Sandy Point - #10 Big Tree Lane: 8 PM
Late, sweating, Rennie taking a shower and me checking calls from two weeks. Vince crawling up my back. Gemma, that was a good one. Called back on that one, and maybe she’s not as positive as she claimed to be last time I saw her, but we got a meeting tomorrow at her place. Not sure where that is, address somewhere way the hell out in the north; I’ll make it. Definitely I am making it.
My stomach was turning around and around. Should eat and didn’t want to eat, and had nothing in here to eat. Light bulb burned out. I had some stuff in the bedroom under the table, or maybe I’d used it already and maybe shouldn’t think about it. What the hell was I thinking to bring that girl with me?
And there she was sitting out on the porch and writing whatever girls write in their little books. Rennie had herself a Martin though and kind of thinking she wasn’t writing chick poems in her book. She’d come down out of the bathroom and stomped my Strat through some shit I knew I couldn’t do.
I went outside and took her little notebook and looked at it and she’s way over her head. She’s good, got a touch, and voice like her daddy would if he was a girl but she can’t do that. "Come on you can't play that. Me I don't think I can play that. That's Coop's riff from Ashes at Night."
"No it's not,” she says and she got up and perched her sweet ass on the rail and said again, “Not exactly."
Tossed it down and sat on the swinging chair and looked at her, thinking about it. Vince wouldn’t like it, not sure about the rest of them, but you get you an angle and you’re one dumb fool if you don’t follow it when it hits you. She was better than what we had, a hell of a lot better, interesting to put up a fucking hot girl who could shred it instead of that idiot we had. Later though, not now. "Yeah you're right,” I said to her wanting to see how she took it, “you made it girly."
She curled up and put her hands on those pretty bare toes and smiled and didn’t give up. "A girly riff you said you can't play. I can play it; I wouldn’t have written it if I couldn’t play it."
She might be right. Kind of a nice moment, me and my smokes, one very extremely fine girl who can shred and smack it back at me. Felt good to be with her. Real good. I’m thinking, damn, I can get used to this. Trouble but me, I can deal with trouble like this, and it’s the best kind of trouble. Pure perfect trouble, the melody you want and you work to get. And then I asked her, “You want to use the phone? Call Cooper and let him know where you are?”
She got up and walked away and said, “I don’t want him to know where I am yet. He can wait.”
It was starting to spit rain, and the wind was blowing, and I heard what she was saying but didn’t get it, and something about the whole deal started to turn in another direction. She couldn’t do that to me, that would fuck up everything. Everything turning dark, I got up and followed her and tried to explain it to her. “Rennie, you can’t do that. You got me in a bind if you do that. I might have a deal with his label – you’re gonna piss him off. Go call him.”
“I said,” she said to me, snapping hard, “that I am not ready to do that. If you want a deal with my father, that’s not my problem. Close it yourself.”
Sucking air hard, Ren standing there like it was nothing and this was my whole damned life I yelled, “What the fuck? What kind of shit attitude is that? Why’d you come with me if you don’t give a damn what you do to me?”
She swirled off and ran down the stairs and said, “I don’t know why I came with you. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I do know I’m not your ticket to my father. Nobody uses me as a ticket to him.”
Wasn’t sure if I thought she was but considering everything, she was more like a ticket out than a ticket in.
I had me an agent, and a good one, and a chance. What I didn’t know was why this girl had come with me. You know sometimes you ask a girl to come and you don’t think she will. Surprised the hell out of me that she took me up on it, and now that she was here, she wasn’t just any old girl. She was Cooper’s kid. And she was getting to be a hell of lot more than that. She had her some good choices so why’d she come with me if she was acting like that? “You want to tell me why you thought you were coming with me?”
She sat down on one of the pilings and dug her nails into it and said, “You know that guy at the gas station? You remember him?”
Hard to forget that asshole but didn’t get to the answer for the question I’d asked. I was taking a breath and trying to listen to her and, for a girl, she didn’t talk much. She was waiting and watching me and finally she said, “He’s Gabe’s son. I was hooking up with his son. You don’t have any idea what that feels like. I never finish anything, I never get done with anything, it’s all still out there, I run away from one thing and end up in the same place. Nobody I ever meet is outside of it, and I just want some time to think about it. I want to finish it, and I don’t know how yet. But I will do it, Jimmy. I will finish it. And I thought you'd give me, I don't know, some space, without my Dad or my mother.”
Thunder coming from the west, storm coming in, not going to sit out on the beach and get me struck with some lightning. What was she trying to say to me? I still didn’t get all of it but know this, I didn’t want to make her fight for it by herself. The guy at the gas station, maybe I wasn’t up to that, and her? Safer without the girl, she’s like a lightning rod bringing it down on me, didn’t matter, didn’t want her to go and now I was worried she would. Sparkly silky little crazy bitch. Got down in the water and said, “Yeah but Ren, I’m outside all that shit.” And took a real deep breath and told her, “Rennie, I want you to stay. Stay here with me. But you got to take care of that. You got to call him, you can’t throw me under the bus like that. You don’t want to do that, do you?”
“You’re scared of my father,” she said, smiling, making it soft, dark satin voice, sliding her arm around my shoulder. “Is that it? It’s just about him? That’s the price I pay to stay here? I protect you from Cooper?”
“You’ve got more than my dad to be scared about.” She didn't say it like a girl teasing me with it; she said it straight. She didn't look away and she didn't move. Sky opened up emptying rain on us on both of us.
And I took her face in my hands, lightning ripping the air wide open, and let it go. All of it. “Shut up,” I told her. “Shut up Rennie….”
NEXT CHAPTER: Chameleon Chapter 8