Here's Part 13 of ABSORBED, which is the last chapter that's written from Kylie's POV (Unless there's ever a request from you guys for another, of course!). I hope you enjoy! :)
The rest of the day working for Lucas passes by at an agonizingly slow pace. When it’s finally over, and I’m ready to go back to my apartment for the night, I run downstairs and poke my head in his music room. He’s deep in concentration, with his guitar sitting on his lap and holding a guitar pick and a pen in the same hand. I feel bad for disturbing him when he’s in the zone like this, but since I won’t be around tomorrow or the next day on official band business, I feel the need to remind him.
“Hey,” I say gently. Of course, he doesn’t look up. He continues to play his guitar, so the next time I speak, it’s more forceful and attention grabbing. “I need a raise like yesterday.”
This time, he glances up at me. He cocks his head to one side and a bemused expression forms on his olive-toned face. “You make plenty, Kylie.”
A smile tugs at my lips. “I’m just screwing with you,” I say, but he doesn’t look convinced. “Just wanted to remind you about the AMPed Awards.”
He gives me a deadpan look, like he has no damn clue what I’m talking about. “Alright.”
I release a heavy sigh. “You know? The show in Vegas that you asked me to go to in your place? Yeah, it’s tomorrow night so I won’t be back for a couple of days. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t need anything before I left.”
He bends his head to the song he’s working on and makes a note in his book. As if I’m not standing in the doorway talking to him. What the hell? “Since you can’t pay attention for longer than ten seconds, should I text you where I’m going to be?” I ask, but he shakes his head, never looking up at me. Times like this are the ones where I want to wrap my fingers around my brother’s neck and throttle the shit out of him.
“I heard you. I remembered. And no, I don’t need anything.” He glances up and gives me a stern look that probably works like a charm on any woman other than our mother and me. “Don’t get into too much shit while you’re in Vegas.”
“I’ll try not to get my ID stolen this time,” I promise, even though the ID fiasco had occurred in New Orleans and not Vegas. And Wyatt had been with me at the time. He’s been so busy recently that going to Vegas is completely out of the question. “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I add, sounding anything but convincing.
Lucas rolls hazel eyes. “Hell, maybe I should be texting Heidi and telling her crazy ass to stay out of trouble.”
I’d mentioned to Lucas that my closest friend, Heidi, would be going to Vegas with me weeks ago, but I didn’t think he heard me at the time. It was when he was deep, deep into working on the song for Sienna, and all he did was give me a quick nod before returning to his music. “And here I was thinking everything I said sounded like gibberish to you.”
“Have a good trip,” he says, smirking.
“If you win that songwriting award, I’m keeping that shit for my apartment,” I say, but he shrugs. As I turn to leave, he clears his throat. It’s Lucas’s go-to sound for getting attention.
“By the way it’s Peanuts.”
“Excuse me?” My confusion must be written all over my face as I wait for him to explain.
“Peanuts, or Charlie Brown, whatever you want to call it. Most of the time I hear the wahh-wahh-wahh shit the teacher did when you talk.”
I didn’t even think Lucas remembered watching all the Charlie Brown specials year after year with our parents when we were kids, but apparently he does. It takes a lot of effort to hold back my laughter, but I narrow my eyes into a steely glare. “Go fuck yourself, Lucas.”
“Love you, too,” he yells after me. “And you’re not keeping my award.”
“I’m keeping the damn award,” I tell Heidi in a confident voice while we’re at our first after-party late the next night. Since I accepted the metallic blue, guitar-pick shaped award for Lucas earlier—an award he received for Songwriter of the Year— I’ve been holding on to it tightly. There’s no way I’m letting it go. My brother can have one of the other awards that the band won, which are going to be shipped to Los Angeles. This one—well, it’ll go well in my den.
Heidi swipes two shots off of a serving tray as a hostess passes by and drinks them both, making a screwed up face as they go down. “Bet you a hundred bucks Lucas gets it back.” She places the shot glasses on the edge of someone’s table in the crowded nightclub before tugging the hem of her tiny bandage dress down. The dress immediately crawls back up, exposing more of her toned thighs. “Actually, on second thought, I bet you a thousand. Lucas is intimidating.”
“Nah, he’ll—” I start, but then I cringe as familiar spiky blonde hair attached to an even more familiar face comes into view across the club’s dance floor. At first, I hope like hell he doesn’t notice me, but then a big ass grin moves across Gavin Cooley’s face. I had absolutely loved Dark Fiction, the band that Gavin fronts, for all of a week. Then I got the chance to meet Gavin, who just so happens to be one of the biggest dickwads I’ve ever met.
Heidi twists in the direction of my stare, her green eyes scanning the area, until they land on Gavin. “Ugh, that douche is here?”
“Didn’t realize you ever met him,” I say between gritted teeth as he comes closer, and I see her nod out of the corner of my eye.
“Oh, yeah. He tried to talk me onto his bus last year at Rock Fest. I gave him a fake number and told him to call me when he was ready for me to come over.”
Because I make the mistake of glancing over at her, and getting a good glimpse of the serious expression on her face, I’m laughing when Gavin finally makes it over to us. “Kylie-Fucking-Wolfe,” he says, and I quirk the corner of my mouth. His gaze sweeps over me, spending a little too long on the curves of my hips and my breasts, which are accentuated by a gravity defying push-up bra that I let Heidi talk me into buying. “Nice dress,” he adds, though I don’t think he gives two shits about my strapless black mini dress.
“Thanks.” Still clutching the large blue guitar pick award, I fold my arms over my chest. “Nice performance tonight.”
Gavin shrugs, but it’s one of those cocky gestures that cause me to twist my lips to the side skeptically. “We were alright.” He glances behind me, looking for someone. “Lucas didn’t show?”
“He’s in the studio, so I’m afraid he couldn’t make it. None of the guys could come.” It’s the same thing I said when I accepted the band’s awards, and I’m sure Gavin already knows all this, but his lips pull down into a frown anyway. It takes every ounce of restraint not to roll my eyes. What a fucking drama king.
“That’s a shame. Heard from Cilla you’ve been seeing Wyatt, must’ve been hard for him to let you come here alone.”
“I’m sure he’s devastated right now,” I reply in a dry voice. Of course, that’s anything but the truth. For the last few weeks, Wyatt’s been just as distracted as Lucas. It’s unnerving. And though I hate to admit it, it’s caused me to spend a little more time at my own place. To give him space because even though we’ve been doing this thing with one another for eight years, the relationship aspect still feels so new.
“I would be,” Gavin says, dragging his gaze over my body again. “Devastated, that is.”
Heidi runs her hand through her chestnut curls. “I’m devastated that I don’t have a drink in my hand.” She nods toward another guy coming toward—the guest guitarist who’d performed with Dark Fiction on stage earlier tonight. “Scratch that, looks like he brought one for me.”
Before the guitarist can pass the drink along to Gavin, Heidi plucks it out of his hands and takes a sip. When he gives her a hard look, she smiles widely, which is usually enough to win any man over. Gavin speaks up before the other man has a chance to. “Knox, this is Wolfe’s sister, Kylie and her friend—.”
Heidi takes another sip of the drink, giving Gavin an incredulous look over the rim. “Heidi. Though, I’m sure you already know that.”
Knox reaches out toward me, and I accept his hand. “Your playing is incredible,” I tell him. And it’s true. Regardless of how big of a turd I think Gavin is, I can’t deny incredible music.
Knox grins, this wide, genuine expression complete with dimples. “Good to finally meet you. Everyone talks about Kylie Wolfe.” Because I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, I nod and offer him a grateful smile. Heidi touches my shoulder and I glance over at her.
“Got to pee,” she mouths, backing away in the direction of the restrooms. When I turn my attention back to Knox and Gavin a moment later, they’re already talking about something else—some other chick’s ass—and I use the opportunity to sneak away, heading straight for the club’s exit.
Once I’m outside, standing in the dry, night heat, I draw in a deep breath. As I light the only cigarette I have on me (the one I tucked behind my ear before Heidi and I came to the night club), I check my phone.
One text from my brother asking if everything at the awards show went alright. No calls or texts or anything from Wyatt. Shit.
Taking a deep drag of my cigarette, I send a message to Lucas. After I debate for a good two minutes over whether or not I should text Wyatt and let him know everything is going okay, I toss my phone back inside of my tiny handbag. “I shouldn’t be upset that he hasn’t contacted me,” I whisper fiercely to myself. “I shouldn’t be worried. I shouldn’t be—”
“You shouldn’t announce where you’re headed on Facebook,” a voice says from beside me, and my heart is suddenly racing as I jerk my gaze up. “You really, really shouldn’t, beautiful. It’s worse than Foursquare.”
Once I find my voice, and yeah, it takes me a little bit to do that, I ask, “What the hell are you doing here, Wyatt?” I lift a hand to push a strand of my hair back behind my ear. He immediately pulls the lock back out, rubbing it between his fingers before dropping the pink and blonde in favor of touching my face. “You’re supposed to be in the studio?” But as selfish as it sounds, I’m glad he’s not in the studio. I’d much rather Wyatt be here.
He shrugs, and then I realize something. This situation is so reminiscent of the last time he surprised me in New Orleans—all except for the fact that he and I are actually a couple now—that I immediately assume the worst. “Is Sinjin okay?” I demand.
His bright blue eyes crinkle at the corners as he laughs, and I feel a tiny weight being lifted off my chest. “Sinjin’s fine. Stop worrying about him so damn much, you’re going to give the poor mother fucker a nervous twitch.” He takes a step closer to me. “Can’t I just come to Vegas and surprise you and all that good shit?”
All that good shit probably referring to sex. I bite the corner of my lip. “Couldn’t stand the thought of me meeting hot strangers?”
He looks over me, just like Gavin did only fifteen minutes ago, but I make no moves to cover myself. Or to stop a wide grin from spreading across my face. “You can pretend like I’m a stranger if you want.” His expression goes serious, and then he pulls me to him. My breath hitches as I meet his gaze. “Look Ky, I came to apologize for being so fucking off lately. I’ve . . . I’ve been thinking a lot. Then we had all the band shit.” I nod in understanding, and he takes a deep breath. “And then I started talking to my lawyer this past week.”
“Wait—what?” I whisper.
“I’m going to try to get primary custody of Brenna.”
His daughter—someone that I love just as much as I love him. I grip his shoulder with my free hand, trying to control my breathing. “I fully support this—you know I do. And, for what it’s worth, I’m so glad that’s why you’ve been off.”
His smile is one of relief—a beautiful expression that makes my chest hurt. “So that’s why I’m here. To let you know that I’ve heard everything you’ve said to me over the last couple of weeks. To let you know that I give a fuck about everything you do.” Letting me go, he grabs Lucas’s guitar pick award from me and weighs it in the palm of his hand. “Especially when it’s in Vegas.”
“You came here to stop me from eloping with that guy I met this morning at the blackjack slot machine in my hotel, didn’t you?” I tease.
“I fucking love you, beautiful.”
It had taken him so long to say those words to me that it still causes me to shiver. “I love you too, McCrae.”
Backing away from me, he starts to release my hand, but I tighten my grip on his fingers. “You should get back to Heidi,” he says.
My eyebrows tighten together into a frown. “You’re leaving?”
“Going back to my room at the Venetian. At least until you and Heidi are done here. I’m flying back with you tomorrow night.”
I let out a huge breath. “Thank god. For a moment, I thought you flew in only to say sorry.“
He leans down so that his mouth is level with my ear. “Actually, I flew in to marry you.” As he walks away, he grins at me—at the way I can’t quite get my mouth to shut. “But I figured I should get the sorry out of the way before I told you that, beautiful.”