Salvation is playing at The Dive, an underground nightclub in Houma, Louisiana. The place is rocking with very appreciative fans as Ryan busies himself taking pictures, having inadvertently forgotten his laptop. He accidentally runs into a stranger who catches him rather handily. See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #44 (11.3)
Ryan’s cheeks flamed with sudden heat, and he found himself momentarily tongue-tied. The man’s arms were wrapped about his waist, and their unexpected and intimate proximity was throwing him for a loop.
“You must be quite a fan of the band, what with all the pictures you’ve been taking,” the man continued. He made no move to release Ryan, leaning in closer, as if to make sure the sound of his voice carried over the noise of the crowd around them, as well as that of the band.
Belatedly collecting himself, Ryan stepped back, breaking the man’s hold. “Um, yeah,” he stammered. “I mean no. I’m not just a fan. I’m with them.” Had this guy been watching him or something? An unsettling thought.
The stranger’s brows arched, somewhat skeptically, it seemed to Ryan.
“Funny, I’ve never seen you with them before. Are you like a publicity agent… or something?” Ryan didn’t like the way he said that, like he was a groupie… or worse.
“Kinda sorta,” Ryan said as he worked at collecting himself. “I’m traveling with Salvation, and I’m writing a book about the group. About the tour and everything. I just happen to take photos too.”
“Oh, the writer.” The man’s expression relaxed. “If I’d known Ben hired such a cutie, I’d have shown up a lot sooner.”
“Well, I just joined them, to be honest.” Ryan tried not to sound as flustered as he felt. Embarrassing enough to fall on the guy, but to be held like that, by a total stranger…. Wait, what did he just say?
“Maybe I should introduce myself before you think I’m the friendly neighborhood pervert or something.” The man laughed. “Brandon Devereaux, at your service.” He made a small bow. “What might your name be?”
“Ryan. Ryan Fremont.” A light bulb suddenly went on in Ryan’s brain. “Are you Abby’s Brandon?” he asked without thinking, then wished he could take his words back. Too late for that, of course.
“That would be me. I see my fame precedes me.”
Brandon gave him an inquisitive look. Ryan hoped the man wouldn’t ask what he’d heard about him, especially considering what Abby had had to say. But all he said was, “Nice to meet you, Ryan. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.” His gaze raked Ryan up and down, as if he was taking his measure. Judging by his smile, he liked what he saw. Ryan took another step back.
“Um, I need to… I should… get back to work.”
To his dismay, Brandon edged toward him again, leaning in so close that his mouth was right by Ryan’s ear. “You’re so cute, I could just eat you up.” Then he straightened once more, and with a predatory grin, ambled away, leaving a shaken Ryan behind.
This guy had a girlfriend, one that was actually here, in this same night club. So what was he doing flirting with Ryan? Maybe he wasn’t as straight as Ryan had assumed him to be, which might explain his reluctance for Abby to have the surgery she wanted. Still no excuse for going against her wishes, though. It was her body.
Ryan wanted a drink so bad he could taste it. Just to calm his nerves, he told himself. He took two steps in the direction of the bar, then turned back. No, he didn’t need to do that. He just needed to get over it. Nothing happened, and nothing would. When the band’s break came, he would be able to spend a little time with Ben. Then everything would be all right.
Armed with that resolution, he went back to taking photos, throwing himself into his work once more.
to be continued
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