It was a day spent almost entirely with the other guys, going over steps and set lists. Ryder had had to go to the doctor with a sore throat and swollen glands, so they were sitting on the stage watching for his arrival to make sure he could sing that night.
Matt found himself watching for Anya, too. Looking for a flash of her shiny hair, or the sound of her clomping boots. Nada. He hoped he hadn’t fucked it up the night before. He’d never, ever felt so into a girl before. Like he wanted to pull her apart, see who she was inside, and then put her back together again. He was painfully aware that he was beginning to sound like a creepy serial killer in his own head.
Not that there were many un-creepy serial killers.
“What do you think, Will?” He snapped out of his daydream.
“If Ryder’s not able to sing, can you take the lead on ‘Hanging On’?” Trevin asked from his vantage point, sitting on one of the big black amps in front of the drum set.
“I guess.” Shit, he’d have to spend the day practicing. Which meant he couldn’t go find Anya. “Will I get a run-through before the show?”
“You wuss—what do you need a run-through for?” Ryder stepped onto the stage from the wings. “Anyway, I’m fine. Just have to gargle and spray some kind of salty fluid at the back of my throat.” He held up a large bottle with a prescription label.
All of them laughed except for Nathan who looked bemused.
“Don’t worry, Nath. You’ll understand when you’re older, mate,” Miles said, giving the poor guy a noogie.
“So what’s up with you and that reporter chick?” Trevin asked in such a way that Matt knew it had a double meaning.
“I’ve got her under control. Don’t worry.”
“Her?” Miles swiveled around and raised his sunglasses. “You have ‘her’ under control? How does that work?”
“I meant ‘it’. I have ‘it’ under control.” He couldn’t possibly have Anya less under control. Under his skin, yeah. The rest? Not so much.
“Just be charming. And don’t chuck any of under the bus. Ix nay on our secrets,” Miles said.
“I don’t have any secrets,” Nathan said, shrugging. Lucky bastard.
Trevin stood up. “Okay, I guess that’s us for this afternoon. Nathan, I think you’re up first for makeup today, but check the list on the door just in case.”
Matt made a run for the edge of the stage and jumped down.
“Your knee really seems to be better,” called LJ from the third row of seats. Where had he come from?
“Amazing recovery, really.” His face was static. No emotion. No happiness at his recovery.
Shit. Did he really suspect?
Matt hesitated for a moment and then continued walking. “Thanks to you,” he said as he rushed past the man who had put his brother in rehab.
Don’t let me hit him. Don’t let me hit him.
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