Page 10 of RoomHate

You had to have true talent to perform solo acoustically. All eyes were on you and nothing else. There were no distractions to take away from a cracked voice or any other screw ups. Justin sang the song flawlessly. The vibration of his voice was like a deep massage to my entire being. My heart filled with pride. Whether he liked it or not, I was so damn proud of him.

At the same time, I felt a rush of antsy excitement, much like a teenager seeing a boy band in concert. Adrenaline was pumping through me. A part of me wanted to just shout, “This is my Justin! I knew him way back when.” Another part of me wanted to rush the stage and wrap my arms around him.

The way his fingers worked the guitar effortlessly almost rivaled the sexiness of his voice. Women were starting to leave their tables, throwing money down at his feet.

Jesus.

Did they think he would start undressing or something if they gave him enough? I’d just never seen anyone throw money around here like that before. They certainly never threw dollar bills at The Ruckus. I guess that was just the type of effect Justin had on women.

By the third song, I needed a breather. Retreating to the bathroom, I splashed water on my face before returning to the tables just in time to hear him finally speak into the microphone in a low and sultry voice.

“I’m Justin Banks from New York City. I’ll be here for the next few weeks. Thanks for coming out tonight.”

Applause and a few whistles rang out. My focus on Justin had prevented me from tending to my customers. A few of them were waving me down, antsy for refills, so I took their orders and made my way over to the bar.

Justin took a sip of beer then spoke through the mic again. “This next song is an original I recently wrote myself. Hope you like it.” He strummed the guitar once and added, “It’s called, She Likes to Watch.”

My body stilled upon hearing the title, and it took a few seconds to register.

“This song goes out to all the sneaky little voyeurs out there. You know who you are.”

The retaliation that I’d assumed he’d waived was in fact simply delayed and about to be dished out in all its glory. I refused to look over toward the stage. The bartender placed the drinks in front of me, and I forced my wobbly legs to move long enough to drop them off to their rightful owners before the song started.

She pretends to be a good girl,

Quiet and refined.

But Daddy always said,

Those are the worst kind.

Turns out he was right.

As I found out the other night...

She likes to watch.

Mmm hmm…she likes to watch.

You think you are alone,

Until you hear that little moan.

She likes to watch.

Mmm hmm…she likes to watch.

She’ll catch you naked and exposed,

When you think the door is closed.

She’s a princess and a voyeur,

Curiosity will destroy her.

Maybe therapy will heal ya,

It’s not too late for you, Amelia.

She likes to watch.

Mmm hmm…she likes to watch.

And my kinky little friend,

Insists on staying till the end.

She likes to watch.

Mmm hmm…she likes to watch.

When the song eventually ended, the crowd went wild. They apparently loved the idea behind it. Did he really have to put my name in there? A part of me was mortified, but I had to admit, there was another part of me that was…relieved. His writing the song was a little reminder of the way things used to be.

When I finally garnered the courage to look over at him, he flashed a mischievous smile before moving right into the next song. I’m sure he could tell by the look on my face that he’d successfully managed to embarrass me.

Well played.

***

Back at the house that night, Justin retreated to his room without as much as one word to me. It felt a little strange knowing that we were alone for the first time without Jade. The feeling was short-lived though.

At eleven the next morning, I was still in bed when I heard the front door open. I could hear the muffled sounds of Jade and Justin’s voices as she joined him in their bedroom. She must have left the city really early in the morning to come back here.

As much as I really liked Jade, something was unsettling about her return. There was always an underlying jealousy that I couldn’t help feeling. When the bed started creaking, nausea set in.

Damn.

She was home all of three minutes before pouncing on him. I couldn’t say I blamed her one bit, but I really didn’t want to hear it. I covered my head with my pillow, shut my eyes and reminded myself that they would both be gone in a few weeks.

Three weeks.

Around noon, I threw on a terry cloth sundress before joining Justin and Jade downstairs. The sun pouring into the kitchen was blinding.

Justin smirked and lifted the carafe. “Coffee?”

I flashed an exaggerated smile. “You know what? Yes. I would love some.”

Determined to continue my façade about loving Justin’s coffee, I refused to back down. Sadly, my body was becoming accustomed to the unusually high level of caffeine. The one morning I’d skipped it, the regular coffee hadn’t done the trick. I was becoming addicted to Justin’s coffee fusion, and that really sucked.

“So, how was Sandy’s last night? Did my baby rock the house?”

“He was amazing. Everyone loved him.”

Justin’s eyes met mine for a brief moment. I wanted him to know that I sincerely meant that.

He brushed it off. “It was fine. It’ll give me something to do to pass the time here.”

“What did you play?”

“I tried out a new song.”

I swallowed.

“The one you played for me the other night?” she asked.

“No. A different one.”

It dawned on me that Justin probably chose to perform She Likes To Watch last night in particular only because Jade wasn’t there. It still baffled me that he was keeping the whole incident to himself when he could have just told her and embarrassed the shit out of me.

He smiled at me. “Want a refill, Amelia?”

I smiled bigger. “Don’t mind if I do. This stuff is really growing on me. Quite a surprise.”

“Well, I know you love surprises.”

I rolled my eyes at him. Thankfully, Jade had no way of knowing what he was referring to.

His serving me coffee continued to be a running joke. He thought I was drinking the mud to spite him. The joke was on him. He didn’t realize I was becoming addicted to it and actually truly wanted it. The morning coffee exchange was the only real opportunity for normal communication with him anyway, so I took what I could get.

Jade raked her fingers through Justin’s messy morning hair. “I noticed Olivia commented on your Instagram post last night.”

Looking upset, he moved Jade’s hand off of him. “Jade…don’t.”

I had to ask. “Who’s Olivia?”

“Justin’s ex. She works in the music industry and is really annoying. She comments on all his stuff, even though she knows he has a girlfriend. So disrespectful.”

“I can’t help that she comments on my shit,” he growled.

I was sure there were many former girlfriends.

Olivia.

Huh.

Was I seriously jealous of someone else now, too, when I had no right to be jealous at all? That was pretty pathetic. My jealousy when it came to him was certainly nothing new.

My inability to handle these feelings was a big factor in my moving away and ultimately changed the course of our lives.

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