"But that's not fair!" she yells and almost bursts my eardrum. "You can't walk away with nothing. He should at least have the decency to give you back your songs."
She didn't see the fury on his face. "That's not going to happen, but it's okay. Really. He can hold my songs hostage if he wants. I still own half so he can't give them to anyone else. And I have new material that's way better than any of my old stuff."
"That's because all of them are about him."
I don't have to ask whom she's referring to. "They are, but they're honest and from my heart."
"Then they'll go platinum ten times because fans know when it's real. They'll get what he means to you. I just wish he would."
"I have good news." Her words are cheerful but her voice lacks its usual pep. "At least I hope you think it's good. I'm coming home tomorrow. Cleve has an audition for me and says it's mandatory that I'm back on Thursday for it."
Thank goodness. I don't think I could go on being alone in the apartment. "I'm thrilled you're coming home, but you don't sound excited."
"The audition is with a band and I won't be lead vocalist." Not being lead could definitely be a problem for Miss Front and Center. "I'll have to share it with a dude."
"Those kinds of bands are doing really well in country right now. It's sounds like a great opportunity," I encourage. "Would I know them?"
"Damn, Addie. They're hot right now. Like, really hot. I can't believe one of their vocalists walked away in the middle of all that success. That's crazy."
"Maybe, but it's not what I want because it's not my style. I just don't see me being happy with sharing the spotlight. You know I love being the center of attention. It sounds like a great gig, but the whole thing is so rushed. Heather quit last week and they're scheduled to cut an album next month, so it won't give us long to mesh. After that, we'd be hitting the road for six months to promote the album."
Addison was no spotlight sharer, but Cleve was right in thinking this was a good move for her. As such, it was my job to encourage her. "Addie, that sounds like exactly the opportunity you need to give your career a huge jumpstart. Cutting an album and going on the road—that's huge. And who knows? You could love singing with a guy."
"I'm gonna hate it. I just know it."
Always the pessimist. "There are worse things."
"I'm sorry, Laurie," she apologizes. "It's really insensitive of me to be whining to you after what happened with Blake."
Frankly, I'm a little shocked by her consideration. Her relationship with Zac seems to have changed her in a very positive way. "It's sucks but I'll be okay."
"I know, but I haven't been very considerate of your feelings. I've been a shitty friend and I'm sorry. I swear I'm gonna make it up to you."
I accept Addison the way she is and I don't expect her to make anything up to me. "You haven't been a shitty friend. You've called every day—sometimes twice—to make sure I'm okay."
"We both know I could do a lot better."
She wasn't the only one who could improve. "I'm the one who moved out on you to live with a man I barely knew."
"Because of what my brother did to you. And I took his side. I'm so sorry."
Agreed. She definitely should've supported me more on that. "It's okay. It all worked out for the best. Living with Ja…Lachlan for those two and a half months was the best experience of my life."
"How are we ever gonna get over those Aussie men?"
"I have no idea, Addie." And that is the honest-to-God truth. I don't know how I'll ever be able to give up the love of my life.
I'm helping Addison sort her laundry—all humpteen bags full—when I see her take a gift bag from her suitcase. "I bought something for you while I was in Cali—not that you couldn't get them here—but I knew it was something you wouldn't buy for yourself."
Some people are natural-born gift givers. They love giving because it makes them feel good. But Addison isn't one of them, so I'm interested in seeing what would spurn spontaneous gift-buying. "You didn't have to get me a gift."
She's beaming, so I see she's proud of herself. "I think I did. Because I'm pretty sure you need this. A lot."
I take the box from the bag and instantly feel heat rise to my face. No she did not. I stare at the purple vibrator through its plastic packaging and I know that she did.
"It's purple—your favorite color." She swipes the package from my hands and takes it out when she sees I'm not going to. "This thing is fantastic, Laurie. Look what the tip can do. It swirls."
That's not natural. "I've never seen a penis that swirls or twirls or has bright-colored beads rotating at the base." Of course, I've only spent time with a couple of them, but if any man's dick did tricks, it would've been Jack Henry's. I'm sure of it. "It looks like it has a gumball machine in it. If it starts lighting up, I gonna swear it's a kids' toy."
She rolls her eyes. "Trust me—this isn't child's play. The swirling and rotating is what makes this rock." She points to a phalange-looking probe thing. "This is the magnificent part."
I think I'm frightened. "What the hell is that thing?"
Good grief. "You've got to be kidding me."
She's laughing as she shakes her head. "Oh, no. I would not kid of such things. This little beauty will make you come in under a minute. I guarantee it."
I see an attached probe and I'm scared to ask, but curiosity has set in. I touch it as I ask, "And this?"
I jerk my hand back, as though the probe might have already been used. I make a face, one that tells her I'm grossed out. "I'm not putting that in my ass!"
"You don't have to. This baby works just fine without it. I know it's a bit much, so I bought this beginner for you also. It's called a Bullet." She takes out a shiny little silver gadget and places it in my hand. It looks a lot less intimidating than the purple trick penis with gumballs dancing in the shaft. The Bullet definitely seems more my speed.
Addison has never made it a secret that she's the ultimate sex-toy expert. She's made a lot of comments in the past about how I should try them, but this is the first time she's brought me the goods. "When you had to leave Lachlan, you gave up all those great orgasms cold turkey." Yup. "You need this, Laurie. And trust me—these are the best gadgets out there."
"You would know."
She points the purple vibrator at me. "There are a lot of reasons you need this, and not all of them have to do with Lachlan." It's still weird hearing her call him that. "Orgasms keep your girly parts healthy. And having an orgasm will help you sleep, which, by the looks of you, I'm certain you haven't been doing."
There's the old Addison. "Thanks a lot."
She shrugs, as if she can't help herself. And she probably can't. "I'm just sayin'…"
At least she doesn't blow smoke up my ass. "Thank goodness I can always count on you to say whatever's on your mind." Perhaps I'm a little too sarcastic because she cuts her eyes at me.
"It's a medically proven fact that orgasms release endorphins. That means they can help with migraines. How many did you have when you were in Australia? Migraines, I mean. Not orgasms."
I couldn't count the multitude of orgasms I had with Jack Henry if my life depended on it. "One."
"And when did you have it?"
I hadn't moved in with Jack Henry yet, so it was very early during our visit. "It wasn't long after we got there."
"See? You started having regular orgasms with Lachlan and your headaches went away."
Jack Henry! Not Lachlan! I want to scream it out loud.
But she's right. My migraines were happening increasingly more often before I went to Australia. Except for the one, they disappeared entirely while I was with him. I've never gone that long in between occurrences. "You're right. I didn't have another migraine after I moved in with him."
"See? Orgasms are a physical necessity and should be prescribed by your doctor for good health. There's no reason you shouldn't be having at least one a day. Personally, I recommend three. You brush your teeth three times a day to keep them healthy. Shouldn't your vagina be in tip-top shape too?"
Is she serious? "You mean to tell me that you use your vibrator three times a day?"
"Yeah. It's been working overtime since we left Australia," she giggles. "And I bought an extra just in case I wear it out. Damn, I miss Zac."
Addison and I have been best friends for four years, and I've come to know that she will never understand the concept of TMI. "What's the plan with him?"
"Girl, I'm so confused about what I want. I mean, I'm not confused about wanting him. That much I know. I've never loved anyone the way I love him." She's biting her perfectly manicured thumbnail. It's an unfamiliar sight. "He's asked me to come back to Australia. Indefinitely."
She's crazy about him. I can't believe she hasn't hopped a plane headed back to Oz already. "You came here to audition for this band. Does that mean you're taking the job and not going back to be with him?"
"I don't know what I'm gonna do. I'm not sure I can up and leave my entire life behind to move to Australia for a guy I've known three months. That's crazy talk, right? My whole life is in the U.S. My parents. My career. You." She looks as though she might burst into tears. "What would you do?"