Hackenbush was happy; dear God, at last she was happy. All the years of scuffling, starving, working day jobs, suffering, and moments of pure musical bliss, followed by long stretches of creative growth, when all the work paid off and the music was as free and easy as breathing. In all those years, she’d always felt threatened, scared, and watched her back. Shorty was the first person in LA she felt safe enough with to let her guard down and relax a little. And now Eddy: Lordy, did that man make her feel safe and loved. She carried the warmth of his arms through the hours without him. His embrace was the home she thought she’d never find, and she knew it would be there when she got back to him. His love was one of the few things outside of herself she could count on. It was always something to look forward to at the end of the day, there was Eddy Lee, home, and all the peace and love in that.
She had thought that when she found this kind of love, she’d understand all those happy songs. It was not the case. No song could capture what she felt, not even words and music could do it justice. So, she reasoned, either what she had with Eddy was unique or this kind of once-in-a-lifetime love was just bigger than thirty-two bars and a verse could express. Hackenbush now had a better understanding of the dark songs of lost and hopeless love. She felt she knew more about them from her observations of others’ emotional shipwrecks and her own varied and personal experience. She still sang those songs, they were some of the greatest songs ever written; but she now sang them with more hope than tragedy, in an effort to tell her audiences that life is sad, but it might not always be. She kept the message subtle, because she didn’t want to get bashed in the face by some heartbroken poor devil who hated her for her happiness. And Hackenbush could dig it: when she was really down, the last thing she wanted was to hear about somebody else’s joy. It was petty of her, but there it was.
“What’s Ross gonna do?” Shorty asked.
Ross shared a house with Eddy and Hackenbush hadn’t really thought about what he’d do when she moved in. “I dunno, d’you think he’d want my place?”
“Echo Park is a lot different than Mid Wilshire.”
“Well, he’s a big guy, he’ll work it out,” she said gathering up her things. “Are you coming to see me in my servitude tomorrow night?”
“No, but I’ll get there one night,” Shorty said, holding the door for her. “One doesn’t hear you sing art songs very often.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“You should know better than to bet on Lola Rae,” he said.
“I was betting on love, Shorty, Lola just happened to be involved,” she said, sourly. “Although I should know better than to have anything to do with that crazy woman. Six months ago she nearly broke my neck.”