The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19) (5 page)

BOOK: The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19)
8.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads


There
you go,

Brantley said.

We

ll
be up on stage soon enough.


Do
it as a surprise,

Portis
said.


Portis!
Another picture!

Portis turned, smiled, and grabbed
Jett

s hand. He held it for
the picture.

The camera people then rushed to
another group of people. Van vaguely recognized a couple of the people as movie
stars.

Van cut to the left and tried to
keep his stare down the best he could, trying to avoid eye contact and avoid
conversation. Somehow he needed to get through the party with a few handshakes,
a few extra smiles, and a handful of pictures. That was the key to survival.

And drinks.

Yes.

Drinks.

A waiter strolled by, too far out
of reach.

Van watched the guy cut deeper into
the crowd.

Ah, damn.

He turned his head a split second
before crashing into a woman. She carried a small tray and it fell to the
floor, three glasses hitting and shattering.


No!

she cried out.

No, no, no.

Van stood and stared at her. Dark
brown hair pulled back tight. Her eyes were almost the same color as her hair.
Big, brown, really gorgeous eyes. Her lips were full and pouty, her cheeks
burning a deep shade of red. She wore a white shirt with black buttons, black
pants, looking the same as the other waiters and waitresses walking casually
around the room.


You
okay?

Van asked.


No,

she said.

Sorry.

She hurried to crouch down and
clean up the mess.

Van watched her for a second. She
was shaking her hand, her hands jittery.

Van crouched and grabbed one of the
broken glasses. He put it on the tray.


That
was my fault,

Van said.


Doesn

t matter,

she said.

I

m going to take the heat for it.


No
worries. Watch.

Van grabbed the tray and stood up.
He walked around the woman to a hallway. It had a few doors for the kitchen.
Van hip checked the door, making it swing open. The kitchen was alive with
voices talking and food sizzling. It smelled great. Van saw a trashcan and
tossed the entire tray into the can.

When he left the kitchen, the
pretty woman stood in the hallway, her hands at her hips. She blew at a few
pieces of floating hair out of her face.


There.
Nobody will ever know it happened,

Van said. He stepped forward and fixed the woman

s
hair.

No worries.


Yeah,
right.


You
looked nervous.


Terrified.


Because
of who I am?

Van asked
with a sly grin.


No.
I

ve never worked one of
these parties before. My best friend owns the company and she

s doing me a favor. I

m trying not to fuck up, but
then you crashed into me and fucked it up.

Van felt his eyes go wide. Now he
was intrigued. A lot.

Do
you know who I am?


Someone
famous,

the woman said.

Listen, I have to keep moving.
If I don

t get out there
with drinks
…”


Save
one for me,

Van said.

The woman rushed by him and to the
kitchen door. The white shirt tucked in made it all that much better that she
was wearing tight black pants. Van crossed his arms and leaned against the
wall, waiting.

For about a minute, he actually
smiled and enjoyed himself there. Maybe all he needed to do was knock all the
drink trays out of the waiters and waitresses hands.

The door opened and out came the
woman again. She was holding another tray of drinks. Van put his hands up.

Look. I

m not going to knock that one over.


Shut
up,

she said.

This is serious for me.


I
can see that. You

re scared
to death, sweetie.


Uh,
sweetie? Really?

She
walked to Van.

Here, take
a drink. You look like you need it.

Van took the drink. He raised it a
little.

Cheers.


Yeah,
right. Thanks.


Hey,
have fun out there,

Van
said.


Coming
from someone rich and famous.


You
really have no idea, huh?


Nope,

she said.

Would you like another drink,
sir?


Yes,
I would, ma

am,

Van said.

He finished the first drink and
grabbed another one. He put the empty glass on the tray.


For
the record, my name is Natalie,

she said.

Don

t call me ma

am. That just sounds weird.


Natalie,

Van said.

I can definitely remember that.
And since you

re the
prettiest woman here, I can definitely remember your face.

Natalie rolled her eyes.

Wow. That was pretty cheap.


Yeah,
I know. I

m just getting a
little warmed up though. I

ll
make it up to you.

Van grinned and winked.

Natalie sighed and tried to look
annoyed, but she was blushing as she walked away. She looked back for a second
and stumbled. The drinks bounced and a few spilled over their tops. Van gritted
his teeth, waiting to see the entire tray hit the floor again. But Natalie
caught her balance. She kept walking and disappeared.

After Van finished the second
drink, he put the glass down on the floor. He adjusted his jacket and smiled.
Again, for a minute, everything slipped away. All thanks to Natalie.

Going back to the crowd, Van found
someone else with a drink tray. Two more went down nice and easy. Then he went
to one of three bars set up across the back of the room. That

s where the hard liquor waited
and tasted better than the expensive champagne.

As he nursed a glass of whiskey and
ice, he felt someone bump into him. He turned, smiling, picturing Natalie
standing there, offering him another drink.

It was Brantley.


There
you are,

Brantley said.

We

re
looking for you.


Why?

Van asked.


Couple
people we have to mingle with. Rich investors with their kids who like us. Feel
like signing an autograph or two?


Yeah,
sure,

Van said.

As long as I can bring my drink.

Van stood and Brantley put his hand
over the drink, leaving it on the bar.

Take
a breather, man. You smell like whiskey and your eyes are doing front flips.
How many did you have?


A
few here and there,

Van
said.

You know, it

s just a party. Right?


Oh,
man,

Brantley said.

Get a glass of water and a breath
mint.

Colby and Ryker showed up a second
later. Then Jett lingered behind, carrying a glass in his hand.


Hey,
he has a drink,

Van said.


That

s his first,

Brantley said.

I don

t want you dead drunk in front of everyone.


I

m not dead drunk,

Van said. He pushed from the
bar.

Come on, let

s sign some shit and keep the
night going.

Colby put a hand to Van

s shoulder.

Hey, we may have a band to look
at. There

s a guy here
talking about
After the Run
. Ever hear of them?


Sounds
familiar,

Van said.

They

re like a country-rock kind of thing, right? Real
deep, storytelling stuff.


Yeah,

Colby said.

Their following is intense.
Cult-like, man. They

ve
declined some big stages just to keep their own sound. We need to listen to
them and see if it

s worth
getting them with us.


Are
they here?

Van asked.


Yeah,

Ryker said.

Let

s go have a meeting.

Near the far corner of the room
stood five guys in leather jackets and ripped jeans. They were straight up
rockstars, each with their own bottle of whiskey. They were young, had wild
eyes, but their image screamed to Van.

Harry stood talking with another
guy in a suit. His name was Jeff. He was the manager for After the Run.

Van pointed to the whiskey bottle
in some guy

s hand.

You sharing?


Yeah,

he said.

I

m
a big fan, Van.


Thanks,

Van said. He took a drink.

Who the hell are you?


Name

s Jase. I

m the bass player.


Right
on,

Van said.


Let

s go down the line,

Jase said.

This is Caine, drummer. Erik,
lead singer. Slade and Liam, both shred on guitar.


Nice
to meet you,

Van said.

You don

t look like you want to be here.


I

d rather get a root canal with
no meds,

Caine said.

The tail is nice though. A lot
of beautiful women here. Not just the celebrities either.

Van looked over his shoulder,
trying to find Natalie. For a split second, there was a little bit of jealousy.
To think that other guys were looking at her

Stupid, man. Just
plain
stupid.


It

s good,

Van said.


Hey,
so you guys have some music for us?

Colby asked.

I

ll just be straight up and
honest.


You
know how to find music,

Slade
said.

We don

t go around begging for a thing.


I
like these guys,

Van said.


Then
let

s hang out,

Brantley said.

One band to another. Just have
something to drink and jam out.


Why?

Liam asked.

So you could bring your cameras?
Put us on TV?


Real
nice,

Brantley said. He
stepped forward.

Don

t act like assholes, man.


Try
me,

Liam said.

You think we need you?


Yeah,
we do,

Brantley said.


Hey,

Van said. He put a hand to
Brantley.

Everyone chill
out. This is not the environment for this shit. We all know that. We just need
to drink and smile. Nothing else. Drink and smile.


Don

t mind Liam,

Erik said.

He doesn

t do well with crowds.

BOOK: The Hardest Set (Willow Son #4/Brothers of Rock #19)
8.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Close Contact by Katherine Allred
Oreo by Ross, Fran
Tales From the Clarke by John Scalzi
Bootlegged Angel by Ripley, Mike
Little Peach by Peggy Kern
Haunted in Death by J. D. Robb
Midnight Honor by Marsha Canham
Calumet City by Charlie Newton
Omega City by Diana Peterfreund