Play(7)

By: Kylie Scott



“Yeeeah, your name,” he drawled. “The point of me telling you my name, even when you already knew it, was so you’d give me yours. That’s how these things go.”

“You knew I knew?”

“The crazy eyes kinda gave it away.”

“Oh.”

A moment later, he groaned. “Never mind, this is taking too long. I’ll just make one up for you.”

“Anne.”

“Anne, what?

“Anne Rollins.”

A brilliant grin lit his face. “Anne Rollins. See, that wasn’t so tough.”

I gritted my teeth and tried to smile. Most likely I resembled a lunatic. One that had spent way too much time imagining him naked. Good god, the shame.

Gently, he tapped his bottle of beer against mine. “Cheers, Anne. Nice to meet you.”

I took another sip, hoping it would calm the shaking. The booze wasn’t hitting me hard enough fast enough to deal with this. Maybe I should move on to something stronger. One’s first intimate conversation with a rock star should probably be conducted over hard liquor. Ev was definitely on to something with her tequila-fueled antics in Vegas. And look how well it had worked out for her.

“What brings you here tonight, Anne?”

“I came with Nate and Lauren. They brought me. They’re my neighbors. They live next door.”

He nodded. “You’re friends with Ev?”

“Yeah, I, well … I’ve always been friendly with her. I wouldn’t want to presume … I mean, I don’t know that I’d say we were close friends, exactly, but–”

“Yes or no, Anne?”

“Yes,” I answered, then snapped my mouth shut against another outbreak of verbal diarrhea.

“Yeah, Ev’s good people. Davie was lucky to find her.” He stared off at the city lights in silence. The amusement fell from his face and a frown creased his brow. He seemed sad, a little lost, maybe. For certain, his much-vaunted party-rocker personality was nowhere in evidence. I should know better. People had painted Ev to be the next Yoko Ono, riding on David’s coattails, sucking him dry of fame and fortune. I didn’t have to be her BFF to know it couldn’t be further from the truth. Chances were, whoever Mal was had little to do with the nonsense flowing freely on the Internet.

But more important, how badly had I embarrassed myself?

“I didn’t really get a crazy look in my eyes, did I?” I asked, dreading the answer.

“Yeah, you did.”

Crap.

“So you’re a friend of Ev’s? I mean, you’re not in the music business or anything?” he asked, focusing on me once more. His face had cleared, his mood shifting. I couldn’t keep up. With the flats of his palms he beat out a swift rhythm on the balcony railing.

“No. I work in a bookshop a few blocks from here.”

“Okay.” He gazed down at me, apparently pleased with my answer. “So what was that phone call about?”

“Nothing.”

“No?” He stepped closer. “What happened to your nose?”

Immediately my hand flew up to block his view of my face. It was only a small bump, but still. “My sister broke it when we were little.”

“Don’t cover it. I think it’s cute.”

“Great.” I lowered my arm. He’d already seen the flaw, so what was the use?

“Why’d she break it?”

“She got mad one day and threw a toy truck at me.”

“Not how. Why?”

I smothered a sigh. “She wanted a kitten and I’m allergic to cats.”

“You couldn’t get a puppy instead?”

“I wanted to but Mom said no. My sister still blamed me.”

He scowled. “So you never had any pets growing up?”

I shook my head.

“That’s fucking terrible. Every kid should get to have a pet.” He appeared sincerely outraged on my behalf.

“Yeah, well, time’s past and I’m kind of over it now.” I frowned and swallowed some more beer. Everything told me I was going to need it. This conversation was just plain weird.

He stood, watching me with his faint smile. Just that easily I was riveted once again. My lips curled into some sort of vaguely hopeful idiotic half grin of their own accord.

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