Contemporary Fiction

It had been twenty-four years since she’d last seen it, but the place looked exactly the same.

Heartbreak Hotel.

Yes, that Heartbreak Hotel. Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel. It was real. Anyone who’s ever had a broken heart can testify.

Apparently, she was skilled at keeping it in the family. Or in the band, as it were. She deserved her broken heart. After all, she had broken one of the band’s cardinal rules: no office romances.

Twenty-four years ago, the lead singer of her band had broken her heart. They were both sixteen. Twenty-four years later, the man on the keys in her band had broken her heart. The problem with having a broken heart is that those little cracks can let in all manner of strange things, wonderful things.

Perfect things.

He was the lead singer’s new assistant. The lead singer had…issues. His assistants were only human so with astonishing regularity, they never lasted more than six months in his employ.

This new assistant held promise.

This new assistant held her gaze for one second too long during the on-boarding meeting.

Nope. No thank you. She was not boarding that kind of Titanic relationship. She was determined to keep things professional, especially since her two former love interests were almost always in the vicinity, a constant, painful reminder that office romances rarely ended well.

This new assistant was…

How could someone so young possess so much…so much…Just. So. Much! For goodness sake, when she was checking into Heartbreak Hotel for the first time, he was a toddler!

He really needed to respect his elders. Parading around in those tight t-shirts and tight jeans was completely unacceptable. She should call a meeting to discuss a change in the dress code. Yes, they were a rock band but it was about time that all the assistants wore suits and ties like respectable human beings. This was not a brothel!

To add insult to injury, the new assistant was so nice! A perfect gentleman, despite the shameless display of his…assets. He addressed her politely, treated her with respect, patiently listened to her complain about the other band members.

He seemed to be especially fascinated by his new boss, the lead singer. He went as far as calling him his mentor! Apparently, he had always been a big fan of the band and especially of the lead singer.

She was such a big fan of his tight t-shirts and tight jeans and long, lingering gazes….

She was so confused! And thirsty! And forty!

The man on the keys noticed. He became suspicious of the new assistant. Jealousy. Of course it was jealousy, sprinkled with a healthy dose of male territorial nonsense. He couldn’t have the toy so he didn’t want any other man to have it.

Toy. She was sure the new assistant was toying with her. Why else would he always show up when she was swimming? She had loved going for a swim first thing in the morning until he started swimming in the morning. All that bare skin and rippling muscles…

She switched her swimming routine to evenings.

All that bare skin and rippling muscles in the evening…

She mixed up her schedule, swam every other day, twice a day, at noon, at midnight, at three in the morning.

The bare skin and rippling muscles followed her.

Was she being paranoid?

It was best to grab the bull by the bare skin and rippling muscles.

“Are you stalking me?” It was a valid question. Stalking came with the territory. It was just one of the dangers in her line of business.

He looked genuinely perplexed.

“Then why are you always there when I’m swimming?”

He explained that he loved swimming, that he had listed it as one of his hobbies in the job application form, that he had even mentioned it during the on-boarding meeting, when he told them the story of how he had saved a close friend from drowning.


She must have been distracted. The same way she was distracted now. Look at all that bare skin and rippling muscles. She could feel a song rising up in her.

The other band members were going to notice the strange slant her lyrics had taken. She was very socially conscious so most of her songs were about social justice and environmental justice. Now, she was writing songs of longing and angst. Then there was that one song about how she wanted to be someone’s coffee mug…

Enough was enough.

She scheduled a meeting with him. He arrived earlier than her. She cut to the chase. Bared her heart. He listened attentively, as always. He confessed that he was attracted to her but that he was also passionate about his new job and would like to keep it. He suggested that they take it slow, that they try to be friends first.

She made the unfortunate discovery that common sense can actually be a turn on.

The pressure was off but it was still simmering quietly, biding its time, waiting for that friend label to wear off.

Oh, the danger of hope.

She could live with that. Maybe the third time would be the charm. And if it all turned out to be a mistake, well, like in that Sheryl Crow song, he would definitely be her favourite mistake.

On his day off, the new assistant checked into the headquarters to hand in his latest report. Now that he had gained the trust - and lust - of Target Beta, Phase One of the plan was complete. His superiors and team members were pleased. He was granted permission to proceed with Phase Two: use Target Beta to gather incriminating Intel on Target Alpha, his new boss, the lead singer of the band.

Target Beta was nice. In fact, all the band members were nice. Even the man on the keys who was suspicious of him. Even Target Alpha, underneath all his various...issues.

He experienced a moment of doubt. Doubt was danger in his line of business so he quickly shook it off. He had a mission to complete and that was all that mattered.

November 20, 2020 04:03

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