Desmond looked up when he heard the jangle of the bell over the door of his shop. Jack, his employee, was working the floor and Desmond watched as he approached the three girls that came in. They appeared to all be dressed very much alike and he wondered if they were related or just friends. They certainly looked like they were related. He went back to the job he was doing. The fret board on the old Ibinez was badly worn and he was replacing it. Its owner had dropped it off last week and he was finally getting around to fixing it. Desmond sold instruments, but he repaired them too and that was a lot of his business. He heard Jack talking to the girls and then footsteps approaching. He looked up and Jack was coming around the counter.
"Hey, Des; can you help those girls? They want to do a special order."
"Sure, send them back to the office," he said.
He put down the Ibinez and went back to his office and sat behind his desk. Jack brought the three girls in and introduced them. "These girls have a band and they want some stuff with their name on them," he said. "This is Molly. She's the lead singer and she plays bass. Janet plays guitar and Rachael plays drums."
He stood up and they shook his hand. "You girls a power trio?" he asked.
They laughed. "We're a trio, but I don't know about the power," Molly said.
"What kind of equipment are you looking for?" He asked.
"A double bass with our band name on them," Rachael said.
"Do you want it built in, or can we just put a sticker on them?"
"I don't know," she said. "We didn't know what we could do. That's why we needed to talk to someone."
"Well, putting a vinyl sticker on what you're using now would be the cheapest way to go. Replacing the set with something custom built would be the most expensive. I don't know how the vinyl would stand up to you beating on them. I can find out for you. Anything else?"
"Yes, we want three monitors with our names on the back so the crowd can see them," Molly said.
"I can do that," he said. "Let me show you some stuff."
He got out some catalogues and came around where they were sitting on the leather sofa. Molly and Rachael slid apart so he could sit between them. They looked at some brands and the girls picked out what they wanted. He noticed that they smelled very nice and they weren't shy about leaning up against him to look at the products.
"Do any of you paint?" he asked.
"I do," Molly said. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, I'll make a stencil and lay out the letters and then you can paint them on," he told her. "I'm not much of an artist."
"Ok," she said. "What about the drums?"
"Let me talk to a vinyl guy," he said. "We'll find out whether it will work and I'll let you know. I'll save you the money if it will work."
Molly looked up at him. He noticed she had amazing eyes. They were gray and very light colored; making quite a contrast with her black hair and clear, pale complexion.
"Thanks, man," she said. "I appreciate that. We were ready to buy new drums."
"I try to help starving artists when I can. I know it's tough. Where are you girls playing?"
"The Lighthouse," she told him. "Come by and listen to us."
The Lighthouse was a pretty popular place. He thought they must be good to get that gig. "I might," he said. "Are you a cover band or do you do your own stuff?"
"Both," Molly said. "Janet writes most of our stuff we do. We do maybe a third covers."
"What kind of music?" he asked.
"Well, that depends on the venue," Janet said. "We can do metal all the way to some country stuff. Our stuff is kind of alternative. Do you play, Mr. Jones?"
"Please, my Dad is Mr. Jones. I'm Desmond, and yes I do play."
"What do you play?" Molly asked.
"Anything with strings," he said. "I'm not that good with guitars, I don't like them much. I play banjo, mandolin, violin, cello, stuff like that. I play keyboards and horns too. I can beat a drum a little too."
"Want to jam with us sometime?" Rachael asked.
"I doubt I'm up to you girl's level," he said.
"Oh, come on," Molly said. "I'd love to do some stuff that takes those instruments. What horns to you play?"
"Sax and flute," he told her.
"Cool," Janet said. "Will you jam with us?"
"You want me to haul all that stuff out to where you play?"
"Plug us in here," Molly said. "We'll play your stuff. You've got some nice half stacks out there."
It was Friday and Saturday was a big day for the store. They were closed Sunday so he asked them if they wanted to come back Sunday. They did and they agreed to meet for lunch and come back and play. This was going to be fun, he thought.
Desmond had a small recording studio in the back and he and Jack got it set up Saturday evening after they closed. He had no idea what kind of equipment they used so he texted Janet. They didn't care so he used Gibson guitars and TAMA Starclassic maple drums. He had some Marshal JVM 410's and he hooked them up. He met the girls for lunch at Logan's Roadhouse and they were dressed differently than the first time he saw them. They didn't look so much like sisters now. They sat at a circular booth and they slid in on each side of him. They talked and laughed while they ate and they seemed very comfortable with him. After lunch they walked down to the store and he showed them his little studio. They loved it. He had an old ES 335 and Janet fell in love with it. It looked a little big for her but she played it like a dream.
They asked him if he knew "Moaning Lisa Smile," by Wolf Alice. He did and they played it. They were very good. Molly had a voice to die for. It was low and husky, sounding bit like a young Joan Jett. She could sing sweet too and do that metal screech on a couple of Halestorm numbers. They did "Can I Get An Amen" and "Mayhem" and it was great. He did a sax run in the middle and then they did some folk numbers with banjo and fiddle parts. Desmond was feeling good and he thought it wasn't bad. The girls loved it. They played a couple of their original numbers and he was impressed. They played for three hours and then they said goodbye and left.
It was a great time and he enjoyed it a lot. Wednesday, he was surprised to get a text from Molly. She asked if he wanted to go out for lunch. "Like on a date?" he texted back.
His phone rang and it was her. She was laughing. "Not on a date, silly. You'll have to ask me if you want to go on a date. I have something I want to talk to you about. Actually we all talked about it and I got appointed to talk to you."
He hadn't really thought about asking her on a date. She seemed out of his league. "Will you go on a date with me, Molly?" he asked.
"I might," she said. "Let's get this other thing out of the way first. Then you can ask me again."
They met at Appleby's and she kissed him on the cheek. He felt a little awkward but she seemed fine and he quickly relaxed. They ordered and made small talk while they waited for their food. It didn't take long and they continued to talk while they ate. They got a beer after lunch and she seemed a little hesitant.
"What is it, Molly?" he asked.
"Well, we really liked the way we sounded at the studio the other day," she said. "It's two things, really. First, we wanted to ask you if we could rent your studio to practice?"
"I don't see why not," he said. "I don't use it that much. I'll get you some keys made. What's the other thing?"
"Well, we were wondering if you'd play some local gigs with us. We think you really add something to our sound we like."
"I don't know, Molly. I don't play professionally. I don't want to get into the scene that much. I like what I do."
"I won't beg, Desmond," she said. "I knew you might not want to. Will you at least think about it?"
"Ok, but I don't think I will," he said. "I might change my mind, but don't get your hopes up."
"Whatever you decide is ok," she said. "We won't put any pressure on you. Will you come to our practice tomorrow? We'll play at the studio. I want you to come to one of our shows too before you decide, ok?"
He agreed to both things and they got another beer. "You were going to ask me something else," she said.
He couldn't think of what it was. She started laughing and it came to him. "Oh, that. Will you go on a date with me, Molly?"
"No," she said.
He was crestfallen and a little angry. "Why in the hell did you want me to ask you then?"
She was instantly contrite. "I'm sorry Desmond. I don't mean 'no' permanently. Once you decide about the other thing, I'll go on a date with you. I just didn't want you to think I was trying to sweeten the pot. I'll still go out with you, even if you say no."
He laughed. "I see. Well, that would be a pretty hefty bribe. Let me think about it."
He paid the check and walked her to the bus stop. She kissed his cheek again when she saw the bus coming. "I really like you, Desmond," she said. "Don't wait too long to make up your mind."
His brain was spinning as he walked back to the store. Molly had said she would go on a date with him! All the girls wanted him to play with them! He wasn't really interested in doing the club scene. He'd done that once and hated it. Most of his dislike had been the people he played with. Maybe it would be different playing with these sweet girls. He didn't know what to do. If he decided to play with them, would that make it weird with Molly? He didn't sleep much that night. He left work early the next day so he wouldn't have to see the girls when they came in to practice.
.... There is more of this story ...