The three-way is back! Yes, I recognize it has been a while (since October, to be exact). Things came up. Holidays. Kids. Writing books. You know… Life. But never fear, because we’re baaaaaaack.
Quick recap: Maria plays that song on the guitar, Savior goes in for the kill, and Serenity moves on. Got it? I didn’t think so. Here are the links to the first six excerpts, to help you out:
4. Maria II
5. Serenity II
6. Savior II
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 March 10. Then Savior will wrap up this three-way on March 15, with his POV. Remember, Maria is the lost love, Savior is the rock star, and Serenity is the groupie ex-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-(ex)girlfriend.
Today, we pick up scene seven from Maria’s perspective…. And GO!
This is all his fault.
Savior. No, Gabriel. I deliberately call him by his given name these days, because I know it irks him. I want him to be irked. He deserves it, because I sure as hell am, and it isn’t fair that I should be so stressed all by myself.
All by myself.
“Come on tour with me, Maria.” He’d whispered the words against my lips, that evening outside the guitar shop, when I thought he was about to say, “Take me home with you, Maria.”
As shocked as I’d been, I of course didn’t say no. Even now, I can never say no to Gabriel, even though he isn’t really Gabriel anymore.
Gabriel would’ve hopped into my bed by now.
“Ready to warm up?” That whiskey and honey voice pulls me from my angry thoughts. He is dressed in warm up pants and a gray tank top, his long hair pulled back into a ponytail.
“PT or band?” His purpose for dragging me out on this tour is twofold: He needs continuing therapy, especially considering how he abuses his body night after night for the thrill of the crowd, and as soon as he heard me play that stupid ballad, he promptly called and fired his guitarist. Now I am his personal, travelling PT, and the guitarist for one of the hottest rock bands in the country.
I should be thrilled. Livin’ the dream. Those crowds go ape shit for me every single time I walk out on that stage. Even though it had been Serenity he’d asked to help create my image – talk about awkward – I have to admit, it worked. We are so hot right now. He is so hot right now. Every time we play that damn ballad, I swear, the entire arena has an orgasm.
It’s been four and a half months. When he begged me to join him, I agreed to three. I assumed I’d be not only sharing the stage, but his bed as well, so wouldn’t have minded that three turned into four and a half.
Except I’m not. And I’m miserable.
“It’s the tension, babe,” he told me the first time I got drunk and went to his hotel room and stripped naked, fully anticipating he would introduce me to the monkey sex he’d experienced with Serenity. I’m a PT, so if something pops out of place, I can fix it on the spot and we can resume. No problem. Except…
“That song. The reason it’s so great is because it’s so damn obvious we want each other, but we can’t have each other. If we start screwing, it’ll be obvious up there on the stage. It won’t be the same.”
“Of course it won’t be the same,” I snapped. “I might actually be relaxed.”
“Exactly,” he’d replied with a smile, as if he thought I understood the way his mind worked. Clearly, I don’t. I didn’t understand him fifteen years ago, and time apart has not made me better at figuring out this complicated man.
“Band,” he says, and holds the door, inviting me to leave before him. Such a gentleman. Right. A gentleman would give me a little relief. A lot of relief. A gentleman would be unable to resist giving me the pleasure I’d once actually believed I might not have been able to handle.
Oh hell, I think I’m going off the deep end.
The arena is just like every other arena we’ve played over the course of the summer. An oval bowl. Rows and rows of seats. Banners hanging from the rafters, announcing the local sports team’s wins.
The opening act’s equipment is already set up on stage. I still can’t believe Gabriel invited his former bassist’s new band to open for our last leg of the tour. Last I heard, Serenity’s still dating – or whatever the hell it’s called in groupie land – him. I’m convinced Serenity is the one who talked Jacob into quitting Gabriel’s band in the first place, but naturally the rock star refuses to listen to reason. He swears up and down he’s better off without her, yet he wears freaking blinders when it comes to the scrawny, young, tattooed groupie.
The first three shows with Jacob’s band went well, even I have to admit it. Of course, Serenity wasn’t around, so that may or may not have an impact on my opinion. Either way, they’re a good band, with lots of potential, and their music is a real compliment to Gabriel’s stuff.
The only downfall – other than the potential for having to see Serenity – is their lead singer is stoned more often than not. Last night, they’d barely been able to get through their thirty-minute set. He’d passed out on stage, just as he wrapped up the last note of their last song, and two security guys had to drag him off stage, and deposit him on their tour bus to sleep it off.
That worries me a little, but we only have another two weeks left of the tour, so hopefully he can handle it. After that, if Gabriel wants me to tour with him again, I will insist we not join forces with them. Not unless their singer gets help first.
Gabriel and I are the only ones here for the moment. This is how he likes it. Half an hour, just he and I, then the rest of the band is supposed to show up, and we warm up as a team. Then we head back to the dressing rooms and give it up to the opening act. While we wait, Gabriel tends to parade around wearing nothing but his skintight leather pants, and by the time we take the stage, I’m usually so wound up I can’t believe I don’t combust, each and every night.
Who the hell goes celibate for the sake of a song?
I hear the distant sound of a door opening and closing, while I am focused on tuning my guitar. I don’t look up until Gabriel says, “Hey, man. What’s up?”
Jacob, our former bassist, is standing in front of the stage. He looks nervous.
“Our singer. Daryl. He’s in the hospital. Took a bunch of pills for lunch. They’re pumping his stomach. I guess his mom’s there, demanding he check into rehab.” He gives Gabriel a beseeching look. “Dude, tell me what to do.”
I have a moment of clarity, as I realize that for as long as we have known one another, Gabriel has looked to me to guide me, tell him what to do. Except when he left to become a rock star. Now, everyone else around him expects him to make all the decisions. Is this why he left? Is this why he won’t sleep with me now? I recall one of many awkward conversations I had with Serenity, when she was assigned as my wardrobe artist.
“He loves to be in control. But as long as I wait until we’re at the point of no return, he’ll pretty much do anything I suggest.”
Why the hell Serenity had felt the need to share intimate details with the woman she admitted she saw as competition, I will never understand.
Gabriel tugs the ponytail holder out of his hair so he can run his hands through it. It is what he does when he’s agitated. “Shit. I guess tonight I can sing for you. I know all your songs. But I can’t do that every night.” He turns to me. “What should we do?”
As if I’m going to have the answers. I’ve only enjoyed – yeah, right, good word choice – the rock n roll lifestyle for a few months. This is not my forte. Why is he asking me anyway? Didn’t I just have this moment of clarity in which I realized he wants to be in charge?
Before I can open my mouth to express this opinion, the door opens and closes again. “I got this,” Serenity’s voice calls out, and we all turn to greet her. She steps into view and smiles, but it is not her smile I notice. It is her belly.
Writing Wench Tami Lund writes, both books and blogs. If you want to check out her books and her other blog, it’s right here.