Unstitched(7)

By: Jacquie Underdown



‘Yeah.’

‘Excuse me, what’s your name again?’

‘Lucas Ryan.’

It rang a vague bell, but I could barely remember a single thing after leaving my apartment on Sunday afternoon.

Lucas, Lucas, Lucas? A cloudy image flickered of a man with longish hair standing on a stage, strumming a guitar and singing with the most delectable voice I had ever heard. Did I talk to him on Sunday? Surely not.

‘Come on. I’m not that forgettable, am I?’

I could hear the smile behind his taunts. ‘I remember you now.’ Kind of. ‘You’re a wonderful singer.’

He laughed. ‘So you told me.’ I squirmed in my chair. My God, I wanted to make love to this man’s voice.

I searched my drunken jumble of memories hard, trying to recall something, anything. Wobbly, unconnected images formed — an incoherent conversation with a girl crying in the bathroom; Brendt, me and the girls slamming back tequila shots at the bar; dancing on a table; last drinks being called, and then bang — his stunning green eyes, his sexy-as-hell grin and those full sleeves of tattoos from the tips of his fingers to his neck.

I licked my lips, swallowed hard, crossed my legs and squeezed tight. ‘Don’t worry about the USB. You’ll do just fine. I’ll email you through the contract and particulars in the next five minutes. If you could just sign it and shoot it back to me then we’ll be all set.’

‘All my details are on the back of that flyer I left you.’

‘Great. Thank you so much, Lucas, and I’ll see you Saturday night.’

I blew out a long breath of air. Holy shit, my body was vibrating simply from talking to this guy.

I ran my eyes over my notes:

Lucas

gorgeous smile

dreamy voice

email contract

details on back of flyer.

I flipped the flyer over. Below the typed contact details was a hand-written note in perfect script.

Good morning, Anthea

A pleasure to meet you last night.

Did you end up finding the definition for perennial?

Lucas

What the fuck? I fired up my computer and googled perennial. The answer.com webpage spat out some definitions:

1. Lasting an indefinitely long time; enduring

2. Appearing again and again; recurrent.

Was that supposed to mean something?

Note to self: never get that drunk again.

Ever.





Chapter 3


Brendt

The doors to Radio 219UE parted before me, and I strode into the station. It was Friday morning, nearly a week since I decked my co-host, Leith, in the nose. My boss had ripped it up me first thing Tuesday morning, once he saw the extent of Leith’s injuries — both eyes a deep shade of black and his nose the size of a lemon.

Under normal circumstances I would’ve been fucked-off by such a severe earbashing, but I had no remorse for doing what I did. I’d quit my job before I’d even consider that my actions were wrong, which is exactly what I told my boss, and which only helped bring forth another ear-bashing replete with enough expletives to make a criminal blush.

Mine and Leith’s friendship had, understandably, been tense over the last week. It was noticeable to the public, too, with a pile of emails coming through during yesterday’s show. It wasn’t helped by the on-air argument. We had planned to talk “rationally” about men taking steroids, supplements and spending hours in the gym, but I ended up calling Leith a steroid-munching Neanderthal, which then led to a long silence as we stared each other down. Silence — any length of silence — was a big no-no in the business of radio, as was antagonising your co-host.

So yesterday’s show resulted in emergency peace talks with the boss and producer, extending well into the evening, and didn’t accomplish anything. No amount of talking was going to end my hatred of Leith, although, I did, reluctantly, agree to pretend.

By the time I arrived at Rachel’s apartment, my eyes were burning. Every blink was heavy and long. And each muscle was wound so tight, I snapped at any slight criticism. I couldn’t blame Rachel for rolling over and going to sleep without so much as a ‘good night’ or a ‘fuck-off’. I didn’t know which was worse.

I dived heavily into unconsciousness, but woke during the middle of night, my skin coated with sweat, gasping at the thin air. Why did all this shit with Leith infuriate me so much? It wasn’t like me. Hell, I’d been nominated “most laid-back” in my graduating class and barely ever held a grudge. Yet I couldn’t get rid of this hand-trembling violence towards Leith, nor this instinct to wrap Anthea in my arms and cradle her tightly so nothing could ever hurt her again.

I rolled over to face Rachel, her white-blonde hair and pale skin looked ghostly under the dim moonlight that was burrowing through the cracks in the curtains. My freakin’ chest was so tight it hurt. I stroked a finger gently down Rachel’s cheek. Her skin was soft and smelt like bubble bath. I squeezed my eyes shut.

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