"Damnit, no one ever wants to do what I want!" Zac exclaimed.

"Umm, Zac, you don't have to get all mad at me about it. It's just that a lot of the time what you want is…is…I don't know, bizarre, maybe." Victoria replied, an exasperated expression replacing the amused one she had on just a minute ago.

Zac stared at her without answering, thinking that Victoria probably thinks of him as a child just like everyone else does. "Fine. Then I'm just gonna stay here." He slumped back into the room and fell into the chair.

"Fine. Fine, then. Whatever," she sighed, leaving. She walked to the end of the hallway, not realizing Josh and Shawn's room is one floor below, knocking on Isaac's room instead. Just as Isaac opened the door, she couldn't help but think how absentminded she can be. Sucking in her breath sure didn't help her giggles.

"Hey, I didn't even crack a joke yet. So, uh, why do want me? My body or my wit?" Isaac joked. She put her palm on his chest, trying to stifle her giggles.

"Well…uh…you're not that funny."

"I knew it. What's so funny, then?"

"I thought your room is Shawn and Josh's. I'm so dumb…," she laughed, Isaac resting his hands on her shoulders.

"Not dumb, just forgetful. You're probably just losing your memory at an earlier age than the rest of the population," he laughed. Victoria pulled him to her, hugging him as tight as she could. For a while there she actually didn't feel like a piece of meat.

"Let's go." Isaac said. Reality check. It was just a second. Not exactly what could be defined as a while. Oh well.

Victoria and Isaac walked into Shawn and Josh's suite. Isaac spotted a friend of his from San Fernando and left Victoria standing at the front of this room. She felt like Alice in Wonderland. The scene before her was almost surreal. That's what it was like, she thought, like a scene from a movie. So this is what they meant by 'lifestyles of the rich and famous'? This isn't like any party I've ever been to. Most of those parties had music blaring, people falling over each other dead drunk, and various items of food decorating the carpet. This was more like…like…"Pulp Fiction". Yeah, it was like she'd stepped out of the real world into a really funky movie set. This was weird, she thought.

No music, just voices. People talking, some of them laughing, some of them guffawing like hyenas. As her eyes panned this part of the suite, she noticed there weren't that many people there. The people who were there sure weren't her age. Mostly 20s. Mostly guys. There were men that looked like they were in their 40s. Probably business men or something to that effect. There were a few women in this part of the suite. Two of the blonde females, Victoria assumed, are Sydney and Liz, they look pretty young.

She could hardly see, the smoke was so thick. No wonder, people were smoking cigars. Her eyebrows raised, she looked over at a girl, she couldn't have been more than 12, giggling, cigarette in hand, with some guy obviously too old for her. The girl must have seen Victoria because she glared at her and said "What?!"

Most of the people at this little get-together were carrying on private conversations in groups of two or three, cigars and cognac in hand. In the corner of the living room several people were engaged in a raucous game of blackjack. In the other corner Victoria spotted Isaac, laughing and joking with the roadies. Where is Tay, she wondered, making her way through the smoky suite towards Isaac.

"What the fuck is this? The music biz meets the mob day? Who are these people and what are they all doing in the roadies' room?" Victoria exclaimed. Shawn nudged her on the shoulder.

"Wanna have some hash?"


"Hash…hash…ya know…hashish," Shawn grinned widely.

"Umm, no. But I see you've helped yourself to plenty, Shawn," she chuckled.

"Ike, let's go."

"Relax, OK. These are just people in the business." Isaac reassured Victoria, rubbing the back of her neck.

"In the business?! The racketeering business most likely! What the fuck are these roadies of yours knee deep in?"

"Relax, relax."

"Well, where's Tay?"

"Dunno. He's a big boy, Victoria. I'm sure he can take care of himself. Where are you going? Aren't you gonna say hi to Liz and Sydney?"

"Yeah, um…sure. Later. But I'm gonna go see what Tay is up to."

"You know, I think he's in that bedroom down that hallway over there."

Victoria turned around to look. "He's in there? Where that garish-looking woman with the frizzy hair and humongous tits has been coming in and out of?!" She pushed Isaac's hand off her neck and made her way into the bedroom. A sweaty, middle-aged man, with bushy eyebrows approached her, shoving a plate in her face.

"Want some steak, sweetheart? Top of the line sirloin. You can get some more in the kitchen if ya want."

"Uh, no thanks," she said looking at the sizzling piece of meat.

Victoria trounced into the bedroom and ended up making the kind of horrible noise when a person sucks in one's breath out loud through the vocal chords. Suffice it to say, it matched the horrified expression she had plastered on her face.

There she was, the woman who couldn't have been younger than 35 with the big hair and big boobs, sitting on the bed, leaning against the headboard. With Taylor sitting in her lap! She had one hand in his hair, twisting it and twirling it every which way, and the other hand was busy feeding him steak (undoubtedly from that little kitchen in the suite, where the aroma of the burning meat was now wafting into the bedroom giving Victoria a sickening feeling). They were fully clothed, but by the looks of it, not for long.

"Oh my God," Victoria thought to herself, "Tay is sitting in the lap of a middle-aged hooker, eating steak and trying to unbutton his pants. I must be imagining this."

"Vicky! Oh…umm…hi. This is…uh…Lola," Taylor said as soon as he saw Victoria standing in the room.

Victoria still couldn't get any words out, only thoughts in her mind, "Ugh! And he's not even under the influence of any mind-altering substances. Then, at least, I could think he wasn't thinking straight, but this, this…he is thinking straight, I mean, he's not thinking, but…oh yuck, look at the look on his face. He's enjoying himself! What, did he find out about me and Ike? Is this his way of getting back at me?" Not waiting or wanting to find out, she stormed out of the room, back into the main suite. Merely seconds later, Taylor ran after her, grabbing her arm.

"What?! I thought you were busy with Lola!"

"I was, but now I'm not. Come on, I wasn't going to fuck her or anything."

"Oh no?! Then tell me, what were you going to do? Let her practice her hairdressing, which no doubt in my mind has to be her second profession of choice?!"

"Yeah, um, I guess," he replied.

Just then Isaac pulled Victoria to one side. "What are you getting so worked up about?" He asked.

"I thought you would be concerned about your brother. Don't you see what is going on here? This is like so fucking disgusting. These people they're probably all extortionists, money launderers, and whores, corrupted men who suck money out of unsuspecting people like leeches, and pathetic girls who'll fuck any guy just to get what they want…," Victoria's voice trailed off. She quickly glanced around the room, but it felt like slow motion to her, the blackjack, the cigar smoke, the kitchen, the 12 year old girl, the men with their envelopes. She turned and looked into Taylor's eyes, then into Isaac's, swallowing the heavy smoke around her, not uttering a word, silent, blocking out everything around her.

Victoria ran out of the suite, closed the door, and leaned against the door, breathing in the cleaner air of the hallway.

"I am such a damn hypocrite." Her own words rang through her head, "pathetic girls who'll fuck…". "While I was busy judging everyone else in there, instead I should have been busy looking at myself in the mirror. I'm no different than anyone else in there," she thought.

"I belong in there, too," Victoria said in a whisper.