Copyright© 2016 by Jay Cantrell
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 82 - Travis Blakely had a comfortable existence. He had a decent job and good friends. He was comfortable with what the future held for him. Then he ran into a girl he remembered from high school. His life got a lot more interesting - and infinitely more complicated
I spent most of my day shopping in Nashville with Skye and Dom. I had been informed that the clothing that had been appropriated the night before was not going to come back anytime soon.
I also decided that I didn’t really need more than four pairs of basketball shorts. Conny had shown up at the house – looking remarkably fresh – just before I was sent on my merry way.
The quartet was still working on a song when I returned three hours later. Sadly, Skye had purchased far more than I had. She had a job that paid more than a pittance for the first time in her life and she wanted to look the part of a young professional on the rise.
I thought she succeeded magnificently. Her long, toned frame was made for displaying clothing and I wondered how long it would be before Svetlana approached Dom’s girlfriend to talk about modeling opportunities.
“He’ll know!” Liz said when she saw me enter the ballroom to see if she needed anything.
Four sets of eyes turned to me.
“What happened to the mix we made last night?” Liz asked me.
I glanced at each face in the room hoping that one of them would clue me in on what she was talking about. The only mix I knew about was the alcohol I had made and the plastic containers were empty when I located them in varying locales around the pool.
“Liz and I put down a track last night,” Melissa clarified. “I think that’s where you found us when you got back.”
“Oh,” I said. “Yeah, you might have thought you were recording something but you weren’t.”
I didn’t know much about the equipment in Liz’s studio – but I knew an on-off switch when I saw one.
“Shit!” Liz said angrily. “That was some good stuff!”
“Uh, not so much,” I said.
The comment earned me a bird flip from Melissa.
“I’m serious,” I said. “I caught about the last... 10 minutes or so. It wasn’t as great as you seem to recall. Here, see for yourself.”
I queued up the video I’d shot and passed it across.
“You took a video?” Liz asked.
“I could tell that you’d messed around with the switches on the console so I figured you wanted to record it,” I said with another one-armed shrug. “The button was off and I wasn’t sure if I could just turn it on or if I need to do the complete NASA checklist beforehand. So I used the device I was pretty sure I could figure out.”
I saw Conny’s eyes narrow as she watched the video.
“I was in the engineer’s booth,” I pointed out. “I turned the speaker up in there. The video is pretty terrible but the sound should be OK.”
“I was just trying to figure out what they were saying,” Conny said with a smile.
“That was my problem,” I said. “Anyway, I can send that to your phones and you can pull out the Drunken Gibberish to English Rosetta Stone and give her hell.”
“Why don’t you do that?” Liz said, gesturing vaguely to the trio of artists in the room. “I need to see Travis for a minute.”
“Smoochy time,” Chelsea said, giggling.
“Not this time,” Liz said. “This is business talk.”
“Too bad,” Melissa said with a wink.
“You’re telling me,” I said. I wondered if Liz was unhappy that I’d recorded her the night before or because I had made a disparaging comment about the performance. Liz was tough to figure out when she was in “entertainer mode.”
She put her hand in mine as she directed me to her office.
“I’m sorry if I recorded something you didn’t want me to,” I said, hoping to preempt any ass-chewing that might be coming.
“No, that’s fine,” she said, shaking her head. “I’m glad you did it. I think we’ll remember the lyrics once we hear parts of them. This is about Dallas.”
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I need another favor from you,” she said.
“Sure,” I said, figuring that since this was a professional discussion (and I was her employee) that there was little difference between a favor and a directive.
“I need you to go to Dallas with Jill,” she said.
“OK,” I said with a nod. “Whatever you want.”
Liz smiled at me.
“It’s not what I want,” she said. “I want you here with me ... pretty much all the time. But it’s what I need right now. My parents are coming Monday. The label wants to throw a Number One party on Tuesday down there. I need to make sure the stage is good and I need someone to walk through the venue. Normally, I’d send Ryan with her but ... Sondra’s dad is in a bad way. That’s why they were driving to North Carolina last night.
“Her mom is in her 70s and doesn’t get around very well anymore. Sondra has to be at the hospital Saturday so I told Ryan to just stay up there. She’s got time off starting Monday but she has to be there for the weekend. I’m...”
She stopped and exhaled breath.
“Look, I’m just going to talk to you as my boyfriend for a minute,” she said. “Jill is going to be fine but it’s her first rodeo. I don’t want her trying to solve problems that require my input. I need the stage perfect. The stadium acoustics are horrible if things aren’t exactly right. You’ve been around unions. You understand them. I don’t want to have to deal with an unhappy shop steward because she was on his ass all week and I don’t want to deal with overruns and delays because she was too lax. You know they’ll try to run over the top of her. She’s a woman and she’s small. It’s their first time working with her so they’ll try to push her around. It’s human nature.”
“Uh, I’m not trying to get out of this but don’t you think they’ll try to push me around, too?” I asked.
“No,” Liz said, shaking her head. “Word has already gotten around about who is going to win a fight with you. They knew I let Stephanie go because she couldn’t work with you and they won’t push their luck.”
“I know it sucks but it’s also true,” Liz said. “If you tell them I want something a certain way they’ll do it that way. I also know that you’ll call me if you find something that you aren’t sure about. I’m worried that Jill will be so intent upon proving her worth that she’ll try to fix everything on her own. I know you won’t let that happen. You’ll look out for her and you’ll keep me in the loop. I ... I wish I had somebody else but I don’t. I need you down there to be my eyes and ears. I’d go myself but ... well ... last night threw us off schedule.”
I shook my head.
“I know I needed it,” Liz said. “I’m glad you put it together. But it meant Melissa and I didn’t do much practicing and it also presented the opportunity for a fresh song. That’s what we were doing. Last night, we all wrote a song called ‘Girls Night In.’ It’s pretty good – or it was while we were sloshed to the gills. But none of us remember much about it. Now we’ve added a day getting the lyrics down and copyrighted and music down and choreographed.”
I smiled across at her.
“Don’t forget to add Gwen, Kim, Skye and Jill to the song,” I said with a wink.
She looked at me for a hard moment and then smiled back.
“I think that would be cool,” she said. “We’ll do that.”
“Shit!” she continued. “That means I need Jill here, too.”
“Just give her something small to do,” I said. “She’ll understand. I think it’s just more about inclusiveness than actual musical participation.”
Liz came across and sat on my lap.
“I’m very sorry I passed out before I could show you how much it means to me that you’re always looking out for me,” she said.
I kissed her softly.
“We’ll have plenty of time for that,” I said. “I’ll just have to keep a running tab in my head.”
“Add this trip to Dallas to the ledger,” she said, shaking her head.
“When do you want us to leave?” I asked.
“Tonight unless you have something planned,” she answered with a heavy sigh. “At the very latest, I’d like you there tomorrow by noon.”
“Tonight is fine with me,” I said. “I was just going to hang out and keep an eye on you. Well, keep an eye on your butt, mostly.”
Liz kissed me and put her head on my shoulder.
“I’ll text Jill and have her check on a private plane,” she said.
“Jill and I can fly commercial,” I said. “I got back to San Diego with no trouble at all. I’ll go online and book us two tickets for the first flight out. I just need to pack and to fix you some food that you can heat up later.”
“I was going to have Skye pack for you,” Liz said. “Do you need to wash the clothes you just bought?”
I gave a sheepish shrug. I hadn’t purchased more than $100 worth of clothing (and I’d paid for it myself).
“I’m going to go shopping for you if you’re not careful,” she declared. “Now give me one more kiss and then get your ass to Dallas.”
Jill and I settled into our first-class seats for the flight from Nashville to Atlanta and then to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Liz had added to my marching orders before I left. I was to set up unscripted interviews with a radio station, the two local newspapers, a blogger and a TV station. I had tried to argue that “unscripted” was a bad idea but she had shot me down firmly. I decided that there might not be a script in place but there damned sure would be some very solid rules agreed upon before I let Liz sit down with a TV journalist.
Jill accepted a glass of white wine and I had a domestic beer after we got seated and situated.
“So ... are you babysitting me or am I babysitting you?” she asked.
“A little of both, I think,” I admitted. “I’m supposed to keep people from trying to run over you; you’re supposed to make sure I don’t set Liz up for a Playboy pictorial.”
“I’m not going to let anyone run over me,” Jill stated.
“I didn’t think so but Liz wanted you to know you had backup,” I said. “It’s your first time really in charge and everybody is going to test your limits. I guess they already view me as a bad guy after the situation with Stephanie so Liz wanted me to come with you in case you need a cudgel.”
“What’s a cudgel?” Jill wondered.
“A club,” I said.
“So why didn’t you say ‘club’?” she asked.
“Because I’ve always wanted to use ‘cudgel’ in a sentence and I saw the chance,” I retorted.
“They don’t really view you as a bad guy,” she told me. “It’s just ... look, I was there. I was ... amazed ... at the words coming out of her mouth. I literally had to drag Liz to the floor to keep her from killing Stephanie. Stephanie saw that she had seriously overplayed her hand. She was backed against the wall – and I’m not talking about figuratively. Liz was sitting on the bed and she just jumped at her. I hooked her around the waist and just slid down to clip her ankles. Ryan would have been proud of me. But I don’t think the news has filtered down to everybody. Most of them view it as Stephanie made a play for your job and lost hers in the process. So, I guess Liz is right. They all know that I might be the road manager but you’re at the top of the pecking order.”
“I don’t want to be at the top of the pecking order,” I shot back.
“I know,” Jill said. “But in this case ... until I get a better read on the situation ... it’s going to be good to have you with me. Just having you there will make sure they do what I want them to.”
“Just don’t get in over your head,” I advised. “The guys working on the set know what they’re doing. Let them do their job without micromanaging. That’s what Liz tends to do. She wants a hand in everything – even things she doesn’t really understand. I’m also to make sure you don’t fall into that trap.”
“I’ll do my best not to,” Jill said.
“I won’t cut your legs out from under you in front of anybody else but I don’t want you pissed at me if I say something when we’re alone,” I told her.
We spent the rest of the flights talking about other things and arrived in Dallas just before 8 p.m. We rented a car and Jill drove us to the hotel where Liz and her entourage would ensconce in a few days.
“Are you good with this?” I asked when we unloaded our bags from the trunk.
The hotel had only one room with two double beds available until the next day. Then we would take one of the three suites that Liz had already booked for the following week.
“It’s one night,” Jill replied. “Just keep your hands to yourself, Mister.”
“Will do,” I promised.
Jill headed off to the shower while I waited for the pizza we’d ordered. Neither of us was interested in going out anywhere. I changed into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. Jill emerged dressed similarly – but her shorts were a lot tighter and her white T-shirt made it obvious that she hadn’t bothered with a bra. I figured I’d seen every inch of her body (except her birth canal) during our trip home from Cabo so I wasn’t bothered.
“OK, first thing tomorrow we have to get in touch with Sean,” she told me as we ripped up the pizza box to use as plates. “Are you OK dealing with him?”
“It’s good,” I said. “I need to talk to him anyway.”
“About Carly’s big mouth?” Jill wondered.
I glanced at her and frowned.
“Brian told me what you’d overheard,” Jill said. “I can’t imagine what it could have been. Liz kept her at arm’s length since she got shitty with me.”