Suddenly her whole body stiffened. There was someone lying next to her in her own bed. She couldn’t remember what had happened. Who the hell was this person next to her? With a thundering heart, she slowly turned towards the person and stared straight into a pair of dark blue eyes. Stubble covered his jaw and chin, his black hair was disheveled from sleeping.
“Good morning.” A slight smile curved his lips upwards.
“Oh God!” April shrieked and jumped up from the bath. She ran for the bathroom, locking the door behind her, before she threw up in the toilet. This was not good. Not at all. She heard a knock on the door, but she wasn’t ready to do or say anything. She needed a few minutes to gather enough energy to get up, wash her hands and mouth.
“April, please open up. I’m starting to worry about you.”
April looked down and saw that she was only wearing her underwear. At least she hadn’t bolted from the bedroom completely naked. Her face was clean, her knees still shaking, her head hurt and she didn’t want to get out of the bathroom. Yet she had to. She’d have to face the guy eventually and figure out what had happened the night before. The last thing she remembered was talking to Jonathan on the phone.
She found a pair of jeans and an old, black shirt in the bathroom and put them on. Better than facing him only in her underwear or a towel, since she didn’t own a bathrobe. The only one she had was the one Jonathan had gotten for her. With another deep breath she unlocked the door and stepped outside to face the young man. He looked at her with worry in his eyes.
“How are you feeling?” His voice was soft. He looked like he wanted to touch her, but thought better of it and kept his hands to himself. After her reaction when she’d seen him in bed, this was probably the best decision.
“Honestly?” She quirked an eyebrow at him, hugging herself. He looked familiar. “Nauseous and utterly confused. I’m really sorry, but I have no idea who you are or why you are here, though I must have invited you in or you wouldn’t be here in the first place. I usually don’t take men I don’t know home.” She was babbling. When she realized this, she immediately stopped. Her cheeks reddened. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” He smiled at her and gestured towards the sofa. “How about you sit down and I’ll get you some water? Then I can fill you in on what happened.”
What else was she supposed to do? She could only listen to him and believe what he said. At least for now. She must have trusted him, though, otherwise she wouldn’t have let him inside her apartment. No matter how drunk she was, she’d never let someone she didn’t trust inside her apartment. Never.
“First of all, I’m Josh.” He handed April the glass and sat down next to her. When her cheeks turned pink again he couldn’t help but smile. “Steve introduced us yesterday after your performance, when you were back inside the bar.”
That must have been after her conversation with Jonathan on the phone. When she’d felt like crying her eyes out and instead had opted for alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol that had probably made her cry in the end anyway.
“We talked for a while and we knew that you were upset because of something. Steve said he’d never seen you drink that much. We were talking about music all the time and at some point Steve asked me to take you home and watch out for you. He was really worried but couldn’t leave the bar.”
They’d talked about music? Okay, she really didn’t remember that at all. Then again, after entering the bar again, her memories were lost.
“Once we were here you started crying. First you didn’t want to tell me, but then you opened up and told me everything about Jonathan Toews. How you tried to steal his car, lived with him and that he said he was falling in love with you. And then you ran.”
Oh God. She hadn’t really told him, all this, had she? How else would he know about this? She certainly hadn’t told anybody, even though she’d wanted to talk to Abby about this. But that would have meant, that she’d have told Abby that she was still in Chicago.
“When I asked you why you did that you said that you were scared of being hurt. After hearing about your past relationships, especially that suicide, I can understand that you were scared, but running away and telling them that you’re in Pittsburgh is a bit drastic.”
So, she’d told him about Austin. When she’d told Patrick about this, she’d lied. She’d said that it had been an accident when in reality Austin had killed himself in his car. It had been devastating, especially reading the letter, or rather note, he’d left for her that night. After that she’d changed. After that she’d been scared of falling in love again. She still was. She’d told Patrick that it had ended with Dan, but she’d never actually been in love with him. It had just felt… safe. Until the day he’d freaked out.
That was the main reason she’d run from Jonathan. She was too afraid of her own feelings, of falling in love with him and being dependent on him. In the end he’ll only leave her one way or the other, so it was safer for her to do it first. That way she couldn’t get hurt as badly.
“Then I told you that it’s obvious that you miss him. You should really talk to the guy and explain it to him.”
She didn’t want to hear or talk about Jonathan right now. “How did I end up in only my underwear by the way?”
“Oh, that.” He blushed. What was that supposed to mean? “I tried to make you drink some water, but you grabbed a bottle of wine and spilled it all over your clothes. You weren’t able to get out of your clothes yourself, so I helped you: And I helped you wash your face et cetera as well. I promise I didn’t touch you inappropriately.” She’d have to believe him. Nobody else was there to attest for this. “When I tucked you in bed, you grabbed my hand and asked me to stay and hold you. You were so vulnerable and close to crying again, that I just did that. I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t say no to you.”
He looked so honest, that she leaned over and pressed a kiss to his cheek. Steve would confirm that Josh was an honest guy. She was sure of it.
“Thank you. Really.” She smiled at him. Her first smile of the day. “I hope I can repay you for everything you’ve done for me.” Without him she would have ended asleep in the streets or gone home with God knew who.
“Actually, I have a favor to ask.” Josh blushed again. “After hearing you sing yesterday, I wanted Steve to introduce us, because I was amazed by your voice. Do you have your own songs?”
“Just a couple. But I’ve never really shown them to anyone.” She wondered where this was leading.
“Maybe you could show them to me and we can work on them together. Because me and my band will have a gig here in Chicago in about four weeks and we’d love you to be our support act.”
Had she heard right? Josh was a musici… Hold on a second.
“Oh my God, now I know why you looked so familiar. You’re Josh Henderson.” Singer of the band A Promise Kept. They’d started out in the Stumble In about two years ago. Since then they’d often been back, and lately they’d gotten known in the area and had even been on a couple of TV shows promoting their single. They’d made it. And Joshua Henderson was asking her to open up their show in Chicago. She thought she might faint right there and then.