Victim of Circumstance
“That’s a wrap,” the studio manager said. I sagged against the wall. I thought I was a good singer but I later found out that was never enough.
“Thank you!” I breathed a sigh of relief and removed my headphones. I had finally got it right. I grabbed my bag and headed out. “I won’t be available this weekend. You know that right?”
“Yeah,” he replied. “Justin’s wedding is on. See you next week.” He patted my shoulder as I walked out. “Have fun CC.”
When I stepped out of the building I spotted a familiar electric-blue Porsche parked just across the street. Surely she wasn’t waiting for me? It seemed like she was because when she saw me she jumped out of the car and came towards where my driver had pulled up by the sidewalk.
I slung my bag over my shoulder as she approached, the same uncertainty she displayed reflected on my face. She was dressed in a white, belted shirt dress, only half-buttoned, flashing her black lace bra. Her blue mermaid-colored hair fell softly around her face, giving her an ethereal glow about her.
“Blue,” I acknowledged her with a terse greeting.
Cautiously she shifted her gaze until it slammed into mine. “Corbyn,” she responded, her tone deliberately bright.
“What’s up?” I stuffed my hands in my back pockets to keep from reaching out to her and holding her tightly against my chest. Her floral scent teased me and my heart kicked against my ribs, my throat knotted up-seeing her always did things to my insides.
After an awkward silence, she glanced up at me with a nervous smile. The way her cobalt eyes stared at me nearly brought me to my knees. “Can we go somewhere and talk?”
“I can’t,” I pronounced plainly, trying to be strong. “I’ve got to go or I will miss my flight. It’s Justin’s bachelor party tomorrow night and the guys have been blowing up my phone.”
“It’s really important,” she emphasized, bringing her brows together. “We can use the company jet and maybe we can fly to San Francisco together?”
“That’s not a good idea, Laura-Jane.” With a deep sigh, I plowed my hands through my hair. “What’s this about anyway?”
“I can’t tell you here. It has to be somewhere private,” she persisted and I heard movement behind me, followed by a cough.
I turned around to see who was trying to get my attention and was shocked, to say the least when I saw who was standing behind me. What was he doing in Los Angeles?
“Son,” he nodded stiffly, and when he smiled it looked like he was in immense pain. “I was in LA for a conference and thought I’d come and see you. Your mom told me where I might find you…Can we talk?”
Guess today was, ‘I need to talk to Corbyn day’?
“I…” My eyes went to Blue. “I was about to go somewhere with-”
“Hello young lady,” he said with a polite smile.
“Hie-how do you do, Mr Coleman?” she stammered, equally shocked.
“I am so sorry for the way I treated you both,” he extended his apology. “I was going through a rough time after my accident-my behavior was inexcusable-deplorable in fact. I hope you can forgive me and in a gesture of goodwill, please accept a dinner invitation before you both leave for San Francisco?”
“Cookie?” I questioned, the endearment slipping out of my mouth before I could stop myself.
“I’d be delighted-uhm-sir,” her face lit up. “If that’s okay with Corbyn.”
“He would obviously love to have you come along with us,” my father beamed. “Do you want to take your, my car, or we can ride in yours since it’s already here…?” his gaze swung between us.
“I’ll follow behind,” she said quickly and I thought I saw apprehension wash over her features, but the emotion was gone so quickly that I couldn’t be sure. “You two go ahead. I’ll be there soon. I’m sure you have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Sounds good,” he bobbed his head and I gave her a furtive glance. “Let’s be off kids.”
On the way to the restaurant, I hardly paid attention to what my father was saying. While I was glad that he had made an effort to bridge the gap, my mind was on the blue-eyed beauty that was following closely behind. This was going to be awkward, to put it lightly.
We dined at a small Mexican restaurant and spent the meal discussing general topics. My dad kept the conversation going and didn’t pick up on the underlying tension. From the way he was going on, he assumed Blue and I were still a couple. I didn’t have the heart to correct him. While eating dessert, we heard a continuous beeping sound.
“Oh no,” my father groaned. “There goes my pager.”
“Pager? I thought you were here for a conference?” I inquired.
“Yes, but I also volunteered to assist with a very complex surgery,” he slid back away from the table, grabbing his wallet. “You kids don’t have to leave. Stay and enjoy the rest of the evening. On me.”
“We got this dad,” I tried to stop him from paying but he shook his head. “You may both be clocking more figures than mine but this is my treat.” He placed a couple of hundreds on the table as he stood. “I hope you will drop by and see your old man when you land? I’ll be flying back tomorrow. ”
“You can count on it,” I smiled and got up to hug him.
“It was nice to getting to know you Blue,” he said. “I hope to see you again, soon.” He turned and hugged her with genuine feeling.
“Me too,” she replied. “Thanks for dinner.”
“Anytime,” he said before he strode away leaving me alone with the object that tormented my thoughts and haunted my dreams. The ensuing silence, however, reminded me once more of our awkward status.
“Looks like you got the opportunity to talk to me,” I said, forking a piece of cheesecake in my mouth. “What’s so important that made you seek me out?”
The waiter came to clear the table and she ordered a cocktail. She finished the last of the food on her plate and pushed it aside. “I…”
She looked at me from under her brows and her fingers twitched nervously. “I don’t know how to tell you this without you freaking out…”
“Just spit it out Blue,” I answered with growing irritation. “Surely what you have to say can’t be worse than let’s see other people?”
“Deacon is back!” she let out a long agonized cry.
It took a few seconds for the import of her words to sink in. I felt like someone had kicked me in the chest and knocked the breath out of me.
“How? I thought he was locked up?”
“My Ashton’s grandmother managed to get him out somehow…” Her tormented gaze met mine.
“He’s approached you hasn’t he?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Is he threatening you?”
“Yes...” She was breathing heavily and rapidly, her lower lip trembled, and tears instantly appeared in her fine blue eyes. “More like blackmail…”
“I wish you’d told me sooner-”
“Oh, Corbyn! I’m so scared!” Her hands flew to her face and she burst into tears.
I was at her side in an instant. “Let’s get out of here.” I signaled for the bill and helped her to her feet.
I wouldn’t allow anyone or anything to hurt her again. Even if it meant laying my life on the line. I was more than prepared to protect her at all costs. Or I would die trying.