It’s interesting to me that there was some dissension amongst the ranks this week.
It appears that most of the time you are all in complete agreement about how our gentlemen rockers should behave, but you can never quite agree on how their lady-friends should behave.
I find that quite fascinating. I wonder if it’s because each of us put ourselves in the shoes of the heroine…
Thoughts to ponder this week.
Enjoy the chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
I’d hesitated about sending the email to Liam.
Really, I didn’t know where else to turn for help.
He’d always been there for me.
My big, hulking rock.
Even when I was deep in the throes of a tumultuous relationship with Steve, Liam had always been there. Smoothing things over. Making sense of the chaos. He always had my back and now I’d put myself in a position where I needed someone at my back and I couldn’t come clean with him about the circumstances of the predicament I found myself in.
Liam still thought I was in Ireland.
I still couldn't understand why the hell I’d made this so complicated.
We’d always been straight up with each other.
Always told the truth.
No matter what.
Now I needed his help and I couldn’t even set out the entire circumstances, without pissing him off.
I’d only had to look at the email he’d sent me the day before to know that things were on a knife-edge for him and the band.
About to open in less than a week for one of the most touted acts in the world and here was little old me, lying to him.
I wasn’t about to go looking anywhere else for help.
But I wasn’t going to rock Liam’s world enough to see him fuck things up for him and the band.
Did I have that much power? I’d wondered, or was I deluding myself.
Then I only had to think back to the last time we were together in the bar in Ponsonby.
The way he’d stood in front of me all, broody and heart stoppingly gorgeous. It had taken a while for me to admit it to myself, but in that moment when I’d looked up into his eyes I’d truly known what the words sexual chemistry meant.
How could a perfectly trusting and mutual platonic friendship have shifted seismically to that level?
I shuddered at the memory, pin pricks of sexual anticipation ran through my body and the hairs on my arms lifted in response.
If that’s what the memory of something that happened weeks ago could do to me now, what the hell would being in the same room as Liam do to me?
I’d tried to set out the current position I found myself in, without disclosing my whereabouts. I figured I could be working in any old cafe in any old garden in the world. Liam didn’t need to know that I was in New York, but something about lying by omission didn’t sit well with me.
One day I’d tell him—but not today.
Veronica hadn’t liked me from the first day that I’d stepped foot on the floor of the cafe. She’d gone out of her way to make my life difficult.
Failing to give me proper direction or training, I’d ended up in front of the cafe supervisor on more than one occasion for my oversights.
Now she’d taken the vindictiveness to a new level.
Money had gone missing from the tip jar.
Veronica hadn’t in so many words said that I was stealing from the rest of the crew—but when she uttered the fateful words, “Well, this has never happened before,” and turned her gaze on me.
I knew it was war.
I’d felt the decline in temperature from the rest of the crew and it had nothing to do with the days shortening and the impending winter season approaching.
I could sense all eyes on me every moment that I worked in the cafe. I didn’t want to give up the job because it had been so hard won and jobs were not easy for someone like me to find in New York. Leaving here under anything that resembled a dark cloud would kill any chance of me finding another suitable job in the city.
And damn it, I liked it here.
I’d whined to Liam, “Why should one person ruin this for me?”
If Liam knew I was in New York, I know what he’d say.
Come to LA.
And I knew exactly where that decision would take me.
Straight into his arms—and that terrified me more than staying here and fighting it out with Veronica.
We’d finished our first rehearsal of the day.
Between Jesse’s raging hangover, Marty’s preoccupation with the idea of writing for Pet’s band and my worry about the email I’d received from Alannah, Dylan was the only one anywhere near being on his game.
“That was shit,” Dylan announced to anyone prepared to listen, as he stormed off in the direction of the kitchen.
Calvin made sure that we had a plentiful supply of good food and no doubt Dylan had that in mind as he left the rest of us in his angry wake.
“Why’s he gotten so high and mighty?” Jesse asked.
“Because he’s right,” I replied to Jesse. “I think that’s the worst practice we’ve had in the history of the band.”
“It wasn’t that bad, I think he’s overreacting,” Marty said. “We’ve had worse mornings.”
“You’re not in some fibrolite garage on the Shore now.” I still didn’t think that Marty had a handle on what was at stake. “If you don’t concentrate on what we’re doing, you’ll find yourself back in Auckland so fast your head’ll spin.” Then I pointed my finger at him just to drive home my point. “And don’t be thinking that because Petunia Anders mentioned in passing that you could write something for her band that’ll save you ending back up in New Zealand. Because it won’t. The only thing that’s going to keep you here is if we work our arses off and make good this opportunity that’s been handed to us.”
Jesse sat down heavily on his bass amp. “You feel better?” He asked me, “Now you’ve got that rant out of your system.”
“And you were the fucking worst of all of us. Go follow Dylan and get some more food into yourself. You’re a waste of frigging space the way you are at the moment.”
He simply glared at me.
“What’s up?” Jesse asked, his tone of voice flat.
“Fuck the two of you,” Marty said. “I’m going to get something to eat.”
“Nothing’s up,” I said to Jesse as I went to follow Marty to the kitchen, but Jesse grabbed my arm.
My inclination to punch him was strong, but I ignored it.
“I spilled my guts this morning,” Jesse said, his tone tired and worn down, “so it’s your chance to spill yours. You don’t take shit out on the band like that. Especially not those two, they’re not up to it.”
“And you are?”
“I’m as hung over as hell, but I deserve it. Don’t change the subject, what’s up?”
“Alannah’s in trouble.”
“Ah, our sweet Irish maid.” The mocking tone of Jesse’s voice didn’t do my mood any good at all.
“Don’t take the piss.” Now I really did want to punch him.
“You know she’s got the hots for you, don’t you?” Jesse asked a half smile erasing some of the tired creases on his face.
“Yeah right. That’s why she’s in Ireland and I’m here. She ran away, remember?”
“Exactly. She ran because she’s been trying to ignore what she’s been feeling for you for years.”
“Give it up,” I tried to brush off the comments, but hearing them from someone other than the voices in my own head was comforting.
“What does she want you to fix now?” Jesse asked.
“Some kind of scrap she’s having with a workmate.”
“And how you supposed to do that when you’re here and she’s thousands of miles away?”
I shrugged. “Just be there for her, I guess.”
“Look,” Jesse said as he leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees. “Why the hell don’t you just ask her to come over here and be with you?”
I shook my head, “She’s not up to that?”
“Really? She’s not up to it or you’re not up to it?”
Jesse stood up, gave me a slap on the back and left me alone with his words hanging in the air.
* * *
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