“Fuck, what a disaster. I’m glad you guys signed the shirt, too. I didn’t think of what that would look like when I told her that she could have it. What was I thinking?” Sed said. “I could just picture her daddy showing up outside the tour bus with a shotgun.”
“It was completely innocent,” Myrna said.
“Yeah, but if your thirteen-year-old daughter comes home with some man’s shirt, you wouldn’t think it was innocent. You’d want to shoot him in the back.”
“I suppose that would look bad,” Myrna agreed.
“I guess when you say you’d give your fans the shirt off your back, you aren’t exaggerating,” Brian said. They laughed. Sed’s body relaxed, though he kept checking the side mirror for signs of an angry daddy with a shotgun. Brian pul ed up beside the tour bus and put the car in park. “Last one out of the car has to do al the laundry.”
“I don’t do laundry,” Sed grumbled. Before the words were out of his mouth, Brian had already leapt from the car and Eric scrambled out after him.
Sed grabbed Myrna around the waist and refused to release her. “I won’t be the last one out of this car. I don’t do laundry.”
“Then get one of your groupies to do it for you. I’m not doing it.”
He buried a hand in her hair and tugged her head back to stare down into her eyes. “I’l make it worth your while.”
Myrna leaned against the door, which opened unexpectedly. She clung to Sed’s bare chest with her fingertips to keep from tumbling to the asphalt on her head.
Brian’s angry face appeared upside down above her. “What the fuck are you two doing?”
Sed’s arms wrapped around Myrna’s body. “What does it look like?” His lips brushed over her jaw. “Oh yeah, Myrna. Yeah. Don’t stop now, baby.”
“I can’t believe this.” Brian tore his gaze from Sed long enough to glare at Myrna. “I leave you two alone for ten seconds and you’re already—”
“You think I’m cheating on you?” Myrna sputtered.
She crawled over Sed’s massive body and out of the car, landing gracelessly on the ground at Brian’s feet.
“You’ve got your hands al over his naked chest, al submissive in his arms and he’s kissing you. What do you expect me to think?”
Myrna scrambled to her feet and shook her head at him. “I can’t fucking believe this, Brian. You’re just like my ex-husband.”
When he reached for her, she shoved him aside and stormed away.
Stil reeling from an eyeful he’d thought he’d never have to see again (Sed with his hands al over a woman he cared about), Brian watched Myrna stomp up the bus stairs. He couldn’t believe she’d compared him to her psychotic ex-husband. Did she real y think he was like that asshole?
Inside the bus Eric cal ed, “Hey, Myrna, Jace said he’l clean the fridge al by himself. So you can get started cooking those pork chops. I rescued my special cinnamon and dil rub from the garbage.” A loud crash of cookware fol owed. “Don’t cry. You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.”
Brian started after Myrna, but Sed grabbed his arm. “Dude, learn to take a joke.”
“Yeah, I was just playing around. Teasing her. Myrna and I weren’t doing anything. She’s not like those other bimbos you cal ed girlfriends. You can trust her.”
“I did trust her. And then you… you were touching her, and looking at her, and your lips, and her hands, and… she wasn’t even trying to stop you…” His eyes landed on Sed’s bare chest. “Go put on a goddamned shirt, Sed!”
Brian took a deep breath. He knew he had overreacted, but he also knew what Sed was like. He turned good girls bad. But Myrna wasn’t a girl. She was a woman. Somewhere inside, he knew she would never betray him with Sed. She wasn’t like the others. It wasn’t her he didn’t trust. It was Sed. “Shit. I’ve got to go talk to her.”
Brian found her in the living area with Jace and Eric, stuffing dirty clothes into a garbage bag. She had a streak of mascara under one eye. He hadn’t meant to make her cry.
“Myrna, I didn’t mean to accuse you—”
“Go help Trey unload the car, Brian. I don’t want to talk about this right now.” He touched her arm and she flinched away from him.
“Don’t even think about touching me.”
“Sed told me there was nothing going on.”
“So you’l believe Sed, but automatical y think the worst of me?”
“No, I just… it looked like… Sed’s done this to me so many times, and…” He rubbed his forehead. He couldn’t concentrate. The thought of losing her ate the inside of his chest raw.
Eric grabbed Myrna and shoved her against Brian’s chest. “Kiss and make up.”
“I think he should squirm a little longer,” Myrna said, but she didn’t move away. Not even when Brian’s arms crept up to circle her back. “He knows how much I hate being falsely accused of cheating.”
“I never actual y accused… But I shouldn’t have even thought it. I’m sorry, okay?”
He breathed a sigh of relief. “Okay?”
“Yeah, I overreacted. A little.”
Brian kissed her forehead and squeezed her tighter, inching her body toward the bedroom. “Can we go make up now?”
She laughed and hugged him. “We need to go get this laundry done.”
“We could always make up on the washing machine at the laundromat.”
She leaned back and looked up at him, adventure sparkling in her gorgeous, green-flecked eyes. “Yeah, we could.”
God, he loved this woman. If Sed touched her again, he would kil him.
Myrna shook her head at Brian. “We’ve been through this a hundred times. I’m not staying in L.A. with you.”
“You can get your work done while we’re rehearsing and in the recording studio,” he said. “And we have a music video shoot in a couple of days. You can use that entire day to work.”
Lounging on his back in one of the curtained bunks, Brian trailed his fingers lightly over her bare shoulder, tracing the spaghetti strap of her satin nightgown. She lay on his bel y, her folded arms on his chest and her chin resting on her interlaced fingers. She stared up at his face, which was mostly concealed in shadows, contemplating her options. He’d been wearing her down for almost a week, and as much as she wanted to have fun with him, she knew she had to use this opportunity to get caught up on her work.
“You know if I stay, I’l want to watch everything you do. You’re too much of a distraction. Besides, it’s only a week. It won’t kil us to be apart for seven days.”
“We’ve been together almost every moment of every day for three weeks. Seven days apart wil feel like an eternity.”
“You know what they say. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
“If my heart grows any fonder, it’s going to hop out of my chest and into yours.”
She melted. She scooted up his body to kiss him. “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“It sounds sort of fatal,” he murmured.
“Then I don’t want your heart to grow any fonder.” She kissed him again and rol ed toward the wal .
“Don’t think just because you’re being stubborn you’l get out of meeting my parents,” he said. “They’l be at the show tomorrow night.”
She sat up, her head inches from crashing into the ceiling. “What?”
“They always come to our show in L.A. Trey’s parents. Sed’s parents. They’l probably al be there. It’s like an elementary school Christmas program al over again.”
“Do they know about me?” she asked, her voice uncharacteristical y squeaky.
“Yeah, they know. Mom’s a great ear when I’m bummed out. And believe me, that entire month I didn’t see you after Des Moines qualified.”
“What did you tel her?” When he opened his mouth to speak, she covered it with her hand. “Wait. I don’t want to know.”
She squirmed over his body and dropped out of the bunk. He caught her arm. “Where are you going?”
“I need a drink.” She turned and found Eric, Sed, and Jace staring at her from the spotlessly clean living area where they sat watching TV. She instinctively tugged her baby dol nightgown down her thighs to make sure everything was covered and went directly to the refrigerator. Unfortunately, what she wanted was on the other bus.
“Why isn’t there any alcohol on this bus?” she yel ed and slammed the refrigerator door. The guys on the sofa laughed at her dilemma.
“I don’t know, Myr,” Sed cal ed. “Why is that?”
Eric climbed to his feet, swaying slightly as the bus decelerated and then sped back up. He stopped next to her, reached into his leather vest and withdrew a silver flask. “Tequila?” He opened the flask and extended it toward her. The fumes made her eyes cross.
“You mean To-Kil -Ya?” She snatched the flask out of his hand and took a long drink. She sputtered and coughed, her eyes watering, stomach protesting. She handed the flask back to him, shaking her head with her eyes closed. “That is some nasty stuff.”
“The drunker you get, the better it tastes.” He took a swig and recapped it.
Brian appeared at her elbow. “You’re drinking?”
“I real y don’t get why meeting my parents is such a big deal.”
“Brian’s mom is a total MILF,” Eric said. “And his dad is a living legend. Brian’s parents are way cool.”
“I’m sure they are, but meeting his parents would suggest Brian and I are pretty serious.”
“Yeah, so?” Eric said.
“So that gives the wrong message. Brian and I are—”
“Just having a good time,” Brian finished her sentence.
“Exactly,” she said. “Thank you.”
“If you don’t like parents, you can ‘just have a good time’ with me,” Eric said. “I don’t have any parents.”
He shook his head. “I’m a product of the fine state of California’s foster care program.”
She gave Eric a warm hug. He tugged her closer, his jaw resting against her hair. “I love sympathy hugs,” he murmured, and then his hands slid over her satin nightgown from her lower back to her ass.
She elbowed her way out of his grip. “Is it possible for you not to cop a feel when I’m within reach?”
“I take opportunities when they present themselves.”
She glanced at Brian, who was scowling at her.
“Don’t get mad at me,” she said, “that was him.”
“Why do you get to cal al the shots in this relationship?” he asked.
“Because you’re pussy-whipped.” Eric retreated to the living area before Brian took out his frustration on him.
“I’m always the one compromising what I want,” Brian said, his voice raised in anger.
“That’s bul shit, Myrna. Name one thing you’ve done that you didn’t want to do. One compromise you made because I asked you.”
“I’m always putting off work I need to do for you.”
“I don’t ask you to.”
“Yes, you do. Al the time. As soon as I start working, you show up wanting sex.”
“You can say no. I don’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do.”
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