He was going to have me at his beck and call until sunrise.
I didn’t like jewelry that much anyway.
He’d smirked when he’d given me his address and tried to give me directions, but I knew where he lived, give or take. He was up in the park, where the lawyers and magnates play. I remembered Debbie’s edict to just have fun, but the fact I’d failed in my mission to get him to take me to Tiffany rankled. Not that I really had anything to go with the karats I would have made him buy me, but failure wasn’t something I took lightly, especially if it meant I’d been weak.
The valet pulled up with his dark green Jaguar. “Can I drive you to your car?” Jonathon asked.
“I’m in the lot,” I said. “It’s fine.”
He put his face close to mine, until I could feel his breath in my ear. “If you don’t want to go home with me, I won’t hold you to it. We can wait, or we can call it off.”
“A bet’s a bet.”
He brushed his nose on my cheek. “You sure? I can be demanding.”
“So can I.”
He stepped back and smiled. “Not tonight, you’re not.” He moved onto the curb. “I’ll leave the gate open for you.” He got into the car and drove off. I watched it head down LaBrea, swaggering just like he did.
When I went inside, Gabby had already called a cab. I could smell a vodka tonic on her breath, but she seemed relatively sober.
“Are you sure you’re going to be all right?” I said.
“Monica, you want to go, so just go. I’m tired of being babied.”
And that was that. I put her in a cab and walked to my car.
My phone buzzed as I got into my little Honda. It was Vinny. Fucking Vinny.
“Where are you?” I asked.
“Vegas, baby.” He was somewhere loud and unruly, yelling into the phone.
“We’ve been looking for you. The band broke up.”
“I can’t hear you. Listen, Sexybitch, you did a gig tonight at that shithole on Santa Monica?”
“Eugene Testarossa’s partner was there. Testarossa himself is coming the next time you go. So you text me when you’re up next, and I’ll call him back and he’ll show up. Bang! You’re in.”
“Vinny, I can’t—”
“Text me, baby. Love you.”
He cut the call.
What an ass**le. He goes to Vegas for how long and now he wants his fifteen percent because I got my own gig? Oh no. That wasn’t going to work. I texted him,
I was at my car when the phone dinged.
—Fuck I am. You signed a contract—
—The band signed a contract. The band didn’t play tonight. I played solo—
There was a longer pause, and I sat in the driver’s seat waiting to hear back, my night of subservience forgotten.
—Good luck getting WDE to take your call—
I shut off my phone. I wanted to throw it, but I couldn’t afford to replace it when I smashed it into a million pieces. He was right. No one at WDE was going to take a call or email from me. They’d contacted Vinny. I wouldn’t get past the first round of assistants. Their job was to filter out artists. I could sing Under My Skin a hundred more times and never get another opportunity like this.
I think I looked out the window for fifteen minutes, resigning myself to the fact that I had a manager I hated and distrusted, and he was going to take a chunk of money from me from now until I accepted my Grammy.
I started the engine, but I had forgotten where I was going. Then that weight between my legs came back. Shit. I had an evening of wild sex planned with a rich womanizer who liked cute broke chicks. I was worrying about Vinny Landfillian. Fuck him. I hated Los Angeles.
All money and connections.
He can be a valuable friend.
All I needed was a lawyer to unravel that contract, and I was about to screw a guy who must have had a hundred sharky lawyers on speed dial. All I had to do was let him boss me around all night. The pleasure would be all mine.
I put the car in drive and headed east to Griffith Park.
It was wrong. My mother didn’t raise me like that. She raised a nice girl who cared about her body more than her career. I didn’t know who that girl was or what she wanted out of life though. I knew who I was. And the only thing I wanted more than Jonathan Drazen’s body was an agent at WDE.
The houses north of Los Feliz Boulevard aren’t dream houses. A dream house in Los Angeles has four walls and a roof and maybe heat, but no one can afford it. The houses up in Griffith Park are scenery. They’re owned by other people, the people who live on the other side. Not nouveau riche rock stars and actors. Old money. Generations worth of trust funds. Three thousand square feet was a palace behind ten-foot hedges. I drove up the winding pass. Never having looked at the addresses before, I was at a loss to find them. It was as if you were supposed to just know where you were going because you belonged there.
I finally found the address under a gigantic fig tree with a brass plaque next to it, announcing the tree’s status as a protected landmark. The gate opened for me, and I went up the drive and parked next to the Jag.
I sat in the car and looked at the house, convincing myself I still had a choice between going in or going home. The house was a craftsman, all warm lighting and dark woods. The porch was as big as my living room, leading to a wide, thick door. It was closed.
I took a deep breath.
Bottom line: He was hot, he was charming, and he didn’t want anything out of me but the same thing I wanted. Unless he wanted me to clean his bathroom. I took hours to clean a bathroom, and I wasn’t cleaning his.
I slid my phone out of my purse and called Darren.
“Hi,” I said. “How was the show?”
“Fantastic. What’s up?”
“I thought you should know…” I swallowed hard. “I sent Gabby home in a cab.”
“She’s tired of being followed around.”
“And where are you?” He was pissed. He sounded like he was in the middle of a street, with people everywhere.
“Griffith Park. I can explain more later.”
“No, explain now why you let a suicidal woman go home alone when her meds obviously aren’t working and she’s showing the same behaviors she did just before you found her bleeding into your kitchen sink.”
“This is completely irresponsible.”