Lesbian New Adult Novella. Only .99 cents:
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Twenty-three year old, Amanda Barkley works as a kindergarten teacher and part time server at Sisco’s, the most popular bar in town where most of the bands who perform there go on to become some of the biggest names in music.
One day a blast from Amanda’s past arrives back in town. Her former next door neighbor, Billie Layne, one of the biggest rock stars of the decade has returned home. The one person she wants to see most of all is Amanda who she hasn’t talked to since she left six years ago after a big fight between them. When Billie was offered a recording contract, but had to move to California to accept, she wanted Amanda to come with her. Amanda was more than willing to follow Billie anywhere, but then her mother almost died in a car accident and is paralyzed, never to walk again. Amanda refused to leave her mother’s side. Billie left without a backward glance.
Now that Billie is back, she wants to renew their friendship in the hopes they can become lovers again. Billie will do whatever she can to get Amanda back, even though Amanda fights knowing Billie could break her heart and leave her again for the promise of even bigger stardom.
The back patio stank of stale cigarettes. This was where the majority of the smokers snuck off to. I really didn’t mind the smell. I was used to it. Currently, this area was empty, and I could understand why. It was like a sauna out there. But the abundance of clouds in the sky promised rain tomorrow. By then, the week-long heat wave should be over.
I sat down in one of the plastic chairs and tucked my hair back into a clip, trying to calm my nerves and not think of Billie, who probably searched for me. I laughed and rolled my eyes. Why would she want to talk to me after all this time? Too many years had gone by without any form of communication between us.
Wiping my damp face with the back of my hand, I bit back a curse. I hated this heat, and I hated sweating. This weather did a number on my dirty-blonde hair, too, making it frizzy and unmanageable. But at least it had some naturally lighter shades mixed in that make it look professionally highlighted. I had that going for me, unlike my stubby legs and cankles. I took a swig of water, silently grumbling about my ugly, fatty, aching ankles. Some of the water missed my mouth, dripped down my chin, and dampened my top.
“Great,” I sighed. I usually spilled something on my shirt or jeans at some point during the evening. At least it wasn’t beer or rum. And I’d been puked on before. Too many times to count.
The door opened and sounds of loud voices and music broke through the quiet. When the door slammed shut, I glanced up and exhaled a shaky breath.
She took a nip from her beer bottle, her eyes on me the entire time. I sat back and drank from mine. We didn’t speak.
I finished first and slouched in my seat. Billie emptied her beer, threw the bottle in the garbage can, and leaned against the wall next to the door. If I wanted to leave, I’d have to walk past her, since there was no other exit from the fenced patio. I didn’t get up. If I did, my knees would lock, and my legs would wobble.
“I’ve always liked your hair up.” She hooked her thumbs into her belt. Her fingers tapped once, twice, and then stilled. Her maroon-polished nails were short, and she wore silver rings on both thumbs. Her other fingers were bare.
I spread my palms across my jeans and examined my bare fingers with their ragged cuticles and lack of nail polish or rings. I was in dire need of a manicure. At least I’d had a pedicure a week ago. Funny, my toenail color was almost identical to Billie’s. We used to do each other’s nails and share the same shade of polish.
“Thanks, I guess?” I studied her face. More than half a decade later, Billie didn’t look much older. Not that she’d had any plastic surgery or Botox because she was still young—and she hated doctors or needles. But as I examined her, I noticed strain lines around her mouth and a dullness in her eyes. Either my brain was fried from the heat or it was the shock of seeing Billie. She looked drained or lost. But why?
“That’s all you’re going to say?” She scraped the toe of her boot on the pavement.
“The first thing you say to me after all this time is a comment about my hair. What’s up with that?” I rubbed my palms over my knees.
She charted my movement with her eyes and moved away from the wall. “Where are my manners? How have you been, Mandy?”
I stood as she took a step toward me. I refused to sit down or I would then be boxed in, and I couldn’t—wouldn’t allow it. She would touch me then I would break apart.
“Don’t call me that,” I spat, and moved behind the chair.
“Why do you have a problem with me calling you Mandy? It’s your name,” she said, grinning wide. She sat in one of the chairs across from me.
I hugged my arms to my chest, to keep from wrapping my arms around her. I walked in front of her. She sat back and crossed her legs with a sleepy-eyed stare.
She’s proud of herself. I snorted and peeked at the door. I could make a run—
“I’ll stop you before you even open the door, Mandy.”
I cleared my throat, which sounded more like a growl. “If you want me to stay, stop calling me that stupid nickname. I go by Amanda now.”
“You’ll always be Mandy to me,” she whispered, and the corner of her mouth tilted up.
“I wonder what your fans would say if they found out you’re a closet Barry Manilow fan.” I shot back, ignoring the yearning in her voice. I had to be hearing things. Again, I would blame the heat.
She twirled one of her thumb rings. “You know, I only like one Manilow song. Maybe Copacabana, but when I’m drinking and there’s karaoke.”
My mother was a big, big fan of Barry Manilow. I’d never forget the time Billie came over after school to study. We were alone in my house. After we finished our homework, she flipped through my mom’s CD collection and found Barry’s Greatest Hits. For fun, she popped in the CD and sang Copacabana to me. We sang together, and when Mandy played, we started dancing. After the song ended, she kissed me. My first kiss.
I fell in love with her then.
“I’ve never sung your song to anyone else.” She pushed her bangs away from her forehead. Beads of sweat lined her brow.
“You sing your own original songs you’ve written to your adoring fans. No covers for you.” I settled back against one of the tables behind me. I could have sat, but I wanted the advantage in case I felt the need to bolt.
“Some artist will cover one of my songs one day. Maybe The Lady Pearls. They’re pretty good.”
I nodded. “They’re one of the best things to come to out of Hillsboro.”
“And what about me? Would you say I’m the best thing from Hillsboro?”
Billie sounded cocky, but the way she gripped the arms of the chair told me otherwise. She wanted me to agree, to give her my approval for her success. I could nod or say yes, admitting I’d bought all her albums and read any magazine article or interview I could find about her rise to the top. But I hurt, angry at her sudden appearance after being away for so long. She didn’t deserve my praise.
“Why are you back now?” I asked.
“I got tired of the West Coast scene and needed a vacation. Also, Aunt Leah and Uncle Felix wanted me to visit them. The last time we saw one another was two years ago, before I went on my European tour.”
I nibbled on my thumbnail. Billie kept in touch with her aunt and uncle, but not me. It stung. I had a million questions rolling around in my head. “Marc, the bartender, said you were coming to visit in order to check out The Lady Pearls and Alana, the lead singer. I heard they might do a song on your next album or open for you on your next tour?”
“I’m taking a break from touring. As for my next album, it’s all up in the air, although Ivy thinks we should at least record one song with the Pearls before it’s too late.” Billie smiled. “She’s not too happy with me taking a ‘sabbatical,’ as she calls it.” She lifted two fingers in a quotation sign.
The way she said Ivy’s name was enough proof they were close friends, and at least at one time had been something more, which I already knew.
“You and Ivy are still together?” I asked, digging my fingers in the wood behind me. That was one of the many questions floating in my head ever since Billie walked in Sisco’s as if she had never left.
She crossed her arms and stuck her legs out. “We’re only friends and business associates now. What Ivy and I had never came close to what you and I shared.”
“Did you tell her about me?” I asked in a steady voice. My stomach jumped all over the place, and my heart drummed so hard against my chest I could taste it.
“Ivy knows all about you. I had to tell her because of what I have planned.”
Planned? From the discerning look she shot my way, I had a good idea I would be a part of those plans. But how?
I moved away from the table and shoved my hands in the back pockets of my jeans. “What are these plans of yours?”
Billie leaned forward and rested her elbows on her knees. She smiled wide, showing her straight, white teeth. “They involve getting some much needed rest and catching up with you.”
“Catching up with…m-me?”
She rose from the chair and started toward me. “Yeah. I hate we lost touch, and I want us to be friends again.”
“Just friends?” I inched over to the door.
“Not just friends.” She followed me. “I want what we had before I left for Los Angeles. Now that I’m back, we can work on mending—”
“Stop right there! There will be no mending between us.” I halted. Billie gave me a quizzical look. There had been only one other time I’d raised my voice to her, and it hadn’t ended well.
She snorted and lifted her gaze to the sky. She mouthed something I couldn’t catch and then looked back at me. My temper rose over her blasé attitude.
“You can’t waltz back here and think I’d fall over you like one of your fans.” I jabbed my finger at her face. “I have a good life here and I refuse to have it uprooted because you want to get laid.”
She grabbed my finger, and I tried pulling away, but she was too fast and captured my wrist. I tugged and landed back against the door. I seized the doorknob, but Billie dropped her palm against the door and had the audacity to link our fingers together. I tensed, swallowing back a moan. My breath was choppy and my body tight with strain. A deep ache expanded in my belly. Billie’s scent, a combination of her sweat and something clean, like the smell of the ocean or the woods caressed my face. I was tempted to ask her what perfume she used, if any, and a nervous giggle climbed into my mouth.