Authors: Mariah Stewart
Tags: #Celebrity, #British Hero, #Music Industry
MOMENTS IN TIME
THEY WERE AN IDYLLIC SUPERSTAR COUPLE AND THEIR DARKEST SECRETS WERE ABOUT TO BE EXPOSED
After fifteen years of a storybook marriage and seven children, British singer-songwriter J.D. Borders and his American wife, Maggie, were icons of rock 'n' roll. They were destined to be together, forever
until the morning Maggie walked into their London hotel suite and found J.D. in the shower and gorgeous Glory Fielding in a towel. Now as they face one last TV interview, J.D. must risk sharing the memories of a lifetime with an infamous journalist in order to win Maggie back.
She was Maggie Callahan when they met, an accountant in Philadelphia, divorced and wary, but she had abandoned all caution when J.D. swept her into his rock 'n' roll world. J.D. was dazzlingly sexy and sweet, and Maggie had eagerly accepted his li
fe and his friends as her own…
guitarist Rick Daily, who'd fallen in love with her beautiful, melancholy friend Lindy and tried to m
ake her happy…
and jazzman Hobie Narood, whose bitter past had come so close to destroying them. After all they'd been through, good times and bad, Maggie thought she knew J.D. to the depths of his soul, but his betrayal with Glory was the one thing she couldn't bear.
Hilary Gates was known as the "Bitch of the BBC," with a genius for nailing her guests that made her Britain's top TV sensation. Seeing J.D. and Maggie on edge, she knew she had the chance for a real ratings-breaker. First, she'd put them at
ease. Then she'd attack… with rumors of old lovers—
of discord, devastation, and dangerous too-close friends. She'd find the weak link. Hilary always did
comfortably on the sofa cushion, wishing for all she was worth that she could be someplace—anyplace—other than here in her mother-in-law’s living room at this particular moment in time. Inches away
to her left sat her husband, J.
D. Borders, singer and songwriter, a longtime favorite on the British pop music scene. And right now, in his wife’s opinion, the world’s biggest son of a bitch.
He tried to steal a seemingly casual glance in her direction to see if he could gauge what exactly was going on behind those big green eyes. He studied the set of her jaw, the immobile expression on her face, and knew without doubt he was in big trouble.
He ran his left hand nervously through his hair. Why in the world had he ever consented to this damned interview? He had a general dislike of the whole routine, avoided it whenever possible, not being particularly comfortable in speaking about himself under the best of conditions. He knew this interview—to be televised live to the entire U.K.—would be worse than most. He had reluctantly
agreed only because his mother, a longtime fan of Hilary Gates’s, had caught him in a very weak moment. J.D. had been amused that though his had been a well-known name in the music business for better than twenty-five years, he hadn’t “made it” in his mother’s eyes until he’d been asked to be a guest on Hilary’s show. He knew the only acceptable excuse for canceling, at least as far as his mother was concerned, would have been major surgery. Had it not been for his mother and the fact that his children were all upstairs with their grandmother eagerly awaiting the start of the show, he’d have gladly stayed in London and skipped the whole episode.
He wished he could think of something to say that would elicit a response from his wife, who, he suspected, would rather be back home in the States conferring with her lawyer. There had been so many times throughout their fifteen years together when they’d been so much on the same wavelength that speech had been unnecessary between them. This was not one of those times.
Maggie had completely shut him out and retreated behind a placid mask, totally detached from him and the situation. He knew that she was anything but calm, knew that inside she was seething and for less than two cents she’d happily break the nearest lamp over his head. He had absolutely no clue as to what she would say or do once the cameras started to roll tonight and Hilary began her assault.
Maggie had not spoken a word to him in three days, nor would she listen to anything he’d tried to say to her since their concurrent arrival in separate cars almost an hour ago. His heart had leapt expectantly when he’d pulled into his mother’s driveway just seconds after Maggie had emerged from her car. But she turned away when he approached her, walking past him as if he was invisible. She’d gone directly upstairs to see their children and had just moments earlier joined the group gathered in the living room prior to the start of the show.
Now he was seated so close to her that his hands began to shake and beads of sweat formed on his brow at the sight of her. He suspected that Maggie had worn her hair in precisely the style he liked best—pulled back off her face, held high on each side by tortoise shell combs, the long dark auburn ringlets cascading down her back, deep bangs framing her eyes—simply to torture him. She was wearing a simple black dress, a particular favorite of his, long sleeves that started at the very edge of her shoulders, cut low front and back, long bare neck, no jewelry other than large rectangular gold earrings and her wide gold wedding ring. The massive diamond solitaire with which he’d surprised her on their tenth anniversary was conspicuously absent from her hand.
He sighed with frustration. She clearly wanted nothing to do with him, had no interest in any explanation he’d tried to offer since she’d walked into their hotel suite in London on Friday morning and found him getting out of the shower and Glory Fielding, his former lover, standing there wrapped in a towel.
He had to admit it had looked bad.
Maggie had simply looked at him with the most devastated eyes, turned heel, and walked out before he’d been able to tell her that things weren’t exactly as they seemed. He wasn’t sure who’d been more surprised, he or Maggie.
No one, as far as he knew, had any inkling of the tempest that had so recently shattered their lives.
what will you do? Will you give Hilary the big scoop she's after, the scandal she’d so dearly love, blow away fifteen years of marriage by announcing that you’re leaving me?
He could not discount that possibility, judging by the look on her face. Anything she did at this point would not surprise him.
n the opposite side of the room, Hilary was absorbed in her last-minute primping, assuring herself that her light blond hair was perfect, her silk dress smoothed over her tall, angular frame. Though in her midfifties, in her mind’s eye she was a twenty-five-year-old femme fatale, her mirrored self fifteen pounds lighter than she really was. She checked her makeup to ensure it was doing its job, suitably denying both reality and gravity. Crow’s-feet? No, no, there’s a bad reflection. Sagging jaw line? Of course not, the lighting’s
bad. One of her close friends had confided to another that someday Hilary would wake up, take an honest look in the glass, and break a leg as she tripped over herself rushing to the nearest plastic surgeon.
The show was about to begin, but tonight Hilary could not muster the usual buzz of excitement. The anticipation simply was not there. Usually she was in an inward frenzy, turned on by the knowledge she’d been able to dig up something with which she’d be able to shock her viewers. Most often, it was the one thing her guests would least like to be publicly revealed. It was this talent that had earned her the title in which she took the greatest pleasure: “Bitch of the BBC.”
Hilary’s monthly televised interview show was the highest-rated program in the U.K., a must-watch simply by virtue of her uncanny ability to bring out the absolute worst in her guests. She had an uncanny instinct to find the soft spot in the armor and to sniff out those areas the interviewees least wanted to discuss. It was said that if Hilary went through your laundry, she’d immediately find that one article that somehow was overlooked in the wash.
The show was eagerly awaited by a gossip-hungry public who stopped everything from nine till eleven p.m. every fourth Sunday to watch her operate. Hilary believed in her soul that she was more popular than the queen, and for two hours every fourth Sunday, she most definitely was.
Tonight, she feared, would be one of those rare occasions when no bombshell would be dropped, nor would there be anything that would titillate or intrigue her waiting viewers. She anticipated absolutely nothin
g noteworthy from these two. J.
D. Borders—appealing though he was—and that little American wife of his would have been her dead last choices for a show, but her producer, a longtime fan of J.D.’s music, had run into them at some charity function and become totally smitten with Maggie, for reasons that were simply beyond Hilary’s comprehension. Oh, she was attractive enough in her own way, Hilary gave her that. Maggie had dark hair (which she has
to be coloring, since she must be fortysomething) and that cute little body
(which only God knows how she’s managed to keep after all those children) and that pretty but hardly spectacular face that showed barely a line (perhaps a nip here and a tuck there?).
J.D., however, was another story, she thought as she dodged one of the cameras being moved into position and snapped on her microphone. He was one of those men who actually got better looking
with each passing year. Forty-
three years old now, with hardly a gray hair and still a great body and that wonderfully rugged face, that heavenly smile, that incredible trademark voice. Even the most “in” of insiders swore he’d been one hundred percent faithful to Maggie over all the years
absolutely criminal if it’s true
I’d love a tumble with him myself).
Hilary had tried from every possible angle to uncover some dirt, even old dirt, along those lines and had come up dry at every source. It was inconceivable to her that this woman had managed to hold his attention for fifteen years with never an indiscretion.
Hilary’s mind was racing. God knows she had done her best to ferret something out. She was scrupulous about her research, rarely, if ever, permitting anyone to assist her in this most important aspect of her preparation for each show. She knew that no one else had her ability for reading between the lines in old magazine articles or newspaper clippings or casual conversations with family members and friends. No one could s
hine the light into the dark corn
ers like Hilary.
Even the prep for this show had been excruciatingly dull, she recalled as she checked her face for the last time. This will be one
of the longest, most boring…
she snapped the mirrored case shut and looked around the room.
Maggie had been adamant that the interview be conducted here, in the family living room, rather than in the more formal parlor across the hall. When Hilary had made her preshow visit, the room had been washed in the soft light of a late afternoon sun, the pale rose of the walls a gentle background to the lush floral chintz of the furniture and the plush carpet of dark green beneath her feet. The
French doors had been open then, framing a vista of the garden beyond which had appeared as a living work of art, the colors blending into an impressionist backdrop. Now in the harsh light of the television cameras, the earlier charm of the room faded somewhat, and the glorious view had been eliminated by the darkness of the evening hour.
Even her guests seemed to have lost some of their previous sparkle. She’d turned to look at the couple seated on the sofa, gazed long and hard. What was it that seemed out of sync?
J.D.’s elbow rested on the back of the sofa, his chin in his hand as he stared blankly into space, obviously deep in thought, his expression impossible to decipher. Anxiety? Confusion? At the very least, he appeared ill at ease.
Hilary turned her scrutiny on the wife, whose head was bent forward as a technician attempted to untangle several strands of long hair from the microphone wires. That task completed, Maggie repositioned herself, very definitely, Hilary observed, leaning away from J.D. as if determined to put as much distance as possible between them, even though they sat less than a foot apart. They had not spoken, Hilary suddenly realized, since Maggie had entered the room a good twenty minutes after everyone else had assembled. Something was definitely amiss. She could smell it now.
The couple had been warm and loving, clowning affectionately, when they’d met with Hilary a few weeks earlier to go over the show’s format. Now there was a definite frost in the air. Something about the set of Maggie’s shoulders, the way she was pointedly not looking at him, was a distinct contrast to their last meeting. And there was something else, something about their very physical appearance. Gone was the glowing, animated pair who’d greeted her when she’d arrived for her previous visit. In their places sat two lackluster strangers, their faces gray and their bloodshot eyes underscored by dark rings, as if they’d been on a month-long binge and decided only this morning to sober up. If they were prone to alcoholic excesses, she would have heard. That type of thing could not be covered up easily
these days. Yet there had not been an inkling of any such indulgence.
Yes indeed, Hilary’s instincts were aroused now. Something is most assuredly out of whack between these two, and she, Hilary, would only have the length of the show to find out what it was and wrench it from its hiding place.
are we all set here? Two minutes till show time,” she said sprightly, her enthusiasm renewed.
This might be fun after all,
it’s been forever since I’ve had to work blind, without having my plan of attack formulated in advance. This could be a real challenge.
To Maggie she cooed, “You look lovely, Maggie. That dress is stunning on you. Don’t you agree, J.D.? Your wife looks positively adorable.”
“God, yes, she always does.” He bit his lower lip to stop its tremble.
I know exactly how she looks, know every inch of that face as well as I know my own. I could sketch her in the dark and not miss a freckle. She always looks good to me, always has and always will. If we both live to be a hundred, I’d still think she was the only woman in the world worth having. That is what is making this whole damn situation so crazy. I have never really wanted anyone but Maggie. Since the very beginning, there has never been anyone else.
His frustration was becoming unbearable. Maggie hadn’t so much as looked at him. He knew he had to get his thoughts collected in the next forty-five seconds to somehow get through to her during the course of the show and find a way to make her understand what had happened, make her listen.
All I have to do,
is find the right angle.
His heart sank with an all but audible thud. He would have but two hours—the length of the interview—to get her attention, to put his life back together again.