Love by Popular Demand

Chapter Four

I had a feeling that the novelty of staying in a five star hotel would wear off eventually. That was, if we assumed that any of this was something we would get used to. It did not feel like it at that point. The guys and I were having the time of our lives. I could not speak for Kayla.

Each of us had our own room. The boys were each connected by a door which made all four of our rooms seem more like a long hallway made of suites. Naturally, Kayla got her own private suite connected to her mom’s room. She was the youngest of all of us at the age of twenty-one, but she believed that her mom was more of a manager than anyone else could be and that meant that she came with on the business trips. I could not relate, not because I was already twenty-eight years old, but because I had not had such a dependence on my parents in a really long time.

Our suites were a bit over the top. They were practically whole apartments. We all had modern bathrooms which included a bath the size and depth of a hot tub and a shower fit for an emperor; a lounge sporting a massive sofa, armchairs, and flat-screen plasma television with all the bells and whistles like the fancy high-definition sound system; a bedroom with more wardrobe space than anyone staying temporarily needed and a king-sized bed; and lastly, a small kitchenette with the basic appliances such as, most importantly, a coffee machine. The windows were floor to ceiling, offering the best view of the city since we were closer to the top of the building. We were not quite the penthouse, so I shuddered to think what that would be like.

The first day that we had checked in, the boys and I had opened all of our connecting doors. We gave ourselves a tour of one another’s rooms. They were pretty much exactly the same, save for the odd reverse layout. We had flipped out over the size and luxury of it all, laughing and jumping up and down and clapping one another on the back. It was more than we could ever have dreamed and it was just a taste of what was still to come.

Monday arrived and I thought that I might have been able to sleep in. The weekend had been filled with alcohol, junk food, and the latest blockbusters. The boys and I had pulled one of the other sofas from their rooms into mine. We set up movies on the big screen and ordered a ton of room service. We all had fully stocked bar fridges, although we knew that the tour manager had a fully stocked bar in his own room. We invited Kayla over to my room and binge-watched while we ate and drank.

We were not allowed to go out on our own in case the record label needed to get a hold of anyone on short notice. That was okay, though. We had a good time anyway.

As it was, I did not get to sleep in like I wanted to. I had made the mistake of leaving my connecting door open. Jake threw the door open with a flourish, Jake and Kyle tumbling in after him. I had fallen asleep on the lounge the previous evening and opened my eyes groggily as Kyle drew the curtains, allowing sunlight to filter into the room and briefly blind me.

I groaned sleepily, blinking. The members of my band, some of my best friends, came into view. They were nothing but grinning silhouettes. “It’s too bright,” I mumbled. I threw an arm over my eyes.

No longer looking at them, I shook my head. Behind my closed eyelids, I could swear the image of them had started to clear up. I moved my arm and opened my eyes again. I adjusted to the light easier at that time and I could see them.

For some reason, all of them were standing in my lounge in nothing but boxer shorts. My eyebrows shot up. I probably looked like crap but at least I had clothes on. They were grinning at me.

“Come on, dude. It’s time to get up.” Kyle said. “We have a shower scheduled.”

“Dude, showers aren’t something that we really schedule. You just kind of… do them.” I said. I sat up anyway, the covers sliding off of me.

“Well, now is the time to do it then.” Mike said. “Get up. We have a bet going. You happen to be a part of it.”

“I’m sorry but I’m confused. What is this bet?”

I stood up from the couch, allowing the covers to fall to the floor, and made my way over to the kitchenette. I turned the coffee machine on. If I was up, I was going to need some coffee to get me through the day. My head pounded with each step I took. I needed to remind myself to drink water when we were drinking alcohol – admittedly, the junk food ensured I did not feel any worse.

“Get in the shower because we are challenging you to a towel-snapping contest.”

The machine beeped beside me to let me know I could remove my cup. I did. The first sip was so hot that it burnt my tongue but it still tasted good going down. “Have you guys been drinking already?”

Jake rolled his eyes. “No. Quit taking the fun out of everything. I’m going to shower if anyone needs me.”

With that, he walked back through the connecting door between our rooms. “What’s with him?” I asked.

“He probably thinks you are being boring. I hate to admit it, but I kind of agree with him, man.” Mike said. “I’m off to shower, too. Join us if you feel like. Don’t if you don’t.”

Kyle and I watched as he walked off. “All right,” I said. “Let’s get this over with.”

I did not want to see Kyle leave. I downed half of my coffee, letting it scald my throat, and turned to make my way to my bathroom. The idea of a shower was pretty inviting as far as I was concerned, actually. While the water heated up, I undressed. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it was not too pretty. The shadow on my jawline was fuzzy, there were dark circles under my green eyes, and my dirty blonde hair, although usually spiky, was standing up in every direction. I climbed into the shower once the steam had covered the mirror to the point where I could no longer see my own reflection.

There was no time for a long shower. I had barely finished washing my hair when I heard the sounds of laughter and the unmistakable crack. I had to fight not to laugh out loud to no one. I rushed through the rest of my shower and shut the water off. I dried myself off with one of the clean, cream hotel towels.

I opened the bathroom door and stuck my head out of it, peeking up and down the hall. Everything seemed to have gone unusually quiet. I had the towel wrapped around my waist. The coast seemed clear so I darted from the bathroom to the bedroom, concerned that one of my friends might ambush me. That did not happen and I was left in peace for long enough that I could pull on my underwear and jeans.

The rules of towel-snapping were clear. We could choose which part of our bodies to keep uncovered but we had to have a fairly large expanse of skin revealed. Whether we revealed our legs or our torso or our ass was up to us. That piece was free game. The game was over if anyone managed to get a hit on you on the clothed areas, especially if it was obviously deliberate. My ass was off limits that day.

I brushed the towel through my hair, getting it as dry as I could before leaving the room with it in my hand. My heart was racing as I held an end between each hand, ready to attack if anyone came at me.

It did not take long for Jake to take his chance. I entered the lounge and walked around. I could see that all of our connecting doors were open, creating the long hallway of hotel suites. I did not get a chance to look through one of the other rooms before I was attacked. The covers lying on the ground jumped up at me and the tip of Jake’s wet towel hit me right in the side.

I cried out in pain, instantly snapping my towel back at Jake. He was wearing a pair of board shorts and a t-shirt. I caught him on the back of the knee and the sound of the clap against his skin was louder than his grunt of pain. He darted through to the other room and I noticed that his skin was already turning red. I chased after him. I could not waste a second on rubbing the skin of my ribs. I could not risk being caught off-guard.

“Hey!” I yelled as I followed Jake. “Your towel is supposed to be wet from drying yourself only! What did you do? Did you dry yourself while you were still in the bathtub?”

The sound of someone snorting as they tried to hold back their laughter caught my attention to my left and I snapped my towel back before I even thought about it. Kyle screamed, his voice high-pitched, as I whacked his bicep. He had gone for jeans and no shirt like me. He had been hiding behind the door.

“You bastard,” he said. He snapped his towel back, hitting me on my belly.

“Like you were not waiting there for me and a chance to strike,” I said.

I hit him again, this time on one of his pectorals. Kyle let out another yelp, his arm flying upward to cover his chest. “Dude!” He said indignantly.

“I hear someone screaming like a girl,” Mike’s voice said.

Both Kyle and I whipped around to face him but I did not need to worry. He aimed for Kyle and hit the back of his hand where it was still covering his chest. I laughed as Kyle swore under his breath.

“Let’s go find the king, shall we?” Mike asked. His towel was already primed and ready between his hands once again. Jake was the proclaimed king of this game. He had been since a battle in the boys’ locker room in high school that ended in towel-snapping being permanently banned by the headmaster of our school. “I have a bet that we can take that title from him.”

I laughed. So that was what the bet was. That was something that I could get behind. Unfortunately, our search for Jake was interrupted before it had even started. There was a knock on one of the front doors of one of the suites. Judging by the confused expressions on Mike and Kyle’s faces, they did not know which one either.

“Uh, how about we split up?” I said.

“Cool,” Mike said. He nodded and headed for the next room while Kyle went to his suite. I headed back to my own.

Mike shouted his all-clear a moment before I reached the door. I pulled it open to find Kayla standing there. She raised her eyebrows at the sight of me. “Oh. Hi, Kayla,” I said. I looked down at myself. There was a huge difference between the two of us, her standing there in her skater dress and me standing there half-naked. “Uh, I should put a shirt on.”

She smiled, her cheeks flushing. “That might be a good idea.”

“Do you want to come in?” I hoped that she would say no. Heaven forbid Jake jumped out and tried to hit me with his towel while Kayla was in my suite.

“Actually, I came to get you to go out. Have you checked your phone? The label has been trying to contact us.”

“What?” I walked back to the bedroom and pulled on the first button-up I could find. My phone was lying on the edge of my bed and I went to pick it up. There were several notifications and missed calls from our label’s agent. “Guys! The label has been trying to get a hold of us!”

“No, actually,” Kayla called from the front room. She was still outside the door. “They have only been trying to contact you and me.”

I returned to a room full of faces that looked as perplexed as I felt. Jake, Kyle, and Mike were standing in my lounge with towels hanging from their fingertips, all wearing questioning expressions. I did not know if it was because she had to tell us that the label was only trying to contact her and me, or because of the fact that one half-naked male had turned into three in her presence, but Kayla’s cheeks were a bright pink and she looked embarrassed standing outside my suite.

“I suppose we had better get going, then,” I said to Kayla.

She nodded, turning to the boys. “I’ll see you guys later.”

“Yeah,” I said. I shrugged at them, unable to answer their unasked questions. I had a few of my own. “I have no idea.”

We left the room and I reluctantly shut the door on my band members.