Cry For You (Fallen Star #2) (2 page)

BOOK: Cry For You (Fallen Star #2)
6.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

The only thing around was bush. I had no idea where Fred was and I wasn't waiting around to get caught. I headed to the trees. I huddled down, shaking with fear that they'd find me. The ground was muddy and damp so I couldn't sit down. I was totally hidden from view and I didn't think he'd look for me off in the trees. I could just see the car park and I could keep an eye on his car. When he left, I'd come out from hiding.

Hell. I'd left my handbag in the taco van with my money and keys in it. I didn't actually have much money and I'd taken out all my important stuff at home in case some shithead tried to steal it while I was hard at work. I did have a hoodie in there though and it was getting cold now I'd left the warmth of the taco grill. I leaned against the trunk of a tree.

Next thing I knew, I woke up and it was dark. All that working on my feet and running had taken it out of me. Who the hell would even think you could sleep leaning up against a tree. Fred's car was gone, so that was one thing, but then so were most of the other cars in the parking lot.

Bugger me dead. What could I do?

I went back to the festival gates. Thank heaven they were still open. I just flashed my pass and got back inside. No one even gave me a second look. The taco van was locked up so I couldn't get in there to get my stuff.

All the bands had those enclosures set up in that rabbit warren of an area. I wandered around it until I found an enclosure that looked promising. There was heaps of rubber matting sitting around so I stacked it up to make a mattress, then I got some tarps to use as covers. It wasn't the most comfy bed but I could hide out until daylight. Sweet Jesus, they'd even left behind some food and beers. I didn't feel bad about stealing it because the bands all got free food anyway.

I woke up at sparrow's fart and tried to blend in. I didn't want Fred seeing me. I had hours to kill before FORSAKEN came on so I just wandered around backstage, looking like I knew what I was doing. I even used my pass to get free food. What a sweet deal.

I debated getting up to watch bands before FORSAKEN came on so I’d be set up for them but didn’t want to be too obvious. I was still paranoid about getting sprung so I waited.

When FORSAKEN came on to play, I rushed up to the side of stage with everyone else. I missed the start because there were so many people trying to crowd up the steps. Everyone working on the festival roster wanted to catch this show. All jumping on the bandwagon now. At least I could blend in with them all.

There were about 200 people crowded to the side of the stage. Security kept telling people to get back but there was nowhere to go but forward.

I got almost to the front of that crowd. That red-haired bitch was in front of me though. She didn't even seem to be that into it. Didn't know the words of the songs. Didn't even want to be there by the looks of her. I hated those kinds of people. Why be there, taking up other people's space?

The show was amazing but, like I said, something had changed about Tex. Not in a bad way, just in a way.

During the last song, the ginger bitch left. Why would you do that? Did she want to get out of there before the rush? Selfish hag. I knocked her as she left to teach her a lesson. Then I was up the front.

The encore made my heart bleed. The pain that Tex put into that song. As he got to the final chorus, he turned in my direction and scanned the crowd. He was looking for me. Even though he didn't know me yet, he must've known that his destined person was there, waiting for him. And that song, it was about me. Like he could see my heart’s pain.

I smiled and waved but he turned away before he saw me. I was so close to the moment. It'd only be a matter of time now. Tex and I were fated to be together one day and that day was getting closer.

Chapter 3
           
Ruby

I don't know how, but I'd drifted off to sleep. Crazy that I could do that when my heart was all the colours of the nervous wreck rainbow but I'd just sat on my bed to check the internet and woke up with my laptop beside me.

I shivered in the coldness of the room and tried not to move from the warm place I'd made in my bed. Images flooded my sleep-addled brain.

I'd been at the festival with Tex. He'd been on stage and he'd been incredible when suddenly I got so overwhelmed, I had to get out of there.

The thing between us had been nurtured in our isolation, alone and living in his music studio without contact with the outside world, like two plants growing out of the sun twisting around each other to gain strength. I'd gotten so used to it being just the two of us. Then he'd had the opportunity to get back to his music and I'd pushed him. I didn't want him living in fear and denial of that side of himself. I'd given him all the support he'd needed, pushing him to do this one thing he craved but had run from.

Then Tex had gone back on stage and, while I'd been proud of him, I feared that the thing we'd had together would not survive. I wasn't the kind of girl who was a rock star's girlfriend. I wanted to stay in that dark place out of the sunlight.

All these thoughts came back to me as I struggled to wake.

It took a moment for me to realise what had woken me: the sound of the door slamming.

Would he be angry with me or would he understand how I felt?

What time was it anyway? How long had I been asleep? I fumbled for my phone, wanting to check the time. Then I looked up to see Tex standing in the doorway, blocking the light shining from the other room. I wanted to freeze time, leave him standing like that, because no matter what he said, it would change things between us. Change was like a huge rock in my stomach, weighing me down and threatening to destroy me.

"Why did you leave?" he asked. "Shit, Ruby you hate that stuff don't you?"

Before I could answer, he rushed into the room and took me in his arms. My happiness at that gesture seemed selfish though. He should've been celebrating his success not fussing about me.

"I wanted you to be free to celebrate with your friends. You are doing it, aren't you? You are going on tour."

He was being swept up in the tides of fame. It was a place for him, not me. I didn't know how I'd even start explaining my feelings to him. Even to me, they were a squished up mess. Like when you mix all the colours of the play-doh together and you end up with that disgusting burple colour. That's what my emotions were like.

His lips toyed with my earlobe.

"Yes, I think so. But I can't do it without you there beside me. You'll stay with me, through it all, won't you? Even if you hate it, I'll protect you from it all. It can still be just us, in our private sanctuary, no matter where we are."

Then he kissed me and I kissed him and I agreed but I had misgivings in my heart. How could this thing between us last? I would stay with Tex while he needed me but our love flourished in a quiet and secluded place. I wasn't sure it would survive if it was exposed to the bright lights and public gaze.

But I would love Tex as long as he would let me.

Our kisses became more intense until all the thoughts in my head were cleared away. I wrapped my body around his and his fingers toyed with my hair. I was wary of getting too tangled up in lust with him. Every time he'd started getting passionate with me before, he'd pulled away, leaving me crazy with frustration. I knew that he had issues that prevented him from going all the way with me – and they sure as hell weren't erectile issues because that was working fine – so I didn't want to push him too hard. I didn't want to end up with that emptiness in the pits of the Ruby Wonderland either.

He reached into his pocket, fumbling for something.

"I bought something on the way home," he said.

He pulled a packet of condoms out of his pocket. Holding them up as a visual confirmation that he intended reaching goal this time. Thank God for that. There is only so much teasing of the sexy bits a woman can handle before going mental. Also, because of my previous sexual history, or more like lack of it, I wasn't on any birth control.

At that signal, the floodgates opened. And those gates were definitely the gates to the Ruby Wonderland where his fingers were making fireworks explode.

I lay in Tex's arms until I fell asleep. He woke me the next morning with gentle kisses all over my face.

"Hey, Ruby, wake up. Make me breakfast."

I kicked him. There was no way I wanted to get out of the warmth of my bed to make breakfast. It was freezing cold out there. I wanted to stay close to him.

"Can't you make it?"

"You're my housekeeper. It's your job."

I nestled my head against his chest and smiled at him.

"Well, I'll have to have you charged with sexual harassment then." I said it jokingly but that was another issue we’d have to address. What exactly was my role with him?

I could've stayed there like that with him forever. My hands started working to convince him that staying in bed was definitely the better option.

Before we could get any further with those thoughts though, my phone rang. I ignored it. They could go away. It rang out but then rang again. I sighed and picked it up.

"It's the builders," I said.

Tex's house had burnt down and was being rebuilt. That's why we lived in the recording studio.

"Do you want to speak to them?" I asked.

"You do it. After all, it will be your house too."

I slapped his arm. What a cop out. But a warmth spread through my body. It would be my house too? A long-term home with Tex. I couldn't even begin to accept the ramifications of that.

The builder wanted to double check some of the specifications for the air conditioning system and how they would allow for them. I told him I'd be with him in a minute. Then I got out of bed and threw on some clothes.

"Bring back food," Tex said. He was spread out under the covers with his bare chest and nipples visible. He had his arms folded behind his head. His grin had more than a trace of smugness and self-satisfaction. Like a well-fed cat. I ached to crawl back under the sheets with him and explore more of the pleasure he gave me. I promised myself that's exactly what I'd do when I'd dealt with this builder.

I found the file of house documents and got out the air conditioning stuff. Then I pulled my boots on. It'd been raining and the ground would be mushy.

Despite all my efforts to get away from the builder, he kept talking at me. Frustration bubbled up, threatening to overspill my body. It was okay for him to stand around in the cold talking. I had a hot man in bed waiting for me and I had needs, needs that I'd never really explored before. Now they threatened to take over. I gave a little giggle, thinking about those needs. The workman glared at me.

"Are you listening to me?" he asked.

I nodded, trying to look sombre. I didn't really take in much of what he was saying though. If he wanted to change things around to make the air conditioning more efficient, he should just do it without all this talk. I suspected he was bored and wanted someone to talk to. That talk cut into my sex time though.

"You sound like you are on top of it all," I said, although I was the one who wanted to be on top of it all. "Carry on like you intended."

I gave him the thumbs up then walked back to the house before he could start talking again. I was not going to waste my entire morning chatting about air conditioning units.

Tex called out as I came in the door. "Toast and coffee will be fine."

"Bastard. You could've made breakfast while I was out." I laughed though.

Who cared who made breakfast? I put all my fears and insecurities away for the moment. I wanted to bask in the morning after glow. Then make some more glows to bask in.

"I'm exhausted. I had to rock people last night. That takes it out of a man."

"Yeah right." I laughed again, leaning on the doorframe to look at him in case his incredible hotness had just been a figment of my imagination. Luckily, it hadn’t and he was still as hot as he had been when I’d left him.

"Seriously, Ruby." He gave me the puppy dog eyes that made my stomach flip-flop. "Just give me a day to revel in my glory. You can go back to hanging shit on me tomorrow."

I had to agree with that. If he wanted breakfast, I guess I could make it for him. After all, he had rushed back after the festival to be with me with no recriminations, not even a trace of annoyance at what I’d done. He understood these fundamental things about me that nobody else did.

As I slipped back under the covers, breakfast was the last thing on my mind. Tex was warm and solid and doing amazing things to my body by just being beside me. I was turning into a sex-crazed fool.

Chapter 4
           
Denise

How do you cope with your grey and boring life after you've come so close to your dream? It just made the rest of your life bleak by comparison. Monday morning meant back into the commuter crush then putting on the headset and listening to people complaining about the level of service they received. It was like going from a bloody queen to a pauper in one fell swoop.

On top of it all, I'd gotten a cold. I bet it was from having to sleep out under that tarp in the drizzling rain. I couldn't take time off. I'd done too much of that lately and I needed the cash, so I took cold tablets and suffered. My body was like a 70-year-old's. The scrunched up, used tissues quickly built up in a pile on my desk, since we had one of those no bin policies at work and I couldn't keep walking all the way to the lunch room.

At least I had the memory of Tex's eyes sparkling in my heart to keep me warm. It took so much effort to concentrate at work instead of sinking into a comforting daydream of how life could be. If I were with Tex, there'd be no waking up to a freezing cold apartment and having to run to the shower to stay warm. There'd be no drudging through a day of miserable customers and there'd be no empty bed to slip into every night.

The "no empty bed" bit was the best bit, naturally.

At lunchtime, I didn't even feel like eating and, trust me, lunch is the best bit of my work day. Usually I get a toasted ham and cheese sandwich from the shop downstairs but I couldn't be bothered. What was the point in eating? What was the point in anything? I'd reached the pinnacle of my life and it'd be all downhill from now on.

After lunch my supervisor called me over.

"I've noticed you aren't at your best today," she said.

What the hell do you say to that? Agree and you've screwed yourself, disagree and you get in the bad books. I just kept my eyes down.

"If you aren't well, you shouldn't be here. Although I've noticed you've had a lot of time off sick lately." She shook her head. "I'm not sure what you can do about it but just get on top of things, okay?"

So I wasn't supposed to be at work when I was sick but I wasn't supposed to take time off either? That was call centre supervisor logic for you. Screw her. If it wasn't for the access to Tex's phone records, I'd tell her to stick her job.

It was quiet during the afternoon so I checked his phone records again. He wasn't a man who used his phone often. I'd gotten his address from the records but, without a car, I couldn't do much investigating. He lived in the middle of nowhere. There was only a crappy bus that ran there.

I'd tried going out there on the bus a few times. Pretended I'd fallen asleep and missed my stop then "woke up" at the end of the line. Often, because it was the last stop, the driver would get off and have a smoko and I'd have to stretch my legs. But, the last time I'd tried that, the driver actually remembered me.

"Make sure you don't fall asleep this time," he said. Then he gave me a wink.

I blushed like a fool. He'd sprung me.

"You can spend my smoko with me any time," he said. "No need to make excuses. It's my last run before the end of the shift, if you wanna stick around."

He winked again and gave me a weird look that made my skin crawl. He thought I'd been doing it because I was into him? What a chump. I sneered and grabbed my ticket then sat down. Two stops later, I made a big show of getting off the bus. You have no idea what a creep that guy was. Like I'd think about him for two seconds with his slimy face and his chubby little fingers.

There was no way I'd catch the bus again unless I was 100% sure he'd not be driving. But how else would I get there? I needed a car and I needed an excuse for being at the house.

Then I had a totally inspired idea. Thank you, brain, for being so genius. Bloody hell, why had I not thought of it before? The perfect job for me. Pizza delivery driver!

That pizza place that he ordered from, surely they'd need drivers. I had my driver's licence even if I didn't own a car and hadn't driven for five years. If I worked for them, it'd just be a matter of time before Tex ordered a pizza. I could organise my call centre shifts around it and make some extra money.

Yeah, that made my blood race and made me feel alive again.

"What's up with you?" my supervisor asked. "You suddenly look a lot better."

"Just happy to be meeting my KPIs," I replied.

There were still no calls coming through though so I went on the fan forum. I hadn't been on for a while because I'd been angry with the world but, with my awesome plan in place, I could be forgiving.

I wasn't sure how much I should say about my night at the festival. Of course, I wanted everyone to know I got to be right up on the side of the stage but you can't just blurt that out like a big bragger. But I had to tell them. In the end, I kept it vague and dropped some hints. Stuff like, "I couldn't really see that clearly from where I was standing, that's the worst thing about having all area access."

Enough to let people know I wasn't among the regular crowd but no details about how I got there.

I rang the pizza place that night.

"You
want
to be a delivery driver?" the guy on the phone said.

"Yep, that's what I said."

There was a pause, a long pause. I could almost hear him scratching his butt and mulling it over in his brain. I guess you don't need to be Einstein to run a pizza shop but this guy sure had some rusty cogs up there.

"You still there?" I asked when the silence had gone too long.

"Well, it's just that we've never had a woman driver before. Sure you can handle it? Sometimes we get drunks who don't wanna pay, real low lifes..."

"Yeah, I can handle it. No one messes with me. I'd like to see them try." Like I'd let some loser put it over me. They'd come off the worst of it.

"Well, come in for a trial. We can never get anyone to stick to the job. You're sure you wanna do it?"

"Yep, I'm saving for... a holiday. I need the money and I'm a hard worker." Just give me the damn job. I tapped my foot, waiting for him to say “yes”.

"Okay then." He gave me the details and told me to come in the next night for the trial.

How hard could it be? I just had to drive around and give people their pizzas. It wasn't rocket science. Sure, I might be a bit rusty on the driving side of things but that'd come back to me.

Except it didn't. On my first delivery, I stalled the car about fifteen times and almost backed it into a pole. When I say almost, I mean you couldn't actually see the dint in the bumper so it didn't count. I was late with the delivery and the chick gave me an earbashing about it. I just handed her the pizza and walked off with the money, flipping her the bird. Wasn't like the pizza was cold or anything and she really didn't look like she needed to be eating pizza anyway.

When I got back to the shop, Tony – that was the boss's name – was a bit het up.

"But it's my first delivery. I'll get better."

I'd figured out early in the game that he needed me more than I needed him. He had three drivers. One was a stoner who only turned up for his shifts half the time and it was pretty certain he was dealing pot on the job. The second guy could only work weekends and there was too much work for just one guy then anyway. The third guy was a pimple-faced kid who'd quake in his boots if someone looked at him sideways. I knew that because I tested it out. Poor little bastard almost shat himself.

Obviously, Tex didn't order pizza that night. That'd be too much of a miracle and miracles don't happen in my life. What happens in my life is me. I make shit happen. I did drive out there that night after my last delivery though. No point having a company car if you don't make the most of it.

It was a dark night and I couldn't exactly drive up the driveway and flash my headlights around the place, so I parked the car and walked up the hill, staying under the cover of the trees. The last time I'd been out there, the house site had been flattened after the fire, just a weed-covered block. Now, the construction of the new house was underway. I wondered what the new house would be like. I’d spent hours imagining it. Tex and I in the new house was one of my favourite daydreams.

I sat on the building site for a while. No sound came from the recording studio though. I couldn't stick around for long. Didn't wanna get on Tony's bad side. Who knows that he didn't have mafia connections, being Italian and all.

 

A week later and still no order from Tex. How the hell does someone go a full week without ordering pizza? I'd gotten into the pizza system and found out that sometimes he ordered online. There was also another number registered for his address. Maybe he had a second phone with another carrier. That really screwed up all my stalking efforts. I couldn’t work for two call centres.

I wasn't sure how long I could stand the suspense. What if one of those other bozos got the order? I couldn't deliver every pizza myself. I had thought of slashing their tyres so I was the only driver but that'd be a real pain in the butt. The pizza shop job was easy though, and I got to take home free pizza at the end of the night. Much easier than working in the call centre. Pity the pay was pretty shit.

I worked the Thursday night shift. Statistically, that was the night Tex was most likely to order pizza. It'd been quiet. I reckon because it'd been one of those lovely sunny spring days. No one wanted pizza. They wanted to go out and sit in the sun enjoying it. It'd been a bitterly cold winter and you have to make the most of rare sunshine.

Then I heard Tony call out the pizza order. Meat lovers with pineapple and a pepperoni. Was it? I jumped up, beating the pot dealer to get the order.

"Hey, that's my job," he drawled. But if you can't outwit a stoner, who can you outwit?

I rushed out with the pizza boxes in my hand and my heart in my mouth. I was sweating and chills raced through me. Holy hell, was this going to be it? Would I actually meet Tex?

When I got in the car, I pulled my emergency kit out of my bag. I had it on hand at all times in case I had a Tex meeting situation. It had some mascara and lipstick as well as a sexy perfume to hide the pizza smell. Although I reckon most blokes would prefer the smell of pizza to some fancy perfume.

All tizzed up, I checked the address on the slip. It was the wrong address. What the... There were other people out there who ordered meat lovers with pineapple. Curse them. I opened the lid of their pizza box and spat on their pizza. That'd teach them to screw with me.

I returned to the pizza shop with a heavy heart. Maybe this had been a fool idea. Maybe Tex had decided to get his pizza fix elsewhere. I mean, Tony's pizzas weren't exactly the best in town. If you had the choice, Mario's across town would be the pizza of choice. Tony's were okay if you just wanted to fill a hole in your belly but they weren't a patch on Mario's.

I sat in the back room off the kitchen of the pizza shop, flicking through a magazine and waiting for another order to come through. In the kitchen, I could hear Tony going off at Drew, the stoner.

"Wha’ cha doing? Delivering to the wrong address and then leaving the pizza there?"

Tony was not happy. I didn't hear Drew's response.

"You bring the pizza back. Not leave it."

"But they paid for it. They were really chuffed to get a pizza and they were starving. You can make another one."

"I make them a free one and it comes out of your pay."

I laughed to hear Drew get in trouble. I didn't like that guy. His piggy little stoner eyes freaked me out. Moron. Delivering the pizza to the wrong place. Although, I bet it happened often, delivering to the wrong place.

Then the genius idea hit me.

"Hey, Tony, can I knock off early?" I asked. "I've had a long day and I'm bushed."

"Sure, sweetie."

In just a week, I'd become Tony's favourite. I didn't dick around like the guys did and, after I got back into the groove of driving, I was the fastest of them. Hell, it felt good to have wheels again. Maybe I'd save my pizza money to buy a car.

"That meat lovers with pineapple you made earlier smelt good. Can you make me one to go?"

"Sure thing. Just a small?"

"No, family size."

"Not family size.” He threw his hands in the air. “You should get a man then you wouldn't be eating a family size pizza alone. It's not right for a woman with child-bearing hips to be single."

Because he was my boss and I kinda liked the guy, I didn't knock his teeth out.

I pretty much hovered over him while he made that pizza, coaxing him to add extra toppings, then I stared at the pizza oven, willing it to cook faster. How long could a friggin' pizza take to cook anyway? When I couldn't stand it any longer, I picked up a cloth and started wiping down the benches and cleaning. That was another reason I was Tony's favourite. I didn’t just sit around, scratching my butt, if things were slow.

My heart pounded. That pizza had to be perfect. It had to be the greatest pizza ever cooked. I wanted that pizza to convey all my feelings of love. It would be the pizza of dreams.

Finally, it was done.

"Thanks, Tony. I'm taking the car too. I'm too woozy to take the bus."

BOOK: Cry For You (Fallen Star #2)
6.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch
Bloodwitch by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Saving Anya by Nelson, Latrivia S.
Autumn Fire by Cameron D. James
The King's Damsel by Emerson, Kate