Being In The Band

Being In The Band
By Sarah
Chapter 14

        "I need you tonight, I need you right now, I know deep within my heart, it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or right.  ‘Cause I see heaven in your eyes," Lizard sang softly along with her CD as she cleaned up her hotel room.  She and Brian had been goofing around in her room and he’d started tickling her when she wouldn’t let him win the video game they were playing.  When he’d finally left so she could get ready for her ‘outing’ with AJ, she noticed that the room was a total mess, candy wrappers everywhere, couch cushions across the room from the couch, and they’d even knocked over Liz’s suitcase from the bed.  She finished throwing away the candy wrappers and stood up, satisfied now that the room was clean.  She turned off her CD player and took off the headphones as someone knocked on the door.
        "Hey, AJ," she said as she opened the door.
        "Hey, Liz, ready to go?"  He asked, smiling at her from his position against the doorframe.
Liz smiled back.  "Yeah, let’s," she said, opening the door the rest of the way while she turned to grab her purse and room key.  She followed AJ out into the hall and down to the elevator, the two laughing together as they walked.

        "I need you tonight, I need you right now, I know deep within my heart, it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or right.  ‘Cause I see heaven in your eyes."  Nick shook his head, trying desperately to get the song out of his head.  He glanced around his empty hotel room, nothing to do, no one to talk to.  And it didn’t help that AJ and Lizard had gone out together.
        ‘Sure its not a date, AJ, every outing you go out on with a girl is a date,’ Nick thought bitterly, thinking of AJ’s earlier words.
        ‘Wait a second, why am I jealous of him?  Am I even jealous?  To hell with it, I’ve got to get up off my ass and do something,’ Nick said to himself, getting up out of bed and pulling on his sneakers.  He grabbed his cell phone as an after thought and walked out of his hotel room, after making sure he had his room key.
        ‘Maybe I’ll just work out, or see if I can play some ball,’ he thought as he got into the elevator and pressed the button for the gym level.  He arrived soon after and walked in, going straight to the courts.  He picked up a basketball and slowly dribbled to the net.
        ‘Maybe I’ll work out some stress this way,’ he thought as he shot the ball at three-point distance.  It went in with a whoosh just as his cell phone rang.
        "Hello?"  He answered, praying it wasn’t someone he really didn’t want to talk to.
        Nick winced.  "Hi, Carla, baby, what’s up?"  He asked, feigning cheerfulness for his girlfriend.
        "Nothing much.  Listen, I heard about this new person on tour with you guys.  You aren’t friends with her, are you?"  Carla accused.
        "No, of course not, I can’t stand her," Nick replied as he sat down on the floor.  He closed his eyes as he rested his head on the wall, listening as Carla babbled on about her shopping expedition with her sister.

        AJ looked over at Lizard and saw her smile at him.  He smiled back and was thankful that they were having such a good time.  He’d taken the slightly casual approach, taking her out to dinner in a small Italian restaurant and then walking around town.  They were in Seattle, and they both agreed that the weather couldn’t have been nicer for November.
        "Hey, let’s go in here," AJ suggested as they passed a small store called ‘Funk and Standard’.
        "Ok," Lizard agreed, walking to the door.  He beat her to it and held it open for her, bowing.
        "Ladies first," he said, glancing up at her and sending her a wide smile.
        She smiled back without laughing and managed a small curtsy in her dress pants.  "Thank you, kind sir," she replied as she walked in.  AJ followed, glad she’d played along with his joke.
        The store was amazing, filled with jokes and fun, kid-like stuff.  They started in the front, looking at all the self-help books and such.
        "Hey, AJ, check this out," Lizard said, holding up a book to him.
        AJ read the title aloud.  "How to get back at your ex, especially if he’s male," he read.  He glanced up at her.  "I really hope you aren’t planning on buying that."
        Lizard laughed as she shook her head.  "Nah, I’d have no one to use it on," she replied, placing the book back on the stack.  AJ watched as she walked away, walking further into the store, pondering what she just said.
        ‘Did she just inadvertently tell me that she’s never had a boyfriend?’  AJ asked himself as he followed her.  He found her looking at the clothing selection on the racks.
        "Nice hat," she said, picking up a hat that was sitting on a mannequin.  She placed it on her head and looked at AJ.  "You like?"  She asked.
        AJ laughed, it was a black and white zebra stripped hat, fisherman style.  "Its you," he said.
Lizard turned and looked in the mirror.  "Nah, it doesn’t go with my complexion," she said, putting on an airy tone.  AJ laughed as she started going through the next rack and suddenly stopped.
        "What did you find?"  He asked, walking up behind her.
        Lizard pulled a black dress out of the racks.  It was short, velvet, and had drape sleeves lined with black lace.  The scoop neck was also lined with lace and, while against Lizard’s slightly pale skin, it was a wonderful contrast.
        "Its beautiful," she whispered as she held it against her, looking in the mirror.  She smiled at her reflection, then looked at the price tag.  "Whoa, forget it," she said, returning it to the racks.
        "What, what’s wrong?"  AJ asked as she started going through the rest of the racks.
        "I can’t spend eighty bucks on a dress I probably won’t have a chance to wear, AJ!"  She said, walking away from the clothes racks and to the candle table.
        AJ frowned.  "Why would you not wear it?  Its beautiful, you’d look great in it," he said, following her.
        Lizard shook her head.  "No, I won’t.  Besides, I can’t spend my money frivolously like that, I need to save what I earn," she said, looking at the accessories.
        AJ sighed as she fingered a silver cross on a black strip of velvet.  "That would look great on you.  Especially if you wore that dress," he said, taking it off the hook and placing it in her hands.
        Lizard shook her head and put back the necklace.  "I can’t, AJ, I told you, I need to save my money, I can’t spend it on things that I want to buy on a whim."  She walked away from him, stopping at the table between the clothes racks and the candle table.  She started going through the bowl of bracelets and finally found one that she liked.  It was a type of iridescent black, and she picked it up immediately.
        "What does that mean?"  AJ asked, coming up behind her.
        Lizard was quiet as she carefully rolled the beads through her hand.  "Anti-depression," she whispered.  She picked out another bracelet, another black one, and went to the cash register, paying for them and immediately slipping them on.
        "Shall we go?"  She asked AJ, her expression noticeably sadder.  AJ nodded and took her hand, pleased that she didn’t let go as they walked out of the store.  They wandered slowly around the rest of the town, stopping at Starbucks and getting cappuccino for her, decaf for him, and then heading back to the hotel at a lazy pace.  Once they arrived, they went up to AJ’s room and sat in the hall, talking.
        "So, have you decided yet?"  AJ asked.
        "Decided what?"
        "Have you decided if this was a date or not?"
        AJ held back a large grin as Lizard blushed and set down her near-empty cup of cappuccino.     "If it is, there’s one thing missing," she said shyly.
        "Which would be?"
        "You guess."
        AJ thought for a moment, then reached over and turned Lizard’s head to face him.  He gently kissed her on her lips, not forcing her, just letting it be a small, soft kiss.  He couldn’t remember anything being sweeter to him.
        As they broke apart, Lizard smiled.  "I guess you’re pretty good at reading my thoughts," she whispered.
        "Why do you say that?"  AJ replied.
        Lizard paused and looked in his eyes.  AJ felt as if he were looking into her soul as he looked in her eyes, they were so deep, yet so troubled.
        "Because I was thinking that if you did kiss me, I didn’t want it to be rough, nothing harsh, nothing too much, but you did it just right.  And for that, I thank you," she explained.
        AJ managed a small smile and took her hand in his.  "You’re welcome."  He held her hand as she reached for her cappuccino with the other hand, looking at the wall across from them as she drank the rest of it.
        "So is it?"  He finally asked her.
        Lizard smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder.  "Indeed, it is."

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