“She sounds great. But you didn’t really answer my question. Do you want to be an architect?”
“Well, it’s what I’ve always planned to do. And I, ah, I like the idea of designing someone’s home. I don’t know that being an architect is my divine calling, like music is for you, but I think I could be good at it.”
“I’m not doubting that, baby,” he said, his voice soft but definite.
I tried not to let the endearment reduce me to a soggy mess on the mattress. Subtlety was the key. I’d hurt him in Vegas. If I was serious about this, about wanting him to give us another go, I needed to be careful. Give him good memories to replace the bad. Memories we could both share this time.
“Ev, is it what you want to do with your life?”
I stopped. Having already trotted out the standard responses, extra thought was required. The plan had been around for so long I didn’t tend to question it. There was safety and comfort to be had there. But David wanted more and I wanted to give it to him. Maybe this was why I’d spilled my secrets to him in Vegas. Something about this man drew me in and I didn’t want to fight it. “Honestly, I’m not sure.”
“That’s okay, you know.” His gaze never shifted from mine. “You’re only twenty-one.”
“But I’m supposed to be an adult now, taking responsibility for myself. I’m supposed to know these things.”
“You’ve been living with your friend for a few years, yeah? Paying your own bills and doing your classes and all that?”
“Then how are you not taking responsibility for yourself?” He tucked his long dark hair behind an ear, getting it out of his face. “So you start out in architecture and see how you go.”
“You make it sound so simple.”
“It is. You either stick with that or try something else, see how it works for you. It’s your life. Your call.”
“Do you only play guitar?” I asked, wanting to know more about him. Wanting the topic of conversation to be off me. The knot of tension building inside me was not pleasant.
“No.” A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth—he knew exactly what I was about. “Bass and drums, too. Of course.”
“Anyone passable at guitar can play bass if they put their mind to it. And anyone who can pick up two sticks at the same time can play drums. Be sure to tell Mal I said that next time you see him, yeah? He’ll get a kick out of that.”
“You got it.”
“And I sing.”
“You do?” I asked, getting excited. “Will you sing something for me? Please?”
He made a noncommittal noise.
“Did you sing to me that night?”
He gave me a small pained smile. “Yeah, I did.”
“So it might bring back a memory.”
“You’re going to use that now, aren’t you? Anytime you want something you’re going to throw it at me.”
“Hey, you started it. You wanted to kiss me for scientific purposes.”
“It was for scientific purposes. A kiss between friends for reasons of pure logic.”
“It was a very friendly kiss, David.”
A lazy smile lit his face. “Yes, it was.”
“Please sing me something?”
“Okay,” he huffed. “Turn back around then. We were in spoon position for this.”
I snuggled back down against him and he shuffled closer. Being David’s cuddle toy was a wonderful thing. I couldn’t imagine anything better. Pity he was sticking with the scientific rationale. Not that I could blame him. If I were him, I’d be wary of me.
His voice washed over me, deep, rough in the best way possible as he sang the ballad.
I’ve got this feeling that comes and goes
Ten broken fingers and one broken nose
Dark waters very cold
I know I’ll make it home
This sorry sun has burned the sky
She’s out of touch and she’s very high
Her bed was made of stone
I know I’ll break her throne
These aching bones won’t hold me up
My swollen shoes they have had enough
These smokestacks burn them down
This ocean let it drown
When he finished I was quiet. He gave me a squeeze, probably checking I was still alive. I squeezed his arms right back, not turning over so he couldn’t see the tears in my eyes. The combination of his voice and the moody ballad had undone me. I was always making a mess of myself around him, crying or puking. Why he wanted anything to do with me, I had no idea.
“Thank you,” I said.
I lay there, trying to decipher the lyrics. What it might mean that he’d chosen that song to sing to me. “What’s it called?”
“‘Homesick.’ I wrote it for the last album.” He rose up on one elbow, leaning over to check out my face. “Shit, I made you sad. I’m sorry.”
“No. It was beautiful. Your voice is amazing.”
He frowned but lay back down, pressed his chest against my spine. “I’ll sing you something happy next time.”
“If you like.” I pressed my lips to the back of his hand, to the veins tracing across, and the dusting of dark hair. “David?”
“Why don’t you sing in the band? You have such a great voice.”
“I do back-up. Jimmy loves the limelight. It was always more his thing.” His fingers twined with mine. “He wasn’t always the ass**le he is now. I’m sorry he hassled you in LA. I could have killed him for saying that shit.”
“No, it’s not. He was off his face. He didn’t have a f**king clue what he was talking about.” His thumb moved restlessly over my hand. “You’re gorgeous. You don’t need to change a thing.”
I didn’t know what to say at first. Jimmy had said some horrible things and it had stayed with me. Funny how the bad stuff always did.
“I’ve both puked and cried on you. Are you entirely sure about that?” I joked, finally.
“Yes,” he said simply. “I like you the way you are, blurting out whatever shit crosses your mind. Not trying to play me, or use me. You’re just … being with me. I like you.”
I lay there speechless for a moment, taken aback. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Anytime, Evelyn. Anytime at all.”