Bonus Scene: Sins and Secrets, a bonus Frankie scene for Songs and Sweethearts
Congratulations on hitting 200 reviews on Songs and Sweethearts. The following bonus scene took place while Ian and Frankie were on tour. While y’all had a tie vote between “more” Jake and Archie versus “anything” with Dominic (at the 24 hour mark it was 47 to 47), I let the vote “inspire” me. That said, if you haven’t read Songs and Sweethearts, this might contain some spoilers for you.
The phone rang at four in the morning. Dragging myself up right, I stared at the vibrating device on the nightstand. Ian and I got to sleep not two hours earlier. Had it been two hours earlier? Wait… where were we? My brain was all cobwebs and fog. Snatching the phone before it vibrated off the nightstand, I stared at the caller ID.
The guys and Rachel—along with Jeremy and Hank—were the only people who could ring past the do not disturb. Hitting the answer, I slid out of bed and whispered, “Hang on.” If she was calling me this early in the morning then she had to need something.
I still wasn’t sure where we were. The tour had taken us to all kinds of clubs, bars, and other venues across California, to the Pacific Northwest, then farther west. We could wake up in one state, then be in another that night before we had to hit the road for a third. Sometimes we got hotels—like this one—and a couple of times, we’d just slept in the car or SUV or whatever was working as our transport.
I dragged on some shorts. Okay, I’d been wearing shorts the night before. We were somewhere warm. Fuck, I hoped so. I found the hotel room card and then crept over to the door. It made a little squeak as I opened it and I glanced back at the bed. Ian was still out.
With care, I stepped out into the humid air and made a face before closing the door behind me. Definitely warm. The rooms along this block were all dark, and the parking lot was full.
“Sorry,” I murmured to Rachel as I made my way along the second floor balcony toward the stairs. The ground was cool under my bare feet. “I didn’t want to wake Ian up.”
“S’okay,” Rachel said. Well, slurred really. “I probably shouldn’t have called. It’s four in the morning.”
Four in the morning. Oh, we were in the same time zone. At the end of the block were steps leading downstairs. I perched on the top one so I could glance back in case Ian came out.
“You should…go…” There were other words in there, I swore, but they were not intelligible.
“I’m awake,” I said, scrubbing a hand over my face. “I don’t want to go. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” If the muffled and slurred speech weren’t disturbing enough, the fact she half-sang those last two syllables would have demanded a response. “Really. Nothing. Go back to bed. Pretty boy in your bed. Have fun with the pretty—”
“Rachel.” I tried not to sound impatient or irritated. I wasn’t either of those things. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m drunk,” she admitted. “That’s what’s wrong. Went out with your boys tonight—they were being my wingmen.”
I bit my lip.
“Jake promised he would get me laid.”
Nope, I wasn’t laughing.
“We had fun, cute bartender at this place. You know, she and I hooked up a few times.”
No, I didn’t know but I made a little sound of agreement.
“So, she wanted to hook up. Kisses like a damn demon. All tongue and teeth. Really good with the tongue.” There was a sigh, like she couldn’t believe she was admitting this. The slurring words weren’t helping either. “But nothing happened.”
“Okay. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?”
Rachel let out a little sound of absolute irritation. “I don’t know.”
“Been there,” I admitted.
“Yeah? You tried to hook up in a bathroom bar with a girl you knew would eat you out until you screamed and not ask for a damn thing back then turned her down cause she wasn’t the guy driving you nuts?”
A moment of silence, then she sniffed. “Good.”
“Oh, I’m going to regret this, but why good?”
“Cause if you said you had let some girl go down on you in a bathroom, I was going be really butthurt.” If it wasn’t for the element of misery in her sigh tangled up with all that regret and longing, I might have laughed.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “What can I do?”
“Nuffink. Nuffink anyone can do. That son of a bitch with his magic dick and pierced tongue has ruined me. It’s really annoying, Frankie. No guy is that good in bed.”
Not going to argue that point.
“Especially not guys who have secrets.” Something squeaked, just the whoosh of it and I could picture her falling back on a bed. “I think I’m gonna puke.”
“Then sit up and don’t bounce. If you need to vomit, go to the bathroom. Are you at the brownstone? Do I need to call Coop to come help?”
“Oh fuck you,” she muttered without any heat. “I do not need someone to hold my hair and that’s not why I’m gonna puke.”
The silence dragged on, but I could hear the soft sounds of her breathing, so I waited her out. I wished I was there. Rachel sounded like she needed a hug—bad.
“I’m sorry,” she said in a much softer voice. “You just want to help and I woke you up and now…”
“Hush. This is what a best friend is for. As I recall, you’ve listened to me whine and complain and cry and even waffle more than once.”
A beat. Then. “True.”
“But you’re worth it.”
“So are you smart ass.” Then because she’d brought it up. “Dominic cares, Rach.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Not even the slurring could soften the hardness behind those words. Before I could say anything else, she said, “He’s all sins and secrets, Frankie. So many secrets.”
“What kinds of secrets?”
“I—it’s not important,” she said after a moment. “Not something you need to know.” Though she sounded a little more sober. “I wish I didn’t know.”
That just made my heart hurt. “Want me to kick his ass?”
“No. I don’t want you to bring it up with him at all.” There was that sigh again. “I shouldn’t have called.”
“You say that again, I’m going to kick your ass.” I slapped the bug away from my leg and stared down the steps.
“Wow, you even sound like you mean it.”
“Impressed?” I didn’t laugh but then neither did she.
“Yes. And maybe a little horny.”
Now I laughed and her soft huff came over the phone. “Rach, I want to help. I hate that you’re hurting.”
“I’m not hurting. I’m—complicated.”
“You are hurting,” I argued, but that wasn’t what she needed from me. She’d never drunk called me before. Hell, I didn’t think I’d ever seen her drunk. “I just wish I could fix it.”
“Me too,” she admitted. “But I’ll get over it.” Then there was another sound, like a light flicking on. “I have to. It’s better if I do.”
“It’s five in the morning,” she said after another long silence. “You need to go to bed, what is it, two there?”
“No,” I said. “It’s five.”
She groaned. “Where are you?”
“Then how do you know it’s five?”
I laughed. “Cause it said five on the clock in the hotel room.”
It took a moment, then she joined me laughing before the sound of water turned on. The shower. “Right, that means you’ve had what? An hour of sleep?”
“Two,” I said primly. Well mostly two, but I didn’t think she wanted to know about Ian and I spending thirty minutes unwinding after the show. Two counted. “But I can totally go back for at least one more.”
“Go do that. I’m gonna shower. Then—something. They’re probably gonna go running soon.” The absolute disgust in her voice made me laugh.
“Well, I don’t recommend it if you’re still drunk.”
“I don’t recommend it if I’m sober,” she countered. “Go back to bed you rock star bitch and forget I bothered you. Let’s just pretend this whole call didn’t happen.”
“No,” I told her softly. The running water still in the background promised me she hadn’t hung up. “You’re my friend, that means I hurt if you’re hurting. When I get home—you and me? We’re having a long, sober conversation about this.”
“Yeah.” The way she elongated the word said ‘no,’ loud and clear. “Might need some lubrication for that.”
“Then we’ll get trashed and talk about it.” I could do that.
“If we’re both trashed, who is gonna hold our hair?”
I chuckled. “We’ll take turns.”
“I can live with that. Now I’m hanging up on you, I smell and I need to brush my teeth.”
“You know I love you, right?”
There was a really long sigh on the other end of the phone. “I do know that and you’re a sappy bitch for telling me.”
I grinned. “What does that make you?”
“Lucky as fuck,” she said, then made a kiss smacking noise at the phone before she hung up.
I stared at my phone for a moment and then rubbed a hand over my face. Flipping to the texts, I fired off one to Coop.
Me: Is Rachel really okay?
I didn’t think he’d be awake, but he answered.
Coop: Nope. But she’s still lying to everyone, including herself. Jake’s gonna kill Dominic at this rate.
Coop: Go back to bed, Beautiful. We’ll keep an eye on her.
Coop: And I won’t let Jake kill Dominic.
I sent him three kiss emojis then promised to call later.
Jake wasn’t the only one who wanted to kill Dominic. Sins and secrets, huh?
Yeah, I wanted to know what the fuck was going on there too.