"Tommy, what are you doing here? Are you alright?"
Tommy angrily shouldered Vince away. "Why do you care about me so fucking much? I'm just a sick, withered away rock star who can't go five minutes without crying. Certainly this is depressing you. It's depressing me."
Vince shook his head softly. "No, buddy. I'm alright watching you. I know if left to your own devices you will wreck havoc and harm yourself. Nikki specifically said he wants you to live your life. I mean, you won't eat, I have to force you to drink so you don't get dehydrated, you barely sleep, you look gaunt and junkie-sick. You can't possibly look out for yourself. C'mon, let's go back home."
Too upset to argue, he let Vince guide him back to his car, where he drove them home.
"Tommy, come down here! We're auditioning another bassist today."
"I don't want to."
Tommy heard footsteps on the stairs, and he groaned. Vince would not let him suffer at all. He always wanted him to be around people. That was the last thing he wanted to fucking do. Vince appeared in the doorway of Tommy's room. "C'mon, Tom, we need you to see how this guy is," Vince said, walking over to Tommy and pulling him out of bed. He reluctantly followed Vince down the stairs, grabbing drumsticks from the table before rounding the corner into their instrument room. Mick had his guitar in, and a tall, skinny guy with long black hair was holding a blue bass guitar. It had white and black stripes decorating the guitar. He looked up, and piercing green eyes met with Tommy's. "Hey, you must be Tommy! My name is Erik. I heard you guys needed a new bassist, and I hope I can be your man." Erik walked up to Tommy and shook his hand. Astounded with this guys image, Tommy took a seat at his drums and counted them in. They played lightly so they could hear Erik's technique. Everybody's jaws dropped when they saw lighthearted Erik turn into this angry beast, shredding notes and ripping chords. Angst dripped from his guitar as he slashed the strings roughly in tune with Mick's guitar playing. Everybody stopped playing when they heard Erik start. Erik looked up with a smile on his face. "Was that too rough for you guys?"
Mick, Vince, and Tommy all locked eyes. Wide-eyed and jaws on the floor, they instinctively walked into a corner in the room.
"Holy mother of fuck, guys. Erik's our guy," Mick said, his eyes still stretched wide. Vince and Tommy, speechless, just nodded their heads in agreement. They walked back over to Erik, who was waiting with a sincere smile plastered on his porcelain-white face. "So? Am I right for you guys?"
Mick smiled. "Yes, buddy, you certainly fucking are. That's fucking amazing. You play like a fucking god."
Erik smiled wider. "Thanks, you guys! If you're stuck on song ideas, I have some in mind, if you ever need some help."
Tommy cleared his throat. "Actually, we don't have any in mind at all right now. Do you have them with you?"
Erik nodded, and fished around in his bass case. He pulled out a few sheets of paper and handed them to Tommy. Tommy skimmed through them all, and he couldn't believe his eyes again. This guy was a real fucking songwriter. "Fucking Mick, Vince, look at this shit. It's fucking amazing," Tommy said, smiling for the first time in what seemed like years. Erik brightened up, and smiled even wider. "You sure are a happy fucker, aren't 'ya?" Tommy said, finding himself smiling again. Erik laughed whole-heartedly. "Yeah, I just love making others smile. See? I doubt you've smiled in a few months, and my excessive smiling made you smile."
Tommy's smile remained, even though his heart compressed at Erik's words. He hadn't thought about Nikki for a good ten minutes. Vince's voice distracted Tommy's thoughts. "Erik, you're in the band, bud. Where do you live?"
Erik's smile faltered a little. "Actually, I'm just living in my car right now. I'm dirt-poor. I had to give blood to be able to afford this bass," His smile brightened again. "But now that I'm Motley Crue, I hope I can get some money to maybe buy an apartment above that convenience store down the street."
"Fuck that, Erik," Vince said. "We have a few spare rooms here. You're moving in with me and Tommy."
Erik looked hesitant. "Are you sure? I'd hate to be a burden to you guys."
"Fuck, you're so upbeat, dude. I'm loving it. You don't have to worry about being a burden. I mean, my girlfriend does that enough for me. You'd be a welcome face."
Erik continued smiling. Tommy kept peeking glances at Erik while they talked business and songs. Erik's eyes locked with Tommy's, and he gave him a huge smile. Tommy blushed and looked at his fingernails, which were in need of a trimming. He couldn't help but be attracted to this adorably giddy man, but his heart screamed at him for doing so. It wouldn't be fair to Nikki...
"Hey, Tommy. Vince said you'd show me to my room. He said it's right next to yours?" Erik said, walking up to Tommy. He cleared his throat. "Sure, get your shit and I'll show you there."
Erik went to his car to gather all of his belongings, and in the meantime Tommy listened absently to Vince and Mick going on and on about what a great discovery Erik was. When Erik finally brought his stuff to the room again, Tommy was astonished. He had brought back only a few pairs of clothes and nothing much else. "Sorry, I had to keep selling shit to get money for gas," Erik said, moving his clothes to his other hand. Tommy nodded, and started up the stairs. "This is a really neat place you've got," Erik noted. Tommy chuckled a little. "Thanks. It's not really mine. I'm just living with Vince 'cus he thinks I'll kill myself if left alone for too long."
Erik seemed to grow upset at this. "You're not going to kill yourself, are you?" Tommy shook his head. "No. Nikki told me he'd never forgive me if I killed myself. So no."
"When'd he tell you that?" Erik asked innocently. Tommy sighed. "In his suicide note. He said it there."
Erik remained silent while Tommy showed him his new room, complete with a bed, a few drawers, and a small TV. Erik beamed at the room, and Tommy left him to get settled. He walked into his room and looked at the picture of the two of them at the beach. How could he be having feelings for somebody else so soon after Nikki died? Wasn't Nikki going to be his lover forever, no matter what? Frustrated, Tommy sat on his bed and tapped his hand on his leg to the music in his head. He could hear Erik practicing his guitar in his room. It sounded like Ozzy Osbourne mated with Satan and birthed this wild bass player. He was giving Mick a run for his money with the insanity he put into his playing. He fell back onto his bed and closed his eyes, drifting off to the angry guitar music seeping from Erik's room.