2. Transgressions

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Jesse had made Wynter promise to call him after her first recording session, "no matter the time". She went out to the rooftop patio to make the call.

"Hey..." He gave a muffled groan and she imagined him rolling over in his wobbly unfinished four-poster bed in the tower room. "Very early, Wyn."

"I figured out it was seven in the morning."

"Yeah, that's very early. How's it going?"

"I just sang for three hours, for money."

"Were you any good?"

"They haven't fired me yet."

"So what was it like?" He sounded more awake now, and excited on her behalf.

"We're doing Heard It All Before. They've already done all the tracks except my backing vocals. It sounds really different—almost an EDM feel, lots of synths layered with the guitars. Stephen Calhuun did the main vocal." She lowered her voice. "Indio did it better on our demo."

"Did you have to do it nineteen times?"

"Yes, and in about eighteen different ways. I'm in this booth with big glass windows and people staring at me. It took a couple of tries to get into the right headspace."

"Are session musicians allowed time to get into the right headspace?"

"I'm not a session musician anymore. Stephen told me I'm a collaborating artist. I'm doing the main vocal on Never. Can you believe it? And I forgot to send you a photo of the most amazing thing yesterday—all the light switches are upside down!"

"Ummm... okay...?"

"Don't you find that amazing? Indio told me it's not just the hotel, it's the entire country!"

"Is he flying back with you?"

"No, he bought his ticket before all this happened, so we have different flights. He's coming home a week after me."

"God, Wynter, change your ticket! You have to see London."

"I'm not allowed to," she said bitterly. Svetlana had been very strict about sticking to the agreed-upon dates.

"Well, I hope you get to see something. Hey, I uploaded those songs we mixed last week. We already have four thousand downloads on them. You should tell Indio to listen. He's gonna be so bummed you did all the guitar."

"That's a reason not to tell him to listen."

Raucous laughter came from just inside the studio, and Tim and Stephen stumbled through the door talking loudly. They took a cigarette break at least once an hour. They hushed up when they saw her, and sat at a table in the far corner.

"I gotta go, Jesse. Give Caleb a kiss for me."

"Yeah, that's gonna happen. See you in a couple days. Send me a photo of those light switches. I'm in for some sleepless nights trying to figure out how they make that work."

"Sorry, doll!" Tim called as she set down her phone. "We're fuckin' desperate for a fag."

Stephen tut-tutted at him for cussing. Wynter gave a polite smile before returning to her phone to search Soundfish for the latest songs. She had access to Indio's shared playlist, and out of interest checked it quickly. To her dismay, the new Rule212 songs showed up as recently played. He must've listened to them late last night or this morning, yet he hadn't said anything to her.

Malika poked her head around the door. "Stephen? Neil wants a word."

Stephen muttered good-naturedly and stubbed out his cigarette. He gave Wynter a thumbs-up as he walked past her table. When he'd gone in, she was aware of Tim scrutinizing her from across the patio.

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