The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19) (19 page)

BOOK: The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19)
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That

s because you just got laid.


Vicious.
You are vicious.


Honesty,
sweetie,

Natalie whispered, mocking Van.

She looked up at Van and grinned.
When she tried to move her head, Van stopped her.

Hey. You really are beautiful. And special. I

m not just digging around for a
hook up or something here. This
…”

Van couldn

t spit it out right now. It was easier to hold
things back. Well not for him, but in the situation between he and Natalie, it
was easier to leave things out.


Van,
the reason why you wanted to know about Mark is the same reason I want to know
about your
…”


Vanessa,

Van whispered.

That

s her name. Vanessa.


Right.
What does she look like?


Nothing
like you.


So
she

s beautiful?


No.
Well, yeah, but not like you, sweetie.


Did
you skip opposite day in grade school? The opposite of beautiful is ugly.


I
would never say you

re
ugly. Or that she

s ugly.
She

s like a

I don

t know how to explain. Like the unattainable. That

s how she always acted. Like
nobody could ever have her. But the truth was that she

d give herself up to anyone. I thought I was lucky
when our two storms crossed paths. I was a punk on the street playing in a band
and she was a pretty girl looking for a place to stay. We came from troubled
homes and pasts, except she had her family, I didn

t. The strange thing was that it was so bad in her
house that it made me almost feel lucky I was alone. Of course, fooling around
with a poor and dirty rockstar was just the fuel she needed to get back at her
father. I was a toy basically. But the whirlwind between us
…”
Van looked at Natalie.

I mean, everyone has to have a
first love, right? That impossible feeling. Knowing it is real but somehow
knowing it

ll never stay
real.


Yeah,

Natalie whispered.


So
she was the impossible. The unattainable. Everything right, wrong, and in
between. I was the guy with a girl next to me when the band started playing
bigger shows. She got to see a different world.


Sounds
perfect.


Hardly.
She had wandering eyes. And you know what? So did I. We got signed. We had a
lot of money thrown at us. The road was ours. The future. Just

everything. I mean, we had a
song hit and it just
hit
. From a thousand fans on Tuesday

s show to five thousand fans on
Thursday

s. People lined up
around the block. The police coming in riot gear to control the crowd. That

s how fast it happened.


Jeez.


Yeah.


I
went from five bucks in my pocket to five million. Then all my instruments were
free. My rig was free. We went from a van that had no muffler to a massive tour
bus. We went from opening band to headliner. And the excess of it all waiting
in the wings.


Drugs?
Women?


Everything.


Did

no, it doesn

t matter.

Van grinned.

I never hurt anyone. I never
hurt myself. Anything that happened was a caught up in the moment thing.


I
understand.


I
had a dream of Vanessa coming with me. And we

d
be this rockstar couple. But her father got sick and she wanted to stay home. I
hated the guy, but she insisted on caring for him. So I wanted to be honorable.
I wanted to be good. We were getting ready for the biggest tour of our life.
She refused to come. I had heard some noise about her and a couple other guys.
She lied to me about it over and over. What was I supposed to do?


Call
her out,

Natalie said.

Dump her. Go live your life.


Nope,

Van said.

I was the rockstar. I was stubborn.
I was rich. So I bought her a diamond.


You
proposed to her?


Exactly.
And she said yes.


Wow.


And
it wasn

t really a true
proposal kind of thing either. Just my way of making sure she knew
…”


Knew
what?


Knew
that I didn

t want her to
sleep with anyone else. Even though by then she already had. Lots of guys.
Hell, by the time I got on the tour bus she was already in bed with someone.
And the kicker? Her father was never sick.


Oh,
Van.


Yeah.
But I went on the road and tried to keep in touch. I indulged and flirted with
my own demons, which made everything harder. It was like we were competing to
hurt each other worse. I

d
find out she slept with someone so I

d
go and have a wild night. We did that for a couple years. Then it came to a big
end

when she got pregnant.


No
way.


By
me,

Van said.

He stopped talking for a few
seconds. This was beyond digging deep. He never talked to anyone about this
stuff.


I
had gotten off the road and we went at it,

Van said.

It was just
nothing but angry stuff. You know? Like my way of trying to give her one final
goodbye. Then she got pregnant.


So

you have a kid?


No,
I don

t.


Oh.


She
lost the baby early in the pregnancy,

Van said.

There was a tie
there though. Between us. Nothing I could do about it. So I tried to be there
for her. All the time. She called and I was there. She needed something and I
was there. Year after year. She kept the ring, too. I told her to keep it.
Maybe somewhere inside me I thought that the smoke would clear and it would
work out. Then she stopped calling and texting. She told me she wanted to be
done for a little while. That little while lasted two years. Then she text me
out of nowhere and said she was engaged.


So
that

s the story.


That

s the story, sweetie,

Van said. He looked at Natalie.

Now she wants to talk. To
meet. To something.


Maybe
it

s your chance. You can
right all the wrong.


She

s engaged.


She
still has your ring, right?


Yeah,
she does.


So
you come first. You called dibs.

Van smiled.

How can you talk like that? We

re naked in my bed. And you

re pushing me to connect with
someone else.


This
is

I mean

you hit Mark. Thanks for that.


Is
this how you thank everyone who helps you?


No.
Just the sexy ones.

Natalie touched Van

s cheek. He hurried to put his
hand to hers and kept it there. They slowly inched forward until their heads
were touching. Van felt his heart jumping leaps and bounds right now. This was
real. This was very real. But Natalie


I

ll hit that asshole in the mouth
everyday if you want,

Van
whispered.


You
just want to get laid everyday.


Yeah,
so?


Thank
you for telling me all that. I

ll
keep it between us, Van. I mean, if you

re
worried. I know it must be hard to be famous and stuff. If people find things
out and spread rumors.


I
don

t care,

Van said.

I have nothing to hide. I might
regret certain things but I

m
not afraid of the past. I can

t
go back and change it. I can only control the future, right?


Yeah,

Natalie said.

The future, sweetie. You

you

re the future

 

15.

 

Natalie sat across from Andrea. The
woman

s desk was a complete
mess of clutter. However, Andrea swore she knew where everything was. It was
not a mess at all, but rather a touch of organized chaos. Chaos that made
Andrea a lot of money.


What

s your plan?

Andrea asked and then folded
her hands.


Wow,
you

re going total Mom on
me here. Your hands are folded and everything.


Uh,
fine,

Andrea said. She
grabbed a pen and rested her pointer and middle fingers to her cheek with her
other hand.

Better?


Now
you look like a principal who hates her job and is listening to two kids
squabble over who threw the first punch.


I
hate you, Nat.


No,
you don

t.


Just
tell me what you

re doing.


I

m surviving. I like helping you,
okay? Can

t that be good
enough?


Do
you think it

s good enough?


For
now, sure,

Natalie said.

I

ve
been
…”

Distracted by a sexy rockstar in
some kind of weird relationship that you wouldn

t understand. You

d probably judge and that
would probably be the right thing to do because it

s crazy.


You
like that guy,

Andrea
said.

Van.


Maybe
I do.


He
really socked Mark.


Yeah.


I
had a big mess to clean up after that. Luckily nobody knew a thing about the
history. So it was just a situation.


He
got into some serious trouble for that,

Natalie said.


He

s a rockstar. Isn

t finding trouble their thing?


You
could say that.


I

m asking because something came
across my desk for you,

Andrea said.


Oh?


A
friend of a friend has been admiring your artwork. There might be a teaching
job on the horizon for you.


Really?


Yeah.
Nothing glamorous but a job. A good paying job. A small town, small district,
but people with money. It

s
all private so the pay is really good. And the funding is all in order.


There

s a catch, right?


Depends
on how bad you want it.

BOOK: The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19)
13.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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