Bad Boy vs Millionaire

By: Candy J. Starr

“Give me back my guitar.” Jack stood in the studio with Hannah tailing behind him.

So, it was all sorted, I thought. Little did I know it was as unsorted as it possibly could be.

Hannah had her arms crossed and that look on her face like she was going to erupt from containing all the rage simmering away inside her. And Jack paced like he did when he was nervous or stressed.

Meanwhile, Spud had sweet talked the annoying chick into moving the schedule around so they could still play on the show. She lapped up his attention like some desperate groupie but at least it worked and this hadn't all been in vain.

Looks kept flashing between Jack and Hannah that I couldn't even begin to interpret and, when Spud came back to the stage, Jack seemed like he wanted to strangle him.

Hannah dragged me out into the green room before they went back on camera and told me the whole story.

“What do I do?” she asked me. “Do I trust him? I have no idea what's going on.”

She picked at her fingernails while she said this as if, by achieving the goal of picking every bit of polish off her nails, she'd find the answers she needed there. I put my arm around her even though Hannah is definitely not the hugging type. I usually have an opinion for every occasion but this was one time I had nothing to say. I sure as hell didn't want to be encouraging her in any way that would get her heart broken.

“What do you want, Hannah?” I rubbed her arm.

She shrugged. “I want to feel safe and I know that will never happen with him. I want something sure to hold onto. This morning, at the beach house, I’d have done anything for him. It felt so real. Like we connected. Now I have no idea what is real and what is being powered by his damn stupid arrogance.”

“He came after you,” I said. “He risked everything, which has to be a real thing. When did he make the bet?”

“Does it make a difference?”

“Hells yeah. He hated you at first. He wanted you out of his life any way he could. If he made the bet then, I could understand it. But later, when he was all I love you Hannah but I'm no good for you, if he made it then, he's a cad.”

“He never said he loved me, just that he wanted me. Different things.” She blew on her nails to get rid of the all the chips of polish.

“It's romantic as hell though, him running to you like that.”

“Why did he do that? I made him come back here to the studio. I'm his manager. I can't let him ruin his career.”

I searched her face, trying to work out what was going on that head of hers. This whole thing was screwed up. It’d taken a huge leap for her to even trust Jack and then this had screwed everything up. It made me wonder if Spud had known she could overhear when he’d said it. He was malicious enough but I dunno about how much brains he had.

“Didn't you want to just want to hold him in your arms and keep him there forever?”

“Maybe, maybe not. Maybe that was more lies so I wouldn't believe he'd actually had that stupid bet with Spud.”

“I don’t think he’d take a bet that far.”

Hannah stared at the monitor in the corner of the room. The vision had switched to Storm, ready to play their new song. Spud tapped his drumsticks together then the camera did close up on Jack's fingers sliding along the neck of his guitar, his voice gravelly and strong. The sound and the close up on his profile created a buzz like static electricity jumping out of the screen. Thrills that ran through your body. The image pulled back to the three of them on the corner stage and you could see Jack's body move. He didn't jump around the stage, and he didn't need to. Even a toe tap or a shrug of the shoulder was enough to create the mood.

“Anyway, I couldn't deny him this moment. Deny the entire band. They said ― Spud said ― I was poison as a manager. I couldn't let that be true. And we'll have time to talk. Later. As manager to client, I mean.”

I could see what she meant. Jack had been ready to lay it all on the line but he'd have regretted it and, even if he didn't blame Hannah for it, Spud would. And that would create trouble in the band.

Then she’d hit me with the news about going to Tokyo.

“No way. Bitch!”

I’d tried to convince her that she should talk it out with Jack before she left. Like sane, sensible people would do. But she’d refused to listen to my words of wisdom and had spent the night packing instead. Well, packing in between tears and non-stop melodrama – “I hate Jack Colt, I never want to see him again…” kind of stuff.

So, Hannah was in Tokyo and I was stuck in class. My phone buzzed. I got a dirty look since I'd been sitting in a Film History lecture and we were supposed to have our phones switched off but nobody really does.

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