Author: Chosenbyfaith PM
Lenny Allen felt like her life was suffocating her. She would do just about anything to change that, which is how she ended up taking a job that landed her on tour with the biggest rock band in the world.The plan was simple: get a job, get out of town, don't get attached. Sometimes crashing headlong into the unknown isn't the worst thing. swearing, crude humor, shenanigansRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 25 - Words: 123,239 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 04-12-13 - Published: 01-15-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3092416
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Large In the Margin
Lenny glanced down at the silver and pearl face of her watch again. Ten more minutes, plenty of time. She pulled open the large glass door to the downtown Los Angeles business building. Her blonde hair reflected briefly in the mirrors behind the front desk as she strode purposefully past security to the elevators around the corner. Her familiarity with the building and the people who worked here were both an advantage and a distraction for her. Going to an interview in a building where her father owned half the floors gave her a twinge of guilt. But nothing more.
The lobby was a smattering of suits, briefcases and clacking high heels. Lenny pressed the button to the lift, shifted on her feet considering and then started up the stairs without waiting. She took the stairs two at a time at a full sprint, taking advantage of the need to expel some of her nervous energy. She didn't bother removing her high heels and smirked to herself at how stubborn she was about even the smallest things. Her long legs quickly carried her to the third floor where she exited, barely winded. She straightened her pressed white blouse and strode to the receptionist's desk coolly.
The woman behind the desk looked up at Lenny's approach with a practiced smile. "May I help you?" Her deep red hair was pulled back into a tight bun and her wide green eyes were framed by thick, trendy glasses.
"I have an appointment with Jerry Douglas." Lenny responded professionally. "My name is Lenny Allen." She almost hesitated saying her full name but decided that it was highly doubtful the receptionist would recognize it. Sure enough, the woman waived her to a seat with a perfectly manicured hand and picked up the phone to announce her arrival.
Lenny sat in the chair stiffly. She hated the scratchy fabric of her dress pants against her legs and the pinch that accompanied wearing the heels. Hopefully it would be worth it. She could suffer a few minutes of physical discomfort if it meant changing the direction her life had been going. Nearly any new direction would be welcome at this point.
She adjusted her small purse on her lap, more practical than eye catching, and thought again about the ad in the paper she had decided to answer. NEEDED: Strong, able bodied individuals for hard work and decent pay. Travel required, no exceptions. She called the number on impulse and set up an interview. The required travel was the most appealing part. She needed to get away. Now. She really didn't care, apart from prostitution or porn, what she had to do to make that happen.
Double doors opened to her right and a short, bald man in a suit came out and greeted Lenny. She stood and entered his office where she was surprised to see another man already sitting in one of the chairs in front of the desk. The bald man in the suit shook her hand and introduced himself as Jerry Douglas.
"This is Carl Darrow." He motioned to the second man who had already stood up and reached his hand to Lenny's. He was probably in his forties and had warm brown eyes and short brown hair. His attire was very different from Mr. Douglas, wearing plain blue jeans, a faded green t-shirt and scuffed cowboy boots. His skin was dark from working in the sun and she noted his hand was calloused when she shook it.
"Lenny, is it?" He asked, his voice hinting at confusion.
Lenny nodded and smiled, "Or Lenna. It was my grandmother's name."
Carl looked just a tad embarrassed and said, "We sorta thought you were a guy from your application."
"Happens all the time." Lenny tried to reassure him taking a seat in the chair Jerry offered her. She avoided crossing her legs completely and just crossed her ankles, turning her knees out to the side in the most lady like posture she could manage.
The men exchanged glances and both sat down. Lenny got the impression they had already made their decision but were going to go ahead with the interview anyway. She swallowed her grimace and squared her shoulders.
"This job might be a little…unconventional for you," Jerry began, searching for the right words, trying to be delicate. "It's long days, long nights. Hard physical labor and you'd be on the road constantly." His eyes skittered around his desk and his hands straightened his pen, then his name plate, then his pen again.
Lenny sensed he was already trying to talk her out of it before she could find out what the job even was. "What? Would I be a roadie or something?" She tried to joke. The apologetic frown on Jerry's face and the fact that he wouldn't meet her eyes told her that she nailed it on the first guess. "…oh." She took a breath and then asked, "So, loading, unloading, no showers, bad food?"
Carl watched closely as Lenny and Jerry discussed the ins and outs of the job. Her expansive blue eyes didn't miss anything. She was focused on Jerry but her eyes would flit around the room occasionally, as if taking inventory.
"Why the interview in the most professional building in town if it's just a lowly road crew job?" She confronted him. Her tone was practiced but indicated she didn't like to be given the run around.
Jerry seemed flustered at her confidence and Carl could see the interview was getting away from him. The worse he tried to make the job sound, the more interested she became. Carl was impressed with her quick thinking and directness. He had been hesitant when she had first entered the room, her obvious beauty could be more a hindrance to the job than a help. But she didn't seem to be trying to use any womanly wiles to make the interview go more in her favor. Carl was as impressed with that as he was with her intelligence.
"We need the best." Carl interrupted flatly and Lenny turned her dark blue gaze on him. "I need people working for me who won't get star struck and can behave professionally. This is the biggest tour I've ever managed and I don't need to get bogged down with degenerates." His true idea was something a little separate from 'roadie.' He had dealt with this particular group of rock stars for almost twenty years and never got used to their shenanigans. He wished he could have someone on the inside, helping to keep the entire thing on track.
That was the entire reason for this interview. Carl had actually wanted to avoid hiring a woman if at all possible. Jerry had given him the scripted speech on sexism in the workplace and Carl had finally agreed to hiring an ugly woman...if it came to that. But the young lady sitting before them was the antithesis of ugly. She was breathtaking.
"Listen, I know I'm a chick and I know I'm not what you expected." She started, refusing to be deterred. "But I'm stronger than I look and I work hard. I'm not afraid of dirt and sweat and I don't have anything keeping me in town. I can do the job and I can do it well." Her jaw flexed lightly under her flawless skin and Carl heard the desperation that she tried to hide in her voice. Why did she need this job so badly?
Carl knew Jerry was looking at him, waiting for an indication of some kind but he couldn't look away from the determined stare of her midnight blue irises. She was serious, she meant business. And he believed her. Somewhere in her life she had learned to fight for what she wanted. Carl was amused that she referred to herself as a 'chick'. Most women he knew were offended by that word. But this girl was different. She was self assured and confident...but that wasn't all. Carl couldn't put his finger on it quite yet but he knew he would. He was very good at reading people.
"Okay..." He kept his eyes locked with Lenny's, his words coming slowly, "We leave in the morning. Pack light, one carry-on." Taking back the control of the interview.
"Carry-on?" Lenny questioned, thrown off. Carl watched her reaction, gauging how she handled the unexpected.
"Yeah, you'll ride with the band as an assistant. Don't get the wrong idea, I ain't takin it easy on ya. You'll get their shit for them and basically be their glorified babysitter. I need eyes on them all the time, especially Sway. He's a pain in my ass." Carl leaned forward and pointed his finger at his chest. "Then you report back to me. It'll be your job to keep them out of trouble." His brown eyes were severe as he said, "You cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with them. Do you understand?"
Lenny's dark eyes flared as she was obviously offended that he would insinuate something so sluttish about her. This was a comfort to Carl and sealed the deal for him. He couldn't take the chance that she would misunderstand her job and would end up needing to be replaced by the end of the first week.
"Not a problem." Lenny responded calmly, impressing both Jerry and Carl.
Carl let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He had half expected her to storm out or worse, slap him and then storm out. He knew Jerry was going to give him another lecture on gender discrimination and sexism in the workplace after she left. Fuckin' lawyers. He leaned back in his chair and grinned slightly.
"Be at the airport at six tomorrow morning. I'll have a ticket waiting for you at the counter." His tone changed to casual. "I won't be there. I fly out tonight. The band won't know about you, just pretend like you're a passenger, I need them to trust you. If you play it off good enough they'll think they hired you themselves."
"You want me to spy." It was a statement. She caught on quick, Carl knew he'd found what he needed.
"I've known these guys most of their lives and they can be pretty self destructive on tour. They need a friend to watch their backs. That's what I'll be paying you to do."
Carl watched Lenny as she considered all of the information. Her picturesque face did not reflect all the thoughts that were pouring through her mind. Her deep blue eyes were surrounded by thick black lashes, her complexion was flawless with very little makeup. She had the perfect poise and posture of a law student, right down to her black dress pants and black heels. Her blonde hair was swept back into a tight bun, disguising it's length. Her application said she was twenty-five but her eyes held more wisdom and fire than any other twenty-five year old Carl had ever met. Her entire appearance represented professionalism but Carl sensed a carefully concealed edge beneath her cool exterior. She was undoubtedly perfect for this job.
"I accept." She said solidly and Carl was surprised at his own sense of relief that flooded his veins.
For the next twenty minutes the three of them went over the confidentiality agreement and the touring schedule. She signed some paperwork and asked hardly any questions. They all shook hands and she left.
Carl stared after her, lost in his own musings. He had complete confidence that they had found the ideal person.
"That was easier than I expected." Jerry broke into his thoughts. "I wasn't sure you'd find what you were looking for. Considering...everything."
"She's perfect." Carl agreed.
"I sure hope this works out for you. Better than the last tour anyway."
"It will." Carl said matter of fact as he started to gather his things.
"What makes you so sure she won't run off with one of them and end up in the tabloids?" Jerry attempted to joke. "She is awfully pretty."
"She's got a brain." Carl responded. "Besides, she didn't even ask what band she's working for. Not once." He took a breath and picked up his bag. "Whatever she's looking for, it isn't fame and drama."
Lenny sat patiently in the plane next to the window. It had been awhile since she had ridden in first class and she was kind of excited. She tried to suppress the giddiness in her belly, knowing the plane would take off soon and her new adventure would start. The text message she had sent before boarding had been the final goodbye to be said.
The ride to the airport had been uneventful and the ticket was waiting for her at the counter like Carl had promised. Always running a half hour early, she was first to board the plane and assumed the band members would be along shortly.
"Hey, beautiful." A tall man with wide shoulders and long, messy blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail greeted Lenny. She smiled politely as he sat down next to her. He must have been about twenty-five or twenty-six. His ratty blue jeans and worn chuck taylor's told her that he wasn't worried about appearances. "How did I get a seat next to you?" He asked her flirtatiously, his pale blue eyes sparkling with mischief.
Lenny shrugged and played it cool, remembering her mission for Carl. "Probably luck." She replied coyly.
"Story of his life, the bastard." Another voice joined their conversation from across the aisle.
Lenny leaned over to see what she assumed to be two more band members seating themselves adjacent to them. Two more young man plopped into the seats in front of her as well. They were all in their mid to late twenties, had rumpled clothes on and dark circles under their eyes. As she looked more closely she began to recognize them. It seemed almost unfair that all of them were above average in the looks department. Lenny was going to have a hard time not staring.
"Going on vacation?" The friendly young man next to her kept the dialogue going.
"Looking for a change of pace and a new job." Lenny replied, not exactly lying. She was pleased that she wouldn't have to work too hard to get their attention. When Carl had said she was supposed to befriend them she wasn't exactly sure how that would happen. But it seemed they were impressed with a pretty smile and a hair flip. At least this one was.
He grinned at her and asked, "Unemployed and sitting in first-class? How is this possible?"
"I have wealthy parents." She explained diplomatically, realizing her slip. She tilted her head and smiled sweetly, hoping they could skip the details about her life.
"I'm Sway." He introduced himself and stuck out his hand, not truly interested in Lenny's back story. She grasped it strongly and replied, "I'm Lenna."
"Beautiful name for a beautiful girl." He winked at her and Lenny suppressed an eye roll. It wasn't exactly the most original line she'd ever heard. She let her hair fall over her face as she dipped her eyes, thankful that she could hide behind it, pretending to be flattered. She normally didn't respond physically to a guy flirting with her, she had always told herself she was far too practical for those things. And she couldn't respond as she normally would because her new job required her to be friendly. Whatever that meant.
Her hair was not in it's usual tight braid, her elastic restraint had broken in the airport and she was forced to let her hair hang loose, something she had grown to hate but was now finding it a very useful curtain.
Sway, if that was indeed his name though Lenny doubted it, wasn't traditionally handsome. His face was wide and angular with high cheekbones and soft, full lips. His skin was smooth, freshly shaved, not even a hint of stubble. His fine, blonde hair was shoulder length, though it was hard to tell since he had it casually pulled back. Lenny looked at his unbroken elastic with envy and Sway caught her gaze and gave her a suggestive eyebrow waggle. Lenny fought back a chuckle and looked away with feigned shyness.
Out the window, the plane was rising off of the runway and into the air and the flight attendants were going through their perfect practiced speeches. She swallowed hard to compensate for the pressure change and tried not to think about home.
She had left a note for her parents with very little explanation. Her mom would be pissed. Which is why she avoided the conversation all together. They would never understand. They had always struggled with understanding the majority of her life decisions but even more so in the last couple of years. As her thoughts kept following their path her chest started to burn with an irritatingly familiar heartache. She closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat deliberately pushing those old thoughts and feelings away. The past was the past and she couldn't change anything so there was no reason to think about it. Her hand clutched her phone and she checked to make sure she had turned it off at the attendant's reminding. She knew she had though, she had powered it down before boarding, not looking forward to the inevitable string of irate replies when she had to turn it on again.
Luke Casey tried to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous girl tucked between his bass player and the window across the aisle from him without being too obvious. It was a rare instance when a woman didn't start giggling nervously at Sway's obvious flirtation. But he could tell right away that this girl wasn't like any other.
He and his band mates had seen her at the airport waiting to board the flight. The entire airport couldn't help but notice her, or maybe that was just how Luke saw it. She was dressed plainly in cut-off jeans and a white t-shirt, her long, naturally blonde hair hung loosely at her shoulders. It wasn't bottle blonde like so many of the other girls in SoCal and Luke wondered if maybe she wasn't a local.
She had an energy that was captivating. Even sitting still in the airport, Luke could sense an underlying passion just below her smooth surface. Like rushing water beneath a frozen river. She had the kind of beauty that reminded Luke of sunsets and mountain vistas. It was natural. Wild and dangerous. And she had no idea. Maybe that's why Luke couldn't get her out of his head.
She had fidgeted slightly while she waited for the call to board their flight. Luke noticed her chewing the inside of her cheek as she quickly tapped out a text and then pocketed her phone. Her build said she was probably an athlete, her toned legs hinted she was a runner. Luke wondered vaguely what she was running from. And now, as he finally got an unobstructed view of her face in the early morning light, he could see her brow furrowed in deep thought, as if trying to will a memory away. On her lap she clutched a notebook with a pen in the spiral.
"Are you a journalist?" Sway asked, Luke knew full well she was not but he was actually thankful that his pushy friend was keeping her talking.
Lenna's eyes fluttered open and she looked at the notebook in her lap. "No, just a poet." She said absentmindedly. Luke strained, trying to listen in on their conversation without being obvious. Damn Sway for getting the seat next to her.
"Oh, so it's a book of secrets, is it?" Sway's tone staying light. He could never resist a pretty girl.
Lenna winked, "Everyone has secrets." Then she smiled at Sway and changed the subject. "Why are you going to Chicago?"
Luke could tell Sway was enjoying her spunky back and forth. "We're heading there to kick off our tour." He answered with a hint of pride and Luke rolled his eyes.
Lenny frowned, "Tour? Are you in a band?"
Laughter and snickers could be heard from the other members as they overheard. Sway just smiled, pretending to be embarrassed that she didn't know who he was. "I guess you could say that." He took a bottle of water from the drink cart as it passed. "I'm sorry, I thought I introduced myself. I'm Ryan 'Sway' Schaeffer, bass player for a band called Double Blind Study."
Lenna's brows drew together, "Ok..."
Sway wasn't disappointed, instead he grinned from ear to ear, showing her his dazzling perfect teeth. "We're kind of a big deal." He bragged.
"Is that why you thought I would be impressed with your flattery? I imagine most girls are." Lenna raised an eyebrow pointedly and Luke smirked. Girls didn't tend to call Sway out on his obvious self important air. Luke was compelled to get to know this girl better.
Sway continued to grin. "Of course," He admitted.
"Why are you smiling then?" Lenna narrowed her eyes at Sway.
"You're obviously not like most girls. I'll have to change my tactics."
Lenna was rolling her eyes when Luke had heard enough and crossed the aisle, grabbed Sway by the arm and pulled him to his feet. "You talk too much, Sway." He said, almost scolding. He took Sway's vacant seat and turned to Lenna. "Sorry, he can be pushy with pretty girls."
"With girls in general." Blake, who was sitting ahead of Lenna, snorted.
"I resent that!" Sway defended himself as he sat in Luke's empty chair. "I have never hit on an ugly girl."
"Good job, dude. I'm sure that little statement will convince her that you are in no way a pig." Mike said sarcastically from next to him.
Sway turned to him, "Thanks for backing a bro up."
Lenny was amused at their interaction, they reminded her of her brothers but she refused to get distracted. She had a job, time to get to work. Time to become their new best friend.
Lenny had been blessed with a photographic memory and never missed anything. It came in handy more often then not, allowing her to learn tasks quickly and become proficient in them. She noticed and stored details more precisely than a computer. It was her best kept secret and she had always used it to her advantage.
The guy who had switched seats and was now sitting next to her was the lead singer of the group. Of course Lenny had heard of them. Double Blind Study was only the hugest band in the world right now. Hard rock with some metal influence. They hadn't toured in two years because of the drummer doing hard drugs when they were overseas and landing in the hospital. The tabloids ripped them apart, sensationalizing the truth of the matter. They printed gossip and pointed blame on drinking, girls and the band's inability to get along with one another. The band members refused to do interviews and took a hiatus. Their fame skyrocketed. Fans demanded new music and a follow up tour. Lenny had heard the new album, it was fantastic. She had been a fan from day one. It was the one thing she hadn't changed since the accident.
She covertly studied Luke Casey sitting next to her. He was casually browsing through a guitar magazine, not as interested in her as Sway had been. His short blonde hair was covered by a Celtics ball cap, not a surprise since most of them were natives of Boston. His gray t-shirt was snug against his lean but muscular chest and shoulders. Tattoos leaked out from his short sleeves and down to his elbows. Despite his rumpled appearance and worn jeans, he smelled clean and his face was shaved smooth. His reputation was one of smoldering sex appeal and refusal to get tied down. Typical lead singer qualities.
Lenny put on her most amicable smile, tucked her hair behind one ear and asked, "Are you guys always this nice to each other?" She still hadn't gotten a clear view of Luke's face and she was wondering if he was as good looking in person as in the magazines. Not that it should matter, she was now on the payroll and Carl had been pretty specific about how he felt with her 'fraternizing' with the band members. But those facts did nothing to squelch her curiosity. She was still a woman after all.
"Pretty much." He thought for a minute and then added, "We look out for each other. Some of us don't know our weaknesses as well our friends do. You need someone to watch your six." He turned his stunning blue eyes on Lenny, "You know what I mean?"
Lenny nodded her head even as an electric current ripped through her body. She knew exactly what he meant but she couldn't speak for a moment as her voice had gotten stuck in her throat while she had been busy trying to figure out exactly what shade of blue Luke Casey's eyes were. He was everything she was afraid he would be. The pictures didn't do him justice. He was even more gorgeous while in motion, as if his raw masculinity had to be felt and no camera would ever be able to capture it. And his voice, that voice that could go from soothing and melodic to a fury filled growl in a span of micro seconds, was washing over her like a warm rain shower. She tried not to stare at his perfectly chiseled jaw line as he spoke more words to her. Words she was going to need to respond to any minute.
"I totally agree." She suddenly blurted out. She didn't know what she had just agreed to but Luke seemed satisfied so it must have made sense on some level. She inwardly cursed herself for turning into an instant jellyfish and resolved to not let her hormones ruin this. She just wouldn't look at his eyes. Or his smile. Or his arms. Oh, damn, his arms. This was unexpected, and in no way normal for her. Her body was betraying her logical practicality. She took a breath and resolved to shake it off. She was nothing if not a professional. Lenny had been ignoring attractive men her whole life, Luke Casey would be no different. Right?
"You have a lead on a job in Chicago?" Luke was trying to be polite but he couldn't help feeling uneasy. He had purposed to rescue her from Sway before he could start humping her leg. Now Luke found himself trying not to talk to her too eagerly. He kept trying to meet her eyes, they were the deepest blue he had ever seen, almost sapphire. But she continuously looked around the cabin.
"Nothing definite, just an impulse." Lenna smiled and Luke couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to kiss those perfect lips.
"You look familiar," Harrison was up on his knees in his seat and had turned around to join their conversation. Luke was both thankful and annoyed at the distraction.
"Maybe you saw me at the airport." Lenna raised her eyebrows in an obvious gesture.
Harrison chuckled at himself, "Yeah, that was probably it." He stuck out his hand, "I'm Harrison Oneil, I play lead guitar in the band you've never heard of." Lenna grasped his hand and Luke was surprised at the sudden surge of jealously that filled his gut when they touched. He pushed it aside quickly. He was not going to lose his head over a girl he didn't know.
"You have gorgeous eyes, Lenna." Harrison blurted out what Luke and Sway hadn't gotten to yet. Luke glared at Harrison discreetly but Harrison either didn't notice or didn't care.
"Thanks," Lenna accepted the compliment and then added her own, "You have gorgeous hair."
Harrison blushed and immediately ran his fingers through his luscious locks. He worked really hard at making his hair look effortless and Luke knew he enjoyed people complimenting it.
Lenna seemed amused at his reaction and gave him a small, lopsided smile and added, "You can call me Lenny, everyone else does."
"Lenny? That's rather unique, and kind of manly." Harrison waggled his eyebrows and Luke had to suppress his laugh. Harrison flirting was the exact opposite of Sway. No matter how hard the guy tried, he couldn't help but come across as adorable and was immediately 'friend zoned.'
Lenny laughed lightly at Harrison's remark and her eyes darted to Luke's. "I guess I've always been more comfortable just being one of the guys." She explained and Luke felt his heart sink a little when he realized they had all just been 'friend zoned.'
Harrison didn't seem to mind though and he kept the conversation going. The rest of the band members began to join in the discussion and Luke was impressed with how well Lenny held her own. She stayed active in the dialogue, adding jokes and quips. Luke had known these guys a long time and it could be difficult getting a word in edgewise around them but Lenny fit in like a missing piece that they didn't know had been missing. That was a weird thought. Don't go down that road, Casey.
Luke did, however, notice that Lenny continuously steered the conversation back to the band. She spoke very little about herself and the guys preferred it that way. They were entertainers for a reason.
Lenny relaxed into the conversation, letting it flow and grow around her. She was finding herself really liking these guys. They were friendly and good-humored and made her feel equally witty and important. That didn't surprise her, Lenny had always gotten along with guys better than girls. It came from having three older brothers…and of course the male dominant sport she had just abandoned.
The drummer, Mike Osborn was sitting beside Sway. He was tall and lanky, tattoos spiraled up and down his arms and his hair was a shaggy, caramel color. He hadn't shaved in a few days as evidenced by the dark shadow cast across his jaw. He seemed to be the most subdued of the group even though he was constantly smacking his legs to a beat in his head.
"How did you guys come up with your band name?" Lenny kept the conversation flowing with the intent of learning as much as she could. The band name had always seemed a little ambiguous to her.
"It's kind of a long story." Luke shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
Lenny pushed his knee flirtatiously, "C'mon, you can tell me." The longer she spoke with them, the more comfortable she got and Luke Casey's effect on her dulled. Lenny was pleased to know she still had a handle on her own brain, rock star or not.
Luke looked over at Sway who just shrugged. "I don't care, man. You already ruined any chance of seduction on my part. It's still a better name than what Blake thought up."
"Trophy Wives would have been an amazing name, you jag." Blake Diedrich said from the seat directly in front of Lenny.
Blake was also a guitarist but played the grungier side of their songs. He was older than the rest of them and had come from a different band years ago. He was more punk rock than metal rock but his sound blended nicely with the rest of the group. Blake had turned around a few times during the conversation and Lenny hadn't missed the appraising gaze that came from his green eyes. He was tall and lean with jet black short, spikey hair and just like all the other band members, he had tattoos and muscles. They could easily fit in with the guys Lenny worked out with at her local gym. Or a random biker gang.
"I always liked Taco Night." Sway said impishly.
"Guys, anything is better than Taco Night." Mike interjected receiving a scowl from Sway.
"So, you guys just picked a random name out of a hat or what?" Lenny was trying to follow along.
Harrison turned around to face her and Luke again. "Here's the deal, We grew up in Boston, right?" He waited for Lenny to nod so he knew she was paying attention. "Okay, Sway has always had a…penchant for the ladies." Lenny looked over at Sway who winked and she resisted another eye roll. "When he was only seventeen he started to sneak onto the campus at Boston University to scam on college chicks."
"Why college chicks?" Lenny asked, leaning forward, totally engrossed in Harrison's story.
"Because college chicks are experienced and usually pretty easy." Sway said matter of fact.
"Dude." Mike grimaced with disapproval.
"Anyway," Harrison continued. "BU does a lot of research and some girls picked up on the fact that Sway wasn't a student. They developed an experiment in order to study attraction and how strong a teenage boy's libido could be. They did a double blind study in which Sway didn't know he was part of an experiment and neither did the girls he was scamming on. It was going great for them until Sway got caught by campus police and they threw him out and threatened to turn him in on charges of seduction."
"Is that real?" Lenny asked, incredulous.
"Yeah, Frank Sinatra was charged for it too, you know." Sway said making a sexy face and blowing Lenny a kiss.
Lenny just shook her head and waited for Harrison to finish.
"My sister was the one who organized the study, that's how I found out about it." Harrison folded his hands together and rested his chin on his knuckles. "We decided that our band was basically that, a double blind study to the public where they didn't know they were part of it and neither did we. 'Course we're more sober now than when we started. So I suppose we're more aware of our actions."
"Yeah, and you really don't want to have to go to all the trouble of changing your album covers and t-shirts." Lenny teased.
"And Blake would have to get that tattoo removed." Harrison added.
"You tattooed the name of your own band on yourself?!" Lenny pulled herself up to look at Blake, "Lemme see it."
Blake tried to feign annoyance but he clearly liked the attention. He stood up on the plane and yanked his shirt up to expose his impressive six pack and the large tattoo scrawled in black ink across the length of his chest:
DOUBLE BLIND STUDY
"That's nice and subtle." Lenny said sarcastically with a grin.
"I was excited…" Blake tried to defend, putting his shirt back down.
"Dude, you were wasted." Harrison corrected, Blake shrugged in confession.
"Blake came back with the tattoo and we didn't have much of a choice after that." Harrison finished his story.
They spent the entire flight laughing and entertaining Lenny. They talked easily, having no reservations about her seemingly innocent presence. She had built the perfect platform for her next statement. It was time to cast the net.
"You guys make it sound fun but hard. I wish I could come along to help you out." Her voice was light and sweet. This was it.
They all exchanged glances, momentarily silent. Harrison spoke first. "Actually, we do need an assistant-"
"Dude!" Blake smacked him.
"Ow!" Harrison protested, rubbing his arm. "What?! Maybe it'll get Carl off our back!"
They all seemed to consider this for a minute. Luke turned to Lenny and said, "What do you say Lenny? You wanna join a bunch of ugly, smelly guys for a few months?"
Lenny smiled. Her plan had worked. She nodded at all of them and kept her tone even as she replied, "What do you mean? Like, work for you?" She tried to look confused.
"Yeah," Harrison's face lit up. "Then you can hang out with us every day."
"That would be amazing." Lenny smiled but she noticed Luke's eyes shift down and away from hers. The other members were already discussing how they could sell the idea to Carl but Luke remained silent. He'd already given his verbal approval and Lenny got the distinct impression that Luke was the leader in more areas than just lead singer. If he had disagreed with this than the deal would have been off.
Luke suddenly came back to the conversation and his easy smile returned. Whatever he had been thinking about had been settled and Lenny tried to push his obvious discomfort with her to the back of her mind. She would just have to prove to him that she could do the job.