So tell me what you want to hear
Something that were like those years
Sick of all the insincere
So I'm gonna give all my secrets away
Sandy Point - Ed's Pier 7 PM
Rayne set her Fender next to stage along with Toad's. The lights sputtered and flashed and went dark and came back again, and Jimmy's attempts at some kind of sound check sputtered and flashed and went dark right along with the lighting. "Shit amps." Jimmy walked around looking at them, kicking cables aside. It was a stage crammed into one end of a pier set up for beach party music. Vince hadn't showed. Adrian was sulking. Jimmy was livid, deep into every freaking detail and finding fault with everything.
She sat on the edge of stage, swinging her foot against the paneling, finding rotten spots, her high heel sinking into them, watching Woody saunter up. "I brought Mia," Woody said, grinning as if he'd remembered to bring the beer to a party when everybody else forgot.
Mia was a short blonde girl, all chest and no legs, and she was wearing pink sunglasses that kind of matched her pink top and her pink flip flops. The pink top had an umbrella and fish design, a big fish hiding under a pink umbrella. It was night. Nobody else was wearing sunglasses. She swung the sunglasses toward Rayne and announced in a matter of fact voice, "I'm Brew's manager."
Oh yeah right, she was a manager. Rayne glanced at Jimmy. He jumped off the stage, pissed, ignoring the manager girl, glaring at Woody. "Where the hell is Vince?"
"I don't know man, haven't seen him."
"I help set up gigs," Mia huffed, sounding defensive even though nobody had said anything to her, or maybe that's why, because nobody had said anything to her. "And I write a column for the Sandy Point Independent. It's a paper."
"It's a circular with letters to the editor about potholes," Woody laughed. "And a couple of columns. Mia does one called BarCrawlers - you should read her last one, what was it? Oh yeah, Have Fun in a Field."
"It wasn't about cows," she snapped, still looking uncomfortable and still looking at Rayne and still hiding behind the sunglasses. "Sandy Point has a summer music festival, and there's some pretty good bands. And they pay them, on time, with checks that don't bounce. Jimmy knows that. We've known each other a long time, Jimmy and me."
Now that was interesting. Was Mia an ex? Maybe she hadn't realized she was an ex until very, very recently, as in right now recently. Rayne didn't understand why Woody was poking at her, which struck her as sort of mean, unless it was his version of flirting. She didn't know what to say, so she aimed a deliberate stare at Pink Sunglasses and kept her mouth shut. Fun in a field, yeah...I'll bet you're fun in a field.
"Long enough to know I ain't interested in your damned paper right now," Jimmy growled. Turning on Woody, he demanded, "You come with me, we got to find Vince. Mia you want to do something useful, you go find Adrian and get his ass up here."
He hesitated, leaned over, gave Rayne a quick kiss, whispered, "She's nobody sweetheart; you wait up here for me."
She had no intention of waiting anyplace else. The person she'd been expecting was striding toward her, barely avoiding bumping into Jimmy who was pushing past him. The two of them stopped short. Jimmy shot a quick look at him, a brief mutual acknowledgment, then dragged Woody along past the lanterns toward the road, Pink Sunglasses scurrying along behind...keep scurrying....
"Hey Wyatt, you found the place." She gave her brother a quick hug. "Come on over here, those guys are going to run over anything and anybody in their way."
He laughed before turning careful attention back to her. "Are you okay Rainie? Do you need anything?"
Was she okay? That was a hard question to respond to. Rayne sat down at a table near the stage and thought about money and watched the lanterns bob in the wind blowing onshore. Cheap pieces of paper shredded and torn, about the same as everything in Jimmy's house. She eyed her brother then shook her head. "I need absolutely everything but I'm getting used to recycled coffee. Look Wy, I didn't ask you to come out here because I want money from you. I want to know what you heard about Mom and Dad breaking up."
Wyatt sat back, looked out at the surf, and finally said, "I doubt I know anything you don't know. Dad called me and said it's temporary, they're working things out, and to blow off the rumors. That's about it."
Somewhere behind her, Rayne heard Toad yelling at somebody. She waited, waiting until the echo of his angry voice moved in the other direction. This conversation wasn't something she intended to share with Jimmy. Leaning forward across the salt scoured table, she pressed her brother, "What kind of rumors?"
Slightly surprised, Wyatt insisted, "You know what they say about him: one hundred proof lies. Come on, they've held on through a lot of shit including that asshole McDermott; if he says he wants to work it out, he'll try to work it out."
Her brother was right about that; they'd held on long past the point most couples would have given up which made the whole separation even stranger. "Ok listen Wy, Ryan was like years ago. Something big must have happened for them to split up like this. Dad's moved out. If they were working things out he would still be there. Something's different and if Dad is worried about rumors..." Rayne watched him expectantly.
Confused, Wyatt asked, "What's your point?"
"My point -" Something thudded behind her, she jumped, took a deep breath and started again. "My point," she repeated, "is that they've been through a lot of shit and didn't break up until now. My point is, what's different? Gemma Wilson, that's what. You know as well as I do that she looks like your mother. Gemma arrives, starts 'working' with Dad, and bang, they split up."
Wyatt sat back, staring at her, and then laughed out loud. "No way! She's not interested in Dad."
This time Rayne clearly heard Jimmy approach. She glanced up at him; he looked frustrated, cigarette flaring, guess they hadn't solved the missing Vince problem. She knew what he was going to ask and she didn't know the set but in this place, who would care? "Give me a sec, Toad, just a couple more seconds."
Jimmy backed off, crouched on the end of the stage and waited, making it clear that he was definitely waiting and wasn’t going to wait much longer.
"You're delusional," Wyatt told her finally. Arms crossed, his voice, so like their father's, tight and hard now. "They're all after Dad. Every single woman in the world is after him. That's bullshit, Rainie. You're buying into a myth."
Rayne stood up, trying to pull this together, why would Wyatt be so certain Gemma wasn't interested in Cooper? Because he thought she was interested in someone else. Why would he think that? The lanterns swung, weather picking up, throwing wind and water over the pier and casting yellow and red and shadows across his face. He would think it, she realized, uneasy, because he'd seen it. Wyatt was into Gemma, or Gemma was into Wyatt…that’s what he meant, and it would topple her brother right into the same sick place she’d been with Ryan.
She didn't want to follow this, she didn't have time now and even if she had, she didn't want to. "I have to go, but Wyatt, I'll bet you I'm right about Gemma. Something will happen, I don't know what, but it will, and you'll know I'm right."
He shook his head, shifting his feet, then stood firm although his voice held a touch of doubt. "No, not this time."
Jimmy eased up off the stage; she'd run out of seconds. Discouraged, anxious, Rayne grabbed Wyatt and held on tight, staring intently in his eyes as she warned, "Be careful, Wy. Please. Promise you'll be careful."
NEXT CHAPTER: Sessions Chapter 35