Strung

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Chapter 21. - Girls' Night

That evening, we gathered around our small apartment in a circle. Callie, Ginger, and me, with the addition of Jesse – who was so into his new role as the fourth member of our squad that he actually bought matching pajamas for all of us.

The pajama bottoms were black, with Hazmat’s red and golden logo printed over it. As for tops, he threw a small bag on the table between us. “I’d feel weird wearing another dude’s face on my chest. Besides, I am my favorite member of Hazmat. So, dibs on Jesse!” He grinned, and pulled one shirt out of the pile.

Ginger scooted closer, lifting a random shirt. It had Lukas LaBelle’s face printed over the chest. With a roll of her brown eyes, she balled it up and tossed it at me. “Filthy fangirl…” I thought I heard her murmur. The next one was Brian’s, which Callie snatched from her hand.

Jesse’s brows went up as he looked at my blonde best friend. “What?” She asked, shrugging. “He is kind and caring, and chicks dig that.”

“Well, that leaves me with a lot of options…” Ginger complained, taking Ash’s shirt, and walking to the bathroom with it.

Both Jesse and Callie pulled their tops over their heads, and tossed it to the side, so they could put on the Hazmat ones. They really were cut from the same cloth.

I simply pulled Lukas LaBelle over the tank top I was already wearing.

“Nice sizing!” Ginger groaned, walking out of the bathroom with her pants rolled up quite a few times, and the shirt reaching below her knees. “I look like a sack of potatoes.”

Jesse chuckled, letting his eyes run over her curvy little figure. “How was I supposed to know you’d get my brother? I thought for sure Callie would go for him.”

Callie shook her head. “Not a chance. No offense, but your brother needs to be medicated. Heavily.”

Jesse shrugged. “None taken. He knows.” Then, he hopped down on the couch excitedly, and folded his legs in front of him. “So, what usually comes next on a girl’s night? Pillow-fights? Making out? Maybe some girl on-“ The rest of his sentence got muffled due to the pillow that collided with his head.

Ginger smirked smugly. “No, asshole. We talk – just like guys do.”

“That’s still fun.” And just like that, he angled his body toward mine. “So did you fuck Lukas yet?”

I just took a sip of my wine, and I nearly spit it in his face. “Jesse!”

Ginger leaned in, her eyes sparkling with interest. “No, that’s a valid question. I actually want to know the answer too.”

I lifted a brow at Jesse. “I thought guys talked about things like that.”

Jesse shook his head. “Maybe with Ash. He didn’t tell me.” Then, he thought about it for a second, and a slow, giant grin broke out over his handsome face. “But that’s a yes, isn’t it?”

“Jesse! They’ve only been on… What one date? Two dates?” Callie protested, while looking over at me questioningly. Two, technically. But the second one didn’t make it to the front page of every gossip blog in town.

Jesse shrugged. “That’s more than he takes other girls out on before he-“ His eyes widened. “I’m sorry, London! Forget I said anything.”

“It’s okay. It’s not like I don’t know.”

“I’m sure knowing about it, and knowing when you’re actually sleeping with the person are two very different things…” Ginger trailed off, and I nodded. Her eyes rounded at my confirmation. “I called it! They banged!” She held up her fist, and Jesse bumped his against it, murmuring ‘nice work’ under his breath. “So how was it?”

I shook my head. “I’m not telling you.” I shrugged, knowing it would drive all three of my friends insane that I was holding back something as vital as having any sort of relations with my dream man.

But on days when my life was sprawled over every gossip blog and magazine in the country and beyond, it was nice to keep some things private.

“Holy fuck, you’re really not telling us?!” Callie groaned, and leaned back against the couch. She took a sip so big of her wine, it emptied half the glass. “My romantic life is in shambles. I was really hoping to get my kicks off of yours!”

I smiled. “You have more men at your disposal than I have painting brushes. You’ll find the one.”

Ginger snorted. “The one? Come on!”

Jesse shrugged. “I don’t think that’s a crazy notion. I’ve always believed that there’s a special someone out there for everyone. Take my parents, for instance. My dad was in a band when he was younger, and they were just starting to really take off. Then, he met my mom, and suddenly, what was important changed.”

Callie turned to him, eyes wide in alarm. “Are you saying that if you find your special someone, you’d quit Hazmat!?”

He hesitated. “I’m not planning on it. But it’s hard to predict the future.”

Callie’s eyes snapped up to meet mine. “You better not make Lukas LaBelle leave the band! His talent is meant to be enjoyed by everyone. Not hidden away like-” Ginger snapped her hand over her mouth, sensibly censoring our blonde friend before she could insult the hell out of Jesse’s father. “Mhhppffh!” She said instead, in protest.

I rolled my eyes. Like I’d ever make Lukas LaBelle choose between his music and me.

As an artist myself, I understood what it meant to give up your craft. And I couldn’t imagine ever asking anyone to do that - especially not someone as important, and talented, and incredible as Lukas LaBelle. “That’s not going to be an issue.” I said, soothing my blonde friend’s feelings. “Plus, it’s not like he would even consider choosing me over Hazmat!” I laughed awkwardly. But in reality, I wasn’t nearly as important - and that was fine with me.

Jesse rolled his eyes. “Still, my master plan seems to be working. He continues to want to hang out with you - which is a big step for good ol’ Lukas.” He said simply, making my heart beat in double time. “I wouldn’t be worried, if I were you.”

I nodded, not convinced, but excited at least Jesse thought so.

Then again, what did he know about relationships


The next hours of the night passed by in a hazy, alcohol induced blur. The four of us polished off no less than eight bottles of wine, and were well on our way to add another one to the empty pile. Ginger laid back and gazed up at the ceiling dreamily, while Callie and Jesse turned up the flirting between them.

I sat, with my legs crossed in front of me, and my phone in my hand. The rational part of my brain was aware that I was about to send a drunk text to a person I really didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of… But the alcohol won out.

Me: Hey handsome! What r yu dong?

My eyes squinted as I tried to proofread the message, but every time I went back to correct it, my stupid fingers jammed on the wrong key. Ugh!

Lukas: Is this a booty call, Bronx?

Me: Aren’t booty callss don latre a tnight?

The response came immediately.

Lukas: It’s one am, baby.

I squinted, zooming in on my phone by pressing it against my nose. Indeed, it was!

Lukas: Are you drunk?

I giggled.

Me: Maahhyyybeeeeee

Lukas: Where are you?

Lukas: Are you home?

I tried to type out a reply, but my stupid phone kept changing the keyboards instead. As I went between emoji and English, my phone started ringing, startling me to the point where I nearly dropped it on the floor.

Ginger turned her head towards me. “Quiet that shit, or I’ll kill you.” She said, being the charming friend that she was.

Callie and Jesse stopped whatever they were talking about, to glance down at the intrusive device. “Are you going to answer it?” She asked, as Lukas LaBelle’s naked torso flashed across the screen.

“Uhm…” I murmured, admiring the way his abs dipped into the waistline of his pants. “Yeah.” I reached out, and grabbed the phone, deciding to sit on the ground instead. “Hello?”

“Where are you, London?”

I giggled. I couldn’t help it! He so rarely called me by my actual name. It was an unusual treat!

“You sound so serious!” I chuckled.

“I am serious, London! Where are you?” I continued grinning like a baboon, but thankfully Jesse had the mindset to answer.

“She’s home, bro. Don’t worry.”

“Jesse!” Lukas sighed, sounding relieved. “Are you drunk too?”

Jesse laughed, the sound tickling me just the right way. Not that I needed any more encouragement, as I was already a giggling mess. “Not as drunk as your lightweight girlfriend!”

Girlfriend! He called me Lukas’ girlfriend! I froze. “Wait! How can you hear Lukas?”

“You put him on speaker, you moron.” Ginger supplied, helpfully.

I stuck my tongue out at her, and she shook her head, before lying back down. Lukas spoke again, his voice coming across velvety smooth from the other end of the line. “What are you all doing together, anyways?”

“We’re having girls’ night, Lukas.” I replied, smiling. I’ve missed him. And not just in the, oh I wish I could be with Lukas LaBelle way, like in the past before. I genuinely missed having him around, and feeling the way only he could make me.

I heard Lukas clear his throat at the other end of the line. “So what is Jesse doing there?”

I wanted to say something like ‘he’s part of the squad now’ or ‘the girls liked to have him around’, but what came out of my mouth was: “He’s part girl now!” I cringed. I supposed, I must’ve drunk more than I thought.

To my horror, Lukas busted out laughing. “I could’ve told you that!” Then, he added. “I’m coming over!”

“No, Lukas, you can’t-“ But he already hung up.

With huge eyes, I glanced up at my friends. “He can’t see me like this! What if I stink?!”

Ginger rolled her eyes. “If you didn’t want this, then why did you call him?” To which, I of course had a good reply. That I didn’t call him, I just texted and he-

-Well, it didn’t matter now. So instead, I got to my feet. “I’m taking a shower!”

“Make sure it’s a cold one!” She called after me. I faintly heard the rest of the group chuckle, but I’ve had more important things in mind now.

I had to look my best for the man Jesse would’ve referred to as my boyfriend.

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