Second Verse Prequel

Daisy hates Hawaii. It may be paradise for some people, but it is her hell. Which is funny, really, because just a few days earlier she was so, so happy she could burst. She doesn't think she'll ever associate the island of luaus and gorgeous beaches with happiness. Not after… not after this.

The pounding on the door is the perfect accompaniment to the pounding in her head. She wants to yell, to scream at the insensitive intruder on the other side of the bamboo door to leave her alone. She doesn't need witnesses for the unraveling of her entire life. She opens her mouth to shout, but all that comes out is a puny squeak. Her vocal chords, insured for millions of dollars, are temporarily ruined after hours spent crying and raging. There'll be hell to pay for that, she's sure, but she can't bring herself to care.

The scrape of metal against metal is nearly drowned out by the blood rushing in her ears and the sharp staccato of drums. Bright light filters in from behind the tall, willowy figure in the doorway. Daisy tries to throw a pillow, but her leaden arm won't move. The door closes with a quiet snick.

"Oh, sweetheart." Donna's stilettos make no sound on the thick carpet, for which Daisy is exceedingly grateful.

"G'way," Daisy manages, despite the gummy lips and fuzzy tongue. She curls tighter around the mascara-stained pillow and drags the silk duvet over her bare shoulders. Empty mini-bar bottles tumble to the floor in a chorus of clinks and clanks. Daisy's empty stomach churns.

The bed shifts under Donna's weight. Cool, long fingers brush the damp bangs off Daisy's forehead. "Sweetie, no one's heard from you in two days. We're worried."

Half of that statement is incorrect, but Daisy doesn't remind Donna about the maid who'd come in to refill the mini-bar. She's aware enough to know that mentioning just how much alcohol she's consumed in the past forty-eight hours will lead to a lecture she doesn't have the patience (or the blood-alcohol level) to hear.

"'m fine," she slurs, twisting her lips in what she hopes is a smile and not one of those stupid faces people make when they're drunk and their lips are numb. Her lips aren't numb. Not anymore. Neither are the shattered parts of her still pumping out anguish with every single breath. Oh god, it hurts just to breathe.

Her eyeballs feel like they are coated with sand, but she's afraid to close them for more than a few seconds. She fell asleep somewhere between the fifth tiny bottle of vodka and the first bottle of gin. She doesn't remember much about her dreams, but she does recall seeing Drew's infamous emo-face and hearing those damn words on repeat like a song stuck on repeat. She'd woken to a scream still ringing in her ears and her cheeks wet with tears.

She hasn't slept since.

Donna reaches under the duvet and forces Daisy to sit upright against the headboard. Daisy groans and squeezes her gritty eyes shut to fight off the dizziness. For a brief, sadistic, moment she contemplates upchucking all over Donna's designer power suit.

"Sweetie, what did you do?"

Donna's hand flutters over Daisy's left breast. Daisy glances down, eyes the bloodied gouges marring the golden skin, and shrugs. She scratches her nose with red-tinged fingers, ignores Donna's horrified gasp.

"I wanted to make the hurt stop."

In exchange for two small bottles of potent grain alcohol, Daisy allows Donna to manhandle her out of the bed and into the shower. The icy water does little to wake her from her daze, which is perfectly fine in her opinion. She grunts in annoyance when Donna digs a pastel sundress from her suitcase and picks out her own clothes: dark jeans, a black tank top, and black cardigan. Despite the relative warmth of the room, she's freezing from the inside out. She doesn't think she'll ever be warm.

She doesn't bother hiding her bloodshot eyes with oversized sunglasses. Her hands are shaking too much for makeup brushes and she doesn't like having anyone that close to her face. The damp blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail drips onto the back of her neck, but she can't bring herself to care enough to reach for the blow dryer. The Daisy Donna leads into the conference room is almost a stranger to many ofthe band members milling about with coffee mugs.

"Now," Donna starts, hands flat on the table and spine rigid, "we have six stops left on this tour, and we're not going to let…," she pauses long enough to shoot Daisy a sympathetic smile, "emergencies ruin our reputations. I'm willing to listen to your input."

Daisy collapses on a cushioned chair between her drummer and bass guitar player. Greg and Charlie have been with her since the early days of bubblegum pop and Disney radio spots. Neither comment when she produces a clear bottle from her pocket and drains it in one go. Greg sets Daisy's Fender Telecaster between her sprawled legs and turns his attention back to Donna.

Daisy considers the second bottle squirreled away in her pocket but settles for lifting the Tele onto her lap. Seeming to have a mind of their own, her fingers move across the strings. Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You" fills the room, interrupting Donna's monologue on playing up the poor pop princess thing with sets full of angsty, heartbreak songs.

Donna blinks slowly, nods once. "Or, we could go that way."