refuse.

Adrianna is, without a doubt, Tralse’s biggest fan. I’d met her on the European leg of the S is for Sex tour. She and a group of her girlfriends followed us around the continent, sweet-talking their way backstage show after show. One night, I finally gave in and invited her to my tour bus after the show, and then I surprised everyone when I kept inviting her back. It took her six months to convince me to be exclusive, but we’ve been together ever since. For her, I could sing one of my old songs.

“The band says they know my stuff,” I told the waiting audience. “What do you guys want to hear?”

As people started shouting out song titles, Adrianna took the microphone from me. “Oh no, you don’t,” she said to everyone. “He’s my fiancé. This is my pick.”

I laughed. “Anything for you, babe.”

The look Adrianna gave me in response was a challenge. “I want to hear ‘Cryin’ Shame.’”

The “surprise” party hadn’t been a surprise, but now I was shocked. She may as well have kicked me in the sac. The request was below the belt and she knew it. How could she ask me that? And in front of all of our friends?

The second I hesitated I knew I’d failed some kind of test. “Babe,” I whispered, a sick feeling settling in my gut. “You know I don’t sing that song anymore.”

Everyone knew I didn’t sing that song anymore. I’d written it for a girl, and, well, long story short: I didn’t perform that song anymore. I hadn’t since the first concert of the S is for Sex tour.

Taking my most popular song out of the set list had pissed off a lot people and disappointed a lot of fans, but I didn’t care. I swore I’d never sing it again, and I intended to keep that promise. The guys were the only people who’d ever backed me up on that decision, until I’d met Adrianna. She’d always been supportive of me. I didn’t understand why she was doing this now.

Adrianna put on her best pout for our audience and said, “Please, baby? It’s my favorite. It was the first song of yours I ever heard, and the reason I fell in love with you. Won’t you sing it for me just this once?”

I couldn’t. She knew I couldn’t. “Why are you doing this?” I whispered.

My heart physically hurt as I looked into her eyes and saw inexplicable anger there. I had no idea what I’d done to deserve this. “You love me, don’t you?” she asked.