Gypsy Chapter One

Chapter one

I scan the packed bar, hoping to find Tyler quickly so I don’t look like a friendless waif, or worse, attract a half-loaded woman wanting me to buy her a drink and take her home later.

Tyler sees me through the horde of people and starts waving his arms in the air like a maniac.

As soon as I’m within a couple feet of him, he starts yelling over the noise. “I’m telling you, man, you’re going to love the lead singer of this band.  Her voice will make your man parts salute.” Tyler tilts over the crowded bar and motions to the bartender for two beers.  “I came here last night, and she rocked the house down. You saw the line of people still waiting to get in here tonight.”

“I’m not looking for any new talent. All I ever see anymore is the same old same old, country girl with a twang, boy with guitar, but no real talent.” I roll up the light blue sleeves of my button-down and grab the only open barstool, forcing Tyler to stand. This place is wall-to-wall people which is unusual for a Friday night, more the Saturday night scene.  The owner does a good job hiring in new bands to keep the music fresh. He provides me with free drinks to hang out here and scope out the talent. 

I own the recording studio right around the corner from the Brew’s Brothers. Nashville houses a lot of bars and nightclubs, but this one is known for creating stars, many of which I’ve recorded records for and gotten them started in their careers.  I opened the recording studio right out of college. I’ve worked hard and made the right connections. At thirty-eight, I live comfortably, but feel like something is missing.  Lately, I’m bored with my job and can’t seem to shake it off.

Tyler, who’s been my wingman for years, has dragged me here tonight in an attempt to get me out of my funk. Either that or try to get me laid. It’s been a while, and he keeps telling me with every passing day, I’m crankier than shit.

A beautiful brunette sitting two bar stools down is smiling at me. She’s leaning on the counter, and she’s positioned herself so her breasts are being pushed up and spilling over in her black bra and see-through blouse. She applies more shiny lip gloss, and smiles again

“Jameson, are you seeing that shit?” Tyler is in my ear and pushing a cold beer in front of me. It’s so loud in here I can barely hear my own thoughts.  “She’s hot, man.” He takes a swig of his beer and winks at her.

“She’s not my type.”  I reach for a bar napkin to put my bottle on.

“But look at those knockers.” He cups his hands in front of his chest.

“I’ll be sure to tell Megan you were admiring a woman at the bar.”

He sets his beer bottle down hard. “Shit, no. She’d kill me and I wouldn’t get laid tonight.”

He’s been dating Megan for ten years, but neither one of them seem to want to get married. She’s a beauty, and way too good for him.

The lighting in the bar changes to a strobe effect and a couple of band members enter the stage area, and Boomer, the bar owner grabs the microphone. He looks akin to Willie Nelson, with his gray scraggly beard and long, wiry hair.

“It’s great to see such a big crowd here tonight,” his voice echoes from the speakers.  “I had the pleasure of introducing this band last night and evidently word got out about this angel’s voice, not to mention the great music played by her band.”

The guitar player strums a few chords, and the peppered gray-haired man behind the keyboard follows along.

“Drink up, make sure to order the wing special tonight, and enjoy Gypsy.” He makes the introduction and waits for her appearance. He looks over at the guitar player, and he shrugs.

“She’s something special all right. She doesn’t even come out for her introduction.  I don’t deal with prima donnas.” I gulp down my beer and stand to leave.  Right now, all I want to do is head for the red exit sign that’s a beacon to my sanity. I really want to be somewhere quiet to deal with the pounding in my head that’s started from the noise in this place bouncing off the walls and landing at my temples.

Tyler’s hand clamps down on my shoulder as the crowd starts cheering.  “She’s worth it, I promise.”

I blow out an aggravated breath and turn around to see a woman stepping up onto the stage. She’s dressed in a brown suede jacket with fringes coming off the sleeves. A flowered skirt rests on the top of her dark brown knee-high boots. Light blondish brown hair lays with loose curls off one shoulder, with a tan, large-brimmed hat covering her head.

She says something to the guitar player and takes the microphone from its stand.  When she turns around, sunglasses obscure her eyes. Her red lipstick is bright against her porcelain skin. A multi-corded necklace with a round silver pendant is perched close to her long neck. 

I’m not expecting much, so I order myself I order myself my namesake, a Jameson whiskey.  I swirl the round, large ice in the glass and take a swig.

She picks up a silver thermal cup from the top of a speaker next to her and takes a long sip before she raises the mic.

“We’re so glad to be here. We’ll be hanging out at the Brew’s Brothers for the next three months.  Let me introduce you to Elliot, the best guitarist a girl could ask for.”  The way he smiles at her, I can tell they’re close.  “And Joe, behind the keyboard.” He stands and takes a bow.

She clears her throat as the two-man band starts to play.  As soon as the lyrics leave her red, full lips, I’m held captive. I don’t hear another sound but hers. Her voice has a unique sexy-scratchy tone with a force that shouldn’t come out of a woman who only looks to be around five feet four. Her voice has the bar vibrating and patrons flying to the dance floor.

“I told you she was good!” Tyler yells over the noise of the crowd and music blaring through the speakers, but I tune him out, only focusing on her. I pick up my drink and my barstool rocks on two legs when I push off it.  I weave my way past the crowded tables to the edge of the dance floor. I’m stalking her like she’s my prey except I make myself known when I lift my glass to her.

Without missing a word or a note, she lifts up her hand to her face and slightly pushes the dark glasses from her eyes.  They’re deep, dark hazel and mesmerizing as hell. Probably her most beautiful feature, but even from where I stand, there’s a sadness that dances around in them.  The corner of her lip raises in a smile, and then the glasses go back in place, all while she’s belting out the words. The lyrics draw me in and create an ache with each note. I’ve never physically hurt from a song before, but this one makes my heart stir.

I look around to people laughing, dancing, and swaying their hips to the music.  I can’t help but think that they aren’t listening to the words or there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. It’s the curse of my job. I have to take in words of every song I hear.

Her voice is flawless, and she has an incredible range with perfect pitch, but yet a very distinctive sound. Her control over her raspiness is incredible.  As the song ends, she takes another drink from her cup.  I move through the dance floor overloaded with people to stand directly front and center of the stage. I’m the only one not moving.  She puts her cup down and grabs a guitar and places the bohemian-style strap around her neck and strums a few notes with her guitar player, then they fall into a song together. She moves around the stage while she sings and plays the guitar. When she gets to the chorus, she stops in front of me.  I know my gaze is glued on her, but I can’t tell where she’s looking, but I feel it. I know she’s watching only me at this very moment. Her nose scrunches as a slow, full-blown smile covers her face, making her the most beautiful woman in the room. Her head tilts, and I can’t tell if she’s curious about me or if she thinks me a groupie.

My breath hitches as I inch even closer with a need to reach out and touch her.  As if she could read my thoughts, she walks backward until she’s side by side with her guitar player. His glare tells me to back off.  I blink a few times, realizing how caught up I was in her voice.  I look over my shoulder at the crowd, then make my way back to Tyler, who is downing another drink.

“Look at this crowd! She could be the next big thing!” he yells as he’s rocking his head to the music.  “She’s just what you’ve been looking for!”

He’s right; she’s different. I’ve felt the music for the first time in a long time.  “I’ll get Boomer to introduce me when they finish their set!” I wave at the bartender for another refill of my drink.

“Would you like to dance?” I hear from behind me and feel a hand on my back. I turn to see it’s the woman from two bars stools down.  My instinct is to say no, but I find myself saying yes, so that I can be closer to the stage.

“Save my seat and don’t touch my drink,” I tell Tyler and take her hand, leading her to the dance floor.  I don’t stop on the edge, I shoulder my way through the crowd to be up front. Just as we start to move, the lights dim, and the beat of the song slows. The woman I’m dancing with drapes her arms around my neck. I should ask her name, but I really have no interest in knowing, but she blurts it out.

“Chloe,” she says loudly.  “I’m Chloe.” She has a cheesy smile like she just won a prize.

“Jameson,” I say and wrap my arms around her waist. She leans into me, and her lips are at my ear. I maneuver our bodies so I can see Gypsy. She sings quietly and sways with the music. Chloe is saying something to me but all I can do is see and feel the woman on stage.  My gaze is even more glued to her when she removes her sunglasses and her dark eyes lock with mine. She stops singing, allowing the guitar player his part. Her tongue sweeps out and licks her lips. She starts strumming her guitar, and I want to be the strings she’s playing.  I watch her every movement, and she mine, until Chloe leans back to look at me.

“I love the way you dance,” she purrs.

I didn’t realize I’d been rocking my hips into her and my dick is throbbing, but not for her like she thinks.

I drop my hands from around her waist as the song ends and head back to the bar with her on my heels.  “Do you want to go back to my place?” she asks, wrapping her arms around my waist from behind me as I reach the bar.

I pull her hands from me and turn around. “I’m sorry, Chloe, but I’m working.  I record music, and she’s my next client.” I point to the stage.

She bites her lip and gazes down at my crotch. “But I thought we were having a good time?”

This is why I hate hanging out in bars. I’m not one for loose women or a one-night stand. It’s never been my thing.  “I’m sorry.” I turn and pick up my drink. I hate being an ass. Even over the thumping of the music, I hear her huff off.

“Man, what’s wrong with you? That girl was digging you.” Tyler’s hand slaps down on my shoulder.

“You know this isn’t the way I do things.”

“Maybe you should change your rules.  You haven’t been laid since…what was her name?” He taps his finger on his chin.

He knows damn good and well her name was Jessica.  She was my assistant, and we were together for almost a year before she ran off with one of my rock-and-roll clients.  I really couldn’t blame her. They had more spark than she and I did. You could feel the air sizzle between them when they were in the same room.

“Jessica,” he finally says.  “You weren’t in love with her, yet you slept with her.”

“That’s different. It was mutual between us that it was nothing but sex and companionship. When she found her rock-n-roll boy, I bowed out. No hard feelings.”

“Have you ever been in love, Jameson?”

“Why are we talking about this here? I thought you wanted me to listen to the band?” I turn sideways and lean on the bar so that I can watch her on stage.

“I’m curious. As long as I’ve known you, I don’t remember you ever being that into anyone.”

“The answer to your question is no. I’ve never been in love. My love has always been for the music, until lately.”

“Maybe you’re figuring out that music can’t do for you what a woman can.” He laughs.  His phone rings and he digs it out of his pocket.  “It’s Megan. I’m going to head home.” He puts the phone to his ear.  “It’s too loud in here to talk, baby. I’ll catch a cab and head back.” He ends the call.  “You going to stick around?”

“Yeah. I’ll go find Boomer and have him introduce me after the show.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow. Let me know how it goes…and maybe reconsider getting laid by a stranger,” he jokes.

“Tell Megan I said hello.” I turn to face the stage again. She has her glasses back on, and her mouth is only inches from the same mic that the guitarist is singing into.  I’ve never been a jealous man and I have no right to feel anything, but I hate him that close to her. A low growl comes from my throat right before I clench my teeth. I close my eyes tight and finish my drink, setting the glass down a little too hard, getting the bartender’s attention.

“Where’s Boomer?” I ask.

“He said he was going to his office.”

I stand and shove my hands deep in my pockets and work my way to the back of the bar. I keep my face toward the stage and watch her head move with my every step. She’s watching me, watching her.

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