Track Two

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There's a fucking car alarm blaring inside my skull, yet it sounds oddly similar to my ringtone. The ringtone that belongs to the phone I can't find. The phone I can't find because every time I attempt to move or even peel open my eyelids, a stampede of baby rhinos Cupid Shuffle from temple to temple.

Fuck. Me.

What did I do?

I don't need to do a body check to know that my pants are missing, which probably means my bra and panties are too. Great. A hangover and a messy hookup with some guy I just met. And where the hell is my phone?

I dare to open an eye and bite through the ache that rips through my head. Surprisingly, the space beside me on the bed is empty. Hallelujah for small miracles. Drunken one-nighters are bad enough. The awkward morning after thing is damn near unbearable.

I manage to move my limbs enough to feel around for my phone, which stops ringing, only to resume seconds later as if the caller really, really needs to get in touch with me. Shit! Bari told me he'd hit me up with the Riot Blu interview details today. But more than that, Haze could be stranded somewhere and need me. I shoot out of bed with a renewed fire under my ass, squinting against the throbbing in my sockets, and rummage through the blankets and last night's strewn clothing.

"Hello?" I croak into the receiver the second I snatch it from its hiding place under my bra.

"Rox, are you fucking kidding me right now?"

"Shit, I'm sorry, Bari. I couldn't find my phone. I've been searching for it since early this morning," I lie.

"Never mind that. Your first meeting got moved up to this morning."

"This morning?" I'm instantly sober.

"Yeah. His camp had a scheduling conflict and needs to get started right away. Jot down this address."

I grab a pen and the closest scrap of paper I can find, which funnily enough, is a receipt for condoms. Definitely not mine. "I'm listening."

Bari prattles off the address, but before I can even record a single letter or digit, the pen tumbles from my grip. "Wait. Where am I meeting him?"

"His home."

"His home? He's not staying at a hotel?" I was expecting a quick interview in the restaurant at Loews or the Four Seasons. Some place nice and public, yet tucked away from paparazzi.

"Nope. He bought a spot weeks ago, and just moved in. How did you not know this?"

Because I'd rather gnaw off my arm than occupy my thoughts with where Riot Blu lays his head.

"Must've slipped my mind."

"Well, get your game face on, Lee. They're expecting you in half an hour."

I glance over at the numbers illuminated on my digital clock display and curse.

"Don't be late," Bari commands. "Remember: this story could make or break your entire career."

We hang up and I jolt into action, sprinting to my closet and damn near tripping over my discarded clothes and shoes. I'm in such a hurry that I almost miss the little scrap of folded paper sitting on my dresser, marked with unfamiliar handwriting.


Last night was great, and I wish I could have stayed. Early morning grind. I want to see you again, sooner than later. Call me.


His number is scrawled under his name, but I don't have time to save it in my phone, let alone call him. My focus is entirely singular right now: I'm about to see Riot for the first time in over ten years.

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