"Want to go for lunch?" he asked.
"Yes please," I replied.
We walked down to Chapel Street and Conner called his studio; he gave them some instructions saying he was running late.
We settled for, 'Lamb On Chapel,' Greek food is amazing and they had an upstairs area that was closed but for Rick they opened it up.
He stared at me and asked, "Where did Father Thomas get up to in the story?"
"Your Aunty Beth being found," I replied.
He took a long gulp of his wine, I ordered another then the waiter left us.
"When she found out I was in the hospital she was in shock, she rushed to my room and it was instant love. I don't remember much of the abuse but thunder scares me shitless, hence a small meltdown last night. I do remember a beautiful woman rescuing me and holding me in her arms, constantly touching my hair or shoulders or kissing my cheeks. I was told later she spent all her free time with me, she didn't leave my side and when she did, it was only to change and shower. She told me my mother was her younger sister and she was told I had died at birth so she never visited or saw her. She had cut her out of her life after my father and mother robbed her house several times." Deep breath.
"She got me to the stage where I regained some sense of what was going on around me and from there on she coached me, loved me and after that month she took me home to her place. She gave me a bedroom but I slept with her most nights. She had left her job early in the piece so she could be home with me full time. Her best friends Ray and John looked after me also, they live next door; you met Ray yesterday. She got me into school and either her or Ray took me and picked me up. I can't even begin to tell you about the bullying, I was little and a class down from where I should have been but with Beth and Ray tutoring me I quickly learnt enough and started writing my name and when I could, I wrote poetry, 'Bring it on,' was my first poem. It was geeky and childish but later on I changed some the words to produce my first big anthem.
I lasted at school until I was fifteen then I went to a music academy to learn more about singing, chords and reading and writing music, then my real story started."
"I was born Conner Wilson but Aunty Beth had it changed to her name, my mum's maiden name, Connor Richards, I changed it for stage to Rick Conner's."
"You knew didn't you, you knew I was the one, that's why you told me your name was Conner Wilson on that day, you knew something?" I asked.
"I knew once you stopped and spoke to me I was in love with you, I wanted to go back to your place just to listen to your voice and in some way I knew I had to repay you a thousand fold for finding me," he answered.
"She died of cancer last year, it was hopeless and I couldn't save her," he cried.
"I'm sorry Brent, I'm sorry." He wept loudly.
I took him in my arms and said,
"Why are you sorry? You did nothing but love her and give her joy when she found you. You probably saved her as much as she was saving you and yes, that monstrous disease will win in the end, it only seems to take the best people. Put your glasses on hon, I can hear our waiter coming."
He put his sunglasses on and dropped my hand and while our food was served the waiter was eyeing off Conner like he was prime beef, I had to do something.
"It's okay mate, we can serve ourselves, could you please give us some privacy?" He was miffed but I didn't care.
When he left I pulled my chair around the table and hugged Conner to me, whispering good thoughts in his ear and stroking his head; it was all I could do in a relatively public place.
We ate in silence. I leant over to say, "I love you so much."
He grinned like a naughty boy.
Flipping his phone he rang the studio and told them to go ahead, he had got tied up in a meeting and then he smiled,
"Let's finish and go shopping."
"Conner my cards arrived but I left them on the table unopened, sorry."
"We can use mine and work it out later."
With copious amounts of garlic sauce on my chin he licked it off but we then opted for the men's room. He took a pee and I washed my face, I felt better and tried my best to put a smile on.
"Okay, let's look in here," he said.
He dragged me into just about every shop up Chapel Street and by the time I got to Toorak road we were both loaded up with shopping. I got some great stuff and I don't even think I will ever use most of it but it made him happy. We also gathered a small group of fans on the way taking photos with their phones and generally trying to score a date with both of us. Connor hailed a cab and laughing loudly, we scrambled in dragging bags with us.
Giving the driver my near city address, we settled in to giggle while holding hands and occasionally rubbing crotches.
"I love this city, I can get lost here and no one knows who I am most of the time. In America I can't go anywhere without a minder and believe me, they earn their wages."
"Why Melbourne, why don't you get recognized here much?"
"I think Melbournians have class, they might recognize me but most just look then give me the space I need without screaming in the street,'Rick Conner's, look it's Rick Conner's,' god damn it." He did the last bit in an American accent.
"Don't get me wrong Brent, the Americans put me where I am on the world stage and I've met some awesome folks over there, some I can count as being trusted friends but it's the celebrity chasers I hate, they only want to make a dollar out of a single crappy photo."
"There's none of that in Melbourne really, we are too far away and I love that. As soon as I get off the plane in Sydney I know it's time to be me again."
He squeezed my hand.
"When we get home I want a fashion parade."
"You think?" I squeaked out.
"I do, oh and tomorrow we will go get you some work clothes."
He laughed all the way to my apartment, he was happy for the time being and I was floored by his comment, I think I will have to get a bigger wardrobe.
When we got in I started unpacking, he was like a kid in a lolly shop. "Try these babe, no these but don't put a shirt on just the jeans, wow! Now try bending over. Yesss!"
I gave him a good show and he was taking photos with his phone. He touched me in the most intimate ways but then I killed the mood and packed it all away in the cupboard. Opening my cards, I went online to activate them and I noticed there was fifty thousand dollars in my account.
"That's your signing bonus hon."
"It's too much."
"No it's right, twenty five for signing with the company and twenty five to cover your bills. You will have to transfer money into your current bank account and pay the credit cards off, it's easier that way."
"Oh but they don't come to that amount, it's too bloody much Conner," I said sternly.
"The balance is my anniversary present to you," he smiled.
"Well it's our anniversary today and it's a money one."
"No it's fucking not, take it back."
"What's given freely can't be taken back," he said still grinning.
"I'm not going to win am I?"
"Then I will put it aside for a rainy day."
I wasn't going to argue over money with him, he's been too generous already but I have to find a way to repay him.
"Wanna kiss me now?" he said as his dimples were dancing on his gorgeous face. Who could resist?
"Yes," I replied shyly.
For the next three weeks I was bombarded with safety training and did pretty well as Conner put the finishing touches to his latest album, which will be released worldwide next month. He was excited about it and also hinted that a secret project he was working on was going to be awesome.
In the second week of training I did some flights around Australia with Derek, who was the flight attendant on a bigger company jet, and we hit it off beautifully. He also called Conner by his real name and I wondered, for a second, whether he was an ex-boyfriend but he showed me the picture of his wife and three kids. He always sat the photo in the kitchenette, so they always flew with him. The job was easy but safety was paramount, we had to do the lifejacket thing by law and it doesn't matter how many times it was done, the message had to get through, panic on downed planes, especially in the water was the biggest killer.
On one of the training flights to Sydney, there was a rising starlet and her agent on board. I served drinks then food then more drinks and she was throwing them down like crazy. Derek pulled me aside and said,
"She's nervous about an upcoming movie premier, it's her big break. She's on our jet because she knows she can drink as much as she wants and not be judged by others." I got the drift, and not that I was judging her, it was only concern, that something had happened, but I relaxed and joined in, keeping the drinks flowing. By the time we got to Sydney she was legless, she kissed my cheek and thanked me then four days later two tickets turned up for her Sydney premier night with a personal note thanking me for allowing her to blow off some steam, I gave them to Derek as he was stationed in Sydney.
Conner was strumming his guitar and singing bits and pieces of verses of songs I had never heard, he then settled in on one verse:
The smile on your face kept me warm.
If ever there were someone to hold,
it would be you in place of the storm.
You touched my mind so gently.
You took away my tears,
When you laid down beside me
_You wiped away all my fears._
"Oh Conner, that's just beautiful, who sings it?"
"I don't know as yet, it's not finished," he chuckled.
"It's one of yours, oh shit, I'm sorry, I'm such a dickwad when it comes to music, but it is beautiful," I said.
Just then a knock on the door jolted us from the moment in time.
It was Marty.
"Hi Brent, how's the training?"
"Great Marty, one week to go, like a beer?"
"Thank you son, that would be nice."
I went to get us all a beer from the fridge handing out glasses and then sitting next to Conner.
"Conner you are booked to sing at the Opera house tomorrow night. I'm just letting you know so you may as well stay there, until the Arias on Saturday night, we can fly up Friday. Jill wants to get some new publicity shots done and any studio work you need to do, I can reserve some slots."
"Yeah Marty, I suppose that makes sense but can't I come back each night?"
"I think it would be better for you to stay but it's your call."
While they talked I picked my Ipad up off the coffee table and searched, 'Arias nominee's list'. Tapping the top search I looked down the list, Rick Conners had been nominated for six Arias, fuck that's huge. Closing it down I returned to the conversation.
"Can I interrupt for a minute guys?"
"Sure Brent, this involves you too," Marty said.
"Well, it's only for three nights Conner, I have my training to finish and could fly up Friday night to be with you all," I suggested.
"While you're out of the way I can start getting rid of some stuff and move to your house and get settled without any distractions." I looked at Conner and he blushed.
"Are you sure baby and it's our house by the way."
"Of course Con, you need your beauty sleep and six Arias are going to look great on the mantelpiece, I can make some room," I giggled.
"How do you even know that Brent, you never read the tabloids or watch the news," Conner said a bit sarcastically, but in fun.
"I'll have you know I'm well up with the Arias Conner," I lifted my Ipad and smiled.
"Well when you read that I'm taking my fiancée to the awards it will be the truth because you will be by my side babe."
Marty interrupted, "Sorry mate can't do, image is paramount and Jill has someone lined up for you."
"Fuck you, I'm taking Brent, maybe not as a partner but as a mate. He's going to be there and I'm sitting next to him too." He tapped his finger on the coffee table, to the beat, to drive his point home.
"Your call Conner, I want him there too, it will be great, I can tell him about the farting competitions we have on the plane," he chuckled.
"I can't go hon, sorry but I cant do it," I said.
"Why not Brent, it's easy, you just arrive, sit down, listen to boring speeches, a few songs, get pissed and leave," Conner said.
"It's your night and I would be in the way," I sighed.
"Fucking no way are you going to be left home Brent, if not for Conner then do it for me. I need you to meet, 'miss three rows back,' anyway, she's always flying overseas doing her modeling shit but she's home for now at least and she wants to meet you," Marty spouted then added,
"And anyway, Rob and Adam will be there. You guys can compare cocks under the table if you get bored," he laughed.
"Well I guess I could go, I better hire a suit then," I grinned at Conner; his eyes were caressing me again.
"Jill has it covered, your suit will be delivered to the hotel Friday night," Marty said.
The penny dropped and I realized I had been duped.
"Your not here to talk about photo-shoots Marty, your here to talk me into going to the Arias aren't you?"
Marty's turn to blush.
"Well, Brent, ummm babe, I need you there, umm," Conner stuttered.
I gave Conner a light slap on the shoulder and said,
"I'll come, seeing you went to all that trouble. Sorry to get you over Marty, but it's good to see you anytime," I smiled and then added,
"And a night out with Australia's hottest rock star is a bonus incentive I would never refuse."
"Who?" Conner pretended.
"Someone you don't know Conner,he's a drug addict," I laughed.
"Oh, then by all means go with him, I hear he's got a big cock," Conner rolled around the sofa while I beat him with a cushion. Marty rolled his eyes.
After an hour of shooting the shit Marty left.
Conner was back to his music and as if something was turned on all of a sudden, he grabbed my hand and took me to bed.
"I've got a big dick too Brent, look."
I did look at it, very closely.
Three nights away from my man was going to be agony, we didn't want to do it but knew it had to happen sometime. I drove him to the airport Tuesday afternoon, it was a long drive and a long goodbye but the temp that was doing my job was a nice guy and he made us feel comfortable but I had to leave as their departure window was nearing.
I stood on the tarmac waving wildly; a tear crept down my cheek.
We had made plans before he left and we decided there was nothing in my apartment I wanted to take to our house so I teed up Rob the next day and some guys at the gym to help me move whatever there was left onto the curb for council collection.
Rob was telling me he was pumped to be invited, and even more pumped with the way Adam and their relationship was going, they were at the 'nothing too heavy' stage but Rob just wanted to tap Adam's ass so bad, maybe in Sydney.
When Conner left I made a call to my sister Jen, and told her to watch the Arias as I might be on TV. She was over the moon about my job and how I sounded much better than the last time I called. I didn't tell her about our relationship but I did give her my new address and number.
On Friday I got the okay to fly on my own so I rang Helen and she assured me all my guests were catered for and she had sent my schedule into my drop box.
I had the Sydney flight that afternoon and my uniform was required for the flight, there were a list of passengers also.
I looked at my list, which included Marty, Dianna, Rob, Adam and Sonny who I haven't met.
I packed my overnighter and headed for the hangar, two hours before the flight.
I shook the temp's hand and he told me my special guest has requested I wake him; he had flown on the inbound flight and needed to sleep.
"Who is he mate?" I inquired.
"Sonny Lawson, he's here to talk business with Marty on the way back, everything's set up and your guests will be here in an hour. Good luck and if you need anything, just ring me."
"Phil and Dave not here yet?"
"They went across to the Qantas club to catch up with a friend, they said not to touch anything while they were away," he chuckled.
"Okay, I've got an hour, do I wake Sonny up now or later?" Umm, I already know that answer.
"Now mate, he needs to shower."
I boarded my first flight, my uniform was new and shirt crisp and it felt wonderful. I checked that everything was as it was supposed to be then tapped on the salon door.
"Come in," came a familiar voice, as if I didn't know.
"Conner!!" He was nude and propped up by a half dozen pillows.
"Babe, you look so fucking good in that uniform, let me see you."
I closed the door behind me; he grabbed my shoulders and rubbed his body next to mine as he ran his fingers over my uniform.
"Fuck me, you look awesome," he said.
"I missed you so much Conner, it's so good to see you," I kissed his neck.
He had me out of my uniform in no time and we fell on the bed, the Jet was shaking lazily around us. My legs were everywhere.
"Didn't I hear you ask me to fuck you?" I said.
"Yeah, but not now I need you, that uniform looked so hot on, maybe later," he absentmindedly said as he wet my torso.
I quickly showered then dressed while Conner did the same.
"Just casual clothes Brent, I just wanted to see you in your uniform babe and what a beautiful sight it was too," he laughed.
"Thanks, I'll change then," I replied.
Conner sat on the big soft sofa while I changed the bed then I went and offered him a drink.
"Would you like a drink of something sir?"
"Coffee thanks babe," he smirked.
"Oh yes please, can I have the ping pong sized ones?"
"Certainly sir, roasted or natural?"
So I straddled him on the couch, thrust my hips into his face and said, "Enjoy."
That started a cushion fight and I heard a, 'ahem,' behind me, it was Phil and Dave.
"Have a little class boss, at least salt them." They ran past just before the cushions were thrown. "Lift off in one hour boss," they chuckled.
A cheery face appeared at the door, it was Marty and a gorgeous tall blonde who he introduced as Dianna; she lifted her hand out and said in a snooty tone,
"I am so pleased to make your acquaintance Brenton."
"Knock it off Diana, don't start that shit," Marty said.
"Oh," she said.
"Well, how they hanging mate? Pleased to meet you," she said as her accent changed to Australian slang in an instant.
I liked her and I liked her even better when she insisted she get her own coffee, she told me to relax then Conner pulled me down, he so wanted to get more acquainted with my salty nuts but that could wait till later.
Rob and Adam arrived with grins on their faces and as I was getting their coffee, Adam pulled me aside and asked,
"You change the sheets Brent?"
"Yes Adam why?" I blushed.
"Cause if Rob and me disappear then we can change them again," he smiled broadly at me.
I laughed, winking.
I heard Phil over the system telling everybody to buckle up so I went to check, they were.
"Well?" said Conner.
"Well what sir?"
"Do your thing," he replied
I opened the overhead locker and got my tools of trade out while the plane was taxiing onto the tarmac. I went through the safety instructions then finished with, "Have a safe and happy flight ladies and gentlemen."
The applause was loud and genuine.
I sat in my flight chair as Dave announced our impending take off.
"Buckle up Brent."
It was a quick smooth liftoff and in no time we were flying at thirty thousand feet. "Everyone can relax now, we have an hour and a half flight time but Kingsford Smith will be jammed when we get there so there will be a fifteen minute delay to our landing window. Weather wise, it's going to be a smooth ride, no turbulence so enjoy your flight.
I unbuckled and started moving towards the galley, Conner stood up and followed me.
"You are so fucking sexy, you know that?"
He pressed himself into me and kissed me gently.
"Put it away hon, Rob and Adam have dibs on the bed, sorry."
"There's always the bathroom," he suggested.
"Conner, that's too public, can't it wait till we get to the hotel?"I groaned.
"Aw but mum, I want it now."
"Sorry, gotta get lunch ready."
I pressed a few buttons, which started the oven and in fifteen minutes the food would be hot. The labels said it was prepared in the Hilton's kitchens and printed menus were in the drawer. Boy this must cost the company heaps.
"I know what your thinking Brent but we do a deal with the hotel, a lot of our clients book at the one at the Airport and sometimes we fly their staff members for free, it's all give and take babe."
"God, bloody mind readers are everywhere," I smiled.
I then handed out the menus and wrote everyone's orders down then asked Phil and Dave what they would like, the cockpit was small but I guess every dial that looked back at me had its use.
They ordered then Phil asked how I was doing.
"Okay Phil, still a little nervous but hopefully that will pass, I'm more worried about stuffing the meals up at the moment."
"You won't, just try and relax, all your friends are aboard so there's no need to panic."
I served the meals and everyone was impressed with the food, I even got fed but as I sat at the galley bench Diana passed me on her way back from the bathroom.
"Oh no you don't honey bum, you eat with us, come on, hop up."
She picked my tray up and led me to the sofa.
"You weren't even going to attempt that were you?"
"Umm yes, it's my place to eat separately."
"Not on this trip it isn't, you eat with the rest of us baby." He leaned in and kissed me.
"Do you have family Brent?" Diana asked.
"Yes Diana, mum and dad and an older sister Jenny all live in Melbourne but I don't see them nearly as much as I should. Dad is a real estate agent and mum has got her own wedding dress business, pre-loved and designer stuff, she does okay really. My sister is a lawyer, she was married but they broke up. Bobby was my friend and I miss him but she found out he screwed around on her and couldn't get passed it so it's never going to repair itself," I sighed.
"Oh that's sad Brent, I guess it happens to the best of people, gay or straight."
"What about you Diana, where's your family?" I inquired.
"In Melbourne, Mentone actually, there's only mum now. I'm an only child, she's my driving force and my manager, you will meet her someday as she quite frequently flies to Darwin. She has friends there she's known for years but mostly she comes with me especially when I'm overseas. She keeps me bloody busy, oh and so does Marty, darling boy, so charming," she put her snooty voice on for the last part but she really was nice and we hit it off.
I had forgotten about dessert so I rushed to the galley and started to serve it, Rob and Adam said not to worry, they will have theirs later, as they passed to go to the sleeping quarters, giggling.
Conner held my hand then asked, "Coffee?"
"Sure be back."
"No, I'll get it, you relax."
I sat there thinking my life couldn't get any better. Marty was bogged down with paperwork and Diana was touching up her make up, well she was looking in a small mirror.
"Did you find any?"
"Any what, Brent love?"
"Stray lines," I laughed.
"Oh you caught me, you naughty boy, no can't see any, the Botox is doing its job."
Marty patted her leg.
"I told you to get rid of that shit, it can't be good for you honey and you don't fucking need it anyway."
"Thanks Marty but I think I do," she said.
He let out a deep breath.
She leaned over to me and whispered,
"He gets so grouchy sometimes, don't know why, he knows I love him," she giggled as Marty looked up and rolled his eyes.
"That's why you don't want to marry me, because I love you is it?"
"No honey, we can get married anytime, just as soon as you pay off that two carat diamond ring you have had on lay-by for the past four years," she chuckled and then she rolled her eyes.
Conner came back with the coffee then went to the cockpit to ask the guys if they wanted some, he came back with their trays and cups and then loaded them into the bin.
My first flight was great and relaxing thanks to some wonderful people who are becoming friends fast.
As we circled the airport, Adam and Rob came out just as Phil announced our descent into Sydney.
"Fasten your seat belts folks, Brent lock everything down."
I collected anything that wasn't tied down then cleaned up the galley only just getting to my seat before the seatbelt sign came on. I got another round of applause.
As my passengers were leaving they each gave me a fifty dollar bill, to this day I still have them in a frame on my wall, I was gob smacked they didn't have to do that.
Conner waited in his limo for me to finish up then I grabbed my jump bag and joined him. He slid over the seat and put his arm around me and said,
"You did real good hon, I'm proud of you."
"Thanks Conner, I really was nervous but you all put me at ease, thank you."
He nibbled my ear and I gasped at the sheer enjoyment.
"Pizza tonight babe?" he whispered.
"Oh yes, pizza tonight."
"Good because it's going to be a mad house tomorrow and Jill needs you to try on your suit too, in case there are any alterations.
We are booked into the Star Hotel where the awards are being held so all we have to do is go to the basement, hop in a limo and it will take us to the front of the venue," he laughed.
"What? I can meet you down there Conner, I don't need to be pampered."
"Oh but you do darlin. I will go first with my date then you guys follow, we meet inside," he said.
"Whose your date?"
"Don't know, don't care babe, it's not an issue, she's just a bit of icing."
"Okay," I said but felt a small knot in my stomach.