Strung

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Chapter 29. - The Night is Still Young

My breath caught as I took in the sight in front of me.

Four incredibly tall, beautiful, built men, who just happened to be four of the most talented musicians of our time. On the left, Brian Flynn wore a grey fitted suit, with a matching button-up underneath, and a white flower over his heart. His brown hair was now longer than last time I saw him, and he even had a slight beard going on.

On the right, Jesse Wolfhart wore a black suit, with a navy-blue shirt underneath, and a midnight black tie. His black locks were left longer on top, and he was rocking the tousled look as if he continuously ran his hands through his hair. Or rather, as if someone else had

Next to him, a few inches taller, stood his brother, Ash. Unsurprisingly, he was the only one without a jacket, wearing only a black button up – with a few buttons undone to reveal his massive chest – and equally dark pants. His long, dark hair hung all the way down to his waist, falling in straight locks that matched his impossibly black eyes, and dark lashes. I didn’t know black irises were possible until I met him in person – but here he was, with the sleeves of his shirt pushed up around his strong forearms, revealing his tattoos.

And finally… I saved the best for last.

Lukas LaBelle, the most dashing of them all. He stood tall and lean in a navy three-piece suit and a white, striped shirt underneath. His long, blonde curls were pushed back in a pony-tail, leaving that chiseled jawline uncovered.

My heart sped up as he looked around the room, surveying the cheering crowd in front of him, with a half-smile teasing on those candy lips.

“Nikki wasn’t lying - they’re really out to break a few hearts tonight!” Someone said on the right of me, and I tilted my head back to look up at Margot, the young actress I met at the club the first time Jesse invited me out.

I nodded. “I’ll say.” My gaze moved back to the four most beautiful men in the room – zeroing in on one in particular. I was really hoping to catch his eyes, but just as my luck would have it, he never looked my way. “You look dashing yourself.” I complimented Margot instead, who grinned widely.

Only then did I notice the man standing next to her.

“Your dress is breathtaking, honey!” Margot complimented, lifting the red lace mask she wore to get a better look at me. “And this place…” She shook her head, looking around. “I know now who I will hire to decorate my wedding if I ever get married...”

I blushed at her kind words. “I’d be honored to.” Meanwhile, I watched as the four men of Hazmat begun walking through the crowd, stopping to greet people and take some pictures as they slowly made their way across the room.

Only when Margot was done telling me every little thing she thought was outstanding about the setting, did she point to the man standing next to her. “This is Jay, by the way. He plays-“ Margot trailed off, her eyes moving over my head. “Holy shit! That’s Damon and Savannah Maxwell! I’m a huge fan!” She squeaked. “Excuse me a moment!” And with that, she ran off, leaving an embarrassed looking Jay behind.

I smiled up at him. “I know who you play. I’m a fan of the show.”

He lifted his glass at me. “I’m glad to hear – wasn’t sure people over the age of sixteen watched it.”

My nose crinkled. “It is kind of cheesy, isn’t it?” He laughed, the sound warm and delightful, just as his character always did on the teen vampire drama show I was secretly obsessed with.

“So who is your date?”

I cleared my throat, then took an encouraging sip of my champagne. “No one. I came alone.”

Jay’s brows lifted. “That’s not what I’ve been seeing in the tabloids!” He stated with a mischievous smile, clearly fishing for gossip.

“You’re in there yourself.” I pointed out. “You should know not to believe everything.”

Jay chuckled. “Sure. If denial is your poison of choice, don’t let me ruin the party.” He lifted his glass. “Enjoy the night! And the decorations are really beautiful.” With that, he pulled the mask from his hair to cover half his face, leaving his profile bare and recognizable. “I’ll see you around!”

I walked over to the bar, and ordered a fresh glass of champagne, then found an empty tall table to lean against. My eyes followed Lukas’ blonde locks, his head ways taller than most guests in the room. I watched on as he hugged a group of girls, then bent forward to take a picture with them. This was no ordinary selfie either – he had a professional photographer following him around for the entire night.

I saw as the girl next to him wrapped her long, slim arms around his neck, and pressed a kiss to his cheek while they posed for another photo.

Taking a deep breath, I pulled out my phone, hoping to distract myself from the sudden ache in my chest.

Callie: How is the party going? Someone is doing an Instagram live! I don’t see you there.

Callie: Holy shit, the guys look smashing!

Callie: GET YOUR MAN LONDON OR ANOTHER BITCH WILL!

Ginger: Aren’t you out with friends, C? Leave her alone.

Me: Party’s ok. Just met Jay Rodriguez.

Unsurprisingly, that piqued Callie’s interest.

Callie: Is he as cute in person as he is on that AWFUL show? He’s the only reason I’m still watching that pile of crap!

Me: I suppose so.

Callie: You’re so full of it… He’s hot af isn’t he?

Ginger: London only has eyes for Lukas LaBelle. You should’ve learned that by now.

Callie: Yes, well, Lukas has five girls hanging off each finger right now! He didn’t even ask her to be his date!

Ginger: None of the guys brought dates.

Callie: Brian did!

Ginger: Yes. His wife.

Callie: And your point? Whatever. I’m going to sleep early – I have a barre class in the morning. Gotta lose my stomach fat if I want to be featured in next year’s Sports Illustrated!

Ginger: You don’t have stomach fat!

Callie: Do too.

Ginger: You want to see a pouch? Come over!

Callie: I don’t drink punch. I’m now swearing off alcohol until the summer season is over. Out!

Ginger: I swear I don’t get why we’re still friends with her. Good luck, London! I’m out too-

I slipped my phone back into my clutch. Great, even my friends were giving me no other option but to socialize.

Just as I was about to head to the ladies’ room, and stall a little in there, an old friend walked up to me. “Nice seeing you here, London!” Katya Mikhailov grinned down at me, her light silver eyes dancing with a mischievous glint as she took in my outfit. She was an old client of mine, and also Arielle’s best friend – plus now sister in law – and the reason why I’ve even gotten this job. “Who are you looking so hot for?” She asked, wiggling her brows.

I grinned, her personality putting me at ease immediately. “Myself, of course.”

She busted out laughing. “Bullshit! I’ve seen you with blondie curls, getting all cozy on the gossip sites!”

Join the club, I thought. Was there a single person in here who hasn’t seen me with Lukas LaBelle somewhere, and wondered if we were together or not?!

I thought not.

“I’m here as a fan,” I replied politely. Nikki would’ve been proud of me for that non-answer.

Katya chuckled. “Sure! A fan of that d – as you Americans so insensitively put it!”

I nearly spit into my champagne. Well, she wasn’t exactly wrong… “I’m not going to comment on that,” I said, clearing my throat again in hopes not choking.

“Because I’m right!” Katya shrugged nonchalantly. “It’s okay. Even I think he’s hot – and I’m very picky when it comes to my men.” Knowing Katya’s taste in partners, I would’ve agreed.

“So who is your date?” I asked, hoping to distract her enough to change the subject.

“For now? Emilia Beaudine.” She bit her lip, a mischievous smirk appearing on her blood-red lips. “But the night is still young.” I was just about to open my mouth to ask when she added. “We’re dating, but it’s a very open type of thing.”

I held up my hand. “It’s none of my business.”

Katya huffed in response. “If you’re waiting for me to say the same, you’re out of luck. I definitely want to know if you’re working for the blonde one, or you’re working him.”

We laughed in unison, but I quickly sobered up as I spotted Lukas posing with yet another girl – who I knew for a fact walked the Victoria’s Secret runway last year. “Regardless, I came alone.”

Katya nodded in understanding. “He’ll be sorry when he sees you looking like that. Another round?”


Katya and I sampled through the four different champagne they served, ranging from bone dry to sickeningly sweet. I decided that I liked the sweet ones best, while she said they just about made her hurl. At some point, Arielle came by to check on us and warned her best friend not to make any hasty moves while there are so many cameras around.

Meanwhile, the four men of Hazmat worked the crowd, stopping by to take pictures with just about everyone. They mingled for what felt like an eternity, and I watched pretty girl after gorgeous supermodel press up against Lukas’ side for a selfie.

“Hot damn, Miss Grey!” A low whistle sounded from behind me, and I turned around to nearly walk into not one, but two solid walls. “You pulled out all the stops tonight!” Jesse complimented, taking my hand and spinning me around so he could take a better look at me.

His brother stood to the side, his eyes scanning the people around us. “Where are your two sidekicks tonight?” Ash wondered in that impossibly deep, raspy voice of his that really put the band on the map.

“It’s just me,” I said awkwardly, thrown off by the weird aura surrounding the lead singer. “You guys look great too – and I’m excited to finally hear the album!”

Jesse winked. “Well, you’re in for a treat tonight. We’ve been working really hard to make this night special.” His voice trailed off with an intimate suggestion, as he stepped closer to me. “May I have a picture with the lady?”

I grinned. There was something about Jesse that always put everyone around him at ease. Instead of having a big head like the rest of the guys tended to, he always made sure to make everyone around him feel the love. I melted into his side, enjoying his strong hold as we posed for the camera. After a few shots, Ash joined in, posing with the two of us, before Katya was invited too.

“I heard you’re crazy in bed. I definitely want a picture with you!” She announced, grabbing onto Ash and pulling his face down for a chaste kiss.

Jesse laughed. “There’s a blonde woman with murder in her eyes heading this way. She belongs to you, Ash?”

“Nope.” Katya sighed, wiping her mouth. “She’s all mine! Enjoy the night, boys!” She waved over her shoulder, before being swept away by her beautiful date.

“Damn.” Jesse groaned, looking after her with an amused expression. “That’s what I call a nice turn of events.”

Ash shrugged. “She’s off the table anyways. I know her brother.” No sooner than the words left his mouth did three girls bounce up to him, asking for a picture. One blatantly pressed her enormous tits against Ash’s chest, while the other two crunched by their feet, showing off their round bottoms.

I turned back to Jesse, who barely gave them a second look. “Are you having fun?”

I took a swing of my drink before replying. “Sure!”

Jesse laughed. “Well, the night is still young.”

That was the second time I heard that phase tonight, and it made me wonder, just how much can change in a matter of minutes.

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