Almost Married(5)

By: Kylie Gilmore

Jaz turned. “Wait. You already filed for divorce? Then what’s the problem?”

“Griffin hasn't signed the papers. I have no idea why.”

Jaz’s eyebrows scrunched together. “That's weird. Do you think he wants to stay married?”

“If he does, he has a funny way of showing it. He hasn't picked up the phone in years. I mean, I know he travels a lot, but it’s not hard to call or text.” She closed her eyes as her headache took a turn for the worse, a pounding in her head to go along with the ache.

Jaz put a hand on her arm. “Are you okay? You don't look so good.”

“I feel like shit.”

“Lie down on the sofa. I’ll bring the tea when it’s ready.”

Steph gratefully headed for the sofa, flopped down, and threw an arm over her eyes.

A short while later, Jaz returned with a cool washcloth that she placed on Steph’s forehead before handing her the tea. The medicine she’d taken just before she walked the few blocks over finally kicked in. She slowly sat up. “Thanks.”

“Call Griffin after you finish your tea. I’ll be your backup. If he doesn’t listen”—Jaz made a fist—“I’ll let him have it.”

Steph found herself smiling. Jaz didn’t even know Griff, but she was willing to step up for her. Unlike Steph, Jaz didn’t back down from confrontation. Just look at how she went toe-to-toe with Will Levi this summer. Will had stepped in for his dad as the pianist for the Eastman community theater’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. To Jaz’s extreme aggravation, she couldn’t get Will to slow the tempo of the music to accommodate the two left feet of a lot of the men in the cast, and she couldn’t get him to ever stop the music to correct anyone who was out of tune. Will was a bit uptight, a bit of a rule follower, insisting on playing the music exactly as written and refusing to step out of his role as simply the piano player. He was basically the anti-Jaz. And, unfortunately for Will, Jaz’s dance studio shared a wall with his orthodontist office—a surprise to both of them when she moved into the building last month.

“You still fighting with Will?” Steph asked.

Jaz’s eyes flashed. “The man has no clue! He’s all”—she mimicked in a deep, surly tone—“turn down the music, don’t park out front, there’s too much noise at night.” She shook her head and her curls bounced. “I need the music. It’s a dance studio! Parents have to park out front because there’s not enough room in the back for both his patients and my students, which I explained.” She gestured wildly. “And what does he care about noise at night? His office hours end at six!”

Steph sipped her tea. “You should really try to get along with him. Your lease is for a year, right?”

Jaz pursed her lips and slapped the phone into Steph’s hand. “Call Griffin.”

Steph stared at the phone. Griff had changed his cell number years ago and never bothered to give her the new one. “I don't have his number anymore. I just contact his manager.”

“His manager?”

Steph took another sip of tea before admitting, “I'm married to Griffin Huntley.”

Jaz’s jaw dropped. “Omigod! Griffin Huntley from Twisted Star? Griffin Huntley”—her voice hit a decibel that only dogs could hear—“the rock star?”

Steph cringed and lowered her hand, asking for a voice that didn’t shatter glass. And her eardrums.

Jaz did a quick, excited foot-stomping dance from her seat on the sofa. “I love Twisted Star! You and Griffin Huntley! Omigod, how did that happen?”

Steph lifted one shoulder up and down. “I met him before he was famous. He was my guitar teacher. He taught private lessons on the side while he played gigs with his band, hoping to make it big. And then he did.”

“And then he left you.” Jaz squeezed her arm to soften the words.

“Yup. He got the big contract, went on tour, and never came back. We kept in touch that first year, doing the long-distance thing, but his calls got further and further apart until they just stopped.” She twirled a piece of her hair. “I guess some part of me was hoping he'd come back, and we'd pick up where we left off.”

Jaz gave her a sympathetic look. Everyone knew Griff had his pick of women. The gossip mags splashed with pictures of her husband with supermodels should’ve killed any hope Steph had of a reconciliation, but Griff kept it alive with what he did for her younger brother. She pushed that thought aside. Their divorce was long overdue. And she’d do her best for her brother with or without Griff’s help.

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