Authors: Emme Rollins
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Who knew loving a real rock star could be so hard?
Sara is Dale Diamond's biggest fan—and one of his biggest secrets. Catapulted to fame, Dale and his band, Black Diamond, are learning to deal with the grueling realities of the music business... including frenzied groupies. Dale's agent, determined to preserve the musician's image as a sexy single man, won't let fans know he has a girlfriend.
All Dale wants is to make music and love Sara. But he's caught up in the demands of recording and touring, while Sara has graduated art school and found a job. She and her rocker boyfriend are starting down different paths. Sara knows she's the luckiest girl in the world to have Dale in her life—but luck is about to run out.
A lurking, dark past will come back to haunt them both, forcing two young lovers to face harsh realities about life and each other. When the weight of the world is on their shoulders, will Dale and Sara be able to hold it all together for the sake of their love?
By Emme Rollins
TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Sara, where are you?” Aimee snapped her fingers and waved a hand in front of my face
I blinked in surprise at being caught, distracted, meeting her eyes in the mirror. I stopped picking little bits of baby’s breath off the bouquet in my lap, wiping them off the satin of my dress and onto the carpeted floor. “What? I’m here. Right here.”
Where are you?
That was the question.
Where are you, Dale Diamond?
“Liar.” Aimee gave her a knowing smirk. “He’ll be here. He promised.”
even thinking about Dale,” I lied.
Of course he’d promised. I’
d talked to him on the phone late last night. He was already supposed to be in my arms by then, but there had been more excuses.
I know, I
know, but they had us booked to tape some show and there was nothing I could do. I’ll catch the redeye. Don’t worry, sweetheart, I promise. I’ll be home tomorrow.
“I was thinking about you.” I
changed the subject, getting up from my perch on the edge of the counter, putting my bouquet down—pink roses, white ribbons and baby’s breath—to join Aimee in front of the full length mirror where she stood in her wedding gown like something out of a fairy tale. “I still can’t believe you’re actually getting married.”
” Aimee rolled her eyes, leaning in to check her make-up. “I’ve only been planning for two years!”
“I know, I know.” I
laughed. “I was the one who helped you pick out the dress, remember?”
“Gorgeous isn’t it?” Aimee sighed happily, eyes shining, as she ran her hands down the ivory satin brocade front of her gown
. “What will Matt think when he sees me?”
ourse Matt hadn’t seen her in her wedding gown, according to tradition. He was somewhere in the church with his bridegrooms, probably already starting in on the night’s drinking, just to take the edge off the nerves.
“He’s going to think he’s the
luckiest man in the world.” I leaned over and let my lips lightly brush my best friend’s cheek, not wanting to leave a trace of lipstick or gloss. “And he is.”
Aimee sniffed, her eyes welling up and
mine did too and then we were both hugging and laughing and crying a little, digging in our little clutches for Kleenex.
“Okay you two, break it up!” Wendy
insisted as she slipped into the room. Carrie followed, not far behind. They were both wearing the same dress I had on—blush satin, ruched bodice, full skirts that swept the floor when they walked. “There’s no crying before the wedding pictures!”
I felt my heart sink when I
saw the two of them—not that I didn’t love them both dearly. Next to Aimee, they had become my closest friends since we’d all managed to finally graduate from Iselin Academy, an alternative school for “non-traditional students.” The latter just meant we were dropouts, for various reasons, and had to do our time. We’d all managed to put in our hours and get our GEDs. Aimee called us the “four musketeers.” No, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to see Wendy and Carrie—it was that I’d been hoping it would be Dale.
’s eyes brightened when the door opened, meeting Carrie’s dark, heavily made-up eyes. She still managed to look a little punk, even though she’d dyed all the pink streaks out of her hair and it was piled up in short pin-curls on top of her head. Wendy, too, had cleaned up for the wedding, her longer dark hair pulled back and up into a gorgeous, intricate bun, tendrils trailing down beside her pretty, round face. They both looked like goddesses sailing in, fresh and bright with their flower bouquets clutched in their hands.
“Is it time?” Aimee’s
shiny blue eyes widened. It was the first time I thought she looked really nervous.
“Not quite.” Wendy threw herself ungracefully into one of the chairs, tossing her bouquet onto the counter. “They’re still directing people to sides—his and hers.”
“Think if we got married, it would be hers and hers?” Carrie put her bouquet next to Wendy’s, edging up to sit on the edge of the counter where I had been seated moments before.
Wendy gave a short bark of a laugh.
“We couldn’t get married in Vegas, let alone in a Catholic church. They’d burn it to the ground first.”
“Catholics are stupid.” I
made a face, glancing at Aimee. “No offense.”
“Matt’s the Catholic, not me.” Aimee tucked her Kleenex back into her little satin clutch. “I just converted for the wine.”
“You mean my
is the Catholic,” Carrie interjected. Matt was her older brother, one of five—Carrie was the lone girl, and her very strict, Catholic mother had no idea her only daughter was a lesbian. “Unless it’s blessed by a priest, it didn’t happen.”
“Oh it’s happening.” Aimee
leaned in to the mirror, rubbing a finger under one eye, getting rid of a slight mascara smudge. “I’m marrying your brother and we’re going to live happily ever after.”
Someone’s gotta live the fairy tale.” Wendy grinned. “Do you have something for all your superstitions? Old, new, borrowed, blue?”
“Of course!” Aimee scoffed.
“I’ve got all the bases covered.”
Aimee proceeded to show Wendy how she intended to assure her happily ever after by appeasing some ridiculous superstition with handkerchiefs, jewelry and garters.
I took that opportunity to lean in and pose the question I was dying to ask.
“Hey, Carrie, did you
happen to see… him?”
“Sorry, doll. No sign yet.” Carrie shook her head. “But you know Dale—he loves to make an entrance, right?”
Wendy frowned, overhearing our conversation. “If he doesn’t show up, who are you going to walk down the aisle with?”
“He’ll be here,” Aimee insisted wi
th far more confidence than I felt.
“It’s pretty close to the finish line, that’s all,” Wendy mumbled.
“Did you see my mom?” Aimee asked. “She said she was going to see if it was time yet. That was twenty minutes ago.”
Carrie nodded. “She’s out there talking to Dale’s dad.”
I glanced at the door, thinking about John—Dale’s father. Last night, I’d spent the night at Aimee’s, of course, but after we had our hair done together, we had parted ways. Aimee went back to her place, and I had gone home. The only home I had now. John had been amazing, taking me in after what I called
my other life.
He had taken me in because Dale loved me, but I knew John loved me too. He treated me like a daughter and I looked at him as a father. It was true, he already had a daughter—but never saw her. And I had a father—but I’d never even seen a picture of him.
had driven to the church together, after I straightened John’s untidy tie and made sure his long, dark hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail. I remembered how we’d exchanged glances—
he said was coming. He promised.
But we didn’t say anything.
’d lived together, all three of us—Dale, John and me—in a little townhouse just outside of the Rutgers’ campus, for two years. Two years of hit-and-miss Dale, but always steady, kind John. I couldn’t have asked for a better replacement father figure if I’d dreamed him up, and I was more than grateful for the man who had taken me in like a stray puppy out of a storm.
ause Dale Diamond had chosen me.
had to admit, I was still head over heels for him. Just thinking about him coming through that door, his slow, sexy smile, the dark light in his eyes when he saw me, made my heart gallop like wild horses. I imagined him taking three long strides and sweeping me into his arms, kissing me so hard my lips would bruise—not that I would care—and whispering my name again and again, as if he wasn’t quite sure I was real.
Where are you, Dale Diamond?
Outside, music began. Aimee’s head came up and she turned to look toward the sound like a deer caught in headlights, eyes widening, mouth dropping open.
“Oh my God,” she whispered, and
I saw her hands tremble a little as she gripped her bouquet. “Oh my God, you guys, I’m getting married!”
We chorused, all three of us bridesmaids half-laughing, half-crying already, as we surrounded her in a sashay show of soft pink satin support. I had never seen my best friend look more beautiful or radiant—and now, more nervous. We’d been through everything together, and she was now about to sail through to this new, uncharted territory—marriage. Living together with one person. Forever.
didn’t know how it was going to change our friendship and that scared me a little, but we’d been best friends since grade school. I couldn’t imagine a life without Aimee. I was thrilled for her, so much in love, so healthy and lovely and happy. It really was picture perfect, a snapshot that deserved to be saved in time.
As if on cue, the photographer came in
again—they’d done all the pre-wedding shots already—carrying a big digital camera. We didn’t really pay attention to him. We were too busy fussing over Aimee, her dress and veil and hair and make-up, as he started taking candids, but I knew these were memories the bride would look back on with a sort of gauzy, sweet fondness for the rest of her life.
A day made of perfection.
What more could you ask for in a wedding?
, I wondered, as I took a step back, watching Carrie and Wendy ready Aimee’s long train, did it all make me feel so sad?
Because I want Dale.
The realization was a stab to my belly. It was true. I did want him. I wanted him and I wanted
This together, forever, moving forward with him, starting a life. I wanted a wedding, a marriage, a start, all those things he’d promised me when he got down on one knee in front of thirty-thousand people two years ago and proposed. I looked at the ring on my hand—a tiny little diamond, but it meant so much. His promise. Our life together.
I couldn’t have what Aimee had. Not yet. I had to wait.
And the waiting was killing me.
“It’s time!” Aimee’s mother popped her head into the door with a stage-whisper, and I saw tears in Mrs. Wells’ eyes when she saw her only daughter turn toward her in her wedding dress, Aimee’s gorgeous red hair piled high, her cheeks as pink as her bridesmaids’ dresses. Linda Wells was a single mom, a hard-working lawyer, smart and sharp and always well-dressed, but she turned to a puddle at the sight of her baby girl about to get married.
couldn’t help but think of my mother and the thought made me want to cry too.
I told myself.
This is Aimee’s day. Get your head out of the way.
therapist would have told me it was okay to feel the feelings, whatever they were—but I couldn’t, still, a lot of the time. They felt, mostly, like they didn’t belong to me at all. Today they were far too close to the surface for comfort. I felt fragile and on edge and far too raw to be out in public, exposed and on display.
“Come here, Mom!” Aimee stretched out her hand, smiling, and
Mrs.Wells came in, shutting the door behind her. They touched cheeks and held hands and there were more wet eyes and whispered words and tissue, the camera snapping away. The music outside grew louder, insistent.