Sex, Death and Rock n’ Roll © 2009 By Cyberdyke

This story depicts a consenting sexual relationship between adult women, oh and a man and a women too. There is occasional bad language and violence.
Disclaimer: All characters are fictitious and made up from the depths of my mind. Any similarities with living or dead people just sucks.

 

Sex, Death and Rock n’ Roll – Part 4

Rick waved as he closed the door. “Have a good one!”

Bridget and Tony were left alone in the suite.

Bridget stood with her gaze locked on her daughter. “I thought he’d never leave.”

Tony sat studying the backs of her hands, avoiding her Mother’s gaze.

Never one for beating around the bush, Bridget jumped in with both feet. “So, gay bars, and sleeping with women… are you taking a walk on the wild side?”

Tony winced as Bridget’s directness exposed her to something she really didn’t want to discuss with her mother. “Isn’t it my business?”

Bridget agreed, sitting on the couch, “Yep, just want to make sure you’re safe.”

Tony’s anger was rising. “I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Fine. Will you promise me that at least you’ll talk to Kris?”

Tony was on the verge of shouting as she got up and walked to the window. “You don’t understand; I don’t want to talk about this, not with you and not with her!” She didn’t want to deal with this; the whole situation scared the shit out of her. She just wanted to crawl into a corner and hope it would go away.

Bridget poured herself a cup of coffee from a carafe on the table. “Why are you angry?”

Tony half shouted over her shoulder, “I’m scared, all right?!”

Bridget sipped her coffee. “Why?” She felt rather calm considering that this situation was making her head feel like it was going to explode.

Tony turned and stared at the older woman. There was a long moment of silence as her gaze bored into her mother. “I don’t want to be gay! I’ve seen the crap that Kris has to go through, and no thanks!”

Bridget asked, meeting her daughter’s angry gaze, “What if you aren’t gay but just bi-sexual?”

Tony looked thoughtful. “I hadn’t considered that.” She ran a hand through her hair in frustration. “Shit, I don’t know if I’m coming or going! I still can’t believe I spent the night with a woman!” Her voice was full of amazement as she moved back over and sat down on the other end of the couch.

Bridget sipped her coffee, seemingly unconcerned by the whole situation. “I meant what I said; I really don’t care.

Tony looked apologetically at her mother. “I wish I could have told you about Paige in a better way.”

Bridget smiled at her daughter. “It was a little surprising, only because I still see you as my little girl.” Bridget reached out and moved a lock of Tony’s jet-black hair over her shoulder. “It could have been worse.”

Tony looked up, her eyebrows raised in question. “How?”

Bridget smiled wryly. “I could have walked in on the two of you.”

Tony grimaced. “Shit, talk about embarrassing!”

The two women laughed.

Tony continued, “She’s not the first woman that I’ve ever… ah… been with.” Tony was wracking her brain trying to think of a word that didn’t embarrass either of them. She also couldn’t believe she was having this discussion with her mom.

Bridget sipped her coffee, looking much calmer than she actually felt. “I gathered that from Rick’s reaction. Are you….” Bridget broke off unsure how to continue. She did and didn’t want to know if her daughter was still a virgin. She thought this talk would be easier than it had the first time, when Tony was in junior high. “What I mean is, does this feel… have you explored other possibilities….”

Tony laughed. “Mom, are you asking if I’m a virgin?”

“Well, no, not exactly.” Bridget felt a blush rising to her face. “Yeah maybe. Have you… tried guys?”

Tony was smiling broadly. “It’s good to see you are just as uncomfortable about this as I am.”

Bridget laughed nervously. “Yeah.” It wasn’t like this was a new concept to her. After all she’d seen almost everything while she had been in prison.

Tony put her hands palm down on her thighs. “Mom look, I’ve been with a few guys.” She got up and walked back to the window. “I don’t have a clue if I’m gay. I guess this is just something I have to try.” She turned back around to face her mom.

Bridget let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. “OK. I meant what I said; I really don’t care. It just caught me off guard.”

Tony prodded, moving back to the couch and sitting down cross-legged across from her mom, “So if it had been a guy, it would have been better?”

Bridget was adamant. “No. I think I would have kicked his ass into next week!”

Tony was smiling, her brow furrowed. “Why didn’t you do that with Paige?”

“I just wasn’t expecting you to be with anyone. I think for it to have been a woman just really frazzled my brain.”

Now Tony really looked confused. “But you just said….”

Bridget brushed her inky locks over her shoulder. “I still don’t have anything against it. It’s just you never gave any indication of swinging that way. But if you’d had a guy hanging off you like that, I would have kicked his randy ass!”

Tony looked at her mom for a long moment. “So next time you see me with a woman hanging off me…?”

Bridget smiled roguishly. “She’ll get no special treatment from me, I assure you!”

Tony laughed. “Boy, am I glad that’s over!”

Bridget chuckled. “Talk about tense!”

Tony was shaking her head in amazement. “I thought the last time I had to talk to you about this, when you gave me the ‘big’ talk, it was hard!”

Bridget smiled, remembering. “I sweated that. I just knew you were going to ask something a little too personal for me to comfortably answer.”

Tony wore a wry smile. “I’ll bet you were surprised when I already knew most of what you were saying?”

“Oh yeah, I wondered where the hell you had gotten your info. But then I had forgotten that you’d lived with Grand all those years.”

Tony chuckled. “I never told you this, but most of what I knew I found out when I was living in those foster homes.”

Bridget sat straight up, looking as though she’d been slapped across the face. “What?!”

Tony shrugged. “There were a lot of unsupervised activities going on.”

Bridget’s face was hard with anger. “Are you kidding me?”

Tony’s gaze was off on memory lane. “That’s probably why I was always so good at fighting. I didn’t want those jerks getting near me.”

The look of sorrow and regret filled the planes of Bridget’s face. “Oh Tony, I’m so sorry.”

Looking over, Tony reached out and laid her hand on top of Bridget’s that was lying on top of her leg and squeezed it. “It’s not your fault, Mom,” Tony tried to reassure her. “It was a long time ago.”

Bridget’s eyes were shiny with unshed tears. “I would give anything to change that time.”

Tony smiled warmly. “All that matters is that we found one another again!”

Both women were silent for a moment, lost in their own thoughts.

Tony’s head snapped back as she said, “Franklin is going to freak!”

Bridget wore a devious smile. “You leave him to me.”

Tony smiled back; her stomach was still full of butterflies. “I never thought I was anything but straight. Trust me, this whole thing has blown my mind!”

Bridget offered her a cup of coffee. “Talk with Kris; she’ll help you sort through this.” She sipped at her coffee. “Would it be such a terrible thing to be gay?”

Tony barked with laughter. “You are supposed to be over there telling me what a horrible person I am because I’ve shamed you and the rest of humanity…”

Bridget looked doubtful. “You have obviously spent too many years listening to Angie trying to shove that down Kris’ throat. All I’ve ever wanted is for you to be happy. Whatever you do to achieve that, well, it’s cool with me.”

Tony smiled and sipped her coffee. “You know, you’re way too cool to be a mother!”

Bridget chuckled. “I think I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Relaxing a bit, and sensing a need to talk about something else, Tony asked, “So how is Franklin?”

Bridget took a sip of her coffee, glad that they had cleared the air. “He’s good. Got some huge business meeting next week he’s pulling his hair out about.”

Tony was glad that the inquisition was over, and that it had been basically painless.

“He up for a promotion?”

Bridget laughed. “He’ll get a nice little bonus – a week in Hawaii. So he’s really busting his ass.”

“That sounds like fun.” Tony took a sip of her coffee. “Who was that guy you were supposed to interview?”

“Case Ainsworth. Financial wizard extraordinaire.”

Tony’s brows were knitted in doubt. “What does that mean?”

“I have no idea; that was going to be something that I found out. Seems he did some creative accounting things for people in high places.”

“Didn’t you say he was gunned down? Isn’t that like a Mafia thing?”

Bridget looked thoughtful. “Yeah, that certainly sounds like their style.”

Tony stood and stretched. “Hey, are you ready to do some shopping? I could really use a change of scenery!” she said, breaking Bridget from her thoughts.

“Yeah, that sounds like a plan.”

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As they peered into the window of another clothing shop, Kris asked, “I’m kinda getting hungry, how about you?”

Looking at her watch, Melissa replied, “Yeah, it’s getting to be about that time.”

“Well I did promise you a dinner alone. What do you feel like?”

Melissa smiled, as she squeezed Kris’ hand. “I don’t know. Just about anything will be fine.”

Kris put her arm around the blond woman as they made way back to the limo. “Anything it is then!”

Melissa realized that she had gotten used to the fact that all day they had been surrounded by the persistent shadow of the media. At first she was very nervous about being photographed with Kris, but as the day had worn on she had completely forgotten about them. Occasionally one would get close enough for her to see their camera pointed at the couple, but then Rita would remove them. It was a unique experience to be sure, keeping Kris’ celebrity status always on the edge of Melissa’s mind.

Melissa smiled mischievously, as Kris laughed and kissed her. “Have you had a nice day off?”

Kris kissed her soundly on the mouth; as the kiss ended and both were gasping for air, Kris replied, “Oh yes – the best.”

The kiss left Melissa’s head spinning and lower parts warm and happy.

Back inside the limo, Kris asked the driver, “Hey, we want to go someplace nice for dinner; what do you suggest?”

He thought about it for a moment, and then replied, “Well there’s Trio; it’s new, but everyone is raving about it.”

Melissa asked, “What kind of food do they serve?”

“Italian, French and Asian. But you’ll need reservations to get in tonight.”

Kris laughed. “We’ll see; that sound OK to you?” Melissa nodded her approval. “Alright Trio it is, drive on.”

The limo pulled up in front of the place; the doorman opened the car’s door, and Rita stepped out followed by Kris who turned to offer her hand to Melissa. A tight knot of media was already gathered at the door, trying to catch a glimpse of the rich and famous. It wasn’t long before the bright flash of the cameras filled the night. Rita escorted them inside, as spots danced before Melissa’s eyes.

The restaurant dripped with opulence. A crystal chandelier, thick mutely designed carpets, dark wood was everywhere. A rather tall and slim man was standing behind the maitre d’ stand. He was dressed in a black silk dinner jacket, white shirt and black silk bow tie. Melissa thought he reminded her of a string bean in a tux, with a permanent look of question on his face.

He had a cultured English accent, with a slight lisp underneath. “Good evening ladies, name?”

Kris replied, “We don’t have reservations but would like to have dinner here tonight.”

The man chuckled, although his features didn’t look like he was enjoying himself. “Surely you jest?”

Rita stepped up to the podium; reaching into her pocket, she removed a wad of cash. Laying a bill down on the highly polished dark wooden surface she asked, “How are the chances now?”

The maitre d’ looked down and scoffed at the fifty-dollar bill.

Rita placed a second down. “And now?”

“I do see a table opening up.” Arching an eyebrow at the women. “However there is a dress code.”

Kris arched her own eyebrow. “Which is?”

Pursing his lips and giving them the once over, he said, “I think you can get by with dinner jackets and ties.” He raised his arm and snapped his fingers.

Kris nodded to Rita who placed a third bill down on the podium. “Thank-you, you have been very helpful.”

Presently a woman appeared and escorted them to the cloakroom where she supplied them with black Tux jackets and clip on black bow ties.

Kris commented dryly as she finished attaching her tie, “I’ve always thought that T-shirts and bow ties are such high fashion!”

Being properly dressed, the maitre d’ escorted them to a very nice table in a dark corner of the posh restaurant. Kris held Melissa’s hand as they wound their way through the crowded place. Many of the patrons actively gawked as they made their way. Many of the diners were older and reeked of old money. Melissa thought that the last time she’d seen this much diamonds and gold had been at Tiffany’s.

“Good evening, I’m Ernesto and I’ll be your waiter this evening. May I get you started with something from the bar?” He was dark and stocky and didn’t look the least bit pleased to be waiting on them.

Kris replied, smiling slyly, “Hello. Yeah, I think we’ll start off with a bottle of Dom Perignon ’56.”

He bowed ever so slightly before leaving. “Very good Madame.”

Melissa was sure she saw the hint of a smile cross his face. “So now you’re a wine buff?”

Kris confided, wiggling her eyebrows, “Nah, saw it in a Bond movie once; thought it sounded good.”

Melissa burst out laughing.

Kris warmed her Cognac as she watched Melissa. “As a rule I don’t have Cognac, but…”

“Yeah, I hear that.” Melissa leaned across the table, her face serious. “Kris the dinner… evening was wonderful.”

Kris’ eyes twinkled. “Well I’m glad you liked it. I slaved all day in the kitchen.”

“I had a really great time with you today, thank you.”

Kris felt herself blush, and was glad the restaurant was dimly lit. “You’re welcome. I had a very nice time too.” She had to fight to remember that they were in public and not reach over and take Melissa right now. She was so extraordinarily beautiful with the soft light making her hair appear to glow.

The waiter broke the spell. “Will there be anything else?”

Melissa smiled up at the man. “No, thank you.”

He nodded slightly and disappeared.

“Well, what would you like to do now? Movie? Dancing?”

Melissa laughed. “Oh surely it’s too late for a movie?”

“Is that would you would really like to do?” Kris asked a mischievous glint in her eyes as she snapped her fingers and the waiter returned. “I need a phone please, and the maitre d’.”

“Kris it’s really not necessary….”

Kris interrupted her, “It’s my job to make sure that you are happy.”

The maitre d’ looked expectantly. “Yes Madame?”

Melissa watched as Kris talked with the maitre d’ and then spoke to someone on the phone. She was still getting used to the fact that Kris had money, lots of money, and could do anything she wanted anytime she wanted. It made Melissa’s head spin to think what the meal had cost; she didn’t even want to know what Kris was setting up for a movie.

Kris interrupted Melissa’s musings. “What would you like to see?”

Knowing she had a silly grin on her face, Melissa replied, “How about the X-files?”

Kris rolled her eyes as she went back to the phone. “Good choice, I was afraid you were going to say the Titanic!”

With the plans in order, and the meal paid for, the women left the restaurant with a friendly handshake to the maitre d’. Now that the evening was waning, the throng of reporters had grown to a large group. Rita had to fight her way through to get the women safely to the waiting limo.

“Hey Kris! Who’s the bit of crumpet!” shouted a reporter.

Kris tried not to react, knowing it would only fuel their questions. But a low growl escaped her throat as she followed Melissa and climbed into the limo.

 

20

The group had a regular table in the main dining room for breakfast. It was pretty late for most of the guests to be still having breakfast, so the room was mostly deserted.

Rick quipped, looking over the top of the comics from the newspaper, “So you finally decided to get up?”

Tony’s hair was disheveled and she looked as if she hadn’t slept at all. She sneered at Rick as she sat down. “Coffee,” she pleaded as the waiter neared with a steaming pot. “Leave the pot,” she ordered as she began to drink the hot liquid. The waiter shrugged, setting down the pot as he left. Tony looked as if she was having a religious experience as she finished her first sip of the black liquid.

Bridget’s face looked serious but her eyes were smiling. “How was your... dinner last night dear?”

Tony’s gaze held a warning. “Very nice, thank you.”

Putting the paper down, Rick asked, “Where are the love birds?”

Glancing around the table, Tony replied, “Who are you referring to, Steve and Ronnie? Tom and his latest?”

Rick smiled sarcastically at her. “Ha, ha, very funny! Kris and what’s her name.”

Bridget and Tony both said it in unison, “Melissa.”

Tony poured herself a second cup of coffee, warming her hands around the cup. “Well since I don’t see them here, I can only assume they are still upstairs.”

Rick picked up his coffee cup. “You mean they didn’t keep you up all night?”

Tony looked blankly at him as she sipped her coffee. “What are you talking about?”

Rick smiled wickedly. “I would have thought the sound of them rolling around in the hay would have kept you up.”

Tony leaned toward him as if to take him into her confidence. “Well actually they didn’t keep me up, I think it was the other way round.”

Rick looked a little green around the edges. “Not with that woman, I hope!”

Tony smiled devilishly and sipped her coffee, wiggling her eyebrows in response.

Bridget suggested, “Why don’t you cut your sister some slack? Be happy for her for once.”

Rick acted innocent. “I am happy for her.”

Tony snorted. “Get fucking real!”

Bridget shot a warning look at her daughter. “Antonia, what have I told you about swearing?”

Tony hung her head in resignation. “Yes ma’am.”

Bridget turned her attention to Rick and chastised him. “Fredrick Cutler! How can you sit there and lie to us?”

Looking back and forth from one to the other, he hung his head and said, “Fine! I’m jealous, so sue me!”

Paul came over and kissed Bridget on the cheek and then sat down at the table. “Bridget! It is so nice to see you again!”

Bridget smiled, accepting the kiss. “Hello Paul, you are looking well.”

Scoffing, he said, “Ah! I don’t know how that could be, since they are trying to kill me!” He inclined his chin in Tony and Rick’s direction.

Rick said, picking up his paper, “Someone’s got to do it!”

Paul reached out and poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot next to Tony. “Are you traveling on with us today?”

Tony eyed him with a sneer and bared teeth. When he set down the pot, she grabbed it and moved it away from him.

Bridget was trying to ignore her offspring as she explained, “No, I’ve got to get back home.”

Tess came up to the group; pulling out a chair, she stated a cheery, “Morning all!”

Tony growled, pouring another cup of coffee, “Jesus! How can you be so chipper?”

Tess smiled and winked at Paul. And in Tony's direction, she said, “Did we have a rough night?”

Tony looked sullenly at Tess. “We did not, as if it’s any of your business.”

Laughing, Tess asked, “Hey Bridget how’s it hanging?”

Bridget chuckled. “Like a horse, baby!”

Tess poured herself a cup of coffee. “That a girl!” Taking a sip, she asked, “Has anyone seen Kris this morning?”

Paul shook his head no and then turned his attention back to Bridget. “Are you here on business?”

Bridget ran a hand through her onyx shoulder length hair. “Yeah, but it got canceled.”

Sipping his coffee, his eyes never left Bridget’s face. “Oh well, that’s good, no?”

Bridget shrugged. “Yeah, I guess; I got to spend some extra time with Tony.”

Bridget had to smile to herself. She and Paul always played this game when they were together. She knew that he liked her, and he knew that she was happily married, but that didn’t stop the two of them from flirting madly when they got together. It was all harmless fun.

Tony answered absently, reading the back of the section of newspaper Rick was reading, “Probably still up in the room.”

Tess took a long drink of her coffee and then stood up. “Oh great, thanks.”

Bridget tore herself away from her conversation with Paul as she watched Tess’ back moving away from them. “Tony, where is Tess going?”

Tony looked up, her face blank as she followed the direction her mother was looking, and turned to watch Tess moving through the empty dining area.

Rick replied from behind his newspaper, “Up to see Kris.”

“Shit!” Tony started to get up, but Bridget beat her to the punch. She was up and moving swiftly after Tess.

Bridget put her hand on Tess’ shoulder, stopping her. “Ah Tess, I think it would be a really good idea if we wait for Kris to come down on her own this morning.”

Tess was looking Bridget over suspiciously. “All right.”

“Why don’t you come back and have some breakfast?” Bridget put her arm around Tess’ shoulders as they headed back towards the table.

As they sat down at the table, Tess asked, “Yeah, all right. What’s the big deal anyway?”

Bridget looked over at the band’s manager. “Paul, I think it would be a wise idea if you let everyone know not to disturb Kris this morning.”

He looked questioningly at her. “Why?”

Bridget looked at Tony. “Doesn’t Melissa leave today?”

Tony nodded her head yes as she sipped her coffee.

Paul chuckled, drinking his coffee. “Oh. I pity the person that interrupts them.”

Bridget’s food was delivered as she asked, “What did you need to see Kris about anyway?”

Tess gave her order to the waiter. “Oh, I need her to answer a couple of questions for the insurance company about the accident the other night. No big deal, I just don’t want to forget to ask her.”

Bridget queried, “Ah yes, why don’t you fill me in?” It was not a question.

Tess swallowed as she met the older woman’s gaze. She felt a little apprehensive about divulging the details, even though no one really got hurt. “Well it was nothing really, one of the sandbags from the rigging let go. Kris and Rick got a little bruised.” She was trying to play down the accident as much as possible.

Putting down the paper, Rick stated, “You certainly make it sound boring, and you’ve completely left out your role in it.”

Bridget raised an eyebrow and settled her gaze on Tess. “Well?”

Tess felt like she’d got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. “Really, there’s not much more to it than that.

Tony tried to take the spotlight off of Tess and to assuage her Mother’s fears. “Tess was originally standing under the bag, but Kris and Rick managed to get her and themselves out of the way before it fell.”

Bridget looked dubiously at her daughter but then decided to let it go, since no one appeared to be damaged.

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The soft warmth of Melissa’s skin against Kris’ made her feel grounded as she lay on her back with her lover cradled in her arms. Melissa had drifted off after their last love making session; her breath was deep and steady, tickling the fine hairs on Kris’ chest. Kris caressed the silky locks of gold absently as her mind wandered through the last few days.

It was hard for her to believe that it had only been a couple of days; it seemed more like months. Then again, she always did have a hard time telling the passing of time once they started touring. Lately, she felt like she was on a speeding train without an engineer – everything out of control. Nothing seemed to matter except being with Melissa. All of her standards, her foundations, that she had based her life on were crumbling. Melissa had quickly become top priority, above her family, above the band and most importantly her music.

Is this what love truly is? she asked herself. Suddenly all the words to all the love songs she had heard came flooding back to her. Realization hit her hard.

She felt complete and able to function with Melissa near, but when they were separated her mind ceased to function logically; all she could think of was getting back to Melissa. It was an all-consuming thing, almost a tangible ache. She was addicted to Melissa. The feelings for Melissa were growing so quickly and to such an intensity that, at times, she felt as if she couldn’t get her breath. She had never experienced anything like this before, and it scared her. She still wasn’t sure that Melissa loved her. She knew that Melissa cared for her, that she had feelings for her, but what Kris was still unsure about was how deep those feelings went. Until she was sure of Melissa’s intentions, she would be cautious. She also didn’t want to rush into something until she was 100% sure; she had made that mistake before, and it had been so very ugly! She also didn’t want to scare Melissa off, by being too serious too soon.

Melissa stirred, her hand brushing Kris’ left breast, jolting her from her thoughts.

She looked down on the relaxed and beautiful face of her lover. Melissa was beautiful, in a down to earth way, which was to say that not only was she strikingly beautiful at first sight, but her personality gave her depth, making her more than air brushed model looks.

Kris lightly ran her hand along Melissa’s muscular back. Kris’ fingers glided across Melissa’s satiny skin; the powerful muscles shifted slightly underneath. As she watched the sleeping golden woman in her arms, Kris suddenly felt that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Melissa.

The sunlight shone through the partially open curtains, filling the room with warmth, which the thermometer didn’t share. The sunlight fell across the queen-sized bed like a spotlight. The amber light of the sun enhanced the golden color of Melissa’s tanned arms and legs. The musky scent of Melissa was still covering her hands and face. Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes as the memory of their love making through the night filled her mind; Kris could feel a tingling starting between her legs as she opened her eyes. Her vision was filled with a firm, creamy, perfect breast, the nipple a bright pink surrounded by a dark areola.

Suddenly Melissa’s body shifted and her eyes opened; a slow smile crept across her face as she reached up and cupped Kris’ cheek.

Kris smiled back. “Morning.”

Melissa’s voice was low and filled with sleep as she joked, “I can’t believe you’re awake; the sun is up, you know?”

Kris’ voice was high and harsh as she recoiled onto the bed. “I’m melting!”

Melissa laughed as she playfully tickled Kris’ ribs. “I thought that only happened to witches when they came in contact with water?”

Yawning, Kris said, “I’m hungry!”

Melissa leaned over and kissed Kris. “Me too!”

Kris’ eyebrow was raised as they parted. “I guess you didn’t get your fill last night?”

Melissa smiled wickedly as she sat up and stretched. “Of you? Never.”

Kris reached up and grabbed the blond around the waist and pulled her down on top of her, placing kisses all over her neck and face.

Melissa laughed. “You are full of energy this morning!”

Kris kissed her; her tongue reached out, seeking entrance to Melissa’s mouth.

“Can’t help it. You do it to me.”

Melissa pulled away. “Oh… wait! Morning breath!”

Kris’ eyebrow was arched as she looked dubiously at her blond lover. “After where I put my mouth on you last night, you’re worried about morning breath?”

Melissa shrugged and kissed her.

Their mouths were locked in quiet exploration, tongues seeking each other and entwining in a dance all their own. The kiss quickly turned from one of greeting to one of passion. The women separated, as Kris’ mouth sought out Melissa’s neck. She sucked and kissed her way along the sensitive flesh, while Melissa made little moans of pleasure, her own hands running lightly across the velvet skin of her lover. Kris could feel the quiver of growing excitement between her legs. Her heart was pounding in unison with her panting breaths. Kris’ mouth moved down and captured one of Melissa’s breasts and raked her teeth over the now erect nipple. Kris heard the sharp intake of breath from her lover.

Sucking the swollen flesh further into her mouth, she was rewarded with Melissa arching her back and pushing the breast at Kris. She smiled as she suckled the proffered flesh. Melissa’s hands had tangled themselves in Kris’ hair as she ran them through the thick mane absently, moaning in pleasure as her hips began to gently rock against Kris. Kris moved her hand down Melissa’s now sweat-damp skin to her golden curls, which were also damp, but from another source. Slipping her fingers into the silky folds, she found them drenched with moisture. Kris’ eyes closed as she moaned in response. Her finger sought out the little nub of excited flesh. She felt Melissa’s body shake as she stroked her pleasure center. Melissa’s breath was ragged as she hugged Kris’ head to her chest and rocked back and forth with more urgency. Kris bit down hard on the nipple in her mouth as she rubbed her finger faster. Melissa gasped as she arched her head back, her rocking at a fever pitch. Kris felt Melissa’s body go stiff as she suddenly began to thrash about, moaning and gasping for air. As she stilled, Kris slowed her finger to match. When Melissa’s breathing returned to normal, she gently removed her hand and wrapped her arms around her lover. Kris was applying gentle little kisses all over Melissa’s damp face, waiting for her strength to return.

Melissa opened her sleepy, cobalt eyes, which were filled with love, and smiled. “I love… what you do to me.” Melissa swallowed hard. She had almost made the biggest mistake of all, saying ‘I love you’ too soon in the relationship. She felt that she had covered well.

Kris’ smile was filled with love. “Well I’m glad you like it. It’s my pleasure.” Kris reached out and placed her finger over the rose tattoo and traced it ever so gently. “Are you a Janis Joplin fan?”

Melissa’s brow was furrowed as she responded, “No, not really. Why?”

Kris was gently caressing the painted skin. “Because she had a rose tattoo over her left breast. But I guess yours is more towards the center. What’s it mean?”

Melissa explained, “I guess you don’t know that Portland is called the ‘Rose City’.”

Kris leaned over and kissed her neck. “A real home town girl, uh?”

Melissa’s eyes closed at the pleasurable sensation. “Yeah, something like that.”

Kris moved her kisses down onto Melissa’s chest. “Does it also have to do with your ‘green thumb’?”

Melissa grabbed Kris’ chin in her hand and pulled her face back up even with her own. “Oh no you don’t! I’m not going to have a heart attack in your bed in Chicago.” Melissa’s smile turned to one full of devilishness. “Besides, it’s your turn.” Melissa’s eyes were half lidded and Kris could see the desire there.

Melissa reached out and lightly stroked Kris’ right breast, watching as the nipple became erect. “Now where were we? I seem to recall that it was your turn?”

A slight intake of breath as Kris’ eyes closed from the wonderful feeling. “I didn’t realize we were keeping track.”

Melissa smiled as she pinched the rosy nipple between her fingers. “Oh yeah, we need to keep this fair.”

Leaning forward, she began to kiss Kris’ neck, relishing the feeling of the soft skin yielding to her ministrations. Kris arched her neck, making access easier. Melissa kissed and nipped her way down to Kris’ collarbone, as her hands kneaded and caressed Kris’ breasts. Kris was making little moans of pleasure as her own hands were roaming about of their own accord across Melissa’s body.

Melissa whispered into her lover’s ear as she captured the earlobe between her own teeth, “Your body is so responsive. I love the way you react to me.”

Her pink tongue darted out and ran around the outside edge of Kris’ ear. A whimper escaped Kris’ mouth, telling Melissa that she had hit pay dirt. Removing one of her hands from its contact with a breast, it began to descend down towards soft fluffy curls. Kris’ breath was ragged as she strained to make contact with the descending digits. Melissa placed her mouth over the neglected breast and began to flick her tongue quickly across the nipple’s surface. Kris opened her legs wide to invite Melissa into her folds. Melissa smiled as she teased her lover, lowering her fingers into the slick delicacy. Kris ground herself into Melissa’s hand, moaning as the wonderful sensations took her away. Melissa removed her hand as Kris growled her displeasure. Melissa brought it up to her mouth and licked her fingers one by one slowly.

Kris was unable to tear her eyes away from the display. She husked, as she placed her mouth on the golden woman’s, “Ooo! That is so sexy!”

The taste of herself mixed with her lover drove her need to new heights. Kris’ groan of disapproval announced that the kiss was broken too soon. Melissa kissed a delicious path down her lover’s body as Kris’ hip thrust more eagerly as Melissa neared her destination. The heady musky aroma drove all rational thought from Melissa’s mind. Reaching out she tasted the ambrosia, closing her eyes and moaning from the feeling and taste of her tongue against Kris’ womanhood.

“Yessssss!” Kris cried, as she pushed her hips closer to Melissa, begging for more contact.

Melissa inserted a finger and quickly found what she was searching for as she filled Kris. Kris’ hips bucked harder as she moaned Melissa’s name. Lowering her head, her tongue once again came in contact with Kris’ nub of pleasure. Her breath ragged and coming in pants as her head rolled from side to side, Kris was nearing the edge. Melissa pinched a nipple between her fingers as she flicked her tongue across the clit and matched her finger strokes to Kris’ own hips. Suddenly Kris’ body went still and then began to buck furiously. Melissa had to wrap both arms around Kris’ waist so she didn’t get dislodged.

Kris screamed as she came, “Lissa!”

As the spasms slowed, Melissa finally removed her mouth, but left her hand where it was until Kris had been still for a few moments. Kris pulled her lover up to her and kissed her. Tasting herself on her lover began to fan the flames once more.

“Thank you! You are wonderful!”

Melissa drawled, as she nipped Kris’ outstretched neck, “Ah ma’am, ’tweren’t nuttin’!”

They lay in relaxed silence for a while, while Kris’ heart rate returned to normal.

Melissa leaned over and kissed her lover and got out of bed. “I am so hungry; can you call room service?” Shortly, the sound of running water was coming from the bathroom.

Kris picked up the phone. “Sure, what do you want?”

Melissa called back, “Your standard fare, eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns – you know one of each.”

Kris placed the order.

Removing the blankets off her body, she entered the bathroom. Melissa was lounging in the hot water, the steam rising up around her.

Climbing in front of her, Kris said, “You were incredible last night!”

Melissa kissed her. “Why thank-you, but I want you to know I’ve never had anyone do what you do to me!” Her hands were gently caressing the dark bruises around Kris’ middle. “Does this hurt?”

Kris winced and jumped slightly. “Nah…”

“Yeah, right! What did the doctor say?”

Kris picked up the soap trying to look busy. “Nothing.”

Melissa put her hand on Kris’ shoulder and pulled her around to look in her face. “You never showed him, did you?”

Kris quickly reached over and kissed her. “Would you say that it’s been bothering me?”

“Looking at this, I’m really surprised that you’re not in a great deal of pain. All these bruises from the mishap at the sound check?”

Kris nodded. “Yep. Rick missed his calling; he should have been a pro tackle.”

Holding Kris’ chin in strong fingers Melissa looked seriously at her lover. “I’m very glad that you weren’t hurt.”

“Thanks.” Kris needed to lighten the mood. “The weekend wouldn’t have been so energetic.” She wiggled her eyebrows as she smiled.

A knock at the door had Kris climbing out of the hot soapy water. “We can’t very well have room service see us like this, can we?” She kissed Melissa then dashed out of the room.

Melissa climbed from the water and wrapped one of the plush hotel robes around herself as she stepped from the bathroom. Kris was dressed in a T-shirt and was seeing the room-service waiter out.

Turning, she announced, “Breakfast is served.” She held Melissa’s chair for her and then presented her with a red rose.

Melissa took the rose and kissed Kris, sucking her bottom lip into her own mouth as the two women smiled. “How beautiful. Thank you.”

Kris’ face was serious as she took her own seat. “It pales compared to your beauty.”

There was a slight blush crawling up Melissa’s neck. “Thank you.” She was amazed once again at the different facets of this woman.

Kris smiled. “Don’t worry, we won’t be disturbed; I hung the sign on the door.”

Melissa felt a little sad. “It has been so very nice being alone with you for the last 24 hours, almost like a fairy tale.”

Kris gave her trademark smile. “Does that make me the knight on the white horse?”

Melissa reached across the table and kissed the back of Kris’ hand. “I think I could get real used to being with you.”

Kris hoped, crossing her fingers. “Does this mean you’ll stay longer?”

Melissa looked down at the tabletop. “Well no. I said I could get used to you; the rest of this circus is a little much.”

Kris tried not to sound too disappointed. “Well I told you being on the road is crazy.”

Melissa couldn’t meet Kris’ gaze. “I know, it’s just more than crazy.” She could sense the disappointment coming from the other woman. Truth be told, she didn’t really want to leave, but she couldn’t spend any more time with the “band”.

Kris had one glimmer of hope – Melissa hadn’t said that she hated her, so there was still a chance.

Deciding to look at the problem from another angle, Melissa asked. “Just how long does this circus last anyway?”

“This tour is eight months.”

Melissa’s head snapped up. “Eight months?” Sounding surprised and disappointed, she asked, “How long has it been going so far?”

“I think we are just at the beginning.”

Melissa’s eyes locked with her lover’s, “How often do you do this?”

Kris got up and walked to the window, her back to Melissa. “Once a year, like clockwork.” She could see where this was going, and she was not helping her case any.

Melissa ran her hand through her hair, still sitting at the table. “Are they all this long?”

Kris was still facing away from the other woman. “Lissa, we had a really nice weekend, but I totally understand if you want to say good-bye.” It was hard to breathe, and her chest felt like an elephant was standing on it as her heart was crumbling.

Melissa sat in her chair stunned from what Kris had just said. Getting up, she walked over and stood in front of Kris. Reaching out and grasping her chin, she turned Kris’ face towards her. “Hey, is that what you really want?”

Kris’ eyes were full of sadness, as she fought to unlock her throat so she could speak. After several unsuccessful tries, she gave up and shook her head no. Melissa’s soft hand was caressing her cheek; her stormy blue eyes were filled with love.

“I can’t deny that I feel something for you, but this is unreal… like a fairy tale.” Melissa took a deep breath and continued, “I need some time to make sure I’m not going to wake up from this, ya know?”

Kris smiled. “Oh yeah, I hear ya.” She hoped her voice didn’t sound as shaky to Melissa as it did to her. “I have strong feelings for you as well, and I think I’m just as confused as you about how and what I’m feeling.” Kris stopped as a small smile crept onto Melissa’s face. “What?”

“I’m glad to see that you are human.”

Her brow furrowed in confusion, Kris asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Melissa was still smiling. “I just figured that this kind of thing happened to you every day.”

Kris chuckled. “What, meeting someone that has made me happier than I’ve ever been? Oh sure, every damn day!” Kris reached out and hugged Melissa. “What do you say we have our breakfast?”

Melissa laid her head on Kris’ shoulder as they walked to the table arm in arm. “If this is a dream, I don’t think I want to wake up.”

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The day was cool and overcast as the limo traveled down the nearly empty freeway. The ride to the airport was much too short as the structure loomed up out of the distance. Kris sat in the back holding Melissa in her arms, not aware of anything else. They had been quiet and clinging to each other all day. No one had dared say or do anything to them today.

Kris had been steeling herself for this moment since yesterday, telling herself that she wasn’t in love, that Melissa was only another conquest and meant nothing to her, but the charade was over, and she knew it. As the limo pulled slowly and quietly up to the curb, the two women stepped out into the cold late November day. Flanked by Rita, the women made their way to the gate. Although not busy, the airport was teeming with people. Most didn’t give the trio a second look as they purposefully walked through the long corridors. When they reached the gate, Rita talked with the personnel and the women were quickly escorted to a V.I.P. room to wait for the plane.

As she looked around the plush, empty room, Melissa asked, “Does this happen every time you go someplace?”

“Rank has its privileges and its definite drawbacks.” Kris briefly looked up from studying Melissa’s face to notice the room. “I wanted to give you something to remember me by,” Kris stated, as she took off her hat. “I’ve had this for about five years; it’s seen more cities than I can remember and a few countries as well. It always makes me feel good and reminds me of home.” She handed the hat to Melissa.

Melissa kissed Kris on the cheek, as she turned the blue L.A. Dodgers baseball cap over in her hands. “Wow, thanks. I’m afraid I don’t have anything to give to you. Even without your hat, I could never forget you.”

Kris replied a bit huskily. “I will never forget you as well.”

The airline personnel came over to let them know that the plane was on time and would be here any minute.

Kris’ tone was sarcastic. “You’d just know that this one time they’d be on time!”

“Where will you go off to next?”

Kris cleared her throat and replied, “Detroit, Cincinnati, Toronto something like that. Fifty-seven cities in four months, all by bus don’t you know? You’ve got my secretary’s phone number if you need to get in touch with me?”

“Yes.”

Kris was trying to keep her tone light. “Good. What will you do when you get back?”

Melissa was starting to feel the separation anxiety settling in. “Life as usual, go back to work, back to my life.”

Kris felt very nervous as her gaze wandered about the room. “When our tour is over, do you think I can see you?”

“Absolutely!” Melissa replied enthusiastically. “Don’t forget, you promised to come and stay with me.”

It was time to board.

Kris stated, hugging her, “Melissa Davis, you’ll never know what you’ve meant to me; I will never forget you.”

Melissa held Kris loosely in her arms, as she looked into her eyes. “Kris, I will never forget you and this wonderful affair we’ve had, thank-you.” Melissa kissed her passionately.

And it took the flight attendant clearing her throat loudly next to them before they parted.

Kris watched her lover walk down the boarding ramp, then watched the plane taxi out and fly away. Long after the plane had left, Kris stood like a solitary figure staring out the floor to ceiling windows. Her shoulders dropping, her long black coat looking very gothic, the lone figure out on the moors waiting for the return of the castle’s mistress.

Rita finally had to go up to her and remind her it was time to go.

Silently, they walked back to the car. Kris didn’t say a word back to the hotel.

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Melissa had a window seat on the flight back. Once she boarded the plane, she sat looking out the window, not really seeing anything that was there. She could see Kris’ face and her smile, she could hear her laugh and feel her hands caressing every inch of her body. She smelled her distinctive scent in her hat, which she had worn since she had gotten on the plane. Their last kiss lingered in her mouth. Every moment of the last four days was playing back in her head. She found herself laughing at silly things that Kris had done or said, as she remembered them. The loneliness was like a blanket that engulfed her, ripping at the corners of her heart.

It took all of her will power to stay on the plane. As it started to pull away from the terminal, she was gripping the arms of her seat so hard that her fingers had turned white. Her seat mate thought she was afraid of flying; what she was afraid of was that she would run up to the door and start clawing on it to get out, back to Kris.

She had never felt this way for anyone before. She felt fine as long as they were together, but once they were separated it was like part of her was missing. She was pretty sure the first time she saw Kris in the bar that she was in love. But she couldn’t be absolutely sure; was this just the “Prince on the white horse riding up to sweep her away syndrome?” Was she really in love with Kris the person, or her alter ego? She had to admit it was exciting to think about being the object of desire for someone famous. There was also something so addictive to being involved with a celebrity.

But she felt that it was deeper than that. She hadn’t been sure that Kris was famous until the cab ride over to the second bar. She knew when their eyes met the first time that she loved her. It had to be love… of Kris the person. Would she ever be sure? Did it really matter? Kris would probably forget her as soon as she got back to the band. She had no way to compete against all the women Kris could have had. She just hoped that the feelings that they shared wouldn’t be forgotten.

The farther they got from Chicago, the more the sensations of Kris began to diminish, but the feelings of loneliness grew, and by the time she touched down in Portland, it was like an all consuming thing.

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The limo pulled up in the hotel parking lot near to the waiting bus. Tony, Tom and Bridget were tossing a Frisbee about while Paul had his ever-present cell phone glued to his head. The door of the limo stood open, but Kris made no attempt to move. She was staring distractedly out the opposite window, a stance she had adopted since they had left the airport.

Rita gently prodded, “Come on Kris.”

Kris turned and looked blankly at her. She looked very tired and drawn; her eyes were filled with sorrow that almost broke Rita’s heart. The two women climbed from the car and made their way over to the bus.

Steve waved as he emerged from the hotel and headed for the bus. “Kris! Your secretary’s been trying to get a hold of you!”

Kris made no sign that she had heard him as she neared the vehicle.

Tony called amiably as she tossed the Frisbee, “Hey Kris.”

Rick emerged from the bus as Steve was about to board. “Hey Kris! Where’s your hat?” He stepped down and blocked her entrance. “Couldn’t get her to stay, huh? That’s a total bummer.” He stepped aside as Kris grabbed hold of the door rail before stepping up on the first step.

Rick looked sincere as he continued, “Too bad you weren’t better in the sack.”

Steve, who was looking at Rick as if he were out of his mind, couldn’t believe what he was saying. “Rick!”

Kris, however, showed no signs of hearing him, as she took another step into the bus.

Rita stood behind Kris; her face held a warning as she glared at Rick.

Seemingly oblivious to the weight of what he was saying, Rick continued, “You’re better off.” He reached over and patted her shoulder. “She was probably only after your money anyway.” Kris visible stiffened.

Rick blathered on, “Yeah, well she sure had a hot little bod. It’s always good to keep a good piece of ass in every city.”

Kris stopped in mid step. Everyone seemed to hold their breaths, waiting for the inevitable to happen.

“Since she’s not interested in you, I wouldn’t mind having some of that tight little pus…” Rick didn’t get to finish the thought as he was knocked against the side of the bus with a resounding ‘thump’.

Kris’ face was red with anger as she jumped down next to Rick. She hauled back for a punch in the face. He was able to move enough so that the punch went wild and hit him in the shoulder instead.

He screamed at her as he dabbed the blood from his nose. “What’s your fucking problem?” He looked indignantly at her, his fingers covered with blood. “Look what you’ve done to my face!”

Rita moved in to grab Kris.

“Back off!!” Kris screamed. “You touch me, and you’ll be unemployed for the rest of your life!”

Everyone basically put their hands up in surrender and backed away.

Rick’s back was still against the bus, as he yelled, “Are you out of what’s left of your mind?”

Kris faked a punch and managed to catch Rick in the stomach doubling him over. He was coughing as he charged her, catching her around the middle and propelling them backward until Kris came in contact with the limo.

Rick straightened and stepped back as Kris slid to the ground in a ball trying to catch her breath.

Rick was hunched over with his hands resting on his knees; his shirt had small spots of blood on it, as his nose continued to drip. “Jesus! Pussy must go straight to your head. El Loco!”

Spectators had begun to gather, and Rita had her hands full keeping them away from the activity.

Like lightning, Kris was on her feet and launched at Rick; she caught him in a clinch, with arms and legs flailing.

Rick was trying to block the flying limbs. “Get off me, you crazy bitch!”

Kris caught him under his left eye with a left hook. Rick stumbled away from her, covering his newest wound.

“You are such a worthless prick!!” Kris spat at him. “You pencil sized dick!” She was holding up her little pinky and leering at him.

He screamed in frustration and lunged for her, landing a right to her stomach, followed by a left cross to the jaw. Kris practically flew through the air from the impact and landed hard on her back on the blacktop, her head bouncing off it.

Steve ran over and grabbed Rick’s arms. “Hey man, that’s enough!”

Rick offered weakly, “She fucking started it!”

Tom joined Steve as they pushed Rick back to the bus.

Tony and Bridget knelt next to a groggy Kris. “Hey, how ya doing?” Tony smiled weakly as she brushed the hair out of Kris’ face. Kris’ jaw was already starting to color from Rick’s fist. Her eyes were rolling wildly as she feebly attempted to get up.

Bridget pushed Kris back down on to the pavement and looked into her eyes closely. “Hey, slow down there slugger. Tell me your name.”

Paul hurriedly came over. “The doc’s on his way. He says not to move her…”

Bridget’s tone was sharp. “That’s really good advice; let’s make sure she gets hypothermia here on the cold ground.” She didn’t even look up.

“Kriiiisssss,” Kris finally answered. Her speech was thick and sounded as if she’d been at the dentist. There was a short pause before she screamed, “Rick!” coming back to full wakefulness, as she fought the women to sit up.

Bridget looked very concerned. “How do you feel?”

“Fine. Where’s that butt wipe?” Kris struggled into a sitting position. “Oh!” Kris grabbed her head as she sat weaving.

As she and Tony each took an arm and pulled Kris gently to her feet, Bridget ordered, “Let’s get her up and inside where it’s warm.”

Tom and Steve took Rick for a walk to try to calm him down.

“Well this is going to be a fun trip!” Paul said under his breath as he followed the women back toward the bus.

 

21

“Hello, I’ve got a package here for a Melissa Davis?” the UPS guy said, as a tall man in his early twenties with sandy blond hair and blue gray eyes opened the door.

“Yeah, sure I’ll sign for it,” he replied, holding the apple he was eating in his mouth while he signed the clipboard. Closing the door and coming inside, he looked the package over and had no idea who had sent it.

“Mo! Hey Mo, you’ve got a package!” he called outside. Melissa came to the back door, covered in mud, looking puzzled.

“What?”

“You have a package. UPS just dropped it off.” He took a bite of apple as he laid the package on the kitchen table.

“Who’s it from?” she asked, taking off her boots, and washing her hands.

“Musketeer trio? What is that, some kind of joke?” he asked, frowning. She looked puzzled until she remembered what Kris had said the three of them were called. Her heart started to beat a little faster, and she was excited as she opened the package. It contained several sheets of paper with a hand written cover letter.

“What is it?” Brandon asked.

“Oh just some papers I’m supposed to read,” she answered; she hoped her voice wasn’t quivering.

Lissa

I hope that you can read my chicken scratchin’. The night after you left a reporter from the “Advocate” came by and did an interview. I think I was missing you more than I realized and I may have overstepped the boundaries in the interview. So please read it over a.s.a.p., make corrections, yell, scream, swear at me, then send it back to the address at the bottom.

I miss you so much; when am I going to see you again? I hope it’s soon. This ground tour is really hard, a concert in a new city, six days out of seven!

Oh yeah, the band wants to know when are you going to come back? I’m driving them crazy because I’m so grumpy; I miss you so much. It’s driving me crazy as well. I see you everywhere; I was convinced the other day I spotted you in the crowd before a concert! I hear your laugh, see you smile, smell you on my clothes. Hey this could make a good song!

If I ever want to make the mail I have to get this sent. I MISS YOU!!!

Love Y

Kris

Melissa put down the note and began to read:

 

Rock Music Comes Out of the Closet

By

Kim O’Shea

I caught up with Kris Cutler after a concert on Scarecrow’s recent “Cornfields” tour. A concert in which they had played to three ovations! She was sitting in the tour bus being tormented by fellow band members Tom Powell (keyboards), and Steve Yancy (bass) about a new love in her life. She sat huddled in a ball wrapped in her trademark long black coat, sunglasses (even though it was after midnight), jeans and running shoes, and looked as though she had been up for about a week. When I told her that we had scheduled this interview, she looked less than pleased but agreed to do it anyway.

KC: “Since I’ve never worked with your magazine before, why don’t we just talk and get to know each other,” she began, removing her glasses and smiling. I have to tell you that I was just a bit nervous to do this interview, but her smile vanquished all my fears instantly. I had been a fan of Kris’ for some time.

TA: “Great! How is this tour going for you?”

KC: “So far so good. It’s winding up, which means we’re all winding down.”

TA: “How have the crowds been toward you in light of your announcement?”

KC: “You mean since I dropped my bomb, as my brother refers to it? They have been real good. Outside the halls, the religious right are waving the signs proclaiming their hate and ignorance. But inside I see lots of positive signs.”

TA: “How has your life changed since you came out?”

KC: “Well I’ve gotten really positive feedback from other gay celebs, well actually from the gay community as a whole. So far it has been a really nice thing.”

TA: “Why did your brother call your announcement a ‘bomb’?”

KC: “He was not pleased that I did it in the way I did; it caught him off guard and he was a little slow with his support.”

TA: “Did that surprise you?”

KC: “Definitely; I really thought he’d be behind me 100%. The other thing that surprised me was the support I got from the rest of the band. They were all for it!”

TA: “So has this caused a family rift?”

KC: “No, he and I have worked it out; things are cool now.”

TA: “How about your parents?

KC: “Yeah I got the response there that I definitely expected.”

TA: “I sense you’re holding back.”

KC: “I don’t get along with my parents. We had a falling out many years ago; I’m the black sheep of the family. They think that I’ve told my ‘little secret’ to the world just to hurt them. I never realized until I came out that I had become just as brainwashed as the rest of my family. Everyone in my family has known for a long time, but no one talks about it and they all try to pretend that it will go away. I was never able to talk with Rick about it, because I was afraid it would embarrass him! Can you believe that? He and I are really close too.”

TA: “What is your response to all of the negative Scarecrow sites springing up on the web?”

KC: “Well, they have every right to voice their opinion, as do I. I would hope that closed-minded fear… can I ask you, what are they so afraid of anyway? Methinks they doth protest too much – you know what I mean? I mean you’d think it was an airborne thing the way that the religious right goes on about how we’re going to ‘recruit’ all of the het people. It sounds like all the het people are straddling the fence, and all a queer has to do is come along and slip them the ‘magic potion’, and they follow the pied piper off to Queer land. I loved that scene in Ellen’s coming out episode where they’re giving away a toaster oven for the recruitment. (laughs) I want to know where I go to get my toaster oven? I’m sorry, sometimes I just can’t understand where these people are coming from. What was the question?” (smiles sheepishly.)

TA: “I wanted to know what your thoughts were on the negative web sites?”

KC: “Right. Well I just hope people don’t stop listening because of some fears; there are no hidden gay agendas in the music, it is just music, a gift from us to you, the fans.”

TA: “You speak as though you feel the music is sacred.”

KC: “Well I guess I do feel that way. Music has been around for as long as humanity has. We have used it to express every emotion, to tell stories, to calm wild beasts and breasts. I feel music is more profound than the spoken word or even images. Do you think twenty thousand plus people at one time would pack themselves into a room to look at a painting? Music alone without words can change your mood in a phrase. In one piece you can run the gamut from happy to the depths of despair. The best part about music is that it can mean so many different things to so many people. I truly feel that it is a gift that we share with our fans.”

TA: “Wow!”

KC: “You look surprised?”

TA: “Well, I feel kind of foolish, but yes I am. I have to tell you that I had you pegged as a ‘rocker’.”

KC: “Sex, drugs and rock ’n roll and nothing between my ears?” (laughs)

TA: “Yes, that’s about it. Sorry.”

KC: “Apology accepted. Brains as well, what an unexpected pleasure.” She smiles; it is warm and genuine.

TA: “Why didn’t you include beauty?”

KC: “I don’t consider myself ‘beautiful’. That’s what Rick and Tony are around for.”

TA: “I think you are selling yourself short; you are beautiful and very sensual.”

KC: “Thanks.” (She blushes and looks away. Her instant vulnerability was so genuine that it caught me off guard. I’ve never seen a celebrity react this way.)

TA: “So you’re the brains and they are the beauty?”

KC: “Whoa! I didn’t say that. What I mean is that in my family, Rick got the looks, I got the common sense. And let’s leave it at that before I dig myself in any deeper!”

TA: “Fair enough. Let me ask you what music influenced you?”

KC: “Queen, Beatles, Elvis, Beethoven, Pat Benatar, Heart, I have always had a soft spot for the girl groups. Let’s see, who else? Journey, Meatloaf, Aretha Franklin, Supremes, The Eagles – basically all the big ’70’s groups.”

TA: “I notice that you have the radio on in the background. Who do you listen to?”

KC: “Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, Melissa Etheridge, Sarah McLaughlin, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, Natalie Merchant, Anne Lennox, I’ve been a fan since the Eurythmic days. Spice Girls…”

TA: “You! A Spice Girls fan?”

KC: “Why does everyone say that? I love their song ‘SayYou’ll Be There’. The video is really cool. They are talented, as far as I’m concerned.”

TA: “Which one is your favorite?”

KC: “Well I’d have to say I’m partial to ‘Sporty’, but I like the spunk behind ‘Scary’.”

TA: “Have you seen their movie?”

KC: “No, I haven’t had time, but I’m planning to as soon as the tour ends.”

TA: “I noticed in your list of the music you listen to, that you didn’t list k.d..”

KC: “I like some of k.d.’s stuff, but country and western sets my teeth on edge; I can’t stand it – I know I’m going to get letters, but that’s how I feel. Torch songs as a rule don’t get me going either. I think k.d. has a really good voice – musically though, we may be going in two different directions. Don’t you love what she wears though?”

TA: “What do you do when you aren’t on a bus hurtling through the darkness?”

KC: “I spend a lot of time out of doors. I get really tired of being ‘in’ a car, bus, plane, concert hall, and hotel room. I like to ride my mountain bike, bum around, read, walk along the beach – basically as little organized activities as possible.”

TA: “You mentioned the rock industries mantra, lets look at that for a moment. Is there a lot of Drugs?”

KC: “None at all. I saw your eyebrows shoot up. We don’t believe in them; performing is a drug. You cannot get any higher than being on a stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. I did smoke a little grass when I was much younger, but I could never understand the point.”

TA: “Drinking?”

KC: “We do our share of that, less than some bands. We make up for a lack of drugs with alcohol I think. I’m starting to resent the hangover feeling in the mornings and have cut back. I think for a rock group we are pretty ‘kids next door’, except that we have this crazy life style.”

TA: “When you say ‘kids next door’ what exactly do you mean?”

KC: “We don’t do drugs, don’t smoke, we call our parents, come home for holidays… you know, that kind of stuff.”

TA: “The big question left is Sex?”

KC: “I’m going to be doing more of that now than I used to! I have to catch up to the rest of the group.”

TA: “Can you give us more details?”

KC: “Now that I’m ‘out’, I intend to do a lot more cruising, and a lot less hiding.”

TA: “What do you mean hiding?”

KC: “We were living in double standard land, until I came out… it was OK for the rest of the group to have groupies and whomever else they wanted all the time. But I always felt a sort of ‘taboo’ if you will, for me to have the same thing on tour. Well all that has changed.”

TA: “Because you’re out?”

KC: “Because I’m out and because, for the first time, I had a relationship while on tour.”

TA: “This sounds like a major milestone and an announcement?”

KC: “I think you could say it shook up the status quo. You have to understand how difficult it is to have a ‘normal’ relationship with someone while on tour. You keep crazy hours, you are either en-route somewhere or asleep, and you the performer are the center of everyone’s attention. There is no privacy, no time for just the ‘two of you.’ Don’t forget about the mix of personalities as well. It makes it very hard. So when you meet someone that can put up with all of it, it’s rare.”

TA: “What about a non ‘normal’ relationship?”

KC: “I know I’m going to get letters for this one – If one (not necessarily me) wanted to get laid they could do it after every show. There is always someone that is willing to sleep with someone famous. I know that sounds really superior, but it’s true; just hang around the stage door after a concert sometime. I have never really been interested in that kind of adventure, if you will.”

TA: “So have you met someone that can put up with all of that?”

KC: “I think so!” (Kris blushes a little and makes the outline of the female body with her hands.)

TA: “You are being tight lipped about this.”

KC: “Well I don’t exactly have her permission to disclose her identity or details. I wouldn’t want to see her splashed all over the tabloids at the grocery store.”

TA: “Ah, but your fans are dying to know.”

KC: “I will tell you that I really enjoyed her company for the few days that we spent together, and she has the cutest little tattoo right about here.” (Kris points to her cleavage and flexes her eyebrows.)

TA: “What is the tattoo?”

KC: “A red rose, about the size of a dime.”

TA: “Is this a permanent relationship?”

KC: “I don’t know yet; I hope so. I can’t wait to see her again.”

TA: “Has this put a crimp in your ‘cruising’ activities?”

KC: “Well… let’s just say that I’m still playing the field.”

TA: “So for all those ladies out there, it sounds like there’s still hope?”

KC: “Time is running out.” (Kris sounds like a commercial)

TA: “You said that this was the first time you’ve had a relationship while on tour; surely you haven’t been celibate all these years?”

KC: “Well no, I can’t say that; I just became really good at hiding my encounters.”

TA: “It sounds like you’ve had a few of those?”

KC: “I’ve had my share, that’s for sure. I think it’s not something I’m really proud of either.”

TA: “Why is that?”

KC: “I don’t know; it sounds kind of sleazy, don’t you think? Of course my reputation has been blown, so what the hell?!” (She smiles and wiggles her eyebrows.)

TA: “Let’s shift gears here and let me ask you what’s on the horizon for you?”

KC: “Well this tour will be over soon, and then Tony and I have been asked to play Lilith Fair.”

TA: “Will you be doing the entire tour?”

KC: “I would love to, but after doing this one for eight months I think both of us will be about toured out. I told Sarah that maybe just the West Coast dates.”

TA: “So this is an exclusive?”

KC: “Remember you heard it here first folks!”

TA: “Will you have time to do anything else in the near future?”

KC: “We’ll be back in the studio to cut a new album after all the tours are finished.”

TA: “We can look forward to another tour next year?”

KC: “That’s a possibility.”

TA: “Any other projects that you have your sights set on?”

KC: “I’m playing around with the idea of solo album, with a decidedly gay slant.”

TA: “Well I’ll look forward to hearing that one!” As the interview came to a close Kris curled up on a bench and went to sleep.

TA

 

22

Kris had found herself very distracted since Melissa left. All she could think about was Melissa. She saw her everywhere, heard her laugh. It didn’t help that she and Rick were very estranged for probably the first time since they started touring. Tonight was another concert in the countdown till the end of the tour. Never had she felt this way about a tour before. She just wanted it to be over; usually she was in it without a thought to how long it had been since it started or how soon it would end. The tension lately had been so thick on tour that you could cut it with a knife. The hostilities had moved into the quiet phase; the siblings weren’t talking, and they were making a point not to be too close to each other either. The rest of the group were walking on eggshells and trying to give the two as much space as they needed. Really, no one wanted to be between the two when the shit hit the fan again. And everyone knew the shit would indeed hit the fan again before the air was clear.

“Kris, hello! Anyone in there?” Tess was asking her. Kris realized that she had been off in thought.

“What? I’m sorry.” Kris shook her head, trying to get back with the program.

“The roadies want you to check out the set up for your drum set.” Tess looked at her with concern.

Kris walked up on the stage, a loud male voice echoing through the hall said, “Kris can you just check out the fit of your set? We also want to check out your lights.” She waved in acknowledgment as she sat down. Checking out the reach to each drum and cymbal she did a couple of fills to make sure everything was OK.

“Kris, can you give us some hi-hat?” the voice asked, as she began to play it.

As she checked the stage setup, Tess asked, “Hey are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m just a little distracted,” Kris replied, twirling her drumsticks, waiting for the voice to speak again.

The voice asked, “Kris, can you give us some bass drum?”

“Really? I would have to be from Mars not to have noticed. Why don’t you and Rick just bury the hatchet?” Tess half teased, as she straightened up some mic cords.

“You too? Have you asked him to make up with me?” Kris raised an eyebrow in question. “No, I didn’t think so! Whatever.” Kris looked out through the empty hall, feeling very alone as she played the kick drum.

“Can you get that blue spot to move more to the left?” the voice asked, as a roadie on the catwalk above the stage began to move it.

Looking over her clipboard, Tess asked, “Does it have something to do with you coming out?”

“You know what it’s about… oh that’s right you weren’t there. Yeah, kind of; sometime I’ll tell you all about it,” Kris mumbled, tiring of this subject.

Tess looked knowingly at Kris. “Maybe some time when we’re alone you can tell me?” Before Kris had a chance to respond she heard a creak from above and looked up to see a rather large stage light crashing toward them.

“Look Out!!” Kris shouted, jumping up and tripping over her stool, sprawling flat on her back. The light crashed down and smashed a good section of her drum set, missing both women.

“Fuck! That was close!” Tess shouted, looking surprised.

“Are you alright!?” asked one of the roadies as he vaulted up on the stage. Kris just nodded her head and couldn’t stop staring at the light and the damaged instrument.

Kris got to her feet and stared at her wrecked set.

“Jesus! You could have been killed; are you alright?” Tony grabbed Kris by the arm.

Suddenly all the fear and tension exploded. “Look at this fucking mess! What the hell am I supposed to play with tonight? Cardboard boxes!!!” Kris walked over and kicked the pile of rubble.

“Tess, get on the phone and scare up another set,” Paul ordered, shaking his head at the mess.

“Oh that’s fucking great!! Now I’ll have to play something I’m not familiar with. Shit!!!” Kris had her hands on her hips and her jaw was set.

Tom, Steve and Rick suddenly arrived to help fuel the chaos.

Rick was looking at the ruins of the drum set. “What the fuck happened?”

Tony stepped closer to Rick, “It was an accident; why don’t you go back to the dressing rooms?” The roadies were picking up the mess and moving to hang a new light.

“You!” Kris pointed her finger at the roadie holding the new light.

He swallowed hard and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. “Yes?” he replied meekly.

“Did you do the rigging here for these lights?” Her tone was icy, as she moved toward him.

His voice was barely above a whisper. “Yes ma’am.”

“You’re fired; get the hell out of here!” Kris screamed, waving her arms wildly.

Paul walked over next to Kris. “May I have a word with you?”

Kris fixed an icy stare on him. “What?”

“I understand you’re upset….”

“Damn right I’m upset!” Kris interrupted him.

“Right, but don’t you think you should let Mark make the decision of which one of his people is going to be hired or fired?”

Kris stood up a little taller as her stormy eyes landed on Paul’s. “I would like to remind everyone here who works for whom! I will hire and fire whomever I fucking feel like!” Her shouted voice echoed off the nearly empty auditorium.

“Jesus Kris, are you on the rag or something? Chill out!” Rick offered his opinion.

Tony stepped in front of Kris, stopping her access to her brother as Tom and Steve escorted him off the stage and to safety. 

“Come on, let’s get some air.” Tony wrapped her arm across Kris’ shoulders as she steered her off the stage.

Tess walked over to Paul. “I found another set, and they’ll be delivering it here shortly.”

“Well there’s one problem solved!” He ran his hand along the back of his neck, looking tired. “I guess I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.”

“This is not going to help quell the rumors of the band’s breakup, that’s for sure!” Tess looked unsure.

Outside Tony and Kris were walking through the mostly deserted parking lot. “Don’t let him get to you,” Tony stated, the steam escaping from her mouth in a cloud.

“Would you just shoot me?” Kris replied, running her hand through her hair. “Has he always been like this?” Tony was shaking her head yes. “How the hell did I overlook it all these years?”

“Selective vision?” she offered. “Well, he has been worse lately.”

Kris stopped walking and looked at her niece. “Tony, I’m not sure how much longer I can do this.”

“What do you mean?” Tony was looking worriedly at her friend.

Pulling her coat tighter, Kris replied, “Every day is such a struggle for me to keep this up. I’m getting shit everywhere, and now stuff is falling from the sky – I just can’t deal anymore.”

Tony put her arms around Kris and pulled her close, noticing that she was shaking. “Mom and I are on your side. As for everyone else, fuck ’em!” Tony didn’t voice her concern that the stage light might not be an accident.

Kris laughed as she pulled away from the younger woman. “Count on you for the honest answer. Thanks. I knew you were on my side, but I still feel like there is this huge weight on me.”

“There’s only a few more months left of the tour; try to hold it together until then. Get Melissa to come out for a visit. I know that will up your spirits!” Tony was wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Kris’ smile was sad. “I would like to see her again, but I cannot go through having her leave again.”

“Maybe she’ll stay this time?” Tony offered. “I wouldn’t mind seeing her again myself.”

Kris’ head snapped around to regard Tony. Her eyes were narrowed. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Whoa! Chill! It means I like the woman and wouldn’t mind talking to her again. And above all else, she makes you sane – which would be a pleasant change!” Tony lightly punched Kris in the arm.

“You’re right; sorry!”

“Are you sure you’re all right? Did that light clip you or something?” Tony’s face was filled with unease.

“No, I’m fine…”

“Ha!” Tony snorted.

“I’m… just wondering if it was an accident.”

Tony froze. Kris had never been known as a mind reader but this was just too big of a coincidence. “What makes you think that?”

They started walking again. “Well two ‘accidents’ in such a short period of time? Maybe I’m being paranoid, but maybe some anti-gay person is out to get me.”

“We’ve had accidents before, it’s not unheard of. I think you are just letting your imagination run away with you.” Tony realized when Kris voiced her concerns out loud that it sounded crazy. Did she think they were living in a murder mystery, or that the mob was after them or something?

Kris looked at the younger woman sideways for a long moment. “I guess you’re right; thanks buddy. Let’s go rock this town!”

Tony couldn’t be sure, but she felt that Kris was just humoring her, doing exactly what she herself had been trying to do to her friend. She hated when this circular head stuff happened.

divider

Kris was the first one to get the mail from Paul for a change, and it was just as well as there was a package from Melissa for her. She found a quiet corner and eagerly she ripped open the package and found some pictures and a Portland Power baseball hat inside. Kris picked up the hat and inhaled Melissa’s scent as she read the note.

Kris,

Thanks so much for thinking of me with the article in The Advocate. I really enjoyed it, I didn’t make any corrections though, nor did I swear, yell or scream at you.

I didn’t tell anyone when I got back from Chicago that I had been seeing you, because it didn’t seem real. When reality did set in, it sounded so crazy that I had a hard time believing it, so I didn’t think anyone else would either. I had my brother Brandon read the article and his exact words were, “Fuckin’ A”. He is very excited, and has told all his friends. He knew by your description that it was me. I was quite surprised, and asked how he knew, and he said that he could see the rose peeking out of my low cut and open shirts. When I seemed shocked that he would notice, he suggested that it was in fact the point of my behavior. I hope you don’t mind too much, but I told him you were good in bed. It’s such a weird story; it seems he fantasized about you before you came out and he wanted me to tell him that the fantasy was as good as real life. I told you – weird! ☺

I’m not sure how you got used to all the popularity that comes along with fame. Brandon’s friends treat me like I’m some sort of Goddess.

Do you find that because you’re famous, people will ask you anything about your life, like it’s their business? I find this so rude. I’m not sure I made the right decision about telling Brandon, but I’d better get used to it if I’m going to be spending lots of time with you. ☺

I wanted to make sure that you don’t forget what I look like, so Brandon and I took some pictures for you. (It was his idea to send the one of the tattoo.)

I miss you very much as well and I do want to see you again and soon, but I don’t know when it’s going to happen. We need to talk; I don’t want to have to do it in a letter, but I think it needs to be said and the sooner the better. I hope you don’t think that I expect you to be celibate for me? We haven’t come to that part in this relationship yet; we’re just dating. I hope that makes sense.

I felt so bad at the airport that I didn’t have anything to give you to remember me by, so since I have your hat I felt it only fair that you have mine. I haven’t had it very long, and the only city it’s seen is here, no other countries either. But I am always comfortable when I wear it and it makes me feel good. I hope it makes you think of me when you see it.

Call soon and let’s talk for hours, and hours.

Love,

Lissa.

 

23

“Hey Jolie. I’m up and downloading.”

“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for a while!” The secretary’s voice sounded nervous and full of alarm.

“What’s up?” the assassin’s voice sounded guarded.

“Since Hicks was taken out, the grapevine has been conspicuously quiet, and the work has all but dried up.”

“Huh, what have you heard?”

“Well, that there’s a contract out on you, boss.” Jolie sounded worried.

“Oh.” The phone line was silent.

“Hey, you there?”

“Yeah. Any idea who put it out?” The assassin’s mind was churning as she tried to process the information.

“Word is that it’s Baxter.”

The assassin let out a breath. “Baxter; why the hell would he do that?”

“Apparently he didn’t like the way you handled the Portland job.”

The assassin slammed her hand down on the table, “Damn it, that is going to haunt me the rest of my career. The job got done, just not in the first attempt!”

“You don’t have to sell me boss, just watch your back.”

The frustration in her voice was clear. “Thanks Jolie….” she stopped mid sentence.

Jolie waited uneasily. Things were not going as good as they used to, and the stress level in her life lately was driving her crazy. “Boss, you there?”

After a long pause the assassin came back on the line. “Jolie, I’ve got to go.”

And the phone went dead.

 

24

The sun, or more aptly, the winter gloom had gone down over an hour ago. Melissa had stayed very late at work; she didn’t really want to be at home. It was the wrong time of year to keep her mind occupied with gardening and yard work. If she went home, all she would do would be to think of Kris and drive herself insane. She drove home by instinct, not seeing where she was or what was really going on around her. Her mind was very much wrapped up in images of Kris and their wonderful weekend together in Chicago. It was hard to believe that it had only been a couple of weeks since they had seen each other. They had talked on the phone three or four times a week since then however, which made being separated slightly easier to deal with.

As Melissa pulled up to her house on the dark, and mostly quiet street, she was surprised to see several cars parked in front. Thinking Brandon was having a practice session tonight, she didn’t pay much attention as she brought her pick-up into the driveway and shut off the motor. Opening the door and stepping out, she heard a man’s voice say, “It’s her!” Looking up, she noticed for the first time that several men were milling about in her front yard. Confused, she moved toward the front door.

“Are you Melissa Davis?” one man asked as she approached him. He was dressed in a dark ski jacket and jeans.

“Yes, what do you want?” she asked as camera flashes suddenly blinded her. Surprised, her step faltered and she nearly fell to the ground.

“Is it true that Kris Cutler paid for this house?” another reporter shouted as he stuffed a camera in her face and set off the flash.

Putting her hands up in reflex to guard her face, Melissa pleaded, “Please leave me alone.” She began to again make her way to the front door.

“Are there plans of marriage between you and Kris?” a female reporter asked as she circled around Melissa, as she took the steps to the front porch. Melissa felt as if she were surrounded by sharks at a feeding frenzy. What she wouldn’t have given to have Rita standing beside her at that moment.

“How long have the two of you been having an affair?”

Melissa turned to look at the guy, confusion on her face. She tried to sort through the keys on her ring to find her house key so she could escape.

“How long have you been Kris Cutler’s whore?”

Melissa whirled around fire in her eyes, as the flashbulbs went off blinding her once again. She realized too late that she had done exactly what they had baited her to do. She was damned if she was going to give them any more ammunition.

“Alright that’s enough! This is private property, and you are all trespassing. I am calling the police.” With that she turned, unlocked her front door, and stepped inside, slamming the door behind her.

She stood on the other side of the door with her back to it, trying to calm herself down by taking deep breaths. The reporters continued to knock on the door and ring the doorbell, causing Gert to bark. They also yelled questions at her through the windows.

With trembling hands, she picked up the phone and called the police. It was a few moments later when they arrived and began to disperse the now growing crowd, as her neighbors were interested in the goings on.

Melissa was lying on the couch in the dark with a cold rag over her eyes when the front door opened.

“Mo! You home?” Brandon called out as he shut the door behind him. The doorbell began to ring, and it set Gert off anew.

“Don’t answer it!” Melissa’s hoarse voice, filled with urgency, came from the dark interior.

Brandon walked over to a lamp and switched it on. “Sis, are you alright?” His face was filled with alarm as he looked down at her.

“Peachy. Just don’t answer the door,” she said again, sitting up. Suddenly the phone began to ring. Melissa eyed it suspiciously, but Brandon grabbed it before she had a chance.

“Hello…. No… Ah…. Well…. What? …. Deny what? …. Print it… What are you talking about? … Who is thi… Hello?!!” He pulled the receiver away from his ear and looked at the phone as if the instrument was crazy. “You’ll never guess…”

“Some reporter wanted to get a quote from you?” Melissa ventured, looking dubiously at him.

He replaced the handset. “Yeah, how did you know?”

“Ms. Davis, could I just have a moment of your time?” The muffled male voice came from behind the front door, as the bell began to ring again. Melissa struggled to get Gert to stop barking, but was losing the battle.

“Melissa, what’s this all about?” Brandon asked as he went to the front window and peeked out. “Do you know there’s a bunch of people standing on the front lawn?”

“Shit not again! The police are going to get tired of hearing from me.” She reached for the phone as it began to ring again.

“Oh man, this is about Kris, isn’t it?” Brandon leaned against the back of the couch, the truth finally setting in. Melissa was again talking to the police on the phone, as he peeked out the drapes again to the activity on the front lawn.

Melissa replied, as she hung up the phone, “I wish I knew what to do.”

Brandon was still watching the goings on. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I’m afraid to say something that is going to get Kris in trouble,” she replied, walking over and looking out over his shoulder.

“Easy. Don’t say anything.” He turned and smiled.

Ruffling his hair, she returned the smile. “Oh, you are so smart Einstein! You don’t understand; they push you until you react to them, then they twist it to suit their needs.”

“Why don’t you just tell them ‘no comment’? Always works for those gangsters on the news.” Brandon walked into the kitchen and took a soda from the fridge. He held it up, and Melissa nodded yes to the unspoken question, as he lobbed one across the room to her.

A loud knocking at the door made Melissa almost drop her unopened can of soda.

“Ms. Davis, it’s the police; could you open the door please?” The female voice on the other side of the door was very commanding as Melissa opened the door, leaving the chain on. To her surprise, one of Portland’s finest was standing on the other side.

Removing the security chain, Melissa opened the door. “Yes officer?”

“May I come in?” the officer asked, smiling.

Opening the door wide and stepping out of the way to allow the woman access, she replied, “Of course.”

“I’m Officer Kern.” She held out her hand.

Melissa shook it. “Hello, this is my brother Brandon. Won’t you sit down?”

“I see from our records that this is the second time this evening you’ve made a call to dispatch to remove trespassers.” It was a statement not a question as the woman looked at her notes.

“Yes; sorry about that, but I didn’t know what else to do”

Kern smiled warmly at the woman. “If you don’t mind some advice.” She watched, as Melissa shook her head no. The officer continued, “I don’t know why these reporters are hounding you; frankly it’s none of my business. But we can’t keep coming over here and dispersing them.”

Melissa seemed to deflate as the officer finished. “I see.”

“No, I don’t think you do. It’s our job to protect you and uphold the law, which we will continue to do, but you, this situation, is going to be given lower priority from now on, unless property or lives are in danger, of course. What I would suggest you do is hire a private cop to help keep these people away from your house. These things usually die down pretty quickly, so it shouldn’t be for very long.” The officer watched the woman across from her; she looked tired and very upset. But the officer liked her and felt somehow protective of her.

“Thank you,” Melissa said softly, making eye contact. At that moment her gaydar went off, and she realized that she had seen this woman at Pride last year, marching in the parade.

The officer felt the recognition as well. “Look, I’m off duty in about half an hour, I’ll come by and keep an eye on you.”

“That’s very nice of you, but I don’t want you to have to go to any trouble on my account.” Melissa smiled as they got to their feet.

“No trouble. I can give you some names of some good private security firms in town if you’d like.” She really wasn’t supposed to do that, but somehow she just felt like it with this woman.

“Oh thank you, but I think I know of someone that can help on that account.”

The officer settled her gun belt, the leather creaking as she did so. “Oh really? Anyone I might know?”

Melissa stood with her hand on the doorknob. “Maybe. Rita Wagner?”

The surprise on the officer’s face was evident. “You know Rita? Well… small world. She will be very able to help you.” She put away her notebook into a breast pocket and extended her hand. “Good night and good luck Ms. Davis.”

Melissa took the proffered hand. “Thanks. Please call me Melissa.”

The officer touched her finger to her brow in a salute as she exited the house.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Brandon practically screamed when the front door was closed again.

Melissa looked at him, caught off guard by his attitude. “What?”

“You were flirting with her, shamelessly I might add!” He was dumbstruck.

Melissa’s brow was furrowed in contemplation. “I was not!” she shot back as she sat back on the couch and opened her soda. “I was being nice.”

“Whenever a woman is nice like that to me, I know she is flirting with me!” He went off to the kitchen.

“Well that’s the difference between men and women. We were simply being nice,” Melissa called over her shoulder.

Brandon returned with a bag of potato chips. “Right! Whatever you say. Don’t worry, your little secret is safe with me.”

“What secret?” She snagged a couple of chips.

He nodded his head in the direction of the front door. “You’re little fling with Officer Sexy.”

“Knock that off! I wasn’t flirting, and that’s final!” Melissa stood and started for her room when the phone rang. Not even thinking about it she reached over and picked it up. “Hello!”

“Hey babe! You OK?” Kris’ low voice drawled down the line.

“Kris! I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was you.” A slight blush crawled up Melissa’s face.

“You sound like you are in a bad mood?”

Putting down the soda and running her free hand nervously through her curly blond locks, she answered, “You have no idea! Gods, it’s good to hear your voice!!”

Chuckling, Kris replied, “It’s good to hear your voice as well. Want to talk about it?”

Melissa was leaning against the high narrow table resting against the back of the couch. Her back was facing the couch as she took a shaky breath. “When I came home tonight I was mobbed by the press….”

“Ah oh! You OK?!” Kris’ voice was filled with concern and some urgency.

“Oh sure; well, I mean physically, but mentally I’m a wreck.” Her shoulders were slumped as the fatigue caught up with her.

“I can have you on a plane out of there in an hour…”

Melissa smiled. “No baby, I can’t run from this forever.” It was just like Kris to come to her rescue. “I would like very much to talk with Rita however.”

“Ah well, she’s not here in the dressing room, but I’ll go find her for ya,” Kris replied.

Melissa could hear the phone being jostled around as she imagined Kris leaving the room. “Hey wait! I want to talk to you some more.”

“I want to talk to you as well; hang on, let me get Rita.” She put the phone down. Melissa heard a door open, then silence. After a few moments she heard women’s voices far away.

“Hello?” Rita’s slightly breathless voice was filled with urgency.

“Hey. I need a huge favor.”

Not hesitating. “Name it.”

“I’ve got the media crawling up my ass here and would really love a rent-a-cop to help keep them away from the house, and I was hoping you could recommend someone?”

“Consider it taken care of.” Rita smiled. “Anything else, or should I put Kris back on?”

Melissa laughed. “Thanks, I owe ya one! Put that wild woman back on.”

“Are you really alright?” Kris’ voice was colored with worry.

“I am now. You know, your timing is wonderful?!” Melissa was beginning to feel herself relax.

Melissa and Kris talked on the phone for the next hour before the doorbell rang again. Brandon got up and peeked out of the drapes to find a very large man dressed as a security guard standing on the stoop. Opening up the door with the chain on, not that it would stop him; even having an SUV parked behind the door looked as though it wouldn’t stop this guy, he cautiously asked, “Yes?”

“Hello, Rita Wagner sent me.” He was smiling, showing straight white teeth and a lopsided grin. He was at least 6 “ 5 ˛ tall and had dark hair cut short that barely showed under his brown security cap. He was big; a good 280 pounds of what looked to be solid muscle.

“Oh right, come in.” Brandon felt intimidated by this giant that dwarfed his rather lanky frame.

Melissa looked up from where she was curled on the couch, still talking on the phone, and did a double take. “Hang on a minute.” She pulled the phone from her face. “Yes?” Her face was showing her uncertainty.

“Hello, I’m Cody Parker; Rita sent me.” His deep voice seemed to vibrate everything in the room.

A smile washed over Melissa’s troubled features. “Great!”

“I’ll be outside; good night, and don’t worry about a thing!” His smile crinkled the skin around his eyes, making him look very disarming.

Melissa let out a sigh. “Rita has come through.” She spoke into the phone.

“Cool, I knew she would. Are you going to be alright?” Kris asked.

“Yeah, I think so, thanks.”

“Why are you thanking me? If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Smiling broadly, Melissa replied, “Yeah, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

“Really?” Kris sounded genuinely surprised.

“Of course. I should let you go so you can get to work.”

Kris sighed. “You know I can’t really concentrate without you around.”

“Oh you are so full of it!” Melissa chuckled,

“I miss you beautiful!”

“Right back at ya!” Melissa reluctantly hung up the phone.

 

25

Kris was surprised that she was in a good mood as she left the stage. The concert had gotten off to a rather shaky start with protesters from the religious right out front with their signs of hate and intolerance yelling their close-minded ideas and pelting the limo with eggs as the band drove through the gates. But the fans inside were ready to rock and roll and brought the roof down. So much so, that a couple of overzealous fans climbed up on stage. One guy threw his arms around Kris and nearly dragged her off the drum platform before Rita removed him.

It had been nearly a month since the mishap with the stage light, and although Kris and Rick were still feuding, the tension had eased a bit. Kris was no longer hostile when Rick was around; she just tried to ignore him as much as possible. He of course was still clueless as to why she was so angry with him.

Tony came up next to her as they headed for the dressing room. “Interesting night!”

“Absolutely! I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved.” Kris took a swig from the water bottle she was carrying.

“Me too. I was sweating from our greeting. At least you get to hide behind your instrument!” Tony chuckled. “Oh, can I have some of that?” She indicated the bottle Kris was carrying.

Kris handed the bottle to Tony. “I’m sorry I put all of you in the middle of this.”

“Why? You feel better, and nothing’s happened, right?” Tony handed the bottle back.

“Yeah I guess…”

“…Ladies, great show!” Tess caught up to them as they neared the dressing room.

Kris smiled, feeling slightly awkward around her ex-secret lover. “Thank-you.”

“The bigots were out in force tonight!” Tess smiled. “Did you hear how many bigots does it take to screw in a light bulb?” The two women indicated they didn’t know.

“None, because they didn’t have light bulbs in the dark ages!” Tess joined the other women in laughter.

Kris took a drink. “That’s pretty good!”

“You know what makes me sick is listening to all those news reports about priests molesting little boys – and then the Pope having the gall to say that homosexuals are evil!” Tony’s face was hard with anger.

Kris offered her water bottle to Tess who took a drink and then passed it back.

“Oh please! Don’t get me started on organized religion!” Kris warned, shaking her head in dismay.

Tony took the bottle from her and drank. When she handed it back, it was nearly empty. Kris offered it to Tess who finished it off. Kris did the basketball stance and pitched the bottle over her head into a nearby recycling barrel.

“How about bar hopping tonight?” Tony suggested.

Tess sounded disappointed as she looked pointedly at Kris. “Oh I can’t, I’ve got work to do.”

Kris was oblivious to Tess’ hint. “I’ve got a phone call to make, but ask prick, I mean Rick.”

“Looks like it’s going to be me and the boys… again!” Tony shrugged and smiled.

Kris turned and waved good-bye to the assistant tour manager, as she entered the dressing room, with Tony hot on her heels. “Well I’m off to the shower.”

The hot water felt really good as she stood under the cascading flow. Tony entered the large shower room and turned on her own flow. The room was big enough to accommodate 12 people or more. Kris guessed they were in some sort of sports pavilion. They always seemed to have the largest shower areas.

“I would like to shake the hand of the person that invented hot water.” Tony’s voice was muffled as she put her head under the water. Her long black hair became instantly glued to her back.

Kris took her bar of soap and began to work up some lather. “I know what you mean.”

“Are you sure you don’t feel like hitting the bars tonight?” Tony asked, her voice echoing about the room.

Kris looked over at Tony, who was facing her as she rinsed her hair.  She blinked a couple of times as the vision of Tony went from naked and wet to covered in a long buckskin dress. Tony, surprised she hadn’t gotten a response, opened her eyes and looked over at Kris. Who had the strangest look on her face, and was just standing in the stream of water. Tony felt very off balance; she asked the question again. Kris realized that Tony was speaking to her as she cleared her mind by physically shaking her head.

Kris turned her back on Tony and turned on the cold water. “Not tonight. Besides, didn’t Paul say something to the effect of leaving right away?”

Whoa what was that? I must be more tired than I thought! Kris thought, as the cold water seemed to clear her mind and she finished her shower and went out to get dressed.

She dried herself and then pulled on her pants and sat down to dry her hair. She was rubbing the towel over her hair and looking down at the floor. She was sure she could see the individual particles that made up the concrete. Blinking to get a better look, it all disappeared.

Tired. I’m very tired, she told herself. She finished getting dressed as Tony emerged from the shower wrapped in a towel. Kris was sitting on one of the wooden benches running down the middle of the rows of lockers just looking at her hand.

“Are you OK?” Tony asked, rubbing her hair with a towel.

Kris didn’t respond; she just sat and looked at her hand. She was watching her blood moving through the vessels and arteries. She was quite fascinated by it, and wondered why she had never seen this before.

Kris held up her hand. “Is this cool or what?”

Tony looked at it and saw nothing different. Figuring Kris was pulling her leg, she proceeded to get dressed. Tony felt a very strong desire to kiss Kris as she turned around and looked at her sitting on the bench. She shook her head to clear her mind, wondering where that idea had come from. After she was dressed, she was combing out her hair and watching herself in the mirror. She had never realized that she could see so much of her grandma in her own face. Stretched out behind her in the mirror were her ancestors for the last couple of centuries, smiling at her. She turned around and looked and nothing was there. Turning back to the mirror again, all she saw was her reflection. She was beginning to get a little freaked. I need a nice stiff drink, and then a good night’s rest, she told herself as she finished with her hair.

“Have you ever pondered the true universal significance of the color blue?” Kris asked, in a normal tone of voice.

Tony turned around and looked at her. “What did you just say?”

Kris looked blankly at her and said, “Nothing.” Standing, Kris asked, “Are you ready to go yet?”

“Yeah, let’s blow this Popsicle stand.” Tony smiled and picked up her bag and they walked to the door.

At the door, they both tried to fit through at the same time. Stopping and realizing it wasn’t going to work, they began to laugh. Which quickly turned into hysterical laughter. Kris slid down the wall and sat on the floor, trying to catch her breath. She was laughing so hard she couldn’t stand.

Rick walked by and saw the state the two of them were in. He stood in the hall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking very disapprovingly down at them. “What’s gotten into the two of you?”

The two women stopped laughing and looked at each other, and burst into a new round of giggles.

Rick shook his head in disbelief as he walked away. “Paul says the bus is leaving in five minutes.”

“Magical Mystery Tour, leaving gate 12!” Kris announced as she got to her feet.

She and Tony followed Rick down the hall. Outside, it was cold and Kris could see her breath as the wind whipped it from her mouth. The wind blew her open coat back behind her like a tail. The RV was parked off to Kris’ right, and she could see Paul through the glass in the front talking with the driver.

Tony opened the door into the cold night, and in place of the parking lot, she saw many pale, hide tee-pees with smoke curling out of the tops of the structures. The smell of cooking meat filled the air along with the aroma of wood smoke. The soft whinny of painted ponies could be heard off to her left. A few tribe members were out walking amongst the tee-pees wrapped in brightly colored blankets, and buffalo hides. Drawn into the scene, she began to walk forward out into the parking lot.

Kris looked up and saw the sign for the music hall, flashing its multicolored information of who was coming to town and when. Suddenly she could hear the colors of the sign as well as see them. She had never experienced this before and was totally fascinated as she moved toward the sign. As she neared the sign, she could also taste the colors; it was a truly marvelous experience. Why haven’t I ever noticed this before? she wondered as she closed on the sign. She left the parking lot and stepped into the street in front of the hall. The sign was located across the six lane wide street. It was around midnight, but the traffic was still bustling.

Paul looked at his watch and then out the front of the RV. “Where are they?”

“I don’t know, they were right behind me?” Rick opened the rear door to the RV and stepped out into the cold. Rita joined him as the wind whipped the steam from their mouths. He spotted Tony sitting cross-legged in the middle of the parking lot.

“I’ll be right back,” Rita stated over her shoulder as she began to jog across the parking lot towards Tony. Rick was following at a slower pace as he looked around for Kris.

An ear splitting squeal of tires and smash of metal grabbed his attention. He stopped in mid stride and looked in the direction of the sound. A car accident. What a maroon! he thought as he started to move toward Tony again. Then out of the corner of his eye, he saw something dark lying on the ground near the wrecked cars.

“KRIS!!” He ran full out toward her.

People were beginning to congregate around the scene as Rick arrived out of breath. He willed himself to look down, dreading the scene he knew would await him there. Kris was lying on the street inches from the curb. She looked as though she were asleep. No blood, no gore; he was shocked.

“Kris!” He knelt next to her, where the two drivers were also gathered.

“Do you know her?” one of them asked. Rick ignored the question as he reached out and cupped her cheek with his hand. Her eyes fluttered open and looked right at him.

The other driver explained, “It was an accident mister. She just wandered out in front of me!”

“Kris, are you hurt?” Rick’s voice was filled with alarm.

“I was flying!” She began to get up.

He scrutinized her. “What?”

“I was actually flying through the air! It was awesome!! I want to do it again.” Kris was very excited as she got to her feet.

The drivers looked on in skepticism and surprise.

Rick explained to the drivers, “I’d better get her to the hospital.” He put his arm around her shoulders and headed back toward the hall.

“What’s going on?” Paul came running up beside them.

“I’m not sure. She wandered out into traffic…”

“…And got hit?” Paul’s face was creased with panic as he interrupted Rick.

“Possible,” he answered, trying to figure out what was going on.

Kris was walking along looking up. “Look at all those stars; there is no way we are alone in this universe.”

“What is she talking about?” Paul looked baffled. “I’d better make arrangements to get her to the hospital.”

“Listen!” Kris stopped with a hand to her ear. “Cool; you can hear them twinkle!!” Kris stated.

Paul and Rick exchanged confused looks as Rick gently started Kris towards the RV.

“Whites not welcome here.” Tony walked up to them with Rita at her side. Tony’s coat was wrapped around her like a blanket.

“In the parking lot?” Rick pondered, feeling that he was in an Ed Wood movie.

“Cool coat.” Kris reached out and touched Tony’s coat.

Suddenly she was standing in a meadow filled with tee-pees. The parking lot was gone; all traces of twenty-first century America were gone. Tony was dressed in buckskins decorated with colorful beads, with a buffalo hide wrapped around her. The smell of wood smoke and cooking meat filled the crisp air. Kris turned and looked around her. Behind them was a river that reflected the stars and the rising moon. She could hear the crunch of the prairie grass under her feet.

“Is this where you live?” Kris asked, still looking around.

“Yes. You see village?” On one level Tony was a little surprised that Kris could see everything. But on another she totally expected it.

“Oh yeah. The ponies are corralled over there.” Kris pointed off to her left. “The river is behind us, and the tee-pees are here.” She indicated all the space in front of them.

Rick, Paul and Rita exchanged looks of doubt.

“Alright ladies, this is great fun, but let’s get on the bus; we have a schedule to keep,” Paul stated, trying to herd them aboard.

Tony replied, “Tell White solders that we no make war. We want only peace.”

Kris looked down at herself, and she was dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, a heavy, fleece-lined, well-worn and dirty suede jacket. Hanging around her waist was a six-shooter complete with holster and bullets. “Cool!” She looked back up at Tony, grinning from ear to ear.

“White solders want to make treaty with you. You come back to wagon and we talk.” Rick’s voice was choppy and resembled the way Tony had begun to talk.

Paul looked at him like he had lost his mind. Rita’s eyebrows rose as she worked to stifle a smile. Tony looked skeptically at Rick, her eyes narrowed. But after she looked at Kris, she began to move towards the RV. Rick, Paul and Rita walked behind the women as they headed for the RV in one big group.

Paul leaned close to Rita and whispered, “What’s going on?”

Rita whispered in reply, as they approached the RV, “I’m not sure, but once we have them in the RV, lock the doors and then we’ll get to the bottom of things.”

Tom and Steve looked out of the front of the bus at the spectacle.

Tom asked, in a disgusted tone of voice, “What in the hell is going on now?”

Steve headed towards the back of the RV, waving his hands in frustration. “I’m going to bed.”

“What’s going on?” Tom stood with his hands on his hips, looking unhappy as the party climbed aboard. Paul went up to talk to the driver, while Rita locked the door. Kris and Tony looked suspiciously at Tom as he glared daggers at them. They sat down next to each other at the table.

“Alright what’s going on?” Rick’s voice held a note of humor as he sat down across the table from the women, a smirk played at his mouth.

“Are you taking us back to the fort?” Kris asked, looking out the windows.

Tom leaned against the wall, hands in the pockets of his jeans, as the RV started to move. “What fort?”

“Come off it.” Rick playfully hit Kris on the arm, ignoring Tom’s question.

Kris blinked a couple of times and then looked around the RV like she’d never been on board before. Sound and movement that Kris was experiencing was moving in slow motion. Her field of vision was like looking through a fisheye lens, with objects close up appearing much bigger than they actually were. Everything appeared to curve as she looked at it; all the colors became negatives of themselves. Red was green, blue was yellow, white was black.

The humor had left Rick’s voice to be replaced with frustration. “You’ve had your fun, let me in on the joke.”

But Kris couldn’t understand what he was saying. He also began to look like an alien, turning colors and distorting. She was turning pale as her face registered the confusion she was experiencing. Rick became aware that something was wrong and reached out to her. She jumped up from the table and moved away from him with a look of terror on her face.

“What’s wrong?” Paul asked as he and Tom stood next to Rick, watching Kris cringe away from them.

Rita stood in front of the rear door with her arms across her chest. “I don’t know, but I think maybe it’s time to talk to the doc.”

“He’s on the roadies’ bus tonight. There was an accident packing up the trucks,” Paul replied, fear covering his face. “I came back to find out if Kris needed to go to the hospital.”

Rick turned to face Paul and ordered, “Get him here!”

Paul pulled out his cell phone and began to make the call. Kris had begun to cry and was sitting in a ball on the floor. Her arms were wrapped tightly around her drawn up knees. Tony was still sitting at the table looking out the window.

Rick knelt down next to Kris and put his hand on her shoulder. “What’cha crying for?” His voice was soft and low.

“Ricky, I don’t feel good!” Kris’ voice was high and on the edge of panic.

“I know; the doc’s on his way. It’ll be OK,” he soothed as the bus hit a bump and jarred everyone.

Kris’ eyes began to grow wide and fill with horror as she scrambled to her feet. “Shit, they’re everywhere! Help me kill them!” She grabbed Paul’s briefcase and started slamming it around the bus, smashing it into the walls. The impacts could be felt vibrating through the floor.

“Hey! What the hell?” Paul stepped back as the case breezed by his head before it clobbered the wall, putting a dent in it.

Kris shattered it against another wall, as the case broke open and its contents flew about the bus. Rita and Rick managed to rip the broken case from Kris’ hands. As Paul gathered the case’s contents together, Kris grabbed the fire extinguisher from its holder on the wall and began to wield it around the bus. She made contact with one of the windows, as the glass shattered and pebbles of glass spilled out onto the street, the cold night air quickly swept into the confined space.

“Jesus! You’re going to kill us all!” Rick shouted, as he tried to get near enough to his sister to grab the small canister without getting his head knocked off. Rita took a step towards Kris and received a blow in the shoulder that knocked her off balance and stumbling backward.

Steve was standing in the narrow hall, dressed only in his jeans, shouting, “What in the hell’s going on?”

A piece of paneling came flying towards his head, making him duck and hide behind the bathroom door, which he used as a shield. Chaos reigned as they were all shouting and trying to grab Kris. Suddenly the bus jerked wildly to the right and threw everyone into the walls on the left, as Rita lost her footing and stumbled onto the driver. He was unable to control the bus as it hit some more black ice and skidded sideways across the road. Rick threw his whole body around Kris, managing to wrestle the extinguisher out of her grasp, as they were thrown like rag dolls to the floor along with everyone else. Everyone was clutching something for dear life as the squeal of the tires going sideways on the street filled the night. The momentum of the bus began to slow and it was starting to straighten out when a large crash was heard as well as felt, bringing the bus to a sudden stop. Silence ensued, as everyone was trying to figure out what had happened, and getting back up on their feet.

Tony stumbled to her feet and staggered over to a wall. Things were very strange. Her thoughts were unconnected and she couldn’t distinguish the here and now from her thoughts. How did she get on the tour bus? And what was happening? “What happened?” she asked, her voice no more than a whisper.

Rita was feeling a little dazed herself; the world was lying on its side. As she looked up from where she was lying on the floor, Tony’s face was a mask of panic, her eyes wide and darting about. “I think we’ve been in an accident.”

Tony’s eyes landed on Rita. “Accident? Where are we?”

Rita was getting slowly and cautiously to her feet, very aware that Tony, looking like a deer about to skitter away, could bolt any moment. “Outside Cincinnati. I think we hit some ice or something.” Rita was moving closer to the dark haired woman and keeping her tone soothing.

Paul called out from the front of the bus, as he moved to a sitting position holding his head. “Everyone alright?!”

Kris began to scream and thrash about with renewed abandon, a loud banging on the front door of the RV added to the stress level.

A muffled male voice called from outside. “Everyone in there alright!”

Paul stood up and called back, “Mostly, I think.”

The walls were beginning to close in around Tony; she had to get out of here. As she was looking around for an exit, Rita’s large hand closed over her wrist. Acting as if she’d been burned, she flinched away, trying to jerk out of Rita’s powerful grip.

Rita took a step and wrapped her in a tight hug. “Shh, it’s OK, you’re safe here,” she soothed, trying to calm the woman as she struggled against her captor.

Steve finally managed to untangle himself from the furniture and sit up. The scene looked pretty bad, broken pieces of walls and glass were lying about. The inside of the RV looked like it was suffering from some sick demented chicken pox. Rick was lying on top of Kris as she struggled to get away. Rita had Tony in a bear hug as she sobbed. Paul was talking with someone outside the RV. The driver was holding a bloody cloth up to his head. Where’s Tom? Steve wondered as he looked around the disorder. “Anybody seen Tom?” he asked as he began to search through the disorder.

Rick grunted, “I’m a little busy right now.”

Rita looked around their immediate vicinity. “I don’t think he’s over here.”

“What is everyone yelling about?” Tom was holding his head with one hand as he pushed open the door to the closet that he had fallen into.

Rita called over to him, “Dude, you OK?”

Tom’s voice was filled with sarcasm. “Peachy. And you?”

As Kris continued to thrash and scream, Tony began to get more and more agitated, struggling harder against Rita’s hold. She wasn’t going to be able to hold on forever.

Rick managed to catch Rita’s eye. “Lock Tony in the bathroom, and then give me a hand!” He panted and looked like he was having a hard time of it.

Tom’s face looked ashen. “Dude, can’t you shut her up?”

Rick screamed back, a definite edge to his voice, “What the hell do you think I’m doing? Playing with myself!”

This outburst just served to make both women more frantic.

Rita noticed that Tom seemed to be cradling his arm against his chest. “What’s going on Tom?”

Tom rubbed his wrist, not making eye contact and looking ill. “I think I put all my weight on my wrist when I fell. It doesn’t feel very well.”

Returning to the immediate problem at hand, Rita had to do something quick; they wouldn’t be able to restrain the pair indefinitely. “Steve, would you get me a couple of belts and blankets?”

Paul’s voice was angry, as he reentered the RV. “Fucking great!” He had an angry red bruise on his forehead. “Oh this is just great!” Paul shouted and threw his clipboard to the floor.

Rick got to his feet and wiped his bleeding lip. “Whatever you do, don’t let them out of this RV!”

Kris was wiping imaginary things off of herself as she stood between Steve and Rick. “They must be getting in through that huge crack in the floor!” she shouted. “They’re everywhere!”

Looking puzzled, Steve had returned with the requested items. “What is she talking about?”

Rick shrugged his shoulders. “I haven’t the vaguest idea.”

“Fuckin’ get ’em off me!!” Kris screamed.

She began aggressively swiping at herself; she looked like she was trying to shoo off an invisible swarm of flies. She grabbed the front of her shirt and ripped it apart, exposing her chest. She had deep raised and bleeding welts in a claw pattern on her chest. Rick reached over and grabbed one of her wrists. She began to struggle to escape his grasp, and before he knew it they were both lying on the floor again. He had landed on top of her. His hips were lying on hers; her back was on the floor. He was pinning her hands to the floor under his own over her head. She was raising her hips off the floor and twisting under Rick, trying to throw him off, almost succeeding at times. Beads of sweat were standing out on his forehead as he struggled to keep her pinned. Blood from his lip was running down his chin.

Rita motioned to Steve. “Grab a blanket and a belt!” He dropped the other items, moving slowly toward Rita and Tony.

Rick called out. “I’m not sure how much longer I can hold her!”

Rita took charge and began giving orders. “Rick, I want you to pull her up to a sitting position. Steve, you grab her arms and pull them across her chest and around to her back.”

Rick was panting hard as he yanked Kris off the floor. Steve had her arms immobile, then one slipped loose and it took a concerted effort on both of their parts to get it restrained again.

Rita instructed, “Rick, wrap her up in this blanket and put the belt around her arms to keep them secure. That should keep her under control.”

After the belt was secured they moved away, and Kris kicked and screamed but was really unable to do any damage to herself or anyone else.

Rick sat back on his haunches and wiped the sweat from his forehead. “Damn, she’s a lot stronger than I thought. Nice makeshift straitjacket!”

Steve watched Kris writhe on the floor. “What in the hell’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.” Rick looked over at Kris who was moving less and had started to cry.

Rita struggled with Tony. “Don’t get too comfortable, we’ve got one more to take care of.” After a few moments they were able to secure Tony in the same manner. The two women lay on the floor squirming and crying out at times.

Peace and quiet reigned for a full fifteen minutes before the roadies’ bus arrived on the scene. Paul was busy exchanging information with the driver of the semi that had finally brought the RV to a stop as it slide sideways down the icy road, and telling the story to the police, while the paramedics took a look at Tom and the RV driver. Doc Kimball was the first one off the roadies’ bus as he hurried towards Paul. “Is everyone alright?” The doctor had concern written all over his face.

Paul looked so relieved. “Oh good, you’re here! We have a situation…”

The cop interrupted. “…Excuse me, I’m not done with you yet.”

“I’ll be right with you officer,” Paul assured the officer as he pushed the doc to the RV.

The doc was surprised to see the two women lying on the floor bound, with the others sitting around watching.

The doc knelt down next to Tony and checked her pulse at her carotid artery, then her pupils. “What’s going on here?”

Rick opened his mouth a couple of times to answer but gave up. The doc looked up when he didn’t get an answer. Rick’s response was to shrug his shoulders.

Doc asked, “Her eyes are dilated. Was she acting strangely?”

Rick snorted, “There’s an understatement!”

“I want to check on Tom, I’ll be back.” Doc Kimball turned and headed for the exit.

Paul rubbed the back of his neck. “Man, this is a nightmare!” he said as the two men neared the ambulance.

“Well how are things looking?” the doctor asked the paramedic.

“A case of whiplash and a sprained wrist. Not bad for this kind of accident,” the paramedic replied.

“It’s a miracle!” Doc Kimball turned and walked over where the two men could not be overheard. “Paul, have you made arrangements for us to stay here overnight?”

“Yes. A limo will be arriving anytime to pick us up. What the hell’s wrong with Kris and Tony, Doc?”

“Did they cause the accident?”

“Kris did, yeah; what’s wrong with them?”

“Not just them, Tess has similar symptoms, but not to the same degree.”

“I thought it would be best to keep the paramedics away from them until you showed up,” Paul said.

“Good thinking.”

“Are they going to be alright?”

“Let me run some tests to be sure, before we make any judgements.”

26

“Kris… Kris?” Rita’s voice was soft as she gently nudged Kris to awaken her.

The stewardess was picking up glasses and asking people to put up their tray tables and seatbacks up as the plane made its approach into Portland International. Kris had been asleep since they climbed on board the plane.

“What’s up?” Kris asked groggily as she scrubbed her face with her hands, trying to awaken herself.

“We’ll be landing soon.” Rita smiled, feeling especially protective of her charge today. She had been rebuffing autograph seekers all during the flight, being very steadfast in her desire not to awaken Kris.

“Landing?” Kris looked and sounded confused.

Rita reminded her, “Yes, you’re going to be spending the next few days with Melissa in Portland.”

“Right! Have I been asleep the whole trip?” Kris yawned and stretched in the confined space.

“I’m afraid so,” Rita replied.

“I’m sorry. What a great traveling companion I am!” Kris apologized.

“I don’t expect you to entertain me; I’m your employee, remember?” Rita looked at her as though she had lost her mind.

“I remember. That doesn’t mean I have to ignore you.” Kris smiled at her.

Rita felt herself blush all the way down to her toes. The more time she spent with these people, the more attached she became to them. Her objectivity was going right out of the window.

“What’s up? Did I say something wrong?” Kris looked concerned.

“No, not at all. I’ve just never had an employer be so concerned with my feelings before. It’s kind of nice.”

“I’m glad to hear that you don’t think I treat you like a slave!”

One of the pretty flight attendants was passing by and interrupted, “I trust you had pleasant dreams during your rest?” Standing in the aisle and smiling broadly, the flight attendant was undressing Kris with her eyes.

“Ah yeah, thanks,” Kris replied, with one of her award winning smiles.

“If you’d like to see the sights while you’re in Portland, I’d be happy to show you around.” The flight attendant reached down and handed Kris a piece of paper.

“Well unfortunately, I’m going to be here on business. Maybe some other time?” Kris replied.

“Some other time it is then.” The flight attendant walked away.

“My, oh my!!” Rita turned and watched the woman walk away, since she was sitting in the aisle seat.

“Like what you see?”

“Oh yeah!” Rita put her hand up to her face and touched all her fingers to her lips and made a kissing sound as she took her hand away. “The scenery on this tour is the absolute best!”

“Well we aim to please. If Melissa still wants to see me, I’ll let you have…” Kris looked down at the paper. “Debbie’s phone number.”

“Thanks, but I’ll be working while we’re here. Besides, Melissa is going to want to see you again, trust me.”

“I’ll be safe, take some time to yourself,” Kris insisted, yawning again.

“Sorry. I take my job seriously.”

“Professionalism, I like that. Since when did you become a mind reader? How do you know Melissa will still want to see me?”

“I was there when you two met, remember? Unless I misjudged her completely, which never happens, I happen to be a great judge of character, then she is head over heels, all shook up over you boss.”

“Rita, you continue to amaze me. If she is so in love with me, why did she tell me to see other people?”

“You’ll have a chance to ask her this weekend.”

“Man, the inside of my mouth feels like something that has been in the back of the refrigerator too long.” Kris made a face, needing very much to change the subject as the butterflies in her stomach were coming to life.

“The seatbelt sign is on, so you can’t go to the bathroom. Here, have some gum.” Rita produced a piece of gum that Kris gladly took. “Are you sure that this visit is a good idea? You certainly are still feeling the effects of the drug.”

“I think it is just what the doctor ordered. No one will know I’m here, no phones, no interviews; it sounds like heaven to me!” Kris looked over and saw the look of concern on Rita’s face. “Really, I’ll be fine. It’s sweet that you worry so!” Kris gave her a warm smile and squeezed the woman’s hand.

“That drug really knocked you on your ass.”

“Tell me! I hope that I don’t end up sleeping the whole time with Melissa. I have other plans!” Kris flexed her eyebrows, a knowing smile on her lips. The captain’s voice came over the P.A. system and told them they would be landing in a few minutes.

“How long is this visit for again?” Kris asked, looking out the window and at the clouds that surrounded the plane.

“You have to be in Denver on Monday afternoon,” Rita replied as she looked over at Kris. “Today is Thursday, so that gives you four days.”

“Four whole days!!” Kris looked and sounded completely at peace. “What happened to everyone else?”

“Rick, Tony and Tom went back to Malibu. Tom will be staying at the beach house with the others. Steve took off before anyone else to be with his wife. He was really shaken up,” Rita answered.

“He wasn’t the only one! This has been the longest tour I have ever been on.” Kris laid her head back and closed her eyes. “What about Tess?”

“She took off shortly after Steve, but no one really knows where she was off to.”

“Is something wrong?” Kris sat up and looked at her.

“Well, it’s not really my place…”

“…Speak up,” Kris requested.

“I know that you and Tess have a history, and that’s none of my business. But there’s something about her that makes my hackles go up.”

“What do you mean we have a history?” Kris pretended to act innocent.

Rita assured her, “Kris, I’ve known since right after you met Melissa. I pay very close attention to your comings and goings. Don’t worry, no one else has a clue.”

“She doesn’t sit well with you?” Kris blushed slightly at getting caught in her secret tryst.

“No. I can’t put my finger on it. I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

“That’s OK, I hadn’t really noticed anything; we always seem to get along.”

“I’m sure.”

“It’s not all sex; sometimes we just spend time…”

“Kris, you don’t have to explain. I’m not your mother… or your lover,” Rita cut her off.

“I know.”

“Excuse me. I was wondering if I might be able to get your autograph,” asked a tall lanky man with dark hair. He looked to be in his thirties and wore dark blue Dockers and a white polo shirt. He was holding a copy of Modern Drummer magazine with Kris on the cover.

“For you?” Kris looked up at him skeptically.

“No, it’s for my daughter, Casey. She’s sitting up there.” He pointed ahead a couple of rows to a girl who was smiling from ear to ear as she looked back at them. She had long brown hair, which she had in a ponytail and had tucked out the back of her Portland Power baseball hat.

“Oh what a coincidence! Did you know my middle name is Caysi? How old is she?” Kris smiled her smile at the girl and waggled her fingers in a wave.

“No I didn’t, ten. She idolizes you no end.”

“C.a.y.s.i?” Kris asked as she began to write on the magazine. Her father corrected the spelling. “Tell Casey that I would love to have a word or two with her after we touch down.” Kris handed back the magazine. After he relayed the news, the little girl began to jump up and down in her seat.

When they were alone again, Rita asked, “Kris, have you ever been on a tour when you’ve had as many accidents as this one?”

“We have had some strange ones this time around. Sure, there are always accidents.”

“I’m not sure the other night was an accident.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know of any way that someone could have slipped you guys that drug accidentally.”

“What was the point?”

“Well, it could have been a lethal dose – thank god it wasn’t! But they threw off the schedule and got a couple of concerts canceled…” Rita stated.

“…Stop! I don’t really want to hear anymore. I don’t want to be afraid of my fans.” Kris put up her hands as if to stop Rita’s information.

“What if it’s not your fans?”

Kris stopped and just looked at Rita. “Oh, that’s just what I need to think about! Thanks, you’ve really laid my fears to rest!” Kris looked disgusted as the plane touched down. After most of the passengers had disembarked, Kris, with Rita as her shadow, made her way forward to the little girl’s seat.

“Hello. Nice hat; I see we share more in common than just our name,” Kris said, as she and the little girl walked side by side toward the front of the plane.

“I like your hat too!”

“My girlfriend gave it to me. Do you play the drums?” Kris asked.

“Yeah. I just started band this year. My dad said if I get all ‘A’s this year, he’ll get me a drum set this summer.”

“Alright! Next time I’m in town on tour, you get your dad to sign you up for one of my drum clinics.” Kris looked at the man and smiled.

“No problem!” the little girl said with enthusiasm.

“It’s really important to keep after your studies too.”

“I want to be a rock star, just like you!”

“That’s a great dream. But it takes lots and lots of hard work. You have to practice all the time, and you have to be driven. To want only one thing; sacrifices will be around every corner and you’ll have to make the right choices. Not only will you have to know music, but you’ll have to know a little bit about a lot of things just to keep your head above water.”

“I practice almost every day.”

“Great. Don’t let the boys in band give you any sh…” she looked up and met the father’s eyes, and grinned sheepishly as she censored herself, “guff about being a girl either. If they do, just tell them I’ll come back and kick their butts!” Kris rubbed the top of the girl’s head as they left the airplane.

Casey’s eyes were full of adoration. “What’s it like being a rock star?”

“Well, you get to meet a lot of really nice people.” Kris smiled down at the little girl. “And you travel a lot, which keeps you away from your family and friends, and can be very lonely. That’s one of those sacrifices I mentioned. But once you’re up on that stage in front of all those people, it makes it all worth it.” Kris stopped as they neared the end of the jetway. “Well Casey, it was really nice meeting you; maybe I’ll see you around.”

“Do you live here?”

“No, I live in Malibu, California. I’m here for the weekend to visit my girlfriend.”

“The one that gave you the hat?”

“The one and only.”

“Some of the kids at school said you were bad because you are gay. When I asked my parents what that meant, they said that it meant that you loved women. I don’t see anything wrong with that; I love my mom and grandma, and they’re women. But Dad said it was a different type of love, and that I would understand when I was older. Well I knew all along that you weren’t bad, and meeting you today made up my mind.”

“Don’t ever lose that open-mindedness. I think we’d better go our separate ways in case the press is out there.” Kris reached down and shook the girl’s hand.

“Gee, wait till I tell all my friends! This has been so cool!”

Dad shook Kris’ hand. “Thank-you very much. You have made my daughter one happy little girl.”

“Just remember, when she’s been practicing for countless hours and your head feels like it’s going to explode from all of the banging, one day she could be a star!” Kris smiled, returning the handshake.

“Oh, she’s already my little star!” Dad took Casey’s hand as they walked out into the terminal.

The morning was gray and threatened rain. The cab pulled up across the street of the twenties style house. The yard was immaculate, and gave the house a very pleasing and friendly look. Even though the hour was somewhat early, the street was coming alive with activity. They had been lucky and the press hadn’t descended on them at the airport. They seemed to have snuck into town.

“So I’ll be around if you need me,” Rita stated.

“I’m sure that you’ll be bored,” Kris replied, as the two women got out of the cab, and Kris paid the driver.

“Have a good time,” Rita said, as Kris approached the front door. Ringing the bell, she could hear a dog barking from somewhere inside the house. Kris stood holding a bouquet of flowers, her duffel bag over her shoulder, her long black overcoat swaying slowly in the early morning breeze. There was no response so she stepped off the porch and headed toward the back yard. She could see Melissa toiling in her garden, as she looked over the gate. She could see Melissa’s arm and back muscles flex under the long sleeves of her shirt as she worked with her garden tools. Kris was about to enter the yard when a yellow lab raced over to the gate and began to bark threateningly. Melissa looked up startled; she was splattered with dirt, and looked beautiful. Kris was filled with an outpouring of love for this woman that was almost overwhelming.

“Gertrude! Quiet!” she called out, to no avail.

Kris hoped that she would come over and investigate since she had hidden behind the fence and was peeking through a crack. Sure enough, Melissa put down her shovel and removed her gloves as she started over. When she was just a few feet from the gate, Kris stepped out into full view. Melissa’s face lit up like 1000-watt bulb.

“Kris!” Melissa exclaimed. Running over to the gate, the women embraced as the dog started to bark more menacingly. “What are you doing here?” Melissa finally got out as she tried to quiet the dog.

“There was an accident and Tom injured his hand and can’t play for a few days. So we’re on a long weekend!” Kris explained. “These are for you!” Kris handed her the flowers.

“Oh, they’re beautiful. Is Tom going to be alright?”

“Yeah, it was just a sprain.”

“Kris, meet Gertrude; I think she’s a little jealous.” Melissa made the introductions. Kris tentatively put her hand over the gate for the dog to sniff. Gertrude stopped making hostilities and left them alone. Kris entered the yard, reached out, and wrapped her arms around Melissa. She felt so good in her arms. Her firm muscles hugged back as Kris ran her hands over Melissa’s back, feeling her softness under her shirt. “It feels so good to hold you. I had almost forgotten what it was like!” Kris could smell the sweetness of her hair as she continued to hold her. Gertrude was growling protectively at their feet.

“You act as if you haven’t seen me for years!” Melissa replied as they separated. “You look like you’ve just lost you’re best friend; what’s going on?” Melissa asked, putting her arm around Kris’ shoulders as they headed for the house.

“I’m just so very tired.”

“Are you limping?”

“Yeah, it’s nothing, really.” Kris smiled and dismissed it.

“You can rest while you’re here. You are staying for a few days then?” Melissa asked.

“Yeah! If that’s alright?” Kris replied, as they moved toward the house.

“Don’t be silly. It’s more than alright, it’s fantastic!” Melissa squeezed her tightly.

“I wasn’t sure if you might have other plans.”

“No…. oh man, Kris you can’t be here today!” Melissa stated. Kris looked like she’d been slapped across the face. “What I mean is I have a zillion things to do today!”

“Hey, it’s cool. You ran all over with me, I can do the same with you,” Kris replied happily.

“I’m afraid it would be really boring for you.”

“No more than my life was for you.”

“Well, you’ve got a point there.” They walked into the house; Melissa put the flowers in a vase, and washed her hands. Kris removed her coat, hat and glasses and looked around at the tidy house.

“If I don’t get into the shower, I won’t get anything done today,” Melissa said, as she moved out of the kitchen. Kris followed her into the woman’s bedroom.

“What are all these errands you have to do?” Kris asked, as she looked at the artwork on the walls and the snaps on the bulletin board.

“Well, I had planned to have lunch with my mom; I’ll have to call her and reschedule.” Melissa recited the rest of her list of errands from the bathroom, her voice echoing slightly.

“Don’t reschedule on my account; I would love to meet your mom.”

“Yes, but is she ready to meet you? That’s the question.” The sound of water running could be heard.

“You still haven’t told anyone?” Kris noticed a portable CD player on the nightstand and next to it were a couple of Scarecrow CDs.

“I haven’t; I was waiting for us to see each other again.”

“I thought you said you didn’t have any of my records?”

“That was when I first met you.”

“It looks like things have changed.”

“You could say things have definitely changed.” The sound of the water being turned off could be heard, as Melissa came out wrapped in a towel. “I want to tell you something, but I’m afraid that you will think it’s silly.”

“Never,” Kris assured her as she reached out and grasped Melissa’s hand and pulled the blond towards her. Melissa reached into the bottom drawer of her bedside table and pulled out what looked like a photo album.

“After I got back from Chicago, I missed you so terribly. I would daydream about being together whenever the radio played one of your songs. I went out and bought all of your albums, and started picking up the teen magazines in order to get more pictures of you. The nights were the worst; when I was feeling especially lonely, I would come in here, put on one of your albums and look through this,” Melissa explained, holding out the book. It was filled with pictures of Kris.

“Why would you think that I would think that’s silly? That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me,” Kris replied; her eyes were filled with love as they kissed.

“You look really tired; are you alright?” Melissa looked into her eyes as they parted.

“Yeah, lately everyone on the tour has been so prone to accidents. I think it’s starting to take its toll.”

“Really? How strange,” Melissa said as she ran her hands up and down the body she had missed so much. With the errands neatly pushed to the back burner, Melissa no longer had to think about them; she kissed Kris long and passionately. Kris put down the book and put her arms around Melissa and began to caress her soft and silky skin. Melissa held Kris’ face in her hands as they kissed, trying to get closer. “This isn’t fair; I think you are wearing way too many clothes.” Melissa began to remove Kris’ shirt and found the claw marks and bruises.

“I see you’ve been having kinky sex!” Melissa’s eyebrows were raised and her tone had an edge to it.

Kris felt a little embarrassed. “It’s definitely not what you think. I did that to myself.”

“Ummmmm, to yourself? Wouldn’t you like to tell me about it?” Melissa eyed her suspiciously.

“Not really. I don’t want to have to think of the tour this weekend.” Kris felt waves of disapproval pouring off of Melissa. Sighing she continued, “Last night… actually it was the night before, someone slipped me, Tony and Tess some LSD…”

“As in the drug?” Melissa looked shocked.

“The same. Anyway to make a long story short, I was hit by a car, managed to trash the inside of the RV, caused it to crash, and spent about ten to twelve hours completely out of control.” Kris ran her hand through her hair as Melissa stood looking completely dumbfounded.

“Are you… OK?” Melissa finally found her voice as she sat on the edge of the bed.

“Very tired, and a little sore.”

“You poor thing! Why don’t you let me try and make you feel better….” Melissa reached over and kissed her again. Kris removed the towel, exposing Melissa’s perfect body. She ran her finger lightly over the tattoo then bent down and kissed it. Melissa pushed her down on the bed “I’ve been fantasizing about what you taste like for a long time.” She began to unbutton Kris’ Levi’s, and to kiss her bare breasts and then moved slowly lower, kissing all the way. “Dreaming about you….” Kris was making little moans of delight as she reached up and began to caress Melissa’s breasts. “Wanting to hold you… to just touch you one more time….” Melissa reached Kris’ pubic mound, pushing the jeans lower to reveal the downy hair. “I want to show you how much I think about you…” With a quick flick of her tongue she could taste Kris’ juices. As Kris responded with a sharp intake of breath, her hips began a slow up and down motion. “You taste better than in my dreams…” They were both too busy to hear Gert start barking. Suddenly the door opened; a young man in his twenties with sandy blond hair and blue eyes was saying, “Mo, are you hom….” Kris was lying close to the door and they locked eyes for a moment as his jaw dropped open. The spell was broken with Melissa screaming at him to get out.

Melissa sat up at the end of the bed; through gasps she said, “This could be awkward.”

“Could be worse if he didn’t know you were gay.” Kris tried to catch her breath.

“He sure knows how to kill a mood.” Melissa put on her robe. “I’d better go and talk with him,” she said as she left the room. Kris dressed as she heard them talking through the slightly open bedroom door.

“Brandon, I think we need to talk.”

He was unable to look her in the eyes. “I am really sorry! I had no idea you had… I mean that someone was here!”

She still felt uncomfortable. “It’s alright, no harm done. Next time maybe you should try knocking, huh?”

“Right, no problem.”

She looked at the clock “What are you doing home so early?”

“Test.” He still could not meet her gaze. Kris cleared her throat from the doorway.

“Oh Brandon, I would like you to meet Kris Cutler,” Melissa said, with a large smile. Brandon shared Melissa’s eyes and her smile.

He was blushing. “I’m really sorry about that…”

“Hey, it’s cool; I’ve walked in on my brother a time or two.”

“With Rick, I’m sure,” Melissa replied as they laughed.

“I can’t believe that you are actually standing in our house!” Brandon said, looking really excited.

“I’ll bet this will be a meeting you’ll not soon forget,” Kris said, joking with him a bit.

“I picked up your new album; it is really hot!”

“Thanks. Did you get a chance to see us when we were here?” Kris asked.

“No, tickets were sold out. A buddy of mine did though; he said you guys were smokin’ – best he’d heard you!”

“Really? Are you going to Seattle when we are there?”

“No, it’s sold out too!”

“Do you mind if I use your phone?” Kris asked, as she picked up the receiver and dialed. “Hello, Candy? … Yeah, it’s Kris… No, I’m fine. How are your kids? … That’s great. Listen, I’ve got a friend here that would like…” She covered the phone with her hand. “How many tickets would you like?”

It took him a couple of beats before he could answer. Tentatively he replied, “Four.”

“Four tickets and backstage passes to the concert in Seattle… No, FedEx them.” Kris supplied the address and other needed information and hung up.

“OK you’re set; four tickets, center, first ten rows, and backstage passes.”

Brandon grabbed his head, looking like he could hardly contain himself. “Holy shit! Doug is never going to believe this!”

Kris smiled. “He will when I shake his hand backstage at the concert.”

“What do you mean Doug won’t believe it? That little creep has been bugging me to give him Kris’ phone number, autographs and anything else he could think of.” Melissa looked a little angry.

“Yeah I know, but he doesn’t believe that you are seeing Kris… Is it OK to call you that?” He looked unsure.

“You bet.”

Continuing, Brandon explained, “Anyway, he doesn’t believe that you are seeing each other, because you can’t produce any evidence.”

Kris had a look of mischief in her eye. “I want to talk to this boy.”

“I don’t think I like the look in your eyes,” Melissa said, not sure what to think.

“Sure, I’ll call everyone right now…”

“…Whoa hold on there, I’m here to spend time with your sister. I think her schedule for today is full; tonight we’ll be making up for being interrupted. You can make yourself scarce tonight, right?” Kris asked Brandon, patting him on the shoulder and looking knowingly at him.

“Yeah – you bet!”

“Maybe tomorrow?” Kris looked at Melissa for approval. “Not too early, we’ll be sleeping in.” The boy was eagerly shaking his head in the affirmative, ready to agree to anything that his hero had to say. “Good, it’s all settled then.”

“Wow, Melissa was right, you are cool, and not at all what I expected. Oh yeah, thanks for the tickets!” Brandon jogged out of the kitchen leaving the couple alone.

“Well, you’ve just scored big points with my family,” Melissa stated, hugging her.

“Well, I don’t know why you shouldn’t use your position in life to influence people,” Kris replied, as they laughed.

“Oh, look at the time; I’ve got to go get dressed!” Melissa stated, kissing Kris and returning to her bedroom.

Kris stayed in the kitchen, petting Gert. She felt comfortable here, no demands on herself or her time. It felt so good to be isolated with everything that had been going on. She still felt so confused, scared and paranoid after what had happened the other night. She knew Rita was right, that someone might have it in for her, but she just didn’t want to face it. Here, she didn’t have to deal with it. A few moments later Melissa stirred her from her thoughts as she emerged dressed in faded Levi’s, scuffed brown cowboy boots, a gray ribbed Henley shirt with four buttons, three of which were unbuttoned to reveal the tattoo. She was wearing a well-worn jeans jacket over the gray shirt, and she had taken her hair and tied it into a ponytail which she had sticking out the back of her, or rather Kris’ baseball cap. Kris let out a slow whistle, as she ogled her lover like a construction worker.

“Wow! You look great!” Kris smiled. Melissa looked down at herself with a look of confusion.

“This is my day off, grunge attire.”

“Well I approve. I really like your hat!” she said as they left.

Continued in part 5

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