“That one’s gonna be trouble,” DeWayne leaned over and cautioned Rob.
Rob glanced at him. “You think so?” He swiveled his head to look at Kate, who was sitting at the other end of the bar. She winked at him, and he looked away.
They were sitting at the bar in Tucson, waiting for a table in a restaurant they both enjoyed. DeWayne was nursing a beer. Rob had already downed two Jack and
He was ordering his third when DeWayne said, “Are you kidding me? The way she came onto you, man, I wouldn’t fuck her with someone else’s dick.”
In a fit of laughter, Rob spit the last of his drink on the bar. The dark liquid ran out of his nose. He grabbed some of the cocktail napkins off the bar and wiped his
chin before it spilled onto his shirt. “What did you just say?”
“No, I heard you.” He laughed, wiping at the tears running from his eyes. “Please don’t repeat it!”
“You like that one, huh?”
“I’ve never heard it put quite like that before.”
“Oh, I got a million of ‘em.”
“I’ll bet you do!”
“So, anyway, about this singer you got….”
“Kate,” Rob interrupted.
“Yeah, whatever.” DeWayne wiped her name away with a wave of his hand. “I got a bad feeling about her.”
The bartender set a fresh drink in front of Rob, and he picked it up and gulped half of it down. “Are you psychic?”
DeWayne laughed. “You know I’m not. But I do have kind of a sixth sense when it comes to people. And this girl makes me feel sick in my soul.”
“Not to worry, my big friend,” Rob answered. “After an invite like that, I’ve been steering clear of her. I don’t do slut anymore. Not since Lucy.”
“Speaking of Lucy, have you heard anything from her?” DeWayne signaled the bartender for another beer. “You don’t talk much about her anymore.”
Rob shrugged. “What’s there to say? I guess she blew me off. And took my kid with her.” He shook his head. “I don’t get it. She came to the hospital. She promised to
be right back with my clothes. She promised to get me out. Then nothing. She just disappears.”
“Have you considered the possibility that she couldn’t get back to you?”
Rob bobbed his head as he turned to look at his friend. “It’s crossed my mind. But how would I find out? It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
“Not really.” DeWayne took a sip of his beer then set the mug down. “You just have to know how and where to look.”
“And you know the how and where, I suppose?”
DeWayne eyed Rob without speaking. It took him a minute, but suddenly Rob’s eyes lit up.
“There it is,” DeWayne said.
“Hospitals! Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Cause you’re a musician.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Don’t take offense.” DeWayne held up his hands. “It only means you think like a musician. Whereas I worked in a hospital. I still think like that.”
He drew in a long breath. “Okay. I get it. So, how do we start? And where?”
“First things first.” DeWayne picked up his mug of beer and downed the rest of it. “You’re on tour, so we shouldn’t even start looking until we get back to LA.”
“Why should we wait? There’s no time like the present, and I need to….”
“Rob,” DeWayne silenced him. “I said, you’re on tour. It’s your first tour. The only thing you should be concentrating on is that.”
DeWayne heaved a sigh. “Think about it. If we go looking, that’s going to take the front and center of your mind. That’s all you’ll be able to think about. Do you want
to be onstage, thinking of Lucy, and forget the words to songs?”
Rob shook his head.
“And, if we do find out what happened to her, and its bad news, do you want to know this while you’re on tour when there’s nothing you can do about it?”
“I guess not.”
“You guess not. No, you don’t. Because then you would want to fly back to LA. That would ruin your career when it’s just getting off the ground. So, just sit tight, my
man. Let the chips fall, and we’ll just keep moving forward. Okay?”
“Okay, D,” Rob sighed. “You’re right.”
“Of course, I’m right,” D laughed. “Let’s have one more before our table is ready.”
“Sounds like…” Rob stopped in mid-sentence when he happened to glance at where Kate was sitting. “Would you look at that,” he whispered.
Larry Brown was standing next to Kate, an arm on her shoulder. She was looking up at him, her eyes sparkling. Brown had just said something, and Kate was nodding. Her
eyes fell on Rob, and her eyebrows rose. She winked at him again as she rose from the barstool, took Larry’s arm, and proceeded into the dining room.
Rob elbowed DeWayne as he jerked his head toward the couple.
“See,” DeWayne laughed. “Like I said, I wouldn’t fuck her with someone else’s dick.”
Heads turned in their direction as the laughter burst out of them.
The sun felt good on her shoulders. After being cooped up in her room for the last month, the first twelve days spent in a medically induced coma, it felt nice to get
Spring was in the air. Birds sang in the trees. Happiness bloomed inside her.
Lucy glanced up at Michael from her wheelchair. "Thanks, Michael, I needed this more than I realized."
"Fresh air and sunshine is always the best medicine." He placed the lock on the wheels and sat down on the concrete bench beside her.
She leaned her head back and let the sun rest on her face. "It's a little bit of heaven."
He laughed. "Sometimes, it is. Any thoughts on where you'll go once you're released?"
Her mouth turned dry, and fear clawed at her with his question. She shook her head and waited for the feeling to pass. "I try not to think about it. There's time.
Plus," she patted the small mound forming in her stomach. "This little bun I have in the oven needs me to be well enough to take care of him.."
"Do you think your apartment is gone by now?"
She gave a short laugh. "I wouldn't exactly call it an apartment. It's a bedroom with bath and kitchen privileges. The old hag wouldn't let me live in her house with a
baby anyway." She swatted at a mosquito buzzing around her head.
"I could check on Rob's apartment. But I've been out of touch with him for so long..." She wondered what Rob thought when she never came back for him.
"I'm sorry, Lucy," he apologized. "I didn't mean to upset you."
She gave a wave of her hand. "I'm fine."
She wasn't fine, though. She missed him, and whenever she thought of him (which was most of the time), an emptiness settled over her. She still loved him despite their
age difference. After all, a May to December romance happened all the time, didn't it? Usually, the man was older, but there were cases where the woman could be. What was the term called? Oh yes, a
cougar. Lucy laughed to herself. She never felt less like a cougar than she did right now.
She would never be ready to let him go. She loved how his breath smelled sweet whenever he wanted her, loved how his skin was so warm against her after they made love,
how he felt when he was deep inside of her. She didn't care what she was called. She hoped he missed her and didn't think she deserted him.
"Can I ask you a question?" Michael asked.
Lucy pulled away from her thoughts. "Sure, ask away."
"Do you think..."
No. I'm not ready for this.
"Don't ask. I can't."
"You don't even know what I was going to ask."
"I do. And I can't go there. It's too soon."
Michael lowered his head and stared at the ground.
She hated the dejected look on his face. "Maybe someday," she said and shrugged her shoulders.
He looked up. "You think?"
She nodded. "I think."
"Okay, then. That's enough."
"I'm ready to go back to my room." Her eyes felt heavy, her head full of unanswered questions. She wanted to fall into the nothingness of sleep.
Her phone was ringing. She motioned for Michael to answer it. He picked up the receiver and said hello. Then he turned and handed it to her.
"It's for you," he said. "Some guy named D."
At the look of confusion on Lucy's face, Michael put the phone back to his ear. "I think you might have the wrong Lucy. She doesn't know anyone..."
"Wait!" Lucy cried. "Let me talk to him."
Michael hesitated, then handed her the phone.
Trepidation filled her as she took the receiver from him and placed it to her ear. "Hello?"
The voice boomed through the earpiece. "Is this Lucy Greene?"
"Yes, it is."
"Hi, Lucy, my name is DeWayne Coffey. You don't know me, but I work for Rob Starre."
She inhaled sharply. "Rob?" she whispered. "Is he okay?"
"He's fine, Lucy. He's on tour."
She glanced up as Michael discreetly left the room.
"How the tour going?" she asked.
"He's kicking ass."
She breathed a sigh. "That's good. I knew he would."
"That's not the reason I'm calling. Rob's been worried about you. He felt something happened since he last saw you. He wanted to start looking for you, but I talked
him out of it. He has no idea I started looking for you on my own."
"Well, you found me."
"And I'm glad I did. I'm sorry to hear about the bus accident. How are you doing?"
She gave a mirthless laugh. "Well, I'm hairless but I'm doing fine."
"Yeah, I guess I cracked my head pretty hard on the window."
"Must have hurt."
"I wouldn't know. I was knocked out."
"And you're recovering well?"
"I am. No memory loss, thank God."
He wanted to ask the next question but wasn't sure she would tell him. She might tell him it's none of his business. But Rob would want to know so he took a deep
breath. "And the baby?"
"Why didn't Rob call me himself?"
DeWayne hesitated. Then he said, "Rob doesn't know I found you."
"I haven't told him."
"Why would you do something like that?" Her voice raised in pitch. Tears shimmered in her eyes.
"I'm sorry, Lucy," DeWayne said. "If he found out about the accident, he would be on the first plane. If he did something like that, he would be missing shows and it
would end his career."
Lucy bit at her thumbnail as she mulled this over.
"Can you understand?"
She wanted to be selfish and tell Mr. Coffey she didn't understand, she was the mother of Rob's baby, and was more important than any career. She wanted to scream she
should come first if he loved her. Instead, she breathed deeply and nodded. "I understand, Mr. Coffey. Where do we go from here?"
No wonder Rob loves her. "I can't say anything to Rob, Lucy, I hope you understand."
"I guess it has to be." Lucy grabbed a tissue from the box on her nightstand and dabbed at her eyes. She very much wanted to see Rob.
"I can stay in touch with you. I would like to give you my number in case you need anything."
"Yes, I would like that." It will be my lifeline to Rob.
He gave her the number.
"I don't have a cell yet. Mine died in the crash."
"That's why Rob couldn't find you. He did try at first."
Lucy smiled, grateful to hear that Rob tried to reach her. "Yeah, and I'm spoiled with speed dial. There are no remembering phone numbers anymore."
"I get it," DeWayne laughed. "But as long as you're in the hospital, I can reach you. Please call me when they discharge you."
"I'll do that, Mr. Coffey. I can't thank you enough for searching for me."
"As long as you're in the hospital, I can reach you. Please call me when they discharge you."
"I'll do that, Mr. Coffey. I can't thank you enough for searching for me."
DeWayne laughed. "I love playing detective. And please call me D."
Her mouth curved into a smile. "I will, D. And thank you again."
She heard the click as he hung up, but she held onto the receiver. She didn't want to let him go.
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