Chapter Twenty Five

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"I wrap myself in all you are,

In everything you do,

I've never felt so far away,

So far away from you." - Bach's Revenge debut album, track 3

Charlie looked at herself in the mirror. She'd been able to relax a lot more over the last few weeks, so she almost looked as though she could be the girlfriend of a celebrity.

She'd taken to sightseeing nearly everywhere they went so a tan had formed on her skin, toasting it the perfect golden tone of a cooked marshmallow. When she wasn't doing that, she'd been reading or sleeping so the bags under her eyes were hardly noticeable.

She approved, straightened her top and left the room just in time to see all four boys waiting for her. "Oh," she brought a hand to her chest, startled. "Sebastian, I thought we were going shopping."

"We are, but they're coming too."

Charlie surveyed them. Lane had his hands shoved in his pockets, Sawyer was tapping a smoke impatiently on the table, and Robbie grinned from ear to ear before saying, "It's like family day around here. I need to find some sneakers."

"Some what?" Lane asked.

"Sneakers," Robbie said.

"They're shoes," Charlie corrected him, making quotations with her fingers, "not sneakers, what are you like seventy now?"

"They are so sneakers and I need some cool ones you know, gotta get some game."

Sawyer choked down a cough. "You could have solid gold shoes that sprout wings and fly and you'd still have no game."

Robbie stuck his tongue out.

"Come on," Sebastian said. "I want to take you shopping. Things have been a little rough lately, you deserve some pampering."

"I don't need anything," she decided. "Really."

"Robbie needs shoes," he said "And I could go for some new clothes, or a guitar or something. Feel like spending today."


They headed to an upscale street filled with stores she couldn't even fathom shopping at before and she wondered how normal people with normal jobs could ever afford more than a pair of socks from the shops.

Sebastian, Sawyer and Lane all lit up like Christmas trees when they spotted a music store with guitars showcased through the display window. She swore she saw Sebastian's eyes go wide and his pupils actually dilate. It was safe to assume guitars for Sebastian were only second to her.

She couldn't bring herself to tell him she had no interest in listening to Sawyer and him talk about barre chords, double stops, slash chords and so many other terms she was clueless about. She'd almost rather watch grass grow, so she smiled at him encouragingly before saying, "Go ahead. I'll hang out with Robbie and help him buy his shoes."

Seb grinned. "Really?"

"Of course," she replied, nodding to the store. "Go."

Seb kissed her forehead and took off across the street with Sawyer like the first time a kid saw Santa Claus. Lane followed at a more reasonable pace behind them. She turned to Robbie. "Okay, let's go find you some shoes."

He threw his arm over her shoulder. "Gee, thanks mom. Can I have the kind that light up?"

Charlie rolled her eyes and gave him a playful slap.

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