Later, in bed, Lein’s hands were carefully massaging Perion’s tense shoulders. “God, you’re wound up tight,” he said.
She sighed into the pillow. “I know. Besides Blaine making his unwelcome appearance, how did I do today?”
“You were great, I couldn’t keep my eyes off you. You’re a natural at this kind of stuff.”
She sighed again. “I wish.”
“You think he’s ever going to divorce you?”
“Probably when he can no longer hurt me or the band, he’ll give up. Of course, he’s waiting for money to come flowing in, too. If no money comes in, he’ll wait and wait and wait,” she said, groaning.
He stopped the massage, but remained leaning over her back. “Sorry I mentioned it, but I’m hoping against all hope that he’ll give up.”
He kissed a spot of flesh between her shoulder blades. “Sure. I love you and can’t stand to think of you attached to that jerk off. And for another thing, I might want to make an honest woman out of you some day or another.”
She smiled. “Are you thinking of proposing to me,” she asked, kidding.
At her teasing question, he blushed. He couldn’t believe it, he had actually blushed. It was something he hadn’t done since he was five-years-old and accidentally walked in on his mother changing clothes. “Well, yes...no...hell, I don’t know,” he stammered, then laughed nervously.
He shifted his body a little, allowing her to turn over to face him. “I’m not trying to put you on the spot, here,” she said, “I know what you mean. I hope he’ll let go soon, too. But I doubt he’ll do anything until he finds out what our debut is going to do.”
Lein kissed her gently and said, “You know, you’ve been coming over here every night. Aren’t you getting tired of carrying around an overnight bag? Why don’t you move some of your stuff over here? Better still, why don’t you move in?”
“You went from a possible marriage proposal to suggesting we shack up,” she said grinning, “damn, I thought it was supposed to go the other way.”
“You always manage to screw up my head, you know that,” he told her, not unkindly.
She laughed. “I know, but I liked how you put it. I thought a fine lyricist would speak a little more eloquently than that,” she teased.
“Do you or don’t you want to move in? That’s about as eloquent as it gets.”
She laughed again. “Oh my, turn me over and spank my fanny. How beautiful your words are!”
“Perion, I’m about to revoke the offer.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll stop messing with your head. I think moving in would be an excellent idea. I’d love to.”
“All right, all right,” he said softly. “I love you.”
She smiled gently. “Me too.”
The next morning, Perion was sleeping deeply until she felt a pair of hands shaking her. In her sleep, she thought it was her mother, and she began to slap the hands away, mumbling about not wanting to go to school. The shaking hands persisted and she came semi-awake. She remembered where she was. She was in California, not Arkansas. She wasn’t in her narrow bed in her old room, she was in a king sized bed with her lover, unless her lover was the jackass shaking her. When she opened her eyes and came fully awake, it wasn’t Lein’s smiling face hovering over her. Instead, it was a smiling trio of faces belonging to her band mates. Lein wasn’t in the room or bed.
Sleepily, she sat up, covering her nakedness with the bed sheet. “What are you doing,” she asked, yawning.
“Our debut is expected to hit the chart really high next week. It’s expected to hit number one in TWO weeks,” Syndi said breathlessly.
“Lein called us and got us down here so we could be together when you got the news,” Debi said happily.
Perion’s brain was still foggy. She didn’t quite comprehend what they had said. It took a few minutes for her to fully understand what they had told her. When it finally dawned on her, her blue eyes widened in shock. “Did I hear you right?”
“No shit, Peri,” Randi said laughing.
“He went to get a copy of Billboard. We’re one of the hot prospects of the week,” she squealed.
“Come on Peri, get your ass outta bed. We got some major shit to do today,” Randi said impatiently.
When Lein got back, Perion was dressed and pacing. She couldn’t believe what she’d heard. But the magazine confirmed what she’d been told. However, her happiness was short-lived. Even before the group had a chance to celebrate, Perion was hand delivered a letter from the desk of an L.A. lawyer. When she opened the envelope, she discovered that it was a petition for divorce on grounds of adultery. She was appalled to see that Blaine had demanded half of her assets and alimony even before she’d made any real money.
When Lein saw it, he said, “I hope you intend to counter sue on grounds of mental cruelty. I’m sure your friends can testify to that, I know I could, but they wouldn’t put me on the stand since I’m the reason behind the adultery.”
“Oh God, Lee, this is such a fucking mess.”
“Divorces almost always are,” he told her.
She threw the papers down. “I’m not going to let this ruin our celebration.”