Not Suspicious in Hollywood: Not in Hollywood Book 5 (8 page)

Chapter Thirteen

Once we had managed to convince a reluctant
Buddy that there were far better eating options in his pen than the wooden legs
of a kitchen bar stool, Griffin and I found our way to the morning meeting. The
staff for the band was relatively small considering how many people most
celebrities had to cater to their every whim. We wandered over and sat next to
Jorge who eyed us suspiciously.

“Have a few problems with Buddy, did we?”

“How did you know?” I asked.

“Goat hair,” Jorge said as he picked
something off my pants.

I looked down at myself and, sure enough, I
did seem to be sporting a growth of goat hair.

“Wonderful,” I muttered as I started wiping
as much of the hair off myself as I could.

I looked over at Griffin. Somehow he had
managed to remain goat hair free. I wouldn’t put it past Buddy to have found a
way to make his hair stick to me on purpose.

I was so busy trying to clean myself up
that I didn’t notice when the meeting started. The manager introduced Harold
O’Brien, the lawyer who had rescued me from the best interrogation I had ever
had.

I looked up with a smile on my face, only
to have it freeze when I saw that Harold was not alone.

“As you are all aware, Jolena Aaron died
two days ago and her body was found on this property. The police are currently
investigating the unfortunate death of this young lady. After spending
yesterday in discussions with the band and management, it has been decided that
extra staff are required.” He indicated the new arrival beside him. “Mr Travis
Cooper will be evaluating security on the property and for the band. I hope
that you will all provide him with your complete cooperation.”

Travis’s gaze swept the small group. He
smiled at me and when he spotted Griffin sitting next to me, a mischievous
glint entered his eyes.

“I need you to keep an eye out and if
anything looks out of place I need you to speak to Mr Cooper immediately.”

The murmur of assent from the staff seemed
to satisfy the lawyer. I sneaked a glance over to Griffin and wasn’t surprised
to find he had put on his blank cop face. Griffin and Travis had a complicated
relationship which had only just started to thaw, kind of. The fact that Travis
was going to be evaluating Griffin in his new, hopefully very temporary, job
did not look like it was going to help their fractured relationship.

Harold looked over in our direction,
disapproval in his expression when his gaze landed on Griffin.

“Mr Griffin, may I have a word?”

Griffin nodded sharply and followed the
lawyer out of the room.

I watched him leave with a worried
expression on my face. Now that I had accepted that Griffin was going to be
working with me, I was a bit concerned that the lawyer was going to put an end
to our little experiment. Sighing, I looked around and caught Travis’s eyes as
he was talking to a staff member who had cornered him. Travis winked at me over
his head.

“Miss Eyre,” he called out. “I think I’ll
be seeing you first. Could you please meet me in the front study in five
minutes?”

I nodded my assent and turned towards
Jorge.

“I cut a nun off in traffic on my way to
work, didn’t I?”

“Why do you say that?” asked Jorge.

“Because nothing else could explain why I’m
being punished this way,” I said morosely.

“Really not dealing with today well, are
you, cupcake?”

“I had just got my head around the fact
that I was going to be working with Griffin. I was handling it, maybe not
particularly well, but I was handling it. Now I have got to deal with Travis
and that is generally not what I would consider the best part of my day.”

“You just need to be positive,” Jorge
smiled encouragingly.

“You know, you sound like you’re giving me
good advice. The words are there. But I’m seeing an evil grin on your face as
if you are trying to make sure you remember everything so you won’t miss
anything when you recount this story to Linda.”

Jorge nodded enthusiastically. “I may need
a pen and some paper so I can take notes though. I have a feeling that this is
going to be a bumper day.”

That was just great.

I knocked on the door of the study. When I
heard Travis calling out for me to enter, I walked in.

Travis looked up from the desk he had
obviously claimed as his own and smiled when he saw me. “Griffin is working
here?”

Of course that was how we were going to
start. “Don’t say a word.”

“You and Griffin are working together?”

“Please, just stop talking.”

“Oh, this is going to be priceless. I may
just tell them I’m working for free, just to get the chance to watch you two
together.”

“Are you quite finished?” I asked.

Travis nodded. “Sure. Would it be tasteless
of me to tape the exact moment when your relationship implodes?”

“I thought you and Griffin had talked and
sorted out all your problems,” I said.

“We grabbed a beer and watched a game. He
may have also given me a free shot at punching him. That was pretty much it.”

“So now that you’ve made up in a
quintessentially guy fashion, why are you still giving me grief?” I asked.

“Even when I was partnered with him we
weren’t really what you would call best buds. He’s a little uptight, follows
the rules a little too strictly. I had days when I just wanted to kill the man.
At least I got to go home at the end of the day where I could calm down from
the joy of dealing with him. You don’t even have that, do you?”

Travis looked smug as if he was reading a
playbook of the future of my relationship.

“We’ll be fine,” I said, even though I
didn’t for one second believe that.

Travis laughed with a disbelieving look on
his face. “Sure you’ll be fine. Grab a seat, will you. I have to say I was
quite surprised when I found out that you and I would be working together
again.”

“We are not working together. I am doing my
job over here and you are doing your job way over there. There may be times
when we need to speak to each other but that is the extent of our working
together.” There was no way that I was going to get caught between Travis and
Griffin again. “So are you going to tell me why you are here? I’m having a
little trouble believing that you have been hired for an evaluation of
security. And since fidelity isn’t exactly a highly prized commodity around
here, I don’t really think that you have been hired on a cheating case.”

A ghost of a smile flitted across Travis’s
lips. “The management company has some concerns that a crime like this occurred
so close to the band. Naturally, one of those concerns is that it may be a
member of the band who is responsible.”

“Isn’t that a job for the police?”

Travis nodded. “I’m not here to build a
case for or against anyone. I am here to see what I can find out and provide
management with a heads up in case this isn’t a random murder that can be laid
at someone else’s feet. They want to have time to prepare for any contingency.”

“So to clarify, they want you to find out
who was most likely to have killed Jolena so they can put in place a course of
action which will cause the least amount of damage to the brand.”

Travis nodded.

As usual when faced with the machinations
of the Hollywood system, I felt the very real need to have a shower.

“No one really cares about Jolena anymore,
do they?”

Travis shook his head. “You know how it
works, Trudie.”

“What will you do with the information if
you find it before the cops?”

Travis stiffened. “I won’t let them cover
it up. If one of the band did this, I’ll be reporting it to Fletchall and
Pickett. They won’t get away with it.”

I should have known. Despite my initial
suspicions, I knew that Travis was a cop at heart.

I clasped my hands primly in my lap. “So,
Mr Cooper, how may I help you today?”

Travis smiled slowly. “Just wanting to get
my head around the situation. I’ve got the band’s version of events and the
manager has spoken to me, but I’ve got a bit of a feeling that I may not be
getting the whole story. What do you think about the guys in the band?”

“I like them for the most part. They’re fun
to be around and they’re pretty nice guys.”

“Really?” Travis asked. “You’re trying to
tell me that five men who are in a rock band and have some of the worst
reputations on the planet for the way they break women’s hearts are really
misunderstood nice guys. Even with your ability to ignore reality and see the
best in people, I would think that is stretching the truth a bit far.”

“I will admit that the first week with them
was a little rough,” I conceded. “They treated me the same way that they have a
tendency to treat everyone, not just women. I think the guys have bought into
the whole rock and roll lifestyle and they think that behaving badly is a part
of that. After they met Griffin and they understood that I was in a committed
relationship things changed and they started treating me with a measure of
respect.”

Travis eyed me doubtfully.

“What?”

“You are expecting me to believe that all
it took was Griffin walking in and they started respecting your relationship
boundaries.”

I nodded.

“Having a little trouble with that one,
sweetheart.”

I shrugged. “What do you want me to say?
That’s the way it happened. Griffin picked me up and then the guys just wanted
to talk and be friends. Frankly, I think they are so used to women throwing
themselves at them and expecting things from them that they are grateful to
have someone that they can just talk to. Someone with no expectations of them living
up to the rock and roll lifestyle.”

Travis still looked doubtful. There wasn’t
much I could say to that. Even if the guys had never met Griffin I would most
likely have ended up in this position. In most circumstances I invariably ended
up as one of the guys. I’d had that effect on males all my life. It was a gift.

“Tell me a bit about each of the band
members.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Just your impressions.”

“Okay,” I said slowly. “Vale is the drummer
and seems to be the nicest of the guys. From what I understand he grew up in a
small town and met the others when he came to LA. I haven’t really seen Vale
party to the same extent as the others. I know he has a bit of a reputation
when he is on tour but I haven’t really seen evidence of it. Dion is the lead
guitarist and he and Sewell, the bass player, are pretty tight. If one of them
is involved in something, the other one is right behind him. They are both a
bit wild with the parties and they do have a tendency to wind up the rest of
the band. Tim is on keyboard and he is the smart one of the group. Financially,
he is an absolute genius. I can see the rest of the band losing everything
within five years of Crispy Spider breaking up but Tim will be rich for the
rest of his life. While the others are buying lots of cars and spending money
on women and whatever else they spend the money on, Tim invests his and he is
by far in a much better place than the rest of the guys.” I paused as I tried
to work out what to say next.

“What about Ash?” Travis asked when I’d let
the silence go on too long.

“Ash is a bit different to the others. He’s
the lead singer so that puts him at center stage for everything. He is the one
that gets the most attention and he is also the one that cops the most blame
when the band does something wild or stupid. Usually stupid. He doesn’t really
care what people say about him and he definitely goes his own way.”

“There’s something else, isn’t there?”

I should have known that Travis would pick
up on my hesitation when discussing Ash.

“Ever heard of the 27 Club?”

Travis nodded. “Isn’t that what they call
the curse that seems to hit musicians that die at the age of twenty-seven?
There seems to have been a few of them.”

“Well, Ash has got it into his head that he
is going to become a member of the 27 Club.”

“He thinks he’s going to die?”

I nodded. “I don’t know whether he thinks
he is going to die. It could be more that he believes he is destined to be a
legend.”

I could see Travis rolling his eyes. I
would have thought that a private investigator would be better at hiding his
feelings about his client’s little quirks.

“He is twenty-six now and he lives his life
like the clock is running down at a breakneck speed. Ash will try anything
once. A lot of the trouble that the band seems to get into can be directly
related back to Ash’s belief that his time is running out.”

“Would that be why he had a threesome with
Jolena?”

I shook my head. “No, that was a normal
part of life for these guys. They’re young men in their twenties and very few
people are willing to say no to them. Women throwing themselves at them
constantly is just another part of their normal day.”

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