Assure Her (Assured Distraction Book 1) (5 page)

Cash started out pushing his stack of papers in Chandler’s direction, as he began speaking directly to her but in an official-sounding tone that let everyone in the room know they were to pay attention to the conversation too. “Miss Chatam, the band is prepared to offer you the position for the next eight-to-ten weeks. This is contingent on Jacoby’s recovery and return, as you were made aware prior to the audition. You’ll be expected to travel with the band, either by bus or by plane, as determined by me. You will have the same amenities as provided the rest of the guys here.”

At his statement, all four guys started chuckling. “Amenities? What the fuck? That’s the first time we’ve ever heard that word out of your mouth, asswipe. Want to tell us what those might be, exactly?” Gunner cocked an eyebrow up in Cash’s direction.

“What more could you need, dickhead? You carry drumsticks around in your back pocket and an extra one with your junk to convince the ladies you’re really a man. That doesn’t take up much room. What other amenities could you possibly need to make your life better?” Carter loved harassing Gunner with dumb drummer jibes that usually got a laugh out of everyone, and this time was no different. Even Chandler smiled but made sure not to look toward his ‘junk’ to see if he really carried a drumstick in there.

Dismissing their remarks with a wave of his hand, he continued, “We will discuss all of that in more detail later. Right now we just want to get Miss Chatam on board with the band then we’ll be ready to move forward. So, are you prepared to make a decision? Are you able to leave Monday and travel non-stop for the coming weeks on tour with these guys?”

Chandler’s thoughts spun out of control at light speed.
Oh. My. God. Was this really happening? Was this what she wanted to do?
Better question was,
could she do this?
Being the only female was not going to be easy. She wasn’t used to hanging out with men twenty-four/seven but this is exactly what she’d wanted to do for so long, and this was a hell of an opportunity to play the kind of music that always felt as natural to her as breathing to her. Until now, she’d never had the chance to explore it. This felt like her first road-test her talents.

“OK. I’m in. Where do I sign? And when do we leave?” Wow, that rolled off her tongue too easily. She never made snap decisions like this. Maybe she should have a lawyer look over the contract first. Surely she was making a good one for her career but was it good for her, personally? What were her parents going to say? She would have to tell them if she was going to be gone more than a few weeks to keep them from worrying.

KeeMac stood up, “Looks like we have a replacement, boys. And she’s a lot better-looking than fucking Jacoby! Let’s go celebrate!” He dragged out the word boys to get their attention, but it was the word ‘celebrate’ that spurred their sudden burst of activity. They all stood, talking at once, about what celebrating entailed.

“No celebrating for Chandler. She’s got a lot to do, starting with paperwork. And then makeover.” Cash’s comment didn’t faze them. They were set on hitting the bar for an early afternoon celebration, with or without her. So much for getting to know them better before they all became roomies for the next two months.

“Yeah, about that makeover, Miss Chatam,” Gunner leaned over the table, invading her personal space more than she felt was really necessary. “You realize you are going to have to change your nun habit for something a lot more...sexy?” The overt sexiness that dripped from his tongue left her stunned. She couldn’t respond, even if she knew what to say. Gunner smirked right in her face. “That’s what I thought. Get ready, little girl. Life is about grab you by the ass and take you on one hell of a ride, whether you want it to or not!”

“We’ll be at the Bender Bar, if you care to join us,” Ryan, who had been quiet the entire time, added. “Hopefully we will see you later.”

His comments soothed Chandler’s nerves a little, but she was still reeling from all that had happened in the last few hours. She wondered how the rest of the day would unfold.

Chapter Six

––––––––

A
phalanx of people rushed at Chandler all at once. Fortunately, Cash asked Peri to be there with her when the teams came through the door. First was hair: the very thing that Chandler did not want to fight over.

“Girl, you are already so beautiful. I just don’t know how we are going to improve on this!” Thomas ran his fingers through her thick, stick-straight, black hair. “This looks natural. Are you telling me you were ‘born this way’?” He laughed at his own reference. Chandler just rolled her eyes at him in amusement. She didn’t really know what to make of this man when he walked in the door and walked all the way around her before making a sound.

“Let’s see what we can do to enhance this gorgeous mane.” He flipped her hair over her shoulder.

“NO! I don’t want my hair cut unless it’s to trim the ends.”

“Oh, my sweet little one. I would never presume to cut these luscious locks! It’s just too beautiful. No, just a little snip off the ends, because your hair is about to undergo monumental stress in the next eight weeks, with all the washing and styling and products. I’m thrilled this is not color we are dealing with. What I would like to do is cut a few strands around your face just to frame it. Would you consider some to sweep to the side? With your eyes and this hair... just splendid.” Thomas was pawing through her hair making Chandler a little nervous as to what would happen if he did have scissors in his hand.

“How about letting us add some ultra-royal blue extensions? Under the stage lights, it would make you stand out a little. With all of that hunky man meat surrounding you onstage, you need something to entice the male species in the audience.” The way he wriggled at the mention of “male species” she knew his hot pink fingernails and flair for color were meant to appeal to the same team as her proposed blue extensions, and she couldn’t help but smile at his sassy shimmy as he envisioned how she was going to entice the male fan base.

“Sure, I’ve never tried extensions but different colors would be great. Who knows, maybe I’ll like it enough I’ll consider making them permanent.”

“Oh, bitches! Did you all hear that? She might be swayed to let us change her a little at a time. Let’s get this party started, shall we?”

Thomas sent people in different directions to procure the items he listed while talking to the make-up artist, Camille, who would be traveling with the band as well. She deferred to Thomas on the styling but would actually do the hair on the road. Chandler got the feeling she was going to have her own entourage before it was all over which made her giggle, something she rarely did in public. Her mother’s incessant scolding taught her that it wasn’t ladylike but she’d never been fawned over by so many people. It was rather thrilling to feel like “queen for a day.”

After the little snips of hair were trimmed from the bottom and a few makeup looks tried for day, stage and night time, Peri took her to several interesting new and used clothing stores. Austin was famous for all things vintage and clothing was one of them. Chandler had never shopped stores like that before. Her mother kept her D.C. clothes up-to-date, all of which were conservative skirts, sweater sets, and typical political family attire. The clothes she brought from NYC came from mostly conservative designer stores since her mother was always with her when she actually shopped for clothes. Chandler had never been a clothes hound so she usually just wore what was in her closet without much thought or enthusiasm.

“OK, so you are going to need stage clothes, meet-and-greet clothes, and comfy things for the bus and downtime. Oh, and shoes, boots, and sandals.

“That’s going to cost a lot of money to basically replace my wardrobe. I’m not sure I can afford all of that at once.”

“Chan, I told you. We are on Cash’s fucking card today! It’ll be so damn fun to spend his money!” It was obvious she wouldn’t have any trouble spending his money but Chandler didn’t know how she felt about it yet. She wondered what Peri’s choices would be.

****

“O
h my God. I have never had so much skin showing in so many different places, Peri. Are you sure about this?” Chandler’s head was spinning from the styles Peri brought into the dressing room for her to try.

“Yeah! And you look great in everything, so it’s going to be hard to narrow down the choices. Maybe we should get them all!” Peri laughed deviously as she handed Chandler a few more things to try. “Let me see those last two for sure. They are for the stage and partying.”

“I doubt I’ll do much partying after playing all of these back-to-back dates we have. I’ll be too exhausted.”

“Girl, when you come off that stage with all of the fans screaming after the band, you will have so many built up endorphins to burn. You’ll be up for partying and blowing off steam. Just wait and see.”

Chandler stepped out of the dressing room in a shocking red dress that fit like a glove. It was something she would never choose for herself...ever. The halter top that tied around her neck enhanced her cleavage like she’d never seen it, and she had to work hard not to blush every time she looked at herself. The bottom hem had a little flair to it that she liked. She had a beautiful figure. She didn’t look like the anorexic ballet dancers she saw at Juilliard but she also wasn’t overweight. Chandler had never thought much about her size. Her appetite fluctuated with her stress, and performances caused stress. She couldn’t eat before performing for fear of throwing up on her piano. It happened to her once when she was young and after that, she only drank water before performing.

“OK, definitely put that in the ‘to-buy’ pile.” Peri was beaming at her. “It’s a must. You look so damn hot in that. I’d do you and I don’t even bat for that team! The rest of AD will have trouble keeping their eyes on the audience instead of you!”

“No, I don’t want that from them. I’ll be too self-conscious about it the entire time I’m wearing it.”

“Please Chan, as beautiful as you are, it’s going to happen. Remember they are just like all other guys. If you’re hot, they notice. Period. You might as well get used to it because they will probably give you shit about it in the beginning after seeing you this morning.”

“Really? Was it that bad?” Chandler felt so stupid now.

“Oh yeah, it was THAT bad.” Peri laughed a little. “Just roll with it though or you’ll never hear the end of it from them. Laugh at yourself, for a change. You’ll earn their respect a lot faster. They dish out so much bullshit to each other, and if you are going to be part of that, you might as well just laugh it off. You’ll eventually learn to throw it right back at them and when you do, you’ll know you’ve become part of the band.”

Blue Velvet, Garment Modern, all of the shops on So Co and some new designer clothing stores at the Domain and she was officially shopped out. Denim, leather, lace, spandex, boots of all heights, and a collection of five-and-six-inch stilettos and Peri deemed Chandler officially ready for everything but the bus. Victoria’s Secret and lululemon for yoga pants, loungewear and lingerie for on-stage and off finally ended the shopping spree. They were both exhausted.

“Damn, I’m tired. Let’s go for drinks and relax awhile.” Peri was readying herself for her second wind before she could head out for the night. It was Friday night, after all, and she intended to spend quality time with Sawyer. “Maybe we’ll meet up with the band somewhere. I’ll text KeeMac. I doubt they are through celebrating but they have probably changed bars by now.”

“No, I think I’m going to call it a night. Between auditioning and shopping I’m drained.”

“Chan, you need to start getting used to these kinds of days and long hours. Some days it will seem like you are going for twenty-four hours without sleep, and who knows, you might actually. That’s just how it is. When I traveled for Cash in LA, it would seem like I went days without sleeping longer than an hour at a time. Besides it will give you some time with the band. Getting to know them off the bus and stage is a good idea. Close quarters and in front of screaming fans will be completely different.”

“Well, since you put it that way. OK. I’ll go but when I can’t think anymore, I’m calling a cab.” She offered Peri a small smile knowing it wouldn’t take that long to feel that way. Peri convinced her to change into a pair of the new ripped jeans, a Stevie Ray Vaughn vintage concert t-shirt and to keep her hair down from her makeover. She wanted to fit in, even if she didn’t have a clue how to pull that off yet.

****

T
he guys played pool the entire afternoon at the Crow Bar, a local dive bar that was super dark inside and had an old tavern feel to it like a million bottles of beer have been drank in the place. That made it just the kind of fun they were looking for. The location was just down the road from the studio, too.

“Well, look at this. AD is now fully represented with its newest member looking like a smokin’ hot rock star!” Carter was obviously happy with the new Chandler.

“Thanks.” With her cheeks tinging a light pink shade, she didn’t know exactly what to say to these guys yet.

“Guys, cut her some slack. It’s been an exhausting day and I, for one, need a drink.” Peri headed for the bar. “What are you drinking, Chan?”

“Chan, I like it. Lot less fucking formal than Chandler Chatam,” KeeMac commented, with that same smirk on his face that he did earlier.

“I’d like a glass of Pinot Grigio, please.”

“Damn girl! This is a real bar, not The Red Room Wine Bar. Doubt you’re going to find a sommelier within five miles of this place.” Ryan was looking at her like she’d lost her mind, just because she asked for a simple glass of wine.

A beautiful girl clung to Ryan’s waist. The two looked like they were posing for an Abercrombie ad, standing by the pool table, only wearing more clothes than the models typically wore. Her attentively-tanned skin was so polar opposite of Peri’s snowy complexion. She had gorgeous white-blond curls hanging down her back. Her white tank top and short ripped-up jean shorts showcased her golden complexion and long tanned legs. Chandler wondered where they found girls like this, and then she remembered who they were.

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