…Cameron had called me with a favor. His band wanted to open for a bigger band called Broken Blasters. (I googled them, they were a hot and upcoming band out of England) The lead singer, the guitarist, and the drummer of Broken Blasters would drop in to see Cameron’s band rehearse.
Cameron figured it would look good to have a small audience while they played. But his point was, basically, that it might sell them to have pretty girls watching them adoringly in the rehearsal studio where they practiced. I was a little flattered that he asked me. I was also a little irritated when he asked if I had any friends, and when I said I didn’t, not really, he said, “What about Zoe?”
I answered that Zoe and I didn’t hang out any more, and he huffed and said, “But you’ll come, right?”
And I said I would because I was bored.
Man, it had been a long time since I had anything interesting to do. Also, Dad had just reminded me I was supposed to be trying to be the kind of person who had fun.
When I got to the rehearsal, I perched on the arm of a ratty old couch while Cameron’s band, The Strange Monikers, tuned their instruments and pretended not to be nervous.
Then they walked in.
By they I mean—Gavin. And two guys who were impossible to notice because of Gavin.
He was hot. Wicked hot. Pale pasty white, like he might need an intro to the sun, dark wavy hair, a jaw that looked like you wanted to kiss it. Anyone would want to. Guy or girl, it only made sense.
Living in LA you get kind of used to people who are celebrities, the famous, or the On The Cusp Of Famous, walking around in your normal world. By used to, I mean, able to spot them, capable of maintaining your cool, knowing to ignore them, but also track them, in case.
Gavin had that famous person aura. He wasn’t a celebrity, but he walked into that room and every set of eyes landed on him. I caught my breath. The two young men with him, deferred to his decisions—where would he go, what should they do?
He swept the room with his eyes and then his eyes landed on me and he did this—I kid you not—he put his hand over his heart and took a step back. He literally said, “Whoa,” under his breath.
I looked down at my Mexican Coke bottle trying to figure out what might be wrong that this gorgeous stranger lost his step at the sight of me. Probably spinach in my teeth. I brushed, but still.
Gavin beelined for me. I stood up and we almost collided which caused him to laugh. He swiped his hand through his hair, and looked into my eyes, as if we had known each other for a long, long time, like he was trying to get me to remember. Positioning himself right there. Close.
Then he spoke in a sexy, sexy British accent. Jeez, could he get any better? “What’s your name then?”
“Sid? I never knew a ‘Sid’ to be quite so feminine.” Heat crawled up my cheeks. “My name is Gavin.” I stared down at my feet, one shoe on top of the other. He asked, “What brings you here?”
I said, “My friend invited me to listen to them play tonight.”
“Ah, but see, you strike me as above decorating-the-furniture-for-a-mediocre-rock-band.”
I chuckled and said, “You haven’t heard them yet.” And then I said, “You also just met me, this might be exactly what I’m suited for.”
He raised his eyebrows and smiled, head cocked back. “Are you from around here Sid?”
“I’m from the Southbay, actually.”
“Ah, Sid from the Southbay, makes perfect sense.”
I knew I should also ask questions, but I was having a hard time keeping up with his cocky assuredness. I took another sip of my Mexican Coke.
He watched me, like he couldn’t take his eyes off my face. I nervously glanced at an old ratty Green Day poster.
He put his hand over his heart and leaned in. “So Sid of the Southbay, what do you do, your day job, when you’re not decorating concert halls?”
One of his band mates thrust a drink into Gavin’s hand and he took it without looking and drank. How would that be? To have total trust that your needs will be fulfilled because you’re just that cool?
I said, “I’m a writer.”
“Oh, really? See, I was right. What do you write?”
“I’m working on a screenplay, about Mary Queen of Scots.”
His eyebrows knit together and he looked at me from the corner of his eye, “Mary? Our Mary? The Scottish Strumpet?” He laughed loudly.
Heat burned up my ears.
He said, “Will you tell about how she murdered that one Brit and then tried to overthrow the Crown?”
I glared, “No, I’m going more for the tragedy of her life, how she was carried along by a course of events she couldn’t control. That she was young, and basically good, but fate intervened.”
“Ah, a retelling. I see.” He ran his fingers through his hair. Then he smiled and his hand went back to his heart. “You see, us Brits, we’re divided into two camps, either we’re anti-royalists, like my father, or we believe Elizabeth the first was correct in all things, like my Mum. You won’t find many Brits that will embrace a retelling of the Adulteress of Edinburgh to make her look like she was treated unfairly. It will be a hard sell.” He looked deep into my eyes again, “That being said, a young American, like yourself, might be just the person to try.”
One of his band mates whispered in his ear. Gavin took a deep swig from his glass. “I have to get to work deciding the fate of this band. You best resume your seat so your beauty can distract me from their imperfections.”
He turned and stood with his band mates as Cameron’s band started to play.
What the hell was I supposed to do now? I couldn’t go sit on the couch. Not after being told to. But then again, he was just pointing out that Cameron had asked me to sit on the couch. Cameron was the problem, right? I also couldn’t stand here on the back wall of the room, by myself, while a band played. I looked ridiculous.
So I did the only thing I could think of—I walked to the couch and perched on the arm and tried to look beautiful. Like I had been told. But here’s the thing, you might think I had lost my power, but Gavin couldn’t take his eyes off me. Barely ever. He listened to the band, but he watched me, the whole time.
After Cameron’s set, Gavin came back. He sat on the couch leaned back, looking up at me still perched dutifully on the arm of the couch.
“I can see why you got this gig, you performed your part perfectly. Will you come to the show?”
Cameron was looking over at us. He was probably watching Gavin for signs of whether the Strange Monikers had been picked or not. Maybe he was a little jealous too.
I said, “I’m sure the band will invite me.”
He said, “No, I mean, will you come with me, to the show.”
“Oh, um, yes.”
He nodded and ran his hand through his hair. He shifted his weight and grabbed his phone out of his back pocket and said, “Sid of the Southbay, might I have your number, please?”
I called out the digits and he worked for two seconds until my phone vibrated in my pocket. “Sid, it has been a pleasure. I’m greatly looking forward to spending more time in your company, as you take my breath away.”
Seriously? This was real? He stood and cocked his head again. “It will also be fun to tell my parents I’m falling for a California girl named after Sid Vicious who happens to be a royalist and a believer in the goodness of the Harlot of Scots.”
He smiled and gave a small shake of his head, not in a bad way, in an I Can’t Believe The Way She Makes Me Feel kind of way. A way that made me get all hot inside. And then he said, “We have another band to see, will you be up later? If I text?”
I said, “Yes,” because who could sleep after all of that?