Erica was pressed up against the table, her long legs dangling lifelessly. Her dress was rolled up around her waist, and Sara saw her lace trimmed underwear lying on the floor. As they entered, Michael spun round, his hands still under Erica's clothing.

“What the fuck man? Get out of here!”

Erica just stared at them vacantly, as if her eyes couldn't quite focus. “Sara..?” She slurred.

“Michael, what the hell? This chick's off her head, what are you doing?”

Sara went to her friend, supporting her as she slumped against her shoulder. Michael rounded on Jack, buttoning up his pants in the process.

“Dude, what's your problem? She's fine. Stay out of what doesn't concern you.”

Sara helped Erica stand, easing her dress down over her thighs. But as her feet touched the floor, Erica's legs buckled. Jack had to help her carry Erica to the sofa. Her friend could barely keep her eyes open.

“This is your idea of fine, is it?” Jack spat.

“So she's had a few drinks. She's just another drunk little whore.”

Sara felt rage rise within her, mingled with guilt. She shouldn't have left her friend alone with this bastard.

“Just get out of my sight Michael, before I do something stupid.”

“It's my fucking dressing room — ”

“Get the fuck out!” Jack growled. Michael gave a shrug, and left the room, not even casting a last look at Erica. Jack shook his head.


“Sara,” Erica whimpered, “I don't feel so good.”

“Oh shit, I better get her to the ladies room,” Sara said, and Jack scooped Erica up like she weighed nothing and carried her to the washrooms. As soon as they reached the door, Erica seemed to come to and bolted for the cubicle. Sara sat beside her friend, holding her hair back, rubbing her back and telling her everything was going to be okay. At least, thanks to Jack it was.

Finally, Erica sat back on her heels and leaned against the wall of the bathroom stall. She let out a small groan.

“Feeling any better?” Sara asked, smoothing her friend's hair out of her face.

“Mmmhm. I'm so sorry Sara, I don't even know what happened. I didn't think I drank that much.”

“Could he have, you know, slipped you something?”

“No…maybe, I dunno. I don't remember anything.”

“Okay hun, well sit tight here for a second, I'll go fetch you some water. Will you be okay?”

Erica smiled weakly and gave a small nod. Giving her friend a pat on the shoulder, Sara hurried out of the ladies room. She was taken aback to see Jack hovering in the corridor.

“Hey,” he said gently, “how's your friend doing?”

“Nothing she can't sleep off. I, uh, didn't realise you were waiting.”

Jack smiled. “I had to make sure you guys were alright. We can take her to the hospital if you like, get her checked out?”

“She's awake and talking, I think she just needs to rest. Thanks though.”

“Of course. Look, how are you getting home?”

Sara frowned. She hadn't even thought that far ahead.

“Erica was meant to be driving us. Looks like that won't be happening. Shit, I don't even know if I can take her home in this condition, her Dad will go crazy.”

Jack gave her a worried look.

“Um, how old are you girls?”

Despite the situation, Sara couldn't help but laugh at his fearful expression.

“Don't worry, we're not jail-bait. We're twenty-one, but we just graduated college, so we haven't got a place sorted yet. Still living with the folks for now..”

“Sorry…I figured, I just…”

“I know, don't worry,” Sara said with a smile.

“Look,” Jack said tentatively, “don't take this the wrong way. But I've got a big suite back at the hotel, it's only two blocks from here. You're more than welcome to stay…you'd have your own bedroom and everything. Might be easier than trying to get her home in this condition. “

Sara wavered for a moment. The thought of a plush hotel room for the night was tempting, especially when the alternative was an expensive cab ride with a puking Erica. If only she had learned to drive a stick, she could have taken Erica's car. Damn. If she was honest, the thought of spending more time with Jack was certainly appealing…surely this was every girl's dream come true? But she didn't want to be another stupid groupie

“Honestly Sara, it's just a bed for the night. No strings attached, I promise. I'd just feel a lot better if I knew you were safe.”

The sincerity of Jack's tone clinched it. She might as well take a chance for once.

“That would be great. Thanks.”

He smiled, and Sara felt her stomach flip over. Don't be silly, she told herself, he's just being nice. Why would a famous musician like Jack Carter be interested in someone like me?

Together, they escorted a very wobbly Erica to the waiting taxi.

“Ambassador Down-town,” Jack directed the driver, “ service entrance please.”

The car pulled in to a dingy alley, and Sara felt a little stab of anxiety. This is what happens when you get in cars with strange men, she thought to herself.

“Not a very glamorous spot, “ Jack grinned, “ but saves having to deal with the press. I don't need pictures of me escorting two young women into me hotel room all over the front page tomorrow morning.”

Looping an arm round Erica's shoulders, he led the girls through a shabby little door, past the kitchens, until they reached a service elevator. Jack hit the button for the top floor. Through one more door, and they emerged into another world. Sara had never set foot in a hotel this luxurious. Her feet seemed to sink into the hall carpet, and the doors were set ridiculously far apart, suggesting a decent amount of square footage inside the rooms. Jack guided them right to the end of the corridor, and inserted his card into the lock of a door that did not even have a number.

“We're going to be slumming it in Europe I think,” he said with a grin, “ so the record company splashed out for tonight.”

Having tucked Erica into the enormous bed, with a glass of water and some Advil in easy reach, Sara had time to truly take in her surroundings. The suite was huge, twice the size of her and Erica's college apartment, and boasted three separate bedrooms, two bathrooms and two reception areas. The crowning glory was the floor to ceiling window in the lounge, from which she could see the sparkling lights of the city stretching into the distance. As she stood soaking up the view, Jack emerged from his bedroom. He had shed his stage clothes, and was wearing black sweat pants and a dark grey t-shirt. Dressed down, he looked like the boy next door, albeit a very handsome one.

“I don't know about you,” he said, “but I could do with a nightcap. Anything from the mini-bar catch your eye?”

“Whatever you're having,” Sara replied. The stress of looking after Erica had sobered her up completely, and she felt like a drink might take the edge off her nerves. Being alone with Jack Carter was something she'd been dreaming about since she was a teenager. She still couldn't believe it was actually happening. Despite all the conversations she'd imagined having with her idol, at that moment she couldn't think of a single intelligent thing to say.

“Scotch on the rocks, with a twist,” Jack declared, handing her a drink. Even the glass felt expensive, Sara thought ruefully. Jack stood beside her, swirling the amber liquid in his glass. It was so quiet, she could hear the ice cubes clink.

“I don't know how to thank you for tonight,” she said at last. “If you hadn't helped me, god know what could have happened.”

“Honestly, it was nothing. I'm just sorry that Michael acted the way he did. He's…man, he's not a bad guy. At least he never used to be. The whole fame thing just went to his head. We used to be friends, now I feel like I don't

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