"Morning, Ryn." His voice sounds hesitant.
"What's going on?" I look at my phone and see that it is barely 6 am.
I hear him take a deep breath and blow it out. "Look, I've tried as hard as I could to keep him away, but he is insisting that he works with you."
I sit up quickly. I'm wide awake now.
"Who?" I ask, even though I know exactly who he is talking about.
"Ric," He sighs.
"Why would he want to work with me? He's in LA. I'm not flying over there.''
"He is still in New York. He's been requesting you for the past few days. He is threatening to take both of us to court for breach of contract."
"Why the fuck is he still here? He can't do that. I can refuse to work with someone. He can't sue us!"
"Yeah, he can. In his contract, he can request the producer, and the producer has to have a legitimate reason not to work with him, and you being his ex doesn't qualify for a good reason."
"Damien, I can't" My voice is quiet.
"I know. I've tried everything I could, but he isn't budging. I wouldn't do this to you if I had a choice."
I pinch the bridge of my nose. That fucking dick. "Fine! When does he want to start to work?"
"Ugh. Is he at the studio?"
"I'll be there in an hour. I need to have Hanna come over. I'm not sure if she can because it's her day off." I sigh loudly.
"Bring them. I'll keep them in my office."
I sigh again. I don't really have a choice. I can't do that to Hanna. "Alright. I'll be there soon."
I hang up without waiting for his response.
"FUCK!!" I yell out. I will have to keep them far away from him. What's his game?
I get up and get ready and get the twins fed and dressed.
We make our way to the studio, and I tell them they get to hang out with their Uncle Damien. They seem happy about that.
I put on their hats and quickly usher them to his office. I hope no one saw them. It's early and a Sunday, so no one is really here.
I walk into the studio, and I try not to look pissed off, but I fail miserably when I see his dumb face. He smiles at me, and I glare at him.
"Let's just hurry and get this over with because I have shit to do today." My tone is bored.
His smile drops, and I smile inside. He must realize that I'm not happy to be here.
"Have you recorded the song?'' I don't even look at him.
"Nope." He pops his p.
"Lyrics? Melody?" I ask. I hope I don't need to help with that.
"Yeah. Both" I see him take a slight step towards me.
"Good. Get in the booth. I'll instruct you from there."
He nods his head and goes to the booth.
I take a deep breath. This is what I do. I can work professionally with this man who I still deeply love.
I put on my headphones and look at him through the glass. He is already looking at me.
"Let's try it all in one take, and if I need more or need something different, I'll let you know at the end."
He nods his head. I can tell that he is getting in the zone.
I start the music and check everything so he can sing. The melody is beautiful. I wonder if he wrote this.
I look back at him. He is still staring at me.
"This is for you." He says right before he starts to sing and turns back towards the mic.
I harshly wipe my tears and run out of the room. I head straight to Damien's office. I am breathing hard and crying. The twins see me, and they rush to hug me.
Damien doesn't say anything to me. He knows exactly what's wrong with me. I'm in here for a few minutes to compose myself. I look in the mirror and make sure I look alright. I look at Damien and nod at him. He nods back, and I head back into the recording room.
When I get back, Ric is sitting in front of the laptop. He hears me enter and turns, and looks at me. I can see the worried look in his eyes.
"Are you alright?"
"Yeah. I just needed to go to the bathroom. Sorry."
He looks at me like he isn't convinced but doesn't say anything else.
I take a seat next to him and start to edit the song. I can see from the peripheral that he keeps looking at me. I try my hardest not to look back at him.
I clear my throat. "Do you want to keep the beginning in this?"
"Yeah, it's important." His voice is low. It sends shivers, doesn't my spine. I nod my head.
"When I release this song, are you gonna release one too so you can top me?'' He lets out a slight chuckle.
I finally look at him and cock my head to the side. "What do you mean?''
He laughs a little bit. "Every time I release a single, you release one shortly after. Everyone calls it the battle of the exes, but your music is always better than mine."
"I don't keep track of when you release your singles, and I'm not in charge of when mine get released."
His eyebrows raise. "Have you heard any of my songs?''
"No. Do you listen to mine?"
"Every single one."
Now my eyebrows raise. I try not to sound too shocked. "Why?"
He shrugs. We stay silent, and it starts to get awkward.
I take a deep breath. "Look, if we are going to be working together, can we clear the air? Get everything out in the open so that we can be professional."
He looks like he wants to say no, but then he nods his head. I stare at him, but I realize that he isn't going to speak first. So I put my big girl panties on and decide to speak first.
I take another deep breath. "I don't know how or why you have that picture of Damien and me. From the looks of it, it was the day that I flew out to see you when you were on the road." I choke up a little, but I continue anyway.
"I didn't see Damien at all that day. I spoke to him in the morning to let him know that I wouldn't be in the studio that day. I don't know if you remember, but I had been feeling sick that past week, so you made me schedule a doctor appointment, and it was that day. I was there for most of the morning. Then I went back to ou-, I mean your place and went to the airport. You can ask Jason. I called him, and he scheduled my flight and everything. He arranged for me to go out there and see you." I pause for a moment to see if he wants to say or ask anything.
His brows are furrowed, but he doesn't say anything. so I take it as a cue to continue.
"After the uhm incident? At the hotel. I went back to your place and packed what I could, and went to a hotel for the week. I waited for you to call or text me to try to explain or apologize, but you didn't. After I called you to ask for my stuff and told me not to contact you anymore, I decided to move here. I didn't want to run into you or see you at the studio. It was also tough to hear about your new relationship when ours had just ended. When I got here, Damien came and convinced me to release a single to make more money. I didn't know he released them right after your singles. I hardly paid attention to any of that. So I'm sorry if you think that I was trying to compete with you. It wasn't my intention."
I feel my hot tears running down my face. I wipe them away and take a deep breath. I look at Ric and see that his eyes are glistening.
We just stare at each other for what seems like forever. I keep waiting for him to say something. He opens his mouth and then closes it. I take a deep breath and realize that he isn't going to say anything.
I just nod my head at him and turn back to the computer. I just made a damn fool of myself again.