Authors: R.M. Martinez
He was staring at her. She pushed a strand of dark hair behind her ear and blushed shyly and glanced down at her drink. She’d noticed him all night from across the room, and now he was sitting on the other side of the bar, sipping on what looked like brandy, with his dark eyes on her. She couldn’t help the flutters in her stomach.
“You ready to go, sweets?” Jonathan asked, leaning in and kissing her lightly on the lips. She grabbed her purse and slid off of the barstool, taking the hand that he held out to her.
Jon was her very best friend, but she knew that people always got the impression that he was her boyfriend. If only it were that simple. Sometimes, she even wished that one of them were gay. Then it would explain the lack of attraction between two straight people who were both pretty damn good looking. Well, at least that’s what Jon says.
Brianna risked a glance over her shoulder at the handsome stranger at the bar. She could sense the power rolling off of him from where she stood and she couldn’t help but to wonder if he were a cop or something. The way he looked in that suit told her differently. There was something dark about him and she knew that even though he was totally hot, she needed to stay away.
Following Jon from the bar and through the lobby, they stopped in front of a set of double doors. She could tell that he was nervous. This meeting could make or break his band and he asked her to be there for moral support. If things fell apart, a phone call just wouldn’t cut it. He wanted her there immediately.
“Breathe, Jon.” She said, smoothing down the collar of his button down.
He was way too tense and she knew that if this didn’t work, he’d be depressed for days. He always put too much pressure on himself. It was understandable that he wanted to be able to provide more for his son, but she hated to see him torture himself.
“Hey, Bree. Ready, bro?” Paulie asked, clapping Jon on the shoulder. Shelby handed him his guitar and the band entered the ballroom.
“Give them hell, Killer.” She grinned. Jon kissed her again and winked at her before he headed into the ballroom with the others.
She didn’t want to just wait outside the door pacing, so she decided to wait in the lobby. Truthfully, she was tempted to head back to the bar to see if that guy was still there, but she didn’t. Instead, she took a seat at a table in the corner of the lobby. She pulled out her smartphone and sent a quick text to her new roommate. She was supposed to move in her things earlier, but Jon called her last minute and asked her to be there for him. So, depending on how things went, she was planning to load up her car and head to her new apartment afterward.
“Excuse me, miss?” She turned around and nearly choked on air when she saw the handsome man from the bar standing behind her.
“Y..Yes?” she murmured, trying not to gape at him.
“Your boyfriend dropped this at the bar.” He said, holding out Jonathan’s lucky guitar pick to her.
“Shit!” she snatched it out of his hand and turned to run down the hall. “Thank you!” she called over her shoulder as she hauled ass back to the ballroom.
Jon rushed out, patting down his pockets just as she approached. She dropped the pick in his hand and pushed him back into the ballroom. She let out a deep breath and sank down onto the floor outside the door. That was a close call and she wasn’t about to move from that door until it was completely over.
So as she sat there waiting, her mind immediately went back to the handsome stranger and his words to her. She was kicking herself mentally for not telling him that Jon wasn’t her boyfriend and that she was very much single. But did she want him to know that? Did she want him to know her secrets just because she could see the same darkness behind his eyes that she had in hers and she was dying to know what secrets he held?
“No.” she shook her head and stood, focusing on listening to what was going on inside the ballroom.
The band was playing one of her favorite songs. Of course it was her favorite because Jon wrote it for her a few years ago. People just hear another love song, but they don’t understand the meaning behind
She only loves Me
. It’s a testimonial about their friendship and everything they went through together, including a slight breakup, before they decided that their love for each other meant everything. The song always makes her cry.
She was still in tears when the music stopped. Then she heard absolute quiet. She pressed her ear against the door, then decided to just open it a crack and peek inside. Two women and about four men were sitting at a long table across the room, whispering to each other and going over what looked like notes. Poor Jon was standing with his head on Shelby’s shoulder while she held hands with Paulie, who was standing next to De’Antae. They all looked nervous and hopeful at the same time and she wished that she could just rush in and hug them all.
Closing the door, she backed away until she couldn’t hear anything. Those few minutes were killer, but even as far away as she was, she still heard the yelling spill from the ballroom. A moment later, the band spilled out of the room and Jon had her in his arms, his face buried in her neck. She could feel his tears and his body shaking and her heart sank.
“We did it, babe.” His words were mumbled as he placed a kiss on her neck. “We did it. We’re signed!”
She screamed and held on tightly to him. She was so excited. This was what he dreamed of since they were thirteen years old and he started playing guitar. Jon wanted to be a rock star, and he was already well known in their small Colorado town. Now he was officially signed to one of the biggest record labels in the world. He was about to be huge.
“Don’t forget me when you’re famous.” She joked.
“You’re my number one girl, always.” He said, kissing her forehead.
She grinned and hugged him again. It meant the world to her that she had him. He was all she had in the world, really, and she really hoped like hell that he didn’t leave her behind like everyone else in her life tended to.
Knocking on his baby sister’s door was the last thing he wanted to do, especially since he had a key. Hell, he owned the whole damn building. He stood outside waiting for her to answer. Her new roommate was supposed to move in earlier and he wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Kelsey didn’t need money because he provided everything for her. She insisted on paying him rent, but she didn’t know that the money she gave him was cycled back into her savings account that she never looked at.
“Lukie!” she squealed, pulling him into a hug. “Come on in!”
He stepped inside and glanced around. “Where’s your roommate?” he asked.
“She just called. She’s on her way. I gave her a key when she signed the lease, so don’t be surprised when she walks in.” Kelsey headed for the kitchen.
“How do you know this girl?” he called out.
“She goes to school with me.” She said, returning with a brandy for him and a glass of wine for herself. “She was my partner in my Brit Lit class. We worked on a project together and she told me that she was looking for a new place.”
He snorted and took a drink. “And she just agreed to move in with a practical stranger?”
“She’s nice. And it’s not like I’m a serial killer!” she laughed.
“What about her?” he lifted an eyebrow. His sister hit him. “Does she work?”
“She waitresses.” Kelsey said slowly, looking down at her wine glass. He narrowed his eyes at her.
“A gentleman’s club in the city.” She shrugged.
He could feel the anger boiling up in his chest and he couldn’t tap down on it before he exploded. “You’re letting a stripper live here! A fucking stripper?” he yelled.
“I don’t strip.” A voice came from behind him, pissing him off further.
“Let me guess, you’re an erotic dancer.” He snorted and turned to face the voice. He was taken aback for a moment as he was face to face with the girl from his hotel where he’d completed a business deal earlier. The one he wanted so badly that he considered approaching her despite the fact that she was there with her boyfriend.
The irritation on her face almost made him smile. She was adorably sexy when she was mad and he found himself wanting to piss her off further just to keep it going. But he was born and bred a gentleman, so he decided against it. Still, he needed to look out for his little sister and that meant sizing up the gorgeous female in front of him.
Gorgeous she was. She had hair so dark brown that it looked black at first glance. Her eyes were as green as a forest of pine trees. Her skin was a dark bronze, almost caramel color that made him think that she was of mixed race. And her flawless legs in those short shorts had his mind going a million miles an hour.
“Brianna Michaels, this is my brother, Lucian Spencer-Davenport. Please excuse his rudeness.” Kelsey said, mildly irritating him.
“I’m sorry if I offended you.” He offered through gritted teeth. “Let me help you with-“
“Two more trips and that should be everything.” A man said, stepping into the apartment behind Brianna. This wasn’t the one he’d seen her with earlier and for some reason it made him uneasy.
This one was tall and dark skinned with dreadlocks hanging down his back. Kelsey smiled at the guy like she knew him, and had a crush, before offering to personally take him down the hall to Brianna’s room.
“That’s not your boyfriend.” He said when they were out of sight.
“I don’t have a boyfriend.” She said, just as the other guy came up with a box in his arms and immediately walked to Brianna’s room.
“That one’s not your boyfriend?” he asked.
“Jon?” she laughed like he’d just insulted her, though he’d clearly seen him kissing her in the bar and they looked awfully close when he came from the closed auditions in the hotel earlier.
“His lips were on you.” He found that he didn’t like it.
The humor left her eyes and she frowned at him. “How I show affection to my friends is my business.” She said. The one with the dreads walked out and she grabbed his arm and pulled him close. “Thanks for helping me, De’Antae.”
He grinned and kissed her nose before heading out to grab another load. She looked at him like she’d just proven a point. She did.
“Kels, I want you to go to dinner with me.” He said. His sister hesitated, her eyes on the door. “Your roommate and her friends may join us.”
Kelsey opened her mouth to answer, but Brianna spoke first. “I’m actually exhausted and the guys and I were just talking about ordering pizza and staying in, but you guys go ahead.”
“Or, you can both join us.” Jon offered. “Hey, I don’t know if Bree told you, I’m Jon.”
He shook Jon’s hand and noticed his firm shake. He also looked him straight in the eye with a slight warning. He looked at Brianna with a slightly possessive gleam in his eye. It took everything he had not to show the man who he was and what he was capable of.
“Let’s stay.” Kelsey pleaded with her eyes. He glared at her. His sister wasn’t a pizza and beer kind of girl.
Shrugging, he unbuttoned and removed his suit jacket and took off his tie. He unbuttoned the top buttons on his shirt and sat on the sofa. He pulled out his phone and sent a text to Caleb to order a bottle of wine up to his sister’s apartment as Brianna pulled out her own phone to order pizza. He then decided to be the gentleman and help the guys unload her things. He and Caleb helped to bring the last of the boxes and luggage up despite the doorman’s horror. Jerry looked like he was going to have a panic attack watching his boss do a mundane everyday task.
By the time they were finished, the pizza had arrived. Kelsey and Brianna handed everyone plates and drinks before they all dug in. As he glanced around the room, he noticed that Kelsey had placed herself right next to De’Antae and Brianna was curled up on the floor between Jon’s legs.
“So, you’re a musician.” He said to Jon.
Jon nodded his head and swallowed his pizza. “We both are, D and I.” he said.
“How’d the audition go today?” he asked.
Jon looked surprised. He glanced between him and Brianna, but she just shrugged. “It went really well. We were signed.”
“That’s good.” He took a bite of pizza and nodded, noticing that Brianna suddenly looked upset. “Isn’t it?”
“They’re planning a tour already and she doesn’t want me to go.” Jon said.
He snorted. “That doesn’t sound very supportive.”
“It’s just for the summer. They loved the song we performed and want us to rerecord it and make a video before we hit the road.” De’Antae chimed in.
“What song?” Kelsey asked.
“It’s called, She Only Loves Me. Jon wrote it about Bree.” De’Antae said around a mouthful of pizza.
“That’s so sweet.” His sister gushed.
“It is sweet. It makes me cry every time I hear it.” Brianna smiled.
He didn’t know why that pissed him off, but it did. Big time. He was happy when his phone chimed. It wasn’t anything important, but he still took the opportunity to excuse himself. He stood and kissed his sister on the cheek.
“I have to go.” Kelsey only whined a little at his announcement and he tried not to frown. He shook hands with the two gentlemen and purposely kissed Brianna’s hand. She didn’t like him, but he found that he wanted her something fierce.