Thanksgiving arrived a few days later. Jonathan had insisted I call Remo to find out if we were supposed to bring something, and Remo told me to tell him that if he felt it was necessary not to walk into someone’s home empty-handed for etiquette reasons, we could bring a bottle of wine. Jonathan went to a wine shop on the day before Thanksgiving and was gone for two hours. I was glad I stayed home, because between hating traffic, hating crowds, and hating talking about things I don’t understand I don’t think I would have enjoyed the trip. He seemed extremely happy about the wine he bought, though, which was a California wine, which was somehow symbolically important to Jonathan. So I guess it was worth the trip to him.
We had no traffic getting to Remo’s, though, on the day of. What was more of a challenge was figuring out where to park. The driveway wasn’t really designed to have cars in it. It was narrow and curvy until it got to the top where it widened for the double garage. Three cars were already squeezed in there, one behind them, and one behind that in the middle of the curve. One car was already on the street, and we parked behind that. The problem was that the street itself was curvy and hilly and wasn’t really made for parking on, either. But whatever. It wasn’t like a ton of people were going to be driving past today.
We walked up the driveway and rang the front doorbell. I’d never been through the front door instead of the garage door, and that made it feel ridiculously like a formal occasion. I couldn’t help but grin a little nervously as I rang the doorbell. Jonathan cradled the wine bottles in a paper sack.
Remo opened the door. “Happy Thanksgiving!” He gave each of us a big hug as we came in. “Turkey won’t be done for a little while yet. Have a drink. Jonathan, have you met all these guys before?”
“No, not yet,” he said.
“They’re the easiest-going group in rock and roll, as Daron can attest. Come on.”
We didn’t get far. Two feet past the threshold Martin grabbed me in a bear hug and wouldn’t let go, mock-crying and pounding me on the back. “It’s been forever!”
“No, merely years,” I said.
“Years, how did it get to be years? We can’t let that happen again. You have to come visit more often.”
“Well how about you? You could visit me once in a while, too.”
“When neither of us is on the road,” Martin pointed out, while steering me toward a table laden with appetizers with a cluster of bottles at one end. “Shit, I’ve really missed you. And double-shit, look how grown up you are! It’s like…. like…”
“Like I went off to college and came back?”
“I was going to say army, but yeah, same thing.” He poured something into two glasses, handed one to me, and then made a toast. “To seeing each other more often.”
“I’ll drink to that.” I took a cautious sip. It was bourbon.
“Okay, so I hear you’ve been tearing up the studio work around here lately.”
“Who’d you hear that from? Besides Remo, I mean.”
“Everybody. So are you liking L.A.?”
“Are you kidding? I hate it.” I followed him out by the pool.
“Yeah, well, everything here sucks but the weather.”
“You call this weather?” I raised my open palm toward the sunny afternoon sky. “I can’t even wrap my head around the fact it’s Thanksgiving. The whole thing feels weirdly like a dress rehearsal. Like, it has to be fake. At the real Thanksgiving it should be cold.”
We sat down on the diving board. “Yeah, well. Can’t have everything. I haven’t really settled here, either. I have a place here and a place in New York and I’m only in either of them part of the time anyway. It’s like having a vacation house in each place but no real house. Since we’re on the road at least four months a year anyway.” He shrugged. “I figure when it’s time to settle down then I’ll actually decide where to.”
“How are you going to know when that is?”
“I figure I’ll feel like it? I don’t particularly feel like it.” Martin’s hair was sun-lightened, shaggy as usual, his curls bouncing when he jerked his head toward me. “But what about you? You’ve been here but you’re still there?”
I knew what he meant. “I don’t think I’m here for long. Getting a place here with Jonathan was kind of an accident.”
“He treating you right?”
I blushed and snorted into my bourbon. “Yeah. He’s really the nicest guy ever.”
“Good. Remo likes him so I figure he’s okay. Not a lot of writers Remo will say that about, you know?”
I sucked down a it more bourbon. “He’s special. He’s been good for me.”
Martin gave me a look then, like I’d come too close to using the past tense or something. But then he slapped me on the arm, with one of those I’m not going to pry looks on his face, and changed the subject. “Hey, did you see Matthew’s photography thing?”
“I did! I was there for the opening night.”
“I missed that. Well, but you know that, obviously. I got to see it but I missed seeing him, and then we left the country.”
“What did you think? Of the show, I mean.”
He sucked on his whiskey for a moment. “Deep,” he finally said. “That is some heavy shit going down in Matthew’s community.”
“Yeah.” That was an understatement. “It was an eye-opener all right.”
“So how is he? I know Remo tried to talk him into coming to Japan, but I guess his partner took a turn for the worse.”
“I hadn’t heard that.” I promised myself I’d call him soon. Maybe later today, even, on Remo’s dime. “We met him. After the opening, we went out to dinner, me and Jonathan, and Matthew and…” I felt like a complete shit-head for not remembering Matthew’s partner’s name.
Apparently Martin didn’t remember it either, or he was humoring me. “Yeah? Like a double date?” he joked, teasing me like we were in junior high.
“Yes, exactly like that,” I said, as if I was offended, which got him worried for a second that I was offended, but then I grinned to make it obvious I was teasing him back. “And I met Steve Lillywhite at the gallery, did I tell you that?”
“No, is he interested in working with you?”
“Who knows. I don’t know what’s happening next.” I filled him in on the weirdness with BNC. Apparently Remo hadn’t told the rest of them the whole deal with me firing Digger and Moondog 3 being dead in the water.
“Wow, you really dumped the old son of a gun?” Martin insisted.
“I really did. And the weirdest thing happened to me the other day. I ran into him at a party and I had this insane urge to hit him again. Like an urge so strong it gave me a cramp in my bicep.”
“That doesn’t sound too weird to me. Dar’, maybe you’re so close you can’t see it, I mean, I don’t mean to disrespect your relationship with your father or whatever, but…” He took a deep breath and looked me in the eye. “Your dad’s a total dick.”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me this before?” I whined, half-joking.
“Had to wait until you could see it yourself. I mean, I wasn’t going to get blamed for ruining your relationship with him, you know? And besides, I couldn’t talk bad about him because he was Remo’s best friend. For a while.”
“For a while.”
“They’re still friends, far as I know, but seems to me they get along best when Remo doesn’t see him very much. You know what I mean?”
I shrugged. “I’m not about to dictate who Remo can be friends with. I know they go back a long time. I just can’t. I had to cut him off completely.”
“It’s a good thing you did.” Martin nodded seriously. “A really good thing. Hey, so I saw you on TV the other day, some thing you went to surrounded by supermodels. Get me on the list for that next time, willya? I could use the help!”
“Are you sure? My drummer hasn’t had such great luck with dating one.” And off we went, talking about Lacey and the insanity of supermodels. And then we got onto another subject and another and another and the next thing you know it was time to sit down to eat and Martin had monopolized me that entire time.
We really did need to see each other more often. I needed to remember I had friends.