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We’ve been on tour for just two months but it feels like a century. It’s a good thing I need these guys or I would have fatally hurt them weeks ago. It does not help my case to be the only girl. Those guys are just too darn protective to the point that I’m considering stealing my brother, Gabriel’s paintball gun and just taking them all out. You know how the Secret Service is major protective of the President. Multiply that by twelve and you’ll understand how protective they are of me.
What’s worse is that my own father encourages them. He’s always saying, ‘Don’t let Bloom out of your sight’ or ‘if anything happens to Bloom, they will never find you.’ I am completely surrounded by nut bars so you must understand if my feelings get away from me and somebody finds my shoe in their eye. I’m just saying.
“You ready,” Johnnie asked me as we all waited backstage. I nodded. We were doing another show at some really fancy charity event and honestly the shows are the best part of it all. I didn’t know I loved performing so much, but I guess I do. So we did our thing on the stage and finished up with our hit, “Fairytale”, that first song I learned. I found myself a table so I could rest my legs while the dudes went ‘Babe hunting.’ I am so serious, that’s what they call it. Chicks dig dudes in bands. My band mates and brothers are such lecherous, chauvinistic pigs but that’s being nice.
I don’t care what they do but if any of the chicks touch any of my stuff, they’ll understand why I’m the fiery one.
I was seated very comfortably and my chair even had cushions. I was in a really cute dress that hugged me but didn’t cut off my oxygen. It was a black tie formal sort of thing so the dress was sort of mandatory. All I know is that I was screaming for my pajamas and bedroom slippers.
“Excuse me, miss. May I sit here?” asked this guy about my age, maybe older, and he sounded Italian.
“Sure,” I said.
He sat down without hesitation. He looked really tired, “Man I hate these things,” he murmured.
“You mean you hate charity?” I asked. What a jerk.
“I didn’t say that,” he replied. “I wouldn’t call this charity anyway. It’s just an excuse for all these blue bloods to feel good about spending their money on other less charitable things.” He looked disgusted.
“Man, do you have a chip on your shoulder,” I said. The guy was cute and about this time I’m hoping my hair is still in the place I had it before the show and my dress still looks as good as it did when I bought it. I looked down at my feet and am glad that I knew better than to wear heels. I opted for fashionable flats instead.
“It’s not a chip, Madame, it’s my lovable cynicism,” he replied. He smiled and I thought I could die right then.
“Since when was cynicism lovable?” I asked curiously.
“When it got me this conversation with you,” he said.
“Smooth,” I said. I was sitting across the table from a hot Italian and he was hitting on me. Life is just too good.
“Hey, I try,” he said.
“Are you a blue blood?” I asked. He nodded.
“How about you?” he asked.
“No such luck, I gotta’ sing for my food,” I replied.
“You sing very well, by the way,” he said.
“Thank you,” I said smiling.
“Count Contiello," a guy that appeared out of nowhere said. Your mother requests your company.”
“You’re a count,” I gasped under my breath.
“Don’t hold that against me,” he whispered. “Don’t leave, okay?”
“I can’t make any promises, Count Contiello,” I said bowing slightly in my chair.
“You’re cute,” he laughed as he backtracked from me towards his mother.
“And you’re officially out of my reach,” I whispered to myself.
“Why do you say that?” Paul asked. He had a brunette named Yvette on his arm. He had figured out that there was absolutely no point in waiting for me so he was searching for other options. So was I, and he was an Italian Count named Contiello.
“Didn’t say anything, Paul,” I said.
“Who’s your friend?” Yvette asked Paul.
“Meet Bloom Cross, lead singer of Walking Back Words,” Paul announced.
“I was ever so impressed by your performance, Miss Cross,” said Yvette so eloquently that I thought I would barf. And she was turning her nose up at me as if I were the help (not that there was anything wrong with being the help, I suck at cleaning anyway.)
“So was I,” said a voice that came from behind the two of them. Oh my gosh. Things are about to get interesting.
“It’s the Count,” screamed Yvette as she spun around.
“Nice to see you again, Miss Yvette,” said Contiello as he rubbed his ears. “How’s your family.”
“Fine,” Yvette said. Man, is she eloquent.
Contiello looked past Paul and Yvette and looked straight at me. “Miss Bloom Cross, was it? I was wondering if you’d honor me with a dance.” OMG! OMG! OMG!
“It would be my pleasure,” I said taking his hand as he reached to me. I don’t know why I was being so articulate. That prissy Yvette with her eloquence just made me so upset that I just wanted to see her face when I danced with her precious count. Some people call me vindictive and that’s not true. It’s just if you treat me in a way that doesn’t seem right, I’ll do the same to you. Hey, I’m rhyming.
We waltzed around the room to the classical music coming from the musical ensemble that the older people hired for the older generations. I like classical and I don’t care what anyone says.
“So you are Bloom Cross?” Contiello asked.
“Looks that way,” I answered. He laughed. It was so weird. His laugh made me all giggly like that time with Paul and it felt like I had danced with him before. “And you didn’t quite make your introduction, Count Contiello.”
“Oh, pardon me,” he said. “I am Count Benvenuto Marcello Contiello, but please call me Benny.”
“So what is the point of this charitable, non-charity event, Benny,” I asked.
“My parents said it was for Habitats for Humanity but who really knows.”
“So your parents are holding this event?”
“Yeah,” he said.
I looked around at all the gala dresses and suits. The band and I didn’t stand out or anything but it’s just weird that they’d invite us. “Why’d they invite us?”
“They didn’t, I did,” he replied. “I saw you guys on TV and I knew you had to be here. And if I had to listen to classical all night, I’d be pulling out all of my hair.”
“Don’t even think about downing Mahler,” I said.
He nodded, “Mahler’s cool but that’s about it.”
“Ben, Mahler doesn’t even scratch the surface but seriously I don’t feel like schooling you on classical music right now.”
“Maybe some other time,” Benny said with a grin.
“Maybe,” I said with a shrug. I changed the subject, “So you arranged for us to perform?”
“Yeah,” said Benny. “You guys are good. You’re not so bad to look at and unlike most of the stars from your country, you actually can sing.”
“Wow dude,” I said. “That’s kind of harsh or it would be harsh if you weren’t right.”
He laughed, “That why I like you, Bloom Cross. You can actually make me laugh. Greater ones have tried and failed.”
“They’re trying too hard,” I said simply.
“Bloom, it’s time to go!” my dad yelled over to me. I let go of Benny and like Cinderella, was ready to make my exit.
Before I could go, Benny grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear, “Tell me you'll be back?”
I gently pulled his hand from my arm and said, “You'll be back.” And like Cinderella, I rushed away from my count before I could change my mind and let everything turn back into that stupid pumpkin. The clock struck 12 and we were gone.