“Are they home? Rebecca and Helaine.”
“Bec and Laney.” God, this guy is such an uptight prick. Professor Douchebag. “I don’t know.”
“How can you not know? The place isn’t that big.”
“I was sleeping. And yeah, the place is pretty small…compared to the palace you live in with your twenty-two-year-old student. Or did you already cheat on that one and move on to a new crop of freshmen?”
He ignores most of my rant. “It’s four in the afternoon and you’re still sleeping?”
“I work nights.”
He guffaws. “Work? You sing a few songs and screw the swooning teenyboppers when you’re done. I’d hardly call that real work.”
I smile. And take a step into his private space, craning my neck down six inches to look him in the eye. “Why don’t you bring that new young wife down to the show so she can swoon over someone closer to her own age?”
“Move your foot, or you’re going to have some broken toes when I slam this door shut.”
“Just get Rebecca.”
I take a step back inside the apartment and slam the door shut. I know Becca isn’t home, or she would have been at the door getting between us in two seconds flat. But I stroll through the apartment to double check anyway. Beds are made, no sign of Bec or Laney. The asshole is ringing the bell again before I even make it back to the door.
I enjoy the little pansy professor’s nervous jump when I whip the door open again. “They’re not here. Leave.”
“Where are they?”
“Out.” I attempt to slam the door again, but he sticks his damn foot in it again. That thing is definitely going to be swollen later. Who the hell wears loafers anymore¸ anyway?
“Can you give Rebecca this?” He offers an envelope.
“What is it?”
“It’s none of your business.”
“Then give it to her yourself.”
“Just take it. It’s a check. For Helaine’s birthday party.”
“Not showing up again?”
I snatch the envelope and slam the door in his face. Luckily, this time it closes.
After a quick shower, and forgoing a shave in favor of two-day-old stubble, I power on my phone to find a response to the “Twinkle, Twinkle” lyrics I sent last night.
I might have hummed myself to sleep with a certain nursery rhyme last night.
The anger from Douchebag’s visit dissipates surprisingly easily. Before I can text back, my phone chimes again.
Thank you for last night. I wouldn’t have gone through with it if you hadn’t been there for me.
Glad I could help. Your voice is incredible. You belong on a stage.
You’re good for my confidence. ? I owe you one. Another voice coach session maybe?
You owe me one, huh?
Doing anything right now?
What did you have in mind?
I leave a note next to Douchebag’s check and an hour later I’m at her door.
“So how old is she going to be?”
“Five, huh. What types of things is she into?”
“Frozen. She’s pretty much obsessed with anything Frozen.”
Lucky pulls the front door closed and locks it. She drops her keys into her purse and smiles at me. “Well, I’m all yours. Where should we go first?”
All mine. I like the sound of that. “I was sort of hoping you’d tell me where we should go. I’ve never been a five-year-old girl.”
She leads me to a stairwell and I open the door for her to walk in front of me. It’s the first time I’ve seen her dressed casually. She has on those low-on-the-hip, tight black yoga pants that fit like a second skin, hugging the curves of her shapely ass. A white tank top and a three-quarter-sleeve denim jacket. Her feet are clad in aqua Chucks. I’m quite enjoying the view as we reach the landing three stories down.
She turns to speak to me, catching my eyes glued to her ass. At first I think she’s going to call me on it, but she lets me slide, opening the door that leads to the street instead. “How about FAO Schwarz?”
We’re stopped just outside on the sidewalk. People are coming and going in different directions. “Never been. Sounds good to me.”
“It’s probably about a mile and a half. Subway or walk?”
“I like to walk. But whatever you prefer.”
“Walk it is, then.”
Our conversation flows easily the first mile. We cover everything from her friendship with Avery to my starting the band in middle school. When we pass a CVS, she asks if we can stop.
“Hungry?” She empties the shelf of Hershey’s Special Dark bars and puts them on the counter. The cashier counts out nine.
“They’re hard to find. I was almost out. This chain is one of the few that stocks them.”
“And you need that many because…”
She shrugs. “I eat half a bar for breakfast every morning. I totally blame Mr. Hershey entirely for the size of my ass.”
“Remind me to send him a thank-you note.”
She shakes her head and tosses the bars into her purse. We’re two blocks away from the toy store, stopped at a red light, when we’re interrupted by a girl. Or maybe she’s a woman. Her body is all woman, I can tell, since most of it is on display, but her face looks young still.
“Excuse me. Aren’t you Flynn Beckham?”
It’s been happening more and more lately. After the reality TV show, I was mobbed for a while, but then things died down. Now, with the announcement of In Like Flynn joining the Easy Ryder tour, and the upcoming release of our next album, I’ve been getting a lot more attention from the tabloids. Which means street recognition.
Her eyes light up. “Could I take a picture of us? The girls in my dorm will never believe I ran into you on the street without proof.”
I look at Lucky and she smiles. I suppose she’s used to the attention more than I am. With her parents and…her boyfriend.
The girl snuggles close to me, pressing her chest up against mine, and smiles as she holds out her iPhone and shoots off a dozen pictures.
“Is she your wife?” She glances at Lucky with a look of annoyance and then back to me expectedly.
“Can I buy you a drink later?”
I’m pretty sure I’ll never get used to being asked out. Lucky sees the discomfort written on my face and grabs my hand, weaving our fingers together before addressing the girl. “We may not be married, but we’re exclusive, sweetheart.”
Then she turns her attention to me. “Light’s green, honey.”
I grin and follow my woman’s lead, hand in hand.
“Thank you for that.”
“No problem.” She smiles. “You saved me yesterday. It’s the least I can do. But I think you might need to start wearing a hat and sunglasses.”
The rest of the way to FAO Schwarz, I never let go of her hand and she never attempts to pull it away. I open the door lefty, even though it’s an awkward, totally unnatural movement, just so I don’t have to give up the contact.
“After you,” I say. She walks through the door and then unexpectedly turns and starts speaking. She stops midsentence when she again catches my eyes glued to her ass. This time she doesn’t let me off the hook so easily.