Chapter Twelve - Charlie’s POV
We had arrived back at the house and I was still blown away by what Brad had done. I must have been lost in my thoughts as I was brought around by Brax kneeling in front of me and rubbing my legs. When I shook my head and focused on his face, I apologised and asked him to repeat his question. "Did you want to go out for dinner? Just the two of us? We always sit here with the band, I thought it would be nice to have some us time before we got on the road again."
Of course I loved the idea, he need not have doubted that, and after agreeing Brax took my hand and led me outside for a joint with the band. Once we grabbed a seat Mark had asked how the morning went. "Really good bro, they have some great tunes they are working on at the moment. I even wrote a verse for one of their new releases."
The band seemed surprised and started firing questions at Brax while I looked on with nothing but pride in my eyes. This was my man, and he had given me something so special today, that could never be taken from me. Brax told the others they would be dropping in tonight so hopefully the demo would be ready to hear. "Nice work mate, that will definitely be a good start and selling point for the tour." Marcus raised his beer bottle to me as he said it, indicating to take note. Two steps behind dad, I am all over that.
"If it works out well, it might not be a bad idea to cut a track with them for our next release?" Brax liked that idea when Chester mentioned it and told him to bring it up tonight with the rest. I took the joint off Brax while he was busy chatting and lit it up.
After a few drags I passed it to Kendall as asked if she knew what time Mace arrived? When she said it was later this evening I had hoped we would be back in time and expressed that. I mentioned to Kendall that we were heading out on our own tonight for dinner. "Good for you babe, you two need the time, especially before we hit the road again."
"Actually, when we went to the studio today let's just say, I probably owe him more than just dinner." I saw Kendall practically jump in her seat as she said to spill the details. I turned to see what the guys were doing before deciding this was a conversation better had inside. I signalled to Kendall to follow me and offered to grab everyone a drink while we headed inside.
The boys all went with a beer, I was thankful as I didn't want Brax to have too much before we went out tonight and as we left I heard him and Liam talking about Mace's arrival also. As we got in the kitchen I asked Kendall what she was having and when we both agreed on coffee, I turned the machine on before coming back to the kitchen island so we could talk.
Kendall's face when I showed her the photo I had taken of the lyrics Brax wrote for me, I am sure mirrored much of my own today when I first found out about it. "You guys are too fucking perfect, I swear to god. This is the romantic thing ever, and it's so unique to you guys."
"Believe me babe, it blew me away. I didn't see this coming, nor did I expect it." When Kendall asked what I did, I had to choke back a laugh.
My face must have given it away as she pressed on. "Oh no! Your face is priceless. Spill it, what did you do?"
"We may have ended up naked in the recording studio." I shrugged my shoulders trying to be casual, but I could feel the heat radiating off my cheeks.
"No! Babe that is so hot! But also, what were you guys thinking? There are cameras everywhere in there." My face immediately fell as I looked at her in shock asking what cameras. Okay, so I work for a record label, but I don't spend that much time in the studios, unless I am asked to go in and take photos. "All those recording studios have cameras, microphones etc. That is why they are called recording studios."
"Shit! I didn't even think about that, I just got caught up in the moment. Oh my god!" I started to freak out, I could feel the panic washing over me like a tidal wave, as I did the one thing I always do when this happens. "BRAX!"
"Oh my god woman! Why are you screaming?" I told him to shut up and hurry, it was important. I could see Brax shaking his head through the glass sliding doors as he stood up and took a sip of his drink. Placing it back on the table he headed in and walked over to the kitchen bench staring me down. "Yes boss, you hollered?"
I heard Kendall chuckle next to him as Brax smirked at me. "Baby, do the recording studios have video cameras?" Brax looked at me for a moment, his brows knitted in confusion, before realising what I was referring to.
"Yeah of course they do babe. Every studio has video cameras and microphones."
The moment he said it, I was sent into a blind panic. "Jesus Christ Brax! Why! Why wouldn't you tell me? Oh my god! What are we going to do?"
Brax immediately lost it and started pissing himself laughing. "Okay, I can't. I am just stirring you babe. But seeing you have a full on freak out, I can't take it anymore."
"You fucking wanker, Brax!" Kendall and him both cracked up before I asked him if he was sure there were no cameras.
"Baby, I am positive. Yes, most studios do have them. Do you honestly think I did not look and check that out first?" I finally let go of the breath I had been holding when he looked at me quizzically. "So I am guessing Kendall knows what happened this morning then?" We both chuckled as I explained it came up by accident. "Of course. So does that mean I can. . ."
"NO!" Brax leaned over and gave me a quick kiss before he headed back outside. Kendall and I continued talking while we had our coffee before we joined the boys. After a while Brax said we should get up and get headed for dinner.
After getting showered, I asked Brax if he had decided where he wanted to go. When he mentioned he wanted a quiet night, somewhere lowkey, I suggested the local bar and bistro we passed on the way to the house.
We got ready and told the others we would see them when we got back from dinner, as Brax reminded them the Canadian boys could be here before we got back. After a ten minute drive, Brax came around and opened my door for me as we headed inside.
Opening the thick oak wooden doors he held it for me as I stepped through and thanked him. Not before I felt his hand come down and grab a handful of my ass. "Really Brax?"
"What? I love your ass." Shaking my head, I took his hand off my ass holding it with mine as we headed over to the waitress to be seated. After having a quick look over the menu I told Brax my order and he headed up, placed them and got me a glass of wine while he had a beer. We sat in the plush leather booths, close together, his arm wrapped tightly around my shoulder. It was nice being engrossed in nothing other than the company of each other, no voices chirping around.
It didn't take long for our meals to come out and the food was nice. It was just enough for what I needed and when Brax asked how my risotto was, I offered him some to try, as I enquired into his steak. "Really good babe. I needed it after all the pizza lately."
"Did you want to have another quiet drink or two here before we head back to the petting zoo?" I felt Brax's hand that was wrapped around my shoulder rub up and down my arm as he chuckled.
"I would love to. Although I have to ask, are you trying to get me drunk to take advantage of me?" I turned my body into his as my hand fell onto his leg, sliding closer up to his groin. I felt him adjust in the seat under my touch as I moved closer to his ear and asked if he would like me to? "Always." The moment he said it, I felt his fingers wrap around mine and slide my hand up over his crotch as I giggled and bit him on the ear.
"Behave, I'll be back with your drink in a minute." I kissed him on the neck before standing up and heading over to the bar to place our orders. We soon settled in the sports lounge. It was quiet and not full of people, and while dense with the smell of thick smoke and alcohol, neither of us seemed to mind too much, in exchange for this little hideout where no one knew us.
I had just finished my drink and went to head to the bathroom, so I offered to grab us one last drink before we went. I had placed the order and was waiting for our drinks when I heard someone say my name. My full name. "Charlotte, is that you?" I felt my body become rigid, every hair follicle prickled with goosebumps as the fear racked over my body. I slowly turned, willing it to not to be him. "I knew that was you. Wow, you really have grown up."
The bartender put our drinks down behind me, but I barely noticed. I heard him say my name again, the words tumbled slowly, methodically out of his mouth, each one wrapped in a thick London drawl. This was his speech, that heavy accent, it immediately set him apart from anyone else. The same voice that fuelled my adrenaline.
Trying to regain my composure, I slanted to the bar and took up our drinks, however as I turned to walk back to our table with them, Calvin towered over me, having stepped closer. At six foot four that wasn't hard for him to do. His regimented, almost military style buzz cut of gold locks, immaculately plastered to his head with too much gel, his overcompensated muscles that made up for his disgusting behaviour and that grimacing smirk. "Aren't you going to talk to me Charlotte?"
I stumbled on my words as I felt my hands start to shake, unable to make eye contact. "I. . .ahh, what are you doing here Calvin?" I could see our drinks rattling in my hands now as I started to sweat, the onset of panic visible.
"Ski season. I am here with friends, why don't you join me?" As he said that, he reached out to touch my arm and I instantly dropped the glass and bottle I was holding as I tried to retreat. The explosive sound of the glass shattering as it connected with the tiled floor made my own bones rattle, as the rest of the venue turned to look.
I snapped out of it as I turned and tried to apologise to the bartender. I fumbled, and didn't know what to say or do. Nothing would stop the trembling that had taken over my legs, arms and was spreading like a wildfire. It was when I felt Brax's hands on me, I mustered the energy I had left to grip on to him. "Cutie, are you ok? What happened, you're shaking?"
As I stumbled on my words and tried to explain, Calvin cut me off addressing Brax. "Excuse me, we were having a private conversation. Do you mind?"
"Actually I do. I am her partner, and I don't know what happened but I know something is wrong with her. Who are you anyway?" When he flatly replied Calvin, Brax asked if that was supposed to mean something to him?
I mustered what little breath I had and managed to quietly whisper his name. Brax looked down at me and instantly grabbed my hands, seeing them shaking uncontrollably. "Can we go?"
"Of course." Brax wrapped his arm around me protectively, and I noticed more than once he looked back at Calvin as he led us out to the car. Once we were in the safety of the vehicle he turned to me and I fell into his chest, burying my face as the tears took over. It was more than crying, it was the kind of desolate sobbing that comes from a person who truly sees their living fears. "Baby, please tell me what happened? What did he do? I will go in there right now and sort him out if I have to."
I tried shaking my head, promising Brax he did nothing. "No he didn't do anything tonight." Brax asked what I meant by tonight, and what was wrong. "That was Calvin."
"And who is Calvin?" He looked at me confused for a moment before I managed to whisper back to him who Calvin was. "That's him! That's the one your father tried to force on you?" All I could manage was a nod as the tears stained my cheeks in the cold dark night.