Home > Serves Me Wright (Wright #9)(8)

Serves Me Wright (Wright #9)(8)
Author: K.A. Linde

When it had just been Campbell, he’d done it for free, but we hadn’t expected the rest of the band to comply with that. Also, I was sure their manager, agent, and record label wouldn’t have liked it either.

“That is good news.” I lifted my glass to her. “Want to stay for a drink?”

“Unfortunately, no,” she said. “I’ll leave you to celebrate. I’m going to go home to Adrian. I don’t think I’ve seen him all week.”

I finished off my beer, and Hollin passed me another.

When I started to protest, he held up his hand. “Cuz, we’ve earned it.”

“Fine.” I pulled it toward me.

Just then the door to the backstage opened, and out walked Jennifer, talking to Campbell with wide, adoring eyes. I’d never seen her look at anyone like that, and something twisted in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t care if Campbell Abbey was a famous rockstar and Jen loved his music; I didn’t like it.

I stood. “Hey, Jen. Celebratory drink?”

Her eyes snapped up to mine, and her smile brightened. “Uh, sure. I need to get home to Avocado and Bacon, but maybe one.”

“Avocado and Bacon?” Campbell asked.

He nodded his head at Hollin as Jen slid into the seat next to me, and Campbell walked around to make his own drink.

“They’re her cats,” I explained.

Jennifer wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like cats. They’re just cats that live on my street.”

“That you feed.”

“Well, yeah. I don’t want them to starve.”

“They have names.”

“I can’t just call them Cat One and Cat Two!”

Campbell laughed. “I think I get it. You take care of stray cats?”

“I…well, yes.”

“Cute,” Campbell said with a wink.

Jennifer flushed and took the drink that Hollin had passed to her. I glowered at him. Hollin tried not to laugh as he leaned his elbows against the bar.

“So, next weekend.” Campbell arched his eyebrow.

“What about next weekend?” I asked.

Hollin buried his face in his drink at my tone.

“I liked Jennifer’s images, and she asked if I’d be interested in sitting for a portrait series she’s working on. She said she could get us studio space.”

Oh. Not a date. What the fuck was wrong with me? Why had I immediately jumped there?

“That’s cool,” I added lamely.

“I’d really love to shoot the portrait session, but I’m not free next weekend. Sorry,” Jennifer said with a wince. “It’s my brother’s graduation in Austin, and my parents would skin me alive if I missed it.” She rolled her eyes. “It’s going to be terrible.”

“Why?” Hollin asked. “Don’t get along with your brother?”

“No. I mean, we get along okay, but my mom’s…tough. She doesn’t approve of my job, especially because Chester is kind of a genius. And then I’ll get the third degree about not having a date. My mom even made some comment about how my brother’s girlfriend will be there and I won’t have a date.”

“Oof,” Campbell said. “Tough.”

“Fuck that shit,” Hollin responded eloquently.

She shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of the drink Hollin had poured her. “It’s fine.”

There was that word again.

Fine.

It wasn’t fine.

“Well, no problem. We can reschedule,” Campbell agreed. “I miss being home. Hoping to spend more time in Lubbock this summer. Maybe another show in a month?”

“Definitely,” Hollin agreed.

“Fuck,” I whispered as I checked that date on my phone. “Just not that last weekend in June. I have a gala I’m supposed to attend.”

Jennifer slid her eyes to mine. “The one Ashleigh mentioned?”

“Ashleigh was here?” Hollin demanded.

“Uh, yeah…meant to tell you,” I muttered. “I took care of it. She wanted to cause trouble.”

“That’s all she does,” he snarled.

Hollin had never forgiven her for trying to sabotage the winery. None of us had, but Hollin had taken it personally.

“Yeah. Well, we planned this gala to help promote the winery when we were still dating. Now, I have to go stag. Kill me.” I downed the rest of my beer.

Hollin shook his head. “That fucking sucks.”

“Maybe there’s a solution here,” Campbell said, his gaze shifting between me and Jennifer. “Maybe y’all should go together?”

“What?” I barked.

“I mean, you’re friends, right? It’d be easy enough for you to go to Jennifer’s brother’s graduation party and woo her parents, and she could go to your gala and make Ashleigh jealous.”

Jennifer’s eyes went wide, and she shook her head. “I don’t think—”

Hollin nodded his head. “It’d be great. Julian, you can woo anyone. And having Jen there would make Ashleigh go crazy. It’d be beautiful.”

“The perfect fake dates,” Campbell said with a knowing smile.

Jennifer stood, shoving her drink farther away from her. “I think we’ve all had a long night. I’m going to go check on the cats. Thanks for the drink, Hollin. Night, y’all.”

I watched her walk out with something heavy settling on my chest. I’d pushed her too far. That kiss had ruined any chance I’d had. Just the idea of fake dating me and she’d literally run out of the room.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Hollin asked.

“What?”

Campbell arched his eyebrow and tossed back his drink. “This is your cue to go after her.”

“Fuck,” I muttered and dashed from my seat and into the cooling summer evening.

 

 

6

 

 

Jennifer

 

 

Oh my God, what was wrong with me?

Seriously, why couldn’t I act like any other normal person? Just laugh off Hollin’s and Campbell’s joking and change the subject. Instead, I’d freaked out at the very idea of what they had suggested.

I couldn’t force Julian to do something that asinine. He didn’t want that. I knew that without a second thought. I wouldn’t put him in a situation where the guys had bullied him into going on some fake date with me. I couldn’t hide how I felt about him in a quick interaction with him. There was no way I’d be able to do it at my brother’s graduation. Let alone some fancy gala. What would I even wear to a fancy gala?

And then there was the fact that the thought of actually taking anyone to my brother’s graduation made me feel sick. I didn’t like having anyone around my mom. Not even Sutton or Annie. Julian would never look at me the same. It’d be so humiliating.

I fumbled with the keys as I hurried to my car, trying to fight back tears. I was such an idiot. I wished that my anxiety hadn’t fucking spiked like this.

I dropped my keys and cussed, grabbing them off the freshly paved parking lot. I took a deep breath and tried to calm my racing heart the way my therapist had been teaching me.

Then I dug through my purse for my pills. I took an everyday anxiety medicine to regulate the day-to-day anxiety, but for spikes like this, I had emergency medicine that I always kept with me. I popped a half of a Xanax into my mouth and downed it dry.

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