Home > Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)(12)

Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)(12)
Author: Lauren Blakely

I take a breath and finish my work for the day on the Kiersten White–style historical epic, with a heroine so badass she doesn’t have a moment to wallow in dreams not coming true. Not when heads are rolling in the courts of yesteryear.

After I leave the in-house production studio, I find the audio manager waiting for me in a hallway lined with framed movie-poster-size images of the publishing house’s most popular titles. A gleam of pride flickers inside me—I narrated three of those ten. The last one is adjacent to a framed image of a new TV show the house’s sister network launched last year, with the rest of the TV pictures extending down the wall.

Angie waggles her fingers at me. “I heard a little bit of your work today. The battle scene was chilling.” She shudders as if recalling the multiple impalements suffered on the battlefield, Game of Thrones–style. Her blue eyes are big and sparkly behind her rhinestone-studded glasses.

“Teens in the middle ages give new meaning to the word fierce. I almost felt like I was back in those days, though I’m glad I’m not. Only partly because of the risk of beheading.”

She laughs. “As am I. Both because of the beheading, and because I can’t give up my modern conveniences.” She winks. “Like my e-reader or my smartphone.”

“Ditto,” I say as we head to the elevator. I adjust my ponytail. I loved that blonde wig, but having my natural dark color feels more . . . me. I returned to my regular hairdo after leaving Miller this morning. The wig is tucked neatly at the bottom of my purple purse.

Angie hits the down button at the bank of elevators and says she’ll see me tomorrow. But before she can trot back to her desk, she swivels around, smacking her forehead. “I almost forgot to tell you. I know you’re eager to try new genres, so I’ve been looking into some potential new projects for you. Hoping something will work out soon.”

I mentally cross my fingers, but play it cool. “That all sounds good to me. Looking forward to mixing it up.”

Angie smiles slyly. “I’ll keep you posted.”

As I zip down to the main floor, I count off how much time I have before I need to pick up Chloe from her photography class—about an hour and a half. It’s a cold day, but I have my new purple mittens and a matching hat, so maybe I’ll walk home from Midtown to Chelsea for the extra exercise. The cold air always clears my head.

I need to return to the right zone before I talk to Miller again. The friendship zone, that is. I need to let go of the idea that we might have played well together.

But when I step outside, Miller’s waiting. He looks like a dog wearing a dog shaming sign. He actually holds up his phone, and the screen reads: This isn’t an apology balloon.

I chuckle. “I told you. No apology balloons necessary.”

“And see? I listened.” That grin of his isn’t toothpaste-commercial ready. It’s sheepish, but it also says he has a secret.

He must, or why would he be standing in the middle of Midtown on a crisp winter day with the phone sign in one hand and a honey bear and a bottle of lotion in the other? “Who is your friend? Also, how did you know where I was?” I point to the skyscraper where the publisher is housed, right across from Rockefeller Center and its huge, lit Christmas tree overseeing the ice rink.

“You said you had a Casey Stern book to work on, so I looked up her publisher, and she’s with Butler Press. Ergo, you would be at Butler Press, and I figured you’d be done.”

I give a low whistle. “Impressive detective work.” The fact that he’s here makes me feel hopeful I didn’t push our friendship beyond what it could handle. “Hey, we’re all good. Let’s just move on. Whoever you sing with, I’m sure they will be amazing. And you know I’ll be your biggest fan.”

I flash him a bright smile, and I feel it inside me too. This morning was such a small blip in the history of our friendship—I won’t let it change a damn thing.

He takes a beat, shuffles his feet, and tilts his head. “But what if I didn’t want you to be my biggest fan?”

He stuffs his phone into his pocket then hands me the lotion. It’s lavender-scented. He thrusts the honey bear at me next. I put two and two together and catch my breath at the possibility he’s had a change of heart.

“Miller,” I say slowly, as a pack of men in business suits and trench coats march past us, heads bent over their smartphones. “Are you saying . . .?”

He nods, his familiar smile returning to its rightful place. “Do you want to be Hashtag ZimmerHart?”

I laugh in the middle of Fifth Avenue as rush-hour crowds race by. “Yes, but that’s the worst name ever for a band.”

“Worse than Savory Gerbils?”

I crinkle my nose, as I drop the honey bear and the lotion into my purse. “You have me there. Also, please tell me there isn’t a band called that?”

He shudders. “No, but there almost was.”

“Spill.”

“Once upon a time, Miles had a pair of pet gerbils when he was eight. He used to joke that he was going to start his own band and name it for his gerbils, Sweet and Savory. When he joined us, we told him we’d let him into the band, but only if we could change the name to the Gerbils.”

I smirk in delight at the tale of their brotherly antics. “What did he say?”

“He said he’d be fine with that, but he preferred we called ourselves the Savory Gerbils. He passed the test of loyalty, so we let him in.”

“And to think the Heartbreakers might have been called the Savory Gerbils.”

“Or we could be, since you hate Hashtag ZimmerHart.” Miller frowns dramatically.

“I despise it the way a rogue princess despises warring clans who threaten her homeland.” I straighten my spine, neat and tall. “A new name it shall be,” I say, like I’m royally decreeing.

He rubs his palms together. “All right, let’s get cracking on names.” He stares at the sky as if in thought, and as he does, I take a moment to let the reality sink in. We’re doing this. He changed his mind. I’m going to sing with my best friend. I nearly break out into a tap-dance, Gene Kelly “Singin’ in the Rain”–style.

“Do you want to be the Apology Balloon Buddies instead?” Miller asks.

Laughing, I shake my head. “No. But what made you change your mind? I thought you were worried earlier about our friendship.”

His expression turns serious. “I was. I am. But then I watched the video of us singing, and we looked good together.”

“I want to see that.”

He grabs his phone and swipes the screen, showing me a few seconds. “Damn,” I whistle, as I watch how I sashayed and sidled right up to him. I tap my finger to my tongue then the screen, and make a sizzling sound.

He closes the clip. “Jackson wants to make a mini doc of us forming a band for his scholarship submission for a media program. It should pay a big chunk of his school if he nabs it.”

I bounce on my toes. “That sounds like an amazing opportunity.”

“It is. I’m psyched for him. But I’m psyched for us too, if we can do this right. I figure if we’re mature and thoughtful, we can make it work. Do you want to try it for a month? Like a test run? What’s the worst that can happen in a month?”

I’m a glass-half-full person, so I turn his words around. “Or what’s the best that can happen in a month?”

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