In last week's chapter of In Pieces, Ryan returned home for his father's funeral, on his way to start a new job. His stepmother, Cassie, offered him a place to live if he wanted to stay in St. Louis, but he had to go. Today he arrives at his destination - New Orleans, to meet the band he is going to accompany on their US tour, Salvation. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #4 (2.1)
Louis Armstrong Airport was a busy place, even early in the morning. The flight from St. Louis to New Orleans had taken less than two hours. Cassie had insisted on driving Ryan to Lambert Airport, despite his protestations that he could Uber the short trip. He promised he would send emails and texts as often as he could, depending on how busy this rock group kept him.
He made his way through Concourse B, where Southwest Airlines was located, scouting the crowd for a placard with his name. He didn’t know who would pick him up. The band’s manager, whose name slipped his mind at the moment, had said someone would be there, but gave him no other information. She herself was not going to be accompanying them on the tour. Not this time.
Until they’d contacted him, Ryan had never even heard of Salvation. Which made their offer of employment all the more baffling. As outlined in the offer letter, his job was to travel with the band and write an account of the tour, complete with photographs. All expenses paid, plus a salary.
Ryan was hardly in a position to turn down such a great opportunity, especially if doing so could put him on the literary map again. He was only twenty-eight, but he was already a has-been as far as the publishing world was concerned. Five years had passed since he’d had a new release, and his last novel had been received with less-than-enthusiastic reviews and very dismal sales. Even the small houses didn’t want to deal with him anymore. Authors were a dime a dozen, and Ryan was yesterday’s news. This gig might be his last chance to succeed in his chosen field. If he failed again…. That didn’t really bear thinking about.
Out of curiosity, he’d looked the band up on the Internet, but information regarding them wasn’t exactly plentiful. Apparently the type of music they played was known as church metal, whatever that was. Not that it mattered. Beggars couldn’t exactly afford to be choosy. Liking their music wasn’t a requirement for employment, although it would make sitting through their concerts more tolerable if he could listen to them without cringing. If push came to shove, though, and they were truly atrocious, he could always invest in a good set of ear plugs.
In the few photographs he’d found online—they didn’t seem to have a website to call their own— he’d noticed the band members were more than passing fond of make-up, and they liked to wear religious costumes. So, how religious were they? And was this how they dressed in their everyday lives? Assuming they even had such things?
He almost walked past the couple with the sign. He remember seeing a picture of the girl—apparently the only female member of the group—in which she was dressed as a nun. He had no idea which member of the group the guy was. He was casually dressed in a pair of jeans and a Rolling Stones T-shirt, a far cry from their concert attire.
Ryan pivoted toward them, and took a deep breath. This was really happening, wasn’t it? He worked to quell his unexpected attack of nerves. There was nothing to be nervous about. This was just a job, nothing more. “Hi, I’m Ryan Fremont,” he offered his name. Up close, he noticed the girl was really pretty. When she shook her head, waves of dark curls cascaded down her back, and she nervously licked her lips, her sapphire eyes regarding him intently.
“Hey, you made it!” her companion said. He had the same dark hair she had, which fell to his shoulders, but his eyes were the same deep blue. They were almost mirror images of one another. Ryan immediately pegged them as fraternal twins. “I’m Aiden, and this is Abby.” He gestured toward the girl at his side.
“Nice to meet you,” Ryan said, relaxing slightly. They seemed nice, no need to panic. He glanced around, wondering if the other band members were here as well.
“Nope, just us,” Aiden said, as if reading Ryan’s mind. “We just got into town ourselves, so everyone’s getting settled in the house.”
“You have a house?” Ryan was surprised. He’d assumed they were staying in hotel rooms. Salvation must be doing well for itself if they could afford more than a hotel room.
“It’s not ours,” Abby said. “We’re just using it. It’s someone’s vacation home, actually.”
Abby’s voice was low and melodious. She probably had a great singing range. He wondered if she sang lead, but then remembered the lead singer was the one who dressed as a priest. Abby played drums.
“Why don’t we grab your stuff from the carousel and get going?” Aiden suggested. “We can get acquainted on the ride. I’m sure you have questions you’re dying to ask.”
“Actually, yes, I do.” Ryan appreciated the other man’s honesty. It wouldn’t hurt to start getting a feel for the members of the band, since they would were the subjects of his book after all.
“Good. Carousel’s over here. I noticed a coffee place right on the concourse. Want to grab some of their famous New Orleans coffee and talk?”
“I could use some coffee,” Ryan admitted. He wouldn’t mind trying something different, and this was as good a place as any to start. As he followed Aiden and Abby toward the luggage carousel, he couldn’t help but notice their fingers twined as they held hands. The sight only made Ryan’s heart ache a little more.
to be continued
Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!