140 DESPERATE BUT NOT SERIOUS

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DESPERATE BUT NOT SERIOUS

Of course they were all sitting there in the van, waiting for me.

Colin and Kevin stayed to supervise the load out with the truck but the rest of us could go back to the hotel. Everyone stared at me as I climbed, still in my damp stage clothes, into the seat closest to the sliding door and shut the door wearily. If Ziggy and I had ignored each other all those months, now everyone was ignoring me, studiously playacting that nothing was wrong.

Carynne drove, and kept looking in the rear view mirror at me, but said nothing. I felt defeated. I’d gone out there to do battle with my demon and barely survived. The drive to the office park area outside the city where our hotel blazed brightly was a silent one. As Carynne pulled the van into a space she said, as if it had been her idea, “Meeting at eleven, okay guys?”

In the lobby bar Digger started bantering with the cocktail waitress. Bart and Chris got into the elevator. I hung back and they waved to me as the doors closed.

Carynne closed her hand over my arm. “Do you want to go upstairs?”

“I…”

She pushed the up button and leaned her head on my shoulder, which was kind of tough because in her heels she was so much taller than me, and said in a soft, mellifluous voice, “Don’t give me any shit Daron, just say yes.”

“Yes.”

“Okay then.”

The doors opened, and we stepped in, and as we turned around to choose our floor, I saw Digger give a little wave from the overstuffed chair he had parked himself in with a bowl of nuts. Ick.

The elevator was permeated by the sounds of genuine elevator music, an orchestral arrangement, with saxophone solo, of a Neil Diamond song. No, Barry Manilow–”I Write The Songs.” As if I wasn’t nauseated enough.

“Can you believe him?” I said when the doors had closed, relieved somehow to be able to talk about someone other than myself. “Earlier today he said all my problems would be solved if I would just sleep with you.”

She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Your father is a character.”

“A sexist pig, you mean.”

“I was trying to be polite.”

“Well, I’m sure he thinks we’re going off to do that thing right now.” I sighed.

“Let him think what he wants. I thought he already thought we were…?”

“Apparently not. Or, I don’t know. He thinks maybe I gave it up for the tour, for professionalism, maybe?”

“It would have been sweet of you if you had.” She kissed me on the cheek and the doors opened.

In her room she produced a bottle of rum and a two liter bottle of Coke, sat me down with them, went to get ice from the machine, and then came back and sat herself at the little desk table across from me and began pouring like a chemist, one glass for each of us. She sipped hers with a smile that spread like a warm glow and I almost smiled myself. She sipped and sipped until the glass was empty and poured herself a glass of unadulterated Coke.

“So, what’s the update on you and Ziggy? What’s going on?”

“Nothing, nothing’s going on.”

She hiccupped slightly and I noticed how red her cheeks were under her pale skin. “Oh, don’t tell me that. After all the arranging I did to get the two of you together so no one would notice? Oh Daron, don’t tell me you’re squandering this golden opportunity for decadence.”

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