My hair hurt. How the hell I knew my hair hurt was beyond me, but I had no doubt as I rolled over in the bed and now both my hair and my head hurt. My teeth hurt. And I think even my spleen hurt although I didn’t even know where it was in my body. If I knew, it would still hurt.
I hadn’t been this hungover since my freshman year of college when I woke up in a frat house full of bad thoughts and regret. This might not be as bad. Scanning the room, I saw Logan dressed in the same clothes as yesterday sleeping in the chair by the desk. His head rested on his arms folded in front of him on the desk in a fully uncomfortable sleeping position. Glancing down, I made sure I was dressed. At least we didn’t hook up.
But I did throw myself at him, unable to escape the night without some regret.
How could I proposition the same guy who betrayed our friendship just hours before? The anger still seethed inside of me but was it directed at the right person? Brandt did the dirty deed regardless if he knew about it. And Logan did defend me from the asshole at the bar. The thought made me smile. He really did scare the shit out of that guy and all he had to do was put a hand on his neck making me wonder what would have happened if the guy had resisted. Logan was built like a mastodon.
Slowly, I worked my way to the edge of the bed, knowing the urge to pee would only get worse if I ignored it, but the jackhammer poked away in my head making standing up straight harder than it should be. Getting up, I inched my way quietly to the bathroom when I heard him, “Are you feeling alright?”
Wincing at the annoying disco going on in my head, I answered but hesitated to turn around for fear of what I looked like. “Ah, actually?”
He gave a small chuckle, “Yeah.”
“I feel like a shit sandwich warmed under the baking sun.”
"Ohhh. That bad.”
Unable to escape the inevitable, I turned around. “Yeah and I really have to pee.” And then I smacked my lips together, “And brush my teeth and probably down a bottle of aspirin.”
“What?” He smiled and it was a shame he looked so cute in the morning with his curly hair a little bit more unruly while his view consisted more of a deranged headcase.
“Ibuprofen will work better. And greasy food. I need to take you out for some greasy food.”
“Oh really? I had four years of college. You would think I would be able to manage a hangover on my own.”
“If anything, living with rock stars has taught me the best way to kill a hangover. Try it my way. It can’t hurt any more than it already does.” I laughed and it felt like the disco party turned into an all-out brawl. It hurt so much I winced and laughed at the same time.
“Go ahead and take a shower. I have ibuprofen in my suitcase. Let me get it and then I can jump in the shower after you are done. We can get some breakfast as soon as I am through.” He was being so nice it made me wonder if it had been an attempt to preserve some of my dignity by making like nothing happened last night. It sure would help me out as I already felt like crawling into a hole in mortification at my actions while under the influence.
Logan evidently wasn’t interested in a self-absorbed princess. The ride back to Green Bay would be hard without him oblivious to the crush I had on him ever since the beginning of the summer. When he took the time to help me with the twins I fell for the kind, patient man he was but knowing he didn’t feel the same way about me hurt. Well, I needed to lick my wounds and get over it. Put it on the long list of shit going wrong in my life.
True to his word he had pills waiting for me after I got out of the bathroom with a large bottle of water. Taking a quick shower on his end, we headed out on the street searching for a close restaurant. We walked down to a diner a couple of blocks over and were able to get seated right away before the lunch crowd ambled in. Sliding into the smooth vinyl booth, I grabbed a menu and occluded my face while keeping up the small talk. I was sure the bags under my eyes would scream booze flu to the people surrounding our table. After ordering the suggested greasy food, I pounded down another glass of water and a pot of coffee before I felt human again. By the time the food came, Logan acted a little uncomfortable, but it wasn’t until he mentioned the interview I figured out why. I made him feel guilty.
“You would have gotten that job regardless of Brandt talking to the owner.”
I sent a questionable glance his way. “It was always a long shot. They were never going to hire me without experience. I really had nothing to offer them.”
“That is wrong. I saw what you did to prepare for that interview. You really went over and above to impress them.”
“Well, it didn’t matter.” I shrugged and my face fell but I didn’t want his pity, so I tried to cover it up with my coffee cup.
“There is always Boeing.” His optimism was almost as bad as pity.
“Boeing. Yeah, right. That one is probably rigged to.”
He shook his head, “No, you heard Chelsea. She could get you the interview, but you had to get the job on your own merit. You know Chelsea can’t lie.”
I smirked knowing what a shit liar she was, “I guess.”
Logan’s face lit up, his optimism infectious despite my sour mood, “I know you will get that one if you put half as much effort into it as you did Sundown.”
The warmth of his enthusiasm sank like an anchor in water when I thought of Brandt interfering in my next interview too. Chelsea may not call but Brandt might. “Not if my brother takes it upon himself to call that company too.”
“You should talk to him. Tell him how this made you feel.”
“Yeah, you are probably right. It is just hard. I don’t want to disappoint him. We weren’t always so close. I mean, I tried when I was younger. I used to follow him around, but the age difference made it difficult for him to accept a little sister as his shadow. Yet he was the only one who could chase away my nightmares. They were so intense and vivid I couldn’t sleep after having one, but he would lay on the floor of my room and tell me he would protect me. It was the only way I could fall back asleep. He was always so good to me, but when he started to get older, he didn’t like having the little sister around. Really, it hadn’t been until Chelsea came into his life that we started to get close again and I don’t want to mess that up.”
Logan opened his mouth to say something but then closed it in thought. He knew what a driving force Brandt could be when he put his mind to it. Would he understand if I didn’t accept his help to get a job? “I still would rather do it on my own though, but even if Brandt didn’t interfere, he is still too famous, and the company is bound to find out. Do you know what it is like to be exploited only because you are Brandt’s sister? To be used only to get close to him?”
Logan’s boisterous laugh startled me, “Yeah, well, anyone ever offer to blow you just to get close to him? Welcome to my life for the last four years.” The minute the words flew from his mouth he wanted to shove them back in making the unexpected outburst cute on his horrified face.
“I guess I don’t understand that part of it.” When I laughed at his expression, he blushed a deep shade of red making him appear more like a boy instead of the man he was to become. A man who would go away to the army and harden, forgetting me in the wake of better and more exciting experiences, so I needed to be smart about my crush on him.
Covering for his embarrassment, I met awkward situation for awkward situation, explaining my recent breakup with Erik. It was hard admitting I fell in love only to discover the real reason for him dating me. Surely after Brandt helped to get him signed he would dump me to go after the easier female fans. In turn, Logan confessed his discomfort of being used by groupies, how he felt sorry for them, lowering themselves for their fifteen minutes of fame only to end up being ashamed in the end. Brandt had kept that part of the touring life from me although I read enough of the stories about the other guys in the band. Social media made it hard for me to ignore it.
After the satisfying greasy breakfast, I started to feel better, and we took our time walking back to the hotel in the warm August afternoon. I felt guilty about keeping him from visiting his parents. Only having a couple of days to visit with them I insisted he leave and let me figure out my next move. We made it outside my hotel room door when he asked me, “So, what are you going to do now?”
Sighing, I considered my options, each more depressing than the other. “I guess I will just tell Brandt I didn’t want the job and hope the Boeing job comes through.” Not the only regret in the last day, I had to talk to him about my recent slip-up. “Logan, I am really sorry about last night.” Only a good guy like him would come back to make sure I was all right even after I yelled at him.
“Don’t be. You were upset.”
Did his statement account for my carelessness in general or the fact I threw myself at him? To be fair he did ask me what I wanted, and I wanted him since the beginning of summer. But we weren’t on the same level. He didn’t find me attractive, so I swallowed my pride and apologized for it all hoping he could find the humor in it. “It wasn’t fair to throw myself at you like a... groupie. I hope we can still be friends even though I sort of have a crush on you.” Lowering my eyes, I felt the heat of my own blush rise to the surface.
“You don’t understand how hard that was on me.” Taking a chance, I raised my eyes to his. The steel blue orbs scrutinized me as he talked, “It was hard for me to tell you no. Not because I don’t think you are beautiful, but you weren’t sober. And if you ever kiss me again, don’t expect me to stop it.” He didn’t smile, and he definitely didn’t grin. In fact, his heated stare bloomed hope inside of me.
As if in slow motion, I got on my tiptoes and pressed my lips to his.