Can I tell you how relieved I was when I peeked at the voting this week…
I’d given you an option that I really wasn’t sure how to write if you chose it—but you didn’t choose it—so I’m off the hook, for a little while, anyway ;-)
Enjoy this week’s chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
Liam and I were soon joined by Marty and Jesse.
“What you staring at?” Jesse asked as he placed a bass amp on the stage with infinite care.
“Her,” Liam answered.
“Who’s she?” Marty asked.
“Looks like the new sound guy to us,” Liam replied.
“Jesus, I hope so. Pretty fuckin’ hot,” Jesse said as he deposited himself heavily on the bass amp.
A woman on the road.
That wasn’t something I’d anticipated and by the way the rest of the band were staring in the same direction, neither had they.
“You think she’s really the new sound guy?” Marty asked as he sidled up to me and continued to gaze across the expanse of theatre seats to the sound desk.
“Who knows,” I replied. “But she kinda looks like she might know her way around a sound desk.”
Just as I finished pondering with Marty, Calvin looked up and caught sight of the four of us stood in a line on the edge of the stage staring at him.
“Lads,” he called with a wave of his hand, “over here. I want you to meet someone.”
“Looks like she might be the new sound guy,” Liam said to me with a wide grin as he hopped off the stage and headed up towards Calvin.
As if the cork had come out of a bottle, there was a sudden rush of bodies as the rest of us made haste to follow Liam up the narrow alley between the seats.
“This is Kat,” Calvin said. “She’ll be taking care of sound for the rest of the tour.”
I stood in awe of the woman who leaned with casual grace on the edge of the large black desk. Up close, she was hotter and even more exquisite than I’d first imagined.
“Hey,” Kat said as she held out her hand and took a moment to individually shake the hand of each of us.
Her fingers were adorned with thick, silver rings. One that caught my eye was in the shape of a skull with amethyst stones in the place of eyes.
A lean, but well put together woman, the exposed parts of Kat’s pale skin that I could see were covered in an array of brightly coloured tattoos.
A thick silver nose ring hung from between her nostrils and she had a purple stud fixed above one almost black lip.
She wore bright red military style boots, and through the cutaway patches in her regulation black jeans, I could see a hint of black and white stockings. The interesting combination had the effect of making her legs look impossibly long, despite her average height.
The rainbow on her t-shirt had the disconcerting effect of giving her an adolescent air of innocence that her tattoos and piercings negated.
She was a dichotomy of innocence and mystery and I found myself immediately attracted to her.
“So you’re the lead singer,” she said to me as her iridescent blue eyes bored into my own. Kat’s eyes reminded me of the eyes of a husky dog. Those huge eyes appeared to have an alarming ability to change to different colours dependant upon the direction that Kat looked in.
“Y-yes,” I stammered.
I’d never come across anyone like, Kat.
“Well,” she said as she ran her finger across the top of the multiple buttons on the sound desk, “I’m going to have to make sure that you sound good, or we’ll all be out of a job.”
My brain went into under drive. I could find no words to say back to her.
“This is Dylan’s first tour,” Liam decided that the gaping chasm of silence needed to be filled. “He’s not had a lot of experience on the road,” Liam winked, “so you’ll have to be gentle with him.”
Aside from wanting to hit Liam, I had the disconcerting experience of feeling the heat of a blush begin to creep up my face.
Why was this woman having this effect on me?
Had forty-eight hours on the road turned me into some kind of gob-smacked idiot—or was it just that I was so in awe of Kat that my brain refused to work?
Kat turned her eyes to Liam and offered him a smile that lit up her face. Her smile did something to my insides that I hadn’t expected.
A fierce heat erupted inside of me.
I wanted that smile.
I wanted all of Kat’s attention.
I had an insane urge to push Liam over the back of the seat that he’d casually rested the large bulk of his body against.
These kinds of feelings weren’t conducive to a harmonious life on the road with the band—I knew that much.
“Don’t worry your pretty self about Dylan,” Kat said to Liam as she turned those eyes of hers back on me, “I’ll take good care of him while we’re on tour.”
My insides did a somersault.
My internal trouble-meter snapped into overdrive.
The part of my brain that I should have been listening to screamed for attention.
I wrestled to shut it down.
Wasn’t Destiny waiting for me at home?
She gave you the brush off, an unwanted voice in my head reminded me.
I felt as if I stood on the edge of a cliff, waiting to fall.
The question I couldn’t answer—did I want Kat to catch me?
We were holed up in another motel room.
Sound check with the new chic went well.
Everyone hung on her every word.
I was lay on my back on the bed in the room that Dylan and I were sharing.
“The band sounded hot this afternoon,” I said. I may as well have been talking to myself. “Earth to Dylan,” I yelled.
“You say something?” Dylan asked.
I rolled over onto my side. “You haven’t even got your fucking headphones on. Where’s your head?”
As if I needed an answer.
The four of us had been mooning around like love-struck school kids since we’d been introduced to Kat.
“You think it’s okay, for her to be rooming with Calvin?” Dylan asked as he sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
“That’s what you’re worrying about?” I couldn’t contain my laughter. “Like what, she’d be better off rooming with us, or with Liam and Jesse?”
“Well, I mean, she’s a woman and she’s on the road.”
“And she’s probably seen the inside of more motel rooms than you and me are going to see in a lifetime,” I replied.
“How old d’you think she is?”
“She’s got a kind of ageless look about her, don’t you think?” Dylan asked.
“Jesus! I don’t know. Why don’t you ask her how old she is?”
Now Dylan shrugged.
“Does it matter anyway? You need to keep your mind on the show tonight, not the sound guy.”
We’d taken to calling Kat the sound guy.
It made her laugh.
I liked it when Kat laughed.
If I was honest, I liked it when Kat did anything.
She was a bright light on our tour horizon—and having her around made me feel good.
Even though Dylan had it bad, I think I had it just as bad—but I wasn’t going to let him know that.
“Liam likes her,” Dylan said a hard note in his voice.
“You and Liam have just sorted your shit out, don’t let Kat fuck it up for the two of you.”
“Good point,” Dylan said as he threw himself on his back on his bed.
“Anyone here?” The high-pitched voice of a female echoed from the next room.
Dylan and I almost knocked each other out trying to get to the bedroom door.
He made it through ahead of me.
At the exact same moment, Liam and Jesse spilled out of the second bedroom.
“Here you all are,” Kat said. “Anyone want to play?”
My throat went dry.
“Cards?” she said as she pulled a brightly coloured pack of cards out from behind her back and went and sat herself down at the unit’s small kitchen table.
She's playing us, I thought, as I fought with the rest of the guys to take a seat beside Kat.
Liam sat one side of her and Dylan the other.
Me and Jesse had the pleasure of each other’s company.
What was the scent that she wore?
The commercial scent of the motel had been swept away by her presence in the room.
A note of what? Maybe Sandalwood.
But Kat didn’t strike me as a hippy.
She was too cool to be eating tofu and sitting around meditating.
Or, maybe she wasn’t?
Even if she was playing us, we were all eager to play.
“Great sound you guys have got,” Kat said as she began to deal the cards. “You played this before, it’s a great time waster on the road?”
“No,” I said. The rest of the band seemed to have been struck dumb.
“Well, it’s easy,” Kat said as she finished dealing out seven cards each and set the rest of the pack in the centre of the table. I watched in fascination as she turned the top card of the pack in the centre of the table over.
“That’s the discard pile,” she said pointing to the upturned card. She tipped her head in the direction of Liam and said, “You get to go first.”
I watched in horror as Dylan flinched.
We were playing a card game for fucks sake. The undercurrent of innuendo wasn’t lost on anyone at this point.
Kat, in fact, seemed to be enjoying herself.
The rest of us—well I wasn’t so sure any more.
“You got to match a colour or a number card,” Kat said explaining the rules. “There are action cards in the pack that change the direction of play, or make you pick up. The idea of the game is to discard all the cards in your hand. When you’ve got one card left, you call ‘Uno’. You’ve got to make the call before the next person plays a card, or you pick up two.”
“Fuck,” Liam said under his breath.
“You don’t want to play?” Kat asked him, the tone of her voice clearly not referring to the cards lay on the table in front of us.
“I want to win,” Liam replied.
Without missing a beat, Kat said, “To win you have to discard all your cards and then we add up the points left that everyone else has in their hands and I keep a note of the score here.” She pulled out a small notebook that had a large purple Iris on the cover. “First one to 500 wins.”
“What do we win?” Dylan asked.
Kat shrugged, “I guess that’s up for negotiation.”
She didn’t need to spell it out.
“Let’s get on with it then,” Jesse said from beside me.
The blond bass player hadn’t said a lot this afternoon, but the intent in his voice hadn’t gone amiss either.
It felt as if the four of us were playing a dangerous game.
No wonder the girls that we’d left behind at home had given us the brush off. Did they know that we were going to meet women like Kat on the road?
Right this moment—I didn’t know what I thought anymore.
Kat appeared to be in her element, she had the rapt attention of the entire band.
She’d brought a new and electrifying aspect to the tour.
Where the hell this was going to end up was anyone’s guess. But I knew one thing, I like the rest of the band, was along for the ride.
* * *
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