They dropped off Todd first, since his home in Falmouth wasn’t far out of the way to Jace’s place. He muttered something that might have been a thank-you as he jumped out of the van. Before Shane put the van in gear, the door to the house opened and Todd’s woman started yelling at him.
“I hope he quits,” Bryan muttered. “Honestly. He doesn’t practice enough to keep up at shows, and that isn’t going to change as long as he’s with her.”
“We need him.” Shane turned to look over his shoulder as he backed down the driveway. “He might not completely keep up, but at least he knows the music. And he has talent.”
“Talent that’s going to waste because he never practices,” Bryan said.
“Shush,” Jace mumbled. “Sleeping.”
Shane shook his head and headed up the road.
Thaniel leaned back and closed his eyes. A nap before talking to Shane would be good but not likely. By the time they dropped off Jace and got back to their apartment, he wouldn’t want to put off the conversation any longer. His head buzzed with questions. Where did things stand between him and his best friend?
Were they even friends?
If not, what the fuck were they?
They reached Jace’s house fifteen minutes later and persuaded the kid out of the back seat. He stretched and did a few toe touches before peering up at Thaniel with glassy eyes. “Shit.”
“You took some shit, I’d say.” Thaniel bit back the lecture he wanted to give. Jace wouldn’t listen even if he comprehended a word Thaniel said. “Next time stick to something safe.”
“Yeah. My parents are going to fucking kill me.” Jace yawned. “Not supposed to touch anything besides weed. Not even that, really.”
“Then you’d better brace yourself, because anyone can tell you took something.” Thaniel sighed. “Kid, smarten up. Partying’s great, but you can’t party if you’re dead.”
“Says the guy who smokes weed like a fucking chimney.” Jace rolled his eyes. “Thanks for the lecture. Practice tomorrow, right?”
“Yeah.” Thaniel glanced at the back of the van. “We’ll wait until then to unload the instruments, but do you want yours?”
Jace shook his head and winced. “Fuck. That kills. I’m going to bed. Won’t need the keyboards until rehearsal. I have my old one I can practice on tomorrow before you guys show up.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Thaniel hadn’t been looking forward to the idea of unloading all the equipment anyway, especially without Todd’s help. The guy might have been overweight and bitchy, but he was strong.
“Should we walk you in?” Shane stood near the front of the van, facing the house.
“I’ll handle it.” Jace took a step and grimaced. “Yeah. This isn’t going to be pretty. Thanks, guys.”
“Yeah. Next time be more careful,” Thaniel said.
Jace nodded, flinched, and walked toward the house slowly, with slumped shoulders.
“Lesson learned, hopefully.” Shane turned toward Thaniel and his face brightened. “Okay. So drop-offs are done. Let’s go home.”
Thaniel climbed back into the passenger seat of the van and ignored a comment he didn’t completely hear from Bryan. When they got home, everything would change between him and Shane.