“I’m completely baffled by this one,” Dionne said.
“I’m not going to ask why you were fired, because it’s none of my business, but if I had to rank everyone in this office on the likelihood of being fired, you would have been at the bottom of that list, baby girl. Everybody loves you.”
Madison’s bottom lip trembled. She was not going to fall apart right now. She was going to pack up her office, store her belongings in her car, and head directly to the airport. More than anything, she wanted to get lost in Adam’s arms. To be reminded why she was willing to risk everything just to be with him.
Dionne yanked a tissue from the box on the desk and pressed it into Madison’s hand. “Don’t do that. If you start crying, then I’ll start crying, and that’s a downright ugly sight to behold.”
Madison dabbed at her eyes with the tissue. It was only slightly soggy when she tossed it in the wastebasket. “I’m not crying,” she said. “Just a little shaken.”
“You aren’t going to tell me why you were fired, are you?” Dionne asked.
Madison released a shaky breath. Why shouldn’t she tell Dionne? She wasn’t ashamed. “I fell in love with the right man at the wrong time.”
Dionne lifted a questioning eyebrow at her.
Madison shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s get this over with,” she said and began placing pictures in one of the empty boxes. Pictures of her and her twin sister, Kennedy, on their first day of kindergarten and at their high school graduation. Pictures of her parents. Her favorite pets. Her horses. There was even one of her beloved grandmother who’d passed away years ago. But not a single picture of Adam was on display. So there was at least one good thing about getting caught and losing her job: she didn’t have to hide her relationship with Adam Taylor from anyone. Not from her boss. Nor her co-workers. Not from her parents or even the general public. There was something freeing about finally being able to let the world know that he was her man.
She was already coming to terms with being unemployed, and in a few hours she’d be back in Adam’s arms. So maybe her life wasn’t over. Maybe it was just beginning.
Or maybe she was too optimistic for her own good.
Adam’s jaw hardened, and he jerked the sketch pad from Jacob’s hands. He couldn’t have anything to himself on this fucking tour bus.
“Is that your lyrics notebook?” Jacob asked.
Adam shoved the sketch pad under his bunk mattress, not sure why he was hiding it. It wasn’t as if anyone respected his privacy. “Yeah. So?”
“It’s almost empty.” Jacob lifted his eyebrows. “Except for sketches of boobs and eagles.”
Adam shook his head and tried to stifle a grin. Jacob never coddled him—which was good—but he also never cut him a break, which frequently pissed Adam off.
“Yeah, well, there’s nothing inspiring about being on a tour bus with a bunch of dicks.” He didn’t really think his bandmates were dicks. But on this particular occasion, Jacob was definitely being a dick.
Jacob tilted his head, his brow knitted with confusion. “So what have you been doing when you lock yourself in the back of the bus? Jacking off? I thought you were writing. You usually find all your inspiration while on tour.”
But not this tour. Adam didn’t know what the problem was. He wanted to write songs. He tried to write songs. He did lock himself in the back bedroom with his guitar and his sketch pad. But he ended up staring at the blank page for hours, nothing coming to him. His mind was as blank as the page that mocked him. When they were on tour he usually wrote page after page of lyrics, so many that when the band sat down after a tour to write songs for a new album, they had to reel in his superfluous output. He’d never had a creative dry spell while on tour. Of course, he’d spent their last three tours high out of his mind. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was the problem. Maybe his drug abuse had fueled his creativity, and the outpouring of lyrics had nothing to do with the excitement of the tour.
“We still have months on the road,” Adam said. “I’m sure I’ll have plenty of material by the end of the tour.”
But he wasn’t sure. Not even a little sure. In fact, he was starting to panic that he wouldn’t be able to come up with anything usable and that Sole Regret would be over. Or worse, that they’d replace him with someone who wouldn’t let them down.
“Maybe we should collaborate on this album,” Jacob said. “I know you like to see your name as head composer of all our music—”