I could lie in bed like this forever and never get bored. Waking up next to the woman I love is a high point of my day. Sky is still sleeping next to me, and I refuse to wake her up before I have to. She only had a few weeks off after her European tour, and this is the last free day before we start touring in North America.
She fits perfectly against me as if she is made for me. I’m tempted to steal her away for myself. If I were even a little bit more selfish, I’d do just that. But I know I can’t.
Sky lives for her music and her fans. She would finish her tour no matter what. Her passion is just one of the things I love about her. It’s also a reminder of who I used to be.
Before the lavish parties, drinking, and drugs, there was always the music. That was who I was as Savage Saban. The music was at the core of my identity.
But who am I now? There is no more hiding. My life as Brody Kent disappears each day that the media and fans learn about my outing. I don’t regret it.
When I sang for Sky, it reminded me of the life I left behind, the high points mostly. I was in the moment and had to show her how much she meant to me.
Ever since then, the press and gossip rags have been persistent.
The demons of my past slip further away with each day I hold Sky in my arms and she tells me she loves me.
As if knowing I’m thinking about her, she stirs next to me.
I run my finger up her arm, and she sighs. I can’t stop myself from kissing her. Sky’s lips make me think of exotic fruit when I kiss her, so soft and sweet that I can’t help but crave more of her.
She doesn’t need much tempting before she’s kissing me back and entangling her fingers in my hair. In bed is one of the few times I wear it down, and her hands always finds the loose strands to get lost in.
I groan into her as her naked breasts brush against my chest. As much as I want to continue my erotic exploration, I also know the day that waits for us. It takes all my effort to pull away from her.
“You can’t wake me up like that and expect me to stop,” she says with a wicked grin on her lips.
“I couldn’t help it,” I say. “You were too delicious to resist, but we have to get up. You have an early press meeting this morning to discuss the tour.”
“Don’t you mean we have a press meeting? I thought you were doing it with me.”
“Yeah about that, it may be better if they don’t interview me again. This is your tour, Sky. I’m just playing one set with you.”
“You’re still a big part of it, Brody. You’re my manager now, and people still love you. Those videos fans posted online of you singing for me have gone viral, and the tour has sold out since then. It makes sense that you’d be by my side for it.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. If I do this press conference with you, it’ll take all the attention off of your tour and turn it into an interrogation of me. I know it.” We’ve been lucky so far. People are focusing on my moment of singing for Sky. All they want is our love story, but I know how easily that can shift. Whenever I do an interview with Sky, I know it only takes one reporter to ask a question that’ll send all of them searching for gossip like dogs with sweet bone.
She shrugs and smiles. “I wouldn’t mind sharing the spotlight. Like some people say, all press is good press.”
I can’t help but laugh at that as I pull her close to me. “Could you tell my old rocker self that? He was on the side of bad press plenty of times.” My smile fades as I remember some of the depressing headlines that sold to readers ready to believe anything about their idols. The worst ones came after Kim’s death.
The press was all so ready to tail my life after she died. I couldn’t go anywhere without them following me. I had to disappear and find a rehabilitation center in the middle of nowhere before they finally gave up. I can’t bring that craziness into Sky’s career, no matter how much she loves me.
“Hey,” she says, rubbing my cheek. I’m sure she feels the stumble that lingers there. “Where’d you go?”
“Just thinking I’ll sit this one out if that’s okay with you.”
“If you think that’s best, I don’t mind. You are my manager for a reason.” She kisses me with more determination this time and makes it even harder for me to let her go.
“That feels like you’re trying to get sexual favors from your manager.”
“Even if you were my set designer, I’d still claim sexual favors.”
“Good thing I’m easy then.” I nuzzle her neck and plant more kisses on her before we’re forced to get out of bed by the annoying alarm I set the night before on my phone.
Sky showers while I go over her itinerary for the tour and check in to make sure everything’s on schedule. Tomorrow night is the first show of the tour in Seattle. I double and triple check with each location and hotel. Sky’s entrusted me with so much, and I’ll be damned if I let that woman down.
Still there’s an unsettling nag in me. It’s not the responsibility. I know my shit when it comes to the music business. From negotiations to making sure the staff knows what they need to do so nothing goes wrong, I’m on top of it all.
Then it hits me. I’m happy. The last time I felt something similar was when The Savages were at their Zenith. When Kim was by my side. I rode the wave until it crashed down on me.
I finally have a woman who knows my messy past in completion and is still with me despite it. What’s stopping another crash from spiraling into the new good in my life?
I shake the ominous feeling off. It’s nothing. Probably anxiousness from the endless tasks that need to be done, but I don’t mind the busywork. It keeps me focused.
Malik, Sky’s most trusted head bodyguard, meets us in the hallway as we leave the hotel suite. He is an imposing figure in both muscle and height, but he has become a friend since I’ve been with Sky. He is one of the few people I trust to always make sure Sky is safe on all fronts.
He gives us a nod. “Morning Sky, Brody.”
I give him an appreciative nod.
“Morning, Malik,” Sky says. “Everything ready downstairs?”
“All the news outlets are here and ready for you,” Malik says. “Sure you’re up for this and what they may ask this time?”
He doesn’t have to look my way for all of us to know what he means. Seems like I’m not the only one worried about the media bringing up more than our relationship. They can be kind when they want to be. They also know how to dig the knife deeper in the wound, too. It’s just some of the territory that comes with being famous.
Sky takes my hand. “We’re ready.”
A small smile appears on Malik’s face but it disappears just as quickly. As Sky’s head of security, he’s got the intimidation look down to perfection.
“Let’s do it,” Malik says. He takes the lead and another one of his men joins us in the elevator as we go to face the sharks.
Sky is a pro as she faces nonstop questions from the press representatives. I don’t know why I was so fucking nervous. It’s just another thing to add to the list of reasons why I love that woman.
It helps that the line of questioning stays on the tour and her music. She’s direct when she needs to be and coy when they least expect it. If she’d been The Savages’s press spokeswoman back in the day, the journalists wouldn’t have known what hit them.
Then one woman holds her hand up. I recognize her from a prominent music magazine in LA. Her people don’t cover Skyler Samuelson kind of music. It’s hardcore rock all the way from classics to indie.
Knowing this fills me with the start of dread. What could she possibly ask Sky?
“Loni from Grunge Nation,” the woman says. “Is it true Savage Saban is your new manager?”
Of course she asks a question that sets off a firestorm of others.
Sky gives her the smile she’s perfected for the public. Only I notice the small shift in her body, the one that shows the small tension in her shoulders.
“That’s true,” Sky says. “A damn good one at that, but he’s Brody to me.”
“Isn’t that a little odd?” Loni asks. “Dating your manager?”
Sky leans over the press table. “You work for a music magazine, Loni. You should know in this business nothing’s ever odd. Next question about the tour.”
I take a breath, happy she’s able to redirect the topic. I should have known she’d be able to handle herself.
“Does that mean you fired your mother?” another reporter asks.
“It means we have creative differences. That’s all,” Sky says.
“Isn’t such a drastic change like that risky before the domestic leg of your tour?” a guy in a blazer over a plain t-shirt asks.
“Not when she has my full support,” a voice in the back of the room says.
Everyone turns to the voice as Skylar’s mother stands up.
The woman wears heavy eye makeup and matching lipstick, a bright leather jacket fits her like she found the most exotic animal in the world and had it shot for her pleasure to wear it, and a gaudy string of pearls wraps around her neck. There is no doubt about it. She’s dressed to be noticed.
“Mrs. Samuelson?” long asks. “Does this mean you and your daughter still work together?”
Her mother smiles. “My daughter and I may have had a few disagreements in the past, but she’s still my daughter, and I stand by her choices as an artist.”
“Even her rumored performance with Savage Saban on her North American tour?” another reporter asks.
She looks over at her daughter and smiles. “Of course. I think having Savage Saba perform with Sky is a brilliant idea.”
“I don’t like this,” Malik says as he moves up to me. “Wish I could snatch her out of there.”
I nod. “You’re not the only one. I just hope her mother doesn’t cause more trouble for Sky.”
“Knowing her mother, that’s more likely than not.”
All I can do is watch as the press scene unfolds and hope the woman cared enough for her daughter to not embarrass her in a room full of cameras ready to capture everything on film.