“These are the two chicks from the billboard on the coliseum. You got great tits, baby.” The man took a step closer as he pointed in my direction.
I didn’t respond, thinking it best not to add flame to the alcohol which was already burning inside the drunk asshole.
One of the guys that had walked over yelled, “Show us your tits. I got a hard on just looking at you bent over in that picture.” A few of the guys now huddling around us snickered at the comment.
The big muscular guy took a step closer to me and reached out his hand. “Come on, babe, take a picture with me.” Tyler caught the guy’s hand in mid air as he reached for me.
“You got a problem, asshole?” The muscular guy squared his shoulders and puffed out his chest in Tyler’s direction.
Jack suddenly appeared and stood in front of me, ignoring the heated exchange taking place behind his back. “You okay?” he asked in a low, controlled voice.
“Yes, I’m fine. I just want to get out of here.”
Jack looked to Sienna. “I’m fine. Let’s just get out of here, Jack.” The look on Jack’s face was murderous and made me even more nervous than I had been a minute ago.
Jack turned to the ringleader and took a step in his direction. I watched as the man steadied himself in response to Jack’s aggressive posture.
“You got a problem, pretty boy?” The man stood toe to toe with Jack, neither backing down.
Jack spoke calmly, too calmly. “You owe the ladies an apology.”
“I don’t owe them shit.” The man’s face moved closer to Jack’s.
Thankfully, a police officer walked over and interrupted at just the right moment. “Do we have problem, gentlemen?” The officer’s words may have been spoken in broken English, but he pulled out his baton as he spoke making his point crystal clear.
The ringleader took a step back and held up his hands. “No sir, no problem here.”
The officer looked to Jack and I watched his jaw clench. “We were just leaving, officer.” Jack turned to me and took my hand without another word and the four of us walked away unscathed.
Four hours later we were still having the same argument.
“I’m getting you security.”
“I don’t need security.”
“You need damn security, Syd.” Jack’s tone grew more heated as he unloaded his pockets onto the desk in the living room of our suite.
“The rest of the tour we are going to be so busy we will barely even have time to go off on our own.”
“What about when you go to dinner before a show?”
“We are always with other people.”
“I don’t trust other people. I trust a trained security professional.”
Jack turned to face me, his expression stopped me in my tracks. I had never seen him so angry before.
“I try hard to not get in your business, Syd. But I need to know you are safe running around half of Europe obliviously with your friend.”
“I’m not oblivious.”
Okay, so maybe I was oblivious at times, but it definitely wasn’t the time or the place to admit it.
A knock at the door broke our staring contest and I went to open the door, grateful for the interruption. My hand was already on the door handle when Jack barked.
“Ask who it is first, Syd.”
Damn it. I would normally ask who it was before I opened the door, wouldn’t I? My argument with Jack was just making me lose my wits.
“Who is it?” I asked with an attitude through the door.
“Housekeeping, Mrs. Cole. I have a garment bag that Ms. McAllister asked me to deliver to your room. She said you would know what it was.”
Damn it. I had forgotten all about the dress that I had planned to show Jack. I opened the door and apologized for my attitude, attempting to tip the kind-faced older woman, but she refused to accept a gratuity. I took the dress and walked toward the bedroom without saying a word to Jack.
Jack stood in the bedroom doorway, his body taking up most of the passage. He watched as I hung the garment bag.
Jack motioned to the dress bag. “Going somewhere?”
I looked at him and narrowed my eyes. “Yes.”
Jack raised an eyebrow, surprised at my answer. “Where?”
“To an awards show. At least I was planning on going. But I haven’t been asked yet.”
I watched as what I was talking about registered on his face. The corner of Jack’s mouth twitched and turned slightly up. I saw a hint of his cocky smile before he tried to cover it with indifference. “Put on the dress.”
“Why?” I asked, with a mouth full of sass.
“Because I want to see what the most beautiful girl will be wearing when I show her off on my arm.”
Right. Damn. Answer. I turned my back to him so that he couldn’t see me smile, taking the dress bag with me as I went into the bathroom to change.
I quickly fixed my makeup and ran my fingers through my hair after slipping on the dress and shoes. Even without proper preparation, I knew I looked good when I saw my reflection in the mirror. It was the dress. Sexy as hell and fit like a glove.
I opened the bathroom door and stood in the doorway, posing as Jack’s eyes took in the dress. He didn’t say anything, so I waited, then slowly turned, giving him the full effect of the dress.
I looked up at Jack as I completed my slow circle and our eyes met. His eyes were filled with desire. He made no attempt to hide his slow gaze up and down my body one more time before he spoke. “You’re definitely getting f**king security.”
For some reason, when he looked at me that way and told me what I was doing, I didn’t mind it so much. I let out an exaggerated sigh. “Okay.”
Jack smiled and I rolled my eyes.
He took two long steps and was quickly in my personal space. “Thank you.”
Then he helped me take off the dress.
I don’t know why, but Jack leaving me at an airport was much easier than me leaving him outside the tour bus. Maybe it was because I was the one making the choice to go and I could have jumped off the bus before it pulled away and made the decision to go back home with him and live my happily ever after.
It had been hours since our bus had pulled out of Rome and I’d watched Jack standing outside alone until he was completely out of view. But there was still a lump in my throat and a feeling of emptiness inside my chest that made me feel hollow. I knew Jack was going straight to the airport for his flight, but it hadn’t made it any easier to walk onto the bus and take those first few steps away from him.
My phone buzzed and I smiled, seeing Jack’s face on the screen indicating a text had arrived.
Your new security will meet you at the next stop. Boarding now, call me when you get up tomorrow. Can’t stop thinking about you in that red dress. We may need security at the awards too with the way you look in it. Fuck, now I have to board for an eight hour flight with a hard on bc of the picture in my head.
I grinned and rolled my eyes at the screen. The man had no shame. Sienna caught me smiling and broke into my thoughts.
“Finally, a smile. I thought you were going to walk around looking like someone had just shot your puppy for the next two weeks. Was it a dirty text from loverboy that made you smile? If you want, I can walk around being all alpha male kickass demanding if it makes you feel better.”
I shook my head at my best friend, a smirk telling her that I thought she was crazy.
Sienna stood and puffed out her chest and did her best husky low monotone deep-voice impression of Jack. “Syd, you don’t need any clothes for our trip. Me Tarzan, you Jane.” She pounded her fists against her chest. “You will be na**d and ready for me whenever my twelve inch dick rises to attention.”
I threw the closest thing to my reach at her that wouldn’t leave a permanent scar, Jack’s sweatshirt that had been sitting next to me. I’d taken it when we were packing because it smelled like Jack.
Sienna lifted the sweatshirt to her nose and took an exaggerated deep inhale, sniffing the sweatshirt. “Yum, loverboy’s sweatshirt even smells good. I’m still a little pissed that you saw him first.” Sienna joked.
I laughed at her playfulness, thinking it would probably be a good time to tell her about our new security, which I was pretty sure she was not going to be happy about.
“Um, Loverboy has hired us security. He went a little crazy after the incident at Trevi Fountain and decided it wasn’t safe for us to be traveling without a professional now that we are starting to be recognized.”
Sienna seemed to think about it for a minute and then shrugged her shoulders. “He’s probably right. There are some crazies out there.”
Really? Did Sienna just agree with my overprotective boyfriend’s assessment of our safety? “You aren’t annoyed that we are going to have some goon following us around?”
Sienna shrugged again. She seemed to be fine with it. “Is the goon hot?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
The next few shows went by quickly and we were heading for our fourth city in as many days when our bus stopped unexpectedly in the middle of the night, jarring me from my sleep. I tried to ignore the stop and go back to sleep, but I heard talking outside and decided to find out what was going on.
Sienna was already outside of the bus talking to Kyle when I made my way down the stairs.
“What’s up? Is everything okay?” My voice was groggy and raspy.
“We’ve been having bus trouble all night. It wasn’t letting us go over forty the last hour, but now the damn thing is shaking and maxing out at twenty. Vince doesn’t want us to drive any further. He thinks we might make whatever is wrong worse and he’s worried about seizing the engine.”
“Where are we?” I looked around and it looked like the middle of nowhere.
Kyle shrugged as he spoke. “Halfway between bumfuck and nowheresville.”
Justin walked over to where we were standing. “Vince will stay here with the bus and get it towed to the nearest shop in the morning. Kyle and I and the rest of the band will bunk with you guys. They’re going to load the extra equipment we need to haul now. If the bus isn’t fixed by first thing in the morning, we won’t make it to the show. We’ll take what we need just in case.”
The solution sounded logical to me and Sienna didn’t seem to mind. We all pitched in and moved what had to be moved and loaded back onto our bus. It took almost two hours of maneuvering the extra equipment under the bus to get it all to fit, but we were back on our way as the sun began to rise.
Justin sat back on the couch, reaching his long legs across to the chair on the other side of the aisle. “Why does your bus smell so good?”
Sienna shook her head at Justin’s comment. “Because we smell good, haven’t you noticed?”
Justin looked at me and smirked, returning his attention to Sienna a few seconds later. “Oh, I noticed how good you smell. Tell me, Sienna, do you smell that good all over?” Justin cocked an eyebrow with a sexy grin.
“You’ll never know, you pig.” Sienna laughed as she threw a pillow at Justin’s head, who didn’t seem to take her comment as an insult at all. Instead, he caught the pillow and propped it behind him as if she had been passing it to him for his comfort.
Sienna and I woke the next morning to guitar playing from the front of the bus. We had both fallen back to sleep after the bus change and I was surprised that we had slept until almost eleven.
I walked out from the only private bedroom on the bus and watched as Sienna pulled the covers over her head as I exited. Clearly she wasn’t going to join me for my morning coffee.
“Hey,” I said to the guys as I walked directly to the coffee pot and pulled out a mug.
I plopped myself down on the end of the couch and listened to Justin playing a riff that was familiar, but I wasn’t quite sure of the song.
I sipped my coffee and listened contently until he finished. “That’s nice. What song is it to?”
“I think I’m going to call it Fate,” Justin replied, his eyes catching mine.
Then I remembered the song he had played in the bar that night, the one I could have sworn he had sung to me about me being his fate. I felt my face blush and just nodded at Justin, not knowing how to answer.
Before the show, Vince called with an update on the bus situation. Apparently, whatever had broken on the bus hadn’t been repairable and they had to order a few parts. They had overnighted the parts, but it would be another day and a half before the bus would be drivable again and be able to catch up to the tour. It wasn’t really too cramped with the extra people on the bus, but in the pit of my stomach I knew Jack wouldn’t be happy with the new sleeping arrangements when he found out.
An hour before the show, my suspicion was confirmed when I called Jack to say goodnight. I knew it would be the middle of the night in New York by the time the show ended, so I made my nightly call before we went on. The bus was finally quiet since most of the guys had gone in to do a sound check, something Sienna and I had done a few hours earlier.
“Hey,” I smiled, hearing Jack’s voice on the other end.
“I was just going to call you. I think Mateo took a short cut to go around some road construction and now we’re about twenty blocks further than we started.” Mateo was Jack’s driver and I pictured Jack telling him what streets he should take to get back to where they were headed. Of course Mateo knew exactly where he was driving, but that wouldn’t stop Jack from giving him direction on the best route anyway.