Home > Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)(4)

Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)(4)
Author: Lauren Blakely

He drapes an arm around me and squeezes. “Just messing with you. I’d miss you like crazy.” He lets go of my shoulder. “And I decided to take another piece of his advice.”

“What’s that?”

He holds his arms out wide. “I want to sing with a woman.”

On Sixth Avenue, at four in the afternoon, my blood freezes.

I’ve no idea why this news turns me to an icicle, so I do my best to find some morsel of warmth inside me. I try to muster a laugh, but all that comes out is a tight, “That’s going to be great.”

“You think so?”

I nod robotically. “Of course.”

“Too bad we’d be absolutely terrible singing together. Otherwise, I’d say it should be you and me.”

“We’re like orange juice on cereal.”

We’ve attempted karaoke. We’ve sung a few times at Christmas parties. You’d think we’d sound great together—he’s a former teen idol who played in arenas with his brothers, and I used to sing duets to the tune of millions of views on YouTube.

But our styles simply don’t mesh.

My voice is a church voice. His is a rocker’s.

“You’ll find someone who sounds amazing with you,” I say in my best supportive tone, even though there’s a part of me that desperately wishes it were me.

I wish, too, that I understood why I want that.

Chapter 3


Chloe emerges from the therapist’s office, giving me a quick wave then shoving her sleek auburn hair off her face.

“Hey, Monkey,” I say, using the nickname I bestowed on her years ago when she scurried to the top of the rock climbing wall at the park in the blink of an eye.

“Hi, Aunt Ally. Hi, Miller.”

He offers a fist for knocking, and she knocks back.

“Are you ready to become a medieval architect and build the most awesome castle in the world?” he asks.

“I think so. Especially since Dr. Jane said I’m fixed now.”

I laugh lightly and give her a squeeze. “You were never broken, Monkey.”

She shrugs as we walk down the avenue, heading to our apartment. “I kind of was, Aunt Ally.”

“No, you kind of weren’t.”

She stares sharply at me over her green glasses—she picked out the color to match her eyes. “Maybe a little broken? Like a plate with a crack?”

I wish I could take credit for her dry sense of humor, but she arrived on my doorstep that way. Deadpan, direct, and honest. She tells it like it is.

“Not like a plate at all,” I insist. I don’t want her to think there’s anything wrong with her simply because life handed her a short stick when she lost her mom at age six, on top of not having a dad in the picture.

“Dr. Jane says I’m almost done, especially since I sat with Hannah and Hailey at lunch this week.”

Miller cheers for her. “That’s awesome. You’ve wanted to do that the last few weeks.”

Chloe nods. “Dr. Jane said sometimes when you figure out what you want, you just need to go for it.”

Once we’re back at my apartment, the two of them work on the castle as I demonstrate my dinner-ordering prowess, including tracking down Pixy Stix for Miller. As they finish the castle, I grab my knitting bag and complete a pair of purple mittens I’ve been working on, since mittens rule. Once the project is done and Chloe is reading in her room, Miller and I play a sudden-death game of Bananagrams. We’re neck and neck the whole time, but I keep thinking about the therapist’s advice.

It’s simple advice so I ask myself what I want.

I want to support Chloe, to provide for her in a way her parents couldn’t. I want to make sure we always have a cushion since that’s something she never had either. With my brother moving out of state, we won’t be able to make our music videos, and we’ll lose some of our YouTube money.

But there are other things I want too.

To expand. To push myself. To challenge myself.

Figure out what you want and go for it.

Over the next several days, as I slip into the persona of a jaded teen dealing with an inheritance of dolls, I find the answer.

There is something I want, and I think I know what I need to do to get it.

Chapter 4


I strut down Madison Avenue, listening to some kick-ass rock songs that fire me up. There’s nothing like a little mix of The Rolling Stones, Foster the People, and Muse to make a day even better. I’m an omnivore when it comes to genres—rock, jazz, pop, country. If it’s good, I’ll gobble it up. I’m like Owen Wilson in Starsky and Hutch—I’ll take anything.

Right now, I’m enjoying Muse’s cover of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

As I turn the corner, the chorus blasts in my ears, I’m bouncing in my Vans, and the December sun is shining brightly. The sun knows what it’s talking about because this day is going to be killer. I have a little silver laptop in my messenger bag, and more than two hundred auditions to listen to.

Life is good.

I turn into Dr. Insomnia’s Tea and Coffee Emporium, where Campbell has promised to meet me later this afternoon, after I sift through the first batch of these sure-to-blow-me-away auditions.

“Hey, Tommy, what’s shaking?” I say to the guy who owns the shop.

“Not much, Miller. Want the usual?” he asks, offering a hand for one of those frat-style, made-up, secret shakes. I never rushed a frat in college. I glance down at my jeans, band T-shirt, and skater jacket. I am so not a frat boy. But I know Tommy well, so I’ve mastered the fist-bump, slap, smack back.

“The usual sounds fantastic. Extra whipped cream, please?”

“Consider it done.”

A minute later, he slides a hot chocolate to me, made with whole milk, because life is too short to waste on coffee when there is sugar. I try to pay him, but he says my money’s no good here. Naturally, that makes me stuff a twenty in his tip jar. “Love you, bro.”

“Same to you.”

I grab a table in the back, pop on my big-ass headphones that make me look like the dude from Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back, and flip open my laptop. I have ladies about to croon into my eardrums, and chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth.

* * *

Two hours later, I’m absolutely dying. I’m literally dead on the table. I am a motherfucking doornail.

When Campbell strides into the shop, I barely lift my head. He raises one eyebrow and gives me his WTH look before heading to order a cup of joe.

Nothing comes between my bro and his joe.

With the cup in hand, he joins me, grabbing a chair and swiveling it around. He pats me on the shoulder. “Do I need to call in the medics to revive you? Have you overdosed on sugar? Is this like that time when we were ten and you decided to test every flavor of Skittles?”

I snap my gaze up, correcting him. “That was important scientific research. I verified that every flavor does indeed taste different, even if I had to eat five hundred Skittles to prove my hypothesis.”

“It was hilarious watching you bounce off the walls on a sugar high, but when the sugar crash hit, you tanked on the floor of the kitchen. We had to walk around your body like it was a corpse.”

“Thanks for taking care of my remains so thoughtfully,” I snort.

“A sugar corpse.” He leans back in his chair and takes a slug of his coffee. “What’s the story? Wait, don’t tell. I bet you discovered the pure pain of listening to auditions?”

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