The first thing she became aware of the pastiness of her mouth. Moving her tongue around inside it, it felt like a paintbrush. A dull throb began to snake up from the back of her neck and by the time she squinted one eye open cautiously, she felt like someone was trying to rip off her scalp at the bangs. Slowly she opened the other eye but the surroundings were completely foreign to her. Sunlight was peeking through the drawn curtains covering the window and out of instinctual curiosity, she scanned the rest of the room. She could tell right away it was a rather pricy hotel suite but try as she might, searching her memory of the night before led to no clue as to whom it belonged to. With a growing sense of dread, she reached out an arm, coming in contact with a warm, hard bicep. Her eyes flew open and she sat straight up in the California King bed, only realizing after the fact that she was clad in a teeshirt and it wasn’t her own. Her sudden movement woke the person in bed with her and he too sat up in the bed.
“Maunin’, mavournin,” he commented groggily, his Irish brogue more pronounced as he turned and threw his legs over the bed. Starr quickly squeezed her eyes shut, fearing to catch sight of him in his “all together,” but oddly, and thankfully, she caught sight of fabric in the brief millisecond before her eyes closed so she immediately opened them again.
“Um, Rohnan, er, Zach, uh…” she began, not sure what to say or how to react because the truth of the matter was, she couldn’t recall anything save for the first hour of the after-party backstage the night before. My God! He must think I’m a real slut! she thought. But what the hell? I know I didn’t drink that much!
“Uh, look, I don’t mean to insult you or anything,” she began hesitantly, wishing he would put on a shirt or something. In her befuddled and embarrassed condition, the site of his bronze chest was causing her additional discomfort. “But did I—did we—shit, there’s really no other way to say this, but—”
“You mean did we do the horizontal Tango, love?” he asked with a knowing smile. Starr knew that she must be beet red at that point as she nodded slowly. “Should I take affront? I’ve never had a lassie what didn’t remember her night with me.” She covered her face with her hands, completely embarrassed. He laughed out loud.
Lowering her hands and raising her chin in a somewhat defiant fashion, she replied, “Maybe you are more forgettable than you think.”
“Oh, ho! Ouch! And to think you were all over me last night!” he revealed. Without thinking she answered him defensively.
“Honestly, Mr. Rohnan, I don’t remember much after the party started. I really didn’t think I had too much to drink. A couple of shots. I smoked a joint with someone. Like I said, no insult intended, but the last thing I recall was that jerk from Merry-Go-Round hitting on me over and over again. Finally, I think just to shut him up, I drank the Tequila Sunrise he brought me. You must think I’m a slut,” she said shaking her head in self deprecation as she voiced her earlier thought.
“So no applause for my sexual prowess?” he asked teasingly, truly enchanted by the color her skin turned in her mortification.
“I’m sure the sex was great.” she offered, as she squirmed uncomfortably.
Her statement was rewarded by full blown laughter. Shooting him a narrow look, she too swung her legs off the bed, then standing up, she swung her head back and forth.
“Where are my clothes?” she demanded, but all bravado faded as she quickly sat back on the bed and put her hands to her temples, as if to stop the spinning within. “Oh, no, I think I’m going to be sick!” she moaned and lay back on the bed. All amusement left Rohnan’s eyes as he raced to her side with a trash can. Try as she might to restrain herself, she could not and found herself leaning over the bed, puking in the receptacle as Rohnan brushed the bangs back from her face tenderly. Thankfully there was very little vomit, more bile than anything else. At some point, he’d pulled down a pillow for her to lounge on once she stopped convulsing and heaving while he got her a glass of cold water. Giving him a feeble smile of appreciation before she took a sip and handed it back, she turned her face in the pillow, moaning.
“I want to die. I’m so totally embarrassed and I hope you will believe me when I say I have never done something like this. Not forgotten a night, not puked—at least in front of anyone—and not spent the night with a virtual stranger. I am so, so sorry!”
“Ah, I cannot let you go on like so. That bastard, Mange they call him, the guy from Merry-Go-Round… well, he slipped something in that drink he gave you last night. He almost got you to his room too, but I thought you were acting kind of funny. I know we don’t know each other, really, but you just don’t seem like the type to, ah, well let’s just say you don’t strike me as one to behave like groupie chick, if ya know what I mean.”
“What did you just say? He did what? My God, that son of a bitch. I will kill him. Or call the cops on him or something!” she groaned in outrage but it quickly turned into a whimper. “No wonder I feel so awful. This is by far the worse hangover I’ve ever had.”
“According to my personal physician, GHB metabolizes fast. Even with a blood test, it might be hard to prove you were drugged. And the glass with the drink is long gone. But I have some good news and maybe some bad news. Let’s start with the good. Your clothes were sent to the hotel drycleaner. They will send them up when they are ready. Understandably, it is not a twenty-four hour service and it’s just after seven now. The other good news is that Mange cost his whole band the rest of this tour. They’ve been kicked off and our road manager said Merry-Go-Round left last night or rather around three a.m. this morning. Their label might want to sue us to get some prepaid expenses back but fuck ’em. The scandal of what he did would be much worse! As far as I am concerned, the bloody bastards got off easily. I wonder how many other women he’s done this to or if they all are assholes like him. No one can tell me that at least one other member didn’t know the kind of bullshit he pulls. Our band’s been together twelve years and I can tell you what not to feed them all so they don’t fart on the bus among other things, many other things!” he finished with a snort of disgust.
Starr couldn’t help the slight smile that crept over her face. “So you saved me?”
Now it was Rohnan’s turn to blush a bit at the shyly asked question. “Well that’s kind of the bad news too,” he began. At her raised eyebrows, he took a deep breath and continued. “I didn’t just stop him, I stomped him. I kicked his bloody ass in the hallway on the floor where their rooms were. And wouldn’t you know it? There was a camera guy from TMZ there. I’m pretty sure he got the worst part, which, going over it in my mind, would have looked more like a caveman stealing another man’s woman. I’m pretty sure the ruckus of my fist slamming Mange into the wall is what brought people out of their rooms at two a.m. While he was down I told him he was off the tour but you were barely standing on your own at that point so I kind of threw you over my shoulder and got on the elevator. That was the first time you got sick, pretty much all over both of us.”
“Oh my God! With my face on half the buses in this town, it’s only a matter of time before someone sees that footage and recognizes me,” she gasped, sitting up once again. “Is my purse around here somewhere? I have to call the station!”
“I fear you’re right about being recognized. That outfit you wore was…” he whistled in appreciation. “I’m sure there are press photos of you in it before the concert. Even with your face hidden by the way I carried you, I doubt anyone would miss that tie-dye number!” he told her as he handed her the beaded white clutch. As she took out her cell, he commented on whether or not that’s what she wanted to leave the hotel in.
“I hadn’t even thought about that,” she said over the mouth piece of the phone. “Shit.”
“Look, how about I call room service for some coffee and breakfast,” he grinned at her grimace when he mentioned the food. “It will probably be good for you to have some toast at least.”
“Make it an English muffin, please. And black coffee sounds divine at the moment. Hey, Cheryl. Oh thank God your there today. I thought I was going to have to leave you a voice mail. Wait a minute. It’s Saturday and I know this isn’t your cell. What are you even doing there?” she said into the phone.
“I’m guessing your about a five?” he asked quietly and she gave him a questioning look. “Jeans, dresses?” She nodded but before she could ask him why, she was engaged in the conversation taking place over the phone. Rohnan assumed it was someone in the public relations department at KSTR because Starr was reciting the story he’d told her earlier.
“No, I am fine! Bit of a bruised ego, considering I puked twice on the hottest guy in this town–“she cut herself off abruptly when she realized what had just come out of her mouth, but then she continued, pretending she’d never uttered the words. “Mr. Rohnan said he talked to his doctor. I’m still a bit nauseous and dizzy but I’m going to have some coffee and maybe a bite to eat. I just wanted to make sure you’d be on top of this. TMZ does a late-night show on Saturdays and I’m pretty sure this will be on it. Yes, I think that’s a great idea. If you know someone over there, at least you could put out the story that maybe I was ill. Hell, I guess as long as the station doesn’t care, you can even say I was drunk and that asshole tried to take advantage of me but no, since I don’t want the police involved, let’s not bring any allegations he drugged me. And please, let’s spin this so that Rohnan comes out as the hero he was. He should get some good publicity out of this. Thanks Cheryl. Call me if you need me. Bye.”
“There’s a nice fluffy terry robe in the bathroom if you’d like to shower,” he offered her. “Your clothes from last night probably won’t be ready for a couple more hours but I sent someone out to a Walmart to get you some jeans and a top. Figured they’re the only place open this early. Not to embarrass you further but I told her to get you a sports bra. I really didn’t want to ask you your size and clearly you weren’t wearing one last night.”
“So you didn’t undress me?” she asked in hesitating relief.
“No, m’am, I did not. That was Junie, the lass I sent on the Wally errand. She’s not really a lassie, though. Just my slang. She’s got about twenty years on me. She’s the band ‘mother’ for lack of a better description. She keeps us fed, clothed, sober when necessary. I guess in this country she’d be known as a ‘Gal Friday.’”
“I will have to thank her when she comes by. I guess I’ll hop in the shower now,” she murmured, suddenly shy again as she quickly made her way to the bathroom.
Ten minutes later, she emerged in a cloud of steam, safely ensconced in the thick terry robe, her hair spiky from toweling it dry. She didn’t see him anywhere in the bedroom so she ventured out to the common area of the suite. The first thing she noticed was that he’d donned a shirt and was almost disappointed to see those “six pack abs” modestly covered now, despite her earlier wishes that he do just that.
“You look like a porcupine,” he teased her and she self-consciously combed her fingers through her hair, smoothing it down. “I made coffee in the brewer provided, but I’m having a Colombian blend sent up with breakfast,” he said as he held out a chair for her at the table. Glancing around the room she didn’t remember from the night before, she saw a guitar sitting against the wall. Following her gaze, he walked over to it and picked it up and started to play.
“You fill up my senses, like the night in a forest. Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain…” He stopped and gave her a lopsided grin. “Too classic for you? Most people our age don’t even know who John Denver was.”
“Oh, no. You have a wonderful voice. My dad used to sing that song to my mother. Her name is Ann. He always called her Annie so it was fitting, you know, that he would sing Annie’s Song to her.”
“I take it you father has passed?” he asked gently.
“Yes almost eight years ago now. He was a meteorologist covering Katrina.”
“I’m sorry. Was it the storm?”
“Actually, no. That’s been the hardest part to get passed. He was killed by looters in New Orleans in early September 2005. It remains an unsolved homicide.”
“Wow, that really must be tough. Does your family live here?”
“Oh, yes. My whole family. Both sets of grands, my uncle and his family, my mom and brother. He’s a student at DU. Studying meteorology like my dad. Which is kind of fitting. His name is Noah,” she offered with a smile as she drank the hot black liquid. The shower had done wonders to clear her mind. A knock on the door interrupted the casual conversation.
“Yoo-hoo!” a melodious voice called out. “It’s just me, laddie. I’ve brought clothes for your young lady.”
He crossed the room to open the door. Starr was startled by the tiny creature who came bouncing in. She couldn’t have been over five foot minus the beehive hairdo of brown and silver. She wore a smock of all things, complete with pockets in front and came over to stand in front of Starr.
“Stand up, girl. Let’s have a look atcha,” she commanded and when Starr complied, she looked her up and down with a critical eye. “Yes, I suppose these will fit, although it’s hard to tell with her all wrapped up in that fluffy robe.”
“Shall I ask her to remove it?” he said with a winked. Starr blushed but smiled all the same.
“Oh, go on with ya, you dirty dog,” the small woman admonished as she gave her own wink and handed the bag to Starr. “It’s just jeans and blouse, honey. And a medium size sports bra. I take it you have panties or don’t wear ’em because he didn’t tell me to get any,” she remarked matter-of-factly. Starr could feel her color heighten as she nodded shyly.
“This is Junie, my travel mum,” Rohnan introduced the woman affectionately.
“Starr Jennings. Thank you so much for going out of your way and picking out some clothes for me. How much do I owe you?” she asked taking the bag. “I’m sure there’s an ATM in the lobby.”
“No need. Zecheriah already paid for it,” she said with a nod. “But that was quite a get up you had on last night. It must have cost you a bundle. I’m gonna go and see what’s up with the drycleaners.” As if on cue, another knock came at the door.
“Ah, just in time. Junie, stay and have some breakfast with us.” Rohnan offered. “At least coffee.”
“Boy, you seem to forget what it’s like when you stay over in the same town after a show. It’s not like I have a few days to get everything back in order while the bus is on the move. And now we have to find another band to play with the tour. We’ve got another six weeks on the road and next week is Vegas. But you go and enjoy your breakfast with Miss Jennings and don’t worry about poor, long-suffering me,” she told him in a mockingly aggrieved tone as she let the bellhop in and left the room.
“Oh, sure. I guess you’ll just have to catch up on all your rest while you’re in Fiji for a month! On the band’s dime!” was his snarky, but affectionate reply. Then he turned to her and said, “I’m sure you want to change so hurry! I’m starved!”
“Oh, yeah! Duh! Go ahead and start without me, Mr. Rohnan. I’ll be right back,” she called over her shoulder as she headed for the bedroom.
“Don’t you think it’s time you called me Zach?”
Starstruck- Chapter VI
Last Updated on: November 19th, 2013 at 2:12 pm, by support