I couldn’t keep silent. “Aha!”
They pulled off each other and looked at me.
“Musical theater!” I shouted. “You’re the mystery woman taking him out to shows!”
“Which one is this?” Sandy Hair asked.
They looked at each other, and Darren said, “You coming in or what?”
I went through the door and held out my hand. “I’m Monica. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Adam. Same here.”
We shook. His grip was tight and dry. He was hot, with a little blondish stubble and grey eyes I knew would change color depending on what he wore. I tried to stay calm, but inside, I was giggling with delight. I was happy not only to uncover Darren’s secret, but that he was only hiding happiness.
Adam picked up his jacket. “I gotta go.” He approached Darren and went in for a kiss. Darren kept his arms crossed and turned his face to catch it on the cheek. Adam took him by the cheeks and turned his face, kissing him wetly on the lips. Darren was non-responsive.
“Oh, come on,” Adam said. “Look at her. She’s smiling.”
“Kiss him! Kiss him!” I said.
He did, and it was such a lovely sight to see my friend happy that I had clench my hands to keep from clapping.
Adam finally pushed him away. “God, slut. You’re making me late.” He winked at me on the way out.
I knew I was smiling again. It was the uncontrollable type of grin that hurt my face.
“You’re embarrassing yourself,” he said.
“I don’t care. Are you going to tell me everything?”
He threw himself on the couch and turned off the TV. “We met in the Music House. He comes in all the time. I thought he was asking for me because of my expertise.”
“But it was your hot body.”
He threw a pillow at me. “Would you stop?”
I buried my face in the pillow. “I’m so happy. I worried about you all the time because you rarely went out with anyone.”
“I was confused, as they say. And Lord knows I couldn’t burden Gabby.”
I flung the pillow back at him. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“We have a past. I didn’t want you to feel like I was… I don’t know, like I didn’t love you the right way.”
“You didn’t, you f**ktard. Now you do, but then you didn’t. And why don’t you tell Gabby now?”
He sighed. “Adam’s last name is Marsillo. Which means nothing to you. But the CEO of Foundation Records? That’s her maiden name.”
“That’s his mother.”
“Gabby would know that,” he said, “and freak out. She’d start making marriage plans. He’s nice, but I’m not ready for her to start hovering.”
I looked away, fondling the crease in my jeans. Gabby would handle her brother’s homosexuality just fine, but he was right. Any connection to the music industry could send her spinning in either direction.
I jumped up and dropped into his lap, hugging him for all I was worth. I kissed his cheek.
He laughed and pushed me away. “Sorry, baby, you’re not my type.”
“Did you come here to snoop or did you have something to say?”
“I saw Kevin.”
“Nothing like that. He wants to collaborate on a project. I’m totally stuck, and I thought if the three of us worked on it, I’d get unstuck, and we could be together again.” I looked at my watch and bounced to my feet. “But now I have no time to even discuss it. Are you coming tonight?”
“Adam and I have tickets.” He smiled. “Musical theater.”
“You’re a cliché.”
He shrugged. “Don’t tell Gabby yet. I don’t like this thing with Theo.”
“Why not?” I was annoyed that he’d deny her happiness just when he’d found his own.
“He deals scrips. He’s the last person she should be messing with.”
“How did I not know that?”
“You’re head hasn’t been in the game since you spent the night up in Griffith Park. Speaking of, did you see the pictures of you and Mister Gorgeous at the Eclipse show? They were all over the internet.”
“Do you want me to pull them up? You look amazing.”
“Absolutely not. I don’t want to hear what anyone has to say about my life. Living it is hard enough.” I went to the door, but thought better of bolting out. I hugged Darren again and kissed his cheek. “I’m happy for you.”
He pushed me toward the door. I felt closer to him than I’d felt since we were in high school. “Get out of here,” he said. “Knock ’em dead or whatever.”
At first, I wore the outfit least likely to land Jonathan’s dick inside me. My jeans were tight enough to cut the curve of my ass and accent the space between my skinny thighs, but so difficult to get off in a heat of passion that I’d have plenty of time to think about what I was doing and deny him access. I wore a bra with three hooks in back and a woven shirt that couldn’t be pulled over the head without unbuttoning it. I looked hot and physically inaccessible.
I realized that made me very easy to lie to, because I’d walk into the room, he’d make plans to remove my clothes, assess the difficulties and say whatever he had to in order to soothe my mind. I didn’t want that. I wanted the truth about what had happened between him and Jessica the night he dropped me at my house. I wanted it in all its ugliness and gritty detail. I wanted all the pain and all the hurt. I owned it for trusting him and for asking more of him than he could give, even though I’d been warned. If he hurt me enough, I wouldn’t make those mistakes again.
Despite the bruises that still stained the backs of my thighs, Jonathan wasn’t the kind of guy to revel in hurting me, at least not emotionally. I was going to have to pull it out of him, and my suit of armor wasn’t going to cut it. I had to weaken him. I had to make him tell me everything, even against his better judgment. I had to make him beg.
It was garter, then, and a dress with a flared bottom. I got aroused just putting on that outfit. I’d go to the studio in Burbank directly after, so I stuck a pair of spare undies in my bag and called myself done.
As I stepped out of the elevator into the club’s lobby, a throbbing ache developed between my legs, and with each step down the hall, my snatch swung a little as if aware of the garter I wore under the skirt. The upcoming conversation was going to be very difficult if I didn’t get a handle on my sex drive.