Page 11 of Loving Luca

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. My name is Myles Williams. I’m a talent scout for Infinity Records. I’d like to talk to you about your plans for the band’s future—the possibility of recording an album.”

I felt ecstatic at those words. For as long as I could remember, Luca had wanted to be a musician, and even though he did well in school, his heart’s desire had always been to make music. That interaction was the first and only time I’d ever seen him speechless.

“Hello, Mr. Williams,” I said, hoping to fill the silence with anything. “They’re brilliant, aren’t they?”

“Yes, very good. Is that material your own, Luca?”

“Sure is,” Luca stated plainly.

“I’d like to talk to you about the possibility of working together. Could I steal a moment of your time?”

“I’ll go to the bar,” I said before Luca could protest.

Rodney’s was what you’d call a dive bar. The paint was peeling off the walls in layers of various colors. It was completely unkempt, the floors covered in mysterious stains and tables padded with wads of gum underneath them. Yet the place was still booming, which made the owners content to leave the aesthetics just as they were.

I sat at one of the wooden bar stools and ordered a Coke. I sipped on it slowly and watched the next band set up. A feeling of unease washed over me, and I didn’t really know why. I sat there silently sipping my drink, waiting for Luca to come back and get me after he’d made the deal of a lifetime.

“Can I buy you a drink?” asked a deep voice to my right.

I turned my head to see a preppie blond student smirking at me. His smile was slimy. His appearance reminded me of that perfect guy who harbors some sort of dark secret. Something was off, and his vibe totally scared me.

“I’m good, thanks,” I said. I picked up my drink and turned my body away. He proceeded to come over to the other side and ask his question again. I never understood guys like him, who were aggressive and completely blind to when a girl wasn’t interested.

“You’re a pretty girl. You shouldn’t drink alone. I’m offering to help you out,” he pressed.

“She said she was fine,” Luca’s voice boomed from behind me. I tried to see the guy’s reaction, but Luca’s body shielded my view.

“I was just asking her if she wanted a drink.”

Luca turned to me, and the look in his eyes was stern, the blue of his irises like a raging storm. He smiled at me, clearly trying to reassure me, but his eyes gave his real feelings away.

“Well, the lady is spoken for, so you can leave now,” he said coolly. He grabbed my hand, and we walked out of the bar without a second glance.

“Luca, you left your guitar. We didn’t even say goodbye to the guys.” I pleaded with him to no avail. Luca just marched along. I stopped in my tracks, asking him to stop too. He turned around, picked me up, and threw me over his shoulder.

“Luca Masterson, you put me down this instant,” I demanded.

“No. That fucker was trying to put the moves on you. He was looking at you, and I didn’t fucking like it. I’m not going to stand for that shit.”

What shit? A college kid hitting on a girl in a bar?

When Luca finally put me down, he caged me up against the van. He was still angry. I knew better than to talk to him when he was like this. He was irrational, and I knew it was better to just be silent and wait to see what he’d do or say next. He pressed his body closer to mine, placing his lips by my ear. He was breathing hard and erratically. I knew he was trying to get ahold of himself. We stayed like that for what felt like minutes until he backed away and began pacing. His hands were in his hair and his head hung low, eyes fixed on the ground.

“I’m not going tomorrow,” he finally whispered. Then he looked up at me, and the anger had dissipated. All that was left in its place was sadness. I walked closer to him, moving slowly, not wanting to upset him.

“Going where?” I asked.

“The studio exec, he wants me and the guys come see his studio. He wants to record an album, but we’d have to do it in LA. That would mean moving. If the album sells well, then he wants to take us on tour. Come with me, Steph, please. I don’t want to go without you.”

Now it was my turn to be silent. My hand shook as I moved the wisps of chocolate-brown hair from his brow and gently held his face. I was scared to lose Luca, but I wasn’t going to be one of those women who just dropped everything for a man. My mom’s greatest dream was to see me finish college.