Ryan is finally watching Salvation at work, as they play at the birthday party of a boy with rich parents. He's thrilled at what he sees and hears, and thrilled to be back with Ben. Will his enjoyment be marred by the entitlement of the birthday boy and his obvious infatuation with Ben? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #32 (8.5)
Before much time had passed, the rest of Miles’ guests arrived. They wore the same wrecked jeans and T-shirts as the first group, even the girls. Ryan wondered if the choice of attire had been mandatory, or if they all just liked to dress like bums.
There had been no problem with using the folding chair, of course. Ryan set it up on the edge of the makeshift dance floor. He reasoned that he would be out of the way of the kids there, and it would be easier for him to move around when he wanted to take photos. Of course, there was also the fact that he had a more unobstructed view of Ben, who stood at the front of the stage.
In costume, Salvation was pretty impressive. Behind the drums, Abby wore a nun’s habit, while her twin was dressed in the brown robes of a monk. Playing bass was Keanu in a dark deacon’s outfit with a large gold cross. His partner, Deacon, stood across the stage from him on the keyboard, his scarlet cardinal’s robes a contrast to Keanu’s somber shade. And then there was Ben, lead singer and resident priest, looking sexier than any priest Ryan had ever seen.
Salvation’s young audience ate up everything they played, dancing enthusiastically to the more energetic numbers, and swaying together with those pieces which were a little more sedate. Ryan noticed Miles stood front and center, and even though he interacted with his friends, he also gave a lot of attention to Ben. Occasionally he drew closer to the stage than Ryan would have liked and performed solo moves, obviously for Ben’s benefit. To be honest, his writhing was borderline obscene. The only consolation Ryan drew from the situation was that Ben seemed completely oblivious of the boy’s efforts.
Before the concert had even begun, Sterling Champlain had shown up, to make sure everything was moving along smoothly. Spotting Ryan’s camera, he asked if he’d mind taking pictures of Miles and his friends too, and he would pay for the pictures. What else could Ryan say but yes. So he found himself dividing his time between capturing the band on film and chronicling Miles and company and their exploits. From the way they were acting, Ryan wondered if maybe they were drinking, but decided it wasn’t any of his business.
After about an hour and a half, Ben announced the band was going to take a break. Thank goodness. Ryan finished up what he was writing and saved it, then closed his laptop. Standing, he intended to spend some time with Ben between sets, but Ben had been swallowed up by the partiers as soon as he stepped down from the stage and was surrounded by them.
“That happens all the time,” came a voice beside him. Ryan quickly swiveled to find Deacon there, Keanu nowhere in sight. “The fans love him, you know. He has to do a certain amount of mingling. He’ll find his way back to you sooner or later.”
Ryan wondered what Deacon knew about him and Ben. Or had they just been that obvious, since Ryan’s arrival. To be honest, he hadn’t tried to be secretive, and Ben had done nothing to hide their relationship.
“You’ll get used to it,” Deacon continued. “Ben acts like he enjoys being the center of attention, but he really doesn’t. That’s more Keanu’s thing. He’d give his right nut to get as much attention as Ben does, although he does pretty well himself.”
“Is that where he is now?” Ryan asked.
“No, he went inside to use the bathroom. So, tell me more about this book you’re writing.” As they were talking, the two men had moved away from the noise and clamor surrounding Ben, in order to make themselves heard. Ryan continued to watch them, though, in case Ben needed him for something. Anything. He’d be right there if he called.
“Well, to be honest, I don’t usually write non-fiction,” Ryan said. “I’m a novelist. Or at least I have been so far. But Ben wants me to write the story of Salvation. How they came to be, who they were and who they are now, and he wants me to also cover their first major tour. I’m supposed to talk to everyone and get background information, although I’ve already been told not to ask certain questions.” Ryan shrugged. “I’m afraid that makes my job a little harder.” He hoped Deacon wouldn’t be as difficult. Or that he sounded like he was whining. But Deacon was the kind of guy that someone instinctively trusted, Ryan included.
“Let me guess,” Deacon said. “Aiden and Abby. Mostly Abby.”
“Aiden tends to be rather protective of his sister. With good reason.” Deacon’s eyes narrowed as he spoke. Ryan had never seen him actually get angry. He wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that anger.
“They’ve always been close. Identical twins usually are, aren’t they? Even when Abby came out as transgendered, that didn’t change.” He fell silent.
“Was their family not supportive?” Ryan tried to fill in the blanks. “Did they object?” But then, he reasoned, how did she find funding for her surgery, which she’d obviously had. Implants, at least. He couldn’t be sure what else. And frankly it was none of his business.
“Oh her father was supportive. Too supportive.” Deacon’s voice dropped even lower. “This is strictly off the record, okay?”
Ryan nodded, suddenly afraid of what he might hear. But he couldn’t stop listening.
“Her father paid for her surgery. But his support came with a price.”
Ryan had a sickening feeling he knew what that price was.
“Abby took it as long as she could, then she and Aiden ran away. They’ve been on their own ever since.”
Ryan couldn’t even begin to fathom how someone could do that to their own child. Made him appreciate his own father all the more. “Oh God,” he murmured softly.
to be continued
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