Chapter Thirty Six

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From the diary of Leo Harwood

Dear Diary,

It’s six o’clock in the morning. I’ve had precisely no sleep. Marilyn is here, curled up on my bed fast asleep, her eyelids flickering ever so slightly. She’s dreaming but I have no idea about what. I don’t want to see what my dreams look like tonight. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep, why I’ve hardly slept since we got here.

New York. The city that doesn’t sleep. There are people fleeting around like lost souls on the street below. The sun is just rising. There are exactly fifteen hours left until the biggest gig of our lives. A crowd of thousands; all we ever wanted.

If our dream is coming true then why does it feel like our world is disintegrating? Amber was attacked tonight, by some guys in that Irish pub in Brooklyn. I wasn’t there to help. There was nothing I could do. I saw them, a load of nutters, running off into the night like a bunch of rabid dogs.

Cheryl, Jez and Lambert are keen to wreak havoc on them tonight, if they are stupid enough to come to the gig. Amber said one of them tried to touch her. It’s the one time I actually want Cheryl and her guys to really let rip and do a good job. Find the target and destroy.

We got back to the hotel room late, about three hours ago. I wanted to be alone but Marilyn followed me into my room and I didn’t have the heart to tell her to go away. So I sat at one end of my bed and she sat at the other, just a tiny lamp in the corner for light.

‘So, that was a big day, eh?’ she said, leaning her head back and looking down at me underneath big eyelashes.

‘Yeah, I guess so,’ I said, seeing the tiny line of white on her upper lid, realising the lashes weren’t real.

Glue, I supposed.

‘You met the famous Farley,’ she said.

‘Um,’ I said, feeling like my chest was so heavy my heart might fall into my stomach.

‘She didn’t tell you it was the same guy that ruined your Brocksburn gig, did she?’ said Marilyn, twirling her necklace in her hands.

‘Er, no,’ I said, noticing how long her nails were.

‘Do you really think he didn’t do it on purpose? I mean, it’s a bit of a co-incidence, isn’t it? He pulls the plug on you and the next day he’s cosying up with your sister?’ she said.

‘It could’ve been an accident. I don’t know,’ I said, wondering if her nails were fake too.


‘Did you not see the way he looked at you?’ she said.

‘What do you mean?’ I said.

‘It looked to me like he was, like, laughing at you, a bit. Not so you’d really notice. But he was all, smug, you know?’ she said.

‘Was he? I don’t know, maybe. It was akward, I don’t like the guy. Not much else to say really,’ I said.

‘Not much else to say?’ said Marilyn, jumping up the bed closer.

‘Do you not see what’s going on, Leo?’ she said, eyes wide.

‘What?’ I said.

‘You must’ve noticed,’ she said.

‘Noticed what?’ I said.

‘She’s changing,’ she said.

‘Yeah, of course I noticed,’ I said. ‘We hardly see each other anymore but what can I do about it?’

‘Yeah, but she’s really changing,’ she said.

‘How?’ I said.

‘Farley is deliberately pulling her away from you, can’t you see it? Everybody knows it,’ she said.

‘Everybody?’ I said, feeling sick.

‘Even Tony thinks she’s moving away from the band. He’s worried, Leo,’ she said.

‘Tony? He didn’t mention anything,’ I said.

‘Yeah, like he’s going to tell you. He’s scared you’ll do something stupid. But he’s also scared Amber’s not going to stick with The Dovetails, that she’s got more important things to do,’ she said.

‘But, she wants to be here…’ I said, my mind leaping this way and that.

‘Does she?’ said Marilyn. ‘What? So she can go off on a date with her man? You know she would’ve gone with you to Chinatown once of a day. You and only you. It’s not like you guys are normal brother and sister,’ she said.

‘What do you mean?’ I said.

‘Well, the two of you, even before…’ she said, stopping herself.

‘Even before what?’ I said.

‘Even before your Mum died. Even before that, you two were like peas in a pod. Not just peas in a pod – you were the pod,’ she said.

‘We were the pod?’ I said.

She giggled. I didn’t.

‘Well, yeah. Do you get what I mean? You guys were more than siblings,’ she said.

‘I guess so,’ I said, suddenly remembering when we were little, how Amber would grab hold of me and not let go, even if I was moving about. She was so tiny then I could hardly feel her weight.

‘Farley knows exactly what he's doing. He’s out to split you up,’ she said.

I let out a deep breath.

‘I know it’s awful, what they’re doing to you,’ she said, leaning even closer.

‘Hmm,’ I said.

‘I care about you and I don’t want to see you get hurt. I want your band to do well. You must be in so much pain,’ she said.

‘Well…’ I said.

She rolled forward, crawling on her hands and knees up to me. Her top hung so low I could see right down it.

‘You are special,’ she said, sitting back onto her knees, in front of me.

I could hardly concentrate on what she was saying. My head was too full of noisy chatter. None of it good.

‘I just want to be there for you,’ she said, lifting her arms up and leaning them on my shoulders.

I looked right at her. I could feel the heat of her arms, the softness of her skin. I suddenly thought of Mum. The warmth of her breath as she tucked me in at nighttime. The way she softly stroked my face before I went to sleep.

‘I have a plan,’ said Marilyn. ‘And I think it’s going to help you.’

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