Authors: Abby Reynolds
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Light My Fire
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Copyright © 2014 by Abby Reynolds
All Rights Reserved
My apartment was in a run-down duplex on Bloomfield. Metal b
ars were on all the windows, and black stains ran down the walls. Strays animals constantly ran around the building, skinny and emaciated.
Home sweet home.
I took my bags inside then noticed the awful smell of the carpet. I immediately opened the window to let some fresh hair inside, but of course, the bars on the outside of the window made that difficult.
The kitchen was barely functioning
. The refrigerator made a constant humming noise. The dishwasher was lopsided. I wasn’t sure how that happened.
neighbors were yelling. Then I heard a child cry.
I really missed my old apartment. But this was all I could afford. So I decided to stop complaining and be thankful I had somewhere to live at all. It was better than sleeping on the sidewalk.
I didn’t have any furniture so I slept in a ball on the floor. But I had a few jackets and an extra pillow. I’d be okay. But then I thought about the Pottery Barn sheets in Cash’s bed. Those were heavenly. And so was he.
I felt like a coward for the way I left things. But I couldn’t say goodbye to him. I neve
r thought I’d fall so head-over-heels for him, but I did. And as a result, I got hurt. He was such an amazing person and man. How could I not fall for him?
But at least I made it easier on him. I’m sure he’d feel awkward saying goodbye to me while I sobbed hysterically. Then he’d feel guilty for making me fall in love with him. The whole thing would just be tense. At least I
made it easier for both of us. He thinks I’m back in London, safe and sound with my brother. Everyone wins. Well, except for me.
I’d stay here and try
to figure out my next plan. I’d look for a job, and in the meantime, I’d play solo gigs for the cash. It would work out eventually. And I wasn’t worried about running into Cash somewhere. The city was too big for that. And he only went to the shows because he knew I’d be there. Now he had no reason to attend.
d into a ball and closed my eyes. My heart hurt for the love I loss. He’d find some other girl soon and start a similar arrangement with her. When I thought about him having sex with someone else, I started to cry again. And I did until I fell asleep.
I booked my own gig in downtown Hollywood. There were a lot of bums and homeless people around. And there were people dressed as famous stars, charging five bucks for a picture or fake autograph. That didn’t make any sense to me. They weren’t the real person…
I minded my own business then reached the bar without any problems. I was nervous someo
ne would mug me, but I’d give em’ a good sucker-punch if they touched me. And I didn’t have anything worth stealing anyway, other than my guitar. And I’d beat the shit out of anyone who tried to steal it.
I walked inside the stepped onto the small stage. There was a microphone and an old drum set. Everyone stared at me as soon as I walked inside, especially a group of guys sitting at a table in the corner. I i
gnored them and prepared my set.
I was getting paid three hundred bucks for the performance, which I desperately needed. Food and shelter were essential. I had my brother’s credit card if I absolutely needed it, but that was a last resort. He worked hard for his money and I would never take that away from him.
The crowd still mingled while I did my microphone check. When everything was ready, I sat down on the stool and immediately started to play. They didn’t look like a talkative crowd, so I didn’t bother with the pleasantries.
After living with Cash, I wrote a lot of songs about him—a lot. And those were the tunes I played. It was too hard to play songs from The Quakes—too many memories. After my first song, I forgot about the crowd altogether. It was just
me and my guitar—and Cash.
God, I missed him.
I wondered what he was doing. He was probably at home, eating dinner. I wondered if he cooked for himself or if he ordered out. Was he thinking about me? Did the sheets still smell like me? Did he miss me? Probably not…
I pulled myself together and kept playing my music. But it was difficult, especially since every song was about him. I was actually relieved when the set was over. Now I could go home and cry to m
yself in peace. It was my most frequent pastime.
I returned my guitar to the case then looked up when a man approached me.
“You have a beautiful voice.” He was tall, the same height as Cash, and he had dark brown hair and green eyes. His body was toned and defined but not burly. A perfect smile was on his face, which made me feel less intimidated.
“Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the show.” I closed the clasps on the sides then shouldered my guitar.
“Did you write those songs?” He crossed his arms over his chest and studied my face. His look was so intense, I felt like I was under a microscope.
“Yes. I write all my music.”
He nodded. “Can you read and write sheet music?”
This guy was asking a lot of questions. “Yes.”
He noticed my hesitation. “I apologize. My name is Dean.” He extended his hand.
I took it and felt the strength of his grip. Then I released it. “Prudence.”
“Prudence…” It rolled off his tongue. “I like it. I didn’t mean to attack you with a million questions. I’m just impressed by your work.”
“Thank you.” I tucked my hair behind my ear then stepped away. “It was nice meeting you, Dean. I have to go.” I headed to the b
ar and collected my payment. The owner said I was welcome to come back. And I may have to return.
When I stepped outside, Dean joined me. “Wait.”
I was tired and just wanted to go home. But I hated to be rude. It wasn’t in my nature. I turned back to him. “Yeah?”
He stared at me for a moment, noticing my impatience. I tried to hide it, but it was pretty obvious. I was going through a really hard time, worse than the ordeal with Isaac. I tried to pull myself together but I was struggling.
“Where are you playing next?”
Oh. “Umm…I’m playing at Trixie’s tomorrow.”
He nodded. “I’ll seen you then.” He walked back inside.
I wasn’t sure what that meant. We were friends now? But I was too depressed to car
e. I waved down a cab and returned to my hole-in-the-wall apartment.
I can’t believe she left. She actually left.
Now I hated myself. I had so many opportunities to tell her I loved her and wanted to be with her. But no, I decided to be an idiot instead.
n’t sleep for the following days. And I called in sick every chance I got. I told the director to take over the show. If he screwed it up, whatever. I’d fix it after I got better. But I was too delirious to be comical.
Fuck the show.
She said she went back to London in her note, and my immediately thought was to follow her. I’d track her down, open my heart to her, and pray she felt the same way back. Fucking pray.
But I had no idea where she was. I didn’t even know her last name.
I was staring at the wall, three empty beers on the table, when someone paid me a visit. I didn’t react to the doorbell. I was too busy searching for an answer to my problem. How did you find someone who was in another country? I wondered if the C.I.A. would help me if I paid the right amount. People would do anything for the right price. Anything.
“Open the door!” It was Denver.
A flashback to my divorce played in my mind. The moment was too similar. Actually, it was identical. “Go away.”
“Open the door or I’ll break it down.”
My brother wasn’t bluffing. I got up and opened the door. “What?”
“What do you mean what? I’ve been calling for a week.”
“And you couldn’t take the hint?” I snapped.
He ignored my comment. “What happened with Prudence?”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m home alone on a Saturday. I’ve drunk three beers. How do you think it went?”
Denver didn’t snap at me because he knew I was vulnerable.
“She didn’t feel the same way?”
“As in, she didn’t?”
“As in, she took off before I could say a fucking word to her. She changed her phone number and I have no idea where she is. Even her
band mates don’t know.” I sat on the couch and buried my face in my hands.
“Fuck.” Denver sat beside me. The cushion caved inward with his weight. “Damn…”
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d rather be alone.”
Denver raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you going to find her?”
I knew I was being a jackass but I couldn’t stop myself. “You think I haven’t tried? I have no idea how I would even go about that.”
“It’s called a P.I.”
“Which wouldn’t work if I didn’t have her last name.”
“You don’t know her last name?” He stared at me incredulously. “You lived with her and you didn’t know her last name?”
“It never came up.”
Ugh. I hated myself.
“Did she know yours?”
“Idiot,” he said under his breath.
“Thanks for kicking me when I’m already down, bro.”
“Sorry.” Denver leaned back in his chair. “Do you know what city she lives in?”
“Okay.” Denver nodded his head. “At least that’s something.”
“With millions of people...” I ran my fingers through my hair in frustration. “Denver, I’m fucked. My only hope is her contacting me. And based on her letter, she won’t.”
“What did she say?”
“It was too hard to say goodbye. She wanted to make it easier on me.”
Denver patted my shoulder. “She’s totally in love with you.”
“It sounded like she thought I didn’t care about her and wanted to move on as quickly as possible. She didn’t want me to feel like a jackass watching her go. That doesn’t sound like a declaration of love.”
“Then why was it so hard for her to say goodbye? Because she didn’t want to.”
My deepest desires came forth when I thought about it. I would be the happiest man in the world if she picked me. “Wishful thinking…”
“Whatever,” he snapped. “Let’s put our heads together and think.” He rubbed his lips with his fingers. “Do you know the name of her parents?”
Why the fuck would I?
I glared at him.
“That’s a firm no. What the hell did you do the whole time
she was here?”
I glared at him again.
“Anyway…” He shook his head. “She went to school at Cambridge, right?”
Hope kindled in my heart. “Yeah.”
“Maybe we can get her address from there?”
I highly doubted that. “They aren’t going to hand out her personal information to random strangers.”
He sighed. “Damn…”
My heart fell. “There’s nothing.”
“Wait. Doesn’t she have a brother?”
How did I forget about him?
“He’s your key.”
I stood up and paced the room. Then despair came onto me. “I don’t have his number. But I’d bet anything he has hers.”
“Do you know his last name?”
Seriously, my brother could be so stupid under pressure.
“If I knew his last name, I’d know hers…”
“How did you land Vivian? Seriously?” I shook my head.
“Well, she isn’t with me for my brains.” He winked at me.
“You need to find a way to get a hold of him. You might be able to find his name on the manifest of the plane he took.”
With the level of security we had, that was impossible. “No. That won’t work.”
“Go to th
e hotel he stayed at. Bribe them to give you his credit card info.”
“Wait.” I just remembered something. “He had a meeting with
“I’ll ask for his info from them. Business investors aren’t exactly ethical. Especially when I offer them cold hard cash.”
Denver’s eyes widened. “Let’s do it.”