Love and Music (and Missing Ted Callahan)

A Novella Sequel


By Amy Spalding

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A hilarious and romantic novella sequel to Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys).

This is it. This is the day Riley Jean Crowe-Ellerman officially becomes a ROCK STAR.

It’s summer, school’s out, and Riley’s band The Gold Diggers is playing their first music festival halfway across the country. It’s the most exciting day ever, except for one small detail: Riley’s boyfriend Ted is away at a Young Leaders summer program and can’t be there to witness this momentous occasion.

Riley hasn’t seen Ted in three whole weeks–she misses his perfectly floppy hair, his kissable lips–and when he sends her a cryptic text that just says, “I’m so sorry,” Riley starts to get nervous. TED! WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR?! But there’s no response.

Suddenly the best day of Riley’s life might become the worst. Is this the end of Riley and Ted Callahan? Or can love and music keep them together?


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Chapter One

I smell like a van.

I am, certifiably, a rock star. And I smell like a van.

I took a shower last night, and a shower this morning. And I still smell like a van. I smell, specifically, like our van. Reid's mom's name is on the title, but the van is ours.

Vans have a multilayered smell, like adults claim about wine. All wines just smell like wine to me, but our van smells specifically like Cheetos (my fault), spilled lavender soda (Lucy's fault), stale air (the environment's fault?), and—somehow simultaneously—BO and boy cologne (duh).

"What are we doing first?" My best friend and bandmate, Lucy, takes pictures with her phone in all directions like it's an oscillating fan that can also capture moments, even though we're just in a parking lot. We are, after all, in a parking lot in Chicago. I'M IN CHICAGO!

"We're checking in," my bandmate Nathan says. Because even though we are a band of friends and equals, Nathan thinks he's our boss or our dad. "They need to know we're here."

"Obviously we have to check in, Nathan," I say. "We also have to breathe, and our hearts have to pump blood from… I don't know, veins. Lucy means after we're checked in."

I say "checked in" casually, but it's hard not to leap around just a little because this is our very first out-of-state festival. It's only two months since the end of our junior year of high school, and we are playing an out-of-state festival more than halfway across the country! We don't even have the first slot at any of the stages. Everyone knows that the first slots always go to the least popular bands. But that's not the Gold Diggers; we're all the way up at slot three at the medium-sized stage. One of my very favorite bands, Sleater-Kinney, is closing out the night on the same stage. Their drummer, Janet Weiss, is as close to a drumming goddess as exists on this earth, and so I'm pretty sure that means there's a better-than-average chance I could meet her.

Technically this also means I'm opening for Sleater-Kinney.

"Let me use your charger," Reid demands of me as he hops out of the van. "Ri, come on. Charger."

"'Ri, come on,'" I say in my mocking-Reid voice. "'Charger'! 'Charger'!"

"We just left the hotel," Lucy says while taking yet even more photos of us. "Reid, I want these to be candid, but, still, couldn't you smile a little?"

"I know we just left the hotel," Reid says without smiling. "My phone is fully charged, and I'd like it to stay that way."

Amid all her photojournalism, Lucy gives me a look. We've been two of the most constant bystanders in the car wreck that is Reid's on-again, off-again relationship with Madison, and for some stupid reason I thought we might get a break this weekend.

"Let's go," Nathan barks. "We can't do anything until we're checked in."

We walk up to the building in the middle of the parking lot just as a guy with a clipboard heads in our direction. He's wearing a Meow the Jewels T-shirt and has a gravity-defying curly afro. I haven't seen my boyfriend in three weeks thanks to the latest in his long list of extracurriculars, and I haven't been even a little tempted to kiss another guy, but it would be really nice to touch someone's hair. Someone hot's hair. Someone's hot hair.

"Hey guys, you checking in?" he asks, and then we all let Nathan handle it because he's going to anyway, and it seems like the right time to put a stop to this Reid Behavior that could ruin our whole historic day.

"Reid," Lucy says gently. "We care about you."

"We are fully here for you," I say, though I don't sound quite as nice as Lucy because my voice isn't naturally sweet like hers. Also, to be honest, I'm not as nice.

"But this is a very big day for us," Lucy says.

"It's historic," I say. "This will be in our Behind the Music."

Lucy giggles and elbows me. "Is that show even on anymore?"

"They'll revive it for us. We're west of the frigging Mississippi. I think. We are, right? Anyway. We're playing our first festival. Our first of at least two."


"Okay, Riley," Lucy says with a smile before turning back to Reid. "We just think it's best for everyone—especially you!—if maybe today we focus on our set, and just enjoying being here."

"What are you saying?" Reid asks.

"Stop texting Madison," I say. "Stop freaking out over how long it takes her to respond. Stop waiting for her Read receipts on your texts. Just… stop."

He looks to Lucy, because she's generally likely to follow up with something calming. Lucy is the lollipop after my flu shot.

"Yes, Reid," she says in her maple sugar voice. "You have to stop it."

"Two flu shots!" I accidentally say aloud, but I high-five Lucy anyway.

Lucy looks over at Nathan. "What are they still talking about?"


On Sale
Jun 14, 2016
Page Count
38 pages

Amy Spalding

About the Author

Amy Spalding is the author of several novels, including the bestselling We Used to Be Friends and The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), which was named a best book of 2018 by NPR, the Boston Globe, Kirkus, and more.

Amy grew up in St. Louis and now lives in Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Learn more about this author