"Yes, there"s nothing between us."
"So that"s why you were staring at him""
I chose not to answer that. "And you know he prefers to be called executive protection officer instead of bodyguard."
At this, Lizzy burst out giggling, a malicious glee in her eyes. No wonder I liked my sister-in-law these days.
Ben shot us both an irritated glance. We both ignored it.
Of course, I"d known Sam would probably be here. Rock stars going out in public could be a delicate thing. People had a tendency to get overexcited. And while one person wanting an autograph wasn"t a problem, twenty or thirty of them suddenly swarming definitely could be. Having once been part of the entourage, I"d seen it happen to Ben and his fellow Stage Dive band members enough times to be wary. And you couldn"t get by with ordinary security. Rock stars needed protection from their over-zealous fans, but on the other hand they didn"t want the fans roughed up or hurt in any way. It required a delicate balance: control, experience, and a whole gamut of scary physical skills. Hence Sam.
Still, Portland seemed generally less crazy than the good old days back in LA. All of the guys seemed calmer and more settled away from the constant craziness of the party scene. Not to mention the effect of all of the wives/partners and various offspring. The biggest rock band in the world had officially been domesticated.
It was kind of cute. Or sad. I don"t know.
"Sorry, I didn"t mean to stir you," she lied. "What do you think of your brother"s new musical bromance""
On the small stage set up in the corner of the room, a young man wailed his heart out while playing an acoustic guitar. Much angst about a girl who only called him after midnight. Trust a rockster to turn a simple booty call into a heartbreaking ballad. The song was damn good though. He had talent. If only I hadn"t had my fill of the type when I was younger. The kid looked to be in his early to mid-twenties. Lanky with lots of tattoos. Your typical rock "n roll Prince Charming. Gag. These days my type ran more toward"actually, what I needed or wanted in a male was a total mystery.
And my gaze did not stray back to Sam. That did not happen.
"He"s not bad," I said, staying on topic. "And his stage presence is good, which is where the money is nowadays. So there"s that, at least."
"Not bad"" Ben scoffed. "He"s fucking brilliant."
With a smile, Lizzy held up her hands, making a heart shape out of her fingers.
"I saw that," grunted her husband.
"Adam is the new musical genius." She held her beer up to her lips again, downing a mouthful. "He"s moving into our pool house because his cruel and vicious girlfriend kicked him out for being more into music than spending time with her. He"s been sleeping on friends" couches ever since, poor boy."
I shook my head mockingly. "Women."
"We ruin everything, right" What is even wrong with us""
"Where to begin"we could be here for a while""
Ben bit back a smile. "Go easy. He"s young, be plenty of time for him to date and shit later."
"And shit," repeated Lizzy. "The pure romance of it hurts my soul."
"I"ll give you romance."
On account of his size, my brother could just lift his wife out of her chair and deposit her on his lap. His hands went into her hair and their mouths met, the man kissing the life out of her. God, the amount of tongue going on and in public too. Married people. Couples in general. I could really do without having to see this sort of thing. Only when I turned away, Sam was watching me with what might almost be interest. What did the look in his eyes mean" I wish I knew. Something on the cell phone in his hand distracted him and our brief staring competition ended.
Up on stage, Adam the tortured musical genius finished his song and the room broke out into applause, whistling, hooting, and hollering. He certainly had the audience in the palm of his hand. With the right guidance, he"d go far.
Finally, much saliva later, my brother and sister-in-law came up for air. Nice to see their marriage was going strong. I"d been a disbeliever, but it was actually good to be proven wrong. They were both still stupidly romantic and happy. Must be nice for some.
"They love him," I said.
Ben nodded. "Adrian"s interested in signing him."
"Shit human. Great manager."
"We don"t use him for his winning personality."
"True enough." I nodded. "You"re letting this guy move in with you" Isn"t that a bit risky" What do you actually know about him""
"Sam"s checked him out. It"s fine. And it"s not like the place isn"t big enough."
Music filled the room once more, the strumming of guitar strings and distant thump of the guy"s foot hitting the floor. It was when Adam opened his mouth that the magic really happened, though. The boy could sing.