The Writing Wenches love three ways. We also love happily ever afters, and when we left Maria, Savior, and Serenity, no one was happy. If you missed our first three-way, here’s Maria’s first post, followed by Savior’s, then Serenity’s. Now that you’re all caught up, read on…
So here’s how it works. A three-way write off involves — no, not that! — three authors who each write a scene from a different character’s point of view. Today, you’re going to read the scene from Maria’s POV. Serenity will be here, telling us her side, on October 21. Then Savior will wrap up this three-way on October 26, with his POV. To refresh your memory, Maria is the lost love, Savior is the rock star, and Serenity is the current groupie girlfriend.
Maria, physical therapist who has hung out her shingle in the same small town where she has lived for her entire life.
Savior, the rock star who walked away from his first love to find fame and glory.
Serenity, the groupie-turned-girlfriend.
Savior has a hip injury that’s affecting his latest world tour, not to mention his sex life. In the first three-way, he returned home to Maria, his former girlfriend, to see if she could fix him … Maybe in more ways than one. He brought his current girlfriend with him, and we ended our first three-way with a huge argument between Serenity and Savior.
Today, we pick up the next scene from Maria’s perspective…. And GO!
My guitar lesson comes to an abrupt end, when my instructor strides away, mid-riff, to greet the person at the door.
Savior. I leap to my feet, scramble to unplug the amp, to stuff the guitar into its case, so that I can make a quick getaway. A wide pillar and the sales desk hide me from view of the front door, and I have been coming here long enough to know there is a back door through which I can escape before my biggest fantasy and nightmare all rolled into one, sees me.
“Rick. What the hell? You really have given up the road and opened your own shop?”
That sexy-as-sin, whiskey and honey voice stops me in my tracks. I stand there, close my eyes, and savor it for a few precious moments. I see him every third day for physical therapy, have been for a week and a half now, but he does little more than grunt or cry out in pain during our time together, and I am still too embarrassed by our first encounter to encourage actual conversation.
I still cannot believe that he wants me to help fix the damage he’s inflicted on himself. After I foolishly opened my heart and asked if he’d come back for me – just in time for his barely-dressed girlfriend to pop into the room – I figured he’d have gone running for the hills. Never did I expect that call two days later, that panty-melting voice to demand, “Tell me what to do, Maria.”
Funny, that used to be our game. “Tell me what to do, Maria,” and I’d instruct him to do all sorts of things that induced nothing but pleasure. The good old days.
That day, instead of suggesting he meet me in a seedy motel room, I said, “You need physical therapy. Every three days for six weeks, maybe more. It depends on how badly you want to heal.”
“I want to heal,” he’d replied, before disconnecting the call and showing up the very next day, for his first session. He hasn’t missed one since.
The groupie girlfriend has, though. She’s missed all of them, actually. Which has been good and bad. Good, well, for obvious reasons. Bad, because Gabriel can’t seem to remember to wear underwear, and working on that body while it’s naked and obviously aroused is really starting to get to me. Starting, hell. It got to me that very first day. Otherwise, I never would have bared my soul, cried like a girl, and asked him if he’d come back for me.
And I call Serenity a groupie.
I hear Rick’s laugh, hear the various noises indicative of manly smacks on the back, one-armed hugs. “Five years now. Can you believe it?”
“What’s it like?”
“You mean, do I miss the road? Sometimes. I mean, shit, the good times I had; I can’t even tell my grandkids the stories ‘til they’re at least eighteen.”
I hear Gabriel’s chuckle. It’s just as smooth as his voice.
“So what’re you doing here, in the middle of Small Town USA?” Gabriel asks.
“It’s home, man. My wife got sick of me being gone eight months a year. I got sick of being gone eight months a year. And teaching’s fun. Maybe I’ll discover the next big thing among the locals. The next Savior.” Rick chuckles at his own comment.
Someone snorts. Gabriel, I assume. Even such an inelegant sound is sexy coming from him.
“You came from here.”
“Don’t ruin someone else’s life like that, Rick.”
Ruin his life? What is he talking about? He left here to find fame and fortune, his future. And he found it. All of it. In excess. Hell, he’s back now because he had monkey sex on a balcony, trying out a position even a Cirque del Sol artist wouldn’t do.
Rick laughs again and says, “Hey, come on back here. You probably know the student I’m teaching right now. You two are about the same age. Might’ve even gone to school together. I’m pretty sure Maria’s never even left this town.”
I freeze in the process of bolting for the back door. Whether it is a common name or not, there was only one Maria in our class when we were in school.
“She’s here? Now?” Gabriel’s voice lifts an octave and sounds incredulous. My self-righteous temper instantly flares. Just because I didn’t run off to find myself does not mean I have no musical talent.
I am frowning when he and Rick step around the pillar, and Gabriel’s gaze locks onto me. Compared to Serenity, I must look atrocious. For our appointments, I have been deliberately dressing as sexy and professional as I have the capacity to do so. But tonight, I’m in yoga pants, a ribbed tank top, and a hoodie that is still draped across the back of the chair in which I was sitting, practicing my guitar lessons. That gaze sweeps over my person, lingering on my chest. He always did like my big boobs. I couldn’t help but notice Serenity isn’t nearly as buxom. When the gaze finally returns to my face, my brows are arched, and I am prepared to be defensive.
“You look amazing, Maria,” he says, as if we hadn’t just had a physical therapy session six hours previous. Except then I’d worn a short brown sheath dress with matching knee-high boots and my hair had been curled about my shoulders. When I saw him earlier, he’d done nothing more than grunt. Now he compliments me?
“Uh … thanks.”
“You two do know each other,” Rick exclaims. “I knew it. Dude, you should hear her. Fucking amazing. Especially playing your shit. You know that song that no one’s supposed to know about, but everyone does? The ballad? She plays the hell out of it.”
The emotions warring on Gabriel’s face are a combination of surprise, anger, and something I cannot identify.
“You play my songs?” he asks, sounding mystified.
I shrug. Pretend indifference. Fail miserably, I’m sure. Of course I play his songs. They are the very reason I came to Rick, shortly after he opened his store, and asked him to teach me to play the guitar.
“You play that song?”
“If you’re referring to the song you wrote for some unnamed girl and that you refuse to play live, ever … yes. I can play it.”
“She doesn’t just play it, dude, she owns it,” Rick adds enthusiastically. Too enthusiastically, in my opinion. I am suddenly worried Gabriel will want …
“Will you play it? For me?”
I groan inwardly. “No.” But I know it is a losing battle before it begins. I have never been able to say no to this man. To that voice. And he knows it. Otherwise, he sure as hell would be receiving physical therapy from a distinctly male PT in some other part of the country.
Speaking of which, I am still unclear as to why he came to me to fix his problems.
“Fine,” I say with an exaggerated sigh that does nothing but cause Gabriel’s lips to quirk, as he struggles unsuccessfully to hide his triumphant grin.
I take my time, sitting in the straight-back chair, pulling my guitar out of its case, plugging it into the amp and adjusting the volume, and then unplugging it again, because this song is meant to be played acoustically. Pretending to tune the guitar, even though I know it’s fine.
And then I play.
It’s a haunting ballad, a story of love so deep, it’s sometimes physically painful. Of choices that are almost impossible to make, and of that same love lost. Of questioning one’s motives and decisions every step of the way. Of questioning whether the singer is even happy at all.
It has to be a joke. Knowing Gabriel the way I used to, I am certain he wrote those lyrics deliberately. Hell, he likely even purposely leaked it to the media, knowing full well it would grow his female fan base.
Unfortunately, the music itself is beautiful, even without the words to accompany it. Maybe even more so, since without the words, I can get caught up in the music, and not think about the man who wrote the song. After a minute, I glance up and see Rick nodding, his eyes closed, a proud smile on his lips. He taught me to do this. I am as good as I am because of him.
And then I see Gabriel. He is staring at me, his eyes are transfixed. When I look up, our gazes catch, and hold, and all the air leaves my lungs, as my fingers fumble over the notes, and Rick winces.
A phone rings. At least, I assume it’s a phone ringing. The ringtone is Nine Inch Nails, Closer. Classy.
Gabriel wrenches his gaze away from my face and begins patting his person, clearly looking for the singing cell phone. He jerks it out of his jacket pocket and before he turns away and holds it to his ear, I see the name on the screen.
Dying to know what’s going to happen next? Serenity will be here on October 21st, to pick up the scene where Maria left off. Then Savior will tell his piece on October 26th. ‘Til then…