Oh you gals!
You weren’t all entirely in agreement this week, but there was a definite preference as to how you wish this romance to proceed.
Let’s have more fun with the story and continue to build the tension… ;-)
Enjoy the chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
I didn’t know what the hell was going on when Jesse started feverishly trying to get my attention in the middle of a song.
Then the lights went up and I saw her.
My own Irish Angel standing in a pool of light.
Then she was gone.
I hoped like hell she wasn’t gone.
For a moment there, I thought I might have been dreaming, but the look on Jesse’s face, his big I told you so grin confirmed that I hadn’t had a sudden attack of hallucinations.
Alannah was here all right.
Here in the Club.
Here in LA.
What did that mean for our future?
I couldn’t ponder those thoughts now. We were being well received by the crowd and I wanted to make sure that continued.
A short break between songs while Dylan addressed the audience.
Something I didn’t need right now—a short break from anything.
I needed to concentrate on the beats for the songs—stop my mind wandering to why Alannah had turned up right this minute, unannounced.
But my mind couldn’t help but wander and wonder why Alannah had chose right this minute to turn up at the club. Until I asked her to come to LA, we’d been in contact daily. She knew how much this gig meant to me and to the band. Maybe that’s why she’d turned up now.
Even though I knew she stood not more than fifteen feet away from me, there was something inside of me that clenched.
In anticipation of our meeting and what it meant?
I hated that she could see every move I made on stage and I couldn’t see her.
A part of me almost wanted for her to be a hallucination.
I knew from the look on Jesse’s face that I hadn’t been dreaming and, besides; I hadn’t been near a drug for years. Hallucinations weren’t something that I was wracked with—well, not anymore. I’d given that shit up a long time ago. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out where hallucinogenic drugs would take me—I only had to think about where Steve found himself.
A chill crawled up my spine.
There wasn’t a lot between me and Steve.
We both lived a strange and marginalised life—him now inside of a psychiatric unit and me, up here with the band on stage. Holed up in a compound in the Hills.
Connected, but somehow removed from the audience that we entertained.
And Alannah stood out in that audience.
Here for me?
Or here to connect with the experience of the audience?
The cue from Dylan to work our way into the last short set before we finished up.
The crowd roared their appreciation and I counted us into the next set.
No matter what happened with Alannah, the rush I experienced from the appreciation of the crowd was why I sat here and why the rest of the boys stood with me.
No hallucinogenic could compare to this rush.
Words could not describe the feelings that ran through me when I realised that Liam had seen me.
How much time had I wasted running away from him?
Every particle in my body ached for his touch.
I’d been a fool to believe that the words that I’d been reading each day on my phone were enough. I wanted the man who sat behind those drums on stage.
As I watched his body work with perfect strength and perfect rhythm through song after song, my desire to be touched by him grew to out-of-control proportions.
The controlled grace and precision of his movements had a hypnotic effect on me.
My eyes were glued to him the entire time. There was no-one else on that stage as far as I was concerned.
He appeared to be somewhere else. Held in the suspension of the music that they created on the stage. His face etched with intense concentration.
I had a moment of wanting him to want me with the same intensity.
That terrified me.
But I stood here.
I wasn’t going away.
I’d made up my mind on the train trip that I would do whatever I had to do to make it work with Liam. The idea terrified me more than anything had terrified me in my life.
But I’d never been about walking away from something that scared me.
And Liam Herewini terrified me.
But here I stood.
Swaying a little in time with the beats that he created from his drums.
Who was I kidding?
The vibration of his drumming cut through me.
Touched my core in a way that I felt as if I’d never been touched before.
I wanted him.
I wanted his hands on me.
And I didn’t know how long I could wait any more.
Then something strange crossed my mind. Did he have this effect on everyone stood here? Was I ready to step back into the insanity of being attached to someone owned by their fans?
But, maybe it would be different with Liam.
He wasn’t stood out front like Dylan and Marty, or like Steve had been.
Liam didn’t have the weight of the fans clamouring for him like the guys out the front did.
And it’s Liam, that sensible voice in my head said. He’s nothing like Steve or Dylan. There was no expectation for him to front for the band. He hid in the shadows. Kept himself to himself. Didn’t go looking for the limelight in the same way.
Sure, he was ambitious and he wanted to make it—but that was for different reasons.
Calvin waited for us backstage where he always waited for us.
You could never tell with Calvin whether or not you’d done a good job.
The crowd had demanded an encore, something that bode well for our future, but still, Calvin had been with us from the beginning. All I really cared about—aside from finding Alannah tonight—was what kind of reception we’d get from Calvin once we left the stage.
The unreadable look on his face changed as Jesse, last to join us, made it back into the enclave that we’d occupied.
We stood in expectant silence, the four of us around our manager as children would wait for a word from their parent, hanging out for his nod of approval, or disapproval.
Calvin’s face warmed and a wide smile doubled the number of lines on his face.
“Fantastic opener. You did good guys.” Not many words, but high praise from someone who knew his stuff. “Go enjoy Ace.” Then he added, not quite as an afterthought, “And I don’t have to remind you to behave, right?”
I could feel the palpable relief wash across the band.
Jesse elbowed me in the side, “Go get her, Tiger,” and then he followed up with a low growl. The temptation to smack him one was strong.
“Liam,” Calvin called me back as the rest of the band headed out towards the area in the club that had been reserved for VIP’s and the bands.
“You know Alannah’s out there?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I saw her.”
Calvin simply stared at me and cocked his head to one side waiting for what? A further explanation from me. Did I owe him that? The silence continued on until I couldn’t stand it any more.
“Okay,” I gritted out, “I asked her to come.”
He lifted his chin in acknowledgment. “You know she’s part of the family, right?”
“Yeah.” I wondered where he was going with this.
“I mean she’s welcome at the house,” Calvin said. Then he held up one finger. “On one condition.”
I felt a frown settle on my face. I wasn’t some kind of kid like Dylan and Marty. I didn’t need Calvin telling me how I could and couldn’t live my life.
“Don’t look at me like that. You know I rely on you to set a good example.”
My fists clenched at my side and I couldn’t help clamping my teeth together.
Calvin either ignored or was indifferent to my defensiveness. “If Alannah needs somewhere to stay,” he said, “she can take the guest house. This is a critical time for the band.”
“I know that,” I ground out. I was already way ahead of Calvin, doing the calculations in my head. Was he giving us some privacy, putting Alannah in the guest house? I’d never get my head around the man’s motives, but I couldn’t fault him on his ability to propel a band into orbit.
I made the political decision that I shouldn’t challenge him on this point right now—I’d bide my time.
Calvin’s piercing blue eyes bored into mine. I couldn’t help but feel that those eyes had seen so much. My entire body shuddered in response. I had an uncanny feeling—as if he were looking through me into some kind of future that I couldn’t see for myself—and he wanted to steer a straight course through it for me and for the band.
“We’re on the same page,” he said. “I don’t want a repeat performance of what happened last time.”
The hairs on the back of my neck rose, “You’re suggesting Alannah had something to do with where Steve’s found himself?”
Calvin raised a single eyebrow.
Every muscle in my body went tight.
My mouth went dry.
Did Calvin know something that I didn’t know?
Or was I reading him wrong?
“Just take it easy, son. Okay?”
And Calvin did what Calvin always did—he turned his chair on me.
I found it difficult to swallow.
I needed something to drink and I needed to find Alannah.
The little pep talk from Calvin didn’t kill the swagger in my gait as I walked towards Alannah, but it might have taken the edge off my anticipation at seeing her.
He doesn’t know shit, the voice in my head kept telling me.
It hadn’t taken me long to scan the large and colourful crowd and find her.
We’d done our job—entertained them and built anticipation for Ace. The crowd were well warmed up and primed for the main act to come on stage.
Alannah hadn’t moved far from the spot that she’d stood in front of the monitors.
She’d either ducked or been forced further back in the club as the crowd had automatically moved forward, waiting in anticipation for Ace Revolution.
A wash of relief ran through me the closer I got to her. The apparition in the light was, in fact, warm flesh and blood and I itched to get my hands on her, despite Calvin’s guarded warning.
I knew he was looking out for the band, but I didn’t want him getting between me and Alannah.
She hadn’t seen me yet. I guess because she stood in a small pool of light that came from the glow of the orange strip lights that peppered the wall of the club.
Leaning one shoulder against the wall, Alannah wore a light paisley dress, with thin shoe-string straps and tiny buttons all the way down the front that I wanted to tear off with my teeth.
“Hey,” I said as I approached walking out of the gloom of the rest of the club.
“Hi,” the warmth of her greeting pushed all the monstrous thoughts that Calvin’s warning had engendered to the back of my mind.
I slipped my hands around her waist and pulled Alannah to me as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do.
Her body responded.
Curving into mine.
Her hands reached up around my neck.
I held her this way for a few moments, enjoying the relaxed nature of the hug.
“I’m glad you came to LA,” I said. Still not letting her go and aware of the fact that her body remained relaxed against mine.
“I want to be here,” she said looking up at me from under hooded eyes.
Our mouths moved closer as we whispered each word.
“You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear that,” I said.
“If you’re happy, then I’m happy,” Alannah whispered.
The rest of her words were lost as our lips met in a tentative and gentle kiss.
* * *
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