Chasing the Music: For the Love of Music Book 0.5 (10 page)

“I have sleepy afternoon nap breath,” she protested.

His lips moved down the side of her face until he couldn’t reach any further. “Please.”

She didn’t move. “A little one. Promise.”

“I will promise no such thing.” His arms tightened.

She lifted her head up. “Griffin.”

But then his lips were on hers. Soft, smooth, strong, and her mouth opened up for him letting the world fall away. The swing fall away. The porch fall away. The sun fall away.

The mattress was soft underneath her, and everything about Griffin’s weight on her felt good, perfect. His rough fingers slid the tank straps off her shoulders, and he kissed along her collarbone before lightly sucking on her neck.

“Oh, Griffin…” she groaned.

“Just a minute, baby,” he whispered.

His hands moved down her body, sliding across the top of her panties, and she arched up toward him.

 

Griffin disappeared. The bed disappeared. She was on ice. Naked.

Lita gasped and sat up in bed, shivering.

Holy… She’d never had a moment that erotic in her life. How was she supposed to act around Griffin now?

 

Nine

 

“Better?” Familiar hands slid up and down Lita’s arm.

She shivered and pulled the blankets more tightly around her.

“Are you sick?” Bridget asked.

So, yeah. Not the familiar hands she’d dreamed about the night before...

“I don’t know.” Lita pulled her legs to her chest but every part of her felt like ice. “Maybe.”

“Okay.” Bridget sighed. “We gotta get you on the bus. Boise tomorrow night. So, we have a long day where you can sleep as we travel, okay?”

Lita couldn’t imagine getting out of bed. Couldn’t imagine putting on clothes and riding the bus. But if she missed the bus, it would mean flying, which meant airports and security and lines. That was definitely out.

“I need something warm,” she whispered, keeping her eyes closed.

“So the iced coffee is out, then.” Bridget’s words were clipped.

Lita nodded and Bridget squeezed her arm before her weight left the bed.

“I’ll call another lackey to get you something hot, okay?”

Lita didn’t answer because she couldn’t imagine having to talk. This was crap timing. She could not be sick right now. If she showed up sick everyone would claim she had a drug problem, and that was something she’d managed to avoid by avoiding drugs—not an easy feat on the road, but it was a lot easier when your history with them was similar to hers.

She just had to find a way to convince her body to get out of bed. Soon.

 

 

The second Lita made it across the parking lot and onto the bus; she collapsed on the couch, grasped the small blanket, and pulled it over her shoulders letting her eyes fall closed.

Apelu had taken over the closest thing to a recliner the bus had, and would most likely sleep the whole ride. He usually did.

“Why don’t you just crash on the bed?” Bridget asked.

“I get sick back there,” Lita said. “I need to see.”

Bridget sighed. “If you’re sure.”

“I’m here.” The voice wasn’t Dave’s… Griffin? Lita opened her eyes.

Wide-eyed and unkempt, Griffin stood with a bag and tray of drinks.

“What is all that?” Bridget snapped. “I said a hot coffee.”

“It’s fine.” Lita waved down her friend.

Dave jumped on. “We’re off.”

And with that the bus lurched forward.

“I’m supposed to be on the other bus—” Griffin started.

“Well you’re not because you can’t follow instructions,” Bridget quipped.

Griffin blinked and leaned against the small table as the bus moved out of the parking lot.

“Don’t be such a bitch,” Lita whined. “Let him be.”

Bridget pushed up from the table. “I’m going to get some shut eye, since you’ll be needing me as soon as we get there.”

Lita stared at Bridget’s back as her friend walked toward the back of the bus, shutting the door to the small bedroom. So weird. Bridget had good and bad days like everyone, but she felt…off.

Griffin’s shoulders fell a little as he sat, and Lita forced herself more upright and then remembered folding herself into him last night backstage. This not even including the dream. The dream she really wanted to fall into again.

His lips against hers. The kisses on her collarbone.

Her body flushed with heat, and she stared at her lap.

“Feeling better than last night?” he asked.

Oh. Right. Last night. The real reason she should be embarrassed. She didn’t just grab guys and sit on their laps. She’d hardly had time for anything personal since her insane schedule started three years ago, and had no idea how weird Griffin might think she was.

Griffin adjusted the few things on the small table as Dave pulled out his tablet. “Bridget said to get coffee, but since you really need sleep, I grabbed a few other things instead…”

Lita cocked a brow at the four drinks in his hand and a grocery bag that looked full. “A few?” Another shiver ran through her and she pulled the thin blanket more tightly around her.

“You’re not seriously cold are you?” Griffin asked and even Dave glanced over his iPad at where she sat huddled on the couch. “I’m dying of heat.”

She just stared.

“How sick are you?” he asked. “I thought it might be Bridget-speak for hung over.”

Lita shook her head.

“You’re not...on anything?” Griffin asked slowly.

Seriously
?

“No.” Lita frowned.

“Yeah…” Griffin rubbed his palms on his thighs and let out a breath. “I just never know how good the articles on you are… I’m sorry. I… I really should have kept my mouth shut.”

Lita stared. But of course he’d read about her.

Griffin seemed to sense something felt weird between them. “Sorry. Never mind.”

There was probably something she should say to this wide-eyed nervous looking guy.

He set the bag on the table and pulled out a Styrofoam container. “I brought soup.”

“I’m not
that
sick.” Lita found words.

“Well, you look sick.” He rummaged in the tiny kitchen drawers on the bus until he found a spoon and then sat next to her with the soup. “I’m annoying and probably over-bearing, but I can’t… I just… I have this need or urge or compulsion to take care of the people around me. Sometimes to a fault. Tell me to get lost when I drive you crazy. But there’s soup, and a roll and croissant and a decaf coffee.”

Lita just watched his jaw move. Watched the stubble around his lips and the faint tugging on the corners of his mouth.

She took the spoon and ladled out a small portion of broth, bringing it to her lips. Her throat tightened.

And she swallowed.

Griffin set the small bowl on the cabinet next to her and took a seat at the table, pulling his long sleeved thermal over his head, leaving him in a grey t-shirt that tugged just a little too perfectly over his chest.

Lita shivered again and then stared at his shirt. It might be weird… Wait. She was Lita James. She could ask for whatever she wanted. “Can I have your shirt?”

He jerked to face her and handed the long sleeved tee over. She immediately slid it on, trying not to breathe in too obviously as the fabric fell over her face. Now was when she should say thanks, but instead she focused on getting more liquid into her body.

With each sip she could feel her body tingling with energy. She could not have two shows that were “off” in a row. Could. Not. She grabbed the roll next and began to shred it into small pieces to dip in her soup.

When she breathed in, she realized she wouldn’t have to coat her pillows in anything; she just had to keep his shirt.

Yes. This had been perfect.

 

Even though he knew he shouldn’t, Griffin watched Lita eat, and he filed everything away for a clue as to what was going on with her.

Her eyes flitted closed and her body relaxed, her hands clutching the ends of the sleeves on Griffin’s tee. A surge of warmth hit him as he watched her in his shirt and then he quickly looked away—that kind of staring was reserved for Stacy, and he wasn’t going to let anyone, even Lita James, change that.

It’s just that it was
his
shirt, on
her
body, and when she shifted and breathed in, there was a place in his head where he knew she was smelling him, and he wanted her to want that, even though he shouldn’t. He tried not to watch her as she slowly fell asleep, her breathing slowing until her lips parted in relaxation.

He shifted lower in the seat looking away from Lita. Dave was immersed in his iPad, which left Griffin with nothing to do. He pulled out his phone, but Stacy had sent him nothing. A tinge of uncertainty hit him. There was a kind of relief knowing she didn’t need him all the time, but he wasn’t sure what he had if she
didn’t
need him.

Griffin dropped her a quick text.

Griffin: Just on the bus and thinking about you.

Stacy: You’re so sweet. I’m at school and about to do a few haircuts. Talk later?

Griffin: No show tonight, so yeah, we’ll talk.

Stacy: Later then :-D

So much for that distraction.

Ryker and the rest of the crew were on the other bus, but a girl had been with Ryker that morning, and Griffin really didn’t want to know if he’d snuck her on—apparently he had a reputation for doing that. So even though he was bored, it was better than being a holder of another one of Ryker’s secrets.

Bridget walked out from the back bedroom and pushed the hair off her face. She was pretty, nothing like Lita, but she had soft skin, nice cheekbones, dark brown hair that fell in waves.

“I told her to go back to the bed, and she didn’t go.” She sighed. “Now there’s nowhere to sit.”

Griffin glanced at the empty half of a couch and at the several more spaces around the small table where he sat with Dave. His eyes floated back to Lita, her cheeks even more sunken than before.

“What’s going on with her?” Griffin asked quietly, deciding that direct was probably better.

Bridget crossed her arms and leaned against the counter, working her jaw as she watched him. “There are a million things wrong with that statement.”

Her tone prickled up his spine, and Griffin set his jaw. “How do you figure?”

“First off, you’re nobody.”

Griffin nodded, conceding the point since he really was the last person to join their crew.

“Second off, she’s
tired
. We’re on tour. It’s exhausting. Why the hell do you think I bring her coffees like eighteen times a day?”

Griffin was about to argue, but Bridget cut him off. “Lita is fine. If you knew her, or spent time with her, you’d know she was fine, but you
don’t
know her and you
don’t
spend time with her.” Her frown deepened with every phrase.

“She looks sick,” Griffin said simply. “That’s all.”

“Are you her keeper?” Bridget asked. “She eats. I’m with her. Our schedule sucks. She’s allowed to be tired.”

“We purposefully slowed the schedule,” Dave said quietly.

But Bridget’s eyes shifted to Dave just enough that Griffin knew that she might be lying. And if she wasn’t outright lying, she’d certainly tweaked the truth.

“Still grueling,” Dave added.

Instead of arguing with Lita’s PA, or with Dave, Griffin pulled out his phone and hoped he had enough reception to do some searching on pale skin and weakness and weight loss. Even though it wasn’t his business. Even though he shouldn’t care.

 

 

Ten

 

It was just a shirt. A man’s shirt. Not just any man either, a man who had a girlfriend. But it was warm and smelled like guy, and again, it was
warm
. A nice contrast to the over air-conditioned hotel room.

Lita craved more of the soup. More of how it made her feel energized without sitting too heavily in her stomach. It was just stress. Just the pressure of her job and the band and the crowds and the image. Always the image.

“Your coffee.” Bridget set the cup next to her in the hotel room and Lita just stared at it. And stared. And stared.

“You want me to get you something to help you sleep?” Bridget offered.

Lita stood on legs that felt like they could have strength again. “No. Not now.”

“Where are you going like that?”

Lita looked down at her ratted jeans and Griffin’s shirt. Maybe if she just added boots. She opened the case with her shoes and pulled out a pair of mid-calf docs, lacing them up with weakened, but un-shaky fingers.

Griffin filled her head. His smile. His laugh. His hair. His stubble. His shirt that smelled so...just...delicious. Why did all the good guys have to be taken? Still… She still just wanted to be around him. Curiosity? Torture? “I’m…” She let her eyes find Bridget’s. Could she confide in her friend? “I’m going to thank Griffin, I think.”

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