Lick, p.9
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 9

  Author: Kylie Scott

  Mal’s house was clearly a bachelor pad-slash-den of iniquity. I’d had a vague notion to make lunch to thank him for taking me in but there wasn’t a single speck of food in the house. Beer filled the fridge and vodka the freezer. Oh, no, there was a bag of oranges used as wedges to go with shots of vodka, apparently. He’d ruled out touching those. His super slick coffee machine, however, made everything right. He even had decent beans. I wowed him by busting out a few of my barista moves. After drinking three cups in the space of an hour, I felt a lot more like my old well-planned, caffeinated self.

  Mal dialed for pizza and we watched TV late into the night. Mostly he found his joy in mocking my taste in pretty much everything: movies, music, the lot. At least he did it good-naturedly. We couldn’t go outside because a couple of photographers were waiting on the beach. I felt bad about it but he’d just shrugged it off.

  “What about this song?” he asked. “You like this?”

  Miranda Lambert strode on screen in a cool ’50s frock and I grinned. “Miranda is mighty. ”

  “I’ve met her. ”

  I sat up straight. “Really?”

  More sniggering from Mal. “You’re impressed I’ve met Miranda Lambert but you didn’t even know who I was. Honestly, woman, you are hard on the ego. ”

  “I saw the gold and platinum records lining the hallway, buddy. I’m thinking you can take it. ”

  He snorted.

  “You know, you remind me a lot of my brother. ” I almost managed to duck the bottle cap he flicked at me. It bounced off my forehead. “What was that for?”

  “Can’t you at least pretend to worship me?”

  “No. Sorry. ”

  With total disregard for my Lambert love, Mal started surfing the channels. Home shopping, football, Gone with the Wind, and me. Me on TV.

  “Wait,” I said.

  He groaned. “Not a good idea. ”

  First my school pictures paraded past, followed by one of Lauren and me at our senior prom. They even had a reporter standing across the road from Ruby’s, prattling on about my life before being elevated to the almighty status of David’s wife. And then there was the man himself in some concert footage, guitar in his hands as he sang backup. The lyrics were your typical my-woman-is-mean, “She’s my one and only, she’s got me on my knees …” I wondered if he’d write songs about me. If so, odds were they’d be highly uncomplimentary. “Shit. ” I hugged a couch cushion tight to my chest.

  Mal leaned over and fluffed my hair. “David’s the favorite, darlin’. He’s pretty, plays guitar, and writes the songs. Girlies faint when he walks by. Team that with your being a young ’un and you’ve got the news of the week. ”

  “I’m twenty-one. ”

  “And he’s twenty-six. It’s enough of a difference if they hype it just right. ” Mal sighed. “Face it, child bride. You got married in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator to one of rock ’n’ roll’s favorite sons. It was always bound to cause a shit storm. Given there’s also been some crap going on with the band lately … what with Jimmy partying like it’s 1999 and Dave losing his music-writing mojo. Well, you get the picture. But next week, someone else will do something wacky and all the attention will move on. ”

  “I guess so. ”

  “I know so. People are constantly fucking up. It’s a glorious thing. ” He sat back with his hands behind his head. “Go on, smile for Uncle Mal. You know you want to. ”

  I smiled half-heartedly.

  “That’s a bullshit smile and I’m ashamed of you. You’re not going to fool anyone with that. Try again. ”

  I tried harder, smiling ’til my cheeks hurt.

  “Damn. Now you just look like you’re in pain. ”

  Banging on the front door interrupted our merriment.

  Mal raised his brows at me. “Wondered how long he’d take. ”

  “What?” I trailed him to the front door, lurking behind a divider just in case it was more press.

  He opened the door and David charged in, face tight and furious. “You piece of shit. You better not have touched her. Where is she?”

  “The child bride is otherwise occupied. ” Mal cocked his head, taking David in with a cool glance. “Why the fuck do you even care?”

  “Don’t start with me. Where is she?”

  Quietly, Mal shut the door, facing off against his friend. I hesitated, hanging back. Alright, so I skulked in a cowardly fashion. Whatever.

  Mal crossed his arms. “You left her to face Adrian and three lawyers on her own. You, my friend, are most definitely the piece of shit in this particular scenario. ”

  “I didn’t know Adrian would go at her with all that. ”

  “You didn’t want to know,” said Mal. “Lie to everyone else out there, Dave. Not me. And sure as fuck not to yourself. ”

  “Back off. ”

  “You need some serious life advice, friend. ”

  “Who are you, Oprah?”

  Coughing out a laugh, Mal slumped against the wall. “Hell, yeah. Soon I’m gonna be giving out cars, so stick around. ”

  “What did she say?”

  “Who, Oprah?”

  David just scowled at him. He didn’t even notice me spying. Sad to say, even a scowling David was a thing of rare beauty. He did things to me. Complicated things. My heart tripped about in my chest. The anger and emotion in his voice couldn’t be concern for me. That made no sense, not after last night and this morning. I had to be projecting and it sucked that I even wanted him to care. My head made no sense. Getting away from this guy was the safest option all round.

  “Dave, she was so upset she took a swing at me. ”

  “Bullshit. ”

  “I kid you not. She was nearly in tears when I found her,” said Mal.

  I banged my forehead in silent agony against the wall. Why the hell did Mal have to tell him that?

  My husband hung his head. “I didn’t mean for that to happen. ”

  “Seems you didn’t mean for a shitload to happen. ” Mal shook his head and tutted. “Did you even mean to marry her, dude? Seriously?”

  David’s face screwed up, his brow doing the wrinkly James Dean thing again. “I don’t know anymore, okay? Fuck. I went to Vegas because I was so sick of all this shit and I met her. She was different. She seemed different that night. I just … I wanted something outside of all this fucking idiocy for a change. ”

  “Poor Davey. Did being a rock god get old?”

  “Where is she?”

  “I feel your manpain, bro. Really, I do. I mean, all you wanted was a girl that wouldn’t kiss your ass for once and now you’re pissed at her for the same damn reason. It’s complicated, right?”

  “Fuck you. Leave it alone, Mal. It’s done. ” My husband huffed out a breath. “Anyway, she’s the one who wanted the fucking divorce. Why aren’t you giving her the third degree, huh?”

  With a dramatic sigh, Mal flung out his arms. “Because she’s really busy hiding around the corner, listening. I can’t disturb her now. ”

  David’s body stilled and his blue eyes found me. “Evelyn. ”

  Huh. Busted.

  I stepped away from the wall and tried to put on a happy face. It didn’t work. “Hi. ”

  “She says that so well. ” Mal turned to me and winked. “So did you really ask the mighty David Ferris for a divorce?”

  “She threw up on me when I told her we were married,” my husband reported.

  “What?” Mal dissolved into laughter, tears leaking from his eyes. “Are you serious? Fucking hell, that is fantastic. Oh, man, I wish I’d been there. ”

  I gave David what I hoped to be the meanest look in all of time and space. He stared back, unimpressed.

  “It was the floor,” I clarified. “I didn’t throw up on him. ”

  “That time,” said David.

  “Please keep going,” said Mal, laugh
ing harder than ever. “This just gets better and better. ”

  David didn’t. Thank God.

  “Seriously, I fucking love your wife, man. She’s awesome. Can I have her?”

  The look I got from David spoke of a much more reluctant affection. With the line between his brows, it was closer to outright irritation. I blew him a kiss. He looked away, hands fisted like he was barely holding himself back from throttling me. The feeling was entirely mutual.

  Ah, marital bliss.

  “You two are just the best. ” A chiming sound came from Mal’s pocket and he pulled out a cell phone. Whatever he saw on the screen stopped his laughter dead. “You know, you should take her to your house, Dave. ”

  “I don’t think that’s a good idea. ” David’s mouth pulled wide in a truly pained expression.

  I didn’t think it was a good idea either. Happily, I’d go through life without setting foot inside the house of horrors ever again. Maybe if I asked Mal nicely he’d fetch my stuff for me. Imposing on him further didn’t appeal, but I was running low on options.

  “Whoa. ” With a grim face, Mal shoved his cell at David.

  “Fuck,” David mumbled. He wrapped his hand around the back of his neck and squeezed. The worried glance he gave me from beneath his dark brows set every alarm ringing inside my head. Whatever was on that screen was bad.

  Really bad.

  “What is it?” I asked.

  “Oh, you, ah … you don’t need to worry about it. ” His gaze dropped to the phone again then he passed it back to Mal. “My place would be cool, actually. We should do that. Fun. Yeah. ”

  “No. ” For David to be so nice to me it had to be something truly bad. I held out my hand, fingers twitching from impatience or nerves or a bit of both. “Show me. ”

  After a reluctant nod from David, Mal handed it over.

  There could be no doubting what it was, even on the small screen. There was a lot of skin on account of my being bare from the waist down. My naked butt sat front and centre in all its pale, dimpled glory. God, it looked huge. Had they used a wide lens camera or something? The party dress had been pushed up and I stood, bent over a table while a tattoo artist worked hard inking my rear. My panties had been cinched down, barely covering the basics. Shit. Talk about a compromising position. Taking part in a porn shoot was definitely not part of the plan.
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