The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19) (2 page)

BOOK: The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19)
2.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Van looked and saw a woman near the
security gate, jumping up and down like a fool.


What
are you doing?

Van yelled.


Waiting
to meet you!

she called
back.


You
need a ride?

She stopped jumping.

Are you serious?

Van slapped the top of the car.

Jump over that gate and let

s go have some fun.

Van got into the car with a defiant
grin.

She took my heart. She took my
ring. But tonight, I

ll
get what I want. From there

 

2.

 


Who
knows
…”

Natalie put the wine glass down on
the table and licked her lips. They were fruity, just like the wine. She looked
at the flickering candle in front of her and knew soon enough that

d be her only source of light
and heat.


I
can

t believe they just
closed the school down,

her best friend, Andrea said, through the phone.

How long am I going to be able
to afford my cell phone?

Natalie shut her eyes and cringed.

Yeah, well, there were rumors.
Not enough funding and stuff. I don

t
know. They had no choice. I get it. It

s
nothing personal.


You
know, you should have had a plan.


Don

t do the mom thing to me.


What
mom thing
?

Andrea
asked.


Where
you try to comfort me but only tell me everything I

ve done wrong and what I could have done to make it
right. But I can

t do
anything right now because it

s
already done.

The phone was silent.


You
there?

Natalie asked.


Yeah,

Andrea said.

I

m
sorry. I won

t do the
mom
thing
. Which, by the way, is the right thing to say and what should have
been done. But, you

re
right. I

m sorry. I

m sorry you lost your job. And
that things aren

t working
in your favor. It happens though, you know?


It

s been happening to me since I
was a kid. You know that too.


I
know, sweetie,

Andrea
said.

I do the
mom
thing
because I remember when it all happened. And you were looking for
someone your entire life. I had two younger brothers to beat up on and control.
I guess I just figured I would take you under my wing. But you don

t want that
…”


Well,
actually, don

t go pushing
me out of the nest just yet,
momma bird
,

Natalie said with a giggle.


First
off, never call me that. I

m
a year older than you. I

m
not old. Christ, Nat, I

m
not even married. No kids. Not even a date. Please don

t make me feel old.

Natalie laughed again.

Fine. What I was going to say or
ask or whatever

do you
have anything coming up that I can help with?


Catering
jobs?

Andrea asked.


Yeah.


You

re an art teacher. An art major.
You

re an artist. You

re amazing
…”


I
have no money. My best friend owns the most premiere catering company in the
world. I heard your girls make a lot of money.


Depending
on the event,

Andrea said.

And don

t call them
girls
. Makes it
sound like they

re hookers
or something.


God,
I love talking to you,

Natalie said.

She drank more wine, finishing the
glass. She looked to the bottle and realized there was only one more glass
left. Then she

d really
have to face reality and nothing more.


I
love talking to you too,

Andrea said.

It

s really that bad, huh?


I
just poured my last glass of wine,

Natalie said.

The bottle
is empty, like my bank account.


You
don

t know the first thing
about catering,

Andrea
said.

And you have to deal
with people. Adult people. Sometimes high profile, famous. It

s pretty serious.


Is
there a school I can attend?

Natalie said with a snarky voice.


Actually,
there is.


Oh.
Sorry.


Let
me go through my calendar, Nat. I

ll
see if there

s anything
small and local over the next few weekends. Try to get you something.


I
love you.


I
know you do. You can come hang out with me. Help me cook and test out the food.
Work on some business stuff.


You
going to pay me?


Nope.


Great.
Thanks.

Natalie looked around the dark and
empty apartment. Right next to the empty bottle of wine was the eviction
notice. That was preceded by a few warning letters, phone calls, and visits
from Mr. Frehnen. He was old, grumpy, but he had more patience than Natalie
would have had.


Hey,
Nat, is it really that bad?

Andrea asked.

I mean, I
can lend you some money if you need.

Natalie swallowed hard. She

d always found a way to survive
on her own. She never needed anyone because nobody was ever there for her.

That wasn

t going to change.

She put her hand to the eviction
notice and slid it away.


No,
it

s not that bad,

she said to Andrea.

It

s
bad. But

if you can just
get me some work.


Let
me check my schedule, like I said. If you need anything in the meantime, let me
know.


Some
wine would be nice,

Natalie joked.


You
got it, sweetie.

Natalie ended the call and stood
up. The wine did wonders for her stress level, leaving her head feeling heavy
and her body feeling warm. She flipped the light switch to the small dining
room and grinned. Sooner than later that switch wouldn

t work. Well, it would work, there just wouldn

t be electricity turned on. Then
again, the eviction notice

Sighing, Natalie gathered up her
art bag and dumped it out on the table. She opened a music app on her phone and
let it shuffle. Sometimes life just required time to forget it all. Her phone
had battery power, the ability to connect to a network. Her glass had wine, her
mind had the urge to draw something.

So that

s exactly what Natalie did.

Sketching was always fun. Just
starting with a line on a blank sheet of paper and letting her mind run with
it. Tonight, for some reason, she wanted to draw a park. A horizon full of
trees. A path, narrow, with twists and turns. A couple park benches. Better yet
- an autumn scene. Growing up in Virginia, Natalie had seen plenty of the four
seasons, but autumn was always her favorite. It was such a morbid concept -
everything dying. Yet it produced such beautiful colors. Raking up leaf piles
and jumping into them. The change of the air going from warm to crisp. Of
course, trick or treating as the prequel to Thanksgiving and the all important holiday,
Christmas.

Natalie sketched the outline of
everything and then began to color it in. Using the edges of her colored
pencils, she shaded the colors in a masterful way.

When her wine glass was finally
empty, for good, she caught herself nodding to the music. It was an acoustic
song, deep and passionate. It was definitely a new song, but it had a familiar
sound to it. Natalie leaned over and looked at her phone.

It was Willow Son.


Nice,

she whispered.

The song played out and when
another band came on, Natalie bit her bottom lip. She put her pencil down,
grabbed her phone, and did a search for Willow Son. Soon she was lost in a
world of great rock music. She started with their first album, which had a
gritty, street like feel to it. Halfway through she went to the new acoustic
album. It was a short album and definitely didn

t
fit with anything the band had done before.

From the first strum of a chord,
Natalie was hooked. So much that she slid the paper and pencils away, giving
all her attention to Willow Son. Never one to really fall in love with bands,
Natalie really started to enjoy the music. She used to get picked on for being
an artist and never into music, but that was because one of her first art
teachers told her she needed to focus on the art and nothing else. Natalie then
started listening to classical music for noise while she worked on art. And
eventually she started listening to music. But one thing seemed true - the
music reflected her art. If she was drawing something happy but had a
melancholy song on, she would then catch herself wanting to add something sad
to the picture.

That worked sometimes.

One of her biggest paychecks - when
she was drawing pictures in a garage - was of a happy scene at a park. Ice
cream. Dogs playing frisbee toss. Families together. Then there was a stray
little girl in a blue dress. Just out of reach was a red balloon. The little girl
standing on her toes, unable to reach the balloon, and nobody paying attention
to her to help.

It was almost like a self
reflection of Natalie

s
life. She had wanted to keep that drawing, but a friend of a friend saw and
demanded it. He was some rich guy and paid a lot of money for it.

That was a long time ago though.
Yet, ironically, Natalie felt like she was right back at the beginning of
everything. In a small apartment, worried about money, listening to music and
drawing.

After she went through the acoustic
album, she felt like a weight had been placed on her chest. The music was that
good. She was officially a Willow Son fan and she wanted to catch them live.
Music was good, but hearing it live was an entirely different thing.

Before she could start searching on
her phone, there was a knock at the door. Natalie hurried to the door, fearing
the worst. Was it Mr. Frehnen coming to give her the boot once and for all now?


Who
is it?

she asked.


Police,

a deep voice said.

Open right away.

Natalie felt her heart racing. She
opened the door, wondering what was going on.

It wasn

t the police.

It was Andrea. She stood with a big
smile on her face and a bottle of wine in her hand.


Here,

she said.

Now let me in.


That
wasn

t funny,

Natalie said.

The police thing.


Why?
Do you have the cops after you?


No,

Natalie said.

I just

nothing. Thanks for the wine. Come in.


As
soon as you said that,

Andrea said,

I couldn't
imagine it. A night without wine? That

s
like being homeless.

Might be me soon.

Natalie went to the kitchen and
opened the bottle. She poured two glasses and turned to find Andrea with two
things in her hands.

The first was the drawing.

This is good, Natalie. Really
good.

The second item was
the eviction notice.

This
is bad, Natalie. Really bad.


I
know,

Natalie said.

BOOK: The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19)
2.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Uncaged Love Volume 5 by J. J. Knight
Las luces de septiembre by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Darkness Taunts by Susan Illene
Hitler's Olympics by Christopher Hilton
Point of Attraction by Margaret Van Der Wolf
Raking the Ashes by Anne Fine
A Stroke of Luck by Andrea Pickens
The Baron by Sally Goldenbaum
Skeletons in the Closet by Hart, Jennifer L.