Friday, July 18, 2008

Chapter 17

Keira locked herself in one of the stalls. She grabbed the end of the toilet paper roll and pulled, wrapping it around and around her hand until she'd collected a huge wad of it. She pressed it to her eyes and tried to stop crying. She felt like an idiot, but the song had touched her so deeply that it literally took her breath away. Not only did it perfectly describe what Jon wanted to say to her, but soon it would be what she wanted to say to Rob. She knew she was going to break his heart, and it was eating away at her. He was such a good man, and he didn’t deserve what she was about to do to him. If only he could know how much it was hurting her to have to hurt him.

She heard the ladies’ room door open, and then Molly spoke. “Okay, Keira. I know you’re going through some shit right now, but you really have to stop running away. Jon is not out to get you.”

Keira just sniffled in response. Suddenly it struck her that she was seriously pissed off at Molly for putting her in this situation. Yes, she could have said no and stayed home, but it wasn’t fair that Molly had even tempted her to come here in the first place. Why couldn’t she have just well enough alone? You know damn well why, she thought.

“You know something, Molly? You really owe me after tonight. The only reason I’m here in the first place is because I know how badly you want to get into Richie’s pants.”

She heard what sounded suspiciously like a snort and then the sound of muffled male laughter, and realized with horror that Jon had accompanied Molly into the ladies’ room. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. “Oh, for the love of tits!!" she shouted, leaning heavily against the side of the stall. "Please go away, Jon. Don’t you have autographs to go sign, or something?”

All she heard was more muffled laughter, this time from both Jon and Molly. She threw the ball of tear-stained toilet paper into the bowl and planted her hands firmly on her hips, even though nobody could see her. “That’s it. I’m not coming out of here until you both leave,” she stated in a tone that brooked no argument.

There was a short silence, and then she heard footsteps leaving and the door closing again. She bent down and looked under the stall door to make sure she was alone, then opened the door and walked over to one of the sinks, where she dampened a paper towel and dabbed at her cheeks. Surveying the damage in the mirror, she was relieved to see that it wasn’t as bad as she’d feared. Her eyes were a little red, but at least her cheeks weren’t all splotchy. She opened her purse and applied some fresh eyeliner, powder, and lip gloss, and then took a deep breath. Time to face the music, she thought. And the man who makes the music.

She opened the door of the ladies’ room and stepped into the hallway. Molly was waiting, but Jon was nowhere to be seen. Noticing Keira’s roving glance, Molly said, “He got pulled away. Autographs, like you said.”

Keira sighed. “I’m sorry I said that about you and Richie. I had no idea Jon was with you.”

Molly shrugged. “No worries. Like I’m really concerned about Richie finding out that I want to get into his pants. I’m pretty sure he already knows. And if he doesn’t, I must be doing something wrong."

The two women smiled at one another. They’d been friends for so long they were like sisters, and arguments never lasted long. They were silent for a minute, and then Keira said quietly, “So what do I do now?”

Without hesitation, Molly replied, “I think you should stick around and talk to Jon. I know you’re afraid of seeing him and stirring up feelings again, but I can tell that he really wants to talk to you. He asked me if you’d wait for him tonight. I think you’ve been on his mind a lot lately. That song was from his heart.”

Keira nodded. She’d already known that she couldn’t leave without thanking him for the song. She absentmindedly twisted her engagement ring around on her finger.

Molly glanced down. “Are you going to take that off?”

The question startled Keira. “Why would I?”

“Because you know it isn’t for real,” Molly said, gently.

Keira bit her lower lip. “It would be a slap in the face to Rob if I took it off.”

Molly, as always, knew when to shut up, and this was one of those times.

“So what do we do now?” Keira asked.

Molly slipped her arm through Keira’s and led her back into the main room of the bar. “Well,” she said as they walked, “The guys are doing a meet-and-greet thing right now, so you and I can just hang out at the bar until they’re free.”

As they walked back into the room, Keira could see a crowd of people near the stage, talking to the band members. Molly steered her over to the bar and they took their seats up on two high stools. When the bartender came over, they ordered two more glasses of wine. They sipped on their drinks and waited, ordering another round when their glasses were empty. Fifteen minutes went by and the crowd seemed to be thinning out a bit. Keira could feel the warmth of the wine working its magic. Two men approached and asked if they could join them, but Molly demurred, "I'm sorry, we're waiting for Richie and Jon." The guys looked at them like they were nuts, and walked away.

Molly cracked up. "Oh, that was priceless - did you see the looks on their faces?"

Keira was laughing so hard she thought she was going to cry again. Mimicking Molly’s voice, she said, “We’re waiting for Richie and Jon…” then burst out laughing again. “You have to admit that it does sound pretty fucking funny. They must think we're delusional!"

They were still laughing when Jon walked over. "What did I miss?" he asked, smiling, and took a seat on the barstool next to Keira. In one of those slow-motion moments, Keira turned to look at him. She blamed it on her wine buzz when she fixated on his mouth for a few seconds too long before moving up to meet his eyes. He had a very distracting mouth.

She took a deep breath and got control of herself. “Just a girl joke,” she told him, smiling back. “You wouldn’t understand.”

The bartender brought a beer over for Jon. Keira watched him bring the bottle to his mouth to take the first sip. Then she spoke. “Thank you for the song, Jon. It was…perfect. It meant a lot to me.”

He took his time swallowing, then met her gaze. He looked at her for a minute, as if trying to read her thoughts, then shrugged modestly. “I meant it.” He lifted his beer and took another sip, keeping his eyes on hers.

Once again, she found it impossible to look away. She wondered if he had this kind of magnetic pull on everyone he met. No wonder he’s gone so far in life, she thought. She was tempted to ask him if he was using some kind of voodoo mind-control technique on her, but decided she’d save that question for a night when she’d had more to drink. She nearly laughed out loud at the thought, but was too surprised by its implication that she was planning to see him again after tonight.

Keeping her eyes steady on his, Keira raised her wine glass with her left hand and raised it to her lips. Her competitive nature had kicked in and she was prepared to match him in a staring contest. Just as she was settling in to beat him at his own game, he broke their gaze to look down at her diamond ring, which was casting prisms across the bar from the reflected candlelight.

Oh shit, she thought, as time seemed to stand still again. Now she couldn't even gloat that she’d won.


allina_90 said...

Jon really is magnetic - especially on her ;)

I hope you'll post the next part soon

Sunstreaked said...

((Smacking myself upside the head)) Voo-doo mind control! THAT'S WHAT IT IS! Thank you, thank you, for FINALLY getting to the "hold" Jon has over everyone. It's voo-doo mind control! ROFL!

Great chapter and oh no - he saw the ring! And is Molly gonna get in Richie's pants? Yeah, mind deep in the gutter on that one...

Opester said...

Voodoo mind control-absolutely!

Keira should have listened to Molly and removed that stupid ring! I hope that won't blow it with Jon or make him think she's really unavailable!