Being In The Band

Being In The Band
©1999-2000
By Sarah
Chapter 3


        Brian sat down in the large, black chair and sat back against the plush back, rocking lightly with the swivel base.  He reached over and caught Nickís chair as he twirled around in it, stopping him from continuing.  Nick gave him a sad look and Brian returned the look with another, reminding him that they were there for business.  Brian looked up as the door to the conference room opened and Tommy walked in with Dennis, Tommyís left hand in a cast and sling.
        "Hey, Tommy," Brian said, standing up and walking over to him.  Out of all the band members, Tommy was the one Brian was closest to.  He considered him one of his best friends, they could always talk if they needed to, and they often wrote songs together, both feeding off of the otherís creative energy.
        "Hey, Brian, Iím really sorry," Tommy said, shaking Brianís hand upside down, as opposed to normally shaking with his left hand, shaking with his right.
        Brian nodded.  "Its ok, as long as we can find a temporary replacement, weíre all good."
        Tommy smiled.  "I believe I have, but letís talk to Mindi first, she has to be in on this decision," he said, walking with Brian to the table and sitting down.  At the head of the table sat Jeff and Mike, the representatives from the Backstreet Boysí management, the Firm.
        "Ok, now that everyone is here," Jeff started, looking up.  He glared in Brianís direction and Brian looked next to him at Nick, who was still spinning in his chair.  Brian stopped it from spinning and righted Nickís chair, lightly hitting his head as a form of scolding him.  Nick gave him a dirty look and stuck out his tongue at Brian, then received another hit on the head from AJ, who was on Nickís other side.
        "As I was saying," Jeff said, glaring at Nick.  "Now that everyone is here and that Mindi has been on hold for the last half-hour, letís discuss this," he said, closing over the folder in front of him.  He pressed the speaker button on the phone in front of him and cleared his throat.  "Still there, Mindi?"
        "Waiting as always," Mindiís voice came through the phone.  "Nick, stop spinning in the chair and listen carefully, this is affecting you too," she said warningly.
        "Yes, Mom," Nick said sullenly, but a smile was creeping on his face.
        "Ok, now, first things first.  Tommy, I havenít heard the details, just what did you do?"  Mindi asked.
        Tommyís face turned bright red as everyone looked at him.  "Dennis and I were watching TV in my apartment and we started arm wrestling.  I won the first few rounds and I was kinda rejoicing by jumping around.  I ran into the kitchen and banged my hand into the counter, hard.  I then tripped over a chair leg and went down, holding out my hands to break my fall, but I landed too hard on my hands.  I broke my wrist in two places, the first from the counter, the second from falling on the floor," he explained, looking down at his lap.
        "Smooth move, ex-lax," Nick said.  Brian hit his arm hard, sending him a look to not push it.  Nick had been in a weird mood for the last few days, saying things when they werenít really appropriate.
        "Thought I hate to say it, but I agree with Nick, Tommy, you couldnít have done this at a worse time," Mike said, finally speaking up.
        Tommy nodded.  "I know, I know, and Iím really sorry.  But I already found a replacement for me, one of my friends.  Lizard is one of the best pianists Iíve ever met, and can do the songs.  I taught them to Lizard personally, as part of the lessons."
        "You called Lizard?  Man, you were at the bottom of the barrel, werenít you?"  Dennis asked.
        "Hey, Lizard is cool, we just havenít talked for a few years," Tommy said, hitting Dennis with his good hand.
        "Whoa, whoís Lizard?  Iíve never heard of him."  Mindi asked.
        "Lizard is someone I used to give piano lessons to.  Lizardís great, though, a wonderful sight-reader.  I know that Lizard can do it, just give me two days, three tops, and Iíll personally help Lizard learn all the music, I promise," Tommy said, talking fast.
        "I donít know, Tommy, we have a whole list full of people who are available in case this sort of thing happens, weíve already called some of them.  They would all be willing to do this, they practically jumped at it," Jeff said, picking up a folder from in front of him.
        "Come on, Jeff, give Lizard a chance.  Just two days, Lizardíll know everything, I give you my word," Tommy said.
        Jeff and Mike looked at each other skeptically and Brian furrowed his eyebrows, thinking.  He thought as the room erupted into noise, everyone talking at once.  He held up his hands and took a deep breath.
        "Everyone, stop talking!"  He yelled.  The room got silent and he stood up, pacing behind his chair.
        "Tommy, are you sure your friend," Brian started, gesturing at him, trying to think of the name.
        "Lizard."
        "Ok, are you sure Lizard can do this?  I mean, you know this for sure?  You are positive?"  Brian asked.
        Tommy nodded.  "Iíll go to Lizardís right after this and start teaching it, just say the word," he said, looking nervously at Jeff and Mike.
        Jeff and Mike both sighed, looking at each other.  They looked forward, both thinking.  "What do you think, Mindi?"  Jeff finally said.
        "I think we should trust Tommy, heís never let us down in anything before," Mindi said, music coming through the background on her side of the phone.  "Though I hate to rush you, but you have to hurry, I have five minutes, guys."
        Jeff sighed again and looked at Mike, who nodded slightly.  "All right, if its all right with everyone else, go ahead Tommy.  But Iím warning you right now, you have three days, Iím giving you the benefit of the doubt.  Three days before your friend has to meet us in Michigan, and he or she better be prepared," he said, standing up and gathering the folders in front of him.
        Tommyís face spread into a bright smile.  "Thanks, guys, you wonít regret this," he said.  He looked around the table at everyone else.  "Do you all agree?  Lizard can join everyone?"  He asked.
        Kevin nodded.  "Donít see why not, sure."
        "Sounds fine to me," Howie said.
        "Ditto," AJ said, standing up.
        "Wha?  Oh, yeah, sure, why not?"  Nick said, snapping out of his trance.
        All eyes rested on Brian, who was looking down in thought.
        "Brian?"  Tommy asked.
        Brian looked up at his friend.  "I donít know, I mean, Tommy, Iíve known you for six years, I wonít even know this person, Lizard, or whatever his name is."
        "Brian, a keyboardist is a keyboardist," AJ reminded him.
        "Yeah, and besides, Iíll still be there, I just wonít be able to play," Tommy said.  "Come on, Bri, what do you say?"
        Brian sighed, the internal battle raging on.  He didnít know what to think, except that maybe this wasnít all that good an idea.  "Ok, fine, letís do it."
        Tommy smiled and hurried over to Brian.  "B-Rok, you wonít regret this, I promise!"  He said, patting him on the shoulder.  Tommy hurried out of the room, dragging Dennis with him to drive him to Lizardís house.
        "Whatís the matter, man?"  Nick asked as everyone else left the room.
        Brian shrugged.  "Iím not too sure, Nick, but for some reason, I have the strangest feeling that this is going to be a mistake," he said as he followed him out.  He heard Jeff and Mike say goodbye to Mindi and hang up the phone, then picking it up and calling around, making arrangements.  Brian knew one thing.
        This tour was going to rely on one person, and that one person no one had ever met except Tommy and Dennis.

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