Strung

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Chapter 43. - Dark Hole

*London*

I told him I wasn’t feeling well. While sending the half-hearted text mad my stomach turn, it was better than the alternative - which was to face Lukas LaBelle and ask him how the fuck could he keep something like this from me?!

I was furious, confused, devastated, and fucking broken.

One moment, I was sneaking around on dates with the man of my dreams - the one I’ve fantasized about since I started getting boobs - and the next everything was ripped away. First my freedom, and now his.

And I had no idea how to fix any of it.

So instead, I resorted to what I always did in situations like these. I ran home and called my two best friends.


*Lukas*

London: I’m not feeling well. Went home. So sorry.

I frowned at my phone, reading the lines over and over until my silence became too obvious and Ash leaned over my shoulder. “She left your ass already?!” He snorted, his amusement ticking me off.

“Not funny, Ash,” I growled. She was just fine - smiling and helping Natalie out with the food. There wasn’t a single thing I could see wrong with her.

And suddenly, she just up and left?!

I pushed to my feet, heading in the direction of the house. But before I could step inside, Jesse blocked my path. “Where are you going? Is everything ok?”

“Not now, dude. Have you seen London?”

His expression changed at the mention of her name, his back straightening. “She left a few minutes ago. Said she was coming down with something.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Did she look like she was ‘coming down with something’?!”

Jesse shrugged, but wouldn’t meet my gaze. “I’m not the best judge of that. You know women, though! Mysterious, unpredictable creatures.”

I rolled my eyes. “Do you know of anything that would’ve made her leave? Was anyone mean to her? Maybe she saw something online?”

“Or maybe it’s just that time of the month.” When I shot him a murderous glare, he took a step back, raising his hands in the air in defense. “Or maybe she ate something bad and needed to lay down! How would I know?!”

Something in my gut was telling me Jesse was holding something back, but I didn’t push it. “Fine. I’ll just go find her, then.”

“Don’t bother - I got it!” Ginger, her redhead friend, pushed past me, hurrying through the door.

I aimed my stare at Jesse, who stood there with his hands shoved deep in his pockets. “Of course, you couldn’t have stopped her!”

His dark gaze met mine. “Don’t put this on me, Lukas. You want to talk to her? Call her. But she obviously needs some alone time right now.”

“Alone time is all she will get once we leave on tour!” I snapped, raising my voice at one of my closest friends. “I have three fucking days left with her and I just lost one of them.”

I moved around him, and before he could reach an arm out to stop me, I added. “Don’t worry. I’m not going after her. I’m going home.” I snorted when his body relaxed, letting me pass.

It was becoming harder to trust anyone these days.


*London*

I woke up with swollen eyes and dry cheeks. My throat felt tight, head heavy and my heart broken in pieces, laying next to the empty bottles of wine on the floor. I rolled out of bed, nearly pushing Callie off as I went. “Sorry.” I murmured under my breath as I headed to the bathroom.

I groaned when I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror. It was worse than I thought.

I looked like a shell of myself. My normally even, olive skin now had an unflattering tint of grey. My bright brown eyes looking washed out with the red around them. My hair looked dull and flat.

Lifeless and devastated were the first two words that came to mind when the girl in the mirror looked back at me.

The girls came right over, and I proceeded to spill everything - despite promising Jesse otherwise - and told them all about the contract, the decision, the band possibly breaking up. I told them how exhausted I was of hiding out, of life passing by on the outside, while I hid behind walls, terrified of being chased or criticized. I confessed to being too scared to open up my social media accounts because I could just tell the kind of shit people were saying about me would crush me.

I admitted that I was bored and uninspired, and the mere thought of drawing left me in hives because all I wanted to draw and paint was him.

I rearranged my whole life around a person who would either have to throw me away or everything that he has built over the last eight years.

And worst of all, no matter which one he chose, I wasn’t sure how I was going to live with it.


I did my best to pull myself together. I showered, dressed, and ran a comb through my hair. I applied a little bit of makeup, went to join my best friends, who were already in the kitchen.

“Here,” Ginger pushed a steaming mug of coffee in front of me. “You’re going to need this.” Her voice was raspy and sounded as tired as I felt.

“Your mom left for a yoga class and your dad is at work.” Callie said in an equally exhausted voice. “Which is why I can tell you that the secret to a mean hangover, is to never have it.” She produced a beer from the fridge and popped the cap before handing it to me. “You girls are lucky I don’t have any shoots today. Any self-respecting makeup artist would slap me for the bags that I have under my eyes.”

“What should we do today?” Ginger asked, looking at me for an answer.

“Let’s get facials,” Callie suggested, pointing at her perfect porcelain skin. “I need to refresh myself.”

“Splash some water on your face then!” Ginger snorted. “I’m going to make some pancakes. You guys want any?”

“Ah! Sugar!” Callie sighed. “Sure, might as well just lose my figure too while we’re at it. Pile it on for me.”

Her overdramatic comment nearly made me smile, but I caught myself. “I think I’ll just go back to sleep.”

“No the fuck you won’t!” Ginger snorted, shaking her head. “I won’t have you all depressed here when it’s a beautiful day out there. Take a seat and drink your coffee. Or your beer.”

She turned back to the stove, flipping on the radio as she got to work. ‘Coffee’ by Hazmat came on, and the three of us groan anonymously.

“My bad!” Ginger switched the station where an old country classic played. “Much better.” She nodded, refocusing on her task ahead.

“Don’t you have classes today?” I asked, suspicious. Ginger was always either studying or at the lab. Out of the three of us, she was probably the hardest to reach, despite being the only student.

She shrugged. “I can miss once. This is my first and only absence for the semester.” Then, she added. “Besides, it’s not every day that my best friend may or may not get dumped by the most famous guitarist in the world. I think the board would understand.”

“Of course I’m getting dumped!” I groaned. “It’s just a matter of time. I’m not worth all that.

“Don’t!” The spatula made a loud noise as it connected with the counter, where Ginger dropped it. “Don’t you ever dare say that again!” She warned, stepping closer so she could lean into my face. “You are worth everything. And if Lukas LaBelle can’t see that, then he’s a fool.”

“I have to agree with her there.” Callie nodded.

“He deserves someone… better. More.”

“Who the fuck is better than you?!” Ginger snorted. “You’re smart, an entrepreneur, a once-in-a-lifetime artist. You’re nice as shit and you’re loyal. Not to mention your cute little body… Anyone would be lucky to have you, and that includes him.”

“Again, I agree.” Callie set her beer down on the counter and turned her body toward mine. “Besides, if you were faced with the same choice - you’d go with him.” My stomach tightened.

I would. She was absolutely right.

“So if he’s not willing to make the same choice for you, then he’s the one who is not worth it.” She concluded, looking smug. “I personally would wait out these two days, and let him make his moves. You’ll find out everything eventually.”

Ginger set a plate of pancakes in front of me, dripping in sweet syrup. “And if all goes to shit, you’ll always have us.”

I forced a small smile on my face. I knew I was luckier than most to have two such amazing girls in my life. But at the end of the day, not even they could fill a Lukas LaBelle sized hole in my life.

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