A Place Without You (Page 33)

My dad’s chest presses to my back, his hand rests possessively on my shoulder.

“And Juni Carlisle’s. That’s you, isn’t it?” She shares her questioning look with Bodhi.

“My daughter. Henna Lane is Mitchell Lane’s daughter. I’m Mitchell Lane.”

Down boy.

I give him a slight elbow in the gut. He gets along well with Zach. I’m not sure why her slight misstep in wording has him going all Papa Bear.

“This is my dad, Mitch, and yes, Juni is my mother. Zach is my stepdad.”

“Oh my gosh!” She gives Bodhi a WTF look. “You had Zachary Phillips’s daughter as a student and you didn’t say anything?”

My dad starts to correct her again. I give him a slight head shake and another nudge with my elbow.

“Honestly …” Bodhi shrugs, sharing a tight-lipped smile and eyebrows peaked, “I didn’t know at first. I don’t keep up with that stuff.”

“You need to come have a drink with us.” She puts her hands together in a prayer fold at her chest. “Oh …” She cringes at my dad. “Is she …” She looks at me. “Are you twenty-one?”

I nod. “Yes, but—”

“Please, please, please.”

Dad grumbles something under his breath. I think it’s “tell her no,” but I miss it.

“Just one.”

Bodhi’s face tenses just before I turn to my dad. “Go to bed. I’ll be up later. Don’t wait up.” He yawns again. I don’t think it will be an issue.

I know he’s dying to say something protective, but he knows it would be ridiculous at this point in my life.

“Be smart.” He bends down and kisses my cheek.

I smile.

When I turn back around, blond girl shoves her hand toward me. “I’m Rayne by the way. And thank you for saying yes. I’ll try not to talk your ear off, but I have so many questions for you.” She grabs my arm like we’re BFFs and pulls me toward the bar with Bodhi in tow. “Have you met …” She spews off every major music act to grace the charts in the last decade.

While we wait for a booth, along with their friends, Jax and Harper, I blow Rayne’s mind with just how many famous people I know or have met. It didn’t hit me until now just how honest and simple my relationship was with Bodhi. We met through our shared love of music. There was an instant connection, but it never had anything to do with my family, their connections, or what he could gain by befriending me. Because he had no idea who I was, yet … he knew me better than anyone.

We’re seated in a small round booth.

“Bodhi, you’d better sit between Henna and Rayne, so she doesn’t scare Henna away. I’m like totally frightened for her.” Harper winks at Rayne.

Rayne flips her the middle finger while sliding into the booth. Bodhi slides in next to her, and I, in fact, end up next to Bodhi. And when I say next to Bodhi, I mean our arms and legs are touching because I’m the fifth wheel in a booth made for four.

“I’m sorry,” Bodhi mouths while Rayne chatters with Jax and Harper.

I shake my head and give him an it’s-okay smile.

“Sooo … Henna was Bodhi’s student.” Rayne shifts the conversation back to me.


“Student?” Jax grins at Bodhi. “Thought you were a guidance counselor. Who was stupid enough to give you students?”

Bodhi sips his water. “They’re all my students. I’m the keeper of schedules and sanity. The school would not function without me.”

I laugh a little, welcoming the small crack in the tension.

“My guidance counselor sure as hell wasn’t the fine snack that Bodhi is.” Rayne leans into Bodhi playfully, which causes him to lean into me. Which causes me to feel tingly all over—and warm. I’m ready to spontaneously combust.

The next hour turns into Henna fest. Henna did this. Henna did that. Anyone who didn’t know the truth would think Rayne was in fact my best friend because she seems to know a lot about me, and what she doesn’t know she manages to drag out of me like a million details about my travels. I feel a little guilty that they are hearing this before my dad.

I keep my gaze on Bodhi’s friend more than him, but when I give him an occasional quick glance, he has a smile on his face like he’s proud? Maybe even happy?

I don’t know. But I guess if his intention was to break my heart so I would follow through with my plans, then he should feel good about the outcome.

Too bad I don’t. It’s hard to explain. I don’t regret anything. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m grateful beyond words that I was given that opportunity. But here I am, two years later, and the man that I love is being touched by another woman, and all I have are memories that won’t hold my hand or keep me warm at night. They won’t take me on horseback rides. They won’t eat California spring rolls with me. They won’t ask me to marry them. And they won’t love me back.

“Well …” I nod my head toward the exit. “I’m going to call it a night. Thank you. It’s been fun.”

“Thank you!” Rayne leans over the front of Bodhi and pulls me in for an awkward hug.

I stiffen as Bodhi’s hand slides along my leg. Is he doing it intentionally? Is he just trying to find a place to put his hand since Rayne and I are practically hugging on his lap? His warm hand on my bare leg does very embarrassing things to me.

My cheeks flush instantly, and I’m wet between my legs, so hungry for his touch.

As Rayne releases me, so does Bodhi. Tipping my chin to hide my embarrassing reaction to him, I mumble another quick goodbye and speed walk out of the bar.


Last night I slipped into the hotel room and grabbed my nightshirt while my dad snored like a champ. Then I took a twenty-minute shower and fingered myself into a Bodhi-induced orgasm.

This morning I feel better. Calmer. And ready for another day of Coachella with my dad. The heat is off the charts. They say the hottest spring on record. In true Hell, I-don’t-give-a-shit fashion, I’m wearing an Alice blue, strapless sundress that doesn’t cover much, my silver Birkies, and lots of bracelets. My travels didn’t allow for my henna tattoos, which sucks because they would look amazing with all the skin showing today.

“Bethanne?” My dad nods for me to follow him over a few feet as we wait for the next act to come out on stage.

A dark-haired woman turns. “Mitchell Lane.” She grins and falls into his open arms.

“How long has it been?” he asks, setting her back on her feet. It was quite the hug.

“At least ten years.”

Dad turns. “Bethanne, I’d like you to meet my daughter, Henna. Henna, this is Bethanne. Her husband and I were in the Marines together.”

They share a sad smile. I don’t ask, but it’s pretty obvious that said husband is no longer alive.

“Nice to meet you.” I smile.

“You too. And don’t let your dad lie to you. Alan and your dad were in the same band before they both enlisted.”

I raise my eyebrows. Dad grins, nodding slowly like he’s remembering the good ol’ days.

“You here by yourself?” he asks her.

“Will you judge me as a pathetic old woman if I say yes?”

“You’re younger than me.” He bites his lower lip.

Is he flirting with her? Okay, I’m out of here. “So … I’m going to see if I can find um … Carley. I’ll text you later?”

Carley is not here. I grasp for the easy excuse.

“Yeah, sure. Be careful.”

“It was nice meeting you.” Bethanne holds up her hand.

I mirror her gesture. “You too.”

Instead of looking for a friend who I know is not even in California, I worm my way toward the front of the stage just as an electric guitar cuts through the stacks of speakers. The crowd comes to life and the technicolor of lights start to dance around to the building beat.

“What’s up, COACHELLA!” the lead singer yells before diving into the lyrics.

I throw my arms in the air and give my own scream because the energy is contagious. But I can’t stay. I’m on a mission: find Bodhi and see why he touched my leg.

I’m not going to ask him that in those exact words, but I need to know why and if he felt it like I did. I need to know why he let me go, even if I know it’s because of his dad and his self-induced prison sentence. He needs to tell me to my face that he doesn’t want me anymore, that he’s met someone else.

Swallowing a year and half of pride, I message him.

Me: Where are you?

He doesn’t respond right away, so I bob my head to the beat and envy those around me who are ten stories high on weed. I could use a little hit at the moment.

Bodhi: Hotel.

I start to type something, but wait … why would he be at the hotel? Unless he’s with Rayne and they’re …

My stomach starts to reject the last meal I fed it. I don’t respond. He’s a grown man. We ended. He has needs. Rayne clearly is capable of filling them.

A few minutes later, my phone chimes.

Bodhi: Why?

Me: Nothing. Sorry to disturb you.

I told him Noah kissed me. He should just tell me he’ll talk later after he gets done fucking Rayne. That’s fair. I deserve it.