The thought that occurred to her was so horrible that for a second, she wouldn’t even entertain it. But this was Quinn she was dealing with, of the goldfish in the bathtub and the stolen underwear. She didn’t think anything was beneath him—especially after she’d humiliated him in front of at least half of his very large fan base yesterday.
Diving for the dresser, she pulled out the drawer where she usually kept her pajamas and yoga pants. There was nothing there. She went for her T-shirt drawer. Still nothing. Her jeans. Nothing. There was nothing in any of the drawers—or the closet—except a red sequined G-string. A very tiny, very sparkly red sequined G-string.
More amused than annoyed at that point, she headed into the bathroom only to find he had stripped it of everything bigger than a washcloth. Seriously, how had she managed to sleep through this? The towel closet had been well stocked enough that it should have taken him a few trips to empty the thing.
Well played, Quinn Bradford. Well played.
After checking the room for anything he might have forgotten, which was nothing except the bottom sheet she’d been sleeping on (and which she really didn’t want to spend the day wearing considering all the activities that had taken place on it the night before), she headed down the hall to his bedroom.
She had no problem wearing his clothes until she could get a hold of Jamison. Sure, his sweats would fall off of her, but surely she could pin them or roll them or something.
Except, when she got to his bedroom, every single article of clothing had been cleared out of there as well. There were no T-shirts, no ridiculously shredded jeans, not even a robe or pair of pajamas. And his bed had been stripped completely, his towel closet emptied as well.
The bastard. The unbelievable bastard. She was actually stuck upstairs with nothing to wear but that ridiculous G-string. The same G-string she was even now making plans to shove down his throat.
She thought about saying to hell with it and going downstairs exactly as she was. There was a part of her that wanted nothing more than to march through the house completely naked for no other reason than she was sure Quinn didn’t think she would do it. After all, she had no problem making coffee while nude. Besides, she knew there was an apron down there—she’d seen Quinn wear it that first time after they’d made love.
And yet…and yet, his band mates had been there two days in a row working on the album. What were the odds that they would be there again today? Pretty high, she figured, and while she didn’t mind parading around naked in front of Quinn, there was no way she was going to do it in front of Jared and Ryder. No freaking way.
But she also wasn’t going to be a prisoner in her room all day, either. Wasn’t going to let Quinn win this round, though she had to admit, he’d done a pretty good job of it. Which meant she had to find something to cover herself.
After searching all the available options, she came to one conclusion. She was going to have to pull a Sound of Music and wear one of the window curtains as a toga. Not exactly her first choice of attire, but at this point, she just wanted to cover enough of her body to get downstairs and kill Quinn. Slowly and painfully.
She decided on the valance in the bathroom, because it was long, but not so wide that it would drag on the floor and trip her. Plus, it was black, the same color as Quinn’s evil soul and she could appreciate the symbolism.
It took her a few minutes, but she managed to get it off the wall without too many mishaps. But fastening it into a toga proved a little more challenging. Still, she was determined to get out of her room sometime in the next decade, so she refused to give up until she’d fashioned a one-shouldered garment that covered her from chest to knee.
Then, after a quick face wash and teeth brushing, she slipped her feet into her flip-flops—Quinn had been kind enough to leave her all of her shoes (wasn’t that sweet)—and headed downstairs.
Sure enough, she’d barely gotten down the stairs before she heard familiar male voices drifting in from the kitchen. Jared and Ryder were definitely here. Terrific. Quinn was so going to pay for this and he was going to pay big.
Squaring her shoulders, Elise made sure everything vital was covered and then headed for the kitchen. She really needed a cup of coffee—and to slam Quinn’s head in the refrigerator. Not that she was bitter or anything.
When she got to the kitchen, it was to find the three musicians crowded around the table, eating pancakes and talking over each other while Quinn recorded something on a piece of paper.
“Hey, guys,” she said with feigned nonchalance. She even managed to cross to the coffeepot without tugging on her makeshift garment. It was hard, though, especially since she could tell they were all staring at her.
“Hey, Elise!” Jared bounded to his feet and came over to her. “You want some pancakes? We’ve got more batter.”
She smiled at him—after all, it wasn’t his fault his best friend was a diabolical monster—and answered, “I think I’ll just stick with coffee for now. I’m not very hungry.”
He shrugged. “Well, it’s there if you want it.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it.”
She glanced over at the table to find Quinn glaring at his former curtain with obvious annoyance while Ryder kept looking between them in bemusement.
“Where did you get that?” Quinn asked, after a minute.
“Not even going to pretend it wasn’t you, huh?” she answered in the snottiest voice she could muster.
“You had half the world thinking I listen to Justin Bieber in my free time. You’re damn right I’m not going to pretend. But I was careful. I made sure there was nothing up there. So where did you get that?”
“This old thing? I believe I found it hanging in your bathroom.”
“That’s impossible. I took all the towels out of there.”
“Oh, it’s not a towel.”
“What are you guys even talking about?” Ryder asked, sliding back from the table. “What did you do this time, Bradford?”
“Wait a minute,” Quinn asked, after reaching a hand out to touch the fabric. She slapped it away, but he must have felt enough because his eyes widened. “Is that one of my curtains?”
“You’re wearing my curtains?”
“Well, I’m sure as hell not wearing that monstrosity of a G-string you left for me.”
“I kind of liked it. Red’s always looked good on you.”
She flipped him off, then went to move around him, but Ryder was there, once again laughing his ass off. Seriously, she was beginning to think the man had a problem.
“Are you f**king kidding me with this, Quinn?” he finally asked when he had his guffaws under some semblance of control. “This is how you treat your female guests? You steal their underwear and their clothes and force them to wear your window coverings?”
“No wonder you had to kidnap her to get her here,” Jared added.
“I never told you I had to kidnap her.”
“No, but Wyatt did. He wanted to know how it went.”
“Wait until he hears about this.” Ryder took out his camera, snapped a picture. “He’s never going to believe it.”
“In my defense, I did leave her a G-string.”
“Which would have done me so much good with your friends in the house, right? Can you imagine me walking down here in that and nothing else?”
His eyes darkened from onyx to obsidian at the thought and Elise mentally patted herself on her back for getting a rise out of him.
“I wouldn’t have complained,” Jared told her, smiling charmingly.
“Yeah, well, Quinn might have,” Ryder told him.
“Then he should have left her clothes.”
“Whose side are you on, anyway?” Quinn asked him with a glare.
“Your girlfriend’s, obviously.” He shrugged out of his shirt and handed it to her. “Here, this might be more comfortable than a curtain.”
“Thanks,” she told him, taking the shirt gratefully. He was even bigger than Quinn, so the thing might very well come all the way to her knees. “I appreciate it.”
As she left the kitchen to go change, she heard Quinn hiss, “Was that really necessary? I was trying to make a point.”
“Dude, I saw what she did to you yesterday. There’s no way I want to be on the receiving end of one of her revenge plots.”
“He has a point,” Ryder agreed. “Maybe I’ll just go offer her my pants.”
Elise laughed. She couldn’t help herself. Yes, this was a shit week and yes, her career and her life was in shambles. But she’d found Quinn again and might even have found a few friends, to boot, so at least things weren’t all bad.
Besides, she’d figured out exactly what she wanted to do to get back at Quinn. Now all she needed to do was call Jamison and ask her to bring over some hot pink paint and some rhinestones.
Elise was up to something. Quinn knew it with every fiber of his being, but he couldn’t prove it. She was too sneaky for that. You’d think she’d go easy on him since he gave her her clothes back right after she’d come down to the kitchen in his bathroom curtain. He’d planned on keeping it going for a while, at least until she convinced Jamison to bring her some clothes, but it turned out he really hadn’t liked seeing her covered in Jared’s shirt.
She’d accepted the clothes graciously and hadn’t said anything else about them, but he knew that wasn’t the end of it. Elise might not have done anything to exact revenge in the last forty-eight hours, but he knew it was coming. She’d never been the kind to let bygones be bygones—at least not when it came to pulling pranks.
And while he was a little leery—okay, a lot leery—he couldn’t help being happy, too. Because since she’d gotten here, she’d been eating more, and sleeping more. She’d been hanging with his friends and him, had even taken to joking around with Jared and Ryder almost as much as she joked around with him. She was happy. Not completely, obviously. He knew her inability to play the piano right now was hard for her, as was the knowledge that she probably would never play again. But in just five days, she looked a million times better than she had when he’d picked her up from the hospital.
Plus, she was writing music. Not a lot, not on her own, but she’d contributed to three different songs that he and the others were writing—enough so that they were going to make sure she got writing credit on each of them. At first, he’d asked her just because he wanted to give her something to do. But he’d kept asking for her opinion and her help because it turned out she was a f**king genius when it came to composing. She understood melody better than nearly anyone he’d ever worked with.
Which was why she was sitting in on this latest composing session with him, Jared, and Ryder. They were down in the recording studio now, working on electric guitars and keyboards instead of the instruments he kept in his music room because they wanted to get a feel for how these chord combinations were going to sound on the actual album.
“The bridge still isn’t right,” Elise said from her spot on the sofa. “Your note combination is off. It’s too jarring.”
“It’s rock and roll,” Jared told her. “It’s supposed to be jarring sometimes.”
“I know that,” she answered with a roll of her eyes. “But there’s jarring on purpose and jarring because you just haven’t gotten it right yet. This is definitely the latter.”
“You’re wrong,” Jared told her, playing the chord again. “This is perfect.”
“No, it’s not,” Ryder protested, picking up a guitar and shredding out the same chord in a different key. “See? It’s totally disjointed here. You just can’t tell when you play it in a lower key. But that doesn’t mean it’s not off.”