Last week we had a 70/30 split on the voting which I’ve decided is of interest, because the question related to the band as a whole, as opposed to the individual couple that we’re focussing on at the moment. I have to say, I like the prospect for conflict that you’ve chosen to open up for me.
*Cracks knuckles* No, not really…but I’ve always wanted to be able to do that!
You’ve given me heaps to think about this week. You’ve also given me a chance to close this portion of the series.
Where to from here?
Enjoy this week’s chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
I did not want this shit, not at the moment. How long had it taken me to get here with Alannah? And what could be so urgent that Jesse needed to be hammering on the door?
The question still rattled inside of my head while I pulled on my jeans. The hammering on the door continued.
“Shut the fuck up!” I yelled from across the other side of the room. If this was some kind of practical joke, I’d flatten every single one of them.
Alannah must have thought better of lying in bed and just before I opened the door, I spotted her delectable arse making a dash for the bathroom.
The state of the bedcovers and the array of clothing on the floor wasn’t going any way to hide what we’d been doing—but the boys knew exactly what we’d been doing in any event.
I pulled the heavy door open just as Jesse lifted his fist to continue the hammering onslaught.
“Calm down. What the hell do you want, I’m busy?”
“I bet you are,” he said with a sly smile on his face.
If he hadn’t been my closest friend for years, I’d have smacked him one on the spot.
“I mean it,” I said, “what the fuck is this urgent?”
“Sorry to interrupt,” Jesse said with the same smirk painted across his face, “but Pet and her band have arrived.”
“So?” Surely the rest of the band and Marty could keep Pet and her cohorts busy while Alannah and I got reacquainted.
“We were going to work on some collaborations for the shows?”
I groaned. “I’d forgotten.”
Jesse whistled through his teeth. “Alannah’s some kind of woman if she’s made you forget about band commitments. Other things on your mind?” Jesse was enjoying this. He didn’t get one up on me often and he wasn’t letting this chance go by without milking it for what it was worth.
“Just shut the fuck up. We’ll be down shortly.”
“We?” Jesse raised an eyebrow.
“You been talking to Calvin?”
“He’s been talking to us, more like.”
“Yeah, well I can’t say I’m happy about the arrangement,” I shrugged, “but it is what it is. And while Alannah’s living here, she can come and be part of everything.”
“Whatever you say,” Jesse replied, “but I don’t envy you. Look what happened with Steve.”
“I’m not Steve and nothing’s going to happen, okay?” I felt bad cutting him off, but I was over the Steve comparison. As far as I was concerned what happened with Steve was the fault of shithead drug pushers and that was the end of it.
“Just sayin’ it’s gonna be tough for Alannah.”
“She’s tough,” I said, “she can deal with it.”
“If you say so,” Jesse turned his back on me and started heading back towards the house. “Don’t be long,” he called over his shoulder as an afterthought.
“Be there in five,” I called after him as I closed the door.
“You can come out of there, he’s gone.”
Alannah stepped out of the bathroom. The sight of her naked body was enough to clear my head of all rational thought.
I wanted her again.
Wanted her so bad I even considered for a moment abandoning all thought of heading back down to the house.
But then they’d just come knocking on the door again.
I crossed the floor and pulled her to me.
“God, I want you,” I moaned as my hungry lips found hers.
“Hmm,” she murmured around my mouth.
“What did he want?”
“Band business, we’re needed down the house in five minutes.”
“They don’t need me, you go.” Alannah went to make her way back to the bathroom.
“You’re coming with me. We’re a couple.”
“Not according to Calvin,” Alannah laughed. “How the hell did I get myself back in this situation?”
“Fuck, Calvin.” I’d play his game, but I needed Alannah to know how much she meant to me. I gave Alannah a quick pat on the backside. “You have a serious addiction to rockers, that’s how you find yourself here again. Now hurry up and get in that shower before I’m tempted to fuck you again.”
She turned and leaned her body close to me, cupping my chin in her hand, rubbing her palm back and forth across my stubble. “Promise?” she whispered.
“Get in the shower. Now!”
I’d dressed while Liam quickly took his turn in the bathroom. I got the impression that Liam had been as reluctant and I’d been to wash the scent of me from his body. And, as much as I’d liked to have shared the shower with him, I knew that we’d never get down to the house if that happened.
Right this moment I could happily have rolled in the sheets—like a dog scenting itself—instead I threw the sheets back up the bed and tried to make it look as if we hadn’t just spent the most amazing couple of hours in each other’s arms.
“Ready?” Liam asked as he walked out of the bathroom and then pulled his t-shirt back over his body.
“As I’ll ever be, I guess,” I replied.
He slipped his arm around me. “Don’t be like that. You’ve been around these guys as long as I have, you should know that it’s going to be okay.”
I shrugged, “I guess I’m just tired of trying to pretend that I’m something that I’m not.”
Liam stopped in front of the large door that would lead us from the privacy of the guest house and turned to face me. His hand found the soft spot behind my ear and I couldn’t help but tip my head into the warmth of his gentle embrace.
“It’s not always going to be like this,” he said, his voice measured, “just until the band establishes itself.”
I’d heard all this before and yet here I found myself. Again.
“Just a sucker for punishment, that’s me.”
“Really?” Liam’s face lit up. “I’ll look forward to discussing that proposition with you tonight.”
The heat of a blush crept across my face. The promise of Liam tonight? Or the promise of a particular kind of Liam tonight? I couldn’t be sure. I just knew that all I wanted in the world was to be back here with Liam as soon as possible, but for now I had to go and play the role of supportive friend instead of the role that I wanted to play of adoring lover.
“Let’s get this over with,” I said as I followed Liam out into the lush foliage of the garden.
It didn’t take us long to find the rest of the band and Pet and her boys. All we had to do was follow the raucous noise coming from inside the house.
The unruly mob hadn’t bothered heading for the rehearsal space, instead they were spread out in the middle of one of the large lounges that were dotted through the sprawling house.
The entire complex had so many extended living areas, it would I thought, be easy for me and Liam to stay out of the way of the rest of the band. The thought gave me some kind of comfort as we arrived in the middle of the musical scrum.
Instruments were spread through the room. Multiple guitars sat in open cases, or propped across the laps of their owners.
The cursory introductions out of the way, Liam headed over towards Stewart Lackner the other talented drummer in the room. The two shook hands and then Liam sat on a Cajon drum box and immediately began to tap out a spirited beat. I found myself stood alone, somewhat adrift and feeling totally out of place.
“Thank god,” Pet said as she stood up, crossed the space between us and threw her arms around me. “At last, another woman. I was beginning to think that I was going to be the lone female voice today.”
I couldn’t decide whether her enthusiasm at seeing me was genuine, or just part of the general over-zealous way most American people seemed to greet one another.
“Come sit by me,” Pet took me by the hand and almost pulled me towards the leather sofa that she’d recently vacated. “You’re Liam’s partner?”
The drumming abruptly ceased.
“No!” Liam and I both said at exactly the same moment, then we caught each other’s eye and immediately looked away.
A large grin spread across Pet’s face.
“Right, you guys. I get it,” she said, “you’re not together.” Her emphasis on the word not may as well have shouted to the entire room that we were together. “That’s cool with us, right boys?”
Her band all nodded and the rest of the Yellow Lady guys struggled to keep a straight face.
“Yeah, no issues,” Stewart volunteered from beside Liam while giving him one of those looks of brotherly solidarity that I’d never understand as long as I walked the earth.
I couldn’t help feeling that we’d fallen at the first hurdle.
If we couldn’t keep our relationship under wraps from Pet and Ace Revolution what chance did we have with the fans of both the bands?
But I guess that wasn’t my worry, that was Calvin’s problem.
“Okay, Marty what you got for us?” Pet asked, getting back to the business at hand. She may have been the only woman here until I walked in, but she seemed to be in sole charge of this mob. “And don’t forget,” Pet added, “if I’m singing this it needs to be in A.”
Marty gazed up at Pet from under the long strands of his blond hair. He still had the look about him as if he’d just walked off the beach. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a surfboard stashed behind him and his keyboard.
“It’ll sound sweet as with you singing, babe,” he replied, the warmth in his voice evidence of the mutual attraction between the two of them.
Is that what people saw with me and Liam? I couldn’t help wondering and, how long had they been seeing it?
“From the top,” Dylan called and he proceeded to count the two bands in.
I settled myself back into the cool of the couch, allowing the music being created in front of me to smooth the nervous edge of energy that I’d brought with me down from the guest house.
I couldn’t help but look across the room at Liam.
He caught me watching him and for a moment I saw a flicker of something in him that I’d never seen before.
Could that be contentment?
This was what he loved.
And me, the quiet voice in my head said.
And I loved him—more than I dared ever admit to anyone.
But for now, this would have to be enough.
For both of us.
* * *
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