At sound check, Blackwood was nowhere to be found.
“We’ve been down this road already, but never with him,” Benton said quietly, standing next to Henry at the pedal steel. “Terry always had his shit more or less together, but now it’s like he thinks he needs to turn into Dell.” He sighed and shook his head. “Fucking Dell. He was a genius, yeah, but he was not a functional person. People acted like it was romantic or something. People who didn’t know him. He was exhausting to be around. You never knew what kind of mood he’d be in. Terry was the only one who knew how to handle him.”
“Hasn’t he always gone at it pretty hard, though? That’s his reputation, anyway.”
“Terry always liked a party. He played it up for the press, but he was always on top of it. Now, who the hell knows? He’s never bailed on sound check before.”
Smith walked over and said, “We can’t wait for him.”
“Yeah, fine,” Benton said, “but what happens if he doesn’t make it for the show, man?”
“I’ll go roust his ass after this is over. Let’s run through a few songs for now. Someone needs to be on Terry’s mic.”
Benton made a skeptical face and looked away. “Yeah, not you, Alex,” Smith said. “I’ve heard you sing.”
“I can do it,” Henry said. Both men turned to stare at him. “I sing. You know. A little.”
Benton grinned and slapped him on the shoulder. “Of course you do. See? I told you we need you around here.”
They went through a few songs without vocals first, making sure the pickups for Henry’s pedal steel and guitar were working properly, and then Henry made his way over to the lead singer’s mic. He had to adjust it slightly lower because he was shorter than Blackwood, but he made note of where it had been before so he could fix it. The last thing he wanted was give him an excuse to throw another tantrum.
“Let’s do…uh…Cole, do you know ‘Traveling Abroad’?”
“Sure, it’s one of my favorites,” Henry said.
Henry closed his eyes and listened as the plaintive opening bars of the song began. Then he took a breath and started singing.
I been all around this big old world
To find someone to give my heart to
I wish you’d come on home to me baby
Or that I could go traveling with you
He kept his eyes closed until about halfway through the song. Even though fame was never something Henry had wanted, he liked being up in front for a change. He knew he could never do it. He didn’t have any charisma, and he wasn’t a natural leader. What he did have was a lovely voice, and it occurred to him for the first time how similar it was to Dell Miller’s. He found himself putting on a little bit of Dell’s hillbilly twang, because the song didn’t exactly sound right without it. Even Terry Blackwood couldn’t help doing it.
Henry opened his eyes and immediately wished he’d left them closed. Blackwood had finally arrived and was sitting in the first row of seats watching him. He thought he should probably stop, but the band kept playing, so he kept singing. It was hard to read the expression on Blackwood’s face. It wasn’t fury, which was definitely what Henry would have expected. Or if it was, it was buried beneath a blank stare. When the song ended, he simply stood up and walked out.
The band members all turned to watch him go, and then Sailes said, “Maybe that song wasn’t the best choice, huh.”
“Henry sounded great on it,” Benton said defiantly. “In fact, I think he should sing it at the show. He sounded so much like him.”
The rest of the guys all exchanged uncomfortable glances. “You know Terry would never go for that,” Smith said.
“Fuck Terry and his bullshit,” Benton shot back. “Dell’s gone. And you know what? He was dragging us down the last couple years anyway. Not that I didn’t love the guy. You know I did, just like all of you did, but he was gone a long time before he actually died. Terry’s the only one who couldn’t see it.”
“Yeah, well if Terry can’t pull it together, this is all over. You could replace any of us with someone like him,” Smith said, gesturing at Henry. “But not Terry, and you all know it. So maybe we have to cater to his bullshit, at least for now.”
Talented studio musician, Henry Cole, is offered the dream job of touring with popular rock band, the Vulgar Details. Things aren’t all rosy, though, as he is hired to replace Dell Miller, creative force behind the band, who recently flamed-out in a car accident.
Henry is all too aware that he’s no replacement for someone like Dell. He’s not the only one who feels that way, either. Terry Blackwood, band front man, has been giving him a hard time even before the tour start. He seems to resent Henry’s presence beyond all reason. What Henry doesn’t know is that Terry and Dell’s relationship was both intensely close and fraught with conflict.
Terry’s grief over Dell’s death is overwhelming and threatens to destroy not only the band but his life. It doesn’t help that the new member of the band makes him feel things he doesn’t want to. Worse, when he sings, Henry sounds just like the man Terry cared so deeply for.
With so much at stake, everything could come crashing down around them and mean the end for the Vulgar Details. Or, just maybe, Henry and Terry will find the one thing they need most.
Sometimes redemption comes from the last place you expect to find it.
NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/the-one-thing-i-know/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0747Z79FG
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2vHluKn
Meet the Author
Keelan Ellis is an author of romance and detective fiction, who is always seeking to expand her literary horizons. She is a lover of music and food, and has an intense love/hate relationship with politics. Her stories reflect her passions.
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