Rock hard, p.46
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       Rock Hard, p.46
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         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
Page 46

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “Your probation stands,” her mother said, “but if you pass that class you failed—”

  “I didn’t fail it, Mother. ”

  “If you get an A when you retake it, you’ll get to keep your scholarship. ”

  Jessica didn’t know if she should be elated or disappointed. Well, she knew she should be elated, but now she had a tough decision to make. She looked up at Sed who stood watching her as anxiously as Sed was capable of being. Could she leave him again? Even temporarily?

  “I thought you’d be happy,” Mother said.

  “I am. ” She wasn’t. “Does it say what I have to do?”

  “In addition to your regular third-year classes, you have to take the failed class, too. ”

  “Anything else?”

  “You have to pay for the extra class out of your own pocket. It’s not covered by your scholarship. You don’t expect me to foot the bill, do you? You know I can’t afford—”

  “No, Mother. Don’t worry about it. I can come up with some money. Thanks for calling and letting me know. ”

  “Is your boyfriend going to pay for it?”

  Jessica scowled. “No. What do you think I’ve been doing all summer? I’ve been working. ”

  “If you’d just marry that rich rock star guy, you’d never have to work. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about all this going to school nonsense. ”

  Jessica rolled her eyes. How many times had they had this conversation? A thousand times? A million? “Good-bye, Mother. ”

  “Take care,” she said brightly.

  Jessica ended the call and handed the phone to Sed.

  He hugged her. “I’m sorry you didn’t get your scholarship back. ”

  “Oh, I got it back. I just have to pay for that class I have to retake. ”

  “You got it back?” Sed tugged her back by her shoulders to look down at her face. “Why aren’t you dancing in celebration?”

  She shrugged. The semester started in two weeks and her time with Sed would come to an end. Myrna’s project was ending too, and she’d be heading back to Kansas City for the start of fall semester. There was no reason for Jessica to stay. No reason, except her feelings for Sed.

  “I love you,” she whispered around the knot in her throat.

  He grinned, both dimples in full view. “I love you. ”

  She kissed him deeply, wanting him to make her forget all her worries for a couple of hours and immerse herself in him. He took her hand and led her to the back bedroom, incapable of disappointing her.

  Chapter 37

  Jessica worried her lip as she and Myrna waited in the deserted dressing room for the guys to take the stage in Dallas, Texas. Myrna was no longer collecting data, so they’d watched every performance this week. Tomorrow, Myrna would catch a plane back to Kansas City, and the next day… Jessica didn’t want to think about it.

  “What’s bothering you?” Myrna asked.

  Jessica glanced up. “I’m not ready for this summer to end. ”

  Myrna nodded. “I know the feeling. But don’t worry, Sed will come see you when the band takes a break. ”

  “Yeah, every couple of months. ”

  Myrna’s brows drew together. “That is so gonna suck. I need to find a new vocation. ”

  “I know the feeling. ”

  “That’s not the only thing bothering you, is it?”

  Jessica shrugged. “I’m usually excited when a new semester starts. But now, I’m not even sure I want to be a lawyer anymore. ”

  “I’ve always had a hard time picturing you as a lawyer. You’re too…” Myrna looked reflective for a long moment. “…good. ”

  “Don’t we need good lawyers?”

  “Of course. You just don’t fit the greedy, corrupt stereotype. ”

  “I’ve been pegged into a stereotype since I grew breasts. No one takes me seriously. They judge me as…” She didn’t know how to explain it. Men ogled her. Women hated her at first sight.

  “Too sexy. ”

  Jessica shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. Do you think it’s the way I dress or what?”

  “Jess, you spend most of your days in sweats and flip-flops. It’s not the way you dress, you just look sexy. Your body. Your face. The way you carry yourself. Don’t be ashamed of it. Women pay plastic surgeons a lot of money to attain your natural assets. ”

  “I’m not ashamed, but I do get tired of being treated like a commodity. I thought becoming a lawyer might finally earn me some respect. ”

  “That’s why you want to be a lawyer? Honey, I don’t think there are many professions that are less respected than lawyers. ”

  “Respect is part of it. I really just want to help people. Protect them from all the bad things that happen in the world. ”

  Myrna chuckled. “You’re more like Sed than I realized. ”

  Jessica pulled a face. “Really? I don’t see it. ”

  “There are a lot of careers that help people. No one said you have to become a lawyer. You are allowed to change your mind. ”

  Jessica’s shoulders suddenly felt lighter. She hadn’t realized how much the thought of going back to that school was weighing her down. “I am?”

  “Why not?”

  Yeah, why not?

  “The guys are set to go onstage in a few minutes. Are you ready to go?”

  Jessica smiled at Myrna and nodded vigorously. Just the thought of seeing Sed onstage had her heart throbbing in her chest. Especially now that she knew she could stay with him. He’d be thrilled. Wouldn’t he?

  Chapter 38

  Jessica still hadn’t told Sed that she wanted to drop out of law school. And she didn’t have any idea how Sed would react to her proposition. She hoped he understood where she was coming from and didn’t think she was trying to trap him or giving up on her dream (it simply wasn’t her dream anymore). She loved him. She wasn’t ready to leave him to work toward something she no longer wanted. Not when she had everything she desired right here.

  The bus eased to a stop outside the airport terminal. Sed opened the bedroom door. She took a deep breath.

  “Are you all packed?”

  “I’m not going. ”

  His brow furrowed. “What?”

  She climbed from the bed that was covered with all her belongings and her open, yet unpacked, suitcase. She wrapped her arms around him and looked up into his tired eyes. He hadn’t been sleeping well the past few nights. She kept finding him sitting at the dining table in the dark, drinking beer alone.

  “I’m not going back. I don’t want to go to law school anymore. I want to stay on tour with you for a while and then—”

  “No,” he said firmly. He peeled her arms from his body and shoved her aside.

  She paused, his words a slash to her heart. He just didn’t know what she meant. She needed to explain herself better. “Will you let me finish?”

  “This isn’t our deal, Jessica. Our two months are up and now you’re supposed to leave. ”

  Deal?

  Leave? But…

  “You don’t want me?” Her voice cracked as her throat squeezed shut with emotion.

  “The game is over now. Go back to school, Jessica. ”

  Over?

  No. She couldn’t accept that. Couldn’t. No. He… He was…

  “I don’t want to go back to school. Will you listen to me, Sed?” Tears blurred her vision. Stupid tears. They never worked with Sed. They pissed him off and she knew it. She dabbed at her eyes with her fingertips. “Sed, please. Just listen. ”

  He started to shove her belongings into the open suitcase on the bed. “No, I’m not listening. You are not chickening out. You’re going back. ”

  “You don’t understand. That isn’t why…”

  He slammed her suitcase shut and pressed it into her chest. “Good-bye. ”

  “I’m not finished talking to you.
She slammed the suitcase down on the floor, her nostrils flaring and eyes narrowing.

  “I’m finished talking to you. Get out!”

  “Sed… You don’t understand. Will you just listen?” Frustrated, she hit him in the shoulder. “Listen to me!”

  He picked up her suitcase, took her by the arm, and pulled her toward the front of the bus. He tossed her suitcase out the open door. Her luggage sprang open, scattering her clothes across the wide sidewalk next to the terminal.

  “Sed, don’t—”

  He grabbed her and hugged her against him until she thought her ribs would crack. She hugged him back, her lungs aching with unshed tears.

  He’d changed his mind. Thank God. She couldn’t walk away from him again. She just… couldn’t…

  He released her abruptly and then pushed her out of the door. She stumbled over her open suitcase and struggled to regain her balance. Her purse landed on the ground next to her feet. The bus door swung shut and then the vehicle eased away from the curb, leaving Jessica alone.

  Utterly.

  Chapter 39

  Beth grabbed Jessica in a bear hug the moment she stepped into the terminal. “I missed you,” Beth said breathlessly. “Tell me all about your summer. Did you make good money stripping before you got fired?”

  “No,” Jessica said.

  “Are you and Sed back together?”

  “No. ”

  “No? What do you mean, no? I thought things were going well. What happened?”

  “We’ll talk at home. I’m tired. ” Jessica was tired, and didn’t think she could handle talking about Sed at the moment. His rejection was still too fresh. Too… raw. She’d thought they were finally working as a team instead of butting heads in constant opposition and then this.

  Jessica stomped through the terminal toward baggage claim. “We need to make an ice cream and chocolate run,” Jessica said to Beth over her shoulder.

  By the time they got to their shared apartment, Jessica was no longer in the mood for ice cream or chocolate. She really just wanted to curl up in a ball on her bed and cry herself to sleep. Beth wouldn’t hear of it. She brought two enormous servings of cookie dough ice cream into Jessica’s room and interrupted her unpacking.

  “Tell me everything. ” Beth slurped a bite of dessert into her mouth.

  So Jessica told her everything. Well, almost everything. From Sed finding her in Vegas to him kicking her off the bus that morning. She conveniently left out some self-incriminating tales.

  “Why do you put up with him? He’s such an asshole. Seriously, Jess, you can do better. You deserve to be happy. ”

  “I love him, Beth. It’s not something I can help. I tried to tell him why I want to drop out of law school—”

  “What?” Beth’s spoon slipped from her grip and rattled in her bowl. “You’re dropping out of law school? Why would you do that?”

  “I told you I was on academic probation. ”

  “But you got your scholarship back. ”

  “I was thinking of becoming—don’t laugh—a nurse. ”

  Beth’s brown eyes enlarged until Jessica feared they’d pop out of her head, and then she fell over on the bed laughing. “You had me going there for a minute, Jess. ”

  “I’m serious. I can take most of the classes online—”

  “Have you lost your mind? What a horrible, thankless job. ”

  Jessica scowled. “I don’t think so. I can’t think of a more admirable job. ”

  “All that time around that drug addict—”

  “His name is Trey. ”

  “All that time around… Trey… must have addled your brains and given you some ridiculous Florence Nightingale syndrome. You’re going to be a great lawyer, Jess. You’re so smart, and you’re really good at arguing points logically. ”
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