"Ican't believe you still haven't replaced this thing," Jon said, as he swerved Minnie out of the driveway to Wishcliffe Hall and headed for the cliffs.
Beside him, Lucy shrugged. "It's reliable. Loyal. Hasn't let me down yet."
Jon winced. All the things he hadn't proved to be, he supposed.
Maybe it was better to avoid conversations about the past altogether and focus on the now instead. "I think it went well tonight, don't you?"
"It was okay," Lucy allowed, which, honestly, was more than he'd expected to get out of her. "Good to know you haven't forgotten how to play entirely, now you can just afford to get others in to do it for you, or rely on autotune to fix it whenever you screw up the vocals."
"I never—" He broke off as he saw Lucy grinning at him from the passenger seat. "Still trying to get a rise out of me, huh?"
She shrugged. "You're still unnaturally calm. A good blow-out argument would do you a world of good."
"Perhaps." Or perhaps it would ruin any chance of a reconciliation with his childhood best friend. Not a chance he was willing to take.
He could almost feel Lucy rolling her eyes beside him as he refused to take the bait. "Anyway, what with all the impromptu performing and all, you haven't had a chance to tell me what you're doing back in old Wishcliffe."
Another question he didn't want to answer. "And you haven't told me how you came to be performing with The Songbirds. I thought you were going to go solo after I left."
"Got lonely," she answered succinctly. "And you? International stardom get a bit boring, or what?"
"Something like that."
He should have known that wouldn't be enough to satisfy her curiosity. "Something like, or exactly that? I mean, getting bored of Wishcliffe I could almost understand. But bored of life in Nashville, recording your own songs, playing to sell out stadiums… Yeah, I'm not seeing that."
"Maybe it wasn't all it's cracked up to be," he said, shortly.
"No, that's not it." Something in her voice made him glance over, just quickly, as it was never a good idea to take his eyes off the roads on these cliff paths. But even a swift glance was enough to show him the intensity in her eyes. Oh, great. She'd got a theory into her head now and she wouldn't let it go until she'd proved it right or wrong. She'd been the same way when they were kids, about everything from secret crushes to teachers' private lives.
He waited. She'd tell him her theory soon enough, he was sure.
Finally, she threw herself back in the passenger seat, arms folded across her chest, and announced, "I think it was a woman that drove you away. Failed romance? Or unrequited love? Or, ooh, maybe she wanted you too much and you didn't want to commit?"
"Or maybe I was just homesick." Jon turned the wheel into the driveway of his cottage, enjoying the look of surprise on her face at the sight of it. "And so I came home."
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