© 2019 Toni Kenyon 

King Brothers - Chapter 26

September 18, 2018

I know you don’t tune in to hear about my tales of woe…So I’m not going to bore you with details of the way that I’m feeling today.

 

Suffice to say, roll on summer here in the southern hemisphere, as this spring weather is playing havoc with me… :-(

 

Enjoy this week’s chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

 

Love Toni xx

 

Chapter 26

 

Alannah

I stared at Liam’s hand.

 

He made no effort to move and neither did I.

 

His hand engulfed mine around the whiskey bottle.

 

Maybe he was right.

 

If I had another glass of whiskey god-alone-knew where I’d end up.

 

In his bed. A small voice whispered in the back of my mind.

 

Would that be such a bad thing?

 

Liam’s gaze held mine.

 

I didn’t need to say anything—I knew he felt the same thing that I felt.

 

We were bound together and I was beginning to think that it wasn’t just about our mutual love for Steve.

 

There had been something about Liam that I’d been trying to ignore for a long time.

 

A reason that I was constantly drawn to the garden where he sat with the blue buddha.

 

“Maybe you’re right,” I said. My voice sounded shaky.

 

His hand still hadn’t left mine.

 

“About the drink?” he asked and the edge of hope that I heard in his voice wasn’t lost on me either, “or about the open invitation up to my room?”

 

Liam leaned into me.

 

I should have moved away, but something held me rooted to the spot.

 

He leaned in so close that I could smell the scent of whiskey on his breath.

 

“I want to kiss you,” he whispered.

 

“I know,” I whispered back.

 

“It could change everything between us,” the gravel of emotion in his voice made my breath hitch in my throat.

 

“I don’t care,” I heard myself say.

 

Liam’s hand left mine.

 

He was around my side of the table before I knew what had happened.

 

I found myself pressed up against the long expanse of his body.

 

My hands found their way to the hard muscle and sinew beneath the thin cotton of the t-shirt that Liam wore.

 

His hands encircled me.

 

Pulled me tight into his embrace.

 

I watched in slow motion, helpless as Liam’s parted lips moved towards my own.

 

Of its own accord my body strained towards him—a surprisingly natural instinct—considering my historical efforts to keep this man at bay.

 

Liam’s lips touched mine and it was if a series of miniature explosions went off inside my body.

 

The thought ran through my mind that I wanted him—that I’d always wanted him—and now he was here. Doing things to me that were thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.

 

But I couldn’t get enough of his kisses.

 

Helpless in his arms, I allowed him to run his hands across the expanse of my back.

 

Those hands ventured lower to cup the curve of my hips as our kisses deepened.

A helpless groan escaped from around our mouths.

 

“You’re beautiful,” Liam gasped as his mouth plundered my own all over again.

 

A part of me still screamed that this was so wrong, but it felt so incredibly right.

 

It felt right to be in Liam’s arms.

 

To allow him to worship my body.

 

The heady sensations that I’d been fighting for so long threatened to overcome me.

 

I didn’t want him to stop.

 

I slipped my hands down the back of Liam’s jeans.

 

He moaned.

 

His body went rigid.

 

I could feel his hard arousal as he rubbed himself against me.

 

“We should take this somewhere private,” Liam purred as his mouth left mine and his lips travelled to the soft expanse of flesh just under my ear.

 

I shivered, but I wasn’t cold.

 

I tipped my head back.

 

Gave Liam’s lips the opportunity to dance across my throat.

 

I could feel the race of my pulse under his tongue.

 

He wants to go upstairs. The words began to beat inside my head in time with my racing heart.

 

If I let him take me upstairs where will that leave us in the morning?

 

My head screamed reason, but my body didn’t want to listen.

 

But he’s still a drummer in a band and he’s going to LA, my head tried again.

 

A bolt of reason struck me, brought me to my senses surely as throwing a bucket of cold water at me would.

 

Liam’s mouth had found the hollow at my throat. His hands were making their way under my shirt towards my aching breasts.

 

“Liam,” I hissed. “Liam, we can’t do this. You’re going away on tour. I can’t go there not again.”

 

His entire body went stiff.

 

His lips left my throat and the rush of cold air made me utterly aware of the absence of the heat of him.

 

He took a step back.

 

A sense of abandonment washed over me with the cool air left in his wake.

 

Piercing chocolate brown eyes stared down at me.

 

I saw the lump in his throat slide up and down as he swallowed.

 

Still, he said nothing. Simply stared at me.

 

His lips were slightly parted.

 

Lips I so longed to kiss again.

 

But he was a drummer in a band.

 

“I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do,” he eventually said.

 

I crossed my arms over my aching chest.

 

“It’s time I went home,” I said as I turned my back on Liam Herewini. “You’ve got another big day in the studio tomorrow, you should probably go and get some sleep.”

 

By the time I stood behind the bar again and then turned back around, he was gone.

 

 

Liam

I did what I’d always done when I didn’t want to think about something—and I didn’t want to think about Alannah.

 

We’d been back in the studio for almost an hour.

 

I threw myself into what we were doing.

 

The band had my one hundred percent attention.

 

The girl or the band.

 

It was always about the band.

 

“You got this, Liam?” The sound guy gave me a thumbs up from behind the glass of his recording area.

 

I gave him the thumbs up back.

 

Being in the studio was nothing like playing live. It still irked me that I had to muffle the sounds that brought me such comfort.

 

I’d taped a stress ball to my snare—it make the sound fatter—gave it a great tone for recording that the sound guy had almost ejaculated over when he heard it.

 

I also had to go through the methodical procedure of removing the multiple wristlets that I loved to wear. I don’t know how many times I’d almost lost a favourite piece.

So now I had a small flax pouch that I tucked them into and wore around my neck while we recorded.

 

I’d tuned the toms so that they barked back at me, the conversational sound surrounding me and giving me comfort after the secondary sense of loss that I’d experienced last night.

 

I shouldn’t have pushed Alannah.

 

God.

 

I was so angry with myself.

 

I was like a dog with a bone—I couldn’t let up. I couldn’t see when I was pushing her so close to the edge.

 

She’d tried to warn me.

 

Talked about how she hadn’t coped with Steve being on the road.

 

But I’d missed the point.

 

I was so fucking dead set on getting what I wanted that I’d overlooked the subtle—and not so subtle—hints that she’d been giving me.

 

I put the unwelcome thoughts down.

 

Concentrated on the sizzle sound that I had coming from my ride cymbal and vowed to do whatever I had to do to make it right with Alannah.

 

But that had to wait.

 

We had an album to record.

 

I was a professional.

 

And I sure as hell wasn’t going to let these guys down the way that Steve had let us all down.

 

I slipped my cans over my head. I was in the habit of pulling the left can back from over my ear so I could hear the rest of the band in my right ear and my set in my left.

 

Studio work was something that I’d struggled with—but I wasn’t going to let the rest of the guys know that.

 

The isolating experience of being locked down inside the hexagonal walls of the booth and the strange, goldfish-like experience of having the others on the outside of the walls unnerved me in a way that live playing did not.

 

The last thing I needed was the voices in my head having an argument over what I should or shouldn’t have done last night with Alannah.

 

With an iron resolve, I banished the scene from my head for the last time and gave the sound guy another thumbs up.

 

I had an album to put down.

 

And I was damn well going to get on with it.

 

This band was going places—and so was I.

 

 

Alannah

I don’t know what I was thinking.

 

I lay in bed in the second story K-Road apartment that I shared with a rag-tag band of travellers from around the world.

 

We’d met in the local backpackers and then decided to get together and rent an apartment.

 

What kind of landlord rented an apartment to a band of aliens?

 

The kind who knew that his tenants weren’t going to complain if the windows didn’t close properly and the air-conditioning hadn’t worked for the last six months.

 

The only real downside of living out of a backpack and picking up work wherever you could in the world.

 

Aside from the less than five star accommodation, the apartment on K-Road had been a haven and one that I’d been more than happy to come back to after it became apparent that Steve’s condition was not going to get any better.

 

The apartment, over time, had morphed into a bohemian retreat and fit well with the culture of the inhabitants of the rest of the K-Road area.

 

Every one of the travellers who had been through the apartment over the years had left a little of themselves and their culture behind.

 

I looked through my bedroom door to the communal living room area and the colourful saris that hung at the windows and the assortment of pub glassware from around the world that we’d somehow collected.

 

A large All Blacks flag, sporting the silver fern sat pride of place above the windows that looked down onto the road below. Testament to the adopted homeland of the many travellers who had been through here and been happy to call this apartment home.

 

A mishmash of cultures—but somewhere that I’d happily called home.

 

Over the time that we were together, Steve had always promised that we’d get our own place—but he lived under Calvin’s roof and although I’d been able to work there after he got sick—I couldn’t bring myself to stay in the room that we’d shared, even if Calvin had been kind enough to offer it to me.

 

So, I’d found myself back here.

 

In amongst the travellers on K-Road.

 

It had been okay.

 

But maybe the Universe was telling me that the time had come to move on.

 

Last night had been a wake up call.

 

Calvin nurtured bands.

 

It was what he did.

 

I couldn’t go there—not again.

 

Liam might be headed off to LA in a couple of weeks, but there was going to be another Liam and another and another.

 

The hotel was full of bands.

 

I needed to cut my losses and get out.

 

Now.

 

While I still had my heart.

 

I pulled the blankets up over my head.

 

I wasn’t going into work today.

 

I’d phoned Calvin and told him I was sick.

 

What I hadn’t told him was that I was going to book the first plane out of Auckland.

 

By this time tomorrow I’d be in Thailand.

 

I’d email my notice from there.

 

Calvin would understand.

 

He’d been a good friend over the years.

 

I’d start a new life—far away from pubs and bands.

 

I’d do my best to forget about Liam and what might have been.

 

 * * *

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