When Reed made it back to the studio, he ran into a pissed off Debony. “I was on time and ready to work, so imagine my surprise when you weren’t here! I have other things that I could’ve been doing as well. But studio time is. . .”
“Deb,” he said, calling her the nickname she hated to disarm her. “I’m here now. Let’s lay those vocals.”
She sneered at him. “You’d better be glad that I know this album is about to put me over the top or I’d kick your ass for making me wait. . .”
“Fifteen minutes, Debony. Get over yourself, all right.”
“Remember that the next time I’m fifteen minutes late,” she mumbled as she headed into the recording booth.
Debony and Reed got so caught up in recording that time got away from them. So, when Layla walked in, dressed in a pair of brown leggings and an orange tunic that hugged her breasts like Reed wanted to, his knees went weak.
“Am I early?” she asked when her eyes locked with Reed’s. “We still have to do this interview.”
“Yes,” he said. “I just got caught up with these mixes and. . .”
“Hello!” Debony called out. “Are we working or what?”
“Take a break, Deb.”
She sucked her teeth and threw the headphones across the booth. “Seriously, if you call me Deb one more time!”
“Debony,” Reed said. “I have an interview to do.”
“I can watch you work,” Layla said. “It will add some color to my story – especially since you’re working with Debony Blair.”
Hearing her name, Debony turned and looked to see who was out there. “And I thought you’d invited a groupie in here.”
Layla had heard about Debony’s diva attitude and now she was seeing it up close and personal. This was so going in the story. She pulled her iPad from her oversized purse and started taking notes. Reed pulled out a chair for her. “Have a seat, right here beside me. Since you want to watch me work, I’m giving you bird’s eye view.”
Layla sighed and sat in the chair. “Whatever,” she mumbled.
“You look really good,” Reed said when he leaned over to adjust the sound on the board. His forearm –accidentally on purpose—brushed against Layla’s breast and she inhaled sharply.
“Really?” she asked.
“It was an accident,” he replied with a sly smile on his lips, telling her that it was a lie.
“How did you meet Zora?” she asked. Maybe if she got him started talking about his woman, he’d start acting like a man who was about to get married.
“I met her in a club in New York. I was just dumped by this really cool girl and Zora and I clicked.”
Layla folded her arms across her chest and rolled her eyes. “Anyway. She was ready to get married immediately?”
“No, she was building her career, traveling and I was doing the same,” he said.
“So, it was all right for her to jet set and be a model, but you couldn’t allow . . .never mind. Let’s talk about your work with Ms. Blair. Her career was basically over after she was dropped from Def Jam and you produced one of the hottest albums of the year for her. What drew you to working with Debony?”
“No, you don’t get to do that,” he said. “We’ve never not spoken our minds to each other and it doesn’t start tonight.”
“Never not – that’s a double negative,” she snapped. “So, if I take that statement at face value, you lied to me during our entire relationship.”
“Don’t get all grammar police on me,” Reed said.
“Why was Zora different?”
“I don’t love her the way I love you.”
Layla shot him a look that screamed liar. “And you’re marrying her because?”
“Maybe this is what I had to do to get your attention.”
She shook her head. “You’re full of shit, Reed Clarke. Full. Of. Shit.”
He glanced at Debony, who’d been watching them as if she was enjoying a stage play. “Let’s take a walk,” he said.
“It wasn’t a request,” he replied as he rose to his feet and held his hand out to her.