For the next couple of weeks, things are touch and go as the band readjusts to having Sinjin back around. He bitches and moans about leaving rehab just to go back to work—rehearsing is unavoidable since we our tour launches in a little over four months—but I haven’t seen him this relaxed and happy in years. I don’t realize what’s going on with him until one night during rehearsal at the studio. He gets a call in the middle of one of our songs. Though he quickly silences his phone and mutters an apology, the moment that Cal strums the final note of “Tumble’s Down”, Sinjin is on his way out. I catch the first part of his conversation as he leaves:
“God, where’ve you been? I’ve been thinking—” The door to the soundproof room thuds shut, cancelling out whatever the hell it is Sinjin is saying.
Cal sets his guitar to the side and sits backwards on one of the uncomfortable rolling chairs our label places around these rooms. The look on his face matches the one I’m sure is on my own—worry. “You don’t think he’s trying to get fucked up do you?”
Wyatt’s digging around in the mini-fridge, but when his head comes up, he’s shaking it from side to side. Cal and I both look over at him, waiting impatiently for clarification. At last Wyatt shrugs. “He made a friend in rehab.”
“A friend?” I ask. Wyatt hurls a bottle of water at me, but I reach up and catch it. His aim is just as shitty as Kylie’s. Staring at him darkly, I unscrew the top from the water. I lean my shoulder against the wall. “I’m assuming a female friend.”
Wyatt nods and takes a swig of the Bud Light he found in the fridge. He makes a face at it, turning the bottle to the side to check the date. “That’s what I heard. Fuck, that’s all I know. Ky’ll be able to tell you her whole life story if you ask.”
Kylie. No shit she’ll be able to tell me about Sinjin’s mystery woman. Cal groans before I have a chance. “Goddamn, Kylie knows everything. She’s been all over my ass for months about Heidi, but I can’t—”
The door cracks open, and all three of us look like we’ve been caught in the act as Sinjin comes back into the studio. Wyatt downs the rest of his beer and Cal gets up from that lousy ass chair as Sin walks a little more aggressively than normal to his drums.
“Everything okay?” I demand, and he shrugs.
“Been a lot better and so much worse, so it’s good.” He sits down behind his drums and shoots an edgy look around the room at the rest of us. “Just wanted to throw this out there, I’d like to get this done so I can go on home for the night.” He drags the drumsticks out of his back pocket and stretches his arms, managing a forced smile. “Shit to do.”
I’m worried about Sinjin long after our rehearsal is finished. I feel like a nag for texting him later that night and like a fucking pussy for getting anxious when he doesn’t respond. As soon as Kylie comes into work the next day, I turn her back around to take her to lunch. She’s suspicious, and rightly so because as soon as we’re seated at the restaurant of her choice—the Cheesecake Factory of all places—I start up on the questions.
“So what do you know about her? And don’t give me that confidentiality bullshit because you know how important this is.”
Her dark brown eyes widen, and she runs her fingers nervously through her short hair. She drinks almost half a glass of water before responding. “Look, I’d planned on telling you everything once Sin got settled in and you all got over that hump. Sorry for being secretive, but trust me we haven’t been talking as long as you think. It feels like it took me forever to get back into her life, so I’ve been taking it slowly—”
“Kylie,” I say, but she continues.
“She doesn’t talk about you. She doesn’t mention you, but I know it’s just a matter of time before she does. And when she does, I think you have a good chance. I know she loves you.”
I plunk my elbows down on the table, and Kylie jumps. This restaurant is jam-packed, and I don’t want someone else witnessing this conversation, so I lean forward. “I’m assuming this isn’t about what’s going on with Sin.”
This time, instead of going wide-eyed, her face furrows into a deep frown. I watch her carefully as she breathes in and out of her nose before finally cocking her head to one side. “Ah, shit.” She mimics my position, placing her elbows on the table and bringing her head closer to mine. “Well, I can tell you about that, too.”
“Nah, I think we should finish what you started first. You’ve been talking to Sienna.” There’s no anger in my voice, no pain or hurt, but something else. Eagerness. I dial that emotion back before I add, “How long?”
“Nearly a month now,” she says in a tiny voice.
Okay, that one stings, but I force my head into an awkward ass nod. “Thanks for letting me know.”
Kylie releases a breath, blowing a strand of that pink and blond catastrophe out of her face. “It’s not even like that Lucas. You were working on the song, and then Sinjin got out. When I contacted her, I didn’t even know if she’d get back to me.”
The waitress comes over to ask me if I want another beer and after I wave her off and Kylie orders a bloody Mary, I ask, “How’d you do it?”
My sister smiles sheepishly, and I groan as I wait for it. “I sent her this big ass check for all the hours she worked for you and threatened bodily harm if she refused it. She called to thank me, the rest is awkward history in the love story of Kylie and Sienna.”
The love story of Kylie and Sienna. I stare at her for a long time, trying to figure out if she’s serious or fucking with me, but then she sits straight on her side of the booth. “And yes, I’m telling the truth. She’s back in Nashville, just in case you were wondering.”
This catches me off guard more than learning that Kylie’s been in frequent touch with a woman who consumes most of my thoughts. My eyebrows drag together. “Why?” She loved Los Angeles. Loved working in wardrobe, even if it was on the set of a show I can’t stomach watching for longer than the opening credits. “Does she have plans on what she’ll do there?”
My sister looks at me like I’m a dumbass. She waits until after the waitress places her bloody Mary in front of her and she’s taken a healthy drink of it before responding. “Wardrobe. Same thing she done here. She’ll be amazing—I’m sure of it.” It sounds like Kylie’s trying to convince me, but I have no doubt. Sienna will be amazing at anything she does, but I’d sure as hell prefer that she was doing it with me in her life.
We talk about Sienna for another few minutes before Kylie steers the conversation to something new—an idea she has for the tour late this summer. We talk about the tour for the rest of lunch, but right before we leave, she places her hand on mine.
“And the answer to your original question about Sinjin—it’s complicated. She’s a lot younger.”
A cold chill runs through me, and I ease back down in the booth. “How much younger?” I ask in a voice so soft that I’m not sure it’s my own. “Tell me he’s not doing something fucking stupid.”
Kylie is shaking her head wildly before she even speaks. “No! God Lucas, I’m loyal to Sinjin, but even that has limits. She’s 20.”
That’s not too bad. I’ve seen worse. In this industry, some of the age gaps have left me scratching my head and wondering what the fuck. “Then how the hell is it complicated?”
“She’s his therapist’s daughter.”
Part 13 coming by next Saturday night, October 12!