‹ Prequel: Even Lovers Drown
Status: Paused for now

Happily Ever After

Chapter 1

Sage Monroe placed the last clothing-draped hanger on the closet rod and stood back, eyeing her work. Every part of her expansive wardrobe was in the right place, color coordinated for easy matching, and her shoes sat neatly on their shelves, displayed for her to ease her morning dressing debates. Satisfied, she left her walk-in closet, into her large bedroom. The suitcases from her recent trip sat on her bed, open and empty. She closed them in quick, efficient movements and, one-by-one, pulled them from the bed and rolled them into her closet to their designated place.

Relief relaxed her body, the tension that had settled in her shoulders since her delayed flight disappearing. She sighed and shuffled from her closet again, content stare drifting around her tidy bedroom. She was home, back from the orphanage charity event she had been asked to attend, a trip she extended for her girlfriend.

Ex-girlfriend, she reminded herself. They lasted a good four months, may have lasted longer if her ex hadn’t thrown out the “l” word days before her scheduled departure. Love, that was too intense a commitment for Sage. The damn word made her tense, anxious, and when her ex uttered the heartfelt phrase, she had to end their relationship. She hadn’t stuck around long enough after the breakup to find out how her ex-girlfriend felt following but she was sure love wasn’t part of the emotional cluster.

Sage took a deep breath, calming the revived slur of panic from that moment. Her ex-girlfriend and the slew of similar ruined relationships were not important. She was home, unpacked, and could relax before rushing to band practice. Breakup memories would not ruin her much-needed personal time.

The hardwood floors chilled her bare feet as she moved through her home, comforting compared to the intense heat of the summer. Her gentle footsteps were silent, her body held in graceful posture despite her travel-induced exhaustion. Ways of moving and carrying herself engrained into her mannerisms since childhood. So firmly beaten into her, she couldn’t shake the lessons she learned.

Her hazel eyes drifted over the pictures lining her hallway—the only indications, aside from her full closet and sparse contents of her refrigerator—that anyone inhabited the home. Her band mates and best friends stared back at her, smiling or frowning or feigning intense expressions demanded of them by professional photographers. And Sage couldn’t help smiling at each shot, reminiscing on the behind the scenes moments her friends shared prior to taking those pictures.

Say Goodbye, the band she would always be lead guitarist of, truly was the best thing to happen in her life. She had the job she dreamed of since taking guitar lessons behind her foster parents’ backs, she had amazing friends who were there for her through her bitchy façade meant to scare them away, and she was making a difference in the lives of her fans. At twenty-six years old, she had managed to overcome her traumatic childhood through music and find happiness.

For the most part.

Sage slipped into her tidy kitchen, walked to her refrigerator, and pulled the magnet-dotted door open. Water bottles lined the bottom shelf. Condiments sat in the shelves against the door, ketchup and mustard and barbeque sauce and salad dressings and oriental sauces and pasta sauces meant to be put on food she didn’t have.

Well, she had food. A molded loaf of bread, some old cheese, and eggs with an unknown expiration date. Perfect fodder for a night getting reacquainted with her porcelain toilet. Not the best first night home. She’d encourage her band mates to accompany her on a post-band-practice trip to the grocery store.

Composing a quick mental grocery list, she grabbed a water bottle from her stash, shut the door, and opened her drink. She brought the bottle to her lips, let the cold water chill her throat, her eyes dancing over the magnets on her fridge door. A set of alphabet magnets for their drummer’s four-year-old son set up in random words he managed to spell himself, two magnets she took from Say Goodbye’s merchandise boxes in the beginnings of their track to fame, and a picture of a normal looking family—two parents dressed in their best clothing, two sons in their favorite polos, and a brunette daughter in a floral print dress, all smiling perfect smiles at an unknown camera man—turned into a magnet.

Herself and her foster family.

She didn’t dwell on thoughts of them, had long since learned to stifle the torture she’d endured living with them in the deep recesses of her mind until her support group and therapy meetings. Their picture sat on her refrigerator out of the little she felt she owed them. They fed her, they clothed her, they put a roof over her head for years. The frequent visits to the ER may not have been worth the necessities her foster parents provided her, but at least they gave her something.

Vibrations jolted her from thought, the phone in her tight jeans telling her someone was trying to contact her. Once, twice, a third time, and Sage finally slipped the phone from her pocket. The name “Saylor Andrews” stretched across the screen. Broad smile pulling her lips, she tapped the touch screen and brought the phone to her ear.

“Hey,” she greeted, her voice warm.

Hardly sarcastic warmth meant to be followed up by a harsh verbal beat down. She was always happy to talk to Saylor.

“Please tell me you’re back,” Saylor begged, the tone comedic in her sultry voice.

Sage chuckled. “Unpacked and ready for practice.”

“Good, I don’t have to bribe you with cucumber sandwiches.”

“You have cucumber sandwiches?”

“Just for you.”

Saliva puddled in Sage’s mouth, the hunger she managed to stifle became a painful ache, and her thoughts revolved around the sandwiches Saylor prepared for her, the same sandwiches she always prepared for her. Food. Decent food. Far better than what she had in her refrigerator.

“You’re a saint.”

Saylor’s pretty laugh tickled her ear. “I try. So are you ready to meet the new—”

A barely audible “Who are you talking to?” cut her off. Even muffled, Sage recognized the voice of her childhood friend, who held the title of Say Goodbye’s lead singer and Saylor’s wife, Blake Andrews.

“Sage,” Saylor answered.

“Tell her we’re having an affair,” Sage said.

She’d never pass up the opportunity to harass Blake. As her friend, that was her job. She was good at her job.

“Sage says to tell you we’re having an affair.”

“Give me the phone,” Blake said.

There was no verbal response, no indication that Saylor was passing the phone aside from the light shuffling coming from the receiver.

“Hey,” Blake’s voice pumped through the speaker. “How was your trip?”

“My flight was delayed four hours, the baby behind me cried the whole time, and I feel like I haven’t eaten in days. It was delightful.”

“Saylor just finished making you sandwiches.”

Sage left her place by the refrigerator, walking quickly to the living room to grab her guitar case. She didn’t need a more explicit invitation. Technically, she didn’t need any invitation to barge into Blake’s home and steal her food. But there was the threat of walking in on the married couple in the midst of quickie sex in the kitchen.

Sage learned her lesson the first time.

“I’ll be by in five minutes,” Sage said, slipping the strap of her case onto her shoulder.

“It takes fifteen to get here from your place.”

She left her purse on the coffee table, no use for the extra bag during band practice, and walked to the front door. “I’m hungry.” She grabbed her keys from the hook and slipped out of her house, locking the door behind her.

“Constant PMS finally getting to you?”

“Go fuck your wife.”

“I can’t,” Blake grumbled, “The rest of the band is here.”

“Poor baby,” Sage laughed. “I’ll see you in a bit.”

“See you. Don’t get arrested for attacking a cop. I won’t bail you out.”

The dial tone blared in Sage’s ear before she could respond. Still smiling despite the rude comments exchanged, she slipped her phone back into her pocket. Their banter was one of the many comfortable constants in her life.

She gingerly placed her practice guitar in the backseat of her still-unlocked car, slid into the front seat, twisted the key in the ignition, and sped from the driveway, to the cucumber sandwiches awaiting her. And band practice. Band practice was important, too.

But ten minutes later, when she pulled into the driveway of Blake and Saylor’s modest suburban home, after traveling through clear roads and cursing the single red light that stopped her, she wasn’t thinking about band practice, seeing her friends for the first time in a month, or unveiling her newly-dyed hair. She was thinking about food.

She rushed across the front lawn, her guitar strapped over her shoulder, and entered the home without knocking. Voices berated her ears the moment she stepped inside, loud and obnoxious. She followed the noise to the living room, prepared to announce her existence in the most obnoxious way she could manage, but stopped short in the doorway.

Blake stood off to the side, sipping a water bottle, light bouncing off her tousled, blonde curls. The twins Hayden Young—Say Goodbye’s rhythm guitarist—and Hunter Young—Say Goodbye’s bassist—wore identical petulant expressions, their only differentiating physical feature still their choice of streaks in their black hair. Electric blue, the same color as Sage’s hair, for Hayden and red for Hunter. Saylor’s hums could be heard from the kitchen, and Reese Edwards, Say Goodbye’s drummer, was nowhere in sight, most likely late due to his four-year-old son’s inability to leave the house on time.

But one thing—one person—disrupted the familiar scene and set a flurry of panic loose in Sage’s stomach. A pretty blonde stood amongst her band mates, her friends. An unknown person intruding on their practice.

“Who the hell are you?”
♠ ♠ ♠
Omigod, look what's up!
So the reason this took so long is because, well, this is the only chapter I have written.
And I finished it last night.
I don't know, guys, I just lost my inspiration and then got really anxious and then I just... I don't know.
But expect these updates to be slow like Even Lovers Drown was in the beginning.
I'm kind of excited for this story, because it's another story dealing with a theme that a lot of published lesbian romances don't explore (in regards to Cadeau's storyline).
Actually, I'm pretty sure it's something that most lesbian romances don't explore period.
It's kind of another rough subject, like the abuse storyline for Saylor.
I hope it ends up okay.
Thank you to choliecole, Reba, I am Cheese! :3, ber1110, SpencerG, Sincerely-Angela, Only a day away..., animal_lover053, and paramore_fan07 for the ending comments on Even Lovers Drown.
Thank you to ber1110, Sold my Soul, If.You.Be.My.Star., jojothesparkly, and paramore_fan07 for the comments on this story.
Thank you to those of you who have subscribed.
And thank you for the recs.
I hope you all enjoyed.
X's and O's (from LOUISIANA!!!!),
Dakota Ray