Trouble Rising(6)

By: Emme Rollins

“What are you so pissed about?” Tyler asked, laughing and wiping saliva off his cheek. I had to smile. Thank goodness for babies—it was keeping everyone’s temper from edging into the red. “Maybe the label will let Sabrina join the band now.”

Rob crossed his arms, leaning against the kitchen island, glaring at the cozy scene we made. Clearly he wasn’t ready to concede and join us at the table.

“Oh come on, Ty,” Sabrina protested. “You know we never wanted you out. It wasn’t about that. It’s never been about that.”

“Oh I know.” Tyler pushed the coffee pot out of Lucy’s reach. “But if the label’s faced with no Trouble at all, or Trouble-plus-Sabrina, they’re going to choose door number two.”

“Maybe.” Rob scowled, but he uncrossed his arms. “But we didn’t want it this way. Besides, Sabrina’s doing just fine on her own.”

Sabrina had recorded her own album, which had gone platinum, and she’d opened for Trouble last year on tour. It was a good compromise, and it had worked really well. Except that Sabrina had been just-barely pregnant with Henry at the time, so she was extra-tired, and had morning sickness. They’d brought Lucy on tour, along with a nanny who seemed more interested in Rob than she had been in taking care of the baby. They’d fired her halfway through the tour, and I ended up nanny-ing for the rest, which is why Lucy loved me so much now.

“Ty…” Sabrina shifted the baby on her hip, keeping Henry’s chubby hand from reaching for a coffee mug. She looked both sad and concerned. “What is it? Are you unhappy?”

“No.” Tyler shook his head, distracted by Lucy’s attempts to reach the coffee pot he’d placed out of her reach. “No, really. It’s not that.”

“So what is it?” Rob came over to slide in next to Sabrina at the table. His son smiled and reached for him, and Rob took Henry from Sabrina. “What the hell is it, man? What did we do?”

“It’s not you.” Tyler sighed and I put my hand on his arm, a silent gesture of support. I had no idea what he was going to tell them—was he about to spill everything? I just wanted him to know, whatever he decided, I was there. I would always be there.

He glanced at me over Lucy’s dark head—she looked exactly like Sabrina—giving me the ghost of a smile before he looked across the table to face his brother.

“It’s not you, it’s me?” Rob scoffed. “Is that where you’re going with this?”

“No.” Tyler shook his still-wet head. “It’s… well, yeah. I guess it is me. I just can’t do it all.”

“That goddamned series.” Rob handed the baby back over to Sabrina, and I could tell he was ready to go off again, whether the kids were in the room or not. “It’s been a huge distraction from day one. I don’t even know why Arnie got it for you. What the fuck was he thinking?”

“He got it for me because I asked him to,” Tyler said softly.

“If you’re going to quit something, then quit that,” Rob snapped.

“Rob,” Sabrina said for the third time, although the warning in her tone was sharp enough this time that it made Henry start to cry. “Don’t.”

“Fuck that.” Rob slammed his fist on the table, making the coffee pot and mugs jump, but not topple, and Lucy started crying, too. “This isn’t happening. I’m not letting this happen.”

“You don’t have a choice.” Tyler let a sniffling Lucy go and she climbed into my lap, sucking her thumb, but it only took her a moment to notice she was closer to the elusive coffee pot. Rob’s face grew darker at his brother’s words—he didn’t like hearing that he didn’t have control. “I quit.”

“You have a contract,” Sabrina reminded him softly.

“I know.” Tyler shrugged one shoulder. “They can sue me. I can afford it.”

“Jesus.” Rob sat back, looking stunned and defeated. “Why? Tyler, why are you doing this?”

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