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Beautifully Damaged(12)

By:L.A. Fiore

After our first number, the crowd cheered so loudly that we played another and then another. When we finally climbed down from the stage several people shook our hands and gave us their business cards for potential gigs. Two spots instantly opened for us at the bar and fresh drinks were delivered, free of charge.

"I could get used to this," Trent said as he grinned at me before touching his glass to mine.

"Me, too."

We spent the next hour talking and all the while I noticed the pretty brunette down the bar who kept looking over at Trent. I knew he saw her, too, since he was looking back.

"Trent, go say hi."

"I don't want to leave you here alone."

"I'll be fine. Go. She's pretty."

A grin flashed over his face. "She is, isn't she? Okay, I'll go but stay here so I can see you and don't leave without me."

"Yes, Dad."

He dropped a kiss on my head before he stood, grabbed his beer, and walked down the bar to the brunette. I grinned, watching them for a minute, before turning my gaze to my wine. I was disappointed that Trace hadn't come but I hadn't actually spoken with him earlier -- only left a message -- and knowing he was supposed to have a very active social life, it wasn't really a surprise.

I finished my drink and looked over to see that Trent and the woman appeared to be hitting it off. I was tired anyway so I was going to call it a night. I walked to them and Trent smiled as I approached.

"Ember, this is Kelly."

"Hi, Kelly." She was pretty with her chestnut brown hair and bright blue eyes. I sensed a bit of shyness when she addressed me but she didn't seem to suffer that affliction when she was talking to Trent. This observation had a smile curving my lips.

"Hi, Ember."

I turned my eyes back to Trent. "I'm going home."

"Okay, I'll help you get a cab."

"No, I'm fine."

"Are you sure?"


Trent pressed a kiss on my cheek before he whispered, "Be safe."

"Yes, Dad."

"It was nice to meet you, Kelly."

"Likewise, Ember."

I walked through the club and out the front door and as I stepped into the cool night I just stopped moving because at the curb was Trace who was just parking his motorcycle. I couldn't help the smile; it was completely involuntary. I watched as his denim-clad leg swung over his bike and I took a minute to appreciate how his jeans were snug across his thigh muscles. He turned and for just a second I saw pleasure burning in those eyes.



"I missed you play, didn't I?"


"Were you leaving?"

"I was."

He grinned as he came to stand just in front of me. "I'm sorry I'm late." He reached for my hand. "Will you come with me?"

I was a bit nervous about agreeing since I really didn't know the man but my gut was telling me that I would be safe with him and so I went with instinct. "Yes."

He pulled me to his bike before he placed his helmet on my head. He straddled the black and chrome beast so I could climb on.

"Hold onto me, Ember."

We were flying down the street and rode around for a while with the cool night air feeling wonderful against my skin before we pulled into the parking lot of a twenty-four-hour diner. I climbed down from Trace's bike and pulled the helmet from my head when he reached for it to place it on his handle bars. He linked our fingers and pulled me through the doors.

He settled across from me and took off his jacket while I took a moment to really study the beauty of the man before me. My eyes lingered on his left arm where I could see the depiction of Hades and his realm of Hell with his demons burning in the fires of purgatory. It was both disturbing and beautiful.

"Are you hungry?"

It was close to two in the morning and I had eaten last at five the night before. I was hungry but before I could answer my stomach answered for me with the loudest and longest rumble. I tried to act blase about the thunderous growl that shook our booth and hoped that he didn't hear it but when I saw the smile that cracked over his face I knew that he had.

He ordered enough food to feed a small country. The waitress needed three others to help her drop off the plates of pancakes, scrambled eggs, French toast, hash browns, sausage and bacon, and I felt guilty that we would be wasting so much food but I need not have worried about that. Trace plated for me enough food (a small fraction of what he ordered) to feed a three-hundred-pound man and proceeded to eat everything else. There wasn't even a curdle of egg left. I didn't mean to speak out loud what I was thinking but, honestly, I couldn't stop myself.

"I've never seen anything like that. You, literally, just ate your body weight in food. I think you may have broken a world record. We should call Guinness."