Strung

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Chapter 40. - Uncertain

*London*

Four. I’ve had four more days to try and spend with Lukas before the tour. I felt the days tick by as if they were a bomb strapped to my chest, that could go off if I wasn’t looking. I was running out of time. Kicking all inhibitions to the side, I was the one who called him this time.

He picked up on the fourth ring, sounding out of breath. “Medellin, dear. What can I do for you?”

The teasing tone of his voice brought an instant smile on my face. “The question is, what can I do? I want to see you today.”

“With our without clothes on?”

I bit down on my lower lip, my heartbeat kicking up a notch. “Preferably in that order. But I’ll take what I can get.”

Last night, my outing with Jesse went without a hitch. Behind the privacy of the gates, there were no photographers, and the party was discreet too - already crawling with celebrities who wanted to spend a night enjoying themselves, away from the spotlight. The incident-free event gave me the kick in the butt I needed to repress the urge to stay hidden away.

“Hmm.” Lukas hummed, the sound sending shivers down my spine in the most delicious way possible. “I like the way you’re thinking. I’ll pick you up at six.”

“See you then.” I whispered, my throat closing in as I held back the other three words I wanted to say to him. This wasn’t the time! I reminded myself. “Have a good practice.”

“See you then, Salvador.” I lowered the device from my ear and was just about to hang up when I heard him add. “Oh and-” I lifted my phone again. “-wear something sexy for me.”

I laughed, before pushing the red button that disconnected our call. I wanted to tease him, and thought about putting on my old, ratty sweatpants and my high school PE shirt - but then thought better of it.

He was Lukas fucking LaBelle. And tonight, I was going to make him forget his own name.

Still grinning from ear to ear like a lovesick fool, I lifted my phone once more, dialing the only person I knew would be able to help me with this. And she answered on the first ring. “Callie, I need you to find me the sexiest piece of lingerie that ever existed.”

My best friend basically giggled in delight. “Oh, London! You can’t imagine how long I’ve been waiting for you to say that!” Callie sighed. “I’ll be over in an hour. Get ready to break some hearts tonight!”


With Callie’s help, I transformed into a butterfly - quite literally. The lingerie she picked out was royal blue with canary yellow mixed in it. And while I had my doubts initially, the colors perfectly complimented my features and the bodice hugged me in all the right places, shaping my body to look curvier and more feminine. The high-waisted thong made my legs appear longer, and I felt like a goddess when I looked in the mirror.

She stayed long enough to apply a little makeup on me, and after picking out a navy blouse and black jeans, my best friend informed me that Lukas LaBelle would be insane not to fall in madly in love with me.

At five forty-five, I was nervously tapping my fingers on the kitchen counter, sipping on my already cold tea, when my mom entered the room. “Are you going out tonight?” She asked, her warm brown eyes shining as she looked me up and down.

“Yes. He’ll pick me up soon.” I didn’t have to clarify who ’he’ was, as he was a present entity the better half of my adult life.

“Do you want to talk about it?” My mom asked, pouring a cup full of steaming tea into a mug. When I lifted a brow, she nodded down at my hand. “The reason why you are anxious.”

I paused my drumming and straightened. “It’s the tour.”

“What about the tour?” She asked, her voice light and casual, her tone nonchalant, but I knew that she was really listening to me.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen to us, mom,” I admitted, feeling my stomach tighten as the words left my mouth. The thought of Lukas leaving and our already rocky relationship fizzling out terrified me, but somehow putting it out there to the universe made the possibility even more real. “I’m scared that we won’t make it.”

My mom’s dark eyes stayed on me for a second. “Why don’t you just ask him?”

I laughed, the sound bitter. “Ask him what, mom?”

“If he is as serious about this as you are. Despite not wanting to put labels on it initially, you’re in deep enough that you deserve to know.” I shook my head, but she went on. “I think that by voicing your feelings, you’ll find that he feels very similarly. He just might think that you already know it.”

She set her mug on the counter and took a step toward me, her hand resting on my shoulder.

“London, sweetheart.” She began, her tone serious. “Romance novels are all about grand gestures, where the hero proves his undying love to the heroine - and that’s all good and well. But in real life, it often doesn’t happen that way. Men are simple creatures, London. He might not voice his intentions out loud - he will show you.”

I clenched my eyes shut, taking a deep breath.

“How does he make you feel, sweetheart?”

I shook my head. “Easy for you to say these things. Dad loves you.”

My mom laughed. “Your father wouldn’t look me in the eye the first few times we’ve met!” She admitted, her gaze dreamy as she remembered. “He talked to everyone else in the group, except for me, and when it came down to the boys and girls grouping up, he chose someone else.”

My eyes widened as I looked at my romantic, grander than life mother, who only shrugged.

“Love doesn’t always come easy. It took time for us to find each other - and only months after circling around one another did we finally admit to having a crush on each other.”

“I never knew about this!”

Mom chuckled. “Of course not! When recounting a love story, no one highlights the struggles - but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.”

I was flabbergasted. My parents were my role models to how love should be - the perfect pair with a connection I only wished to experience one day.

“Your father and I live a good life, but it isn’t perfect. We’re just lucky enough to keep our problems private - only between us two. You have a very public relationship, on the other end.”

“So your advice is to just talk to him?!”

My mom nodded. “You’ll be surprised by how easily it resolves these issues you create in your head.” She shrugged. “Communication is the key to everything - I’ve always thought you and your brother that.”

“Well… We’ll see about that.” I trailed off, just as my phone buzzed with a message. “He’s here.”

My mom squeezed my shoulder one more time before she picked up my half-empty mug. “I’ll take care of this. You just have fun!” She winked, and I walked out of the house with a small smile on my face.


Lukas was leaning against the light blue vintage sports car, wearing tan pants, a white, fitted shirt, and a denim jacket. With his sunglasses lowered to check me out over the rim of them, he looked like a sexy, blonde James Dean, straight out of every girl’s fantasy.

“Holy shit…” I murmured to myself as I approached, concentrating on the step leading out of my parents’ house. Lukas made me weak in the knees, and the very last thing I wanted to do was fall on my face in front of him.

A slow grin spread across his handsome face as I approached, and he kicked himself up into a standing position when I got close enough. Lukas LaBelle picked me up, my feet dangling in the air as he tasted my lips, his big hands spread across my back.

I wound my arms around his neck, my fingers tangling into those blonde, silky locks, my eyes fluttering shut as I lost myself in the moment. “Do you think your parents are watching from a window right now?” He asked, pulling back slightly.

I grinned. “Don’t kid yourself! The entire neighborhood is watching us from their windows right now.”

Lukas chuckled. “Good!” He set me down on my feet and opened the passenger door. “M’lady.”

I lifted a brow at him. “No city name for me?”

He grinned, and I could almost picture the way his golden eyes danced behind those sunglasses. “I’m a few brain cells short around you right now. But don’t worry, the city names will come to me!”

I slid into the seat and Lukas rounded the car. I couldn’t help the way my eyes noticed the curve of his man-butt through the windshield that wasn’t the least bit tinted. Judging by the half smirk on his face, he could tell that I was checking him out as he roared the car into life.

Lukas rested a hand on the middle console, facing his palm up, and I entwined my fingers with his. An old, slow Hazmat song played on the radio, as I relaxed against the expensive leather seat. I didn’t question where we were going, or what he wanted to do today. I just let my body observe the waves of emotions that raced through me as his fingers kept drawing figures on the back of my hand.

I knew eventually I had to question him and where this was going - but on the very possible chance that he didn’t want to continue what we had, I wasn’t ready to face that disappointment yet.

I’d have had to do it soon - but not right now.

The garage to Lukas’ home opened and closed behind us. “I thought we could have dinner here.” He told me as he led me out to his backyard, where a small table filled with delicious food and fruits was placed in front of the swing we sat the first time he played his guitar just for me. “Are you hungry?”

“Starving,” I admitted although food wasn’t what was on my mind.

He helped me onto the wide swing, sat down next to me, and begun unwrapping a tasty looking sandwich. “I know it’s no burger, but I didn’t want to exhaust you too early on.” He handed me the sandwich and a small bag of chips. “How was your day?”

I shrugged, taking a small bite. “Uneventful. I’m locked up in my parents’ house, Lukas. It’s not like I’m living the dream.” My tone came out harsher than I intended, and from the corner of my eye, I watched as he cringed.

“I’m sorry, baby. You shouldn’t have to be holed up like that.”

“No, I’m sorry.” I sighed. “It’s actually not bad. I’ve had a lot more time to paint and draw, and do the things I’m normally too busy for when I’m working. I’m making a new bedside table for Callie, and I have a custom order for Arielle as well. It’s really not that bad.”

“It’s just temporary, I promise.”

Were we? I thought but kept my lips shut.

“We’ve been practicing the majority of the day, then had photo shoots an interviews pretty much every afternoon. Joint with our personal training sessions, it’s been kind of exhausting.” His voice softened. “A whole day locked up with you at home sounds like heaven to me right now.”

I smiled over at him. “I’m sure it’ll pay off. The new album is a huge success.”

Lukas nodded. “It is - and don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice when people appreciate our art. But at this point-” He trailed off, his golden gaze moving over to the ocean. “-I think it doesn’t mean as much as it used to.”

“Do you think it’s not challenging enough?” I questioned, surprised by his words. “Are you and the guys unhappy? Bored?”

Lukas shook his head. “No, I think it’s just becoming the norm. A routine - writing songs, then recording them, then the new album comes out, we go on tour, and then we do it all over again. We are lucky to get to do this, but sometimes I wonder if there’s something else out there. Something more.”

His eyes locked on mine and I understood what he meant. “The two are not mutually exclusive.” I whispered, lowering my sandwich. “You can have a life and the band. Lots of musicians do it.”

For a long heartbeat, he just held my gaze, without saying anything. Then, he let out the deep breath he was holding. “Of course. You’re right.” He said with a small chuckle that didn’t sound the least bit convincing. “How is the sandwich?”

“Very tasty, thank you.” I allowed him to guide us back into small talk, sensing he was done talking about the band and his most inner thoughts.

But despite understanding what he was upset about, I couldn’t help but think that there was something else going on. Something deeper he wasn’t sharing with me.

And the idea scared the shit out of me.

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