The two were meeting for lunch on Tuesday while Addie and Emma were at work. One of the producers was interested in working with them on solo albums so they were meeting to discuss the details.
“How’s Addie?” Nick said with a smile as Howie settled into the booth.
“You finally can talk about her without blushing at all!”
“Not funny Nick.”
“I’m being serious. It’s nice to see it.”
The waitress came by to take their drink orders. They told her that they were expecting one more and were going to wait on ordering.
“What have you been doing to keep yourself out of trouble?” Howie asked after she left.
“Had dinner with this producer to talk and I went for a long walk on Saturday.”
“A long walk? By yourself?”
“No with Emma.”
Howie raised his eyebrows. “Really? Emma huh?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing. I think she’s really nice. Cute too.”
“Cut it out.” Nick said getting irritated. “You sound just like J. It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t a date.”
“You gonna to do it again?”
Nick paused and decided to just tell him the truth. “Yes, next Saturday. Is that ok with you?”
“Don’t be so touchy Nick. I know you weren’t thrilled about being out here. I just don’t want you to be miserable the whole time.”
“Well I’m not so you can relax.”
“I’m sorry Nick. I wasn’t trying to be pushy.”
“Just forget it.”
Howie was about to apologize again when he noticed the producer walking towards their table. He decided to wait and have the conversation some other time.
Nick left right after lunch. He wasn’t in the mood to rehash this whole thing about Emma again. Howie and J needed to back off and leave the whole situation alone. Emma had Jessie and he had Lauren; that’s all that needed to be said.
He had just gotten into his hotel room when he heard the notification for Face Time on his IPad was going off. He flipped the cover off and pressed answer. Lauren finally came into view and he smiled.
“Hey babe. It’s nice to see you.”
“Hey sweetie. It’s nice to see you too. How’s it going out there?”
“Good actually. Howie and I had lunch with a producer this afternoon. He’s interested in working with us on solo albums.”
“That’s great. It means you’re gonna be pretty busy for a while right?”
Nick could feel the smile fading. He didn’t like the direction this conversation was going in.
“Yeah but I told him I was gonna take some time off and relax. Why?”
“I spoke to my sponsor and he kind of wants to start the promotion sooner rather than later.”
“What exactly does that mean? Are you not gonna be around when I get home?”
“No I’ll be here but I can only stay for a few days.”
“You’re fucking kidding me right? I’ve been on tour for three months and now I’m out here for another month while you work. I thought we were gonna spend some time together!”
“Calm down Nick. We’re going to, just for a shorter amount of time.”
“A shorter amount of time? That’s how you see this? We haven’t seen each other in months and you think a few days are enough?”
“I think it’s fine Nick. It’s not like we won’t have time when this whole thing slows down. I need to push this whole thing through while people are still interested. You should understand the whole momentum thing. You’ve done it several times.”
“I haven’t done it at the expense of us though.”
“Don’t be so dramatic Nick. It’s another couple of months and then I’ll take some time off for us to just spend together.”
“Jeez, thanks Lauren. I’m glad you can pencil me in.”
“Stop being a jerk Nick. You’re gonna have to deal with this and I don’t have time to fight with you now about it. I love you.”
Nick was stunned as she broke the connection without letting him say anything. He was tempted to call her back but he realized nothing was gonna change. They’d both still be mad and he was still gonna be pissed that she wouldn’t be around. He decided to just change his clothes and head down to the gym in the hotel. Maybe working out would release all the tension that was building up.