Ronnie was a bit nervous getting up on stage. He didn’t have his own guitar, after all, he hadn’t played with these guys for over two years and he was in the presence –supposedly--of a lot better musicians and singers…semi-professionals, Sophie being only one amongst them.
Besides all that, he was worried he might be wasting precious time he should be spending actively looking for Sophie, regardless of the assurances Vance gave him that she would find him once he got up there and started singing. Ronnie would never forgive himself if something bad happened to her while he was having fun.
“What was I thinking?” he muttered to himself as he strapped on Vance’s spare acoustic guitar and took his place in front of the center mic. It was one thing jamming with the band and staying in the background. It was something entirely different to take the lead. There were maybe a hundred kids here, only thirty or so of which who actually knew him and maybe only half of that liked him. They were all here to have a good time and most of them didn’t care jack shit about him, so what could go wrong?
He preferred not to think of that. He should jump right off the stage and tell Vance forget it, but he and the other guys were so excited about his being there again and it was just too late to back out. So, he shook his head of negative thoughts and closed his eyes. This was nothing, he told himself. Heck, he could just pretend he was back home, sitting in front of the piano with Georgiana and only she was listening to him. She always loved his singing and she never complained. He loved that kid.
That was all he needed to calm down enough to start strumming the first familiar notes. The music flowed from his hands with ease and the words made their way to his lips without him giving it much thought.
♪ ♫…You’ve got your ball, you’ve got your chain, tied to me tight, tie me up again …♩ ♬
He felt the words form and bubble to the surface from somewhere deep within effortlessly. He loved the lyrics to this song.
♪ ♫…Who’s got their claws in you, my friend? Into your heart I’ll beat again …♩ ♬
He always had pictured Sophie when he sang it and he was certainly doing the same now.
♪ ♫…Sweet like candy to my soul…sweet you rock and sweet you roll …♩ ♬
Fitting it was to be thinking of Sophie, for wasn’t he up here singing in the hope of drawing her to him, finding her safe and sound, and with any luck, far away from Antoine?
♪ ♫…lost for you, I’m so lost for you …♩ ♬
He shut his eyes tighter and wished for Sophie to show up. She had to be here, she had to be safe!
Little did he know, his wish was about to come true.
Sophie left Cassandra and pushed people out of her way as she headed straight to the stage and she didn’t stop until she was looking right up at Ronnie, mere feet from her. She could not possibly have wished for a better thing to happen. Ronnie here so close and singing! She could imagine he was singing to her. She could reach out and touch him he was so close. Now if he would just open his eyes, see her and…oh, please!
♪ ♫… you come crash…into me… and I come into…♩ ♬
On the long note he opened his eyes and there she was.
“Sophie,” he said—completely forgetting the song. He saw her eyes widen in surprise and then she smiled up at him. And what a smile! It took his breath away.
Ronnie blinked. Was that really her? Perhaps he was dreaming? No, he couldn’t be! Without thinking he reached out his hand and to his utter astonishment she grabbed it. What else could he do but pull her on stage. She didn’t weigh any more than Georgiana—or so it seemed.
Then there she was on stage with him still holding his hand. They stared at each other for a long moment, oblivious to the cheers from the audience and the delighted expressions of the guys in the band.
“I’ve been looking for you,” he said to her.
“Have you?” she said, thrilled beyond belief. “Well…you found me. So, what ya gonna do with me now that I’m here?” Then she smiled.
God help him but that smile was going to be his undoing. She was going to be his sister—hopefully—and he was supposed to hate her a little for giving Violet grief about his dad.
“Dude,” Spencer, the guy on bass, said out of the corner of his mouth. “The song…ya gotta finish the song!”
Ronnie lost his place, but Sophie hadn’t. She stepped up to the Ronnie’s mic and sang:
♪ ♫… in a boy’s dream…in a boy’s dream…♩ ♬
Hell, yeah, Ronnie thought, she was definitely this boy’s dream. Though stunned, Ronnie picked up where he left off. He leaned into the mic, inches from Sophie’s glossy lips and they sang together taking turns.
♪ ♫…touch your lips just so I know…in your eyes, love glows… so …♩ ♬
He loved her eyes…he loved her…all of her and the way she was looking at him, you’d think she felt the same way.
♪ ♫…I’m bare-boned and crazy for you …♩ ♬
Did she know? Could he hide it anymore, being this close to her? Was Vance right about this song? Did girls just melt over it, or was it something else?
♪ ♫…in a boy’s dream…in a boy’s dream …♩ ♬
Sophie wondered what he was thinking. Did he at long last see it? Did he know she wanted him something awful, more than life itself?
♪ ♫… oh, hike up your skirt a little more, show the world to me…♩ ♬
He saw her grin and she did hike up her skirt just an inch. God, she was killing him, but what a way to die!
♪ ♫… oh, hike up your skirt a little more, show your world to me…♩ ♬
The skirt went up another inch and the audience went wild. Pity, Ronnie and Sophie were oblivious to all of it. They were in their own little world, singing only to each other.
♪ ♫…you wear nothing but you wear it so well …♩ ♬
If he asked, Sophie thought, she’d strip down to nothing right then and there.
♪ ♫…tied up and twisted the way I like to be… for you, for me …♩ ♬
That was Ronnie , all right, tied up and twisted. If only she knew…
♪ ♫… I’m the king of the castle, you’re the dirty rascal…crash into me…please, crash into me…♩ ♬
“Someone better throw a bucket of ice water on those two,” a grinning Vance said to his bandmates as the song faded out and the applause kept going.
“Forget that. Can we keep them in the band?” Spencer said. “Listen to that, will ya? They love us…or them, but we’re with them so…yeah, they love us!”
Vance signaled for another song. “Hell, yeah, we’re keeping them on stage with us for as long as we can.”
“Easy…as long as they’re making googly eyes at each other they won’t know the difference. Just keep going,” the drummer chimed in, clicking his sticks together to begin the next tune.
Simon watched Frank barking orders at the two giant security goons which had been at the front door when he and Ronnie had come in. They nodded and went off presumably in search of Antoine.
Frank came back to Simon and said, “We’ll get the bastard. I told them to search him for drugs when they find him. If he’s got them on him, we’ll call the cops. He won’t get away with this this time.”
“Not sure that’s enough to get him arrested if we can’t prove he actually used them to drug Sophie,” Simon said.
“What are you a lawyer?” Frank asked, annoyed.
“No, but my father is and it’s not as easy as it should be,” Simon answered. “The search won’t be legal if your guys do it…no warrant, you know. Right now I don’t care about that. I just don’t want him anywhere near Sophie.”
“Then we’ll just have to rough him up a bit,” Frank said. “Like…until he’s unrecognizable.”
Simon had opened his mouth to say that might not be the best idea when he spotted over Frank’s left shoulder the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen coming toward them. She looked vaguely familiar, too. Then he glanced at the photo behind Frank and back to the girl. Simon would bet all he owned she was the same girl in the photo…only eight to ten years older.
He noticed she was walking in a very crooked line and she had a goofy grin on her face. If he didn’t know better, he’d say she was drunk, which couldn’t be possible if the barmaid he spoke to had been right and Tuesdays were strictly non-alcoholic nights.
The girl joined them at the bar and smiled. “Frankie! You’ll never guess what just happened,” she said and she collapsed into a fit of uncontrollable giggles so she could say no more.
“Cassie, are you okay?” Frank said.
“Yup!” she said, putting down her nearly empty glass, then throwing her arms around him. “I wuv my big brudder!”
“Cassie, have you been drinking?” he said, pulling her away from him so he could peer into her glazed over eyes. She swayed on the spot and would have fallen over if he hadn’t been holding her.
Simon frowned, picked up a napkin wrapping it around her glass and held it up to his nose sniffing its contents. “Just 7up, I think…unless…”
The men exchanged horrified looks.
“I’ll kill him,” Frank said, glaring at Simon. “Thought you said he was after Sophie.”
“She came with him so I just assumed…but I suppose any girl would due or…,” Simon said.
“No, no, no,” Cassandra said, shaking her head lazily. “Sophie was after him for years and she’s finally got him.”
“What?” Frank said. “Sophie is after Antoine?”
“Antoine? Heck no…she’s trying to get rid of the shadow…so…” Cassandra said, reaching for her glass, but Simon pulled it out of her reach. “Hey, that’s mine! Okay, not really …it’s Sophie’s but she didn’t want it so…it’s mine now.”
“You can’t have this. It’s laced with something bad. I suspect Ecstasy, but I’m not sure,” Simon said, frowning at the glass. “You have a zip lock bag to put this in?”
“Evidence,” Frank said, understanding perfectly. “Gimme that. Watch my sister…wait… I can trust you, right? Cuz I’m not opposed to killing two guys in one night if I have to. I’ve done it before.”
Simon’s chest puffed out indignantly. “I came here to save my future step sister from a serial rapist and you think I’m going to do the same thing to your sister that I’m trying to prevent ?” he said angrily.
Frank glared at him for a long moment, then said, “Right. I’ll be right back unless I find the creep that did this and handle him myself. Cassie, stay here.”
“Where was I supposed to go?” she grumbled, swaying on the spot.
“Is she always this funny?” Simon asked.
“No…yes, but not in front of strangers normally. She’s very shy…most times. I’ll be right back,” Frank said his brow furrowed in worry. “Should I call an ambulance? Take her to the hospital?”
Simon considered this, recalling what he had read on the most often used date rape drugs. “I’m in medical school right now and from what I know don’t think you have to…she’s not tripping or convulsing or anything. Is there somewhere she can lie down and rest, like an office?”
“No, no, no! Not the office!” she shrieked. “Papers all over the place. Can’t mess them up…took me all week to straighten them out!”
“Okay, all right. We’ll stay right here, okay?” Simon replied gently.
“Don’t leave her!” Frankie said.
Simon shook his head. “She’ll be safe until you return.”
“Aren’t I safe now?” she said, looking thoroughly confused.
Simon nodded reassuringly and watched as Frank reluctantly left his precious sister in his care.
“Here, why don’t we sit down for a bit, okay?” Simon said and he gently took her by the arm and guided her to a tall stool. She was too small to climb onto it herself so he lifted her onto it.
“Frankie!” she shouted. “Where’d he go? I hadda tell him ‘bout So...”
“He just went to get something important,” Simon said, speaking to her as if she were a child which was easy as she was rather tiny.
She blinked at him, trying to focus. “Who are you?”
“No one of consequence.”
“Well, that’s a silly name…French, is it?”
“Not quite,” Simon said, unable to hide a smile.
This, he thought, was going to be interesting.
©2014 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved ♪ ♫… …♩ ♬