“Let’s go, Reynauld.”
Ryan opened his eyes to Ginny’s voice and rolled over, pulling the sheet half over his head. His muscles were stiff, and he was so ****ing exhausted rolling over took almost more effort than he had.
“You’re late already. Have to stop that. You’re not nineteen anymore and it wasn’t cute then. You’re going to have to grow up some day and get yourself out of bed on time.”
“That’s what I pay Jim for. Why are you here instead?” Thinking about it, Ryan realized he hadn’t seen his tour manager all the day before.
She yanked the blankets off. “Get up. You have ten minutes to be dressed and out the door.”
“What the ****?” He turned enough to try to grab them and cover himself. “I’m in my shorts. You mind?”
“I’ve seen it before. Get up. I have coffee.”
With a groan, Ryan rolled up into sitting mode. It was cold and he shuffled over to turn up the heater.
“Don’t bother. You won’t be here that long.”
“Gotta make a phone call.” He found his cell and stood over the heater. Rain pounded the window.
“Not now, you’re not.” Ginny grabbed it from his hand.
He reached for it. “Two minutes.”
“Give me the damn phone.”
“Get dressed.” She walked away.
Stringing together a few words he knew she wouldn’t appreciate and yet ignore, Ryan went to turn the shower as hot as he could get it and jumped in. She’d have to wait. He was cold, exhausted … his muscles ached. His skin stung beneath the steaming water pelting it. Breathing the wet hot air, he reached for the hotel shampoo. Coconut. He hated the smell of coconut and had to put up with it too often. He should’ve grabbed his own from his bag. If it was Daws or Jim out there, he’d go get it. Since it was Ginny, coconut would have to do. He would scrub off the nastiness he could feel trying to overwhelm him and he’d be fine.
Clean enough, he stood with his back turned to let it run down his body. He had to call her. Late or not. Whatever. She wasn’t talking to them…
The water stopped.
“Get out and get dressed.” Ginny threw a towel in around the shower curtain.
Ryan didn’t bother to argue. It wouldn’t do any good. The woman was worse than Daws. Where was his guard?
Frustrated, he stepped out and scrubbed moisture off his face without bothering to cover himself. “Maybe you should send Daws in next time, huh? Or my tour manager who’s supposed to be doing this. Where in the hell is he?”
“Reynauld, I have five sons, most older and more blatant than you, two exes who taught them to be that way, and I’ve been in this business a long time. I’m not bothered or impressed. Let’s go.” She at least walked away to let him finish.
With enough pain killers, he managed to get through an interview, a mini photo session, lunch with Felicia’s people for some kind of promotion they didn’t explain much, and a signing session for that night’s show. The stuff with his name on it would sell even higher than the normal merchandise fees. He’d tried to object once. Ginny said his extra effort made it worth it. He couldn’t help but wonder how much of the extra she got out of it.
Backstage, he swallowed two more pain pills, hoping they’d make the show not torture, and faced his manager. “Where’s my phone?”
“What are you taking?”
“Everything I can get my hands on. Where’s my phone?”
“Still not funny, Reynauld. What is it?”
He jerked away when she made a move to grab the bottle from his hand. “It’s ****ing aspirin, okay? Where’s my damn phone?”
“Aspirin. And that’s why you’re trying to hide it.”
Cradling it in his hand so she couldn’t quite see it, he held it partway out. “Trade you.”
“I’ve got to stop working with adults who act like children. You don’t need your phone. You’re about to do sound check. We use mics for that.”
“Where in the hell are Daws and Jim?”
“Taking a day off. Trust me, I’ll be as glad as you when they’re back.”
“They don’t take time off on the road. It’s their ****ing job. Where is Daws?”
The stage manager yelled they were ready for him, but he didn’t budge.
Ginny sighed. “They’re fighting the flu and staying away so you don’t get it, but you weren’t supposed to know. So you don’t. Go to work. You’ll have time to make phone calls after sound check.” She held out a hand.
He set the bottle in her palm. “Too late to stay away. Hang on to that. You may need it.” A little too satisfied by her sympathetic look, Ryan headed to the microphone. It would have to be a damn short sound check. Nice that they could just take the day off. He wished like hell he could without it being a major issue.
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