It had been a while. Studio work and the band's other promotional duties had kept her too busy to call home. And now she couldn't think of anything but a much-needed heart-to-heart with her mom.
At this hour, Dr. Michel was either deep in sleep or waist-deep in another emergency surgery at the clinic, but Veronica hoped her mom was free to talk. She needed reinforcement. Badly and immediately.
The dull rings went on while she waited for her mother to pick up. It was late. Maybe her mom had already gone to bed. Veronica wished for the opposite, though. She was about to put her phone away when the monotonous ringing suddenly stopped.
Her mother's groggy voice came over the line the next second. "Via?"
"Mommy, you busy?"
"No, hon. Just fell asleep early."
"Sorry. Woke you up." Veronica wiped her eyes dry and
•"What? How is she?"The question made Kyle recheck the time on his phone. Must be around eleven in Paris.Pretty early. Jamie was a late sleeper. They could chat until he got the answers he wanted. Besides, Jamie didn't sound displeased that he'd interrupted her weeknight, giving her a call without early notice.She sounded surprised, though. "I had no idea," Jamie sighed over the line."Still at it. Won't even talk to me or Dan.""Er...I haven't called her since Tues— Friday. I messaged her this morning. She hasn't called or texted me back," Jamie replied, her voice raspy, probably tired. "She okay? Can't reach her cell.""Probably turned off. She's sleeping," Kyle replied. He gripped his phone and let out a sigh. The past couple of days, he'd been trying to have a serious conversation with Veronica, but she just
•Théo clasped the edge of the bed and glared at the girl acting like she couldn't give two shits about his question. When he kept waiting for her to fess up, her snubbing and disinterested frown just showed her guilt. "What?""So we're back to lies and pretending." He used a harsher tone, not caring if he might offend her in some way, or if he would sound like a judgmental jerk. "What d'you mean?"A loud grunt preceded his argument. "You've gotta stop—" He looked away. "It's getting out of hand."Her disbelief pinned her scowl on her pretty face. "What? We were having fun just last night."He faked a chuckle at her words. He almost believed her when she said she was only going through his stuff because she thought he was seeing someone else. But when he caught her using in the bathroom again, he instantly realized the real reason she snooped on his phone and went through his luggage.She was good at pretending but she wasn't a better liar than him—that he was sure of now. At the mom
•"Are you texting her?""No.""You're hilarious.""Shut up." Théo hunched closer to the table and checked his phone. The smirk on his best friend's face wasn't because of the alcohol, he knew.Tomek quit grinning and shifted in his seat to glance over the well-lit stage below them. "She looks great," Tomek said after spending a while watching tonight's performers.Théo let his gaze drift to the right half of the curved platform, where the tall bassist and the only female vocalist onstage were positioned. Midway on the stage stood Veronica. She stood behind a microphone stand. The black pantsuit she had on made her look like a young company executive, as opposed to a frequently touring musician."That's Ed, right?" asked Tomek.Théo put his beer glass back on the table and answered with a small nod. He took another quick look at the band in performance; the Brooklyn-based indie-rock quartet were the last performers for tonight.Ed, the band's vocalist, was now belting the song's verse.
•"How's Harriet?""Working on her book.""Her third, right?"Kyle looked up from the score papers he'd been looking at for the past half-hour. "Her novel's still in progress. The third one's non-fiction, I think," he muttered while he slumped on the hotel bed. "Pretty busy.""And still single?" Veronica asked, her voice a bit hushed. She was busy combing her hair in the bathroom. The door was ajar, and her black skirt's frills looked as wavy as her brown locks."Doesn't want distractions," he replied shortly after ignoring the suggestive manner of her question."'Course. Writing's intricate, time-consuming, and..."Kyle continued to stare at the papers he held. It had notes that she'd composed over the last two nights. He could use them in the bridge of their new song, with some vocal layers fo