Rehearsal: A Different Drummer
©LK Hunsaker 2006
14 March 1974
Thursday evening, Susie walked downstairs to catch the rest of practice after Timmy and Taylor went home. Grimacing at the sight of Roy sitting not far from the stage, she walked quietly to the side farthest away from him, staying back where he didn’t see her.
They sounded fantastic. Duncan was already fitting in well and Evan had no trouble moving from lead guitar to bass. She grinned watching him. He was so wonderful. He had been the band’s lead guitarist ever since joining and now seemed to be stepping back as much as his friend would allow. Occasionally, Stu took over on bass and Evan and Duncan had a battle of guitars – not a battle, really, but Duncan backed away now and then, returning the limelight to his buddy. She could tell how much Evan enjoyed having his friend in the band and the other guys were much more animated than usual.
Roy stood as the song ended, lumbering toward the new guy. “You think you’re ready for the show tomorrow?”
“I ’m always ready for a show.”
Susie chuckled at his eagerness and dedication, but Roy turned and walked away without another word. He noticed Susie as he headed out, barely glancing in her direction. She ignored him and walked down front.
Duncan looked confused. “Wha’ is with him?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Evan saw her approach and set his guitar in its stand.
She watched him head toward her while the other guys wondered where he was going. His friend still wanted an explanation for the rudeness, and he deserved one. Susie moved closer. “He thought you were bragging.”
“Braggin’? That is no’ what I meant.”
“We know what you meant. And his opinion doesn’t matter.”
Duncan raised an eyebrow. “I take it you two do no’ ge’ along?”
Stuart laughed. “That’s an understatement if I ever heard one. She avoids him like the plague.”
“Why?” The bright blue eyes penetrated her own.
“Because he’s rude and obnoxious and he cheats on his wife. I can’t stand to be around him.”
Evan touched her back. “I’m surprised you came tonight. I told you he would be here.”
“I was hoping he’d be gone by now.” She noticed a trickle of sweat on the side of his face. They really needed air in the basement. “And I wanted to ask what time you were playing tomorrow.”
He wiped at it with his T-shirt sleeve. “Won’t you have the kids?”
“I cancelled so I wouldn’t miss the show. Can I have a ride?”
“You know you don’t have to ask. We’re leaving at six-thirty.” He lowered his hand again to head back to the others. “Oh, and maybe you should call Janet and see if she wants to ride along.”
“She mentioned yesterday that she’d like to come to a show. And it would give you someone to sit with, if Kate doesn’t decide to come.”
Susie rifled through her closet, finally selecting her favorite skirt, a soft cotton blend with darts to shape it just so without being snug. It was straight, but flared slightly at the bottom, just below her calves, and black, with a touch of shine. She chose her red silk blouse, a gift from her roommate, to go with it. She hadn’t worn the blouse very often because the top button was lower than she liked, but she wouldn’t be sitting alone tonight, and Evan would be there.
Starting to pull her hair up, she changed her mind and left most of it to fall down her back, only pulling the sides into a thin braid down the middle and tying the end with a small red ribbon. Slipping into her black ballerina flats, she heard the doorbell and took a deep breath. Why was she nervous? She went out with the guys all the time. Telling herself to quit being so ridiculous, she opened the door.
Evan noticed the extra trouble she’d taken, as she hoped. “You look great.”
“Thank you. Come on in.” Unable to say anything to Evan’s buddy, she met his eyes so he wouldn’t think she was ignoring him. They looked like they had coordinated their outfits, with his faded red T-shirt and black leather vest over black jeans. A nice look. “I’ll see if Kate’s ready.” She forced her breathing while feeling stares from behind.
Kate opened her door just before Susie knocked. “What do you think?” She turned a slow circle, showing off her shiny blue skin-tight dress which barely covered her thighs.
“I think you’ll need an armed escort.”
“An escort with arms will be just fine, and I imagine I can find one.” She strolled past Susie to the main room, purposely drawing attention from the two men, then turned back. “You know, Suse, I think I’ll have to take you shopping and show you how to get a man’s attention.”
Susie saw her start to say something to Evan and interrupted. “That’s not the kind of attention I want.”
“I don’t know why not. It’s not like you have anything to hide.” She grinned teasingly and focused on the guy she hadn’t met.
Evan came to her rescue, stopping whatever Kate was about to say next by giving a brief introduction.
“You’re Evan’s friend? You’re sure?” Kate’s eyes wandered up and down Duncan’s body. “I have to say I’m surprised. Pleasantly surprised, that is. I didn’t think he had any friends who weren’t at least kinda stuffy, if ya know what I mean.”
“And y’ are Susie’s friend? Or only her roommate?” He glanced at Evan, since that was how he introduced Kate, as her roommate.
Kate laughed. “Guess that depends on how mad at me she is at the time you ask. If Evan had his way, I wouldn’t be either one.”
Susie moved in beside her. “It was his idea for you to move here with me. And thank you for calling me stuffy. I appreciate that.”
Motioning toward her outfit, Kate shrugged. “Only kind of. You have potential. Give me time.” Paying no attention to her look, or to Evan’s, which was worse, she pushed up against Duncan. “Susie says I need an armed escort. What do you think?”
“I think that migh’ be a good idea.”
A mischievous smile making her intentions known, she slid an arm underneath the black leather, around his waist, resting her other hand on his chest. “Are you armed?”
Duncan raised an eyebrow. “Probably no’ enough for you.”
“I find that hard to believe.” Kate let the hand on his chest slide down, until he caught it to stop her.
Evan interrupted, saying they needed to get going, and held Susie’s jacket while she put her arms through. She set a hand on his arm as he held the door for her, wondering if he warned Duncan about Kate. If not, she was sure he would.