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Authors: Samantha Towle

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BOOK: The Mighty Storm
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Stuart nods, smiling at me, then disappears off again.

I can see Jake

s leg jigging in my eye line. I have the urge to reach over and put my hand on his leg settling him, but I don

t, obviously.


So this is a little crazy, huh?” he murmurs.


Hmm. A little.” I press my lips together in a small smile.

Actually, I was thinking more like … surreal, off the charts.

A silence falls between us.

Wow, twelve years apart and I

m just full of conversation, aren

t I?

It

s weird but I just can

t seem to find a thing to say to him, and I had all yesterday to prepare. I

ve just thrust myself upon him and he

s doing just fine in the talking department.

But then he was better with people than I was. Hence his success, I guess. Well that and his ability to sing, and of course his looks. His gorgeous, lovely face, and his toned, tight body …


So how have you been?” he asks me.


Good. Great. I

m a music journalist now, obviously…” I trail off.


You always were a good writer,” he says.


I was?”

I didn

t even know he thought that.


Yeah, those stories you used to make up when we were little, and then you used to make me sit and listen while you read them back to me,” he chuckles, eyes shining with the memory.

I feel my face go bright red. “Oh God,” I groan, embarrassed. “I was so lame.”

He laughs again, louder this time. “You were five, Tru. I think we can forgive the lame.” He drags his fingers through his hair. “And of course you always loved music so it makes sense the two went together,” he adds.

My heart suddenly feels all warm and squishy. He remembers so much more than I thought he would.


You still play the piano?” he asks.


No. I stopped
–”

I stopped playing after you left.


I just, um, haven

t played in a long time. I fell out of it, you know. Well obviously you don

t know.” I gesture to the guitar propped up against the far wall.

He smiles. Stuart reappears with our drinks.


Thank you,” I say as Stuart hands me my glass of water.


Anything else?” Stuart asks Jake.

Jake looks at me. I shake my head.


No, we

re good thanks.”

Stuart closes the door when he leaves. Leaving Jake and me alone again.

I sneak a look at him as he has a drink of his juice. It

s so weird, he

s Jake but not
Jake
.

And I don

t know why, but I feel so completely uncomfortable and so completely at home in his presence. It

s one of the most confusing feelings I

ve ever had.

I take a sip of my water. It

s ice cold and welcomingly refreshing.


So I

d ask how you

re doing but …” I gesture around at the plush hotel room, as I put my glass down on the table in front of us.


Yeah.” He laughs. It sounds a little forced. He rubs his hand over the scar on his chin, I notice. “I

m great,” he shrugs, smiling and leans forward, putting his juice on the table. I watch the muscles in his arm stretch and tense with his movement.

He doesn

t sit back, he stays sitting forward, arms resting on his thighs, looking straight ahead.

He seems a little uncomfortable now and I instantly regret my words.

How stupid could I be?

He

s not long out of rehab. His best friend died a little over a year ago. Of course he

s not okay. I don

t think all the money and nice hotel rooms in the world could make that okay.

I couldn

t have been more insensitive if I

d tried. I bet he thinks I

m a complete idiot now.


I

ve followed your music career,” I say in a bright, but too loud voice, just for want of a better thing to say.


You have?” He turns his head looking at me surprised.


Of course I have,” I smile. “Music is my job.” His face falls and instantly I know I

ve done it again. “But that

s not the only reason,” I hastily add. “I wanted to see how you were doing. And you

ve just achieved so much. I was really proud watching you on TV and reading the articles about your music, and when you set up your own label

I was like,

Wow

… and I

ve bought all your albums, of course. And they

re really brilliant.” I

m babbling. Someone stop me, please.

He

s staring at me again, but there

s something different in his eyes this time.


Why didn

t you get in touch with me, Tru?”

His question throws me. I stare at him confused.

Why didn

t I get in touch with him? He was the one who stopped calling me. Stopped writing. Ignored my letters.

And I didn

t know where he was until he became famous, and then it

s not like I could get anywhere near him even if I

d wanted to.

I mean of course I wanted to but, I just couldn

t.


Um…” My mouth

s gone dry. “You

re not exactly easy to get in touch with

Mr Famous Rock Star.” I try to come off as light-hearted, but even I can hear the edge to my voice.


Yeah, that

s me. One of the most accessible, inaccessible people on the planet.” His stare is hard on me.

Have I pissed him off or something?

And now I just feel totally uncomfortable, because if anyone should be pissed off it

s me. He stopped contact with me.

I feel a sudden rush of unexplained anger toward him and have the urge to yell at him. I want to ask why he never got in touch with me. He could have found me so easily.

He was the one that stopped the contact, not me, so he should have been the one to get in touch.

I want to know why he just disappeared off the face of the planet, and didn

t rock back up until he was sitting in my TV.

But I don

t ask any of those things. Fear is keeping my mouth shut. I have half-an-hour max with him and the last thing I want to do is waste it arguing about things that happened twelve years ago, or fuck this interview up

it

s way too important to Vicky, and the magazine as a whole.

He pulls a pack of cigarettes from his jean pocket and gets one out. He puts it between his lips, holding a lighter up, he pauses.


Do you smoke?” he asks, cigarette still perched between his lips.


No.”


Good,” he replies.

Hypocrite, I think.


You mind if I do?”


No.”

He lights his cigarette, dropping the pack and lighter onto the table and takes a long drag.

I watch the smoke trickle out of his mouth and billow up into the air.

He really does have nice lips.

My phone starts to sing a text in my bag. Shit, I forgot to turn it off. It

s unprofessional of me to have it on in an interview.

Jake

s eyes follow mine down to my bag.


Sorry,” I mumble. I get my phone, silencing it. “It might be my boss.”

It

s not. It

s Will asking how my day is going and that he misses me, and is looking forward to seeing me tonight. He really is sweet.


Adele?” Jake grins, inferring to the tune just playing on my phone.


I like her,” I respond defensively.


Oh, me too.” He nods. “She

s a nice girl. I just figured from what I remember of you, I

d have been hearing the Stones playing on your phone.”


Yeah, well I

ve changed a lot since you knew me.” That actually came out a lot sharper than I meant.

Avoiding his eyes, I turn my phone off, drop it in my bag and, pull out my notebook and pen, ready to get this interview started.

I have got my Dictaphone with me. But right now, I need something to concentrate on, something to do with my hands and writing seems like as good as anything, and my questions are all in here anyway.

When I look up, Jake

s eyes are on my notepad. They lift to meet with mine. For a moment, I think I see disappointment there.


So, I should get started with the interview

I

m sure you

re really busy and I don

t want to keep you for longer than necessary.”


You

re not keeping me.” His tone is dry. He takes a long, drag of his cigarette. “And I

m not busy today. My schedule is clear.”


Oh. You haven

t got any other interviews after mine?”

A smile flickers over his face. “Well I did have … consider them cancelled.”


No! Don

t do that on my account.” My voice shoots out.

I know how hard it must have been for those journalists to get this interview with him. It seems to have cost Vicky dearly from the reaction I got yesterday when I probed her about it. But I do like the fact he would do that for me.

I like it a lot.

His face darkens, prompting me to add, “I don

t mean I

m not happy to see you, of course I am, and would love to talk old times with you, but I don

t want others to miss out on a great opportunity because of me.”


A great opportunity?” he smirks.

I shrug. “Oh, you know what I mean.”


Look Tru.” He turns his body toward me. “I haven

t seen you for twelve years. The last thing I want to do right now is talk business with you, or anyone else for that matter. I want to know all about you

what you

ve been doing since I last saw you.” He looks at me curiously. His blue eyes piercing intrusively into mine.

A shiver runs through me.


Not much,” I shrug, looking down.


I

m sure you

ve done a lot more than

not much

.” His tone is surprisingly firm.

He seems so much more forceful than he used to be. But then of course, he was teenager back then. He

s a man now.

A very rich and very famous man.

And I instantly feel intimidated in a whole other way.


What did I do after you left Manchester?” I shrug, looking up at him. “I lived my life, I finished school.” My voice suddenly sounds a little bitter, it surprises even me.


How was it?” His face stays impassive, eyes trained on me.


School? It was school. A little lonely after you left, but I got through it.”

That was a dig meant to hurt him. But if it does, then it doesn

t show on his face.

His just continues to stare impassively at me, and I

m starting to squirm under his heavy gaze.


You still see anyone from school?”

I tuck my hair behind my ear. “No, I

m friends with a couple of people on Facebook but that

s about it. What about you?” I ask.

I

ve always wondered if he kept in touch with anyone else; not that he had many other friends aside from me, after he binned me off that was.

BOOK: The Mighty Storm
2.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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