It was a risk, blurting out her question like that, but Lucy had never been very good at subtle, anyway. She preferred to face things head-on.
Another difference between her and Jon.
Even now, here at Sailaway, she could see him shrinking away from the conversation.
It was strange; Jon had never been a timid person, or shy in any way, really. He'd always had that star quality that lit up a room, the ability to make friends with everyone—one she'd certainly never developed—and the incredible charisma that shone off him when he stood on a stage and sang.
Nobody in Wishcliffe had really been that surprised when Jon Abbott had gone all the way to becoming a star. But Lucy suspected that everyone except her would be astonished to see him back.
But then, she knew Jon better than anyone else. And she knew what he looked like when he was hiding from something—especially some sort of confrontation.
He looked like this.
"Well?" she pressed. "Are you going to tell me why you're here?"
His smile was self-deprecating, and he lifted the beer bottle to his lips again and took another sip before answering her. "You're not buying homesickness?"
He sighed, dropping his arm so his bottle dangled between his fingers at the side of his chair. "I just… It all got a bit much, is all."
"The wild success and fame?"
Ah. Okay, that she could buy. "What did they want you to do?"
"More of the same, again and again, faster than I could write it." He sighed. "I feel ridiculous even complaining about it. But…I was spending all my time trying to churn out new songs, recording them over and over but never really performing them, not the way we did tonight, and it just…"
"Wore you down," Lucy finished for him. "I can see that."
Jon had always loved performing most of all. It was his favourite part about playing together—sending new music out into a crowd and seeing their reaction in real time, not on social media after a new track dropped online. She was the one who loved the writing.
"I owe the label a new album and I just… I couldn't write it there. Couldn't hear the music, you know? So I came here hoping I'd find it again. And instead…I found you."
His gaze clashed with hers as he said the words, and suddenly Lucy could see so much more in his eyes than she'd imagined. Past all the waves of his self-doubt and his disappointment to something she'd not seen anywhere since the day he'd left town.
No. Since the night before. The night she'd spent in his arms, in his bed. The night she'd never really got over in the two years since.
She swallowed. "You found me."
What did that even mean?
Jon's slow smile told her she was about to find out.
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