“Tragedy nearly struck in Dallas, Texas last night,” the radio announcer declared during the early morning newscast. Elayne and Serena were putting together appetizers for a party that was to be held that night and they both stopped to look at the radio that sat on the kitchen counter.
“A teenage girl was nearly trampled to death while she attended last night’s impromptu concert given by the pop sensation, the Middlemen. Sources report that the young woman was located on the street outside KYBT studios where the quintet was making a public appearance to promote their current tour. The fan turnout for the event was so overwhelming that the group decided to perform a quick set to thank the fans for coming out. Sixteen year old, Candace Williams, was among the few who were able to get close to the deck at the studio were the group were performing and was nearly crushed when the crowd surged forward in an attempt to get closer to the five superstars. No comment has been made so far from the Middlemen camp, but reports from other attendees of the event have said that the young woman didn’t appear to have fallen on her own. So far the Dallas authorities have verified nothing, but an investigation is underway. In other new-”
“Oh my goodness,” Elayne said as she moved to the counter to switch off the radio.
“That poor girl,” Serena whispered as her hand went to her mouth in horror. “When was the last time you talked to Scott?” she asked through her fingers.
It had been almost three weeks since Scott and the others had left town. Since then, he and Elayne had talked on the phone nearly every other day as the band traveled from town to town on rest of their grueling North American leg of the tour. Their conversations ranged from how the tour was going to the various parties that the Elayne and the others were catering. She always asked if there had been any sign of the black haired girl and she was relieved when he told her no. That meant that so far the charm was working.
Elayne found herself looking forward to the long conversations that she shared with the man, but tried to keep her enthusiasm to a minimum. After all, they had agreed to be friends, regardless of the kiss that they had shared in the elevator and the fact that Elayne knew they both wanted more.
The kiss was a memory that had warmed Elayne’s dreams at night. The realization that Scott found her attractive filled her heart with joy, but she understood his reservations. Any relationship between the two of them would be difficult to say the least, but she was prepared to bide her time and see what a friendship with him would be like. That was all Scott was willing to give at this point and she knew that he had a right to be cautious after the divorce.
“The day before last,” Elayne answered her fried absently as she went to the wall phone in the kitchen and picked up the receiver. She remembered the conversation well. They had just pulled into Dallas and Scott had been really excited about the appearance at the radio station the next day. Dallas was the group’s hometown and they had always been well received in the city. “He knew that the reception we did last night would run late so he said he would call me today.”
“I wonder if this has anything to do with the girl.” Serena commented with a frown. Elayne and the other members of the coven had been spending every spare minute since the night of the concert, trying to find a solution to the mysterious dark-haired girl that seemed to be plaguing Scott, but so far they had come up empty handed. Elayne knew that the Goddess would reveal to them the knowledge they needed when the time was right, but it was frustrating nonetheless to feel so helpless. Especially when it came to someone she cared about.
“Scott has made it a point to tell me every time that we’ve talked that nothing has happened, but this is different,” Elayne said as she held the phone in her hand, afraid to dial the Scott’s cell number. She was worried about what Scott’s state of mind would be and she wished that she could be there to comfort him. He would be blaming himself for the young woman who was hurt even if it wasn’t his fault.
“Maybe she’s realized that he’s been protected and now she’s trying to strike out at others around him,” Serena suggested. As a mother of three she was very caring about those in trouble and always did what she could to help out regardless if she knew them or not. Elayne understood all to well the point she was making.
She looked down at the phone in her hand and managed to gather her resolve enough to place the call. After three weeks of calling each other back and forth, she had Scott’s cell phone number memorized so she quickly dialed and waited for him to pick up.
“Hello,” a male voice that wasn’t Scott answered a few rings later.
“Hi, is Scott around?” Elayne asked the man on the other end. She was used to other people answering Scott’s phone, especially if he was doing a sound check or an interview and couldn’t pick up himself. After the first time when she had been hung up on, Scott had told her to tell whoever it was her name and that she needed to speak with him. She hadn’t had any trouble since.
“Yeah, can I ask who’s calling?”
“Hey,” Scott answered a minute later. “How’s it going?” It was apparent by his tone of voice that he was under a lot of pressure, but that he was glad to talk to her. He sounded so tired that Elayne could almost see his eyes that must be full of fatigue and she wondered if he had slept much the night before.
“I’m okay. I just heard about what happened on the radio. Is everything okay there?” She tired to keep her voice calm, but her anxiety came through nonetheless. Serena went back to work on the appetizers they needed for that night, but she kept an eye on her friend during the conversation and hoped yet again that things would work out for the best.
Scott let out a low breath before he answered. “I’m not sure what’s happening. Evan tried to contact the girl’s parents at the hospital to see how she’s doing, but they’ve blocked all incoming calls because the press is making this a nightmare. We’re all hanging out at the hotel for as long as possible before going to the arena for the show. We don’t want to be blamed for putting anyone else in danger. All in all there’s a big damper on things.”
“I am so sorry,” Elayne told him earnestly. “I wish I’d been there to know if magic had been involved.”
“It would certainly make me feel better if I knew whether or not an innocent girl was harmed because of me or not,” Scott replied dejectedly. “You don’t know how badly I want this tour to be over.”
Elayne wished that there were some way that she could comfort him over the phone line because she didn’t think words were going to help the situation. She knew that the idea of someone being hurt as a means of getting to him was hitting Scott hard. What she didn’t know was what to do about it. “I understand how you feel, Scott, but you’ve got to remember that this isn’t your fault. We’re still trying to figure out what to do here, but we’re coming up empty handed. Maybe-” she dropped off.
“Maybe what?” Scott asked, clearly ready to take any advice she had to offer.
As much as she didn’t want to admit it, Elayne was beginning to get the feeling that there was no way her or the others were going to be able to track down who the girl was. Not when Scott was the only link to her and he was so far from them, not to mention the fact that none of them had a strong enough power of seeing into the future. Elayne herself had the closest ability and it was hazy at best sometimes, especially when it came down to revealing a clear decision and the close contact she needed to do that much.
What Elayne wanted to suggest was that she should go to Scott and stay with him until the girl was found, but she was afraid that if she made a suggestion like that it would come off as a ploy on her part to get close to Scott instead of getting to the bottom of the matter.
She was unaware of Serena as her friend listened intently to Elayne’s side of the conversation, but the other woman had an idea of what the outcome of this conversation was going to be. Serena had had a conversation with both Connie and Amy and they knew that there was an attraction between Elayne and Scott and they worried that their friend would end up with a broken heart when this was all said and done. The circumstances of Scott’s divorce were well publicized and everyone knew how hard it was to maintain a relationship with someone in his business. In the end, they had decided that if Elayne chose to try with Scott that they would support her one hundred percent and wish her all the happiness in the world. But they were still leery.
“Elayne if you have a solution…” Scott allowed the suggestion to drop off. He knew that the only chance they had of figuring this mess out was for Elayne to be with him. With us, he corrected himself sternly. She was the only one with the innate ability to sense when something was about to happen, he understood that from their conversations. He wasn’t afraid to say that he needed her, but he was afraid of what she would think if he asked her to come. They had agreed to be friends. He was worried that if he suggested that she travel with them Elayne would see the request as a way of him changing on pact.
Truth be told, he was finding it harder and harder to deny the attraction that he felt for the mysterious woman he had met only three weeks before, but it was getting more difficult each day. She was the topic of conversation between Ronnie, Evan and himself most of the time because of the circumstances involving the dark haired girl and he knew that Raoul and Ollie had a high opinion of Elayne as well. No one had actually come out and mentioned the possibility of Scott’s interest in Elayne, but the question lingered just under the surface never the less.
The biggest thing that Scott worried about was that he didn’t want a repeat performance of what happened today. It was one thing for someone to single him out because of his celebrity status; he understood what he was doing when he got into this business. What he didn’t approve of was his fans being a target in someone’s diabolical plan to get to him. This had to stop and soon.
“There’s no way to know where she is,” Elayne said helplessly. It was on the tip of her tongue to suggest that she come to where he was and stay with the group until the girl was found, but she didn’t want her intentions to be misconstrued.
Scott sighed in frustration. “You can sense her, can’t you?” he asked, silently pleading with Elayne to suggest that she travel with them.
Elayne swallowed. She didn’t want to be the one to say anything about flying to Dallas, but she really hoped that’s where the conversation was going. “I have been able to. What is it you’re thinking?”
I have to ask her, he thought, knowing this was now or never. There was no way that he could take the risk of someone else getting hurt and he would have to deal with what Elayne thought about his request later.
“I think that the only way we’re going to resolve this insanity is for you to come along with us,” Scott said evenly. “Do you think you can get away?” Scott knew that she and her friends were trying to keep their small business afloat and that they did all the work themselves. If Elayne decided to come along with the group on tour, there was no way of knowing how long it would take before they could pin down who this girl was. On the other hand, having her around would be a great opportunity to get to know her better, too.
Elayne was elated at the invitation, but schooled her voice not to show it as she held back her smile. “I’ll have to discuss things with Connie and the others. Our schedule hasn’t quite filled up for the next month or two, but a lot of people plan things at the last minute.”
“Why don’t you talk things over with the others and call me back,” Scott suggested, relief clearly apparent in his voice. “I’ll check on the airlines and see if there is anything that will come into Dallas before we leave tomorrow morning. If not, then I’ll check on the next stop.”
“Okay,” Elayne answered, barely able to contain her excitement. “Serena is here with me now and Connie and Amy just went to the market for supplies.”
“I’ll talk to you in about an hour or so then?”
“I’ll call you when I know something.”
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