Monday, November 2, 2015

Chapter 279 Where is my cell phone?


Ronnie went back to the couch and plopped down propping his head on some throw pillows at one end and his long legs on the cushioned arm at the other. He frowned as Sophie rapidly texted her friends. He checked his pockets again; stupidly because he knew his cell phone wasn't there, but where the heck was his cell phone? Simon should have returned it to him by now—if he had found it-- but he was probably too busy entertaining Cassandra to bother with anything so trivial. What did Simon care if Ronnie had his cell phone?

Nobody answering?” Ronnie asked, grumpy without much reason.

No, not yet, only...ooh!” she said grinning from ear to ear when her phone suddenly rang. “Hey, Bug! I just sent you a text.”

I know, but I'm getting ready to leave soon so... thought I'd just call ya quick instead,” Bug said. “How ya doing, Babe?”

Good. I miss you guys,” she said, not realizing until that moment just how much.
“I was hoping you guys could come up to Catalpa Valley and play a gig with me at my friend Cassie's brother's new club. Really nice place...packed with high school and college kids every night. I already got to sing there once with a couple of bands. It was like local bands' night or something...a lot of fun. I think we already have a bit of a following here so it'd be great if we....”

You mean you do!” he said laughing. “You're the hometown girl there, you know.”

Yeah, but everybody wanted to hear you guys too, my bandmates. They told me,” she said. “Think you can come? You can spend Christmas with us. My mom would love to see you... and your dad too.”

Well, I'd love it, but we're going to be spending Christmas with... I still can't believe it... with my step-sister and her mom.”

Oh my God, that's awesome! I'm so happy for you, Bug!”

Thanks, I'm really nervous about it, actually...excited but nervous, too.”

Why? She'll love you! They both will.”

You can't know that for sure,” he said. “I know I can't.”

Yes, you can. You're a great guy. Everybody knows that.”

I think you're biased, but thanks, Sophie. To tell the truth, I'm not nearly as nervous as my dad. He's ready to jump outta his skin!”

Sophie laughed. “He's a fricken billionaire with the world at his feet and he's nervous about seeing an old girlfriend?”

You forget. She's also his baby mama and he's never met his daughter!”

Oh, right...well, I guess that could be nerve wracking, but still... it's just too funny!” she said. “I'll get my mom to give him a pep talk, okay? That should calm him down.”

Might work. He hasn't stopped talking about her...your mom I mean. He really likes your mom, thinks of her as a true friend. He doesn't have many of those,” Bug said. “She's great.”

Yeah, she is,” Sophie said, suddenly feeling guilty, because she didn't often think so. “Maybe the other guys can come then. You wouldn't mind, would you, Bug, if they came to play here without you?”

Um... about that...I got a bit of bad news. I didn't wanna say anything until after Christmas when we got together--didn't want to spoil things -- but...”

What?” she said, anxiously.

Elian called me couple days ago. He won't be coming to New York after all. He's staying in Miami,” Bug said.

What! But why?”

His brothers need him supposedly, but I know it's not just that. You know how close he is with his family. Hardly an hour goes by without him getting a call from one of his parents or brothers and sisters. He was surrounded with family all the time. We're talking even his cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents.”

But he complained about that! He said a hundred times he wanted to get away from them,” Sophie said. “He said he was happy to leave them behind.”

And I didn't believe it for a minute. I really didn't think he would actually do it and...I was right, so...he's gone,” Bug said, rather sadly.

Oh, Bug, what are we gonna do without him?” Sophie said.

Just gotta get a new drummer,” Bug said. “I'm working on it. Don't worry.”

Sophie suddenly turned around on the piano bench and looked at Ronnie who was now scowling at her. “Ronnie, do you play the drums?”

He gave her a weird look, then shook his head.

Who you talking to?” Bug asked.

Ronnie Romanoff.”

Who?”

Remember the guy I told you about? The man who's in love with my mom?”

Sophie, you never told me about...”

Well, Ronnie is his son and he's a great musician.” Sophie grinned as Ronnie glared at her, shaking his head.

That was Ronnie's cue to leave. He certainly didn't need to hear Sophie talking to her bandmates, especially if she was thinking of getting him involved. Besides, he needed his cell phone, so he went looking for it.

Uh...okay. Does he play the drums?” Bug asked.

Yeeeees...yes, he does,” she blatantly lied.

Sophie, are you lying to me?”

Yeeeees, yes, I am.”

Bug laughed, but sobered quickly. “Sophie, is this the guy you told me about...your high school crush?”

I was hoping you wouldn't remember that,” she muttered.

Babe, you know how I feel about romance between band members. It messes everything up and...”

I know, I know, but it's not...it's complicated.”

All the more reason not to go there. That's where the trouble starts!” he said. “Look at Danny. I very nearly kicked him outta the band cuz of you.”

But me and Danny aren't like that. I wouldn't let that happen with him. You know that.”

Only because you didn't like him, but his Ronnie guy...”

Listen, Bug, you're right, I did like him... once, but now...uh...his dad is gonna marry my mom so...it's not gonna happen.”

Oh...he's gonna be a step-brother, then?” Bug said.

Exactly.”

Bug was silent for a moment. “Sophie, are you just saying he's a good musician cuz your biased again or...what does he really play?”

He plays guitar and ...”

Don't need guitar,” he reminded her.

I know but he writes songs, has a great voice and he plays piano, too...although we don't need that either.”

Um...actually....I guess I oughta tell ya about John, too.”

What about him?” she said anxiously.

Bug sighed. “He called me and said he wasn't coming back for a while.”

What does that mean a while and why? What's going on?” Sophie said, biting her lip nervously.

He wouldn't really say. Something about his family. He was being very secretive about it and wouldn't explain. So... I have no clue.”

Maybe he'll tell me. For whatever reason, you guys always tell me things you never tell each other. I wonder, do you also tell each other stuff you don't tell me? Is it cuz I'm a girl?”

Bug laughed. “Probably. Could be cuz we're all crazy in lust with you and we don't tell you cuz... you know.”

Really,” she huffed, incredulous. “Even you I suppose, Mister No-romance-in-my-band?”

If you didn't sing so damn good and made the band so popular, I'd kick you out so fast your head would spin and I'd be all over you like white on rice!”

It was Sophie's turn to laugh, and she too sobered swiftly. “Oh, Bug...what are we gonna do? Are we losing our band?”

Now don't freak out...not yet anyway. John could come back after this family thing settles down and then...”

But not Elian. Bug, tell me the truth, is our band in trouble?” Sophie asked.

We won't be the same obviously, but we'll be okay. If John doesn't come back … oh, well...uh...we can give an audition to your friend after I get back,” Bug said distractedly. “Uh, Sophie I gotta get going. The car's here to take us to the airport. I'll talk to ya later, 'kay?”

Have a safe trip. Tell your dad I said hi and Merry Christmas, too!”

Same to you and your mom,” Bug said. “Bye, Babe.”

Bye, Bug,” she said sadly as the phone went blip and he was gone. “I can't believe this.”

*****
When Ronnie looked into the family room and found no one was there, he searched under the sofa cushions for the cell phone, under the sofa and anywhere he could think a phone could hide. Nothing there. Then he went to the kitchen looking for his brother who he hoped would have his phone. There they were--Simon and Cassandra-- kissing again, a cheesy omelet growing cold in front of them.

Ronnie cleared his throat and stared at the ceiling, pretending he hadn't see them, but the smirk on his face kind of gave him away.

What the hell do you want?” Simon snapped.

A half eaten cheese omelet?” Cassandra answered.

Ronnie laughed while shaking his head. “No, Thanks, Cassie. Sorry to intrude, but can I have my cell phone, Simon?”

I don't have it. It wasn't in Dad's truck,” Simon replied.

Whaddaya mean it wasn't there? It has to be!”

Well, then you go find it. I tore it apart looking for it and it's not there,” Simon said, then standing up and going to his brother he whispered. “But I did find Dad's gun. If you're gonna keep using the truck, you should give the gun back to him before you get in trouble for...”

That's mine, not his,” Ronnie said.

Simon made a weird face. “Yours? Since when do you have a gun?”

Since I moved to to the city. Dad thought it was a good idea I get my own.”

And you know how to use it?” Simon asked, incredulous.

Ronnie sighed. “Yes, Simon. You may be Dad's favorite son, but he does like me a little too. So, you're not the only one who can use a weapon,” he said, exasperation at a minimum. “Dad used to take me target practicing when you went off to college and I was still in high school. Shocking as it may be to you, I can even use a rifle and I'm pretty good. Even gone hunting with some friends..." He looked to Cassandra who he knew could hear them perfectly. "Although I couldn't bring myself to shooting poor little Bambi.”

Aww... how sweet!” Cassandra said, taking a bite of her omelet.

Took pictures instead...wanna see?” Ronnie said, and once again he reached into his pocket. “Shit! Keep forgetting I don't have my phone. Where the hell is it?”

When did you last use it?” she asked.

He stared off into space thinking hard. “Uh...”

At lunch with Mom,” Simon said. “You got a text from Dad, remember?”

No, I saw him use it after that,” Cassandra said.

Last I remember using it was … here, while babysitting Andrea.”

No, Ronnie, it was at the concert,” Cassandra said.

Oh, yeah... I put it on vibrate then stuck it back in my pocket,” Ronnie said.

Might have fallen out of your pocket,” Cassandra said.

You lost your phone at the concert? Idiot! You'll never get it back now,” Simon said. “You know how many people were there? Hundreds!”

Simon, he didn't do it on purpose,” Cassandra said. “It could still be around here... or there.”

Call my phone, will ya? I'll look around the house first....before I panic,” Ronnie said, and he ran to check under every cushion in the various rooms he had been in the day before, then he sprinted up the stairs to his room looking in every pocket of every jacket and pair of jeans, even though he knew it was useless to do so. He was certain he lost it at the Christmas concert at Weston Botanical Gardens.

*****

Meanwhile at Weston Botanical gardens:

Here ya go, Kelly. Mrs. Tannenbaum left her scarf...again and Mr. Van Furstenburgh left his hat...also again,” Violet said, handing over the items to the lady at the front desk which also served as the lost-and-found. “Also found an umbrella and this...headband I guess it is. Not sure it's theirs though.”

As always they'll come around to pick them up before they leave for the day,” Kelly said. “And the rest...well...we'll see.”

I swear they must do it on purpose so they don't have to carry them around all day,” Violet said.

Yup. They're so funny, those two,” Kelly said, grinning. “My collection box is getting rather full this week, especially after last night's concert. May have to get a bigger box. Look at this haul! I could take care of my Christmas shopping if I were a little...you know... crooked.”

You are no thief, Kelly,” Violet smiled slightly, then frowned when she spotted a familiar looking phone...a bright blue one with silver musical notes on the protective cover. “I think I know who this one belongs to,” she said, picking it up just as it vibrated in her hand. She held it to her ear. “Um... Ronnie?”

Uh...no, this is Cassandra. Mrs. Bennett, is that you?”

It is. I thought this was Ronnie's phone. Now I know for sure it is,” Violet said. “How are you, Sweetie?”

I'm good. Ronnie will be so happy you got his phone! He was freaking out.”

Violet?” came another voice on the phone...Simon's.

Hello, Simon,” Violet said. “Tell Ronnie not to worry. I have it and he can pick it up at my...”

Would you mind dropping it off here at Dad's house after you get off work? Sophie is here and needs a ride home,” Simon said, waving off Cassandra who was shaking her head at him and saying that Sophie could get a ride home with her.

Oh...uh...I suppose I could. Um...okay,” Violet said, a tad reluctantly.

We'll see you then and don't worry about dinner. Georgiana is planning a spaghetti and meatball feast, so you can join us!”

Wait, Simon, I....” Violet sighed after the blip cutting off the connection. “No good can come from this, I'm sure.”

Well, at least my lost-and-found box is one cell phone emptier. That's always good,” Kelly said.

Violet smiled weakly. She didn't believe that for a minute.


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