Beautiful Music: Colour Haze
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Copyright ©2013 Faith Talbot
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Randy Richmond was assembling a new drum set in his band's practice space when his phone rang. He finished tightening the wing nut on the high hat before he chased down the phone, which he'd tossed on a chair on the other side of the room.
It was Liz. Liz called a lot, especially considering she was his ex-girlfriend. The "ex" part had never quite soaked in. It hadn't really soaked in with Randy, either, especially not with certain parts of his body. The ones between his legs he could ignore. But the other part -- the one between his ears -- that was harder.
"Hey." As always, his heart had skipped a little when he saw her number on the caller ID. He couldn't get rid of the reaction. Lately, now that he was beginning to understand some things more clearly, he wasn't sure he wanted to.
"Hey, Randy." Her voice sounded strained. "I didn't interrupt anything, did I?"
"No, just setting up in Kayla's basement. What's up?"
"I need your help."
It didn't take anything more than that. Randy let her give him the basic details, then cut her off, hung up, and headed out. Jason was working in the dining room; Randy gave him a quick rundown before he left the house.
Liz answered the door promptly; Randy took her in his arms before she could say anything. He held her a moment, letting all the memories rush back in to fill the nonexistent space between them, then set his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back gently. "Where is he?"
She waved vaguely toward the interior of the apartment. Randy came inside, and Liz drew the door shut behind them, then led the way toward the bedroom.
Tom sat cross-legged on the mattress, his right arm held up at an awkward angle. It was encased in plaster from wrist to elbow.
"Shit," Randy said.
Tom looked up. "Accurate assessment."
Randy leaned in the doorway as Liz went to sit next to Tom on the bed. He had a notebook computer in front of him and had been typing into it laboriously with his left hand.
"What the fuck happened?" Randy asked. He'd gotten part of the story from Liz on the phone, but not all of it.
"I caught a guy trying to break into the trailer. Got into a pissing match; he shoved me, I landed wrong."
"You called the cops?"
"First thing, yeah. He ran when he heard them coming."
"Shit." It was about as eloquent as Randy was going to get.
"We're supposed to go on tour starting next month." Liz still sounded small and shaky. Randy couldn't blame her. Tom didn't look too bad, considering, but there was a bruise along one cheekbone, his lip was split, and he was paler than he should have been. "We've got dates in Indy and Urbana..."
Randy lifted a hand. "Don't sweat it. We're between tours. Between projects, even." He and Erik and Jason had just finished recording a new album. They were ramping up for a new tour, but the record wouldn't be ready for a few more weeks. Jason was still mixing, and they had a ways to go before the master would be done. "I can fill in."
"Are you sure?" Tom asked. "I mean, I can go along -- I plan to -- but there's no way I can play."
"I'm sure." Of course he'd still need to okay it with Jason and Erik, but he doubted it would be a problem. They'd probably appreciate the extra alone time with Kayla.
"You're a good dude, Mr. Richmond." Tom's words seemed flippant; his tone was anything but.
Randy did his best to keep his gaze from sliding to Liz. He failed. "You know I'm there for you."
Liz smiled a little, then exchanged a glance with Tom, then Randy. "You really are a good dude, Randy."
"Yeah." Randy felt suddenly awkward. "I should go talk to the guys, be sure everything's cool with them, and get a timeframe for when they want me back."
"Good plan," said Tom.
Liz got up to see Randy out. She bent to Tom first, kissing his forehead gently. "Don't forget your pills."
Tom grumbled something Randy didn't catch. Liz just tousled his hair and went to walk Randy to the door.
"This is above and beyond," she said to him as they crossed the living room. "Really. I shouldn't have even asked you."
"No. It's okay. It really is." At the front door, he turned to face her, took her hand. "You know I'm there for you."
There was a moment of silence between them. Randy could feel her fingers trembling against his, the vague shiver like a bird's heartbeat. Suddenly she leaned forward and kissed him.