Lick, p.4
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       Lick, p.4

         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
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Page 4

  Author: Kylie Scott

  Someone banged on the door. Neither of us reacted. People had been hammering on it for hours.

  Dad started pacing back and forth across the living room. I just watched in a daze.

  Throughout my childhood, times such as this had always followed a certain pattern. Nathan got into a fight at school. The school called our mother. Our mother had a meltdown. Nate retreated to his room, or worse, disappeared for days. Dad got home and paced. And there I’d be among it all, trying to play mediator, the expert at not making waves. So what the hell was I doing standing in the middle of a fucking tsunami?

  As kids went, I’d always been pretty low maintenance. I’d gotten good grades in high school and had gone on to the same local college as my father. I might have lacked his natural talent at design but I put in the hours and effort to get the grades I needed to pass. I had been working part-time in the same coffee shop since I was fifteen. Moving in with Lauren had been my one grand rebellion. I was, all in all, fantastically boring. My parents had wanted me to stay home and save money. Anything else I’d achieved had been done through subterfuge so my parents could sleep soundly at night. Not that I’d gotten up to much. The odd party. The Tommy episode four years back. There’d been nothing to prepare me for this.

  Apart from the press there were people crying on the front lawn, holding signs proclaiming their love for David. One man was holding an old-style boom box high in the hair, blasting out music. A song called ‘San Pedro’ was their favorite. The yelling would reach a crescendo every time the singer made it to the chorus, “But the sun was low and we’d no place to go …”

  Apparently, later they were planning on burning me in effigy.

  Which was fine, I wanted to die.

  My big brother Nathan had been over to collect Lauren and take her back to his place. We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas, but desperate times and desperate measures. The apartment Lauren and I shared was likewise surrounded. Going there was out of the question and Lauren didn’t want to get her family or other friends involved. To say Nathan enjoyed my predicament would be unkind. Not untrue, but definitely unkind. He’d always been the one in trouble. This time, however, it was all on me. Nathan had never gotten accidentally married and inked in Vegas.

  Because of course some asshat reporter had asked my mother how she felt about the tattoo, so that secret was out. Apparently now no decent boy from a good family would ever marry me. Previously, I’d been unlikely to land a man due to my various lumps and bumps. But now it was all on the tattoo. I’d decided to forego pointing out to her that I was already married.

  More banging on the front door. Dad just looked at me. I shrugged.

  “Ms Thomas?” a big voice boomed. “David sent me. ”

  Yeah, right. “I’m calling the cops. ”

  “Wait. Please,” the big voice said. “I’ve got him on the phone. Just open the door enough so I can hand it in to you. ”

  “No. ”

  Muffled noises. “He said to ask you about his T-shirt. ”

  The one he’d left behind in Vegas. It was in my bag, still damp. Huh. Maybe. But I still wasn’t convinced. “What else?”

  More talking. “He said he still didn’t want the … excuse me, miss … ‘fucking ring’ back. ”

  I opened the door, but kept the chain on. A man who resembled a bulldog in a black suit handed me a cell phone.


  Loud music played in the background and there were lots of voices. Apparently this marriage incident hadn’t slowed down David at all.


  “Yes. ”

  He paused. “Listen, you probably want to lie low for a while until this all dies down, okay? Sam will get you out of there. He’s part of my security team. ”

  Sam gave me a polite smile. I’d seen mountains smaller than this guy.

  “Where would I go?” I asked.

  “He’ll, ah … he’ll bring you to me. We’ll sort something out. ”

  “To you?”

  “Yeah, there’ll be the divorce papers and shit to sign, so you may as well come here. ”

  I wanted to say no. But taking this away from my parents’ front doorstep was wildly tempting. Ditto with getting out of there before Mom woke up and heard about the internship. Still, with good reason or not, I couldn’t forget the way David had slammed his way out of my life that morning. I had a vague back-up plan taking shape. With the internship gone, I could return to work at the café. Ruby would be delighted to have me full-time for the summer and I loved being there. Turning up with this horde on my heels, however, would be a disaster.

  My options were few and none of them appealed, but still I hedged. “I don’t know …”

  He gave a particularly pained sounding sigh. “What else are you gonna do? Huh?”

  Good question.

  Out past Sam the insanity continued. Lights flashed and people yelled. It didn’t seem real. If this was what David’s everyday life was like, I had no idea how he handled it.

  “Look. You need to get the fuck out of there,” he said, words brisk, brittle. “It’ll calm down in a while. ”

  My dad stood beside me, wringing his hands. David was right. Whatever happened, I had to get this away from the people I loved. I could do that much at least.


  “Sorry. Yes, I’d like to take you up on that offer,” I said. “Thank you. ”

  “Hand the phone back to Sam. ”

  I did as asked, also opening the door fully so the big man could come inside. He wasn’t overly tall, but he was built. The guy took up serious space. Sam nodded and said some ‘yes, sir’s. Then he hung up. “Ms Thomas, the car is waiting. ”

  “No,” said Dad.


  “You cannot trust that man. Look at everything that’s happened. ”

  “It’s hardly all his fault. I played my part in this. ” The whole situation embarrassed me. But running and hiding was not the answer. “I need to fix it. ”

  “No,” he repeated, laying down the law.

  The problem was, I wasn’t a little girl anymore. And this wasn’t about me not believing that our back yard was too small for a pony. “I’m sorry, Dad. But I’ve made my decision. ”

  His face pinked, eyes incredulous. Previously, on the rare occasions he’d taken a hard stance, I’d buckled. (Or quietly gone about my business behind his back. ) But this time … I was not convinced. For once my father seemed old to me, unsure. More than that, this problem was mine, all mine.

  “Please, trust me,” I said.

  “Ev, honey, you don’t have to do this,” said Dad, trying a different tack. “We can figure something out on our own. ”

  “I know we could. But, he’s got lawyers on the job already. This is for the best. ”

  “Won’t you need your own lawyer?” he asked. There were new lines on his face, as if just this one day had aged him. Guilt slunk through me.

  “I’ll ask around, find someone suitable for you. I don’t want you being taken advantage of here,” he continued. “Someone must know a decent divorce lawyer. ”

  “Dad, it’s not like I have any money to protect. We’re going to make this as straightforward as possible,” I said with a forced smile. “It’s okay. We’ll take care of it and then I’ll be back. ”

  “We? Honey, you barely know this guy. You cannot trust him. ”

  “The whole world is apparently watching. What’s the worst that can happen?” I sent a silent prayer to the heavens that I’d never find out the answer to that.

  “This is a mistake …” Dad sighed. “I know you’re as disappointed over the internship as I am. But we need to stop and think here. ”

  “I have thought about it. I need to get this circus away from you and Mom. ”

  Dad’s gaze went to the darkened hallway heading toward where Mom lay in her dru
g-induced slumber. The last thing I wanted was for my father to feel torn between the two of us.

  “It’ll be okay,” I said, willing it to be true. “Really. ”

  He hung his head at last. “I think you’re doing the wrong thing. But call me if you need anything. If you want to come home, I’ll organize a flight for you straight away. ”

  I nodded.

  “I’m serious. You call me if you need anything. ”

  “Yes. I will. ” I wouldn’t.

  I picked up my backpack, still fresh from Vegas. No chance to refresh my wardrobe. All of my clothes were at the apartment. I smoothed back my hair, tucking it neatly behind my ears, trying to make myself look a little less like a train wreck.

  “You were always my good girl,” Dad said, sounding wistful.

  I didn’t know what to say.

  He patted me on the arm. “Call me. ”

  “Yeah,” I said, my throat tight. “Say bye to Mom for me. I’ll talk to you soon. ”

  Sam stepped forward. “Your daughter is in safe hands, sir. ”

  I didn’t wait to hear Dad’s reply. For the first time in hours I stepped outside. Pandemonium erupted. The instinct to turn tail, run and hide, was huge. But with Sam’s big body beside me it wasn’t quite so crazy frightening as before. He put an arm loosely around my shoulder and hustled me out of there, down the garden path, and toward the waiting crowd. Another man in a sharp black suit came toward us, making a way through the mob from the other side. The noise level skyrocketed. A woman yelled that she hated me and called me a cunt. Someone else wanted me to tell David that he loved him. Mostly, though, it was more of the questions. Cameras were shoved in my face, the flashlights glaring. Before I could stumble, Sam was there. My feet barely touched the ground as he and his friend hurried me into the waiting car. Not a limousine. Lauren would be disappointed. It was a fancy new sedan with an all-leather interior. The door slammed shut behind me and Sam and his friend climbed in. The driver nodded to me in the rearview mirror, then carefully accelerated. People banged on the windows and ran alongside. I huddled down in the middle of the seat. Soon we left them behind.
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