“The new bus has real marble tile in the bathrooms. Kali will be able to store all of her shoes in the walk in closet,” Silas said, his voice dripping with the confidence he was known for, “you know how she gets when she can’t store her shoes properly. Now the problem is solved.”
First world problems, right? How many pairs of Christian Louboutin heels can one girl fit on an over the top, luxury tour bus? The answer: exactly thirty six.
Why do I always agree to go with him to these things? I have better things to do! Don’t I? I bit the inside of my cheek as I contemplated that question. Unfortunately, not one ‘better thing’ came to mind. But I knew that Silas wanted me there next to him, and I liked to support my sisters.
Tomorrow, my famous, pop star sisters, were heading off on the North American leg of their tour to promote their brand new album. Silas claimed that tonight was about meeting with everyone involved, and getting on the same page regarding the tour details. Yet, I knew he just liked to flash his credit card around, spending way too much on teeny tiny portions of ‘gourmet’ food and red wine that tasted like dirt.
I was bored. My sisters hadn’t even arrived yet, so it was just me and about half a dozen men including record execs and tour crew members, seated around a large rectangular table in a private room of a swanky restaurant.
So when a few new people joined us, I gave a quiet sigh of relief. Maybe these people would talk about something interesting like last weeks’ episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or whether Carole Baskins really killed her husband.
A woman with a bright smile approached me, offering me her hand. “Hi darlin’! I’m Roxy, manager for Chase Adler. And you are?”
“I’m Sophie, it’s nice to meet you,” I replied, feeling unusually at ease by her friendly demeanor and sweet southern accent.
“Wow, look at your eyes. They’re gorgeous!” Roxy beamed, and I decided in that moment that I liked her already. She exuded a warmth and sincerity that was rare to find. Normally I was weary of women paying me compliments this early on because too often, they were backhanded, but not with this woman. She was genuine.
“Thank you, you’re too sweet.”
Just then, a man stepped out from behind Roxy, and I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.
“Chase, would you look at her stunning blue eyes,” Roxy said, but her words didn’t quite register with me because I was too busy staring at the man in front of me. He stared back at me, looking just as surprised as I felt.
I knew this man. I recognized him.
Though months had passed, I would never forget a face like his. Those deep blue eyes and sculpted jawline that bore the perfect amount of stubble. Plus, his thick head of hair that was styled to look like he’d just rolled out of bed. Yum.
And his smile. Don’t even get me started on that smile, the one he was flashing at me this very second.
If I hadn’t been sitting next to my boyfriend of seven years, I may have melted into a puddle at this handsome man’s feet.
“You do have stunning eyes. It’s very nice to see you, Sophie,” he said, while extending his hand to me and keeping his gaze locked on mine.
The way he said it was nice to see me and not meet me, told me that he recognized me as well. That realization had my entire body buzzing with anticipation. For what? I had no idea.
When our hands met, the first thing I noticed was the roughness of his hands. It was such a contrast to Silas’ smooth skin. I couldn’t help but prefer Chases’ calloused, worked over hands, probably made that way from hours of playing the guitar.
“I’m Chase. I’ll be opening for the HartBreakers." His low voice was smooth and sexy, and he took a seat across from me at the table.
What were the odds that this stranger I’d met so many months ago was the opening act for my sisters? I tried to wrap my head around that quickly, but got distracted from the startling way by entire body was reacting to this man. My skin felt aflame.
I was abruptly jolted back to reality when Silas spoke from the seat next to me. “Good to see you again, Chase.”
"You as well."
Chase looked from Silas, and then to me. He held his gaze to mine, and our eyes locked briefly. That was when I started to feel guilty for my intense attraction him. What was wrong with me? How would I feel if Silas was sitting next to me, ogling some random woman he’d met one time? I needed to stop this.
I did everything in my power not to look back at him, which was difficult with him right in my line of view. I focused down at my hands, or at my glass of wine, but the heat of his gaze was intense.
“The girls are late. I’m sure they have a good reason,” Silas announced, exuding confidence yet again.
A short while later, my sisters pranced into the restaurant like they had no idea they were over twenty minutes late. With Kali taking ages to get ready, and Lennox and her laid back attitude, it was not uncommon for meetings with my sisters to start late.
“Hi everyone,” Kali said, her self assured attitude on display.
She was all dolled up, just like I expected, wearing a long sleeved, low cut crop top and a pair of tight black jeans. And, of course, her standard six inch stilettos that she walked in with such ease I couldn’t help but be envious. If I tried to walk in heels like that, I would surely find myself face to face with the ground.
“Sorry we’re late. Kali had a fashion emergency,” Lennox offered a sweet smile.
She also looked the part of teen pop star, in a trendy black top that accentuated her perfect cleavage, paired with dark red leggings and sky-high heels.
Silas was standing. In fact, he stood as soon as the girls entered the room. This was always how it was with him. If my sisters had been seated at thrones, he would be bowing down to both of them.
“Girls, you made it. Have a seat. We just ordered appetizers,” he said.
Always the center of attention, my sisters sat down and started chatting away, bringing excitement to the once dull room. People were naturally drawn to the pair of them who fed off each other’s outgoing energies. They were both beautiful, talented, and young - only seventeen and nineteen. I’d often thought they were too young for so much fame and money. I worried it would damage them in some way.
Breaking me from my thoughts, Kali’s peppy voice filled the room.
“I am so excited for you to be on tour with us,” she announced, looking seductively at Chase under thick lashes that I knew were 100% not natural.
“And I’m looking forward to it,” he replied, with a slightly more reserved smile than what he flashed me earlier. I was relieved to see that not every man instantly fell for her flirtatious charisma.
With a cheeky wink and a light laugh, Lennox looked at Chase. She was quick to add her thoughts on the matter. “You’re going to be a real crowd please, I can tell already.”
Lennox was a flirt, for sure, but she was also so sweet that her flirting appeared subtle and innocent. Kali was the opposite. There was nothing subtle about the way she flirted. She would zone in on someone until she got what she wanted from them. I’d seen many men fall victim to her charms.
Chase looked nervous, but managed a laugh at Lennoxs’ comment, “Well, thank you.”
I felt Silas’ arm slink around my waist.
“Babe, what will you have for dinner?” He asked, then quickly continued, “let me guess, you haven’t decided yet?”
His comment garnered laughter from Kali and Lennox. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t find it funny at all.
“Why do you even bother asking, Silas? You know Soph can’t make up her mind about anything,” Kali said, flashing me a smug grin.
Really? This is happening now? We’re at a business dinner for fucks’ sake.
I could feel my cheeks burning up as I stared at the menu in shame. I hated that they weren’t wrong about me, but tonight I felt the need to prove them wrong.
“I already know what I’m having,” I replied curtly, then shut the menu, setting it aside with confidence that I hope didn’t look as fake as it felt.
“Atta girl, Soph,” Lennox said, always quick to have my back.
“What are ya’ll doing giving this sweet girl a hard time?” Roxy asked.
“Oh, if you knew Sophie, you’d understand why,” Kali scoffed.
She smirked at me and I wanted to punch her too-tanned, too-contoured face. She was my sister, yes, but sometimes she was a real ass hat. Sometimes I didn’t even know how we were related by blood.
“Can we change the subject, please?” I begged, trying to bring the attention away from myself.
But, the brat wouldn’t let it go. She looked towards the entire group of people seated at the table, amusement lacing her next words. “Sophie decided she wanted to be a photographer, then a teacher. Then, she tried law. What was your latest endeavor, Sophie?”
Endeavor? That ’s a big word for someone with such a small brain.
Kali raised an eyebrow at me in a mocking fashion. Why did she insist on embarrassing me in front of strangers? Silas should have been standing up for me.
I could feel Chase studying me, and my embarrassment picked up a beat.
I let my eyes travel to his for a brief moment, and I remembered the day we met. It had taken me weeks to get him out of my head. I knew nothing about this man, but something about him drew me in. It was true the day we met, and it's still true now, months later.
To make matters more complicated, he was going to be sharing a tour bus with my sisters. And my boyfriend. And me.
I was screwed.
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