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the cemeteries? That's fucking brilliant."
"Maybe, but it's depressing as hell. I vote for the part where the zombies eat the cops
then call for more on the radio."
He laughed.   Send more cops!' Yeah, that was genius. But I still vote for the ending.
That's what would really happen, you know."
"Fine, be that way. Anybody ever tell you, you think too much?"
He gave me a sly sidelong smile. "All the time."
We grinned at each other and I felt a warm glow inside me. I've always gotten along
with most people and made friends easily, but being with Eric felt so natural that it made all
my previous relationships seem like hard work. I couldn't figure why that was either. Eric
was cynical, suspicious, hot-tempered, and extremely prickly, and he had a truckload of
emotional baggage. But everything between us clicked perfectly. It was weird and thrilling
and a little unnerving.
We got back home just in time to change clothes and grab a bite of leftover pizza
before Mike came knocking at the door. I hollered at him to come on in and he sauntered
into the kitchen a few seconds later.
"You guys ready?" he asked.
"Yeah, all set," I said. "Eric?"
He nodded. "Ready as I'll ever be. Hey, Mike, I appreciate you letting me audition,
man, thanks."
"No problem," Mike said. "I'm looking forward to it. You should've heard how Ben was
talking about you; he thinks you're the reincarnation of Elvis and John Lennon both at
Forgotten Song 35
Eric shot an amused glance at me. The playful glint in Mike's eyes told me he'd said
that on purpose just to embarrass me. I could've cheerfully killed him.
"You may be a smart-ass, Mike, but you're not far off. Just wait, you'll see."
"Oh, great," Eric groaned. "Way to keep the pressure off, Ben."
Mike laughed. "Don't worry, we're not a tough audience. Well, I guess Tamara kind of
is, but she's so nice you won't notice it. Relax, bro, you'll be fine."
"That's what I keep telling him," I said. "Okay, let me get my guitar and we can go."
Fifteen minutes later, Mike dropped Janey, Eric, and me off in front of the bar and
went on to the private lot down the street to park. Eric studied the sign outside the door with
interest. His jaw dropped open when he got to the listing for Friday night. He whooped with
laughter. I waited patiently for him to calm down and ask me about it. Janey hoisted her
fiddle case under her arm, cocked an eyebrow at me, and went inside without a word.
 Oh, shit, Eric gasped when he finally got the giggles under control.  Naked Cello?
The name of your band is Naked Cello?
 Yep. Ask me how we came up with that, go on.
 Okay, I ll bite. How the fuck did you come up with that name?
 Oh, it s a long story, you don t wanna hear.
He gave me a dark look as we pushed the carved wooden door open and went inside.
 I m really curious now, you know.
 I know.
 You re evil.
 I know that too.
He growled in frustration.  I give up. You re not gonna tell me, are you?
I laughed.  It really is kind of a long story. It involves the members of our band, too
much tequila, Janey s old cello, and a whole lot of finger paint. The rest is a little hazy, to tell
you the truth.
He regarded me with an amused grin.  I m not even telling you the sort of mental
picture I m getting right now.
 Oh, I can imagine. And you d be more or less right.
We both laughed, and I felt electricity jump between us when our eyes locked. His
gaze thickened and I knew he felt it too. What neither of us seemed to know was what to do
about it. He wasn t ready to act on our mutual attraction, and I didn t want to push him. So
we were sort of stuck. We stood there, staring at each other, not saying any of the things we
wanted to say. Mike saved it from becoming a seriously uncomfortable moment by walking
up right then with Tamara beside him.
36 Ally Blue
 Eric, he said,  this is Tamara Binns; she owns this dive. Tamara, this is Eric ... sorry,
what s your last name again?
 Green. It s Eric Green, Eric answered. I realized with a shock that I d forgotten all
about asking him his last name. Freaky.
 Eric s here to audition for the opening act position, Mike continued.
 Nice to meet you, Eric. Tamara smiled as she shook Eric s hand.  Mike tells me that
Ben was very impressed with you.
Eric smiled.  That s what he says. I hope I can live up to that.
Tamara laughed.  I m sure you will. Ben won t let on, but he s quite a talented musician
himself, and he has a wonderful ear. He s never wrong about talent. I ve learned to trust his
Eric glanced over and raised his eyebrows at me.  I ll do my best. I d sure love to get
back on stage again.
 How long s it been since you ve worked? Tamara asked.
 Um, a month or so since the last time I played. Before that it was off and on for a few
months, just one-night gigs here and there. I was injured pretty badly nine months ago and
spent a long time in the hospital and then in rehab. But before being injured I played six
nights a week at a nightclub in Mobile, Bienville Tavern. Played there for ... oh, a couple of
years I guess.
Tamara nodded thoughtfully.  Okay. Well, whenever you re ready the stage is already
set up and we re ready to listen.
She smiled at him and he nodded.  All right, well, I guess I m ready now. Ben, can I use
your guitar?
 Sure. I handed it over. Eric smiled nervously at me and I laid a hand on his arm and [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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