The Blossom Step had been playing a show out in the Berkshires, but Cleo ended up staying at home after they left. She’d been to the last couple, so it wasn’t like Edie felt hurt that she didn’t go, not that she figured Edie would take anything like that personally to begin with. But the idea of a night to herself to get a little more used to the apartment was significantly more appealing than the two-hour drive to the New York line.
Around midnight, Cleo was sitting on the couch watching a horror movie when the front door opened and she heard footsteps on the stairwell. Pausing midway through a particularly gruesome murder, she turned to the door in time to hear it unlock. Then it swung open and Edie and her bandmates, Tyler and Ryan, came in.
It had been a little while since Cleo had actually talked to Tyler or Ryan for more than a moment at a time. They’d gotten together a couple times between the tour last winter and when Cleo had moved in, but nothing regular. And she saw them at shows, but usually they were so busy after their set that she only got a chance to say hi before they left. So even though she had been planning to go to bed soon, Cleo was excited to see them.
“Hey!” she called over from her nest of blankets on the couch. “I didn’t know you’d be here!”
Ryan grinned, shrugging off his leather jacket. “Yeah,” he said. “Little bit of a pit stop before we head home.”
“I told them they could stay, but you know how they are,” Edie said as they kicked off their shoes.
“We’re not staying long,” Ryan continued as he moved aside to let Tyler into the living room. “Me and Beth have plans in the morning so I have to get some sleep eventually.”
“They’re going to a winery in New Hampshire, it’s very fancy,” Tyler added with a laugh.
A few minutes later, Cleo was joined on the couch by Edie as the other two took the chairs. “How was the show?” she asked.
Tyler glanced over at the horror scene frozen on the television, then looked at her. “Good,” he said, looking slightly distracted as his gaze drifted again. “Yeah, good turnout.”
“Actually,” he continued. “I didn’t know you’d be here, but since you are, we wanted to talk to you.”
Suddenly nervous, Cleo glanced over at Edie. They didn’t seem stressed out at all, so there probably wasn’t anything to worry about, right? Noticing Tyler’s uneasy gaze flicking toward the gore onscreen again, she reached for the remote and turned off the television. “What’s up?” she asked.
“We’re hoping to go on tour again, probably in the spring,” he said. “Since last time went so well, would you be interested in going with us again?”
The answer was out almost before Tyler finished talking. Beside her, Edie reached over and ran their hand down her leg. “I hoped you’d say yes,” they said.
“We’re thinking of going a little bigger this time,” Ryan said from where he was slouched in the old recliner in the corner. “Maybe even go internationally. I have a buddy in the UK who books shows. We’d have to figure out the legalities of it, but he said he’d love to get us in at his place. He might have some connections with a few other places we could talk to too.”
It was like a bucket of adrenaline dumped into Cleo’s system all at once. Traveling to New Orleans to play had been almost unthinkable at this time last year. Now they were thinking of going to Europe? Apparently Andrew had been right. A few weeks off was exactly what she needed to get her life back on track.
Andrew. Nope, she wasn’t thinking about that right now. If he found out that she’d had any hesitation because of him, he’d probably get out of New Winslow through his rage alone.
“I’d love to,” she said. “Um, let me know exactly what you need from me. I’ve got a new album in the works, but I don’t have any shows booked in the near future.”
“Oh?” Ryan asked with a raised eyebrow. “Why not?”
“Just busy,” Cleo admitted. “I had a rough few months and I’m just getting back into it. But I’ll be back in shape for the tour, don’t worry.”
“Because we were so worried,” Tyler teased, rolling his eyes.
Edie squeezed her leg, then reached up for her hand. Still a little shaky, Cleo gripped it. Sure, she’d have to figure some things out before they left. And she really did need to book some more shows and write more than three half-finished songs for that album. But a bigger tour with The Blossom Step felt like the natural next stage of her career.
Tyler and Ryan stayed for another half hour. Cleo could tell that all three of them were exhausted after the show. Edie nearly fell asleep on Cleo’s shoulder twice before popping back up and joining the conversation again. Finally, the guys got up to go.
“Beth’s going to be waking me up at eight no matter what time I get home,” Ryan said as Tyler fished his car keys out of his pocket. “We’ll talk more about the tour soon.”
Cleo didn’t expect the pang of jealousy that hit her as Tyler and Ryan walked out, closing the apartment door behind them. They were going back home to Boston while she was staying out here in Fitchburg. But when she turned to face Edie, that jealousy faded out. Not completely, but enough that she almost couldn’t notice it as she leaned in to give Edie a kiss.
“I’m leaving early tomorrow,” Edie said as they headed toward the bedroom to get ready for bed. “So I might not be here when you wake up.”
“I’m working late,” Cleo said with a laugh as she pulled out her toothbrush. “But I’ll be home around eight or so.”
“Want to go on a date this weekend?”
Cleo laughed. “Absolutely!”
This was what living with a partner was? She got to have both that regular, casual interaction at home and the butterflies when that same person asked her out on a date? As they were going to bed a couple minutes later, Cleo thought she could definitely do this forever.