Tables Turned- Prologue

When the phone rang, he almost didn't hear it.

The bass was loud, reverberating through his body and filling his ears with the unmistakable beat of a Jay-Z song so timeless that it still resonated almost two decades after it had first released. The beer in his hand was cool as it hit the back of his throat, and he relished the way it went down, silky and smooth.

It was Friday night, and there was no place he'd have rather been than here, in his house perched on the hills, overlooking the city of angels below, a couple of hundred of close (and not so close) friends around him, with the music pumpin', bodies jumpin', and the alcohol flowing.

Yeah…his life didn't suck.

Especially when he had this fine pretty young thing dancing on him. In fact, it was only when her hips pressed against his in a way that clearly stated what she wanted to do with him, for him and to him, that he felt the phone vibrate in his pants pocket.

He would have ignored it, but he'd glanced down at the phone just long enough to recognize the number and pic on the call display. He picked it up on the fifth ring, just before his voicemail had a chance to pick the call up. He smiled apologetically to his dance partner as he made his way out of the living room and towards the hallway. "Yo," he said into his phone as he slipped into his bedroom and closed the door behind him. The stillness of the room was so stark in comparison to the chaos in the rest of the house that the quiet left a ringing in his ears.

Still, there was no mistaking her voice. He'd recognize it anywhere. "Hey, you." Long and drawn out, a hint of an accent that should have long ago been erased, and husky enough that he knew she was tired. He glanced at the time and did the mental calculation- it was just after 3am on the east coast.

He smiled into the phone. "Hey yourself. What are you doing still up?"

He grinned as he heard her chuckle from her end of the phone line. He let himself ease onto the bed, back against the padded headboard and feet crossed at the ankles. He thought about how his mother would kill him if she knew he had shoes on his bed now.

"Never you mind that," she sidestepped. It wasn't like her to evade his questions. "I want to hear about you," she continued. "Tell me, how goes it in the life of the rich and oh-so famous?"

He laughed softly to himself. If he didn't know her better, he would have sworn that her drawn out drawl meant that she had been drinking. But he did know better- she wasn't the type to drunk dial, and she definitely would not drunk dial him, no matter how out of character this phone call seemed to be.

"It goes. You know how it is. Private jet here, a Grammy after party there. It's all really mundane, really. Nothing compared to med school and excavating cadavers."

He could hear her roll her eyes. "Haha, funny boy. I'll have you know that Bones and I have a fabulous time studying at the anatomy section in the library."

He grinned at that. God, it was good to hear from her. "Yeah, I can see how that would be riveting." He paused for a moment, his eyes falling on the old-school record player in the corner of the room. She had had it sent to him after the group's first album had gone platinum. In his high-tech pad perched on top of the Hollywood hills, the old relic was one of his prized possessions, not least of all because it had been a gift from her. "Seriously though, what's up? I haven't heard from you since you left in July."

She paused. "Yeah…I know. Sorry 'bout that. Been busy. You know how it goes. I can't even remember the last time I got a full night of sleep. These exams just don't let up. And plus with the time difference and all…it just never seemed like the right time to call."

He quirked an eyebrow up. She was doing a good job at trying to cover it up, but he knew her too well to know when she was hiding something. "Since when has inconvenient timing ever been an issue before? What aren't you telling me? Did something happen? Did he-"

She cut him off before he could pry further. "No, nothing like that. God, don't be so melodramatic. Can't a girl just call to say hi to an old friend anymore?" When he didn't respond, she sighed. "Ok, I lied." She paused and he heard her take in a deep breath. "I need a favour."

This caught his attention. It wasn't often that the Miss High-and-Mighty Maura Abbot asked for favours. "Oh?" He took a sip of from the beer bottle he still held in his right hand. "And what favour is this?"

"I can't go into all the details now, but I need a place to crash. Please don't ask any questions- just say yes?"

The bottle of beer paused on its way to his lips at her words. Whatever he had expected, he hadn't expected this. Even his curiosity about her deliberate vagueness could not stop the feeling of warmth rush over him at the thought of her coming to visit. It really had been too long since she'd been back home last. "Maura, you can stay anytime. Seriously, I'd love it. Life's been kind of slow now that we're not on tour."

She chuckled then, low and slowly. He could almost picture her, head leaned back, eyes closed, absentmindedly playing with a lock of her hair. For the first time in a long time, he let the feeling of missing her wash over him. When she spoke, her voice was husky and laden with sleep. "Slow, huh? You know we get TMZ in New York too, right? I've heard all about how slow your life is these days. Tell me again, is it the Victoria's Secret model you're seeing, or the SI Swimsuit cover girl this month?"

He eyed the phone sheepishly as he scratched the back of his head. "Well, you know how it is. Everything seems slow without you."

"Aww, is that Patrick Bowers? Being romantic? How cute! Oh wait! Did I say cute? My bad, what I meant to say was how incredibly nauseating! Save your lines for someone who isn't immune to your deviously irresistible ways, please."

"Haha. You laugh now, but I'll have you know that millions of girls all over North America and Europe find my romantic self absolutely riveting."

She sighed. "Yes, I know. It's all very sad, really. One would think that they would have better taste."


"You really need to start working on a better comeback, Bowers."

He closed his eyes and leaned further against the headboard. "You're right. So, when exactly can you be here to whip me back into shape? I'm out of practice."

"I'm leaving New York on the redeye tomorrow night. Should be back in LA bright and early Sunday morning."

He smiled. He really had been missing her. It would be great to see her again. "Can't wait."

"I know. Look, I got to go now, okay? I'm not sure just how much longer I can keep my eyelids open. Thanks for everything, Pat. I mean it. Love you."

"Love you too. Bye." He ended the phone call and looked up, surprised to see his band mate David standing there. He had been so caught up in the conversation, he hadn't even heard him come into the room. "Hey," he said to his friend as he pulled himself off of the bed. "You good?"

David nodded his head and smiled, his eyes betraying his curiosity. "Yeah, the party's bumpin'- as always.'" he paused before speaking again. "Who's that you were talking to? On the phone I mean. Got you all holed up in here all alone and shit. Sounded way too intense for a Friday night."

Patrick laughed and finished off his drink, setting the bottle on the side table before making his way out of the room and towards the kitchen. "Not that it's any of your business," he called out behind him. "But that, my friend, was none other than Maura Leigh Abbot." He made his way over to the fridge, taking out a bottle of water before unscrewing the lid to take a large gulp.

"Oh. She an old girlfriend or something?"

Patrick nearly spit out the water at his words, the idea of Maura and him….together…in that way so foreign it was almost laughable. "Maura? An old girlfriend? You've got it so wrong, man! And she'd probably kick your ass for even suggesting it!"

David eyed his friend, confused at his reaction. "I don't get it."

Patrick rolled his eyes. "No, I don't suppose you would." He leaned against the counter and crossed his arms. "Maura is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I've known her since we were little." His eyes seemed to lose some of their light then, a whisper of a memory casting a shadow that still left a dull ache. "She was like my sister," he added quietly.

David eyed him skeptically. For some reason he suspected that there was more to their relationship than Patrick was letting on. "Oh? So you guys never hooked up?"

"Nah." Patrick said, pushing himself off the counter. He started to make his way towards the living room. "We were never each other's type."

Though he spoke with the outmost sincerity, David didn't quite believe him. He watched his friend's retreating back as he walked away, convinced that he wasn't telling all there was to be told about him and this Maura Abbot.