The lobby clock showed two a.m. when I walked to the elevators, now feeling a little itchy for a shower. When I got up to the suite I heard people laughing inside and I knocked instead of opening the door with the key.
Bart opened it. “Here you are!”
I stepped past him and saw sitting on the couch Carynne, Chris, and Remo. Remo stood up and came toward me. “Jeezus, where you been?”
We shook hands first and then kind of hugged with one arm each. He was wearing his old dun-colored denim jacket, so soft it felt like flannel. I felt grungy and wondered what I smelled like. Cigarette smoke, probably. “I went out to see the town a little.”
Bart nodded. “Probably snuck off to see an ABBA cover band or something and didn’t want us to know.”
I figured the less I said about it the better. Three out of the four people in the room knew about me, but that didn’t mean that I was ready to tell the fourth (though I hadn’t forgotten he was on the “to do” list) or that I wanted them to discuss my sex life regardless of what they knew. Besides I had more pressing things to talk about. “So, what the hell you doing here? Digger said you weren’t getting in until tomorrow.”
Remo sat back down in the arm chair where Susan Walsh had sat earlier. “That birdbrain. I told him twelve thirty my plane gets in and somehow he decided that was in the afternoon. We thought maybe the two of you had gone out for a drink together.”
“Did you check the hotel bar?”
Carynne nodded, her eyes saying we-thought-of-that-already.
Remo rubbed his hands together. “Well, we’ll see him soon enough. So tell me how you been. These guys have been filling me in on the tour adventures.”
“What’s to tell?” I didn’t want to go into the angst of the shows and ruin everyone’s jocular mood.
“Yup.” Chris stood up. “We were just getting on to what fun we had in New Orleans.”
“I’m gaining weight just thinking about the meals we had last time there,” Remo said, patting his stomach.
Chris waved to everyone. “I’m too fried to stay up. Need my beauty sleep,” he said. As he made his way to the door we exchanged shoulder slaps and then I went and sat in his spot on the couch. Now I was aware that the three people I had explicitly told were all around me and I was trying to remember if any of them knew that the others knew. Ah, fuck it. Why was I even thinking about that?
“So did I tell you I’m going to have my own signature series guitar?” Remo patted his knees like bongos, t-tap-tap-tap.
“From Ovation?” I said, my mind snapping back to the conversation.
“No. Takamine. Remember they custom-built me that twelve-string? I ended up getting a six string just like it. More than one, in fact, to have backup for the road. And one thing led to the other.”
I had played a Takamine in Boulder, Jason’s, and told him I’d liked it. “That is so cool. So where is this beast and when can I play it?”
He gave me a shame-on-you glare. “You don’t think I dragged it all the way up here when I’m not even the one with a gig.”
I gave him a hurt look back. “No fair.”
Then he broke out grinning. “Instead I brought you one you can keep.”
He laughed and Bart and Carynne laughed, too. “You can wait until tomorrow, can’t you?”
“No, no, I’m an instant gratification kind of person.” I pressed my hands together in supplication. “You can’t leave me hanging like this.”
“Alright, come on.” He made for the door, out of his chair like a sprinter, and I chased after him. Bart’s footsteps sounded behind me as we hurried out into the hall like kids on Christmas morning.
“I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” Carynne called after us.