It’s the last week of the tour and the last stop was Puerto Rico. I had already postponed two shows that were lined up because of my hospitalization and had to move the show a few days ahead. I didn’t even have the strength to explore the island’s natural wonders but I was dying to. Although, I was still wasn’t feeling a hundred percent, the show had to go on.
The morning before takeoff, backstage was a hub of activity as more than a hundred crew members ran around doing something or other to make sure tonight went without a hitch.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Ryan questioned again just before sound-check at the venue. “We can always reschedule or-”
“I don’t want to reschedule,” I cut him off as I glanced around. “I won’t be able to come here until next year. You said so yourself.”
“I was only making sure,” he held up his hands. “That’s all.”
“I think I can make it through the night.” We strode down a tall corridor with plush red rugs that led to the mainstage.
“I suppose you won’t make it to the after-party?
“I might manage a brief appearance, if that’s okay with you?”
“Just don’t push yourself too hard okay?” he said, his voice laced with concern. “We’ve beefed up security tonight, so don’t be surprised.
I rolled my eyes at him. “Still think someone is trying to kill me?”
“And you, no doubt, agreed with him.”
“We’re just being cautious because this island has a reputation,” his agitation clear as the morning sun that was blasting right outside. “You know that you can’t be too careful right?”
“Zara would never hurt me,” I paused outside a door and addressed his fears without him having to ask. “She’s not a vindictive person. I know her and I trust her.”
“Even after she told you about Deacon?”
“She made a mistake, and I won’t hold it against her,” I defended. “Blue dated Levi and look how he screwed her over?”
“This isn’t about Blue-”
I rubbed my forehead and ran my fingers through my hair until it stood on end. “Let’s just drop this okay?”
He wasn’t going to. “Did Jordan ever tell you about Preston?”
“Then let me do the honors over lunch.”
“He’s right you know?” Blue’s husky voice echoed behind my shoulder. “Can’t you see that she is manipulating you and you’re letting her?” Dressed in a backless halter top and jean shorts she looked hotter than the weather. But the words coming out of her mouth ticked me off. I wasn’t feeling too good, already on the edge, grouchy, and all kinds of exhausted. I felt like I was a tightly coiled spring that was waiting to snap. Anything that I said, could and would be used against me.
“You’re one to talk.” My response was sharp and snappy. “You’re one to judge.” Feeling myself swaying I jammed my hands in my pockets and leaned against the wall.
“I’ll be back,” Ryan said and rushed off, leaving us alone.
“I wasn’t doing that, honeycomb,” her tone was a little startled. “I’m just concerned with her association with Deacon-”
“If I can recall, you dated Deacon and a whole bunch of losers,” I remarked with mock severity. “I didn’t judge you, did I?”
“She’s dangerous! Why won’t you believe that?!”
“What did she ever do to back your ludicrous claims?!”
“Plenty! Why do you keep defending her, Corbyn?!”
“Because she would never hurt me. Wish I could say the same for you.”
“I would never harm you physically-look I didn’t come here to fight with you, Corbyn,” her gaze shifted and she exhaled through her nostrils.
“You lied to me,” I remembered just then. “You told me Deacon was out of prison and he was threatening you.”
“And how would he do that when he is locked up?”
“He wasn’t-isn’t-I saw him. You even spoke to him on the phone!” she exclaimed. “My grandmother probably got him out again. You know that she has the police force in her back-pocket.”
“Why would I believe you?!” I retorted. “You just don’t like Zara because you feel threatened and you’ll do anything to keep her away from me,” I raged like the idiot that I was. “Including getting your bodyguards to do your dirty work.”
My hurtful comment caused her to flinch and rendered her speechless. Her ocean eyes widened, and she looked at me again, this time in anger and shock.
Finally, she swallowed hard and spoke in a quavering voice. “I may have made a lot of mistakes-but I never put your life in danger.”
“I don’t want to talk about this,” I said dismissively. Zara was a touchy subject and I couldn’t understand why everyone was suddenly against her. I had a feeling the person standing in front of me was responsible for instigating it. “You’re trying to detract from the real issue. Let’s rather talk about the discarded latex I found in your car.”
“I’m not here to talk about that. I have more important issues to discuss before I leave.”
“Like when are getting the annulment?!”
I was so blinded by rage, I didn’t hear a single thing she said. “Like how it didn’t take you long to move on? How you had sex with someone in your car and then me the next morning?!”
“Corbyn, you got this all wrong-”
“You wanted us to see other people. You’ve made your point. I’m not going to compete for you attention anymore Laura-Jane.”
“That’s rich coming from you!” she clapped back. “You kissed Zara!”
“I didn’t kiss Zara, I kissed Samantha!”
My confession detonated in the tense atmosphere like an explosive.
“What?!” Her face contorted with shock.
“Don’t look so wounded Laura-Jane, this is exactly what you wanted.” I sagged to the ground, fatigued and the deflated. This isn’t the way I wanted her to find out. “You wanted me to go through as many as women as possible before you could make a commitment to me, right?”
“You’re such a hypocrite, Corbyn Coleman!” she thundered, pointing an accusing finger at me. “You can contact my lawyer about the annulment, jerkface!” She flipped me off before she turned on her heel and stormed off, ramming into Kyle in her efforts.
“Hey!” he gripped her shoulders to keep her from falling.
“Sorry,” she apologized and immediately kept moving.
Kyle watched her walk away and turned to me, shaking his head. “What did you do, Coleman?”