In a low voice, he said, “Considering that I have no idea what my insane brother will do next, my wife is still in danger, and my step-daughter is afraid of me, I’m doing all right.” After a pause, he added, “And did I mention my agent and Lori Sink, who both hate me now, are writing my unauthorized biography? Oh, yeah, and I’m still facing a federal indictment for cocaine possession.”
Charlie watched Britt out of the corner of his eye as the sail began to fill. Britt smoked deeply, his eyes still closed. The next time he spoke, his voice was so low Charlie wasn’t sure he was meant to hear it. “And one of my many mistresses calls to me.” Britt smoked the cigarette down to the filter before he opened his eyes and held out a steady hand in Charlie’s direction, palm down, to prove that the nicotine had done its job.
“Talk to me, Britt,” said Charlie.
Britt squinted at him, his head cocked to one side. “Ever been addicted to anything?” he asked.
Charlie shrugged. “Don’t know that I have.” With a short laugh, he added, “Maybe Sue’s brownies.”
“What did you do about it?”
“I asked her to stop making them,” said Charlie.
Britt appraised the other man for a long moment. “You live an enviable life, my friend,” he finally said.
Charlie met Britt’s eyes. How odd that Britt Jordan, of all people, would say that.
Britt studied the filter before discarding it. “Twenty five years ago, I was addicted to a variety of weeds. My father kicked my ass into the Army instead of a rehab center. Cleaned me up just as effectively.” The sail beside his head luffed. “Sheet in.” Britt stood up and didn’t speak again until he had the jib flying.
When he returned to his seat, Britt squinted up at Charlie once again. “Tell me, have you ever been to one of my concerts?”
“Yes, I have,” said Charlie. “It was a few years ago, before I met Sue. You were phenomenal!”
Britt closed his eyes and rubbed his chest. His jaw clenched, and he muttered, “The spotlight, it seems, is the strongest addiction of all.”
“I can see how that would be true,” Charlie said quietly. “It was obvious to anyone who saw you on stage that you loved it.”
“Loved it, absorbed it, needed it, drew my life from it. Hold steady—you’ve got the right of way.” After a weighted silence, Britt looked Charlie in the eye and spoke in the voice that millions of people had paid to hear. “Music is my soul; rock and roll is my blood; and the crowds are the air I breathe. The stage was a lovely mistress, but she was killing me, so I walked away from her. It was easy enough at the time, but it’s been over three months now, and I need a fix in a bad way.”
“So what are you going to do?” asked Charlie.
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