Chapter 8 – Without him.
“Boss, she seems to be out at a coffee lounge called Hipsters, for open mic night.”
...Get any video you can, I wanna know who she’s with and what she’s there for. Luca, we’re about to run the bank job, don’t contact me for the next five hours, stay on her and don’t let her out of your sight, and for god sake, keep her safe...
Microphone in hand, Sweat beading on my upper lip, pulse racing a hundred miles an hour as perspiration gathering between my thighs.
Oh god, I hope it doesn’t run down my legs. I lift my white baby doll dress, trying to fan air between my legs. This is the moment I attempt to make my dreams come true, I don’t know which is worse? Crippling stage fright or the hole in my chest? Focus Aiya.
“Aiya Carlson?” A short stocky brunette calls.
“T-t that’s me.”
“You’re next, but if you’re going to hurl? Try and do it to the side of the stage.”
“Do I really look that bad?” I ask terrified of the reply.
“I’ve seen worse.”
Here we go. Breathing heavily, I walk out on stage.
Running has been helping me clear my head lately and helping me with my breathing exercises. It’s been a month since he left my room and two weeks since he stopped texting and calling. At first, I thought this fling was nothing more than just that, but it’s been a month and every moment I’m not distracted, my thoughts are still consumed by him. Every fibre of my being still burned to be with him.
I wonder if he’s moved on? I wonder if he misses me?
Gasping deeply, I exit the forest and reach the path towards home, slowing down to walk. I get that same eerie feeling that I’ve had for three weeks now, someone is watching me. I decide walking is not my friend today and sprint down the pavement and into our home.
“I can’t believe tonight’s the finals?” Mags put down Sheppard’s pie in front of me as I slump into the kitchen table chair, sculling back water.
“I don’t know if I can eat it, babes, I’m so nervous.”
“Couple of mouthful’s, just so I know you have something in your stomach.”
“You know Mags, you’re awesome.”
“I know, I tell myself that regularly, now hurry up, I want front row seats as I watch my best friend blow the judges away with your beautiful voice.”
Entering, Goodluck Casino, hand in hand with Mags as Kyle and Eric trailed behind us, we headed to the main stage past the pokies.
Tonight, I felt beautiful for the first time since Chase. I was determined to win, this songwriting contract was mine, no matter what.
I had chosen a long Opal coloured evening gown with an open back, dark blue Jewellery and heels, simple but elegant. My hair curled into an updo with glitter, causing a shimmer when it hit a certain light. Sapphire and black smoky eyes with clear lip gloss. I definitely wanted to stand out against the crimson red performance curtains.
“Oh my god, I’m so nervous,” my hand grips Mags’ tight.
“You’re going to kill it, babes.”
“Yeah, and we’ll be right here, right in front of you, supporting you like always,” Kyle interjects desperately, hinting at his words.
“Yeah Aiya, you’re going to be incredible,” Eric offers, interrupting Kyle while giving him that look of ‘calm down desperate’ but he ignores it.
“Just look down at us when you walk out on stage and I’ll be right here,” Kyle butts in.
With an irritated look on my face, I sigh, “I’ve got to go to the loo before I go behind, I’ll see you after?”
“Always right here, waiting for you.” Kyle attempts an awkward kiss to my cheek as I hurriedly depart.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? You sound like a creepy stalker.” I hear Eric as I distance myself from Kyle. “Right in front of you, waiting as always - creepy mate.”
Walking out of the bathroom, I suddenly notice men standing around the room, not just any men - his men. My eyes scanning the sea of people as my heart beats faster and faster.
It’s been a month since I’ve seen her, a month since I’ve heard her voice, a month of trying to forget her.
“Baby, I’m going to powder my nose and when I get back, I expect a better date. You’re very lucky that I’m giving you another chance.”
I roll my eyes as the latest blonde haired, blue eyed bimbo, detaches herself from my arm.
“Joel, what’s her name again?”
Laughing he replies, “Sophia, I think.”
“Why is she here again?”
“A present from your father.”
“Great, I bet he fucked her too.”
By this stage Joel is in fits of laughter as I smirk at him, stupid annoying woman, I have no interest in her and yet, she can’t take a hint.
Just then, I see Luca practically running towards me and instantly alarmed washed through me. “Why the fuck are you not answering your phone?” Luca curses as he reaches the table.
“The damn things on silent, I wanted some peace from ‘the Boss’, what’s wrong?”
“She’s here dammit, tonight, for the fucking singing shit that’s here.”
“She’s here?” My eyes begin to scan the room.
Our eyes meet from across the crowded and she looks stunning, golden brown orbs connecting with my deep greens, a slight smile on her soft face as she blushes. God, I missed her. I missed everything about her, I missed the way her lips slightly pout as she holds back her smile, I definitely missed the way my soldier rises to attention at the sight of her. I’m so lost in staring at her from across the room that I don’t notice the blonde bimbo walking back and reaching up to kiss me on the cheek. What I do notice is her face, the face of a broken heart, her eyebrows instantly crease as shock and dismay twists across it.
Fuck, no - no - no, she thinks I’m with this trash.
I can tell from her tortured look that tears are in her eyes as her gaze drops to the floor and she walks away. Instantly, I’m filled with anger and rage.
“Baby, I want to dance - now.”
I turned to this thing, this leech, attaching itself to my arm. “Get the fuck away from me right now.” I left the dumb leech and almost sprinted in the direction of Aiya.
“You will be sorry Chase, you are promised to me.” Halting suddenly, I spun around on my heels.
“You heard me, your father promised me your hand as payment for certain documents, you’ll be my husband soon and you will do as I say,” an evil laugh leaves her botox injected lips.
“Woman, you must be fucken insane to threaten me? I kill people, you push me and I’ll hand you over to The Black Dragons to be enslaved and raped daily.”
Okay, that was a bit overboard but I was angry at everything that came flying out of that bitches mouth. If I’ve lost Aiya, I will fucken kill her.
“Catriona, you were hard to find.” A short golden brown-eyed woman gets thrown into Vincent’s office chair, arms bound together by zip ties.
Flicking her short Jet black curly hair off her face she laughs, “good, now this time I know to cover my tracks better.”
Vincent flips open the folder holding up a photograph, “this is your daughter, isn’t it?”
“Why would you think that’s my daughter?” She turns her head away from the photo.
“You mean, besides the fact that she looks almost identical to you?”
Varco pushes open the door and his gaze immediately falls upon the woman in the chair, “Catriona?” His face twists to cold - indifferent.
“Varco?” She gasp’s, shocked by the sight of him.
“Is she yours?” Catriona sits there stubbornly, not opening her mouth.
“Is she yours?” His voice rising in irritation, “goddammit cat, is she fucken yours?”
Catriona begins to sob and replies in a whisper, “yes.”
“Who’s the father?”
“Varco, please let me explain?” Her sobs grow louder, this secret she swore no one would know, was suddenly out in the open.
“Cat, you are still my wife, tell me who the father is?”
“She’s your’s Varco, your’s - but there’s something you need to know. Just promise you’ll listen to the whole story before you judge me and I’m not telling you in front of them.”
I spot Mags at a table facing the stage, “Mags where is she?”
“What are you doing here?” Mags replied.
“Mags, where is she? She saw me and this stupid woman came and kissed me on the cheek and she ran away.”
“She should be out the back ready to go on?”
“Yes, she’s in the finals but if you knew anything about her you’d know that.” Kyle stands up, puffing out his chest like a damn gorilla.
“Sit the fuck down Kyle, she didn’t want you then and she doesn’t want you now,” I spat back.
Grabbing a chair, I sit down next to Eric. “Eric,” we shook hands.
“Good to see ya man.” He turns toward Kyle, “c’mon Kyle, let’s get a drink?”
Don’t cry Aiya, Do not cry, you chose to extract him from your life, it’s only natural that he found someone else, oh god, my chest hurts so much. Struggling to breathe as sweat gathered on my forehead, I was feeling like I was going to faint.
“Aiya Carlson?” A tall, slender looking man with a thick southern accent calls out.
“Here,” hyperventilating and bent over, I raised my hand.
“Oh honey, I’m almost afraid to tell you, ya’ll are next.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Here’s ya mic darl, ya’ll got one minute.”
“Fuck,” I lean back over just as the tall man grabs a bucket and I hurl straight into it. The regurgitated shepherds pie burnt my throat like acid.
“You feel better darl? Because your breath is gonna stink,” laughing, he hands me some gum. “Oh look at that, show time,” he gestures with Jazz hands.
I called out to his retreating back, “jazz hands are no longer acceptable in any situation.”
Laughing while he strides away, “neither is vomit darl, yet here we are.”
Giggling to myself, I bet he’s fun.
Gathering my strength, I step out onto the stage.
Looking out at the crowd, I’m thankful for it being so dark. I shifted my eyes upwards to see the bright spotlights blazing down and I moved forward to the edge of the stage.
I hear a cough from somewhere in the audience as my sight falls upon the table right in front of me where Mags was. Shock slams into me as my eyes grow wide and I swallow hard.
No, why is he here, why? Thinking kicked into overdrive, my line of sight is only on him as everyone else falls from view. His sexy black and white tuxedo make his deep green eyes sparkle. Why did he have to look so incredible?
The piano begins as I sing directly to him.
*** Please listen to Davina Michelle’s version of ‘Too good at goodbyes’ ***
Clicking my mic into the stand, I exit the stage with silent tears escaping my eyes.
I don’t bother heading to the table, instead, I walked directly past everyone and straight onto the casino floor, trying to make it to the exit doors. The stagnant air unable to fill my lungs as searing pain burns my chest.
“Aiya?” A strong hand grips my wrist stopping me in my tracks. Without turning, I know exactly who it is as my senses are filled with La Coste cologne and oak. He still smells delicious, it makes me whimper in searing agony. “Please Aiya, I can’t do this, I miss you so…”
Turning about - unable to deny him any longer, I grabbed the lapels of his black tux and pulled him in. Our lips were like fire as they brushed against one another, our tongues dancing softly, grazing together in harmonious perfection as his hand goes up behind my head to pull closer, deepening our electric kiss.
God, I missed his lips. With my fist knotted around his lapels, his hand groping my butt cheek, sparks flying through my body as my core moistened - ready - longing - needy. I wanted him, more than I could have ever thought was possible.
Breaking from my lips, his kisses travel along my jaw, down my neck and across my collarbone, then back to my earlobe. He pulls back, keeping our foreheads pressed together as he breathes.
“Come with me?”
He grabs my hand and drags me quickly to the side of the room, whipping out his phone and he quickly speaks before hanging up.
“Where are we…”
“I’m not letting you go Aiya, I’m in love with you.”
“What?” I gasp in disbelief of his admission.
Unable to comprehend, I’m swept up in his words. He loves me? He doesn’t just love me, he’s in love with me.
A car comes screaming into the back entrance and without hesitation, he opens the door and we slide in.
His palms groping every part of my body, fingertips gently trace the length of my spine, lips swollen but unable to part from our heated makeout session. His hand slips under my dress while he caresses my thigh as I flick off my heels, moving to straddle him.
Grinding my pelvis into his mammoth, rock hard cock, I tilt my head back to moan.
“God Aiya, you’re so beautiful,” he grips the back of my head, claiming my lips once more, his thumb circling my erect nipple, his other hand sliding my opal coloured straps off my shoulders.
My chest, now exposed, he takes my tanned bud into his mouth as I grind my hips on top of him. He moans with me in his mouth as my hands attempt to slide off his jacket and tie. Slowly unbuttoning his shirt, my fingertips graze across his chest and I look down at him and smile.
This man, this gorgeous man, my addiction, my obsession, I can’t let him go - I can’t forget him - I can’t live without him.
“Chase,” my palms cup his face as I tilt his head towards mine, forcing him to release my chest from his mouth. “Say your mine, no one else’s.”
He pauses with a satisfied smile playing on his lips, “I’ve been yours since the day I met you, Aiya. I’m in love with you.” Closing my eyes, I lean forward and softly press my lips to his.
“I can’t forget you, no matter how hard I try, no matter what I do...” almost a whispered breath, barely audible with so much vulnerability.
“Because you belong with me.”