We play bits and pieces of a few songs, and I’m feeling really, really good about my audition, when Adam gives me a big smile and says, “Okay. I think that’s good. Have we heard enough?”
He glances at Mike and Joel, who are both smiling equally wide and nodding, and then he looks at Shawn, who nods too, with no light in his eyes whatsoever. No smile, either—not a small one, not a forced one, just nothing. He doesn’t even try.
“Yeah,” Shawn says, turning that unfazed expression on me. “Thanks for coming. We’ll give you a call.”
I stare at him blankly, not giving myself permission to speak or think or feel—not with him standing in front of me, staring at me like I’m nothing. I politely thank the guys, and then I gather my things.
I leave knowing I’ll never hear from them again.
Because I know what it means when Shawn Scarlett says he’s going to give you a call.
“FIND FROYO,” I order my phone on the way out of Mayhem’s parking lot. I’m not going to cry. Not going to cry. Not going to shed a single goddamn tear.
I am, however, going to drown myself in the biggest bucket of frozen yogurt I can find.
“Sorry, I do not understand,” the robotic voice of my phone says back to me syllable by syllable, and I growl at it sitting down in my cup holder before repeating myself.
“Find fro-zen yo-gurt.”
“Can you repeat that?”
“FOR GOD’S SAKE, HELP ME OUT HERE.”
“Say that again?”
“I WILL END YOU.”
“That’s not nice.”
I’m about to pick my bitch phone up and pitch it out the window, when the damn thing starts ringing. Unknown number. Seeing an opportunity to take my frustration out on an unsuspecting telemarketer, I whip my Jeep into a gas station and answer it. “Yeah?”
I pull my phone away from my ear to stare at the number again before answering. “Yes?”
“Hey. It’s Dee.”
My heart launches into my throat, and I barely manage a pathetic, “Oh . . . hey.”
“Hey, I just wanted to let you know that we all freaking loved you!”
“Yeah, you got the job!”
Dee laughs, and I silently thank God I didn’t chuck my phone into a pothole. “Yeah, you were awesome. Seriously, you blew it out of the water. I only have one last question before we make it official-official.”
Yeeeah, because that doesn’t sound ominous at all. “Okay?”
“Which of the guys do you think is the hottest?”
I glance around the gas station for some kind of candid camera. “You’re joking, right?”
“Nope, simple question. You could bang one, who do you choose? Adam and Shawn are pretty hot, but Joel is hotter, right?”
It’s a trap. It’s a giant deadly trap with flashing neon signs, because from my time in Mayhem, I could tell Adam was with Rowan and Joel was with Dee . . . sooo . . . I really have no idea what the hell is going on. “None of the above?”
“Aw, come on,” Dee coaxes. “I’m just curious, honest. No one is even around me right now, and I swear I won’t tell.”
Never in my life have I been a girl’s kind of girl. I’ve never kissed and bragged. I’ve never squealed over boys. And I’ve certainly never told an absolute stranger about my high school crush on Shawn Scarlett, so I’m not going to start spilling my guts now, right after that crush rose from the dead and pushed its dirty zombie fingers up and out of my chest.
“Dee, honestly . . . if I’m going to be in the band, those guys are going to be like my brothers. It doesn’t matter how hot they are because I don’t need that kind of drama.”
And that’s the God’s-honest truth. Shawn is hot, but he seems to follow that unspoken rule that the hotter a guy is, the stronger his asshole gene is. I wouldn’t sleep with him again if he begged me.
“RIGHT ANSWER!” Dee shouts, and I flinch at the excitement in her voice. “That was perfect! You’re in!”
“What if I had said Adam?” I ask, because I never know when to keep my mouth shut.
“You’d be out,” she answers, like it’s no big deal.
“What if I’d said Joel?”
“Just be glad you didn’t.” She finishes with a little laugh that sounds downright evil, and I make a mental note: don’t get on the crazy chick’s bad side. “So look,” she continues, “your first band practice won’t be this coming weekend because it’s Easter, but I’m thinking maybe next weekend. One of the guys will give you a call when they get their shit figured out, ’kay?”
I agree in a daze, and the call ends with Dee asking me where I live and suggesting maybe I find a place closer to town. Then I’m just driving toward home, wondering how I should feel.
It’s done now. I did it. I landed a coveted guitarist position with The Last Ones to Know. The opportunity of a lifetime. And my job is going to entail practicing with Shawn. Performing with Shawn. Writing music with Shawn. Touring with Shawn . . .
“KIT?” MY MOM says at the dinner table, and my head snaps up so fast, I nearly bite my tongue clean off.
“You’ve barely touched your chili,” she notes from her seat at my right, at the end opposite my dad. “What’s going on with you?”