King Brothers - Chapter 23
So it was pretty clear who you all want to get to know in Season 2.
Liam Herewini will begin the arduous task of exposing his raw underbelly to you all.
I don’t know how you see Liam in your head, but the idea of exploring his underbelly does strange things to me!
Onwards with Liam’s story and he better be up to our expectations, that’s all I have to say about the man.
Enjoy this week’s chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
This weekly serial is now available as complete books
Book 1: Dylan & Destiny - Breakout
Book 2: Liam & Alannah - Breakthrough
Book 3: Jesse & Ruby - Breakdown
I pounded my habitual path along the waterfront of Auckland. My legs ached with the exertion, my lungs screamed as they sucked in the familiar salt-laden air but I wouldn’t stop.
I couldn’t stop.
I barely saw the super yachts I ran past that were moored against the Wynyard Quarter pontoons, but I allowed one tiny indulgent thought to enter my brain.
We’d done so well on our tour that for the second time in my life it looked as if I could be on track for the kind of hedonistic lifestyle that musicians dreamed about.
I shook the thought from my head and concentrated on the stretch of concrete in front of me.
Positive thoughts weren’t thoughts that I allowed myself the luxury of entertaining.
In fact, my head was a dangerous place that I tried not to spend too much time in.
Running had always given me relief from the torment of my life.
The only other thing that gave me the same relief was sitting behind the drums—but that was out for now.
The band had arrived back from our inaugural tour.
A sell out tour and a US agent under our belt.
I should have been ecstatic—but the old demons refused to leave me alone.
Why couldn’t I bask in our success the same way that Dylan, Jessie and Marty seemed able to do?
What was it about me that couldn’t stop for a moment to enjoy what we’d worked so hard to achieve?
Maybe because I knew how easily everything you’d worked for could be ripped from you.
I wasn’t going to allow that to happen.
I steadied myself for the long run back up the hill to Ponsonby Road.
As I climbed the familiar streets and then crossed the rivers of motorway traffic that snaked their way from one side of the Auckland isthmus to the other, I thought about how far I had come.
The bustling city that I called home was nothing like the low-key southern town that I’d managed to escape.
I’d worked my guts out to make it in this city and the band had worked equally hard over the last month or so to set ourselves up for our rise.
Sweat streamed from my body this late October morning as I made my way into the garden at the back of the pub that the band called home.
I had a couple of hours before the early afternoon punters would begin invading what I liked to think of as my own personal haven.
I filled my drink bottle with cold water from the water fountain by the bar doors and made my way into the garden proper.
The glossy green leaves of the large ornamental shrubs and cascading palms that Calvin had planted in this walled garden space, along with the sound of the water from the central fountain and the ever-present red and yellow lanterns for some reason reminded me of home.
An oversize blue buddha sat inside a shrine of white pebbles and didn’t even look out of place.
I sat at one of the large, hexagonal wooden tables that roamed in some strange and haphazard way throughout the garden space. The seats and table tops were worn smooth and the wooden tops seemed almost oiled from the thousands of human bodies that had occupied them over the years.
I’d been here before, I tried to remind myself, as the unwelcome thoughts of hope for my future continued to clamour inside my head.
Dylan and Marty were babes in the woods as far as the music scene was concerned, but I still couldn’t help but pick up on their naive enthusiasm for where Yellow Lady seemed to be headed.
I took a huge swig of the cold water, tipped my head back, closed my eyes and waited for the chill of the liquid to reach through my heated body.
“You know you’re going to kill yourself on one of these runs one day, don’t you?”
The familiar Irish lilt of Alannah’s voice washed over my outside as the cooling water washed my insides.
I opened my eyes to the vision of the tiny, blonde barmaid stood in front of me in her regulation blue jeans and black t-shirt with the bar’s logo emblazoned just above the enticing rise of her chest.
“I was hoping that you’d give me the kiss of life,” I flashed Alannah my most intoxicating smile, the one that worked like a spell with all the girls I managed to bed on the road. But for some strange reason that continued to elude me, Alannah seemed immune to my dark charms.
She thrust her hip to one side, the action making her even more appealing. Then she tipped her forehead towards me and eyed me over the tip of her cute, button nose.
“How many times have I told you, Liam Herewini that I’m not one of your gob-smacked groupies and that your charm does nothing for me?”
I leaned back, resting my arm on the edge of the table, opening my entire body to Alannah. We played this game at least once a day when she was at work. In fact, I thought that Alannah actually sought me out so that she could remind me how much she didn’t want me.
I didn’t believe her.
I tipped my head to one side, “Your protests fall on deaf ears, I’m afraid, my love. I know you desire me, it’s only a matter of time before you come knocking on my bedroom door.”
Her grin widened.
I waited for it. The line that she fired at me—like a heat-seeking missile—at least once a day.
“Hell will freeze over first,” she said as she turned her back and left me in the garden to contemplate her regular parting shot.
The band had a meeting with Calvin in half an hour.
He was going to lay out where we were going from here.
I closed my eyes.
Gave myself another few minutes to connect and centre myself.
I needed to keep my shit together.
Not let my fear get in the way and sabotage any kind of chances that we had of getting ahead.
I thought about the serene blue buddha sitting in the middle of his sea of white.
What would he do?
I took some deep, calming breaths.
I folded my fear, pain, rage and anger and buried it back where it couldn’t touch me. Back in the familiar place it had been hiding for all of these years.
Then I went upstairs for a shower.
I almost skipped back to the bar.
I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I’d missed that bad ass while he’d been on the road. The pub hadn’t been the same without him and the boys.
I’d picked it right, though.
They were on their way.
The sudden dawning realisation hit me. That meant they weren’t going to be here for any kind of extended period.
I’d gotten used to Liam hanging around the place like a bad smell.
When I saw him this morning, sitting in that patch of sunshine in the garden bar I’d been drawn to him like one of the bees that gathered on the sweet-scented freesias.
How many times had I seen him return from one of his runs down at the waterfront?
But today, while he sat there—eyes closed—alone with his thoughts.
His blue singlet stuck to the hard muscles of his body.
His long, black hair laid across his broad shoulders.
The huge green piece of jade that hung at his throat drew my eye. Then my eye followed the sleeve of colour that ran from shoulder to hand down his right arm.
How many hours had he sat in a tattooists’ chair?
It was the first time in ages that Liam had run in shorts. Long, tanned and muscular legs stretched out in front of him.
How many miles had he run today?
There was nothing like Liam Herewini back in Ireland. He looked like he could have stepped off an American Indian Reservation.
There was something distinctly exotic about him that I fought every day to resist.
His eyes were a deep pool of brown and only added to his exotic allure.
What pissed me off about him was the surety that he knew I found him attractive—along with half of Auckland—and probably now the rest of the country.
I’d been burned by a musician before.
I knew what they were like.
Dangerous and fucked up.
There’s no way that I’d be knocking on Liam Herewini’s door any time soon.
But a girl could fantasise couldn’t she?
The atmosphere around the table in the bar resembled something like a child’s birthday party. Dylan and Marty had been almost insufferable since we’d gotten back from the tour.
There were a few moments there when Dylan hit the piss a bit hard, especially after his girl gave him the flick—but it was to be expected.
Chicks couldn’t handle the idea of fame and, in my opinion, neither should they have to.
Calvin discouraged girlfriends along on tours—somehow Marty and Dylan hadn’t gotten that email—but they were soon put straight.
It didn’t put the band in any kind of good light, having girls along on the road.
Calvin was an old trooper and he still did showbiz the old-fashioned way.
Keeping bums on seats was his motto and that meant keeping the girls at arm’s length.
Did that mean barmaids? I couldn’t help wondering as Alannah brought us all a round of hot drinks.
Green tea for me and Calvin.
Coffee for the two teenagers who didn’t need any more caffeine as far as I could tell and English Breakfast tea for Jesse.
“Thanks,” I said to Alannah as she placed the single serve white pot in front of me.
She tipped her head in acknowledgement and was on her way.
Calvin had that business look about him.
No time for any more banter like we shared this morning.
“Okay,” Calvin said calling the edging on out-of-control meeting to order.
“Good run?” Jesse managed to hiss while we waited for Marty and Dylan to settle.
“Same as,” I replied as I turned the little white tea pot around in circles on the table in front of me.
“I’ve had the US agent on the phone,” Calvin said as he poured aromatic tea into his cup. Now he did have Dylan and Marty’s full attention. They were like two little puppy dogs who’d been shown a treat.
All wide eyes and goofy grins.
Oh, how I wished for those days of innocence.
Maybe I’d been in this industry for too long and I was only five years older than the two of them. A jaded muso at the grand old age of twenty-three.
I listened to what Calvin had to say, trying to keep my edge of cynicism at bay.
“They’ve secured backers and we’re going into the studio in just under a week. The studio’s been booked for ten days, which we figure gives us enough time to get the tracks down and then it’s going to be mixed off shore.”
I couldn’t help but smile.
Dylan sat there shaking his head as if he thought he might wake up from some kind of dream any moment.
Marty had just gone white.
I knew the feelings that the two of them were going through. Disbelief mixed with, I’ve fucking made it.
Got the emotional scars to prove it.
“Two weeks after we’ve finished the album,” Calvin carried on, “We’re off to LA to start working the club circuit.”
He put his cup of tea down with meticulous care.
I picked up my tea pot. It took all my concentration not to shake as I poured my tea.
I’d expected the recording deal—but the LA circuit—that was something new.
I’d made it to Australia with the last band.
But then the wheels fell off.
Marty wasn’t the only one who looked as if he might puke.
* * *
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