Home > Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)(17)

Storm (Ashes & Embers #1)(17)
Author: Carian Cole

I mope around until two, and then I turn on the television, afraid to even watch this next interview. I swear, if he goes on about how annoying I am, I will strangle him. I watch the cereal commercial that’s on and then there’s Storm hanging out on a couch with another beautiful blonde newswoman.

She starts right in with her cheery smile and amazingly white teeth. “We’re here today with Storm Valentine, lead guitarist of rock band Ashes and Embers, who was driving in the terrible snow storm last weekend and tried to give a ride to a young woman who was stuck on the side of the road. As luck would have it, the two crashed off the side of the road and were trapped inside his truck for forty-eight hours. Storm, tell us a little bit more about this crazy weekend you had. How did you get through that?”

“Well, Janet it was pretty crazy. Luckily, I had a whole bunch of (bleeping) food in the back of my truck so we were able to eat and drink water. I had my dog with me too, and he was basically eating Ritz crackers the whole (bleeping) time.”

“How did you keep from freezing to death out there? I understand your truck was totally dead?”

“Yeah, it was way (bleeping) dead, Janet. We crashed into a tree, and I have no (bleeping) idea how we weren’t killed. Any(bleeping)way, I had this huge blanket in the truck that the dog sleeps on, so me and the chick covered ourselves with that and luckily, it kept us pretty warm.”

Janet smiles knowingly at him. “Come clean with us, Storm. All the ladies know you are irresistible. What happened under the blanket? Surely you found ways to keep warm?”

Storm is puffing on an e-cig and blowing the vapor into Janet’s face. I can’t help but laugh. She makes a face at him and waves the vapor smoke with her hand. “Janet, I know what you and these other vultures are trying to get out of me and it ain’t happening. That chick isn’t like anyone I’ve ever met before. She’s not the type of girl to (bleep) in the back of a truck.”

“Well, it’s nice to know there are still some classy women around, Storm. Did she know who you were?”

“No. She was completely (bleeping) clueless and it was (bleeping) awesome. It was nice to be around a chick who wasn’t trying to suck my dick, ya know? By the way, our new CD comes out next month, so y’all should check it. It’s (bleeping) kick ass.” The audience starts to laugh and cheer.

Janet looks like she wants to die. “I’m pretty sure you can’t say that on this show, Storm.”

Storm laughs and takes a drag on his e-cig, the blue tip glowing. “I just (bleeping) did.”

Janet turns to the camera. “Well, that wraps up our interview with Storm Valentine. Ashes and Embers newest CD comes out next month, and the band will be touring in the spring.”

Well, at least he didn’t call me annoying and he made me sound much more flattering. Way to do damage control, Storm.

My phone beeps with a text message alert.

Storm: Can I call you?

Me: Why?

Storm: For fucks sake. You argue in text, too?

Me: We have nothing to talk about. Just thank you for paying for my car. I will pay you back.

Storm: No. It’s nothing. Is Michael there? I want to talk to you

Me: He’s at work.

My phone rings. Grrr.

“Hello?” I always feel stupid saying hello when I can see who is calling on the ID.

“Did you like my interview?”

“Yes, that one was much better. Especially you blowing vapor into her face. When did you start smoking e-cigs? Those would have been much more convenient while we were stuck in your truck, don’t ya think?”

“So fucking true. I just started them yesterday. I’m gonna try to quit smoking. These are way more fun. I can smoke anywhere.”

I close my eyes and slowly shake my head. “Thank you for paying for my car. You didn’t have to do that.”

“Stop. I wanted to. As you now know, I have money. I can throw a few thousand at a friend. It’s not going to hurt me.”

“Well, I really appreciate it.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Storm, we really shouldn’t be talking. I feel really shitty about what happened between us. I need to focus on Michael. I’m sorry.”

“You never answered my question.”

“Which question?”

I can hear him dragging on the electric cigarette. “Did you like being with me?”

I start to pace around the living room with the phone. Why does he keep doing this to me? I don’t want to be cornered like this.

“Yes, Storm. I enjoyed some of our time together when you weren’t being an ass or luring me into an orgasm. Okay?”

“That’s a start. I want us to be friends. Why is that so bad?”

“It’s not. We can be friends.”

“Did you miss me last night? Not sleeping next to me?”

Truth be told, I tossed and turned all night, unable to get comfortable or fall asleep even though I was exhausted. I missed his closeness. I missed the warmth of him next to me, the scent of his fancy shampoo. I could still feel the pull to him. It’s just he wasn’t there to get pulled against. Michael’s body next to me felt like an invasion, an intruder of sorts.


“Storm, stop it.”

“I missed having you next to me. I missed you holding my hand the way you do.” His voice is doing the raspy thing it does when he’s serious about what he’s saying. The rasp comes out when he’s emotional, whether he’s happy, sad, mad or sexual. I can hear it in his voice and it goes right through me. Knowing what I now know, my heart hurts for him. I understand grief all too well, and I have a bad feeling Storm masked his grief in drugs, alcohol, and women. The problem is, I want to hold his hand again, and show him love in a thousand ways, which despite his protests of relationships, I think he really does want closeness, but I’m not able to give it to him. I can’t be this man’s toy or passing phase. I can’t allow myself to love someone and then lose them, and I’m pretty damn sure he can’t either.

“I did miss you. But that’s only because we were stuck together for two days and only had each other to focus on. It’s natural.”

“Uh huh.”

“I have to go, Storm.”

“Hey, the band is playing at the Silver Cloud next month. It’s a small local venue we used to play a lot when we first started out. Why don’t you come? Bring Michael and any friends you want, okay? It would mean a lot to me.”

Michael will be over the moon if I accept this offer. I guess it would be nice to hear the band play, too. “All right. That would be great. Michael is a big fan. We’d love to go. I’m sure Amy will, too.”

“That’s awesome. I’ll text you the details.”

“Good. I really have to go, Storm. Take care, okay?”

“You too, Evie.

Chapter Nine

Thursday morning I wake up sick as a dog. My throat so swollen, it feels like a piece of raw meat when I swallow, barely able to breathe through my nose and my head is literally pounding. I’m pretty sure I have a fever, too. I feel hot and clammy one minute and freezing the next. I stare at the clock next to the bed. Eleven a.m. I can’t believe I slept so late. Slowly sitting up, my head feels like a bowling ball, and the room feels like it’s spinning. Shit. I really do not have time to be sick.

I call Michael’s office. “It’s me,” I croak into the phone when he answers.

“Did you just wake up? You sound awful.”

I cough into the phone. “I feel like I’m dying. Can you take me over to urgent care? I’ll never get an appointment with my doctor today. I think I need some meds. I feel like I have strep throat.”

“Evelyn, I’m at work.”

“I don’t have a car, Michael.”

“Fuck. How the hell are we going to get your car home?”

“You were supposed to drive me there to get it.” I cough again and my throat feels like it’s on fire. “Can you take me to urgent care and then for my car?”

“Evelyn, it’s just a cold. Don’t be a hypochondriac.”

“Michael, I’m not.” I hate when he does this to me. Like I want to sit here and pretend being sick just for attention. “Michael, please. I really don’t feel well, and I’m supposed to go back to work tomorrow. I need to get some meds so I can feel better.”

“I’m leaving this afternoon. I have to fly back to the office in South Carolina. I’ll be there until Sunday.”

“Michael? Really? I just got home. I haven’t seen you hardly at all. Do you really have to go?” I don’t want him to leave again, especially when I feel sick. I have a huge fear of passing out and cracking my head open and laying on the floor bleeding to death.

“Babe, I don’t have time for this. I told you my job was going to be really busy with the new software platform.”

A coughing fit takes over for a few seconds. “I’m sorry, Mike. I’m not trying to bother you, really. I just need a little help. Please? Can you just take me to the doctor? I don’t care about the car right now.”

He’s silent for a few moments, but I can hear him rustling stuff around on his desk. “All right, all right. I’m going to take my lunch break now and come home for you. I’ll take you to urgent care real quick, okay? But then I have to get back here and catch my flight this afternoon. You’re going to have to see if Amy can take you for your car or maybe the garage can drive it to our house for you if we pay them. Get dressed. I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Love you.”

I feel dismissed, but at least he agreed to take me to the doctor, which is a good thing because my visit doesn’t go so well. According to the doctor, and the tests she put me through while I’m there. I have a high fever and suffering from dehydration and exhaustion on top of an extremely bad cold or flu. She gives me antibiotics, cough medicine, some supplements to take, and faxes a note over to my boss saying I can’t return to work until next Wednesday—if I feel better by then. My boss will have a cow for sure. If I have a job by next week, it will be a miracle. In the meantime, she says I need to get as much rest as possible and drink a lot of water and juice.

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