Exclusive Excerpt from Extraordinary Things
by Beth Bolden
A week later, Caleb and Leo sat in their living room, watching the last bits of sun fall over the ocean. “Did Benji say why we needed to clear our schedule for the weekend?” Caleb asked. They’d already been out to dinner, grabbing sushi at one of their favorite places.
Yesterday, Benji had called, claiming that he and Leo needed to be “totally available” for the next two days, starting at eight PM on Friday. That was still an hour away, and Caleb could tell how antsy Leo was about not knowing every single detail about what was going on.
“I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. They weren’t even supposed to be here,” Leo said, drumming his fingers on the arm of the sofa. “They were supposed to be gone for at least another month in South America, and now they’re back, and making demands.” He sounded put out. “I had to call in like fifty favors with Felix, who understandably wants to spend time with his new boyfriend, and here I am, begging off for an entire weekend.”
It wasn’t great timing for Caleb either. Steve and Mario had flown in last week, and they’d worked on the songs he’d initially started with Brad, as well as a few others. Caleb had made enough progress that he actually felt like he might want to pull in another producer soon, just to help polish up some of the tracks—and to work on the one, final song that he still hadn’t really touched. His heart wanted it, no matter what made logical sense, to be Leo, but he still hadn’t figured out a way to ask. He’d been working up to the question, when Benji had called with his request for two free days.
“Laurel will be fine. She’s settling in great with Felix,” Caleb soothed. He reached out and captured Leo’s hand with his own, stopping the relentless, nervous tapping of his fingers. “She’ll be fine for two days. She even told you to go.”
“Yeah, it’s not her I’m worried about,” Leo retorted.
“Felix will be fine, too.” But Caleb was sure Felix would figure out a way to extract his own unique pound of flesh. After all, that was kind of Felix’s signature. Caleb wasn’t even sure, two years into his new relationship with Leo, that he had truly forgiven him for the way the first one had ended.
Nobody was more loyal than Felix Humphries; but nobody else could quite hold a grudge like him either.
“I hope so,” Leo said, then paused. “I’m sure this wasn’t great timing for you, either. You’ve been at the studio every single day for a week. It must be going really well.”
Leo had asked so many leading questions just like this one. He’d even asked several at dinner, only an hour or so earlier. But Caleb didn’t know how to talk about the album—at least not until he could figure out a way to pull Leo in, to play it for him, and ask him what he should be tweaking.
“I’m happy with it,” Caleb said. “We’ve made progress.”
“And you like these guys you met in Fiji? Even though they’re Brad Maxwell’s people?”
“They’re musicians. Brad doesn’t own them,” Caleb said. “And yeah, they’re cool. They like my stuff, and maybe I’m egotistical enough to surround myself with yes men.”
Leo rolled his eyes fondly. “If that was true, I’d have convinced you to play it for me before now.”
“Soon,” Caleb said. Why didn’t he just ask? He didn’t know. The problem was that all the ways he kept planning started with, this whole album is about you, and even though Caleb was madly in love—still, always, forever—it didn’t feel like a very productive start to a conversation about producing an album.
“So you don’t really have a clue what Benji and Diego want?” Leo said, changing the subject. “No theories, even?”
Caleb had one theory; it was just crazy enough that they might’ve done it. “Do you think they’re eloping?” he asked.
“What,” Leo screeched.
“I mean . . . it’s not the most outlandish theory,” Caleb defended.
“Like they would ever dare to get married before us,” Leo said, his eyes suddenly growing huge, like he hadn’t realized he’d actually said that out loud.
Caleb laughed and gripped Leo’s hand tightly. “Do you really want to elope?” he asked. He’d tried for a casual tone, but there was nothing casual about asking the love of your life how he felt about getting married.
But Leo only shrugged. “I never worried about it, not ever, but if they beat us down the aisle? I’ll be happy for them, I guess, but . . .”