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Chapter 18

I woke up that morning with a jolt and the feeling that my stomach was literally doing somersaults. It took me about three seconds of being awake to realize that there was going to be a serious issue if I didn’t make it to the bathroom immediately so I launched myself out of the bunk just in time to throw up in the toilet

“You ok?” Mollee asked following me into the bathroom as I retched again

“Not really. I must have eaten something funny yesterday” I said wiping my mouth before beginning to brush my teeth

“I think you ate everything I ate and I’m fine. I hope you’re not getting a stomach bug. You’ll totally give it to me if you do” She said and I rolled my eyes at her. My stomach felt a little better but I was still woozy

“Thanks for your concern” I said sarcastically and Mollee shot me a look before helping me back into my bunk

“Take it easy for today. Want me to call your boyfriend to keep you company? Nick and I have plans or I’d stay. I love that he’s your boyfriend” She said giddily as I gave her a weak smile

“He has to set up the arena for the show tonight. He took yesterday off so he’s got a busy day today” I groaned as Mollee frowned

“Well I can’t just leave you here alone and sick. I’ll call Nick and reschedule” She said starting to walk away but I called to her

“Molls, go have fun. I’m not five anymore I can take it easy by myself” I said as a conflicted look crossed her face

“I don’t know” She worried and I shot her a look

“Go. Go now. Don’t look back” I urged. She sighed and kissed me on the forehead before closing the curtain and heading into the shower. I rolled back over and tried to calm my thoughts as they zoomed around my head. I was still a little woozy so fatigue and illness won out in the end and I did eventually fall back to sleep. When I woke up again the bus was quiet and all I could hear were the distant sounds of everyone who worked on the tour doing their jobs. I sat up slowly anticipating my stomach’s earlier state but I found that I felt 100%. I hopped out of bed and took some time to pamper myself and change into a cute winter ensemble that was complete with fuzzy boots and a hat with ear flaps. I pulled on some fingerless gloves and turned to the door in an attempt to search someone out for entertainment when the door opened right as I reached for the knob.

“Oh hey Kat that’s a cute hat!” Camie said cheerfully as she hurried past me and pulled the door shut behind her. She wasn’t quite dressed for the cold in her low necked short dress and she looked like she was freezing

“Thanks! What are you up to?” I asked happy to have company

“I was going to walk the streets a bit and find out the hot spots for after the show tonight but it’s so damn cold” She complained rubbing her hands together

“Well maybe if you tried some winter gear it might help” I joked as she rolled her eyes

“I’m from Miami. What is this winter you speak of?” She asked as I grinned

“I’m from New Hampshire. Come and let me introduce you to accessorizing and staying warm” I said pulling her into the clothes room. After a few minutes I had her outfitted in a hat, gloves, scarf, and puffy jacket that still managed to show off her killer curves

“This is interesting. I guess you can look cute and bundle up all at once” She said looking herself over in the mirror

“Want to brave the cold and see if we can purchase some warm clothes of your very own? We’re going to be heading into cold weather pretty exclusively for the next month” I said as she grinned

“Shopping? Alright you’ve convinced me” She said looping her arm through mine and giggling as we both tried to fit through the door that way. We made it across the lot and were about to decide which way to go when Aj approached with Missy from the direction we were contemplating

“Where are you two off to?” Aj asked amicably. Well at least he seemed to be trying to keep his attitude from our conversation last night into the new day.

“This girl needs some warmer clothes. Do you know she only packed one long sleeved shirt? Who does that?” I joked and she sent me a fake look of annoyance

“I’m from MIAMI” She said simply as if that explained everything and I laughed

“You two seem to be getting closer. I thought you hated each other” Aj said in what he seemed to think was an offhand tone but the implication was clear. He had warned me about Camie last night and first thing this morning we are off on an adventure together.

“We realized what we were fighting over really wasn’t worth our friendship or anything for that matter. But you know all about that don’t you Missy?” Camie said cruelly as Missy gave us a look of confusion and Aj seethed

“We should be going” I said trying to prevent the inevitable battle “See you later”

“Kat remember what we talked about” Aj said grabbing my shoulder so I couldn’t steer Camie away

“Hey hands off my woman! Your touch may have convinced her to do things in the past but she’s moved on to bigger” Camie gave a suggestive glance to Aj’s crotch “and better things”

“Enough Camie let’s go” I said pulling her successfully away

“How many of the dancers have you slept with?” Missy remarked dimly as we made a hasty retreat so Camie and I could stifle some laughter

“Gosh it’s fun to mess with him” Camie said happily as I hid my discomfort with a smile and changed the subject to a group of shops we were approaching. We spent a good portion of the rest of our free time shopping and Camie had a blast learning the fun of a good set of winter wear. We headed back to the arena in time to stretch with everyone else and we were still gabbing in the makeup chairs when Mollee called my name in wardrobe

“Feeling better?” She asked eyeing my smile

“Yeah it must have just been a weird bug” I said with a shrug

“Are you being careful with her?” Mollee asked with a look towards Camie and I rolled my eyes

“You know she’s not THAT bad. I think she just doesn’t know how to be friends with girls so I’m showing her. She’s so used to fighting everyone that it is her default but when you get to the other side of that she’s actually a blast to hang out with” I explained. Was I really defending Camie?

“I guess. I’m all for second chances but I can’t shake the feeling that she is just no good” Mollee said “But you’ve always been the trusting one”

“True” I said giving her a big hug before taking her hand and leading her to the pre-show huddle. We cheered and did our thing and Camie smacked my ass for good luck before heading to her starting position. I was still laughing at her when I reached Aj

“Interesting company you keep” Aj said quietly as I took a deep breath to calm myself

“Likewise” I answered shortly. Then the music for the video started and we were off and running. The chemistry between us was hot as ever and awkwardly it made me really excited to spend the first night with Josh as official boyfriend and girlfriend. After the show I ran to grab some supplies from my bunk and then met Josh outside the bus

“Are you ready to spend some time in a hotel room with your boyfriend?” He asked seductively causing me to giggle

“Only if you can do me a favor and make yourself scarce for 20 minutes so I can set up a surprise in your room” I said flirtatiously as he grinned

“Absolutely” He said placing his key in my hand before kissing it. I smiled wide at the adorable gesture and then ran up to his room as fast as I could. Once I was there I went to work on mood lighting, music, and of course the brand new lingerie I had bought with Camie today in anticipation of tonight. Josh and I had never really gone very far past making out and heavy petting but I was hoping to change that tonight. I was charged with the energy from the show and ready to have some fun.

Once everything was set up I moved into the bathroom and slipped on my purchase. It was a black laced corset that was very see-through and attached to some barely there black panties. They hooked into black garters and thigh high black lace stockings that matched the pattern of the corset. Then I slipped on some tall black stilettos and went to work on touching up my show hair and makeup which was sexy all by itself. The only thing I changed was the lipstick. Instead of black I went for ruby red to counter the dark smoky eye and to top it all off I slipped on a black pendant necklace that rested right in the ample cleavage provided by the boost from the corset.

Just as I was finishing up I heard a knock at the door and grinned. I shut off all the lights except for a lamp that pointed at an angle so that from the door to the room you could only see my silhouette in the doorframe of the bathroom. I took a deep breath and checked myself over one last time in the mirror

“Come in” I said sexily before hitting play on my ipod speakers. Caramel by Suzanne Vega began to play and I started a teasing dance that projected in shadow on the wall as I heard the door open

It won't do to dream of caramel, to think of cinnamon and long for you

The music played and I swayed slowly while stretching my arms above my head and running my fingers through my hair

It won't do to stir a deep desire, to fan a hidden fire that can never burn true

I slowly pinched the toe of the thigh highs between my fingers and removed them one by one in silhouette before tossing them effortlessly over the door while I danced

I know your name, I know your skin, I know the way these things begin

I turned slightly, wrapped my leg seductively around the door and brushed my hand from the heel of my foot to my inner thigh as I slowly extended my leg. I peeked out from behind the door unable to contain myself any longer and eager to see Josh’s reaction but I didn’t see Josh. Instead my heart froze and my blood ran cold for a second as my eyes met Aj’s. I squealed in surprise and tried to run into the bathroom but I forgot that my leg was wrapped around the door and managed to launch myself backwards through the open frame. As I fell I saw the shower curtain and in a last attempt to break my fall I grabbed for it and it snapped off rung by rung before my head met its final destination on the edge of the bathtub.

“Oh shit, Kat are you ok?” Aj asked flipping on the lights and running over to me as I tried to disentangle myself from the curtain while my head throbbed

“What the fuck are you doing here?!” I asked angrily and right as I managed to free myself from the curtain I saw Aj’s gaze drift to my provocative outfit. I immediately pulled the curtain back around myself

“Sorry, sorry” He mumbled and then his eyes met mine “Oh you’re bleeding”

“What? I am?” I asked anxiously as I tried and failed to get on my feet to look in the mirror while covering myself with the curtain

“Yeah right on your forehead. I think you hit the edge of the plate with the soap on it. It was metal it looks like it cut you” Aj worried as I tried and failed again to get up. He finally noticed and in one swift movement managed to get me on my feet as the shower curtain fell to the ground. We stood there in silence staring at each other with me feeling pissed off and completely vulnerable and him feeling… well…happy. I tried to cover myself up with my arms and Aj scoffed

“Don’t you dare laugh at me” I said as embarrassment began to set in and my cheeks flamed red

“No, it’s not that. It’s just… it’s not like I haven’t seen it before” He said with smirk and I sent him an evil look right as Josh entered the room

“Bright eyes are you in here?” He asked as the red from my cheeks began to travel down my neck and to my shoulders in my deep embarrassment

“Uh” Was all I managed to get out before Josh was in the doorway to the bathroom. He took in my lingerie first and then Aj and then the disaster of the shower curtain and soaps everywhere and finally his eyes rested on my head

“Oh babe you’re bleeding” He said and my heart warmed. Any other guy would freak out about finding his girlfriend with another guy while she’s dressed provocatively but Josh was worried about my head “Please tell me you sustained that in a struggle with him because he was trying to force himself on you?”

“Why would that be what you wanted to hear?” I asked in confusion

“So I’d have an excuse to kick his ass for being in here with you half naked” He whispered to me but so Aj could clearly hear. A small smile crept across his lips and leapt onto mine as I giggled and he swiftly removed his button up so I could cover up a little. He sat me gently on the toilet lid and grabbed a hand towel, ran it under cold water, and began to blot the cut to stem the blood flow “So… who is going to explain?”

“I should go” Aj said but I stopped him

“Not so fast. What the hell were you doing coming into Josh’s room?” I asked angrily

“I wanted to talk to you about Camie. I didn’t mean to ruin anything” He mumbled

“And it didn’t occur to you that things might be happening in a hotel room with two committed people?” I asked harshly

“I was worried. I guess I wasn’t thinking” He said quietly and I sighed

“Josh let me escort Aj out and then I’ll give you the whole humiliating story” I said as Josh nodded, understanding as ever, and began to attempt to re-attach the shower curtain. I grabbed Aj’s arm and pulled him to the door

“I’m sorry, really, you just invited me in and then it was happening and I couldn’t stop watching…” He trailed off and a small smile played on his face

“Well next time identify yourself” I said trying to stay mad but not being very successful at it in the presence of Aj’s open admiration

“He’s a lucky guy. Any guy who has a girl who would give him a welcome like that…” He trailed off again and regret stood prominent on his face

“Ok you need to go” I said unable to handle any more mixed emotions from Aj in my night “We can talk tomorrow but tonight I’m otherwise engaged”

“Have fun” He said sadly as I shut the door and turned back to Josh. He hugged me lightly, pressed a band aid over my cut and sat me on the bed

“Hopefully this was all meant for me?” Josh asked with a smirk and I giggled feeling ridiculous now that I could just be myself. I explained the whole thing and Josh was flattered and disappointed and angry at Aj especially when I removed his shirt and began to model my new lingerie. In the end nothing really happened, I just couldn’t get myself in the mood, and we fell asleep in boring PJs. As Josh snored I stared into the darkness and tried to pretend that I wasn’t more flattered by the one smirk on Aj’s lips as he took in my outfit than by all the following comments by Josh.